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but no fruit was to be had, though the Captain arrived in the middle of summer, and no milk. The place is said to contain from three to four thousand inhabitants. The square was filled with some three hundred recruits, about to be sent off to Buenos Ayres to fight against the Brazilians. Captain Head says they were the wildest-looking crew he ever beheld. It seems they had tried to overpower their guard in the night; and indeed the only blacksmith in the place refused some trifling service, under the plea of being employed in forging chains for these refractory recruits. If Buenos Ayres depends on her distant provinces for success against the Brazilians, we fear she will meet with disappointment. The difficulty of collecting the scanty and scattered population, their unwillingness to leave their homes, and the jealousy that all the five cities above-mentioned entertain of Buenos Ayres, must prevent any cordial co-operation or efficient assistance; indeed, nothing but the almost impenetrable barrier of the Cordilleras of the Andes, and the advantage of a sea-port (bad as that is), could induce them to consider themselves as dependencies of the vice-royalty of Buenos Ayres, or to send their produce to such a distance. This government, however-unjustly as it has been robbed of one legitimate possession, the Banda Oriental, by Brazil, and of the Entre Rios, or Paraguay, by that singular character, Dr. Francia has hitherto maintained, and it is to be hoped will continue, a successful struggle against imperial usurpation.
Mr. Miers says that San Luis de la Punta is one of the meanest towns of equal rank in South America; scarcely a decentlooking house in the place, and everything bearing the marks of poverty: the people ignorant, intolerant, superstitious, and conceited; and yet persuading themselves they are superior to all mankind. But its neighbourhood is described as rich and beautiful. Of the people, he says:
'The puntanos (as the people of this place are called) are great gamblers, and very immoral; the women, more especially those who are married, are very lascivious; they wait not for invitations, but themselves openly become the wooers of this I saw several instances during my stay, and the accounts of numerous persons all agree in this particular. The postmaster's daughters were like the other ladies of San Luis.'-Miers, vol. i. p. 105.
Mendoza is described by Captain Head as a neat, small town, having a plaza or square, with streets at right angles, and several churches and convents; the houses low, flat-roofed, and built of mud, the walls white-washed, and several of them with glass windows. The inhabitants, apparently, are quiet, respectable people, who associate together, and show a great deal of good feeling and fellowship; and the girls, in the evening, go upon the
Almeida, or public walk, dressed with a great deal of taste, and completely in the costume of London and Paris. There is, however, a sad drawback on this favourable side of the Mendoza character, which we entirely agree with Captain Head is almost incredible; but we shall give it in his own words :
It will hardly be credited that, while this Almeida is filled with people, women of all ages, without clothes of any sort or kind, are bathing in great numbers in the stream which literally bounds the promenade. Shakespeare tells us, that "the chariest maid is prodigal enough if she unveil her beauties to the moon," but the ladies of Mendoza, not contented with this, appear even before the sun; and in the mornings and evenings they really bathe without any clothes in the Rio de Mendoza, the water of which is seldom up to their knees, the men and women all together; and certainly, of all the scenes which in my life I have witnessed, I never beheld one so indescribable.'-Head, pp. 69, 70.
The lively young savages of the Pacific Islands have better notions of what is due to female delicacy. When Captain Cook and Sir Joseph Banks came suddenly upon some Otaheite nymphs bathing, they instantly ran and hid themselves behind the rocks; and when the wantons of the Marquesas swam to the Duff, and the goats ate their fig-leaf aprons, the Missionary who tells the story, says, they left the deck in haste, and hid themselves below.
It appears, too, by the following scene which Mr. Miers witnessed, that the inhabitants are dreadfully addicted to gambling, which is, in fact, the sin that besets the whole of Spanish America.
This was on a Sunday night; the game was one of hazard, called Monté, a favourite play in all Spanish societies: there were assembled round the four tables about fifty persons, and though at each table one person only seemed to play the cards, all around were betting what they pleased upon the cards as they were turned up by the dealer or banker, who at all times manages the numerous stakes, and bets against the whole company. Each table was covered with heaps of money, many piles of gold onzas, (each worth three guineas,) numerous others of dollars, and several of smaller money. I was astonished to observe the high bets and the great quantity of money upon the table-no less than the quick succession of the hazards, and the eagerness as well as quietness with which all pursued the game. While engaged in contemplating this novel scene, I was surprised to observe on a sudden a general and rapid movement of the whole company toward the door, and in an instant to see every individual upon his knees beating his breast and muttering a prayer; we alone remaining behind lost in amazement at the cause of this mysterious occurrence. After a short and silent pause, the whole company returned with great precipitancy, each
scrambling to resume his former place, and to engage himself once more in the amusement that seemed to interest him so deeply. On inquiry, I found this general movement was caused by a temblor, a slight shock of an earthquake, to which, as strangers, we were yet insensible, for neither of us experienced the least sensation.'-Miers, vol. i. p. 149, 150.
Mr. Miers here paid a visit to the revolutionary general St. Martin, of whom, though not so much enamoured as Captain Basil Hall appears to have been, he talks a great deal more than his character and conduct merit. We find no fault with him for having reformed the church,' nor for driving the monks from their convents, converting them into military barracks, and enlisting many monks into his service;' we think there are still too many left; neither have we anything to object to his English furniture and Brussels carpet,' provided they were honestly come by; and we only laugh at his extreme modesty in hanging up his own portrait between those of the Duke of Wellington and Buonaparte;' that he should be a slave to gambling,' where all are gamblers, we are not surprised; nor do we see much harm in his smoking cigars, and being fond of punch;' but that Mr. Miers, and others of our countrymen, should for a moment be deceived by, and lavish their praises on, a man who, under any circumstances, could be guilty of such atrocities as Mr. Miers himself ascribes to this person, does, we confess, surprise us very much. We are told that, on his first entering Peru, he caused a proclamation to be issued, guaranteeing full protection of person and security of property to all the old Spaniards who should conform to the new order of things. Many, however, did not trust to this self-declared Protector, and five or six hundred families embarked for Europe. This expatriation was stopped for a time by reiterated assurances of the fullest protection; by-and-bye a proclamation was issued, ordering all the old Spaniards to quit Peru, confiscating one-half of their property, but allowing them to embark with the other half for Europe; and to crown all, no sooner were they and their remaining moiety of property on board, than both Christians and gold were seized; the unfortunates hurried on board a hulk, and in this destitute state sent as captives to Chile; half of them,' says Mr. Miers, dying of grief and privation before they reached Valparaiso.'-Miers, vol. ii. p. 76.
None but a monster could have suffered the following brutal and inhuman treatment to have been inflicted on a female:
All the old Spaniards were dreadfully persecuted. An elderly lady, allied to one of the first families in Peru, who openly condemned the treacherous conduct of the patriots, was threatened in vain: she was at length apprehended, and punished in an extraordi
nary manner: she was dressed in one of the vestments of the inquisition-a black robe ornamented with red devils and skulls; on her head was placed a pointed cap, representing flames, and in her mouth a human thigh-bone was placed, fastened behind her head, and in this condition she was exposed for two days in the public square.'-Miers, vol. ii. p. 76.
Captain Head does not inform us to what specific mines his instructions had particularly directed his attention; but on leaving San Luis, he proceeded to examine the gold mines of the Cerro de las Carolinas, a ridge of detached hills to the northward of that town. A small stream of water led him to the wretched hamlet of La Carolina, which is close to the mines. Here everything wore the appearance of poverty. In the little gardens of the miners, if they can be so called, he picked up a few particles of gold, and on visiting their huts, he offered to purchase small parcels of golddust, which some of these poor people had collected, but he found, to his astonishment, that these obstinate Malagrowthers invariably refused to take his four-dollar gold pieces, even to pay for what they themselves only valued at two or three dollars :'all,' says he, shook their fingers in my face, exclaiming, vale nada"-gold is worth nothing.'
The next mine he visited, and one of those, we suspect, where it was intended that operations were to be carried on, was that of Uspallata, in the mountains to the northward of Mendoza. It was winter, but he found the days hotter than the summer in England; while at nights the water froze constantly by his side in the hut. He was told that it seldom rains in this part of the country, and indeed the surface had a most desolate and barren appearance; there was no herbage of any kind, and several dead animals were strewed about, all dried up in their skins. One of the Cornish miners, after gazing about him with astonishment, took up a handful of the green barren soil, and looking into it with great attention, said, why surely there must be poison in this ground.'
Not a word is said of the capacity of the mines of Uspallata, the Captain's official report of them having, no doubt, been transmitted to his employers; but he evidently was disappointed here also; and, being so near to Chile, determined on passing the Cordilleras of the Andes, to see what that country might afford. For this purpose the horse of the Pampas is nearly useless, and the mule supplies his place. On loading this animal, it seems, they find it necessary to blindfold him, in order that he may stand still, an operation which affords our author an opportunity of exercising his talent at characteristic description.
It is truly amusing to watch the nose and mouth of a mule, when
his eyes are blinded, and his ears pressed down upon his neck in the poncho. Every movement which is made about him, either to arrange his saddle or his load, is resented by a curl of his nose and upper lip, which in ten thousand wrinkles is expressive, beyond description, of every thing that is vicious and spiteful: he appears to be planning all sorts of petty tricks of revenge, and as soon as the poncho is taken off, generally begins to put some of them into execution, either by running with his load against some brother mule, or by kicking him; however, as soon as he finds that his burden is not to be got rid of, he dismisses, or perhaps conceals, his resentment, and instantly assumes a look of patience and resignation, which are really also the characteristics of his race, and which support them under all their sufferings and privations.'-Head, pp. 129, 130.
Immediately on the first ascent of the great chain of mountains, the number of dead mules, which strew the whole path from Mendoza to Santiago, began to increase; their bodies were all dry, their hind legs extended, and their heads stretched towards their journey's end that is to say, at least we suppose so, towards the acclivity, for, Captain Head observes, it was evident that the poor animals had all died of the same complaint- the hill had killed them all!'
We have no intention of stopping to detail the accounts which our travellers give of crossing the Cordilleras: the steep ascents, the perpendicular precipices, the narrow ridges, or laderos, cut out of the sides of the mountains; the hair-breadth escapes of the mules, and the numerous difficulties that occur, are pretty nearly the same in crossing all primitive mountain-chains; though, of course, the difficulty and the danger are much increased when, as in the Cordilleras of the Andes, the upper regions are buried in eternal snow. In those howling wildernesses,' at every two or three leagues, brick huts have been built, to protect the traveller from those dreadful snow-storms known by the name of temporales,' in which, notwithstanding, many unfortunates have been caught and doomed to perish. In one of these buildings, not long before Mr. Head passed it, six men out of ten, who had fled into it for shelter in one of these storms, had died of hunger, and the remaining four were but just alive when discovered. We transcribe a natural and unstudied reflection, briefly and beautifully expressed :
The state of the walls was also a melancholy testimony of the despair and horror they had witnessed. In all the places which I have ever seen, which have been visited by travellers, I have always been able to read the names and histories of some of those who have gone before me; for when a man has nothing to lament, but that his horses have not arrived, or in fact that he has nothing to do, the wall appears to be a friend to whom many intrust their names, their birthplaces, the place they propose to visit, and sometimes even the fond secrets of their hearts; but I particularly observed that, in these huts