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is not in the imperial city one single thermometer, and those which we brought from England have all been broken on our journey. The evenings and early part of the nights are usually serene, and sometimes of a summer's mildness. The Creoles seem to be extremely sensible of cold, for they consider this climate an eternal winter, which they divide into the dry winter and wet winter ; but the Indians (although like the Irish peasantry, half naked,) are not so delicate. My own opinion, and I am ire clined to think that all my countrymen who visit this place must be of the same, is, that, upon a fair estimate, we may consider it fine, wholesome, bracing, and by no means unpleasant weather.
• I have observed that we are all liable, upon arriving here, to a severe attack of illness, but if it passes away, and good health returns as quickly as it has to me, there can be no cause for complaint.'-vol. i. pp. 297, 298.
The Baron de Humboldt remarked that the farm of Antisana, in the province of Quito, which is about 13,000 feet above the level of the sea, " is, without doubt, one of the highest inhabited spots on the earth.” If the more recent computations of Dr. Redhead and Mr. Pentland be correct, the town of Putosi stands at an elevation of 13,265 feet above the same level, and, consequentiy, may be said to be the highest inhabited spot on the earth, the Baron having mentioned no place that is higher than Antisana. Notwithstanding the lavas of the Senor Pazo, and indeed a very general notion, that all the South American mountains are of volcanic origin, our Secretary takes leave to doubt the fact with respect to the mountain of Potosi. We are not about to enter into a dissertation upon that question, still less are we disposed to bother ourselves and our amiable readers with the process of mining and amalga. mation, as detailed by the Secretary in very learned language. It is but justice, however, to hear him upon one point connected with the speculation in which he was concerned, the more particularly as we have differed, and shall probably always differ, with him upon the subject, until he presents us with three or four waggon loads of real Potosian silver, to remove our scruples. Audi alteram partem is our motto.
• The remarks that were published in many of the newspapers on mining speculations, at the time of the great mania, were, if sometimes true, frequently the reverse, but very seldom free from prejudice, arising either from party spirit, the disappointment of extravagant hopes, or the design of accomplishing some private end. I recollect to have seen in a periodical, which has particularly distinguished itself for its indefatigable zeal in de tecting, and its uncompromising spirit in opposing and exposing, the numerous schemes that have been concocted, some in ignorance and folly, others in absolute fraud,—the following observations on mining companies being “ Extracts of a letter from Peru.” “To us, at so great a distance from England, these things appear very strange, to see on the lists of directors names of men pretending to character, and many of them rich" (this climax of character, by the way, to us, who have no such ingredient to boast of, savours strongly of the city), “ thus exposing themselves to be covered with disgrace, for not one of these companies can do any good." We are not told why they cannot do any good; but had the writer stopped here, with reference to those companies, their establishments, and their plans, he would, notwithstanding the vagueness of his assertion, have been perfectly correct. But when he continues thus,—“ It is physically impossible they can succeed, and this must be known to every man who has been here, or who would take the trouble of inquiring.”—This, I reply, in his own words, every man who has been here must know, is perfectly ridiculous. What has occurred in the realms of nature, science, or art, to make it now " physically impossible” to work to advantage the silver mines of Peru ? Have they not been worked for three centuries to advantage, without any other interruption than that which has taken place solely in consequence of the political events of the country? I think I hear the writer reply, that it is precisely because they have been worked for such a length of time, that they are now unproductive, nay, exhausted. But as well might it be said, that the coal-pits of Newcastle are exhausted, because they have been worked for a series of years.
“ Agents from London,” continues the writer, “ are seen or heard of in every province, bargaining for mines; they have turned the brains of the Spaniards, who had long given up mining in despair." In despair of what? I may be permitted to ask this question, because, here again, the why and the wherefore are not mentioned. The only despair that could have troubled the Spaniards, with respect to their mines, was despair of the produce, with which they annually loaded their ships, ever reaching a port of Spain when that country was at war with England. The chances then were, that every galleon which sailed for Spain would be either captured or blown up by British cruisers. Our history informs us that, even at the time of the Commonwealth, the capture of Spanish ships laden with the produce of the mines of America was considered so certain, that Cromwell expected to pay his troops from the booty, without laying new burthens on the people.
• There could not have been cause for despair, under an idea that their mines were exhausted, or that there was any improbability of finding new ones. But I need not intrude any opinion of my own, when I can adduce the evidence of a distinguished authority, whose laborious investigations in the new world have been particularly directed to the subject of its mines. “ The abundance of silver in the chain of the Andes is in general such, that when we reflect on the number of mineral depositories which remain untouched, or which have been very superficially wrought, we are tempted to believe that Europeans have yet scarcely begun to enjoy the inexhaustible fund of wealth contained in the New World.” “I am not ignorant, that in thus expressing myself, I am directly opposed to the authors of a great number of works on political economy, in which it is affirmed, that the mines of America are partly exhausted and partly too deep ever to be worked with advantage, &c."~" It appears to me superfluous to refute opinions at variance with innumerable facts, and we ought not to be astonished at the extreme levity with which people in Europe judge of the state of the mines of the New World."*
* Humboldt, Political Essay on New Spain, vol, iii. chap. xi., where all the facts alluded to may be seen, and the corroboration of them in " Ward's Mexico."
• I readily admit, that many blanks occur in the lottery of mining, and that enormous sums have been lavished in the speculation; but it is not less true that, in many cases, “the magnitude of the object bears a fair proportion to the magnitude of the stake." '-vol. 1. pp. 310–314.
What we are at present most surprised at is this, that the Secretary has returned to England, while more glorious prospects, according to his own argument, were held out to him in Potosi. We cannot count the millions which he says were extracted from the bosom of the mountain since the original discovery of its riches, though we apprehend there would be no great difficulty in summing up the treasures which have reached England from the same source, since the establishment of the “ Potosi, La Paz, and Pe. ruvian Association.” Amid the mining propensities which must absorb universal attention in the neighbourhood of such metallic attractions, it is pleasant to observe that the cause of education is not altogether neglected.
An assembly was held in the chapel of the college, formerly the rich and gaudy church of the convent. Here the ceremony was opened by a Latin speech, delivered by one of the intended students, chiefly in praise of Bolivar and Sucre, whom all the speakers that followed, also made the theme of their discourse in Spanish. The prefect charged the governors and masters who were to be entrusted with the education of the scholars, to bring them up in a very different manner from that in which he himself and all his contemporaries had been brought up under their late despots. He recommended them to take example from the English nation, whose principles of liberality and tolerance had obtained them the respect and admiration of the universe. The clergyman who had been selected as head-master of the establishment, followed in an equally liberal strain, and exulted in the honour of his appointment to preside over the first institution for the instruction of the youth of his country in which their education was free, and not, as hitherto, suliject to the blighting influence of a despotic will. Other speakers made honourable mention of Locke, Socrates, Newton, Canning, Plato), Boyle, Washington, Alexander the Great, Homer, and Nebuchadnezzar. When all were tired of speaking, which was not before all were tired of listening, the company withdrew from the church to the refectory, where, if the tables were not laden as luxuriously as in the days of the fathers, there was at least a repast sufficient to afford a couple of hours of genuine hilarity. The event which the party had met to celebrate was one of present joy and future hope to every body; it was, in truth, a grand epoch in the annals of a nation, which by its own persevering struggles had just emancipated itself from a state of the most abject slavery; and as the surest preventive against its recurrence, this first establishment for the free education of youth was founded in general joy and jubilee, under the conviction of the truth of their motto, which was selected from the works of l’Abbé de Mably:-L'instruction publique est sans doute la meilleure base des mæurs.'-vol. i. pp. 334, 335.
Our Secretary was now going on very gaily, writing home to his directors, not letters but despatches, in the true East Indian style, and giving the most glowing accounts of the existing as well as the probably future state of operations at Potosi, when he unfortunately
learned that the Company's Agent at Buenos Ayres had refused to accept any more of their draughts, and that in England, not only a call for the several instalments would be hopeless, but that some of the directors, holding a large number of shares, were unable to pay their first quota. This intelligence threw our Secretary for a time into the spleen; nevertheless it did not prevent him from enjoying himself as well as he could, under the distressing circumstances in which he was placed.
6th. I availed myself this day of a general invitation to dinner, given with un feigned cordiality by Donna Juliana Indalesias, the rich widow of a man who, before the Revolution, was one of the first among the many wealthy merchants then residing in Potosi.
• Donna Juliana never omits daily attendance at mass, nor absents herself from any procession or particular ceremony of her church, and would consider it a crime to conceal her veneration for the images and paintings of saints which hallow and adorn her apartments. She also highly respects, and distinguishes from all her other friends, those whose peculiar calling it is to instruct mankind in the sacred doctrines of religion, seldom sitting down to dinner unaccompanied by a priest or friar, who have free admission to her plentiful table. That, however, which may excite suprise, because so seldom in accordance with ostentatious acts of devotion, is the fact, that she possesses the kindest heart in the world, and dispenses charity with true benevolence. She is known by the appellation of “ La buena Cristiana,” and never was distinction more deservedly bestowed.
* Donna Juliana, Cura Costas, (the respectable head of the church at Potosi,) Padre Francisco, (a Dominican friar, whose portly corporation excited in my mind a malicious suspicion of his being more accustomed to feasting than fasting,) were the party with whom, at two o'clock, I sat down to dinner. Three Indian girls, the children of old domestics, clean and tidy; an Indian boy, as may be sometimes seen in another “ land of potatoes,” shirtless, shoeless, and stockingless ; a very fine negress slave, and an elderly woman, evidently the confidential servant, were the attendants.
• In all families in Peru, the domestic service is performed by Indians, whose fidelity to their masters has been the theme of many writers; and from the great number of years which some of them have lived in families with whom I am acquainted, I believe the accounts to be generally correct. The honesty of these domestics is seldom tempted to a breach by the many articles of plate which are frequently to be seen scattered about a house, and even in the court-yard, where they are carelessly thrown to be washed, or sometimes to be scrubbed with sand or ashes. Before the Revolution, articles of gold, such as coffee-spoons, maté-cups, bombillos, (tubes through which the maté, an infusion of a Paraguay herb resembling tea, is drawn into the mouth,) were to be seen strewed in a similar state of indifference. It must, however, be confessed, that little pilferings are not very unusual amongst this poor, patient, and laborious class of people.
For nearly an hour, immense silver dishes were carried in and carried out, with the various compositions of our repast. The first course con
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sisted, as is usual in the country, of cheese and fruit, such as melons, apples, figs, chyrimoyas, tunas, membrillos, &c. Then came two or three kinds of soup or porridge, with rice prepared in different ways. After these were removed, there was no regularity observed in the courses; for, whilst some of the attendants carried off the dishes that had been helped from, or if not yet touched by us, that had remained long enough upon the table to gratify our view, others were at hand instantly to replace them : there was no opportunity given to remark, that
“There was the place where the pasty was not.” Each dish contained sufficient for a party of twice our number; and from every one I observed Donna Juliana take a large plateful, sometimes two platefuls, and, saying something in Quichua, hand them to one of her Indians, who placed them in a distant corner of the room.
· When the more substantial subjects of the feast were discussed, then followed custards, and compotes, and sweetmeats, from which small portions were also taken, to be husbanded, as I imagined, for tomorrow's fare. A dish of very good potatoes, accompanied with very bad butter, concluded the dinner. When the cloth was removed, all the attendants, without any word of command, ranged themselves in a rank in the middle of the room, and suddenly dropping on their knees, sung or said aloud a grace that lasted full four minutes, in which the deep-toned voices of Padre Costas and Friar Francisco, nothing mellowed by their hearty meal and ample goblet of Cinty wine from the estate of our hostess, chimed in like bass-viols, whilst Donna Juliana, pressing her cross and beads to her bosom, her eyes devoutly fixed upon a beautiful painting of the Virgin and Child, which hung opposite to her in a large massive silver frame, accompanied the others in all the fervency of thanksgiving. A deep “ Amen!” with the sign of the cross, as a benediction upon the company, by Padre Costas, ended this appropriate ceremony, in the solemnity of which the most obdurate heretic could not have refrained from joining
• The servants now took away the plates which had been placed upon the sideboard, whilst Donna Juliana, in Quichua, seemed to give particular directions about each of them. I was curious to learn their destination, and, being on a footing of the most friendly intimacy with Donna Juliana and her father-confessor, my inquiry was answered—“to be given to the poor." Every day in the year, at two o'clock, several poor persons attended at the house of La Buena Cristiana, and took their seats upon the staircase; some of them, aware no doubt of the lenient disposition of their benefactress, encroached even to the door of the dining-room, where a scene rather unusual to a European, certainly to an Englishman, and one of interesting curiosity too, was daily to be seen,—that of a tribe of beggars, assembled en societé, in a respectable mansion, eating with sil:er spoons, out of silver plates and dishes, without any watch over the property, or even a suspicion of its being likely to be missing. In mentioning this daily charitable distribution-happy contrast to " the crumbs from the rich man's table!"-I must not forget to remark, that the reserved portions of sweetmeats were for the children who accompanied their parents ; a trifing observation, perhaps, but it has its weight in describing the character of the venerable Lady Bountiful of Potosi.'-vol. i. pp. 378—383.
A good deal has been said of late in Parliament concerning the