RECORD: Proctor, Robert. 1825. Narrative of a journey across the Cordillera of the Andes. London: A. Constable.

REVISION HISTORY: The copy scanned is in the Old Library at Christ's College, Cambridge and was photographed in 2009 by John van Wyhe. OCRed by AEL Data 04.2014. RN1

NOTE: This work formed part of the Beagle library. The Beagle Library project has been generously supported by a Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 1 grant and Charles Darwin University and the Charles Darwin University Foundation, Northern Territory, Australia.


[page iii]

NARRATIVE OF A JOURNEY

ACROSS THE

CORDILLERA OF THE ANDES,

AND OF A

RESIDENCE IN LIMA,

AND

OTHER PARTS OF PERU,

IN THE YEARS 1823 AND 1824.

BY ROBERT PROCTOR, ESQ.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR

ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE AND CO. EDINBURGH;

AND HORST, ROBINSON, AND CO. LONDON.

1825.

[page iv]

[page v]

PREFACE.

A PREFACE is one of those formalities which custom, and in many cases custom only, has rendered necessary.

During his journey to, and residence in Peru, the author generally kept a diary of his proceedings and observations, and finding on his return to England, that he had obtained some interesting particulars, which others, who had not enjoyed the same advantages, did not possess, he determined to print the principal contents of his journal in the form of a consecutive narrative. He is of course aware, that in various respects his work will be found defective; for some of

[page] vi

its imperfections an apology is perhaps due, if indeed he ought not to provide himself with an excuse for making a book at all, considering his ignorance of the art. A few unimportant errors have crept in, because the author was unable to superintend the passage of the sheets through the press, and for these the printer is in no way responsible.

In order to account in some degree for the decided manner in which the author speaks of the conduct and character of most of the individuals who have signalised themselves in South America, it may be proper to state, that as agent to the contractor for the Peruvian loan, he was brought into connexion with them, and had frequent opportunities of seeing and knowing them. Many public events, to which he has had occasion to refer, have been misunderstood in this country, and these he has endeavoured to present in their true light.

[page] vii

Of Peru, it may be observed, that though it is perhaps the most interesting and singular country of South America, less is known regarding it and its inhabitants than is known of any of the other independent states. The author merely hopes to be able in some slight degree to supply this deficiency of information.

[page viii]

[page ix]

CONTENTS.

Page
CHAPTER I.
ARRIVAL AT BUENOS AYRES 2
Preparations for crossing the Andes 3
Departure from Buenos Ayres 5
CHAPTER II.
Character of the country 7
Carriers' carts 9
A whirlwind 10
Music of the Pampas 11
A storm and its effects 12
CHAPTER III.
THE PAMPAS and their inhabitants 13
Rauchos and their horses 15
Fight between peons 16
Nature of the soil 17
Ostrich hunting 18
Animals of the Pampas 10

[page] x

Page
CHAPTER IV.
Guard-house 21
National song of Buenos Ayres 22
Deserted post-house 25
Saladillo 26
CHAPTER V.
CAPITAL OF THE PAMPAS 28
Preservation of grain 29
Paraguay tea 30
Barranchita 33
Post of Achiras 34
CHAPTER VI.
SITUATION OF ACHIRAS 35
Mendoza wine 36
Visitors from Morro 37
Reckonings with postmasters 38
Rio Quinto 39
CHAPTER VII.
SAN LUIS DE LA PUNTA 41
Laguno de Chorillos 43
River Desaguadero 44
First view of the Andes 45
Post of Retamo 47
Approach to Mendoza 48

[page] xi

Page
CHAPTER VIII.
CITY OF MENDOZA 50
General San Martin 51
Vineyards 52
Chaqui or dried beef 54
CHAPTER IX.
Departure from Mendoza 55
Nature of the country 56
Villa Vicencio 57
Summit of the Sierra 60
CHAPTER X.
PLAIN OF UPSALLATA 61
Silver mines 62
Guard-house of Mendoza 63
The passes and their dangers 65
CHAPTER XI.
The second pass 68
The third pass 69
Punta de las Vaccas 71
Casuchas 72
CHAPTER XII.
THE INCA'S BRIDGE 74
Guanacos 77
Ascent to the Cumbre 78

[page] xii

Page
Passage of the Cumbre 79
The descent 80
CHAPTER XIII.
LAGUNA DEL INCA 81
Ojo del Agua 82
Chili territory 83
The soldier's leap 85
CHAPTER XIV.
SANTA ROSA 88
Agriculture of Chili 91
Plain of Chacabuco 92
National song of Chili 93
Colina 94
CHAPTER XV.
SANTIAGO 97
Visit to the director 100
Departure from Santiago 101
Casa Blanca 104
Sight of the Pacific 105
CHAPTER XVI.
VALPARAISO 106
The earthquake 107
Visit to O'Higgins 108
Trade of Valparaiso 109
Character of the Chilians 110

[page] xiii

Page
CHAPTER XVII.
VOYAGE TO CALLAO 111
Landing at Callao 112
Road to Lima 113
The alameda 114
Entrance into Lima 115
CHAPTER XVIII.
LIMA.
Description of the city 118
CHAPTER XIX.
Retrospect of affairs 126
Proceedings of Alverado 128
His defeat 129
Bolivar invited 131
Character of Riva Aguero 133
CHAPTER XX.
Alarm in Lima 136
Removal of government 137
Congress dissolved 138
Departure to Callao 140
Native Spaniards 141
CHAPTER XXI.
State of Callao 144
Intrigues of congress 146

[page] xiv

Page
General Sucre 147
Removal to Truxillo 148
News from Lima 151
CHAPTER XXII.
Captain Prescott's interview 153
General Canterac 154
Generals Loriga, Miller, and Colonel Rolet 156
New expedition 160
CHAPTER XXIII.
JOURNEY TO TRUXILLO 161
Huacho and its inhabitants 162
Irrigation 166
Huaura 167
Camina real 168
CHAPTER XXIV.
SUPE 169
Barranca 171
Pativilca 172
Indian ruins 175
Los Callejones 177
CHAPTER XXV.
VALLEY OF GUARMAY 181
Indian language 182
Spanish song and translation 183
Las Culebras—Casma 185
Nepena 186
Santa and its trade 187

[page] xv

Page
CHAPTER XXVI.
RIVER OF SANTA 188
Town of Viru 189
Truxillo 191
Huanchaco 192
Method of embarking 193
Burial mounds of the Indians 195
CHAPTER XXVII.
The president and congress 196
Forcible dissolution of congress 198
Return to Lima 200
Cotton plantations 201
Englishman's history 204
CHAPTER XXVIII.
Lima abandoned 206
Los Pescadores 208
Valley of Chancay 210
Ravages near Lima 212
Posts from Truxillo 213
CHAPTER XXIX.
MONTONEROS 215
Their services 216
Marquis di Torre Tagle 217
Removal of Lima 219
Revival of the city 220

[page] xvi

Page
CHAPTER XXX.
LADIES OF LIMA, their dress, &c. 221
The tapadas 225
Gaming 226
Dwelling-houses and baths 227
Condition of the slaves 232
Their amusements 233
CHAPTER XXXI.
MEN OF LIMA, their manners, &c. 235
Classes of population 237
Priests in Peru 239
Religious ceremonies, bell-ringing, &c. 241
CHAPTER XXXII.
ARRIVAL OF BOLIVAR, and his appearance 245
The theatre 247
Revival of bull-fights 248
Description of the bull-ring 250
CHAPTER XXXIII.
Procession of bull-fighters 253
The capeador 254
The matador 255
The lanzada 256
Saddling the bull 257

[page] xvii

Page
CHAPTER XXXIV.
DEFEAT OF SANTA CRUZ 259
The Inca's bridge 261
City of La Paz 262
Battle Of Zepita 263
Causes of the failure of Santa Cruz 267
Capture of Soulanges 268
CHAPTER XXXV.
GENERAL SUCRE'S EXPEDITION 269
Retreat of Rolet 271
Los Inocentes 272
Revolt of Riva Aguero 274
Character of Valdez 277
CHAPTER XXXVI.
PREPARATIONS BY BOLIVAR 279
Riva Aguero betrayed and delivered up 281
Motives of Riva Aguero 282
His vindication 283
Objects of Bolivar 284
Riva Aguero's escape 285
CHAPTER XXXVII.
NEW CONSTITUTION 287
Abolition of titles 288
Poverty of Lima 289
Importance of Lima to Great Britain 290
Divisions of trade 292

C

[page] xviii

Page
CHAPTER XXXVIII.
CHORILLOS, sea-bathing, &c. 293
The Indians 295
The Almencais 297
The Tertiana 298
The Coracha 299
Two climates of Peru 300
CHAPTER XXXIX.
Spanish encampment 301
An old godo and his bailiff 303
Banditti 305
Terrace husbandry 306
Indian population 307
Chicha 308
CHAPTER XL.
YASSO 309
Agriculture 310
Lobrojillo 312
Canta 313
Manufactures 315
The Vacuña 316
CHAPTER XLI.
ROAD TO PASCO, and its climate 317
Mines and minerals 319
Mines of Vives 320
Arismendi and Abadia 322
Indians of Xauja 325
Suspension bridge 326

[page] xix

Page
CHAPTER XLII.
Enthusiasm of the Indians 329
Song in praise of chicha 331
Advance of the royalists 333
Robberies and murders. 335
CHAPTER XLIII.
Bolivar's proposals 338
Mutiny at Callao 339
Casariego 342
A new mutiny 344
Torre Tagle suspected 346
Bolivar made dictator 347
CHAPTER XLIV.
VISIT TO CHORILLOS 348
Lima taken by mutineers 350
Outrages in Lima 351
Plunderers shot 353
Sacking of Chorillos 354
CHAPTER XLV.
Arrival of the royalists 356
Characters of Rodil and Monet 357
Torre Tagle's treachery 359
Character of Ramirez 360
Spanish marches 362
Employment of spies 363

[page] xx

Page
CHAPTER XLVI.
INTERVIEW WITH RODIL previous to returning 365
Captain Martin's interference 366
New difficulties 367
Determination to escape 368
Embarkation and pursuit 371
Return to England 374

[page 1]

NARRATIVE

OF A

JOURNEY,

ETC.

CHAPTER I.

Embarkation at Gravesend and arrival at Buenos Ayres—Preparations for crossing the Cordillera of the Andes.

WE embarked at Gravesend, on the 8th December, 1822, on board the brig Cherub, burden 206 tons, for Buenos Ayres. My family consisted of my wife, an infant son, two female servants, and one man-servant. We had a prosperous voyage to the beautiful island of Madeira in nine days, where we began to lose our sea-sickness, and to enjoy the serenity and warmth of the benignant climate, after the boisterous and chilling winds generally experienced at this season in the Bay of Biscay.

On the 23d December we had a distant sight of the Peak of Teneriffe, and of the Island of Palma, rising like an immense mountain from the bosom of

B

[page] 2

the ocean; its towering head, covered with snow, being seen distinctly above a mass of clouds which obscured its base.

On the 1st January, 1823, we had arrived between Togo and Santiago, two of the Cape de Verd Islands, and, being becalmed all day, we had full leisure to contemplate the awful crater of the former, at that time quiet and harmless.

We passed the Line on the 14th January, and went through the ceremony of Neptune's visit to baptize those who had never crossed it before. A quarrel occurred on board to-day, which was so serious during the remainder of the voyage as to render our situation very unpleasant: the vessel, besides, though almost new, sprung so considerable a leak that the men were constantly at the pumps. This labour increased the ill-humour of the crew, which had been already excited by the impetuosity of the captain's temper. To our great satisfaction, on the 5th February we made Cape St. Mary, the entrance of the River Plate, and landed safely at Buenos Ayres four days afterwards.

Buenos Ayres has been so often and so accurately described, that it is needless for me to give what would be mere repetition. We were received most cordially by the English families resident there: indeed we were so pleasantly employed during our visit that I began with regret to make preparations for our departure from what is esteemed the most agreeable society in South America. However, as the winter on the Cordillera was now fast approaching,

[page] 3

it was high time to think of starting for our destination beyond the Andes.

Being a large party, I was obliged to purchase a carriage to convey the females, and a cart to carry our baggage. The former was a light vehicle on two wheels, entered from behind, very like the cars now in use within short distances of London: it was called a carreton. The cart, or carretilla, was an uncouth machine, covered by a tilt of hide, with large wheels, without any tire.

The next step was to hire one of the government couriers. These men, who have been bred up on the road between Buenos Ayres and Valparaiso, take the whole management of the journey, and are responsible for every thing. They are paid about 100 dollars as far as Mendoza, and 50 more to Santiago. Having engaged one to my satisfaction, he immediately set to work to find peons or postillions: these people are hired at the rate of 20 dollars for the journey, and with their assistance the courier proceeded to render the carriages fit for the undertaking. For this purpose they soaked cow-hides until they were quite soft, and then cutting them into narrow strips, wound them round the spokes of the wheels, shafts, and springs. These coverings contract so much in drying that they adhere most firmly, and not only strengthen the different parts, but prevent the wood-work of the wheels from chafing in deep ruts.

As all luxuries and some necessaries on the road are very scarce, it is usual to carry a stock of wine,

B 2

[page] 4

spirits, biscuits, and the Paraguay herb maté, which is used instead of tea. It is consumed by the peons, and is considered particularly refreshing after fatigue. We also carried with us small parcels of paper segars and sugar as presents, to insure the good-will of the inhabitants on the journey.

The carriages, instead of shafts, had a pole, at the extremity of which was fastened a cross-bar with a hole in each end of it; to this bar the horses, which are very unmanageable, are attached by a thong, fastened to a ring in the saddle, which thong is drawn several times through the hole in the cross-bar. Every horse is ridden by a peon, and no other harness is used than the saddle and bridle; the animals are fastened to the carriage merely by the thong, so that the horses draw entirely from the girth. This is an excellent plan for the description of horses which are used on the road, since however restive they may be, they cannot upset the carriage, and a horse may rear, kick, and even fall, without shaking the vehicle materially.

The peons are an uncouth description of men, but most excellent riders. Over their shoulders they carry ponchos, and on their legs the skins of the legs of a colt, which they put on wet, sewing it up at the extremity of their toes. These make very soft and durable boots, and even fit better than could be expected; on these boots they wear tremendously large iron spurs, which are a dreadful infliction on the horses. I have seen their sides, when they have come in, quite perforated and swollen like a sponge,

[page] 5

and I have even tracked the carriages by the blood flowing from the wounds.

On the 19th of March we were awakened by the galloping of horses in the streets, and by the challenges of the sentries; and, in the morning, I found that a lawless party of armed men had entered Buenos Ayres by night, taking advantage of the absence of the regular troops (which had been sent out on an expedition to the South) to attempt a counter-revolution. The object was defeated almost immediately, the party being driven out of the town with some loss; but, on the morning of the 20th, all business was suspended, and nobody was allowed to leave the city: the military were under arms, and cannon planted in the Plaza. We much feared that we might be delayed for some days in consequence of this unforeseen event, but as tranquillity and confidence were soon restored, we were allowed to depart at about 11 o'clock on the morning of the 20th March. ROAD OUT OF BUENOS AYRES.

[page] 6

CHAPTER II.

Departure from Buenos Ayres—Description of the road—The first post-house—Supper, and the manners of the Peons—Caravans—A storm—Boundary of Buenos Ayres.

WE left Buenos Ayres at full gallop, the horses having no other pace than that or a walk. The road out of the town is infamously bad, and it would be impossible to prevent an English stage-coach from upsetting on it; but our carriage being low, there seemed no danger, and the courier was always very careful while going over rough places, principally for fear of breaking the springs, which are made of twisted thongs of hide, and are much better adapted to these roads than if they were of iron. The first league or two out of town is through a partially cultivated country, with fences of prickly pear and aloes: we also observed montes or woods of peach, which is almost the only tree that grows about Buenos Ayres, and is used by the inhabitants for fuel. We very soon began to lose all signs of cultivation or inhabitants, excepting now and then a solitary rancho or mud-hut, plastered over with a sort of mortar made of long grass and clay. The country in general was wild, and covered with tall thistles; while the road was

[page] 7

full of pantanos or bogs, generally filled up, partly with the carcass of some animal which had died in getting through it, and partly with other bones which are every where to be found, and are thrown in to give a little solidity to the place.

On advancing farther, the country began to improve; the ground even in this dry season of the year was covered with pasture, which afforded nourishment to immense quantities of cattle, which roamed over the land as far as the eye could reach. This was in fact the most interesting part of the whole road to Mendoza, the soil, in many places, being clothed with such beautiful clover that I could often imagine myself riding over one of our large common fields in England, sown with this luxuriant herbage. The peach groves, planted near the residences of the hacenderos or owners, thinly scattered on the rising grounds, gave rather a parkish appearance to the scenery.

We crossed this afternoon an arroyo, or brook, the sides of which were very steep, and the horses had considerable difficulty in dragging the vehicle out of it. The country, on the other side, was covered with a kind of furze, which the peons drove resolutely through, as there was no road. It was now dusk, but we observed a light at the post-house for a considerable distance before we arrived at it, and our approach was announced by the barking of an innumerable host of dogs, some wild and some tame. Before we reached the house we came to some corrales, or enclosures, with high open fences made of large

[page] 8

crooked stakes driven into the ground, and connected by thongs of hide; into these corrales the cattle are driven at night;—a separate corral being given to cows, horses, sheep, &c. The post-house was very respectable, consisting of one large room, into which the door opened, which served for parlour and bedroom to the family, while we were accommodated with a separate sleeping-chamber, with wooden benches, on which we spread the beds. Finding that I must expect only one apartment for my family during the whole journey, I made up my mind that the two female servants must sleep in the room with us; I arranged matters for this very purpose thus: the females always went to bed first, and on a concerted signal the candle was extinguished, and I used to come and undress; in the morning I rose before the room was light.

On inquiring what could be had for supper, I found that a sheep had been killed, and as every thing was novel, I went to view the kitchen. It was a sort of shed at the end of the house, which had been once covered in, but the roof was then half off: in the middle of the earthen floor was a hole, either hollowed by use or made on purpose, in which was a wood fire, and two or three spits were stuck round in the earth, on which was threaded a side of mutton. Such is the method of making an asado or roast, which is the general dish in the country. Round the fire sat my peons, and as their appetites could not wait until the principal asado was ready, they had obtained a few long wooden skewers, with small

[page] 9

pieces of meat upon them, which they stuck close to the fire, so as to touch the flames; as soon as one of these was sufficiently cooked on one side, they took it up. Their method of eating was not the most elegant; they caught hold of the meat with their teeth, while they kept the skewer in their hands: when they had cut off the piece they had bitten, they placed the skewer a second time before the fire, taking up a second and a third in turn, and serving them in the same way. Their knives are formidable weapons, and are worn stuck either in the boot or girdle.

We rose early next morning and travelled through the same rich country, the pasture in some places reaching up to the horses' knees. We passed through a village which consisted of a few mud cottages and a chapel, resembling an old barn in England; there were also in the immediate neighbourhood a few enclosures of maize, lucern, and peach woods, surrounded by hedges of prickly pear. At the post-house here we were detained five hours for horses, during which time we laid in a stock of boiled eggs and milk. The bread throughout the country is very bad, mixed with grasa or lard. We arrived late at the post-house where we were to sleep: it was a large low range of buildings, and round it were a considerable number of carriers' carts. These carts or caravans of carts (for they generally travel in company) are the most ridiculous-looking conveyances imaginable; they have very low bodies, on a pair of wheels, with a large tilt covered with hide, the hair

[page] 10

outwards. They are generally drawn by several pairs of oxen in succession, and from the top of the tilt is slung a piece of bamboo long enough to reach the farthest ox: this cane the driver of the cart can so direct as to goad any beast he wishes, and it is armed with a spike for that purpose. The wheels are never greased, so that a procession of these carts makes a most discordant noise, that may be heard for miles; they occupy about six weeks in the journey from Mendoza to Buenos Ayres. We were very miserably accommodated this night, the post-room being very dirty, and swarming with fleas.

I started on the 22d on a very bad horse, which, during the stage, fell five times with me, and when we arrived at the post its legs were literally streaming with blood; its knees and nose being quite raw with coming in contact with the ground. The travelling to-day was extremely unpleasant: the wind was very high, and raised such clouds of dust that we were completely covered, and could scarcely see or breathe. The ground we passed over was not so level as it had hitherto been, but swelled into hills, which, being composed of light materials, were more acted upon by the wind, while the soil was kept bare of vegetation by it. We observed a whirlwind which had a most curious effect; at the distance of a mile or two it appeared like a thick column of smoke issuing from a large chimney; but, on approaching nearer, I saw dust, grass, &c. carried into the air to an immense height, sometimes travelling at a rapid rate, sometimes remaining stationary. The guide and servant

[page] 11

who happened to be behind told me that they had been entangled in it, and had had great difficulty in extricating themselves. After crossing a considerable stream, or river, with remarkably steep banks, which the horses were obliged to gallop up to prevent the vehicles from getting (to use a nautical phrase) sternway, we arrived at the post of Arecife, a pretty good house, having a pulperia, or grog-shop, attached to it. The owner, who appeared to be of a sentimental cast, amused himself during the absence of visiters with his guitar; almost all the peasants in this country play on that instrument. The music of the Pampas is dull, melancholy, and monotonous; but its jingle in these wild deserts, in the absence of better sounds, is not unpleasant.

At this post-house we joined the high road to Chili and Peru, having travelled three days by a circuitous route to avoid the party which had entered Buenos Ayres on the 19th, and which it was said had retreated by the direct road to Chile. We passed on the morning of the 23d March through a small village of scattered mud-huts, and continued travelling all day over a dreary level waste. Towards evening we were threatened by one of the storms so awful in this country; the whole horizon began to wear a most fearful aspect, the clouds appearing ready to burst with their weight, while the lightning, so dangerous, though at the same time beautiful, lighted the whole scene, not by intermitting flashes, as in Europe, but in one continued blaze, sometimes directing its course horizontally, at others perpendi-

[page] 12

cularly, and spending itself at length in the earth. The thunder burst in most tremendous claps, and we had scarcely arrived at the post-house before the rain poured in torrents, and penetrated the frail grass roof of the tenement by a thousand fissures. We passed, as may be imagined, a very cold night, our bed being spread on a quantity of hides which were swarming with vermin, and the rain dropping continually upon us. The change produced by the rain in this country on the state of the atmosphere is remarkable. Before the storm, when there was not a breath of air, I have known the thermometer at 88°, and afterwards below 60°, with a chilly rawness in the air, which rendered it difficult to keep ourselves warm. The people of the house were the most uncivil we met with on the whole journey; the men, particularly, came lounging round the door while we were eating our wretched supper, and used the vulgar oath of the country because I closed the entrance. They even attempted to force it open, but they could not, as it was shored up by a stake on the inside.

Here the province of Buenos Ayres is bounded by a small stream called the Arroyo de Medio, and that of Santa Fé commences.

[page] 13

CHAPTER III.

The Pampas and their inhabitants—The Gauchos: their gambling propensities—Soil and climate—Ostrich hunting—Animals, &c. of the Pampas.

IN order to let the rain dry up and run off as much as possible before we recommenced our journey, we started late on the 24th. The country, nevertheless, was inundated in many places, and the roads exceedingly soft and heavy from the deepness of the soil. The small rivulets were so much swollen as to render crossing them dangerous. We had now entered on the Pampas. This is the most dreary savage country that can well be imagined, and particularly so at the time we passed over it, the Indians from the north having about three months before made an irruption, carried off all the cattle, and murdered as many of the inhabitants of the cabins as they could surprise.

The Pampas are immense plains extending as far as the eye can reach, with scarcely any diversity of surface, covered with long grass and high thistles, which are so tall as in summer to give the country the appearance of a low forest: as it was now autumn, they had died down, and the ground was in many places

[page] 14

covered with their stalks. The common grass is long and fine, not growing in a thick turf as in England, but in small tufts nearly close together: in low situations it reaches the height of four feet, and is filled with mosquitos, which annoy the traveller dreadfully, covering both him and his horse. The scenery is extremely dull, as there is not a shrub on which the eye can rest, nor a dwelling excepting the post-houses, to inform him that he is in a habitable world. The post-houses are situated at the distance generally of about four leagues from each other, and are constructed of dobé or large mud bricks dried in the sun; they are roofed with crooked boughs of trees brought from a distance, and covered with long grass mixed with mud. The hut especially appropriated to the couriers or travellers is of the same construction, having a door of hide stretched over a frame, which is far from fitting the door-case. The furniture sometimes consists of a couple of old chairs, and perhaps two frames, with an ox-hide across them for benches; but even these are luxuries not often obtained, the traveller commonly having nothing more than a mud-floor to spread his bed upon, or a mud-bench against the wall, which must serve for bedstead, table, and chairs.

The inhabitants of this part of the country are an uncouth barbarous race, and have very forbidding countenances. Their dress consists of an old poncho thrown over their rags: they are most expert horsemen, and are very skilful in the use of the lasso, so often described by former travellers, which they

[page] 15

always carry coiled up on their saddles, and employ for every purpose. Their horse furniture is a saddle-frame placed on woollen cloths, called xerigas, to prevent injury to the animal's back, and on the frame they put two or three sheep-skins to make the seat soft: the stirrups are usually small triangles of bent wood, large enough for the two first toes; but some are content with inserting their great toe in a slit in the thong which hangs from the saddle.

When passengers arrive the gaucho mounts his horse, which is generally ready saddled, as he will not stir a yard on foot, and collecting the whole herd of horses which are feeding on the wild pampa, he drives them all, mares, colts, and horses, into the corral: he then enters it on horseback with his lasso, and whirling it round his head, he throws it over the neck of any horse he chooses with amazing dexterity: the animal, which perhaps was galloping round the enclosure, knows immediately that it is secured, and stands quite still; the peons, in the interval, are waiting outside the corral with their bridles, and when a horse is caught they bring it out and saddle it. The gauchos or natives of the pampas are particularly choice in the colours of their horses, the most esteemed being roan and pyeballed; and it has a pretty effect to see immense herds of these beautiful and curiously marked animals galloping through the country. They have, however, droves of all colours, excepting black, which they do not like. These savages, for they can scarcely be otherwise described, are extremely addicted to gambling: many of the

[page] 16

postas have pulperias or grog-shops attached to them, where every thing in a small way is also sold which may be wanted by the ranchos. At these pulperias, the gauchos and other inhabitants hold their revels, and meet for the purpose of gambling, and it is a practice in consequence of their ungoverned tempers to stick their knives in the counter as a pledge that they do not intend to quarrel: however, on any series of ill-luck or other provocation, they immediately run to their favourite weapon. I had an opportunity of seeing two of my own peons fight on some trifling occasion: they do not grasp their knives as we should do, but placing the end of the heft in the palm of the hand, they stretch their fingers and thumb down towards the blade; they thus bring the point in a straight line with the eye, and fence as with foils. They rarely escape without some serious wound; in the present instance one of the men had a large gash over the ear and in the elbow, and the other had received his adversary's knife between the palm of the hand and the thumb, which was nearly severed before I could part them.

The women are much more good-humoured and civilized than the men, and amused us much by examining and admiring the dresses of the females, which they often wished to purchase, wondering much for what purpose we could journey through the country, if we did not carry merchandize for sale. I have mentioned that most travellers provide themselves with paper segars for the men, and small parcels of sugar for the women, to secure their good

[page] 17

will: I always found the latter thankful for the attention, while the former would take the segars as if they were their due.

Although the country wears a dreary and uninteresting appearance to a superficial observer, there is still sufficient matter for speculation. The soil is the most fertile that can be imagined, consisting of fine dark loam to the depth of several feet, and the climate is so favourable, that the productions of other countries might be raised here to great perfection. The pasture is capable of supporting immense herds of cattle, for which there is water in the numerous brooks, rivers, and lakes with which the country is intersected. All that is wanting is an active population to cultivate the soil, and sufficiently numerous to resist the incursions of the Indians, who at intervals enter from the north and south, and lay every thing desolate, carrying off the cattle, and murdering the inhabitants. The roads are mere tracks, where the turf has been worn off and the soil left bare, but not so much so as to form ruts; consequently the travelling is expeditious. The couriers generally go from Buenos Ayres to Mendoza, a distance of about 1000 miles, in eight or nine days; and it has been done by some Englishmen in less than two-thirds of that time.

The pampas abound in strange animals and birds, which add to, rather than diminish from, the wildness of the scenery. Herds of small deer are also seen in all directions flying from the appearance and noise of the travelling carriages; and as their flesh is

C

[page] 18

not esteemed by the natives, they lead a very happy life. Not so the solitary ostrich: the chase of this bird affords quite as much amusement to the wild gaucho as hunting the fox to our sportsmen in England; and the horses are trained to pursue it in all its shiftings and mazes. The ostrich is remarkably swift, and goes with the greatest apparent ease. I have often attempted to come up with them, but they invariably left me far behind, strutting away and looking round with a great appearance of self-importance. The natives hunt them for their feathers. The method of catching them is with two leaden balls sewn into a piece of hide, and attached one to each end of a small lasso, or plaited thong. These balls the hunters whirl round their heads in the pursuit, and throwing them at the bird when sufficiently near, the bullets twist round its legs, and bring it to the ground. This sport is so much followed in the pampas, that the men always carry their balls attached to their saddles; and the boys are seen practising on the cocks and hens round the cottages.

The whole country from Buenos Ayres to San Luis de la Punta is more or less burrowed by an animal between a rabbit and badger, called the biscacho; which renders travelling dangerous, particularly by night, their holes being so large and deep, that a horse is almost sure to fall if he steps into one of them. The biscacho never ventures far from its retreat, and is seldom seen till the evening, when it comes out to feed, and hundreds may be observed sporting round their holes, and making a noise very

[page] 19

similar to the grunting of pigs: Their flesh is much liked by the people, and they are remarkably fat, and on that account when caught at any distance from their holes are easily run down: they will, however, defend themselves from a dog a considerable time. The holes of these animals are also inhabited by vast numbers of small owls, which sit during the day gazing at the passing travellers, and making a very ludicrous appearance. The parts of the road most frequented by the biscacho are generally overrun by a species of small wild melon, bitter to the taste: whether it thrives particularly in the manure of the animal, or whether the biscacho chooses his hole near this running plant, does not seem to have been ascertained. The armadillo is also found in these wilds, and is in great esteem among the natives for its flesh, Which is eaten with great satisfaction. I noticed many varieties of birds, besides the large partridge, more like the English hen-pheasant, and the small quail, both of which are so plentiful, that they almost allow the horses to tread upon them. The ground is every where covered with locusts, a species of grasshopper, some of them as much as four inches long; they have wings, and have the appearance, as they rise from under the horse's feet, of small birds. Lizards are also very abundant.

C 2

[page] 20

CHAPTER IV.

Accident at an arroyo—Accommodations at a guard-house—National song of Buenos Ayres—Villages of La Cruz Alta, Cabezo del Tigre, and Saladillo.

IT was always my custom to send forward the guide about a mile before we came to the post-house, in order that the horses might be driven up to the corral by the time the carriages should arrive. He had just left us near an arroyo which, though swollen by the recent rains, he crossed himself without much trouble, and I followed next, but my horse had considerable difficulty in extricating his legs, which sunk deeply into the mud. The carretilla with the baggage succeeded me, and stuck fast in the middle, the horses after great exertion falling successively quite hampered with the mire. The carreton was next driven into the stream, and I was in hopes that as it was lighter it would get over it more easily; but it had not advanced so far as the carretilla when the horses floundered and fell, the peons all scrambling to shore as well as they could. We had continued our endeavours to raise the horses in vain for about half an hour, when I determined to send a peon on my horse for assistance; but luckily,

[page] 21

just as I was despatching him, four or five men arrived with horses from the posta, the master thinking it impossible that the carriages could get out of the brook without assistance. The peons now ventured carefully into the mud, and fastening lassos round the fallen horses, they were dragged on shore. They then proceeded to attach their lassos to the vehicles, extending the line quite to the land, so that the fresh horses might draw from firm ground; and thus the females were relieved from their disagreeable and somewhat perilous situation, and both carriages brought safely to the opposite side.

We arrived at dusk at the post of Arroquilo del Sauce, or "the rivulet of the willow." We found the house blown down and forsaken, and we were obliged to go a short distance further to a guardhouse of soldiers of Sante Fé, quartered there to protect the country from the Indians. Here we could not procure any refreshment, and were obliged to alight among a number of uncouth-looking military: the commander, however, was very civil, begged that we would use their room without reserve, and promised that every accommodation should be afforded us. We accordingly entered the guard-house, which was a long mud building, with a bench of mud running all round the room, and were viewed by the half-wild soldiers, dressed in old military jackets and ponchos, rather as if we were monsters than fellow-creatures. The walls were hung with their sabres, carbines, &c. I found that the accommodation we were to expect was a room in which we might put

[page] 22

down our beds on the floor, among perhaps a hundred of these fellows: I therefore began to look out for other quarters, and on exploring the place I found at one end of the guard-house a small hovel with a doorway but no door, and one little hole for a window. We received permission to occupy this splendid apartment, and the bedding was removed thither. I separated it from the common room by hanging up a blanket, our man-servant placing his bed outside across the doorway. As soon as our retiring had taken off the reserve occasioned by our presence, the party became very merry and intimate with our courier and peons, promoted by some spirit I sent them. At length they began to be musical, and gave us the following national song of Buenos Ayres, well known over the whole territory of that Republic, and indeed throughout Chili and Peru. It was sung with great spirit, and, as is usual, with a guitar accompaniment.

Oid mortales el grito sagrado,
Libertad, Libertad, Libertad!
Oid el ruido de rotas cadenas,
Ved en trono á la noble igualdad.
So levanta en la faz de la tierra
Una nueva gloriosa nacion,
Coronada su sien de laureles,
Y á sus plantas rendido un leon.

CORO.

Sean eternos los honores,
Que supimos conseguir;
Coronados de gloria vivamos,
O juremos con gloria morir!.

[page] 23

De los nuevos campeones los rostros
Marte mismo parece animar;
La grandeza se anida en sus pechos;
A su marcha todo hacen temblar.
Se commueven del Inca las tumbas,
Y en sus huesos revive el ardor,
Lo que vé renovando à sus hijos
De la patria el antiguo esplendor.

CORO.

Sean eternos, &c.*

Other verses were repeated, but the two preceding will perhaps be a sufficient specimen of the whole. The chorus was sung harmoniously in parts by the company.

As soon as our jovial friends would allow us to try to compose ourselves to sleep, we were disturbed by fresh annoyances—the rats. These unwelcome

* The following translation has been attempted merely for the satisfaction of the English reader.
Hear the shout! 'Tis freedom's token;
'Tis for liberty alone!
Hear the sound of fetters broken;
Equality ascends her throne.
See a nation, new and glorious,
Rise from earth in arms complete,
Laurels round her brow victorious,
Vanquish'd lions at her feet.
CHORUS.
May those honours grace our story;
We knew wisely how to buy:
Let us live while crown'd with glory,
Or with glory swear to die!
Mars himself with animation
Lights each noble warrior's face:

[page] 24

visitors began by undermining our mattrass, which, placed on the earth, probably prevented their free egress from their dwellings. We felt them distinctly beneath us, and presently heard them rattling and scrambling among our clothes, boots, and shoes. Next they commenced their gambols on our very bed, even running over our faces; and I was almost electrified by feeling one of them seize my great toe, which unluckily at that moment was uncovered, and which the assailant no doubt expected to be able to run away with. In the morning we found that they had made sad havoc with our dress, and some of the smaller articles, such as handkerchiefs, frills, &c. had been actually carried off by them.

We travelled on the early part of the 25th through one of the most dreary and uninteresting parts of the whole journey: nothing was to be seen but long grass, thistles, and ostriches; and we found the first post entirely deserted, with neither man nor beast to cheer the gloomy solitude of the desert. It was curious to observe the peons, immediately they found the different little buildings abandoned, stray about to possess themselves of any thing of value which had been left behind. I had the curiosity to accompany them in their search; but nothing was discovered

As they march with exultation
Earth is shaken by their pace.
Incas hear each brave defender
In their tombs, and warmth regain,
Since their sons revive the splendor
Of their ancient glorious reign.

[page] 25

beyond the calabashes or dried gourds, used as vessels, and a few pieces of broken furniture strewed about, which indicated that ours was not the first party which had ransacked the hovels. In the miserable garden we, however, found a great treat, some ripe water-melons, which were particularly grateful in our starved condition. When a post-house is deserted, the man who supplied the last horses is obliged to forward passengers to the next habitation; but he is paid double for the last stage: as soon therefore as the horses had baited for a short time we resumed our journey.

Towards evening we entered a more cheerful country, covered with herds of beautiful cattle. I was quite vexed not to continue our journey another stage, as we arrived before sunset at the post-house, and there was a clear moon to guide us; but the peons have a great dislike to travelling by night: we therefore halted at the post of Arequito, which was tolerably comfortable, and where we were plentifully supplied with eggs and milk.

We started very early next morning, and after passing over some high ground, on which is situated the village of La Cruz Alta, we came in the afternoon to the Rio Saladillo, on the banks of which is the small village of Cabezo del Tigre. The sides of this river were prettily ornamented with willow trees, which, after the total absence of shrubs for some time, gave the scenery an interesting appearance. The stream was tolerably wide and deep, of a muddy colour and salt, as the name denotes, having its

[page] 26

origin in one of the large salt lakes with which the country abounds. The banks were very steep, and the water being too deep to be crossed where we reached the river, we were obliged to skirt along it for some leagues, until we arrived at a ford; we there passed it without much difficulty, and ascending a rising ground, came to the village of Saladillo, which consists of a few huts widely spread over a kind of common: here was stationed another guard of soldiers against the incursions of the Indians.

[page] 27

CHAPTER V.

Barrancas—Incursions of the Indians—Frayle Muerto—Method of preserving grain—Tres Cruces—Esquina de Medrano—The Algaroba—Roads to Peru and Chili—Sierra de Cordova.

THE post of Barrancas having been deserted, we were forced on the 28th to pay double from thence to Zaujon. The post-house here occupies a pleasant situation, surrounded by willows, and having the remains of an orchard of peach-trees near it; it was the best we had seen since we left Buenos Ayres. The Indians did not destroy it, but contented themselves with killing the inhabitants, and carrying off every thing moveable. A friend of mine had passed this post-house with some other travellers in the December preceding, at the time the Indians were hovering about the banks of the river, and the master offered him and his companions free quarters, and horses for nothing, if they would assist him in making an attack upon the Indians, in order to drive them away: as men of business it was not likely, and perhaps hardly possible, that they should agree to this proposal, but they left him part of their ammunition.

[page] 28

The Indians soon afterwards surrounded the house and murdered every soul, though a gallant defence was made. About two months before we passed the place, the Indians had paid a full atonement for the ravages they had committed, an expedition having been equipped and sent against them by the provinces of Santa Fé and Cordova. We passed a small lake surrounded by stunted trees, on one of which was still seen the body of an Indian hanging by his wrists; it was perfect but quite dry, and appeared to have been that of a tall man. I cut off one of the arms, quite devoid of smell, and have kept it as a curiosity.

The second stage to-day was to the town of Frayle Muerto, or the "Dead Friar," which may be called the capital of the Pampas. It consists of about fifty mud-huts of the same description as those already described, built without any regularity, and perhaps with 200 inhabitants: it is too important, however, for the Indians to risk an attack upon it; and, after leaving this place, we ceased to hear complaints of their incursions.

The country was still Pampa, but we met here and there with a few stunted shrubs, and the plains in general were more or less covered with cattle, which greatly lessened the tedium and toil of travelling, not only by the relief they afforded to the eye in diminishing the dreariness of the country, but by the nourishment we obtained from their milk, if we were lucky enough to arrive at the right hour. The cows are milked early in the morning, as

[page] 29

they do not yield a sufficient quantity to make it worth while to do so twice in the day. They, however, are fine large-framed animals, and in colour they resemble our Yorkshire cows more than any others.

The harvest having been carried from the few patches of wheat and Indian corn sometimes attached to the huts, I had no opportunity of seeing the process of agriculture in this country, but the method of preserving corn in a granary on the Pampas is certainly very curious. Four strong upright beams are fixed firmly in the ground with a roof over them, and between these upright beams are hung two oxhides sewn together wet, with the form of the head and legs: into the bag thus formed, the corn is stuffed as tightly as possible, and sewn up, the hides remaining of nearly the size and figure of an elephant. This is far from being a bad plan, either for the purpose of defending the grain from the weather, or of keeping it secure from vermin.

We travelled the four leagues from Frayle Muerto to Tres Cruces in fifty minutes, as we were anxious to push forwards four leagues more to the Esquina de Medrano, where the courier said there was good accommodation. We arrived at the former place at about five o'clock, and to our great mortification found we could not have horses to proceed: we were therefore unwillingly obliged to take up our quarters at Tres Cruces, but we were compelled to pass the night in the carriage, as there was no room for us in the miserable house, though the master did us the

[page] 30

civility to offer that we should sleep in the same apartment with himself and his family. The peons in the mean time made themselves comfortable round a fire which they kindled under a tree, where they lay preparing the asado and taking their matè or Paraguay tea. The method of making and taking this beverage is this: into a small calabash, holding about half a pint, is put the matè, which consists of green leaves and small stalks: boiling water is then poured upon it, and sugar added. It is handed round from one to the other, each man taking a suck of it through a small reed; it has a bitter but not a disagreeable flavour.

We arrived at the Esquina de Medrano in very good time on the 29th. Our courier's account of this post was correct, and it was superior to any house we had seen since we left Buenos Ayres. The entrance was by a large sala or hall, with a ceiling of canes laid close together, which gave the house an appearance of neatness, which, had been wanting in all the others, the rooms of which had no ceilings, while cobwebs hung in festoons from the rough boughs of the roof, without the chance of demolition by a broom. The house is built in a very agreeable situation, the approach to it not being unlike an extensive shrubbery, the trees consisting principally of the thorny acacia, or Algaroba, with branches sweeping the ground. The inhabitants of the country set much store by the fruit of this tree, which, when ripe, is a long yellow pod, like that of the French bean: it grows in large clusters, and

[page] 31

has a remarkably sweet taste. It is used for different sorts of confectionary, and also for making a kind of sweet clammy bread, which, to our palates, was far from being pleasant. At this post the roads to Peru and Chili separate, the former going to the right through Cordova, Tucuman, and Salta, the latter through San Luis and Mendoza.

We here lost the fine even turf road of the Pampas, the country being now covered with fern and full of hillocks, like ant-hills, with more timber. The mules and carts had kept one track, which was worn into deep ruts, and it was impossible on this account to travel fast. In some places the view had the appearance of a thin forest of the Algaroba, while in others the clumps of trees were scattered rather picturesquely. The stage from the Esquina de Medrano to the Arroyo de San Josè being eight leagues, and the road rough and bad, a herd of horses was sent on with us, and when we wanted to change, they were driven up under a tree, and all the peons surrounding them, those required were taken by the lasso, and brought out to be saddled.

This afternoon we travelled through a woody district, which had been burned for many miles, the black stumps and the half-scorched trees having a very dismal effect. After performing the longest day's journey since we left Buenos Ayres, viz. seventy miles, we arrived at the Punta de Agua, where we got good accommodations with respect to provisions, but were obliged to hang up a blanket to supply the absence of a door to the room. Having had my

[page] 32

teeth almost pulled out by the asados of lean mutton, eating which more resembled tugging at strings of catgut than masticating meat, I determined to try the herbido, which is merely a sort of broth or soup made in the following manner: A lump of lean beef is put into a cast-iron pot, with long legs, full of clear water, with onions, pieces of pumpkin, and the tender heads of Indian corn, and these ingredients are boiled until they are quite tender; it is an excellent dish when rendered savoury by the addition of mustard, salt, and pepper: the only objection to it is that it requires so long a time to cook it that it can only be had at night after the journey is done; besides which beef is not always to be had, unless a bullock were killed for the purpose.

The country, on the 30th, and especially on the 31st, assumed a very wild appearance, and rugged hills, with very little verdure, rose on all sides. In the distance we saw a blue range of mountains, called the Sierra de Cordova, which being situated exactly in the line, oblige travellers to take a wide circuit to avoid them. We fell in with a large herd of quanacos, but they were at such a distance that I could not have distinguished them from deer. We rested at night, on the 31st, at the Corral de Barrancas, having only travelled forty-five miles, in consequence of the ruggedness of the roads.

On the 1st of April we still continued to pass over the same rugged hilly country, now and then crossing the half-dry channels of rivers at the foot of the Sierra. Travelling had become extremely unplea-

[page] 33

sant, as the roads were worn into such deep ruts, and the surface generally so irregular, that it was dangerous to go at more than a foot's pace. The lower grounds were covered with a small shrub like the Verbena, excepting that it had not so agreeable a smell, and it grew so completely matted together, to the height of more than four feet, that it was difficult to draw the carriages through it. We had to-day the misfortune to break the axle-tree of the cart, which would have been a most serious accident had we not carried a spare one with us, for there is not a piece of timber in the whole country large or straight enough for such a purpose; as it was, it merely delayed us for two or three hours. In consequence, however, of this circumstance, we were overtaken by night, before we expected it, in these dreadful roads, through which we were obliged to proceed with the greatest caution. To add to our distress, the thunder began to roll from a distance, and the frequent flashes of forked lightning warned us of an approaching storm.

We reached at length a large bed of a river, through which there was a considerable current of water, while the bank on the other side was so steep that the horses could not possibly drag the carriages up it: we were therefore obliged to send to the post of Barranchita for assistance. The bank was in fact almost perpendicular, and it required all the strength of the fresh horses to draw up the baggage cart. The post of Barranchita is a large range of buildings, with a good orchard, and a large room for pas-

D

[page] 34

sengers, but covered, as usual, with dust and dirt, so that it was impossible to sit or lie down with comfort.

In consequence of a heavy fall of rain in the night, We could not proceed till about eleven o'clock next morning. I found that we had been approaching the foot of the mountains, and on ascending an eminence I had a view of a pretty variety of hill and dale: I could not help fancying how beautiful a landscape it would have formed, if the active hand of man had been employed in a country to which nature has given the blessings of a fine soil and a genial climate. The brightness of the sun which shone over this silent prospect was soon afterwards obscured, and drizzling rain made the road over hills of granite and among huge blocks which had been detached and tumbled into the valleys, more toilsome. However we at last arrived at the post of Achiras, having only travelled fifteen miles. As there was every appearance of a wet afternoon, we determined not to go further that night, nor could we have chosen a better resting place.

[page] 35

CHAPTER VI

Post-house of Achiras, and its situation—Overturn of the carriage—Visit from the inhabitants at Morro—Reckonings with post-masters.

THE situation of this post-house is very picturesque. The country round it consists of immense blocks of granite thrown into confused heaps, sometimes forming in the intervals pretty green valleys, with shrubs overshadowing the gigantic fragments. The house, which is like all the rest, is in a bottom, with an orchard surrounded by naked rocks. The orchard was full of the finest fig-trees, their luxuriant dark foliage, mixed with the verdure of apple and pear trees, bending under loads of fruit, while vines of the richest grapes hung in festoons to fill up the intervals. The enclosures for the cattle were made by clearing the ground of the large stones, and piling them up in a circle to form the fence. About five o'clock the weather cleared up, and we took a ramble among these rude blocks, which were of all shapes, and not a few had been pitched on a point from which the remainder arose, widening towards the top: others were perforated, or had lodged against each other so as to have the appearance of Gothic gateways. The people had here a method of drying peaches for winter consumption, which I found after.

D 2

[page] 36

wards practised in Chili as an article of trade: they peeled the whole flesh of the peach, and spread it on the tops of the rocks to dry in the sun: it was afterwards rolled up into sticks of about twelve inches in length, and used as a preserve. We feasted this afternoon on fruit, particularly on apples, which were the first we had tasted since we quitted our native country.

We left Achiras next morning, and after travelling through a stony country we reached a wide plain. Seeing a caravan of mules halting at a distance, I went off with the guide to visit it. It was from Mendoza, with about fifty loads of wine, conveyed in small casks, one on each side of a muler. The encampment was formed with the greatest regularity, the loads being placed in a circle, each load separate, with the straw-saddle, in shape like the roof of a house, resting upon the barrels. The muleteers were enjoying themselves in the middle of the circle, while their beasts were wandering at liberty over the wild pasture. We obtained from these people some red Mendoza wine, which is very tolerable, and has a great sale in all the provincial towns, as well as in Buenos Ayres. Having to make up for this delay, and to overtake the coaches which had gone on, we started at full speed, and my apprehensions were strongly excited when I saw from the top of a rising ground one of the carriages at a considerable distance overturned. On reaching the spot, however, I found the females very merry on the occasion, having luckily suffered no injury. I was exceedingly glad to find

[page] 37

also that the carriage had not been damaged, as it would have been irreparable in this country. The post-house of Portezuelo stands in a very curious situation: it is in a small cleft in the side of a high, stony mountain, and its orchard of fig and peach trees forms a striking and agreeable contrast to the bare surface of the rock.

Having passed round the extreme point of the chain of hills we had been skirting for some days, we arrived late in the evening at the post of Morro. We were here troubled with visitors, consisting of the most respectable people of the village: they meant it perhaps as an act of civility, but they were determined to sit and see in what manner we conducted ourselves. Hints for their departure were of no avail, and I was obliged to order in the supper and to have the beds made without regarding them. They did not teaze us with questions, but sat on one of the mud benches, and never uttered a syllable excepting now and then in a whisper to each other. They were dressed in English manufactures principally, having printed calico gowns, with shawls over their bare shoulders; they had no stockings, but wore a kind of slipshod shoe.

As the weather was foggy on the morning of the 4th, the men were not able to find the horses, which prevented us from starting, as I intended, very early, in order to reach San Luis, twenty-four leagues distant, in the course of the day. We had therefore sufficient leisure to examine the village, consisting of some twenty scattered cabins, built on the end of

[page] 38

the Sierra, which in this place jutted out into the plain like a promontory. It had a mud chapel, very neatly carpeted on the inside with rugs of the substance of Turkey carpets, but the colours not nearly so bright. As they are worked with the hand the cost is heavy, but they must be very durable.

I had often been annoyed by the length of time occupied by the masters of the post-houses in attempting to reckon how many rials the charge for horses amounted to: they were never satisfied if I reckoned it, and discontented if I did not. I was at last obliged to adopt the method of waiting quietly till they could puzzle it out, and then pay them if they were correct. In the present instance the post-master, a decent looking young man, could neither reckon the sum himself, nor would he trust me to do it; so he called in the priest of the parish, who soon solved the difficulty, though it was a long time before the master was convinced that it could be the same as I had made it. This clergyman was the first I had seen since I left Buenos Ayres.

Our road lay to-day through a thickly wooded country, with undulations of hill and dale. The wood consisted of the algaroba, of a tree with a prickly leaf like holly, and of a shrub resembling rue, but taller, and with a fine smooth light-green bark. Almost all the trees were hung with the air plant, the leaf of which is not unlike the carnation. As it was late in the autumn I had not an opportunity of seeing the flower. About four o'clock we arrived at the post-house of Rio Quinto, which is situated in a very

[page] 39

pretty valley which may be traced a long way, and through the middle of which flows the river, now merely a shallow brook running in an immense bed with perpendicular banks. When the snow melts in the Cordillera this is no doubt a formidable torrent. As its name denotes, it is the fifth river of any consequence from Buenos Ayres. As we reached the post-house early, we amused ourselves by rambling about the wood, collecting a few flowers and air plants, and watching the goats wandering home to be milked. This afternoon a courier arrived from Buenos Ayres, bringing us some accounts from our friends there.

[page] 40

CHAPTER VII.

City of San Luis de la Punta—Massacre by Dupuis—Wood, and its price—Battle of Moquegua—First sight of the Cordillera of the Andes—Approach to Mendoza.

ON leaving Rio Quinto next morning we had to ascend a high stony hill, which occupied us a considerable time, and we descended again on the other side. The road for some distance was similar to that we passed yesterday; but on approaching San Luis it was more open, resembling the Pampas,—a long level plain, with tall dry pasture, but green underneath. Towards the afternoon we advanced into a high mountainous country, covered with low shrubs and prickly pears, called the Sierra de San Luis. About two leagues before we entered the city we passed through a remarkable cleft between two mountains, as if designed by nature for a road. It had a pretty effect, as the entrance was shaded with shrubs, and in a small valley within it there was a dwelling of some importance, with an ostentatious colonnade in front of wooden pillars. On turning round the base of a hill we discovered the town, or rather the situation of it, for the houses being low, they were almost entirely hidden by

[page] 41

luxuriant orchards of fig-trees. Our courier being very anxious that we should make a good appearance in the capital of the province, put the cavalcade into order, and gave his instructions to the peons.

We passed through several streets of miserable mud houses, laid out however in quadras, as if that it might claim the privilege of being called a city, and drove full gallop to the post-house (which was perhaps the most wretched building in the place) amidst the gaze of all the inhabitants, who turned out to behold the spectacle. The posta was very dirty, with no furniture but mud benches, and those half scratched down by the fowls, which ranged at pleasure over the room, and were no doubt disturbed from their regular abode by our intrusion. The walls had been formerly white-washed, but every person who had passed through, perhaps for the last century, had engraved his name and the date in legible characters upon them. Many were English, but few of these older than 1821.

San Luis de la Punta is situated in a fertile valley at the foot of a range of hills: it is the capital of an insignificant province of the same name, and belonged to the old viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres, and afterwards to the united provinces of the Rio de la Plata: on the breaking up of that federal union it remained independent. It is celebrated for a massacre committed by a man of the name of Dupuis on all the old Spaniards who resided there at the commencement of the revolution: more than eighty were seized and shot. The town contains, I should imagine,

[page] 42

from 1200 to 1500 inhabitants. The immediate vicinity is cultivated by irrigation, and produces Indian corn, wheat, barley, vegetables, and fruit, among which latter perhaps the fig is most conspicuous. The inhabitants dry it on cane benches in the sun, and it forms a great portion of their winter food. I had here an opportunity of seeing a machine at work making coarse flannel; it belonged to the daughter of our post-master, who worked it herself without any assistance, combing the cloth afterwards with a species of thistle, which was a good substitute for that used in our British manufactories. As we were in want of flannel for crossing the Cordillera we bought the whole stock.

As the cart required a new axle we could not proceed this afternoon. All the timber for building houses and other purposes is conveyed from Chili across the Andes; it is therefore extremely dear, a piece large enough to make the axle of the cart costing seven dollars. It is brought in beams of about twelve feet in length, one fastened on each side of a mule, two of the ends meeting over the withers, while the other two are dragged by the animal along the ground, so that a great part of the timber is worn away in the journey, and it arrives at its destination considerably shortened. Two of our peons got drunk next morning, and wounded each other so severely with their knives, that I was prevented from setting off till late in the afternoon.

We started at such an hour that it was dark soon after we left San Luis. I could perceive, however,

[page] 43

that almost immediately after quitting the houses, we entered a thickly wooded country, and the deep ruts of the track were too easily felt. The stage being seven leagues we carried a drove of horses with us, and it astonished me to see how the gaucho rode through the thick and prickly underwood, and kept the animals together; the mare's bell, in such a case, is very convenient, and the remainder of the herd generally follows the sound. We arrived so late at the Laguna de Chorillos, the post-house, that we were very near going without our supper: however, luckily, after a considerable search, they found us a lamb, which, in about half an hour, was killed, skinned, dressed, and eaten. The post-room at this stage was very small and dirty, and some Englishmen had found disagreeable company in it; a warning to this effect was given in very legible characters on the wall, but we escaped tolerably well.

We met an English traveller from Chili who comforted us with the assurance that he did not think we should be able to pass the Cordillera this season, as there had been already a considerable fall of snow, with every appearance that the winter would set in early. I was therefore now naturally anxious to get forward, my business being of such a nature that it would be highly inconvenient to be detained during the winter in Mendoza. By the same opportunity I heard of the battle of Moquegua in which Alverado was defeated. This was alarming news, as it was expected that the royalists would be in possession of Lima, the place of our ultimate destination.

[page] 44

Being determined to travel with all expedition, I was up before light on the 6th, and waked the peons, who sleep always in the open air on their saddles, wrapped up in their ponchos: the first stage was seventeen leagues, with a considerable river to be crossed. The road was a deep dusty track through a low woody country, and at intervals we could see a large sheet of water at a distance bounded by mountains. This was the Lake of Chorillos, from which the post derives its name. The travelling was extremely disagreeable, from the heat of the sun, and the dust which the carriages raised in clouds. We came about mid-day to the river Desaguadero, as broad as the Thames at Windsor; it was nearly deep enough to swim a horse, but the carretilla, having very tall wheels, was just high enough to go through without wetting the baggage. The carreton was emptied of every thing, and drawn across the water, which filled the bottom of it. On the opposite bank was a hovel, with a pulperia, the owners having opened the house as an accommodation to travellers, and built a floating raft to carry them across the river, when the water was too deep for wading. It was composed of six barrels, on which was laid a frame covered with poles, fixed firmly and closely together, and it slid on a rope made fast on each side of the river, while it was hauled across by another rope to the raft.

We continued travelling through the same woody country and dusty road all day. The horses and cattle during the summer range wild amidst the

[page] 45

bushes, and derive their subsistence from the leaves: considering the scantiness of their food they seemed in good condition. In the winter when the leaves fall they are driven some leagues off for pasture. After a journey of seventy-five miles, we put up at night at the wretched post-house of Corral de Cuero. We could not congratulate ourselves next morning on having escaped from the vermin, and we were obliged to carry the mattresses and bedding into the open air, and to sweep off the disgusting insects with a broom, the fowls flocking round us, and picking them up greedily. They are very different from those which trouble some houses in England; their shape is taper, and they grow to the monstrous length of an inch.

We were gratified on the 7th April by our first sight of the Cordillera of the Andes. Nobody can imagine the effect the view of this stupendous barrier of mountains produces on the traveller. I discovered it quite by accident, for while the peons went for horses, our time was spent in rambling in the neighbourhood: at last my eye was caught by what appeared, on a transient glance, to be stationary white pillars of clouds. However, having been practised a little at sea in looking out for land, I thought that there was a resemblance to it, and the intervening mists clearing away, a spectacle was presented which I shall never forget. The enormous mountains were entirely covered with snow, and rose to such a height that we were obliged to strain our necks back to look up at them: they seemed to be-

[page] 46

long to a different world, their heads only being seen, for the sky was perfectly bright above, while the horizon was somewhat obscured. We were at this time certainly not less than 170 miles from the cumbre or summit of the Cordillera, and I have heard travellers assert that it may even be seen from San Luis in very clear weather.

As we proceeded on our journey this day, we began to observe some appearance of comfort and cultivation,—a house here and there neatly planted with poplars, and a few irrigated enclosures. The poplars reminded us that we were approaching Mendoza, but it would hardly have been surprising if we had not observed them, for, as we travelled, our eyes rested almost constantly on the grandeur of the Cordillera above us.

We arrived in the evening at the post-house of Dormida, situated on a high sandy bank, overlooking the river of Tunuyan. The man and his wife of this house were civil and obliging people: their accommodation to be sure was not the best, but they had built a small new post-room of boughs of trees twisted together, and covered outside with a coating of mud.

The country we passed through on the succeeding day was partially cultivated, and all the houses were distinguished by rows of poplars, which, although they had rather a formal effect, were a great relief to the eye in a country where there is nothing else that can be dignified with the name of a tree. The post-house at which we stopped at night (which takes its

[page] 47

name from the number of poplars planted round it) is situated in a cultivated country, with enclosures of mud about four feet high. These walls are made piecemeal in a frame of wood, into which earth and water are thrown and rammed well together; the mould is then shifted forward, and thus the work continues. Agriculture is carried on by irrigation only, without which artificial aid nature would produce nothing.

The house of Retamo is a very good one, consisting of a large sala, and a room at each end of it: behind is a covered corridor with pillars, under which the master, who was a considerable farmer, preserved his wheat in bags of hides sewed together. Along the beams of the rooms, and under the corridor, were numbers of strings hung with beautiful bunches of muscatel grapes, on which it may be imagined we feasted plentifully. The front of the house, which had also its portico and row of wooden pillars surmounted by a respectable cornice the whole length, looked upon the road, but was shaded by two rows of luxuriant poplars, each row having a separate stream of water constantly running at the roots.

On the following morning, after proceeding about a league, we again lost sight of cultivation, excepting where now and then a clump of poplars denoted a dwelling: it is rather to the want, of inhabitants than of water that the barrenness of the country here is to be ascribed, as the river of Mendoza, a very considerable stream, runs through it.

[page] 48

The soil afterwards changed from a deep mould to a stony surface, and so it continued all the way to Mendoza. The approach to this city is very beautiful: in the foreground were the green fields of lucern and clover, mixed with the vineyards bending under their purple burden, and watered by innumerable streams in all directions from the mountains: further on over this rich country was seen the city of Mendoza, whose towers and minarets rose above the bright green of the surrounding poplars. These again were finely contrasted with the majestic Cordillera ascending proudly in the back ground in noble masses of light and shade, while the snow-capped summits of the Andes towered over all.

Mendoza seems to occupy this beautiful situation as a delightful place of refreshment for the traveller who has passed 1000 miles of perhaps the most uninteresting country that can be found in the world; so few objects of curiosity presenting themselves to break the tediousness of the perpetual flats and uninhabited wilds. The eye is perfectly wearied at last with looking out for something new, and a person might doze over 100 miles of the road, and when he awoke fancy himself in exactly the same spot as when he went to sleep. There is, however, one comfort—that it is probably the best road in the world for expeditious travelling on horseback. It must be owing to the celerity of the journey, and the monotonous appearance of the country that many of the travellers who have gone over this part of South America retain so faint a recollection of what they

[page] 49

have seen: in fact one observation is applicable to the whole way, viz. that every thing you meet with is wild,—the country, the cattle, and the inhabitants. Mendoza, therefore, is hailed as a beautiful object, and the remembrance of it dwells upon the mind the more agreeably and forcibly from the contrast it forms to the dreariness and sameness of the Pampas.

E

[page] 50

CHAPTER VIII.

The city of Mendoza—Lancastrian school—General San Martin and his retirement—The vineyards of Mendoza—Preparations for renewing the journey.

HAVING an introduction to an English medical gentleman settled at Mendoza, we were not allowed to pass our time at the inn, which is a pretty good one, but were hospitably entertained in his house, while we refreshed ourselves for some days after the fatigues of our late journey, and prepared for the sublime and arduous passage of the Cordillera.

Mendoza is immediately at the foot of the Andes, in a well-cultivated plain, fertilized by numberless streams. It is built on the plan of all the great towns in Spanish South America, with a plaza or square, from which the streets run in parallel directions, being crossed by others at right angles every 150 yards, which forms what the Spaniards term a quadra. By this method of laying out a city a great deal of ground is occupied, the back premises of one house joining those of another, so that each house occupies seventy-five yards in depth. Most of them, therefore, have good gardens, with plenty of rich muscatel grapes, which grow here in

[page] 51

the greatest perfection. It is calculated that the city contains something under 10,000 inhabitants, and all the houses are built of mud white-washed. Under the liberal auspices of General San Martin, and under the scientific care of Dr. Gillies, it is a pattern of improvement to the other towns of South America. A Lancastrian school had been instituted when I was there, and a public library established, in addition to which a newspaper was edited by some young men of the place, which was the channel for conveying the principles of freedom to the whole continent. The profits were devoted to the use of the school, to which also a rustic play-house was attached, where the same young men sometimes performed. Considerable opposition had been made to these institutions by bigoted persons, particularly by the clergy, but the patronage of General San Martin was sufficient to silence the clamour of these narrow-minded enemies of improvement.

Having letters to this celebrated man, I had an opportunity of seeing a good deal of him. I certainly never beheld more animated features, particularly when conversing on the events of past times; and though he praised the retirement of Mendoza, I fancied I saw a restlessness of spirit in his eye which only waited a proper opportunity for being again called forth with its wonted energy. He was leading a very tranquil life, residing chiefly at an estate eight leagues from the city, which he was rapidly improving. He seemed as much attached to Mendoza as the inhabitants were to him; and no

E 2

[page] 52

doubt as this place was the point ftom whence he commenced his brilliant career, it was the more endeared to him. He often joined our party without ceremony in the evening, and amused us much by a number of interesting anecdotes, which he has a happy method of relating, set off by his strongly expressive countenance.

A very pretty alameda, or public walk, is attached to Mendoza; it consists of four rows of poplars planted in straight lines, parallel with the Cordillera, of which it has a most magnificent view. It is about half a mile long, and is much frequented by the inhabitants in the cool of the evening, who partake of ices, fruit, &c. sold upon the spot.

The whole country round Mendoza is irrigated; and during my stay I did not fail to go over the vineyards of both black and white grapes. They are laid out much in the same manner as our English hop-gardens, while streams of water are conducted by small channels down every row. The stem of the vine is suffered to rise to the height of almost four feet, and the head on which the bunches grow is the last year's wood, which is kept pruned as we cut the shoots of currant trees. The soil is very favourable to the vine, which flourishes most luxuriantly. Of the produce the people make red and white wine, and brandy: the white wine is very tolerable, and no doubt with care and skill in the manufacture would be excellent. A few pipes of it were sent some years since to the United States, and obtained the same price as Madeira; and an intelligent

[page] 53

North American gentleman was at Mendoza while I was there, who had brought pipes in staves from the United States, intending to make a speculation in wine. However, the inland situation of Mendoza is, and must always be prejudicial to it in this respect, as the land-carriage of a thousand miles will prevent competition with other countries which have not to combat the same disadvantage.

The women of Mendoza are sprightly and good-looking, but are much disfigured by the goitre, or swelling in the neck, occasioned, it is imagined, by drinking the snow water which descends from the Cordillera: scarcely a female is seen entirely free from it. In other respects Mendoza may be reckoned one of the most healthy places in the world, as the air is remarkably pure, and from its contiguity to the Cordillera not so much oppressed with heat as it would otherwise be. It is found particularly beneficial to asthmatic and consumptive subjects, who travel thither to restore their health.

Having remained three or four days to rest our party, and to allow time for the first fall of snow in the Cordillera to melt, I began to be impatient to proceed. We had, however, many preparations to make for the journey. The first step was to hire mules: this is done by applying to the muleteers who travel the road between Mendoza and Chili. Having agreed for thirteen mules at six dollars each, the next step was to buy saddles for the females, which are nothing more than small pillions with straps to support the back: they sit with their legs hang-

[page] 54

ing down, and resting their feet on a small board attached to the saddle. We had provided ourselves, as I have already mentioned, with complete suits of flannel, to be worn under our usual dresses, so that we were not much afraid of the cold. As no provisions can be procured on the road, it was also necessary to carry every thing eatable with us, as well as cooking utensils. The peons live during the journey entirely on chaqui, which is beef cured in the following manner, and the curing of which forms a trade of itself. The beast being killed, the flesh is cut off the bones in large flakes; it is then carried to a shed, where it is stacked up with layers of salt, and well trodden, to get out the blood and juices: after a day or two it is unstacked, and spread in the sun till it is dry, and becomes quite black: In this state it is packed up in bundles for exportation, being much consumed in the interior by the miners, and at sea by the sailors. When used it is pounded small with chopped onions or ahi (Cayenne pepper), and put into hot water, making a kind of thick soup.

[page] 55

CHAPTER IX.

Departure from Mendoza for the Cordillera—Commencement of the Sierra—Villa Vicencio.

On the 14th of April, having finished all our arrangements, the mules were led into the patio, or court-yard, of our kind host; and on our baggage being brought out it was divided into lots according to the size of the parcels and the strength of the mule. The load is fastened on a saddle of straw by lassos, so that the weight of one side keeps the other in its proper place. Having sent the baggage forward, we started in the evening to sleep at a kind of small chacra, or rustic habitation, two leagues from the city, that we might not be hindered in proceeding early on the following morning. Our kind friend Dr. Gillies accompanied us to this miserable hovel, and after having taken tea left us once more to the wide, and I may truly say wild world.

We set off again early on the morning of the 15th, having a distance of fourteen leagues to perform, and the mules going merely a foot's pace. The road from Mendoza, although that city, as I have said, is situated at the very base of the mountains, does not immediately begin to ascend, but skirts along the edge of

[page] 56

the Sierra for about twelve leagues, and then enters the mountainous country. This space is called the travesia. After leaving the city about two leagues, the country is mere barren sand, unmoistened by a drop of water; which makes the road extremely fatiguing to man and beast, particularly as the level surface reflects the sun's rays so powerfully as to render the heat almost intolerable. During the whole way there is not a single tree under which the scorched traveller can take shelter. On approaching the mountains the face of the country changes from a dry dusty soil to rugged stony ground, bearing evident marks of having been torn by torrents in every direction when the snow melts in the Cordillera. The surface had been washed into a number of dry channels, full of confused heaps of stones, and bushes torn up by the roots, carried along by the force of the current, and driven together. Our road lay for some miles along these dry beds, and it was obvious that the water, in the season, must descend with immense power, since it left such deep traces behind it.

About four o'clock in the afternoon we entered the Sierra, or mountainous country attached to the Andes, by a deep valley or gap, and wound up a sort of rift between two high ridges, covered at their base with low shrubs and prickly pears: these continued in a certain degree up to the summits, excepting where the ridge was too precipitous, or where the continual rolling of the loose substances from above prevented any vegetable from taking root.

After entering this rugged ascent, we very quickly

[page] 57

fell in with a small rill of water, and it was curious to watch the eagerness of the men and beasts to moisten their parched lips. It flowed in so small a quantity that it could not be collected into a vessel; the peons therefore lay down flat on their faces, lapping the water, and mixed among their mules which were sucking it up at the same time.

We continued winding round the foot of these two ridges, which sometimes parted from each other, for a considerable distance. The interval was constantly filled up by low shrubs, and it often closed together so as to leave merely a narrow passage for the animals: the valley, too, sometimes appeared blocked up by a mountain ending it abruptly, but on proceeding we always found the path turn in some unexpected direction to another chain of eminences.

A hovel called Villa vicencio is situated about two leagues from the entrance of this narrow valley; it is a most deplorable apology for a house, consisting of a kitchen and a small sleeping-room, connected together by a passage only half covered in from the weather. The whole is rudely built of mud and stones. We were lucky enough, contrary to our expectation, to find room to put our beds in this small hut; for as we had not yet slept in the open air, we thought the most wretched shelter preferable to it. This apartment served the ordinary inhabitants for cellar, store-room, and bed-chamber, and a curious catalogue might be made of the clothes, wine casks, lumps of meat, onions, &c. which were hung up promiscuously in it. Here the wife of a gentleman with whom I

[page] 58

afterwards became acquainted had been brought to bed. She was advised not to leave Mendoza, but she hoped that she should have time enough to reach Chili: as soon, however, as she arrived at this place she was taken ill, and was confined without any medical assistance, and subsequently almost starved. She lay here three weeks, during part of which she was in a violent fever. She nevertheless recovered, so as to be able to bear a journey back to Mendoza on a litter carried on men's shoulders,—a distance of forty-five miles, through the toilsome country I have described. The party succeeded in reaching the city safely in twenty-four hours, the litter-bearers being completely exhausted, and the husband's shoulders and feet literally raw with assisting to sustain the burthen.

At this place we arrived at about half-past five o'clock, the females so wearied as to be scarcely able to walk, besides being stiff with falls, of which they had met with several during the day's journey. My little boy, however, bore it remarkably well, and did not even wish to quit the peon who was hired to carry him on a mule. The poor animals, after being unloaded, were left at perfect liberty to range where they pleased in search of any scanty miserable pasture they could pick up on the sides of the mountains; and it was amusing to follow them with the eye as they rambled over cliffs and precipices to find little spots of dried herbage; with which perhaps they had been previously acquainted.

As passengers carry all their provisions with them,

[page] 59

they have nothing to do on stopping for the night but to commence cooking immediately: to-night, however, we were so tired that we could not eat. Our courier brought us a hot dish of chaqui, which we could not relish; but what we found most reviving was a kettle full of negus, made of Mendoza white wine, which we took hot on getting into bed.

Next morning, on leaving Villa Vicencio, we began to ascend very rapidly, still winding through the same narrow valley. The mountains which formed it became steeper as we advanced, and much more precipitous, sometimes overhanging the path, almost as if a passage had been cut through them. We mounted a very curious cascade, formed by water pouring over large blocks of stone like steps; and I could not help admiring the steadiness and sagacity of the mules in picking out the most secure places for their footing: they stopped frequently to look how they could best avoid a chasm or reach a rock on the other side; and standing firmly on their hind legs, they thrust forward their fore-feet to try if they could easily touch the point they had to gain. After winding in this manner for a few hours, the valley was closed by a mountain, and the road struck to the right up the face of the range. The ascent was accomplished by a zigzag pathway, worn by the feet of the mules in the shape of a staircase. The effect of ascending and descending by these ladders is very singular: the animals' heads are all turned different ways as they are passing various angles of the road, though at the same time they are all pro-

[page] 60

ceeding to the same destination. While climbing up the bare face of the mountain you feel the ascent to be so gradual, and the animal under you so sure, that danger is never thought of, unless indeed you look behind down the path by which you have risen. The cries of the muleteer to the animals, either by way of encouragement or reproof, are meanwhile incessant, and they are re-echoed by the barren hills in all directions. Altogether it forms a scene inconceivably wild.

The general colour of the mountains in this stage of the journey is red, and on viewing them more nearly where they are precipitous and bare of earth, they appear to be composed of a species of red granite. Having gained the summit of this ridge, we obtained a most extensive view of the flat country we had left. It was by no means inviting, for we could perceive nothing more than what looked like a dull barren heath, stretched like a sea beneath us as far as the eye could reach. The wind on the tops of the mountains was extremely cutting, and the soil dry and stony, so that there was little or no appearance of vegetation.

We had gained at this period the summit of the first stage of mountains, called by the inhabitants Las Sierras, in opposition to the Cordillera, or highest ridge of the Andes, which is generally covered with snow.

[page] 61

CHAPTER X.

The plain and mine of Uspallata—Arrival at the first Pass—Description of the Passes.

OUR road now lay over very high ground, ascending and descending for a considerable distance, until we were enclosed again between two ridges of black mountains bare of vegetation. The valley was choked in many places by immense blocks of rock precipitated into the valley below. The hills afterwards became less considerable and more detached, and we found ourselves again in an open country, consisting chiefly of a hard sand, diversified here and there by a few stunted scattered shrubs. Advancing still farther over some red rocks, we reached a wide valley called the plain of Uspallata, placed, as it were, as a boundary between the range of hills we had paased, and the Cordillera which rose to the clouds in our front. This valley has been inhabited, and the remains of a considerable village are still to be seen, as well as the mud-walls which formed the enclosures. It is probable that the inhabitants were the miners who worked the old silver mines of Uspallata: neither my courier who had travelled the road several times, nor the muleteer

[page] 62

who had been passing over it all his life, could give me any information on the subject. The soil is good, and a river runs through the valley, which would render cultivation very easy: it is at present covered with bushes of the acacia, mixed with other shrubs. It is altogether a very picturesque situation, three sides of the valley being walled in by the highest mountains that can be conceived, their summits covered with everlasting snow, and affording a view perhaps unequalled in point of wild grandeur by any in the world.

In the midst of this valley is a miserable hut where travellers are accustomed to rest for the night. We spread our beds in a shed, which afforded little protection from the open air; but by hanging up all the blankets we could spare, we contrived pretty well to keep out the night wind. We found our appetites very good, and killed a sheep belonging to a flock which the valley supports, on which, with some eggs, we supped, in order to save our other provisions. We saw only one inhabitant, a most uncouth looking gentleman, but whether there were any other members of his family I did not ascertain. His residence was a clay building in the shape of a small brick-kiln, round and conical, having an open space at the top for a chimney, and a small door at the side. Whether this was built originally for a dwelling, or only, as I imagined, for some kind of smelting-house attached to the mines, may be doubtful.

Near the wretched hovel where we passed the night,

[page] 63

the government of Mendoza keeps a guard-house with a few soldiers, where passports and goods are examined, for here its territory ends.

The road before us, on commencing our journey on the 17th, appeared one precipitous mass, to ascend which would be impossible; and my eye ranged over every part in vain, to find a gap by which we were to overcome this tremendous barrier; but I could see nothing but a wall of mountains, their summits covered with snow.

Having skirted along the valley about two leagues, we descended into the dry bed of what must be at particular seasons a mighty river, judging from the steepness of the banks and the width of the course: however, at the time we passed, there were no more than two or three shallow torrents running in the immense channel, which was composed of large round stones of different lively colours, and white spar. The banks were of earth mixed with these large stones, and very steep. After travelling most inconveniently in this course, which reflected the sun's rays very powerfully and dazzled the sight, we perceived a huge chasm in the barrier of mountains, through which chasm this torrent seemed to have forced its way. Thither also we followed it, between lofty perpendicular rocks of red granite. This channel varies in width as the mountains approach or recede from each other, sometimes being as much as a mile broad, at others confined to a space of not more than a hundred yards. The fury with which the torrent rushes in those confined limits when the snow melts

[page] 64

must be tremendous, as is sufficiently evidenoed by the appearance of the sides of the mountains: they are washed perpendicular to the height of more than a hundred feet. Where the valley was sufficiently broad, the road ran along the top of the bank amidst the fragments of rock which had fallen from the mountains, and which literally covered the ground; but a track had been made for the mules by clearing the stones away to the width of about four or five feet. This operation must have required considerable labour, as many of the stones are of very large dimensions.

Towards the afternoon we encountered one of the narrow passes so much exaggerated by those who have passed them, and so much dreaded by those who have not: indeed we were told in Buenos Ayres that it was almost impossible for females to go over them; but we were not discouraged, as we knew that two English ladies had crossed the Andes with children. The road all through the valley had been winding up and down the right hand side of the stupendous ridge which encloses the torrent: at one time we were travelling among the round rolling stones in the dry bed of the torrent; at another we found ourselves half way up the side of the mountains. It is in these narrow parts that the passes have been cut, and as we went through them slowly I made particular observation of them. I shall here endeavour to give as accurate an idea of them as possible. I have said before that the banks of the river were composed of loose earth mixed with large

[page] 65

stones: in some parts the whole face of the ridge was composed of these materials within a short distance of the summit, which invariably consists of hard granite. In the narrow part of the valley, where, from the torrent being confined, the loose side of the mountain has been washed perpendicular, it has been found necessary to lead the mules up the precipitous side of the mountain. These tracks continue ascending immediately over the torrent, by a path about three feet wide: the earth and stones falling from above keep the side completely smooth down to the water's edge without any obstruction, and in many places the loose materials continually descending wear the precipice into a semicircular shape. In other situations they have carried away part of the path; and in the first pass, I am speaking within compass when I say, that the path for a few yards was no more than from fifteen to eighteen inches wide: the height above the torrent was perhaps a hundred yards, and the track composed of loose stones, so that the footing was much less secure. The side of the mountain above was of the same dangerous materials. The situation of the traveller in this pass, if not dangerous, is certainly extremely awful: below is a lofty precipice shelving down to the torrent, and above is the mountain, in many places overhanging and consisting of such loose substances, that the traveller naturally fixes his eye on them, fearful every moment lest they should give way and overwhelm him. Small wooden crosses stuck in the side of the mountain here and there tell the fate of

F

[page] 66

some poor wretch who has been thus destroyed. The mule, in these narrow tracks, accustomed to carry a bulky burthen, and knowing that if the side of the load next the mountain should strike the stones, it would be inevitably precipitated to the bottom, keeps the very edge of the path, and there is never two inches to spare between its foot and the brink, so that half the animal's body, and the outside leg of its rider, overhangs the precipice. The ground also often partially fails under the tread of the animal, but it examines the narrow path with patience and caution, and places one foot deliberately in a straight line before the other. I certainly felt inclined sometimes to pull the rein to guide it from the precipice, as there were a few inches to spare between my body and the side of the mountain; but that would have been extremely dangerous, and I invariably found it best to give the mule its head, and allow it to take its own time and course.

[page] 67

CHAPTER XI.

Situation at night, and description of a bedchamber in the Audes —The second Pass—The third Pass and its dangers—The Punta de las Vaccas—Casuchas erected by O'Higgins.

THE situation in which we stopped at night was grand and awful—in the dry bed of a torrent, which, though diminished, roared at a distance, while the huge mountains, which here approached very close to each other, lifted their sublime heads into the skies. The silent moon, meanwhile, shed its clear and humble lustre over the deep glen in which we were enclosed, and spread enormous masses of light and shade over the fantastic rocks. We took up our position on one side of a large square red fragment, one of the numberless masses which had fallen from above: placing the beds with their heads against the rock, we formed a sloping roof from it by a large blanket supported on poles, and we thus erected a tolerable screen against the penetrating cold air. We carried a large tent with us, but the ground was hard and stony, and to pitch it required so much time that it was perfectly useless; the poles indeed we employed in the manner described.

F 2

[page] 68

As soon as we were encamped we separated to our different occupations, one carrying the kettle to the torrent for water, and the remainder straying over the ravine in search of fuel, which is extremely scarce. We contrived at last to collect a sufficient quantity with the help of a few miserable shrubs which I cut down with a hatchet carried for the purpose: one of these bushes burned very tolerably, being of a resinous description. The method practised by the muleteers in making a fire is first to collect a quantity of dried mules' dung, always to be found in the path; they then with a flint and steel light a piece of fungus, which they use for their segars, and crumbling the dung over it, it quickly begins to ignite. Having thus obtained a fire, we arranged boxes for seats, whilst some slices of boiled beef were frying for supper, and the kettle was heating for the negus, and to make arrow-root for my little boy. By this means we spent the evening pretty merrily, our eyes every now and then directed to the stupendous sight of the mountains reclining calmly in the light of the moon, which showed the deep seams in their sides wrought by the melting of the snows.

We found our bedchamber more comfortable than could have been expected, as we were well covered up with blankets and slept in flannel dresses.

We arrived early next morning at the second pass, which, from its appearance, I should imagine had been injured by the earthquake in November, which desolated Chili, and was strongly felt through the

[page] 69

Andes as far as Mendoza. This pass was certainly tremendous, although I cannot say that it was perilous: a considerable fall of loose stones had evidently lately occurred, and the mule track was broken away in three places, so that the path there was not actually more than nine inches broad. What made it worse was that some part of the mountain which was rocky had remained firm, while the ground round it had given way, so as to leave the rocky parts jutting over the precipice: we had, therefore, to turn round short corners or angles, at the same time that we had to contend with the extreme narrowness of the road, and the mule was obliged to proceed with the greatest caution, having to shift its feet round the points. These passes could not well be gone over by females, unless they sat sideways on the mule, looking towards the mountain: if their legs were on the other side, their whole persons would absolutely overhang the precipice, and any giddiness on their part, or unsteadiness of the saddle, would inevitably dash them down the abyss below: by the method adopted the danger is in a great measure hidden from them, and if the saddle were to slip, they would merely be thrown against the face of the mountain.

Travelling through the same stony valley we shortly arrived at the third pass, which we were told was so bad that we could not go over it on the mules. We accordingly all dismounted, and went the distance on foot, each driving our animals before us. This pass, in my opinion, is not so fearful as

[page] 70

the last: it is not nearly so high above the torrent, and it is comparatively short; the second pass is 200 or 300 yards in length, while the third perhaps is not more than 150 yards, besides which the road in no place is narrower than two feet. What, however, renders it very inconvenient when mounted is, that when you have ascended the whole height, the descent is remarkably sudden and steep, so that the mule cannot have the same steadiness in his pace as when on level ground, and as all the dependence is on the surefootedness of the animal, the peons think it safer to alight. It was lucky that in these passes we met no mules coming in the contrary direction, as there was neither room to pass nor to turn back. One of our baggage-mules was once tumbled down the sloping side of the mountain, but it was not precipitous there; it got upon its legs again, and galloped about, kicking off its load, which it scattered in all directions to the great amusement of the muleteers.

The valley we had been passing was full of the most beautiful cascades or torrents, rushing down from the tops of the mountains, and dashing over the immense blocks of granite scattered on all sides, as if some violent convulsion of nature had torn them from their native beds. These streams appear at a distance like rills of milk, for, by bounding from rock to rock, the water is white with foam, and finely contrasts with the dark surface of the mountains. The water is very excellent, and as clear as crystal though extremely cold. The muleteers as

[page] 71

they pass through the different streams let down cow-horns fastened by a string through a hole, and thus draw up the water to satisfy their thirst without delaying the journey.

About mid-day we came to what seemed the end of this valley, which is terminated abruptly by a large red mountain, whose summit was covered with snow: on advancing, however, we found the road take a sudden turn to the right. This part is called the Punta de las Vaccas, the point of cows; and here, in a romantic situation close to the torrent, we rested an hour to take some refreshment, as was our custom every day: the pace of the baggage-mules was so slow that we could always make up for the lost time by increasing our speed. From the Punta de las Vaccas, the valley opens a little, so that we continued ascending by a small plain. We soon passed the first Casucha, a small brick hovel built by O'Higgins, Viceroy of Chili, father of the late director of the same name. There are in all three on each side of the Cumbre or summit of the Cordillera; they were constructed for the accommodation of the couriers, who are obliged to pass in all seasons of the year, frequently for leagues on foot, in consequence of the falls of snow in the winter. These hovels consist of a single room about twelve feet square, built of brick and mortar, with an arched roof; they are raised about six feet from the ground to keep them from being covered with snow, and are entered by a brick staircase. They had formerly

[page] 72

doors, but are now in the most ruinous state, the staircases being generally broken down; the last earthquake, too, had left evident marks of its force in the numerous rents in the walls and roof.

About three leagues in advance is another Casucha where we rested for the night: it is situated on the top of a little knoll, with a spring of water at its foot. Dirty as this place was, we preferred spreading our beds in it to sleeping in the open air, and it was lucky we did so, as it was an intense frost that night. After collecting our fuel we tried to light a fire, but found that the hovel smoked so much, as there was merely a hole in the wall to let the smoke out, that we were obliged to kindle it outside. We had been fortunate in finding dead bushes, and we kept up a roaring and cheerful blaze. These Casuchas have sometimes proved of the greatest utility to travellers, who have passed late in the season, and have met with a temporal or storm of snow, which perhaps detained them a fortnight in this miserable situation. For this reason all the English who pass now carry with them plenty of provisions, not only for themselves in case they should be delayed in this manner, but also for any distressed traveller they may meet. The natives are so improvident that they have been found on the Andes nearly in a state of starvation. Though I brought a whole mule-load of provisions, the peons were so greedy that I could not hinder them from eating them up, and drinking our wine. If I or the courier happened at any time to be

[page] 73

absent together, they immediately attacked our private stock, and I was much vexed to-night to find all the wine gone, though I had been provided with about eight gallons. Luckily I had secreted a couple of bottles in my canteen, which they could not get at.

[page] 74

CHAPTER XII.

The Inca's Bridge, and the salt springs near it—Robbery and murder of an Englishman—Passage over the Cumbre of the Andes.

WE found that the water had been frozen about three inches thick during the night; and in the morning the air was very piercing, though in the middle of the day we always found it sufficiently warm with our additional clothing. Following the plain for about a league we arrived at the Inca's Bridge, so much spoken of in this part of the world. I have every reason to believe that this beautiful work of nature suffered from the earthquake, comparing what I saw of it with the description my intelligent friend Dr. Gillies gave me before I left Mendoza. It is necessary for the traveller who wishes to visit this curiosity to remind the guide of it, otherwise he may very likely neither hear nor see any thing of it. In the present instance my courier was quite astonished that I could feel any desire to look at what perhaps he never had observed in his journeys across the Cordillera. It is two or three hundred yards from the road, and these people object to lengthen the journey even for five minutes: the sight of it, however, well repays the short delay.

[page] 75

The Inca's Bridge is a natural arch over the torrent which we had been skirting since we left the valley of Uspallata. The whole span of it is about twenty yards, its height perhaps twenty feet above the water, and the width of the water nearly twelve yards. As you pass over it, it slopes gradually from the right hand to the left: it is perfectly solid and compact, and the archway is tolerably regular. There are disputes as to its original formation and materials, which I do not mean to enter into. Hot springs boil up in many places near it: a few yards from it rises a solid formation like, stone, of the height of twelve feet, in the shape of a sugar-loaf, and on the top of this cone there is a regular basin of a yard in diameter, and a foot deep, in which a warm salt spring constantly bubbles up. This basin is quite full, without appearing to boil over, and the conical mound on which it is situated is encrusted with salt; but I could not ascertain whether it was produced by the basin sometimes overflowing, or by the water oozing through the stone. In a direction straight forward over the bridge is a very strong hot spring, which rises from one aperture with great force: it has formed round itself an incrustation which makes a small bath of about eighteen inches deep and four feet long. We all washed ourselves here for the first time since we left Mendoza, as it is reckoned not only unhealthy to wash in the cold water, but the skin would peel off afterwards. My little boy was stripped and dipped in it—probably the first European infant that had ever been plunged in these waters.

[page] 76

We also drank a quantity of them, which produced the same effect as medicinal salts. Having taken a view of what was to be seen above, I descended by two or three notches cut in the rock which projects into the torrent, under the arch of the bridge, where I found two very hot springs: the water was of such a temperature that I could just keep my hands in it. On examining the bridge minutely, it appeared to be of stone or petrifaction covered with an incrustation of salt: the dripping of the water from the springs above, which filtered through the bridge, formed thousands of white spiral drops of about a foot in length; and on breaking some of them off I found them composed of such tender materials that it was difficult to preserve them entire; however, after some trouble I succeeded in getting a tolerably good specimen.

Leaving the Inca's Bridge we came to a large mountain of black slaty marble, consisting of enormous masses very irregularly piled. A good road was cut backwards and forwards on the face of it, which the courier said had been made by order of General San Martin, when he passed over the Andes with the liberating army towards Chili. It was on the top of this mountain that about two years ago an Englishman was waylaid by robbers and murdered: he was imprudently passing alone and on foot. His white bones still lie in a hollow among the black fragments of stone, and a small wooden cross points out the place where the deed was perpetrated. It has not yet been discovered who the unfortunate man

[page] 77

was, but a friend of mine passed soon after the murder and could distinguish his features perfectly: half his skull had been beaten in, and he was otherwise dreadfully mangled. These roads are at times very dangerous, and horrible tales are told of the muleteers having murdered the passengers for the sake of their money. However, the English, who travel the road at all times and in all ways, have never met with any interruption except in the instance related.

I observed to-day considerable herds of guanacos; they are natives of the Andes throughout their whole extent to Peru. They are remarkably wild, and are seen at a great distance on the steep sides of the mountains, feeding on the dry herbs which grow in scanty patches here and there. On being disturbed they climb the heights with great ease, and quickly escape from view.

Ere long we arrived at the foot of the ascent to the Cumbre, or the apex of that part of the Andes we were to cross. We left the valley, which continued to wind into an immense pile of snow-capped mountains, and turned to the left, in which direction the ridge is rather lower than elsewhere. Here we made ready our luncheon, as it was necessary to take plenty of onions and wine as a preventive against the cold and the rarefaction of the air, which not unfrequently produces such an effect upon travellers as to cause them to faint. I cannot say that our party felt any inconvenience, and we passed over the summit in the highest spirits. After having been some days among such stupendous eminences, it did

[page] 78

not appear such an arduous undertaking. We had been winding at the feet of these mountains, and we were now required to climb the very face of the vast ridge that had been the object of our admiration and astonishment after we left San Luis. While we were refreshing ourselves at the foot, a troop of mules happened to be passing the Cumbre towards us, and we were thus better enabled to calculate the great height to which we had to ascend, than by comparing the part of the ridge we had to cross with the yet loftier elevations on each side. It was a considerable time before the muleteers, who are accustomed to the sight, could make me perceive the troops of mules approaching us; and when I did see them they appeared only like small insects. As they advanced, and were observed more distinctly, they gave us a most exact notion of the path we had to take, which ascended like a staircase. The mules seemed all to go different ways, although they were in fact following each other steadily down the defiling path:

The part of the ridge which is passed by travellers has been well chosen, as the mountain is there by no means so perpendicular, and is composed of softer materials than elsewhere; so that though the way is long and tedious, there is not the least danger, the mules having always excellent footing. The mountain is composed at the base of a red kind of earth, mixed with small stones of the same colour, and it is like all the rest totally bare of vegetation; but the soil changed into rock as we approached the summit. In different parts of the ascent we encountered snow

[page] 79

for the first time, but this was only in small patches, not more than a few inches in depth, and in a melting state. On reaching the Cumbre, which we accomplished after an ascent of nearly two hours, we found a small esplanade of about ten yards before the descent commenced on the other side. Here we stopped for a few minutes to pick up some trifling memorials of the spot, and to look around for a view which, from the immense height at which we stood, might have been expected to have included a whole hemisphere: indeed one of our modern poets (Campbell) has so spoken of it—

"Where Andes, giant of the western star,
His meteor-standard to the winds unfurl'd,
Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half the world."

But making all allowance for poetical exaggeration, I certainly thought from what I had read in the accounts of other travellers that I should be able to stretch my sight to Chili, described as the richest country of the globe, spread out at our feet like a map, and repaying our toil by the boundlessness and luxuriance of its prospects. I was much disappointed to find quite the contrary the fact. Behind us we could see nothing but the valley we had left, at an immeasurable depth, dismal and solitary: above us, on each side, were the craggy peaks and snow-crowned tops of mountains, which towered still higher into the skies: before us the view was still more dreary and unpromising. Enormous black mountains were piled together without order, and seemed much more

[page] 80

barren and savage than those we had already passed. The descent appeared to lead only to a gloomy pit down a road, to look at which almost made us giddy, as it was much more precipitous and craggy than the ascent on the other side. We found the air on the summit extremely cold and the wind very piercing. It is the custom with most travellers to muffle up their faces during the whole way over the Cordillera, to defend them from the air, and to protect their eyes particularly from the glare of the sun on the snow. I have heard of some persons arriving in Chili quite blind, and remaining so for some days, their whole faces, and especially their lips, swollen so much that their friends hardly knew them. The only effect on us was, that our lips swelled for a short time and then peeled, as well as our faces, in a greater or a less degree.

[page] 81

CHAPTER XIII.

Descent on the Chili side of the Andes—The Inca's Lake—Commencement of the Chili territory—El Salto del Soldado—Change in the appearance of the country.

THE side of the Cumbre we had now to descend was covered with snow, owing to the total absence of the sun, which added much to the natural gloom of the scene. From its being entirely composed of rugged rocks, and much more precipitous, the descent was not nearly so good as the ascent, and great caution was necessary, particularly where there was any depth of snow. Luckily there had been considerable traffic on the passage since the snow had fallen, and the mule track was therefore pretty well beaten; the snow too was in a soft melting state.

We arrived at the Chili foot of the Cumbre about three o'clock in the day, having been nearly three hours in passing over it: at the foot the mountains on each side approached so closely together as to form a puerta or gate, which name it has from this circumstance received.

We still continued descending rapidly till we came to the Laguna del Inca, or the Inca's Lake, at a short distance to the right of the road, in a recess

G

[page] 82

completely pent in by high eminences: it is a large sheet of fresh water, most probably formed by the snow as it melts from the tops of the mountains. It appeared quite full, and it is stated as a wonder that the banks are never overflowed, though some considerable torrents empty themselves into it: if so, it perhaps may find vent under ground.

About a league further we arrived at a small valley surrounded almost entirely by towering black mountains. Here we took up our quarters for the night, near a troop of muleteers who were going in the contrary direction. We passed the night in much the same manner as two nights before; but we had great trouble to get fuel, no dead bushes being to be found, but merely a low prickly plant between a weed and a shrub, which made but a sorry fire. This spot is called the Ojo del Agua, from a spring which rises near the path by which we descended, and forms in its course a considerable stream. With much difficulty I climbed up the precipice of loose stones to the source, and found that it flowed in a body from among the loose materials of which the mountain is composed. As such a considerable force of water rarely issues from one spring, it is not impossible that this is one of the channels by which the Laguna del Inca empties itself.

We began the next day's journey with a rapid and difficult descent over loose detached masses of stone, between two high, black, and barren ranges of mountains, whose rugged and misshapen heads were covered with snow. On advancing further we met

[page] 83

with a few low shrubs, and even flowers, which formed a pretty contrast with the mountains on each side, and the immense blocks of stone with which the valley is every where encumbered. The water from the Ojo del Agua having united with some other torrents in its course, ran in a strong current down the valley. Five leagues further we came to the Guardia del Resquardo, where the territory of Chili commences. This boundary is a military position, consisting of a walled square with a long house, or rather shed, on each side of it fronting the road. From the back of these buildings a low wall of stone runs completely across the valley (which might be here a quarter of a mile broad) and a considerable way up the mountains on each side, thus forming a barrier to Chili. There is also a small enclosure with water for irrigation, which the guard used: it was now covered with bushes, but we still saw a few stunted peach-trees, the fruit of which was ripening, and was eagerly devoured by our peons. The guard-house at the time we passed it was deserted; and had the appearance of not having been inhabited for some time.

The valley now began to assume a pleasant aspect; and we were sensible of our approach towards a better country: the mountains gradually diminished in height, and were clothed with vegetation a considerable way up their sides. The prickly pear, with its towering form and fine scarlet flower, formed a very conspicuous object. The brush-wood in the valley began to change into flowering shrubs and trees,

G 2

[page] 84

many of them of the willow kind, which, overhanging the torrent and numerous cascades, formed an agreeable relief to our sight, wearied with resting so long on huge barren mountains. Proceeding onwards, the valley took an abrupt turn to the right, the path at intervals being quite hidden by the cheerful green underwood, partly covered with a pretty climber with scarlet flowers, in the shape of the honeysuckle. We slept to-night in a position a considerable way below the path, immediately overhanging the precipice, where the trees formed an enclosed circle, as if for our accommodation: though our beds were in the open air, without any covering except the green boughs, we enjoyed the most pleasant night we had passed since we left Mendoza. The air was beautifully clear and warm, the moon shining steadily over the mountains, which still rose to a tremendous height, but without the dismal and craggy appearance formerly described. Immediately at our feet roared the angry torrent. We awoke in the morning refreshed, and pleased at a scene so novel, striking, and agreeable.

Our road lay on the morning of the 21st of April chiefly along the side of the mountains, overhanging the green valley below: sometimes we had to pass round small woody glens, which shot out of the valley up the sides of the eminences. The cliffs above us were tenanted by a species of parrot with long tails: they flew screaming over our heads, their gaudy green and yellow plumage glittering in the sun, and were the first appearance of life we had seen in the Cor-

[page] 85

dillera beyond the guanacos. We this morning met an English traveller, the husband of a lady we had known during our stay in Buenos Ayres. He kindly gave us part of his provisions, as we had had a very scanty supper the night before, and nothing for breakfast, in consequence of our peons having devoured every thing. I can scarcely imagine a greater pleasure in the midst of the silence and loneliness pf the desert, disturbed only by the jargon of the muleteers, than to meet with a countryman to whose language and habits we have been accustomed from infancy.

The mountains still continued to decrease in height as the torrent increased in width and rapidity from the number of streams by which it was joined. Its course was often divided by small green islands covered with the willow, by which this valley is so much graced. We passed this morning a celebrated gap in the rock, from which issued a mountain torrent; it is called El Salto del Soldado, the Soldier's Leap, and took its name from the following anecdote. When San Martin was advancing towards Chili with his liberating army, a deserter from one of the regiments was chased by a party up the mountains: he was pressed hard by his pursuers, and coming to this cliff he ran at it, and succeeded in leaping to the opposite side. His enemies checked themselves at the brink, and not having the same inducement to run the same hazard, the fellow escaped. Our path was stopped a little farther on by a considerable stream;

[page] 86

but skirting it for a short distance, we came to a rustic bridge, consisting of two large beams laid across the tide, the ends resting on rude piers built of the rough stones scattered in all directions. Boughs of trees covered with gravel formed the road, and on crossing it we came to a miserable hut of branches plastered over with mud; round it was an enclosure of irrigated ground, which afforded support to the wretched inhabitants by a scanty supply of wheat, Indian corn, and water-melons. At some little distance from hence we repassed the same stream by a wooden bridge, so unsafe that we were obliged to dismount and lead the mules over it.

Towards midday we were getting clear of the mountainous ridges by which, since leaving Uspallata, we had been enclosed, and we now obtained a view of a well-cultivated country, which the more deserves remark, as it was the only agreeable prospect I saw in Chili. It was a wide valley, entirely enclosed by a lower range of mountains, and behind them the tremendous snow-covered heads of the Cordillera. After the barren inhospitable country we had passed, it broke upon us suddenly like enchantment, and even the poor mules seemed inspired with unusual life by the prospect of the luxuriant pasture before them, after four or five days of starvation. We travelled about a league through small enclosures of lucern and clover, and fields where the thick yellow stubble showed that a plentiful harvest of wheat had lately been carried. We met with a few mud

[page] 87

ranchos scattered along the road, which, though offensively dirty, were very picturesque, from their situation in the midst of orchards of apple and figtrees, while the roofs were generally covered with luscious grapes. The inhabitants had a squalid appearance: most of the women wore men's black hats above handkerchiefs tied over their heads and under their chins. The men were stout, and obviously much mixed with the Indian race.

[page] 88

CHAPTER XIV.

Arrival at Santa Rosa—Departure for Santiago—Agriculture of Chili—The Field of Chacabuco and Village of Colina—Approach to Santiago.

WE now arrived at the town of Santa Rosa, whose small minarets we had for some time seen peeping above the thick foliage of the orchards. It is laid out in straight parallel streets ending in the Plaza, where is situated the cathedral, the cabildo, and other public buildings. The streets are very clean, with a stream of water down the centre, and though the houses are only of mud, they are neat and regular. I had asked the gentleman we met to-day in the Cordillera to recommend a house where we might put up; and I accordingly alighted at the one he had used, and ordered every thing I wanted, as if it were an inn. The people of the house were respectable shopkeepers, the wife a native of Buenos Ayres, the man a Chilian: his occupation was to carry goods on horseback during the day to the ranchos, in the neighbourhood of the town, his wife and an assistant attending to the shop during his absence. We made very merry this afternoon, eating a very good supper well cooked, and having a tolerably comfortable room for our beds.

[page] 89

As the mules we had brought from Mendoza were quite exhausted by the length of the journey, and by the utter want of food for three or four days, our muleteer procured fresh animals, mounting us upon horses. On inquiring how much I had to pay for our accommodation I was surprised to find that my host and his wife would not take any thing, declaring that they were sufficiently honoured by our visit. I was quite hurt at the recollection of the manner in which I had called for every thing in the house, supposing, of course, that I should have to pay for them: however, all our entreaties were of no avail, and I could merely get the woman to accept a small jewel from my wife, and that only as a keepsake of friendship. In this little town there is a guard-house, where all mule loads entering Chili are examined for duties. I found the commandant a good-natured superannuated officer, who gave me no trouble, but I was informed that they were generally very particular.

About eleven o'clock on the 22d we left Santa Rosa to pursue our journey to Santiago, about twenty-two leagues distant. After quitting the inclosures in the immediate vicinity we entered a dry, barren, hilly country with a solitary rancho here and there; wherever a small stream of water enabled the inhabitants to convert the surrounding deserts into cultivated land for the support of a family, or where a few stunted acacia trees afforded a scanty and miserable subsistence to half starved cows and goats, who cropped their leaves and branches. I was much

[page] 90

surprised, on passing through Chili, at first to see an unproductive, mountainous district, enclosed by piles of loose stones, as if the ground were of some value, not thinking at that time that herds of cattle could possibly be supported on the stunted brushwood thinly scattered over the hills.

About three leagues from Santa Rosa we arrived at the foot of a very steep hill, which would be called a mountain in any other situation than so near the Andes: the ascent was very tedious by a winding zigzag road, and having at length gained the top we found it to be the highest ridge in that part of the country. As I had heard so much of the beautiful and fertile country of Chili, I expected at least to see, only on a larger scale, such a view as that afforded by the valley, in which the town of Santa Rosa is situated. How much was I disappointed on beholding, as far as the eye could reach, a rugged, barren succession of hills: in fact I never saw a more dreary prospect; it had neither the tall vegetation, and herds of the Pampas, nor the proud frowning, though sterile grandeur of the Cordillera: all appeared a tame, unmeaning, and dreary waste.

The descent was very precipitous by a narrow road overhanging a woody ravine below. It is said that if the Spaniards had seized this pass, at the time that San Martin was advancing on Chili, they might have effectually prevented his approach, or, at all events, have occasioned him considerable trouble and delay in attempting to penetrate by another route.

I observed with some astonishment, that every

[page] 91

traveller we met on the road was armed with a brace of pistols in the holsters of his saddle, and with a sabre by his side; on inquiring the cause, I found that since the revolution the roads had constantly been molested by banditti, consisting of deserters from the army, and that several robberies and even murders had taken place, particularly among the natives of the country. During our journey we never met with the slightest interruption, and though a Strong party in point of numbers, we were all totally unarmed.

We found the country partially cultivated, but in a most slovenly manner, the corn being sown, on such land as could be irrigated, among the bushes, which were suffered to grow without molestation. Of course the agriculture of Chili appeared to great disadvantage to a person accustomed to the neat and excellent husbandry of England. Such labour as is performed is all done by oxen: corn is conveyed in close carts, and straw (on which all the animals in the country subsist during the winter) on carriages with four high poles, one at each corner, between which the load is piled up to a great height. The straw was of a beautifully bright colour, but broken extremely short by the process of thrashing used here, which is that of the ancient oriental nations. Attached to every estate is a circular yard, with either a paved or a level clay floor: into this space the corn in the ear is put, and a drove of brood mares is then let in, and driven round treading out the grain, and, of course, break-

[page] 92

ing the straw to pieces with their feet. The ploughing was performed remarkably ill, the top of the ground being merely grubbed up, and the furrows thrown on each side, from which I conclude, though I never saw it at work, that the Chilians use the same inefficient plough which I afterwards saw employed in Peru. As the harvest had just been carried, I observed in Chili only one or two small pieces of wheat unreaped.

Having travelled about eight leagues, we reached the plain of Chacabuco, so famous for San Martin's victory over the Spanish army. It is of large extent, the greater part cultivated, with some considerable houses attached to the different estates. However, dry sandy hills are scattered about in all directions; though the country in general is pretty open and, therefore, well adapted to the movements of cavalry, on which the Spaniards always prided themselves in America. The armies were nearly equal in numbers, each consisting of about 4000 men, though the Spaniards must have been in better condition than the troops of San Martin.

We passed the night, close to the field, at a miserable rancho, in which there was only one room, and that occupied by the family; so that we were obliged to sleep in the open air, making a kind of covering with poles and a blanket, as we had done in the heart of the Andes. Though we had seen many tolerable houses on the road, it was now dark, and too late to return to them: all we could do was to make the best

[page] 93

of our bad entertainment. We accordingly entered the house, and sat down to amuse ourselves with observing the family until supper arrived, which was merely a boiled herbido, similar to that we had partaken in the Pampas. The only part of the family remaining in the hut were three great girls busily employed in making bread, which consisted of flour and grease mixed up together, beaten violently with their hands, and kneaded in a trough like a butcher's tray. This employment was very severe exercise, and the girls took it in turn: nevertheless it did not prevent them from singing the celebrated Chilian national song, composed soon after the victory of San Martin in the immediate neighbourhood, and with which every peasant is acquainted. I am sorry that I do not recollect more than the first stanza and chorus, which run thus:—

Ciudadanos! el amor sagrado
De la Patria os convoca a la lid
Libertad es el eco de alarma
La divisa triunfar o morir!
El cadalzo o la antigua cadena
Os presenta el sovervio espanol;
Arrancad el punal al tirano
Quebrantad de se guello feroz.
CORO.
Dulce Patria! recibe los votos
Con que Chile en tus aras juro:
Que o la tumba seras de los libres,
O el asilo contra la opresion.*

* The chorus, in which all their voices joined, was particularly harmonious. The following is a translation:

[page] 94

Next day, (the 23d,) after crossing a high bleak hill, we came to the small village of Colina, consisting of ranchos, and a few better houses of mud: the latter had wooden colonnades all along the fronts, which, with the cornice, were generally painted red. The village had also its mud chapel. The road beyond Colina is wide, and is inclosed either with mud walls, or bushes piled up so as to make a kind of rude dead hedge. This is a most extraordinary and wasteful method of using the materials, particularly where wood is scarce: instead of driving stakes, and twisting in the bushes as in England, the people select the largest boughs of the thorny acacia, and lay them one upon another: as they decay they pile on fresh wood, which in time forms a bank inhabited by hundreds of rats, which were seen sporting along the road, and continuing their gambols even while we were passing.

We soon lost all traces of cultivation, the country

Our country's love, brave friends, invites us
To our vengeful arms to fly;
Freedom's holy voice delights us,
The word, to conquer or to die!
The haughty Spaniard, still aspirant,
Offers us but chains and death:
With your daggers strike the tyrant,
Quell his pride and stop his breath!
CHORUS.
Sweet country, receive on thy altar
The vows of thy children to thee,
That thy soil shall to freemen give shelter,
Or that soil be the grave of the free!

[page] 95

becoming hilly, and the plains covered with short trees, hacked about by persons who sell wood by the mule-load in Santiago. I found that all through the country, the capital, Santiago, is denominated Chili, which has a curious effect on a traveller's ear, when he is asked by those he meets, "Are you going to Chili?—How many leagues is it to Chili? "As if a person on his way to London should inquire at Kensington, how many miles it was to England.

To judge by outward appearances, the inhabitants of Chili are not behind any nation in the world in politeness: not a person, of whatever degree, passed us on the road without interchanging even with our Muleteers the civility of touching hats. I observed that this was constantly the practice throughout the country, between people of every station. The ordinary dress of the men was small Lima hats (as they falsely call the white rush hats which come from near Guayaquil), and a poncho over a jacket and trowsers. We were very much amused by the uncouth stirrup used by the Chilians. It is a solid triangle of wood of the dimensions of about twelve inches, hollowed out to admit the toe. It is fastened from one of the corners to the saddle by a leather strap: it is often very much carved, and the two lower corners are generally cut like the horns of some animal, which serve the rider instead of spurs, the side of the beast being always considerably chafed with the constant application of one of these projections.

On turning round the base of a hill about two leagues from the city of Santiago, we had the first

[page] 96

view of its spires, rising among plantations of poplar trees. The approach from Colina is not at all pretty, and does not inspire the traveller with any very farvourable idea of the capital. For some distance we passed between high mud walls, broken down in every direction by travellers who cut out into the fields to avoid the badness of the road. These fields bore the appearance of having been once cultivated, but were now in a most slovenly and barren condition. We were diverted by meeting some family carriages. I imagined that they belonged only to the country, and were not used for promenade in the city. They reminded us of the large caravan shows which frequent English fairs: they were perhaps not so high, but on four low wheels, and with a sloping roof like that of a house. They were capable of holding a dozen or fifteen persons, and were drawn by a long line of yoked oxen: within we observed the family sitting as comfortably as in their own sala.

[page] 97

CHAPTER XV.

Description of Santiago—Visit to the Director—Departure for Valparaiso—Thinness of Population—Robberies on the Road—Bustamente—Casa Blanca—The Earthquake.

THE immediate entrance to Santiago was through a wide dirty street, the houses of which were generally very miserable; a few of a larger and better description had the fronts coloured with different devices: it was the first time we had seen any of this painting, and it had a very peculiar effect. We then passed over a brick bridge across what is called a river, but which, at this time of the year, was nothing more than a wide channel, with an insignificant stream through it. We next entered the Plaza, and having the British Hotel kept by Mrs. Walker in sight, and being very tired, our eyes did not wander much in search of other objects. It was quite a luxury, after the miserable accommodation we had experienced, and the fatigues and filth we had been obliged to endure, to enter once more into civilized life, and to enjoy a shadow at least of English comforts with an English landlady.

The city of Santiago is situated immediately at the foot of the Andes, though we had travelled twenty-two leagues through a tolerably level country from

H

[page] 98

Santa Rosa before we reached it: the fact is, that during this distance we were proceeding parallel with the Cordillera; but there is another road called the Portillo, shorter but not so safe in the latter part of the season, which comes out of the Cordillera close to the city. It is built in quadras, and in the centre is the Plaza, which is as handsome as any I saw in South America. The Director's palace, the cabildo, and the jail, which form a tolerably regular and stately range of buildings, compose one side of the square: on another is the cathedral and Bishop's, palace; and the two other sides consist principally of shops.

The cathedral is a handsome plain stone building, evidently built by a European, from the classic order of the architecture; the only specimen of the kind I remember to have seen in South America, where the public erections of this class generally partake of the Moorish style. This building has never been finished, nor were workmen employed on it while We were at Santiago: the body of the church, however, is completed, and service was performed, there. The Bishop's palace is a low edifice, and a disgrace to a Roman Catholic city. In the middle of the Plaza is a handsome fountain, which supplies the town with water: it is surrounded by a large basin, from which peons and slaves fill small pipes, which they carry about to the different houses. The streets are straight and tolerably wide, crossing each other at every 150 yards in parallel lines, and most of them have acequias, or streams of water running through

[page] 99

them. The houses are chiefly of only one story, neatly whitewashed, with figured cornices, and with the doors and windows painted green. I understood that within the last year a great improvement had taken place in the exterior of the houses, and that there had been consequently a great demand for lime and green paint. The entrance to the houses is by a large pair of folding doors to a paved court or patio, into which the principal rooms open. The best houses have a second patio behind the first, and at the back of all a corral or yard. I was much surprised at dinner one day with a friend, while we were all busily engaged, to see the horses brought through the sala, or principal room, and on inquiring found that this was the only passage from the street to the corral. Such was the case with many of the houses of the city: indeed, a lady who occupied a very good house, not liking this nuisance, proposed to her landlord to be allowed to take off part of the sala, and build a wall so as to make a passage; but her request was actually refused, on the ground that it would spoil the mansion.

The churches are generally tolerably handsome buildings, as well as the custom-house. There is also a theatre. The alameda, or public walk, called the Tacomar, along the banks of the river, is much frequented by company. From hence there is a fine view of the Cordillera, and the trees afford an agreeable shade during the heat of the day, while the wind from the snowy tops of the mountains is cool and reviving.

H 2

[page] 100

The day after our arrival I went to pay the Director a visit in the palace. It is a handsome building, the rooms of which are used principally for the different offices of Government. I entered a small, ante-chamber, where there was an aide-de-camp in waiting, who, taking my name, introduced me by a small door into the hall of audience, where was the Director Freire. This sala is a handsome large, room, the lower end being raised about a foot above the rest of the apartment. On this elevation was a chair and a table, at which the Director was writing. On my entrance he rose, and advanced as far as the edge of the platform to receive me, and when I had stated my business, he welcomed me with a cordial shake of the hand. His appearance was plain, with the blunt manners of a soldier: he has distinguished himself by his bravery, particularly at the storming of Talchuana, the last fortress which was defended for Spain: he was beloved by the soldiers, but, from what I saw and heard, I should imagine that he is without the sort of talent calculated to make a wise and politic governor of a young state.

Having remained in Santiago six days to refresh ourselves, and to gain intelligence of vessels proceeding to Lima, we left it on the 29th April for Valparaiso, distant about thirty-two leagues. The journey is frequently performed in fifteen hours by relays of horses, but two days in general is occupied by it: the party starts at mid-day, and reaches Bustamente, about ten leagues, before night, and arrives the next

[page] 101

evening at El Puerto, as they call Valparaiso, in contradistinction to El Pueblo, as they name Santiago.

The females as well as myself were mounted on horseback, and the baggage was carried as before on mules. I preferred this method of travelling, though rather slower, as it is on the whole more convenient; besides, I was able to keep the baggage under my own eye. We thus performed the journey comfortably, setting off from Santiago at mid-day, travelling the whole of the second day, and arriving at Valparaiso early on the third.

A dry parched plain of two or three leagues in length was first crossed after we quitted Santiago, leaving to the left the celebrated plain of Maipo. When I mentioned to a friend, who accompanied us part of the road, my disappointment at the barrenness which everywhere prevailed in Chili, he informed me that it was not always so dry and burnt up as at present; but from my own observation I should say, that I never travelled through a country with so little appearance of capability about it, and so totally unable to maintain a large population. The whole road from Santiago to Valparaiso is a series of three hilly ridges or questas, producing little but brushwood. In some places, indeed, pretty shady dingles or quebradas, filled with evergreens, are met with, and in some measure relieve the dreariness of the road. Instead of well cultivated valleys between the hills, I met with nothing but scorched plains, except where the inha-

[page] 102

bitants of a wretched rancho had exerted themselves so far as to irrigate and cultivate a small spot of the surrounding waste. I was also particularly struck by the scarcity of inhabitants, more particularly as this is the greatest thoroughfare in Chili. I think I passed only two or three villages, with not more than 200 inhabitants each, in the whole distance of about ninety miles, exclusive of the separate ranchos which are very thinly scattered.

The road from the city to the port, I should suppose from what I saw and collected, is one of the best in South America; it is very broad and solid, and down, the rugged hills it is cut in the form of a staircase, wide enough for three carriages to pass abreast. It was the work of the viceroy O'Higgins, and will long remain a monument of his public spirit. However, as is the case with all national works in these and some other countries, on which large sums have been expended, they are left to go to ruin, though a small annual addition would be enough to keep them in repair. At the time we passed over the road, the rain had washed deep channels through if in various directions.

The traffic between the city and port is carried on either by mules or large heavy covered carts, drawn by oxen, which proceed at a very tedious rate, having considerable difficulty in descending the questas. They do so by yoking on a pair pf oxen behind, who go backwards, keeping their draft rope tight, so as to let the cart down the hill gradually. There was formerly a sort of stage coach between Santiago and

[page] 103

Valparaiso, which performed the distance in a day. One Spanish doubloon, or about 3l. 5s., was charged for each seat, and the speculation was conducted by an Englishman; but as it was not found to answer, it was relinquished.

These questas, Or hills, are the resort of a great number of banditti, and native travellers are daily robbed and murdered: but although the English are on the road at all hours, scarcely a single instance has occurred of their being attacked. They take care always to go remarkably well armed. Oh the day we left the city, a servant belonging to an English gentleman had been murdered on the first questa, about five leagues from Santiago, and the horses he was conducting as a relay for his master were carried off. We passed the spot about two hours afterwards without knowing of the transaction, the body not having been found for two days, rolled down the hill into one of the woody quebradas. Nobody thinks of travelling without arms, not even the muleteers, who are notwithstanding often attacked. These robbers generally fire from the bushes without any warning, so that all preparation against them is of little use; and if they miss their aim, pursuit is impossible, as they are so well acquainted with all the fastnesses of the country.

At the foot of the first questa, which we descended by the most rugged mule-track that can be well imagined, (the muleteers always preferring their own way to any improvement,) we arrived at dark at Bustamente, which is a range of low mud buildings, with

[page] 104

two or three rooms fitted up for travellers, exactly in the stile of the Postas in the Pampas. The dishes for our refreshment were also much the same, consisting of herbido con caldo, meat boiled with vegetables, and served up with the broth.

We set off on the 30th, before daylight, and found the air remarkably keen and piercing. Towards morning we arrived at a small village, where we were obliged to alight and warm ourselves in a rancho. After passing the second range of hills, we descended into a plain, where I saw the first approach to what could properly be called a tree in Chili. The sun, as the day advanced, shone very powerfully, and we were glad to purchase some watermelons to allay our thirst. At the end of a long straight piece of road, we came to the village of Casa Blanca, the white house; and here we saw the earliest obvious signs of the dreadful earthquake in the November preceding. Although six months had elapsed, very few houses had been rebuilt, and the remainder of the village presented a dreadful spectacle of ruins. We arrived there tolerably early; yet as we could not reach Valparaiso, a distance of ten leagues more, the same day, we determined to remain, as there was no other place where we could have been lodged on the road. We put up at an Englishman's of the name of Brown, whose house, built and fitted up at a great expense to accommodate passengers, had been destroyed. He, however, was not discouraged, and his premises, when we were there, were rising from the midst of

[page] 105

ruin and desolation. We were well entertained this afternoon, though the owner of the house complained greatly of the dearness and scarcity of provisions.

Leaving Casa Blanca early on May 1st, we arrived at the third range of hills, about three leagues from Valparaiso; and when we had ascended them, we caught a distant view of the Pacific Ocean. After the fatigue of crossing the whole continent of South America, we hailed with joy the sight of the sea, as on its shores our wanderings were at least for a time to cease, though it reminded us of the immense distance we were now separated from our friends and country. The mule-track, from the top of this rugged range, is most inconvenient; but the muleteers still prefer it to the carriage road, because perhaps it may be a little shorter.

[page] 106

CHAPTER XVI.

Valparaiso—Effects of the Earthquake in November—Interview with O'Higgins—His Character—Assassinations in Chili.

WE did not see Valparaiso until we were close to it, owing to its being so completely screened by the cliffs. It consists of one long straggling street, situated on a narrow strip of land between the sea and almost perpendicular hills. In fact, they approach in some places so close to the ocean, that it has been necessary to cut away part of the rocky mountains to give width for a passage. There are, however, two or three small ravines, running at right angles with the street, which have been built upon. Ground for this purpose indeed is so scarce, that one or two houses have been placed on the top of the precipice, which must be at least a hundred yards above the dwellings below.

The town is divided into two parts, the Almendral or suburbs, and the Port. In the Almendral, the space between the sea and the hills is wider, and it is occupied by a few gardens. This part has probably from its name (Almond grove) consisted formerly of gardens until the increase of population in the town made the land more valuable. The Port

[page] 107

is built round a small cove, in which the shipping lies. When we arrived, Valparaiso exhibited a most melancholy spectacle, in consequence of the late earthquake. The Almendral suffered most severely, scarcely a house having escaped; and it was surprising that in six months the inhabitants should not have made more progress in rebuilding their habitations. In the government departments this delay was especially obvious, for while most private persons were employed either in clearing away the rubbish, or in reconstructing their dwellings, nearly all the public buildings were suffered to remain a heap of ruins. Among the most remarkable of these was the church in the Almendral, which, though its walls were composed of solid materials, at least four feet in thickness, yielded to the shock, and buried numbers of miserable victims, who had hoped that the sanctity of the place would secure them from the effects of the dreadful catastrophe. The castle and fort-of Valparaiso also had precisely the appearance of having been battered to pieces by an enemy. Some of the new houses were rebuilt, as it was called, "earthquake proof, "entirely of wood or boughs of trees entwined with the timbers, plastered over with mud, and then whitewashed. Many shocks were felt while we were in Valparaiso; and so strongly did the inhabitants retain the remembrance of the calamity, that on the slightest alarm they rushed into the streets, crossing themselves, and calling upon the Virgin to save them.

Having letters to General O'Higgins, the late

[page] 108

director of Chili, and learning that I could see him, although a kind of state prisoner, I determined to call upon him. I found him living in the house of the governor of Valparaiso, Zenteno, and allowed to walk any where in the town on his parole. I was much pleased with the interview, and found him particularly lively and entertaining. This veteran officer was born in South America, but educated in Ireland, of which his ancestors were natives. He speaks our language remarkably well, and seems particularly attached to every thing English. He is short in stature and corpulent, and his face reminded me much of the portraits of Oliver Cromwell. O'Higgins is an undoubtedly brave man, and a tolerable general-officer; but his character seems to be too open and undesigning for times of intrigue and revolution. He acted a very conspicuous part in the liberation of Chili, as he formed a large party in favour of its independence, and was present with San Martin at the battle of Chacabuco. When, on one occasion, the royalist army under Osorio surprised the patriots by night, O'Higgins, by his influence and activity, restored order in the capital, and assisted his friend in re-organising the scattered troops. He was a main instrument in bringing into the field the army which a short time afterwards gained the field of Maipo ever the victorious enemy, who was marching in full confidence to take possession of Santiago. O'Higgins would, have, perhaps, made a good director to Chili if he had acted for himself, and had not allowed a designing minister to rule his councils. His name

[page] 109

is a considerable support to the cause of independence, as his father, the viceroy of Peru and Chili, has left a character which will always be revered in South America.

Valparaiso enjoys a very considerable trade: on an average, there are as many as eighty vessels continually in the harbour, including the old hulks called the navy, and the national vessels. The ordinary number of British ships may be about twenty, and nearly as many North Americans. Business in the custom-house was carried on in the most tedious and perplexing manner, because no regular system was established; and the clerks were so open to bribery, that nothing could be done without it. The town is full of English, many of them of the lowest description, and of the worst characters; they act as brokers, smugglers, &c., and pounce on the poor stranger arriving with a consignment of goods, and generally leave him to repent his credulity. The principal exports from Chili are copper, wheat, barley, hides, and horses; in the three latter articles Valparaiso has a very considerable coasting trade with Peru and Guayaquil. It is one of the most unpleasant places in South America for a residence; for, independently of the frequency of earthquakes, the town is so completely shut in by hills, that the heat in summer is dreadful: the place too is the sink of the whole country, so that the native population is of the worst kind. A night very rarely passes without a murder; and foreigners, at the time I was there, seldom thought of going

[page] 110

out after dark. The natives of Chili are considered the most blood-thirsty and uncivilised Of all the Spanish Americans; and though they show a great deal of outward politeness, they have recourse to their knives on the smallest provocation.

Such is the case even in Santiago. I was enjoying the promenade of the Tacomar one evening, and was suddenly startled by a person on horseback, who came galloping down the walk at full speed. He rode over a man and killed him on the spot, and continued his course without even looking back. Most of the English rushed to the place, while the native promenaders never took the least notice of the transaction, but saw the body carried off with the greatest apathy. Within a day or two after this circumstance, an English officer in the Chilian service, was riding out of the city; when he saw a man attacking his wife with a knife. The officer jumped off his horse to intercede for the victim, when the husband immediately ripped up the officer's bowels and killed him. Murders are generally perpetrated in the most cowardly manner by stabs in the loins, and the villain is out of sight before the wounded person can turn round to face his assassin.

[page] 111

CHAPTER XVII.

Embarkation for Lima, and Entrance into Callao—Road to Lima—The Alameda.

ON the 13th May, having engaged our passage in the Medway, East Indiaman, we set sail from Valparaiso for our destination, Lima. We had a very pleasant voyage; the accommodations being excellent, and the course being perhaps the most agreeable in the world. The open sea on this coast is truly pacific: the wind generally steady, and constantly blowing from the south, so that we proceeded without any motion, and all sail set; We reached Callao on the tenth day, having been becalmed two days in sight of port. On the other hand, the voyage from Lima to Valparaiso is unpleasant and tedious, as vessels have to beat against the wind all the way. The first Spanish settlers used to spend as much as two or three months in sailing from Callao to Valparaiso: they proceeded along the coast making very short tacks; and there is a story told in Peru of a bold navigator who, determining to leave the old course, struck out to sea, and reached Valparaiso in a month. On his return to Lima, he gave an account to his countrymen of the quickness of his voyage; but he

[page] 112

had reason to repent his spirit of enterprise, for he was burned by the Inquisition in Lima for having used magic during his voyage, by means of which he had arrived at Valparaiso so much sooner than human skill, unassisted by the devil, could have enabled him to do.

I landed by myself at Callao on the 23d May. The forts have a commanding aspect on approaching them, being in good condition, and mounted with a great number of guns; but the town itself has a most wretched appearance. It is composed of miserable mud-built huts and houses, a disgrace to the neighbouring capital. We pulled up in our boat to a small mole which runs out about a hundred yards into the bay, composed partly of a sixty gun ship which was sunk many years ago for the purpose, and lengthened by a kind of pier of piles, the intervals between which are filled with stones.

I felt the heat very oppressive on landing, and the fine dust and dirt of the place, nearly ankle deep, was most annoying. As I had a letter of introduction to the Spanish house of Mr. Stanislaus Lynch, the consignee of the Medway, I went with the master of her to call upon him; and he kindly sent for a carriage to take my family to the city.

From Callao, the road to Lima passes by the gate of the fort into a wide level road, enclosed on each side by a wall about eighteen inches high. The bottom of the road is composed of loose pebble stones or deep sand, which make it very unpleasant for those who ride. About half a mile from Callao

[page] 113

we passed a considerable village on the right, called Bella Vista, which in flourishing times was a place of great resort for pleasure parties, but is now much neglected. The gardens, formerly very prettily cultivated, were in a state of desolation. I was much struck by the appearance of bustle and traffic all the way, indicating the vicinity of a great capital. The road, which is remarkably wide, was crowded by droves of large mules, carrying their burdens to Lima, the spires of which were just seen embosomed in verdure at the foot of the gigantic Andes.

Travelling to this capital were mingled goods from all parts of the world; British manufactures, with their neat packages, marks, and numbers; American flour in barrels, two of which formed a mule-load; jars of Pisco brandy, holding eighteen gallons, made of strong clay, fitted into a kind of pannier on each side; silks and cottons from India and China; bales of tobacco from Guayaquil; and lumps of sugar from the northern coast of Peru, in shape resembling small kettledrums. The muleteers formed the most grotesque appearance imaginable. Most of them are blacks or half casts, and remarkably tall: their dark features under the immense brimmed hats of the country, sometimes of the natural colour, white, sometimes painted black, and their long legs hanging down naked on each side of their beasts, with their huge Dutch breeches, gave them a wild and ferocious appearance, the effect of which their long whips and cries of anger or encouragement to the mules tended to increase.

I

[page] 114

Half way on the road to Lima stands a pulperia, and, as a contrast to it, a church: this house is called the Legua, being a league from Lima and from Callao: here every body stops; nor probably would a muleteer or carriage-driver pass on any consideration without doing so. The country along the road is capable of cultivation, as there is plenty of water to irrigate it; but in consequence of the troubled times it has been allowed to run wild, and the mud walls having fallen down in many places, it remains a mere dry plain.

About a mile and a half before I arrived at the wall of Lima I entered a beautiful alameda, or walk of trees, which extends to the city: the trees are a kind of willow, which meet nearly at the tops, and afford a most grateful shade. There are four rows of them, and the middle space is a paved road about twenty yards wide: on each side are footpaths between the outer rows, in which, at regular distances, are brick benches for the accommodation of pedestrians. This road to Callao and the alameda were formed under the direction of O'Higgins the viceroy, who also made the excellent road from Valparaiso to Santiago de Chili. He intended to have carried the alameda quite to Callao, but he never completed it. When half way down this walk, the gate of Lima, consisting of three lofty arches, appears like a triumphal entrance, and gives the traveller a grand notion of the city. On looking back towards Callao, the view is also very fine: the trees appear to reach down to the sea-shore, and the

[page] 115

shipping on the blue Pacific through this natural perspective seems nearer than it actually is; beyond them the Island of San Lorenzo closes the prospect.

We passed through the gate into a short wide street, commenced by San Martin, but never completed; and it is a matter of great regret, that there is no good street leading from the gate directly into the heart of the city.

I had letters of introduction to Mr. John Parish Robertson, and I called upon him first. He very kindly invited me to bring my family to his house, which he had already prepared for our reception; and after paying a hurried visit to the President of the Republic and to the minister of war, I returned to Callao in Mr. Robertson's carriage, drawn by mules, which were to wait to carry my family to Lima the next day.

We started accordingly for Lima, in Mr. Robertson's carriage and in another lent to us by Mr. Lynch. We arrived about mid-day, and found every body busily engaged in preparing for a ball on the 25th, to be given by the natives of Buenos Ayres resident in Lima in commemoration of the independence of that republic. Tickets were sent to us, and I spent the interval in presenting my letters of introduction and in receiving visits.

The next evening was the gay festival, for which hundreds of light hearts had been palpitating. On entering the patio of a fine house, hired for the occasion, we were led up a staircase spread with carpeting, and between two rows of the grenadiers of the regi-

I 2

[page] 116

ment of the Rio de la Plata, into a hall very handsomely ornamented. At the upper end of the room the Buenos Ayres flag of white and light blue was waving, supported by the Peruvian, Colombian, and Chilian standards. The ornaments of the room were of white and blue, and the greater part of the visitors wore favours of the same colour. The company was very splendidly apparelled, particularly the military; and there was not perhaps a single country of America, and perhaps I might say even of Europe, of which some of the natives were not present. While many of the females were much better looking than any I had yet seen in South America, and dressed in better taste than I could have expected so far from Europe, others appeared a century or two behind the rest, covered with huge ill-made ornaments of fine brilliants hung about their persons without judgment or elegance. The fashions of Europe had in fact come gradually with French milliners from Buenos Ayres to Chili, and from thence to Lima; and I understood that they had made very rapid progress in a single year. The ladies who were best dressed bore evidence of the fact.

I was here introduced to many of the persons who have distinguished themselves in South America. They were chiefly Peruvian, Colombian, Chilian, Buenos Ayres, English, French, and American officers, and San Martin's order of the Sun shone conspicuously upon them. The Spanish dances are very elegant, and the natives in general possess a great deal of grace. The company stands up in our old-

[page] 117

fashioned English way; but the time is that of a slow waltz, and the figures are much more varied and complicated. The music on the occasion was performed by the band of the regiment of the Rio de la Plata, than which I have seldom heard a finer; and although we consider it difficult for performers on wind instruments to continue to play so long, yet these musicians not only did it with great ease, but also gave marches between the dances. The ball having been opened at about ten o'clock, at twelve o'clock a magnificent supper-room was thrown open, furnished with every delicacy. This apartment, like the ballroom, was ornamented with the Buenos Ayres colours, and the confectionary was made in appropriate devices. The furniture, plate, &c. had been lent by families for the entertainment. During the supper General D. Tomas Guido, San Martin's secretary at war, presided, and discharged his office with much éclat, giving out the toasts, and making patriotic speeches called for by the occasion. After supper dancing was resumed, and it was continued till the morning.

[page] 118

CHAPTER XVIII.

Description of Lima—The Palace, Cathedral, and Cabildo—The Churches, Inquisition, Mint, Markets, &c.

I EMBRACED an early opportunity of going over Lima to take a general view of the public and private edifices, and perhaps it may be as well here to insert a brief description of the city, such as I then found it, confirmed by subsequent observation.

Lima, the capital of Peru, is admitted to be by far the finest city of South America, both in point of size, population, and beauty; Its length is nearly a league, and its width about half a league. The number of inhabitants has been usually estimated at 70,000, but at the present moment it is supposed to exceed 100,000; but no census has been taken, that I am aware of, since the commencement of the revolution. It stands at the foot of a mountainous country adjoining the Andes, on the bank of the river Rimac, which, running east and west, separates the suburbs from the city in the same way that Southwark is divided from London by the Thames. To connect the city and the suburbs, a strong stone bridge of six arches was erected in the year 1618: it is perfectly plain, even without balustrades, a wall of

[page] 119

about two feet high running along each side of it to keep the foot-passengers from falling into the water.

Lima is generally called an open town, but it is not strictly so: a mud wall of about fifteen feet in height and five in thickness, laid out in regular bastions, runs round it, the ends meeting on the southern bank of the river. This wall was merely raised against the incursions of the Indians; and even if it were capable of resisting artillery, it could hardly be manned with fewer than from 80,000 to 100,000 men.

Lima is entered by six gates, three of which are handsome stone arches after Roman or Grecian models: that from Callao, and that leading from the bridge to the Plaza, are most worthy of observation from their size and just proportions.

As the wall touching the bank of the river at each end forms a tolerably regular section of a circle, and as the city enclosed by it is longer than it is broad, a considerable space to the south, and most distant from the Rimac, is not occupied by buildings, but is laid out in pleasure grounds and gardens filled with luxuriant fruit trees. Among these the most remarkable is the chirimoya, or custard-apple, the grenadilla with fruit the size of an egg, and within of the appearance and flavour of a gooseberry, and the sweet lemon, together with citron, lime, plantain, peach, and orange trees of a very large size in abundance. Outside the walls there are also fine private gardens, and beyond these extensive and very productive fields of lucern for the supply of the city,

[page] 120

which is daily brought in in small bundles on the backs of jackasses.

The approach to Lima, especially by the gate of Callao, is very inviting: the bright spires and towers of various churches and public buildings are seen rising from the bosom of orange and lime groves, and contrasting beautifully with their verdure. The summit of the cathedral, the dome of San Augustin, and the towers of San Francisco and San Domingo, are most conspicuous. In the back ground are the Andes, which seem in some situations to approach so near the city as to block up the principal streets.

Crossing the bridge, the traveller immediately arrives at the Plaza, from the four sides of which the streets branch out as usual in quadrangles: they are of course straight, and all nearly of the same width: many of them have acequias, or water courses, through them, which much contribute to health and cleanliness. The pavement in the centre is composed of pebbles, and the pathway, at the sides, of rough slabs badly laid down, and so narrow that even in the main streets two persons can scarcely walk abreast.

Two sides of the Plaza are filled with public buildings. The palace or government house, where the viceroy formerly kept his state, occupies of itself a square of 150 yards. It is an old plastered and unsightly edifice, of a reddish colour; with the principal gate into the Plaza, and three other entrances into three separate streets, of each of which it forms one side: shops of the lowest description, such as

[page] 121

those of our English dealers in marine stores and old iron, occupy what may be termed the ground floor of the two principal fronts of this building: hence the whole has an appearance of wretchedness and poverty-struck grandeur. The furniture and the state of the apartments within corresponds with the exterior: the rooms are long and narrow, but some of them still display the relics of decayed magnificence. They are now used chiefly for offices for the despatch of the public business of the government. The court-yards have fountains, and the gardens are laid out in the most formal manner. During the administration of the Marquis di Torre Tagle, the public affairs were transacted at his private residence, which is one of the handsomest edifices of the kind in Lima, and shortly before my arrival it had undergone a complete repair.

Looking from the palace on the left hand, is the residence of the archbishop, and the cathedral: the former is unworthy of the latter, which is an imposing structure of grey stone, with two spires or pinnacles in front. Opposite to the residence of the archbishop is the Cabildo or Guildhall, which it is difficult at first to distinguish from the portales, or piazzas of stone, that fill up the rest of the square: ranges of shops are built under these piazzas, and the pathway in front of them is laid down with small coloured pebbles, set so as to form crosses, stars, and other ornamental devices. Under the piazzas is held the exchange of the city, where the merchants and others meet on business, or to

[page] 122

hear and discuss the news of the day with the loungers who also frequent it. In the centre of the square is a handsome bronze fountain, rising from a large basin, on the sides of which are couchant lions: it consists of three tiers of spouts, and above all the figure of Fame. The city is supplied with water in a great degree from this basin, and it is carried about in small casks, either on the shoulders of men, or on the backs of mules and jackasses.

The churches in Lima; with the single exception I believe of the cathedral, are built of mud-bricks, or of timber and plaster: the principal of these are, San Domingo, San Augustin, La Merced, San Francisco, and Santa Rosa, but there are several others of inferior note. The four first of these are attached to convents, which are handsome erections, each occupying a large space of ground laid out in successive quadrangles. The walls are usually painted with Scripture subjects, and the floors laid in small coloured tiles to imitate mosaic. The fronts of most of the churches are elaborately ornamented with niches filled with saints, arabesque work, and other designs; but as the whole is merely coloured plaster, the cost and pains have not in fact been by any means so great as they appear. The interior of these edifices is still very magnificent, and must have been much more so before they were despoiled of most of their gold and silver utensils and ornaments. They have no screens to divide the choir from the aisle; and on entering at the western door, there is nothing to obstruct the eye until it reaches the

[page] 123

altar at the other extremity. The tables, the railing by which they are surrounded, and the massive chandeliers suspended in every direction, were formerly of solid silver gilt; but, during the pending contest, wood and base metal have been substituted, though the gilding has been lavished upon these with the utmost profusion to conceal their actual worthlessness. A peculiar appearance of magnificence is given to the larger churches in lima by crimson velvet curtains, which, on state occasions, are let down and cover all the naked pillars that support the roof of the fabric. They have generally two organs opposite each other, and over the western entrance.

In the suburb, on the other side of the Rimac, is a chapel of coloured plaster, which is looked upon by the inhabitants of Lima as a great curiosity: it is said to have been founded by the hands of Pizarro, but I could never obtain any authentic information as to its history. It is still used as a place of worship, and great care is taken that tapers should be always burning in it. Connected with the religious edifices, the Inquisition may be noticed: this building has gone much to decay, and it is not very remarkable for any thing but its huge massive gates, and for an inscription over them to justify the propagation of Christianity by the sword. In the dungeons and chambers of the interior are shown the instruments of torture, and the rings and chains by which criminals were fastened to the walls. Of late the inquisition has been used as barracks, for troops quar-

[page] 124

tered in Lima. The present hall of congress was formerly part of the Inquisition, and neither within nor without does it present any thing worthy of particular notice.

The Mint is a very large and important edifice; though during the war it has suffered like all the other public establishments. The only remark to be made upon the Custom-house is, that it occupies a most inconvenient situation for business, and that the warehouses are much too small for the purpose to which they are applied.

The private dwellings in Lima are, generally speaking, very handsome buildings, and some of those inhabited by the English residents are kept in the best repair, and furnished with the greatest comfort and splendour. I have already mentioned the palace of the Marquis di Torre Tagle, but scarcely inferior to it is the habitation of a British merchant of great eminence. What was formerly called the French Hotel, fitted up for the Liberator Bolivar on his arrival in Lima, may, perhaps, rank with either of them. They are all built of unbaked bricks, and as there is no rain, the roofs of cane-matting plastered, are flat, without any inclination. The walls towards the streets, and in the interior of the patios or courtyards, are very gayly coloured with landscapes, battles, scripture subjects, or events from history, the figures being as large as life. Not a few of the houses, instead of expensive porticos, have had them painted in relief, and commonly with such skill and effect as to deceive the eye completely, when viewed from a

[page] 125

distance. The windows for the most part are covered with iron work, wrought into various fanciful shapes; and as this and the balconies are often gilt, a great appearance of wealth and splendour is thus given to the whole city.

The two great markets in Lima are those of San Francisco and San Augustin, but there are several others also in the squares in front of the churches. It is remarked that the butchers, who have shambles in them, are Limenos. The markets are the dirtiest parts of the city, and are crowded with negroes, who cook savoury dishes in the open air, and sell them to the passengers. The fish is brought by Indian women from the sea-side, but especially from Chorillos, in baskets. Those who sell fruit and vegetables spread them on the ground beneath a huge umbrella of canvas: these commodities are conveyed by slaves from the farms and orchards in the vicinity of Lima: they are paid by their masters according to the price they can procure, and, in general, every thing of the kind is extremely dear. The meat is tolerable, but not nearly so good as in England, owing partly to the method of killing the animals, and partly to the breeders not understanding at all how to fatten cattle for market.

[page] 126

CHAPTER XIX.

Retrospect of Affairs after the Retirement of San Martin.—Defeat of Alverado.—Riva Aguero: his Appointment and Character.

HAVING brought my narrative down to my arrival in Lima, in order to present as complete and correct a view as I can of the political transactions to which I have been a witness, it is necessary to take a retrospective glance at the course of affairs since the retirement of San Martin. At the time he resigned his Office into the hands of the congress*, an army of about 4000 men under General Alverado was ready to sail to Intermedios, and a like number on the coast under the veteran Arenales was assem-

* This congress consisted not only of representatives from the portions of Peru which had declared themselves independent, but from towns and provinces yet in the hands of the Spaniards, the members for the latter being chosen by lot from such of the natives as were then resident in Lima. The godos or royalists contrived to form a strong party in this assembly, and though inferior in numbers, they were, perhaps, superior in talents, and at all events more loquacious, so that if they could not contrive to carry plans of their own, they were able to distract the government, and delay or thwart its enterprises. This will account very much for the inconsistencies, contradictions, and apparent indecision of the congress on many occasions.

[page] 127

bled to advance upon Xauja and Cusco, in order to create a diversion. These forces General San Martin had good reason to believe were sufficient for the purpose of crushing the Spanish power in Peru; and they probably would have been adequate had they been well commanded and efficiently employed. On San Martin's retirement, the congress appointed a supreme junta of three persons, consisting of General La Mar, the Conde di Vista Florida, and D. Felipe Alverado, the brother of the general of that name.

La Mar is a Spaniard by birth, though at this period in the independent service: he is an excellent soldier, and was left governor of the fortress of Callao, when the royalists first retreated from Lima; he defended it to the last extremity, but finding that the inhabitants were strongly in favour of independence he joined the patriots. In his person he is extremely soldier-like, gentlemanly in his deportment, and an ornament to any cause he may espouse. The Conde de Vista Florida is a man of good talents and great respectability, supposed to be a firm patriot, and a very fit coadjutor of General La Mar. Don Felipe Alverado is not remarkable for ability, but being brother to the general who had sailed to Intermedios with the expedition, it was thought that he was a proper person to be a member of the government.

Although, in troublesome times, one dictator has always been found more efficient, perhaps the congress could not have chosen three individuals on the whole better fitted for their situation, if the consti-

[page] 128

tuent body had also given them power to decide and to act: but, in truth, the junta bore the odium of the ill success of plans, not of their suggestion, and over which they had no control. The veteran Arenales was ordered to lie idle with his army, and was not allowed to advance to co-operate with Alverado, for which purpose it had been expressly raised. Repeated demands were made to the congress signed by Arenales, Santa Cruz, Herrera, Bransden, and other officers, stating that they were ready to march to act in conjunction with Alverado, and that the present was the fittest moment; but the congress was deaf to their remonstrances, and General Alverado was sacrificed in consequence. This officer landed his men at Arica, and having waited some time to recruit his sick troops after their voyage, finding provisions very scarce, he determined to push forwards to the interior with about 3,500 men, all the disposable force he could muster. He advanced as far as Torata, two stages from Arica, and here he fell in with the royalist general Valdez, whom he forced to fall back with some loss. All would now probably have been well, if Arenales had been advancing by Xauja to support him, but the Spaniards, who were acquainted with the movements of the patriots, and most likely were advised by their party in the congress that they would keep the force of Alverado inactive if possible, no sooner heard of the march of Alverado, than Canterac, with his whole army, (which ought to have been kept in check by Arenales,) by forced marches,

[page] 129

reinforced Valdez, and their combined forces in turn pressed on Alverado. He was compelled to retreat to the neighbourhood of Moquegua, where he was obliged to fight to disadvantage, both in position and numbers. After a contest of two hours, his troops gave way and fled in all directions to the coast, where they perished in great numbers from fatigue and want. Out of this expedition only 1,000 men ever returned ta Lima, leaving their arms, artillery, and baggage in the hands of the victorious enemy. Among these was Alverado, who arrived in Lima in January, 1823. Arenales, in the mean time, had thrown up the command of his division of the army, and had retired to Chili.

The army of the centre (as that commanded by Arenales had been called) being disgusted at the reception of their complaints by the congress, and at the disastrous issue of Alverado's expedition, the officers, at the same time, being worked up by the intrigues of Riva Aguero, sent a demand to congress for a change of government, and when that body hesitated to comply, the army broke up its quarters at Canete, and placing Santa Cruz at its head, advanced towards Lima to intimidate the congress. D. Jose Riva Aguero was recommended by it as a fit person to fill the situation of president, and the congress finding itself hard pressed, at length dismissed the supreme junta, and chose the Marquis di Torre Tagle president. A battalion of troops, however, marched into Lima, and Santa Cruz informed the congress that Riva Aguero was the only

K

[page] 130

person capable of retrieving the affairs of the state, and, finally, that they should not separate till they had come to the determination of appointing him. The most violent discussions took place, which lasted all night, and, in the morning, a proclamation was issued, naming. D. Jose Riva Aguero, president of the republic: next day he was appointed general in chief of the armies of Peru.

He immediately set himself actively to work to recover the lost ground, and to fit out another expedition to Intermedios, which was universally allowed to be the weak point of the enemy. Having now intelligence of the loan raised for Peru in London, he was able, on the credit of it, to form a contract with seven respectable English and foreign houses in Lima, for the purpose he had in view; and the troops were to be placed under the command of General Santa Cruz. The contractors made immense exertions to get every thing forward, and we know well, when British capital and industry are employed, how soon an object of this kind is completed. By the beginning of May, a force of 5,500 men was ready for sea and had sailed. The troops and their officers were composed entirely of Peruvians, it being expected, and with some reason, that the inhabitants of Upper Peru would be more willing to receive their countrymen as liberators, than foreigners: it was also thought that there would not be so great a chance of insubordination and want of discipline among them as was known to exist among the Buenos Ayres and Chilian forces, who had before

[page] 131

disgusted the inhabitants by their thirst for plunder. The president, however, did not act with his usual prudence in appointing General Gamarra second in command, a man of infamous character and disputed courage. This itself proved a considerable prejudice to the expedition, as many valuable officers refused to serve under a man who they asserted was a coward; and among this number was General Miller.

On the 23d of May, as I have before stated, I arrived in Lima, and, on the next day, General Santa Cruz sailed for Intermedios. While the president was employed in fitting out this expedition, he dispatched urgent invitations to Bolivar, the president of Colombia, to come to his assistance: some regiments under General Sucre had already arrived, and the Liberator, as Bolivar was called, was merely waiting to quiet some disturbances in Pasta previous to his embarkation. It was meant to adopt the old plan of San Martin for carrying on the war, viz. that of dividing the Spaniards by attacking them in front and rear; Santa Cruz, with the Peruvian troops in Upper Peru, and Bolivar, with the foreign auxiliaries, consisting of the Colombian, Buenos Ayres, and Chilian regiments, by Xawja, the high road to Cusco, where it was expected they would fall in with the flower of the Spanish army.

The purpose for which I had come to Peru was, as agent for the contractors, to obtain the ratification of the loan by the government and congress, and to draw for the amount upon London. I found that the government had anticipated the funds so

K 2

[page] 132

largely that my arrival had been most anxiously looked for, both by the public authorities, and by those who had advanced money on credit. No demur was therefore made to the different articles of the contract on the part of the executive government, though the congress seemed inclined to hesitate: all the items were discussed for some days before that assembly gave its sanction and ratification to them. It must not be supposed that the articles of the contract were such as induced the congress to hesitate; but they had not forgotten the manner in which Riva Aguero had been forced upon them by the troops, and finding their authority and influence considerably lessened, they were determined, when any act was required of them, to display the little consequence they had left, and defeat or weaken the measures of government as much as possible. Subsequently this spirit of opposition was carried to greater lengths, and at last, unhappily for the country, it broke out into open hostility.

There is no doubt that this system of producing discord was inculcated by the Spaniards to their friends in the congress, who endeavoured by every means to render powerless the hands of the government. As they knew from experience that Riva Aguero, being a Peruvian and an active man, would have a strong party in the country attached to him, they eagerly caught at every opportunity to bring him into discredit.

Riva Aguero was born at or near the famous mines of Pasco, being what, the Limeños call a Serrano or

[page] 133

native of the high land: when a boy he was sent to Spain for his education, and even thus early, while in Madrid, he showed symptoms of a restless disposition. He amused himself at night by sticking up seditious placards in the streets, which occasioned the police by day much trouble in taking them down, and in hunting out the probable author. While the Spaniards ruled Peru, Riva Aguero was a lawyer, factious, and intriguing, and had often been imprisoned for his opinions. He is active and industrious, very ready with his pen, and constant in the use of it. Under the government of San Martin he held the situation of president of the department of Lima, which is the office of chief magistrate, and he fulfilled the duties of his situation with much credit to himself and utility to his master. It is generally believed, that during San Martin's absence from Lima on a visit to Bolivar in Guayaquil, Riva Aguero stirred up the mob by his intrigues to depose Monteagudo. He is a good civil governor, but totally inexperienced in military affairs: very mean in his appearance, but possessing the art of attaching his countrymen to him. It was reported and believed in Lima, that he gave General Santa Cruz a considerable sum of money to accomplish the change of government which placed him at the head of affairs. He prides himself upon the degree of credit which was attached to his government, and on the rapidity with which he was able to collect and fit out the expedition of Santa Cruz; but it ought to be remembered that the credit of the Peruvian loan, in a lucky hour,

[page] 134

gave him resources, of which any other person in his situation might have availed themselves. He, however, certainly was the best governor Lima had after the retirement of San Martin, as he was cautious of raising money by unlawful means, and frugal of it when obtained. During his administration, too, the troops were well paid and clothed, and better discipline preserved among them; and, what can rarely be said of any governor so circumstanced, he never misappropriated the public money to enrich himself. He had many friends and supporters among the lower classes of people, but being descended from no family of note in the country he was always regarded as a plebeian by the higher orders.

On the 2d June, I received the formal ratification by congress of the loan, and was for some days busily engaged in drawing bills for the government. Bolivar was now so certainly expected that a temporary hall was fitting up in the palace for a fête on his arrival, and Riva Aguero was collecting horses for his use.

[page] 135

CHAPTER XX.

Reported advance of the Royalists, and alarm in Lima—Dissolution of the Congress—Flight to Callao—Treatment of the Spaniards resident in Lima—Visit to the City.

ON the 8th June, a rumour was spread in the city that some movement had taken place among the Spanish troops quartered in Xauja. The royalists in Lima, (or godos, as they are nicknamed by the patriots,) always said that the Spaniards would make a descent upon the city; and our advices from Intermedios confirmed the opinion, as they mentioned at the same time that all the troops had been withdrawn from Upper Peru to reinforce Canterac's army, lying at the depôt, of Huancayoyin the valley of Xauja. The patriots, however, never believed this intelligence, but supposed that, hearing of the sailing of the expedition under Santa Cruz, the Spaniards had broken up from their position in order to meet him. Nevertheless, the news from day to day became more positive, that the Spaniards were advancing, and confusion and anxiety began to be evident in the city and government. On the 12th June, pretty certain tidings were obtained that a force had crossed the Cordillera about twenty-five leagues from Lima, but whether it was the main body, or merely a party detached to

[page] 136

make a feint, or for the purpose of driving cattle, could not be ascertained.

A council of war was held, and it was agreed that the troops in the neighbourhood, not wanted to garrison the forts of Callao, should march and encamp outside the city, on the road by which the Spaniards must advance. Accordingly, the Colombian forces posted themselves about a league from Lima, at a place called the Pino, while the Chilian and Buenos Ayres regiments garrisoned the castles at Callao. At the same time General Miller was detached with about eighty dragoons of the Granaderos á Cavallo along the coast, by the road which the royalists must take in descending from the Cordillera. This officer set off secretly by night, as he was afraid of being encumbered by a number of young Englishmen who wished to accompany him.

On the 13th June the city began to be in greater confusion, though no certain intelligence could be collected: the government was packing up, and sending every thing to Callao, and many private families were also beginning to dispatch their goods thither. It was now expected that the congress would give up its power to the executive authorities, and dissolve itself, as in such general disorder it is impossible for a large body to act with effect. I rode down to Callao to dine with Captain Prescott of his Majesty's ship Aurora, and on my return in the afternoon I found the road crowded with the sick troops from the hospital in Lima proceeding to Callao: the least infirm were marching on foot, the

[page] 137

remainder in carts and on jackasses. I never saw such a picture of wretchedness in my life: they were generally half naked, and some so feeble that they were obliged to lie along their low animals, their long legs, nothing but skin and bone, frequently touching the ground.

General Miller sent in word, on the 14th June, that there was no doubt that the Spanish army was advancing, though he had not yet fallen in with it, and that his horses were completely knocked up: he begged, therefore, that others might be sent to him, and horses were dispatched by his friends to enable him to perform the hazardous duty with which he was entrusted.

The greatest alarm and distress at this time pervaded Lima: many until now had distrusted the news, thinking it possibly some scheme of the government to induce the congress to dissolve; but now it was put beyond doubt that the city was either to be given up to the enemy, or to become the scene of bloody contention, terror was visible in every face. All thought only of removing; some to Callao, and others, who had no property in Lima, to Truxillo. The dismay was the greater, as nobody could obtain mules for their conveyance, the government having laid an embargo on them all for the purposes of the state: even those houses particularly attached to government were not able to procure a licence for mules, and we were obliged to remain quiet till the public authorities had dispatched all their effects to Callao. The churches were stripped of their re-

[page] 138

maining silver ornaments, and every thing sent away that could be of advantage to the enemy.

To-day the most violent discussions took place in congress previous to its dissolution; and it was not until cries were raised in the hall of ya estan los godos! "here are the royalists!" that the members would consent to relinquish their power. At last terror prevailed, and they dissolved themselves until a more propitious time, settling the government on Riva Aguero. Many of the representatives proceeded along the northern coast; but the larger part retired to Callao, while some, supposed to be connected with the Spaniards, determined to remain in Lima to welcome the entrance of their friends.

I rode out this evening to visit the Colombian army in its encampments. The ground chosen was an open dry space on the road from the city to Lurin. It had been levelled by the Spaniards before they left Lima, as a place for exercising the troops; and on the left side was a long whitened wall, with the figures of soldiers painted upon it, formerly used as marks for the men to fire at. Beyond the wall were high, rugged, barren hills, the beginning of the Cordillera; and on the right the sea, at the distance of two leagues. Through the middle of this position ran the road to the seaport of Chorillos and to Lurin, and about half a mile in advance was the large estate and church of San Borjas. It was occupied by an advanced guard, while the remainder of the troops were bivouacked in three divisions, and the staff of

[page] 139

General Sucre established in a circle in front. As far as I could judge, the number of men in the field might be 3,000: they were considered tolerably good-looking troops, but very different from those I had been accustomed to see in Europe; they were for the most part without shoes, and all without stockings. Many had only a piece of cow-hide under their feet, and not a few were even barefooted. Their uniform was coarse blue cloth, turned up with different colours; their caps leather, with the Colombian colours, red, blue, and yellow, painted on a cockade in front. The men in general were short, excepting the grenadier companies, and the mestizos, of half Indian and half Spanish extraction.

It was now pretty clearly ascertained that no battle would be fought, as the patriot cavalry, in number about 500, had left Lima for Chancay, twelve leagues distant on the road to Truxillo, for the benefit of pasture. Many speculations were afloat why resistance was not offered, and some persons even ascribed cowardice to the president; but I believe that General Sucre had express orders from Bolivar to avoid a general action, and indeed his troops were not sufficient to cope with the Spaniards. It was well known that they were advancing with their whole force in hopes of crushing the patriots at one blow, never dreaming of the expedition under Santa Cruz to Intermedios. It was, besides, evidently the policy of the patriots to keep the Spaniards on the coast, where the men would either die from the difference of the climate, or be enervated by the

[page] 140

luxuries of Lima, while Santa Cruz would be making good footing in Upper Peru, and recruiting his men before any force could be brought against him.

On Sunday morning, 15th June, by particular favour we were allowed a licence and passport for about forty mules, and having locked them into the patio of the house, we loaded them with, baggage, money, books, and some furniture, and got an officer to attend them through the gate of Lima, where immense sums of money were often extorted by the guard for allowing baggage to pass. At about twelve o'clock we left Lima for Callao, the females in a carriage, while I was on horseback. The road was literally filled with all kinds of vehicles, loaded horses, mules, jackasses, and foot passengers. Callao was crowded with people, yet thousands were on their way thither. We crammed ourselves into a small house of business belonging to Mr. Robertson in Callao, intending to find shelter on ship-board, which under the circumstances would be preferable to living on shore.

Numerous and contradictory reports were brought next day from Lima: some said that the enemy was at the gates; others again, hard of belief, stated that after all it was only a foraging party of the Spaniards, which was already on the retreat.

I determined to go to Lima on the 17th, to learn if possible the real state of affairs. The road was still crowded as on the 15th; but a greater number were on foot, half fainting on the road, particularly the women, as it was utterly impossible to hire animals to carry them. I met thus circumstanced

[page] 141

many very respectable Englishmen, as well as natives, and among other foreigners Judge Prevost, the American Envoy.

About half way, I found the road so completely blocked up that it was impossible to proceed, and I was forced to break out of the highway. The extreme pressure was occasioned by a body of the civicos, or city militia, conducting down to Callao as prisoners the poor native Spaniards, who had not concealed themselves in Lima. The heart must have been hard indeed which could not pity these miserable sufferers, many of them of noble families. What a contrast to their former condition, when they held the reins of government in Peru! Proud, insolent, and despising the Creoles, as they contemptuously called the Americans, they enjoyed all the riches of the land: how often had they dashed along this very road on their shewy horses, or lolled in their gaudy calesas to visit their chacra, or to take their diversion with their friends in Bella Vista! now miserable, footsore, half clothed, and goaded along by the muskets of rude militiamen, who had once looked up to them almost as a superior race.

On entering the city I found the streets deserted: in fact, the place was half emptied, and many respectable families had entered the convents, for protection against expected outrages on the first arrival of the royalist army. I visited such of my friends as intended to continue in Lima, consisting of all those who had not in any way identified themselves with the patriot cause. Those merchants who had emi-

[page] 142

grated, left their clerks in charge of their warehouses and goods. A man of the name of Dupuis had been left governor by Riva Aguero: he was of French extraction, and had been already rendered terrible by a massacre of about eighty Spaniards in the little town of San Luis, on the road from Buenos Ayres to Mendoza, as I have already mentioned. He had published an order that any Spaniard found in the town two hours after the issuing of the proclamation, should be shot, strictly enjoining all to repair to Bella Vista, for which purpose passports would be granted to them on application.

About four o'clock in the afternoon, having taken leave of my friends, and having an official letter to Captain Prescott of the Aurora from the merchants, requesting him to come to Lima to negociate with the Spaniards, I set off on my return, the royalists being then expected to enter the city every hour. The road was quite as much crowded as when I passed it in the morning, and it was, therefore, a considerable time before I reached Callao. On going through the gate of the principal fort, a soldier threw a lasso over my horse's head, and dragged me into a herd of more than 100 horses, which they had seized. My first impulse was to draw my pistol and shoot the fellow, I was so exasperated at being hauled off the road so unceremoniously; and I had actually levelled it with the intention of blowing his brains out, when luckily the president of the republic came up, and ordered the soldiers to let me go, at the same time apologizing for the treatment I had received.

[page] 143

I may mention here an act of tyranny which was always resorted to by the government in times of urgency: if they wanted horses, they immediately issued a proclamation, calling upon the inhabitants to give up such as they had, at the same time sending out soldiers into the streets to dismount every person; returning them their saddles and bridles, but carrying off the horse. The worst part of this arbitrary proceeding was, that the soldiers, who carried no regular order from their commanding officer, seized horses and sold them again, putting the money into their own pockets: they would even force their way into private premises, and carry off the animals from the stables.

[page] 144

CHAPTER XXI.

State of Callao.—Entrance of the Spanish army into Lima.—Character of General Sucre.—Departure of the Congress for Truxillo.—Intelligence from Lima.

I FOUND the streets of Callao so choked as to be almost impassable. All the colonnades in front of the houses had been converted into dwellings by partitions of matting; besides which whole rows of huts, constructed of matting fastened to four poles stuck in the ground, were built along the sea shore under the guns of the forts. Provisions were already extremely dear: eggs sixpence each; small rolls sixpence, and meat, which was most plentiful, about one shilling per pound. My family moved to-day on board the Medway, East Indiaman, the same vessel in which we had sailed to Lima. Though she was dreadfully crowded, yet it was preferable to being on shore, where we had every reason to think, from the filth and the number of the lower classes of people, that a pestilence would ere long break out.

Captain Prescott went to Lima next morning, and I was shewn a note from General Miller, in which he said that the advanced guard of the Spaniards had reached San Borjas, where, as before

[page] 145

stated, the advanced guard of General Sucre had been placed. At the same time a deserter came in from the enemy; he was an Indian, and his dress white, with blue facings: he could give very little intelligence; but he supposed that the army consisted of about 7,000 men. Towards the afternoon we had advice that a body of 200 men had entered Lima; and, as we were looking out in front of the fort, we could perceive the Colombian forces filing down from Madalena to Bella Vista, the road to Callao from their position at the Pino: they marched in three columns, and finally took up a position for the night under the guns of Callao, leaving a strong advanced guard on the high road near Bella Vista.

I went to the fort on the 15th of June, to pay a visit to the president. He was in remarkably good spirits, talked of the false step the Spaniards had committed in descending upon Lima; and of what a favourable opportunity it would afford Santa Cruz. He at the same time told me of the demands made by the Spaniards, as a compensation for sparing the property of the emigrants from Lima: viz. 40,000 yards of cloth, 3,000,000 dollars, and 3,000 stand of arms. He said that he returned only a verbal answer, that they might come to Callao, and take them if they could.

In the evening I went to look at the encampment of the Colombian rifle regiment, stationed under an angle of the forts. The men were lying in square on the bank of shingles which formed the glacis, without tents or covering of any kind. Most of the

L

[page] 146

officers were Irish, who had served several years in Colombia. They seemed much offended at being ordered to retreat from their position without even seeing the enemy, and said that they had been accustomed to fight the Spaniards, three to one, and that if Bolivar had been with them they should certainly have had an engagement. From the encampment I continued my walk round the tongue of land Which runs south from the principal fort, and passed Over the ground occupied by the old town of Callao, destroyed about eighty years ago by an earthquake. The site has every appearance of having been once built upon; it is covered with masses of brickwork, and the tops of walls which have been nearly swallowed up are still visible. There are also several vaults, above ground, said to have been churches, into which are thrown the dead bodies of the garrison. On passing over them I found the stench horrible, corpses remaining half exposed in all the different stages of putrefaction, some clothed, and some naked.

The intrigues of the congress against Riva Aguero, Which had slumbered during the last few days of confusion, now began to break out again, and a person was soon found to be their leader and champion. General Sucre, to whom Bolivar had given a limited command of the Colombian troops until his arrival, is a young man of a good military appearance, particularly on horseback, who has distinguished himself in Colombia. He commanded the troops at the battle of Quito, driving the Spaniards completely

[page] 147

out of the province; but I should nevertheless take him to be a better politician than a soldier, and as he is an active intriguer he is a match for Riva Aguero.

The congress began to turn their eyes towards him, that he might support their cause against the president, whom they wished to depose. General Sucre is of a very silent habit in company, but his countenance has the air of thought, and he is very industrious and clever with his pen. He is also ambitious, and the views of congress seemed to chime in exactly with his own ideas of aggrandisement. He consequently was easily led into their measures, which at the same time paved the way to the absolute authority which he wished to secure to Bolivar when he should arrive. In the first instance, he made complaints to the congress of bad management within the fortresses—that the provisions, ammunition; &c. were wasted, and the troops badly supplied. They were greedily listened to by many of the members, who now held their sittings in a small chapel in Callao, and they appointed General Sucre governor of the castles. This proceeding nettled Riva Aguero, who was at this period living in them. General Sucre, however, did not stop here; for he further represented that his measures for carrying on the war were crippled by being overruled by the president, who knew nothing of military affairs. A long and very hot debate took place in congress in consequence, in the course of which the partizans of Riva Aguero made a firm stand; but his enemies were

L 2

[page] 148

too numerous, and it was carried that General Sucre should have the supreme political and military command of that part of the country threatened by the enemy, until the arrival of Bolivar. This vote of course put an end to the power of Riva Aguero in Callao, and he addressed an official note to congress resigning the presidency, and requesting his passports. The congress, without a moment's hesitation, accepted his resignation, and gave him leave to go whither he liked, as soon as he had duly made up his accounts, and delivered up the public papers, &c. in his possession.

However, on the very next day, the congress having determined to remove themselves and the seat of government to Truxillo, they reappointed Riva Aguero, requesting him to go with them. His friends persuaded him to consent to this arrangement; and General Sucre was left in Callao with the command of the forces. The congress and president embarked on the 26th June, and numbers of emigrants accompanied them. I have thus, in some degree, forestalled my narrative, in order to preserve entire the course of intrigues between Riva Aguero, Sucre, and the congress, which afterwards led to such a melancholy issue for the peace of Peru. I shall now resume my narrative where I left it.

On the 19th June, two transports arrived with 600 men from Guayaquil, and Bolivar was every day expected. In the evening we were alarmed by a report that Lima was in flames; all the inhabitants ran out of Callao to see it, and certainly a number

[page] 149

of fires were observed in every direction, and many speculations were afloat concerning the cause of them. Those who had houses and property in Lima felt certain that such was the fact; but many others were persuaded to the contrary, and the lights turned out to proceed only from the fires of the Spanish army encamped between Lima and Callao.

As soon as morning arrived on the 20th, we perceived that the enemy had taken up their position on a range of artificial hills, the remains of buildings or burial-places of the ancient Indians. It was a well chosen spot, from whence they could see every thing which was passing in Callao. General Miller went out on a reconnoitring party so close to a body of the Spaniards, that he was able to converse with them, and one of the officers told him in mere joke that he (the Spanish officer) was willing to join General Miller; that he was of the black regiment of Arequipa, and that the whole body was of the same opinion. This declaration was misunderstood by one of the dragoons under General Miller, who immediately galloped back to the fort with the intelligence, that the regiment of Arequipa had deserted and was coming up the road to join the patriots. I had advanced with my glass about a mile along the road, as far as Bella Vista, to see what I could, and I heard a most discordant uproar in Callao: turning back I observed the whole population pouring out in front of the castles exactly like bees from a hive, when they are in the act of swarming. As soon as my first surprise was over, it

[page] 150

appeared to me that the clamour was rather of joy than of terror, and I therefore hastened back to learn the good news. When I approached the motley crowd, I was asked by a hundred tongues, "Have you seen them? Are they coming?" Seen whom?—What coming?" I naturally replied. They then gave me the false information that had reached them by the dragoon. Near the spot on which I stood was presented the most ridiculous scene in the world. The president of the republic, with his staff in full uniform, in the majesty of condescension, had come out to receive these patriotic sons of their country, who had deserted from the enemy, while the remainder of the crowd were embracing each other with exclamations of Que dia feliz! "What a happy day!" Que golpe mortal al enemigo! "What a death-blow to the enemy!" In the meanwhile came up a straggling dragoon or two who knew nothing about it; and at last an officer, who had gone forward to ascertain the truth, returned with the intelligence that it was a mistake. The whole scene was changed in an instant, and the president and every one silently sneaked home disappointed and half conscious what a foolish figure they had cut.

A vessel came in to-day from Arica, with dispatches from General Santa Cruz, dated the 9th June, stating that all the vessels had arrived safely in port; and that the troops, owing to good accommodation in the transports, were remarkably healthy. The expedition had landed and was well received by the inhabitants, and a salute was fired by all the

[page] 151

forts of Callao in consequence. To-day also a contract was entered into by some English and foreign merchants, to furnish ships, &c. to transport 3,000 men, with provisions for forty days, on a secret expedition.

As the vessel my family was on board was taken up as one of the transports, I was obliged to move out of it, and after searching among the shipping and houses, I could find no place in which we could take shelter. I had indeed in my possession an order from D. Andres Rivoredo for a house of his in Callao; but an officer already occupied it, and I did not wish to live on shore, as alarms were frequent at night of the Spaniards entering the town.

An Englishman practising as a surgeon in Lima having ridden out to view the Spanish camp, requested leave of Canterac to come down to Callao to visit some patients. Permission being granted, a party was dispatched to conduct him to the advanced guards of the patriots near Bella Vista. As this was the first communication we had had from the city since the Spaniards entered it, we were of course anxious to hear the news. He stated that the Spanish force consisted of about 5,000 or 6,000 men, of which perhaps 2,000 might be in Lima,—that the English had as yet been respected, though nothing was determined concerning their property,—that the Cabildo had raised 300,000 dollars, chiefly by plundering the churches of the little silver that remained,—and that the enemy knew nothing of the expedition of Santa Cruz until they arrived in Lima. Four English

[page] 152

sailors, who had been taken prisoners at Arica, also came in as deserters. They had formerly left a patriot brig on the coast, and enlisted into the Spanish cavalry; but they soon got tired of the service, and determined to quit it on the first opportunity. They estimated the royalist army at about 8,000 men; and they added, that many of the Spaniards would desert if there were an adequate patriot force in the neighbourhood to protect them.

After considerable difficulty, I obtained accommodation for my family in the Harleston, East Indiaman, and removed on board. She was completely full, and we were of course compelled to put up with many inconveniences.

[page] 153

CHAPTER XXII.

Interviews of Captain Prescott with Canterac—Character of Canterac and of Generals Longa, Miller, and Rolet—Feigned attack upon Callao—New Expedition to Intermedios.

CAPTAIN PRESCOTT returned from the Spanish camp to Callao on the 23d June, having had two interviews with Canterac. The first was in consequence of that General demanding from the city the sum of 350,000 dollars, to be paid before four o'clock in the afternoon: it was utterly impossible to raise the sum in the given time, and Captain Prescott, on behalf of the English merchants, endeavoured to induce him to lessen his demand. He found Canterac polite, but determined: he said that if the English would send their property to his camp, it should be protected, but that while it was in the city, it must take its chance. After much unpleasant conversation, Canterac was nevertheless gained over by the gentlemanly behaviour and strong reasoning of Captain Prescott, and he altered his resolution: about 150,000 dollars were paid at the time specified, but I never learn whether the whole claim was subsequently enfocred. Captain Prescott in the last interview, the precise object of which I do not remember, was

[page] 154

received by Canterac in his tent, which contained nothing more than a camp-bed, a trunk or two for seats, and a case of French wine.

General Canterac is of French extraction, if he be not a Frenchman by birth; and in the struggle between the armies of Buonaparte and the Spaniards, in the late Peninsular war, he took part with the latter, and served as a colonel, while, by a singular coincidence, San Martin was fighting on the same side. At the time the troops deposed the late Viceroy Pezuela on the ground of incompetence, Canterac was very active, and being next in command to La Serna, when that officer was made Viceroy by the army, he took the situation of General of the forces. He is a good officer, and understands military tactics; but I have been told that he is personally by no means a brave man: certain it is, that he is not so much liked by the troops as Valdez, who is a more dashing and daring commander. He is short in his person, of a fair complexion, with a long thin sandy beard. All the officers wear their beards; and it is said that, on their first retreat from Lima, they vowed never to shave until they returned victorious. Whatever be the cause, as they are often exposed to violent changes of climate, they assert that the hair affords a very useful defence to their faces.

About ten o'clock on the morning of the 26th, me were much surprised by hearing a cannonading from the forts. I immediately took a boat, and went on shore. I found Callao in a ferment, and full of troops, as it was expected that the Spaniards intended

[page] 155

to storm the place. I mounted a flat-roofed house at the back of the town, which commanded the whole scene, as it was not ten yards from the breast-work connecting the forts: from this place I could see all the arrangements of either party. I observed the Colombian troops posted in different quarters, all the forts and batteries manned, and the black regiment of Buenos Ayres, about 500 strong, at the breast-work connecting the castles and the large fort of Real Felipe: part of the town of Callao had also been thrown down, and levelled, for the purpose of making a more effectual resistance if necessary.

The main body of the Spaniards was at Bella Vista, where it was sheltered by the buildings which remained standing. Their left was in a kind of orchard defended by a low wall, behind which I could perceive the white caps of the infantry, and men lying down under different embankments. Their right was just out of gun-shot from the left fort of the patriots, and from this point they advanced their skirmishers among the low bushes and along the ditches almost to within musket-shot. It struck me that the royalists could never have thought of really attacking the forts, as the position of the patriots was so strong, and their forces could not be much inferior to those of the Spaniards; and it turned out that Canterac wished if possible to provoke them out of their defences, to engage him upon open ground.

About half way between Bella Vista and the principal fort of Callao, there is a wooden cross mounted on a stone pedestal; and at this point

[page] 156

General-Miller, who was reconnoitring with Colonel Rolet, fell in with the Spanish General Longa, and they had a conference which lasted for some time.

General Longa bears the character of a very brave man, but is not at all liked in the royalist army on account of his intemperate disposition; and were it not that he is in other respects a valuable officer, the Viceroy would probably not have continued him in the service. In consequence of his passionate temper, he is under an express command from the Viceroy never to wear a sword excepting on actual service, as he has killed several persons at different periods in his rage. A kind of romantic friendship existed between him and General Miller, in consequence of their having mutually saved the lives of each other at a time when an order had been given on both sides that all prisoners should be shot.

General Miller is an Englishman, and served in the Peninsular war as a lieutenant of artillery: he joined San Martin in Chili, and commanded the marines of Lord Cochrane at the storming of Valdivia, where he was most severely wounded. He sailed in San Martin's expedition to Peru with the rank of major, and led one body of troops destined for the attack of Pisco, while his friend and countryman Colonel Charles commanded the other. The place was carried by them against a very superior force, but Miller and Charles both fell in the moment of victory: they were laid in the same tent, but Miller survived his friend, who died of his wounds. He has suffered dreadfully in the cause of

[page] 157

independence, having been blown up while mixing combustibles on the island of San Lorenzo, at the time Lord Cochrane was blockading Callao and endeavouring to destroy the Spanish vessels by fire ships. On that occasion Miller lay for some days without a feature in his face being discernible, and was fed through a quill. He has besides lost the use of one hand by a musket-ball through the palm. Under the orders of San Martin he raised and commanded the Peruvian legion, which was a pattern of discipline to the rest of the army. He is the only Englishman, of the few who are in the service of the patriots, who has advanced: he was a general officer and founder, which is the highest rank, of San Martin's Order of the Sun at the age of twenty-seven. He is an excellent officer for dangerous services; brave, prompt, and active. The royalists have great respect for him, and are more afraid of him than of any other leader in the patriot service. He is well acquainted with Peru, and much liked by the natives, so that he has been able to sustain himself in an enemy's country with a small force. His person is tall and gentlemanly, his manners attractive, mild, and unassuming.

Colonel Rolet is a Frenchman, and a bold intrepid officer, having performed the most perilous enterprises in a gallant manner. He has spent a great part of his life in the midst of revolution, and was imprisoned in Spain for his opinions. I believe he joined San Martin before his invasion of Chili, but of this fact I am not positive. He was in the expedition

[page] 158

to Peru; and during San Martin's operations on the coast, he greatly distinguished himself: at the head of a small body of cavalry he surprised the enemy in every situation. He is an excellent guerilla leader, but has not generally shown sufficient consideration for the peaceable inhabitants. His life has been full of adventures, and his conversation consists very much of anecdotes of his services. After the occupation of Pasco by the patriots, when Arenales had defeated the Spanish General O'Reilly, who held the town, Captain Rolet was sent as a flag of truce to the Spanish head-quarters at Xauja. On his return he came to Reyes, a town twelve leagues from Pasco, inhabited by Indian herdsmen, all zealous patriots. They mistook his dress for that of a royalist officer, and took him prisoner. He produced his pass, which not one of them could read; and notwithstanding his assertions that he was on their side, they bound him hand and foot, stripped him of every thing, and each gave him a blow for a "maldito godo:" next morning after repeating the same treatment they carried him out in order to shoot him, when luckily a Montonero officer entered the town, who recognized and saved him.

While these three officers were conversing together, Canterac had advanced a considerable way from Bella Vista, with a single orderly dragoon, to reconnoitre the castles; and remained about a quarter of an hour within shot, sitting on his horse with his telescope in his hand, and dressed in a white poncho and straw hat.

[page] 159

About three o'clock in the afternoon, two light companies marched out from the small fort to dislodge the skirmishers, whom they attacked with their bayonets, and drove them back; but as bodies of royalists advanced to their assistance, the two companies retired again to the forts. Soon afterwards the firing ceased, and Canterac, finding that he could not induce the patriots to leave their works, withdrew his forces.

The Spaniards remained quiet next day, though the patriots expected that they would have advanced again, and during the night, they had therefore stationed two gun-brigs near the fort on the left, as it was most exposed. I walked over the ground which the enemy occupied yesterday, but could find no bodies, both parties having carried off their dead and wounded men. The Spaniards lost a colonel: one ball, which fell into a mass of their left wing, killed and wounded seventeen men. Bella Vista too had the appearance of having suffered a cannonade.

A vessel arrived to-day from Valparaiso, bringing accounts of the dreadful gale from the north, on the 9th June, by which fourteen vessels were driven on shore and lost, and many more damaged. This storm occasioned the delay of an expedition fitting out at Valparaiso to join Santa Cruz, as the transports which were to have conveyed the troops were lost, and in them many of the arms and accoutrements which had been already shipped.

The government and merchants were now actively engaged in fitting out another expedition to

[page] 160

Intermedios, while the Spanish army was inactive in its camp before Callao. About 3,000 men were destined for this service in two divisions, one under General Miller, and the other under Alverado: they were chiefly Colombians; and General Sucre was to sail as soon after them as possible, in order to take the command in chief. The first division under General Miller departed on the 3d July, and the other about the 7th of the same month. In the mean time the town had been frequently alarmed during the night by desperate skirmishes outside the walls between the advanced guard of the patriots and the Spanish cavalry.

As soon as Canterac had intelligence of the sailing of General Miller's division, he despatched General Valdez with a body of troops to oppose him; and it was confidently reported by deserters and others from Lima, that the main body of the royalists would speedily break up from its position and retreat.

[page] 161

CHAPTER XXIII.

Journey to Truxillo—Huacho and its Indian inhabitants—Difficulty in procuring horses—Country near Huacho—Huaura and the Sandy Deserts.

ON the 8th July a vessel being about to proceed to Truxillo, and having some business to transact with the president and congress, I waited upon General Sucre, and received his despatches. I then embarked on board the schooner Carmen, a small coasting vessel. We were to have sailed in the evening, but our anchor got foul of the cable of the Venganza frigate, and detained us till late. While we were endeavouring to clear it, the first lieutenant of the Chimborazo, Colombian brig of war, Captain Ramsay, came on board and directed us not to start at night, orders to the contrary having been given in consequence of the recent escape of some persons indebted to the government. The lieutenant remained on board, taking his grog with the captain and mate of the Carmen, and all three getting a little intoxicated, a quarrel ensued, which ended in the seizure of the mate by a party of marines, brought on board by the lieutenant. He was carried to the Chimborazo, but in an hour was returned by Cap-

M

[page] 162

tain Ramsay, and at about four in the morning the Carmen set sail.

After a very uncomfortable voyage of two days and two nights, though the distance is not more than thirty leagues, I found that we were approaching that part of the coast where Huacho is situated. The whole country, as we skirted along it, appeared a succession of high sand hills, and a heavy surf broke on rocks. We crossed the fine bay of Salinas, in which San Martin's fleet lay at the time his army was on this part of the coast; and, rounding a bluff headland, we got into a small bay, near to which stands the town of Huacho. I was by this time so completely sick of the voyage, that I determined to leave the Carmen and proceed by land, if it were practicable. I therefore disembarked with my servant on the 11th, leaving my luggage to go by sea. The surf even in this bay is so high, as to make it very unpleasant and sometimes unsafe to land. A boat cannot approach near the shore on account of the shallowness of the water, but the Indians carry passengers on their backs.

From the landing-place there is about half a mile of turf beach, watered by little streams trickling down from the hill, which here approaches so near the sea as merely to leave this narrow slip. On the top of this elevation is placed the town of Huacho, one of the most miserable places I saw in the country. The suburbs consist of Indian huts, built of interwoven canes, with flat roofs covered by a kind of mat, on which is sometimes spread a little

[page] 163

mud. The Indians of the town are for the most part fishermen, a stout hardy race, fat, plump, and good natured, though with features of rather a melancholy cast. They have hats manufactured of a kind of rush, in imitation of those of Jipijapi, near Guayaquil, but inferior; these, as well as segar cases, are chiefly made by the women and children, who squat down at work in front of their houses. The Indians, both male and female, wear their black hair very long, and strained back off the forehead; it is plaited into one tail, which hangs down the back. Both sexes are dressed in coarse blue cloth of the country, the men wearing jackets and large loose breeches, open at the knees, which reach however nearly as low as the ankles. The women have short-sleeved shifts of blue cloth, open at the bosom, and heavy quilted blue petticoats, fulled all round, and so long that you cannot see their feet. Both men and women place a coloured worsted girdle round the waist, which they esteem a great ornament. The higher class of Indian women have a garment under their coarse woollen shift, made of linen, with a finely worked bosom, the neck being always left bare. The children, if they are not quite naked, wear small blue shirts.

The better part of the town consists of a plaza, and two or three streets; the houses here are built more substantially, but there is a great want of cleanliness in the whole town. The fine dust in the streets is absolutely over the shoes, and the buildings being of mud and not whitewashed, have a very

M 2

[page] 164

dirty and comfortless appearance. The houses are generally all constructed on the same plan, the front to the street being a rude kind of colonnade, projecting from the flat roof, and resting on a wall of mud three feet high, on which the inhabitants sit and smoke. The interior consists usually of two ante-rooms, the whole extent of the building; behind these are one, two, or three bed-rooms, and at the back of them the corral or yard. This town and its neighbourhood is famous for having been for a long time the headquarters of San Martin. His army here suffered dreadfully from disease, about 2,000, out of 4,000 men he brought from Chili, having died in their quarters.

Finding that there was no post for furnishing horses, I went to the governor of the town, who was sitting in a dirty room amidst a pile of dusty papers. As soon as I mentioned my request to be furnished with horses towards Truxillo, he seemed as much disconcerted as if I had demanded his money, breaking out into loud exclamations. At last I heard that Colonel Lavalle, who was in command of the troops in the neighbourhood, consisting of the Granaderos a Cavallo, and of the 11th regiment of infantry, had taken all the horses, and that I must therefore apply to him. I waited upon him accordingly, and he politely made out a passport to Truxillo, placing the horses of the state at my disposal, and enjoining the lieutenant-governors of the towns on the road to afford me every accommodation and assistance. I now therefore hoped to get on

[page] 165

comfortably, and carrying my passport to the governor, begged that I might have two good horses for myself and servant immediately. I now discovered that the "horses of the state" were those of the poor people, who owned some miserable beasts not worth carrying off by the Granaderos a Cavallo: He sent for the Alcalde, an Indian without shoes or stockings, but nevertheless, being in office, a formal dignified personage (with a large hat of blue and white reed, which he thought extremely fine, and with a staff to add to his importance), and after a consultation, during which I found it would be extremely difficult to procure any horses at all, much less good ones, the ministros or runners of the Alcalde were sent to press into the service any thing they could get.

After waiting a considerable time, two or three miserable creatures, with raw backs, and whose points (though not their good ones) were very discernible, were brought for my choice; the governor informing me that they were to go merely one league to Huaura, where I should obtain plenty of good horses. He wanted, in fact, to get rid of me at any rate, and under the circumstances I can hardly blame him. As there was only one saddle and bridle, the difficulty now was to get horse furniture for my servant. I inquired if "the state" had any, and I was told where I could buy an old saddle, for which I paid double the value, but I could nowhere procure a bridle or stirrups. The ministros of the Alcalde were therefore again set to work, and took a bridle off a

[page] 166

poor woman's horse, to whom however I paid at the same rate as for the saddle. At last we mounted, having pressed a stout Indian into our service to run by our sides as a guide, and to bring the horses back. He, however, soon overtook an acquaintance going our road, and got up behind him.

The Indians of former generations have taken advantage of every stream from the Cordillera, and leading it from its source in numberless rills, have used it in the most economical manner to irrigate the land; and the whole coast of Peru, from the Desert of Atacama, which divides it from Chili, to its northernmost boundary, is a dry sandy waste, excepting where some river from the mountains descends to the sea. In its neighbourhood the most beautiful verdure and luxuriant vegetation is produced, the soil being usually a deep black mould. The valley which divides Huacho from Huaura is well watered, and is very delightful, and seems little less than a paradise, compared with the barren mountains that confine it. The enclosures are small, and are divided by green hedges covered with creepers, and diversified by trees bearing fruit of the richest colours, the yellow orange, the green chirimoya, the clustering banana, and the purple grape: they are filled, besides, with birds of the most beautiful plumage, while the plaintive dove of Peru, which has a different note from that of Europe, adds its sweet voice to the enchantment of the scene. The crops of these rich and well cultivated enclosures are the mandioca root, the high and bright Indian corn,

[page] 167

rice, and lucern, which is the universal food of the cattle throughout Peru. The effect, however, of this beautiful scenery is much destroyed by the wretched appearance of the filthy huts of the inhabitants.

The town of Huaura is entered by a temporary and unsafe bridge over a deep ravine, at the bottom of which runs the torrent which fertilizes the valley. The remains of a handsome brick bridge are still seen, but it was destroyed by San Martin, and works were thrown up in front of it to cover his small and sickly army. The town itself is respectable, the principal street being tolerably well built, with houses in the same style as the best of those in Huacho. It has also a good church, and, standing on a hill, it has a beautiful view towards the bay of Salinas. I was sadly disappointed on applying to the governor (who had been with Colonel Lavalle in the morning, and had received orders to forward me), to find that he had not been able to provide horses of any kind; so that I was obliged to take the wretched animals we rode as far as Supe, seven leagues distant; though, to do the poor beasts justice, they had carried us better than we expected. I hired a fresh guide, and we proceeded as well as we were able.

The country for about a league beyond the town continued fertile and cheerful; but it then changed to a succession of sandy plains and hills, named in Peru pampas sin agua, plains without water. Over these dreary wastes there is not the slightest appearance of vegetation, and, in many places, beds of pure

[page] 168

rock-salt appear above the sand. Such is the case throughout the whole of this portion of the country, the Bay of Salinas taking its name from the salt which is found near it, and which forms a very considerable branch of trade. The road through these deserts, called the camina real, or King's road, is a foot track worn in the sand or on the rocks, and it is every where strewed with the carcasses and whitened bones of animals which have perished from fatigue and want of water: the climate being invariably dry, they decay very slowly, and accumulate for ages.

[page] 169

CHAPTER XXIV.

Supe—Supper with the governor—Barranca, and its river—Pativilea—Peruvian agriculture—Indian ruins, and description of the coast and country.

IT was dusk when we arrived at the top of a high sandy ridge, from whence we could merely see the valley of Supe, darker than the surrounding sand. After winding among tall hedges, which completely excluded what glimmering of light we might otherwise have enjoyed, we came into an open space, where, from the barking of hundreds of dogs, I knew we had reached the vicinity of the town. It had its plaza, where the church and governor's house were situated: the rest of the town consisted of mud-houses like those of Huacho, and cane-huts of the Indians. It stands about a mile from the sea, and carries on a coasting trade with Lima and Truxillo.

On presenting my passports the lieutenant-governor invited me into his house, and said that his family had retired into the interior with every thing valuable and moveable, as the royalists had been expected. We were soon joined by the Marquis di Cara Munoz, who had emigrated from

[page] 170

Chancay, where he had estates, to Barranca, one league from Supe: he had with him a few dependants, armed with spears; all the gentlemen in the country raising bands of guerillas, as well to annoy the enemy as to defend their own habitations. The governor of Supe had held the office while the Spaniards maintained their authority, and was continued in it by the patriots.

Not having eaten any thing since I left the vessel in the morning, I was not sorry to see the supper placed on the table, consisting of chupe and hashed fowl. Chupe is a good dish, borrowed originally from the Indians, and composed of fish, eggs, cheese, and potatoes, stewed together. The guests sit round it, and with their own spoons help themselves to whatever they like best in it. Plates are not used, though one was laid for me out of compliment. After supper some sweetmeats were produced, in a small wooden box, accompanied by a pitcher of clear water. The lieutenant-governor apologized for having no bed for me, but he placed a good soft pellon or rug upon the table, and, with my saddle for a pillow, I should have slept remarkably well if I had not been almost devoured by the fleas, whieh swarm particularly on the coast.

At nine o'clock on the morning of the 14th July, having had considerable difficulty in procuring horses, which at last were about as bad as those of yesterday, I started, having first had a little egg-flip with the padre, or parish priest, who lived next door, and evidently understood making it. We had not pro-

[page] 171

ceeded far from the town when the old mare which my servant rode lay down in the road, from weakness: we therefore, without ceremony, entered a little enclosure, where we saw a horse feeding, took it, and left the old mare in its stead. After passing over a sandy desert for about a league, we arrived at the valley and town of Barranca, the latter just of the same description as Supe. I met the governor, a gentlemanly man, on horseback, who invited me to breakfast at his residence, a mile from the town, on my road, while he left orders for two good horses to be brought us. He regaled me with an excellent meal of hashed fowl and chupe, with chocolate and toast afterwards. He was an officer who had served under San Martin, and therefore knew many persons with whom I was acquainted. After breakfast, the horses (which certainly were very good ones) being ready for the next stage to Guarmay, he insisted on accompanying me as far as the river, in order to see me safely across it. The road thither lay through large cultivated fields, with tapias or mud-fences, not those beautiful flourishing hedges I admired so much in the valley of Huaura.

The river of Barranca is approached by a precipitous descent down a high bank of large pebbles and earth: as this was the dry season, it merely consisted of three separate torrents about as deep as the saddle, but unsafe, as the bed is composed of immense round stones, which afford the horse a very uncertain footing: the breadth of the channel altogether may be more than a quarter of a mile, and

[page] 172

when rains fall in the Cordillera it is completely full, running furiously, and carrying along with it trees, and even rocks, which render it generally impassable. It is, however, sometimes crossed by swimming horses over it, but many have been lost in the attempt. The opposite side of the river is low swampy ground, covered with bushes for some distance, and the horses wade for a considerable way up to their middles in water. The land soon began to rise, and we came to a fine sugar estate belonging to a nobleman who resides in Spain, whose brother, an old royalist, lived on the spot. The high road passes through the court-yard, and as a gentleman came from Barranca, and was going as far as Pativilca with me, he stopped to speak with the old planter. It is a remarkably fine estate, having its chapel and buildings all enclosed within a high wall, like a fortress. On entering the gate we came into a large oblong court-yard, one end of which is occupied by a fine house, and the remainder by the mill, sugar-houses, and slave-houses. The land is plentifully supplied with water, which is conducted to every part by acequias of masonry: some of the plantations were just shooting, others in full growth, and more again only half grown.

I soon afterwards reached the town of Pativilca, which is rather larger than those I had already seen. Some of the houses, also, are more commodious, though the dust and filth in the streets are as great here as elsewhere. I merely stopped to present myself to the president of the department of Lima, which ends

[page] 173

here: he had emigrated on the approach of the Spaniards. He was a respectable elderly gentleman, and was kind enough to give me a passport, strongly enjoining the lieutenant-governors on the road to furnish me with every assistance.

After passing for about a league through a well cultivated country, laid out in open fields, and fenced with mud walls, we came to a large house; and the guide thinking it would be better to carry forward some maize for our horses, we determined to obtain it here. Our guide demanded Indian corn for "horses of the state," of course, free of cost, which brought the whole family upon us. The master very properly required to see his authority; but I ended the dispute by saying that I meant to pay for every thing: the old man then showed us a heap of maize, desiring that we would take what we wanted for nothing.

As travelling on horseback is so universal in this country, a number of conveniences have been invented to diminish the toilsomeness of the way: for instance, on the saddles and under the pellon, or rug on which they ride, they spread a blanket, sheets, &c.; pockets of strong cotton, called alforjas, are also carried slung across the animal like English saddlebags, and containing linen, eatables, &c.: for drinking, the horsemen have at the saddlebow either a calabash, or a pair of large ox-horns neatly tipped with silver.

Beyond the estate I have mentioned our road still

[page] 174

lay for about a league through the same fertile country, where I had an opportunity of seeing the Peruvian method of ploughing. Four oxen are yoked nearly as in England, and the plough is partly on the same construction, but much narrower in the mould board, and ill made, so that it merely grubs its way, turning the furrow as much on one side as on the other. It is the custom, after a crop has been carried, to let the water run over the ground for a certain time till it becomes soft, and then the plough is set to work. The depth of beautiful black mould generally found in the irrigated parts of this country would be astonishing, if we did not recollect that for ages much soil has been washed down from the Andes with every flood, whether produced by rains, or by the melting of the snow. The neighbourhood of Pativilca is one of a very few exceptions, as it is a stony soil; but why it is different from the rest I am unable to explain. After the field has been ploughed and cross ploughed to their satisfaction, the farmers draw out deep furrows about two or three feet apart, and down these they turn the water: they then drop the grains of maize on the slope of the land, covering it in with their feet. All kinds of grain or vegetables are sown or planted in this manner, so that they can be irrigated with less water, and with more regularity than where a field is sown down on a plain surface.

As soon as we left the cultivated country, passing over an open green plain, we came to the sea-side, and

[page] 175

the road now lay on the top of a high stony beach, covered with drift-wood and whales' teeth, cast up by the most tremendous surf I ever saw, not merely because it breaks so violently on the beach, but because it extends so far out to sea: for more than a mile the water was a succession of rolling waves, which seemed to unite as they approached the beach, from which they recoiled with a sound, at a distance like tremendous vollies of artillery.

At this part of the road are situated two remarkable ruins of the ancient Indians, called the fortresses: the largest of them stands at the extremity of a plain, close at the foot of some rugged mountains, about a league from the sea. Its appearance is that of a large square mass of mud work, diminishing towards the summit, and forming large steps. Although undoubtedly of great antiquity, it does not appear to have suffered materially, as all the sides are square, and the edges sharp. It is partly covered with a kind of plaster, on which are still seen the uncouth coloured representations of birds and beasts. The other ruin is on the top of a very high rock overhanging the sea, which is accessible only on the land side, and that with difficulty; it appeared to be in a much more ruinous state than the other. Tradition says that from this eminence the Indians, in the time of the Incas, used to cast their condemned criminals, as the Romans from the Tarpeian rock.

After passing by a salt lake, where the ruins of works used by the Spaniards still remain, we

[page] 176

entered upon a long sandy plain, now perfectly barren, but where from the remains of acequias, and the ruins of dwellings, it is very evident that cultivation had once covered it with verdure. It appears highly probable that the Indian ruins I have just described were erections belonging to the Inca or chieftain, situated in a populous country. Whether the water that formerly supplied these acequias has altogether failed, or whether the present scanty inhabitants are too indolent to take the pains formerly bestowed on the soil, I cannot determine; but I am persuaded from my observation, that great part of the arid plains on the coast have formerly been peopled and tilled, and the dry stumps of trees are still observable in various situations. It is conjectured, and I think plausibly, that Peru was much more populous in the time of the Incas than now, and that the present natives having sufficient land under cultivation for their purposes, are not at the same trouble and expense to lead the water from its source, as the old Indians were obliged to do, in order to make the country support greater numbers of inhabitants.

On the other hand it seems probable that there has been some revolution of nature, which has completely changed even the course of streams; for along the coast there are several beds of large rivers, called by the inhabitants rios secos, "dry rivers," where, beyond a doubt, water has formerly run, but not in the memory of the present, or of several previous ge-

[page] 177

"nerations. One of these wide dry beds is only about two leagues from the remarkable ruins of which I have spoken, and the course of the current, and the sand driven by it, are plainly discernible. It may be supposed, therefore, that the failure of water obliged the inhabitants to leave this part of the coast, and to emigrate to the land before dry, but which the new course of the water enabled them to cultivate.

The road now wound away from the sea-side through a miserable sandy district, while the almost intolerable heat of the sun, and the slow pace of the horses, in consequence of the deepness of the sand, rendered the journey doubly wearisome. I passed this afternoon over several small hills of different bright hues, for which I could account no better than by supposing the colours to arise from metallic substances mixed with the sand: pink, blue, and green, were particularly vivid. I thought of collecting a small quantity of each, but I found, on separating it from the main body, that in a great measure it lost its brightness.

The road from hence entered a range of high stony hills, the windings of which the people in the vicinity call los callejones, "the lanes." It was now growing dark, and my guide, who I had observed for some time seemed doubtful of the road, at last declared that he did not know where we were: I therefore thought it better to lay up for the night, than wander more out of our road. Unsaddling

N

[page] 178

our horses, and putting a heavy stone upon their halters, the only way of securing them in such a place, we gave them the heads of Indian corn we had brought with us, and I divided equally our bread, cheese, and water, with my servant and guide. I laid myself down on my saddle and rolled myself up in my cloak, to defend myself from the dew which was falling very plentifully.

[page] 179

CHAPTER XXV.

Murders of travellers—Wild inhospitable shore—Difficulties on the road—Guarmay—The Priest, and a song by his mistress.

At day-break, on the 13th July, after a little difficulty, we found our road, which continued to wind through narrow passes, where occasional wooden crosses, propped up by small heaps of stones, showed the spot where some traveller had been murdered: indeed no place could be better fitted for such a purpose, the way being so narrow that escape would be impossible, and there would be little danger of the assassins being interrupted by intruders. Leaving these passes the road descended again by a stony plain to the sea-side, where the sand was so light and deep, that the impressions of the animal's feet are obliterated immediately they are made. I here met a party coming from Truxillo, who comforted me with the assurance that the worst half of the stage was still to be performed: when I asked them how many leagues remained, they told me diez leguas mortales, "ten deadly leagues," and they called them so with reason, for I found the road excessively heavy and fatiguing: the horses sometimes

N 2

[page] 180

waded nearly up to their chests in hot sand, and as they had now and then to climb almost perpendicular hills of it, I endeavoured to save my horse as much as possible by walking up them.

The shore here was covered with sea-birds, and among them pelicans were numerous: the detached rocks, washed by the furious and resounding surf, were inhabited by innumerable herds of seals, whose discordant yells and screams gave a singular wildness and horror to the scene.

After these deep hilly roads we descended into a level sheltered valley, ornamented with green and lively shrubs. We could see no water, but it is found by digging in the earth to a small depth. A family once attempted to reside here to accommodate travellers, but some of the members of it dying, the rest left the place. This valley is about two leagues long, and, as the ground is hard, it forms an excellent road. Our horses, nevertheless, began to knock up from the toilsomeness of the way we had passed, and about a league further on mine dropped under me: our situation, therefore, became extremely unpleasant, as we were full six leagues from our journey's end, and it appeared impossible to get the horses forward. I began to look at the bones of animals scattered all along the road with some feelings of commiseration, and expected to see my horse give up the ghost every minute. Neither did I relish the proposal of my guide that he should ride forward on his mule to Guarmay and bring back horses, as he could not have returned before night,

[page] 181

and I already had a specimen of his knowledge of the road after dark. I therefore determined, whatever happened, to remain together, and if the horses could not go, to leave them, and proceed the rest of the way on foot. After resting a short time, however, I got my horse upon his legs again, and leading him up a sandy ridge, which tired me exceedingly, I remounted; the poor animal reeled under me, and I had not proceeded far before he lay down again. On unsaddling him I found his back dreadfully raw, as my saddle had galled it severely. I therefore made my servant put his saddle, which was of a different construction, on my horse, after which I found him relieved, and we proceeded slowly. The extreme heat of the valley we had just left had made the animals very faint, the sun being powerful, without a breath of air; but on gaining the height we caught the sea-breeze, which refreshed them. The road also became a little firmer, and led down hill.

We had at length the pleasure of beholding the green valley of Guarmay at about three leagues distance. It was astonishing to observe the instinct of the horses: the moment the valley was discernible, they pricked their ears, and set forward with alacrity towards their pasture. About three o'clock in the afternoon we arrived at Guarmay, having passed the last mile or two through narrow lanes, with hedges winding over rich lucera pastures, at which our jaded beasts cast their longing eyes, having had

[page] 182

no moisture within their mouths for about thirty hours.

The town consists of one wide long street of Indian huts, with two or three mud-houses, one of which belonged to the lieutenant-governor, a respectable old shopkeeper, who seemed a little king among his countrymen. On showing my passport he kindly offered me his house, advising me at the same time not to go forward this afternoon, as the next stage to Casma was eighteen leagues, and those also "leguas mortales." The old man entertained me very hospitably, having a dish of hot chupe made for me, and bringing out a bottle of ancient sherry, which was quite a treasure: in fact, we nearly finished the whole of it, while I related the news I brought from Lima.

In the evening I went with him to drink tea, with the Priest of the place, a well-informed man, who amused me with accounts of the manners of the Indians of the interior, among whom he had resided, and whose language he understood. From the specimens he gave me, I thought it sweet and musical, full of vowels, and well suited to the mild harmless lives of those who speak it. "Notwithstanding the respectability of the appearance of this clergyman, I had good reason to know that his morality was not superior to that of most of his profession in Peru: he was living openly with a pretty interesting girl, for her class of a very modest deportment, and who having a sweet voice, entertained us, during our stay, with

[page] 183

the following song, accompanying herself as usual on the guitar.

Corazon, porque pretendes
Con ese traidor estar?
Si el no te tiene amor
Deja, corazon, de amar.—
"Pretende porque lo quise
Con el a perseverar,
Y aunque el me sea traidor
Yo siempre lo he de amar."

Quando mas fina lo adores
Mira te ha de abandonar;
Y para no sentir mucho
Deja, corazon, de amar.—
"Bien pudiera a mis finezas
Con abandonar pagar;
Pero yo siempre constante
No puedo dejar de amar."

Hartos consejos te doy
Queriendo te consolar:
Ten presente sus traiciones,
Deja, Corazon, de amar.—
"En vano con tus consejos,
No los quiero ni escuchar;
Ciega estoy en su belleza,
No puedo dejar de amar*."

* Why, Oh heart, do you continue
To that faithless traitor true?
Can he who only hates you win you?
Cease, fond heart, to love him too.—
"I cannot, will not, cease to love him,
Since my passion rules my will:
If a traitor he can prove him,
I will prove I love him still.".

[page] 184

She was evidently far from happy with no society but that of the Priest, and there was a delicate plaintiveness in her tone and manner that excited the strongest sympathy: I could learn nothing of her history. She made tea for us, and conducted herself with much natural gracefulness; but I observed an authoritative manner about the priest towards her that was very offensive.

I slept very soundly on the furniture of my saddle, spread on a large mud bench, covered with carpeting for the purpose;—the place I imagine usually occupied by the slaves: even the attacks of numerous fleas were not able to keep me awake. I was much vexed in the morning at finding that the alcalde, who had promised me horses by day-break, had not got them ready, and it was nine o'clock before we started, my servant being mounted on a mule.

When you love him truly, dearly,
He will but abandon you:
Would you cease to grieve severely,
Cease, fond heart, to love him too.—
"If my love he should endeavour
With ingratitude to kill,
I may cease to live, but never,
Never cease to love him still."

Listen, foolish heart, to reason,
Nor so vain a course pursue:
Only think upon his treason,
And then cease to love him too.—
"I 'll not listen; and remind me
Of his falsehood as you will;
Still his beauty's light must blind me,
I must love him dearly still."

[page] 185

I have explained in my last day's journey pretty, fully the kind of travelling in these sandy deserts: they are all very much alike, excepting that the road to-day was even deeper, and more toilsome. Four leagues from Guarmay, where there is a little pool of bad water, surrounded by a few bushes called Las Culebras, the snakes, was the only spot of firm ground we met with the whole day. As I had a great dread of having the animals knock up on the road, I began the journey very leisurely, and it was quite dark when I reached Casma. I intended to have travelled all night if possible, and I presented my passport to the lieutenant-governor, begging that he would forward me immediately. He informed me that there was not an animal in the town belonging to private individuals that was fit for my purpose, and that he had strict orders not to press into the service of the state the horses of the post. I gladly agreed to hire post horses at the regular rate; but found it would be morning before I could start, as they were at pasture at a considerable distance. I was forced, therefore, to remain at Casma for some hours.

In the room I occupied was also an officer, whom my guide had no sooner observed, than he accused him of having stolen some horses from Guarmay early in the morning, and he delivered a letter to the Governor of Casma from a person at Guarmay, stating the circumstance. It appeared that the officer, not content with the horses of the state with which he had been provided at Guarmay, had sent out two or three soldiers by night to seize

[page] 186

others, which he meant to have carried to Truxillo, and there he would perhaps have sold them on his own account. He heard the accusation as if it were a mere matter of course, but was obliged, after some dispute, to give up the horses.

I left Casma at five o'clock in the morning with excellent horses, paying at the rate of about sixpence a league for each; and as I travelled very fast I got on to Nepeña, over ten leagues of deep sand, in five hours, which was dreadfully hard work for the animals. I here washed myself, and changed my linen for the first time since I left Callao. I found the Governor, who was a royalist, very uncivil, and being informed also that he ill treated the officers and soldiers who were absolutely thrown upon his protection, I reported him to the President when I reached Truxillo, and another individual was sent in his place. Nepeña has nothing in it worth mentioning, and from thence I was supplied with tolerable horses to Santa, a distance of eight leagues.

My guides had hitherto invariably been Indians, but the one I now procured was named Louis Castillo, a well dressed knowing fellow, who rode his own fine horse, with a clean white scented handkerchief in each pocket of his jacket, besides a quantity of dollars. On entering into conversation with him, I found him an intelligent man. He told me that his business was that of a propio or express; that he was employed both by the government and by private individuals, and that he received for the journey

[page] 187

from Truxillo to Lima from 100 to 200 dollars, generally performing the distance in five days.

The road from Nepeña to Santa continues through a sandy and hilly country. We fell in with several remains of Indian towns, particularly with two streets, parallel to each other, and extending in a direct line as much as a league. They are about twenty feet wide, paved with mud bricks, with a wall on each side of about three feet high; at intervals are the ruins of the houses, all partially buried in the sand. The plain in which these towns are situated has evidently been formerly cultivated, the dead trunks of once flourishing trees being still visible. There are other ruins near Santa, some upon a large scale, and formed of mud bricks.

On entering the valley of Santa, I observed a huaca, or large mound of earth, with mud walls, so frequent throughout Peru, and believed to be the burial-places of the ancient Indians, as they contain skeletons and utensils, supposed to have been buried with the bodies.

We arrived at Santa about four o'clock in the afternoon: it is a considerable town, with a large plaza and church, situated on a productive plain. It has an excellent port, which is visited by ships from Lima, for rice, sugar, and lard. Pigs and cattle are very plentiful. Not having yet broken my fast, I was quite ready for a dish which the governor provided for me, and finding I could get horses, I determined to travel all night to Viru, eighteen leagues off, and fourteen leagues from Truxillo.

[page] 188

CHAPTER XXVI.

Passage of the river—Viru—Moqua—Arrival at Truxillo—Its appearance—Situation and trade—Huanchaco.

WE left Santa about half-past five, on good horses, which the governor lent me out of his own stable. We proceeded through the valley by a narrow path, where the wild sugar and other canes, entangled with shrubs, so completely overhung the road, that we had to force our way through them for about a mile till we arrived at the river. It is similar to that of Barranca, but more dangerous, as the water is deeper. Here Indians constantly attend with horses to guide travellers across the rapids, keeping a horse on each side of them; the upper one to break the force of the current of the river, and the other to support the traveller's horse, in case it should be unable to resist the stream, or should stumble over the large rolling stones at the bottom. As I before remarked, the water was at the lowest at this season, but it was nevertheless necessary to proceed very slowly, and it would be extremely dangerous to pass without guides, as the bed of the river is full of holes, producing strong eddies and whirlpools.

[page] 189

On the other side, at a short distance, is a large estate and house, where travellers are accommodated and furnished with horses. Here we halted for a short time, in order that the courier and an officer, who were proceeding in the same direction as ourselves, might join us. Immediately we left this hacienda we got upon a barren desert; but as it was now dark, we could see nothing. I knew, however, by the tread of the horses, that the ground was solid; in fact, we passed over firm rocks of salt, and where there were no rocks, the surface was encrusted with it, and it sounded under foot like a hardly frozen road. About midnight we reached a high range of sand hills, and having climbed to the top of them, we agreed to lie down and rest a little. This however is a very bad practice, and we regretted afterwards that we had done so, for it made us so sleepy, that when we remounted we could scarcely sit our horses.

We arrived at Viru about seven o'clock in the morning, and I found the town exactly like all the others I had passed through: the lieutenant-governor too (as I had experienced throughout the journey, excepting at Nepea), was a very hospitable man. After breakfasting with him on chocolate, I felt so jaded and ill, that I feared I should not be able to proceed that day; but as Truxillo was only fourteen leagues off, I determined to attempt it. The horses of the state were here most deplorable objects; but after I mounted I found myself considerably refreshed. Two roads lead from Viru to Truxillo; the most

[page] 190

direct inland is of dreadfully deep sand; the other, about three or four leagues in advance, strikes down to the sea, and continues winding along the coast till within two leagues of Truxillo. It is a most dreary ride; the barren sand hills rise to a considerable height, and the tremendous surf rolling upon the beach, strewn with timber and bones, produces a very dismal impression.

Our horses, were so bad that they were knocked up before we got half way; and at last they fairly came to a stand still about four leagues from Truxillo. Nothing now could be done but to send the guide forward to a town called Moqua, about two leagues from us, to get fresh horses, while I wrapped myself up in my cloak to obtain some sleep on the sand. The guide did not return till it was quite dark, and I began to be very impatient; not relishing the idea either of remaining all night in that situation, or of walking forward with almost the certainty of losing myself. He, however, brought two pretty good horses, and we again started, leaving the other poor beasts to spend the night as they could, and perhaps to add their bones to the others on the road.

On passing over a considerable hill, which prevented our skirting the sea shore, I observed the ground stuck thickly in many places with small wooden crosses, and on inquiry I learnt that they are placed there by the fishermen, before they go out to sea, to ensure good luck and a safe return. The town of Moqua stands about one league from

[page] 191

the sea; it appeared, as well as I could see it by that light, to be an extensive but very ruinous place, with a large church; from, hence to Truxillo the road is through a well cultivated country, with fine luxuriant hedges, covered with beautiful creepers of various kinds, which completely prevent the traveller from looking into the fields. We entered Truxillo about eight o'clock at night, and I immediately proceeded to the house of an English gentleman to whom I had a letter of introduction.

Truxillo, the capital of the province of the same name, may be called Lima in miniature; and like Lima it has a mud wall round it about twelve feet high, forming a succession of bastions and curtains: it contains about 10,000 inhabitants. The streets are straight and in squares, and the houses and churches built and coloured like those of the capital. It is two leagues from the sea, in a wide and rich valley, at the foot of the Andes, and abounds with all the necessaries of life, which are comparatively cheap; the rent of houses is also low, the price of the best being about 300 dollars a year, while in Lima it would be worth 2,000 dollars per annum. Though four degrees nearer the line, the temperature of Truxillo is preferable to that of Lima, and it is not so subject to the tertiana or ague, in all probability because there is a better circulation of air through it.

Truxillo enjoys a pretty considerable trade with the capital, and with Guayaquil and Panama. Its commerce with Lima consists of the produce of the fer-

[page] 192

tile valley, cotton, sugar, rice, and lard, together with coarse blue cloth, manufactured in the neighbourhood, and generally worn by the Indians. Considerable quantities of gold and silver, of which it has very good mines in the Cordillera at a short distance, are also sent from Truxillo. The returns are chiefly in British manufactures, which generally bear a price of twenty-five per cent higher than in the capital. However the consumption is not great, and one good warehouse is sufficient to supply the whole demand.

Huanchaco, the port of Truxillo, is little better than an open roadstead; the town itself is nothing more than an Indian village, the huts being built of four square pieces of rush or cane-matting sewn to slender supporters, with another mat for the flat roof. The streets are so narrow that two horses can with difficulty pass, and the rider can look down upon the whole town. The only buildings fit to be called houses are the custom-house, and two or three others near it with a view of the beach. A substantial church stands on a hill at the back of the town, and is used as a landmark for vessels to find the anchorage.

The landing at Huanchaco is extremely dangerous, owing to a tremendous surf, which as usual extends far out to sea. The boats belonging to ships seldom or never now attempt to land, so many lives having been lost; but they make a signal for the government launch, a large heavy flat-bottomed boat, rowed by eight expert Indians, to come out to

[page] 193

them. The method of embarking here is so extraordinary, and is so skilfully performed, that it may perhaps be worth while to give a short description of it. The launch is always moored about twenty yards from the shore, beyond what may be called the beach-breakers, and passengers are carried out to it by the Indians: they sit on one shoulder, and hold by the head, while one leg is in front and the other behind; in this manner the Indians contrive to carry out persons dry, even when the waves rise up to the bearers' chests. Some Indians stand half way up the hill on which the church is situated, and the launch with the passengers remains stationary till the party on the rising ground gives the signal: while they see the rollers, as they are termed, coming in from the sea they are silent; but immediately the waves have subsided for a short time, they set up a shrill whistle, modulating it exactly according to the time the launch will have before waves arrive. The boatmen instantly row, either moderately, or with their whole strength, regulating their speed by the tone of the whistle, and very often after they have started they are warned by another signal of the same kind to lie to until advised again in the same way to proceed.

During my stay in Truxillo, I had occasion to go on board a whaler, the captain of which, a very courageous fellow, said that he had never seen a surf in which his whale-boat could not live; accordingly we put off in it in order to land, but after having had the boat filled with water, and nearly

O

[page] 194

swamped, while we were more than a mile from the shore, he was forced to give up the undertaking, and make the usual signal to the launch. Instead of boats or canoes, the Indians use what are termed balsas, both for fishing and for carrying on their intercourse with the shipping; these are nothing more than two bundles of reeds, about twelve or fifteen feet long, bound fast together, and pointed at one end, which turns up. On this frail machine the Indian, squatting on his hams, paddles himself with a large split cane over the most tremendous surf. He floats like a duck upon it, or if he be thrown by the waves from his balsa, he regains it without difficulty, as they are all expert swimmers. The Indians go off in this manner to the shipping when otherwise there could be no communication with the shore. They are constantly employed as smugglers, and will carry off as much as a hundred weight of silver at a time, bringing back manufactured goods, generally without wetting them. The common payment for this sort of service is about a dollar and a half for each trip.

The province of Truxillo appears to have been very populous under the Incas, as the country is full of Indian remains; among the most curious of which are the ruins of a large city, half way between Truxillo and Huanchaco. Parts of the houses are still standing, and the streets are easily traced; some of them must have been extremely narrow, and the huts not more than eight feet square. There are, however, in the same place the relics of

[page] 195

very large buildings, with mud walls of more than a yard in thickness; and beyond all the ancient fortifications of the city, in many places crumbled down to a mere heap of mud. The ruins altogether cover an immense space of ground.

Attached to them are several huacas, looking only like common hills; but when explored they are found to consist of different little chambers or vaults where the Indians have been buried. These tumuli have been narrowly examined, both from motives of curiosity and avarice, and several treasures of old silver have been found in them, besides quantities of earthen vessels of different curious shapes, with working tools of copper and flint. The ordinary method is to employ an Indian who, from experience, is pretty expert in guessing at good situations; he probes the hillock with an iron rod, and as soon as he finds a hollow, the party commences digging, and is usually rewarded according to the rank of the Indian whose tomb they have invaded: in some have been found the spindles used by the lower classes, with, the cotton thread still perfect upon them, though, according to the ordinary calculation, they must have been under ground about 300 years.

O 2

[page] 196

CHAPTER XXVII.

Visit to the president—Forcible dissolution of congress, and appointment of a senate—Return to Lima—Attack by robbers—History of an Englishman.

HAVING visited Truxillo on business with the president and congress, I shall now give a short account of some proceedings which took place during my stay there.

I called upon Riva Aguero the night I arrived, to deliver the despatches I had brought from Callao. I found him at his desk surrounded with papers, while his mother was receiving company in the same room. We talked over the state of affairs for some time, and particularly on the probability that the Spaniards would quit Lima. The president told me that he had organized about 5,000 troops in the province, 1,500 of which were then in Truxillo, while great part of the remainder were under the command of General Herrera, late minister of war, in Huaras, the capital of the province of Huilas, which is in the Sierra between Truxillo and Lima. The troops in Truxillo I had an opportunity of seeing: the infantry regiment was about 1,000 strong, many of them raw recruits; but the officers

[page] 197

were indefatigable in drilling them: there was, however, a great want of arms among them, not more than two-thirds having muskets. The cavalry were well-mounted, armed, and equipped, but, like the infantry, without much discipline.

I have before mentioned that Riva Aguero could not act in harmony with the congress, which never forgave his seizing the presidency by force of arms. In Truxillo the representatives followed their old system, throwing obstacles and delays in the way even of the most trifling business.

On the 23d July, a most extraordinary occurrence took place. Wishing to see one of the members of the congress, I went to the house where they were assembled. While I was there, two aid-de-camps of the president arrived, and notwithstanding the remonstrances of the door-keepers, they rushed into the hall. I heard a considerable bustle inside immediately, and soon afterwards the door opened, and one of the officers ran out, and, drawing his sword, called for the soldiers: his companion was left struggling at the entrance with some of the members, who succeeded at last in excluding him. In a short time the two officers returned with a party of military, who were placed at the doors to prevent any member from leaving the house. The officers then proceeded to collect the representatives in the hall, and a most ludicrous scene followed. Some, who no doubt thought they were to be driven into the chamber to be butchered, betrayed the most contemptible cowardice, and dressed out in silk stock-

[page] 198

ings, embroidered clothes, and diamonds, crept into all sorts of dirty holes and corners to hide themselves. The two officers and their men, meanwhile, hunted them up in all directions, and drove them into the sala like a flock of sheep into a fold. Here one of the aid-de-camps read to the members a long paper, recapitulating all their misconduct towards the state and government, and declaring the congress dissolved. The president stated that he had convicted seven of them of corresponding with the enemy, and these were detained prisoners; but the soldiers having been withdrawn, the rest were allowed to proceed whither he pleased.

I was determined to see the end of the affair, and therefore went immediately to the palace of the president, where a small mob was assembled, and where I observed a number of the members whom I had heard a few minutes before protesting against the gross violation of the law and constitution, entering the palace to offer their services, and to congratulate Riva Aguero on the decisive step he had taken. The president soon after showed himself to the people, when the crowd raised a cry of "Viva Riva Aguero:" he replied that they should rather exclaim, "Viva la independencia," and he explained that, in consequence of the vexatious proceedings of the congress, he had found it necessary to dissolve that body; but that though many of the members were base and treacherous, others were zealous and patriotic, and he should choose out of the latter a government calculated to support the liberties of Peru. In the

[page] 199

afternoon, a proclamation was published, stating that the affairs of government in future would be carried on by the president, assisted by a senate: the names of the members and their different duties were also published.

During this important revolution, and after it, there was very little appearance of confusion in the streets, and no stronger proof can be given of the general apathy of the Peruvians on public occasions. To witness a show, or to follow a religious procession, they will always rouse themselves to activity; but a political change, which free nations look upon as most interesting, is by them treated almost with indifference.

On the next day the president gave a grand dinner to his new cabinet, and a large party of friends; a number of toasts, adapted to the occasion, were prepared and drunken. The company then adjourned to another room to partake of coffee and other refreshments, and I was highly amused at seeing a number of the guests, particularly friars, cramming their pockets with the cakes and sweatmeats of the dessert as Riva Aguero and his immediate connexions were retiring.

The same afternoon news was received from Callao, which produced a general conviction that the Spaniards were on the point of abandoning Lima. General Sucre had left Callao to join the expedition in Intermedios, and every body therefore began either to move or to think of moving back to the

[page] 200

capital: the president himself talked of starting in the course of two or three days.

On the 28th July, having accomplished the object of my journey to Truxillo (where my servant very inconveniently left me), and wishing to return to my family, I set off in the evening with a guide for Viru, where I arrived about nine o'clock: finding some travellers going to Santa, I persuaded the governor to furnish me with horses, and we started with them immediately. We reached Santa at about ten o'clock on the next morning. After calling upon a friend who was under a severe attack of the ague, I left Santa about one o'clock in the day, and arrived at Nepeña at five in the afternoon. It was Sunday, and the people were all dressed in their best; most of the men were enjoying the sport of cock-fighting, and among them, I saw my smart guide, Luis Castillo, in the ring with his bird under his arm. Throughout the whole of Peru this amusement is very prevalent: every man keeps his game cock, and they are seen at all the cottage doors. The English breed is particularly esteemed, and they sell for a great price.

I was detained by the postmaster between two and three hours for horses, and during this interval I took the opportunity of getting something to eat. I arrived at Casma about twelve o'clock at night, having passed a most dreary stage, as it was dark all the way.

I was here obliged to rest myself in the miserable

[page] 201

dirty post-house, where I found people still gambling and drinking, even at that hour, and consequently quarreling. After a wretched supper of eggs and bad bread, I lay down on a bench to sleep, but the fleas gave me no opportunity of doing so. It was my intention to have proceeded early to Guarmay, but I was prevented, in consequence of all the horses in the place having been seized for some officers and government clerks, who were returning to Lima. I could not therefore get away before nine o'clock, though I was up by five in the morning. Casma formerly was famous for its cotton, and the valley is still full of plantations, which the goats are allowed to range over and destroy, in consequence of the unsettled state of the times, and the dearness of labour, the government having carried off all the Indians for soldiers.

The sun being very oppressive, and not a breath of air stirring in-land, I travelled along the sea-shore: this way is longer than that which I took in going to Truxillo, but it is cooler, and the sand not so deep: it is a most dismal ride, with the alternations only of the screams of ravenous sea-birds, the yells of the innumerable seals, and the awful roaring of the surf. The horses, though tolerable, were completely jaded by the heat, and it was dark before we arrived at Culebras, four leagues from Guarmay, where we rested an hour. We then started again, but the night was so dark, owing to the heavy fog, that it was impossible to see the tracks of the animals' feet in the sand, which is the only distinction

[page] 202

between the "camino real" and the desert. The usual method with travellers in such an emergency is to light a segar, and with the head close to the ground to look for the impressions. We wandered about a considerable time with our tired beasts over hills of sand, till at last, the moon rising, we came into a path which seemed to take our direction. I had placed my Indian guide on my horse, as his own was the most tired of the two, and he had neither whip nor spur to urge it along: he was a few yards in advance of me, with my baggage and saddle, when he came suddenly upon two men who were lying in the road: one of them immediately seized hold of my alforjas, or travelling bags, and asked what was in them. I called out to them from behind to let the bags alone, and unfastening my cloak, I drew my sabre to be ready for an attack which I expected: however, the fellow who had asked the question came to me, when I told him to stand clear, and seeing that I was quite prepared for them, they said in excuse that they belonged to a party of soldiers who had lost their baggage; that the remainder of the party was in the little valley of Culebras, and that they, having been sent to find the baggage, had lost their way. Now, we had just left the valley of Culebras, and must have seen or heard any party of soldiers there, as it was merely a green patch with a few trees and a pond of water, so that it was clear their story was untrue. The two men accompanied us for some distance, but I always took care to see them before me, and as soon as we got to the valley

[page] 203

of Guarmay they seemed to know their road Very well, and parted from us.

The rascals were both armed, and there is no doubt that fear only prevented their attempting to rob us. My Indian guide, who had scarcely dared to breathe while the fellows were in our company, found his tongue immediately they left us, with the exclamation of Picaro ladrones! rascally thieves!

I slept to-night at my little hospitable friend's at Guarmay, where I found a relation of his, a muleteer, who was going in the morning to Pativilca, and we agreed to proceed together. I ordered post-horses to be ready very early in the morning, but it was seven o'clock before we could get away. I and the guide had excellent horses, and the muleteer was on a fine mule which cost him 150 dollars; so that we travelled rather faster over the dreary road than when I passed it before on the tired beasts I have already mentioned. Nothing can be more melancholy than such a country: the road is covered with the bones and carcasses of animals that have perished, and now and then you even meet with the remains of saddles and horse furniture, belonging to some unhappy traveller, who had been obliged to leave the animal to perish, and perform the rest of the weary journey on foot. My companion informed me that some years before he was going this road, and having lost it, absolutely wandered about three days, during which his mule had nothing to eat or drink, and he himself very little. Mules are by far the best animals for journeying through a wild

[page] 204

desert like this, as they are much more hardy, can subsist longer without food, and can bear heat better than a horse. There is, however, one disadvantage: if a mule once stop from fatigue, nothing can make him move, while a horse will proceed till it actually drops dead under its rider.

We entered Pativilca about seven o'clock, having travelled twenty-two leagues in twelve hours, which is extraordinary speed in such roads. I slept at the house of an Englishman, who keeps a huckster's shop in the town, and who always entertains his countrymen on the road: he is a plain honest man, and has resided above thirty years in South America. His story is somewhat interesting. He came to Peru via Panama in the quality of Mr. Merryman to a company of English mountebanks. When the party separated, and some of them returned home, he determined to remain in the country, and set up the business of baker, to which he had been brought up in England, and he followed this trade in nearly all parts of South America. He was in Quito at the time that city was nearly destroyed by an earthquake, and where he had a very narrow escape. He lived successively in Cusco, Arequipa, and La Paz, and from the latter place he chose himself a wife. He told me that he continued to move about the country, because he found that as often as he was known to have collected a small sum of money, the inhabitants robbed him.

At eight o'clock next morning I took leave of my English friend, Don Julian Campos (as he is called

[page] 205

by the natives, from having told them that his mother's name was Field), and arrived at Huacho at about twelve o'clock, having travelled ten leagues. I found again the same scarcity of horses I had experienced before, though I expressed my willingness to pay any sum for them. The Alcalde sent his ministros round for me, and about five o'clock in the afternoon they brought me some deplorable objects, with which I started with my guide: however the animals were so wretchedly bad, that after travelling about two leagues we could get no farther. I had, therefore, no resource but to go back to Huacho and try to obtain better beasts. The little governor, whom I before described, was again quite disappointed at seeing me return, as he was in hopes he had got rid of me. He told me if I would wait a day or two I might, perhaps, get more serviceable animals; but I did not follow his recommendation, and giving some money to the Alcalde, he borrowed my sabre, and sent two of his agents off to bring two good beasts, private property; describing where they were to be found. After some time the ministros returned, not being able to find the horses they went in search of, but they brought me a large mule; and another guide arrived presently, mounted on an old white mule.

[page] 206

CHAPTER XXVIII.

Dismissal of the guide—La Loma—Los Pescadores, and an incident connected with it—Chancay—Approach to Lima, and recent effects of the war.

WE travelled very slowly—my mule, which turned out a perfect devil, playing all sorts of tricks to get rid of me. Though it was now nearly dark, I was able to distinguish the skeleton of a man stretched on the sand, and the guide told me that it was the relic of a soldier, who had been carried out and shot about a year before for murdering an Indian in Huacho. We at last came to the sea-side, at the bay of Salinas; but it was now so pitch dark in consequence of the fog, that we could not see a yard before us. The guide, also, seemed not well acquainted with the road, and we thought it prudent to lie down to sleep for about three hours, till the moon should rise. Mounting again, we came up with two men sleeping in the sand, and on waking them we found that they were herdsmen driving their cattle back to the valley of Lima, which the Spaniards had left on the 19th of July. They said that their servants having laid down, their horses had strayed away, and that they had been in search of them. On informing them that we had not met any, they determined

[page] 207

to give up the pursuit and to accompany us. We soon came up with a large drove of cattle, consisting of bullocks, cows, sheep, horses, mules, goats, and asses, all lying in a circle in the sand, the dogs and drivers outside.

As our mules were so bad, I tried to hire a couple of these herdsmen; but they answered that some of their people were forced to go on foot, as they had not beasts enough for themselves. This drove of cattle did not belong to our companions; but we left them, and I had not preceded far before my guide, on his white mule, hung back so much that I found it impossible to get him on further. I therefore was under the necessity of paying and dismissing him in the desert, and how he would get back with his tired animal I know not.

As I never could have found the road alone, I determined to attach myself to the herd I had left, which was now coming slowly up. Like the patriarchs of old moving their flocks and herds across the deserts, we travelled on for some leagues till we arrived at length at what the herdsmen called La Loma. This is a kind of pasture, which, in winter, covers the highest sandhills, and on which almost all the cattle of the country then subsist; for the herbage of the valleys generally fails at that season of the year. This verdure is occasioned by the heavy fogs which rest upon the hills, and which give so much moisture to the earth, as to convert dry pulverized sand, of which these eminences appear in summer to be composed, into deep mould: from a dreary waste the country

[page] 208

thus becomes cheerful and habitable. The native Indians accompany their flocks and herds up the mountains at this period, and live entirely with them, while innumerable birds of varied and beautiful plumage also resort hither to welcome this revival of nature.

Leaving the cattle to roam at pleasure over this green range, I determined to proceed forward by myself, as the herdsmen told me that I could not miss the way. After passing the ridge, which extended about two leagues, I descended again upon a plain of barren sand. The road led down to the coast towards two Indian huts called Los Pescadores, (the Fishermen), where travellers generally stay to refresh themselves with fried fish. It was now about one o'clock, and not having eaten or drunken any thing for about thirty hours, I very naturally felt inclined to try the cooking of the inhabitants: unsaddling my mule, I gave it a bundle of coarse grass I had brought for it all the way from Chancay. The only inducement for the Indians to settle here is, that on digging in the sand they find fresh water, and are able to make a good profit out of hungry people like myself. Spreading my pellon on the ground, I stretched myself out to rest, while the Indian women were dressing my repast.

I will here relate an incident for which this place is now famous in the annals of Peru. Having heard of a soldier who wore a medal for being one of the Los vencidos en Pescadores (those overcome in Pescadores), I inquired whether the order of things was

[page] 209

reversed in Peru, and medals given to the conquered instead of the conquerors, and the following cause was given for it: At the time San Martin lay at Huacho, advanced parties of cavalry from his army greatly annoyed the Spaniards quartered between Chancay and Lima: the patriot soldiers were so enthusiastic in this service, that no equal force the Spaniards could oppose to them was able to repel the attack: On the advance of a party of fifty patriots under a lieutenant; on one occasion into the valley of Chancay, for the purpose of foraging, the Spanish general despatched more than 200 picked men, by a circuitous route to get into the rear of the daring enemy, and this design was accomplished. On the return of this small band to Los Pescadores, they saw the very superior force of the royalists ready to receive them, and the lieutenant immediately exhorted his men to perish rather than submit to be taken prisoners. Full of the recollection of the success of their companions, on expeditions of the same kind, they with one voice consented, and rushed impetuously on the enemy, who was deliberately waiting for the attack. Two men and the officer only escaped on the patriot side, and they, covered with wounds, jumped into the sea, and were fortunately taken up by a boat. Hence the origin of the medals for "Los vencidos en Pescadores."

Having rested myself and eaten my fish, I remounted and joined an officer and his wife, who had left Huacho in the morning, and were going to Chancay. The lady rode like a man, after the fashion

P

[page] 210

of the country. We passed some dreadfully high sand hills, and then came in sight of the fertile valley of Chancay, now laid waste by the alternate occupation of the royalist and patriot armies: it was completely dry, like the wilderness round it, irrigation having been wholly neglected. After I had paid my respects to the governor, whom I found ill in bed, he kindly undertook to provide horses for me. I supped on chocolate and eggs, and lay down on a bench and slept until about four in the morning, when I rose and awoke the guide I had previously engaged, who was sleeping in front of the house with the horses.

It was quite dark when we started, but the road leading through enclosures, we had no difficulty in finding it. Leaving the valley, we passed over a range of high precipitous hills, covered with fogs, from which at night, without great care, the traveller might roll quite down into the sea. I had the pleasure of being entertained all the way by my guide, who recounted the number of robberies which had been very recently committed on emigrants returning to Lima. He seemed so sure that we should be stopped, that I thought it more prudent to place about him the money I had with me, merely reserving a small sum which I supposed might satisfy the claimants. He informed me that he had passed this road a few days before with an officer, and that they had been fired at and stripped of every thing. We had overtaken a man riding on a grey mule, with whom we kept company till after daylight;

[page] 211

but his animal not going so fast as I wished to proceed, we left him behind.

On descending a long hill into the plain, I remarked to my guide that it was strange that we had so soon lost sight of our companion, to which the Indian replied, that he was afraid he had been beset by thieves. The guide evidently expected to be fired at every minute, and was in no inconsiderable alarm: turning round his head, he saw two suspicious looking fellows riding fast down the hill after us on horseback; he would have sworn that they were robbers, and he urged me to push forward that we might make the best of our way from them. As, however, we had full three leagues to travel before we could arrive at any thing like civilization, and as it was impossible to escape with our bad horses by speed, if they were really robbers, I did not comply, but while the Indian was still urging me on, to his utter dismay I pulled up and dismounted, determining to face our pursuers, and know who and what they were. Instead of being thieves, it turned Out that they were in pursuit of a man who had carried off a mule, worth 100 dollars, from Chancay, and they were riding fast to overtake us, in order to inquire if we had seen any animal answering the description.

There had clearly been considerable traffic on the road lately, in consequence of the return of emigrants to Lima, and I counted in the short space of about a league not less than six horses left to perish in the sand; they were at different stages approaching the

P 2

[page] 212

end of their miserable lives; some were still on their legs, having a little strength left; others were lying down expiring, while the birds of prey were perched, either on the ground, or on the animal itself, in the act of commencing their attack before the breath had left its body. It was the most deplorable sight of the kind I ever remember to have witnessed: hunger, thirst, and fatigue had combined their powers to overcome the strength of one of the noblest animals of the creation.

Ere long I beheld once more with inexpressible delight the green valley of Lima; not indeed in all its luxuriance, for the effects of war and of occupation by a hostile army were visible in various situations. The dwellings of many of the peaceable inhabitants of the vicinity had been burnt; the doors and windows of others had been battered or forced in, and showed that a vain resistance had been made to the lawless violence of the soldiery. Here and there the hedges were hung with the dingy yellow relics of the military dress of the royalists, and the road in some places was strewed with the fragments of accoutrements. As I proceeded, I looked in vain for the cheerful population I had once beheld in this fertile district: two or three poor timid black slaves, hardly yet daring to show their heads, were all that I could perceive, but as I approached the capital the scene became somewhat less dreary in this respect. The number of inhabitants increased, but still every thing bore the appearance of plunder and desolation. Those persons who were mounted rode only the most

[page] 213

miserable animals, for the Spaniards had swept the whole country of its horses and mules, and had even carried off many of the numerous jackasses.

It may be of some use to state here the distances of the different posts and places, according to the leagues for which the government pays from Truxillo to Lima; but it is to be observed that this is rather an under calculation: I should apprehend that the whole road is really about 130 leagues.

Truxillo to Viru 14
Viru to Santa 18
Santa to Nepeña 8
Nepeña to Casma 8
Casma to Guarmay 18
Guarmay to Patavilca 18
Patavilca to Huacho 10
Huacho to Chancay 12
Chancay to Lima 12
Leagues 118

[page] 214

CHAPTER XXIX.

Entrance into Lima—Conduct of the royalists while there—Montoneros, and their institution and uses—Marquis di Torre Tagle declared president—His character.

ON reaching the gates I was obliged to give my name and place of residence in Lima, the enemy not being yet at such a distance as to render it prudent to allow strangers to enter and leave the city without inquiry. Not finding my family there, I hastened to Callao, where I learnt that they had been detained on board the Harleston Indiaman, by the very serious illness of one of the servants. The place was becoming extremely unhealthy, just as the Spaniards retreated from Lima; and no doubt if that event had not occurred, many would have fallen victims to the badness of the provisions, and to the unwholesome state of the atmosphere, occasioned by so many persons being crowded together into so small a space.

I have stated before, that while I was at Truxillo a gentleman had arrived there from Callao, which he left on the 15th July, when the Spaniards were preparing to retreat from the coast. From the 15th to the 19th they were busily engaged in collecting the necessary requisites, and in departing in divisions.

[page] 215

Horses, mules, and asses were in great requisition, as well for the army as for the numerous godos of Lima, who determined to seek their fortunes with their friends and relations in the Spanish service. Not a few who had deserted the cause of independence, and knew that their crime would probably be remembered, also left the city. The Spaniards continued to march off in bodies of soldiers and emigrants until the morning of the 19th, when the last company left, having first set fire to the palace, containing a number of papers belonging to the independent government, as well as to the mint, after they had carried away or destroyed the principal part of the machinery. It was high time for them to quit this part of the country, since provisions had become very scarce and dear; and after the first detachment of royalists under Valdez left Lima in the beginning of July, the city, and even the Spanish camp, had been surrounded by bands of Guerrillas, called Montoneros, who cut off many of the supplies.

This species of force was first encouraged by General San Martin, and produced such an effect by its intrepidity, that the men of which it was composed actually sometimes defeated large bodies of regular troops. They received no pay, but were allowed to plunder the enemy wherever they could fall upon them. Nor were their depredations, as may be supposed, confined to the Spaniards, for ere long they degenerated into bands of licensed and organized robbers, under the lax and defective police of the patriot governors: any wild idle fellow who

[page] 216

had a little spirit, and a great deal of disinclination to useful employment, had nothing to do but to set up as a Guerrilla officer, or, as he was termed, Capitan de Montoneros. He quickly collected round him a band of companions of the same description, whom he dressed in a kind of livery, and armed as well as he could, some with sabres, some with bayonets on poles for lances, and a few with muskets, carbines, or blunderbusses. They became in the end so lawless as to be the terror of civilized society; and as they confined themselves principally to the neighbourhood of the enemy, they were thus almost out of the reach of the patriot governors of the districts.

Some of these chiefs were desperately fearless men, and had gone through an infinite number of most hazardous adventures. I remember one particularly who obtained the title of "the blunderbuss man," from an immense weapon of this description which he carried, and which more resembled a small brass field-piece. He was a very bulky strong man, and whenever beset by numbers he loaded his blunderbuss with a large bag of musket-balls, and has been known in this manner to kill or disperse a whole body advancing towards him, while the recoil of his piece was so violent as to knock him backwards on his horse. However, this kind of force seldom came to close quarters with regular soldiers; but it was well calculated to annoy an army encamped, or on its retreat, by cutting off stragglers, intercepting supplies, and seizing any baggage or ammunition which might be lost from a want of knowledge of the

[page] 217

roads, accidents, or other causes. They pressed heavily on the rear of the Spanish army on its retreat from Lima, loaded as it was with emigrants and property of every description.

The day before the royalists finally quitted the city, Captain Prescott of his Majesty's ship Aurora obtained leave, both from the Spanish and independent generals, to march a body of marines into Lima, to protect British property and houses from the robberies formerly committed, between the evacuation by the patriot troops and the entrance of the Spaniards: those disgraceful scenes were, therefore, not again exhibited.

As soon as the dissolution of the congress at Truxillo was known in Lima, about twenty godo members who had remained in the city when the others retired to Callao—and who had not now emigrated, probably because their services might be useful in the congress to their royalist friends—thinking the present a good opportunity for putting their plans in execution, assembled and declared Riva Aguero a traitor, and appointed the Marquis di Torre Tagle president of the republic.

This nobleman bore a bad character, and was a desperate gambler. He had married the widow of O'Higgins, brother to the famous viceroy of that name, and uncle to the late director of Chili: with this lady he had had a large fortune, but nothing could be sufficient for his prodigality. His estates in Peru being all mortgaged to Spaniards, and being besides of a restless disposition, he was the first to think

[page] 218

of calling in San Martin, (who at that period was engaged in liberating Chili,) as the only means of becoming again a person of consequence. At that date he was governor of Truxillo for the Spaniards, having accepted this province in preference to that of La Paz, as it was more conveniently situated for carrying on his treacherous projects. As soon as San Martin arrived with his expedition on the coast of Peru, the Marquis raised the standard of independence in Truxillo, and assisted the patriots greatly by supplies of men, money, and provisions, which he transmitted from his department for their use. When San Martin declared himself protector of Peru, he appointed Torre Tagle, with the title of Marquis of Truxillo, chief delegate, and made him the nominal head of the government. He rendered himself acceptable to San Martin in this situation, as he was a willing tool, and his name and influence, where his bad reputation had not extended, added a degree of lustre to the rising cause of liberty. On the deposition of the supreme junta in the beginning of 1823, the congress chose him president of the republic; but, as was before mentioned, the troops resisted this step, and nominated Riva Aguero in his stead.

Torre Tagle did not, therefore, appear again on the political stage until July 1823, when the twenty royalist members of congress turned their eyes on him, as a fit rival to be set up against Riva Aguero. He would probably never have existed as a politician but for his easy acquiescence, which fitted him for an

[page] 219

instrument to be worked by the hands of others: for this reason only he was successively employed by San Martin, the congress, and Bolivar. His appearance, which was formerly, as I have heard, prepossessing, when I saw him was far otherwise: he had become gross and bloated from intoxication, to which he was so addicted latterly, that he seldom could be seen on matters of business in the afternoon.

On the 13th August, our servant having recovered sufficiently to be moved, we returned to Lima to take possession of the apartments lately occupied by Mr. Robertson, who about this time left Peru in the Atahualpa brig for England, as deputy from the government. Mules at this time were so scarce, from the clearance made by the Spaniards, that it cost more to convey goods from Callao to Lima than to bring them from England: I actually paid about three guineas and a half for a small cart and two mules, which carried a load of about one ton to the city; and for a carriage for my family, drawn by two wretched horses, the owner extorted about the same price.

In our way to Lima we could see very plainly the spots lately occupied by the Spanish army, the ground being covered with rags, bones, &c.: a most unpleasant odour prevailed here, whether from bodies that were buried, or from the remains of the carcasses killed, I could not discover. The country in the neighbourhood of the road was nothing but a barren pampa, the walls having been thrown down, and the bricks used to construct the cooking places of the troops.

[page] 220

The "City of Kings" was fast recovering from the gloom that had long prevailed; and as the dread of an enemy no longer existed, pleasure began to resume her reign over a population whose maxim seemed to be that life was only intended for enjoyment. During this short pause in public affairs, it may be well to insert some account of the inhabitants of Lima, combining my own observations with such authentic intelligence as I received from various quarters. It is to be understood that the general remarks I offer are the result of the knowledge I obtained during nearly a year's residence; but, of course, on various points I am liable to errors, which a longer acquaintance might have removed.

[page] 221

CHAPTER XXX.

The ladies of Lima; their education, dress, habits, and employments—Ordinary occupations of a family during a day.

THE ladies of Lima, who are certainly a superior race of beings to the males, are in this city of vice and enervation the principal actors, and their manners and dress are different in several respects from those of the other females of South America. Their education is totally neglected, and I found very few among the most respectable women who could read or write. They are brought up to imagine themselves the objects of admiration and homage, and therefore early contract the habits of confirmed coquettes. These arts are often practised to such a degree by mere children as to be quite ridiculous; and among other accomplishments every little miss learns to handle her fan with dexterity: as they grow up they reduce it to a complete system of flirtation, particular movements of it expressing pleasure, jealousy, love, or anger. The females of Lima, therefore, can talk almost as intelligibly with their fans as English young ladies of the same age with their fingers.

Their dress very much contributes to assist them

[page] 222

in carrying on those intrigues which their education has taught them to believe to be the chief object of existence. The saya and manto have the double advantage of showing a good shape in the most exciting manner, and of completely securing the wearer from recognition. The saya, or petticoat, is made either of worsted, stuff, or rich satin, quilted and gathered perpendicularly, so as to render it elastic. If it be composed of stuff, it is of a black or brown colour, perfectly plain; if of satin, it is of all imaginable colours, and richly ornamented round the bottom, and as high as the knees, with flounces of deep lace, and rows of pearls. The manto is simply a piece of crimped black silk gauze, drawn by a string round the waist, and then pulled over the head.

The women of the easiest virtue in Lima are generally distinguished by wearing the richest sayas, and of the most gaudy colours; but the more respectable classes confine themselves to stuff for every day, and to black satin for state occasions. This rule is nevertheless not absolute, since dress in Lima is subservient to intrigue and gallantry, and ladies frequently conceal themselves in the most tattered sayas when they wish to escape observation. In such cases, the mode of distinguishing between a lady in disguise and a beggar is often by the feet: whatever pains a woman may take to disguise her person, she is generally so vain of her small foot and neatly turned ankle, that a delicate silk stocking, and a new satin shoe, will often betray a fair intriguante. However, the poorest beggar in Lima

[page] 223

would scorn to wear cotton or worsted stockings; and, incredible as it may seem, I have known a woman spend as much as eighteenpence English for merely washing a pair of silk stockings, when she was actually in want of bread. This is, in fact, the reason why the immense number of silk stockings imported into Peru are nearly all of the size fit for men; the Lima women like them long in the leg, as, when the feet are worn out, they drag them down, cut off the old foot, and cobble up something in the shape of a new one.

If a lady's shape should not be as inviting as she wishes, she has recourse to false hips, and even to false protuberances in the rear of her person; and the figure thus artificially stuffed, or naturally rounded, is accurately shown by the saya, which fits tightly in every part. The stranger is struck by the stately, or perhaps rather wanton swing in the walk of the ladies; and their tout ensemble, with a single black eye peeping out from the manto in search of admiration, gives him, in the outset, an unfavourable notion of the morality and discretion of the Lima fair ones: this impression is increased by finding that they always appear in the streets alone, and have therefore every opportunity for carrying on their "amorous enterprises." Their figures are generally good, their faces lively and intelligent, their dispositions kind and obliging; and, if education were added to these advantages, they might become ornaments to enlightened society, and themselves contribute to its improvement. As I have remarked

[page] 224

already, they pride themselves particularly on their feet, which are certainly very small by nature, but are rendered smaller by art. From their infancy they wear extremely tight shoes. I have frequently seen fat elderly ladies, who still retained their vanity of appearance, in such small shoes that the ankle and flesh protruded over, and in a great measure concealed the foot. The shoes are uniformly of coloured satin, and form a very heavy item in a lady's expenditure; for from the smallness of the dimensions, and the frailness of the material, they not unfrequently burst the first time they are worn.

Within doors the ladies have no cap or other covering on their heads, but allow their hair to hang down the back in one long plait, reaching below the waist. The dress of their persons at home is also what would be called in England extremely untidy: it consists of a loose white or coloured muslin gown, drawn tightly across the chest, while the neck is left bare, excepting that a shawl is thrown negligently over the shoulders: as they wear no stays, their figures thus appear to great disadvantage. Although no artificial ornaments are used for the head, sometimes the ladies weave their front hair into small plaits, into which they stick a few natural flowers. They always have a basket of fresh flowers at hand, which they present to the friends who visit them, and it is deemed the prettiest compliment they can pay to a gentleman.

Although the females of Lima are among the most good-natured in the world, they have little sociabi-

[page] 225

lity, and domestic intercourse between families is almost unknown. Their pleasures are not of so chaste a kind; and the tertulias, or friendly meetings of Buenos Ayres, are not much practised in Lima. For this reason, the English residents found it extremely difficult to bring together a sufficient number of ladies even to make up a dance, and those who came were chiefly from Buenos Ayres, Chili, or Colombia. At the same time the Limeñas would go to them in crowds as tapadas, and stand at the doors and windows to witness the cheerful movements of those within. They do not hesitate, on such an occasion, to mingle with women of the worst character and blacks, in the confidence of remaining unknown, unless some accident disarrange or remove the manto in which the face is enveloped. As the houses are always thrown open during the dances to admit as much air as possible, these tapadas are a serious hindrance to the regulation of the entertainments: between the dances sometimes the ball-room will be cleared, while the men are hunting for their partners, who perhaps have thrown a large wrapping shawl over their heads and shoulders, and are enjoying their favourite segar in some obscure corner. Smoking is practised by both sexes of all classes in Lima: they take a segar the first thing when they awake in the morning, and even go to sleep at night with it in their mouths. It is easy to imagine the disgust an Englishman feels on beholding a beautiful woman with a delicate hand remove her segar from her blackened lips, in order that she may discharge on the ground, with the offen-

Q

[page] 226

sive squirt of an English stable-boy, the saliva collected in her mouth.

Gaming is carried to a great excess in Lima, both by men and women, and some of the richest families are continually kept poor by it. A widow lady of respectability, of my acquaintance, had an income of more than £7000 a year, and though she spent little on her style of living, she was always in debt from indulging in this vice; and her daughter, a young girl of fourteen, was considered quite an adept at all games.

The female natives of Lima, although faulty from want of education, have a number of good qualities which might easily be trained into virtues; and, among others, a great degree of good nature and unaffected kindness of heart. My wife being almost the only English female in Lima, excited of course, from the novelty of her dress and appearance, a great deal of curiosity which was unpleasant; but although we frequented the streets almost at all hours, we never met with the least insult, our chief inconvenience resulting from the embraces of the women, who would frequently clasp her round the waist in the streets, or stop us to admire and examine her dress. We used at first to take pur little boy with us in our walks, but were so much interrupted by good-natured people, who ran off with him to their houses with exclamations of que precioso, que bonito, &c. that we were puzzled sometimes to extricate him, and were obliged at last to leave him at home, though he was amazingly pleased with the

[page] 227

attentions shown him. The better classes of females contented themselves with drawing aside in the path, and scrutinizing us with great earnestness.

The Lima ladies, as may be supposed, are extremely bad housewives; in fact, it forms no part of their education, and they never take the least interest in domestic concerns, which are always wretchedly managed by some favourite slave, or major domo. Perhaps there is no better way of giving a correct notion of the manner in which they pass their time in Lima, than by detailing one day's life of the female part of a respectable family.

In order that I may be more intelligible, I will first briefly describe the sort of dwellings in which they reside, and will take that in which we lived as a specimen of the houses in the city, inhabited by the gentry. I have before said that all the houses in the great towns of South America are built round court-yards, or patios, with which most of the rooms communicate. The quadrangle, therefore, can be easily divided into separate houses, and this is often the case, each side having its large separate entrance and staircase to the altos, or range of rooms over the ground floor. We occupied the apartments on the right of the patio, the family to whom the house belonged retaining the opposite side, and the part which fronted the gates. The entrance to their portion was by a flight of steps leading to a long oolonnade, which was gilt and coloured, and on the cornice was inscribed, as is very usual, a text from Scripture. From the portico you entered a large

Q 2

[page] 228

hall about forty feet square, only partially furnished, and appropriated to the female slaves, where they worked, and where people on business were received. Beyond this hall was another room of the same size, communicating with the first by large folding doors: it was handsomely furnished with crimson velvet sofas, fitting three sides of the apartment, and the walls were hung with crimson silk. In front of the wide doorway the family would sit in state to receive company, so that they could be seen quite from the street when the gates were opened. They sat upon low rush chairs, or upon the sofas with their legs under them. Still further in the rear of the building was the second patio, principally surrounded by bed-rooms, and behind these were the kitchens and offices.

After breakfast (which in Lima invariably consists of very rich chocolate and bread; with a large libation of water afterwards) the family went to mass precisely at eight o'clock, the female slave following with the rugs on which the ladies squat on the pavement of the churches, which have neither pews nor seats, excepting a long bench running half-way down on each side of the middle aisle, from the altar. After mass it was the custom to go in a carriage to the baths, about a mile from the city, the road to which was through a beautiful alameda along the banks of the river Rimac. These baths were built on speculation by a Spanish family, and consist of one large public bath, about twelve yards square, inclosed by mud walls, and covered with a

[page] 229

trellis, over which were trained vines whose luxuriant leaves and fruit formed a beautiful natural roof. Round the walls are stone benches, covered like the door with mats: the bottom of the bath is tiled, and nothing can be clearer than the water, which runs in a strong stream through it. This large bath is of course solely appropriated to the men; but attached to it are twenty small private baths for females. During the summer months they were filled by parties of ladies, who would allow gentlemen to come and talk to them at the door, while they were bathing in a light dress for the purpose.

At about twelve o'clock the family was assembled in the sala in expectation of visitors, who, when they arrive, walk through the outer hall with their hats on, taking civil notice of the slaves. At the door of the principal room, if men, they remove their hats, and bowing separately to each member of the family, take their seat on some part of the side sofas: if women, the females of the family rise and embrace them, putting first one arm round the body, and then the other. It is considered contrary to all rules of delicacy and decorum for a female at any time to shake hands with a man, nor would the most abandoned woman think of it: when parting for a considerable time, or meeting after a long absence, they embrace the men by putting their arms round their waists. During the visit the ladies of the house have a basket of flowers brought to them, and they select a flower for every visitor, as well as small lemons and apples stuck full of cloves, in the

[page] 230

shape of hearts and other devices. Not content with the natural odour of the flowers, they add artificial fragrance by sprinkling them with scented water, and they pour it down their own bosoms as well as down those of their female friends, before company.

By about two o'clock the visitors have taken their departure, and soon afterwards the dinner-bell rings, and the doors of the house are shut. At this time the slaves are observed running in all directions to the pulperias for the smallest articles, such as salt, butter, spice, or vinegar. Nothing of that sort is purchased in families until the moment it is wanted, and of course it is bought at the dearest rate. The dinner, which is always served up in the most uncomfortable room in the house, consists of a vast number of small made dishes, or platos, as they call them, mixed with a great quantity of lard, which they use in profusion, putting it even into their soup. Two standing dishes are the chupe which I have described in my journey to Truxillo, and the olla con garbanza, or pachero as it is termed in Peru. It consists of beef and bacon boiled together, and served up with rice, cabbage, pease, sweet potatoe, or gourd. The inhabitants of Lima also consume a great deal of capsicum with their food, but eat no mustard.

After dinner the family sits long taking preserves, which are merely sweet, having scarcely any taste of the fruit, and washing them down with large potations of plain water. The calesa is commonly ordered, soon afterwards for a drive in the alameda. The calesa is

[page] 231

a carriage with two wheels, which, instead of being placed under the body of it, are so far behind that the weight rests in a great degree upon the shafts: it is drawn by a single mule, on which also a slave in livery sits: the pannels are painted of all colours, and sometimes with landscapes. After parading once or twice down the alameda, the calesa is drawn up on one side, and the females in it either sit like mutes, observing the company, or, if pretty, or of the higher classes of society, are accosted by the gentlemen who ride up and down the centre of the alameda on their showy horses. Sometimes the ladies leave their calesas to walk about the side walks, or to loll upon the brick benches.

Another amusement, later in the evening, is to walk to the bridge, which is generally filled with well dressed persons of both sexes, who go to meet their friends, or to enjoy the fresh air from the sea. This is likewise a favourite walk by moonlight, which is particularly bright in Peru. On one side of the bridge lies the silent valley of Lima, bounded by the unruffled Pacific: on the other is the gigantic Cordillera, magnified by the kind of light which rests on their stupendous sides, and appearing almost to impend over the city: underneath rushes the furious Rimac, swollen with the rains, and red with the earth washed from the sierra.

On their return home through the plaza, parties stop to drink fresco or iced waters, and to eat fruit at stalls, with ranges of benches for the purpose, and attended by black women neatly dressed: it is not

[page] 232

thought at all inconsistent with propriety for respectable females to sit there laughing and talking for an hour after it is dark. In fact, the ladies here regulate their own conduct, and every thing is as it should be which they countenance.

While the family is thus amusing itself abroad, the slaves at home make holiday: the guitar and harp are immediately in requisition, and the servants enjoy themselves either in dancing, singing, or by a game at blind-man's-buff. The negroes of Lima are particularly musical, and the females sing in parts very harmoniously, and with good taste, though with little or no instruction: love-songs are of course their favourites, and I particularly remember the burden and three stanzas of one that was very constantly in request at their merry meetings. I insert it to show the general style of such productions as are not of an indecorous description.

Tan ciega estoy en quererte,
Es tan grande mi pacion,
Que el breve rato que duermo
Contigo mis sueños son.

Y sabiendo que el quererte
Causa es de mi perdicion,
Y el origin de mi muerte,
Yo no se por que razon
Tan ciega estoy en quererte.

Mis tristes lamentaciones
Duros marmoles quebrantan:
No te causa admiracion
Pues mi adoracion es tanta,
Y es tan grande mi pacion?

[page] 233

Muevate la compacion.
De mi dolop tan funesto:
Convensate esta razon,
Pues cada vez que mi acuesto,
Contigo mis sueños son*.

The slaves certainly lead a very happy life in Lima. There are generally a great many of them in every house, with little else to do than for one sex to loll on the back of their mistresses' chairs during meals, and the other to do needlework. The treatment of

* With my love I am so blind,
And my passion is so true;
While I sleep, my restless mind
Dwells in dreams alone on you.
Alas! that my unvarying faith,
Cause of only woe I find:
But loving you to bitter death—
Death itself, 1 am resign'd,
Since with passion I am blind.
Rocks to hear my woful cries,
Would, methinks, be riven through:
Can you feel then no surprise
That, though hopeless, I pursue,
And my passion is so true?
Grant but pity for my grief,
Thus for cruelty atone;
And be firm in this belief
That I love you, since I own
That I dream of you alone.
The air was extremely well suited to the words, in a minor key, but I suspect that it was Italian, as, indeed, is a great deal of the best music sung or played in Peru.

[page] 234

slaves by the Spaniards is by far the most amiable part of their character, and forms a strong contrast to the brutal usage of them by the Portuguese. During my residence in Peru I never saw a whip, or a single slave punished. In Rio Janeiro the back of almost every slave is scarified with lashes, inflicted on the most frivolous occasions.

If the family remain at home during the evening to receive visitors, they are seated exactly in the same manner as in the morning, with one solitary candle in the immense hall; so that on entering you may almost fancy yourself in a church, with a taper burning before a group of saintly images. People go to bed very late in Lima, and what appears extremely disagreeable to an Englishman is that both sexes sleep naked without so much as a covering to the head.

[page] 235

CHAPTER XXXI.

The men of Lima—Population and its principal classes—Priests, and their influence—Religious ceremonies—Exposure of dead children—Ringing—A christening.

THE men of Lima, (speaking here merely of the natives of the city as contradistinguished from other residents), are so insignificant a race that they really seem scarcely worth attention; never was there a people more unfit for active and useful employment. As long as they can enjoy their segar, they appear to have hardly a wish ungratified, and if poverty come upon them, they give themselves up to despair and misery, without energy to ward off the blow, or strength to endure its infliction. It is almost incredible that in a population of 100,000 souls, and with the extensive trade carried on in the port, there should not be more than two or three Peruvian mercantile establishments in Lima and Callao: commerce may be said to be engrossed by foreigners, amongst whom are many natives of Chili and Buenos Ayres. If on walking through the streets of Lima you meet a man with a pale sallow visage, peeping out of a capotte or large cloak, tightly drawn round

[page] 236

the throat, with a paper segar in his mouth, and a small narrow-crowned hat stuck on his head, you may be sure he is a Limeño. If a smart well dressed man pass you, if he be not a European, he is from some of the other states of Spanish America. In the house the Limeños take off the capotte, which they wear summer and winter out of doors. Their usual dress underneath is of the old school—embroidered clothes, silk stockings, and the accompaniment of a large gold-headed cane.

This want of bodily and mental energy in the native inhabitants of Peru arises no doubt chiefly from two causes; want of education, and the equality of climate: most of the Peruvians who have received instruction in Europe have turned out as well as the rest of the world, and among the clergy brought up in the country there are many active and zealous men. The policy of Spain has always opposed the advancement of knowledge among the laity of South America, and the consequent dissemination of enlightened principles; but it seems to have had a more powerful effect in Peru than in other colonies, because it has been assisted by a soft enervating climate: not that an excess of heat subdues the vigour of the system, and, as it were, dissolves the sinews of the human frame, because the thermometer rarely rises above 82; but there is a softness and relaxing power in the atmosphere, unvaried at any season by bracing winds, which, as all who have visited the country can testify, disarms nature of her wonted powers.

[page] 237

The population of Lima, which, as I have already said, was estimated at about 100,000, may be divided into three classes: 1. whites; 2. mestizos, or a mixture of European and Indian blood; 3. blacks and mulattos. The first class consists of the lineal descendants of settlers from Old Spain, and in them are comprehended the most respectable and wealthy families of Lima. This very class, however, was considered by the emigrated Spaniards far beneath themselves, and even the children of Spanish parents, bora in America, were looked upon as having lost their rank in the scale of society.

The second class or mestizos fill the situations of shopkeepers, traders, and artificers, coming under the general denomination of comerciantes and artisanos. They form by far the most useful and numerous portion of society, and are civil and industrious. The principal trades among them are those of tailors, shoemakers, segar, and chocolate makers. The silversmiths occupy a street to themselves.

The blacks and mulattos, of whom the third class consists, are either slaves, or are employed in all the laborious occupations of the capital; they are workmen, porters, and water-carriers.

The African blacks form a very small part of the population of Lima, and are therefore scarce and dear, a good slave costing from 80l. to 120l. sterling. The mulattos are a very large fine race of men, and extremely strong; but they are by no means industrious, because they can earn their livelihood easily. They are at the same time notorious

[page] 238

thieves, and frequent the chinganas, or drinking shops, where they indulge in the most riotous amusements. They are very musical, and play on the guitar, and on a sort of drum made of parchment, or of a hide drawn tightly over an earthen jar, to the beating of which they dance the most indecent figures, while all the company chant the air at the same time. In this manner, with the assistance of liquor, and the stunning sound of the drum, which they strike with the flat of the hand, they work themselves up to a pitch bordering upon frenzy. It is not saying much in favour of the morality and delicacy of the ladies of Lima, but it is a fact that I have seen what were considered respectable women looking on and enjoying these gross exhibitions. I was informed that even the haughty viceroys, in the times of their prosperity in Lima, had been known to attend them in disguise.

It is not wonderful that the inhabitants of Lima should be superstitious and bigoted to the last degree. They are entirely ruled by their priests, most of whom are men of very depraved manners. Money will purchase absolution for any crime; and worship, as in other Catholic countries, instead of being directed to the Deity, is addressed to the images with which the churches are filled, and which the devotees load with, presents of gold, silver, and precious stones. These gifts are generally displaced for tinsel and coloured glass by the priests, who consume the produce in the gratification their own sensuality and extravagance. To such a pitch do

[page] 239

the clergy carry their depredations, that I have seen a priest offer for sale, as old silver and gold, the sacred vessels of the church: he did not himself venture to touch them, and insisted that the buyer should take them up with a clean napkin, in order to put them into the crucible. At night it was difficult for a female to walk in the less frequented streets, without being subject to their insults, or obliged to witness the most disgraceful and disgusting scenes. It was by no means unusual to observe drunken priests in Lima even during the day, and their indulgence in the vice of gambling was notorious.

While this idle and artful class of society continues to possess so much influence over the minds of the people, it is impossible that the inhabitants should be well-informed or virtuous. When once they get an introduction to a family, they worm themselves into the confidence of its members, and obtaining its secrets, exercise an absolute dominion, and interfere in every department. They not only exert their power over the religious concerns of the family, but in many instances assume the entire management of its worldly affairs. To the priests the education of the children is intrusted, and happy are those parents who have not to regret their confidence: the instances are numerous where the priests have not scrupled to render the daughters of a family subservient to their purposes, while the victims are taught almost to glory in the crime, as if they were honoured

[page] 240

by the sanctity of their seducers, and cleared from guilt by their holy absolution.

As a proof of the manner in which the father confessors display a most tyrannical power even in temporal concerns, I may mention the case of a young Spanish lady who frequently visited us, and who was a relation of the family, part of whose house we occupied. She much admired my wife's English dresses, and from the patterns made some for herself; but as the ladies of Lima do not wear stays, excepting in a ball room, they would not fit her at other times. We therefore recommended her to adopt the use of stays; but she frankly admitted that her confessor would not allow her to do so. At another time she came to us nearly heart broken because she had been refused absolution before a large congregation, in consequence of having curled her hair a little in front, in imitation of the English style. It must nevertheless be allowed, that among the secular or active clergy in particular, are many men of enlightened views and pious lives. One of those meriting this honourable distinction is a fine old man, the dean of Lima, who in consequence of the death of the archbishop, and the non-appointment of a successor, discharged the functions of head of the church, and resided in the archbishop's palace. I saw a good deal of this excellent dignitary, and frequently went to his palace. It is a large building, with a library of old divinity, some old editions of the classics, and a few English books, of which he

[page] 241

was particularly fond, and of which he could read a little.

I have before noticed that the Limeños are extremely fond of gaudy shows; and the ceremonies of the Catholic religion tend very much to encourage this taste. On particular saints-days, those in the greatest esteem among them, the images are taken down from their niches, and carried in procession (attended by the principal inhabitants and clergy) to the different churches, to visit their neighbour saints. On these occasions, which occur very frequently, the streets through which the procession passes are filled with crowds of people, and the windows and balconies lined with company, dressed in their best attire. As the image passes along, baskets full of flowers are emptied from the windows to regale the saint, and these are generally scrambled and fought for by the mob, and preserved as valuable relics.

All religious ceremonies are conducted with the utmost parade and ostentation. When a person of consequence lies at the point of death, the priest is sent for to administer the sacrament. The host in a splendid carriage, drawn by four horses, is carried by a priest, who chants or reads all the way, and is followed by a procession on foot with tapers and flambeaus, attended by soldiers to preserve order. It is received by the kneeling relatives of the dying man at the door of the house; and when the ceremony is finished, it returns to the church in the same manner. The funerals of persons of condition are

R

[page] 242

generally performed by a procession of priests at night, lighted by torches, who accompany the body from the house to a church. It is afterwards put into a hearse, and carried for interment to the public cemetery, about a mile from the city. This cemetry consists of a chapel, and a large piece of ground walled in, and a most pestiferous smell arises from it, because the bodies are only just put below the surface of the ground.

A disgusting practice prevails in Lima, especially among the lower orders, who do not choose to incur the expense of burying their children—of exposing their dead bodies near some of the churches. I was not aware of this custom at first, and having often to pass a church near the house in which I lived, I was very much annoyed by offensive odours proceeding from bundles placed on a low wall round the building. On inquiry, I found that the bundles contained dead children, left there till the public hearse should come to remove and bury them. This hearse visits all the churches in succession for the purpose of collecting them. As no inquiries are made as to the parents, and no investigation takes place as to the cause of death, I cannot help suspecting that in so immoral a place as Lima, childmurder is very frequent.

The ringing of bells forms an important part of the religious ceremonies in Lima, and they make so stunning a noise, that it is almost impossible to attend to any thing during their peals. The bells indeed are very musical, the brass of which they are

[page] 243

composed having a considerable quantity of silver mixed with it; but they are rung in the most discordant manner. Instead of being pulled in chimes, as in England, thongs of leather are fixed to the clappers; and at the appointed times boys ascend the belfry and swing the tongues of all the bells at once, from one side to another, producing the most barbarous combination of sounds imaginable. A friar who had been, in England once told me, that the English have very good bells if they knew but how to ring them. Monteagudo, the prime minister of San Martin, forbade that the bells in Lima should be rung for more than five minutes at one time, and regulated the number of ringings during the day; but this order was afterwards abolished as profane and irreligious.

On the 8th September my wife was brought to bed of a son, and wishing to have him christened, I consulted the female friends in whose house we lived on the occasion. I got completely into their good graces by this step, and one of the ladies begged to be permitted to stand godmother, which is considered in Lima a great compliment. The day following was appointed for the ceremony, and we went in carriages to the cathedral. The child, adorned for the occasion, was carried by the female servant of the family. On reaching the church, after passing through a considerable crowd collected to witness the baptism, we were ushered into a side chapel, where the font was placed. The ceremony was performed by a canon, a particular friend of the godmother.

R 2

[page] 244

After the conclusion of the service, the godmother distributed a bag of small money she carried for the purpose among the mob, according to custom, while we adjourned to the archbishop's palace, adjoining the cathedral, as the venerable dean wished to honour the infant with his particular benediction. In Peru, even more than in Spain, the godmother and godfather to a child are looked upon as relations of the family, and the strictest intimacy is kept up between them; indeed the connexion is considered more than a common relationship, and the titles of commadre and compadre are words of particular esteem and affection.

[page] 245

CHAPTER XXXII.

Arrival of Bolivar, the Liberator—His person and appearance—Visit to the theatre—Description of the house—Bull-flights, and description of the bull-ring.

THE attention of all classes in Lima had been occupied for some days lately by the expectation of Bolivar, and a sumptuous house had been prepared for his reception; the same in which the grand ball had been given on the 25th May. On the 1st September a salute from the batteries in Callao announced the Liberator's arrival, and all the troops in the city were marched to the Callao road to form a procession for his entrance, which took place in the afternoon of the same day. The streets of Lima were one continued display of flags and ornaments from the windows and balconies: the Peruvian, Chilian, and Buenos Ayrean colours, with appropriate devices, were displayed in honour of his arrival, and Lima seemed to give herself up to the most enthusiastic expression of admiration for this successful American warrior. Nothing was to be heard of for about a week but addresses to and amusements for him.

A day or two after his arrival his intention of visiting the theatre was announced to the public,

[page] 246

who would thus have an opportunity of seeing him. The greatest competition was instantly excited to procure boxes, as few were to be disposed off, the greater number being let to families by the month or year. The house, which is of about the size and appearance of our old Hay-Market theatre, was ornamented with the Colombian colours in every part, and over the president's box, immediately in the centre of the lowest tier, were the united banners of Peru and Colombia. At an early hour the house was quite filled. The arrival of Bolivar was signified by a discharge of rockets outside, and he entered the box with the president. He was of course most rapturously received, and he returned the greeting by a hasty bow, and took his seat directly.

He is a very small thin man, with the appearance of great personal activity; his face is well formed, but furrowed with fatigue and anxiety. The fire of his quick black eye is very remarkable. He wears large mustachios, and his hair is dark and curling. After many opportunities of seeing him, I may say that I never met with a face which gave a more exact idea of the man. Boldness, enterprise, activity, intrigue, proud impatience, and a persevering and determined spirit, are plainly marked upon his countenance, and expressed by every motion of his body.

His dress on this occasion was plain though military. He wore as usual a blue coat and pantaloons, with boots reaching above the knee. He seemed to pay much attention to the performance, bad as it

[page] 247

was, and was evidently amused by the saynete, or droll afterpiece of low humour and buffoonery, for which the Spaniards in Lima are famous.

The theatre is built with three tiers of boxes, a gallery, and a pit. The pit is divided into separate seats, with arms like those to chairs, and numbered; so that a person can take any one he pleases for the season. A considerable portion of the ground tier is occupied by the two boxes of the President (the one public, and the other private), and by another for the Cabildo, or court of aldermen of Lima, who pay nothing for it. The remainder of the boxes are chiefly rented by the month or year, each individual having to pay about one shilling English, on entering, in addition to the subscription. The abominable custom of smoking is practised by all classes at the theatre between the acts. As soon as the curtain falls, the clinking of flints and steels is heard, and the mouth of every person is quickly furnished with a segar: the ladies in the boxes also indulge in this offensive habit. They are always well dressed, and those of easy virtue the gayest, if not the best. A few of the higher order sit in their own boxes, accompanied by a female slave. The gallery is generally occupied by the lower class of females, and their dress has a singular appearance, a large shawl or muslin handkerchief being thrown over the head, and a man's hat placed upon it.

A few days after the visit of Bolivar to the theatre, a grand ball was given in the palace, to which every person of respectability in Lima was invited.

[page] 248

Although bull-fights had been abolished by the constitution published by the congress, as unfit for the present enlightened and civilized age, yet since it was known that the Liberator was extremely fond of them, the public authorities were most anxious to gratify his wishes, and a succession of these exhibitions, on a splendid scale, was announced to the delighted mob, eager once more to partake of their darling amusement. Besides the advantage of gratifying the wishes of Bolivar, the government no doubt found it a very convenient mode of raising money: the plazay, or bull-ring, belongs to the state, and the money received always formed part of the income of the viceroys. For some days previous every exertion was made to prepare the bull-ring, which was greatly dilapidated from disuse, and much trouble was taken to get together a number of fierce bulls from all parts of the country. A famous matador, of the name of Espinosa, was also sent for from Ica, where he was employed at the head of a body of Montoneros against the Spaniards.

On the appointed day all was bustle and joy in Lima; the shops were shut, business was suspended, and all classes put on their gayest attire, and made holiday.

The bull-ring is situated in the middle of the alameda, along the farther bank of the Rimac, and is about half way between the city and the baths of which we have before spoken. Towards the middle of the day the alameda was crowded with company: in fact, the whole splendour of Lima was

[page] 249

moving as it were at once to the spectacle. Horsemen nobly mounted, most of whom were officers, dashed up and down the ride to show their gaudy costumes, covered with medals and orders of distinction; while females splendidly dressed in their calesas, smiled condescendingly to the gracious bows of the cavaliers. Many females were also seen, after the fashion of the country, curvetting astride upon their sprightly palfreys. They were attired chiefly in white gowns, and long white trowsers, with rows of small tucks: a neat foot in a satin shoe, with a light silver spur, and a small silver stirrup, was shown off to the best effect. On their heads they wore small hats like those of men.

The foot-paths, at the same time, were so completely stuffed with a motley group of all classes, that it was impossible to move forward but with the moving multitude. The streets and houses of Lima were literally emptied of their population, all hurrying towards the scene of pleasure.

The bull-ring, or theatre, is a large circus of from 100 to 150 yards in diameter: the floor is of dust raked level, and in the centre of it are strong posts at small distances, through which the bull-fighters can escape from the fury of the animal: all round the arena, or course, there is likewise a high step for them to leap or climb up should they be pressed too hard, and unable to reach the posts in the centre. The whole is open to the sky, and surrounded by walls of mud, within which the seats and boxes rise

[page] 250

in tiers. On the ground-floor, and even with the course, is a range of boxes; above these are several rows of benches, the two first rows divided and numbered so as to be secured as private seats, the remainder appropriated to the public indiscriminately. Highest of all is the principal range of boxes. The seats and boxes are both entered from behind by small galleries outside, from whence may be seen the corral, or yard, in which the bulls are kept, now apparently tame and docile, but tormented almost to madness before they are let loose into the theatre. From this corral to the door opening into the arena of the ring are four cages in succession, just large enough to hold a bull: they are made of strong beams tied together with thongs, and into them are driven an equal number of bulls. The division or cage nearest the door into the arena is called the dressing-room, and here the poor animal is tortured to fury, chiefly by being clothed in a very splendid dress of ribbons, sewn to his skin by packing needles: fire-works are also fastened about him, which explode when he sallies out.

The President's box is immediately opposite to the bull's door, and is fitted up in a handsome manner. Underneath it, forms were placed for two bands of music, which played alternately during the whole entertainment. Opposite to the President's box, and over the bulls' dressing-room, sat the Cabildo, and in front were suspended barbed darts, gaily ornamented with tinsel, to be thrown at the bull to

[page] 251

annoy him with their rattling, besides inflicting a painful wound. I should perhaps mention that the price of the boxes was eight dollars for about six seats, besides half a dollar paid on entrance: the front seats of the benches were half a dollar each, and half a dollar entrance. The mob merely paid the entrance money for the places assigned them.

[page] 252

CHAPTER XXXIII.

Reception of Bolivar—Ceremonies and procession before the fights—Description of the bull-fights.

THE arena at the time I arrived was full of loungers parading about to show themselves, and to see the company, every one of course with a segar in his mouth. The two clerks of the course, if they may be so called, soon entered, mounted on fine horses, and dressed in the president's livery. This was a signal that the games were about to commence, and the loungers, as well as those outside, began to hurry to their seats. One of the military bands next made its appearance, with a party of soldiers, and marched round the course, the officer commanding them reading in front of the president's box the regulations of the sports of the day.

When Bolivar took his place in the president's box, he was loudly cheered by the vast concourse of spectators. The arena having been quite cleared, another body of troops, headed by the other band, marched to the front of the president's box, under which the band, sounding their instruments, took their station. By beat of drum this party performed

[page] 253

many picturesque evolutions to which they had been drilled; they then described a small circle, which they enlarged by degrees, each soldier keeping his time so exactly, that they at last found themselves ranged all round the amphitheatre at equal distances, and at the same moment. They then mounted the step, and placed themselves among the mob on the benches. This part of the entertainment is called the Despejo.

The main entrance to the arena or course was now thrown open, and all the performers entered in procession. First came Espinosa, the matador on foot, dressed in a light blue satin jacket and breeches, and a Spanish mantle of scarlet satin: as he passed the president's box, he made a low reverence to the Colombian hero attended by his staff. After the matador followed the two picadores on horseback, dressed in brown stuff with immense jack-boots on their legs, and armed with small spears of the size of handspikes. Next marched the four capeadores a cavallo, cloakmen on horseback, dressed in scarlet stuff, with cloaks of different colours, on very noble animals: behind these came a train of daggermen and cloakmen on foot, and the procession closed with figures of men, horses, and wild beasts, stuffed with combustibles and fireworks, to be placed in different parts of the ring, to annoy and enrage the bulls. The whole body of bull-fighters might amount to about thirty, and they now took their several stations. On each side of the door by which the bulls were admitted, and which was of the size

[page] 254

of the animal, were two other doors; one large and double, through which the drove entered the corral or yard, and the other small, just large enough to receive the man whose place it was to open the door, through which the bull rushed into the arena.

All being now prepared for the fight, a capeador a cavallo took his station a few paces from the bull's door, and having signified his readiness, the keeper drew back the bolt. When the bull, which had been sufficiently tormented inside, sprang out at the man and horse, the capeador, by a rapid and dexterous movement, avoided the encounter, and continued to curvet round the bull, blinding it with his cloak, so that the foaming animal could reach no other substance than the fluttering silk on which to wreak its vengeance. However, on these occasions, I have seen the capeador's horse gored and the man thrown; but a good rider can always avoid it, unless the bull be very, quick indeed.

After the bull had been winded in this manner, he was assailed by the cloakmen on foot, and by the daggermen, whose art it was to strike the animal behind the horns, so as to sever the spine, and thus kill it upon the spot. This attempt, however, was rarely accomplished, and the position of the man, if he missed his blow, was very perilous. When it was thought that the bull had afforded sufficient sport to the spectators, attacking the assailants, and tossing the images stuffed with fireworks, which exploded all over him, the matador Espinosa, who until now had stood

[page] 255

calmly looking on, advanced to attack the animal, still terrible and in a great degree unexhausted, though the blood flowed copiously from the flesh wounds he had received. The matador advanced to the attack with his cloak in his left hand, and his sword in his right, and waited quietly about ten paces from the bull for the animal to attack him: he received the shock with his cloak, by stepping lightly aside, at the same time making a lounge with his weapon between the shoulders to the heart. If he succeeded at the first thrust, a general applause followed, and papers of dollars were thrown by the Cabildo from their box as a reward. I have seen as many as forty dollars given in this way for a bull dexterously killed.

Most of the bulls, on rushing into the ring, were treated in the manner already described; but the method of killing every bull was varied. When it was intended that the picador should kill, he spurred forward his horse to the charge, grasping his spear in his right hand, and placing his thumb over the end of it to steady the weapon, at the same time directing the point downwards: placing himself firmly in his saddle, he waited for the attack. The bull rushed to the encounter, and at the moment when he came in contact with the leg of the picador, protected by his boot, or with the body of the horse, the man plunged his lance between the shoulders. If the bull did not fall dead, he was always desperately wounded. I have several times seen the spear pass completely through the body,

[page] 256

and remain there till with the exertions of the animal it has been shaken out underneath. The horse is almost invariably killed, as he stands on purpose to be gored, while the man takes his deliberate aim: the picadores generally use horses of small value on this account.

Another way of despatching the bull is by the Lanzada or lancethrust: it is managed in the following manner. A large beam of wood, about twelve feet long, headed with a massive iron spike, is held by a man on one knee; the beam or lance being steadied by a small post in the ground, with a hole in it, into which the end is fitted. The man holds the lance about ten paces from the bull's door, and when the animal sallies forth, he waves a small cloak to induce the bull to attack him: in the middle of its tremendous rush it is met by the point of the lance directed at its forehead. The only time I saw the bull face it the weapon entered the top of his forehead, and came out at his flank, and in this manner, with the beam of wood protruding six feet between his horns, he galloped about and dismayed the fighters, who were obliged at last to hamstring him. This operation is effected by sharp instruments called Lunas, fixed at the end of long poles. In this manner all bulls were crippled that were either too fierce, or so wary that they would not attack, as it is only in an attack that a bull can be mastered. Whenever a man was tossed into the air, a general shout of applause was raised by the company, instead of fears being entertained for his life. If by chance the

[page] 257

bull got the advantage of his adversary, the whole body of fighters set upon him, and quickly compelled him to leave his victim to assail some other object, while the wounded man was carried off.

As soon as a bull was killed, the great gates of the circus were thrown open, and four beautiful grey horses entered driven by two postilions: they drew two wheels, to which was attached a collar, and this collar being buckled round the neck of the dead bull, he was drawn out at full gallop.

In order to afford the spectators sufficient variety, after a number of bulls have been destroyed in the ways above described, another method is adopted, which generally gives great satisfaction. One of the most ferocious bulls is saddled, and a man is placed upon its back: the efforts of the animal to throw its rider are tremendous, and if he can keep his seat, by means of a hold attached to the saddle, until the bull arrives at the middle of the plaza, the animal is his own, and the value of it about 50 dollars. I never saw a man thrown, though I have known them in imminent danger of being dashed to pieces against the posts in the middle of the arena. During the interval of the fights, iced waters, fruits and flowers, are handed among the company.

The sports of the day were concluded by planting a number of half drunken Indians before the bull's door with short lances, which they held with the but-end steadied against their right knee on the ground: the animal on being let loose immediately rushed at

S

[page] 258

the group, and scattered it over the ground, one or two men being generally carried off senseless.

Evening had now arrived; and though two or three more bulls remained, it was growing dusk, and the amusements terminated. The alameda was again filled, and the ground encircling the bull-ring was covered with carriages belonging to those within, besides the equipages of numbers who came merely for the purpose of seeing the company depart, and of being seen themselves. While the alameda thus formed the gayest and most bustling scene, with glittering equipages, prancing horses, and splendid uniforms, suddenly the deep cathedral bell was heard, and all in a moment was silent: it was oration time. The prancing steed was curbed, the half uttered compliment to some kind female was left unfinished, the haughty soldier doffed his shining helmet, and the whole concourse was for a few minutes engaged in prayer. The world seemed to stand still: the bells at length struck up a merry peal, and buenas noches being, as usual, said by every one to his neighbour, the world moved on again in the same manner as before.

[page] 259

CHAPTER XXXIV.

Defeat of Santa Cruz—His expedition, and its failure—La Paz—Battle of Zepita—Flight of Santa Cruz.

IT was on one of these days of pleasure (for they were repeated), that the Liberator was suddenly called from the spectacle by intelligence of the defeat of Santa Cruz. Unfortunate rumours had prevailed for some days of the situation of his army, and of his refusal to join General Sucre: nevertheless, the most sanguine made sure of a happy result, until at last an English merchant arrived from Intermedios, with the certain tidings of the total failure of the expedition of Santa Cruz, under the most disastrous circumstances.

I will here insert a short account of this expedition, often misunderstood and misrepresented even in Peru. It was given to me by an English officer who served under Santa Cruz, and who was an eye-witness of nearly every thing he related. It will be recollected that the last time this expedition was mentioned was during the siege of Callao in June and July, at which time advices had been received from Santa Cruz, detailing the good condition of his army when it arrived at Arica, and the favourable

S 2

[page] 260

reception of it by the inhabitants in that part of the country. He obtained information that some small detachments of Spanish cavalry were in the neighbourhood, and he succeeded in surprising and carrying off their horses and mules, which were of the utmost value to him.

He immediately advanced to Moquegua, the scene of Alverado's defeat, and here determined, instead of proceeding to Arequipa, a large city on the road to Cusco, to cross the Cordillera at Moquegua, and march for La Paz, his native place, where he hoped to raise the country in his favour, and where he could defend himself in case of need behind the river Desaguadero, which runs from the large lake of Titiaca to Oruro, passing through several pieces of water of inferior size. The lake of Titiaca is full of small islands, one of which, called Chuquito, had been used by the Spaniards as a depot for prisoners; here at the time were several hundred captives, principally officers, who had been confined on this barren spot for years; indeed ever since the battle of Sipisipi, which the Buenos Ayres forces lost in Upper Peru. These prisoners were marched towards Cusco on the approach of the patriot army; and very dreadful, but probably in some degree exaggerated, accounts were given of the numbers who perished from fatigue on the road.

The Cordillera is so thickly inhabited by that beautiful little animal the chinchilla, a kind of rabbit, that their burrows were a great impediment to the horses and mules. Having crossed the mountains,

[page] 261

the army came into the high road from Cusco to Potosi, which runs through Puno, Pomata, Zepita, and La Paz.

The river Desaguadero being confined by its lofty banks, where it issues from the lake of Titiaca, is very deep and rapid: it is crossed by what is called the Inca's Bridge, very different from that described in the earlier part of this narrative, and probably so named from its being still constructed in the same way as in the time of the Indian monarchs. Several large balsas of rushes (like those employed by the Indians in going out to sea at Huanchaco, only more substantial) being tied together, formed a float with their heads against the stream; these were fastened by strong ropes of reeds to the banks on each side; and on the raft thus constructed rushes were piled, until the mass was able to bear cavalry and even cannon. This species of bridge possessed a remarkable advantage over others; for the last soldier who crossed it had nothing to do but to cut the ropes by which it was secured to the shore he had just quitted, when the force of the current would carry the end so released down the stream, and it would finally remain on the same side as the army which had employed it.

The situation of the city of La Paz, which is about three days march from the Desaguadero, is very singular. Passing along a flat barren plain, the traveller arrives suddenly on the precipitous verge of a deep valley, at the bottom of which is La Paz, on which he looks almost perpendicularly. The descent

[page] 262

to it is so steep, that some hours are spent in going down the defiling path, which altogether is about three leagues in length. The valley ends in a point, the further bank being as precipitous as the rest, and a small river runs through the very bottom of it. The city is built on the sloping sides, and from the position of the place, it is impossible to use carriages in it. The streets are raised like steps, one above another, and one side of the way is much higher than the other.

Santa Cruz fixed his head-quarters at Viacha, a small town, a short distance before he came to La Paz. The army had suffered severely from the stony roads and the cold of the Cordillera, having been badly furnished with blankets, and it therefore required rest: more than 600 out of 5,500 men were in the hospital. Santa Cruz was well received in his native country, and many recruits joined him; a number of young men also, of the best families in La Paz, formed themselves into a corps, which they called the body guard of the general. He endeavoured to make himself acceptable, and led at all shows, entertainments, and parties with the utmost gaiety. The only royalist force at this time in the country was under Olañeta, who was compelled to fall back on Oruro, whither he was pursued by General Gamarra, with a division of the patriot army.

This state of inactivity, however, was terminated by intelligence received from a party which Santa Cruz had left at the pass of the Desaguadero, that Valdez had reached Puno with the division he brought from

[page] 263

Canterac's army before Callao. Santa Cruz immediately set off from his quarters in Viacha at the head of the light troops, ordering the remainder of the army to follow him without delay to the Desaguadero. When he arrived there, he found Valdez on the opposite bank, and some skirmishing took place. Santa Cruz, however, did not at present find himself strong enough to hazard an action, but remained quietly guarding the passage of the river till the rest of his army came up. He then crossed the bridge without delay, and drove Valdez to Zepita, where he took up a position on a high hill. The troops of Valdez, which had accompanied him from Lima, were so completely knocked up, that he was obliged to leave them at Puno, while he pushed forward with a force which La Serna had collected in the neighbourhood of Cusco and Arequipa, under Caratala, the governor of the latter place.

Santa Cruz determined to attack Valdez in his position, and marched with his whole army up the hill for this purpose; but his infantry was entirely defeated, and two or three battalions had already laid down their arms, when the royalist cavalry, having got into some deep bogs, in the eagerness of pursuit, the Peruvian hussars, under Brandsden and Soulanges, charged them and cut them to pieces. The Spanish infantry, witnessing the defeat of their cavalry, drew off in confusion, leaving the patriot battalions, who had previously laid down their arms, to take them up again. Santa Cruz, in his despatches to the government, claimed the merit of having

[page] 264

made his infantry fly as a feint to draw the Spaniards from the hill; but after all it was an affair of little consequence, and both sides boasted a victory.

Valdez was now joined by the troops he had left to recover strength in Puno, and, abandoning Santa Cruz, who had posted himself at the bridge, he marched along the Desaguadero, to join Olañeta at Oruro. Santa Cruz, on the other hand, having collected his whole army, kept pace on the other side the river to prevent the junction. The three parties were now in the immediate neighbourhood of each other, and Santa Cruz in vain endeavoured to bring Valdez to action before he could join Olañeta. The Indians, of whom the Spanish force was very much composed, at last outmarched the people from the coast, of whom Santa Cruz's troops consisted; and one morning, when the royalist army was supposed to be considerably in the rear, it was seen passing a high ridge near Oruro, and a junction with Olañeta was thus effected in spite of the exertions of the patriots.

Valdez having now combined all has forces, and being therefore superior to the patriot army, in turn offered battle, which Santa Cruz declined, and it was determined in a council of war to retreat rapidly for the Desaguadero, in order to join the army of General Sucre. That the patriots might march as expeditiously as possible, as well as for the benefit of forage for the animals, the ammunition and artillery of the army was sent a different route to that taken by the main body. The royalist forces, however, pressed so

[page] 265

hardly upon Santa Cruz, that a battle was unavoidable, and a position was taken up in consequence, and officers were sent instantly to bring up the ammunition and artillery now so much needed. However they could not be heard of, and the officers despatched after them never returned, so that a precipitate flight, rather than a retreat, was the unavoidable result. Valdez actually wrote to Santa Cruz, that he would march over the patriot army, which rapidly dwindled away from fatigue, the men dropping by hundreds on the road. In one day not less than 1,000 of them were left behind.

The wreck of the army of Santa Cruz reached the Desaguadero in the utmost confusion and insubordination. Here the general had wished to make a stand to defend the passage, and to pick up the stragglers who were continually coming up; but of the whole number only 400 remained with him when he reached the bridge. With this small body he maintained his post for two days, and he was there joined by many who had been left in the rear: as others continued to arrive, he posted an officer and a small party of men to receive them, with orders to destroy the bridge on the appearance of the enemy. Valdez, seeing the total destruction of the patriot army without his aid, marched slowly after it, collecting the prisoners, arms, and baggage, with which the road was covered.

Santa Cruz meanwhile reunited his scattered forces as well as he could at Pomata, when he held a council of war to decide whether they should im-

[page] 266

mediately recross the Cordillera, and thus escape to their ships, or endeavour to reach the division of General Sucre in Arequipa. In this council the greatest insubordination was manifested among the officers. Santa Cruz was in favour of pushing forwards to Puno; but Soulanges, a French officer who had distinguished himself in the fight of Zepita, mutinously, declared that the remainder of the army might go where it liked, but that he and his squadron of cavalry would march straight down to the coast; which threat he put in execution, while Santa Cruz and his followers proceeded towards Puno. After a single day's march, Santa Cruz found that the troops were in so bad a condition, that it was impossible for them to reach the Colombian division before the royalists would be again treading on their heels; they therefore struck into the Cordillera, where they overtook Soulanges' party by night: each mistaking the other for an enemy, an encounter took place, which ended in the total dispersion of the remains of this unfortunate expedition. All the baggage was plundered; even the equipage of Santa Cruz was not respected, and the military chest, containing 10,000 dollars, was ransacked.

In the sequel, about 1,200 out of the whole army arrived at Moquegua in the most deplorable state, without arms or clothing: and thus terminated this disastrous and disgraceful enterprise, regarding which such sanguine hopes had been indulged, and the outfit of which had cost the independent government

[page] 267

not less than a million of dollars. The great error seems to have been putting a young and inexperienced officer at the head of so mixed and undisciplined a body: a great part of the expedition was composed of raw recruits, caught up and carried on board ship, and who had to be made soldiers at the time when they should have been ready for active service. Riva Aguero had placed Santa Cruz in this situation, because he knew him to be his own creature, and he trusted that the credit to be gained by the undertaking would fix him firmly in the presidency which he had obtained by the assistance of Santa Cruz. If the command had been given to General Lamar, and Miller had been sent as his second, the result would in all probability have been very different. Santa Cruz was unquestionably brave, but without knowledge and discretion: Gamarra, who acted under him, was a good tactician, but without courage or virtue, and disliked by every body. The first blunder was not joining the Colombian division immediately on its arrival; but the army was then entire, and Santa Cruz could not consent that any one should have a share in the glory he hoped to acquire. Another great mistake was, that when he had got between the forces of Valdez and Olañeta, he did not march and attack the latter, and drive him before him into the independent territory of Buenos Ayres: there Olañeta could have obtained no assistance, while the patriots could have recruited their forces without difficulty, and have avoided a most disastrous retreat. The third fatal and most

[page] 268

obvious error was separating the artillery and ammunition from the main body; a step which a schoolboy would hardly have taken: Santa Cruz might just as reasonably have sent the muskets on mules by one road, and the men by another. But the disasters of this ill-fated and worse conducted expedition did not end even here: the transport in which Soulanges, with some good officers, and 300 of the Peruvian hussars, the best troops in the service, had embarked, was captured on its return to Lima by a small privateer, fitted out from Chiloe, and these brave men were carried thither prisoners of war.

[page] 269

CHAPTER XXXV.

Expeditions of Generals Miller, Alverado, and Sucre—Critical state of Peru—Regiment of Los Inocentes—Riva Aguero's revolt.—Character of Valdez.

I SHALL now give, connected with the foregoing detail, a short narrative of the proceedings of the expedition which sailed under Generals Miller and Alverado, in the beginning of July, and which General Sucre joined soon afterwards.

These two divisions rendezvoused at Quilca, the port of Arequipa, where they remained a few days waiting the arrival of General Sucre. It was then determined that the force should march immediately to Arequipa, where it would be in the way of uniting itself with Santa Cruz, or of pushing forward to Cusco, as circumstances might require. Sucre having joined, gave the command of the cavalry to General Miller, under whom was the indefatigable and enterprising Rolet. The former officer wrote a very interesting account of his entrance into the city of Arequipa to his friends in Lima, which I saw: he described the enthusiasm of the lower classes to be so great, that he could not get along the Plaza, on account of the eager embraces of the people,

[page] 270

though he was most anxious to do so, as he saw the rear of the Spanish force under Caratala filing off almost at the opposite end of the square: he was not able to pursue the enemy in consequence of the affectionate pressure of the crowd. Sucre afterward came up with the infantry, and during his stay preserved the strictest discipline among his troops.

While in Arequipa they received confused accounts of the battle of Zepita, which Sucre transmitted to Lima: they were brought to Arequipa by a straggler from Valdez, who fled during the confusion, and who represented that the royalist army was destroyed, and Valdez taken prisoner. The inhabitants of Lima were, therefore, grievously disappointed, when they afterwards received the despatches of Santa Cruz, stating the number of killed, wounded, and prisoners, on the part of the enemy, at little more than 100. Sucre, in despatches to Santa Cruz, had urged him to unite, as Canterac with his division might be expected from Lima by hasty marches. Santa Cruz, however, did not like the thoughts of relinquishing his command to Sucre, as he would have been bound to do, pursuant to authority conferred upon the latter by congress.

In the mean time intelligence was received in Arequipa of the probability of the early arrival of Canterac in Puno to join Valdez; and General Sucre wrote to Lima, that it was his intention instantly to march to Puno to cut off Canterac, leaving Santa Cruz to cope with Valdez, to which, after the supposed defeat of the latter at Zepita, it was of course

[page] 271

thought he was fully equal. It was conjectured that the forces of Sucre would be about a match for those of Canterac, each army amounting to about 3000 men, Canterac having left General Loriga with 2000 men to retain the strong position of Huancayo, in the valley of Xauja. General Miller was, therefore, pushed on with the cavalry towards Puno, and Rolet with the advanced guard reached within twelve leagues of the enemy, and sent forward a picquet to obtain intelligence.

The moment was very critical for Peru: Santa Cruz and Valdez were now known to be so close together, that an action seemed unavoidable, and Canterac was believed to be so near Puno, that it was doubtful whether he or General Miller would be able to reach it first. Rolet's picquet at this instant sent him the disastrous news that Santa Cruz had been defeated, and that a superior Spanish force was marching upon him, so that nothing remained for him but to retreat; and this gallant officer had every reason to apprehend that the enemy would be able to get into his rear, and cut him off from the main body of the patriots. He withdrew, therefore, precipitately, but in good order, both he and his daring squadron having come to the resolution of attempting to cut their way through any force that might oppose their progress. On reaching Arequipa he found that the Colombian division of the army had already retreated without confusion for the coast, as it was pressed by the whole Spanish army; and Rolet was so hotly pursued into Arequipa, that he was obliged to make his men

[page] 272

gallop singly through the different narrow streets, in order to meet again in the Plaza, instead of marching slowly through the place in a body. They had scarcely formed there, when the Spaniards were seen entering in small numbers at the other end of the town, and about half Rolet's impetuous squadron charged the enemy immediately without orders, and drove back the advanced guard of the royalist force; but there falling into the main body, the intrepid patriots were all cut to pieces, fighting to the last.

General Sucre having quitted Arequipa, where much concern was expressed for his departure, retreated to the port of Quilca, where his transports lay, without losing a single man, while Miller and Rolet effectually protected his rear. In the course of this retreat a small skirmish took place, which shows the real character of some of the troops with which the Spaniards had to contend.

When San Martin sailed from Chili to Peru, every method was resorted to for raising troops. To form a body of cavalry, the gaols were emptied, and the prisoners drilled into a squadron, composed, as may be imagined, of the most abandoned and degraded characters in Chili: they were known throughout Peru by the ironical title of Los Inocentes, "the Innocents," and they became notorious for every crime. General Miller's division of the rear guard consisted of about 120 of these ruffians. In the retreat from Arequipa towards Quilca, finding himself much pressed by a Spanish squadron, Miller

[page] 273

came to the resolution that it would be better to select a good position for making a stand, than to be forced to fight always to a disadvantage. His officers concurred in this opinion, and finding that his men were valiantly inclined, he drew them up on a gentle eminence, while the Spaniards halted opposite to them at a very short distance. This body of the enemy was without fire-arms, and Miller rode up pretty close to them to reconnoitre, when he discovered that the royalists were falling back in the rear upon the main body; he immediately returned to his party of Inocentes, and proposed to them to charge, as the advanced guard of the Spaniards consisted of only 80 men, and they were evidently afraid of an encounter.

The Inocentes were clamorous to be led to the onset, and proceeded in a trot towards the enemy. The officer who led this charge wished to bring his men exactly in front of the Spaniards, but either gave a wrong word of command, or the troop did not understand it, so that they were put into some confusion: they were besides encumbered by their lances, which they did not know how to manage; and the Spaniards, observing their hesitation, in their turn charged the Inocentes, who turned round and fled two or three yards before they came in contact with the enemy. Miller was on an excellent horse given him by a friend in Lima, and endeavoured to collect his scattered squadron, and in doing so came to very close quarters with many of the Spanish soldiers, who frequently made thrusts at him;

T

[page] 274

but as they had no muskets and ammunition, they were unable to wound him.

Arrived on the coast, General Sucre wrote to Bolivar for orders, as he learnt that an expedition from Chili, consisting of 2500 men, had arrived; and many thought that they would be ordered again into the interior to offer battle to the royalists. But the affairs of Peru were now wearing a very gloomy appearance. Riva Aguero, excited by the exaggerated accounts of the success of the battle of Zepita, and confident of the support of Santa Cruz, and probably relying also on the fleet under Admiral Guise, raised the standard of revolt in Truxillo, and endeavoured to stir up the minds of the native Peruvians against the Colombian faction, as he now designated the ruling party in Lima: at the same time he imputed to Bolivar sinister views, although Riva Aguero had been himself the person who invited the Colombian chief to come to the assistance of the patriots.

Bolivar, though haughty and uncontrollable in most instances, was willing to yield much to circumstances at such a critical juncture; for he knew that a civil war would probably be a death-blow to the cause of liberty. He therefore made highly favourable proposals to Riva Aguero: in fact, he conceded all that was demanded; and in an interview I had with Bolivar, he told me that all was settled; that Riva Aguero was to be President in Lima, and that he was to bring with him 4000 men, and 2000 horses and mules, for the service of the state.

[page] 275

Riva Aguero, however, had probably merely stated his terms under the expectation that they would not be accepted; and when the aid-de-camp of Bolivar arrived at Santa with the concession, expecting of course that every thing would be concluded, he was surprised to find that Riva Aguero would not adhere to his own conditions, declaring, in the confidence of previous success, that he never would make any amicable arrangement with the Congress and Torre Tagle.

The Marquis di Torre Tagle had previously agreed, no doubt at the suggestion and with the advice of Bolivar, to withdraw to Chili, and sacrifice his own personal views for the good of the country; but the congress, afraid of a union between Bolivar and Riva Aguero, used all its authority to widen the existing breach, and represented to Bolivar that they had actually in their possession evidence of a treasonable correspondence between him and the enemy. These representations, together with the obstinacy of Riva Aguero, induced Bolivar most reluctantly to declare war against him, and he accordingly sent orders for the whole of the forces in Quilca and Arica to meet him at Supe, a small port which I have mentioned between Lima and Truxillo. Despatch was the more necessary, as it was known in Lima that the fleet under Admiral Guise was about to sail to Huanchaco to the assistance of Riva Aguero, and that on board the shipping were Santa Cruz, and other officers.

General Sucre, therefore, embarked his division

T 2

[page] 276

according to orders, and proposed to General Miller to destroy the horses, mules, and cattle which that active officer had carried off in his retreat, that they might not fall into the hands of the enemy. Miller, however, thought that he could bring them safely along the coast to Lima; and obtained leave from Sucre, as they were very valuable, to attempt it, and he performed the undertaking much to his credit. Meanwhile, the Chilian expedition, unwilling to interfere in the domestic broils of the Peruvians, and objecting probably to put themselves under foreign leaders, on being pressed by Valdez (who on the departure of Sucre's forces marched down from Arequipa to Moquegua), cut the throats of a number of fine horses they had brought to remount the cavalry, and embarked to return to their own country.

Thus terminated a campaign, which, if properly conducted, might have been the last in Peru; for the patriots never before had had so numerous and respectable a body of men in the field, and the Spaniards, since their first retreat from Lima, had never been driven to such extremities. Including Peruvians, Colombians, and Chilians, at one time as many as 10,000 patriots were in Intermedios, while the Spaniards could never have brought more than 8000 men against them, and most of these were jaded and worn out by repeated marches. It was also found afterwards, that Valdez might have been completely cut off, as Canterac's forces never advanced near Puno, and could not have come up in time to aid him, if the three divisions of the patriot troops had

[page] 277

united. It must be allowed that the Spaniards had a great deal of good luck on their side, but Valdez certainly deserved the highest credit for his promptitude and activity.

His life was that of a Spartan, simple and severe: his sole delight was in war, but he was by no means of a cruel disposition, as was evinced by the personal affection which was always borne him by the peaceable inhabitants of the country. When he re-entered Arequipa, he published a general amnesty, which was very forbearing on his part, after the decided manner in which the inhabitants had expressed their sentiments on the reception of Sucre's expedition: he even sent a Spaniard, serving as a colonel in the patriot service, and who was left wounded in La Paz, a passport to proceed to Buenos Ayres without molestation, as soon as he should be sufficiently recovered. His character is very much that of the first conquerors of America, without their ferocity: courageous, persevering, and patient, under the most trying hardships, he scarcely knew the value of money, and the person who attended to his table was frequently obliged to borrow a few dollars to supply his frugal meals. It was said that he rarely enjoyed the luxury of a bed; but rolling himself up in his horseman's cloak, found that repose which is often denied to the bed of down. He was almost always on horseback, and had brought himself to sleep well even in that position. He was the most obstinate enemy to the independence of Peru: the other chiefs could sometimes be induced to negotiate, but

[page] 278

he would hear of no compromise. While the army of San Martin lay at Huara, and the royalist force was encamped outside the walls of Lima, a suspension of hostilities was agreed upon, and San Martin had an interview with La Serna and Canterac at an adjoining Chacra; these two officers then engaged to acknowledge the independence of the country upon certain conditions, provided the remainder of the officers of the royalist army approved of the terms. Valdez, on being consulted on the subject, placed his hand on his sword, and swore never thus to sacrifice the interests of the king of Spain, and most of the officers followed his example.

[page] 279

CHAPTER XXXVI.

Declaration of war against Riva Aguero—Termination of the threatened civil war—Review of the motives and conduct of Riva Aguero—His escape to England.

DURING his correspondence and negotiation with Riva Aguero, Bolivar was taking the necessary steps to carry on the war, if necessary, with vigour. His troops in Callao and Lima were continually drilled and exercised: they were supplied with good clothing, and, with the consent of the congress, the inhabitants of Lima were taxed, according to their respective trades, to an amount which would produce 400,000 dollars in four months. He also collected all the horses and mules in the country, excepting those which were the property of foreigners, and placed them in good pastures where they might gain strength and become useful, instead of allowing them to be galloped about, and even sold by the military, as had been before often the custom.

It was thought, nevertheless, that matters would not come to extremities with Riva Aguero; but Bolivar's patience was at length worn out by fruitless negotiation, which it became evident was merely

[page] 280

kept up by Riva Aguero, in order that he might gain time. The Colombian guard of 600 cavalry therefore marched out of Lima, taking the northern road by the coast, and it was then obvious that active operations were about to be commenced. This regiment was well equipped, the men were all mounted on mules, with new accoutrements, while their horses were driven after them, that they might not be worn out by the fatigue of travelling through the sandy country I have described in my expedition to Truxillo.

A few days afterwards, Bolivar himself embarked for Supe with about 2,000 infantry, leaving Torre Tagle still at the head of affairs in Lima, supported by 1,000 infantry, consisting of the regiment of Rio de la Plata, and the 11th Chili regiment, while the Granaderos a Cavallo under Colonel Lavalle were posted at Ica, with a battalion of infantry about 700 strong. The castles of Callao were garrisoned by the Colombian regiment of Vargas, of about 1,000 men, and some companies of Chili artillery under the command of General Alverado.

Riva Aguero, on hearing that Bolivar had absolutely landed at Supe with the intention of attacking him, never thought of making any resistance, but ordered most of his troops to retire into Caxamarca, a mountainous country on the northern boundary of Peru, bordering upon Quito. He had called a council of war of his party in Truxillo, when his house was unexpectedly surrounded by a body of cavalry under Colonel La Fuente, who had through-

[page] 281

out professed himself his particular friend, but who, finding that matters did not wear a favourable aspect for Riva Aguero, resolved by his treachery to make his peace with Bolivar and the congress. He immediately sent a despatch to the Liberator, stating what he had done; adding that he had sent after Novara, who commanded the troops of Riva Aguero in Caxamarca, in order to recall him. In the mean time, Bolivar advanced from Supe by forced marches upon Huaras, the head quarters of Riva Aguero's troops, and he entered the place without opposition, the forces either dispersing or deserting to the Colombians. Thus, in a moment, was terminated a conspiracy, which had at one time threatened total destruction to the cause of independence, and which, though it existed only for so short a time, entailed upon the patriots very disastrous consequences.

Riva Aguero affected afterwards to justify his conduct, but it would be difficult for him to make out any satisfactory vindication. He was, no doubt, envious of the Colombians, and having attained supreme authority in Peru, he did not like to relinquish it to foreigners. This feeling, if it had been really patriotic, might have been pardonable, had he possessed the slightest chance of liberating the country from the Spaniards without assistance. He was well aware that he could not do it, and, therefore, immediately on being elected president, he invited or rather urgently entreated the Colombian chief to march his forces into Peru. At all events, after the defeat of Santa Cruz was known, such vain

[page] 282

hopes, if he had ever in fact indulged them, ought to have been abandoned, and he ought then to have been ready to co-operate with Bolivar: if he suspected the Colombians of sinister views in their proceedings, it might be time to oppose them, when the enemy should be driven from the country, and these objects should become apparent. Besides, the congress of Peru was decidedly in opposition to him: I do not of course mean merely the twenty members who assembled in Lima, and chose Torre Tagle president; but the great body of representatives, and among them many in whom he had placed most confidence. Even his senate chosen at Truxillo deserted him, and he was at last supported in his resistance only by a few military adventurers, upon whom it has been seen he could not rely, and who abandoned him at the moment when their co-operation was most wanted. He was charged by congress with being in correspondence with the Spaniards; and I believe, from all I could learn, that he was in communication with them, but not with any treasonable intention: in fact, his whole life had been so completely in resistance to them, that the royalist leaders would probably not have depended on any advances of the kind made by him to them.

A document at this period was handed about very industriously, though secretly, by some of his partizans in Lima, as the supposed basis of a negotiation between Riva Aguero and La Serna: the object of it was to prove that his purpose in corresponding with the enemy was to promote the peace of Peru, while all the great objects of the war should be

[page] 283

attained. His proposals were said to be these; that the royalists should acknowledge the independence of the state;—that the patriot troops should be disbanded, and those of the Spanish generals employed, as they were better disciplined, more respected, and, therefore, more adapted to preserve order;—that all Spaniards, then in the country, should enjoy the privileges of Americans, but that all those arriving at a future period should be considered foreigners;— and, finally, that a free constitutional congress should be summoned, with liberty to choose their own government.

Such were the terms which the friends of Riva. Aguero mentioned, as the basis of a treaty which they represented as having been nearly concluded; while on the other hand his enemies asserted, that finding his power almost at an end, he had taken this mode of delivering Peru to its enemies. Certainly, the condition in the treaty, that the independent forces should be disbanded, while the royalist army was to be kept on foot, favours the conclusion, that if his intentions were honest, his judgment was very defective. His opponents, therefore, argued that he must take his choice between being considered a fool or a traitor, and his admitted talents gave countenance to the most unfavourable alternative.

Whatever be the fact, he certainly will have to endure the odium of being looked upon as a man who preferred the gratification of his own ambition and of his private animosities to the public good. The cause of independence in Peru was the cause of

[page] 284

all Spanish America, and the security of the whole depended upon the extirpation of the royalist army in Peru; and admitting that Bolivar might be actuated in some degree by views of his own personal glory, yet no man on any side has, or will affect to deny, that while Peru continues under the Spanish dominion, Colombia never can be secure. If, indeed, Bolivar, like Riva Aguero at Truxillo, had dissolved and dispersed the congress by military force, and had opposed himself to the constituted authorities of the state, his intentions might have been questioned; but considering his lofty temper unused to submission, and the extent of his military influence, he appears to me to have acted with great forbearance towards Riva Aguero, and with great disinterestedness towards Peru.

The defection of Riva Aguero, and its immediate consequences, may be looked upon perhaps as the severest calamity that befel the patriot cause, even among all the many disasters by which it was attended. Had he acted in concert with Bolivar, there is every reason to suppose that the war would have been terminated in a single campaign; and in the outset Riva Aguero himself did not seem to expect that their interests would clash in the accomplishment of a common object. At the head of the government in Lima, by his talents, activity, and popularity, he might have raised and furnished resources both in men and money; while Bolivar, by his experience and the terror of his name, backed by the Colombian forces, was driving the royalists before

[page] 285

him. For two years the Spaniards had continued to domineer in Peru, not by any merit of their own beyond union and steadiness, but by the successive blunders, jealousies, and misconduct of their adversaries. In fact, for some time, the generals saw that they could not do better than remain in their quarters, while the patriots ruined their own game. At length, the Spaniards determined upon acting decisively, and they accordingly marched down upon Lima: this was the only grand error they committed, and if the patriots had been able to take advantage of it, it ought to have been their destruction.

As soon as the congress and Torre Tagle knew that Riva Aguero, by the treachery of La Fuente, was in their power, they sent directions to Bolivar to put him to death, as well as his principal associate and supporter, Herrera, who was taken with him. Bolivar, however, did not think proper to comply with these sanguinary orders; probably because he was too prudent thus to exasperate the Peruvians, among whom Riva Aguero was much liked: the two prisoners were sent by him to Guayaquil, and subsequently arrived in England, via Gibraltar.

[page] 286

CHAPTER XXXVII.

Measures taken by Bolivar for the prosecution of the war—New Constitution proclaimed—Scarcity of money in Lima—Value of the commerce of Peru to Great Britain—Mode of carrying on trade.

BOLIVAR, after these events, assembled all his troops at Huaras, a considerable town, and capital of the province of Huaylas, situated in a fertile district at the very foot of the Cordillera; and finding the country capable of maintaining his army, he determined to concentrate his forces in that neighbourhood, where he would be nearer to his supplies: he now could expect no assistance but from Colombia, and he sent orders that all the disposable force should join him from thence. With this view, and to accustom his troops to the cold climate of the Sierra, in which he knew the war must be carried on, and where the Spaniards had such a superiority from their men being natives, he formed cantonments along the Sierra, between Caxamarca, in the north, and Guanuco, a considerable town about sixty leagues from the Spanish head-quarters at Huancayo in the valley of Xauja. At Guanuco he stationed General Sucre with a considerable body as his ad-

[page] 287

vanced guard, while he fixed his own head-quarters at Pativilca on the sea coast, near Huaras, where his main army was encamped, and from whence he could have constant and rapid communication both with Lima and Truxillo.

It was generally supposed in Lima soon after this period, that a change of government was about to take place, in consequence of directions left, and sent by Bolivar, and various reports were afloat on the occasion; but although an alteration might be contemplated, it never took place, and the congress pursued its old course of endeavouring to blind the eyes of the people. Bolivar, on more occasions than one, but especially to a deputation sent to him, had stated plainly that a reform was needed in various branches of the state, and it was understood that he left it to the congress to make the necessary investigations, and to accomplish this object.

In order to show the system of imposition pursued, it may be well just to notice briefly the steps taken by the representative body on this subject. First, it proceeded to a fresh election of a President, and reappointed Torre Tagle. It next published a printed code of laws, which read well on paper, but could not, and was not intended to be executed. It also made a great and most important reform by changing the patron saint of the armies, because they had not been successful under the old one; and, last of all, it decreed a renewal of the oath of independence, which was carried into effect a few days afterwards with great splendour and form. Stages were erected

[page] 288

in different parts of the city, and to these points the government marched in procession at the head of the troops, and there a long document was read containing the leading branches of the constitution. How much wiser would it have been to have elected an efficient governor of Lima, who would have done something to retrieve the credit of the country; to, have placed commerce on a proper footing; to have administered justice equally; to have induced the proprietors of estates round the city to cultivate them; and to have raised supplies for the army!

The new Constitution likewise abolished all titles, reducing the different classes to the rank of mere citizens, and the Marquis of Torre Tagle now signed himself Citizen Tagle, President; and the Count of St. Doxas, the minister of war, was reduced to plain Don Juan Berindoaga. No step could be more calculated to disgust the higher orders,—a weak, effeminate race, whose only glory had long been in rank and crosses. The policy of San Martin, when he took possession of Lima, had been widely different: he was well aware of the great foible of the Peruvian character, and one of his first steps was to institute the new Order of the Sun. He was much censured in Europe for this proceeding, but it was not the act of a vain man, but of a wise politician: he knew that the nobility of Lima would be caught by gaudy trifles and empty honours, and that these would keep them in good humour; but, deprived of those which they formerly possessed, they pined immediately after the old state of affairs, during which they were re-

[page] 289

spected and envied. I cannot help suspecting that this impolitic measure was first urged by the Spanish party in the congress: their insight was deeper; they knew that Peru was not prepared for such a step, and that they were thus secretly undermining the cause of Republicanism at the very time when it was generally supposed they were most upholding it.

Lima began once more to enjoy a little ease and tranquillity, as there appeared no immediate cause of alarm, although Bolivar's forces were at a considerable distance. It was not expected that the Spaniards would attempt to reoccupy Lima at this season, as it would weaken their position at Xauja; and they never could exist long in the city while the patriots maintained the command of the sea, and had possession of the castles of Callao. The richer inhabitants of Lima were at this time becoming dreadfully poor; the times were too unsettled to make it worth while to cultivate their farms, and to repurchase slaves and cattle, which in the space of the last three years had been cleared off at different times by the alternate occupation of contending parties. Most of the ready money also had been drained, or had disappeared from the city: some of it had been embarked for Europe, whilst the forced loans and dearness of provisions consumed by no very slow degrees all the gold and silver left in circulation. The government had exhausted its credit by frequent issues of paper and base coin; and nothing, I am persuaded, disgusted the native Peruvians more with the cause of independence than obliging them to take scraps of

U

[page] 290

paper and pieces of copper for their wares, instead of silver or gold, which, in the time of the viceroys, was so plentiful, and with which they knew their country abounded.

When at last the copper currency declined to a discount of seventy-five per cent, it was called in; that is to say, it was declared not current, and it therefore remained in the hands of the holders as a debt against government, whenever it should be able or willing to pay it off. In consequence of this state of affairs, business of every kind was remarkably dull; and as in civilised countries law usually increases with poverty, the consulado, or court of justice, was full of claims. Such was the corrupt manner in which justice was administered, that any man who did not wish to pay his debts could avoid discharging them as long as he liked, provided he made oath repeatedly that he could not. Under this system private credit was of course destroyed.

Lima, in times of prosperity, must always be a place of the greatest commercial importance to Great Britain. Besides the quantity of manufactures consumed in the city, which is immense in proportion to the population, the whole northern coast has been supplied from the Lima market. The mountainous country towards Huaras, the towns of Guanuco and Pasco, and the valley of Xauja, all situated in populous districts, obtain them also from the capital, and require large importations of goods. It was estimated by an English merchant in Lima, while I was there, that the revenue from the customs at twenty-five per

[page] 291

cent. on imports in times of peace, would amount to between two and three millions of dollars annually. We are to recollect that most of the goods are valued at less than the cost price; so that the amount of imports would be as much as two millions sterling annually. The returns, at present at least, must be in specie, as little of the produce of Peru could be taken as a return cargo.

There is besides a very considerable coasting trade in Pisco brandy, rice, sugar, tobacco, and wax, in which, I conceive, numbers of English vessels would probably be employed. Under the viceroys, the marked difference between wholesale and retail, which in England constitutes the chief distinction between merchant and shopkeeper, was not observed in Peru; and a merchant, under the old regime, opened a large warehouse, at which he sold every thing, and in the smallest quantities. Many of the principal Spanish merchants amassed fortunes without keeping, or even perhaps knowing how to keep, a single account. However, with national independence came trade, and the regularity and activity of foreign houses, particularly of the English, threw the old system completely into the back ground; and the ancient establishments vanished, being unable to compete with the nice calculations and regularity to which trade was reduced by competition.

Commerce at last settled into the hands of four classes: 1st. The foreign merchants, who sold not less than a box of goods. 2d. Merchants, generally natives of the country, who did not sell less

U 2

[page] 292

than a piece of goods. 3d. The shopkeepers, who, of course, sold in any quantity, however small. And, 4th, the mercanchifles, or hawkers of goods about the streets. The shopkeepers, according to their means, bought either of the first or second class; while the mercanchifles either purchased of the second, or were employed at a per centage to sell manufactures for them. In the cities and towns of South America, business is chiefly carried on in the plaza, most of the principal shops being situated there or in the immediate neighbourhood; from whence the expression of the "price of the plaza" is used as the words "market price" are employed with us. The weather being always fine, without rain, some of the mercanchifles display their commodities on mats spread on the ground all round the plaza, by this means making a great show; whilst others continually walk the streets with their manufactures, and a measure trying to induce passengers to buy, either by the cheapness of their wares, or by their skill in recommending them: none but inferior goods are hawked about in this manner.

[page] 293

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

Chorillos, the Brighton of Lima—Bathing by ladies—Indian inhabitants—Miraflores—Fogs in Peru during the winter months—The Tertiana, and other disorders.

IT was now the middle of the Peruvian summer, and that season of the year when most of the higher circles in Lima left the heat of the city to enjoy themselves at their chacras, or country-houses, or to hire dwellings in Chorillos, the Brighton of Lima. Notwithstanding the gloom which poverty cast more or less over every body, many families visited this watering place, but by far the greater number of the houses were occupied by the English or foreign merchants. Chorillos is an Indian fishing town, about six miles south of Callao and eight from Lima, situated on a high sandy bank round a small bay, rendered famous by the loss of the San Martin ship of war of sixty guns, formerly the Cumberland East Indiaman, which went on shore there, and was lost by the negligence of the crew. The houses, or ranchos, as they are termed rather in contempt, consist generally of a large sala, opening towards the sea, with two or three small bed-rooms behind it: they are quite of a common construction, most of them

[page] 294

having clay floors and cane roofs. They belong to the richer Indians, who live generally in little cane huts at the back of those houses which they let out for the season, or during the four hottest months of the year. Hither families bring their own furniture, wines, &c. and take up their residence to enjoy the sea breezes and bathing, and to eat fish, among which a small kind resembling our sprats is in high and deserved estimation.

It cannot be said that the inhabitants of Lima showed much judgment and taste in the selection of their watering place, for it is situated on a sandy barren promontory, and when the wind is high, the houses are filled with dust, and it is over shoes out of doors. However, to make up for the dirtiness and disagreeableness of the place, the air is generally particularly pleasant, and the cares of the world here seem to be banished among the gay visitors. During the day the Lima ladies put on their long bathing dresses, and descend by a sandy path to little huts made of plaited cane, and distributed in the smooth intervals between the rugged rocks which line the shores. There they are attended by Indian bathing men, with merely a small piece of linen round their waists. They continue in the water from half an hour to an hour at a time, and they are not greatly offended if any male friend swim up to them, and enter into conversation.

In the evening there is always dancing and music in some of the habitations, to which all have free admittance: on these occasions the guitar is the instru-

[page] 295

ment employed, and to it are sung the Spanish songs of the country: the music possesses a plaintive softness, and the voices of the ladies are generally harmonious.

The Indians of Chorillos are a very simple race of people, living entirely by fishing, the produce of which they carry to the Lima market. The fishing Canoes start about sunset, manned each by two men, one sitting in the head and another in the stern, and both with a paddle with which they row with astonishing rapidity: they return at day-light, when the shore is crowded with men, women, and children, with their jackasses, receiving the produce of the night's expedition: they carry the fish up the bank in baskets, and load the asses with the nets, which are afterwards spread in the sun to dry. The Indian women are particularly modest, and if not pretty, they have very interesting faces, set off to advantage by excessive neatness in plaiting their hair, to which they pay the greatest attention. Their dress here is exactly like that all along the coast, and which I described at Huacho: they are the same people at Chorillos, though a richer and rather higher race; but money makes little difference in their habits, as they pride themselves on adhering to their ancient customs.

Half-way between Lima and Chorillos stands a little village called Miraflores, which also used to be the summer residence of some of the grandees of Lima, and consisted formerly of handsome houses in the midst of luxuriant gardens and orchards. While

[page] 296

I was in Lima, it was deserted, and the country round it, which before was rich and well cultivated, was returning to its first state of barrenness and desolation.

The whole district seems to have been very thickly inhabited by Indians at some former period, as their huacas of earth, and remains of mud buildings, are thickly scattered in every direction; traces of their tapias, or mud-walls, for the enclosures, from which the Spaniards doubtless took the plan of their own are also visible in some situations. These fences give the country a very unpleasant appearance to an Englishman; but luxuriant hedgerows, to which he has been accustomed, cannot exist in many parts of Peru, where nothing grows without irrigation, and where, therefore, water is most valuable. The climate is so fine that these tapias last for centuries, unless thrown down or destroyed: one of our hard winters would crumble them to atoms.

It has been before remarked, that the climate of Peru is particularly enervating. There is in fact no winter; but this season of the year is distinguished from the summer by the fogs; called by the natives garrua, which in the evening and morning fall so heavily, as to render the streets dirty. This mist, however, is generally dispersed by the sun's rays about ten or eleven o'clock, and then little difference is felt between the two opposite portions of the year. The general variation of the thermometer is between 66 and 82 in the shade. During the garrua season, the high rugged hills, which rise at the back of

[page] 297

Lima, are clothed with vegetation, and have a beautiful effect; they are covered with cattle climbing their craggy sides in all directions. As the dry season approaches, this verdure disappears, and examining the soil then, it would seem impossible, from its hardness and barrenness, that vegetation should ever have existed there.

During this season the Indians bring their flocks into the vicinity of the capital for pasture, and many parties of pleasure are formed to a place called the Almencais, about two miles from the city. It is a valley between the hills, whither the middling classes repair in hired calesas to visit the temporary cane-huts of the Indian herdsmen; here they take new milk, and a species of cream-cheese, made by the Indians from the milk of their goats.

We often took this direction in our rides on horseback out of the city in the evening, and there is a beautiful view of Lima from it. The towers and spires are seen enshrined in evergreens, while the whole city is nearly encompassed by the mighty range of the Andes. In the Almencais, we generally found many parties collected, sitting among the fragments of the rocks, dancing to the harp, or singing to the guitar, while at their feet was stretched out the noble prospect I have described, and round them the lofty green eminences covered with browsing cattle.

On one of these occasions, Captain Prescott and I climbed, with considerable difficulty and fatigue, a high conical mountain, called San Christobal, at the

[page] 298

back of Lima, where we obtained a bird's-eye view of the capital, the ocean, and the adjacent country. On the top, we found a cross made of large beams, fifteen or twenty feet high, but which looked very insignificant from below. The prospect amply repaid us for our exertion in reaching the summit, for the country was spread like a map under us. The cultivated land along the sea-shore was of the width of about six miles; the barren hills then commenced, and in the intervals between them, we observed small narrow productive slips, and here and there little secluded spots, like islands amid the waste; or perhaps connected with the valley by a small outlet, through which meandered the fertilizing stream, without which all would be dreary and unproductive. The view of the city was too perpendicular to possess much beauty, as we merely saw the straight streets, and looked down upon the flat mud-roofs of the houses.

The winter or foggy season of the year lasts from June to November, and is considered the most unhealthy part of the year in Peru, as the natives then suffer particularly from the ague, which is very prevalent along the whole coast. Those who are subject to this disease may be known by their bilious and sickly appearance, though they may feel perfectly well between the attacks. It is so common a disorder in Lima, that if one of a circle of friends be absent, it is taken, as a matter of course, that he is in bed with the Tertiana. The native medical men are a most ignorant and self-conceited race: many

[page] 299

of them are mulattos, and parade the streets very formally on their sleek well-fed mules. They have no notion of decisive measures in desperate cases, but content themselves with administering a little oil of almonds, manna, or cooling draughts. That disgusting complaint, the itch, is so prevalent and virulent in Lima, that the physicians of the country positively declare that they cannot get rid of it: instead of strong outward applications, they merely give iced waters, &c., so that this nasty distemper often makes dreadful ravages in the most respectable families, into which it is accidentally introduced: I have very often gone to see some of our female acquaintance, to invite them to evening amusements, and have found them for weeks laid up by the Coracha. The barber surgeons, a class that still exists in Peru, are very expert in bleeding, tooth-drawing, and shaving, either of which operations they perform to perfection for a shilling.

There are two distinct climates in Peru; that of the Sierra, and that of the coast. Whenever the Indians of the Sierra, or interior, come down to the sea-side, particularly during the winter season, for any length of time, they die off; and the same effect is produced upon the natives of the coast, if they go at once to reside in the Sierra. Recruits levied in the interior have been brought down to garrison Callao, and they have died almost to a man. The negroes seem to thrive particularly well in the city, but they cannot bear the cold of the Cordillera. It is somewhat singular that this difference of temper-

[page] 300

ature in the two climates does not, as far as I could observe and learn, at all affect the white population.

If the winter on the coast of Peru be the most unhealthy, the summer is the most debilitating season. It had such an effect on me, by enervating my system and depressing my animal spirits, that the English physician recommended me to take a journey into the interior, to occupy my mind and brace my nerves: as I wished particularly to see the celebrated mines of Pasco, about fifty leagues from Lima, I thought it an excellent opportunity for gratifying my curiosity, gaining information, and recovering my health.

[page] 301

CHAPTER XXXIX.

Journey to the mines of Pasco—Party of Los Inocentes—Murders and robberies by them—The mines of Canta—Cocota—Peruvian scenery, and inhabitants—Chicha.

ON the 13th December, having made the necessary arrangements by getting warm clothing, &c., I started with a native who acted as my guide and companion, and a led mule to carry our small stock of baggage and comforts. We left Lima about three o'clock in the afternoon, having to go six leagues that night. For some distance our path lay along the foot of the mountains by the road to Chancay, until about two leagues from the city, we reached the encampment occupied by the Spanish army, while San Martin lay at Huaura: as my companion had served as an officer in that army, he could point out the different stations, and the advantages of the position. At this spot the mountains approached very close to the sea, so as to leave a smaller space to be defended, than if the valley had been wider. In the centre of the encampment was a rising ground, on which the royalists had mounted their artillery, forming a battery of twelve pieces, and the embrasures were still visible. In advance was a long wide plain, through

[page] 302

which passed the road to Chancay. The tapias had here all been levelled, as well that the artillery might be able to play with effect upon an enemy, as that the cavalry might act without obstruction.

At this point the Pasco road branches to the right, skirting the arid mountains, while on the left we saw some very fine cultivated estates; but the houses and buildings upon them had been allowed to go to ruin.

Soon afterwards we overtook two fellow travellers, a soldier and his lady, belonging to a party at a short distance, with the "horses of the state," grazing free of expense, on a plantation, the proprietor of which was no doubt sufficiently paid by the honour thus done him. Our new friend belonged to the Chilian Inocentes, the corps commanded by General Miller in Upper Peru, the exploits of which I have already celebrated, and certainly they were good specimens of the body to which they were attached. The gentleman carried the carcass of a sheep, hanging on each side of his saddle, which he was conveying to his friends. The lady was sitting astride on her horse, and amused me exceedingly by the account she gave of the recent campaign, and of the plunder she had obtained. She was dressed quite à la militaire, and managed her horse with admirable skill. This lawless band had been playing their old game on the road by robbing the Indians as they brought down small quantities of silver to the city, and as we went through a narrow pass between the hills, our two companions showed us some blood on the sand,

[page] 303

which they said was that of a traveller murdered the day before. I told them plainly, as our best security, that any one attempting to rob us would meet with as good a resistance as we could make, and at the same time I took care that they should see my pistols. Ere long we arrived at the estate where the whole body rested, and we parted with mutual civilities.

We passed on our road the remains of several Indian towns, generally on the tops or sides of the hills. We were now joined by an elderly man known to my companion, and who invited us to sleep at his house near the road, which offer we accepted.

The old godo, for so he proved to be, lived at a good estate, at the end of a valley, terminating among the hills: his house was a miserable dirty chacra, surrounded by the cane huts of the slaves, and by different corrales, with mud walls for the various kinds of stock: close by was the thrashing-floor, a round circular yard, paved with small pebbles. Having turned our mules into one of these enclosures, and supplied them with a bundle or two of lucern, we followed our host into a small room, where he had a bed for himself when he came to visit his plantation.

During the preparation of the chupe for supper, he amused us with a statement of his losses by the patriots, which he estimated at 70,000 dollars, by different robberies and exactions, and every turn of his conversation, when comparing the old state of things with the new, "his excellency the viceroy" was continually in his mouth. His capitas, or

[page] 304

bailiff, was a curious old fellow, and formed a good match for the master. The discontented royalist, however, hospitably offered me the use of his bed, which I of course declined, preferring to wrap myself up in my cloak on my saddle in an outer room with the baggage. In answer to a question I put to the old bailiff, whether there were any fleas in the house, his dry answer was, Si señor hembra y macho, "Yes, Sir, male and female."

We were up early the next morning, and breakfasted on chocolate, having taken the necessary apparatus with us, and boiling it with ignited spirit. We then started; the bailiff was sent with us to shew us into the Camino Real or King's Road, which we had deviated from a little in order to sleep at the old gentleman's dwelling. The bailiff, while accompanying us, gave a most feeling description of the stinginess of our host, and declared that he had lived a dog's life all the time he had been in his service.

After leaving him we entered the dry mountainous country, and at a considerable height above the valley, we passed an acequia, or small canal, originally cut by the Indians along the sides of the hills to conduct water to some distant spot. The effect of this stream, contrasted with the bare face of the mountains, was very pleasant: it was bordered by very tall luxuriant canes, which grew immediately at the edge of the water, and marked its winding course for many miles. We soon came into a deep stony valley or channel, between two ranges

[page] 305

of barren rocky eminences, called the Rio Seco, "dry river," of the same description as those mentioned in my journey to Truxillo. The sun's vertical rays here shot down upon our heads with great power, and, being reflected by the hard arid ground, the heat was almost intolerable: the journey, therefore, for three or four leagues was very toilsome to man and beast. We at last came to a very steep hill, celebrated in that part of the country for being the resort of banditti, and they certainly could not choose a more convenient situation, as the path was here contracted to a narrow pass, and the robbers could see several miles each way, so as to be at once secure of their prey, and from the surprise of enemies. My companion told me that he and some others were travelling this road on a former occasion, with a considerable quantity of dollars in their possession, when, arriving near the summit, they saw a body of men stationary on the top of the hill. They concluded that they must certainly be robbers, and the party halted to recruit their forces by other travellers, who were coming up behind, when it was unanimously agreed that they would not be robbed tamely. They therefore, like good generals, left their baggage in the rear, and the whole party advanced up the hill in battle array. When they reached the top the robbers proved to be only travellers like themselves, regaling after the fatigues of the road: the baggage was accordingly sent for, the stock of provisions was opened, and the rest of the day was spent in merriment on the spot.

X

[page] 306

From our lofty situation we could see as it were immediately below us a pretty green valley, but we were nearly two hours before we reached it, the eye being much deceived as to the distance. A few leagues on this side of Pasco, a stream issues from the Cordillera, to which others unite themselves, and, when it passes Canta, it assumes the name of the river of Canta, being there a considerable torrent: it empties itself into the sea at Chancay, fourteen leagues from Lima, fertilizing in its course a very cheerful country. The whole valley or quebrada through which this river runs is one of the prettiest that can be imagined: it is closely shut in, in many situations, by high ranges of bare rugged rocks, which leave little more space at the bottom than is sufficient for the torrent. In other places the water is ingeniously carried along the sides of the hills in small channels, neatly formed of earth and stones; for wherever the soil will admit of cultivation, the natives irrigate it. For this purpose, the sides of the mountains are laid out in steps or terraces, though with a considerable declivity, each plantation having a wall at the bottom of it, to prevent the soil from being washed entirely away. In these little, and often precipitous fields, the most luxuriant lucern is grown intermixed with plats of Indian corn, all contrasting beautifully with the high barren mountains in the vicinity.

The mule-track along the face of these hills generally skirted one of these fertilizing streams, and even the bubbling sound of the water, passing over

[page] 307

the stony bottom of the channel, seemed to cool us as we proceeded in the heat of the day. The valley was well inhabited: small Indian villages were scattered along the road, often in the most delightful and picturesque situations, and overshadowed by fruit trees of a kind which will not thrive near the coast. I was now in the midst of Peruvian scenery, and among its inhabitants, unmixed with whites or negroes; and I saw both country and people, probably with very little difference from their condition in the innocent and happy times of the Incas.

Our first entrance into this aboriginal quebrada, if I may so call it, was at the small village of Cocoto, which consists of a few unconnected ranchos. Continuing to wind up the woods, we passed a beautiful cascade which, leaping over a precipice, fell as much as an hundred yards in perpendicular height into the valley. Further on we reached a solitary church, famous as the reported birth-place of Santa Rosa, the Peruvian saint, to whom the edifice was dedicated. We were benighted before we reached our pascana or pasture, but we were well repaid for the additional danger of travelling in these precipitous roads by the solemn and grand effect of the moon-light upon vast craggy eminences, obscured only at short intervals by flying clouds. On approaching Yasso we were greeted by the loud barking of the dogs always kept by the Indians, and we soon arrived at the village, containing half a dozen huts, where we put up for the night. We spread our beds, consisting of our

X 2

[page] 308

saddles and blankets, in a small field of lucern, and made our mules fast, according to the method of the country, to a strong weed which grows among it.

I had observed to-day that many of the cottages had boughs hung up at the doors as a sign to travellers that chicha was sold in the rancho. Chicha is the national drink of the Indians, and I was informed that it is made of Indian corn chewed by the women, and then fermented. The liquor, thus produced, is more like our beer than any thing else, and is by no means an unpalatable drink. The natives are so much addicted to it, that many of them, while they can procure it, are in a continual state of intoxication.

Having made our supper to-night of chupe and broiled mutton, and having taken a good draught of chicha to keep out the cold night air, we rolled ourselves up in our blankets; but we passed a bad night, as the mules frequently broke loose, and we were obliged to get up to make them fast again.

[page] 309

CHAPTER XL.

Yasso, and its situation—Rainy season in the Andes—Lobrojillo —Entrance of the Spaniards into Pasco, and abandonment of the journey—Manners of the inhabitants—Cultivation of potatoes—Chase of the Vacuña.

IN the morning I was somewhat benumbed by the cold and the heavy dew. At day-light I found that the little village of Yasso was placed in a most romantic situation, with its green fields and fruit-trees almost overhanging the torrent, which rushed along, dashing its white foam against the large fragments of rock that obstructed its course. The scene was rendered more picturesque by the ruins of a large building, which had the appearance of the remains of a Gothic edifice, but I found, on inquiry, that it had been only an ingenio, or smelting furnace for silver: it was in decay, as the mine to which it belonged, after a time, was discovered to be not worth working.

The whole of the mountainous country in which we were enclosed is full of minerals, and we passed a chain of hills of ironstone, and all the water that issued from them was of a rusty colour, and the taste strongly chalybeate. Towards Canta, the capital of

[page] 310

the province, the hills on each side of the valley were higher, while we continued winding up the mule-track, like that in the Cordillera between Buenos Ayres and Chili, cut on the bare face of the hills, or sometimes along the edges of the torrents. I observed in many places small towns, perched like eagles' nests at the top of some elevation, at such a giddy height, that the inhabitants, moving about the lofty ridges above us, seemed mere pigmies. In addition to the beautiful and luxuriant irrigated valleys I have described, wherever there was sufficient depth of soil on the face of the mountains, the ancient Indians had cultivated the spot, and made small enclosures to keep the mould from being washed down. Whole mountains are seen thus laid out, and they give a good idea of the industry and population of the early inhabitants. In these patches they grew, and indeed still partially grow, potatoes, barley, maize, and wheat, trusting to the rainy season for the fruit of their labours. The rains in the Andes begin generally in December, and the mountains almost immediately become clothed with pasture and wild flowers. At the time I was passing over this Country, the rainy season had commenced in the higher regions of the Cordillera; but it had not reached as far as Canta. The distant roll of the thunder was nevertheless heard, re-echoed by the mountains, and the river was swollen and red with the soil brought down by the innumerable streams which joined it before its arrival at Canta.

Soon after leaving Yasso this morning, we crossed

[page] 311

the river by a rustic bridge, stretched from one rock to another, where they projected into the torrent and made the channel narrower. This bridge was formed of two long pieces of timber, and they were bound together by ropes of the fibres of aloe leaves; upon these were laid large quantities of other leaves, and altogether they made a secure though vibrating bridge of three or four feet broad. The banks of the river were generally fringed with tall canes, prickly pears, and aloes, with their lofty flowers, running up sometimes to the height of more than twenty feet. Having travelled for about a mile up a most dangerous road of rude steps, cut or worn in the side of the rocky hills, we descended again towards the torrent, and finding a pretty little grassplat, shaded by trees on the bank of the river, we boiled our chocolate, and stretched at length on the ground, contemplated at leisure the sublime scenery of the Andes, and watched the labours of the Indians, whom we observed on the surrounding eminences preparing their lands, in order to sow them after the first fall of rain.

We this morning met a Montonero soldier, who told us, to our surprise, that the royalists were in Pasco. This man was an Indian from Reyes, a town between Pasco and Xauja: he was dressed in a coarse yellow jacket and high cap, with long trowsers reaching far below his boots. We did not like the expression of his countenance, and suspected that he meant us no good: at last he fairly told us he thought we were godos hastening to join the Spaniards, and nothing,

[page] 312

for a long time, could convince him of the contrary. He asked me, however, the person's house to whom we were going in Lobrojillo, and when I mentioned it, he said all was right, as the man happened to be a captain of Montoneros. Finding, therefore, that he had no pretence for plundering us, as we were good patriots, he inquired what we had to sell: we told him that we were only travelling to gratify curiosity, and he proceeded to beg for every thing we had brought with us.

About half a mile before we arrived at Lobrojillo; we again crossed the torrent by a curious natural bridge formed of two large granite rocks, which seemed to have fallen over it, their tops resting against each other, and affording a secure road without any assistance from art.

Lobrojillo is an Indian town, consisting of about 100 thatched huts, built round a square on the banks of the river, and encompassed by a small valley of irrigated land. On inquiring for Casquero, the man to whom I carried a letter of introduction, there being no inns on the road, I learnt that his house was a little way out of the town. My host was a short thick Mestizo, or half Indian and half European, and was a captain of a troop of Montoneros belonging to Canta and the neighbourhood. Though a man of some consequence in the place, he lived like the Indians, in a mud cottage, or rather in a range of mud buildings thatched with straw, and built round a yard. He confirmed the unpleasant news that the Spaniards had entered Pasco, and advised me by no

[page] 313

means to attempt to proceed, as independently of the Spaniards having possession of Pasco, the road to it was occupied by bands of Montoneros, who had been of the party of Riva Aguero, and had not yet submitted to Bolivar. They consisted very much of Indians, who knew little or nothing of Spanish, and he stated them to be very barbarous and cruel. Under these circumstances it would have been madness to have persevered, and as this valley led to no other point, I was obliged to be satisfied with what I had already seen, and to collect all the information I could obtain respecting the county on the other side the Cordillera, which I had intended to have visited.

Canta is situated on a dry plain about a mile from Lobrojillo, and two or three leagues from the foot of the summit of the Andes in that quarter. It is a large town, but has a miserable appearance from a distance, being more like a large group of barns than houses. The inhabitants were complaining very much of the backwardness of the rains, and that the cattle were starving for want of pasture. The town itself looked the more uncomfortable for this reason. The inhabitants are chiefly Indians, of a more robust and hardy race than those of the coast, but having the same softness of manners, and the same innocent and melancholy expression of countenance. Their dress is almost entirely of their own manufacture. The men wear small coarse ponchos, and underneath jackets and breeches of cloth, with worsted stockings knitted by the females, and shoes of raw hide, drawn tight over the foot by a thong,

[page] 314

which goes all round. The men's hats are coarse beaver. The women are dressed much in the same way as those of the coast, and all are evidently of one race, though climate and employment have rendered the native inhabitants near the sea somewhat different in their appearance and habits.

The Indians of the interior are a very active and hardy set of people, and are particularly famous for long journeys on foot, which they perform with surprising speed. The road to Pasco from Lima is fifty leagues, and it is performed by animals in four or five days, while an Indian propio, or courier on foot, will go the distance in three days, by cutting over the tops of the mountains, accompanied merely by his dog, and walking with a long staff. They can endure hunger as well as fatigue, and with a small bag of cancha, and another of coca, they travel for days without requiring any other sustenance. Cancha is made of a sweet kind of maize which grows in the Sierra, parched and ground small by rolling a round stone on a flat one; it is very nourishing and agreeable to the palate, and is eaten as a powder. Coca is the dried leaf of a tree which they chew like tobacco, mixing it with lime: it has the double advantage of preventing hunger, and of being a strong stimulant. As the Spanish army is composed, in a great measure, of these Indians, it will in some measure account for the length and rapidity of its marches through dreadful roads, and over apparently impassable mountains.

I have before mentioned that the agriculture of

[page] 315

the Sierra is confined principally to maize, wheat, barley, and potatoes. This latter vegetable grows to the greatest perfection in the Sierra, of which recent inquiries have shown it to be a native. There are three kinds of it in Peru: the first is a bright yellow, the second blue, and the third white; and all three are of the size and shape of what we call champions, and are the best I have ever eaten, though the yellow is perhaps to be preferred. Most of the little plats of ground cultivated by the Indians are dug by the hand with a clumsy kind of spade fixed at the end of a long handle: it is then broken to pieces by hoes; but I also saw a team of oxen at work ploughing in a low situation on the banks of the river.

Besides their woollen manufactures of coarse cloth, worsted stockings, and ponchos, the natives make finer articles of Vacuña wool, which is spun by the women, who merely use a straight piece of wood on which the thread is wound, and which they twist with their fingers. Of this beautiful material they make stockings and gloves of the natural fawn colour, ornamenting the clocks and seams with green silk. A pair of stockings of this description is worth from five to twelve dollars. They also weave fine ponchos, in lively colours, with very pretty patterns, which are worth as much as 700 dollars. Ponchos and bed-quilts of cotton are likewise made by the Indians, but they are very dear.

There are three species of the Llama or Peruvian sheep: the wild guanaco, which is useless excepting

[page] 316

for food; the Vacuña, which supplies the fine wool; and the Llama, used merely as a beast of burthen. The Vacuña is wild, and inhabits the quebradas of the mountains: the chase of it affords the Indians great amusement, and it is caught in the following manner: The Indians form a corral, or enclosure, in a valley frequented by these animals, of upright stakes, with horizontal strings, to which are attached pieces of worsted of different bright colours, and this enclosure is left open on one side. They then take a wide circuit, and drive the affrighted animals along the quebrada till they enter the corral, advancing gradually upon their timid prey: the Vacuñas, seeing the pieces of coloured worsted blown about by the wind, stand together in a flock, alarmed at the unusual sight, and allow the Indians to kill them at their leisure.

[page] 317

CHAPTER XLI.

Pasco and the Cerro de Pasco—Minerals in that vicinity, gold, silver, copper, tin, iron, and coal—Mine of Matagente—Mode of working the mines—House of Arismendi and Abadia—Reyes —Xauja—Guanuco—Suspension bridges over the Amazon.

THE road to Pasco does not lead over the Cumbre of the Andes, as in the Cordillera of Chili, but the high ridge being interrupted and broken at intervals, the road lies generally through these valleys and fissures. Before the traveller arrives at the town, he passes over an elevated plain, covered with cattle during the pasture season, forming an agreeable contrast to the mountains that encircle it. At the beginning and end of the rainy season, that is, in the months of December and May, it is considered dangerous to cross this plain, in consequence of the tremendous thunder and lightning prevailing there. It is thought that the clouds are attracted by the hills, and by the quantity of metallic substances contained in them: they seem to vent all their rage on this level spot, and spread terror, and even death; scarcely a season passing without accounts of new victims to the fury of the storms.

The town of Pasco, properly so called, is fast going

[page] 318

to decay, the vein of silver being much exhausted which attracted the population; but what is termed the Cerro de Pasco, or hill of Pasco, from its metallic wealth, was rapidly rising into consequence before the revolution broke out. The town is two or three leagues farther from Lima than Pasco itself, and is situated among the mines in a valley enclosed by mountains, and many of the buildings are erected on the slope of the hill from which it derives its name, and which is the source of its consequence. It is a large straggling place, composed principally of inferior dwellings, with a few good houses interspersed among them without forming any regular streets.

The climate is at all times unpleasant, and in winter it rains almost incessantly, accompanied by thunder and lightning, from which a number of accidents annually happen. In summer the atmosphere is clear, but the cold is greater than in the winter. Instead of fire-places or stoves, so necessary in cold countries, the natives make use of braseros or brass pans, in which they burn either charcoal or a thin kind of mossy peat, which covers the valley. It is placed in the middle of the room, and the family huddle round it; and it is said to be in a great degree the cause of the listlessness and unhealthiness of the inhabitants, their legs in general being ulcerated from the effect of the fire. None of the necessaries of life are produced in the immediate neighbourhood; provisions, pasture, and even water are brought from a distance, but the market is always well supplied.

The minerals in the vicinity are extremely rich

[page] 319

and various. In addition to the silver, which is often found almost pure, the country abounds in copper, iron, and tin, which are thrown by, as comparatively worthless. There are also gold mines about five leaves from Pasco, and veins of quicksilver were begun to be worked a short time before the revolution. A mine of quicksilver is valued, by the Peruvians, as highly as a mine of silver, the supply from Spain and Germany for refining the ores having always been very limited, and the price consequently dear. The only quicksilver mine in Peru, before the discovery of the veins near Pasco, was that of Huaneavelica. This place is one of the greatest singularities in the world, with a complete town, and its cathedral in the bowels of the earth. In addition to its abundant ores, Pasco has mountains of excellent coal in its immediate vicinity, which, when the country is free from contending parties, will afford the greatest facility to the working of the mines by steam-engines.

The most curious mine near Pasco is that of Matagente, probably called so from the number of persons who, from time to time, have perished in it. It occupies a large space underground, and in the interior there is an extensive lake in perfect darkness. The mine itself has been unworked for years; but the Indians sometimes venture down to rob the pillars of ore which have been left to support the roof, and many losing themselves in the labyrinth of turnings, have been starved to death. The friend who gave me this account of it once went over the mine,

[page] 320

properly attended by lights and guides, and discovered the body of an Indian with the fingers gnawed off: doubtless the poor wretch had fallen a victim to his cupidity, and in the extremity of his hunger had begun to devour his own hands.

Mining, as every body knows, is a very speculative business, and may be compared to gambling on a great scale, as it has the same influence over the passions. Vast capitals have been lost in it in Peru, and some splendid fortunes made. The proprietor of the richest mines in the district of Pasco inherits them from his father, who was in the first instance a Spanish ship-carpenter, and afterwards went to Pasco with a small stock of wares, and set up a shop. His name was Vives, and being frugal and industrious, he had amassed some money at a time when the proprietors of some valuable mines wished to dispose of them: they asked Vives if he would buy them? He was of course surprised at the offer, and answered that he had no adequate means of paying for them; but the proprietors having a good opinion of him agreed to allow him a certain length of time for paying the instalments, amounting to about 300,000 dollars. This sum Vives paid off in a short period, and purchasing other mines, he subsequently became the richest man in Pasco.

The ore is all brought out of the mines on the heads of Indians, who each carry in this manner about three arrobas, or seventy-five pounds. From the mouth of the mine it is conveyed on mules, or Llamas, to the haciendas, where the ingenios, or smelting

[page] 321

houses and mills for grinding the ore, previous to amalgamation, are situated. This operation is sometimes a distinct business, and the miner, in that case, pays so much per cent. for the work according to the richness of the ore. The silver, after being extracted from the ore, is called Plata Piña, and is without alloy; and in this state it is purchased by capitalists in Pasco, who advance money to the miners. The silver is then melted into large bars, and, after having paid the king's fifth, which amounts to about 15 per cent., it is sent to Lima on mules, and exchanged at the mint for the same weight in dollars, which are immediately transmitted back again to Pasco. The purchase of the silver, the transmission of it to Lima, and receiving back the dollars in exchange, occupied on an average a month, and was calculated to produce, clear of expenses, from 2 to 2½ per cent. profit on each journey, so that a capitalist would realise from 24 to 30 per cent. per annum on the money thus employed, without risk, as the price of silver was always steady, and, before the revolution, a robbery on the road was rarely heard of: the muleteers who carried the silver were answerable for their charge.

The machinery employed in Pasco belonged to the house of Arismendi and Abadia: it is supposed that it cost them about a million of dollars, and it was just beginning to work when the commencement of hostilities destroyed all the golden prospects of this once famous house. They were to receive a per centage for clearing the mines of water on all

Y

[page] 322

the ore extracted, and it was calculated that, in a very short time, they would have reimbursed the large capital invested.

Having mentioned the names of this house, once so celebrated in Peru and indeed throughout Europe, I will here give a short account of its fall, connected as it is with the history of Peru. Abadia, a Spaniard by birth, was a man of enlightened principles, and of a well-cultivated understanding; he spoke English and French fluently, having learnt the former during his residence in the United States. His house was always open, and his table was frequented by the foreigners who happened to be in Lima: English officers, before the arrival of San Martin from Chili, were always especially welcome in the Casa de las Philippinas. Arismendi appears to have been the plodding man of business, and to have had the whole management and superintendence of the counting-house. They rose to such a height of importance in Lima, that the viceroy never did any thing without consulting them, and it was by the persuasion of Abadia that the royalist troops first evacuated Lima. A short time before this event, General Arenales having been detached by San Martin to raise the inhabitants of the interior behind Lima, had penetrated through the Sierra to Pasco, where he defeated the Spanish General O'Reilly.

In this conflict Pasco suffered severely: the machinery was much damaged, and all working of the mines suspended. San Martin having entered Lima,

[page] 323

Arismendi and Abadia were as useful to him as they had before been to the viceroy, and the Spaniards in consequence determined to do their utmost to ruin the establishment, at once to gratify their own revenge, and to destroy their influence with the enemy. With this view, Loriga, who commanded for the Spaniards in Xauja, employed two monks, spies of San Martin, whom he had taken in the Sierra, to carry back to San Martin a forged letter, purporting to be from Abadia, to a royalist general, detailing a series of events in Lima. The friars readily undertook the office; San Martin was deceived, and Abadia was thrown into prison, and he with difficulty escaped with his life. In the mean time, Arismendi, to support the credit of the house shaken by these events, and by the heavy losses they had incurred, forged bills of lading of silver by the Hyperion and Superb; and finally, to avoid detection and punishment, having got together all the property he could collect, he one night disappeared. He had previously embarked his property on board an English vessel, which waited for him at Ancon, a few leagues north of Lima.

Abadia, the suffering, and, as is believed, the honest partner, was thus entirely ruined: he has since continued to reside in Guayaguil respected but poor, while his wife and child, and a junior partner, live in Lima on some little property which could not be taken from them. The remainder of the mining machinery, belonging to this once powerful house, was destroyed on the last visit of the royalist

Y 2

[page] 324

general, Loriga, who entered Pasco with 600 men, and thus completed the vengeance which had been commenced by the forgery of the letter of Abadia. This last calamity took place while I was in Lobrojillo, on my way to Pasco. Several English engineers came out from Cornwall with the machinery, and were much respected and beloved by the Peruvians; but, since the destruction of the works, most of them have quitted the country, but have left their representatives behind them in a number of light curly haired children, known in Pasco by the name of Los Inglesitos. These scientific men invariably gave an extraordinary account of the richness of the mines of Pasco, and asserted that they should be satisfied with what the natives threw away in their careless and slovenly mode of working: the refuse contained sufficient silver to enable them to realize fortunes, by extracting it, if they were allowed to do so.

From Pasco to Xauja the distance is about forty-five leagues; the first stage is the town of Reyes, fifteen leagues from Pasco, celebrated for its pastures, and for the patriotism of its inhabitants, owing to a circumstance which occurred almost at the breaking out of the Revolution. Some Spanish officers took up their quarters in a house in the town, and the night being cold they burnt a brasero of charcoal in their apartment with the doors closed. The consequence was, that in the morning they were all found dead; but their comrades insisted that they had been poisoned, and commenced an indiscriminate massacre

[page] 325

of the town's people, killing every soul that could not escape, and driving away their cattle. Since this event the natives of Reyes have become notorious for their patriotism, and on the approach of a royalist force they transport their families and wealth on balsas, or canoes, to a fertile island in the middle of a large lake in the neighbourhood, where they remain secure from molestation.

The town of Xauja stands in one of the largest, most fertile and most populous valleys in Peru, although now much desolated by the head-quarters of the Spanish army having been so long fixed there. It is an excellent central situation both to threaten Lima and to defend Cusco, and it affords ample means for the subsistence and the recruiting of an army. The Indian inhabitants of this valley are stanch patriots, and have risen several times upon the royalists without success. On one occasion, soon after the landing of San Martin, several thousands were butchered, after a fruitless struggle for independence. The whole country between Xauja and Cusco is mountainous, but intersected by productive guebradas. The mountains abound with minerals, the most valuable of which are the quicksilver of Huancavelica, and the silver of Guamanga, from whence is brought the beautiful silver filigree work, so justly admired, and which is wrought by the Indians.

Twenty-two leagues to the north of Pasco is situated the town of Guanuco, in a hot, but, nevertheless, fertile valley, which produces the best sugar,

[page] 326

coffee, cotton, cocoa, and tobacco grown in Peru; besides which it is famous for its fruits, the pineapple and chirimoya in particular, and for a spirit extracted from the sugar-cane called Caña. In the immediate neighbourhood of Guanuco are the remains of a large Indian town, called old Guanuco, now entirely deserted. This valley is celebrated for being the source of the river Maragnon, or river of the Amazons, which rises near the town of Guanuco, and fertilizes the plain. Near a place called Huari, stands one of the ancient Peruvian bridges over the river, which is thus constructed: two strong posts are fixed on each bank, and to these are fastened ropes of rushes, the path upon them being made of the same materials platted together: on each side is also a rope for the passenger to steady himself by. These, in fact, are in their simplest form the suspension bridges of modern Europe, but being very infirm, their motion is extremely unpleasant to a passenger not accustomed to them: they swing backwards and forwards with the weight of the body, and a friend of mine described himself as so giddy with it, that he was obliged to sit down when he had advanced half way, doubtful whether he could complete his undertaking. The male inhabitants of this district are so enervated and indolent, that they have become proverbial throughout Peru, a Guanuco-man signifying a poor, idle, listless fellow; the women, on the contrary, are extremely active and spirited, and attend to all the different branches of business.

I have already described the country on the western

[page] 327

or Pacific side of the Andes, as a succession of sandy plains and hills now and then refreshed and fertilized by a torrent from the mountains, which produces a small green valley in the midst of desolation. The eastern side of the Cordillera presents a very different aspect, and the country, as soon as you are clear of the mountains, stretches out into fine plains intersected by navigable rivers, and covered with woods, where the soil, which is also blessed with rain, yields spontaneously all the fruits and other productions of tropical climates. Here, however, ends civilized population: the Spanish adventurers penetrated very little farther than the mountains, which contained their darling ore.

[page] 328

CHAPTER XLII.

Enthusiasm of the Indians—Return to Lima from Lobrojillo—Song in praise of Chicha—Reported return of the Royalists to Lima—Robberies and murders on the Callao road.

AFTER this digression, which I have made to compensate a little for my disappointment at not being able to visit the mines of Pasco, and to give the reader such authentic information as I could collect, it is high time to return to Lobrojillo, and to our host Casquero, the captain of Montoneros, who had advised us not to venture to proceed. He soon set before me and my companion a chupe, the universal standing dish in the Sierra, and broiled mutton bones, with a dish of potatoes, I think the best I had eaten in Peru, where the potatoes are supposed to be the best in the world. My host was quite enlivened by a glass or two of Madeira, which was left of my travelling stock, and which he seemed to prefer even to chicha, and amused me much by his stories of the different expeditions in which he had been engaged in his military capacity against the Spaniards. His eye sparkled with delight as he described the pitch of enthusiasm to which the Indians had been wrought by the good management of San Martin, and detailed

[page] 329

the particulars of an action in which a body of the Spanish forces retreating from Lima, under the command of General Ricafor, had been attacked in the pass near Canta by the Indians, when the general received a pistol ball in the knee, and a great part of his division was routed and taken prisoners. On that occasion men, women, and even children climbed to the highest points of the mountains, from whence they rolled down stones and masses of rock upon the soldiery below. "In those times," said my host, "we did not fear to attack the Spanish regular troops, though we were undisciplined; but now that we have been drilled, our enthusiasm has been suffered to subside, and we have lost much of our courage." Our host having only one apartment, which served for parlour, kitchen, and bed-room, we were obliged to lie down together on the floor; but as I never found that I slept worse for lying hard, I should have enjoyed a sound sleep if my old tormentors the fleas had not annoyed me excessively: immediately any poor stranger brings fresh blood among them, they seem to leave their old food, and to attack him with double vigour.

I left Lobrojillo next morning on my return to Lima, and travelled hard to reach Cocoto the same day, a distance of about forty miles. On approaching the few scattered cottages, which composed the village, we passed by a lone hut where the bough hanging up before the door announced to the thirsty Indian that the delightful chicha was sold within. Here was collected a great number of men on horse-

[page] 330

back, who on seeing us set up a shout: one of them rushing out from the rest rode up to my companion, and drawing a sabre ordered him to come with him. Though I suspected that the man was drunk, I apprehended, nevertheless, that we had fallen into bad hands, and drawing one of my pistols, I stepped to the fellow, and putting the cocked pistol to his head, ordered him to put up his sabre. The remainder of the company observing me started forward, and begged me not to fire, as the man was no robber, but only "a drunken Christian." The horseman had a narrow escape, for my finger was on the trigger in the act of drawing it, and I told him how nearly he had paid for playing tricks upon quiet passengers. The poor fellow afterwards did every thing he could to atone for his folly, and invited us to spend the night at his cabin, which I agreed to do, to convince him that I bore him no ill will.

I now found that he was proprietor of a large part of the valley, and for an Indian, a man of substance: he and his friends had been carousing at the chicha shop, when seeing us approach he had put on a sabre belonging to a person from Lima, intending only to frighten us. He was a mad merry fellow, and as we travelled towards his dwelling, he leapt his horse backwards and forwards over the high stone fences, to the imminent hazard of his neck. When we arrived at his cabin he called about him for supper with an air of great authority, and while it was preparing he took up a guitar, and sung the following Spanish song in praise of his native liquor:—

[page] 331

Patriotas, el mate
De chicha ilenad,
Y alegres brindemos
Por la libertad!

Esta es mas sabroso
Que el vino y la cidra,
Que nos trajo la hidra
Para envenenar.
Es muy espumosa;
Y yo la prefiero
A cuanto el ibero
Pudo codiciar.

CORO

Patriotas el mate, &c.

El Inca la usaba
En su regia mesa,
Con que ahora no impieza,
Que es immemorial.
Bien puede el che acaba
Pedir se renueve
El poto en que bebe
O su caporal.

CORO

Patriotas el mate, &c.

Oh licor precioso!
Tu licor peruano,
Licor sobre humano
Mitiga mi sed.
Oh nectar sabrose
De color del oro,
Del indio tesoro!
Patriotas, bebed.

CORO

Patriotas el mate, &c.*

* Fill the cup with chicha,
Patriots, to the brink;

[page] 332

Though the song was Spanish, and obviously had its origin subsequent to the breaking out of the war in Peru, the air was in all respects Indian, and

Drain it to the bottom:
Liberty we drink! —

Wine owns not its flavour,
Cider is far worse:
A hydra did the favour
With cider us to curse!
But chicha, oh! I love it
Far beyond them all;
What most the Spaniards covet
We but worthless call!

CHORUS.

Fill the cup with chicha, &c.

The Inca at his table
Quaff'd it in his mirth,
And thus we all are able
To prove its ancient worth.
Who one cup has tasted
Soon will want another,
To drink it, nothing wasted,
To his chief or brother.

CHORUS.

Fill the cup with chicha, &c.

Sweet Peruvian liquor
Of all blessings first,
Nothing better, quicker
Mitigates the thirst!
Nothing gives more pleasure;
See, 'tis bright as gold!
'Tis the Indian's treasure;
Patriots, drink, be bold!

CHORUS.

Fill the cup with chicha, &c.

[page] 333

no doubt Indian words belong to it, though, after some inquiry, I was unable to procure them. The music was monotonous, but by no means unpleasant, and it was mightily enjoyed by the cheerful and exhilarated companions of the singer, who vociferously joined in the chorus.

Late in the evening I learnt, with much astonishment, by some travellers, that the Spaniards were again advancing upon Lima, along the south coast from Ica: indeed it was added that they might even have entered and taken possession of the city before I could get back. This news was quite unexpected, because before I quitted Lima, as I have mentioned, no such danger was at all anticipated. I was therefore extremely anxious to return without delay, and started very early in the morning, in order if possible to reach the capital by break of day.

On approaching the walls I met parties of Indians on foot, who stated that all their animals, even their jackasses, had been taken from them, and that, though the royalists had not arrived, the city was in great confusion. Whole droves of mules and asses, laden with rice, potatoes, and maize, had been stopped at different parts of the road, the owners fearing to carry the regular supply to the markets, as they were sure to lose their beasts. Not liking to enter Lima by the principal streets, lest we too should be deprived of our horses, we passed through by lanes, and coming to the bank of the river considerably below the bridge, we forded the different torrents in the wide bed, and reached my house by back streets.

[page] 334

The inhabitants were in the utmost alarm, but the Spaniards were not so near the capital as had been represented to me. They had advanced from Ica as far as Cañete, which is thirty leagues from Lima, but there was a rapid river, at this season swollen with rain, close to Cañete, which was difficult to be passed, not merely on this account, but because the Granaderos a Cavallo, and a battalion of about 400 infantry, guarded it on the side of the patriots. However, though there was no immediate dread of a hostile visit, all classes were in distress and disorder. In consequence of the seizure of all the mules, &c. on entering the gates, the markets were so ill supplied that provisions rose to an exorbitant price, and they were frequently scarcely to be procured at all. Some of the most respectable families of Lima, who depended for support on the salaries derived from offices which they held under the government, were positively starving, having sold every thing valuable. To such a pitch did this general distress arrive, that I have known the mother of a fine family, her husband a judge, beg in the streets in disguise to procure daily subsistence for her children.

All commerce being suspended by the extreme scarcity of silver, the custom-house produced no revenue beyond what was mortgaged for a former contribution, and it is within my experience that the government drew a bill on the custom-house for £2 sterling, which could not be paid for some days in consequence of the deficiency of funds. Under these circumstances it was of course impossible to pay any

[page] 335

part of the troops, and the roads were consequently filled with banditti, without any police to enforce obedience to the laws. The communication between Callao and Lima was often completely cut off for a whole day by bands of robbers, who took every passenger prisoner, stripping them of every thing, sometimes even of their clothes. I must say, in justice to the native Peruvians, that they are a harmless, innocent people, and they are rarely known to shed blood, and I believe them innocent of the shameful scenes which daily occurred on the Callao road. Up to about this period, only one Englishman had lost his life in this way: his name was Bingham, who was mysteriously murdered one evening a short time before my arrival. Now, however, murders took plaee every day, and at last the audacity of the villains, composed chiefly of Chilenos and blacks of the regiment of the Rio de la Plata, reached such a height, that the British merchants petitioned the public authorities to be allowed to put a patrol on the road, which they would themselves pay. To this request the government acceded, and though the robberies were afterwards less flagrant, they were not put a stop to entirely.

About half way between Lima and Callao, there was a large marsh full of high canes, which was a convenient cover for the thieves, and where it was almost impossible to catch them: the officer who commanded the patrol caused these canes to be partially burned, which had a good effect. I sent a servant on a mule one morning to Bella Vista, to

[page] 336

get some beef at the farm of an Englishman, who supplied the shipping with fresh meat, and he was attacked by three men who jumped out of the marsh, and attempted to seize his mule; but he luckily had my pistols with him, and fired at the foremost man, who fell: his companions dragged the body into the jungle. At a little distance, my man fell in with the patrol asleep on the road side. These enormities were not committed without the banditti at times suffering severely: many were killed and severely wounded by the English and North Americans, whose business obliged them to be often on the road. The government, too, shot four of them that had been taken in the plaza of Lima, as an example to the rest; but as any prisoners who had sufficient money to bribe the judges could escape punishment, the evil was not remedied.

[page] 337

CHAPTER XLIII.

Bolivar's rejected proposals to the Royalists—Mutiny of the Buenos Ayres regiments in Callao—and its causes—Casariego—A new mutiny—Bolivar made dictator.

BEFORE I proceed to speak further of public events, it is expedient, in order to put them in as clear a light as possible, to supply a few dates, which the reader may think that I have lately somewhat neglected.

I have mentioned elsewhere the oath re-sworn by the government, with so much formal solemnity, to maintain the new constitution: this ceremony was performed on the 20th November, 1823, and within about a fortnight afterwards, Riva Aguero, having declared against Bolivar, was delivered up by his partisans. When I started for Pasco, on the 12th December, the contending armies were thus posted: the royalists were concentrated in the neighbourhood of Areguipa to the south of Lima, while Bolivar had his head-quarters at Pativilca to the north: his main body was at Huaras, and General Sucre was posted at Guanuco. At Palivilca Bolivar was taken ill, and, remaining indisposed for some time, masses were said in all the churches for his recovery.

Z

[page] 338

The report of the intended re-entrance of the Spaniards into Lima reached me on the 19th December, and I returned thither on the next day.

Bolivar thinking that a suspension of hostilities would be favourable to the cause of independence, as he wanted time to collect his resources, Berindoaga, the minister of war, was sent in the beginning of January to open a negotiation with the Spaniards, founded on the basis of a treaty between Spain and Buenos Ayres. He, however, returned soon, not having been permitted to advance farther than the valley of Xauja, where Loriga commanded, and who forwarded his despatches to La Serna, who remained in Cusco. From the treasonable practices which will be mentioned hereafter, there is every reason to believe the rumour in Lima at the time, that he also made some secret proposals to the Spaniards. On the 12th of January, a mutiny took place in some companies of the black regiment of Rio de la Plata, in consequence of the imprisonment of a few of their officers for ill conduct; but it was suppressed by General Martinez, who commanded the Buenos Ayres troops, and order was restored. Not many days afterwards, Bolivar, finding himself not sufficiently strong in his position, and, as he said in his despatches to government, that he could confide in none but his Colombian troops, sent for the battalion of Vargas, which had garrisoned the forts of Callao, ordering, with some imprudence considering the late disorders, that the

[page] 339

regiment of the Rio de la Plata, and the 11th regiment of Buenos Ayres, should garrison the castles instead of the Colombian troops.

On the 5th February, about eight o'clock in the morning, we were alarmed by dreadful screams in the streets, and, on running to the windows, we saw people escaping into their houses, and instantly shutting their doors. A great concourse of people was in the market close by, and they were uttering the most distressing cries, and seeking shelter every where. I imagined at first that the alarm was occasioned by an earthquake; but a moment's reflection convinced me that it could not be the cause, as the people in that case would have run out of their houses into the streets, instead of running into them: besides, the alarum bells were ringing violently, and horsemen were galloping about the streets in all directions. As soon as I could find any one composed enough to tell me the cause, I learnt that the garrison of Callao had mutinied, and it was said they were close at the gates of Lima on their way to pillage the city. This latter piece of intelligence did not prove to be correct, and comparative quiet was restored by the efforts of the government. But the most feverish concern was still felt by all classes: the plaza was filled with groups conversing with the utmost earnestness, all countenances betraying symptoms of fear or despair.

The government published the same morning a proclamation, ordering all shops to be shut, and all valuables to be buried or secured: the gates of the

Z 2

[page] 340

city were closed, and officers were sent to Bella Vista to have an interview with the chiefs of the mutineers. The troops also composing the civicos, or city militia, about 400 men, and a small battalion of Chili infantry, were marched down the Callao road to prevent a surprise. At noon we heard distinctly the great guns of Callao, and rumours were immediately afloat as to the cause of the discharge. The suspense was dreadful, particularly on the part of the English, who not only had most of their property in Callao, but trembled for the lives of the English residents, as the sanguinary character of the blacks was well known. It was with great difficulty that General Correa, second in command under Martinez, could gain admittance into the forts: he and other officers were repeatedly fired at, which accounted for the artillery we had heard.

The mutineers stated to him that their demands were, the pay due to them, stated at 60,000 dollars, and a free passage from Peru. They had risen, it appeared, at night, under the command of their serjeants and corporals, and had seized and confined all their officers. Their present commander was a man of the name of Moyano, a serjeant. He had formerly been aid-de-camp to a colonel under San Martin, whose name I forget, and who was shot in Lima for mutiny: his aid-de-camp, Moyano, was degraded to the ranks, but, by his good conduct, he had again raised himself to the station of seijeant.

The government had removed speedily to Bella

[page] 341

Vista, to try to induce the mutineers to return to their duty, and the city was left in the interval in the most dreadful state of uncertainty and alarm. On the second day after this removal, an Englishman arrived from Callao, with the account that the mutineers having demanded a contribution of 10,000 dollars, which was to be paid that day, or the place was to be sacked; he had been allowed to proceed to the city in order to raise the money, binding himself to return in two hours. He mentioned that all the shipping in the harbour that had not escaped out of reach of the guns had had their rudders and sails taken from them, and had been much plundered, as well as the storehouses in Callao.

On the 10th of February, at day-break, the Spanish flag was seen flying on the principal fort of Callao, and all hope of accommodation seemed therefore at an end. It appears that the pay of the Buenos Ayres troops had been pretty regularly given to their commanding officer, General Martinez, a man of worthless character; but instead of delivering it over to the regiments, he had appropriated the money to his own extravagances. It is certain that the troops mutinied in the first instance on this account, but, on reflection, they found they had gone too far for any hope of pardon from the patriots; and if the government of Lima could have satisfied their demands, they could scarcely have settled in any part of South America without being treated as mutineers. This consideration was pressed upon them by the royalist prisoners in Callao, who advised them, therefore, as

[page] 342

the only step they could take, to hoist the royalist flag, by which measure they would ensure reward, instead of incurring certain punishment. The mutineers adopted this course, and, releasing the prisoners, placed a man of the name of Casariego at the head of civil affairs in Callao; while Moyano, who assumed the rank of colonel, commanded the military. Casariego had been taken some time before, having served as colonel in the Spanish army during the siege of Callao in June and July 1823: he had been placed, with many other prisoners, on board the ships, where they suffered much from want of room. Casariego had an interesting child, which Captain Prescott of his majesty's ship Aurora took much notice of, and in consequence interfered on behalf of the father, and obtained leave from the government that Casariego should sometimes visit the English frigate on his parole. The last time he came he refused to go back, and claimed the protection of the English man of war, and Captain Prescott was obliged to have him brought up from below by force, and delivered over to the crew of the guard-boat. He was a man of no courage nor consequence, though he happened to render the royalists in the present instance an important service. Although the hoisting of the Spanish flag in Callao was a violent blow to the cause of independence, yet such was the agony of suspense in which the citizens of Lima were kept at this time, that it seemed some satisfaction that the mutineers acknowledged any regular government at all. The English now opened

[page] 343

a communication with Casariego relative to the British property in Callao; and they had just gained permission to re-ship it on payment of a duty of fifteen per cent, when the arrival of Admiral Guise, With the Prueba frigate to blockade the harbour, interrupted the proceeding.

The city remained in the most dreadful state of confusion, owing principally to the inefficiency of the public authorities, in whom the people had no confidence. Some precautions, however, were adopted for the public safety. Despatches had been sent off to Bolivar requiring his aid; all the montoneros in the vicinity had been collected within the Callao gate of Lima, to the number of about two hundred; the Civicos were daily paraded in the Plaza to be ready in case of attack, and proclamations were published requiring that every man of a certain age should present himself armed at the palace under pain of death. At the sound of the cathedral bell, every male in Lima was ordered to meet in the Plaza, prepared, if necessary, to fight for his life and property. But in spite of these measures there was a total want of union and concert among the inhabitants, originating in their distrust of government; and we entertained the most fearful apprehensions of the result, in case of an attack by the mutineers, which was hourly expected.

Reports had been current in Lima that Admiral Guise had been bought over by the Spaniards, and that his frigate, the Prueba, had entered the harbour in a friendly manner: however, on the 20th February, in the afternoon, a heavier cannonade than usual was

[page] 344

heard in Callao, and I, with several others, rushed to the top of the high steeple of St. Domingo, from whence we could have a good view of what was passing in the port. We perceived that the Prueba had gone very gallantly under the batteries of Callao, which she bombarded for about half an hour, doing very little mischief, and suffering but little herself: the mutineers fired two or three thousand shots at her with little effect, owing to the unskilfulness of the gunners in the forts.

A few days afterwards, the city was again thrown into the utmost alarm by the mutiny of the Granaderos a Cavallo. This regiment, which had been sent for from its position along the south coast, in order to defend the city, revolted on the road, and tying the arms of their officers, they came forward in a tumultuous manner towards Callao. On approaching the forts, they saw the Spanish flag flying, and many of them repented the step they had taken, and, releasing their officers, about half of them returned to their duty, while the rest galloped off to the Castles. This was considered a melancholy event indeed; for besides the additional strength the mutineers obtained, they could now cut off the supplies to the city, and advance to the gates in a short time: what was anticipated often happened, and skirmishes took place under the very walls. In the mean time, all our advices from Callao described that place as in a very anxious and unsettled state. The men, though they had mutinied of their own accord, were very ill satisfied with their present condition, having been

[page] 345

induced to hoist the Spanish flag against their wills. Casariego and Moyano had the utmost difficulty to prevent them from rising again, and were obliged to grant them all kinds of indulgences. They roamed at pleasure over Callao, drinking and fighting in the streets, and some crying out, "Viva la Patria." The enonnities committed by them were unavoidably overlooked, and Casariego even considered his life in great danger. The strictest guard was kept over the imprisoned officers, that they might have no communication with the men; and General Alverado, who was most liked among them, for greater caution, was sent off prisoner to Ica, whither despatches were daily transmitted to the Spanish commanders, urging them to hasten to take possession of the Castles before a counter-revolution should break out. Extravagant rewards were promised to the mutineers to induce them not to sack the city, and they several times started from Callao with the intention of doing it.

The government in Lima issued orders for seizing all horses and mules, as cavalry was wanted to oppose the Granaderos a Cavallo, who kept the city in continual alarm. I had some valuable horses, as well as other Englishmen; and as I knew that the stables were sure to be searched, I led mine into the house up stairs, and shut them in a small room through the drawing and dining room, spreading litter, that their feet might not be heard. Those who were not so cautious lost many horses, and in some instances, where resistance was made to the seizure, soldiers were brought in to effect it. As soon as one party had searched the premises, perhaps another arrived, not

[page] 346

one of them producing any authority, but each seizing for himself. The green provender was taken possession of at the gates of the city for the "horses of the state," or what little was allowed to escape was employed as a clue to find out where horses were concealed; for this purpose soldiers lurked about the streets, and watched where lucern was purchased. The animals were thus reduced to the lowest condition, but I contrived to keep mine alive by giving them a few cabbages and water-melons.

Despatches, long expected, were at last received from Bolivar to the congress, begging them to appoint an efficient president, in the room of Torre Tagle, whom he now shrewdly suspected of treason. This man, in his turn, finding his power on the decline, used every endeavour to excite the public hatred against Bolivar. He therefore spread reports that the Liberator had determined to sack the city, and to make soldiers of every male in it. This news, given as from authority, had the effect of driving people to despair, and they did not know which way to turn for succour. With a mutinous garrison only six miles from them, with an enemy advancing upon them, and with the belief that the Colombian troops they had called in to assist them intended to plunder them of the last wreck of their property, it is not wonderful that many directed their eyes towards the strongest party, and were almost willing to bend their neck to their ancient yoke, rather than contend longer against adverse fortune. Under these gloomy impressions, many secretly longed even for the ap-

[page] 347

proach of the Spanish regular forces, to put an end at least to the enormities committed on the defenceless inhabitants by establishing some kind of police.

On the 10th February, the congress published a proclamation, relieving Torre Tagle from his charge as President, and stating that the desperate condition of affairs required the most prompt and efficient measures: they therefore dissolved themselves on the 20th February placing the whole dictatorial power in the hands of Bolivar, and annulling the constitution; but requesting him at the same time to adhere to the laws, as far as he could consistently with the safety of the cause of independence. In the afternoon of the same day, another proclamation was issued by General Nicochea, detailing the powers he had received from the dictator, as civil and military chief of Lima, and stating that property should be respected, and all robberies punished with the utmost rigour. We soon felt the influence of Nicochea's decisive measures; order was restored in the city, and affairs went on for a few days more regularly. A respectable body of cavalry under Colonels Brandsden and Rolet was stationed at the Callao gate to prevent surprise, and Nicochea himself was always actively employed in seeing that his arrangements were carried into effect.

[page] 348

CHAPTER XLIV.

Visit to Chorillos—Robbery at the Callao gate—Outrages by the mutineers in Lima—Robbers shot—Entrance of the royalists into Lima.

MY eldest little boy had long been in a very weakly state owing to the climate, and he became so much worse that the English physician told me that the only chance of saving his life was either to leave the country, or to give him sea air. As I could not at present adopt the former course, I determined to move part of my family to Chorillos, from whence I could, at any time, embark for Callao. With great difficulty I succeeded in obtaining a Calesa, with most miserable horses, which had been left after the general seizure, for our conveyance. Here we spent several tranquil days, and should have remained longer, as all accounts agreed in representing the Spanish force to be near the city, had not one of my servants, who had been robbed of his horse and stripped of every thing on the road, arrived on the 27th February with news that our youngest child, left under the care of a nurse in Lima, was taken suddenly ill, and was not expected to live. We accordingly started for the city without delay, in a carriage which fortunately

[page] 349

was in Chorillos, having conveyed a person to the sea-side in the morning. We met a man on the road who informed us that a hostile party was in Miraflores, about a quarter of a mile out of the direct road; but as there was a danger of falling among straggling robbers without officers, I determined at once to go through the place. However, on entering this beautiful little village, now totally deserted, we happily found the report untrue, and were besides supplied by a German, who lived there, with fresh horses which carried us along at a good rate.

When about half a mile from Lima, at dusk, we were overtaken by the governor of Chorillos, who told our postilion to drive towards Callao. I concluded that Lima was in the hands of the mutineers, and as I knew that a journey to Callao probably meant nothing more or less than to be carried down the road out of the reach of assistance in order to be robbed and ill-treated, I begged they would take from us there what we had got, and let us go. As I had taken the precaution of carrying very little money about me, the soldiers expressed themselves highly dissatisfied with the ten dollars I

[page] 350

offered, and repeated the order to the postilion to drive towards Callao. I represented to them that I had positively no more money, and desired them to search my pockets, which they did; and I added that we had some linen in the coach, to which they were welcome. On this information they hauled out a carpet bag we carried, and spread all the things on the ground, asking at the same time if we had not any Ropa de Soldado, "clothes for a soldier," meaning woollen clothes. At this moment a young officer came up, and asked the men what they were about, when the soldiers said that they had caught some English, whom they were going to send to Callao. The officer seemed quite glad to have an opportunity of being useful to us, and civilly ordered the soldiers to release us, taking our address, and promising to call on us next day.

On entering the city, we found the houses all shut; very few lamps were lighted, and the streets were full of patroling parties of montoneros and soldiers, in different costumes to those to which I had been accustomed. When we reached our house, it was with difficulty we could gain admittance. Our infant was better, and we were informed, that, on account of the near approach of the Spaniards, General Nicochea had left the city that morning, taking the northern road to Chancay, with about 800 soldiers, composed of montoneros, civicos, and regulars. The city was now, therefore, in the hands of the mutineers of Callao, who had entered in the middle of the day, headed by Casariego.

[page] 351

Although Lima was in such a deplorable state of disorder, I found, on inquiring for the ladies who owned the house, that they had been imprudent enough to go out on their usual visit, and were determined to return on foot through the streets. I therefore proposed to a friend to arm ourselves and go in quest of them. We met them in the streets, overwhelmed with joy, on account of the entrance of their royalist friends; and it was with great difficulty we could persuade them to go home, as they wished to take a turn round the Plaza to see what was going on, though at the same time the repeated reports of fire-arms gave notice of the commencement of the outrages to which Lima was that night to be exposed.

We had been in the house a very short time before the discharges in our street became very frequent; and the galloping of horses, and the cries of "Ataca! Ataca! " called us to the balcony, where, however, little could be seen besides the flashes of the firearms, amid the struggles of men and horses. I had taken every precaution I could for the protection of the house, if it were attacked. The plan on which the dwellings are built, in fact, forms them into small fortresses, which may be easily defended: the only entrance from the street is through large massive folding doors studded with nails, and the assailants might be fired upon from the projecting balconies on each side. In these balconies we placed guns and pistols with ammunition, and con-

[page] 352

stant watch was kept lest they should be needed. Our house was situated in a neighbourhood with a great many pulperias round it, and in front of it was a convent. The. Granaderos a Cavallo broke into many of the houses right and left of us, blowing off the locks of the doors by firing muskets into them, while the poor inmates cried piteously for help, expecting to be murdered for not opening the doors. We could see much that was going on, but did not think it prudent to fire upon the enemy, as we might thereby have called the vengeance of the whole set of miscreants upon our dwelling, and they might have given us ample cause to repent our interference. It was a horrible night for Lima, and the distant reports of arms, and the crashing of doors, told us that the same scenes were acted also at a distance from us.

We were suddenly alarmed by hearing loud lamentations in our own patio, and on inquiring whence they proceeded, we found that a poor Portuguese had escaped naked at the back of his house while the soldiers were entering it from the street, and had clambered up our wall. I was sorry to find our position so weak behind, and was afraid the soldiers might follow the man, and enter the house also. The poor miserable wretch was moaning most piteously, and we had great difficulty in pacifying him. We clothed him, and in about half an hour he left us to return home, when he thought the robbers had retired, after pillaging his premises. The streets began

[page] 353

to be more quiet towards one o'clock in the morning, and I then went to bed completely wearied.

In the morning I ventured into the Plaza to learn the news, and to see what was going on. I found the officers of the mutineers busily employed in superintending the shooting some fellows whom they had caught pillaging the houses. Banquillos or posts, with seats attached to them, were set in the ground, to which the poor wretches were bound and shot without trial, and fresh victims were brought in every minute, pinioned on the backs of the horses of the Granaderos a Cavallo. While I was there, a soldier arrived at full gallop, dragging two poor fellows tied by the wrist to his saddle; and an Englishman, who was in company with me, recognised one of them to be his own servant. He immediately applied to the captain of the guard, not to shoot the prisoner without examination, as he believed him to be an honest man; however, all the satisfaction he could get to his repeated applications was: "If you take any interest in the man's fate you will see him on the Banquillo in five minutes."

Every one now prayed most anxiously for the entrance of some respectable force, even if enemies, to protect them from the lawlessness of these villains, and a deputation was sent by the Cabildo to-day, accompanied by the lieutenant of an English man of war to meet the Spanish army, and to make terms for the city. They returned in the afternoon, having fallen in with the royalists near Lurin, eight leagues

A A

[page] 354

from Lima, and they stated that it would be two days before they would enter.

Having seen one of the Granaderos a Cavallo with a guitar, very similar to that I had left at Chorillos, I began to be much alarmed for the servant and child I had left there, and sent two men in the afternoon, to bring me intelligence regarding them. They returned the next morning, having been robbed and ill-treated on the road, with an account that the servant and child were on their way to Lima in a Calesa, and that a party of the Granaderos a Cavallo from Callao had entered Chorillos, and had sacked all the principal houses. This event happened at dusk, about the same hour that we were pillaged on entering Lima. The robbers broke upon the drawers, trunks, &c., stripped the child naked, and held pistols to the breast of the servant and child, to induce the former to tell where the valuables were kept: when they found them they were well-pleased, as we had brought a considerable quantity of jewels, plate, and money from Lima, in order to send them on board ship, but, unluckily, we had been prevented. The soldiers took away every thing valuable, making sacks to hold them out of the gowns of the women, and tying my trowsers round their necks. Their last act was wantonly to break the furniture in pieces, and to call in the Indians, who left the house literally bare, whilst they compelled the poor frightened servant to witness the whole. They asked particularly for me, and I have

[page] 355

good reason to rejoice at having escaped their grasp, as they seized a poor Frenchmen, the only foreigner left in the place, and carried him out to the plaza to shoot him, though they afterwards released him. The servant told us that all the way to Lima the road was covered with straggling bands of Montoneros, who insulted her, and threw lighted fireworks in at the carriage windows.

The next night and the night after were much more tranquil, as the near approach of the Spaniards made the officers in the city more alert in the execution of their duty.

A A 2

[page] 356

CHAPTER XLV.

Entrance of the royalists into Lima and Callao—Character of Generals Rodil and Monet—Conduct of Torre Tagle, and the late government—Colonel Ramirez—Treatment of the prisoners—Spies.

THE royalist force having encamped about a league from Lima on the night of the 29th February, entered at about twelve o'clock on the 1st March: it consisted of about 3000 men, and was composed of four regiments of infantry, and about 500 cavalry. They marched in good order through the streets, and appeared to be pretty well disciplined, their dress and appointments, particularly of the cavalry, being superior to those of the patriot troops. Three battalions of the infantry were formed almost entirely of Indians, who were scarcely above five feet high, excepting the grenadier companies, which were composed of unusually tall men with long beards. The officers did not appear to me at all better than those of the patriots. The fourth battalion, called the battalion of Arequipa, was composed of negroes. The cavalry were chiefly Spaniards, their dress long yellow coats faced with blue.

Considerable numbers of people were collected in

[page] 357

the streets to view the troops on their arrival, but a dead silence prevailed, neither welcome nor displeasure being expressed: when some individual in the crowd recognized a particular friend, it was only by a silent shake of the hand. The royalists marched straight through the city to Callao without halting, and their arrival at the fortress was announced in the afternoon by a loud salute of artillery. At the urgent solicitation of the inhabitants of Lima, about 200 men were left in the city to act as a police.

In the mean time all parties were quite at a loss to know what had become of Torre Tagle and the ministers. Some asserted that they had left the city with Nicochea on the morning of the 27th; others that they were confined in the castles; but the general suspicion seemed to be, that they had secreted themselves in Lima during the disturbances: now that the city was fairly in the hands of the Spaniards, it was pretty openly hinted that they had remained behind. It appeared that the reason why the Spaniards had not before taken advantage of the rise in Callao was, that they had not sufficient force in Ica, their headquarters on the coast. A body of 1500 men, however, under General Rodil, marched from thence towards Lima, and was joined at Lurin by as many more under General Monet, despatched by Canterac from Xauja. The former of these officers was appointed to the command of Callao, while the latter formed a government in Lima.

Rodil is a man of a ferocious and tyrannical disposition, and dreaded throughout the country for his

[page] 358

cruelty. Immediately before he left the southern coast for Callao, the alcalde of Pisco was publicly flogged to death by his orders, because he had favoured the patriots; and during three weeks after his arrival in Callao, it was said that he shot as many as fifty of his own men: discharges of musketry were frequently heard by night, when some new victims were sacrificed to his severity. He is, however, considered by no means brave in the field, and the viceroy never gave him a command which required courage or military talents. He has a good head for business, and makes therefore a useful governor in a country under military law, which he executes with the utmost rigour. His appearance is very insignificant, and his dress dirty and slovenly. His appearance is very much that of a Jew, with a long black beard and sallow countenance, and he generally wears a large green great coat reaching to his heels, with cuffs to his fingers ends.

Monet is in all respects the reverse of Rodil: his person is good and attractive, his manners are gentlemanly and obliging, and people augured well from his having been commissioned to command the force which occupied Lima. He immediately published a general amnesty for all persons engaged with the patriots, and soon gained the affections of the Limeños by his moderation and kindness. On the Sunday after the royalists arrived, a Misa de Gracias, or high mass to return thanks for the entrance of the king's troops, was celebrated in the cathedral, and a sermon was preached on the blessings of the Spanish govern-

[page] 359

ment by a priest whom I had heard sing out the praises of Bolivar on a former occasion of the same nature. The cathedral was crowded, and in the midst of the service Monet publicly embraced Colonel Moyano the traitor. Afterwards the promoted serjeants and corporals of the mutineers of Callao paraded the town in the very uniforms which they had stripped from their officers when they rose upon them, and which, we could see, had been altered to suit the shapes of the new wearers. In the mean time, Torre Tagle Berindoaga and Echeverria (late president of the department of Lima) had the impudence to show their faces in open day, and were seen sitting at table with the Spanish chiefs, and liberally carousing with them. Torre Tagle even published a proclamation against Bolivar, calling him the invader and destroyer of the country, and eulogising the Spaniards as the only legitimate masters of Peru. Indignation rose to a great height in consequence, and nothing was heard in private companies but execrations against the traitors: it was found necessary to place a guard at the door of Torre Tagle, and he was rarely seen out afterwards, and then only in the most private manner.

Besides the greatest part of the late patriot government, a considerable number of officers, finding that they were now to be placed under the rigid discipline of Bolivar, remained in Lima, and gave in their, names to the Spanish generals, who exaggerated the amount of desertions, amusing the public every day with the titles of officers with

[page] 360

whom they falsely stated themselves to be in correspondence.

My eldest child still continued so ill in Lima that I was obliged once more to seek for a place in the country where he might enjoy better air. I accordingly sent him and a maid servant to Miraflores, to the house of a German who lived there. On going to see him one day, I found that a party of robbers had entered the house, and dreadfully ill-used the poor German and his wife to make them discover their money: our servant did not escape without great difficulty. In fact the roads near Lima were still so much infested with banditti, that it was unsafe to go a hundred yards from the walls.

General Monet placed the executive government of Lima in the hands of the Conde de Fuente Gonzales, a respectable Peruvian nobleman, attached to the Spanish interests, and appointed Colonel Ramirez governor of the forces in Lima: he was colonel of the Spanish black regiment of Arequipa, and may be called the counterpart of Rodil; if possible he was more cruel. During his command, passing over the bridge, he saw two men whom he fancied he recognized: he accused them of being deserters, and they admitted it, and pleaded for mercy; he sent immediately to the palace for soldiers, shot them as they stood, and left them dead on the bridge. One other example will sufficiently show his character: Soon after his entrance into Lima, a Swedish clerk to a house of business passing was one of the guard-

[page] 361

houses, and on being challenged "Quien vive," he replied by mistake "La patria," being the watchword of the independents, to which he had been accustomed. He, however, immediately corrected his mistake, and called out "La España;" was notwithstanding taken prisoner, and by orders of Ramirez tied hands and feet, and kept in fear of instant death for some hours; Ramirez himself coming into his dungeon, and marching about with his sword drawn, advancing it often to the prisoner's breast as if intending to kill him. He was as much feared as if he were omnipresent, and he often entered houses by night with soldiers in disguise to cany off some poor objects of his vengeance. The Limeños, who were at first pleased by the appointment of Fuente Gonzales for their governor, judging favourably of the intentions of the Spaniards on that account, were wofully disappointed on finding that the actual command was left in the hands of Rodil and Ramirez, the civil governor having merely the name of power.

Monet now collected all the forces which could be spared from Callao to rejoin Canterac in Xauja, intending to carry with him the officers of the regiment of Rio de la Plata, and others confined in the castles. These poor fellows were marched on foot, in the most miserable condition, without clothes, a distance of 600 miles, to the island of Chuquito, in the lake of Titicaca. I had the opportunity of seeing a letter, written by one of them on his way, to a friend, begging him to send him some old clothes,

[page] 362

and to buy him a beast to carry him, or he must perish on the road with cold and fatigue. They were confined the night before they were sent off in a church in Lima, and left the city much lamented by the inhabitants, who could not help feeling remorse for those men who were formerly at the head of the gay parties in Lima, and by their agreeable manners, fine dresses, and good figures, had often excited their admiration.

I was informed by one of the Spanish officers, that the division of the army commanded by Monet, in its way to Lurin to join Rodil, experienced the greatest hardships. It was winter in the Cordillera, and the men were obliged to march for three days, and to pass three nights in snow, almost without food; and when they descended to the burning sands of the coast, they were so much fatigued by their forced march, and by the change of climate, that one regiment was unable to proceed further. The colonel of the regiment took up a man on his horse to encourage the remainder to move forward; but finding it fruitless, he drew out a private from each company and shot them. On a march it is always the custom for a body of cavalry to follow the army, and it is their business to put an end to all who are unable to proceed. When a regiment encamped at night, so afraid were the Spaniards of desertion, that they always bivouacked a battalion in square, placing sentries on whom they could depend, to shoot all who attempted to escape.

During these events Bolivar constantly employed

[page] 363

agents in Lima to send him information of what was passing there: one Colombian, colonel in particular was a long time in the city under different disguises; sometimes that of a Spanish soldier. One day a person came to my house and stated, in the most mysterious manner, that he had business of the utmost importance with me. After considerable hesitation he told me that he was an agent of Bolivar in Lima, and hearing that I was a very great patriot, he wished me to forward a correspondence to that officer. I hinted to him my suspicions as to his real design; that it was not likely he should trust an entire stranger with so important a secret; and I added, that however warm patriots I or any of udy countrymen might be, we were certainly not to be entrapped by so doubtful a communication. The fellow left me rather abruptly, and I have since had good reason to think that he was a spy employed by the Spaniards to discover Bolivar's sources of information.

[page] 364

CHAPTER XLVI.

Interview with General Rodil to obtain passports—His refusal to grant them—Different plans for escaping from Callao—Escape.

THE political aspect of affairs in Peru being so unprosperous, as far as regarded the cause of liberty, and the government having surrendered itself so disgracefully, I determined to leave the country for England by the earliest opportunity, which soon offered itself: the Crown, a good vessel of 300 tons, was about to sail for Rio Janeiro, from whence we were certain of a passage to Europe.

On Monday, the 29th of March, having brought my family down to Callao, and every thing being ready for embarkation, I waited upon General Rodil in order to get his signature to the regular passport, which had been signed at all the offices in Lima: I was accompanied by an English gentleman, who was on good terms with the general, and who had kindly volunteered his services. I had not the least notion that Rodil would notice my name, but immediately on presenting my passport, he asked to what commerical house I belonged: the gentleman who was with me said that I was the agent of the contractors

[page] 365

for the loan; but I am fully persuaded that Rodil already knew the fact, for he employed an American as a spy, who acquainted him with the names and occupation of every English resident. On hearing the purpose for which I had come out to Lima, he eyed me from head to foot, and seemed surprised at my boldness in appearing before him, and he launched out into violent invectives against me for having broken the neutrality, and thereby having made myself an enemy. A great deal of angry discussion took place between us, and he walked about from one room to another in a violent passion, telling me that he should take good care of me until he had sent to the viceroy. (La Serna) for instructions. I was very much nettled at his behaviour, at the tyrannical method in which the royalists carry their acts into execution, as well as at the contempt with which they affect to treat foreigners. I told him, therefore, that it was a farce to talk of sending to the viceroy, that I was an Englishman, and that he did not dare to touch a hair of my head, as he knew very well that my country was at all times able and ready to protect British subjects. He replied, "Very well, sir; let my government and yours fight that matter out; I shall act as I think fit."

Finding I could do no good by talking with him, and having had my toes nearly trodden upon while he was endeavouring to back me out of the room with repeated "adios," I took my leave, having also failed in gaining permission for my family to embark. On quitting his presence, I immediately determined

[page] 366

what course to pursue, and making a hasty visit to my family to acquaint them with my ill success, I walked directly down the mole, and went on board his majesty's corvette, the Fly, of eighteen guns, intending to claim her protection as a British subject.

Captain Martin not being on board, I wrote a letter to him, stating the purpose for which I had come, and adding that I should wait till I saw him, which I hoped would be in the morning. I passed, as may be imagined, a very restless night: after undergoing so many vexations in the country, and after having at last, as I thought, enabled myself to return to my native land, it seemed hard indeed to lose in one moment all hope of return for some time, with perhaps the chance of imprisonment. For my family to go back to Lima would have been particularly unpleasant, as we had disposed of all the furniture, &c. which we had brought out from England.

On Tuesday, about one o'clock, Captain Martin came on board the Fly, not having been able to meet with Rodil, who was particularly engaged. We concerted that Captain Martin in the afternoon should try to see Rodil, and endeavour first, in a pleasant manner, to get him to give up the point; but as a last resource, that Captain Martin should demand me as a British subject. In the evening, Mr. Cragg, the master of the Crown, came on board to see me, having been sent by Captain Martin to say, that he had not been able to persuade Rodil to change his course, who insisted that I had broken the neutrality,

[page] 367

and that it did not now depend on him what conduct should be observed towards me. Captain Martin had, however, gained permission for my family to be embarked. I was extremely disappointed when I found that Captain Martin had left Callao for Lima immediately, without either writing to me, or sending me advice as to my future conduct; and I felt, in the vexation of the moment, that as I had taken refuge on board a king's ship, and had officially, by letter, sought his protection, he ought to have demanded me of the Governor Rodil, or to have given me a satisfactory reason why he did not do so. Besides, his visit to Lima almost precluded the possibility of intercourse between us, as I was ordered not to leave Callao; and there was only one whole day before the departure of the Crown for me to take any steps which might enable me to sail in her.

As the Fly lay within reach of the batteries, and as Captain Martin had hinted a suspicion as to whether he could protect me in case the Spanish government detained me, I was quite at a loss what to do, and therefore particularly needed his advice and assistance. It was now late in the evening, and I determined, whatever might be the consequence, to go on shore and see Captain Martin again. As I went in a man of war's boat, we were allowed to land, though after the regulated time, sunset. I passed the evening and night in Callao with my family, and the next morning, the friend who in the first instance accompanied me to Rodil went to the castles to get a passport for the embarkation of my family.

[page] 368

A verbal permission was given to the captain of the port, who happened to be with the governor, who, at the same time, warned him to secure "El Señor enviado." As soon as my family was allowed to go on board the Crown, I hired a horse, and set off to Lima, where I arrived about noon on Wednesday. I had a conversation immediately with Captain Martin, who seemed surprised that I should have come on shore; but at the same time he said, that he thought nothing more was to be done than for me to wait quietly for an answer to a letter he intended to write to the viceroy in my favour: he agreed that my situation was very distressing and uncomfortable, but he did not imagine my person in any danger at present.

Finding now that nothing was to be effected by negotiation, I was determined to endeavour to make my escape, whatever might be the result. I knew well the character of those who were my enemies; they might perhaps leave me unmolested while their affairs were prosperous, but I should have little to hope if the independents should again acquire the ascendancy. My next consideration, after having made up my mind to endeavour to escape, was the means of effecting it: I wished particularly to attempt it in such a manner, that, if taken in the act, I should not be amenable to the established laws; for I had every reason to know, from the character of Rodil, that I must expect little lenity from him, in case I should be taken in the direct violation of a military order.

[page] 369

My friend, Dr. Bennett, who had attended my family during our residence in Lima, and with whom I was on terms of intimacy, had been down to Callao to-day; and when he returned in the evening he said, that on going on board a ship where he had some business, he was called up on the mole by the captain of the guard, who asked his name, business, &c. and that he saw a list of the names of persons not permitted to embark, and that mine was among them. I therefore found that Rodil was quite in earnest: however, I was not deterred by this new danger, but was determined to try the experiment, my principal difficulty being to make choice out of a variety of plans suggested to me. On leaving Callao I had come to an understanding with Captain Cragg, and he kindly promised me all the assistance he could give, either by detaining his vessel, or by calling on the coast at any port to which I could escape. I at first thought of concealing myself until dark at Miraflores, and then hiring a canoe from Chorillos to take me off by night, and lying outside the island of San Lorenzo, to be taken up by the Crown after she left Callao; but I found many difficulties in this undertaking: there was a company of soldiers posted in Chorillos to prevent any person from embarking, and the Indians were so completely frightened by the military discipline, of the Spaniards, that perhaps no reward would have induced them to run the risk. Besides, in the bay in which Miraflores is situated so great a surf constantly runs, that it would

B B

[page] 370

be a very dangerous undertaking to embark from thence, and perhaps by night impracticable.

Another plan suggested to me was, that of making my escape out of Lima by night in disguise, and riding to an uninhabited part of the coast about ten leagues from the capital, there to be taken up by the Crown, which was to call for me. To this project there were still greater objections: in the first place, I had to resign myself to the fidelity of a muleteer, if any could be found to undertake the duty; and even if I could have procured a guide of this description, I must pass the city gates with a forged passport, and then proceed through Lurin, a Spanish station, besides other small places, where I must have shown it: in addition, all communication was cut off by the hordes of banditti who frequented that road, and in the end, supposing I had reached my port, I was still subject to the risk, that the Crown might miss the port, or be blown off the coast: her appearance there might even create jealousy in the neighbourhood, and the whole scheme fail in consequence. At any rate I determined to try my own plan first, which was to endeavour to put off from Callao openly in the face of day, and on the mole, where my description was exhibited.

On Thursday morning I breakfasted early in Lima with the consignee of the Crown, who was himself going down to Callao; and having procured a hired horse, we set forward about ten o'clock for the port, though there was an express order that nobody.

[page] 371

should leave the city without a passport, and a guard was placed at the gate to enforce it. I was, however, comforted by the knowledge, that the order was often evaded, and that little danger was to be apprehended, unless particular directions had been sent up from Callao, in consequence of my being missed. We rode through briskly, touching our hats to the guard, and passed without particular notice; and about half-past eleven o'clock, arrived at the gate of Callao. The sentinels were always much more strict here than in Lima, as it was a garrison; but I was resolved to ride through, at all hazards, and I did so, while my friend made some apology for not having passes. I proceeded directly through the town into the yard of the house occupied by my family before it embarked, without looking to the right or left; and putting the horse into the stable, I waited for my friend to join me from the guard-house.

As soon as he arrived, I made up my mind to the attempt; and, taking hold of his arm, we walked down the mole, where stood the captain of the guard, and sentries stationed within a few yards of each other; we went on boldly until we came up to the officer, when, calling a boat in a confident tone, we embarked without a word being said to us. We had still, however, to pass a line of gun-boats, stationed off the mole, which used to hail the boats as they rowed by; but luckily at the present moment they were quite deserted, the people being on shore to be paid, so that we rowed through them without being challenged, and pulled on board the Fly. Here

[page] 372

I met Mr. Cragg, the master of the Crown, and with him agreed upon a signal, which he was to make as soon as the police boat should have paid its last visit previous to the sailing of his vessel, when I might come on board.

I now imagined that all difficulty was at an end, and that the boat of the Fly would be able to take me to the Crown, on the concerted signal; but I found, to my great regret, that the officers could not interfere, having no orders from their commander for that purpose. After some discussion, it was agreed that I should first go on board an English vessel, lying out of gun-shot of the forts, and there wait for the signal, keeping the boat I had brought, lest the men in it should inform against me. Accordingly I proceeded to the Swallow, where I arrived about one o'clock. Of course I was anxiously watching the movements of the Crown, to see whether there was any unexpected delay in despatching her, and I felt afraid lest the Spaniards should search for me on shore, and not finding me, should detain the Crown till I appeared. About half-past three or four o'clock, the Crown fired a gun, which was a signal for the visit-boat to come off; not long after I saw all the boats which were alongside her moving away; and, last of all, her colours were hauled down, the signal Captain Cragg agreed to make to me. She was a considerable distance astern of the Swallow, and I therefore waited for her to come nearer to us before I put off in my boat.

[page] 373

At this moment I observed a boat full of people pulling off from shore, as well as another from the Fly; and being fearful as to the intentions of the former, I stayed until the Fly's boat had reached the Crown. As she was now near us, the master hailed me to come on board, and immediately as the captain of the port was in chase (for his was the boat I had seen start from shore), I lowered my trunk into my boat. The two men began to row as I directed, but the sea ran so high, and the boat was so heavy, that I found I could not come up with the Crown, though her main-yard was aback: the captain of the port's fine galley, meanwhile, with several hands, was coming up with me fast. It was an anxious moment; however I was luckily quite collected. A fine leading wind was blowing out of the bay, and I made the two boatmen lay by their oars for the present, and get up their sail; which, though the operation occupied considerable time, when it was set, carried the old tub we were in much better through the water than the oars. The port-boat was overtaking us apace, but I had now gained on the Crown, and after some tedious minutes, I ran directly alongside her. As soon as I had hold of the rope they threw out, all the crew of the Crown and of the Fly's boat were busily employed in squaring the sails, and I and my trunk were drawn up immediately. The captain of the port was at this time within a hundred yards of us, and was waving his hat, and using violent gestures to induce us to stay; but fortunately he had now

[page] 374

no chance of overtaking us, and we quickly lost sight of him, but not before we saw him greedily take possession of the boat by which I had effected my escape.

After my arrival in England, I learnt that the two boatmen who had innocently aided me had been severely punished; and that the captain of the port was removed from his office, and imprisoned by Rodil, on suspicion that he had connived at my purpose. He had been guilty of some negligence, as well as the officer and sentries doing duty on the mole, in the face of whom I had entered the boat. The truth is, that the confident air my friend and I assumed at the time led those on duty to think that we entertained no improper design, for they did not at all expect that I would have made the attempt in open day.

Of our voyage home it is unnecessary to say any thing, because it would be difficult to say any thing new. We met with a rough sea, though not with rough weather, in doubling Cape Horn; and having reached Rio Janeiro in the Crown, we embarked from thence on board the packet for England.

Notwithstanding the many troubles with which I met, and the difficulties I had to overcome, during nearly the whole period of my stay in Peru, I shall always rejoice that I visited, certainly from all accounts, the most interesting part of South America, if not of the western hemisphere.

THE END.


This document has been accessed 796 times

Return to homepage

Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)

File last updated 5 May, 2014