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The Bequest of 

Colonel George Earl Church 




W^M. ' 


83i) Congress, > gg. OF REPS. (Executive, 

1st ISession. ) ( JS'o. 53. 

















January 6, 1854. — Resolvetl, That there be printed, for the use of the members of tl'.e House, 
ten thousand extra copies of the report of the Secretary of the Navy communicating the reports 
of the exploration of the river Amazon and its tributaries, made by Lieutenants Herndon and 
Gibbon, with the accompanying maps and plates. 

April 13, 1854.— Resolved, That there be printed twenty thousand additional copies of tlie 
reports of the surveys and explorations of the river Amazon, with the plates and maps accom- 
panying, by Lieutenants Herndon and Gibbon— two hundred and fifty copies for distribution by 
Lieutenant Herndon, and two hundred and fifty copies by Lieutenant Gibbon, and tlie remainder 
for the use of the members of the House. 

To the Senate and House of Representatives : 

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretaiy of the 
Navy, accompanied by the first part of Lieut. Herndon's Report of 
the Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon and its tributaries, 
made by him, in connexion with Lieut. Lardner Gibbon, under in- 
structions from the Navy Department. 


Washington, February 9, 1853. 

Navy Department, i^t^irwa?'^ 7, 1853. 
To the President. 

Sir: In compliance with the notice given in the annual report of 
this department to the President, and communicated to Congress at the 
opening of its present session, I have the honor herewith to submit 
the first part of the Report of Lieut. Herndon, of the Exploration of the 
Valley of the Amazon and its tributaries, made by him, in connection 
with Lieut. Lardner Gibbon, under instructions from this department, 
dated the 15th of February, 1851. 

. I am happy to be able to inform you that Lieut. Gibbon reached 
Para on his homewaid journey some weeks ago, and may very soon 
be expected to arrive in the United States. When he returns, Lieut. 
Herndon will have all the materials necessary to complete his report, 
and will devote himself to that labor with the same assiduity w^hich 
has characterized his present work. 


I would respectfully beg leave to suggest that, in submitting this 
report to the House of Representatives, it be accompanied with a 
request to that body, if it should think proper to direct the printing 
of this valuable document, that the order for that purpose may in- 
clude all the remaining portions of the report which may hereafter 
be furnished; and that the order for printing shall include a suit- 
able direction for the engraving and publication of the maps, charts, 
and sketches, which ' will be furnished as necessary illustrations of the 
subjects treated of in the report. 

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, your obedient 


Washington City, January 26, 1853. 
To the Hon. John P. Kennedy, 

Secretary of the Navy. 

Sir: I have the honor to submit part first of the Report of an 
Exploration of the Valley of the Amazpn, made by me, with the 
assistance of Lieut. Lardner Gibbon, under instructions of thfe Navy 
Department, bearing date February 15, 1851. 

The desire expressed by the department for an early report of my 
exploration of the Amazon, and the general interest manifested in 
the public mind with regard to the same, have induced me to lay 
before you at once as full an account of our proceedings as can be 
made before the return of my companion. 

The general map which accompanies the report is based upon maps 
published by the Society for the diffusion of Useful KnoAvledge, but cor- 
rected and improved according to my own personal observations, and 
on information obtained by me whilst in that country. 

The final report of the expedition will be submitted as soon after 
Lieut. Gibbon's return as practicable. I am in daily expectation of 
intelligence from him. At the latest accounts (26th of July, 1852) he 
was at Trinidad de Moxos, on the Mamore, in the republic of Bolivia, 
making his preparations for the descent of the. Madeira. 

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 


Lieut. U. S. Navy. 





United States ship Vandalia — ^Valparaiso — Santiago — Vicente Pazos — Pre- 
paratory orders — Lima — Means of information — Conquests of the Ineas 
in the Montana — First exploration of the Spaniards — Madame Godin.. I 



Orders — Investigation of routes — Lake Rogoaguado — River Beni — Chan- 
. chamayo — Cuzco route — River Madre-de-Dios — GoM mines of Cara- 
baya — Route through the cities of Truxillo, Caxamarca, Chachapoyas, 
Moyobamba, &c. — Preparations for the journey — The start 20 


Passports — Means of defence — The road — Pacayar — Chaclacayo — Narrow 
pass — Yanacoto— Bridge — Cocachacra — Tribute money— Dividing line 
between the coast and the Sierra — Moyoc — Varieties of the potato — 
Matucana — San Mateo — Mines of Parac — Narrow valley — Summit of the 
Cordillera — Reflections 39 


Mines of Moroeocha — A Yankee's house — Mountain of Puypuy — Splendid 
view#-Pachachaca — Lava stream — Chain bridge at Oroya — Descent into 
the valley of Tarma — Tarma — American physician — Customs — Dress — 
Religious observances — Muleteers and mules — General Otero — Farming 
in the Sierra — Road to Chanchamayo — Perils of travel — Gold mines of 
Matichacra — View of the Montana— Fort San Ramon — Indians of Chan- 
chamayo — Cultivation 61 


Division of the party — Acobaraba — Plain of Junin — Lake Chinchaycocha — 
Preservation of potatoes — Cerro Pasco — Drainage of the mines — 
Boliches 90 



Departure from Cerro Pasco— Mint at Quinua— San Rafael— Ambo—Qui- 

cacan — Huanuco — Cerro de Carpis — Chinchao valley — Huallaga river.. 113 


Itineraiy — Tingo Maria — Vampires — Blow guns — Canoe navigation — 
Shooting monkeys— Toeache—Sion— Salt hills of Pilluana 132 


Tarapoto — Pongo of Chasuta — Chasuta — Yurimaguas — Sta. Cruz — ^Anto- 
nio, the Paragud — Laguna — Mouth of the Huallaga 156 


Entrance into the Amazon — Nauta — Upper and lower missions of Mai- 
nas — Conversions of the Ucayali — Trade in Sarsaparilla — Advantages of 
ti-ade with this country 176 


Nauta — River Ucayali — Sarayacu — ^The missionaries — The Indians of the 
Ucayali 190 


Upper Ucayali — M. Castelnau — Length of navigation — Loss of the priest — • 
Departure from Sarayacu— Omaguas — Iquitos — Mouth of the Napo — 
Pebas— San Jose de los Yaguas— State of Indians of Peru 208 


Chochiquiuas — CaballoCocha — Alligators— Indian incantations — Loreto — 
Tabatinga— River Yavari — San Paulo — River Icja — Tunantins — Making ^ 

Manteiga — River Jutay — Fonteboa— River Jurud — River Japurd 229 


Egas— Trade— Lake Ooari— Mouth of the Rio Negro— Barra-Trade-^ 
Productions 250 


Town of Barra— Foreign residents — Population — Rio Negro — Connexion 
with the Oronoco — River Purus — Rio Branco — Vegetable productions of 
the Amazon country 269 


Departure from Barra- River Madeira— Serpa— Villa Nova— Maues— 
River Trombetas— Cocoa plantations— Obidos—Santarem 285 



Santarem — Population — Trade — River Tapajos — Cuiaba — Diamond re- 
gion — Account of the Indians of the Tapajos 299 


Departure from Santarem — Monte Alegre — Prainha — Almeirim — Guru- 
p4 — River Xingu — Great estuary of the Amazon — India-rubber country- 
Method of collecting and preparing the India-rubber — Bay of«Limoeiro — 
Arrival at Pard 319 

Pari 334 

Resume = ,., 352 


Notes — ^Table of approximate heights and distances from Callao to the 
Atlantic — Meteorological journal 369 

Addendum , .'. = ,=...., = .., ..,„„»,.. ,,,„.. = ,.. 397 


Plate 1. — Cafhedral of Lima, (to face title page.) 

Plate 2. — Yanacoto 44 

Plate 3. — Hacienda de Moyoc 60 

Plate 4.— San Mateo 60 

Plate 5. — Summit of the Cordillera 60 

Plate 6. — Mountain of Puypuy 60 

Plate 7.— Oroya 76 

Plate 8.— Tarma 76 

Plate 9.— Fort San Ramon 92 

Plate 10.— Cerro Pasco 108 

Plate 11.— Miner ^ 108 

Plate 12.— Ore carrier 108 

Plate 13.— Givaro 172 

Plate 14.— Givara 188 

Plate 15.— Zaparo, (Hunter) 204 

Plate 16 Zaparo, (Fisher) 204 



U. S. ship Vandalia — Valparaiso — Santiago — Vicente Pazos — Preparatory 
orders — Lima — Means of information — Conquests of the Incas in the Mon- 
tana — First explorations of the Spaniards — Madame Godin. 

Attached to tlie U. S. ship Vandalia, of the Pacific squadron, lying 
at anchor in the harbor of Valparaiso, in the month of August, 
1850, I received a communication from the Superintendent of the 
National Observatory, informing me that orders to explore the Valley 
of the Amazon would be sent me by the next mail steamer. 

The ship was then bound for the Sandwich Islands, but Captain 
Gardner, with that kindness which ever characterized his intercourse 
with his officers, did not hesitate to detach me from the ship, and to 
give me permission to await, at Valparaiso, the arrival of my instruc- 

ijlhe officers expressed much flattering regi'et at my leaving the ship, 
and loaded me with little personal mementos — things that might be 
of use to me on my proposed journey. 

On the 6th of August I unexpectedly saw, from the windows of the 
chib-house at Valparaiso, the topsails of the ship mounting to the 
mastheads; I saw that she must needs make a stretch in-shore to 
clear the rocks that lie off the western point of the bay ; and desirous 
to say farewell to my friends, I leaped into a shore-boat, and shoved 
off, with the hope of reaching her before she went about. The oarsmen, 
influenced by the promise of a pair of dollars if they put me on board, 
bent to their oars with a will, and the light whale-boat seemed to fly ; 
but just as I was clearing the outer line of merchantmen, the ship 
came sweeping up to the wind ; and as she gracefully fell off on the 
other tack, her royals and courses were set ; and bending to the steady 
northeast breeze, she darted out of the harbor at a rate that set 
pursuit at defiance. God's blessing go with the beautiful ship, and 
the gallant gentlemen, her officers, who had been to me as brothers. 

Owing to the death of President Taylor, and the con^quent change 
in the Cabinet, my orders were delayed, and I spent several weeks in 


Valparaiso, and Santiago, tlie capital of Chili. This time, however, 
was not thrown away : my residence in these cities improved my 
knowledge of the Spanish language, and gave me information regarding 
the Bolivian tributaries of the Amazon which I probably could have 
got nowhere else. 

The commander of the English naval forces in the Pacific, Admiral 
Hornby, was much interested in my mission, and searched for me, 
through his valuable libraiy, for all that had been written upon the 
subject. I am indebted to him, and the officers of his fleet, for much 
personal kindness. 

I must also return thanks to Messrs George Hobson, H. Y. Ward, 
George Good, and Commodore Simpson, of the Chilian navy, for the 
loan of books and maps which assisted me in fonniug my plans, and 
deciding as to route. 

Mr. Bridges, an English florist and botanist, who had descended the 
Chapare and Mamore, tributaiies of the Madeira, as far as the mouth 
of the Beni, and who sent the first specimen of the Victoiia Regia to 
England from this country, gave me such a description of it as enabled 
me to point out to Mr. Gibbon the most practicable route to the head- 
waters of those streams. 

I also had long conversations with General Ballivian, ex-President of 
Boli\da, then an exile to Chili. He lent me a map of Bolivia, 
executed under his orders whilst President of that republic, of which 
I took a tracing, but which I had afterwards the misfortune to lose. 

At Santiago I received information regarding the river Beni, and 
the interior of Bolivia and Peru, from a French gentleman named 
Pissis, an engineer in the employment of the Chilian government ; and 
also from a gentleman named Smith, an employe in. the large mercan- 
tile house of Huth, Gruning & Co., who had travelled much in those 

To Don Jos6 Pardo, charge d'afi"aires of Peru to the republic of 
Chili, I owe much for information and advice. He gave me copies of 
letters from Vicente Pazos, a citizen of Buenos Ayres, who has always 
manifested much interest in the improvement and advancement of 
South America, and who, in 1819, published a series of papers on the 
afi'airs of that country, directed to Henry Clay. These letters I deem 
of sufficient interest to give a translation of. 


Buenos Ayres, July 14, 1850. 
To Don Jose Pardo, 

Minister of the Peruvian RepuhUc^ near the Government of Chili. 

Sir : In a journal of this capital of the 2d inst., I have seen a tran- 
script of a letter from you to the editor of a periodical of this place, in 
which you say, under date of the 25th of April last, that you have 
received special notice of the discovery, in the province of "Carabaya," 
of the ore and washings of gold. In consequence, the government of 
Peru invites all who desire it to take advantage, and make use of the 
natural productions of these regions, where emigrants of all nations 
shall have all the political and religious guarantees necessary in the 
exercise of their industry. 

This announcement fills me with pleasure, because it is an evidence 
of the elevation of ideas which obtains in the government, and which 
will carry this part of Upper Peru to the height of prosperity to which 
it is called by its topographical and territorial position ; and particu- 
larly because it has in its midst navigable rivers which connect it with 
the Atlantic. I allude to the navigation of the Amazon. 

I have been now engaged some ten years in the thought and study 
of the political, social, and commercial relations concerning this matter, 
as is shown in my many publications which have circulated in Europe 
and America. These show the pains I have taken with the government 
otLouis Philippe, King of France, in order to open a new line of com- 
mercial communication between Cayenne and French Guyana and the 
republics of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. 

But I have always thought that our America, by the intelligence of 
its people, was to make a great social and commercial change ; and I 
have always thought that this change would operate by means of its 
gigantic and navigable rivers. This conception is corroborated by the 
announcement of the discovery of the gold regions of Carabaya. Its 
upper parts, which belong to the Andes, feed sheep of the most exquisite 
wool ; and as it goes on descending, vegetation springs up with a fecun- 
dity and ease unknown in the Old World. The land is cut up with 
mountain torrents, whose banks contain gold, and which unite to form 
the river " Purus," one of the greatest tributaries of the Amazon. 

Of this river, our celebrated botanist, D. Tadeo Ha-enke, in a special 
report, says: "Purus, or Cachivara, is a river of the first order. It 
arises in the cordillera of Vilcanota, a little to the east of the mountains 
of Carabaya, from which descend many considerable streams, rich in 
gold." To the testimony of this wise naturalist I add that of Conda- 


mine, and of the English naval officer, Smyth, and lastly the works of 
the Count of Castelnau, who descended the Amazon from Cuzco. 

The scientific and hydrographical works of these travellers persuade 
me that the "Purus" will be the best channel of interior commerce, 
and will put the centre of Peru in communication with the industrial, 
commercial, and manufacturing nations of Europe and North America. 

For this eflfect it is proper not only to speak of and familiarize people 
T7ith this easy line of communication, but also to stimulate foreign 
emigration, and the civilization of the inhabitants of our forests — a 
people of a gentle disposition and an active intelligence. 

The first sight I had of steam in the United States of America, in 
1818, gave me the idea that our rivers were equally susceptible with 
theirs of this motive power, so that, in a work which I published in 
New York in 1819, I said that the day would anive in which vessels 
moved by steam would navigate upon the gold-bearing rivers of Peru, 
as upon the fabulous Pactolus. This prediction is not now to me a fable, 
and, therefore, my conviction is unshaken, as will be seen by a letter 
which I have written to the President of the republic. Prince Louis 
Napoleon Bonaparte. The note to which I refer in it is very long, 
which prevents me from copying it, but some day it will be published. 

In the mean time, I congratulate you, and your government, that in 
its administration should have taken place a measure so necessary for 
the common good. 

Permit me, also, to ofi'er you my respects, and to subscribe myself, 
Your obedient servant, 


Buenos x\yres, February 2, 1850. 
To His Excellency Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, 
President of the French Republic. 
Prince : In bringing to the notice of your excellency the adjoined 
copy, which is a duplicate of my note, laid before the executive power 
which governed republican France in June, 1848, my object is to call 
the attention of your excellency to the same project which Napoleon, 
your august uncle, conceived for the aggrandizement of the most im- 
portant colony which France possesses in the New World — French 
Guyana. Before the application of steam to navigation, this tutelar 
genius of France comprehended that Cayenne would some day be the 
key to a vast commerce in all those regions, where might be created 
great empires. 


This sublime conception infused into my spirit the idea that the time 
had arrived to realize the views of the Emperor ; and, with this object, I 
addressed myself to the French government, in April, 1840, when tlie 
Chambers decreed trans-atlantic steam navigation, to the end that there 
should also be established a river line between French Guyana and the 
republics of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. All the ministers 
who governed until February, 1848, including also the monarchy, 
approved my project, and took the preliminary measures necessary for 
beginning a system of navigation without equal since the days of 
Columbus and Vasco de Gama. 

Officers of the French navy, stimulated by the example of those of 
the English, who had preceded them in the exploration of the Amazon, 
made also important hydrographical observations of the course of that 
river, which show that its principal outlet is along the shores of French 
Guyana, whence France may command the fluvial navigation and the 
commerce of those vast reg-ions. 

I thought that this advantage, which a glance at the geographical 
position of French Guyana shows, would work efi"ectually in the judg- 
ment of M. Arago, then Minister of Marine and member of the pro- 
vincial government of the French republic. 

The reply of this wise astronomer, of April 14th, to my note of the 
2 2d April preceding, smothered, not only my hopes, but closed the 
^oors to the prosperity of the French colonies, and to that of those 
nations whose streams form the Amazon, and whose people desire with 
eagerness this new and short way of communication between Europe 
and meridional America. 

The grandeur of this plan, which is found set forth in my notes, 
memorials, and writings, which may be found in the different ministe- 
rial bureaus of France, together with the opinions of many French 
writers and travellers, among whom the most distinguished is M. 
Castelnau, demonstrate the utility of encouraging the growth of 

To all the information furnished by these ought to be added the 
verbal communications which I have received from the commander of 
the "Astrolabe," M. Montravel, who is now on the station of the river 
Plate, under the order of Vice Admiral Le Predour. M. De Montravel, 
in the corvette Boulognaise, is the officer who made the exploration of 
the Amazon, and whose most valuable information, which exists in the 
department of the French marine, corroborates all that I have expressed 
to the French government for these ten years, and now animates me to 


address myself to your excellency directly, renewing the same project 
which I had the honor of presenting to the French nation, &c. 


The city of Santiago is situated in a lovely plain at the very foot of 
the Cordillera. The snowy summits of this chain, painted in bold 
relief against the hard, gray sky of the morning, have a very singular 
and beautiful appearance; they seem cut from white marble, and 
within reach of the hand. It is almost impossible to give an idea of 
the transparency of the atmosphere at this place. I was never tired of 
watching, from Lieut. Gilli&'s little observatory, the stars rising over 
these mountains. There was nothing of the faint and indistinct 
glimmer which stars generally present when rising from the ocean ; 
but they burst forth in an instant of time, in the full blaze of their 
beauty, and seemed as if just created. Gillis told me that his small 
telescope, of American manufacture, of 6|- inches of aperture, was 
there fully equal in power to the German glass at Washington of 9 

Chili, in arts and civilization, is far ahead of any other South 
American republic. There are many young men of native families, 
educated in the best manner in Europe, who would be ornaments to 
any society ; and the manners of the ladies are marked by a simplef 
open, engaging cordiality, that seems peculiar to Creoles. I do not 
know a more pleasant place of residence than Santiago, except for two 
causes : one, earthquakes, to the terrors of which no familiarity breeds 
indifference; the other, the readiness of the people to appeal to the 
bayonet for the settlement of political differences, or in the struggle for 
political power. These two causes shook the city and society to their 
foundations a few months after I left it. 

On the 20th of January, 1851, I received the following instructions 
from the Hon. William A. Graham, Secretary of the Navy : 

Navy Department, October 30, 1850. 
Sir : Proceed to Lima, for the purpose of collecting from the mon- 
asteries, and other authentic sources that may be acessible to you, 
information concerning the headwaters of the Amazon and the re- 
gions of country drained by its Peruvian tributaries. You will then 
visit the monasteries of Bolivia for a like purpose, touching the 
Bolivian tributaries of that river, should it in your judgment be desir- 


The object of tlie department in assigning you to this service is with 
the view of directing you to explore the Valley of the Amazon, should 
the consent of Brazil therefor be obtained ; and the information you 
are directed to obtain is such as would tend to assist and guide you in 
such exploration, should you be directed to make it. 

As this service to which you are now assigned may probably in- 
volve the necessity of the occasional expenditure of a small amount 
on government account, you are furnished with a bill of credit for 
one thousand dollars, for which you will account to the proper office. 

Also, enclosed you will find a letter of introduction to Messrs. Clay 
and McClung, charges d'affaires near the governments of Peru and 

Respectfully, &c., 


As I had obtained from my Santiago and Valparaiso friends — par- 
ticularly from General Ballivian — all the information that I would be 
likely to get in the cities of BoHvia, I determined to proceed to Lima, 
and accordingly embarked on board the mail boat of the 26 th. 

My residence in Valparaiso had made new friends and established 
new ties, that I found painful to break; but this is the lot of the 
navy officer : separated from his family for years, he is brought into 
the closest and most intimate association with his messmates, and 
forms ties which are made but to be broken, generally by many years 
of separation. Taken from these, he is thrown among strangers, and 
becomes dependent upon their kindness and hospitality for the only 
enjoyments that make his life endurable. Receiving these, his heart 
yearns towards the donors; and my Valparaiso friends will readily 
believe that I was sad enough when compelled to leave them. 

I arrived in Lima on the 6th of February. This city has changed 
greatly since I was here, twenty ye?\rs ago. Though we had bull- 
fights on the accession of the new President, General Echenique, 
(which accession, strange to say, took place without popular tumult, 
except a small outbreak at Arequipa, resulting in the immediate 
imprisonment at Lima of the opposing candidate. General Vivanco,) 
yet the noble amphitheatre was not crowded as in old times with the 
elite and fashion of Lima, but seemed abandoned to the vulgar. 
The ladies have given up their peculiar and most graceful national 
costume, the "Saya y Manto," and it is now the mark of a ragged 
reputation. They dress in the French style, frequent the opera, and, 
instead of the "Yerba de Paraguay," called Matt6, of which they 


used a great quantity formerly, they now take tea. These are causes 
for regret, for one likes to see nationality preserved ; but there is one 
cause for congratulation, (especially on the part of sea-going men, 
who have sometimes suffered,) the railroad between Lima and Callao 
has broken up the robbers. 

But with these matters I have nothing to do. My first business at 
Lima was to establish relations with Don Francisco Paula y Vigil, 
the accomplished and learned superintendent of the public library. 
This gentleman, who is an ecclesiastic and a member of the Senate, 
has so high a character for learning and honesty, that, though a par- 
tisan politician, and a member of the opposition to the new govern- 
ment, he preserves (a rare thing in Peru) the respect and confidence 
of all. He placed the books of the libraiy at my disposal, and kindly 
selected for me those that would be of service. 

The sources of information, however, were small and unsatisfactory. 
The military expeditions into the country to the eastward of the Andes 
left little or no reliable traces of their labors. The records of the 
explorations of the Jesuits were out of my reach, in the archives of 
Quito — at that time the head of the diocese, and the starting-point of 
the missions into the interior — and nearly all that I could get at were 
some meagre accounts of the operations of the Franciscans, collected 
by Father Manuel Sobreviela, guardian of the missionary college of 
Ocopa, and published, in 1Y90, in a periodical called "Mercurio 
jf'eruano," edited by an association styling itself "Amantes del Pais," 
or lovers of their country. 

Though the information obtained in Lima was not gi'eat, I still think 
that a slight historical sketch of the attempts to explore the Montana,* 
of Peru, made since the conquest of that country by Pizarro, will not 
be uninteresting. Before commencing it, however, I desire to express 
my acknowledgments to the many gentlemen, both native and foreign, 
who have assisted me in my researches with information and advice, 
particularly to Don Nicholas Pierola, the Director of the National 
Museum, whose name is associated with that of Mariano de Rivero, as 
"^ar excellence''' the scientific men of Peru; to the Hon. John Randolph 
Clay, charge d'affaires of the United States ; to Dr. Archibald Smith, 

* Montana (pronounced Montanya) is the name given by the PeruYians to any 
wooded country, "monte" being the Spanish term for a thick and tangled forest. 
As there is no other wooded country in Peru except to the eastward of the 
Andes, the term applies only to the eastern slope, and the level country at the 
base of the mountains, stretching as far as the confines of Brazil. 


an eminent physician, and author of a very clever book called " Peru as 
it is ; " and to the courteous and hospitable partners of the mercantile 
house of Alsop &; Co., Messrs. Prevost, Foster & McCall. 

Modern books upon the subject — such as Prescott's Peru; Humboldt's 
Narrative ; Von Tschude's Travels ; Smith's " Peru as it is ; " Conda- 
mine's Voyage on the Amazon ; Prince Adalbert's Travels ; the Journals 
of the English Lieutenants, Smyth and Maw ; " Travels in Maynas " of 
Don Manuel Ijurra, who afterwards accompanied me as interpreter to 
the Indians ; Southey's Brazil, and a Chorographic Essay on the Prov- 
ince of Para, by a Brazilian named Baena — were all consulted, and, 
together with oral communications from persons who had visited various 
parts of the Valley of the Amazon, gave me all the information within 
my reach, and prepared me to start upon my journey at least with open 

According to Garcilasso de la Vega, himself a descendant of the 
Incas, the attention of the Peruvian government was directed to the 
country east of the Andes even before the time of the Spanish conquest. 
The sixth Inca, Rocca, sent his son, Yahuar Huaccac, at the head of 
15,000 men, with three generals as companions and advisers, to the 
conquest of the country to the northward and eastward of Cuzco, called 
Antisuyo, inhabited by Indians called Antis. The young prince added 
a space of thirty leagues in that direction to the dominions of his father, 
but could reach no further on account of the roughness of the country 
and the difficulties of the march. The tenth and great Inca, Yupanqui, 
sent an expedition of 10,000 men to pursue the conquests of Yahuar 
Huaccac. These reached the Montana, and, embarking on rafts upon 
the great river Amarumayo* fought their way through tribes called. 
ChuncJws, till they arrived, with only 1,000 men, into the territory of 
tribes called Musus. Finding their numbers now too small for con- 
quest, they persuaded these Indians that they were friends, and, by their 
superior civilization, obtained such an ascendency among them, that 
the Musus agreed to send ambassadors to render homage and worship 
to the " Child of the Sun," and gave these men of the Inca race their 
daughters in mamage, and a place in their tribe. 

* As I shall have occasion, in speaking of routes, to refer again to this river, 
I would like to draw particular attention to it, simply stating here, however, that 
all who have penetrated into the Montana to the northward and eastward of 
Cuzco, agree in reporting a large and navigable river arrived at soon after clear- 
ing the skirts of the mountains. Different tribes of Indians inhabit its banks, and 
I presume it is on this account that so many different names — such as Amaru- 
mayo, Mano, Tone, Inambiri, Guariguari, Cachihuara, and Madre-de-dios— have 
been given it. 


Tears afterwards, during the reign of Huaynal Caimc^ the Incas and 
their descendants desired to return to Cuzco ; but in the midst of their 
preparations they received intelligence of the downfall of their nation, 
and settled finally among the Musus, w^ho adopted many of the laws, 
customs, usages, and worship of the Incas. 

I have little doubt of the truth of this account, for even at the present 
day may be found amongst the savages who dwell about the headwaters 
of the Ucayali^ the Purus^ and in the country between the Purus and 
Beni, traces of the warlike character of the mountain race, and that 
invincible hatred of the white man which the descendants of the Incas 
may well be supposed to feel. This determined hostility and warlike 
character prevented me from embarking upon the Chanchamayo to 
descend the Ucayali, was the cause why I could not get men to ascend 
the Ucayali from Sarayacu^ and I have no doubt hindered Mr. Gibbon 
from penetrating to the eastward of Cuzco, and seeking in that direction 
the sources of the Purus. 

This character is entirely distinct from that of the Indians of the 
plains everywhere in South America, who are, in general, gentle, docile, 
and obedient, and who fear the white man with an abject and craven 

Love of dominion and power had induced the Indian princes of Peru 
to waste their treasures and the lives of their subjects in the subjugation 
of the Montana. A stronger passion was now to urge a stronger people 
in the same direction. Stories of great empires, which had obtained the 
names of Ben% or Gran Pard^ Gran Pairiri, or Paititi, and Ul Dorado^ 
filled with large and populous cities, whose streets were paved with 
gold; of a lake of golden sand, called Parima; of a gilded king, who, 
when he rose in the morning, was smeared with oil, and covered with 
gold dust blown upon him by his courtiers through long reeds, and of 
immense mineral and vegetable treasures, had for some time filled the 
ears and occupied the minds of the avaricious conquerors ; and, after 
the partial settlement of affairs by the defeat of the Almagro faction at 
the battle of Salinas, near Cuzco, on the 26th April, 1538, various 
leaders sought opportunities of obtaining wealth and distinction by 
incursions into these unknown lands. 

Hernando Pizarro fitted out two expeditions, giving to Pedro de 
Candia the command of the first, and to Pedro Anzulo that of the 
second. These men, led on by the report of the Indians, w^ho constantly 
asserted that the rich countries they sought lay yet farther to the east- 
ward, penetrated, it is supposed, as far as the Beni ; but, overcome by 
danger, privation, and sufi'ering, they returned with no results, save 


marrellous stones of what they had seen and learned, which inflamed 
the curiosity and cupidity of others. These parties were generally ac- 
companied by an ecclesiastic, who was the historian of the expedition. 
Some idea may be formed of the worthlessness of their records by 
examining a few of the stories related by them. Here is one : 

"Juan Alvarez Maldonado made an expedition from Cuzco in the 
year 1561. He descended the eastern range of the Andes, and had 
scarcely cleared the rough and rocky ground of the slope when his 
party encountered two pigmies. They shot the female, and the male 
died of grief six days afterwards. 

" Following the course of the great river Mano downwards, at the 
distance of two hundred leagues they landed upon a beach, and a piquet 
of soldiert penetrated into the woods. They found the trees so tall as 
to exceed an arrow-shot in height, and so large that six men, with joined 
hands, could scarcely circle them. Here they found lying upon the 
ground a man, five yards in height, members in proportion, long snout, 
projecting teeth, vesture of beautiful leopard skin, short and shrivelled, 
and, for a walking-stick, a tree, which he played with as with a cane. 
On his attempting to rise, they shot him dead, and returned to the boat 
to give notice to their companions. These went to the spot, and fouDd 
traces of his having been carried off. Following the track towards a 
neighboring hill, they heard thence such shouts and vociferations that 
they were astounded, and, horror-stricken, fled." One more : 

"Between the years 1639 and 1648, Padre Tomas de Chaves, a 
Dominican, entered among the Chunchos, from Cochabamba, in Boli- 
via. He took twelve of them to Lima, where they were baptized. 
He then went back and lived among them fourteen years, making 
many expeditions. His last was in 1654 among the Moxos Indians 
of the Mamore. He there cured a cacique of some infirmity, and 
the Emperor of the Musus (this is the great Paititi or gilded King 
of the Spaniards) sent six hundred armed men to the cacique of the 
Moxos, demanding that the reverend father should be sent to cure 
his Queen. The Moxos were very unwilling to part with their phy- 
sician ; but threats of extermination delivered by the ambassadors of 
the Emperm- induced compliance; and the padre was carried oflT on 
the shoulders of the Indians. After a travel of thirty days, he came 
to the banks of a stream so wide that it could scarcely be seen across ; 
(supposed to be the Beni.) Here the Indian ambassadors had left 
their canoes; loosing them from the banks, they launched, went 
down the stream twelve days, and then landed. Here the father 


found a large town inhabited by an incredible number of savages, all 
soldiers, guarding this great port of the river, and entrance into the 
empire of the Musus. No women were to be seen ; they lived in 
another town, a league off, and only came in by day to bring food 
and drink to the warriors, and returned at night. 

" He obserred that the river at this place divided into many arms, 
all appearing navigable, and formed large islands, on which were great 
towns. He travelled hence twenty-seven days, when he arrived at 
court. The King came out to meet him, dressed in the finest and 
most delicate feathers, of different colors. He treated his guest with 
great courtesy, had a sumptuous feast prepared for him, and told him 
that, hearing of his wonderful powers as a physician, he had sent for 
him to cure the Queen of a disease which had baffled the skill of all 
his doctors. The good father remarked that he w'as no physician, 
and had not been bred to that art ; but observing that the Queen w^as 
beset with devils, (' obsesa,') he exorcised her according to the formulary, 
whereby she was thankfully made a Christian. He was eleven months 
in the court of the Paititi ; at the end of which time, seeing that the 
"wine and flour for the sacred elements were giving out, and having 
baptized an infinite number of infants in 'Articulo Mortia,' he took 
leave of their majesties, recommending to the Queen that she hold 
fast the faith she had received, abstaining from all offence towards 
God. He refused from the King a great present of gold, silver, pearls, 
and rich feathers ; whereat (says Father Tomas) the King and cour- 
tiers wondered greatly." 

These are of the number of stories which, inflaming the cupidity 
of the Spaniards, led them to brave the perils of the wilderness in 
search of El Dorado. They serve to show at this day the little con- 
fidence which is to be placed in the relations of the friars concerning 
this country; I do not imagine, however, that they are broad lies. 
The soldiers of Maldonado evidently mistook monkeys for pigmies, 
and some beast of the forest, probably the tapir, for a giant ; and there 
is doubtless some truth in the account of Padre Tomas, though one 
cannot credit the six hundred ambassadors; the river that could 
scarcely be seen across; the garrisoned port; and the gold, silver, and 
pearls of an alluvial country. 

But the defeated followers of Almagro, flying from before the face 
of the still victorious Pizarros, did find to the eastward of Cuzco a 
country answering, in some degree, to the description of the fabulous El 
Dorado. They penetrated into the valleys of Carahaya, and found 
there washings of gold of great value. They subjugated the Indians ; 


built tlie towns of San Juan del Oro, San Gahan, Sandia, &c. ; and 
sent large quantities of gold to Spain. On one occasion they sent a 
mass of gold in the shape of an ox's head, and of the weight of two 
hundred pounds, as a present to Charles Y. The Emperor, in 
acknowledgment, gave the title of "Royal City" to the town of San 
Juan del Oro, and ennobled its inhabitants. The Indians, however, 
in the course of time, revolted, murdered their oppressors, and destroyed 
their towns. Up to the last three years this has been a sealed countiy 
to the white man. I shall have occasion to refer to it again. 

While these efforts to penetrate the Montana to the eastward of 
Cuzco were being made, Gonzalo Pizarro fitted out at Quito an expe- 
dition consisting of 350 Spaniards and 4,000 Indians, with large sup- 
plies of provisions and live stock. All who have read the brilliant 
pages of Prescott know the history of this expedition : the discovery 
of cinnamon ; the treachery of Orellana ; and the origin of the present 
name of the great river. I shall not tread upon such ground; but 
shall content myself with observing that, if Pizarro built a brig, or any- 
thing that carried a mast, he either embarked low down upon the Napo, 
or, what I rather suspect, the Napo was a much larger stream then 
than now. 

The failure of this expedition, and the almost incredible sufferings 
of the party who composed it, could not deter the Spaniards from 
their search for El Dorado. In 1560 the Marquis of Canete, Viceroy 
of Peru, sent Pedro de Ursoa with a large company on this mission. 
This officer marched northward from Cuzco, and embarked upon the 
Huallaga. At Lamas, a small town near that river, he was murdered 
by his lieutenant. Lope de Aguirre, who determined to prosecute the 
enterprise. Aguirre descended the Huallaga — and the Amazon to its 
mouth — coasted along the shores of Guyana and Venezuela, and took 
possession of the small island of Marguerita. There raising a party, 
he landed at Cumana, wi'h the purpose of conquering an empire on 
the main land. He was, however, defeated by some Spanish troops 
who had already possession of the country, taken prisoner, carried to 
Trinidad and hung. 

Aguirre appears to have been a bold and violent man. His letter to 
Philip II, published in Humboldt's narrative, is indicative of his 
character. He says : " On going out of the river Amazon we landed 
at an island called La Margaretta. We there received news from 
Spain of the great faction of the Lutherans. This news frightened us 
exceedingly. We found among us one of that faction ; his name was 


Monteverde. I bad him cut in pieces, as was just ; for, believe me, 
signer, wherever I am, people Hve according to the law. 

"In the year 1559 the Marquis of Canete sent to the Amazon Pedro 
de Ursoa, a Navarrese, or rather a Frenchman. We sailed on the 
largest rivers of Peru till we came to a gulf of fresh water. We bad 
already gone 300 leagues, when we killed that bad and ambitious 
captain. We chose a Cavallero of Seville, Fernando de Guzman^ for 
king; and we swore fealty to him, as is done to thyself. I was 
named quartermaster general; and, because I did not consent to all 
his will, he wanted to kill me. But I killed this new king, the captain 
of his guards, his lieutenant general, his chaplain, a woman, a knight 
of the order of Rhodes, two ensigns, and five or six domestics of the 
pretended king. I then resolved to punish thy ministers and thy 
auditors. I named captains and sergeants. These again wanted to 
kill me ; but I had them all hanged. In the midst of these adventures 
we navigated eleven months, till we reached the mouth of the river. 
We sailed more than 1,500 leagues. God knows how we got through 
that great mass of water. I advise thee, great king, never to send 
Spanish fleets into that cursed river." 

The following story, from the " Viagero Universal" of Ulloa, shows 
his barbarity in yet more revolting colors. It appears that in all his 
marches he carried with him a favorite daughter. When defeated 
and surrounded, so that escape was impossible, he called this lady, and 
addressing her, said : " I had hoped to make thee a queen. This now is 
impossible. I cannot bear that you should live to be pointed at as the 
child of a traitor and a felon. Thou must prepare for death at my 
hands." She requested a few minutes for prayer, which was granted ; 
but her father, thinking she was too long at her devotions, fired upon 
her whilst on her knees. The unfortunate lady staggered towards him ; 
but taking her by the hand as she approached, the villain plunged his 
knife into her bosom, and she sank at his feet, murmuring ^^Basta 
Padre Mio,''^ — It is enough, my father. 

It is not to be expected that information of an exact and scientific 
character could be had from the voyages of adventurers like these. 
They were mere soldiers, and too much occupied in difiiculties of travel, 
conflicts with Indians, ambitious designs, and internal dissentions, to 
make any notes of the topogi'aphy or productions of the countries they 
passed through. 

But a task that had baffled the ambition and power of the Incas and 
love of gold, backed by the indomitable spirit and courage of the hardy 
Spanish soldier, was now to be undertaken by men who were urged on 


by a yet more absorbing passion than either of these. I mean mission- 
ary zeal — the love of propagating the faith. 

The first missionary stations established in the Montana were fomided 
by the Fathers Cuxia and Cueva, of the holy company of the Jesuits, 
in 1737. 

They commenced operations at the village of St. Francis de Borja^ 
founded by Don Pedro de Vaca, in 1634, when he conquered and 
settled the province of Mainas, under the direction of the Viceroy Bon 
Francisco de Borja, prince of Esquilache. This village is situated on 
the left bank of the Maranon, not far below where it breaks its way 
through the last chain of hills that obstructs its course, at the Pongo* 
de Manseriche, 

In the same year (1637,) according to Ulloa, (whose statements, I 
think, are always to be received "cum grano salis") Pedro Texeira, a 
Portuguese captain, ascended the Amazon with a fleet mounting forty- 
seven large guns. After an eight months' voyage from Pard^ he arrived 
at the port of Pay amino, or Frayamixa, in the province of Quixos, on 
the river Napo. I am unable to find out how far up the Napo this is ; 
but Texeira, leaving his fleet there, went with some of his officers by 
land to Quito. The Royal Audience of that city determined to send 
explorers with him on his return, and the Jesuit Fathers, Acuna and 
Artieda, were selected for that purpose, and directed to report to the 
King of Spain. Passing through the town of Archidona, on the head- 
waters of the Napo, with much suflfering they joined the fleet in the port 
of Payamino, and after a voyage of ten months, by land and water, 
arrived at Para, whence they sailed for Spain. 

The Spanish government, then occupied with the rebellion of Portugal, 
could lend no aid to the missionaries, and Father Artieda returned to 
Quito in 1643. He appealed to the Royal Audience, and to the college 
of the Jesuits at that city, for help to the missions, and the latter insti- 
tution furnished him with five or six missionaries. Tn'ese were well 
received by the Indians, and prosecuted their labors with such success, 
that in the year 1666 they had formed thirteen large and populous 
settlements in the country, bordering on the upper Mai-anon, and near 
the mouths of the Pastaza, Ucayali, and Huallaga. 

About this time the Franciscans commenced pushing their explora- 
tions and missionary operations from Lima, by the way of Tarma and 
Jauxa, into the Montana, drained by the headwaters of the Ucayali ; 
and here (thanks to Father Sobreviela) we begin to get a little topo- 

* PoDgo means a rapid. 


graphical information ; and the map may now be consulted in elucida- 
tion of the text. 

In 1673 the Franciscan Father Manuel Biedma penetrated into the 
Montana from Jauxa^ by the way of Comas and Andamarca, and 
established the missionary station of Santa Cruz de Sonomora, on the 
river Pangoa^ a tributary of the Ucayali. 

In 1681 he opened a mule road from Andamarca to Sonomora, and 
in 1684 one from Sonomora to the junction of the Pangoa with the 
Perene. In 1686 he embarked at this place with Antonio Vital, and 
descended the Ucayali to near the junction of the Fachitea. Here he 
established a station called ^^San Miguel de los Conihos,^'' and, leaving 
Vital in charge, he attempted to ascend the river again, but was killed 
by the savages. Vital, hearing of his death, and seeing himself 
abandoned, without hope of succor, determined to commit himself to 
the downward current ; and, embarking in a canoe with six Indians, 
he soon reached the Jesuit missionary stations near the mouth of the 
Ucayali. Directed by these missionaries, he ascended the Maranon, 
the Huallaga, and the river Mayo as far as it is navigable. He then 
disembarked, travelled by land through Moyohamla and Chachapoya^, 
and passing through Lima arrived at Jauxa, whence he had set out 
with Father Biedma. 

About this time the Franciscans, also penetrating from Tarma by the 
valleys of Chanchamayo and Vitoc, established the missions of the 
Cerro de la Sal and the Pajonal. The Cerro de la Sal is described as 
a mountain of rock and red earth, with veins of salt of thirty yards in 
breadth, to which the Indians, for many miles round, were in the habit 
of repairing for their supply. The Pajonal is a gTeat grassy plain, 
enclosed between the river Pachitea and a great bend of the Ucayali. 
It is about one hundred and twenty miles in length from north to south, 
and ninety fr^m east to west; and I judge from its name, and some 
imperfect descriptions of it, that it is a very fine grazing country. 

In the year 1*712 Padre Francisco de San Jose established a college, 
"de propaganda fide," at the village 6f Ocopa, in the Andes, a few 
leagues from Jauxa. By his zeal and abilities he induced many Euro- 
pean monks, of the order of St. Francis, to come over and join him in 
his missionary labors. These men labored so successfully, that up 
to 1742 they had established ten towns in the Pajonal and Cerro de 
la Sal, and had under their spiritual direction ten thousand converts. 
But in this year an Indian of Cuzco, who had been converted and bap- 
tized as Juan Santos, apostatized from the faith ; and, taking upon 
himself the style and title of Inca, and the name of Atahuallpa, excited 
to rebellion all the Indians of the plain, and swept away every trace of 


the missionary rule ; some seventy or eighty of the priests perishing 
in the wreck. 

It is quite evident that no distaste for the Catholic religion induced 
this rebellion ; for in the year 1*750, eight years afterward, the Marquis 
of Minahermosa, marching into this country for the punishment of the 
rebels, found the church at Quimiri^ on the river Perene, in perfect 
order, with candles burning before the images. He burned the town 
and church. And six years after this, when another entrance into this 
country was made by Gen. Bustamente, he found the town rebuilt, and a 
large cross erected in the middle of the plaza, or public square. I have 
had occasion myself to notice the respect and reverence of these Indians 
for their pastors, and their delight in participating in the ceremonial, 
and sense-striking worship of the Roman Church. 

It remains but to speak of the conversions of the Ucayali, in the 
PamjM del Sacramento, made by the Franciscans of Ocopa, and which 
are the only trophies that now remain of the zeal, patience, and suffering 
of these devoted men. 

The missions established on the Ucayali by Fathers Biedma and 
Caballero, in the years 1673 to 1686, were lost by insurrections of the 
Indians in 1704. In 1726, the converted Indians about the head of 
canoe navigation on the Huallaga, (the tidings of the gospel were first 
carried to these from Huanuco, by Felipe Luyendo, in 1631,) crossing 
the hills that border that river on its eastern bank, discovered a v>^ooded 
plain, which was named Pampa del Sacramento, from the day of its 
discovery being the festival of Corpus Cristi. This was a new field 
for the missionary; and by 1760, the Fathers of the college at Ocopa 
had penetrated across this plain to the Ucayali, and re-established 
the missions of Manoa, the former spiritual conquests of Biedma. To 
get at these missions with less difiiculty, expeditions were made from 
Huanuco by the way of Pozuzu, Mayro, and the Pachitea, in the years 
1763 to 1767. Several missionaries lost their lives by the Cashibos 
Indians of the Pachitea ; and ia this last year the Indians of the 
Ucayali rose upon the missionaries, killed nine of them, and broke up 
their settlements. But not for this were they to be deterred. In 1790 
Father Xarciso Girhal, with two others, under the direction of Sobre- 
viela, then guardian of the college at Ocopa, went down the Pachitea 
and again established these missions, of which there remain three at 
this time, called, respectively, Sarayacu, Tierra Blanca, and Sta. 

The difficulties of penetrating into these countries, where the path is 
to be broken for the first time, can only be conceived by one who has 


travelled over tlie roads already trodden. The broken and precipitous 
mountain track — tlie deep noorass — tlie thick and tangled forest — the 
danger from Indians, wild beasts, and reptiles — the scarcity of provi- 
sions — the exposure to the almost appalling rains — and the navigation 
of the impetuous and rock-obstructed river, threatening at every moment 
shipwreck to the frail canoe — form obstacles that might daunt any heart 
but that of the gold-hunter or the missionary. 

The most remarkable voyage down the Amazon was made by a 
woman. Madame Godin des Odonnais, w^ife of one of the French 
commissioners who was sent with Condamine to measure an arc of 
the meridian near Quito, started in 1769, from Rio Bamha^ in Ecuador, 
to join her husband in Cayenne by the route of the Amazon. She 
embarked at Canelos, on the Borbonaza, with a company of eight per- 
sons , two, besides herself, being females. On the third day the Indians 
who conducted their canoe deserted : another Indian, whom they found 
sick in a hovel near the bank, and employed as pilot, fell from the 
canoe in endeavoring to pick up the hat of one of the party, and was 

The canoe, under their own management, soon capsized, and they 
lost all .their clothing and provisions. Three men of the party now 
started for Andoas, on the Pastaza, which they supposed themselves to 
be within five or six days of, and never returned. The party left 
behind, now consisting of the three females and two brothers of 
Madame Godin, lashed a few logs together and attempted again to 
navigate ; but their frail vessel soon went to pieces by striking against 
the fallen trees in the river. They then attempted to journey on foot 
along the banks of the river, but finding the growth here too thick and 
tangled for them to make any way, they struck off into the forest in 
hopes of finding a less obstructed path. 

They were soon lost : despair took possession of them, and they 
perished miserably of hunger and exhaustion. Madame Godin, recov- 
ering from a swoon, which she supposes to have been of many hours' 
duration, took the shoes from her dead brother's feet and started to 
walk, she knew not whither. Her clothes were soon torn to rags, her 
body lacerated by her exertions in forcing her way through the tangled 
and thorny undergrowth, and she was kept constantly in a state of 
deadly terror by the howl of the tiger and the hiss of the serpent. It 
is wonderful that she preserved her reason. Eight terrible days and 
nights did she wander alone in the howling wilderness, supported by a 
few berries and birds' eggs. Providentially (one cannot say accidentally) 
she struck the river at a point where two Indians (a man and a woman) 


were just launching a canoe. They received her with Idndness, furnished 
her with food, gave her a coarse cotton petticoat, which she preserved 
for years afterwards as a memorial of their goodness, and carried her 
in their canoe to Andoas, whence she found a passage down the river, 
and finally joined her husband. Her hair turned gray from suffering, 
and she could never hear the incidents of her voyage alluded to without 
a feeling of horror that bordered on insanity. 



Orders— Investigation of routes— Lake Eogoaguado — River Beni— Chancha- 

mayo Cuzco route — River Madre de Dios — Gold mines of Carabaya — Eoute 

through the cities of Truxillo, Caxamarca, Chachapoyas, Moyobamba, &c. — 
Preparations for the journey — The start. 

On the 4th of April, 1851, Lieuteiiaut Lardner Gibbon, of the navy, 
arrived at Lima, and delivered me orders from tbe Navy Department, of 
which the following is a copy : 

Navy Department, i^eSrwary 15, 1851. 
Sir: The department is about to confide to you a most important and 
delicate duty, which will call for the exercise of all those high qualities 
and attainments, on account of which you have been selected. 

The government desires to be put in possession of certain information 
relating to the valley of the river Amazon, in which term is included 
the entire basin, or water-shed, drained by that river and its tributaries. 
This desire extends not only to the present condition of that valley, 
with regard to the navigability of its streams; to the number and con- 
dition, both industrial and social, of its inhabitants, their trade and pro- 
ducts ; its climate, soil, and productions ; but also to its capacities for 
cultivation, and to the character and extent of its undeveloped commer- 
cial resources, whether of the field, the forest, the river, or the mine. 

You will, for the purpose of obtaining such information, proceed 
across the Cordillera, and explore the Amazon from its source to its 

Passed Midshipman Lardner Gibbon, a prudent and intelligent oflicer, 
has been selected to accompany you on this service, and is instructed to 
report accordingly. 

This, together with a few instruments, necessary for such an expedi- 
tion, will be delivered to you by him. 

Being joined by him, you will commence to make such arrangements 
as may be necessary for crossing the Andes and descending the Ama- 
zon; and having completed them, you will then proceed on your journey 
without further orders. 

The route by which you may reach the Amazon river is left to your 
discretion. Whether you will descend the Ucayah, or the Huallaga, or 
any other of the Peruvian tributaries, or whether you will cross over into 


Bolivia, and, passing through the province of Yongas, embark on the 
Mamore or Ytenes, or whether you will try the Beni or any other route 
to the Madeira, and thence to the Amazon, the state of the information 
which you have collected, under a former order, will enable you to decide 
more judiciously than it is possible for the department, with the meagre 
state of its information upon the subject, to do. 

It is not desired that you should select any route by which you and 
your party would be exposed to savage hostility, beyond your means of 
defence and protection. 

Neither is it desirable that your party should be so large, on the one 
hand, as to excite the suspicion of the people, or give offence to the 
authorities, of the country through which you may pass, nor so small, 
on the other, as to endanger its success. 

You are, therefore, authorized to employ a cook, servant, guide, and 
interpreter, and to provide them with such arms as it is customary only 
for travellers generally, in that part of the world, to carry for their own 
protection. And these arms you will have returned to you at Para. 

The 'Navj Agent at Lima has been instructed to furnish, upon your 
requisition, the necessary articles for the outfit of yourself and party, and 
to honor your draft for a sum not exceeding five thousand dollars, to 
cover your expenses by the way. As these expenses will be mostly for 
mules and arrieros, boats and boats' crews, it is supposed that the sum 
named will I 3 much more than sufficient. You will use of it only for 
the necessary expenses of the party. 

The geographical situation and the commercial position of the Ama- 
zon indicate the future importance, to this country, of the free navigation 
of that river. 

To enable the government to form a proper estimate as to the degree 
of that importance, present and prospective, is the object of your mission. 

You will, therefore, avail yourself of the best sources of information 
that can be had in answer to any or all of the following questions : 

"What is the present condition of the silver mines of Peru, and 
Bolivia — their yield ; how and by whom are they principally wrought ? 

What is the machinery used, whence obtained, and how transported ? 

Are mines of this n^etal, which are not worked, known to exist ? 
What impulse would the free navigation of the Amazon give to the 
working of those mines ? What are their capacities; and if the navigar 
tion of that river and its tributaries were open to commerce, what effect 
would it have in turning the stream of silver from those mines down 
these rivers ? With what description of craft can they be navigated 
respectively ? 


What inducements are oflfered by the laws of Peru and Bolivia for 
emigrants to settle in the eastern provinces of those two republics, and 
what is the amount and character of the population already there? 
What the productions ? the value of the trade with them — of what 
articles does it consist, where manufactured, how introduced, and at 
what charges upon prime cost ? 

What are the staple productions for which the climate and soil of 
the valley of the Amazon, in different parts, are adapted? What the 
state of tillage ; of what class are the laborers ; the value of a day's 
work; the yield per acre and per hand of the various staples, such as 
matte, coca and cocoa, sugar, rice, chinchona, hemp, cotton. India- 
rubber, coffee, balsams, drugs, spices, dyes, and ornamental v/oods ; the 
season for planting and gathering ; the price at the place of produc- 
tion, and at the principal commercial mart; the mode and means of 
transportation ? with every other item of information that is calculated 
to interest a nautical and commercial people. 

You will make such geographical and scientific observations by the 
way as may be consistent with the main object of the expedition, 
always bearing in mind that these are merely incidental, and that no 
part of the main objects of the expedition is to be interfered with by 

It is desirable that you should bring home with you specimens or 
samples of the various articles of produce from the Amazon river, 
together with such seeds or plants as might probably be introduced into 
this country with advantage. 

Arriving at Para, you will embark by the first opportunity for the 
United States, and report in person to this department. 

Wishing you a pleasant journey and a safe return to your country 
and friends, 

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant, 


Lieut. William L. Herndon, U. S. Navy, Peru, or Bolivia. 

As the choice of route was thus left to my discretion, this, in con- 
nexion with the best and most efficient mode of carrying out my instruc- 
tions, became an object of much consideration with me. 

As I had some time previously received intimation of the intention 
of the department to issue such orders, whilst in Valparaiso and San- 
tiago I had sought what information was to be had there, and con- 
versed with many persons regarding the routes through Bolivia and 
the navigability of the Bohvian tributaries of the Amazon. Two inte- 


resting routes presented themselves tliroiigli this country: one from 
Cochabamba, by the river Mamore, a sketch of which had been given 
me by Mr. Bridges ; and the other by the Beni, (also a confluent of the 
Madeira,) which seems nearly a " terra incognita." 

PalacioSj an officer of the Bolivian government, who had made some 
explorations in the country between the Mamore and Beni, and who 
visited and navigated on the Lake Rogoaguado, (the existence of which 
has been a subject of dispute among geogi'aphers,) describes the Beni, 
between its sources and Los Reyes, (about half the course of the river,) 
as being much obstructed by shoals, with very narrow channels, and 
broken up into rapids, of which he enumerates twenty-two. He 
thinks, however, that flat-bottomed iron boats would overcome many 
of the difficulties, and navigate an immense distance up. He says 
that in some parts of the course of the river are found veins of silver 
and gold, salt springs, coal, lime, and (in Tequije) diamonds. I think 
that his description of the Lake Rogoaguado would be a valuable 
contribution to geography ; for though it is evident that his account is 
not exact, or even correct, yet it settles the point that there is such a 
lake, and that it does not give rise to many of the large rivers that 
empty into the Amazon, as was long supposed, and as is so represented 
in many maps. I give a translation : 

"The supreme government, being desirous of ascertaining if the 
great Lake Rogoaguado had communication with the Beni or pro- 
ceeded from it, directed me to explore it for the purpose of facilitating 
communication between that river and the Mamore. For this purpose 
I directed the construction of a boat and commenced my journey. 
I set out from the town of Exaltacion^ (a village on the Mamore, some 
distance above its junction with the Madeira,) the nearest point, and 
directed my course W. N. W. 15 mhes, to the estate {estancia) of 
Santa Cruz, passing (a mile and a half from this point) the river 
L-uyani, which runs to the N. E., and appears navigable. Its sources 
are unknown ; but it is supposed that it rises in some swamps situated 
in the flat country about Reyes, or that it runs from the Beni. At this 
estate of Santa Cruz there is a somewhat flat hill of 300 yards in 
height, and composed of white ' soroche,' the generator (criadero) of 
gold. It is constantly covered with grass and trees, among which are 
found those producing the India-rubber. 

" Hence I directed my march W. I N., to the estate denominated 
San Carlos, which is distant twenty-four miles from the first, and is 
situated among morasses, with some eminences, the good pastures of 
which maintain large flocks of cattle. The course from here was N. W., 


and at the distance of nine miles I encountered the Lake ' Ibachuna, 
or, of the winds, which is twelve miles broad and twenty-four long 
from north to south, and whose outlet runs among swamps into Lake 
Rogoaguado, known likewise by the name of Domii, on whose banks 
yet exist traces of the ancient tribe of the Cayubabos, who now form 
the population of the town of Exaltacion. 

" Not finding the boat which I had ordered finished, I embarked in 
a small canoe, and directed my course towards two islands in the lake, 
about three miles from the shore. These are elevated a little above the 
surface of the lake, which has not more than a fathom (braza, 66 inches) 
of depth in this part, and are covered with an impenetrable thicket. On 
the following day I launched the boat; it was 33 feet (12 varas) long, 
3f feet wide, and 2f feet deep. It rocked much, and I directed two 
small canoes to be lashed, one on each side, to serve as counterpoises. 

" I weighed from my port with a course N. W. -J N. At the distance 
of fifteen miles I encountered a stream which served as an outlet, and 
w^as connected with another small lake, called Yapacha, towards the N. E. 
I changed the course, coasting along W. N. W. for nine miles, continuing 
on other nine S. W. ^ S. ; thence I changed to S. twenty-four miles ; to 
S. W. four and a half; to S. ^ E. thirteen and a half. So that I sailed 
upon a bow-line " (much he knew about a bow -line) " with a depth of 
2-J fathoms, (brazadas,) running six miles the hour. (!!) 

" At the capes, or prominent points, I landed, and observed that the 
belt of woods surrounding the lake was narrow ; and that outside of 
this the pasturages were so great that they formed a horizon, or couM 
not be seen across. On one occasion I set fire to them, and saw 
towards the N. W. the answering smoke of the fires of the Chacobos 
savages. The country of this people was afterwards explored. The 
tribe was found to consist of three hundred souls ; and among them 
were people white and ruddy. 

" I continued on E. ^ N., and having navigated twelve miles, the 
north wind came on so strong, and raised such a sea, that I was in 
danger of shipwreck. I therefore landed, and remained twenty-four 
hours, employing the time in examining the mouth of the rivulet called 
Ibachuna, where there were large morasses. 

" I travelled the next day with oars against the wind, bailing the 
water from the boat continually. The course was N. N. E. ; and 
eighteen miles brought me to the point whence I originally sailed. 

" The lake is of good and clear water. It has a bottom of oxide of 
iron, with 2-^ fathoms (brazadas) of water. There are many fish and 
rays, crocodiles and porpoises. 


"In tlie woods there are almonds of various kinds and superior qual- 
ity. Towards tlie east there is another small lake called Puaja, whose 
waters (united with those of Rogoaguado and Yapacha) form the river 
Yatachico, or Black river, which is a confluent of the Mamore. I pre- 
sume the Yata Grande is only an arm of the Beni from the clearness 
of its waters, from the declivity of the land towards the Mamore, and 
because its sources are not found in the Steppes, (Llanos) there only 
arising from these the Black river of the Lake Rogagua of Reyes, which 
is a confluent of the Beni. 

"The navigation of the Yata Grande is a matter of interest; and I 
would have attempted it when I descended the Mamore had I had at 
my disposal an armed party, which is absolutely necessary on account 
of the multitude of savages which dwell upon its banks ; nevertheless, I 
did ascend to its first rapids, where there is an abundance of pitch. 
The L'uyani should be explored for the same reasons as the Yata 

It was suggested by Mr. Pissis that I should take the route of the 
Beni on account of the honor of discovery, and the addition I should 
make to geographical knowledge ; and General Ballivian, ex-President 
of Bolivia, who was then in Valparaiso forming plans for revolution in 
that country, which he afterwards endeavored to execute, but without 
success, strongly urged me to take one of the Bolivian rivers ; but an 
unanswerable objection to this in my mind was, that such a route 
w^ould bring me into the Amazon very low down, and make the neces- 
sity of ascending that river to its sources ; a work which would occupy 
years in its execution, and probably break down a much stronger man 
than I am. 

Upon my arrival in Lima, I immediately set to work to investigate 
routes. The best informed people of Peru are wide awake to the im- 
portance of opening an inland communication between their territo- 
ries to the east of the Andes and the Atlantic, and many attempts 
have been made to secure the aid of government in the opening of such 
a communication. From time immemorial a jealousy has existed upon 
this subject between the people inhabiting points on the three most 
feasible routes ; that is, that of the valley of Huanuco, that of Chancha- 
mayo, and that of Paucartambo, to the eastward of Cuzco. This 
jealousy originated in the fact that the valley of Huanuco, the first 
settled, at one time supplied all the coca that was used in Peru. The 
people of that valley saw in the opening of the Montana of Chancha- 
mayo a rival interest that would decrease their gains, and at one time 
they had such interest at Court as to get an order dismantling the 


fort that had been built in Chanchamayo, and breaking up the roads. 
The Tarraa people never forgave this, and in 1808 Urrutia, the Inten- 
dente of that province, addressed a pamphlet to Abascal, the Viceroy, 
setting forth the advantages of the Chanchamayo, and depreciating the 
Mayro or Huanuco route to the Montana. 

"Surely, surely," says he, (and I entirely agree with him,) "nothing 
but the especial concitation of the devil (thus interfering with the con- 
version of the heathen) could have induced the government to so 
suicidal a step as to break up so thriving a colony as that at Chan- 
chamayo." He says that he can scarcely refrain from tears at think- 
ing to Avhat it would have grown in the twenty-five years that have 
been lost between then and now. He writes with earnestness; and 
probably would have succeeded in obtaining the aid of the government, 
but that the cloud of the revolution was then above the horizon, and 
Viceroy and Intendente soon had other matters to think of. 

In 1827 General La Ma?- again ordered the openiug of the Chan- 
chamayo country. The direction of the work was given to my 
acquaintance and very good friend General Otero, then prefect of the 
department. He pushed the matter of opening the roads with suc- 
cess for some time ; but the roughness of the country, the difficulty of 
obtaining supplies, and the steady hostility of the Indians, interposed 
so many obstacles, that the work languished and was finally aban- 
doned ; the Indians taking possession of the few plantations that had 
been made. 

In 184*7, however, the people of Tarma resolved to take advantage 
of so fine a country so near them. They republished the pamphlet of 
Urrutia; made an appeal to the government, and themselves broke 
into the country under the lead of Colonel Pablo Salaverry. They 
drove the Indians over the rivers of Chanchamayo and Tulumayo; 
and Don Ramon Castilla, the President, (ever alive to the interests of 
his country,) sent a company of eighty soldiers, under a captain in the 
navy named JVoel, with engineers, artificers, tools and supplies, and 
constructed the little stockade fort of San Ramon, at the junction of 
these rivers. Under the protection of this fort the Tarma people have 
begun to clear and cultivate, and the former desert is now beautiful 
with the waving cane, the yellow blossom of the cotton, and the red 
berry of the cofiee. 

Juan Centeno, deputy in Congress from Cuzco, in strong and earnest 
terms advocated the propriety of taking the Cuzco route, telling me 
that ten thousand dollars, appropriated by the government for the 
survey of the river Amarumayo, now lay in the treasury, waiting the 


proper time and man to take it up ; and that he had no doubt but that 
I might organize a surveying party and employ this money for that 
purpose. It was a tempting proposition, but I feared the proverbially 
dilatory action of the Peruvian government ; and what I had seen in the 
journals of Smyth and Castelnau regarding the efBciency of the co- 
operation of Peruvian officials, revived school-boy recollections and 
brought to my mind Virgil's 

"Non tali auxilio; nee defensoribus istis." 

This route had, moreover, the same objections as that by the Bolivian 
tributaries ; that is, that it would bring me into the Amazon too low 
down. It is, however, a route of great importance, and well worth 
investigation. Seiior Centeno placed in my hands a pamphlet (" El 
brillante j^orvenir de Ouzco'^) written by the confessor of his family, an 
Italian Franciscan, Father Julian Boho de Revello^ in which the ad- 
vantages of this route are strongly and ably argued ; and which argu- 
ment induced the above-mentioned appropriation by the Peruvian 
government. The Father declares that he himself, in visiting the val- 
leys of Paucartambo, in company with Don Jose Miguel Medina, pre- 
fect of the province, saw from the heights of Acobamba an interminable 
horizon of woods towards the N. E. ; and in the midst of this immense 
plain, the winding course of the great navigable river " Madre de Dios.''^ 
He labors to prove that this Madre de Dios is the same river which, 
under the name of Purus, enters the Amazon a few days' journey above 
the Barra do Rio Negro. 

There is no doubt that there is a great unknown river in these parts. 
Every expedition made into this country brought back accounts of it, 
and represented it under various names — such as Amarumayu ; Tone ; 
Mano ; Inambiri ; Guariguari ; and Madre de Dios, according to the 
nomenclature of the various tribes that live upon its banks — as great 
and containing much water — (Grande y Caudaloso.) It is impossible 
to say whether this river turns to the N. W. and joins the Ucayali, 
flows straight N. E., and, as either the Yavari, the Jutay, the Jurua, 
the TefFe, the Coari, or the Purus, empties into the Amazon ; or, flow- 
ing east, is tributary to the Beni. It is, of course, likewise impossible to 
say whether or not it is free from obstructio'ns to navigation ; but it is 
reasonable to suppose, from the fact that the country through which 
it flows (supposing it to take the general direction of the rivers there 
and run N. E.) is very far from the Andes on one side, and the Cor- 
dillera Geral of Brazil, which form the obstructions to the Madeira, on 
the other, that it is free from impediments for an immense distance up. 
This route, however, takes its importance, in a commercial point of 
view, from the following facts : 


It will be recollected that I stated, in the preceding chapter, that the 
defeated followers of Almagro, hiding themselves in the valleys and dens 
of the broken country to the eastward of Cuzco, called Carabaya, dis- 
covered, in the small streams that dashed down from the neighboring 
Cordillera, washings of gold of great value — that they built villages, 
and sent immense treasures to Spain. 

In the month of June, 1849, two brothers named Poblete, seeking 
Peruvian bark in the valleys of Carabaya, discovered grains or pits 
(pepitas) of gold in the " Gulch " of Challuhuma. They were soon 
joined by other hunters of bark ; the news spread in the province ; com- 
panies were formed, and petitions made to the board of miners for titles; 
quarrels arose about priority of discovery and rights, and the paths were 
broken up, and bridges and rafts for crossing the rivers destroyed, so 
that, up to the time of my information, little had been done in gathering 
the gold. 

It appears from an official letter of Pablo Pimentel, sub-prefect of 
the province of Carabaya, in answer to certain questions propounded to 
him by the Treasury Department, that the mining district is situated in 
the valleys to the. N. and E. of Crucero, the capital of the province, and 
is reached from that place by the following routes and distances. (It 
will be as well to premise that Crucero is situated in about latitude 14° 
south, and longitude 74° west from Greenwich ; and that to reach it 
by the nearest route from the Pacific coast, one should land at Islay ; 
and travelling on horseback through the cities of Arequipa and Puno, 
he will arrive at Crucero, by easy stages of fifteen miles a day, in about 
twenty days.) From Crucero the route, running to the eastward, and 
crossing the Cordillera at probably its highest and most difficult pass, 
conducts the traveller to the small and abandoned village of Phara, 
forty-two miles from Crucero. 

Here he puts foot to gi'ound, and travels seventy-two miles (four 
days' journey) to the banks of the great river Guariguari ; although 
his provisions and implements may be carried to this point on mules or 
asses. He crosses this river on a perilous swinging bridge, called Oroya, 
and makes his way thirty miles further towards the north without any 
broken track, save an occasional one made by the bark hunters. 
This brings him to Challuhuma. 

The valley, or gulch, is from thirty to thirty-six miles long from the 
top of the mountains, whence descend the three small torrents which 
form the auriferous stream called Challuhuma, to its entrance into the 
Guariguari ; but it is calculated that only about a fifth part of this can 
be worked, as the other four parts are hemmed in by precipitous rocks 


on eacli side ; and " to turn tlie course of the river at these parts, so as 
to get at its bed, would be about as easy a task as to remove the Andes." 

Pimentel supposes that from the time of the discovery, in June, to the 
date of his letter, in November, about one hundred thousand dollars 
had been collected ; but that the best parts had been worked, and such 
success was no longer to be looked for. He says, moreover, that the 
difficulty of obtaining pro\isions and supplies is very gi-eat, from the 
small number of persons engaged in agriculture, the general laziness of 
the people, and the difficulty of transportation. 

It is quite evident that Pimentel is disposed to throw difficulties in 
the way, and to distract attention from Challuhuma by dwelling upon 
the undiscovered riches in other valleys, and the great vegetable wealth 
of the country a little to the eastward of it. Other accounts from 
this district give a different version, and represent Pimentel as a party 
in one of the mining companies, and interested in keeping secret the 
true state of affairs. The quarrel on this subject ran very high in 
the department of Puno, and even the motives and conduct of General 
Deustua, then prefect of the department, and now governor of the 
" Provincia Littoral" of Callao — a man of the very highest standing and 
character in his country — were impugned. He vindicated his reputation 
in a very spirited letter to the Secretary of State for the Treasury De- 
partment, demanding to be relieved, and receiving an apologetic reply 
from the government. 

It appears from some notices of this country, written by Manuel 
Hurtado, a citizen of Puno, " that the province of Carabaya has an 
extent of one hundred and eighty miles, from north to south, 
rendered more to the traveller, who wishes to pass over its whole 
length, on account of his having to cross the spurs of the mountains, 
which divide the whole country into valleys, having auriferous streams; 
for, from Cuia to Quica, there are eighteen miles ; to Sandia, forty-two ; 
to Cuyo-Cuyo, twelve ; to Patambuco, eighteen ; to Phara, thirty-six ; 
to Uricayas, forty-five ; to Coasa, eighteen ; to Thiata, thirty ; to Aya- 
pata, eighteen ; to Ollachea, forty-two ; and to Corani, eighteen ; making 
three hundred and seven miles. All these villages, except the last, are 
in the line of the edge of the Montana. The villages of Macusani and 
Crucero are on this other side of the Cordillera. The population of the 
province is thirty thousand souls, over and above strangers, who come 
to collect the gold and cascarilla. 

" The exportation of the products of the province for the last year 
were about three hundred thousand pounds of cascarilla, twenty-five 
thousand baskets of coca, (of twenty-one pounds each,) and one thousand 


pounds of coflfee. The small crops of maize, &c., are only for tlie 
consumption of the country. The only two plantations that have been 
opened in the last two years, by D. Augustin Aragon and D. Lorenzo 
Requelme, will begin to render their crops in the coming year. 

" According to the notices acquired from different persons, and 
particularly from Pimentel and the Pobletes, we know that the gold 
taken from Challuhuma, from the middle of June to September, 
amounts to seven hundred pounds, of which the Pobletes hold three, 
and the balance has been sold by various individuals in the fairs and 
markets of Azangaro, Tangazuca, and Crucero, over and above the 
many pounds that have been sent for sale to Puno and Arequipa, and 
that which the Indians indubitably hold, seeing that they only sell 
enough to purchase themselves necessaries; although one has been 
known to sell the value of six hundred dollars. About the end of 
September the associates of the company styled ' Descubridora' 
destroyed the hanging bridges, (oroyas,) the rafts, and even some parts 
of the road, saying that in Challuhuma there is nothing, and advising 
all to return to their houses. This rather encouraged them to proceed. 
They plunged into the woods where human foot had never trodden, 
and, crossing the great river on temporary oroyas, many persons settled 
themselves in Challuhuma ; whence they have been taking gold with- 
out its being known how much has been collected in the month and a 
half which has intervened. It is worthy of note that these people and 
the Pobletes have very imperfect means of extracting the gold : being 
reduced to what they call ^chichiqueaVy which is, to place earth in 
a trough, wash it a little while in the stream, and collect the gold 
that has settled ; which may be one, two, or more ounces, according to 
the fortune of the washer. They repeat this operation as many times 
a day as their strength will permit. ' On one occasion the sub-prefect 
Pimentel obtained from one trough-full twenty-odd ounces of gold, as 
he himself related to us; and no trough-full yields less than one ounce." 

There seems exaggeration in this account ; but an anonymous pub- 
lication from Puno on this subject of Carabaya goes beyond this. It 

"In the year 1713, a mine of silver was discovered in a hill called 
Uncuntayo, among the heights (Altos) of Ollachea, which gave more 
than four thousand marks to the caxon. (Six marks to the caxon is a 
paying yield in Cerro Pasco.) These riches gave rise to such disturb- 
ances, violences, and murders, that the Viceroy had to march to sup- 
press the disorders ; but after a few years the hill fell in and closed 
the mines. 


"It has been always known that much gold existed in all the 
ravines of the district of Phara, and the proof is the discovery of it, in 
the present year, at the points called Beinisamayo, Rio Challuhiima, 
and Acomayo, from which ^j^laceres' it is certain that even in this 
short time many arrobas (twenty -five pounds) of fine gold, in the shape 
of melon seeds, have been taken and seen in Puno Arequipa, &c. 
The sight of this gold, and the conviction which is entertained of the 
existence of abundance of this metal, have awakened the avarice of all, 
and are attracting to Carabaya a concurrence of the people of the 
departments of La Paz, Puno, Arequipa, and Cuzco. The work must 
cease, on account of the rains, towards the end of October; but from 
May onwards, we shall have growing up there a society, heterogeneous, 
avaricious, and needing authorities and judges, that the 'placeres' may 
be appointed among the workers according to law ; that property may 
be secured ; and that those disorders which may be expected to grow 
out of such a state of affairs may be checked : for the sub-prefect, be- 
sides being a principal associate in the companies for collecting gold 
and cascarilla, has not the weight of character necessary in these cases. 
Moreover, the person who directs in mining matters (Diputado de 
Mineria) resides in Puno, two hundred miles from the point whence 
the gold is extracted. The companies endeavor, by every means in 
their power, to hide the riches which exist in the already discovered 
mines, and to throw difficulties in the way of getting there ; but we 
know that every trough-full of the earth which is washed gives six 
ounces and upwards, and that there are only three days on horseback 
from Phara to the banks of the great river, though the road is some- 
what rough; and from the other side of the river, (which may be 
crossed by an oroya or on rafts) to the mines is only one day on foot. 
The climate of the greater part of the Montana of Carabaya is entirely 
healthy, and of an endurable heat. Its lands are so rich that they give 
three crops a year, and produce fine coca, coffee that riv^als thajt of 
Mocha, superior cacao, potatoes, maize, fruits, raisins of every kind, 
the vanilla, superior and most abundant woods, and the cascarilla, 
called calisaya, with all the other classes. Added to this there are 
rivers with immense fisheries, so that people would do well to colonize 
there even if there were no gold. The savages, in tribes of more than 
two hundred souls, live scattered about sixty or ninety miles to the 
eastward of the placeres. It is necessary to adopt some measures of 
precaution to anticipate attacks which they would be likely to make 
on small parties." 

Pimentel says that the Indians on some of the beaches of the great 


river " Itiambari," which licws through this Montana, make a sort of 
scaly pavement {empedrado^ en forma de escama) just before the increase 
of the river, caused by the rains, 50 that the gold borne down by its 
current may be deposited. They call these their chacras, or farms of 
gold, and collect their crop at the falling of the river. 

It will be perceived, from the above accounts, that, if the river "Madre 
de Dios" of Father Bobo should be identical with the Purus, and there 
should be a navigable communication between this countiy and the 
Atlantic, the advantages to commerce would be enormous, and the 
"Brillante Porvenir," or dazzling future of Cuzco, would be no dream. 
I judge, from the description of the country through which this "great 
river" (as it is called in all the accounts of people who have visited 
these parts) flows, that it is not navigable ; and it is certain that neither 
the cascarilla nor the gold can be collected for six months in the year. 
Yet I judge that there is a much nearer and easier communication with 
the Atlantic, by this route, than that by the passage of the Cordillera, 
and the voyage around Cape Horn ; and that the opening to trade of a 
country which produces, in abundance, gold, and the best quality of 
cinchona, would soon repay the courage, enterprise, and outlay of 
money which would be necessary to open, at most, but a short road, 
and to remove a few obstructions from a river. 

Since writing the above I have received from Mr. Clay, our distin- 
guished charge at Lima, a shp from the Comercio, a Lima journal, 
containing an account of the fitting out of an expedition for the 
exploration of this river by the people of the town of Paucartambo. 
These, tired of waiting the tardy action of the government, met in 
council on the 10th of June, 1852, and subscribed one hundred and 
fifteen dollars to pay the expenses of the exploring party. Twenty 
Indians were hired, for twenty days, at five dollars a head, and ten 
dollars given as gratification to their overseer ; the remaining five were 
expended in repairing the axes and other tools supplied by the farmers. 
The party, consisting of young volunteers, having their expeditionary 
flag blessed by the Curate, being exhorted by their governors and elders, 
and placed under the especial protection of our blessed Lady of Car- 
men, marched out, under the guidance of Don Manuel Ugaldi, amid the 
strains of music and the " vivas " blessings and tears of their relatives 
and friends. We have yet to see the result of so enthusiastic an 

I was so much impressed with the importance of this route, that I 
left Lima undecided whether I should take it or not ; and at Tarma, 
after long and anxious deliberation, (the measure being supported by 


Mr. Gibbon's advice and earnest personal solicitation,) I determined to 
take the responsibility of dividing the party, and did so, furnishing Mr. 
Gibbon with the following instructions, and verbally calling his atten- 
tion to the river Beni : 

Tarma, June 30, 1851. 

Sir: From a careful perusal of my instructions from the Navy De- 
partment, it appears to be a matter of importance that as much of 
the great South American basin, drained by the Amazon and its 
tributaries, should be explored as the means placed at my disposal will 
allow ; and having now arrived at a point where, if the party is kept 
tog»^ther, some objects of much interest will have to be abandoned to se- 
cure othei*s, I have determined to divide the party, and confide a portion 
of it to your direction. 

You will, therefore, with "Mr. Richards" and a guide, proceed to 
" Cuzco," and examine the country to the eastward of that place. It is 
said that a large and navigable river, called the Madre de Dios, has its 
source in the mountains of Carabaya, and may be approached at a 
navigable point by descending the Andes from " Cuzco." Many argu- 
ments have been adduced to show that this river is the " Purus," which 
is known to empty into the Amazon. 

It is desirable that this should be determined ; and you will make 
such inquiries in Cuzco as will enable you to decide whether it is 
practicable to descend this river. I am under the impression that its 
shores, near where you would be likely to embark, are inhabited by 
tribes of savage and warlike Indians, who have committed frequent 
depredations upon the "haciendas" established in the neighborhood. 
You will constantly bear in mind that your loss will deprive the 
government of the after-ser\dces expected of you in the prosecution of 
our important and interesting enterj^rise. You will therefore run no 
unnecessary risk, nor* expose yourself or party to unreasonable danger 
from the attacks of these savages. The inhabitants of Cuzco are said to 
be so m.uch interested in this discovery, that they may furnish you an 
escort past the point of danger. 

Should you find this route impracticable, you will proceed south, to 
Puno, on the banks of yie " Lake Titicaca ;" thence around the south- 
ern shores of this "lake" to La Paz, in Bolivia; thence to Cocha- 
bamba ; and, descending the mountains in that neighborhood, embark 
upon the "Mamore," and descend that river and the "Madeira" to the 
Amazon. You ^vill then ascend the Amazon to the "Barra do Rio 
Negro," and, making that your headquartei's, make excursions for the 


exploration of the main stream and adjacent tributaries, until my arrival, 
or you hear from me. 

You are already possessed of the views of the department regarding 
the objects of this expedition. A copy of its instructions is herewith 
furnished you. You will follow them as closely as possible. 

Should you go into "Bolivia," I would call your attention to the 
"cascarilla," or Peruvian bark, which is of a better quality in that 
country than elsewhere. Make yourself acquainted with its history and 
present condition. 

Wishing you success, I remain your obedient servant, 


Lieiitenant U. S. Navy. 
Passed Midshipman Lardner Gibbon, 

U. S. Navy. 

Other reasons that induced me to take this step were, that I might 
carry out the instructions of the department as fully as lay in my 
power ; and Mobile I gave my own personal attention to the countries 
drained by the upper Maraiion and its tributaries, Mr. Gibbon might 
explore some, and gather all the information he could respecting others, 
of the Bolivian tributaries of the Amazon. The objections were, that 
the department had not sanctioned the step, and that by separating we 
were deprived of the comfort and assistance to be derived from compan- 
ionship — no small item in so long and lonely a journey. But I did 
not conceive that these should weigh against the consideration that we 
could cover more ground apart than together. 

I felt that, under my instructions requiring me to explore the Ama- 
zon from its source to its mouth, I could not neglect the route I finally 
determined to take. This route would enable me to forai a judgment 
respecting the practicability of a transitable connexion between Lima 
and the navigable headwaters of the tributaries of the Amazon — would 
lead me through the richest and most productive mineral district of 
Peru^-would put under my observation nearly all the course of the 
Amazon — and would enable me to gather information regarding the 
Pampa del Sacramento, or great plain, shut-in between four great 
rivers, and concerning which the "Yiagero Universal" says "that the 
two continents of America do not contain another country so favorably 
situated, or so fertile." 

The last and most commonly-used route to the Montaiia is through 


tlie cities of Truxillo, Caxamarca, Cliacliapoyas, Moyobamba, &c. The 
Andes here break into many chains, sending oif spurs in all directions, 
but none of any great height, so that there is a tolerably good mule 
road all the way to Moyobamba; and almost all articles of foreign 
manufacture — such as cloths and the necessary household articles used 
in the small towns that border the Huallaga and the Maraiion — are 
supplied by this route. The climate and productions of this country 
are, on account of its precipitous elevations, and, consequently, deep 
valleys, very various; and here the sugar-cane and the pine-apple may 
be seen growing by a spectator standing in the barley field and the 
potato patch. 

This route crosses the Amazon, or rather the Maraiion, where, ac- 
cording to Lieut. Maw, it is sixty yards wide, and rushes between mount- 
ains whose summits are hid in the clouds. This point is about three 
degrees north of its source, in Lake Lauricocha; but the river is no- 
where navigable until Tomependa, in the province of Jaen de Braca 
Mot OS, is reached ; whence it may be descended, but with great peril 
and difficulty, on rafts. There are twenty-seven "pongos," or rapids, to 
pass, and the water rushes over these with frightful velocity. Four 
days of such navigation passes the last, called i\\Q, Pongo de ^'■Manse- 
riche^'' near the village of San Borja, and I am satisfied that an un- 
broken channel, of at least eighteen feet in depth, may be found thence 
to the Atlantic Ocean. 

That the rains might be entirely over, and the roads on the mend in 
the Cordillera, I fixed upon the 20 th of May as the day of departure, and 
Mr. Gibbon and I set about making the necessary preparations. T 
engaged the services of Don Manuel Ijurra, a young Peruvian, who had 
made the voyage down the Amazon a few years before, as interpreter to 
the Indians ; and Capt. Gauntt, of the frigate E-aritan, then lying in the 
harbor of Callao, was kind enough to give me a young master's mate 
from his ship, named Richards; besides supplying me with carbines, 
pistols, ammunition, and a tent. Capt. Magruder, of the St. Mary's, also 
ofiered me anything that the ship could supply, and furnished me with 
more arms, and fifteen hundred fathoms of the fishing-line now put on 
board ships for deep-sea soundings. 

Our purchases were four saddle-mules, which, through the agency of 
Dr. Smith, we were fortunate enough to get young, sound, and well 
bitted, (indispensable requisites,) out of a drove just in from the 
mountains. We consulted the learned in such matters on the 
propriety of having them shod, and found the doctors disagreeing upon 
this subject very much. As they were from the mountains, and their 


hoofs were round, sound, and apparently as hard as iron, we decided 
not to shoe; and, I believe, did better than if we had followed a 
contrary course. We also purchased about a thousand yards of coarse 
cotton cloth, made in the mills at Lima, and put up for mountain travel 
inhales of half a mule-load ; hatchets, knives, tinder-boxes, fish-hooks, 
beads, looking-glasses, cotton handkerchiefs, ribbons, and cheap trinkets, 
which we thought might take the fancy of the Indians, and purchase 
lis services and food when money would not. These things were also 
put up in boxes of the same size and shape, and each equal to half a 
mule-load. Our trunks were arranged in the same way, so that they 
might be lashed one on each side of the mule's back, with an India- 
rubber bag, (also obtained from the Raritan,) which carried our bed- 
clothes, put on top in the space between them. This makes a compact 
and easily-handled load; and every traveller in the Cordillera should 
take care to arrange his baggage in this way, and have, as far as 
possible, everything under lock and key, and in water-tight chests. 
Such small, incongruous articles as our pots and pans for cooking, our 
tent, and particularly the tent-pole, which was carried fore and aft 
above a cargo, and which, from its length, was poking into everything, 
and constantly getting awiy, gave us more trouble than anything else. 

Our bedding consisted of the saddle-cloths, a stout blanket, and any- 
thing else that could be packed in the India-rubber bag. An English- 
man, from New Holland, whom I met in Lima, gave me a coverlet 
made of the skins of a kind of racoon, which served me many a good 
turn; and often, when in the cold of the Cordillera I WTapped myself 
in its warm folds, I felt a thrill of gratitude for the thoughtful kindness 
which had provided me with such a comfort. We purchased thick 
flannel shkts, ponchos, of India-rubber, wool, and cotton, and had straw 
hats, covered with oil-cloth, and fitted with green veils, to protect our 
eyes from the painful affections which often occur by the sudden burst- 
ing out of the sunlight upon the masses of snow that lie forever upon 
the mountain tops. 

We carried two small kegs — one containing brandy, for drinking, and 
the other the common rum of the country, called Bmi de Qucmar, for 
burning ; also, some coarse knives, forks, spoons, tin cups, and plates. 
I did not carry, as I should have done, a few cases of preserved meat, 
sardines, cheese, &c., which would have given us a much more agreeable 
meal than we often got on the road ; but I did carry, in the India- 
rubber bags, quite a large quantity of biscuit, which I had baked in 
Lima, which served a very good purpose, and lasted us to Tarma. 

We had the mules fitted with the heavy, deep-seated box saddles of 


Peru. I believe tlie English saddle would be mucli more comfortable, 
and probably as safe to the rider accustomed to it ; but it would be 
almost impossible with these to preserve the skin of the mule from 
chafe. The Peruvian saddles rest entirely upon the ribs of the animal, 
which are protected by at least six yards of a coarse woollen fabric 
manufactured in the country, called jerga^ and touch the bach-bone 
nowhere. These saddles are a wooden box frame, stuflfed thickly on 
the inside, and covered outwardly with buckskin. They are fitted with 
heavy, square, wood^ stirrups, which are thought to preserve the legs 
from contact with projecting rocks, and, being lined with fur, to keep 
the feet warm. There is also a heavy breast-strap and crupper for 
steep ascents and descents ; and a thick pillon^ or mat, made of thrums 
of cotton, silk, or hair, is thrown over the saddle, to make the seat soft. 
The reins and head-stall of the bridle should be broad and strong, and 
the bit the coarse and powerful one of the country. Our guns, in 
leathern cases, were slung to the crupper, and the pistols carried in 
holsters, made with large pockets, to carry powder-flasks, percussion 
caps, specimens that we might pick up on the road, &c. A small 
box of instruments for skinning birds and dissecting animals ; a medi- 
cine chest, containing, among other things, some arsenical soap, for 
preserving skins ; a few reams of coarse paper, for drying leaves and 
plants ; chart paper, in a tin case ; passports and other papers, also in 
a tin case ; note-books, pencils, &c., completed our outfit. A chest was 
made, with compartments for the sextant, artificial horizon, boiling-point 
apparatus, camera lucida, and spy-glass. The chronometer was carried 
in the pocket, and the barometer, slung in a leathern case made for it, 
at the saddle-bow of Mr. Gibbon's mule. 

On the 15th of May I engaged the services of an arriero, or muleteer. 
He engaged to furnish beasts to carry the party and its baggage from 
Lima to Tarma at ten dollars the head, stopping on the road wherever 
I pleased, and as long as I pleased, for that sum. An ordinary train of 
baggage mules may be had on the same route for about seven dollars 
the head. The arrieros of Peru, as a class, have a very indififerent 
reputation for faithfulness and honesty, and those on the route, (that 
from Lima to Cerro Pasco,) to which my friend particularly belonged, 
are said to be the worst of their class. He was a thin, spare, dark 
Indian, of the Sierra or mountain land, about forty-five years of age, 
with keen, black eye, thin moustache, and deliberate in his speech and 
gesture. I thought I had seldom seen a worse face ; but Mr. McCall 
said that he was rather better looking than the generality of them. He 
managed to cheat me very soon after our acquaintance. 


Arrieros, when they supply as many mules as I had engaged, always 
furnish a peon^ or assistant, to help load and unload, and take care of 
the mules. Mine, taking advantage of my ignorance in these matters, 
said to me that his 2^€on was " desanimado^^'' (disheartened,) was afraid 
of the " Piedra Parada^'' or upright rock, where we were to cross the 
Cordillera, and had backed out ; but that he himself could very well 
attend to the mules if I would be good enough to let him have the 
occasional assistance of my Indian servant. I unwarily promised, which 
was the cause of a good deal of difficulty; but* when the old rascal 
complained of over-work and sickness on the road, I had an answer for 
him which always silenced him — that is, that it was his own cupidity 
and dishonesty which caused it, and that if he did not work and behave 
himself, I would discharge him without pay, and send back to Lima 
for another. 

I directed him to bring the mules to the hotel door on the 20th ; 
but, upon his finding that this was Tuesday, he demurred, saying that 
it was an unlucky day, and that no arriero was willing to start on that 
day, but that Monday was lucky, and begged that I would be ready by 
then. This I could not do; so that on Wednesday, the 21st of May, 
we loaded up, though I had to cajole, and finally to bribe the old 
fellow, to take on all the baggage, which he represented to be too much 
for his beasts. 

I did wrong to start, for the party was short of a servant allowed 
by my instructions. (I had not been able to get one in Lima, except at 
an unreasonable price, and depended upon getting one in some of the 
towns of the Sierra.) The arriero needed a peon, and the mules were 
overloaded. I would strongly advise all travellers in these parts to 
imitate the conduct of the Jesuits, whose first day's journey is to load 
their burden mules, saddle and mount their riding-mules ; go twice 
round the patio or square, on the inside of their dwelling, to see that 
everything is prepared and fits properly ; and then unload and wait for 
the morning. However, I foresaw a longer delay by unloading again 
than I was willing to make ; and after a hard morning's work in drum- 
ming up the Peruvian part of the expedition, (these people have not 
the slightest idea that a man will start on a journey on the day he 
proposes,) the party, consisting of myself, Mr. Gibbon, Mr. Richards, 
Mr. Ijurra, Mauricio, an Indian of Chamicuros^ (a village on the 
Huallaga,) and the arriero, Pablo Luis Arredondo, with seven burden- 
mules, defiled out by the Gate of Marvels, [Puerta de Maravillas) and 
took the broad and beaten road that ascends the left bank of the 



Passports— Means of defence— The road— Pacayar—Chaclacayo— Narrow pass— 
Yanacoto— Bridge— Cocachacra— Tribute money— Dividing line between the 
coast and the Sierra— Moyoc— Varieties of the potato— Matueana— San Mateo— 
Mines of Pdrac — Narrow valley— Summit of the Cordillera— Reflections. 

Before leaving Lima I had had several interviews with the President, 
General Castilla, who exhibited much interest in my mission ; and the 
Hon. J. R. Clay, U. S. charge d'affaires, had presented me to General 
Torrico, who at that time was sole Minister of Peru, under the newly 
elected President, General Echenique, who yet had not had time to 
appoint his Cabinet. General Torrico caused to be issued to me the 
following passport and letter : 


Juan Crisostomo Torrico, 

Minister of War and Marine, and charged with the conduct of 
Foreign Relations. 

In that Wm. Lewis Herndon, lieutenant of the navy of the United 
States, and Lardner Gibbon, passed midshipman of the same, commis- 
sioned by their government to make a scientific expedition in the 
Territory of Peru, direct themselves towards the interior of the 
republic for the discharge of their commission, accompanied by Henry 
Richards, Manuel Ijurra, Mauricio N., attached to said commission, and 
by two servants : 

Therefore, I direct that the authorities of the districts they may pass 
through shall place no obstacle in the way of the above-mentioned 
gentlemen and servants ; but, rather, shall afford them all the assistance 
and facilities that may be necessary for the fulfilment of their object, 
preserving to them the considerations which are their due — (guardan- 
dole las consideraciones que les son debidas.) 

Given in Lima, the 13th of May, 1851. 




To the Prefect of the Department of Amazoxas. 

Sir : "Wm. Lewis Herndon, lieutenant of the navy of the United 
States, and Lardner Gibbon, passed midshipman of the same, commis- 
sioned by the government of that nation to make a scientific expedition 
in the eastern parts of Peru, accompanied by Henry Richards, Mauricio 
N"., and Manuel Ijurra, as adjuncts to the expedition, direct themselves 
towards the department under your command in the discharge of their 
commission. As the expedition deserves, on account of its important 
object, the particular protection of the government, his Excellency the 
President commands me to advise you to afford them whatever 
resources and facilities they may need for the better discharge of theiF 
commission, taking care, likewise, that there shall be preserved to them 
the considerations that are their due. 

The which I communicate to you for its punctual fulfilment. 
God preserve you. 


This passport was made out at a time when I expected to procure 
two servants. Mauricio, the Chamicuros Indian, was the only servant 
who accompanied us. 

We were accompanied for a mile or two on the road by our kind 
friends and countrymen, Messrs. Prevost, Foster, and McCall, who 
drew up at the Cemetery to bid us good-bye ; Mr. Prevost advising 
us to halt at the first place we could find pasturage for the mules. 
The road we were to travel had reputation for robbers, and Mr. McCall 
desired to know how we were to defend ourselves in case of attack, 
as we carried our guns in leather cases, strapped to the crupper, and 
entirely out of reach for a sudden emergency. Gibbon replied by 
showing his six-barrelled Colt^ and observed that Ijurra, Richards, 
and myself had each a pair of pistols at hand. As for Mauricio, he 
kept his pistols in his saddle-bags ; and I was satisfied, from some at- 
tempts that I had made to teach Luis to shoot, (though he was very 
ambitious and desirous to learn,) that it was dangerous to trust him 
with a pair, as he might as readily fire into his friends as his enemies. 
With the comfortable observation from Mr. McCall that he never ex- 
pected to see us again, we shook hands and parted. 

Our course lay about E. N. E. over an apparently level and very 


stony road. To the right were the green cane and alfalfa* fields, about 
Miraflores and Chorillos; and on the left and behind, the vegetation 
afforded by the valley of the Rimac; but ahead all was barren, giim, 
and forbidding. 

Just before sunset we stopped at the hacienda (estate, or farm, or 
settlement) of Santa Clara, and applied for pasturage. We were told 
by an old negro woman sitting on the ground at the door ot the house, 
that there was none ; which was confirmed by two men who just then 
rode up, and who expressed their regret at not being able to accommo- 
date us. It was remarkable to see such poverty and squalid wretched- 
ness at nine miles from the great city of Lima ; it was like passing in 
a moment from the most luxurious civilization into savage barbarity — 
from the garden to the desert. We rode on, about three miles further, 
to the hacienda of Pacayar^ where we arrived at half past six o'clock, 
p. m. 

Before the mules could be unloaded it became veiy dark; so that 
the arriero and Mauricio had considerable trouble in driving them to 
the pasturage. Indeed some of them got away ; I could hear them 
galloping furiously up and down the road, and I went to bed on a 
table in the only room in the house, with the comfortable reflection 
that I had balked at starting, and should have to return or send back 
to Lima to buy more mules. 

Tormented with these reflections, and oppressed with the excitement 
and fatigue of the day, I could not sleep ; but tossed "in restless 
ecstacy" for many a long hour, until just before daylight, when, as I 
was dropping to sleep, a couple of game cocks, tied by the leg in the 
room, commenced " their salutation to the morn," and screamed out 
their clarion notes within a yard of my ear. This was too much for 
me. I rushed out — to meet a heavenly morning, and old Luis, with the 
intelligence that the mules were "all right." I took off my upper 
clothes, and plunged head, neck, and shoulders, into the water of a 
little mountain stream that rushed clear and cold as ice by the roadside 
in front of the house. Thus refreshed and invigorated, the appearance 
of affairs took a new aspect, and light-heartedness and hope came back 
as strong and fresh as in the days of boyhood. 

The mayordomo, or steward of the estate, was a Chino^ (descendant 
of Indian and negro,) and seemed an amiable and intelligent fellow, 

* A very green and pretty kind of lucem, universally used in this countr 
for pasturage. 


He gave us a supper of a thin soup (caldo) and chupe;* and whilst we 
were eating it, lie was engaged in teaching the children of a neighbor 
the multiplication table and the catechism. 

From the appearance of things, I judge this estate paid little enough 
to its owner; for I saw small signs of cultivation about it, though I 
should think that the valley of the Rimac, which is a full mile in width 
in front of the house, would produce good and (considering the short 
distance to Lima) valuable crops of grass and vegetables. The land 
is ploughed with a rude, heavy, wooden plough of one handle, which is 
shod with iron. It is generally worked by a yoke of oxen. 

The house was built of adobe, or sun-dried bricks, and roofed with 
tiles. It had but one room, w^hich was the general receptacle for all 
comers. A mud projection, of two feet high and three wide, stood out 
fi'om the walls of the room all round, and served as a standing bed 
place for numbers. Others laid their blankets and ponchos and stretched 
themselves upon the floor; so that, wdth whites, Indians, negroes, 
trunks, packages, horse furniture, game cocks, and Guinea pigs, we had 
quite a caravansera appearance. The supper and bed that the steward 
had given us were gratuitous; he would accept no remuneration; and 
we got our breakfast of chupe and eggs at a tamho or roadside inn 
nearly opposite. 

Though we commenced loading up soon after daylight, we did not 
get off until half-past nine. Such delays were invariable; and this was 
owing to the want of a peon and another servant. 

The height of Pacayar above the level of the sea is one thousand 
three hundred and forty-six feet. 

May 22. — Roads still good; valley gradually narrowing, and hills 
becoming higher, and more barren and rocky. We passed several 
squads of asses and llamas canyiDg potatoes and eggs, some of them as 
far as from Jauja, to Lima. Six miles from Pacayar is the village [pue- 
blo) of Chaclacayo, consisting of four or five houses, constructed of cane 
and mud. A mile further is the Juzgado of Sta. Ines, quite a large, 
good-looking house, with a small chapel uear it. This w^as the resi- 
dence, in the Spanish times, of a justice of the peace, who administered 
law and judgment to his neighbors; hence c?dled Juzgado. Soon after 
leaving this the stream approached the hills so close that there was no 
longer room between them for the road; and this had to be cut out of 

* Chupe is a universal article of diet in the Sierra. It is a broth, or 80up» 
made generally of potatoes, cheese, and lard ; sometimes meat is boiled in it. 
It is the last dish served at dinner at a gentleman's table before the dessert. 


tiie side of the liill. It was very narrow, and seemed in some places to 
overhang- the stream fifty feet below it. Just as we were turning an 
angle of the road we met a man driving two horses before him, which 
immediately mingled in with our burden mules, and endangered their 
going over the precipice. Our arriero shouted to the man, and, spurring 
his horse through the mules, commenced driving back the horses of the 
other, who flourished his whip, and insisted upon passing. I expected 
to see a fight, and mischief happen, which would probably have fallen 
•upon us, as the other had nothing to lose, when Ijurra called out to 
him, and represented that our cargoes were very valuable, and that if 
one were lost he should be held responsible ; whereupon he desisted, 
drove his horses back, and suffered us to pass. This caused us to be 
more careful in our march ; and I sent Gibbon, with Richards, ahead, 
to warn persons, or give us warning, in time to prevent a collision. 
The burden mules were driven by the arriero and the servant, in the 
middle ; while Ijurra and I brought up the rear. 

At 2 p. m. we stopped at the Tambo of Yanacoto. I determined to 
stay here a day or two to get things shaken into their places, and obtain 
a new error and rate for the chronometer, which had stopped the day 
before, a few hours out of Lima, though we had not discovered it till 
this morning. I cared, however, very little for this, as I was satisfied 
that it would either stop again or so vary in its rate as to be worthless. 
No chronometer will stand the jar of mule travel over these roads, 
especially if carried in the pocket, where the momentum of the jar is 
parallel to the movement of the balance-wheel of the watch. Were I to 
carry a chronometer on such a journey again, I would have it placed in 
its box on a cushion on the saddle-bow ; and when I travelled in a canoe, 
where the motion is the other way, I would hang it up. We pitched 
the tent in the valley before the road, and proceeded to make ourselves 
as comfortable as possible ; got an observation for time, and found the 
latitude of Yanacoto, by Mer. alt. of y Crucis, to be 11° 57' 20". 

May 23. — ^Bathing before breakfast is, on this part of the route, 
both heathful and pleasant. There seemed to be no cultivation in this 
valley, which here is about half a mile wide. It is covered with bushes, 
except close to the water's edge, where grow reeds and flags. The 
bushes are dwarf willow, and a kind of locust called iSangre de Christo, 
which bears a broad bean, containing four or five seed, and a pretty red 
flower, something like our crape myrtle. There is also a bush, of some 
ten or twelve feet in height, called Molle. This is the most common 
shrub of the country, and has a wider climatic range than any other of 
this slope of the Andes. It has long, delicate leaves, like the acacia, and 


produces an immense quantity of small red berries in large bunches. 
The leaves, when crushed, have a strong aromatic smell; and many 
persons believe that it is certain death to sleep under its shade. Dr. 
Smith, in his book, called " Peru as it is," says that " this tree is much 
prized for fuel. The sugar refiners of the interior use the ashes from it 
in preference to those from any other wood, on account of their higher 
alkaline properties, and consequent efiiciency in purifying the cane-juice 
when being boiled down to a proper consistence to be cast into moulds. 
The Inca tribe, as we learn from Garcilasso de la Vega, made a highly 
valuable and medicinal beer, which some of the Indians of the interior 
still occasionally prepare, from the clusters of small gi-ained fruit that 
hang gracefully and abundantly from this pretty tree." 

We saw several cases of tertiana^ or chills and fever, at Yanacoto. 
The people seem to have no remedy, except drinking spirits just before 
the chill comes on, and using as a drink, during the fever, the juice of 
the bitter orange, with sugar and water. When the case is bad, those 
who can afford it — such as the mayordomos and tamberos (the keepers 
of the road-side inns, called tambos) — send to Lima and get medical 
advice and physic. Our tambero killed a mutton for us, and (leaving 
out the lard, which is always abominable) made a good chupe. The 
roast was a failure ; but we got poultry and eggs, and had a very good 

The elevation of Yanacoto is two thousand three hundred and thirty- 
seven feet, a little more than one thousand feet above Pacayar. The 
distance between them is about ten miles; showing a rise to the mile of 
about one hundred feet, which is very little greater than that between 
Callao and Lima. 

J/ay 24. — Had observation for time; breakfasted, and started at ten. 
Valley still narrowing; the hills becoming mountains, mostly of granite; 
rock piled upon rock for hundreds of feet, and in every variety of shape ; 
no vegetation, except where the hardy cactus finds aliment in the crev- 
ices of the rock. 

About four and a half miles above Yanacoto we passed the hacienda 
of Lachosita, and soon after the little village of San Pedro Mama, 
where the first bridge is thrown over the Ptiinac. Heavy, rough stone- 
work is built on each side of the river, into which are inserted massive 
pieces of timber, standing out a few feet from the face of the masonry, 
and hewn flat on top. On their ends are laid trunks of trees, crossing 
the river, and securely lashed. Athwart these are laid sticks of wood, 
of some two or three inches diameter, lashed down, and covered over 
with bundles of reeds, mud, and stones. 


After San Pedro, at about three miles of distance, comes the haci- 
enda of Santa Ana, belonging to Senor Ximenes, an old gentleman of 
Lima, who had made a large fortune by mining. Just before reaching 
there we met a drove of one hundred and fifty mules belonging to him, 
in fine condition and well appointed, going to Lima, laden with small 
sticks of the willow and molle for fuel. 

There is very little cultivation till near Cocachacra, where we saw 
well-tilled fields, green with alfalfa and Indian corn. We arrived at 
tliis place at half-past five, and pitched the tent in a meadow near the 
river, and without the town, for the purpose of avoiding company and 
disagreeable curiosity. 

Although we had seen fields of lucern before entering the village, 
we could get none for our mules after we got there ; and to every in- 
quiry for hay, fodder, or grain, the constant reply was " No liay^'' (there 
is none.) Gibbon, however, persevered until some one told him, in an 
undertone, as if imparting a great secret, where a little corn was to be 
purchased, and he got a peck or two shelled. We were continually 
annoyed and put to inconvenience by the refusal of the people to sell 
to us. I think it arose from one of two causes, or probably both — either 
that money was of less value to them than the things we wanted, or 
they feared to have it known that they had possessions, lest the hand 
of authority should be laid upon them, and they be compelled to give 
up their property without payment. 

Cocachacra is a village of about one hundred inhabitants, and at 
present the residence of the sub-prefect or governor of the province, 
which is that of Huarochiri. This province, according to the " Guia 
de Forasteros," (a sort of official almanac pubhshed yearly at Lima,) 
is conterminous with that of Lima, and commences at eighteen miles 
from the city. It has ninety miles of length from N. W. to S. E., 
and seventy-two of breadth. There are fourteen thousand two hundred 
and fifty-eight native inhabitants; and its fiscal income is fourteen 
thousand two hundred and fifty-eight dollars and two reals ; its mu- 
nicipal, one thousand one hundred and eighty-seven dollars. The in- 
habitants are generally engaged in mining, cultivating potatoes, and 
raising cattle, or as muleteers. The houses, like all those of the Sierra, 
are built either of stone or adobe, and thatched with wheat or barley 

We called on the sub-prefect and exhibited our Peruvian passports, 
asking, at the rsame time, that he would give us some assistance in 
obtaining food for our beasts. This he seemed lukewarm about, and I 
did not press him, for I had made up my mind that as far as it was 


possible I would avoid appealing to authority for the purpose of obtain- 
ing supplies, and go Tvithout what I could not buy or beg. He had 
in the house the semi-yearly contribution of his province towards the 
support of the government, which he was to send to Lima next day. 
A gentleman suggested that he might be robbed that night ; but he 
said that his guns were loaded, (pointing to some muskets standing 
around the room,) and that he might count upon assistance from our 
party, wdiich seemed well armed. 

Very little help he would have had from us. He had shown no 
disposition to oblige us, and moreover I had no notion of interfering 
in other people's quarrels, or preventing the people from taking back 
their money if they wanted it. This contribution is a capitation tax of 
seven dollars a year, collected half-yearly from the Indian population 
between the ages of sixteen and sixty. It is collected by the governors 
of the districts into which a province is divided, who receive two per 
centum on their collections, and pay over to the sub-prefect, who re- 
ceives four per cent, on the whole amount collected from the districts 
of his province. The prefects of the departments, which are made up 
of a number of provinces, receive a regular salary, according to the size 
and wealth of their departments, varying from three to five thousand 
dollars. We slept comfortably in the tent. Nights getting cool. 

May 25. — Started at 10 a. m. Valley getting so narrow as not to 
allow room for the road, which is in many places cut from the rock 
on the side of the hill, very narrow, rough and precipitous, rising and 
falling as it crosses the spurs of the hills. The general character of 
the rock is a feldspar porphyry, succeeded, as the road ascends, by a 
very coarse-grained trachyte porphyry, reaching as far as Surco. Vege- 
tation, willow, molle, and many varieties of the cactus. We passed on 
the road the ruins of an ancient Indian town ; the houses had been 
small, and built of stone on terraces cut from the mountain side. 

At two we passed through the village of Surco, the largest we have 
seen on the road. It appears capable of holding five or six hundred 
people, but seemed deserted — nearly every house closed, and many fall- 
ing into decay. We were told that the inhabitants were away over the 
hills, looking after their plantations and flocks, and that they returned 
at night. But if this is so, judging from the height of the mountains 
on each side of the village, I should say that half their time is lost in 
going and returning from their work. 

Here we leave the district called the Coast, and ei^ter upon that 
called the Sierra. There is tertiana below, but none above this. Dr. 
Smith, speaking of the climate of this district, says, " that it is neither. 

MOYOC. 47 

winter nor summer, but one perpetual spring. It is out of the sphere 
of frosts, and exempted from the raw fogs and sultry heats of the coast. 
The atmospherical currents of mountain and coast meet here and neu- 
tralize each other; the extremes of both disappear; and the result is 
a delicious climate for the convalescent, whose tender organs require a 
gentle, uniform temperature, alike removed from the extremes of heat 
and cold, dryness and moisture. With this important fact the delicate 
inhabitants of Lima are perfectly acquainted ; and they are accustomed 
to resort to the ' Oabezadas,' or headlands of valleys, where these verge 
on the joint air of mountain and coast, as, for example, Matucana, the 
favorite resting-place of phthisical and haemoptic individuals, who find 
themselves obliged to retire from the capital in order to recover health 
by visiting those celebrated sites of convalescence, Tarma and Juaxa." 
We certainly had delicious weather, but did not stay long enough, of 
course, to pronounce authoritatively upon its general climate. 

At 5 p. m., we arrived at the Chacra of Moyoc, belonging to 
Ximenes. Here we pitched for the night, having travelled about fifteen 
miles, which is our usual day's journey, between ten and five. This is 
a most beautiful little dell, entirely and closely surrounded by mountains. 
The valley has widened out so as to give room for some narrow patches 
of corn and alfalfa. The Rimac, here a "babbling brook," rushes 
musically between its willow-fringed banks ; and the lingering of the 
sunlight upon the snowy summits of the now not distant Cordillera, 
long after night had settled upon the valley, gave an effect to the 
scenery that was at once magical and enchanting. 

The nights in the Cordillera at this season are very beautiful. The 
traveller feels that he is lifted above the impurities of the lower strata 
of the atmosphere, and is breathing air entirely free from taint. I was 
never tired of gazing into the glorious sky, which, less blue, I think, 
than ours, yet seemed palpable — a dome of steel lit up by the stars. 
The stars themselves sparkled with intense brilliancy. A small pocket 
spy-glass showed the satellites of Jupiter with distinctness; and Gibbon 
even declared on one occasion that he could see them with the naked 
eye. I could not, but my sight is bad at night. The temperature is 
npw getting cool, and I slept cold last night, though with all my clothes 
on, and covered with two parts of a heavy blanket and a woollen 
poncho. The rays of the sun are very powerful in the day, until tem- 
pered by the S. W. wind, which usually sets in about eleven o'clock in 
the morning. 

The steward of Ximenes, a nice old fellow, with a pretty young wife, 
gave us, at a reasonable price, pasturage for the beasts and a capital 


cliiipe. The productions of tlie country are maize, alfalfa, and potatoes— 
the maize very indifferent ; but the potatoes, though generally small, 
are very fine, particularly the yellow ones. We saw here, for the first 
time, a vegetable of the potato kind called Oca. It resembles in 
appearance the Jerusalem artichoke, though longer and slimmer ; and 
boiled or roasted it is very agreeable to the taste. Richards compared 
its flavor to that of green corn ; I suggested pumpkin, and he allowed 
that it was between the two. We also saw another vegetable of the 
same species, called Ulluca. This was more glutinous, and not so 
pleasant to the taste. Gibbon shot a pair of beautiful small wild 
ducks that were gambolHng in the stream and shooting the rapids 
with the speed of an arrow. 

May 26. — Started at eleven, and passed the village of Matucana, a 
mile from Moyoc. This appears about the size of Surco, and is the 
capital of the province, (still Huarochiri.) The Guia de Forasteros 
states the number of its inhabitants at one thousand three hundred and 
thirty-seven ; but this is manifestly too great, and I believe that the 
statements of this book concerning populations are made with regard 
tx> the district in which a village is situated, or the docti'ina, or ecclesias- 
tical division, of which the Cura has charge. Service was going on in 
the church ; and Gibbon and Richards, who were far ahead, had time 
to go in and say their prayers. 

The river is now reduced to a mountain torrent, raging in foam over 
the debris of the porphyritic cliffs, which overhang its bed for hundreds 
of feet in height. The valley still occasionally widens out and gives 
room for a little cultivation. Where this is the case it is generally 
bounded on one side or the other by cliffs of sandstone, in which 
innumerable parrots have perforated holes for nests; and the road at 
these places lies broad and level at their base. We crossed the river 
frequently on such bridges as I have described at San Pedro Mama, and 
arrived at San Mateo at half-past 5 p. m., having travelled only 
twelve miles. The barometer shows a much greater ascent than we 
have yet made in one day's travel. We pitched in an old and aban- 
doned alfalfa field above the town, and got supper from the postmaster. 

May 27. — San Mateo, a village about the size of Surco and 
Matucana, is situated on both sides of the Rimac, and at an elevation 
of ten thousand two hundred feet above the level of the sea. The men 
work the chacras of maize, potatoes, and beans ; and the women do all 
the household work, besides cariying their meals to the workmen on 
the farms, over hills that would make a lazy man shudder even to look 


PARAC. 49 

at. They live in poverty and filth, but seem happy enough. We saw 
the women winnowing the beans (which were gathered dry from the 
plant) by collecting them in pans made of large gourds, and flinging 
them into the air ; and also sifting flour, which comes from the other 
side of the Cordillera, about Jauxa. The costume of the Serrana women 
is different from that of the women of the coast. It consists of a very 
narrow skirt, and a body of coarse woollen cloth, generally blue, which 
comes from Lima, and is belted around the waist with a broad-figured 
woollen belt, woven by themselves. A woollen apron, with a figured 
border, is worn on the left side, hanging from the right shoulder by a 
strap ; and in the cold of the morning and evening the shoulders are 
covered with a thick, colored blanket, reaching to the hips. A high, 
broad-brimmed straw-hat, with shoes of raw-hide, drawn with a string 
around the ancle, and no stockings, complete the costume. These peo- 
ple seem contented with what they have, and don't want money. It 
was with gi'eat difficulty we could persuade them to sell us anything, 
always denying that they had it. On our return from the mines at 
Parac, (where Mr. Gibbon had been sick with chills and fever,) he could 
not eat the chupe, which had, at first, been made with charqu% 
or jerked beef, but which had now dwindled down to cheese and 
potatoes. I made a speech to some curious loafers about the tent, in 
which I appealed to their pride and patriotism, telling them that I 
thought it strange that so large a town as San Mateo, belonging to so 
famous a country as Peru, could not furnish a sick stranger, who could 
eat nothing else, with a few eggs. Whereupon, a fellow went oflf and 
brought us a dozen, though he had just sworn by the Pope that there 
were no such things in the village. 

May 28. — Mr. Gibbon and I, guided by a boy, rode over to the 
hacienda of San Jose de Pdrac^ leaving Richards and Ijurra in charge 
of the camp. The ride occupied about three hours, over the worst 
roads, bordered by the highest cliffs and deepest ravines we had yet 
seen. The earth here shows her giant skeleton bare : mountains, rather 
than rocks, of granite, rear their gray heads to the skies; and our 
proximity made these things more striking and sublime. We found, 
on the sides of the hills, short grass and small clover, with some fine 
cattle feeding; and, wherever the mountain afforded a level shelf, 
abundance of fine potatoes, which the people were then gathering. 

I brought letters from Mr. Prevost to Don Torribio Malarin, the 

superintendent of the mines, who received us kindly, and entertained 

us with much hospitality. His house was comfortably heated with a 

stove, and the chamber furnished with a large four-post bedstead, and 



the biggest and heaviest bureau I had ever seen. I was somewhat 
sui-prised at the sight of these — 

" Not that the things were very rich or rare, 
I wouder'd how the devil they got there." 

They must have come up in pieces, for nothing so large could have 
been fastened on a mule's back, or passed entire in the narrow parts of 
the road. 

The Hacienda is situated near the head of a small valley, which de- 
bouches upon the road just below San Mateo ; the stream which drains 
it emptying into the Rimac there. It is a square, enclosed with one- 
story buildings, consisting of the mill for grinding the ore, the ovens for 
toasting it when ground, the workshops, store-houses, and dwelling- 
houses. It is managed by a superintendent and three mayordomos, and 
employs about forty working hands. These are Indians of the Sierra, 
strong, hardy-looking fellows, though generally low in stature, and stupid 
in expression. They are silent and patient, and, ha^dng coca enough 
to chew, will do an extraordinary quantity of work. They have their 
breakfast of caldo and cancha^ (toasted maize,) and get to work by eight 
o'clock. At eleven they have a recess of half an hour, when they sit 
down near their place of work, chat lazily with each other, and chew 
coca, mixed with a little lime, which each one carries in a small gourd, 
putting it on the mass of coca leaves in his mouth with a wire pin 
attached to the stopper of the gourd that carries the lime. Some dex- 
terity is necessary to do this properly without cauterizing the lips or 
tongue. They then go to work again until five, when they finish for the 
day, and dine off chupe. It has made me, with my tropical habit of life, 
shiver to see these fellows puddling with their naked legs a mass of 
mud and quicksilver in water at the temperature of thirty-eight Fahren- 

These Indians generally live in huts near the hacienda, and are sup- 
plied from its store-houses. They are kept in debt by the supplies ; and 
by custom, though not by law, no one will employ an Indian who is in 
debt to his patron ; so that he is compelled to work on with no hope of 
getting free of the debt, except by running away to a distant part of the 
country where he is not known, which some do. 

The diseases incident to this occupation are indigestion, called empa- 
cho, pleurisy, and sometimes the lungs seem afiected with the fumes 
and dust of the ore ; but, on the whole, it does not seem an unhealthy 

The principal articles furnished from the store-house are maize, coca, 
mutton, charqui, rum, sugar, cofiee, tea, chocolate, chancaca, (cakes of 


brown sugar,) soap, baize, cotton, and coarse linen cloths, woollen 
clotlis, silk handkerchiefs, foreign ponchos, ribbons, silk sashes, &c., &c., 
which are supplied to the Indian at about one hundred per cent, 
advance on their cost at Lima, and charged against his wages, which 
amount to half a dollar a day, with half a dollar more if he work at 

The manner of getting the silver from the ore, or beneficiating it, as 
it is called in Peru, is this : The ore, after it is dug from the mine and 
brought to the surface, is broken into pieces about the size of a Madeira 
nut or English walnut, and sent to the hacienda, in hide-bags, on the 
backs of llamas or mules. (The hacienda is always situated on the 
nearest stream to the mine, for the advantages of the water-power in 
turning the mill.) There it is reduced, by several grindings and siftings, 
to an impalpable powder. The mill consists of a horizontal water- 
wheel, carrying a vertical axis, which comes up through the floor of 
the mill, the wheel being below. To the top of this axis is bolted a 
-large cross-beam, and to the ends of the beam are slang, by chains, 
heavy, rough stones, each about a ton weight. These stones, by the 
turning of the axis, are carried around nearly in contact with a 
concave bed of smoother and harder rock, built upon the floor of the 
mill, and through which the axis comes up. The ore is poured by 
the basket-full upon the bed, and the large hanging rocks grind it to 
powder, which pours out of holes made in the periphery of the bed. 
This is shifted through fine wire sieves, and the coarser parts are put in 
the mill again for re-grinding. The ground ore, or harina, is then 
mixed with salt (at the rate of fifty pounds of salt to every six hundred 
pounds of harina) and taken to the ovens (which are of earth) and 
toasted. I could not learn the quantity of heat necessary to be applied ; 
it is judged of by experiment. 

The fuel used in these ovens is the dung of cattle, called taquia ; it 
costs three cents for twentj-five pounds. The ovens here burn one 
million five hundred thousand pounds yearly. After the harina is 
toasted, it is carried in hide-bags to the square enclosed in the 
buildings of the hacienda, and laid in piles of about six hundred 
pounds each upon the floor. This floor is of flat stones, but should be 
of flags cemented together ; because the stones have often to be taken 
up to collect the quicksilver, many pounds of which run down between 
the interstices. Ten of these piles are laid in a row, making a caxon 
of six thousand two hundred and fifty pounds. The piles are then 
moistened with water, and quicksilver is sprinkled on them through a 
woollen cloth. (The quantity of mercury, which depends upon the 


quantity of silver in the, ore, is judged of beforehand by experiments on 
a small scale.) The mass is Tvell mixed by treading with the feet and 
working with hoes. A little calcined iron pyrites, called magistral , is 
also added — about four pounds to the caxon. The pile is often exam- 
ined to see that the amalgamation is going on well. In some conditions 
the mass is called hot ; in others, cold. The state of heat is cured by 
adding a little lime and rotten dung ; that of cold, by a little magistral 
or oxide of iron. Practice and experience alone will enable one to 
judge of these states. It is then left to stand for eight or nine days, 
(occasionally re-trodden and re-worked,) until the amalgamation is com- 
plete, which is also judged of by experiment. It is then carried to an 
elevated platform of stone, and thrown, in small quantities at a time, 
into a well sunk in the middle of the platform ; a stream of water is 
turned on, and four or five men trample and wash it with their feet. 
The amalgam sinks to the bottom, and the mud and water are let off, 
by an aperture in the lower part of the well, into a smaller well below, 
lined with a raw-hide, where one man carries on the washing with his 
feet. More amalgam sinks to the bottom of this well, and the mud 
and water again flow off though a long wooden trough, lined with 
green baize, into a pit prepared for it, where the water percolates 
through the soil, leaving the mud to be again re-washed. When the 
washing is finished for the day, the green baize lining of the trough, 
with many particles of the amalgam clinging to it, is washed in the 
larger well. The water, which by this time is clear, is let off, and all 
the amalgam, called "^eZ?a," is collected, put in hide-bags, and weighed. 
Two caxons are washed in a day. The 2)eUa is then put into conical 
bags of coarse linen, which are hung up, and the weight of the mass 
presses out a quantity of the quicksilver, which oozes through the 
interstices of the linen, and is caught in vessels below. The mass, now 
dry, and somewhat harder than putty, is carried to the ovens, where the 
remainder of the quicksilver is driven off by heat, and the residue is 
the pZato ^:>ma, or pure silver. This is melted, run into bars, stamped 
according to the ley or quality of the silver, and sent to Lima, either for 
the mint or for exportation. 

In the refining process the fumes of the mercury are condensed, and 
it .is used again. Two pounds, however, are lost to every pound of 
silver. The proportion of pure silver in the pella seca, or amalgam, 
after the draining off of the mercury through the bag, is about twenty- 
two per cent. A careful experiment made by Mr. Gait, a jeweller of 
this city, on a bit of the pella which I brought home from Cerro Pasco, 
gave but eighteen and thirty-three per cent, of pure silver. 


Salt is worth at this place three reals (3 7 J cents) the arroba, and 
mercury costs one dollar the pound in Lima. The superintendent is 
paid twelve hundred dollars yearly ; three mayordomos, thirty dollars 
each, monthly ; the corporals, or heads of the working gangs in the 
mines, twenty dollars ; the miners, sixty-two and a half cents per day, 
(as much more if they work at night ;) and the laborers at the hacienda, 
fifty cents. This, however, is nominal, being more than swallowed up 
by the supplies. The estimated yearly expenses of these mines are 
thirty thousand dollars, and the annual yield, seventy thousand dollars. 
A caxon, of six thousand two hundred and fifty pounds of the ground 
ore, yields, by the assay on the small scale, fifty marks, though only 
twenty-five or thirty are obtained by this process, showing a loss of 
nearly one-half. The quantity of silver obtained from the relabes, or 
re- washings, is about twenty per cent, of the whole : that is, if a caxon 
yield twenty-five marks at the first washing, the re-washing will give 

An idea may be formed of the value of these mines when I state that 
at Cerro Pasco, which is seventy-five miles further from Lima, and on 
the other side of the Cordillera, ore, which yields only six marks to the 
caxon, will give a profit to the miner, though it is saddled with some 
duties — such as those for drainage and for public works, from which the 
ore of Parac is exempt. Malarin, the superintendent, said that the 
caxon must yield fifteen marks here to pay. But granting this, I do 
not wonder at his expression, that these mines would in a few years ren- 
der my countryman, Mr. Prevost, the richest man in the country, {^^M 
hombre mas poderoso, que hay en el Peru,^) he owning a third of them. 

May 29. — Visited the mines. These are situated down the valley 
with regard to the hacienda, and are two leagues W. S. W. of it. They 
are much nearer San Mateo than is the hacienda, but there is no road 
to them from that village. The road, or rather path, lay along the 
side of the mountain, and zigzagged up and down to turn precipices, 
now running near the banks of the little stream, and now many hun- 
dreds of feet above it. The ride was bad enough at this time — it 
must be frightful in the rainy season ; though Malarin says he some- 
times travels it on horseback. This I am sure I should not do ; and 
when these paths are slippery I would much prefer trusting to my own 
legs than to those of any other animal. Many persons sufi'er much in 
riding amongst these precipices and ravines. Dr. Smith knew a gen- 
tleman, who, " familiar with downs and lawns, was affected at the steeps 
of the Paxaron with a giddiness that for some time after disordered his 
imagination ;" and one of a party of English ofiicers, who crossed the 


Cordillera at Valparaiso whilst I was there, had to return without cross- 
ing, because he could not bear the sight of the sheer descents. 

The valley of Parac lies about east and west, and the veins of silver 
on the sides of the mountains E. N. E. and W. S. W., thus crossing 
the valley diagonally. There are four mines belonging to the establish- 
ment, which employ about sixty workmen, though more could be em- 
ployed to advantage. These men are directed by a mayordomo and 
four corporals. They are divided into two gangs for each mine : one 
party will go on duty at 7 p. m. and work till 5 a. m., when they come 
out, rest two hours, and go on again till 7 p. m. They are then 
relieved by the other party. This is very hard work, for the mines 
are very wet and cold. The getter-out of the ore wields, with one 
hand, a hammer of thirty pounds, and the carriers of the ore bear a 
burden of one hundred and fifty pounds from the bottom of the shaft 
to the surface — a distance in this case of about a quarter of a mile, of a 
very steep and rough ascent. When I first met one of these men 
toiling up in the dark, I thought, from the dreadful groans I heard 
before I saw him, that some one was dying near me ; but he does this 
"a purpose," for when we met he had breath enough to g-ive me a 
courteous salutation, and beg a paper cigar. Boys commence this 
work at eight years of age, and spend probably the greater part of 
their lives in the mine. 

The mine called Sta. Rosa, which we visited, has a perpendicular 
depth of five hundred and twenty feet — that is, the bottom of the 
shaft, which penetrates the mountain at an angle from the horizon of 
about 25°, is five hundred and twenty feet below the mouth of it. By 
the mining laws the shaft {canon) of the mine must be three feet eight 
inches high, three feet five inches wide, and arched for security. The 
superincumbent earth frequently requires to be supported by beams of 
wood laid against each other in form of Gothic arch. I could not learn 
how much ore a man could get out in a day, for it is a very uncertain 
quantity, depending upon the hardness of the rock that encloses the 
vein. Malarin told us that he had instructed the workmen not to blast 
whilst we were in the mine, because the dreadful reverberation of sound 
often had an unhappy effect upon people not accustomed to it, which, 
as we were men who sometimes dealt in hea^y artillery, we did not 
thank him for. 

Returning from the mine we met a drove of llamas on their way 
from the hacienda. This is quite an imposing sight, especially when 
the drove is encountered suddenly at a turn of the road. The leader, 
which is always elected on account of his superior height, has his head 


decorated with tufts of colored woollen fringe, hung with little bells ; and 
his extreme height, (often six feet,) gallant and graceful carriage, pointed 
ear, restless eye, and quivering lip, as he faces you for a moment, make 
him as striking an object as one can well conceive. Upon pressing 
on him he bounds aside, either up or down the cliff, and is followed by 
the herd scrambling over places that would be impassable for the mule 
or the ass. 

They travel immense distances, but by short stages — not more than 
nine or ten miles per day. It is necessary, in long journeys, to have 
double the number required to carry the cargo, so as to give them 
relays. The burden of the llama is about one hundred and thirty 
j)ounds ; he will not carry more, and will be beat to death rather than 
move when he is overloaded or tired. The males only are worked ; the 
females are kept for the breed. They appear gentle and docile, but 
when irritated they have a very savage look, and spit at the object of 
their anger with great venom. The spittle is said to be very acrid, and 
will raise blisters where it touches the skin. We saw none in the wild 
state. They are bred on the haciendas in great numbers. We had no 
opportunity of seeing the guanaco or alpacca^ (other varieties of the 
Peruvian sheep,) though we now and then, in crossing the mountains, 
caught a glimpse of the wild and shy vicuna. These go in herds of 
ten or fifteen females, accompanied by one male, who is ever on the 
alert. On the approach of danger he gives warning by a shrill whistle, 
and his charge makes off with the speed of the wind. The wool of the 
vicuna is much finer and more valuable than that of the other species — 
it is maroon-colored. 

A good and learned Presbyter, Dr. Cabrera, whose portrait hangs in 
the library at Lima, by patience and gentleness, succeeded in obtaining 
a cross between the alpacca and vicuna, which he called paco vicuna, 
the wool of which is said to combine the fineness of that of the vicuna 
and the length of staple of that of the alpacca. The value of vicuna 
wool, at the port of shipment, was, in 1838, one hundred dollars the 
hundred weight ; that of the alpacca, twenty-five dollars ; and that of 
the sheep, from twelve to fifteen. Peru shipped from the ports of 
Arica, Callao, and Islay, during the four years between 1837 and 1840, 
inclusive, wool of the sheep, alpacca, and vicuna, to the value of two 
million two hundred and forty-nine thousand and thirty-nine dollars. 
(Castelnau, vol. 4, page 120.) 

Were any care taken in the rearing of these wild sheep of Peru, the 
country might draw a great revenue from the sale of their wool. 

May 30. — Dull, rainy day. Gibbon laid up with chills and fever, 


whicli lie either brought fi*om Lima, or took yesterday in the damp, 
cold mine. He would drink as much cold water as he wanted, though 
our friends held up their hands in astonishment, and said he would ,kill 
himself. Fire in a stove is very comfortable; the thermometer, during 
the day, standing at 50° Fah. 

May 31. — Beautiful day. Ther., at 5 a. m., 36°. The general 
character of the rock is red porphyry. There is grass for pasturage ; 
and the hill sides are covered with a bush of some eight or ten feet 
high, bearing bunches of blue flowers, resembling our lilac. There are 
several kinds of stinging nettle, one of which, that bears a small yellow 
flower, Malarin says, will cause gangrene and death. I had no disposi- 
tion to try it ; but I doubt the statement. So dangerous a thing would 
scarcely be so plentiful where the bare-legged herdsman and miner are 
exposed to it. Returned with Gibbon to San Mateo. 

June 1. — Found Richards sick and the muleteer gi'owling at the 
delay ; loaded up, and got off at eleven. At twelve the valley narrowed 
to a dell of about fifty feet in width ; the stream occupying its whole 
breadth, with the exception of a narrow, but smooth and level mule- 
path on its right bank. This is a very remarkable place. On each 
side the rock of red porphyry rises perpendicularly for full five hundred 
feet. In places it overhangs the stream and road. The traveller feels 
as if he were passing through some tunnel of the Titans. The upper 
exit from the dell is so steep that steps have been cut in the rock for 
the mule's feet; and the stream rushes down the rock-obstructed 
declivity in foaming fury, flinging clouds of white spray over the trav- 
eller, and rendering the path slippeiy and dangerous. 

Passed Chiglla and Bella Vista, mining haciendas. The country is 
quite thickly settled, there being houses in sight all the way between 
these two places. The barley here does not give grain, but is cut for 
fodder. The alfalfa has given way to short, thin grass ; and we begin 
to find difficulty in getting food for the beasts. We saw cabbages 
growing in the gardens of Chiglla, which is a straggling village of 
some three or four hundred inhabitants. Just after passing Chiglla the 
mountains looked low, giving the appearance of a rolling country, and 
were clothed with verdure to the top. Upon turning a corner of the 
road the snow-covered summits of the Cordillera were close before us, 
also looking low ; and when the snow or verdure suffered the earth to 
be seen, this was of a deep pink color. The general character of the 
rock is conglomerate. We stopped at four at the tambo of Acclia- 
huarcu, where we pitched and bought barley straw (alcaser) at the rate 
of twelve and a half cents the armful, called " tercio," which is just 


enough for one mule. The mercury in the barometer being below the 
scale, we had to cut away the brass casing in front, and mark the height 
of the column on the inside of the case with a pen- knife. 

June 2. — Got off at half-past ten. Road tolerably good, and not 
very precipitous. At twelve we arrived on a level with the lowest line 
of snow. We were marking the barometer, when a traveller rode up, 
who proved to be an old schoolmate of mine, whom I had not seen or 
even heard of since we were boys. The meeting at this place was an 
extraordinary and very agreeable occurrence. It was also fortunate for 
me, for my friend was head machinist at the mines of Morococha, and 
gave us a note to the administrator, which secured us a hospitable re- 
ception and an interesting day or two. Without this we should have 
been compelled to pass on, for pasturage here is very scant, and the 
people of the mines have to pay a high price for their barley straw, and 
are not willing to give it to every stray traveller. At 2 p. m. we 
arrived at the highest point of the road, called the pass of Antarangra^ 
or copper rock. (The pass of the Piedra Parada, or standing rock, 
which passes by the mines of Yauli, crosses a few miles to our right.) 
Some scattering mosses lay on a hill-side above us; but Gibbon and I 
spurred our panting and trembling mules to the summit of the hill, 
and had nothing around us but snow, gi-anite, and dark gray porphyry. 

I was disappointed in the view from this place. T^e peaks of the 
Cordillera that were above us looked low, and presented the appearance 
of a hilly country, at home, on a winter-day; while the contrast between 
the snowy hills and the bright green of lower ranges, together with the 
view of the placid little lakes which he so snug and still in their midst, 
gave an air of quiet beauty to the scene very distinct from the savage 
and desolate grandeur I had expected. 

Gibbon, with the camera lucida, sketched the Cordillera. I ex- 
pended a box of matches in boiling the snow for the atmospheric 
pressure; and poor Richards lay shivering on the gi'ound, enveloped in 
our piUo7is, a martyr to the veta. 

Veta is the sickness caused by the rarity of the atmosphere at these 
great elevations. The Indians call it veta, or vein, because they be- 
lieve it is caused by veins of metal diffusing around a poisonous infection. 
It is a remarkable thing, that, although this affection must be caused by 
absence of atmospheric pressure, yet in no case except this, (and Rich- 
ards was ill before,) that I have known or read of, has it been felt at the 
greatest elevation, but always at a point below this — sometimes on one 
side, sometimes on the other. The affection displays itself in a violent 
headache, with the veins of the head swollen and turgid a difficulty of 


respiration, and cold extremities. The smell of garlic is said to alleviate 
the symptoms ; and the arrieros generally anoint their cattle over the 
eyes, and on the forehead, with an unguent made of tallow, garlic, and 
wild marjoram, as a preventive, before attempting the ascent. I did 
not observe that our animals were affected, though they trembled and 
breathed hard, which, I think, was attributable to the steepness of the 
hill up which we rode. The barometer stood at 16.730, indicating 
an elevation of sixteen thousand and forty-four feet. Water boiled at 
182°.5 ; temperature of the air, 43°. 

The road hence is cut along the flank of the mountain, at whose base 
lies a pretty little lake. The hacienda of Morococha is situated on the 
banks of a second, which communicates with it; and this again poure 
its waters, by a small and gentle stream, into a third, below. These are, 
respectively, Huacracocha^ or Horn lake; Morococha^ or Painted lake, 
(from the variety of colors which its placid surface reflects from the red, 
green, and yellow of the surrounding mountains ;) and Huascacocha^ or 
Rope lake. 

Though not yet sixty miles from the sea, we had crossed the great 
"divide" which separates the waters of the Atlantic from those of the 
Pacific. The last steps of our mules had made a striking change in our 
geographical relations ; so suddenly and so quickly had we been cut off 
fi'om all connexion with the Pacific, and placed upon waters that 
rippled and sparkled joyously as they danced by our feet to join the 
glad waves of the ocean that wash the shores of our own dear land. 
They whispered to me of home, and my heart went along with them. 
I thought of Maury, with his researches concerning the currents of the 
sea; and, recollecting the close physical connexion pointed out by him 
as existing between these — the waters of the Amazon and those of our 
own majestic Mississippi — I musingly dropped a bit of green moss, 
plucked from the hill-side, upon the bosom of the placid lake of Moro- 
cocha; and as it floated along I followed it, in imagination, down through 
the luxurious climes, the beautiful skies, and enchanting scenery of the 
tropics, to the mouth of the great river ; thence across the Carribbean 
sea, through the Yucatan pass, into the Gulf of Mexico ; thence along 
the Gulf-stream ; and so out upon the ocean* off the shores of the "Land 
of Flowers." Here I fancied it might meet with silent little mes- 
sengers cast by the hands of sympathizing friends and countrymen high 
up on the head-waters of the Mississippi, or away in the " Far West," 
upon the distant fountains of the Missouri. 

It was, indeed, but a bit of moss floating on the water ; but as I 
mused, fancy, awakened and stimulated by surrounding circumstances. 


had already converted it into a skiff manned by fairies, and bound upon 
a mission of bi^rh import, bearing messages of peace and good-will, 
telling of commerce and navigation, of settlement and civilization, 
of religious and political liberty, from tbe "King of Rivers" to the 
" Father of Waters ;" and, possibly, meeting in the Florida pass, and 
" speaking," through a trumpet louder than the tempest, spirits sent 
down by the Naiads of Lake Itaska, with greetings to Morococha. 

I was now, for the first time, fairly in the field of my operations. I 
had been sent to explore the Valley of the Amazon, to sound its 
streams, and to report as to their navigability. I was commanded to 
examine its fields, its forests, and its rivers, that I might gauge their 
capabilities, active and dormant, for trade and commerce with the 
States of Christendom, and make known to the spirit and enterprise of 
the age the resources which lie in concealment there, waiting for the 
touch of civilization and the breath of the steam-engine to give them 
animation, life, and palpable existence. 

Before us lay this immense field, dressed in the robes of everlasting 
summer, and embracing an area of thousands upon thousands of square 
miles on which the footfall of civilized man had never been heard. 
Behind us towered, in forbidding grandeur, the crests and peaked 
summits of the Andes, clad in the garb of eternal winter. The 
contrast was striking, and the field inv-iting. But w^ho were the 
laborers? Gibbon and I. We were all. The rest were not even 
gleaners. But it was well. The expedition had been planned and 
arranged at home with admirable judgment and consummate sagacity ; 
for, had it been on a grand scale, commensurate with its importance, or 
even larger than it was, it would have broken down with its own 

Though the waters where I stood were bound on their way to meet 
the streams of our Northern Hemisphere, and to bring, for all the 
practical purposes of commerce and navigation, the mouth of the 
Amazon and the mouth of the Mississippi into one, and place it before 
our own doors; yet, from the head of navigation on one stream to the 
head of navigation on the other, the distance to be sailed could not be 
less than ten thousand miles. Vast, many, and great, doubtless, are 
the varieties of climates, soils, and productions within such a range. 
The importance to the world of settlement, cultivation, and commerce 
in the Valley of the Amazon cannot be over-estimated. With the 
climates of India, and of all the habitable portions of the earth, piled 
one above the other in quick succession, tillage and good husbandry 
here would transfer the productions of the East to this magnificent 


river basin, and place them within a few days' easy sail of Europe and 
the United States. 

Only a few miles back we had first entered the famous mining district 
of Peru. A large portion of the silver which constitutes the circulation 
of the world was dug from the range of mountains upon which we are 
standing; and most of it came from that slope of them which is 
drained off into the Amazon. Is it possible for commerce and navi- 
gation up and down this majestic water-course and its beautiful 
tributaries to turn the flow of this silver stream from its western 
course to the Pacific, and conduct it with steamers down the Amazon 
to the United States, there to balance the stream of gold with which 
we are likely to be flooded from California and Austraha ? 

Questions which I could not answer, and reflections which I could 
not keep back, crowded upon me. Oppressed with their weight, and 
the magnitude of the task before me, I turned slowly and sadly away, 
secretly lamenting my own want of ability, and sincerely regretting 
that the duty before me had not been assigned to abler and better 



Mines of Morococha — A Yankee's house — Mountain of Puy-puy — Splendid view — 
Pachachaca — Lava stream — Chain bridge at Oroya — Descent into the 
valley of Tarma — Tarma — American physician — Customs — Dress — Eeligious 
observances — Muleteers and mules — General Otero — Farming in the Sierra — 
Eoad to Cbanchamayo — Perils of travel — Gold mines -of Matichacra — View 
of the Montana — Fort San Eamon — Indians of Chanchamayo — Cultivation. 

We arrived at Morococha at 5 p. m. This is a copper mining 
hacienda, belonging to some German brothers named Pfliicker, of 
Lima, who own, also, several silver mines of the neighborhood. The 
copper and silver of these mountains are intimately mixed ; they are 
both got out by smelting, though this operation, as far as regarded the 
silver, had been abandoned, and they were now beginning the process 
of extracting the silver, by the mode of grinding and washing — such as 
I have described at Parac — after having tried the via humida (or 
method of washing in barrels, used in Saxony) and failed. 

The copper ore is calcined in the open air, in piles consisting of 
alternate layers of ore and coal, which burn for a month. The ore thus 
calcined is taken to ovens, built of brick imported from the United 
States, and sufficient heat is employed to melt the copper, which runs 
off into moulds below ; the scoria being continually drawn off with 
long iron hoes. The copper in this state is called exe ; it has about 
fifty per cent, of pure copper, the residue being silver, iron, (fee, &c. It 
is worth fifteen cents the pound in England, where it is refined. There 
is a mine of fine coal eighteen miles from the hacienda, which yields 
an abundant supply. It is bituminous, but hard, and of great brilliancy. 
The hacienda employs about one hundred hands ; more are desired, but 
they cannot be had at this time, because it is harvest, and the Indians 
are gathering the corn, barley, and beans of the valleys below. A man 
will get out about one thousand pounds of copper ore in a day. I do 
not think the mines were at work during our stay ; at least, I saw or 
heard nothing of them. I could not either get statistics concerning the 
yield of these mines or the cost of working them, and I thought that I 
noticed some reserve upon this subject. The director told me that the 
silver ore of this region was very rich, and spoke of specimens that 
yielded one thousand, and even fifteen hundred, marks to the caxon. 


The mining business of the hacienda is conducted by a director, an 
intelligent and gentlemanly young German, named Richard Von 
Durfeldt ; and its fiscal afifairs and general business, by an adminis- 
trator, a fine-looking young Spaniard, Don Jose Fco. de Lizarralde, 
whose kindly courtesy we shall long remember. The engineer, or 
machinist, is my friend and schoolmate Shepherd, who seemed to be a 
" Jack of all trades" — blacksmith, carpenter, watch-maker, and doctor. 
His room was quite a curiosity, and bespoke plainly enough the Ameri- 
can. I never saw so many different things gathered together in so 
small a place : shelves of fine standard books ; a dispensary for physic ; 
all manner of tools, from the sledge-hammer and the whip-saw to the 
delicate instruments of the watch-maker; parts of watches lying under 
bell-glasses ; engravings hanging around the walls, with a great chart, 
setting forth directions for the treatment of all manner of diseases and 
accidents ; horse furniture, saddle-bags, boots, shoes, and every variety 
of garment, from the heavy woollen poncho of the man to the more 
delicate cotton petticoat of the woman ; for my friend has a pretty 
young Sierra wife, who took great pleasure in talking to me about the 
home and relations of my ^^ paisano.'''' Shepherd's warm room and bed, 
with plenty of covering, was a princely luxury in that cold climate. 
These things are comparative, and I had not slept under a roof but twice 
since I left Lima. An old Englishman from the Isle of Guernsey, 
named Grant, who seemed to be a sort of factotum, and knew and did 
everything, and who was unwearied in his kindness and attention to us, 
made up the sum of our pleasant acquaintances at Morococha. We 
had beef and mutton for dinner, with good butter and cheese ; vegeta- 
bles scarce ; Gibbon not well ; Richards very sick, and under treatment 
from Shepherd. 

June 3. — We all went to see the Mountain of Fuy-pu^, said to be 
higher than Chimborazo. The place of view is about three miles fi-om 
Morococha. We passed the openings of a copper and silver mine, and 
Tode along a boggy country, where turf is cut for fuel. We saw many 
snipes, ducks, and other aquatic birds. This upset all my preconceived 
notions ; I had no idea that I should see, at fifteen thousand feet above 
the level of the sea, anything that would remind me of duck-shooting 
in the marshes of the Rappahannock. To see the mountain, it was 
necessary to cross a range of hills, about seven or eight hundred feet in 
height. The road went up diagonally, but the ascent was the most 
toilsome operation I had ever undertaken. We»were obliged to dis- 
mount, when about three-fourths of the way up, and lead the mules ; 
the path was muddy and slippery, and we had to stop to blow at every 


half-dozen steps. Gibbon declared tliat this was the only occasion in 
which he had ever found the big spurs of the country of any service ; 
for when he slipped and fell, as we all frequently did, he said that he 
should inevitably have gone to the bottom had he not dug his spurs 
into the soil, and so held on. I think that I suffered more than any of 
the party. On arriving at the top, I was fairly exhausted ; I thought 
my heart would break from my breast with its violent agitation, and I 
felt, for the fii'st time, how painful it was 

" To breathe 
The difficult air of the iced mountain's top." 

I soon recovered, however, and was amply repaid by the splendor of 
the view. The lofty cone-shaped mountain, clad in its brilHant mantle 
from the top even to the cylindrical base upon which it rested, rose in 
solitary majesty from the plain beneath us ; and when the sunlight, 
bursting from the clouds, rested upon its summit, it was beautiful, 
indeed. Gibbon almost froze taking a sketch of it ; and the rest of us 
tired ourselves nearly to death endeavoring to get a shot at a herd 
of shy vicunas that were seen feeding among the distant rocks. We 
had a fatiguing ride, and enjoyed a late dinner and a good night's rest. 

June 4. — We took leave of our hospitable friends, (whom I could no 
longer intrude our large party upon,) and started at meridian, leaving 
Richards too sick to travel. We rode down the " Valley of the Lakes" 
in about an E. N. E. direction, visiting the silver mining hacienda of 
Tuctu as we passed, which belongs to the establishment of Morococha. 
We travelled over a heavy rolhng country ; the southern sides of the 
hills clothed with verdure, and affording tolerable pasture ; the northern 
sides bare and rocky — no trees or bushes. About nine miles from 
Morococha, we crossed a range of hills to the right, and entered the 
village of Pachachaca. 

This is situated in a valley that comes down from Yauli. The 
stream of the Valley of the Lakes at this place joins with the larger and 
very serpentine stream of the Yauli valley. This valley has a flat and 
apparently level floor of half a mile in width, affording a carriage-road 
of two or three miles in length. There is a hacienda for smelting silver 
here ; but having no letters, and but little time, (for the arriero begins 
very justly to complain that we are delaying him an unreasonable time 
upon the road,) I did not visit it. 

Pachachaca is a small village of two hundred inhabitants. The 
people seem more industrious than those of the villages on the other 
side. There are fine crops of barley here, and we saw cabbages, onions, 
peaches, and eggs, in the shops. We were greater objects of curiosity 


in this place tLan we had been before. The people, T believe, took 
us for peddlers, and the woman from whom we got our supper and 
breakfast seemed offended because we would not sell her some candles, 
and importuned Gibbon for the sale of his straw hat. The men wore 
short woollen trousers, buttoned at the knee, together with, generally, 
two pair of long woollen stockings. The woollen articles of clothing 
are woven in this neighborhood, except the ponchos, which come from 
Tarma. Printed cottons from Lima sell for eighteen and three-quarter 
cents the vara, (33 inches ;) a cup and saucer of the commonest ware 
are held at thirty-seven and a half cents, but purchasers are few ; sewing- 
cotton, a dollar the pound. Shoes corne from Jauxa ; also candles and 
potatoes. Fuel is the " taquia," or dried cattle manure. Gibbon and 
I had occasion afterwards to laugh at our fastidiousness in objecting 
to a mutton-chop broiled upon a coal of cow-dung. 

June 5. — We travelled down the valley about east. At about one 
and a half mile we passed a very curious-looking place, where a small 
stream came out of a valley to the northward and westward, and spread 
itself over a flat table-rock, soft and calcareous. It poured over this 
rock in a sort of horse-shoe cataract, and then spread over an ap]3a- 
rently convex surface of this same soft rock, about two hundred and 
fifty yards wide, crossing the valley down which we were travelling. 
This rock sounded hollow under the feet of the mules, and I feared we 
should break through at every instant. I am confident it was but a 
thin crust ; and, indeed, after crossing it, we observed a clear stream of 
water issuing from beneath it, and flowing into the road on the farther 
side. We saw another such place a little lower down, only the stream 
tumbled, in a variety of colored streaks, principally white, like salt, 
over the metallic-looking rock, into the rivulet below. I presume there 
must have been some volcano near here, and that this rock is lava, 
for it had all the appearance of having once been liquid. 

The valley about two miles from Pachachaca is cut across by rocky 
hills. Here we turned to the northward and eastward. The country at 
first ofiTered some pasturage, but became more barren as we advanced, 
only showing, now and then, some patches of barley. We travelled till 
noon on the left bank of the Yauli stream, when we crossed it by a 
natural bridge, at a little village of a few huts, called Saco. At half- 
past two, after a ride over a stony and dusty plain, bordered on each 
side by rocky mountains, we arrived at the bridge of Oroya. This is a 
chain suspension bridge, of about fifty yards in length, and two and a 
half in breadth, flung over the river of Jauxa, which is a tributary of 
the Ucayali. The Yauli stream, into which emptied the stream from 

^m. "H 

- ) 




the lakes at Morococha, joins this river here, and this is the connexion 
that I spoke of between those lakes, near the very summit of the Andes 
and the Atlantic ocean. 

The bridge consisted of four chains, of about a quarter of an inch 
diameter, stretched horizontally across the river from strong stone-work 
on each side. These are interlaced with thongs of hide ; sticks of 
about one and a half inch in diameter are laid across them and 
lashed down, forming a floor. Two other chains are stretched across 
about four feet above these, and connected with them by thongs of 
hide ; these serve for balustrades, and would prevent a mule from 
jumping off. The bridge was about fifty feet above the water when we 
passed. It seemed very light, and rocked and swayed under the motion of 
the mules in crossing it. The heavy cargoes are taken off and carried 
over on the shoulders of the bridge-keeper and his assistants. The toll 
is twelve and a half cents the mule ; and the same, the cargo. The 
bridge- ward seemed astonished, and somewhat annoyed, when I told him 
that one of the cargoes, which he left on the mule, was the heaviest I 
had, being a box filled with bags of shot, balls, and powder, together 
with the specimens of ore and rocks we had collected. 

The river at this place turns from its southern course and runs to the 
eastward, by the village of Oroya, where we camped. This village con- 
tains about one hundred inhabitants, though we saw only five or six 
men ; most of the male inhabitants being away to the harvest on the 
plains above. The women seemed nearly all to be employed in spin- 
ning wool ; holding the bundle of wool in the left hand and spinning it 
out by a hanging broach. Very few of them spoke Spanish, but a cur- 
rupt Quichua, or language of the Incas. We bought barley straw for 
the mules, and got a beef chupe, with eggs and roasted potatoes, for 
ourselves. We saw some small trees within the deserted enclosures 
where houses had been, bearing a very fragrant flower, something re- 
sembling the heliotrope, but much larger, and tinged with a reddish 
color. We also saw flocks of sheep, but got no mutton for dinner. 

June 6. — Got under way at 9 a. m., steering N. N. E., and making 
a considerable ascent for about two miles. We then rode over a plain, 
with rolHng hills on each side, covered with a short grass, giving 
pasturage to large flocks of sheep and some cows. The road then rose 
again, taking our column of mercury in the barometer out of sight, till 
half-past eleven, when we stood at the head of a ravine leading down to 
the valley of Tarma. The height of this spot above the level of the 
sea was eleven thousand two hundred and seventy feet. We rode down 
this ravine, north, for three-quarters of an hour, and at an angle to the 


horizon of full thirty degrees. The road was filled with fragments of 
white calcareous rock, and the rocky hills on each side were pierced 
with many a cavern. When nearly at the foot, the plants and flowers 
familiar to us on the other side began to make their appearance, and in 
such quick succession, that it seemed that an hour's ride carried us 
over many a mile of the tedious ascent to the westward of the moun- 
tains. First appeared the hardy Iktle flowers of the heights above San 
Mateo ; then, the barley ; the alfalfa ; the Indian corn ; beans ; turnips ; 
shrubs, becoming bushes ; bushes, trees ; flowers growing larger and 
gayer in their colors, (yellow predominating,) till the pretty little city 
of Tarma, embosomed among the hills, and enveloped in its covering of 
willows and fruit trees, with its long lawns of alfalfa (the greenest of 
grasses) stretching out in front, broke upon our view. The ride of to- 
day was a long and tiresome one, being mostly a bone-shaking descent ; 
and we hailed with pleasure the sight of the little town as a resting 
place, after the tedious passage of the Cordillera, and felt that one of 
the inconveniences and perils of the expedition was safely and happily 

We arrived at 4 p. m., and rode straight to the house of a gentleman, 
Don Lorenzo Burgos, to whom I brought a letter of introduction from 
friend Shepherd, of Morococha ; which letter contained the modest re- 
quest that Don Lorenzo should place his house at my disposal. This 
he acceded to without hesitation, removing his sick wife, in spite of re- 
monstrance, into another room, and giving us his hall for our baggage, 
and his cham.ber for our sleeping room. This I would not have acceded 
to, except that this is not Don Lorenzo's place of residence, but a new 
house which he is constructing here, and which he is only staying at 
for a few days till his wife is able to travel to their regular place of 
residence. There is no public house in the town, and it is customaiy 
to take travellers in. When I (next morning) presented a letter of 
introduction from the Bishop of Eretria to the Cura of Tarma, his first 
question was, " Where are you lodged ?'' And when I told him, he 
seemed annoyed, and said that I had not treated him properly in not 
coming to his house. Don Lorenzo gave us some dinner, and v/e slept 
well after the fatigues of the day. 

Tarma, a town of some seven thousand inhabitants, belonging to the 
province of Pasco and department of Junin^ is beautifully situated in 
an amphitheatre of mountains, which are clothed nearly to the top 
with waving fields of barley. The valley in front, about half a mile 
wide, and two miles long, appears level, and is covered with the 
greenest and richest pasturage. Its borders are fringed with fruit trees ; 

TARMA, 67 

and the stream which waters it phinges, in a beautiful Httle cataract, of 
some thirty feet in height, over a ledge of rocks at the farther end. 
its climate is delicious ; and it is the resort of sickly people from Lima, 
and the cold and inclement mining districts, who find comfort and resto- 
ration in its pure atmosphere and mild and equable temperature. I was 
told, although the district contains nearly twenty thousand inhabitants, 
and its villages are close together, and easily accessible, that it could not, 
of itself, support a physician, and that the government had to appro- 
priate the tax on spirits, and the surplus revenue of the bridge at Oroya, 
to this purpose. A young American physician, recently established in 
Tarma, gave me this account; but said that not even this had been suf- 
ficient to keep one here; that the custom had, therefore, fallen into 
desuetude, and that he was then engaged, with hope of success, in 
endeavoring to have this appropriation renewed and paid over to him. 

I cannot vouch for this story. It has an apocryphal sound to me. I 
only know that it is a very healthy place, and that my medical fri«nd 
is a person of repute there. When I proposed to carry him off with 
me, the ladies of my acquaintance raised a great outcry, and declared 
that they could not part with their Medico. I think there is no apoth- 
ecary's shop in Tarma, for I supplied the Doctor with some medicines, 
those which he had brought from Lima being nearly exhausted, I am 
satisfied, though there are so few diseases, that a good-looking young 
graduate of medicine, who would go there with money enough to buy 
him a horse, might readily marry a pretty girl of influential family, 
and soon get a practice that would enrich him in ten years. I after- 
wards new a young American at Cerro Pasco, who, though not a 
graduate, and I believe scarcely a student of medicine, was in high 
repute as a doctor, and had as much practice as he could attend to ; 
but who, like several of our countrymen whom I met abroad, was 
dissipated and reckless, and, as he himself expressed it, " slept with the 

The houses of Tarma are built of adobe; and the better sort are 
whitewashed within and without ; floored with gypsum and tiled. The 
wood and iron work is of the rudest possible description, although the 
former, from the Montana of Chanchamayo, is pretty and good. The 
doors of the house we are living in very much resemble "birds-eye 
maple." Some of the houres are partially papered, and carpeted with 
common Scotch carpeting. Most of them have patios^ or enclosed 
squares, within, and some of them flat roofs, with a parapet around 
them, where maize, peas, beans, and such things, are placed in the sun 
to dry. 


Sunday is the great market-day, and the market-place is filled with 
country people, who come in to sell their manufactures of ponchos, 
blankets, shoes, hats, (made of the vicuna wool,) &c., and to buy coca, 
cotton goods, and agua diente, as well as to attend mass and get drunk. 
It is quite a busy and animated scene. The men are generally dressed 
in tall straw hats, ponchos, breeches, buttoned at the knee, and long 
woollen stockings; the women, in a blue woollen skirt, tied around the 
waist, and open in front, to show a white cotton petticoat, the shoulders 
covered with a mantle consisting of two or three yards of gay-colored 
plush, called ^'' Bay eta de Castilla,''^ or Spanish baize. Everything 
foreign in this country is called " de Castilla,^^ (of Castile ;) as in Brazil, 
it is called "cZa Rainha,^'' (of the Queen.) The skirt of a lady of higher 
quality consists of a colored print, or mousseline. She rarely, unless 
dressed for company, takes the trouble to put on the body of her dress, 
which hangs down behind, and is covered with a gay shawl, passed 
around the bust, with the end thrown gracefully over the left shoulder. 
The hair, particularly on Sundays, is in perfect order ; parted in the 
middle, and hanging down in two j^laits behind. It is surmounted by 
a very neat, low-crowned straw-hat, the crown being nearly covered with 
a broad ribbon ; and she is always " hien calzada^'' (well shod.) The 
women are generally large and well developed; not very pretty, but 
with amiable, frank, and agreeable manners; they have, almost in- 
variably, a pleasant smile, with an open and engaging expression of 

Rehgion flourishes in Tarma ; and the Cura seems to have a busy 
time of it; though it is said he is cheated of half his rights in the way 
of marriage fees. I think that no day passed while we were here that 
there was not a '"''fiesta-'' of the church; for, although there are not 
more than twenty-five or thirty feast days in the year insisted upon by 
the church and the government, yet any piously-disposed person may get 
up one when he pleases. The manner seems to be this : A person, either 
from religious motives or ostentation, during or after Divine service in 
the church, approaches the altar, and, kissing one of its appendages, 
(I forget which,) proclaims his intention of becoming mayordomo or 
superintendent of such and such 2i fiesta — generally that of the Saint 
after whom he is named, and thereupon receives the benediction of the 
priest. This binds him and his heirs to all the expenses of the celebra- 
tion, which, in the great functions in Lima, may be set down at no 
small matter — the heaviest item being the lighting of one of those 
large churches from floor to dome with wax. The jewels and other 
adornments of the images borne in procession are generally borrowed 


from the devout Senoras of the higher and richer class ; but I am told 
that many a person impoverishes his family for years by paying the 
expenses of one of these festivals. 

The Jiesias in Tarma are generally celebrated with music, ringing of 
bells, firing of rockets, and dances of Indians. A dozen vagabonds are 
dressed in what is supposed to be the costume of the ancient Indians. 
This consists of a red blanket hanging from one shoulder, and a white 
one from the other, reaching nearly to the knee, and girded around the 
waist ; the usual short blue breeches, with a white fringe at the knee ; 
stockings of an indifferent color, and shoes or sandals of raw-hide, 
gathered over the toes with a draw-string, and tied around the ankles. 
The head-dress is a low crowned, broad-brimmed round hat, made of 
wool, and surrounded with a circlet of dyed feathers of the ostrich. 
Thus costumed, the party march through the streets, and stop every 
now and then to execute a sort of dance to the melancholy and monot- 
onous music of a reed pipe, accompanied by a rude flat drum — both in 
the hands of the same performer. Each man has a stick or club, of 
hard wood, and a very small wooden or hide shield, which he strikes 
with the club at certain periods of the dance, making a low clattering 
in time with the music. They have also small bells, called "cascabeles," 
attached to the knees and feet, which jiugle in the dance. They and 
their company of Indians and Mestizos smell very badly on a near 
approach. Connected with this there is a great deal of riot and drunk- 
enness; and I felt annoyed that the church should patronize and 
encourage so demoralizing a procedure. The secular clergy of Peru, 
with a few honorable exceptions, have not a high character, if one is to 
believe the stories told of them by their own countrymen ; and I had 
occasion to observe that the educated young men, as well of Chili as 
of Peru, generally spoke of them in terms of great contempt. I judge 
that the case is different with the clergy of the monastic orders, particu- 
larly the missionaries. Those I met with were evidently men of high 
character; and to their zeal, energy, and ability, Peru owes the con- 
■quest of by far the largest and richest part of the republic. It happens, 
unfortunately for the Peruvian character, that nearly all of these are 
foreigners — generally Spaniards and Italians. 

June 1. — I suffered all day with violent pain in the head and limbs, 
from the ride of yesterday. These Peruvian saddles, though good for 
the beasts, and for riding up and down hill, stretch the legs so far apart 
as for a long time to give the unaccustomed rider severe pains in the 
muscles of the thighs ; and I had to ride a large portion of the distance 
with my leg over the pommel, like a lady. 



We paid off and parted witli tlie arriero, Pablo Luis Arredondo. I 
did not find him so great a rascal as I expected ; for, except the disposi- 
tion to get all out of me lie could, (whicit was very natural,) and an 
occasional growl, (which was also to be expected,) I had no reason to 
be- dissatisfied with Luis. Ijurra was always quarrelhng with him ; but 
I think Ijurra has the fault of his countrymen generally, and wants the 
temper and patience necessary to manage ignorant people. By soft 
words and some bribery, I got along well enough with the old fellow ; 
and he loaded his mules beyond their usual cargoes, and drove them 
along very well. I was frequently astonishe<i at the difficulties they 
surmounted, loaded as they were. The usual load is two hundred and 
sixty pounds; and these animals of ours, with, I am sure, in some 
instances, a heavier load, and of a most incongi-uous and heterogeneous 
description, ascended hills and descended valleys which one would 
scarcely think an unloaded mule could travel over. Our riding mules- 
were perfect treasures. Sure-footed, steady, strong, and patient, they 
bore us along easily and with comfort ; and Gibbon says that he will 
part with his with tears, when we are compelled to give them up and 
take to the boats. 

The market at Tarma is tolerably g'ood, though the meat is badly 
butchered. Beef costs six cents a pound ; a small leg of mutton, eigh- 
teen and three-quarter cents ; good potatoes, nearly a dollar a bushel ; 
cauliflowers, three small heads for twelve and a half cents; oranges, pine- 
apples, and peaches are abundant and cheap, but not good ; bread, very 
good, is baked in small loaves, by a Frenchman, four for twelve and a 
half cents ; flour comes from Jauxa ; eggs are ten cents a dozen* 

We had a visit from the Cura, and went to see the sub prefect of the 
province, a gentleman named Mier, who promised me such assistance 
as I needed in my visit to Chanchamayo. Both of these gentlemen 
earnestly deprecated the idea of trusting myself and party among the 
"CAtmcAos" Indians on the other side of the river Chanchamayo, say- 
ing that they were very hostile to the whites, and dangerous. The Cura 
promised to look out for a servant for us. We had visits, also, from 
several gentlemen of the town ; among them a Senor Cardenas, who 
gave me a copy of the memorial of Urrutia. All seemed much inter- 
ested in my expedition to Chanchamayo, and hoped a favorable report. 

June 11. — We rode about a league down the valley which leads 
to Chanchamayo, to the farm of General Otero, to whom we brought 
letters from Mr. Prevost, and Pasquel, bishop of Eretrea. We found 
this farm a diff'erent sort of aff'air from anything we had hitherto seen 
in this way in our travels. This is in a high state of cultivation, weD 


enclosed witli mud walls, and in beautiful order. The General — a good 
looking, farmer-like old gentleman — met us with great cordiality, and 
showed us over the premises. He has a very large house, with all the 
necessary offices attached, which he built himself. Indeed, he said he 
had made the farm ; for when he purchased it, it was a stony and 
desolate place, and he had expended much time, labor, and money on 
it. There v^^ere two gardens : one for vegetables and fruit, and one for 
flowers. They wei^ both in fine order. The fruits were peaches of 
various kinds, apples, strawberries, almonds, and some few grapes. The 
flowers were principally roses, pinks, pansies, jessamines, and geraniums. 
There were a few exotics, under beii-glasses. Both fruit and flowers 
were of rather indiff'erent quality, but much better than one would 
expect to see in so elevated and cold a situation. The nights here, 
particularly in the early morning, are quite cold. 

This is the harvest season, and the General was gathering his crop of 
maize. About twenty peons or laborers were bringing it in from the 
fields, and throwing it down in piles in a large court-yard, while boys 
and women were engaged in " shucking " it. In one corner of the 
square, under a snug little shed attached to one of the barns, with stone 
seats around it, sat the General's three daughters, sewing, and probably 
superintending the " shucking." They were fair, sweet-looking girls. 
The General had a tray of glasses, with some Italia (a cordial made of 
a Muscatel grape that grows in the province of lea, and hence called 
lea brandy) and paper cigars, brought out for us ; and the whole 
concern had a home look that was quite pleasing. 

I cannot give a good idea of farming in this country, for want of 
information of the value of land ; this depending so entirely on its 
situation and condition. The mountain sides are so steep, and the 
valleys so rocky, that I imagine there is no great deal of cultivable 
land in all this district, and therefore it is probably high. According 
to Gen. Otero, land here is measured by " tongos," which is a square 
of thirty-three varas. (A vara is thirty-three English inches.) Three 
tongos make a "yuntada," or as much as it is calculated that a yoke of 
oxen can plough in a day. About half an arroba, or twelve and a half 
pounds of seed, is planted to the tongo. In maize, the yield is between 
forty-five and fifty for one. Wheat yields about forty for one, but is 
so subject to the rust as to be an uncertain crop, and is therefore little 
cultivated. The price of maize is five dollars the carga or mule-load, 
of two hundred and sixty pounds. From these data it appears, then, 
that an acre will yield about forty-three bushels, which is worth one 
dollar and twenty -five cents the bushel. Quantities of barley are 


cultivated on the mountain sides, but the grain does not come to 
perfection, and it is generally cut green for fodder ; though the General 
says that it is not good for that, the straw being coarse and hard. 
Potatoes are a good crop ; they are worth now in Tarma one dollar and 
fifty cents the hundred pounds, and in times of scarcity have been 
known to run up as high as seven dollars. One of the principal 
articles of food of the laborers of this country is " cancha,''^ or toasted 
maize. They mix a little Hrae with the grains before putting them in 
the hot ashes, which makes them whiter and improves their flavor. 
It is really very sweet and good, and I liked it better than the green 
corn roasted, which is such a favorite dish with us. Chicha, a fermented 
liquor, is also made from Indian corn, and much drunk by all classes. 
The General gave us some that he had prepared and bottled himself. 
It was very good, rose-colored, and sparkled like Champagne. He told 
us that our corn, which he called " mais morocha,^^ was not so good as 
this for making either cancha or chicha ; this beiug softer and sweeter. 

We visited the stables, which were very clean, and paved, and 
contained some ten or fifteen fine-looking young horses ; and there were 
thirty or forty more, mares and colts, in a spacious corral or enclosure 
near, with an American farrier from Tarma attending to some of them. 
There is also a neat little chapel occupying a corner of the " patio," 
with the inscription over the door^ "Domws mea, doinus orationis esV^ 
It was neatly papered and carpeted, and had colored prints of the 
" Stations " hung around the walls. The altar-piece was a figure of our 
Lady of Mercy, with the figures of St. Francis and St. Peter on each 
side ; these Saints being the patrons of the general and his lady, Don 
Francisco and Doiia Pedronilla. The General's manners were exceed- 
ingly courteous and aftable ; and he possessed that suavity and gentle- 
ness of bearing that seems to me always to characterize the military 
man of high rank when in retirement. The whole establishment re- 
minded me of one of our best kept Virginia farms, where the owner 
had inherited the homestead of his father, and was in easy circum- 

June 12. — Dined with our countryman, Dr. Buckingham, and a 
couple of young ladies, one of whom seemed to be his housekeeper. 
The dinner was after the Peruvian fashion : first, a sort of thick soup 5 
then, roasted ribs of mutton, served with salad ; this succeeded by a dish 
of stewed Guinea pigs, mixed with a variety of vegetables, and which 
would have been very good but for the addition of a quantity of aji^ or 
red pepper, which made it unendurable to the unaccustomed palate ; 
winding up with the invariable chupe, and the invariable dessert of 

TARMA. 73 

dulces, or sweetmeats. A Limenian never thinks of taking water 
during dinner, and always eats sweetmeats after dinner, tliat he may- 
then safely take water; so that ^''Tomar dulces^ para heher agua'"' is a 
sort of dietetic proverb with them. 

June 13. — Rode out on the Oroya road, with the intention of visiting 
a cave, or what is reported to be a subterraneous passage made by the 
Incas, and reaching as far as Jauxa, twenty-seven miles ; but, after riding 
about five miles, we determined that we were too late to explore the 
cave for that day, and meeting Richards, from Morococha, we turned 
back. I suspect that this cave is nothing more than the canon, or 
opening, of some long-deserted mine. 

June 14. — Rode out to the southward, in the direction of Jauxa. 
This valley, which rises very rapidly, is thickly settled, and well culti- 
vated. Road bad. Another valley debouches from this, about four 
miles above Tarma, to the southward and eastward, leading to the 
Montana of Vitoc. vi,, 

June 15. — Had a long visit from General Otero. The vivacious old 
gentleman discoursed very pleasantly. He said that it was difficult to 
get at the population of the town proper, the census being generally 
taken of the Doctrina, or district over which the Cura had religious juris- 
diction ; that this was about ten or twelve thousand, of which one- 
twelfth part were pure white, about one-half Mestizos, (descendants of 
whites and Indians,) and the balance Indians, there being very few 
negroes. I asked him to account for the number of blind people we 
had noticed in the streets. He said that most of the blind people came 
from Jauxa, in which country much wheat and barley are produced ; that 
they sifted these grains, and got rid of the chaff by throwing them up 
in the air, and he believed that the blindness arose from the irritation 
caused by the chaff and barbs flying into the eyes of the people who 

He also said that he thought I should not attempt to cross the 
Chancharaayo amongst the Indians, for that I would not be able to 
defend myself against their attacks ; but thought that, if I wished to 
descend the Ucayali, I had better take a more southern tributary, called 
the Pangoa ; (this is Biedma's route, by Andamarca and Sonomora ;) 
that there the Indians were not so much irritated against the whites, 
and that the river was known to be navigable for canoes, for he himself 
had known a friar of Ocopa who, in 181Y, had descended it for the 
conversion of the Indians of the Ucayali, and had afterwards estab- 
lished a missionary station at Andamarca, where the Indians came at 
stated periods to be baptized and receive presents of hatchets, knives. 


beads, &c., but that, on the occasion of the war in 1824, the supplies 
had been stopped, and the Indians would come no more. He, as did 
the sub-prefect, liked my idea of ascending from the mouth of the 
Ucayah, with a properly-equipped Indian force, and looking into the 
navigability of the Perene and Chanchamayo that way. 

The latitude of Tarma, by mean of Mer. altitudes of ec and & Cen- 
tauri, is 11° 25' 05" S. 

June 16. — We left Tarma for the Chanchamayo. This is the first 
time I have applied to authority for the means of locomotion. I did it 
inadvertently, and was sorry for it ; for, though I would probably have 
been cheated in the price, yet I should not have been the cause of in- 
justice and oppression. I had said to the sub-prefect, a few days before, 
that I wanted the means of transportation for some baggage to Chan- 
chamayo, which he promised to furnish me. Yesterday I went to ask 
for it for to-day, and he referred me to the governor of the district, who 
was present, and who told me that he would have what I required — viz : 
two asses and a saddle mule, with two peons — ready by to-morrow 
morning. Accordingly, this morning he sent for me, and presented to 
me the owner of the mule, the owner of the asses, and the two peons. 
The wages of these were to be four reals, or half a dollar, a day ; and I 
paid each three dollars in advance. To the governor I paid a dollar for 
each ass, and two for the mule, with the understanding that I was to 
pay as much more on my return. The peons were then lectured on 
their duties, and sent round to my house with an escort of half a dozen 
alguaziles, or constables, armed with sticks, to prevent their escaping or 
getting drunk before the start. The asses and mules were also sent 
round under a similar guard, so that my patio seemed filled with a 
clamorous multitude, who created such a confusion that I had to turn 
out all but my own people. I ordered these to load up ; but they said 
that the owners of the asses had sent no lassos, or thongs, to bind on the 
burdens; and I soon discovered that there was a general unwillingness 
for the job, and that the governor had pressed the animals into the 
service against the will of the owners. 

Strong efforts were made to get the mule away from me. The 
woman of the house, who, it appears, was a sister of the owner, advised 
me not to take it ; and said that it was a bad, vicious animal, that would 
do me a mischief. I was surprised at this, as he looked particularly 
docile ; and I directed my new servant (one recommended by the Cura, 
and who looked twice as vicious as the mule) to mount and ride him 
around the patio. The fellow grinned maliciously, and proved my judg- 
ment correct. Finding this would not do, the owner (who had put his 


sister up to making this attempt) then came forward, and said I must 
pay him half a dollar more, as the governor had kept back that much 
of the price. This being " no go," he tried to steal away his mule 
while our backs were turned ; but being prevented, he went off, got 
drunk in about fifteen minutes, and came back maudlin ; embracing, 
kissing, and weeping over his mule, crying in piteous tones ''''Mi macho, 
mi macho^'^ (my mule, my mule.) We shoved him aside and rode off, 
followed, I have no doubt, by the curses of the community. 

This was all very annoying to me. I afterwards mentioned these cir- 
cumstances to the commandant of the fort at Chanchamayo, telling 
him how much I would prefer to pay double price and get voluntary 
service. He said that my sympathies were all thrown away upon these 
people, that I must go to the governors for the means of transportation ; 
fpr that the Indians would not let me have their beasts at any price ; 
and related instances of his having to use threats, and even force, to in- 
duce a sulky Indian to give him and his beast food and shelter when in 
the Cordillera, and the approach of night made it impossible to go on. 
Several travellers in these parts have also told me that they have been 
compelled to shoot the poultry of an Indian, who with a large stock, 
would refuse to sell at any price ; but who, after the thing was done, 
would good humoredly accept a fair value. 

• Ijurra also related instances of oppression and tyranny on the part of 
the governors, particularly in the province of Mainas, where commerce 
is carried on by transportation of the goods on the backs of Indians. 
A travelling merchant goes to the governor and says, " I have such and 
such a cargo ; I want so many Indians to transport it." The governor, 
generally a white or Mestizo, sends for the Curaca^ (the lineal heredi- 
tary governor of the tribe of Indians of that district, who has great 
authority, and without whose assistance the whites probably could not 
govern at all,) and orders him 'to have so many Indians detailed for a 
journey. The Curaca drums them up, directing them to toast their 
corn and prepare their '''' Jiamhre''' (food for the road) for a journey of so 
many leagues ; and they are taken from their occupations and sent off, 
for probably many days, at a pay of anything that the governor may 

If a man wishes to build a house or open a farm, he may be sup- 
plied with laborers for six months, at a hire, per month, of as many 
yards of cotton cloth as will make each a shirt and pair of trousers ; 
the patron or mastet furnishing them with food ; but, as may be 
imagined, this is of the coarsest and commonest description that will 
support life. 


It would seem tliat men could never improve under a system of such 
absolute slavery as this ; yet to give them liberty, is to abandon them 
and return them to a state of barbarity, shutting out all prospect of 
improvement ; and the only hope seems to be in the justice and mod- 
eration of the rulers — a slim hope here. 

We got off at noon ; stopped at the " chacra" of Gen. Otero, and 
received a letter of introduction to the commandant of the fort. When 
the old gentleman saw our new servant " JHfanarzo," he crossed himself 
most devoutly, and ejaculated " Satanas!''^ He then told us that this 
was a notoriously bad boy, whom nobody had been able to manage, 
but that we, being strangers and military men, might get along with 
him by strictness and severity ; and he gave the boy a lecture upon his 
duties and the faithful performance of them. 

A mile and a half beyond Gen. Otero's is the town of Acobamba. 
I judge that it contains twelve or fifteen hundred inhabitants ; but it is 
situated in a thickly-settled district, and the " Doctrina" is said to be 
more populous than that of Tarma. Six more miles brought us to 
Palca, a straggling town of about one thousand inhabitants. We 
merely passed through, and a mile further on "brought up" at the 
chacra of Don Justo Rojas, to whom I had a letter from Lizarralde, the 
administrator at Morococha. Don Justo was engaged in extracting, by 
boiling, the juice of the rhatany root for an apothecary of Lima. He 
supplied us with a capital supper of chicken soup and boiled eggs, with 
alfalfa for the beasts. He also sold us, from his establishment in town, 
sugar and bread. We pitched the tent in an old corn-field, and slept 
delightfully. Tent-pegs for this country should be of iron. Although 
those we used were made of the hardest wood that could be found in 
Lima, we had used them all up by this time, beating off their heads 
by driving them with a hatchet into the hard and stony ground. 

Don Justo's is the last chacra in the valley, which now narrows, and 
allows no room for cultivation. Though going down hill by the barom- 
eter, we were evidently crossing a chain of mountains, which the stream 
at the bottom of the valley has saved us the trouble of ascending and 
descending, by cleaving a way through for itself, and leaving the moun- 
tains on either hand tov/ering thousands of feet above our heads. The 
ride was the wildest we have yet had ; the road sometimes finding 
room along the borders of the river, and then ascending nearly to the 
top of the hills, and diminishing the foaming and thundering stream 
to a noiseless, silver thread. The ascents and descents were nearly pre- 
cipitous ; and the scene was rugged, wild, and grand beyond descrip- 


We saw some miserable huts on the road, and met a few asses 
carrying reeds and poles from Chanchamayo. It seemed a providence 
that we did not meet these at certain parts of the road, where it is 
utterly impossible for two beasts to pass abreast, or for one to turn and 
retreat ; and the only remedy is to tumble one off the precipice, or to 
drag him back by the tail until he reaches a place where the other can 
pass. Von Tschudi relates an instance of his shooting a mule which 
met him at one of these places. 

We met with a considerable fright in this way to-day. We were 
riding in single file along one of these narrow ascents, where the road is 
cut out of the mountain side, and the traveller has a perpendicular wall 
on one hand, and a sheer precipice of many hundreds of feet upon the 
other. Mr. Gibbon was riding ahead. Just as he was about to turn 
a sharp bend of the road the head of a bull peered round it, on the 
descent. When the bull came in full view he stopped, and we could 
see the heads of other cattle clustering over his quarters, and hear the 
shouts of the cattle-drivers, far behind, urging on their herd. I 
happened to be abreast of a slight natural excavation, or hollow, in 
the mountain side, and dismounting I put my shoulder against my 
mule's flank and pressed her into this friendly retreat ; but I saw no 
escape for Gibbon, who had passed it. The bull, with lowered crest, 
and savage, sullen look, came slowly on, and actually got his head 
between the perpendicular rock and the neck of Gibbon's mule. I felt 
a thrill of agony, for I thought my companion's fate was sealed. But 
the sagacious beast on which he was mounted, pressing her haunches 
hard against the wall, gathered her feet close under her and turned as 
upon a pivot. This placed the bull on the outside, (there was room to 
pass, though I did not beUeve it,) and he rushed by at the gallop, 
followed in single file by the rest of the herd. I cannot describe the 
relief I experienced. Gibbon, who is as gallant and fearless as man 
can be, said " It is of no use to attempt to disguise the fact — I was 
badly scared." 

At 2 p. m., we arrived at a place called Matichacra, where there was 
a single hut, inhabited by a woman and her child ; the husband having 
gone to Cerro Pasco to exhibit some specimens of gold ore which he 
had found here. The woman was afflicted with an eruption on her 
face, which she thought was caused by the metallic character of the 
earth around, particularly the antimonial. She took a knife, and, 
digging earth from the floor of her hut, washed it in a gourd, and 
showed us particles of metal like gold sticking to the bottom. I 
showed some of this earth to General Otero, who pronounced that 



there was no gold in it ; but Lieutenant Maury, who examined some 
that I brought home with a powerful magnifier, has declared that there 
was. The mountains have an exceedingly metallic appearance, and 
the woman said that there were still in the neighborhood traces of the 
mining operations of the Spaniards. 

About a mile and a half above Matichacra commenced the steep 
regular descent of the mountain range, and from just above it we 
could discern where the valley debouched upon an apparent plain, 
though bounded and intersected by distant mountains, bearing and 
ranging in different directions. This place we judged to be the 
"Montana." We stopped an hour at Matichacra, (Gourd Farm, 
from half a dozen gourd vines growing near the house,) and made a 
chupe with a leg of mutton we had bought the night before at Palca. 
We saw a few patches of Indian corn on the side of the mountain 
opposite, and the tops of the mountains are clad with small trees. We 
passed on five miles further, and camped on a level plat near the banks 
of the stream, with bushes and small trees growing around us. 

June 18. — This was the longest and hardest day's ride. The road 
was very bad; rocky and rough where it descended the river, and 
steep and difficult where it ascended the mountain side. We thought 
that the engineer who planned and constructed the road 'had frequently 
"taken the bull by the horns," and selected the worst places to run his 
road over; and that he would hare done much better had he occasion- 
ally have thrown a bridge across the stream, and led the road along the 
flank of the mountains on the other side. In seven and a half miles 
we arrived at Utcuyacu. (cotton water,) the first hacienda where we 
saw sugar-cane, yucca, pine-apples, and plantains. It had just been 
opened, and nothing yet had been sold from it. 

The road, by which we had descended the valley of Chaneharaayo, 
turned at this place sharp to the right, and faced the mountains that 
divide this valley from that of the Rio Seco. We were near the 
junction of the two valleys, but a rock had fallen from the hills above 
and blocked up the road on which we were travelling, so that we had 
to cross the mountain on our right and get into the other valley. The 
ascent was steep, and trying to man and beast. It is called the " Cuesta 
de Tangachuca^'' or "Hill of take care of your hat," and is about three 
miles in length. The road, after passing through a thick forest, brought 
us out upon a bald eminence, the termination of the spur of the Andes 
that divides the two valleys. . The rivers Seco and Chanchamayo unite 
at its base and flow off through a valley, rapidly widening out, covered 
with forests, and presenting an appearance entirely distinct from the 


rocky and stern sterility that characterizes the country above. This is 
the " Montana " of which I had thought so much. I was wofully 
disappointed in its appearance. I had taken the impression that I 
should behold a boundless plain, alternating with forest and prairie, 
covered with waving grass, and with a broad and gentle river winding 
its serpentine course through it, between banks rich with the palm and 
plantain. In place of this, the view from the mountain top showed a 
country broken still into mountain and Valley, (though on a much 
smaller scale than above,) shaggy with trees and undergrowth of every 
description, and watered by a small stream, still foaming and roaring 
over its rocky bed. 

We descended the hill by a very circuitous and precipitous path, 
most of us on foot, though it may be ridden over, for Mr. Gibbon did 
ride over the worst parts of it, and only dismounted where a fallen tree 
made an obstruction that he could not pass. The descent brought us 
to the rocky bed of the Rio Seco, crossing which we were clear of the 
eastern chain of the Andes and in the Montana of Chanchamayo. 

As far as the traveller is concerned there are not, on the route we 
have travelled, two ranges of the Andes — that is, he has not to ascend 
and descend one range, and then ascend and descend another. From 
the time he crosses the Cordillera at Antarangra, his progress is down- 
ward till he reaches the plain. Really there are two. The streams 
from the first, or western range, have broken their way through the 
second, making deep gorges, at the bottom of which the road generally 
runs, and leaves the peaks of the second range thousands of feet above 
the head of the traveller. 

A league from the crossing of the Rio Seco, we passed a bad and 
broken bridge, that spans a small stream called " Punta Yacu^^'' coming 
down a valley from the southward, and halted at the hacienda of Don 
Jose Manuel Cardenas, the first of the Montana, where we camped for 
the night. 

June 19. — Six miles of travel brought us to the fort of San Ramon. 
The road is a black mud bridle-path through the woods, much ob- 
structed with the roots and branches of trees, but level. Comparatively 
few rocks are seen after leaving Cardenas. We were kindly received 
by the commandant, Don Juan Noel, a fine-looking young man, Cap- 
tain of Frigate and Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, and his officers, 
Major Umeres and Lieutenant . 

Fort San Ramon is, by Mer. alt. of "y Crusis," in latitude 11°.07 S. 
Its height above the level of the sea, as given by barometer, is two 
thousand six hundred and ten feet. 



From tlie first of March to the last of August the climate is delight- 
ful ; but the heavy and almost continuous rains of the other six months 
of the year make it disagreeable, but not unhealthy. 

As we are now near the foot of the mountains, on the eastern slope, 
I give a table of the distances and elevations of various points on the 
route. The B. P. opposite some of the elevations show that these 
were indicated by the temperature of boiling water: 



Height above the 
level of the sea. 




Lima , 





San Mateo 


Pass of Antarangra. 
Do. do. 







Huacapishtana , 


Fort Sau Ramon 

Do. do. ... 






















7, 302 

10, 200 

12, 898 

16, 044 

16, 199 

12, 786 


11, 825 








B. P. 

B. P. 
B. P. 

5 B. P. 

The barometer gave the height of a point, four miles above Tarma, 
at eleven thousand two hundred and seventy feet. So that there is a 
descent in these four miles of distance of one thousand five hundred and 
thirty-five feet. The ascent, however, between Acchahuarcu and the 
top of the hill on which we observed, at the Pass of Antarangra, is 
steeper than this, being three thousand three hundred and fifty-eight 
feet in six miles. 

From Yanacoto, on the western slope of the Andes, to the top of the 
Pass, is fifty-nine miles ; from the top of the Pass to Fort San Ramon, 
on the eastern slope, which is two hundred and seventy feet higher than 
Yanacoto, is eighty-eight miles. This gives the ascent of the Andes, 
on its western slope, at 232 feet to the mile, and on its eastern slope 
at 152. 

r^ "■^'^i^-^'x^.i -^i?'-T r^^m'^"^ ^^'S^'^; 

■A.>- J 


Yanacoto is only twenty-eight miles from the ocean that waslies the 
base of the slope on which it is situated. Fort San Ramon, (at nearly 
the same elevation as Yanacoto,) by the winding of the river, cannot be 
much less than four thousand miles from its ocean, and in the direct 
course of the river is at least two thousand five hundred miles. But I 
am of opinion, from some observations made afterwards with a boiling- 
point apparatus, that the indications of the barometer, at the eastern 
foot of the Andes, are not to be depended upon ; and that San Ramon 
has a greater elevation than is shown by the barometer. 

The fort is a stockade, embracing about six acres, armed with four 
brass four-pounders, and garrisoned with forty-eight men. It is situated 
at the junction of the rivers Chanchamayo and Tulumayo — the former 
about thirty and the latter forty yards wide — both shallow and ob- 
structed with rocks. The current seemed about five or six miles the 
hour, A canoe, well managed, might shoot down the Tulumayo as 
far as we saw it. 

The fort was constructed in 1847, under the direction of President 
Castilla, for the purpose of affording protection to the cultivators of the 
farms in its rear. It doubtless does this against the unwarlike Indians 
of this country ; but I imagine that North American Indians, actuated 
by the feelings of hostility which these people constantly evince, would 
cross the rivers above the fort and sweep the plantations before the 
soldiers could reach them. The Indians have abandoned all idea of 
reconquering the territory they have lost, but are determined to dispute 
the passage of the rivers and any attempt at further conquest. They 
never show themselves now in person, but make their presence evident 
by occasionally setting fire to the woods and grass on the hill-sides, and 
discharging their arrows at any incautious person who may wander too 
near the banks of the rivers. 

Noel told us that many attempts had been made to establish friendly 
relations wdth them. In former times the Indians used to advance out 
of the forest, to the further bank of the river, and hold conversations 
and exchange presents with the officers of the post. They gave bows 
and arrows, rare birds and animals, and received in return, knives, beads, 
and looking-glasses. But these parleys always ended with expressions 
of defiance and insult towards the whites on the part of the Indians, 
and frequently with a flight of arrows. 

He related to us, that a year or two ago a General Castillo, with some 
officers, came to visit the fort, and wished to try their skill at negotia- 
tion. Accordingly, whilst they were at dinner, the sentinel reported that 
an Indian had made his appearance ; whereupon the party rose from 


the table and went down to the river-side to have a talk. The Indian^ 
after salutations, made signs for a looking-glass, which was thrown over 
to him ; then, for a knife, with which he was also gratified. He then 
asked for a tinder-box. There being none at hand, Noel went up to his 
quarters for some. On his return, he met an officer coming up the 
bank, with an arrow through his arm ; and shortly after, another, with 
one planted deep in his back, between the shoulders. It appears that, 
as soon as the Indian had received his presents, he drew his bow at the 
general. The party turned to fly ; but a flight of arrows from the 
forest Avounded the two oflScers ; and the one who was shot in the back 
died of the wound eight days afterwards. These arrow-shots are of 
frequent occurrence ; and several of the soldiers of the fort have been 
severely wounded. A number of arrows were discharged at some 
soldiers, who were washing their clothes near the banks of the river, 
Avhilst we were here. We picked them up, and the commandant made 
us a present of them. 

These arrows, as are the arrows of all the Indians I have met with, are 
so heavy that, at a greater distance than twenty or thirty yards, it is 
necessary to discharge them at an elevation, so that they shall describe 
a curve in the air; and it is wonderful to see with what precision the 
Indians will calculate the arc, and regulate the force so that the arrow 
shall fall upon the object. On the Amazon many fish and turtle are 
taken with bows and arrows. An Indian in a canoe discharges his 
arrow in the air. It describes a parabola, and lights upon the back of 
a fish, which the unpractised eye has not been able to see. The barb, 
with which the arrow is armed, ships on the end of it, and is held in its 
place by a cord which wraps around the shaft of the arrow, and is tied 
to its middle. The plunge of the fish shakes the arrow clear of the 
barb ; the cord unwinds, and the arrow floats upon the water — an im- 
pediment to the fish, and a guide to the fisherman, who follows his 
arrow till the fish or turtle is dead. The motion of the arrow is so slow, 
and it is so readily seen in its course, that I imagine there would be no 
danger in the reception of single arrow-shots in front ; for an abundance 
of time is allowed to step aside and avoid them. I have seen boys shoot- 
ing at buzzards on tlfe beach ; and the arrow would alight upon the 
very spot where the biid had been sitting, some seconds after he had 
left it. 

Whilst here, we visited the haciendas of the Brothers Santa Mgtria, 
Padre Saurez, and Zapatero — all, I believe, inhabitants of Tarma^ That 
of the last seemed the largest, and the best order of any that I had 
yet seen. A description of the method of cultivadng the staples of the 


country practised on this farm, will give an idea of the general system 
of farming in the Montana. 

Zapatero has about one hundred acres cleared, and most of it planted 
in cane, coca, yucca, pine-apples, plantains, coffee, and cotton. The farm 
employs a mayordomo, or steward, and four resident laborers. These 
are serfs, and cost the employer their support and seven dollars a year 
each for their contribution to the government, or poll tax. When more 
land is to be cleared, or the coca crop gathered, laborers are hired from 
the* neighboring villages of Tarma, Ocsabamba, or Palca, at nominal 
wages of half a dollar a day; but their support is charged to them, 
at such prices as to swallow up nearly all the wages. A sheep, for ex- 
ample, is charged to them at three dollars : its price in Tarma is one ; 
yucca at thirty-seven and a half cents the arroba, of twenty -five pounds ; 
potatoes at fifty cents; maize at sixty-two and a half cents. This is the 
maize of the hacienda; if it is supplied from the Sierra it is one dollar 
and fifty cents. The laborers who live on the estate seem contented 
with their lot; they dwell in small, filthy cane houses, with their wives 
and children ; do very little work, and eat chalona^ (or dried mutton,) 
ckarqui, (or jerked beef,) yucca, cancha, sweet potatoes, and beans; and 
drink '•'■ huarapo^'' (the fermented juice of the cane,) and sometimes a 
glass of bad rum made from it. They occasionally desert; but if they 
do this, they must get some distance off", or custom, if not law, would 
return them as debtors to their masters. 

Sugar-cane is propagated, not from seed but from the top joints of the 
old plant, and is planted at the commencement of the rainy season in 
September. It is ready for cutting in a year; it yields again every ten 
months, improving in quality and size every crop for a number of years, 
according to the quality of the land and the care bestowed upon it. It 
will continue to spring up from the roots for fifty or sixty years, with 
one or two light workings with hoes in the year. The field is set fire 
to after every cutting, to bftrn up the rubbage, weeds, &c. The average 
height of the cane is about ten feet, though I have seen a stalk of six- 
teen feet. 

Two men to cut and two to carry, will supply a mill called " Tra- 
plche^'' wdiich consists of three upright wooden rollers, in a rude wooden 
frame. These rollers are cogged and placed close to each other. The 
head of the middle one extends above the frame, and is squared, so as 
to allow the shipping on it of a long beam, to the end of which an ox 
is harnessed, which, walking in a circle, gives motion to the rollers. 
The end of the cane is placed between the rollers, and is drawn i-n and 
crushed by them; a wooden trough is placed below, to catch the juice. 


Such a mill will yield fifteen hundred pounds of caldo or juice in a day. 
These fifteen hundred pounds will give from two hundred and filty to 
three hundred pounds of sugar, which is worth in Tarma twelve and a 
half cents the pound. 

Sugar-cane is the most valuable and useful product of the Montana. 
The leaves of the cane, when green, serve for food for the cattle ; when 
dry, to make wrappings for the chancMca and sugar. The crushed stalk 
is used as fuel for the oven. The hogs fatten on the foam at the top of 
the boiling. From the first boiling is made the chancaca or brown sugar 
cake, which is eaten after dinner by almost all classes, and in great 
quantities by the lower class; it is worth six and a quarter cents the 
pound in Tarma. From one thousand pounds of the caldo boiled ten 
hours, is made four hundred pounds of chancaca. Very little sugar is 
yet made in the Montana of Chanchamayo ; indeed, I did not see a 
nearer approach to it than chancaca in all the route. 

Coca is a bush of about four feet high, producing a small light-green 
leaf, which is the part used. The blossom is white, and the fruit a 
small red berry. The seed is sown in beds at the end of the rainy 
season — about the first of March. The earth should be well broken up 
and cleaned. Arbors of palm leaves are frequently built over the 
young shoots to protect them from the sun, and they are watered, if it 
continues clear, for five or six days. It is transplanted in September, a 
year and a half after planting, and gives its first crop in a year, and 
every four months thereafter. The bush, if not destroyed by ants, will 
continue to give leaves for many years. Sometimes, but rarely, the 
leaves wither and the crop fails. It is necessary to gather the leaves 
and dry them as quickly as possible, and, if a shower comes on, to gather 
them up at once, as they are injured by getting wet. Every hundred 
plants will give an arroba of leaves, which is worth, in Tarma, from six 
to seven dollars. Some persons do not transplant, but sow several of the 
seed together, and, when they come up, ^ill up all but the one most 
flourishing, and leave that in its original place. 

The leaf of this plant is to the Indian of Peru what tobacco is to 
our laboring classes in the South — a luxury, which has become a 
necessity. Supplied with an abundance of it, he sometimes performs 
prodigies of labor, and can go without food for several days. Without 
it, he is miserable and will not work. It is said to be a powerful 
stimulant to the nervous system, and, like strong coffee or tea, to take 
away sleep; but, unlike tobacco and other stimulants, no one has 
known it to be injurious to the health. Von Tschudi thinks that an 
immoderate use of it is injurious, but that, taken in moderation, it is in 


no way detrimental to health ; and that without it the Peruvnan Indian, 
with his spare diet, would be incapable of going through the labor 
which he now performs. The coca plant he therefore considers as a 
great blessing to Peru. 

He relates that an Indian, employed by him in digging, worked hard 
for five nights and days without intermission, except for two hours each 
night — and this without food. Immediately after the work the Indian 
accompanied him on a two days' journey of twenty-three leagues on 
foot, and then declared that he was ready to engage in the same amount 
of work, and go through it without food, if he were allowed an abund- 
ance of coca. This man was sixty-two years of age, and had never been 
sick in his life. 

Coffee is propagated from suckers or slips, and it is necessary to 
protect the plants from the sun by cultivating the broad-leaved plantain 
among them till they have grown up to about four feet in height. No 
care, except an occasional cleaning about the roots, is taken of them 
here, and yet the finest coff'ee I have ever drunk was from this district. 
The bush grows to seven or eight feet in height, and is very beautiful 
in appearance. It has a small and very dark green leaf, pure white 
blossoms, and green, red, and dark purple fruit on it at the same time. 
It gives its first crop in two years ; but this is small in quantity, and 
indifferent in quality. The bush is not in perfection until four or five 
years after planting, and will then last for an indefinite period. The 
fruit has the size and appearance of a small cherry. Two seeds are 
contained in each berry. Each seed is wrapped in a thin paper-like 
envelope, and both together are covered with another, and then 
surrounded by a sweet, pleasant-tasting pulp, which is covered with a 
thin skin. Having no machines for getting rid of this pulp, the culti- 
vators gather the fruit, dry it in the sun, and then soak it in water till 
all the envelopes come off, except the paper-like skin surrounding each 
seed. The seeds are again dried in the sun, and sent to market with 
this skin on. It is worth eight dollars the hundred pounds in Tarma. 
In Lima it generally commands twenty, and sometimes twenty-five 
and twenty-seven dollars, on account of its great superiority to the 
coff'ee of Guayaquil and Central America, which is generally used 

" Cotton " may be planted at any time. It does not grow on a bush 
or plant, as with us, but on a tree some eight or ten feet high. It gives 
its first crop in a year, and will continue to give for three years ; after 
which the tree dries up, and it is necessary to replant. It bears cotton 
all the time ; but this is not good nor gathered during the rainy season. 


T could not ascertain how much cotton a tree will give in its lifetime, 
but, from the quantity of blossoms and bolls I saw on them, I should 
think its yield was great. The quality, particularly that of Chancha- 
mayo, is very superior. It is the black-seed cotton, and when picked 
oif leaves the seed perfectly bare and clean. 

There is also nankeen-colored cotton here, (the tree seeming in every 
respect like that of the white ;) and afterwards, in Brazil, I saw green- 
seed cotton, in which the seed (generally seven in number for each boll, 
or rather for each division of it, for the boll seemed to hold the cotton 
in four distinct parts) were aggregated in a single knot, and enveloped 
by the cotton. An active man will pick one hundred pounds of cotton 
a day. 

" Fwfca," (cassava root,) which is grown from the stalk of the plant, 
is planted at any time. It yields in nine months. The plant runs up 
to fifteen or twenty feet in height, with about the thickness of a man's 
wrist. It is difficult to distinguish this plant, or its fruit, from the 
mandioc. The mandioc is called in Peru " yucca brava," or wild yucca ; 
and this yucca dulce, or sweet yucca. This may be eaten raw ; the 
juice of the other is a deadly poison. The yucca answers the same 
purpose in Peru that the mandioc does in Brazil. It is the general 
substitute for bread, and roasted or boiled is very pleasant to the taste. 
The most common drink of the Indians, called "masato,"* is also made 
from it. Each plant will give from twenty to twenty-five pounds of the 
edible root, which grows in clusters like the potato, and some of which 
are as long and thick as a man's arm. 

Three crops of '•''Indian corn'''' are made in the year. It is of good 
quality, but much care is necessary to preserve it from weevil and other 
insects after it is gathered and put away. It is generally placed in an 
upper story of a house, and a fire is kindled underneath from time to 
time to smoke it, or it will all be destroyed. 

"P/atonos" — which is the general name for all kinds of plantains, or 
bananas, of which last there are several species, called respectively 
'■^ guinea s^^'' de la isia, &c. — are the most common fruit of the country. 
The people eat them raw, roasted, boiled, baked, and fried. There can 
be no dinner without them ; and a vile rum is also made of them. By 

*Masato is made from the yucca by rasping the root to a white pulp, and then 
boiling it. During the boiling the Indian women, who are making it, take portions 
into their mouths, chew it, and spit into the pot. After it is sufficiently heated it 
is put into large earthen jars, covered and suffered to ferment. When used it is 
taken out of the jar by the handful, mixed with water in a gourd, stirred with the 
fingers and drunk. It is a disgusting beverage, and powerfully intoxicating. 


the Indians tlie fruit is generally cut green and roasted. It is propa- 
gated from suckers or young bulbs, and gives fruit witli such facility and 
abundance £is to foster and minister to the laziness of the people, "who 
won't work when they can get anything so good without it. 

I have frequently thought that a governor would do a good act, and 
improve the condition, or at least the character, of the governed, who 
would set fire to, or grub up every " platanal" in his district, and thus 
compel the people to labor a little for their bread. 

The other fruits are pine-apples^ of tolerable quality, which doubtless 
would be very fine with care and attention ; sour sop^ a kind of bastard 
ddrimoya ; and papayo^ a large fruit, about the size of a common musk- 
melon, with a green skin and yellow pulp, which is eaten, and is very 
sweet and of delicate flavor. It has seed like the musk melon, and 
grows under the leaves of a kind of palm in clusters like the cocoanut. 
There are a few orange trees, but no fruit. An orange tree does not 
give good fruit under six years, and most of the haciendas have been 
under cultivation but three. 

The only farming utensils used in Chanchamayo are short coav^e 
sabres, with which weeds are cut up, and holes dug in the earth in 
which to plant the seed.- 

This is not a good grazing country, though there were some cattle 
belonging to the fort which seemed in good condition. All the meat 
used is brought from Sierra. It seems difficult to propagate cattle 
in this country. All the calves are born dead, or die soon after birth 
with a goitre or swelling in the neck. I had no opportunity of investi- 
gating this ; but I saw afterwards, in an account of a missionary expe 
dition made by an Italian friar, Father Castrucci de Vernazza, to the 
Indians of the Pastaza, in 1846, "that cattle were raised with great 
difficulty about Mayobamba, on account of the ' subyacuro,' a species 
of worm, which introduces itself between the cuticle and cellular tissue, 
producing large tumors, which destroy the animal." 

The houses on the haciendas are built of small, rough hewn, upright 
posts, with rafters of the same forming the frame, which is filled in with 
wild cane (caiia brava,) and thatched with a species of narrow leafed 
palm, which is plaited over a long pole and laid athwart the rafters. 
The leaves lie, one set over the other, like shingles, and form an effectual 
protection against the rain and sun ; though I should think the rain 
would beat in through the cane of the sides, as few of the houses are 
plastered. The commandant of the fort was anxious to have his build- 
ings tiled, as this palm thatch, when dry, is exceedingly inflammable ; 
and he felt that the buildings of the fort were in constant danger from 


the not distant fires of the savages. Seiior Zapatero told me that he 
had contracted with a workman to build him a large adobe house on 
his hacienda, well fitted with doors and windows of good wood, and 
tiled, to make it fire-proof, for eight hundred dollars. The same house 
in Tarma would cost him between three and four thousand, on account 
of the exceeding difficulty of getting the wood from the Montana. 
He is a Catalan, and seems a resolute fellow. He thinks that the gov- 
ernment may withdraw the troops from the fort at any time ; but says 
that he has four swivels, which he means to mount around his house ; 
and, as he has expended much labor and money on his hacienda, he will 
hold on to the last extremity, and not give up his property without a 

It is a pity that there are not more like him, for many acres of fine 
land are lying uncultivated in Chanchamayo on account of this fear ; 
and several of our Tarma friends offered us title deeds to large tracts of 
land there, because a feeling of insecurity regarding the stability of the 
government prevented them from expending time and money in the 
cultivation of them. Another such administration as that just closed 
under President Castilla will dissipate this apprehension ; and then, if 
the Peruvian government would invite settlers, giving them the means 
of reaching there, and appropriating a very small sum for their main- 
tenance till they could clear the forest and gather their first fruits, I 
have no doubt that fifty years would see settlements pushed to the 
navigable head waters of the Ucayali, and the colonists would find pur- 
chasers for the rich and varied products of their lands at their very 

June 23. — "\Ve started on the return to Tarma, accompanied by the 
commandant and his servant. We walked up a part of the hill at Rio 
Seco. This is very hard work. I could not stand it more than half 
way, and made the mule carry me over the rest. It takes one hour to 
ascend, and an hour and a quarter to descend. Camped at Utcuyacu. 

June 24. — Missing my saddle bags, which had some money in them, 
we sent Mariano, (our Tarma servant,) accompanied by the servant of 
the commandant, back to a place some distance the other side of the 
big hill, where the saddle bags had been taken off to adjust the saddle. 
He started at six ; we at eight, following our return track. We made 
the longest and hardest day's ride we had yet made ; and were much 
surprised at being joined by the servants with the saddle-bags by nine 
p. m. They must have travelled at least thirty-six miles over these 
terrible roads, crossing the big hill twice, and ascending quite two 
thousand feet. Gibbon did not believe it. He thought — and witli 


much probability — that the boy had hid the saddle-bags at Utciiyacii, 
and after we left there had produced them and followed in our track, 
persuading or bribing the soldier to keep the secret. The commandant, 
however, thought his servant incorruptible, and that this was no great 
feat for these people. 

One of our peons carried on his back, for a whole day, (fifteen miles,) 
a bundle of alfalfa that Gibbon could not lift with ease, and pronounced, 
upon trial, to be heavier than I am, or upwards of one hundred and 
twenty-five pounds. 

June 26. — Discharged Mariano because we could not trust him. 
Though clever and active, he is neglectful and dishonest. We thought 
it rather hard that the "Cura" should have recommended him to us, 
as his character was notorious in the town. We believed that the 
"Cura," with the people generally, was glad to get rid of him, and 
was disposed to palm him off on any body. 

We delighted the Tarma people with our favorable reports of the 
Chanchamayo, and they loaded us with civilities and kindness. They 
did not like the idea of my visiting the Montana of Pozuzu and Mayro; 
and seemed to fear that I might find there a better communicatioD 
with the Amazon. 



Division of the party — Acobamba — Plain of Junin — Lake Chiuchaycocha — Pres- 
ervation of potatoes — Cerro Pasco — Drainage of the mines — Boliches. 

Gibbon and I bad long and earnest consultations about tbe propriety 
of dividing tbe party; and I now determined to do so, giving to bim tbe 
task of exploring tbe Bolivian tributaries, wbile I took tbe beadwaters 
and main trunk of the Amazon. It was a bold, almost a rasb determi- 
nation, for tbe party seemed small enough as it was; and we might 
readily encounter difficulties on our route which would require our 
united exertions to overcome. I had many misgivings, and told Gibbon 
at first that it seemed midsummer madness ; but tbe prospect of cover- 
ing such an extent of territory ; of being enabled to give an account of 
countries and rivei-s so little known ; and the reflection that I need not 
abandon routes that I had looked upon with a longing eye, were so 
tempting that they overrode all objections ; and we set about making 
our preparations for tbe separation. 

We divided tbe equipage, the tocuyo, or cotton cloth, (which we had 
not yet touched,) tbe hatchets, the knives, the beads, the mirrors, tbe 
arms and ammunition. I gave Gibbon fifteen hundred dollars in money, 
and all the instruments, except some thermometers and the boiling-point 
apparatus, because I was to travel a route over Avbich sextants and 
chronometers had been already carried ; and he might go where these 
had never been. I directed him to hire a guide in Tarma, and, so soon 
as Richards (who was still sick) should be able to travel, to start for 
Cuzco, and search for the headwaters of the "Madre de Dios." 

On tbe 29th, we dined with General Otero, this being his wife's birth- 
day and festival of St. Peter. The General, being an Argentine born, 
gave us the national dish — the celebrated came con cuero, or beef, sea- 
soned with spices, and roasted under ground in the hide, which is said 
to preserve its juices, and make it more palatable. I observed that tbe 
soups and the stews were colored with ^^achotey This is the urucic 
of the Brazilians, of which the dye called annatto is made. It grows 
wild in great abundance all over the Montana, and is extensively used 
by the Indians for painting their bodies and dyeing their cotton cloths. 
It is a bush of eight or ten feet in height, and bears a prickly burr like 


our chincapin. This burr contains a number of small red seeds, the skin 
or covering of which contains the coloring matter. 

The General gave us some " quinua,''^ the seed of a broom-like bush, 
which, boiled in milk, makes a pleasant and nutritious article of food. 
The grains are something like rice, though smaller, and contain a sort 
of mucilaginous matter. He also gave us some flower seeds, and valua- 
ble specimens of silver ore from his mines at Cerro Pasco. He has large 
flocks of sheep, the wool of which he sends to Lima; and has introduced 
the Merino, which thrives. He gave us some asbestos from Cuzco, and 
stalactites from a cave on a sheep farm, which, he says, the sheep are 
fond of licking, and which Von Tschudi pronounced to contain Epsom 
salts. I could detect no taste, and thought it a kind of magnesia. We 
parted from our agreeable host and kind friend with regret. 

July 1. — I started at noon with Ijurra and Mauricio, accompanied 
by Gibbon and Captain Noel, with one of the Seiiores, Sta. Marias. At 
General Otero's gate, Noel left us. A very pleasant gentleman this; 
and I shall long remember his kindness. Soon after, Gibbon and I 
lingered behind the company; and at the entrance of the valley of 
the Acobamba, which route I was to take, we shook hands and parted. 
I had deliberated long and painfully on the propriety of this separation; 
I felt that I was exposing him to unknown perils ; and I knew that I 
was depriving myself of a pleasant companion and a most efficient 
auxiliary. My manhood, under the depressing influence of these feel- 
ings, fairly gave way, and I felt again that ^'■hysterico passio^^ that 
swelling of the heart and filling of ihe eyes, that I have so often been 
called upon to endure in parting from my gallant and generous com- 
rades of the navy. 

He returned to make the necessary arrangements for his expedition. 
We crossed the Chanchamayo by a stone bridge, and passed through 
the village of Acobamba. This town contains about fifteen hundred 
or two thousand inhabitants; but, like all the towns in the Sierra at 
this season, it appears deserted — no one in the streets, and most of the 
doors closed. The road is a steady and tolerably smooth ascent of the 
valley, which is narrow, pretty, and well cultivated. As usual, the hills 
facing the north are bare and rugged ; those facing the south present 
more vegetation, but this is scant. Cactus and long clump grass run to 
within two-thirds of the top, and then the rock shoots perpendicularly 
up in naked majesty. 

Three miles above Acobamba we passed the village of Picoi, which 
has its plaza, church and cemetery, with about one hundred houses. 

Six miles further brought us to Palcamayo, a village of one thousand 


inhabitants, belonging to the "Doctrina" of Acobamba. A justice of 
the peace, a good-looking Indian, whom we encountered sitting at the 
door of a grog-shop in the plaza, conducted us to the house of the 
alcalde. We found this worthy drunk, and asleep on the floor, and 
were much annoyed with the attentions of another individual, who had 
a very dirty poultice on his jaws; this was his worship's secretary, who 
was in little better condition than his patron. Two drunken ^'•regidores''' 
came in to see us ; and it seemed that all the magistracy of Palcamayo 
had been "on a spree." They required the money of us before they 
would get us or our cattle anything to eat. 

It would be difficult to find a clearer sky and a pur^r atmosphere 
than we had here. The sky, at twilight, looked white or gray, rather 
than blue; and I thought it was cloudy until my eye fell upon the 
young moon, w^ith edges as distinct and clear as if it were cut out of silver, 
and near at hand. The elevation of Palcamayo is ten thousand five 
hundred and thirty-nine feet above the level of the sea. 

July 2. — Thermometer, at 6 a. m., 37; clear and calm. Three miles 
above Palcamayo we left the maize and alfalfa, and encountered potatoes 
and barley. The road a league above this point turns sharp to the 
westward, and ascends a steep and rugged "cwe^^a." This brought us 
out upon a small plain, bounded by low hills, and dotted with smail 
detached houses, built of stone and covered with conical roofs of straws 
They w^ere circular, and looked like bee-hives. The plain was covered 
with a short grass, and many tolerably looking cattle and sheep were 
feeding on it. A small stream, coming from the westward, ran through 
its midst. The water had been carried by a canal half-way up the sides 
of the hills that bounded the plain to the northward, so as to enable the 
people to irrigate the whole plain. Where the water had broken 
through the canal, and spread itself over the side of the hill, it had 
frozen, and the boys were amusing themselves sliding down it. 

At the w^estern edge of the plain is the village of " Cacas^^ of two 
hundred and fifty or three hundred inhabitants. The people were cele- 
brating the festival of St. Peter, for they are not particular about days. 
The church was lighted and decorated with all the frippery that could 
be mustered; and preparations were making for a great procession. 
There were two Indians, or Meztizos, dressed in some old-fashioned 
infantry uniform, with epaulets ; flaming red sashes, tied in monstrous 
bows behind, and white gloves. (The cocked hats, for size and varie- 
gated plumage, beggar description.) These w^ere evidently the military 
part of the procession; one was mounted on a little shaggy nag, with 
his sword hanging on the right-hand side ; and the other was strutting 


about, nearly buried in his cocked bat. while just fourteen men were 
employed in caparisoning his horse. The drinking had already com- 
menced ; most of the population were getting drunk fast, and I have no 
doubt there was a grand row that night. 

Drinking seems a very general vice amongst the inhabitants of these 
wei, cold, and highly-elevated plains. The liquor is invariably the Pisco 
or lea brandy, made in that province. It is pleasant to the taste and 
of good quality. In the Montana we had often occasion to regret the 
exchange of this for new-made cane rum. 

The hills that bound the plain on the west have two salt springs, 
from which the inhabitants of the village get their salt by evaporation. 
The hill over which we rode is called the " Caesta de la Veta^'' because 
travellers suffer from this sickness in passing it. As I had felt nothing 
of it, even at the Pass of Antarangra, I watched very closely for any 
symptoms of it here; but perceived none, though I sucked a cigar all 
the way to the top. The road to the top of the Cuesta is about three 
miles in length, and its ascent brought us to the historical plain of 
Junin, where Bolivar, on the 6th of August, 1824, gave the Spaniards 
a heavy and very nearly conclusive overthrow. Half an hour's ride 
over the plain brought into view the Western Cordillera, the Lake Chin- 
chaycocha, and the pyramid erected by Mariano Rivero (then prefect 
of the province) to commemorate the battle. It stands otf to the left 
of the road about a league, and is at the foot of a little hill, where the 
liberator stood to direct the fight ; it is white, and seemed seventy or 
eighty feet high. Our day's ride of eighteen miles brought us to the 
town of Junin, where we took lodgings in the house of the governor ; 
more drunken people there. 

July 3. — Junin is a village of one thousand inhabitants, situated 
about a mile and a half from the southern extremity of the lake 
Chinchaycocha, and twelve thousand nine hundred and forty-seven 
feet above the level of the sea. This lake is twenty miles long, in 
a N. W. and S. E. direction, and has an average breadth of about 
six miles. It is said to discharge its waters into the Amazon by the 
river of Jauxa, which we crossed at Oroya, and which is a tributary of 
the Ucayali. 

The inhabitants of Junin, and the other towns of this plain, are herds- 
men. They raise cattle for the supply of Cerro Pasco and Tarma, and 
mules for beasts of burden. Their houses are built of mud and straw ; 
and they eat mutton and macas^ (a root of the potato kind, but looking, 
and when boiled tasting, more like a turnip.) The people of these 
regions find it very difficult to procure vegetables, as quinua and barley 


will not grain, nor potatoes grow, in the wet soil and cold atmosphere 
of the plain. They therefore have to resort to means for preserving the 
potato and its varieties, which are got from the valleys of the Andes. 
These means are, generally, drying and freezing; and they make a 
variet)^ of preparations from the potato in this way. The macas are 
simply exposed to the frost and sun for a number of days, and then 
put away in a dry room. The inhabitants make a sort of soup or sirup 
of them, the smell of which, Rivero says, "is a little disagreeable to 
people unaccustomed to it," (it is really very ojffensive;) and it is the 
general opinion that it is a stimulant to reproduction. 

" Caya" is made from the oca and the mashua^ (a variety of the oca,) 
by putting them in v/ater till they rot, and then exposing them to the 
sun and cold. This, when cooked, smells worse than the macas, and 
no stomach but that of an Indian or a beast could possibly tolerate it. 

There are two kinds of "c/m?zo." One (the black) is made from the 
common potato by soaking it some days in water, then pressing it to 
express all the moisture, and freezing it. The white (called moray) is 
made from a large, bitter potato, which abounds in the departments of 
Junin, Cuzco, and Puno. The potatoes are put in water, in a bag, at 
the setting of the sun, and taken out before sunrise. This operation is 
carried on for fifteen or twenty days. It is an especial condition of this 
chuno's turning out well that it shall be put in water after sunset, and 
taken out before sunrise ; for, if it is touched by the sun, it immediately 
turns black. It is then pressed and exposed to the sun for a few days. 

" Chochoca^'' is the common potato, first cooked and peeled, and then 
frozen. This and the chuno are healthy and nutritive articles of diet. 

I quote these means of preserving the potato and its varieties from 
Rivero, who thinks that these articles of food will, in time, become of 
great importance, particularly in the supply of the army and navy, and 
for long journeys or voyages ; and that if the European nations knew 
of these productions, and the means of preserving them, they would 
draw great advantages from the knowledge. 

The plain, about forty-five miles long, and from six to twelve broad, 
is generally wet, and in some places marshy. The soil is gravelly, with 
a light covering of mould, producing a short grass, scarcely adequate for 
the support of the flocks, which are indeed of small size, but sometimes 
fat and good. A great number of large beautiful waterfowl, including 
the scarlet flamingo and several varieties of snipe, frequent the banks of 
the lake and marshy places. The people cut their supply of fuel from 
the turf of the bog?, in the dry, and stack it up for use in the rainy 
season. There is said to be much thunder and lip^htning here at the 

A TAMBO. 95 

commencement of the rainy season, (about the first of October,) and 
the h'ghtning frequently falls on a hill about four miles to the eastward 
of the town, where the inhabitants say there is much loadstone. The 
plain is about thirteen thousand feet above the level of the sea. It has 
a gentle slope downwards fi-om w^est to east. I found the difference in 
elevation (by temperature of boiling water) between the villages of Junin 
and Ninaccaca (the latter about twenty miles to the west of the former) 
to be four hundred and forty-five feet. 

The road onward from Junin runs not far from the banks of the lake. 
On the left we had the grand snow-covered domes and pinnacles of the 
Western Cordillera sleeping in the sunlight, while clouds and storm 
enveloped the Eastern. About 2 p. m., a breeze from the northward 
brought some of the storm down upon us. It snowed fast ; the flakes 
were small and round, like hail, but soft and white. The thermometer, 
which was 54 at the commencement of the storm, fell, during its 
continuance of ten minutes, to 46. We found an overcoat very com- 

About fifteen miles from Junin we passed the village of Carhuamayo. 
Here I saw the only really pretty face I have met with in the Sierra, 
and bought a glass of pisco from it. The road between Junin and Car- 
huamayo is a broad and elevated one, built of stones and earth by the 
Spaniards. Without this the plain would be impassable in the rainy 
season. Six miles further we stopped at the tambo of Ninaccaca. 

July 4. — The village of Ninaccaca, of two or three hundred inhabit- 
ants, lies ofi" to the right of the road, on which the tambo is situated, 
about half a mile. I would have gone there, but I was desirous of 
sleeping in a tambo, for the purpose of testing the accounts of other 
travellers who complain so bitterly of them. We were fortunate 
enough to have the tambo to ourselves, there being no other travelleis ; 
and I had quite as comfortable a time as in the alcalde's house at Pal- 
camayo, or in that of the governor of Junin. My bed is generally 
made on the baggage in the middle of the floor; while Ijurra takes to 
the mud standing bed-places which are to be found in every house. 
Last night I woke up, and finding him very uneasy, I asked " if he had 
fleas up there." He replied, with the utmost sang-froid^ and as if he 
were discussing some abstract philosophical question with which he had 
no personal concern whatever, that "this country was too cold for fleas, 
but that his bed-place was full of lice." It made my blood run cold; 
but long before I got out of the mouth of the Amazon I was eflectually 
cured of fastidiousness upon this or any similar subject. 

We were somewhat annoyed by the attentions of the master of the 

96 PASCO. 

house, who was very drunk. His wife told us next morning that he 
came near kiUing her with liis knife, and would infallibly have beaten 
her, but that she told him " those strangers were soldiers, and would 
shoot him if he did." Her naive way of telling how she managed the 
man, and got oflf from the beating, was quite amusing. The accent of 
these people is a sort of sliding drawl that makes every voice alike. 
They use an imperfect Quichna or Inca language, which I am told is 
only spoken perfectly in the neighborhood of Ouzco. 

Our route now approached the Western Cordillera fast. About three 
miles from the tambo the plain began to be broken into rolling hills. 
The direction of the road, which had been W. N. W., changed to 
N. W. by N., and crossed them. After crossing a range we stopped to 
breakfast at a collection of a few huts, where I was amused at an 
instance of the apathy of the people. A very common reply to the 
inquiry of the traveller if he can have such and such things, is ^^manam 
cancha,''^ (there is none ; we haven't it ) We rode up to the door of a 
hut, the mistress of which was sitting " knitting in the sun" at the back 
of it. She heard our horses' tread, and too lazy to change her position, 
without seeing us or ascertaining if we wanted anything, she screamed 
out "manam cancha." Ijurra abused her terribly; and we had our 
water boiled (which was all we wanted) at another hut. The Vlada 
pass of the Cordillera, which is generally crossed by travellers between 
Lima and Cerro Pasco, was in view from this place, bearing S. 30° W. 
Immediately after starting, we began passing haciendas for the grinding 
of ores and getting out silver. They are situated on small streams that 
come from either the Eastern or Western Cordillera, and that find their 
w-ay into Lake Chinchaycocha. They all seem dry at this season; 
and none of the haciendas are at work. Passed the old village of 
Pasco. This was once the great mining station, but, since the discovery 
of the mines at the Cerro, it is falling into decay. Three miles from this 
the country becomes more hilly and rocky, losing the character of 
Pampa. The passage of a low, but abrupt chain of hills, brings the 
traveller in view of Cerro Pasco. The view from this point is a most 
extraordinary one. I can compare it to nothing so fitly as the looking 
from the broken and rugged edges of a volcano into the crater beneath. 
The traveller sees small houses, built, without regard to regularity, on 
small hills, with mounds of earth and deep cavities in their very midst; 
and mud chimneys of ancient furnaces, contrasting strikingly with the 
more graceful funnel of the modern steam engine; the huge cross 
erected on the hill of Sta. Catalina, near the middle of the city, which 
his fancy may suppose placed there to guard, with its holy presence, 



the untold treasures beneath ; two beautiful little lakes, only divided 
by a wide causeway at the southern extremity of the crater, and another 
embedded among the hills to the westward ; hills (on one of which he 
stands) of five hundred feet in height, with bold white heads of rock, 
surrounding these ; and the magnificent Cordillera from the right and 
left overlooking the whole. 

These are the objects that strike the eye of the traveller at his first 
view. As he rides down the hill, he sees the earth open everywhere 
with the mouths of mines now abandoned ; he is astonished at their 
number, and feels a sense of insecurity as if tlie whole might cave in at 
once and bury him quick. He rides into the narrow, ill-paved streets 
of the city, and, if he can divert his attention for a moment from the 
watching of his horse's footsteps, he will observe the motliest population 
to be met with anywhere out of the dominions of the Sultan. I believe 
that he may see, in a single ride through the city, men of all nations, 
and of almost every condition ; and if he don't see plenty of drunken 
people, it will be a marvel. 

I was delighted when we turned into the patio of the house of the 
sub-prefect of the province, Don Jose Mier y Teran, and escaped the 
rude stare and drunken impertinence of the Indians, thronging the 
streets, and doors of the grog-shops. This gentleman, whose kindness 
we had experienced at Tarma, gave us quarters in his house, and pressed 
us to make ourselves at home, to which his blunt, abrupt, aud evidently 
sincere manners particularly invited. 

After a wash, to which the coldness of the weather and the water by 
no means invited, I put on my uniform in honor of the day, and went 
out to see Mr. Jump, director of the machinery, and Mr. Fletcher, an 
employe of the Gremio, (Board of Miners,) to whom I brought letters 
of introduction from Lima. These gentlemen received me with great 
cordiality. Mr. Jump offered me a room in his house, and Mr. Fletcher 
handed me a number of letters from friends at home, at Lima, and at 
Santiago. These letters were cordial medicines to me ; I had arrived 
cold, sick, and dispirited, and but for them should have passed the first 
night of mental and physical suffering that I had been called upon to 
endure since leaving Lima. 

Juli/ 6.— Rain nearly all night ; I was cold and sick, and sat by the 
fire all day, trying to keep myself warm. The houses in Cerro Pasco 
are generally built of stones and mud, and covered in with tiles or straw ; 
most of them have grates, with mud chimneys, and are plentifully sup- 
plied with good coal, both bituminous and hard. Mier says that if the 



place owes nothing else to the Pasco Peruvian Company, it owes it (at 
least) a debt of gratitude for the introduction of the grates. I found, 
however, very little comfort in them ; for the houses are so open about 
the doors and windows, that while my toes were burning, my back was 
freezing; and one has to be constantly twisting round, like a roasting 
turkey, to get anything of their benefit. My companion, Ijurra, w^hose 
fathers were rich miners and powerful men in these parts, had many 
visitors. The talk of the company was of nothing but the mines, and 
incessant was the complaining (which I have heard elsewhere) of the 
miseries and uncertainties of the miner's life. All seem to agree that it 
is a sort of gambling, in which most lose ; but there is the same sort of 
feverish infatuation in it that there is in gaming with cards, and the 
unlucky player cannot but persevere, in the hope that the luck will 
change, and that the hoya (striking the rich vein,) like " the bullets and 
bragger oldest," will come at last. 

I went out with Mr. Jump to look at the town. It was a most curious 
looking place, entirely honey-combed, and having the mouths of mines 
(some two or three yards in diameter) gaping everywhere. From the 
top of the hill called Sta. Catalina, the best view is obtained of the 
whole. Vast pits, called " Tojos^'' surround this hill, from which many 
millions of silver have been taken ; and the miners are still burrowing, 
like so many rabbits, in their bottoms and sides. I estimate that the tajo 
of Sta. Ptosa is six hundred yards long, by four hundred broad and sixty 

deep ; those of the ^^ Descubridora^^ and are about half as large. 

The hill of Sta. Catalina is penetrated in every direction ; and I should 
not be surprised if it were to cave in any day, and bury many in its ruins. 
The falling in of mines is of frequent occurrence; that of ^^ Mata-gente'^ 
(kill people) caved in years ago, and buried three hundred persons ; and 
four days ago a mine fell in and buried five: four have been recovered, 
but one is still incarcerated, and the people are now hard at work for 
him. We visited a machine-shop, and the hacienda for grinding ores 
by steam, that Mr. Jump is erecting near the city. I should think the 
hacienda would be a good speculation ; for the ores, which have now to 
be transported on the backs of mules and llamas for a distance of four, 
five, or six miles to the haciendas, may be taken to this by a railroad 
in a few minutes ; and Mr. Jump believes that he shall have water 
enough for his boilers all the year ; whereas the other haciendas cannot 
grind for more than three parts of the year. The cost of the machinery, 
which is cast in England, in parts equal to a mule-load, and transported 
from Lima on the backs of these animals ; the pay of machine and 


engine drivers ; tlie digging of ditclies for the supply of water ; fuel ; and 
all such expenses to which the other haciendas are not subject, I could 
not well calculate. 

Mr. Fletcher, who has lived a long time in Cerro Pasco, says that a 
purchaser of the ores (making sure of his "^mzos" or experiments on 
the yield of the ore) can count "his gains as easily and certainly as he 
can the dollars in his pocket ; that those men who lose are either the 
lazy and the careless, or the speculators and lookers after rich ores, 
to make a fortune at once. The most common and easily obtained 
ores here are called ^' cascojos.''^ They do not require roasting, as do the 
ores at Parac ; but otherwise the silver is got out in the same manner 
as I have described it to be at that place. Instead, however, of the 
gi'ound ore being placed in. small piles, and, after being mixed with salt 
and mercury, trodden with the feet, and worked with hoes as it is at 
Parac, a large quantity is placed in a circular enclosure, with a stone 
floor and mud wall, and it is trodden with horses (as we used in old 
times to "tread wheat" in Virginia) until the amalgamation is com- 
pleted. The general yield of the cascajos is six marks to the caxon. 
Their cost, according to the hardness of the rock in which they are 
enclosed, or their distance from the surface, is from six to sixteen dollars. 
Here is a calculation to show that, even at their highest price, of sixteen 
dollars, (being assured by the guia that the caxon will yield six marks,) 
their working, or benificiation, as it is called here, will pay. The com- 
plete amalgamation in the " circo,^^ or circle, requires from forty to fifty 

Dr. Circo of six caxones, a 816 caxon - - - - $96 00 
150 mule loads, (transportation to the hacienda,) a 25 

cents 37 50 

Grinding, a $10 60 00 

Magistral, (calcined iron pyrites,) 1 arroba - - - 1 00 

40 arrobas of salt, a 50 cents 20 00 

5 tramplings by horses, a $5 25 00 

Working and washing the amalgam - - - - 1150 
Loss of 35 lbs. quicksilver, a$l 35 00 

286 00 
Cr. 6 caxones, at 6 marks caxon, 36 marks. (Mark is worth 

in Cen-o Pasco $8 50) 306 00 


I had this statement from Mr. Jump. I did not examine it at the 
time, but I observed afterwards thai there is no charge for driving oflf 
the mercury of the amalgam, and leaving the pure silver, which is 
worth eight dollars and fifty cents the mark. This would amount to 
six dollars more, leaving the profit to the purchaser, for the two months 
that he has been engaged in getting his silver, but fourteen dollars. 
This, of course, is but a poor business ; for, though any quantity of the 
ore maybe purchased, there are not ha(iiendas enough to grind, or circos 
to amalgamate, a sufiicient quantity to- make the speculation good ; and 
thus many millions of this ore are lei't unworked. The ore, however, 
rarely costs sixteen dollars, and will frequently give seven or eight 
marks to the caxon. 

Statement showing the cost of a mark of silver placed on board ship 
for exportation : 

Cost of a mark of pina in the Cerro |8 50 

Impost for steam machines for pumping water from the mines. 

(This has been 12^ cents, and soon will be 50 cents) - - 25 

Socabon (or great drain) duty 12-J 

Public works H 

Government or export duty 50 

Mineral tribunal duty 12-J 

Loss in running the pina into bars 12|- 

Carriage to Lima, and other petty expenses - - - - 6^ 

Profit of the purchaser in the Cerro 37-J 

10 124- 

Twelve dwts. is the standard of pure silver in the mint at Lima. All 
the bars that go from this place are marked 11.22. They are assayed 
in Lima. If they come up to that standard they are worth $8.6'746 the 
mark. For every grain under this 11.22 there is a deduction in the 
price of .0303 of a dollar. 

To-day there was a meeting of the gremio, to take into consideration 
a question that had arisen whether the contractors for putting up the 
steam machinery for draining the mines had fulfilled their part of the 
contract. A short history of the draining of these mines may not be 
uninteresting, and will at all events put persons on their guard how they 
make contracts with miners. 

The mines of Cerro Pasco were discovered in 1630, by an Indian 
making a fire on some stones and observing melted silver. They were 
worked, with little or no drainage, and with great success, up to the 


year 1*780, when the socahon (or drain) of San Judas was commenced. 
This is a great ditch of five and a half feet in "breadth and six feet ten 
inches in height, which drains the mines into the lake of San Judas. 
Its length is about thirty -five hundred feet, and it cost one hundred 
thousand dollars. It was finished in 1800. This would drain, by 
percolation, all the mines above it. For those below it, it was necessary 
to pump the water up by hand. This was found so inefiicient a means, 
(the socabon also not being suflSciently large,) that in 1806 the gremio 
commenced the construction of the socabon of Quiulacocha, eighty- 
eight feet below that of San Judas, six feet ten inches broad, and eight 
feet three inches high. The work is continued upon it to this day. 
The part that I saw is arched, well walled with solid masonry, and the 
water rushes through it like a small river. Many lumhreras^ or light 
holes, are sunk down upon it in various directions to give light and air, 
and to carry into the socabon the drainage of the neighboring mines. 

In 1816, the gremio contracted with two Spaniards, Abadia and 
Arismendi, for the drainage of the mines by steam machinery. These 
persons put up three steam machines for working pumps, and the results 
were very happy, the ores being found much richer the farther down the 
mines reached. The war of independence broke them up ; their miners 
being taken away for soldiers, and their machines used up for horse-shoes. 

In 1825, an English company, styling itself the '■^ Pasco Peruvian^'' 
undertook the drainage. This company contracted to be paid in ores, 
which they were to beneficiate themselves. They were never fairly paid. 
They employed English oflScials and operatives at high salaries; and 
after having dug one hundred and ten feet, at a cost of forty thousand 
dollars, between September, 1825, and January, 1827, they failed. The 
government then took it up, and gave two thousand dollars monthly 
towards the work, the miners also taxing themselves twelve and a half 
cents on the mark of silver obtained. Rivero took charge of the work, 
and from the first of June, 1827, to the first of January, 1828, he per- 
forated one hundred and twenty-two feet in the socabon, the workmen 
finding powder and candles, and he supplying tools. In an oflicial state- 
ment, afterwards made by Rivero, he shows that to excavate a vara cost 
him eighty-six dollars, while it cost the Pasco Peruvian Company one 
thousand dollars ; though he says that in the lumbrera of Sta. Rosa the 
Pasco Peruvian Company found the rock so hard that twelve men could 
not perforate more than half a vara a month. The socabon at present 
is eight thousand two hundred and fifty feet long, and three hundred 
feet below the surface. About a million of dollars have been spent upon 
it, though it is said it has not really cost so much. 


A few years ago it was determined to try steam again, for tlie pur- 
pose of carrying on the mining below the great drain, and the gi-emio 
contracted with Mr. Jump to undertake it. He bound himself to put up 
four sets of engines, to work those engines for a year at his own expense, 
and then turn them over to the gremio; the gremio, on the other hand, 
binding itself to sink the shafts and to pay weekly twelve and a half 
cents on every mark of silver produced by the mines for a certain length 
of time, then twenty-five, and then fifty cents, till six hundred thousand 
dollars were paid. 

The work is carried on with unexampled despatch on the part of Mr. 
Jump, so that now two sets of engines are at work, a third is going up, 
and the fourth has arrived from England, though the shaft is not yet 
ready for it. But there are two parties in the gremio, representing 
distinct interests. One party, of which General Bermudez (at the time 
of making the contract prefect of the department and ex-oflScio president 
of the gremio) is the leader, represents the speculative men, who look 
for " boyas," and think that great and sudden riches are to be had by 
draining the mines below the socabon. The other party (and the 
majority) represents the men who, content with moderate and certain 
gain, work the cascajos which are generally above the drain, and there- 
fore need no machinery. These men were probably borne down by 
the influence of Bermudez during his prefecture, and a majority was 
obtained for the contract; but since his retirement they rise up and say, 
" It is a hard case that we should contribute to pay for machines that 
do us no good ;" and they seek for means to avoid this. They find it in 
the wording of the contract; and although they see that the machines 
are doing, and more than doing, the work required, they take advantage 
of the wording, and raise the question now under consideration. The 
words of the contract are, that "he, the contractor, shall bind himself to 
put up four sets of engines, each set to consist of two engines of fifteen- 
horse power each, and to drive three pumps ; each engine to be entirely 
independent of the other in such a manner that, if an accident happen 
to one engine, the other shall be able to drive two pumps." 

I thought, from examination of the engines, that a case might occur 
whereby the wording of the contract would fail to be fulfilled; but it 
seemed to me that this arose from the nature of the contract, and was 
not at all chargeable on Mr. Jump ; for it appears to me that, for two 
engines to drive three pumps, and in such a manner that if one breaks 
the other may drive two, it is necessary to have a connexion between 
those engines, which connexion breaking, although either engine may 
be intact and able to drive its own pump, (thus keeping two pumps 


going,) yet the engines must stop to repair the connexion, so as to 
drive all three again. That the pretended objection is a quibble, may- 
be seen from the fact that the engines keep the shafts clear with 
only two pumps, and do not work the third ; but I suspect that news 
recently received from Lima of the discovery of large quicksilver mines 
in California, which would bring down the price of that article one-half, 
and double the value of the cascajos, (thus still diminishing the necessity 
for drainage,) had something to do with the movement. A committee 
of the gremio, appointed for the investigation of the matter, did report 
in favor of stopping the payments ; but before this was decided upon, 
some rich ores were discovered by the operation of the pumps. This 
changed their tune, for, although they now only work the ores above the 
socabon, they may, if they choose, penetrate below it; and if these 
machines should show conclusively that there are richer ores below, 
they of course would be glad to have them, and the gremio, therefore, 
(including even some of the members of the committee,) voted that the 
works and the payments should continue, and the matter should be 
arbitrated. I of course get my knowledge and views pretty much from 
I!^lr. Jump, one of the parties ; but I meet at his house and elsewhere 
with men of the opposite party, and hear the matter very fully discussed, 
I would have advised Mr. Jump, in any other country, to reject arbitra- 
tion and appeal to the law; but the less a man has to do with law in 
this country the better, not so much on account of its ill administration 
as of its vexatious delay. 

I removed from the sub-prefect's house to that of Mr. Jump, Ijurra 
staying with his relations, and Mauricio and the mules at board. 

The "caZ^ana," or smelting-house, where the "pina" is run into bars, 
is a government establishment, and is farmed out. All the produce of 
the mines has to pass through it; is here run into bars, weighed, 
stamped, and the duties charged upon it. It is very rude in its ap- 
pointments, a mere straw-covered hut, with an iron smeltir g pot in the 
middle, mounted by arms, on two iron uprights like anvils. The pot 
melts at one operation, sufficient silver to make a bar of two hundred 
and fifty marks, or one himdred and twenty-five pounds. Alternate 
layers of piiia and charcoal are put in the smelting pot ; fire is applied, 
and air furnished by a rude bellows. When the silver is melted, the 
pot is turned on its arms, and the silver poured out of a sort of ear at 
the top of the pot into an iron mould below. From one and a half to 
one and three-fourths per cent, is lost in this operation ; much seems to 
be driven ofi" by the irregular and excessive heat, and the sides and roof 
of the hut are covered with a deposit of fine particles of silver, looking 


like frost. They are frequently swept ; I did not think to ask to whom 
these sweepings belong, but I imagine to the farmers of the " callana." 
The bars are marked with the number of the bar for the year, the num- 
ber of marks it contains, the initials of the owner, and the invariable 
11.22, which designates its "ley" or quality. 

Remittances of bars are made to Lima every week. Last week the 
remittance amounted to seven thousand five hundred marks — a large 
yield. Since my return, I cut from a Lima paper a letter from Cerro 
Pasco, of April, 1851, (a few months before the date of my visit,) in 
which the writer states the remittances for the week at eighteen bars, or 
four thousand five hundred marks. He says, "The drainage by steam is 
progressing rapidly. Another vein of ore has been discovered in the 
mine of Peiia Blanca, but I believe not very rich. The advices from 
Lima are constant that the quicksilver mines of California will yield a 
sufficient supply for Peru, at a price not exceeding fifty or sixty dollars 
the ^quintal,'' (or hundred pounds.) Should this be the case, there will 
be no need of suspending the working of the cascajos, as ore of six 
marks to the caxon, with quicksilver at seventy dollars the quintal, and 
piiia at eight dollars the mark, will leave fifty dollars of profit in the 
circo. The price of quicksilver at present is from one hundred to one 
hundred and seven dollars the quintal ; that of piiia, eight dollars and 
forty-three and three-fourth cents." 

The yield of these mines is about two millions a year, which is nearly 
equal to the yield of all the rest of the mines of Peru together. 

M. Castelnau makes a calculation from all the data within his reach, 
by which it appears that the yield of the mines of Cerro Pasco, since 
the date of their discovery in 1630 to the year 1849, amounts to about 
the sum of four hundred and seventy-five millions of dollars, which 
would give a yearly mean of about two millions one hundred and 
seventy thousand. 

About two hundred miles- to the southward and eastward of Cerro 
Pasco are situated the celebrated quicksilver mines of Huancavelica. 
The viceroys of the regal and the presidents of the republican gov- 
ernment have made many efforts to keep up the working of these 
mines, but of late years entirely without success. M. Castelnau 
states that their produce since the opening in 1*751 to the year 
1*789, inclusive, (since which time they have yielded nothing of 
importance,) has been one million forty thousand four hundred and 
fifty-two quintals, which, at a mean price of sixty-five dollars the 
quintal, will give the sum of sixty-seven million six hundred and 
twenty-nine thousand three hundred and eighty dollars. In the same 


time have bef.n expended on them ten million five hundred and eighty- 
seven thousand eight hundred and forty-five dollars. 

S. S. Rivero and Pierola formed a society in the year 1828 for the 
working of these mines, but the scheme fell through. Many other prop- 
ositions have been also made to the Peruvian government, since the 
independence, for the working of them, but have failed of success. The 
liberator (Bolivar) refused to sell them for a sum of six or seven hun- 
dred thousand dollars. (Castelnau, vol. 4, page 226.) 

T met a gentleman in Cerro Pasco who was then on his way to ex- 
amine and report upon the mines of Huancavelica. 

July 8. — Visited the mines. We entered a mouth which seemed 
only a little larger than that of a common well ; each of the party 
furnished with a tallow candle, shipped in an iron contrivance at the end 
of a staflf. The descent was disagreeable, and, to the tyro, seemed dan- 
gerous; it was at an angle of at least 75° from the horizontal line. The 
earth was moist, and the steps merely holes dug for the heels at irregu- 
lar distances. I feared every moment that my boot-heel would slip, and 
that I should "come with a surge" upon my next in advance, sending 
him and myself into some gulf profound. I was heartily glad when we 
got upon the apparently level and broad bank of the great socabon, 
and had made up my mind that I would tempt Providence no more. 
But, reflecting that I should never, probably, visit the mines of Cerro 
Pasco again, I took courage and descended one hundred and ten feet 
further, by an even Avorse descent than the former, to the bottom of the 
pump shafts. A burly and muscular Cornishman, whom I at first took 
to be a yankee, with a bit of candle stuck into a lump of mud in front of 
his hat, was superintending here, and growling at the laziness and ineflS- 
ciency of his Indian subordinates. I should think that these pumps 
were not well attended to, so far from the eye of the master. They are 
worked by chains and long copper rods. All the metal work of the 
pumps is of copper. Iron is corroded very quickly, on account of the 
sulphuric acid and sulphates which the water of the mines holds in so- 
lution. The fish are said to have abandoned the lake of Quiulacocha, 
into which the waters are forced, on this account. The sides of the 
mines were covered in many places with beautiful sulphates of iron and 

Our exploration lasted about four hours ; and we emerged at the tajo 
of Sta. Rosa, where, seated upon piles of silver ore, we partook of some 
bread and cheese, and a glass of pisco, which we found as welcome and 
as grateful as manna in the desert. This freshened us up, and we went 
to see the " boliches." These are hand-mills, or rather foot-mills, for 


grinding ore ; generally owned by Frenchmen or Italians, who grind the 
ore that is brought to them in small quantities by the workmen in the 
mines. Rivero's account of their charges is amusing. He says : " One 
of these speculators commences with fifty dollars, (the value of a bo- 
liche,) and at the end of two or three years is known to be worth a 
fortune of eight or ten thousand dollars. He exacts from the workman 
in the mine, who brings it to him, fifty or sixty-two and a half cents for 
grinding a "car^a," which is a very uncertain measure — sometimes amul&- 
load, sometimes a man-load ; but in this case a small hamper-full. He 
charges twenty-five cents for the water used in the beneficiation, twelve 
and a half cents for the man who pours the water on, twelve and a half 
cents for him who breaks the ore into small bits for grinding, sixty-two 
and a half cents for the grinder, twelve and a half cents for the hole 
where the mass of ground metal is deposited, (and if this is boarded, he 
exacts twenty-five cents more,) and twelve and a half cents to clear the 
water out of it, twelve and a half cents for taking the metal out of this 
hole and putting it in a bull's hide, for the hire of which he charges 
twenty-five cents ; so that the hide will yield the decent sum of sixty or 
seventy dollars before it wears out and becomes useless. A hoe will 
give as much more, for the hire of which twelve and a half cents is 
charged, and six and a quarter cents besides for every time it is used in 
incorporating the mass. He gains at least fifty cents in every arroba 
of salt which he furnishes. For a pound of magistral, which is worth 
fifty cents, he exacts two dollars. He gains fifty cents in every pound 
of quicksilver; so that, calculating these expenses with regard to a 
caxon, they amount to about fifty dollars, which is just so much profit 
to the holichero. The ' relahes^ moreover, are his ; and tliey are fre- 
quently very valuable. He then expresses all the quicksilver from the 
pella that he can, and receives it of the workman at three pounds the 
mark, paying him six dollars and twenty-five cents ; by which negotia- 
tion he gains a mark in every nine, after the quicksilver is driven off by 
heat, bating to the workman at the same time half a pound in the ex- 
traction of the quicksilver. The workman is contented with all this, 
because, however little profit he makes, the ore which he delivered to the 
bolichero for grinding cost him nothing but the stealing." This, how- 
ever, is not always the case. The laborer frequently demands his wages 
in a portion of ore. Custom seems to give him this right ; and the pro- 
prietor of the mine complains, wdth justice, that he has to pay in ores 
when they are rich, and in money when the ores are poor. 

A boliche consists of a large flat stone laid on an elevated platform 
of rock or earth, and another, convex on its lower side, resting upon it. 


The grinder, standing upon this upper stone, spreads his feet apart, and 
gives it motion by the movement of his body. The bits of ore are 
placed between these stones, and a small stream of water from a barrel 
above mixes with the harina, and carries it off to a receptacle below. 
It may be imagined that, to draw any profit from so rude a contrivance 
as this, it is necessary that the ores ground by it should be of the richest 

The apparatus for driving off the mercury by heat is as rude as the 
boliche. The pella is placed in a kind of earthen jar or bottle made in 
the neighborhood, and worth from two to three reals. An iron tube, of 
about two yards long, is introduced into the mouth of the jar, which is 
then closed with a yellowish clay. The other end of this tube (which 
is bent) is put into an earthen jar half-full of water, where the fumes of 
the mercury are condensed. Fire is kindled around the earthen bottles 
which contain the pella, and continued for three or four hours, when the 
bottles are broken and the piiia taken out. 

The man who was buried by the falling in of one of the mines was 
got out yesterday. He seemed strong, though he had had no food for 
nearly seven days. He had lost the account of time, and thought he 
had been enclosed in the earth but three days. 

July 9. — Suffering to-day from an affection called macolca, which is 
incident to nearly every one on his first visit to the mines. This is a 
painful soreness of the muscles, particularly on the front of the thigh. 
I could scarcely bear that my legs should be touched, and locomotion 
was anything but agi'eeable. 

The town of Cerro Pasco is (by temperature of boiling water) thirteen 
thousand eight hundred and two feet above the level of the sea. Rivero 
states it at fourteen thousand two hundred and seventy-nine. The 
population varies from six to fifteen thousand souls, according to the 
greater or less yield of the mines. Most of the adult part of this popu« 
lation are, of course, engaged in mining. This seems to be a calling 
that distorts much the moral perception, and engenders very confused 
ideas of right and wrong. The lust for money-making seems to have 
swallowed up all the finer feelings of the heart, and cut off all the 
amenities of society. There are no ladies — at least I saw none in 
society ; and the men meet to discuss the mines, the probable price of 
quicksilver, and to slander and abuse each other. There seems to be 
no religion here even in form. The churches are mere barns, going to 
decay ; and I saw no processions or religious ceremonies. Smyth saw 
a procession in 1834, but I should doubt if there had been one of these 


contemptible mockeries since. Not that the people are getting better, 
but that their love of gain is swallowing up even their love of display. 
Rivero speaks of the wretched condition of society, and tells of drunk- 
enness, gaming, assassination, and bad faith, as of things of common 

I met with much kindness on the part of the few gentlemen whose 
acquaintance I made, particularly on that of the sub-prefect, who lodged 
me in his house, and, by his frank and sincere manner, made me 
feel at home ; and I do not say that men here are individually bad ; 
but only speak of the philosophical fact that mining, as an occupation, 
has a tendency to debase men's characters, and destroy those sensibili- 
ties and affections that smooth and soften the rugged path of life. 
Moreover, I don't speak half so badly of them as they do of them- 
selves ; for one, if he were to seek it, might easily hear that every 
individual in the Cerro was a rascal. 

The climate of this place is exceedingly uncomfortable, and I should 
suppose unhealthy. I could not sleep between sheets, but preferred 
"the wollens," with an abundance of them. Rivero states the mean 
temperature, during the months of July, August, and September, at 
44° in the day, and 35° at night. In these months there is an abund- 
ance of snow and hail, which lowers the thermometer considerably ; 
and even without these it goes down to 30° and 28° in August. From 
the middle of October to the end of April the climate is insupportable 
from the rains, tempests and lightnings, which almost every year cause 
damage. There is a period of fine weather from the middle of Decem- 
ber to the middle of January, called, in the poetic language and reli- 
gious turn of thought of the Spaniards, El verano del niiio, or the sum • 
mer of the child, from its happening about Christmas. The streams, 
which are fed from the rains of this country, invariably stop rising, and 
fall a little after this period. The temperature is so rigorous here that 
the hens do not hatch, nor the llamas procreate ; and women, at the 
period of their confinement, are obliged to seek a more genial climate, 
or their oftspring wUl not live. 

Persons recently arrived, particularly if they have weak lungs, suffer 
from affections of the chest and difficulty of breathing. The miners 
suffer paralysis from the sudden changes of temperature U) which they 
are exposed in and out of the mines, and from inhaling the fumes of 
the mercury in the operation of distilling. Those who suffer in this 
way are called azogados^ from azogue^ (quicksilver.) The most com- 
mon diseases are pleurisies, rheumatisms, and a putrid fever called 


tahardillo. Pleurisies are said to be cured by taking an infusion of 
mullaca, an herb whicb grows in the neighborhood. It has very small 
leaves, and gives a small, round, red fruit. 

There is no cultivation in this neighborhood, with the exception of a 
little barley, which gives no grain, but is cut for fodder. The mai'ket, 
however, is well supplied from Huanuco, and the neighboring valleys. 
Expenses of living are great, particularly where articles of luxury from 
the coast are used. 

July 12. — I visited some of the haciendas for grinding the ores. 
These mills are also rude. A horizontal water-wheel turns an upright 
axis, which passes up through a hole in the centre of the lower stone. 
The upper stone is bolted to the side of the axis, and is carried round 
on its edge upon the lower one. A very small stream of water trickles 
continually on the stones, and carries off the ground ore into a receptacle 
below, prepared for it, where the water drains off, and leaves the harina 
to be carried to the circo. A pair of stones will grind nearly a caxon 
a day. A stone of granite, nine feet in diameter, and twenty inches 
thick, costs, delivered, one hundred and thirty-five dollars. It will wear 
away in six or seven months so as to be unfit for an upper stone ; it 
then answers for a lower one. 

I had a visit from an enthusiastic old gentleman, the Intendente of 
Pozuzu^ who says that he is about to memoriahze Congress for funds 
and assistance to carry on a work which he has himself commenced — 
that is, the opening of a road from the Cerro (Hrect to Pozuzu, without 
taking the roundabout way by Huanuco. He says that he is prac- 
tically acquainted with the ground ; that it is nearly all pampa^ or plain ; 
(people told us the same thing of the road between Tarma and Chan- 
chamayo;) and that part of it is over a pajonal^ or grassy plain, where 
there will be no forest to clear. He says that when the road is opened 
from the Cerro to Pozuzu, and thence to Mayro^ (the head of naviga- 
tion on the Fachitea,) communication may be had and burdens carried 
between the Cerro and Mayro in four days ; also, that roads may run to 
the southward from Pozuzu, over a plain, by which the commerce of 
foreign couatries, coming up the Amazon, may reach Tarma, Jauxa, 
and all the towns of the Sierra. 

This is the day-dream of the Peruvians of that district. They know 
the difficulties of the Cordillera passage, and look earnestly to the east- 
ward for communication with the world. Though this gentleman is led 
away by his enthusiasm, and probably misstates, yet I think he is in 
the main correct; for between the Cerro and Mayro there is but one 
range of the Andes to pass to arrive at the Montana, (as is also the case 


between Tarma and Chancliamayo ;) whereas, by tbe route through 
Huanuco there are at least two, and these very broken, elevated, and 
rugged. I think that the Ucayali affords the best means of communi- 
cation with the interior of Peru, and my impression is that it is best 
approached by the way of Chanchamayo. I hinted this, but my friend 
hooted at the idea ; and I find the same jealousy in him that I found in 
the Tarma people. Both here and there they say it will be a great day 
for them when the Americans get near them with a steamer. 

July 13. — I had unfortunately selected a feast-day, and one, too, on 
which there was a regular bull fight, (the first that had been seen in the 
Cerro,) for my departure, and found great difficulty in getting off. The 
muleteers I had engaged were drunk at an early hour, and not making 
their appearance, I had to send the police after them. It is really 
emious to observe how enthely indifferent to the fulfilment of a promise 
these people are, and how very general the ^ace is. These muleteers 
had given me the strongest assurances that they would be at my door 
by daylight, and yet when they made the promise they had not the 
slightest idea of keeping it. The habit seems to be acquiesced in and 
borne with patience by even the true and promise-keeping English. 
My friend, Mr. Jump, did not sympathize in the least with my fretful- 
ness, and seemed surprised that I expected to get off. 

I desire to express my thanks to him, and the amiable members of 
his family, Mr. and Mrs. Biggs, for those kind attentions that cheer the 
heart and renew the energies of the worn wayfarer. 



Departure from Cerro Pasco — Mint at Quinua — San Rafael — Ambo — Quicacan — 
Huanuco — Cerro de Carpis — Chinchao valley — Huallaga river. 

By cajoling, and tlireats of appeal to tlie military, (a small military 
force is stationed here as a police,) we got our drunken vagabonds to 
"load up" and set off by balf-past 1 p. m. One of tbem gave us tbe 
slip at the outskirts of the town. The other wished to look him up, 
or at least to get the key of a tambo where two spare mules belonging 
to them were locked up ; but we would not hear of it ; and driving the 
loaded mules on, he was fain to follow. The deserter joined us at our 
stopping- pi ace for the night, but on finding the condition of things, he 
had to return to the Cerro for his missing beasts. 

Almost immediately on leaving the Cerro, and ascending the hills 
that encircled it on the north, we came in sight of the Eastern Andes, 
which is here a Cordillera, for it has many abrupt and snow-clad peaks. 
Close at hand, on the left, was a spot of marshy ground, which had 
some interest for us, as we were not to quit the waters which we saw 
trickling in tiny streams from it, until, swelled by many others, they 
pour themselves into the Atlantic by a mouth one hundred and eighty 
miles broad. This is the source of the Huallaga^ one of the head tribu- 
taries of the Amazon. 

Seven miles in a N. N. E. direction, and passing many haciendas for 
the grinding of ore, brought us to the village of Quinua^ where a mint 
was established several years ago, but is now abandoned. The machinery 
for coining is much better than any I have seen in South America. It 
was made by a Boston man, named Hacket, who also made nearly all 
the machinery for the sugar-mills near Huanuco. There are gold mines 
in this neighborhood, but I think they are not worked. This village is 
just at the point where, leaving the sterility of the Cerro, we fall in with 
bushes and flowers. 

Four miles further we stopped for the night at a hacienda called 
Chiquirin, which appears once to have been flourishing, but which is 
now nearly abandoned, being only tenanted by an old man to take care 
of the house. The bridge, which crossed the stream in front of the 
house, had had arched gateways at each end ; and a respectable-looking 
church occupied one side of the patio. A field or two of barley is all 
the cultivation now about it. Indeed, there seemed little room for 


more, for the hills on each side now began to close in and present the 
appearance of mountains ; and I have no doubt that, though still going 
down hill, we have begun to cross the second range of the Andes. We 
could get no supper at this place. I was tired enough to care little 
about it. Had Ijurra been with us, he would probably have found 
something ; but he was absent, having dropped the compass on the 
road and ridden back to look for it. The height of Chiquirin, by boil- 
ing point, is eleven thousand five hundred and forty-two feet above the 
level of the sea. 

July 14. — We had a pleasant ride down the valley, which opens a 
little and gives room for some cultivation. There were pinks and holy- 
hocks in the little gardens adjoining the cottages ; also cabbages, lettuce, 
and onions. W^e stopped to breakfast at Caxarmarquilla^ a village of 
some eight or ten houses. The cura received me hospitably, and gave 
me some breakfast. He told me there were one hundred aud fifty souls 
in the Doctrina. I should judge there were about thirty in the village. 
The rock of this district is red sandstone and conglomerate. At six miles 
further we passed a hacienda, where there were roses in bloom, and the 
flowering pea, with wheat on the hill-side, and a grist-mill ; also, alfalfa 
and maize. Immediately afterwards, a valley from the southward and 
eastward joined the one I was travelling in, bringing its stream of water 
to swell the Huallaga. Gypsum crops out of the hills on the road-side, 
making the roads white. Houses here are whitewashed with it. A 
mile further is the village of Huariaca^ a long, straggling place of one, 
and in some places two streets. It contains about seven or eight hun- 
dred inhabitants. I thought I saw more white people and more indus- 
try in this place than is common in the small Sierra towns. We met 
continually mules laden with tobacco, coca, and fruit, going from 
Huanuco and the Montana beyond it to the Cerro. We stopped, at 
half-past five, at ^San Rafael^ an Indian town of some two hundred and 
fifty souls, with a white lieutenant governor, and put up at his house. 

I had my bed made inside, instead of outside the house, which was a 
mistake, as I was "pigging in" with all the family; and from want of 
air, and villanous smell, expected to catch tabardillo before morning. 
The thermometer was at 62° at *? p. m., and I imagine did not fall 
lower than 50° during the night ; so that I could very well have slept 
outside, and advise all travellers to do so, providing themselves with 
warm bed-clothing. Here I was joined by Ijurra, whom I was very 
glad to see, and the delinquent arriero, with his two mules. The height 
of San Rafael, by boiling point, is eight thousand five hundred and fifty- 
one feet above the level of the sea. 



^Tv-eio del. 

Wa^ei ^W (m^aii s lith. Pbk 





"River o del 

"Wa^Tier IMS Sni^ansIithThilsL 


THE ROAD. 113 

July 15. — ^We got alfalfa for our mules, but it is now getting 
very scarce. The valley, after leaving San Rafael, is very narrow, and 
the road rises and falls along the bare flanks of the mountains. The 
character of the rock is a dark schist; the growth, willows — palma 
christi — maguey, (a species of cactus, with a very long, broad, yet 
sharp-pointed leaf,) which throws out from the centre of a clump of 
leaves a light stalk of three or four inches diameter at the base, and 
frequently thirty feet in height. This flowers towards the top, and bears 
a sort of nut-like fruit. The stem is much used for roofing houses, and 
the broad, thick leaves serve for thatch. 

We shot at condors hovering over a dead mule, and saw a small 
hawk of variegated and pretty plumage, of a species which we had 
before seen near Oroya. About ten miles from San Rafael we were 
crossing the highest part of the chain. An opening in the mountains 
to the right gave us a view of some splendid snow-clad peaks. After 
an hour's ride over a precipitous and broken path, rendered dangerous 
in some places by the sliding of the earth and soft rock from above upon 
it, we commenced a very sharp descent, which brought us, in fifteen 
minutes, to fruit-trees and a patch of sugar-cane on the banks of the 
stream. The sudden transition from rugged mountain peaks, where 
there was no cultivation, to a tropical vegetation, was marvellous. A 
few miles further on we crossed the boundary-line between the provinces 
of Pasco and Huanuco. The transition is agreeable, and I was glad 
to exchange the mining for the agricultural country. At half-past four, 
we arrived at the town of Ambo, a village of one. thousand inhabitants, 
situated at the junction of the rivers Huacar and Huallaga. The 
former stream comes down a ravine to the westward ; each is about 
thirty-five yards broad, and, uniting, they pour their waters by the town 
with great velocity. The rock of this region is mostly an argillaceous 
schist, though just above Ambo the road was bordered by a perpendicu- 
lar hill of beautiful red sandstone. The strata all along this route are 
nearly north and south in their directions, and have an inclination 
upwards towards the north of from forty to seventy degrees. 

Two miles from Ambo, on the- right or opposite bank of the river, is 
another very pretty little village, almost hiden in the luxuriant vegeta- 
tion about it. The whole valley now becomes very beautiful. From 
the road on which we were travelling to the river's brink, (a breadth of 
quarter of a mile,) the land (which is a rich river bottom) is laid oflf 
into alternate fields of sugar cane and alfalfa. The blended green and 
yellow of this growth, divided by willows, interspersed with fruit-trees, 
and broken into wavy lines by the serpentine course of the river, pre- 


sented a gay and cheerful appearance, which, contrasting with the for- 
bidding aspect of the rocks we had just left, filled us with pleasurable 
emotions, and indicated that we had exchanged a semi-barbarous for a 
civilized society. The only drawback with me was excessive fatigue. 
When Ijurra rode back to Cerro Pasco for the compass, he happened to 
be nnounted on my mule. This gave her extra work ; and the ride of 
to-day was a long one, so that the little beast by this time could barely 
put one foot before the other. There is scarcely anything more fatiguing 
than to ride a tired horse ; and when I arrived (at five) at the hospitable 
gates of the hacienda of Quicacan, and with difficulty lifted myself out 
of the saddle, it was with the deep sigh which always accompanies re- 
lief from pain, and which was much more pleasurable than the sight of 
waving fields and babbling brooks. 

The owner of the hacienda — an English gentleman, named Dyer, to 
whom I brought letters from Cerro Pasco — received me and my large 
party exactly as if it were a matter of course, and as if I had quite as 
much right to enter his house as I had to enter an inn. The patio was 
filled with horses, belonging to a large party from Huanuco bound to 
Lima, and every seat in the ample portico seemed filled. I was some- 
what surprised at the size and appointments of the establishment. It 
looked like a little village of itself, with its ofiices and workshops. The 
dwelling — a large, substantial, though low building, with a corridor in 
front supported on massive arches, and having the spaces between the 
pillars enclosed with iron wire to serve for cages for numerous rare and 
pretty birds — occupied one side of the enclosed square; store-rooms 
occupied another ; the sugar-house, another ; and a chapel, the fourth. 
A bronze fountain, with an ample basin, decorated the centre. I was 
strongly reminded of the large farm-houses in some parts of Virginia : 
the same number of servants bustling about in each other's way ; the 
children of the master and the servant all mixed up together ; the same 
in the hospitable welcome to all comers ; the same careless profusion. 
When I saw the servants dragging out mattresses and bed-clothing from 
some obscure room, and going with them to different parts of the house 
to make pallets for the visitors who intended to spend the night, I 
seemed carried back to my boyish days, and almost fancied that I was 
at a country wedding in Virginia. We dined at six in another spacious 
corridor, enclosed with glass, and looking out upon a garden rich with 
grape-vines and flowers. After dinner, the party broke up into groups 
for cards or conversation, which continued until ten o'clock brought tea 
and bed- time. 

I conversed with an intelligent and manly Frenchman named Escudero. 


His account of the seeking and gathering of Peruvian bark was exceed- 
ingly interesting; and I should judge that it is an occupation which 
involves much fatigue and exposure. He spoke very highly of the 
mechanical abilities of my countryman, Miguel Hacket, and gave me a 
letter to deliver to him wherever I might find him. 

I also had some talk with quite a pretty young woman, who had come 
from Quito by the way of the Pastaza, Maraiion, and Huallaga rivers. 
She said she was scared at the malos pasos, or rapids of the river, and 
never could relish monkey soup; but what gave her most uneasiness 
was the polite attention of the Huambisas Indians. She declared that 
this was frightful, and swore a good round oath, (that might have satisfied 
Hotspur in a lady,) ^^Carambaf but they were mad for a white wdfe." 
Report here says that she prefers Yankee to Indian, and is about to 
bestow her hand upon a long countryman of ours, the head blacksmith, 
uamed Blake. 

July 16. — Dyer had put me into a wide "four-poster." None but a 
traveller in these parts can imagine the intense pleasure with which I 
took off my clothes and stretched my weary limbs between linen sheets, 
and laid my head upon a pillow with a frilled case to it. I could 
scarcely sleep for the enjoyment of the luxury. Rest, too, has renewed 
my beast ; and the little black, which I thought last night was entiiely 
done up, is this morning as lively as a ^\\y. 

The sugar-mill of Quicacan is composed of an overshot wheel, turned 
by a race brought from the river far above, and giving motion to three 
heavy brass cylinders that crush the cane between them. The juice 
falls into a receptacle below, and is led off by a trough to the boilers, 
which are arranged in order over the furnaces like a common kitchen 
range. After a certain amount of boiling, it is poured by means of 
ladles into wooden moulds, greased and laid on the ground in rows. 
This makes the chancaca, so much used throughout Peru. It supplies 
the place, in this country, to the lower classes, which the wares of candy 
shops do in our own. Two of the moulds are put together and envel- 
oped in the leaf of the cane. They make a pound, and are sold at the 
hacienda for six and a quarter cents. 

Cutting the cane, bringing it in, stripping it and cutting off the tops, 
supplying the mill, boiling the sugar, and making the chancaca, em- 
ploy about twenty men and four mules. With this force one hundred 
dollars' worth of chancaca may be made in a day; but Mr. Dyer 
says that he is not now making more than twenty or thirty dollars, and 
not paying his expenses. He attributes this to the fact that his fields 
are wearing out and require replanting. He thinks that cane should be 


replanted every ten or fifteen years. It is fit for cutting in twelve 
months after planting. This is a very extensive establishment ; and Mr. 
Dyer, besides his cane-fields, which are on the river side, cultivates a 
farm for raising wheat, maize, peas, beans, and potatoes, on the hills 

We left Quicacan at noon, in company with Mr. Dyer and my French 
fiiend ; stopped at another hacienda, about a mile and a half from 
this, belonging to a gentleman named Ingunza, and at another a little 
lower down, called Andabamba, belonging to Seiior San Miguel, to 
whom I brought letters from Lima. All these, with another on the 
same road, belonged to a Colonel Lucar, of Huanuco, who gave them 
to these gentlemen, his sons-in-law. Quicacan was the family mansion, 
and had been longest under cultivation. At half-past four we arrived 
at Huanuco, and, presenting a letter to Colonel Lucar, from his son-in- 
law Dyer, we were kindly received, and lodgings appointed us in his 
spacious and commodious house. 

July 17. — Huanuco is one of the most ancient cities in Peru. It is 
prettily situated on the left bank of the Huanuco or Huallaga river, 
which is here about forty yards wide, and at this time (the dry season) 
about two feet deep in the channel. It, however, every two or three 
hundred yards, runs over rocks or a gravelly bed, which makes it 
entirely innavigable, even for canoes, though when the river is up I 
believe articles are transported on it from hacienda to hacienda in small 
scows. A smaller stream, called the Higueros, empties into it just 
above the city. 

The houses are built of adobe, with tile roofs, and almost all have 
large gardens attached to them — so that the city covers a good deal of 
ground without having many houses. The gardens are filled with 
vegetables and fruit-trees, and make delightful places of recreation 
during the warmer parts of the day. 

The population numbers from four to five thousand. They seem to 
be a simple and primitive people ; and, like all who have little to do, 
are m.uch attached to religious ceremonies — there being no less than 
fifteen churches in the city, some of them quite large and handsome. 
The people are civil and respectful, and, save a curious stare now and 
then at my spectacles and red beard, are by no means ofiensive in their 
curiosity, as Smyth represents them to have been some seventeen years 

The trade of the place is with Cerro Pasco on the one hand, and the 
villages of the Huallaga on the other. It sends chancaca, tobacco, fruit, 
and vegetables to the Cerro, and receives foreign goods (mostly English) 


in return. A sliop-keeper gave me tlie price of some of the articles in 
his store : Broad striped cassimere, such as gentlemen's trousers are made 
of, five and a half dollars the yard ; very common silk handkerchiefs, 
one dollar ; common silk hat, five dollars ; blue cloth drillings, twenty- 
five cents the yard; baize, eighty-seven and a half cents; narrow ribbon, 
one dollar and twenty-five cents the piece ; cotton handkerchiefs, two 
dollars and twenty-five cents the dozen ; tolerable Scotch carpeting, one 
dollar and a half the vara, of thirty -three English inches; bayeta castilla, 
(a kind of serge or woollen cloth, with a long shag upon it, and of rich 
colors,) one dollar and seventy-five cents the vara. In the market, beef 
and mutton from the province of Huamalies sell at six and a quarter 
cents the pound ; Indian corn, twenty-five cents the olla, of twenty-five 
pounds ; potatoes, seventy-five cents for the costal^ of fifty pounds ; salt, 
from the coast at Huacho, six and a quarter cents the pound ; sugar, 
generally from the coast, twenty-five cents the pound, (this in an emi- 
nently sugar country ;) coffee, twelve and a half cents. Very little meat 
is raised. I saw a small quantity of pork, with plenty of tallow candles ; 
and rotten potatoes for the consumption of the Indians. Bread is good, 
but is generally made, in the best houses, of American flour from Lima. 
Vegetables and fruit are abundant and cheap. This is, par excellence, 
the country of the celebrated chirimoya. In have seen this fruit in 
Huanuco quite twice as large as it is generally seen in Lima, and of 
most delicious flavor. They have a custom here to cover the finest 
specimens with gold leaf, and place them as a decoration on the altar of 
some patron Saint on his festival. The church afterwards sells them ; 
and I have seen several on Colonel Lucar's table. 

This gentleman is probably the richest and most influential man in 
Huanuco. He seems to have been the father of husbandry in these 
parts, and is the very type of the old landed proprietor of Virginia, who 
has lived always upon his estates, and attended personally to their culti- 
vation. Seated at the head of his table, with his hat on to keep the 
draught from his head — and which he would insist upon removing unless 
I would wear mine — his chair surrounded by two or three little negro 
children, whom he fed with bits from his plate ; and attending with pa- 
tience and kindness to the clamorous wants of a pair of splendid pea- 
cocks, a couple of small parrots of brilliant and variegated plumage, and 
a beautiful and delicate monkey — I thought I had rarely seen a more 
perfect pattern of the patriarch. His kind and aff"ectionate manner 
to his domestics, (all slaves,) and to his little grandchildren, a pair of 
sprightly boys, who came in in the evening from the college, was also 
vei-y pleasing. There are thirty servants attached to the house, large 


and small ; and the family is reduced to the Colonel and his lady, (at 
present absent,) and the boys. 

The climate of Hiianuco is very equable and very salubrious. There 
are no cases of affection of the chest which commence here ; on the 
contrary, people with diseases caused by the inclemency of the weather 
about Cerro Pasco come to Huanuco to be cured. Dysentery and 
tabardillo are the commonest diseases; and I see many people (particu- 
larly women) with goitre. I saw a woman who had one that seemed 
to arise under each ear and encircle the throat like an inflated life-pre- 
server. The affection is said to be owing to the impurity of the water, 
which is not fit to drink unless filtered. The lower class of people do 
not attend to this, and thus the disease is more general with them than 
with the higher classes. It is disagreeable to walk out in the middle of 
the day, on account of a strong northerly wind, which sets in at this 
season about noon, and lasts till dark, raising clouds of dust. The 
mornings and evenings are very pleasant, though the sun is hot for an 
hour or two before the breeze sets in. The height of Huanuco above 
the level of the sea is, by boiling point, five thousand nine hundred and 
forty-six feet. 

There is a college with about twenty-two "internal," and eighty day- 
scholars. Its income, derived from lands formerly belonging to con- 
vents, is seven thousand and five hundred dollars yearly. It has a fine 
set of chemical and other philosophical apparatus, with one thousand 
specimens of European minerals. These things were purchased in 
Europe, at a cost of five thousand dollars ; and the country owes them 
to the zeal for learning and exertions of Don Mariano Eduardo de 
Rivero, formerly prefect of the department, director general of the 
mines, and now consul general to the Netherlands, where he is said to 
be preparing a voluminous work on the antiquities of Peru. As I shall 
probably not have occasion to refer to him again, I must in this place 
express my sense of gratitude for the information I have received from 
his most valuable publication, "The Memorial of Natural Sciences, and 
of National and Foreign Industry," edited by himself and Don Nicolas 
Pierola, the modest and learned director of the museum at Lima. The 
Department of Junin owes much to its former prefect. He has founded 
schools, improved roads, built cemeteries, and, in short, whatever good 
thing I noticed on my route might generally be traced back to Rivero. 

July 18. — I called on the sub-prefect of the province, and delivered 
an oflicial letter from the prefect of the department, whom I had visited 
at Cerro Pasco. This gentleman's name is Maldonado. He received 
me courteously, and promised me any assistance I might stand in need 


of. He seemed to be at bitter feud with all my friends ; and tbey rep- 
resented bim as a bighdianded personage. We met at Quicacan a 
colonel who was going to Lima, escorted by a number of bis friends, to 
complain to the government of bis having been illegally imprisoned by 
the sub-prefect. I believe the cause was an alleged libel, or libellous 
publication against the sub-prefect; and if it was of the nature of some 
of the publications daily seen in the Lima papers, he deserved impris- 
onment, or worse punishment, for they are generally the foulest and 
most scurrilous things, which no decent paper in the United States would 
publish, and which would certainly bring upon the writer a fine or the 

People in Huanuco are fully alive to the importance of opening the 
navigation of the Huallaga to their city. They speak of it as a thing 
that would be of incalculable advantage to them ; and their leaders and 
influential men have often urged them to be up and doing. But, 
although they cannot be stirred up to the undertaking themselves, 
they are jealous of the attempt by any other route. I had a visit this 
evening from ray Cerro Pasco acquaintance, the Intendente of Pozuzu. 
The old gentleman discoursed long and earnestly about his route from 
the Cerro to Pozuzu, and thence to Mayro. When he went away, 
Colonel Lucar asked me what I called that science in my country that 
put people to sleep ; and when I told him that it was animal magnetism, 
he said that that old man was a capital magnetiser, for he had been 
to sleep an hour. I think there was some jealousy in this. 

Rice, tobacco, and straw hats, in small quantities, are now brought on 
the backs of Indians from the towns on the Huallaga to Huanuco. 

Colonel Lucar showed me his "cw«rto de hahios^'' or room where he 
keeps all his horse furniture. He has at least a dozen saddles of various 
patterns, with bridles, pillons, horse-cloths, holsters, and everything 
complete. Most of the bridles and stirrups are heavily plated with 
silver. People take great care of their horses in this country, and are 
generally good horsemen. There are one or two carriages and gigs in 
Huanuco, made in England. 

I sold my mules to the Colonel for half that I had given for them, 
with the condition that we should ride them as far as practicable and 
send them back by the arriero. The old gentleman agreed to it, though 
rather reluctantly. He said that some fifteen years ago, a countryman 
of mine, and calling himself an oflacer of the navy also, had sold him his 
mules for pistols and fowling-pieces, on the same terms ; but when he 
arrived at the end of his journey, he sold the mules again, and went ofif 
with the proceeds. The Colonel could not give me the name of this 


honest individual. I afterwards ascertained that lie was not an Ameri- 
can, but a German. 

July 22. — Much to my annoyance our servant Mauricio deserted this 
morning. Ijurra accuses me of having spoiled him by indulgence ; and 
I, on the other hand, think that he had disgusted him by tyranny. T 
imagine he went back to Lima with Castillo^ a young man who had 
been governor of the district of Tarapoto, on the Huallaga, and who 
was going to Lima with stuffed birds' skins to sell. This was an intelli- 
gent young man, who gave me information about the Montana. He 
said I would be amply protected in my contemplated voyage up the 
Ucayali with twenty -five Chasutinos, (Indians of Chasuta,) for they 
were a brave and hardy people ; but that the Cocamas and Cocamillos, 
from about the mouth of the river, were great cowards, and would 
desert me on the first appearance of the savages — that they had so 
treated him. I rather suspect that the reason for Don Mauricio's shabby 
behavior was, that we were getting into his own country, and that he 
had private reasons for desiring to avoid a visit home. He had asked 
me at Tarma to let him go with Gibbon. 

Our arriero made his appearance at noon, instead of early in the 
morning, as he had promised ; but we are now getting used to this. 
We did not ride our own mules, as they were sick and not in condition 
to travel, and the arriero supplied us with others. I got a horse, but 
did not derive much benefit from the exchange. Our course lay down 
the valley N. E., crossing the river soon after leaving the town by a rude 
bridge floored with the leaves of the maguey. We found the road good, 
but rocky, principally with the debris of quartz. Gold is occasionally 
found, but in small quantities, in the mountains bordering this valley. 
At six miles from Huanuco we passed the village of Sta. Maria del 
Valle, of three hundred inhabitants. We stopped and took some fruit 
and pisco with the curate, to whom also I had a letter from Lima. 

Every traveller in this country should provide himself with letters of 
introduction. People, it is true, will receive him without them, but do 
not use that cordial and welcome manner which is so agreeable. 

The cura had some fifty or sixty new and well-bound books on shelves, 
and seemed a man superior to the generality of his class. He said that 
Valle was a poor place, producing only sugar-cane, which the inhabitants 
put to no other use than to make huarapo to drink ; and that, if it w^ere 
not for the neighborhood of Huanuco, he thought that he should starve. 
Huarapo is the fermented juice of the cane, and is a very pleasant drink 
of a hot day. 

We saw a few sheep and goats after leaving the village. The trees 


were principally willow and fruit-trees, with here and there a cotton tree. 
beai-ing indifferent staple. The mountains on the left, or Huanuco side, 
send down spurs towards the river, between which are pretty little 
valleys, not deep and narrow, but spread out like a fan. In each one 
of these there is situated a small village or a hacienda, presenting, with 
its fields of cane and alfalfa, and, higher up, wheat, a very pretty 
appearance. It is not so on the right bank. The small streams that 
flow into the river from this side come down rugged ravines, with sides 
of soft rock and white earth, and are generally very muddy. We 
stopped two miles beyond Valle at a hacienda called ChuUqui, and 
slept in an Indian hut with several other people, one a sick woman 
with a child two days old. Height of Chullqui, by B. P., five thousand 
six hundred and twenty-six feet above the level of the sea. 

July 23. — Course still N. E. along the banks of the Huallaga. Trees 
principally small acacias. At six miles from Chullqui we crossd the 
river, turned to the north, and ascended a ravine (down which flowed a 
small stream) to the village of Acomayo. The river continues its course 
to the northward and eastward and sweeps around the base of the hills, 
which form (going up) the right-hand side of the Quebrada, up which 
we were travelling. The road which we had left, continuing along the 
banks of the river, leads to Panao, Muna, and Pozuzu ; Smyth's route 
to the Pachitea. 

Acomayo is a very pleasantly-situated village, of about three hun- 
dred inhabitants. When the authorities are asked concerning the 
population of any place, they always give the number of families. This 
place has seventy " casados," or couples of married people ; and I judge, 
from experience, that five to each family is a fair allowance. The water 
here is very good, which was an agreeable change from the Huanuco 
water; and the fruits, oranges, figs, guavas, and chirimoyas, are of good 
quality. I noticed, also, a tree bearing a large bell-shaped flower, called 
floriponcUo. This is an old acquaintance of mine ; it gives ou*". a de- 
licious fragrance at night, which, accompanied, as I have known it, by 
soft air, rich moon-light, and gentle company, makes bare existence a 

About three miles up the "Quebrada" we turned to the northeast, 
and commenced the ascent of the Cerro de Carjns. This is one of a 
range of mountains running to the southward and eastward, forming 
the left-hand side of the valley of Acomayo, (looking down the stream,) 
and dividing the Sierra from the Montana. The ascent is six miles 
long, and very tedious. I had no water to ascertain its height by the 
boiling-point apparatus, but judge, from the great descent to Caski, (a 


distance of four miles, and so steep that we preferred to walk and lead 
our beasts,) that the pass is full eight thousand feet above the level of the 
sea ; Cashi being six thousand five hundred and forty feet. 

There is said to be a superb view of the Montana from the summit 
of this hill, but the clouds (almost within reach of the hand) boiling up 
from the great deep below efi"ectually cut it off, and we could see 
nothing. When we had got some distance down, and obtained a view 
through an opening in the thick growth of the mountain-side, we looked 
down upon the most rugged country I have ever seen. There seemed 
to be no order or regularity in the hills, which were thickly covered with 
forest ; but the whole had the appearance of the surface of a vast boiling 
caldron suddenly stricken motionless. Just at the summit, and where 
the road turns to descend, hundreds of little wooden crosses were placed 
in the niches of the rock — votive offerings of the pious arrieros, either 
of gratitude for dangers passed, or for protection against dangers to 
come, in the ascent or descent of the mountain. 

We walked down the descent, leading the beasts. The road was very 
rocky and muddy, and the mountain-side was clad with small trees and 
thick undergrowth. There were many creepers and parasitical plants, 
some of them very graceful and pretty. We stopped, at six, at a tambo 
called Cashi, built on a plat, about half-way down the mountain. We 
found our place of rest very agreeable ; night clear, calm, and cold. 

July 24. — An hour's travel brought us to the bottom of the hill, 
where we encountered the Chinchao valley coming down from the right. 
We crossed the stream that flowed through it, and travelled down the 
valley on its right bank, the road rising and falling on the sides of the 
hills. The character of the rock is a dark slate-stone, with occasional 
beds of gypsum. At seven miles from the tambo we passed the village 
of Chinchao, containing twelve houses and a church, with cotton, coffee, 
orange, and plantain trees scattered about the village. A pretty shrub, 
bearing a gay, red flower, in appearance like our crape myrtle, bor- 
dered the road-side. It is called San Juan, because it blooms about 
St. John's day, the 24th of June, like the Amancaes at Lima. The 
cultivation of the coca commences here. 

I brought a letter from the sub-prefect at Huanuco, for the governor 
of Chinchao, but he was absent at his chacra, and not to be found. 
We then asked for the lieutenant governor ; but though there seemed, 
from the general account, to be such a person, we could not find out 
exactly who he was, or where he lived. The arriero said he lived " a 
little lower dovai ;" but at every house at which we called in our descent 
the reply still was mas abajo^ (yet lower.) At last we seemed to have 


treed him, and even tlie man's wife was produced ; but after a little 
conversation it appeared that our friend was still mas ahajo. I was tired 
and hungry enough to wish he was — where he could not get any lower, 
for we had depended upon our letter for a breakfast. We continued 
our weary route, and at the next house (the best-looking we had 
seen) encountered a white woman, rather shrewish-looking, indeed, but 
still a woman, synonym everywhere for kindness. Ijurra civilly in- 
quired if we could get a few eggs. I think our appearance, particularly 
the guns slung behind the saddles, bred mistrust, for we met with the 
invariable lie, no hay, (haven't got any.) I couldn't be baffled in this 
way : so, taking off my hat, and making my best bow, in my most 
insinuating tones I said "that we had something to eat in our saddle- 
bags, and would be very much obliged if La Senora would permit us 
to alight and take our breakfast there." She softened down at once, 
and said that if we had any tea she could give us some nice fresh milk 
to mix with it. We had no tea, but declared, with many thanks, that 
the milk would be very acceptable. AVhereupon, it was 2^ut on to boil ; 
and, moreover, a dozen fresh eggs, and boiled to perfection, were also 
produced. I enjoyed the breakfast very much, and was pluming myself 
on the effect of my fine address, when (alas for my vanity !) the lady, 
after looking at my companion for some time, said to him, "Arn't you 
un tal (a certain) Ijurra ? He said yes. "Then we are old playmates," 
said she. "Don't you recollect our play-ground, your old uncle's gar- 
den in Huanuco, and the apples you used to steal out of it to give 
me ? I'm Mercedes Fi-ado^ Here was the solution to the enigma of 
our reception. Strange to say, the name awoke pleasant recollections 
in me also, and set before me the features of the gay and beautiful 
young girl whose quick repartee and merry laugh added so much to 
the charm of Valparaiso society. 

The house of our hostess was very like a capsized ship, with the 
cut-water and upper part of the bows sawn off to make an entrance.* 
It had a regular breast-hook made of saplings twisted together over the 
door, a kelson reaching from this to a very perfect stern frame, and, 
had the ribs been curved instead of straight, the likeness would have 
been exact. It was about fifty feet long, and made an airy and com- 
modious residence. I was surprised to find that we were in the upper 
story of it, for we had entered from the ground without steps ; but I 
afterwards discovered that we had entered from an esplanade cut in the 
side of the hill, levelled for the purpose of drying coca leaves, and that 
the lower story was at the bottom of the hill, the entrance facing the 
other way. 


We went on our way rejoicing. The arriero had gone on ahead ; 
and when we arrived at a chacra, called Atajo, at half-past four, we 
found that he had unloaded the mules. I was quite angry at his 
stopping so soon, and ordered him to load up again ; but finding that 
he went to work to do it, I let him off, cautioning him against unload- 
ing without orders. The means of living are getting very scarce. We 
could get nothing to eat, and had to draw upon our charqui. The 
people of the hut seem contented with a chiqoe made of lard, with 
ullucas and young onions. Nights still cool; Ther. at 7 p.m., 61°; 
elevation of "Atajo," three thousand nine hundred and ten feet. 

July 25. — The road from this place leaves the banks of the stream 
and ascends the hills on the right by a very steep and tedious ascent. 
The rocks of the road are a mica slate, and at the top of the hills a 
dark schist, white on the outside from exposure to the atmosphere. After 
arriving at the summit, we turned N. E. by N., and passed the hacien- 
das called Mesa pata (the top of the table) and Cascqn, which seemed 
abandoned. The road hence is a very rough descent, and a mere 
path through the bushes; the earth white, like lime, with gypsum 
cropping out occasionally. Near night we stopped at Chihuangala, the 
last hacienda of the valley, and beyond which there is no mule-road. 
The arrieros left us to seek pasturage. This is our last dealing with 
this gentry. I was glad to dismount, for I was tired of riding ; but in 
spite of the abuse that is generally heaped upon the arrieros, I think I 
have had little difiiculty to complain of. They seem to be tolerably 
honest and faithful, (when once on the road,) and, with judicious treat- 
ment, one can get along with them very comfortably. It rained heavily 
all the latter part of the night. 

July 26. — At this place we were to await the Indians from Tingo 
Maria, (a village at the head of canoe navigation on the Huallaga,) to 
carry our luggage on. Ijurra had written from Huanuco to the gov- 
ernor of Tingo Maria, requesting him to send them to us at Chihuangala, 
sending the letter by one of Castillo's company who was returning. 

We had hard commons here, our charqui beginning to decay. No 
eggs ; no potatoes ; nothing, in fact, but yuccas and bananas. There 
were turkeys, chickens, and a pig running about the chacra ; but no 
entreaty, nor any reasonable offer of money, could induce the people to 
sell us one. I offered the patrona a dollar and a half for a half-grown 
turkey ; but she said she must wait till her husband came in from his 
work, so that she might consult him. When he came, after long de- 
bate, it was decided that they would sell me a chicken for breakfast to- 
morrow. I ti-ied hard to find out why they were so reluctant to sell, 


for they do not eat tliem themselves ; but did not succeed. I believe it 
to be something like the miser-feeling of parting with property, the not 
being used to money, and also a dislike to kill what they have reared 
and seen grow up under their own eye. 

Our patrona had six or seven children : one an infant, which, when 
she puts to sleep, she enwraps closely in a woollen cloth, and swathes 
tightly, over arms and all, with a broad thick band, so that it is per- 
fectly stiff, and looks like a log of wood, or a roll of cloth. I asked 
why she did this, but could only get the reply that it was the " custom 
here." The young women of the country have very good features, and 
appear lively and good-tempered. Two daughters of the patrona came 
in on a visit to-day. I suppose they are out at work (probably as house 
servants) in some neighboring hacienda. They were dressed in red 
calicoes, always open in the back, and with the invariable shaw^l ; and 
one of them had ruffles of cotton lace around the bottom of the sleeves, 
which did not reach to the elbow. The girls were nearly as dark as 
Indians, but I presume they had a mixture of white blood. 

July 28. — I walked, in company with Ijurra, about three miles to 
visit a Senor Martins, at his hacienda of Cocheros. We found this gen- 
tleman a clever and intelligent Portuguese, who had passed many years in 
this country. He knew Smyth, and had helped him along on this route. 
His wife is Dofia Juana del Rio^ a very lady-like person, in spite of her 
common countiy costume. It was quite surprising to see a Limena, 
and one w^ho had evidently lived in the first circles of that city, in this 
wild country, and in this rude though comfortable house. The floor 
was earth, and I saw no chairs. The lady sat in a hammock, and the 
men either on the mud benches around the sides of the room, or on a 
coarse wooden one alongside of a coarse table. Part of the house was 
curtained off into small bed-rooms. There was evident plenty, and 
great comparative comfort about the house ; also, a fine lot of handsome, 
intelligent-looking children. Seiior Martins told me that this Quehrada 
produced seven hundred cargas of coca yearly. A cargais two hundred 
and sixty pounds. The value in Huanuco is generally three dollars the 
arroba. This would make the value of the Crop twenty-one thousand 
eight hundred and forty dollars. The hire of the seven hundred mules 
required to carry it to Huanuco is two thousand eight hundred dollars, 
which reduces the value to about nineteen thousand dollars. There are 
not many haciendas, but a number of small farms ; the owners of which 
sell their coca on the spot for two dollars the arroba. I asked Martins 
the reason why T had seen several of the haciendas abandoned, particu- 
larly his own large one of Casapi. He said there were two causes : one 

126 MR. NATION. 

being a large ant that ate the coca leaves, and which, when once estab- 
lished in a plantation, was difficult to get rid of ; and another was the 
scarcity of labor — that it was barely to be had in the Quebrada ; that 
he had six laborers on his hacienda ; and that he was at least two 
thousand dollars in advance to them. The money, of course, had been 
advanced to them in the shape of supplies, and I suppose these laborers 
are now as effectually slaves as if they were so by law. 

Nothing is sold from this valley but coca. Only sufficient coffee and 
sugar cane are planted for the use of the inhabitants. Senor Martins 
gave us some very good ca9.acha, or rum made from the cane, and some 
tolerable pine-apples and plantains. A little cotton is cultivated, and a 
coarse cloth is woven by hand from it. Every old woman goes about 
her household avocations with a bunch of cotton in her hand, and a 
spindle hanging below. I was surprised not to see any wild animals? 
though I am told that there are deer, hares, tiger-cats, and animals of 
the mink kind, that occasionally run off with the poultry. There are 
not so many birds as I expected ; those I have seen are generally of a 
gay and rich plumage. Insect life is very abundant, and nearly all sting 
or bite. The climate is very pleasant, though the sun is hot in mid-day. 
The diseases, which occur rarely, are cutaneous affections, tabardillo, 
and sometimes small-pox. 

We met, at Cocheros, an English botanist, named Nation^ upon whose 
track we have been ever since leaving Lima. He was the gai-dener of 
Souza Ferreyra^ihQ Brazilian Charge in Lima, and I believe was collect- 
ing plants for him. Poor fellow ! he had had a hard time of it ; he lost 
his mule not long after leaving Lima, and walked from Surco to Moroco- 
cha, where some kind person supplied him with another. He has also 
had tertiana whenever he has gone into the Montana. He was alone, 
and spoke no Spanish, but he had combatted obstacles and difficulties 
with a spirit and perseverance deserving all praise. I was sorry for his 
mishaps, but could not help laughing at him a little when I observed that 
the bats had nearly eaten his mule up. The poor beast was covered with 
blood all over, and had nearly lost an eye from their bites. Mr. Nation 
has sent a great many specimens of plants to Lima, and says that the 
"flora" of this country is rich, and almost identical with that of Brazil. 

On our return from Cocheros we stopped at the house of a man who 
had, the day before, promised to sell us a fowl ; with the usual want of 
good faith of these people, he now refused. Ijurra took the gun from 
my hand, and, before I was aware what he was about to do, shot a 
turkey. The man and his wife made a great outcry over it, and he was 
hurrying off, with furious gestures and menacing language, to report the 
matter to his patroji, when a few kind words, the helping myself to a 


chew of coca out of liis huallqui^ or leathern bag, in which it is carried, 
and the offer of a dollar and a half, which before he had indignantly- 
spurned, changed his mood, and he smiled and expressed himself satis- 
fied, now that the thing was done and it could not be helped. I had 
been often told by travellers that this was frequently necessary to get 
something to eat, but had always set my mind resolutely against any 
such injustice and oppression ; and I expressed my opinion of the matter 
to Ijurra, and requested that the like should not occur again. The 
elevation of Chihuangala is three thousand four hundred and twenty- 
one feet above the level of the sea. 

July 30. — At 10 a. m., when we had begun to despair of the coming 
of our Indians, and Ijurra was about to start alone for Tingo Maria, for 
the purpose of fetching them, they came shouting into the chacra, thir- 
teen in number. They were young, slight, but muscular-looking fellows, 
all life and energy ; and wanted to shoulder the trunks and be off at 
once. "We, however, gave them some charqui, and set them to breakfast. 
At noon we started, and descended the valley of Chinchao in a N. N. 
E. direction ; the path steep and obstructed with bushes. 

At about six miles from Chihuangala we arrived at the junction of 
the Chinchao river with the Huallaga, in a heavy shower of rain, with 
thunder and lightning. By leaving the Huallaga at Acomayo, below 
Huanuco, crossing a range of mountains at the Cerro de Cai^pis, striking 
the head of the valley of Chinchao, and descending it, we had cut off 
a great bend of the river, and now struck it again at the junction of 
the Chinchao. It is here some sixty yards wide, and the Chinchao 
thirty, both much obstructed with shoals and banks of gravel. The 
peons waded the Huallaga above the junction, and brought up a canoe 
from the hacienda of Chinchai/vitoc, a few hundred yards below, and 
on the opposite side. We passed in the canoe, which the Indians 
managed very well. It was a great treat, after the tedious walk we 
had had, to feel the free, rapid motion of the boat as it glided down 
the stream. The stream seemed to run at the rate of five or six miles 
the hour ; but, by keeping close in shore, two Indians could paddle the 
light canoe against it very well. 

Chinchayvitoc is a hacienda established by a Bolivian gentleman 
named Villamil, for the collection of Peruvian bark. He brought some 
Bolivians with him to search for the bark ; but it is not to be found in 
this country of good quality, and the scheme seems a failure. There is 
a mayordomo and a family of Indians living at the hacienda, but 
nothing is doing. Our peons cooked our dinner of cheese and rice, and 
made us a good cup of coffee. These are lively, good-tempered fellows, 

128 THE HOAD. 

and, properly treated, make good aud serviceable travelling companions. 
Let them but be faithfully paid, a kind word now and then spoken to 
them, and their cargoes rather under than over the regular weight, 
(eighty-seven and a half pounds,) and they will serve faithfully and 
honestly, and go singing and chattering through the woods like so many 
monkeys. Above all, let them stop when they wish, and don't attempt 
to hurry them. 

We had Mr. Nation in company. He had collected some valuable 
plants, and showed me one which he said was a present for an Emperor, 
and that its very name would make my journal famous. I of course 
did not ask it of him ; but was very glad to be able to repay to him, 
in some slight measure, the many kindnesses I have received from his 
countrymen, by giving him a part of my bed-clothes, and making him 
comfortable for the night, which he seemed to be much in need of, for 
he was wet and sick ; and to sleep on the ground in that condition must 
be very dangerous. There is much moisture in the atmosphere; and I 
find it almost impossible to keep the guns in serviceable order. 

AVe met at this place some Indians carrying tobacco from Tocache 
and Saposoa (towns of the Huallaga) to Huanuco. Enterprising men 
have frequently tried to establish a trade along this river, caiTying 
down cotton goods, knives, hatchets, beads, &c., and getting return- 
cargoes of tobacco, rice, straw hats, rare birds, and animals ; but the dif- 
ficulties of the route seem to have baffled enterprise. About two and a 
half years ago Vicente Cevallos made a large venture. He carried 
down thirty-five trunks or packages of goods, and the people of the 
river still talk of his articles of luxury ; but in passing one of the 
malos 2^a,sos, or rapids of the river, his boat capsized, and he lost every- 

The Indians here had blue limestone, which they were burning to 
mix with their coca. 

Juli/ 31. — I bathed in the river before starting. This is wrong in so 
humid an atmosphere. I became chilled, and did not get over it for 
some hours. A native traveller in these parts will not even wash his 
face and hands before the sun is well up. Soon after starting we crossed 
a small stream, and ascended a hill that overlooks the falls of Cayumhay 
beyond which canoes cannot ascend. I did not see the falls, but am 
told that there is no cascade of height, but rather a considerably inclined 
plain, much obstructed by drift. Smyth says : "From hence," (the cave 
of Cayumba, below the falls,) " we had a very picturesque view of both 
the Huallaga and Cayumba — the former rushing between two high 
perpendicular rocks, and the latter rolling down a steep ravine. They 


unite with great violence at a point where there is a small island covered 
with trees, and roll past the cave in an impetuous torrent." 

The ascent of the hill was very tedious, and I should complain of the 
fatigue but for shame's sake ; for there were Indians along, young and 
rather small men, who were carrying a burden of nearly one hundred 
pounds on their back. Their manner of carrying cargoes is to have a 
sort of cotton satchel, of open work, with a broa;d stout strap to it. The 
end of the trunk or package, which is placed on end, is put into the 
bag, and the Indian, sitting down with his back to it, passes the strap 
over his forehead, and then, with a lift from another, rises to his feet, 
and, bending forward, brings the weight upon the muscles of his neck 
and back. A bit of blanket, or old cotton cloth, protects the skin of 
the. back from chafe. The traveller in these parts should be as lightly 
elad and carry as little weight as possible, for the path is very steep and 
muddy. I had been thoughtless enough to. wear my heavy Sierra 
clothes, and to load myself with a gun of a greater weight, I believe, 
than a standard musket — and so had occasion to envy Ijurra his light 
rig of nankeen trousers and cotton shirt, long but light staff, and twilled 
cotton " Jeffersons." 

The descent of this hill, which is nearly as tedious as the ascent, 
brought us to the banks of the river opposite the mal-paso of Palma. 
This is the first rapid I have seen, and it looked formidable enough. 
The river, obstructed in its rapid course, breaks into waves, which dash 
with thundering violence against the rocks, and rush between them in 
sluices of dazzling velocity. Cargoes must always be landed at this 
place, and carried around. The canoe, thus lightened, under skilful 
and practical management, may shoot the rapid ; but this should not be 
attempted where it can be avoided. By prudence, these malos pasos 
(the dread of travellers) are stripped of all danger; but the Indians 
sometimes get drunk and insist upon the attempt ; and thus these places 
have become the graves of many. Since my return home I have a 
letter from Castillo, the young man I met in Huanuco, enclosing others 
which were sent to him at Tarapota from Lima to be forwarded to me. 
He begged me to excuse the condition in which I should receive these 
letters, for they had been shipwrecked in their transit. " Three persons," 
said he, " were drowned, but the letters fortunateli/ escaped." 

Nearly all the malos pasos are at the mouth of a tributary. These, 
in the floods, bring down quantities of drift, with heavy boulders, which, 
thrown crosswise into the stream, lodge and form the obstructions. 
Little labor w^ould be required to clear away the rocks, and make the 
river passable for canoes at least, if not for light-draught steamboats. 

130 THE CAVE. 

The trees of tlie forest are large, tall, and without branches for a gi'eat 
distance np. Ijiirra pointed out one to me, of smooth bark, about four 
feet diameter near the ground, and which ran np sixty or seventy feet 
.without a branch. He said that it was so hard that it resisted all 
attacks of the axe ; and, to get it down, it was necessary to remove the 
earth and set fire to the' roots; and that, suffered to lie in the water for 
a long* time, it turned to stone of so hard a character, that, like flint, it 
w^ould strike fire from steel. Unfortunately for the accuracy of the 
statement, we next day saw gigantic trees of this species that had been 
felled with an axe. The wood is, however, very hard and heavy — too 
much so for any practical use here. The tree is called cainrona. It 
has a smooth bark, which it is continually changing. The old bark is a 
very pretty light-red ; the new, a pea-green. 

At half-past 4 p. m., we arrived at the Cave, a place w^here a huge 
rock, projecting from the hill-side, made a shelter which would cover 
and protect from dew or rain -a^bout a dozen persons. The Indian who 
carried my bag of bedding wished to make my bed there ; but I decided 
that it was too damp, and made him spread it out on the shingle by the 
river brink. The largest part of the cargo had not arrived, and I feared 
that w^e were without drink or cigars, w^hich would have been a great 
deprivation to us after the fatigue of the day. The rice and cheese were 
on hand ; and, to our great delight, Ijurra found in his saddle-bags a 
bottle of sherry-brandy that Mr. Jump had insisted upon our taking 
from Cerro Pasco, and which I had forgotten. A tin-pan of hot boiled 
rice flavored with cheese, a teacup of the brandy, and half a dozen paper 
cigars, made us very comfortable ; and, lulled by the rustling of the 
leaves and the roar of the river, we slept in spite of the ants and other 
insects that left the mark of their bites upon our carcasses. I' saw here, 
for the first time, the luciernago, or fire-fly of this country. It is, unlike 
ours, a species of beetle, carrying two white lights in its eyes, (or, rather, 
in the places w^here the eyes of insects generally are,) and a red light 
between the scales of the belly — so that it reminded me something of 
the ocean steamers. It has the power of softening the light of the eyes 
until it becomes very faint ; but upon irritating it, by passing the finger 
over the eyes, the light becomes very bright and sparkling. They are 
sometimes carried to Lima, (enclosed in an apartment cut into a sugar- 
cane,) where the ladies, at balls or theatres, put them in their hair for 

August 1. — We started, without breakfast, at a quarter to seven, 
thinking that we were near Tingo Maria. But it was ten miles distant, 
and I was weary enough ere we arrived. My principal source of annoy- 


ance was tlie having inaclvertedly asked how far we were off from our 
destination. I would advise no traveller to do this ; he is sure to be 
disappointed ; and when he is told (as he will certainly be) that he is 
near, the miles appear doubly long. The Indians take no account of 
time or distance. They stop when they get tired, and arrive when God 
pleases. They live on plantains — roasted, boiled, and fried; and in the 
way of food, a yucca is their greatest good. Talking with a young 
Indian, who had a light load, and kept up with me very well, I was 
struck with the comparative value of things. A Londoner, who has 
been absent for some time from his favorite city, and subjected to some 
privations on that account, could not have spoken of the elegances and 
comforts of London with more enthusiasm than my companion spoke 
of Pueblo Viejo^ a settlement of half a dozen Indians, which we were 
' apprbaching. "There are plantains," said he ; "there are yuccas ; there 
is everything" — {Hay platanos, hay yucca's^ hay todo) — and I really 
expected to be surprised and pleased when I arrived at Pueblo Yiejo. 
The town, in fact, consisted of a single hut, with a plantain grove, a 
small patch of yuccas, and another of sugar-cane. In several places 
near by, people were felling the trees and forming chacras. The road 
lay sometimes across and sometimes along these huge trees ; and I 
envied the bare feet and firm step of my companion, feeling that my 
tired legs and muddy boots might, at any moment, play me a slippery 
trick, and cost me a broken leg or sprained ankle. 

At eleven we arrived at Juana del Bio, a settlement of five or six 
houses, on the right bank of the river, named after the lady of Seiior 
Martins, whom we met at Cocheros. The houses vvere all shut up, and 
nobody seemed to be at home. Here we crossed the river, (one hundred 
yards broad, smooth, and deep,) and walked down the left bank about 
half a mile to the pueblo of San Antonio del Tingo Maria. Tinyo is 
the Indian term for the junction of two rivers, the Monzon emptying 
into the Huallaga just above this. The governor, an intelligent and 
modest young man, a former friend of Ijurra, welcomed us cordially 
and gave us a capital breakfast of chicken broth. 



Itinerary — Tingo Maria — Vampires — Blow-guns — Canoe navigation — Shootmg 
monkeys— Tocache—Sion— Salt hills of Pilluana. 

The following table gives the distance between Lima and the head of 
canoe navigation on the Huallaga river : 

From Lima to Chaclacayo - - - - - - 18 miles. 

« " to Santa Ana 10 " 

" " to Siirco 18 " 

« " to San Mateo 18 " 

r^ " to Acchahuarcu - - - - - -13" 

** "to Morococha 12 " 

" " to Oroya - - 17 " 

« " toTarma 16 " • 

" " to Palcamayo - 15 " 

." ." toJimin 18 " 

" " to Carhuamayo - 15" 

" " to Cerro Pasco 20 " 

" " to Caxamarquilla 15" 

". " to San Rafael 15 " 

" " toAmbo 20 " 

" " to Huanuco 15 " 

" " to Acomayo 14" 

" " to Chinchao 16 " 

" " to Chihuacgala 20 " 

« " to La Cueva 20 " 

" " to Tingo Maria 10 " 

335 " 

This distance of three hundred and thirty-five miles may be shortened 
twenty-eight by going direct from Lima to Cerro Pasco. (We passed 
round by Tarma.) The traveller w^ill find that the distance is divided 
in the table into days' journeys nearly. Thus it will cost him, with 
loaded mules, twenty-one days to reach the head of canoe navigation 
on the Huallaga by this route, and nineteen by the other. The last 
thirty miles between Chihuangala and Tingo Maria" are travelled, on 
foot, though there would be no diflBculty in opening a mule-road. 


Any number of mules may be bad in Lima at a hire of about seventy- 
five cents a day. I paid more; but tbis was to be expected, for I 
bargained with tbe muleteers that tbey were to stop wbere I pleased, 
and as long as I pleased. Tbe feed of a mule will average twelve and 
a half cents per day. Tbe load is two bundred and sixty pounds. 

It would be difficult to persuade a muleteer to take a traveller all tbe 
distance. Tbey do not like to leave tbeir own heat^ and tbe traveller , 
has to cbange bis mules, on an average, every bundred miles. 

Tbe passage of tbe Cordillera at tbe season of tbe year wben we 
crossed is neitber very tedious nor laborious. In fact, we enjoyed much 
tbe magnificent scenery ; we were pleased witb tbe manners and babits 
of a primitive people ; and we met bospitality and kindness everywhere. 
In tbe season of tbe rains, however, tbe passage must be both difficult 
and dangerous. 

August 2. — Tingo Maria is a prettily-situated village, of forty-eight 
able bodied men, and an entire population of one bundred and eighty- 
eight. This includes those who are settled at Juana del Rio and the 
houses 'within a mile or two. 

The pueblo is situated in a plain on the left bank of the river, 
which is about six miles in length, and three miles in its broadest part, 
where the mountains back of it recede in a semi-circle from the river. 
The height above tbe level of the sea is two thousand two hundi'ed and 
sixty feet. The productions of the plain are sugar-cane, rice, cotton, 
tobacco, indigo, maize, sweet potatoes, yuccas, sachapapa^ or potato of 
the woods, (tbe large, mealy, purple-streaked tuberous root of a vine, in 
taste like a yam, and very good food.) The woods are stocked with 
game — such as pumas, or American tigers ; deer ; peccary, or wild 
hog; ronsoco, or river bog; monkeys, &c. For birds — are several 
varieties of " curassow" a large bird, something like a turkey, but witb, 
generally, a red bill, a crest, and shining blue-black plumage ; a delicate 
^^pava del monte" or wild turkey; a great variety of parrots; witb 
large, black, wild ducks, and cormorants. There are also rattlesnakes 
and vipers. But even witb all these, I would advise no traveller to 
trust to his gun for support. Tbe woods are so thick and tangled witb 
undergrowth that no one but an Indian can penetrate them, and no 
eyes but those of an Indian could see the game. Even be only hunts 
from necessity, and will rarely venture into the thick forest alone, for 
fear of the tiger or tbe viper. There are also good and delicate fish in 
the river, but in no great abundance. 

Tbe inhabitants are of a tribe called Cholones, which was once large 
and powerful. I like their character better than that of any Indians 


whom I afterwards met with. They are good tempered, cheerful, and 
sober, and by far the largest and finest-looking of the aborigines that I 
have encountered. They are obedient to the church and attentive to 
her ceremonies ; and are more advanced than common in civilization, 
using no paint as an ornament, but only staining their arms and legs 
with the juice of a fruit called huitoc, that gives a dark, blue dye, as a 
protection against the sand-flies, which are abundant, and a great nui- 
sance. The place is generally very healthy. The common diseases 
are lymphatic swellings of the body and limbs, (supposed to be caused 
by exposure to the great humidity of the atmosphere while fishing at 
night,) and saima, (a cutaneous aftection, which covers the body with 
sores, making the patient a loathsome object.) These sores dry up and 
come off" in scabs, leaving blotches on the skin, so that an Indian is 
frequently seen quite mottled. I imagine it is caused by want of clean- 
liness, and the bites of the sand-flies. They take, as a remedy, the dried 
root of a small tree called sarnango, grated and mixed with water. 
It is said to have a powerfully-intoxicating and stupefying efiect, and to 
cause the skin to peal oflf. 

The huitoc is a nut-like fruit, about the size of a common black 
walnut with its outer covering. It is, when ripe, soft, of a russet color 
outside, and filled with a dark purple pulp and small seeds. The tree 
is slender, and some fifteen or twenty feet high, shooting out broad 
leaves, with the fruit growing at their base and underneath, like the 
bread fruit. There is also here a small tree called afdl, or indigo, with 
a leaf narrow at its base and broad near the extremity, which yields as 
deep a dye as the plant. There are also gay and fragrant flowers in 
the gardens of the Indians. 

Ijurra shot a large bat, of the vampire species, measuring about two 
feet across the extended wings. This is a very disgusting -looking ani- 
mal, though its fur is very delicate, and of a glossy, rich maroon color. 
Its mouth is amply provided with teeth, looking like that of a minia- 
ture tiger. It has two long and sharp tusks in the front part of each 
jaw, with two smaller teeth, like those of a hare or sheep, between the 
tusks of the upper jaw, and four (much smaller) betw^een those of the 
lower. There are also teeth back of the tusks, extending far back into 
the mouth. The nostrils seem fitted as a suction apparatus. Above 
them is a triangular, cartilaginous snout, nearly half an inch long, and 
a quarter broad at the base ; and below them is a semi-circular flap, of 
nearly the same breadth, but not so long. I suppose these might 
be placed over the puncture made by the teeth, and the air underneath 
exhausted by the nostrils, thus making them a very perfect cupping- 


glass. I never heard it doubted, until my return home, that these ani- 
mals were blood-suckers; but the distinguished naturahst, Mr. T. R. 
Peale, tells me that no one has ever seen them engaged in the operation, 
and that he has made repe.xted attempts for that purpose, but without 
success. On one occasion, when a companion had lost a good deal of 
blood, the doors and windows of the house in which his party was lying- 
were closed, and a number of these bats, that were clinging to the roof, 
killed ; but none of them were found gorged, or with any signs of having 
been engaged in blood- sucking. I also observed no apparatus proper 
for making a delicate puncture. The tusks are quite as large as those 
of a rat, and, if used in the ordinary manner, would make four wounds 
at once, producing, I should think, quite sufficient pain to awaken the 
most profound sleeper. Never having heard this doubt, it did not 
occur to me to ask the Indians if they had ever seen the bat sucking, 
or to examine the wounds of the horses that I had seen bleeding from 
this supposed cause. On one occasion I found my blanket spotted with 
blood, and supposed that the bat (having gorged himself on the horses 
outside) had flown into the house, and, fastening himself to the thatch 
over me, had disgorged upon my covering and then flown out. There 
was no great quantity of blood, there being but five or six stains on the 
blanket, such as would have been made by large drops. I presumed, 
liTiewise, from the fact of the drops being scattered irrregularly over a 
small suiface, that the bat had been hanging by his feet to the thatch, 
and swinging about. The discovery of the drops produced a sensation 
of deep disgust ; and I have frequently been unable to sleep for fear of 
the filthy beast. Every traveller in these countries should learn to sleep 
with body and head enveloped in a blanket, as the Indians do. 

I saw here, for the first time, the blow-gun of the Indians, called, by 
the Spaniards, cerhatana ; by the Portuguese of the river, gravatana^ 
(a corruption, I imagine, of the former, as I find no such Portuguese 
word ;) and by the Indians, pucuna. It is made of any long, straight 
piece of wood, generally of a species of palm called chonta — a heavy, 
elastic wood, of which bows, clubs, and spears are also made. The pole 
or staff", about eight feet in length, and two inches diameter near the 
mouth end, (tapering down to half an inch at the extremity,) is divided 
longitudinally ; a canal is hollowed out along the centre of each part, 
which is well smoothed and polished by rubbing with fine sand and 
wood. The two parts are then brought together ; nicely woolded with 
twine ; and the whole covered with wax, mixed with some resin of the 
forest, to make it hard. A couple of boar's teeth are fitted on each side 
of the mouth end, and one of the curved front teeth of a small animal 


resembling a cross between a squirrel and a hare, is placed on top for a 
sight. The arrow is made of any light wood, generally the w^ild cane, 
or the middle fibre of a species of palm-leaf, which is about a foot in 
length, and of the thickness of an ordinary lucifer match. The end of 
the arrow, w^hich is placed next to the mouth, is wrapped with a light, 
delicate sort of wild cotton, which grows in a pod upon a large tree, and 
is called huimba; and the other end, very sharply pointed, is- dipped in 
a vegetable poison prepared from the juice of the creeper, called bejuco 
de amhihuasca^ mixed with aji^ or strong red pepper, barbasco, samango, 
and whatever substances the Indians know to be deleterious. The 
marksman, when using his pucuna, instead of stretching out the left 
liand along the body of the tube, places it to his mouth by grasping it, 
with both hands together, close to the mouth-piece, in such a manner 
that it requires considerable strength in the arms to hold it out at all, 
much less steadily. If a practised marksman, he will kill a small bird at 
thirty or forty paces. In an experiment that I saw, the Indian held the 
pucuna horizontally, and the arrow blown from it stuck in the ground 
at thirty-eight paces. Commonly the Indian has quite an affection for 
his gun, and many superstitious notions about it. I could not persuade 
one to shoot a very pretty black and yellow bird for me because it was 
a carrion bird ; and the Indian said that it would deteriorate and make 
useless all the poison in his gourd. Neither will he discharge his 
pucuna at a snake, for fear of the gun being made crooked like the 
reptile ; and a fowling-piece or rifle that has once been discharged at an 
alligator is considered entirely worthless. A round gourd, wnth a hole 
in it for the huimba, and a joint of the cafia brava as a quiver, com- 
pletes the hunting apparatus. 

August 3. — Went to church. The congregation — men, women, and 
children — numbered about fifty ; the service was conducted by the gov- 
ernor, assisted by the alcalde. A little naked, bow-legged Indian child, 
of two or three years, and Ijurra's pointer puppy, which he had brought 
all the way from Lima on his saddle-bow, worried the congregation with 
their tricks and gambols ; but altogether they were attentive to their 
prayers, and devout. I enjoyed exceedingly the public worship of God 
with these rude children of the forest ; and, although they probably 
understood little of what they were about, I thought I could see its 
humanizing and fraternizing effect upon all. 

At night we had a ball at the governor's house. The alcalde, w^ho 
was a trump, produced his fiddle ; another had a rude sort of guitar, or 
banjo ; and under the excitement of his music, and the aguadiente of 
the governor, who had had his cane ground in anticipation of our arrival, 


we danced till eleven o'clock. The custom of the dance requires that a 
gentleman should choose a lady and dance with her, in the middle of 
the floor, till she gives over, (the company around clapping their hands 
in time to the music, and cheering the dancers with vivas at any par- 
ticular display of agility or spirit in the dance.) He then presents his 
partner with a glass of grog, leads her to a seat, and chooses another. 
When he tires there is a general drink, and the lady has the choice. 
The Sefior Commandante was in considerable request ; and a fat old 
lady, who would not dance with anybody else, nearly killed me. The 
governor discharged our guns several times, and let off some rockets 
that we had brought from Huanuco ; and doubt if Tingo Maria had 
ever witnessed such a brilliant affair before. 

August 4. — I waked up with pain in the legs and headache from 
dancing, and found our men and canoes ready for embarkation. After 
breakfast the governor and his wife, (though I greviously fear that there 
had been no intervention of the priest in the matter of the union,) to- 
gether with several of our partners of the previous night, accompanied 
us to the port. After loading the canoes the governor made a short 
address to the canoe-men, telling them that we " were no common per- 
sons ; that they were to have a special care of us : to be very obedient, 
&c., and that he would put up daily prayers for their safe return ;" 
whereupon, after a glass all round, from a bottle brought down specially 
by our hostess, and a hearty embrace of the governor, his lady, and my 
fat friend of the night before, we embarked and shoved off ; the boat- 
men blowing their horns as we drifted rapidly down with the current of 
the river, and the party on shore waving their hats and shouting their 

We had two canoes ; the largest about forty feet long, by two and 
a half broad ; hollowed out from a single log, and manned each by five 
men and a boy. They are conducted by a puntero^ or bowman, who 
looks out for rocks or sunken trees ahead ; 2L2'>opero, or steersman, who 
stands on a little platform at the stern of the boat and guides her 
motions ; and the hogas or rowers, who stand up to paddle, having one 
foot in the bottom of the boat and the other on the gunwale. When 
the river was smooth and free from obstructions, we drifted with the 
current ; the men sitting on the trunks and boxes, chatting and laugh- 
ing with each other ; but, as we approached a mal-paso, their serious 
looks, and the firm position in which each one planted himself at his 
post, showed that work was to be done. I felt a little nervous at first ; 
but when we had fairly entered the pass, the rapid gesture of the pun- 
tero, indicating the channel ; the elegant and graceful position of the 


popero, giving tlie boat a broad sheer witli the sweep of his long paddle; 
the desperate exertions of the bogas ; the railroad rush of the canoe ; and 
the wild, triumphant, screaming laugh of the Indians, as we shot past 
the danger, made a scene that was much too exciting to admit of any- 
other emotion than that of admiration. 

We passed many of these to-day, and were well soaked by the 
canoes taking in water on each side ; some of them were mere smooth 
declivities — inclined planes of gravel, with only three or four inches of 
water on them, so that the men had to get overboard, keep the canoes 
head on and drag them down. The average velocity of the river here 
is three and a half miles to the hour ; but when it dashes down one of 
these declivities, it must be much more. The breadth of the river is a 
constantly varying quantity, probably never over one hundred and fifty 
yards, and never under thirty ; banks low, and covered with trees, 
bushes, and wild cane. There were hills on each side, some distance 
from the bank, but now and then coming down to it. It is almost 
impossible to estimate the distance travelled with any degree of accu- 
racy. The force of the current is very variable, and the Indians very 
irregular in their manner of rowing — sometimes paddling half an hour 
with great vigor, and then suffering the boat to drift with the tide. 
Averaging the current at three and a half miles the hour, and the row- 
ing at one and a half, with nine hours of actual travel, we have forty- 
five miles for a day's journey at this season. I have estimated the 
number of travelling hours at nine, for we get off generally at 5 a. 
m., and stop at 5 p. m. We spend two hours for breakfast, in the 
middle of the day, and another hour is lost at the shallows of the river, 
or stopping to get a shot at an animal or bird. 

At half-past five we camped on the beach. The first business of the 
boatmen when the canoe is secured, is to go off to the woods and cut 
stakes and palm branches to make a house for i\\Q patron. By sticking 
long poles in the sand, chopping them half in two, about five feet above 
the ground, and bending the upper parts together, they make, in a few 
minutes, the frame of a little shanty, which, thickly thatched with 
palm leaves, will keep oft' the dew or an ordinary rain. Some bring 
the drift-wood that is lying about the beach and make a fire ; the pro- 
visions are cooked and eaten; the bedding laid down upon the leaves 
that cover the floor of the shanty ; the mosquito nettings spread ; and, 
after a cup of coffee, a glass of grog, and a cigar, (if they are to be 
had,) everybody retires for the night by eight o'clock. The Indians 
sleep around the hut, each under his narrow cotton mosquito curtain, 
which glisten in the moon-light like so many tomb-stones. This was 


pleasant enough wlien provisions were plenty and tlie weather good ; 
but when there was no coffee or brandy, the cigars had given out, and 
there was a slim allowance of only salt fish and plantains, with one of 
those nights of heavy rain that are frequent upon the Mar anon, I could 
not help calling to mind, with some bitterness of spirit, the comforts 
of the ship-of-war that I had left, to say nothing of the luxuries of 

August 6. — Started at eight. River seventy yards broad, nine feet 
deep, pebbly bottom ; current three miles per hour. We find in some 
places, where hills come down to the river, as much as thirty feet 
of depth. There are some quite high hills on the right-hand side, that 
might be called mountains ; they run north and south. I was sur- 
prised that we saw no animals all day, but only river birds — such as 
black ducks, cormorants, and king-fishers ; also many parrots of various 
kinds and brilliant plumage, but they always kept out of shot. We 
camped at half-past five, tired and low-spirited, having had nothing to 
eat all day but a little rice boiled with cheese early in the morning. 
My wrists were sore and painful from sun-burn, and the sand-flies were 
very troublesome. Heavy clouds, with thunder and lightning, in the 
N. W. In the night, fresh breeze from that quarter. We* heard 
tigers and monkeys during the night, and saw the tiger-tracks near the 
camp next morning. 

August 6. — Soon after starting we saw a fine doe coming down 
towards the river. We steered in, and got within about eighty yards 
of her, when Ijurra and I fired together, the gutis loaded with a couple 
of rifle-balls each. The animal stood quite still for a few minutes, and 
then walked slowly off towards the bushes. I gave my gun, loaded 
with three rifle-balls, to the puntero, who got a close shot, but without 
effect. One of the balls, a little flattened, was picked up close to where 
the deer stood. These circumstances made the Indians doubt if she 
were a deer ; and I judge, from their gestures and exclamations, that 
they thought it w^as some evil spirit that was ball-proof. I imagine 
that the ball was flattened either by passing through the branch of a 
brush or striking some particularly hard bone of the animal, or it might 
have been jammed in the gun by the other balls. 

These Indians have very keen senses, and see and hear things that 
are inaudible and invisible to us. Our canoe-men this morning com- 
menced paddling with great vigor. I asked the cause, and they said 
that they heard monkeys ahead. I think we must have paddled a 
mile before I heard the sound they spoke of. When we came up to 
them, we found a gang of large red monkeys in some tall trees on the 


river-side, making a noise like the grunting of a herd of enraged hogs. 
"We landed, and in a few minutes I found myself beating my way 
through the thick undergrowth, and hunting monkeys with as much 
excitement as I had ever hunted squirrels when a boy. I had no balls 
with me, and my No. 3 shot only served to sting them from their 
elevated position in the tops of the trees, and bring them within reach 
of the pucunas of the Indians. They got two and I one, iafter firing 
about a dozen shots into him. I never saw animals so tenacious of 
life ; this one was, as the Indians expressed it, bathed in shot, {banado 
en municion.) These monkeys were about the size of a common ter- 
rier-dog, and were clad with a long, soft, maroon-colored hair ; they 
are called cotomonos, from a large goitre (coto) under the jaw. This is 
an apparatus of thin bone in the wind-pipe, by means of which 
they make their peculiar noise. The male, called curaca, (which 
is also the appellation of the chief of a tribe of Indians,) has a long 
red beard. They are called guariha in Brazil, where they are said 
to be black as well as red; and I believe they are of the species 
commonly called howling monkeys. 

It is scarcely worth while to say that the Indians use parts of this 
animal for the cure of diseases, for I know no substance that could 
possibly be used as a remedial agent that they do not use for that 
purpose. The mother carries the young upon her back until it is able 
to go alone. If the dam dies, the sire takes charge. There are vast 
numbers in all the course of the river, and no day passes to the traveller 
that they are not heard or seen. 

When I arrived at the beach with my game, I found that the Indians, 
had made a fire and were roasting theirs. They did not take the trouble 
to skin and clean the animal, but simply put him in the fire, and, when 
well scorched, took him off and cut pieces from the fleshy parts with a 
knife \ if these were not suflSciently well done, they roasted them farther 
on little stakes stuck up before the fire. I tried to eat a piece, but it 
was so tough that my teeth would make no impression upon it. The 
one I killed was enciente ; the foetus about double the size of a wharf- 
rat. I wished to preserve it, but it was too large for any bottles I had ; 
whereupon the Indians roasted and ate it without ceremony. 

"We also saw to-day several river hogs, and had an animated chase 
after one, which we encountered on the river-side, immediately opposite 
a nearly precipitous bank of loose earth, which crumbled under his feet 
so that he could not climb it. He hesitated to take the water in face of 
the canoes, so that we thought we had him; but after a little play up 
and down the river-side, he broke his way through the line of his ad- 


versaries, capsizing two Indians as he went, and took to the water. This 
animal is amphibious, about the size of a half-grown hog, and reminded 
me, in his appearance and movements, of the rhinoceros. He is also 
red, and I thought it remarkable that the only animals we had -een — 
the deer, the monkeys, and the hog — should be all of this color. It is 
called ronsoco here, and capillar a in Brazil. In these Brazilian names 
I follow the spelling of Baeiia. 

We also heard the barking of dogs on the right or Infidel side of the 
river, in contradistinction to the other, which is called La parte de la 
cristiandad, supposed to be the dogs of the Cashibos Indians of the 

Parrots and other birds were also more numerous than before. 

We found the river to-day much choked with islands, shoals, and 
grounded drift-wood ; camped at half-past five, and supped upon mon- 
key soup. The monkey, as it regards toughness, was monkey still ; but 
the liver, of which I ate nearly the whole, was tender and good. Jocko, 
however, had his revenge, for I nearly perished of nightmare. Some 
devil, with arms as nervous as the monkey's, had me by the throat, and, 
staring on me with his cold, cruel eye, expressed his determination to 
hold on to the death. I thought it hard to die by the grasp of this 
fiend on the banks of the strange river, and so early in my course ; and 
upon making a desperate effort, and shaking him off", I found that I had 
forgotten to take off" my cravat, which was choking me within an inch 
of my life. 

August 1. — We got off" at half-past eight ; at a quarter to ten passed 
the port of Uchiza. This is a village nine miles from the river. The 
port itself, like that of Tingo Maria, is a shed for the accommodation of 
canoes and passengers. Nearly all the towns on the river are built six 
or eight miles from the banks, on account of the overflow of the country 
when the river is full. Some hill on the bank is generally selected as 
the port, and a road is made thence to the town. This hill is sometimes 
forty feet out of water, and sometimes covered, and the whole land be- 
tween it and the town overflowed. At a quarter past ten we passed the 
Quebrada, or ravine of Huinagua^ on the right. A small stream comes 
down this ravine, the water of which is salt. The people of Uchiza 
ascend it — a day's journey — to a salt hill, where they supply themselves 
with this indispensable article. At twenty minutes past eleven we 
passed another ; and at 1 p. m. another, where the people of Tocache get 
their salt. It is a day's journey from Tocache to the mouth of the 
Quebrada, and another to the salt hills. 

To-day presented a remarkable contrast to yesterday for sportsmen. 


We did not see a single animal, and very few birds ; even parrots, gen- 
erally so plentiful, were scarce to-day. It was a day of work ; the men 
paddled well, and we must have made seventy miles. On approaching 
Tocache, which was their last stage with us, the Indians almost deafened 
me with the noise of their horns. These horns are generally made of 
pieces of wood hollowed out thin, joined together, wrapped with twine, 
and coated with wax. They are shaped like a blunderbuss, and are 
about four feet long ; the mouth-piece is of reed, and the sound deep 
and mellow. The Indians always make a great noise on approaching 
any place, to indicate that they come as friends. They fancy that they 
might otherwise be attacked, as hostile parties always move silently. 

AVe arrived at five. I was wearied with the monotonous day's jour- 
ney and the heat of the sun, and anticipated the arrival with pleasure, 
thinking that we were going to stop at a large village and get some- 
thing good to eat; but I was grievously disappointed. We arrived 
only at the port, which was, as usual, a shed on a hill; the village being 
nine miles off. There was nothing to eat here : so we determined to 
start inland and see what we could pick uj). A rapid walk of an hour 
and a quarter brought us to Lamasillo, which I had been told was a 
pueblo of whites, but which we found to be but a single house with a 
"platanal" attached to it. There were other houses near, but none 
within sight. I had been under the impression that "pueblo" meant 
a village, but I think now it signifies any settled country, though the 
houses may be miles apart. With much persuasion we induced the 
people of the house to sell us a couple of bottles of aguadiente and a 
pair of chickens. The governor of the district had been at this place 
within the hour, but was gone to Tocache, which we understood to be 
two coceadas further on, or about the same distance that we had come 
over from the port to this place. Distance is frequently estimated by 
the time that a man will occupy in taking a chew of coca. From the 
distance between the port and Lamasillo, it appears that a chew of 
coca is about three-fourths of a league, or thirty-seven and a half 

We walked back by moonlight, and had a fowl cooked forthwith ; 
which, as we had had nothing but a little monkey soup early in the 
morning, we devoured more like tigers than Christian men. We found 
at the port several travelling merchants from Moyobamba. » One party 
had been to Huanuco by land, with a cargo of straw hats and tobacco, 
which they sold at about fifty per cent, advance on prime cost. This 
is a miserable traffic, for the round trip occupies four months, and is 
one of great hardship. The other party were going by the river in 


canoes to Huanuco, with the same cargo, and in addition some rice 
and rare birds. Travellers go up by the river when it is low, and by 
land when the river is high. The returning party were going down on 
balsas, which they had constructed at Tingo Maria. These balsas are 
logs of a. light kind of wood, called balsa wood, placed side by side, 
half a. foot apart, and secured by other pieces lashed athwart them. A 
platform raised on small logs is elevated amidships for the cargo to rest 
on ; and the rowers, standing upon the lower logs, have their feet in 
the water all the time. After getting clear of all the rapids of a river, 
they of course may be built of any size, and comfortable houses erected 
on them. I should have preferred coming down the Amazon in that 
way, but that I contemplated ascending other rivers. 

We made our beds in the canoes under the shed, and, tired as we 
were, slept comfortably enough. It seems a merciful dispensation of 
Providence .that the sand-flies go to bed at the same time with the 
people; otherwise I think one could not live in this country. We have 
not yet been troubled with musquitoes. The sand-fiies are here called 
*' mosquitos," the diminutive of mosca, a fly ; our musquitoes are called 
sancudos. The sand-flies are very troublesome in the day, and one 
cannot write or eat in any comfort. Everybody's hands in this country 
are nearly black from the efl'ects of their bite, which leaves a little 
round black spot, ^that lasts for weeks. It is much better to bear the 
sting than to irritate the part by scratching or rubbing. 

August 8. — I sent TjuiTa to Tocache to communicate with the 
governor, while I spent the day in writing up my journal, and drying 
the equipage that had been wetted in the journey. In the afternoon I 
walked into the woods with an Indian, for the purpose of seeing him 
kill a bird or animal with his pucuna. I admired the stealthy and 
noiseless manner with which he moved through the woods, occasionally 
casting a wondering and reproachful glance at me as I would catch my 
foot in a creeper and pitch into the bushes with sufficient noise to 
alarm all the game within a mile round. At last he pointed out to 
me a toucan, called by the Spaniards precUcador, or preacher, sitting 
on a branch of a tree out of the reach of his gun. I fired and brought 
him down with a broken wing. The Indian started into the bushes 
after him ; but, finding him running, he came back to me for his 
pucuna, which he had left behind. In a few minutes he brought the 
bird to me with an arrow sticking in his throat. The bird was dead 
in two minutes after I saw it, and probably in two and a half minutes 
from the time it w^as struck. The Indian said that his poison was 
good, but that it was in a manner ejected by the flow of blood, which 


covered the bird's breast, and which showed that a large blood-yessel of 
the neck had been pierced. I do not know if his reasoning were good 
or not. 

Ijurra returned at eight, tired, and in a bad humor. He reported 
that he had hunted the governor from place to place all day ; had 
come up with him at last and obtained the promise that we should 
have canoes and men to prosecute our journey. My companion, who 
has been sub-prefect or governor of the whole province which we are 
now in, (Mainas,) and who has appointed and removed these governors 
of districts at pleasure, finds it difficult to sue where he had formerly 
commanded. He consequently generally quarrels with those in author- 
ity ; and I have to put myself to some trouble, and draw largely upon my 
" bon homie" to reconcile the diifferences, and cool down the heats, which 
his impatience and irritability often occasion. He, however, did good 
service to the cause, by purchasing a hog and some chickens, which 
were to appear to-morrow. 

August 9. — We had people to work killing and salting our hog. 
We had difficulty in getting some one to undertake this office, but the 
man from whom we purchased the hog stood our friend, and brought 
down his family from Lamasillo to do the needful. We had very little 
benefit from our experiment in this way. We paid eight dollars for 
the hog, twenty-five cents for salt, twenty-five cents to Don Isidro, who 
brought him down to the port, and fifty cents to the same gentleman 
for butchering him. The wife and children of the owner took their 
pay for 'salting and smoking out of the hog himself. Our friends 
going up stream (according to Ijurra) stole half, and what was left 
spoiled before we could eat it. 

Everybody is a Don in this country. Our Indian boatmen, at least 
the Poperos, are Dons ; and much ceremonious courtesy is necessary in 
intercourse with them. I have to treat the governors of the districts 
with all manner of ceremony ; when, while he exacts this, and will get 
sulky, and afibrd me no facilities without it, he will entertain the prop- 
osition to go along with me as my servant. 

I had a note from the governor, not written but signed by himself, 
requesting to know how many men I wanted, and saying that he hoped 
to see us in the pueblo early to-morrow. We excused ourselves from 
going to the town, and requested him to send the men down to the 
port for their pay. This he would not do, but insisted that we should 
pay at least at Lamasillo. We always pay in advance, and the boat- 
men generally leave their cotton cloth, in which they are nearly always 
paid, with their wives. These have preferred their pay partly in 

TIGERS. 145 

August 10. — The party for Huanuco got off this morning, and left 
the shed to Ijiirra and me. Whilst bathing in the river, I saw an 
animal swimming down the stream towards me, which I took to be a 
fox or cat. I threw stones at it, and it swam to the other side of the 
river and took to the forest. Very soon after, a dog, who was evidently 
in chase, came swimming down, and missing the chase from the river, 
swam round in circles for some minutes before giving it up. This 
animal, from my description, was pronounced to be an ounce, or tiger- 
cat. It is called tigre throughout all this country, but is never so large 
or ferocious as the African tiger. They are rather spotted like the 
leopard, than striped like the tiger. They are said, when hungry, to 
be sufficiently dangerous, and no one cares to bring them to bay with- 
out good dogs and a good gun. 

We talked so much about tigers and their carrying off people whilst 
asleep, that I, after going to bed, became nervous; and every sound 
near the shed' made me grasp the handles of my pistols. After mid- 
night I was lulled to sleep by the melancholy notes of a bird that 
Lieutenant Smyth calls "Alma Perdida," or lost soul. Its wild and 
wailing cry from the depths of the forest seemed, indeed, as sad and 
despairing as that of one without hope. 

August 11. — Ijurra went to Lamasillo to pay the boatmen, some of 
them having come down to the port to carry up the cotton cloth. This 
left me entirely alone. The sense of loneliness, and the perfect stillness 
of the great forest, caused me to realize in all its force the truth of 
Campbell's fine line — 

" The solitude of earth that overawes." 

It was strange, when the scratch of my pen on the paper ceased, to 
hear absolutely no sound. I felt so much the want of society, that I 
tried to make a friend of the lithe, cunning-looking lizard that ran 
along the canoe at my side, and that now and then stopped, raised up 
his head, and looked at me, seemingly in wonder. 

I could see no traces of the height of the river in the crecido, or full ; 
but, from a mark pointed out by one of the Indians, I judged that the 
river has here a perpendicular rise and fall of thirty feet. He represents 
it at a foot in depth at high water on the hill upon which we now are, 
and its borders at three-fourths of a mile inland. Smyth speaks of the 
river having fallen ten feet in a single night. 

The hill on which the port of Tocache is situated, is about thirty 
feet above the present level of the river, and by boiling point is one 
thousand five hundred and seventy-nine feet above the level of the sea. 

A canoe arrived from Juan Juy^ and a party of two from Saposoa by 
10 * 

146 IBITOS. • 

land. These are towns further down the river. Each party had its 
pitahiSj (hide trunks,) containing straw hats, rice, tobacco, and tocuyo 
listado, a striped cotton cloth, much used in Huanuco for "tickings." 
It is astonishing to see how far this generally lazy people will travel 
for a dollar. 

August 18. — Had a visit from the governor last night. He is a 
little, bare-footed Mestizo, dressed in the short frock and trousers of the 
Indians. He seemed disposed to do all in his power to facilitate us 
and forward us on our journey. I asked him about the tigers. He said 
he had known three instances of their having attacked men in the 
night ; two of them were much injured, and one died. 

Our boatmen made their appearance at 10 a. m., accompanied by 
their wives, bringing masato for the voyage. The women carry their 
children (lashed flat on the back to a frame of reeds) by a strap around 
the brow, as they do any other burden. The urchins look comfortable 
and contented, and for all the world like young monkeys. 

The Indians of this district are Ihitos. They are less civilized than 
the Cholones of Tingo Maiia, and are the first whose faces I have seen 
reo'ularly painted. They seem to have no fixed pattern, but each man 
paints according to his fancy ; using, however, only two colors — the blue 
of Huitoc and the red "Achote." 

The population of the district is contained in the villages of Tocache, 
Lamasillo, Isonga, and Fisana, and amounts to about five hundred 
souls. The road between the port and Tocache is level and smooth ; 
the soil dark, of a hght character, and very nch, though thin. Nothing 
is sent from this district for sale, and the inhabitants purchase the cot- 
ton for their garments from the itinerant traders on the river, paying 
for it with tobacco. I should judge from the periodical overflow of 
the lands, the heat of the sun, and the lightness and richness of the 
soil, that this would be the finest rice country in the world. 

We started at twelve with two canoes and twelve men ; river fifty 
yards broad, eighteen feet deep, and with three miles an hour current ; 
a stream called the Tocache empties into it about half a mile below the 
port. It forces its way through five channels, over a bank of stones and 
sand. It is doubtless a fine large-looking liver when at high wat«r. 
The country is hilly on the right and flat on the left-hand side. At 
3 p. m. we entered a more hilly country, and began to encounter again 
the malos pasos ; passed the Bio Grande de Meshuglla, which comes in 
on the left in the same manner as the Tocache, and soon after, the port 
of Pisana ; no houses at the port ; saw an old white man on the beach, 
■who was a cripple, and said he had been bedridden for nine years. He 


begged us for needles, or fish-hooks, or anything we had. "We gave him 
a dollar. He is the first beggar for charity's sake that I recollected to 
have seen since leaving Lima. There are beggars enough, but they ask 
for presents, or, offering to buy some article, expect that it shall be given 
to them. 

The river is now entirely broken up by islands and rapids. In pass- 
ing one of these, we came very near being capsized. Rounding suddenly 
the lower end of an island, we met the full force of the current from the 
other side, which, striking us on the beam, nearly rolled the canoe over. 
The men, in their fright, threw themselves on the upper gunwale of the 
boat which gave us a heel the other way, and we very nearly filled. 
Had the popero fallen from his post, (and he tottered fearfully,) we 
should probably have been lost; but by great exertions he got the 
boat's head down stream, and we shot safely by rocks that threatened 

At six we arrived at the port of Balsayacu. The pueblo, which I 
found, as usual, to consist of one house, was a pleasant walk of half a 
mile from the port. We slept there, instead of at the beach ; and it was 
well that we did, for it rained heavily all night. The only inhabitants 
of the rancho seemed to be two little girls ; but I found in the morning 
that one of them had an infant, though she did not appear to be more 
than twelve or thirteen years of age. I suppose there are more houses 
in the neighborhood ; but, as I have before said, a pueblo is merely a 
settlement, and may extend over" leagues. The sandy point at the port 
is covered with large boulders, mostly* of a dark red conglomerate, 
though there were stones of almost every kind brought down by the 
stream and deposited there. We travelled to-day about twenty-five 
miles ; course N. W. by N.; average depth of the reaches of the river 
sixteen leet ; current three and a half miles to the hour. 

August 13. — Last night Ijurra struck with, a fire-brand one of the 
boatmen, who was drunk, and disposed to be insolent, and blackened and 
burned his face. The man — a powerful Indian, of full six feet in height — 
bore it like a corrected child in a blubbering and sulky sort of manner. 
This morning he has the paint washed oft' his face, and looks as humble 
as a dog ; though I obserml a few hours afterwards that he was painted 
up again, and had resumed the usual gay and good-tempered manner of 
his tribe. 

Between ten and eleven we passed the mal-paso of Mataglla^ just 
below the mouth of the river of the same name, which comes in on the 
left, clear and cool into the Huallaga. The temperature of this stream 
was 69; that of the Huallaga 74. Ijurra thought its waters were de- 

14S SIGN. 

cidedly salt, though I could not discover it. This mal-paso is the worst 
that I have yet encountered. We dared not attempt it under oar, and 
the canoe was let down along the shore, stern foremost, by a rope from 
its bows, and guided between the rocks by the popero — sometimes with 
his paddle, and sometimes overboard, up to his middle in water. I am 
told that "balsas" pass in mid-channel, but I am sure a canoe would 
be capsized and filled. The mal-paso is a quarter of a mile long, and 
an effectual bar, except perhaps at high water, to navigation for any 
thing but a canoe or balsa. Just before reaching Sion we passed the 
Pan de Azucar^ a sugar-loaf island of slate rock ; white when exposed 
long to the atmosphere ; seventy or eighty feet in height, and covered 
with small trees. It appears to have been a promontory torn from the 
main land and worn into its present shape by the force of the current. 

The river to-day averages one hundred yards in breadth, eighteen feet 
of depth, and with four miles of current. Its boi ders are hilly, and it 
runs straighter and more directly to the north than before. 

At 1 p. m. we arrived at the port of Sion. This is the port de la 
madre, or of the main river. There is another port situated on the Cano 
or arm of the main river, nearer the pueblo. The village lies in a S. W. 
direction, about a mile from the port. As our Tocache men were to 
leave us here, we had all the baggage taken up to the town. The walk 
is a pleasant one, over a level road of fine sand, well shaded with large 
trees. Ijurra, who went up before me, met the priest of Saposoa (who 
is on the annual visit to his parish) going south, and about to embark at 
the Cano port ; and the governor of the district going north to Pachiza^ 
the capital. This last left orders that we should be well received; and 
the lieutenant governor of the pueblo lodged us in the convento, or 
priest's house, and appointed us a cook and a servant. 

I slept comfortably on the padre's bedstead, enclosed with matting to 
keep off" the bats. The people appear to make much of the visit of their 
priest. I saw in the corner of the sala, or hall of the house, a sort of 
rude palanquin, which I understood to have been constructed to carry 
his reverence back and forth, between the city and port. 

August 14. — We employed the morning in cleaning the arms and 
drying the equipage. Had a visit from sAe ladies, pretty Mestizas, 
(descendants of white and Indian,) who examined the contents of our 
open trunks with curiosity and delight. They refrained, however, from 
asking for anything until they saw some chancac^ with which we were 
about to sweeten our morning coffee, when they could contain them- 
selves no longer ; but requested a bit. This seems an article of great 
request, for no sooner had the news spread that we had it, than the 

siON. 149 

alcalde brought us an egg to exchange for some ; and even the lieuten- 
ant governor also expressed his desire for a little. We refused the 
dignitaries, though we had given some to the ladies ; for we had but 
enough for two or three cups more. Their wants, however, were not 
confined to sugar. They asked, without scruple, after a while, for any- 
thing they saw ; and the lieutenant wanted a little sewing cotton, and 
some of the soap we brought to wash ourselves with, to take for physic. 
These things we could more easily part with, and I had no objection to 
give him some, and also to regale his wife with a pair of pinchbeck ear- 
rings. There is nothing made or cultivated here for sale. They raise 
a few fowls and some yuccas and plantains for their own use ; and it 
was well that we brought our own provisions along, or we might have 

I do not wonder at the indifference of the people to attempt to better 
their condition. The power of the governor to take them from their 
labor and send them on journeys of weeks' duration with any passing 
merchant or traveller, would have this effect. At this time they have 
furnished canoes and rowers for the priest, and a Seiior Santa Maria, 
bound up the river ; and for the governor and us, bound down ; which 
has taken thirty-eight men out of a population of ninety. (The whole 
population of the town and neighborhood, reckoning women and 
children, is three hundred.) 

The town appears to have been once in a better condition than it i? 
now. There are remains of a garden attached to the convent, and also 
of instruments of husbandry and manufacture — such as rude mortars, 
hollowed out from the trunk of a tree, for beating (with pestles) the 
husk from rice, and a press for putting into shape the crude wax gath- 
ered from the hollow trees by the Indians, used by the friars " lang 
syne" — -all now seem going to deci^ The people are lazy and indif- 
ferent. They cultivate plantains sufficient to give them to eat, and 
yuccas enough to make masato to get drunk on ; and this seems all 
they need. Most of their time is spent in sleeping, drinking, and 
dancing. Yesterday they were dancing all day, having a feast pre- 
paratory to going to work to clear ground, and make a chacra for 
our " Lady of something," which the priest, in his recent visit, had com- 
manded ; (the produce of this chacra is doubtless for the benefit of the 
church ^r its jaiinisters ;) and I have no doubt that the Indians will have 
another feast when the job is done. 

The dance was a simple affair so far as figure was concerned — the 
women whirling round in th^ centre, and the men (who were also the 
musicians) trotting around them in a circle. The music was made by 


mde drums, and fifes of reed , and it was quite amusing- to see the 
alcalde, a large, painted, grave-looking Indian, trotting round like a 
dog on a tread mill, with a penny whistle at his mouth. I am told 
that they will dance in this way as long as there is drink, if it reach to 
a month. I myself have heard their music — the last thing at night as I 
was going to bed, and the first thing in the morning as I was getting 
up — for days at a time. The tune never changes, and seems to be the 
same everywhere in the Montana. It is a monotonous tapping of the 
drum, very like our naval beat to quarters. 

We embarked at the Caiio port, and dropped down the Cano, a mile 
and a half to the river. We found the river deep and winding, and 
running, generally, between high cliffs of a white rock. The white, 
however, is superficial, and seems to be imparted by age and weather. 
Where the action of the water had worn the white off, the rock showed 
dark brown, and in layers of about two feet thick, the seams running 
N. N. W. and S. S. E., and at an angle elevated towards the north of 
45°. It is argillaceous schist, which is the character of most of the 
rock of this country. 

We passed the mal-paso of Skapiama, and, with fifteen minutes' in- 
terval, those of Savolayacu and Cachihuanushca. In the first two the 
canoes were let down with ropes, and we shot the last under oar, which 
I was surprised at, as I had heard that it was one of the worst on the 
river. Malos pasos, however, which are formidable when the river is 
full, are comparatively safe when it is low ; and vice versa. Smyth passed 
■when the river was high — I at the opposite season ; and for this reason 
our accounts of the rapids would vary and appear contradictory. 

After passing the last we found the hills lower, the country more 
open, and the river wider and with a gentler flow. The average depth 
to-day in the smooth parts is thi^ feet ; current, three miles. 

We passed the port of Valle on the left. A small stream enters 
here. The town, containing five hundred inhabitants, is six miles from 
the port. 

About sunset we arrived at Challuayacii, a settlement of twenty 
houses. All the inhabitants, except those of one house, were absent. 
We were told that they had been disobedient in some matter to the 
governor of the district, and that he had come upon them with a force 
and carried them off prisoners to Juan Juy, a large town furtlier down 
the river, where authority might be brought to bear upon them. 

The village is situated in a large and fertile plain, which reaches 
from near the town of Valle, on the S. W., to Pachisa, on fhe N.; but 
this is not yet settled or cultivated, and, as at Sion, nothing is produced 


except the bare necessaries of life. Some attempt, however, had been 
made at improvements, for there were two small horses, iu tolerable 
condition, wandering about among the deserted houses of the village. 
They eat the tops of the sugar-cane, the skin of the plantain, or almost 
any vegetable. They were brought from somewhere below to turn 
a trapiche ; but everything seems abandoned now, and, there being no 
one to take care of the horses, I fancy the bats will soon bleed them to 
death. # ^ Oinse 

^w^w5^ 16.— Lovely morning. On stepping out of the house Bay 
attention was attracted by a spider's web covering the whole of a large 
lemon-tree nearly. The tree was oval and well shaped ; and the web 
was thrown over it in the most artistic manner, and with the finest 
effect. Broad fiat cords were stretched out, like the cords of a tent, 
from its circumference to the neighboring bushes ; and it looked as if 
some genius of the lamp, at the command of its master, had exhausted 
taste and skill to cover with this delicate drapery the rich-looking fruit 
beneath. I think the web would have mecisui'ed full ten yards in 

The river opposite Challuayacu is one hundred yards broad, shallow 
and rapid. A few miles below, it spreads out to one hundred and fifty 
yards ; and in what seemed mid-channel, there was but six feet water, 
with a bottom of fine sand, and a current of four miles the hour. Hills 
on the right, but retiring from the shores ; a perfect plain, covered wit^ 
trees, bushes, and wild cane, on , the left. .,-> 

At noon we arrived at the mouth of the Hiiayahamha, which is one 
hundred yards wide, has six feet water, and a beautiful pebbly bottom. 
A quarter of an hour's drag of the canoe along the right bank brought 
us to the village of Lupuna^ the port of Pachiza. It contains fifteen 
houses and about seventy-five inhabitants. A little rice is grown ; but 
the staple production is cotton, which seemed to be abundant. This 
may be called a manufacturing place ; for almost every woman was 
engaged in spinning, and many balls of cotton-thread were hanging 
from the rafters of each house. A woman, spinning with diligence all 
day, will make four of these balls. These weigh a pound, and are worth 
twenty-five cents. They are very generally used as currency, there 
being little money in the country. I saw some English prints, which 
were worth thirty-seven and a half cents the yard ; (cost in Lima twelve 
and a half;) they come either by the way of Huanuco, or across the 
country, by Truxillo, Chachapoyas, and Moyobamba ; and are paid for 
in hats, wax, or these balls of cotton. 


We Lad a visit from the governor of Pachiza, which town is situated 
on the right bank of the river, three miles above Lupuna. I asked him 
why he had carried away prisoners nearly all the population of 
Challuajacu. He merely said that they had been rebellious, and 
resisted his authority, and therefore he had taken them to Juan Juy, 
where they could be secured and punished. I thought it a pity that a 
thriving settlement should be broken up, very probably on account 
of some personal quarrel. ^ 

The district comprises the pueblos of Pachiza, of eighty matrimonios ; 
Valle, eighty; Huicunga, thirty; Sion, thirty; Archiras, sixteen; Lu- 
puna, fifteen; Shepti, twelve; Bijao, four; and Challuayacu, three. 
The number of souls in a village, proportionate to the number of matri- 
monios, or married couples, is generally estimated at five for one. This 
would give the population of the district thirteen hundred and fifty. 
The people are indolent and careless ; and although there could not 
well be a finer or more productive country than all this district, yet 
they barely exist. 

After we had retired to our mats beneath the shed for the night, I 
asked the governor if he knew a bird called El alma perdida. He 
did not know it by that name, and requested a description. I whistled 
an imitation of its notes ; whereupon, an old crone, stretched on a mat 
near us, commenced, with animated tones and gestures, a story in the 
Inca language, which, translated, ran somehow thus : 

An Indian and his wife went out from the village to work their 
chacra, carrying their infant with them. The woman went to the 
spring to get water, leaving the man in charge of the child, with many 
cautions to take good care of it. When she arrived at the spring she 
found it dried up, and went further to look for another. The husband, 
alarmed at her long absence, left the child and went in search. When 
they returned the child was gone ; and to their repeated cries, as they 
wandered through the woods in search, they could get no response save 
the wailing cry of this little bird, heard for the first time, whose notes 
their anxious and excited imagination "syllabled" into pa-pa, ma-ma, 
(the present Quichua name of the bird.) I suppose the Spaniards h^ard 
this story, and, with that religious poetic turn of thought which seems 
peculiar to this people, called the bird "The lost soul." 

The circumstances under which the story was told — the beautiful 
still, starlight night — the deep, dark fo-rest around — the faint-red glim- 
mering of the fire, flickering upon the old woman's gi-ay hair and earnest 
face as she poured forth the guttural tones of the language of a people 
now passed away — gave it a sufficiently romantic interest to an imagi- 


native man. The old woman was a small romance in herself. I had 
looked at her with interest as she cooked our supper. She wore a 
costume that is sometimes, though not often, seen in this country. The 
body, or upper part of the dress, which was black, consisted of two 
parts — one coming up from the waist behind and covering the back, 
the other in front, covering the breast ; the two tied together over each 
shoulder v/ith strings, leaving her lank sides and long skinny arms 
perfectly bare. 

August 1*7. — We procured a canoe suflSciently large to carry all our 
baggage, (we had hitherto had two,) with eight peons. We found 
hills now on both sides of the river, which a little below Lupuna has 
one hundred and twenty yards of breadth and thirty feet of depth. We 
passed a small raft, with a house built of cane and palm upon it, con- 
taining an image of the Virgin, which was bound up the river seeking 
contributions. The people buy a step towards Heaven in this way with 
their little balls of cotton. 

We passed abreast of Juan Juy ; but, a long island intervening, we 
did not see it. It is a large village of five hundred inhabitants ; it is 
situated in a plain, a great part of which is overflowed by the river at 
the full; and much rice is cultivated there. I have met with the rice 
of Juan Juy everywhere on the river. Soon after we passed the mouth 
of the river Sapo^ which is fifty yards broad, and muddy; navigable for 
large canoes for twenty miles to the town of Saposoa, which contains one 
thousand inhabitants, and is the capital of the comparatively populous 
district of that name. 

The Huallaga, which for some miles above this has but six feet of 
■water, at this place has eighteen; but it soon diminishes to six again. 

We stopped at a collection of three or four huts called 0(je^ where 
there was a trapiche to grind sugar-cane; but the people only made bad 
rum of it. We tried to purchase yuccas and plantains ; but though 
they had them, they did not care to sell. They only plant enough for 
their own necessities. Great quantities of yuccas are used to make 
their masato. Below this we passed a rancho on the right-hand side, 
where there was a fine field of maize. This is the first settlement we 
have seen on that bank; fear of the savages, (or Infidels^) as they are 
called, who dwell on that side, preventing it. 

We stopped for the night at Juan Comas, a small village situated on 
a blufi" of light sandy soil, on the left bank. The hills on the other 
side are much more bare than is common, having only a few small trees 
and scattering bushes on them. We were quite objects of curiosity, 
and most of the people of the village came in to see us; one man, a 


strapping- fellow, came in, and after a brief but courteous salutation to 
me, turned to one of the women, and drove lier out of the house with 
kicks and curses. He followed her, and I soon after heard the sound of 
blows and the cries of a woman; I suppose the fellow was either jealous? 
or the lady had neglected some household duty to gratify her curiosity. 

August 18. — Just below Juan Comas the river has one hundred yards 
of width and forty-two feet of depth. This part of the river is called 
the " well" of Juan Comas; it is half a mile in length, and the current 
runs but one and a quarter mile the hour. The hills terminate just 
below this, and we have the country flat on both sides. We passed 
some rocky hills on the right-hand side, in one of which is a cave called 
" Puma huasi," or Tiger house. It is said to be very extensive. Soon 
after we passed the mouth of the river Hunanza, a small stream coming 
in on the Infidel side of the river. Our popero says that the Infidels 
dwell near here, and the people of Tarapoto go a short distance up this 
river to capture the young Indians and take them home as slaves, I 
believe this story ; for I found servants of this class in Tarapoto, who 
were bought and sold as slaves. Slavery is prohibited by the laws of 
Peru ; but this system is tolerated on the plea that the Infidel is chris- 
tianized and his condition bettered by it. 

It is very easy for only a few white men, armed with guns, to rob 
the savages of their children ; for these rarely live in villages, but in 
families of at most three or four huts, and widely separated from each 
other. They never assemble except for the purpose of war ; and then 
the sound of a horn, from settlement to settlement, brings them to- 
gether. They are also a timid people, and will not face the white 
man's gun. 

It is possible that the story of the popero is not true, and that the 
whites may buy the children of the Indians; but if so, I imagine that 
the advantages of the bargain are all on one side. 

Below the mouth of the Hunanza we have the same comparatively 
bare hills that I noticed opposite Juan Comas. They present ridges of 
red earth and dark stbne, which curve from the south towards the 
northeast, and are elevated in that direction to about 20°. I suspect 
that they have veins of salt, particularly as the salt hills of Filluuna 
are of the same range, and present at a distance nearly the same 

The hills of Pilluana, which we now soon passed, have their base 
immediately upon the river, on the right-hand side. They are ^bout 
three hundred feet in height, and stretch along the banks of the river 
for a quarter of a mile. The salt shows like frost upon the red earth at 


a distance ; but seen nearer the heavy rains seem to have washed away 
the loose earth and left nearly the pure salt standing in innumerable 
cone-shaped pinnacles, so that the broken sides of the hills look like 
what drawings represent of the crater of a volcano, or the bottom of a 
geyser. Where the hills have been excavated, beautiful stalactites of 
perfectly pure salt hang from the roof in many varieties of shapes. 
There are much higher hills back of these, that appear also to contain 
salt; so that there seems a supply here for all- people and for all time. 

We passed the mouth of the river Mayo^ that comes in on the left 
between moderately high hills, and five minutes after arrived at Shapaja^ 
one of the ports of Tarapoto. The river, just above the junction of the 
Mayo, narrows to forty yards, has thirty and thirty-six feet of depth, 
and increases much in velocity. This is preparatory to its rush over 
the "Pon^o," a strait of forty-fiv^e miles in length, where the river is 
confined between high hills, is much broken with malos pasos, and has 
its last Qpnsiderable declivity. 

Shapaja has twenty houses, mostly concealed in the high groves of 
plantains which surround them. Nearly all the men were away fishing, 
but the women (as always) received us kindly, and cooked our supp<^r 
for us. 




Tarapoto — Pongo of Chasuta— Chasuta— Yurimaguas— Sta. Cruz— Antonio, the 
Paragud — Laguna — Mouth of the Huallaga. 

August 19. — We started in company with a man who, with his 
peons, was carrying fish that he had taken and salted below Chasuta 
to Tarapoto. A smart walk of five hours (the latter part of it very 
quick, to avoid the rain that threatened us) brought us to the town. 
The road crossed a range of hills in the forest for about half the dis- 
tance. The ascent and descent of these hills were tedious, because light 
showers of rain had moistened the surface of the hard-baked earth and 
made it as shppery as soap. For the other half of the distance the road 
ran over a plain covered with high, reedy grass, and some bushes ; there 
was a short clump-grass underneath that would afford capital pasturage. 
The distance between Shapaja and Tarapoto, I judge to be fifteen miles, 
and the direction westerly, although I could not tell exactly, on account 
of the winding of the road. 

Tarapoto — which is situated upon a moderate eminence near the 
western edge of the plain before spoken of, and surrounded by hills, 
which are mountains in the west — is by far the largest town I have seen 
since leaving Huanuco. The district — comprising the towns of Tara- 
poto, (which has three thousand five hundred inhabitants,) Chasuta, 
(which has twelve hundred,) Cumbasa, Morales, Shapaja, Juan Guerra, 
and Juan Comas — numbers six thousand inhabitants. 

The principal productions are rice, cotton, and tobacco, all of which 
are articles of export, particularly the cloth called tocuyo, woven by the 
women from cotton. Nearly all the course of the river, as far as Ugas, 
is supplied from Tarapoto with this article.^ As much as thirty-five 
thousand varas is said to be made in this place annually. It is valued 
here at twelve and a half cents the vara,* and increases in price as it 
floats down the river, until at Egas it is exchanged for the value of fifty 
cents in foreign articles from Pard. It also goes inland as far as Moyo- 
bamba, where it is exchanged for straw hats and English prints. 

'~~. — # 

* This is its value in barter. It may be bought for six and a quarter cents 
money. The same is the case with the wax and the balls of thread, which are 
held at double the price for what they may be bought with coin. 


There is little or no money in this country. Tocuyo, wax from the 
Ucayali, and balls of cotton thread, are used in its place. The English 
goods that come from the interior sell in Tarapoto for four times their 
cost in Lima: for example, a yard of printed calico, which costs in Lima 
twelve and a half cents, sells in this place for either a pound of wax, 
four yards of tocuyo, or two pounds of cotton thread. (It is worth 
twenty- five cents, money.) 

I suppose there is a little money obtained for these articles in Huan- 
uco and Chachapoyas, or left here by travelling strangers. But if so, it 
falls into the hands of the traders and is hoarded away. These traders 
are either Moyobarabinos., (inhabitants of Moyobamba,) or foreigners of 
Spain, France, and Portugal. The Moyobambinos are the Jews of the 
country, and will compass sea and land to make a dollar. I met with 
them everywhere on the river ; and I think that I did not enter an 
Indian village without finding a Moyobambino domiciliated and trading 
with the inhabitants. They are a thin, spare, sickly-looking people, of 
a very dark complexion, but seem capable of undergoing great hardship 
and fatigue, for they carry their cargoes to marts hundreds of leagues 
distant by roads or river that present innumerable difficulties. 

They bear a bad character on the river, and are said to cheat and 
oppress the Indians ; so that when I could not get a yucca for my supper 
without paying for it in advance, I vented my spleen by abusing a 
Moyobambino, who had treated the people so badly that they distrusted 
everybody. But I have had reason, once or twice, for abusing other 
people besides Moyobambinos on^his account ; for the governor of 
Tarapoto hesitated about trusting me with a canoe to descend the river, 
because a person representing himself as a countryman of mine had run 
off with one some years before. I imagine this is the same honest 
German who " did" Colonel Lucar at Huanuco. 

I met at this place my countryman Hacket, whom I had heard spoken 
so highly of in Cerro Pasco and Huanuco. He is employed in making 
copper kettles {cslled pailas) for distilling, and in all kinds of blacksmith 
and foundry work. He seems settled in this country for life, and has 
adopted the habits and manners of the people. Poor fellow — how re- 
joiced he was to see the face and hear the speech of a countryman ! I 
am indebted to him for the following statistics concerning Tarapoto : 

" The population of Tarapoto, with its annexed ports of Shapaja and 
Juan Guerra, is five thousand three hundred and fifty souls. The births 
annually are from tiWo hundred and twenty to two hundred and fifty ; 
deaths, from thirty to fifty. 

" The principal occupation of the people is the manufacture of cotton 


cloth, of wliicli they make from thirty-five to forty thousand varas 
annually. This article is sold in Chachapoyas at twelve and a half cents 
the vara. This, tocuyo, and white wax, make the exchange of the 
place. Gold and silver are almost unknown, but they are articles which 
the people most desire to have. The white wax of Mainas is worth four 
yards of tocuyo the pound. A bull or cow of good size is sold for one 
hundred varas of tocuyo ; a fat hog of ordinary size, for sixty ; a large 
sheep, twelve ; twenty-five pounds of salt fish of the vaca marina, or 
paishi, (equal in quality to cod-fish,) for twelve varas ; twenty-five 
pounds of manteca (oil or lard) of vaca marina, twelve varas ; twenty- 
five pounds of coflPee, six varas ; twenty pounds of rum — of thirty de- 
grees,' twenty-four varas ; of sixteen degrees, twelve varas ; twenty-five 
pounds of cotton in the seed, eight ounces of wax ; a laying-hen, four 
ounces ; a chicken, two ounces ; twenty -five pounds of rice in the husk, 
half a pound ; twenty-five pounds of Indian corn, two ounces ; twenty- 
five pounds of beans, four ounces ; a basket of yuccas, which weighs 
from fifty to sixty pounds, two ounces ; a head of plantains, which will 
weigh from forty to fifty pounds, for three needles ; or six heads, deliv- 
ered in the house, four ounces of wax. 

" A plantain-grove will give in full vigor for fifty or sixty years, without 
more attention than to clean it occasionally of weeds ; cotton gives a 
crop in six months ; rice in five ; indigo is indigenous ; cattle of all 
kinds augment with much rapidity. 

" All transportation of cargoes by land is made upon the backs of 
Indians, for want of roads. The cug^lfcmary weight of a cargo is seventy- 
five pounds ; the cost of its transportation to Moyobamba, (seventy 
miles,) is six varas of tocuyo ; to Huanuco, (three hundred and ninety 
miles,) thirty-two varas, by water and by land ; that is to say, eight 
Indians will receive in Tarapoto eight packages, of whatsoever goods, 
and carry them on their shoulders to the port of Juan Guerra, where 
they embark and carry them in a canoe to the poi-t of Tingo Maria ; 
there they shoulder them again, and carry them to Huanuco, (eighty 
miles.) It is to be understood that the owner of the cargo is to support 
the peons. 

" The ascent of the Huallag;a from Juan Guerra to Tingo Maria take^ 
thirty days ; the descent, eight. It has dangerous passes. It is easy to 
obtain, in the term of six or eight days, fifty or sixty peons for the 
transportation of cargoes, getting the order of the^overnor and paying 
the above prices. w 

" This town is, without dispute, the most important in Mainas, on ac- 
count of its neighborhood to navigable rivers, united with an extension of 


land free from inundations. Its inhabitants are numerous, civilized, 
and docile." 

The people have no idea of comfort in their domestic relations ; the 
houses are of mud, thatched with palm, and have uneven dirt floors. 
The furniture consists of a grass hammock, a standing bed-place, a 
coarse table, and a stool or two. The governor of this populous district 
wore no shoes, and appeared to live pretty much like the rest of them. 
August 20 we spent at Tarapoto, waiting for the peons. The 
governor preferred that I should pay them in money, which I much 
doubt if the peons ever saw. lie will probably keep the money and 
give them tocuyo and wax. I paid one dollar and fifty cents for the 
canoe to carry me as far as Chasuta, a distance of about six hours down, 
with probably twenty-four to return, (that is, twenty-four working hours ;) 
fifty cents, to each peon ; and a dollar to pay the people to haul the canoe 
up the bank and place it under the shed at Shapaja on its return. 

The men who carried us from Tocache to Sion preferred half their 
pay in money; in all other cases I have paid in cotton cloth, valued at 
twenty-five cents the yard ; (its cost in Lima was twelve and a half 
cents ) The amount of pay, generally fixed by the governor, is a yard 
per man per day, and about the same for the canoe. 

An American circus company passed through Tarapoto a few months 
ago ; they had come from the Pacific coast, and were bound down the 
Amazon. This beats the Moyobambinos for determined energy in 
making dollars. I imagine that the adventure did not pay, for I en- 
countered traces of them, in broken down horses, at several of the . 
villages on the river. They floated their horses down on r^ts. 

I spoke with an active and intelligent young Spanish trader, named 
Morey, about the feasibility of a steamboat enterprise upon these rivers, 
bringing American goods and taking return-cargoes of cofiee, tobacco, 
straw-hats, hammocks, and sarsaparilla to the ports of Brazil on the 
river. He thought that it could not fail to enrich any one who w^ould 
attempt it ; but that the difiiculty lay in the fact that my proposed 
steamer would never get as far as this, for that my goods would be 
bought up and paid for in return-cargoes long before she reached Peru. 
He thought, too, that the Brazilians along the river had money which 
they would be glad to exchange for comforts and luxuiies. 

Were I to engage in any scheme of colonization for the purpose of 
evolving the resources of the Valley of the Amazon, I think I should 
direct the attention of settlers to this district of Tarapoto. It combines 
more advantages than any other I know; it is healthy, fertile, and free 
from the torment of musquitoes and sand-flies. Wheat may be had 


from the liigli lands above it ; cattle thrive well ; and its coffee, tobacco, 
sugar-cane, rice, and maize are of fine quality. It is true that vessels 
cannot come up to Shapaja, the port of the town of Tarapoto ; but a 
good road may be made from this town eighteen miles to Chasuta, to 
which vessels of five feet draught may come at the lowest stage of the 
river, and any draught at high water. Tarapoto is situated on an 
elevated plain twenty miles in diameter ; is seventy miles from Moyo- 
bamba, the capital of the province, a city of seven thousand inhabitants ; 
and has close around it the villages of Lamas. Tabalosas, Juan Guerra, 
and Shapaja. 

The Uoayali is navigable higher up than this point, and the quality 
of cotton and coffee seems better, within certain limits, further from the 
equator. Bat the settler at the head- waters of the Ucayali has to 
place himself in a profound wilderness, with the forest and the savage 
to subdue, and entirely dependent upon his own resources. I think he 
would be better placed near where he can get provisions and assistance 
whilst he is clearing the forest and planting his fields. I am told that 
the governors of the districts in all the province of Mainas have 
authority to give titles to land to any one who desires to cultivate it. 

I saw here very fine fields of Indian corn. The stalk grows quite as 
high as on our best bottom-lands in Virginia, and the ears were full, and 
of good grain. It may be planted at any time, and it yields in three 
months, thus giving four crops a year. A considerable quantity of 
tobacco is also cultivated in the neighborhood of Tarapoto. The 
tobacco seed is planted in carefully-prepared ground in October. At 
this time thdPforest is cleared to make the plantation. In January the 
seedlings are ready to transplant, when the wood that has been cut 
down is set fire to, and the plantation cleared up ready to receive the 
plants. When the plant is about two feet high, the top is cut oft', and 
the lower leaves, which are generally injured by the dirt, pulled off, so 
that the force of the plant may be thrown into the middle leaves. The 
crop is gathered, as the leaves ripen, in July and August. They are 
put under shelter for a few days to turn yellow, and are then exposed 
for three or four days to the sun and dew. After this, they are some- 
times sprinkled with a little molasses and water, and rolled out flat with 
a wooden roller ; the larger stems are taken out, and they are then put 
up in long masses of about one and a half pound weight, and wrapped 
tightly and closely with some running vine ef the forest. This is the 
common method ; and the common tobacco of Tarapoto is worth twelve 
and a half cents (money) the mass there. A superior kind, made with 
more care, and put up iu short, thick masses, called andullo, is also 


made in the province. This is worth twenty-five cents. The best 
tobacco is made in Xeberos, in the upper mission, and is sent to Lima. 

August 21. — We^tarted for Juan Guerra on horseback, in company 
with a large- fishing-party, got up by the Padre for his own profit ; he 
seemed to carry nearly the whole town with him. The mounted party 
consisted of eight. There were two ladies along, whose company added 
to the gaiety and pleasure of the canter through the woods. Used as 
I had become by my travels in various parts of the world to the free 
and easy, I must confess that I was a little startled to see these ladies, 
when we arrived at Juan Guerra, denude themselves to a silk handker- 
chief around the loins, and bathe in the river within forty yards, and in 
full sight of all the men. 

Arrived at Juan Guerra, we embarked upon the Cumbasa, which 
empties into the Mayo. Half an hour's dragging of the canoe over the 
shoals, and between the fallen trees on this stream, and one and a half 
hour's navigation on the Mayo, carried us to its mouth, which is only a 
quarter of a mile above Shapaja, where Morey had the goodness to land 
us, and then shoved off" to join the priest, who was to camp on a beach 

The fishing-party of the padre was a large afi'air. They had four or 
five canoes, and a large quantity of barbasco. The manner of fishing 
is to close up the mouth of a caiio of the river with a net-work made of 
reeds, and then, mashing the barbasco root to a pulp, throw it into the 
water. This turns the water white, and poisons it, so that the fish soon . 
commence rising to the surface dead, and are taken into the canoes 
with small tridents. Almost at the moment of throwing the barbasco 
into the water, the smaller fish rise to the surface and die in two or 
three minutes; the larger fish survive longer; and, therefore, a successful 
fishing of this sort is a matter of half a day, or till the canoes are filled. 

When we left Shapaja for Tarapoto, we placed our trunks, several 
without locks, in charge of the women who lived in the shed where we 
slept; and, although they knew that the trunks contained handkerchiefs,, 
red cotton cloth, beads, scissors, &c., (things which they most desire,) ■ 
we missed nothing on our return. 

August 22. — Two miles below Shapaja is the mal-paso of Estero,. 
A point of rocks, stretching out from a little stream that enters on the 
left, makes this rapid, which is considered a very dangerous one. The 
stream, rushing against these rocks, is deflected to a point of rocks that 
makes out into the river a little lower down on the other side ; this • 
turns it aside again, and the waves mingle and boil below. The canoe ■ 
was unloaded, and conducted by sogas or ropes of vine, over and be- 


tween tlie rocks on the left-Land side. It took an hour to unload, pass 
the canoe, and load up again. Three miles further is the mal-paso of 
Canoa Yacu, (canoe water,) from many canoes having been wrecked 
here. This is by far the most formidable rapid I have seen. There is 
a small perpendicular fall on each side, and a shoot of 20° declivity in 
the middle, down which the water rushes with a velocity of at least ten 
miles the hour. The shoot looks tempting, and one is disposed to try 
the rush ; but there are rocks below, over which the water dashes up 
some two or three feet in height; and I think no boat could shoot out 
of the force of the stream so as to avoid these rocks. 

The river both here and at Estero is not more than thirty yards 
. wide. The average velocity of the current through the JPongo is six 
miles the hour. It took one hour and a half to pass this obstruction. 
Two miles further down we shot the mal-paso of Matijuelo under oar ; 
and immediately after, that of Chumia, where the canoe was let 
down as before, but without unloading. It took half an hour to do 
this. A quarter of an hOur afterwards we passed the rapid of Vaquero ; 
and at 2^ p. m. arrived at Chasuta. We were kindly welcomed and 
hospitably entertained by the Cura, Don Sebastian Castro. 

Chasuta is the port of the district of Tarapoto. The traders have 
their cargoes carried on the backs of Indians between Tarapoto and 
Chasuta, and embark and disembark at the latter place to avoid the 
rapids of the iPongo. The distance by land, according to Hacket, is 
.eighteen miles ; and the cost of transportation, half a pound of wax for 
a cargoe of seventy-five pounds. There is from this point no further 
obstruction to navigation for canoes; and very little labor would enable 
a draught of six feet to reach Chasuta at the lowest stage of the river. 

There were canoes in the port, just arrived from below, with salt fish 
and wax ; and canoes about to start down with the products of the 
district. The annual value of the commerce between this place and 
below is fifteen hundred dollars. All articles which can readily be 
transported on the backs of mules, or Indians, come from Lima, by the 
way of Chachapoyas and Moyobamba. These are principally articles 
of wearing apparel, or stuff to make them of. Heavier articles — such as 
iron, iron implements, copper kettles, (for distilling,) guns, crockery, 
&Q,. — come from below. The axes are narrow, worthless things, made in 
Portugal, and sold in Tarapoto for a dollar in money, without handles. 
Iron (of which the inhabitants are very careful to buy Swedish only) 
is worth in Tarapoto twelve and a half cents the pound. A common 
plate for the dinner table is worth twenty five cents; a cup and saucer, 
tvrelve and a half cents ; a glass with handle to drink water, fifty cents ; 


a small glass to drink spirits, twenty-five cents ; a small basin to wash 
tlie face in, twenty-five cents ; looking-glass of one and a half foot long, 
and a foot wide, seventy- five cents ; penknife of one blade, fifty cents ; 
small hand-bells for the churches, fifty cents ; a pair of coarse scissors, 
eighteen and three-quarter cents ; a long-pointed, white-handled knife, 
thirty-seven and a half cents ; small slates, with pencil and sponge, one 
dollar ; coarse sabres, with wooden handle, seventy-five cents ; jews- 
harp, twelve and a half cents ; horn buttons, six and a quarter cents the 
dozen. Morey gave for a common Yankee clock, on the Amazon, 
seventeen dollars and fifty cents. These are money values. 

One will be told tlfat these articles are sold at double these prices ; 
but money, on account of its scarcity, is worth double its nominal value ; 
thus a yard of tocuyo, (the most common currency,) which is always 
valued in Nauta^ Pebas, Lore to, &c., at twenty-five cents in exchange 
for efectos, or goods, may be bought there for twelve and a half cents 
specie. The traveller should be aware of this, or he may be paying- 
double prices for things. 

The salt fish brought up from below is in large pieces of about eight 
pounds each, cut from the vaca marina — the payshi, a fish of one 
hundred and fifty pounds weight — and the gamitana, a large flat fish, 
like the skate. The piece is worth twelve and a half cents, money, in 
Tarapoto, and twenty -five cents in Moyobamba. 

The vaca marina (sea cow) of the Spaniards, and peixe hoy (fish ox) 
of the Portugese, (also found in our Florida streams, and there called 
manatee.^ is found in great numbers on the Amazon and its principal 
tributaries. It is an animal averaging, when full grown, about nine 
feet in length, and six in circumference. It has much the appearance 
of a large seal, with a smooth skin, dark on the back, a dirty white on 
the belly, and thinly sprinkled with coarse hairs. The eyes and eai-s 
(or rather holes for hearing) are very small. The mouth is also small, 
though it looks large on the outside, on account of a very thick and wide 
upper lip, which is shaped like that of an ox. In the one I examined, 
which was a young female, I could discover neither tongue nor teeth, 
but a thick, rough, and hard, fleshy cushion attached to both upper and 
lower jaws, which seemed to me very well adapted to masticating the 
grass which grows upon the banks of the river, and which is its princi- 
pal food. The tail is broad and flat, and is placed horizontally. This, 
with two large fins far in advance, and very near the jaws, enables it to 
move in the water with considerable rapidity. It is not able to leave 
the water ; but in feeding it gets near the shore and raises its head 
out. It is, when feeding, most often taken by the Indians. An ordi- 


nary-sized vaca marina will yield from ttirty-five to forty pounds of 
manteca, which will sell in Tarapoto for three cents the pound, money ; 
besides ten pieces of salt fish, worth twelve and a half cents each. Fifty 
cents is the common price of the fish where it is taken. The governor 
general of the missions told me that two men in his employment at 
Chorococha, on the Amazon, had taken seven for him in eight days. 
The flesh, salted or dried, is a good substitute for pork. It is put up in 
large jars in its own fat, and is called michira. 

Chasuta is an Indian village of twelve hundred inhabitants, situated 
on a plain elevated about twenty-five feet above the present level of the 
river. It is frequently covered in the full, and !he people take their 
canoes into their houses and live in them. The diseases, as all along the 
river, are pleurisy, tarbardillo, and sarna. The small-pox sometimes 
makes its appearance, but does little damage. It is a very healthy place, 
and few die. 

The Indians of Chasuta are a gentle, quiet race ; very docile, and very 
obedient to their priest, always saluting him by kneeling and kissing his 
hand. They are tolerably good boatmen, but excel as hunters. Like 
all the Indians, they are much addicted to drink. I have noticed that 
the Indians of this country are reluctant to shed blood, and seem to have 
a horror of its sight. I have known them to turn away to avoid killing 
a chicken, when it was presented to one for that purpose. The Indian 
whom Ijurra struck did not complain of the pain of the blow, but, 
bitterly and repeatedly, that " his blood had been shed." They eat 
musquitoes that they catch on their bodies, with the idea of restoring 
the blood which the insect has abstracted. 

The padre told me that the fee for a marriage was four pounds of 
wax, which was the perquisite of the sacristan ; for a burial, two, which 
went to the sexton ; and that he was regaled with a fowl for a christen- 
ing. He complained of the want of salary, or fees ; and said that it was 
impossible for a clergyman to live unless he engaged in trade. Every 
year the governor appoints twelve men to serve him. The commission 
runs, "For the service of our holy mother church;" but it means the 
curate. It is an office of distinction, and the Indians crave it. They are 
called Fiscales. They work the padre's chacra and trapiche ; fish for 
him ; hunt for him ; (the fishermen and hunters are called mitayos ; 
this is a remnant of an oppressive old Spanish law called mita^ by which 
certain services, particularly in the mines, were exacted of the Indians ;) 
do his washing ; wait upon his table ; and carry on for him his traffic 
on the river, by which he gains his salt fish and the means to buy 
crockery for his table. 


I boiiglit wax of the curate to pay for the canoes and boatmen to 
Yurimaguas. • The men desired money, and I told the cur^e that he 
had better let me pay them in money, as to be familiar with its use 
weuld tend to civilize them. But he said that they did not know its 
value, and would only hoard it up or use it as ornaments. I don't know 
what else he will do with it, for certainly it never circulates. I have 
not seen a dollar since I left Huanuco, except those that were in my own 
hands. That the Indians have no idea of its value is evident. I bought 
a pucuna of one. He desired money ; and his first demand was four 
dollars ; which I refused to give. He then said six reals, (seventy-five 
cents.) I gave him a dollar, which I thought would pay him for the 
time and labor necessary to make another. 

As we were now clear of the dangers of the river, and were to be 
more exposed to sun and rain, we had coverings made of hoop-poles, and 
thatched with palm, fitted to the canoe. The one over the stern, for the 
accommodation of the patron, covers about six feet of it, and makes a 
good den to retreat to in bad weather. It is called by the Indians 
^pamacari. The one fitted over the cargo, in the body of the boat, is 
called armayari. It is narrower than the other, allowing room for the 
Indians to sit and paddle on each side of it. 

August 25. — We left Chasuta in company with two canoes ; one 
belonging to a Portuguese, resident of Tarapoto, carrying a cargo to 
Nauta ; and the other manned by the Fiscales, and carrying the padre's 
little venture of salt. We passed the salt hills of Callana Yacu, where 
the people of Chasuta and the Indians of Ucayali and Maranon get 
their salt. The hills are not so high as those of Pilluana, and the salt 
seems more mixed with red earth. It " crops out" on the banks of the 
river, which are shelving, and rise into gentle hills as they recede, 
covered with bushes and small trees. A quarter of an hour afterwards 
■we entered a more hilly country ; river narrow, shallow, and rapid ; its 
depth fifteen feet, and its current four and a half miles the hour. Soon 
after we passed between clifis of dark-red rocks, where the river deep- 
ened to forty-two feet. On one of these rocks, appearing like a gigantic 
boulder of porphyry, were cut rude figures of saints and crosses, with 
letters which are said to express " The leap of the Traitor Aguirre ;" but 
they were too much worn by time and weather for me to make them 
out. There were more recent cuttings in the rock. One of them were 
the letters YR, the work, I imagine, of an Englishman belonging to the 
circus company. The pass is called "El Salto de Aguirre." We 
camped on the right bank of the river, having passed the country of the 


August 26. — Being in company witli Antonio, the Portuguese, who, 
knows how to arrange matters, we get a cup of coftee •t the peep of 
day and are off by half past 5 a. m. At five miles of distance we 
passed the lower extremity of the Pongo, which commences at Shapaja. 
" Pongo" is an Indian word, and is applied to designate the place where 
a river breaks through a range of hills, and where navigation is of course 
obstructed by rocks and rapids. The place where the Maraiion breaks 
its way through the last chain of hills that obstructs its course is called 
the Pongo de Mansericjie. This is the Pongo de Chasuta. There is 
only one mal-paso below Chasuta ; it is called the mal-paso del Gahilan^ 
and is just below the Salto de Aguirre. It is insignificant, and I should 
not have noticed it at all, but that it was pointed out to me, and said to 
be dangerous for canoes in the full of the river. 

After passing the Pongo, we entered upon a low, flat country, where 
the river spreads out very wide, and is obstructed by islands and sand- 
banks. This is the deposit from the Pongo. In the channel where we 
passed, I found a scant five feet of water; I suspect, but I could not find 
out, that more water may be had in some of the other channels. This* 
shoal water is but for a short distance, and the soundings soon deepened 
to twelve and eighteen feet. Small pebbly islands are forming in the 
river, and much drift-wood from above lodges on them. After having 
stopped two hours to breakfast, we passed the mouth of the Chipurana, 
which is aboLit twenty yards wide. 

This river flows from the Fampa del Sacramento^ and affords, when 
it is full, a canoe navigation of about forty miles, taking four days to 
accomplish it, on account of shoals and fallen trees. This distance 
brings the traveller to the port of Yanayacu^ where, in 1835, when 
Lieutenant Smyth travelled this route, there was one hut ; there is not 
one now. A walk over a plain for twenty-five miles reaches the village 
of &ta. Catalina^ which then had thirty families; now one hundred and 
sixty inhabitants ; so that it has changed very little in all this time. 
Embarking at Sta. Catalina, on the river of the same name, the traveller, 
in two days of a very difiicult and interrupted navigation, enters the 
Ucayali ; ascending which stream a day and a half, he arrives at Sa- 

I was desirous of going to Sarayacu by this route, but the river 
would not, at this season, afford sufficient water for my canoes to reach 
Yanayacu, and I moreover did not like to miss the lower part of the 

River now two hundred yards wide, free from obstruction, with a 
gentle current, and between eighteen and twenty-four feet of depth. 


We saw turtle -tracks in the sand to-day for tlie first time ; camped on 
the beach. 

August 27. — Saw flesh-colored porpoises ; also a small seal, which 
looked like a fur-seal ; got turtle- eggs. The turtles crawl out upon the 
beach during the night, deposit their eggs, and retreat before dawn, 
leaving, however, broad tracks in the sand, by which their deposits are 
discovered. We must have got upwards of a thousand ; I counted one 
hundred and fifty taken from one hole. Since we have passed the 
Pono-o we have encountered no stones : the beaches are all of sand. 

August 28. — Arrived at Yurimaguas. This little village, situated 
upon a hill immediately upon the banks of the river, and numbering two 
hundred and fifty inhabitants, now appears almost entirely deserted. 
We co\ild procure neither peons nor canoes. The men were away in the 
forest collecting wax for a fiesta, ordered by the curate ; and the sub- 
prefect of the province, who had been gold-hunting up the Santiago, had 
taken all the canoes up the Cachiyacu with him on his return to Moyo- 
bamba. I was told that his expedition for gold up the Santiago, which 
consisted of a force of eighty armed men, had been a failure; that they 
got no gold, and had lost five of their company by the attacks of the 
Huambisas and other savages of the Santiago. This may not be true. 
The sub-prefect (I was told) said that the expedition had accomplished 
its purpose, which was simply to open friendly communications with the 
savages, with a view to further operations. 

With great diflBculty, and by paying double, I persuaded .our Chasu- 
tinos to take us on to Sta. Oruz, where I was assured ^ could be ao- 
commodated both with boats and- men. We could buy nothing at 
Yurimaguas but a few bunches of plantains and some salt fish out of a 
passing boat. 

An island divides the river three- fourths of a mile above Yurimaguas. 
The southern branch is the channel; the northern one is closed at its 
lower end by a sand-bank opposite the village. 

We left Yurimaguas after breakfasting. Half a mile below the village 
is the mouth of the Cachiyacu. This river is the general route between 
Moyobamba and the ports of the Amazon. It is navigable for large 
canoes,. when full, (which is from January to June,) as far as Balza 
Puerto, a considerable village, five days' journey from Moyobamba. It 
takes nine days for a loaded canoe to ascend as far as Balza Puerto. 
Lieutenant Maw descended this river in 1827. Communication is also 
had by the Cachiyacu with many villages situated in the fine country be- 
tween the Maraiion and Huallaga rivers: so that Yurimaguas, situated at 
the mouth of this river, and having open communication with the Atlantic, 

168 • THE RIVER. 

may be considered as occupying an important position in any sclieme 
for navigation and trade. 

. We met several canoes going up the river for salt ; canoes passing 
each other on the river speak at a great distance apart. The Indians 
use a sing-song tone, that is heard and understood very far, without 
seeming to call for much exertion of the voice. Every year at this 
season the Indians of the Maraiion and Uc^yali make a voyage up the 
Huallaga for their supply of salt. They travel slowly, and support 
themselves by hunting, fishing, and robbing plantain patches on their 

About eight miles below Yurimaguas, an island with extensive sand- 
flats occupies nearly the whole of the middle of the river. We passed 
to the right, and I found but a scant six feet of water. The popero said 
there was less on the other side ; but Antonio, the Portuguese, passed 
there, and said there was more. He did not sound, however. We tried 
an experiment to ascertain the speed of the canoe at full oar, and I was 
surprised to find that six men could not paddle it faster than two miles 
the hour ; our?? is, however, a very heavy and clumsy canoe. We have 
had frequent races mth Antonio and the Fiscales, and wer-e always 
beaten. It was a pretty sight to see the boat of the latter, though laden 
with salt to the water's edge, dance by us; and, although beaten, we could 
not sometimes refrain (as their puntero, a tall, painted Indian, would toss 
his paddle in the air with a triumphant gesture as he passed) from giving 
a hurrah for the servants of the church. 

August 29. — We met a canoe of Conibos Indians, one man and two 
women, from the Ucayali, going up -for salt. We bought (with beads) 
some turtle-eggs, and proposed to buy a monkey they had ; but one of 
the women clasped the little beast in her arms, and set up a great outcry 
lest the man should sell it. The man wore a long, brown, cotton gown, 
with a hole in the neck for the head to go through, and short, wide 
sleeves. He had on his arm a bracelet of monkey's teeth; and the 
women had white beads hanging from the septum of the nose. Their 
dress was a cotton petticoat tied round the waist; and all were filthy. 
I We are now getting into the lake country ; and hence to the mouth 
of the Amazon, lakes of various sizes, and at irregular distances, border 
the rivers. They all communicate with the rivers by channels, which 
are commonly dry in the dry season. They are the resort of immense 
numbers of water- fowl, particularly cranes and cormorants; and the 
Indians, at the proper season, take many fish and turtles from them. 

Many of these lakes are, according to the traditions of the Indians* 
guarded by an immense serpent, which is able to raise such a tempest 


in tlie lake as to swamp their canoes, when it immediately swallows 
the people. It is called in the "Lengua Inga " " Yacu Mama," or mother 
of the waters ; and the Indians never enter a lake with which they are 
not familiar that they do not set up an obstreperous clamor with their 
horns, which the snake is said to answer ; thus giving them warning of 
its presence. 

I never saw the animal myself, but will give a description of it 
written by Father Manuel Castrucci de Vernazza, in an account of his 
mission to the Givaros and Zaparos of the river Pastaza, made in 1845 : 

" The wonderful nature of this animal — its figure, its size, and other 
circumstances — enchains attention, and causes man to reflect upon the 
majestic and infinite power and wisdom of the Supreme Creator. The 
sight alone of this monster confounds, intimidates, and infuses respect 
into the heart of the boldest man. He never seeks or follows the vic- 
tims upon which he feeds ; but, so great is the force of his inspiration, 
that he draws in with his breath whatever quadruped or bird may pass 
him, within from twenty to fifty yards of distance, according to its size. 
That which I killed from my canoe upon the Pastaza (witli five shots 
of a fowling-piece) had two yards of thickness and fifteen yards of 
length ; but the Indians of this region have assured me that there are 
animals of this kind here of three or four yards diameter, and from 
thirty to forty long. These swallow entire hogs, stags, tigers, and men, 
with the greatest facility ; but, by the mercy of Providence, it moves 
and turns itself very slowly, on account of its extreme weight. When 
moving, it appears a thick log of wood covered with scales, and dragged 
slowly along the ground, leaving a 'track so large that men may see it 
at a distance and avoid its dangerous ambush." 

The good father says that he observed " that the blood of this animal 
flowed in jets, (salia k chorros,) and in enormous abundance. The preju- 
dice of the Indians in respect to this species of great snakes (believing 
it to be the devil in figure of a serpent) deprived me of the acquisition 
of the dried skin, though I oflered a large gratification for it." 

It is almost impossible to doubt a story told with this minuteness of 
detail. Doubtless the padre met with, and killed the boa-constrictor ; 
but two yards of thickness is scarcely credible. He writes it dos varas 
de grosor. (Grosor is thickness.) I thought the father might have meant 
two yards in circumference, but he afterwards says that the Indians 
reported them of three and four yards in diameter, {de diametro.) 

We had a fresh squall of wind and rain from the northward and east- 
ward. The Portuguese, who is a careful and timid navigator, and 
whose motions we follow because he is a capital caterer, and has a 

1^70 THE CATAO. 

wife along to cook for us, pulled in for the beach, and we camped for 
the night. The beach where we pitched belongs to an island, or rather 
what is an island when the river is full, though the right-hand channel 
is now dry; the left-hand channel runs close to the shore, and I could 
find but five feet water in it, though there was probably more very close 
to the shore, which was bold. The obstruction- is narrow, and qpuld be 
readily cleared away. 

Seventy miles below Yurimaguas is Sta. Cruz. This is an Indian 
village of a tribe called Aouanos, containing three hundred and fifty 
inhabitants. The lieutenant governor is the only white man in it. 
The women go naked down to their hips, and the children entirely so. 
I was quite an object of curiosity and fear to them ; and they seemed 
never tired of examining my spectacles. The pueblo is situated on an 
eminence, as most of the villages of this country are, to avoid inunda- 
tion. It has a small stream running by it, which empties into the river 
at the port, and is navigable in the rainy season for loaded canoes. 
The convento is the- rpost respectable-looking house on the river. It is 
divided intf) apartments ; has ceilings ; and is plastered, inside and out, 
with a white clay. There was a portico in the rear, and it looked alto- 
gether as if it had been designed and built by a person who had some 
taste and some idea of personal comfort. 

I obtained at this place the sap of a large tree called catao^ which is 
said to be very poisonous. It appears to be acrid, and acts like a pow- 
erful ckustic. The man who chopped the bark, to let the sap run, 
always turned away his face as he struck, for fear of its getting into his 
eyes. The Indians employ it for the purpose of curing old dull sores. 
The tree is generally very large ; has a smooth bark, but with knots on 
it bearing short thorns. The leaf is nearly circular ; it is called in Bra- 
zil assacu, and is there thought to be a remedy for leprosy. We gath- 
ered also same leaves and root of a running plant called guaco, which, 
steeped in spirits, and applied internally and externally, is said to be an 
antidote to the bite of a snake. I think it probable that this may be a 
fancy of the Indians, originating from the fact that the leaf has some- 
thing the appearance and color of a snake-skin. There is a great 
abundance of it all over the Montana. 

We found difliculty in getting canoes at this place. The only one that 
would accommodate ourselves and baggage belonged to the church, and, 
like its mistress in Peru, it was in rather a dilapidated condition. We bar- 
gained for it with the curaca, (chief of the Indians, and second in author- 
ity to the lieutenant governor ;) but when the lieutenant returned from 
his chacra, where he had been setting out plantains, he refused to let us 


have it, on tlie ground tliat it wanted repairs. We were, tlierefore, 
obliged to take two small ones tliat would barely carry tlie trunks and 
boxes, and embark ourselves in the canoe of the Portuguese. 

We have found this man, Don Antonio da Costa Viana, and bis 
family, quite a treasure to us on tbe road. He is a stout, active little 
fellow, about fifty years of age, with piercing black eyes, long black 
curls, a face burned almost to negro blackness by the sun, deeply pitted 
with the small-pox, and with a nose that, as Ijurra tells him, would make 
a cut-water for a frigate. He is called 'paragua^ (a species of parrot,) 
from his incessant talk ; and he brags that he is " as well known on the 
river as a dog." He has a chacra of sugar-cane and tobacco, with a 
trapiche, at Tarapoto. He sells the spirits that he makes for tocuyo, and 
carries the tocuyo, tobacco, and chancaca to Nauta, selling or rather ex- 
changing as -he goes. His canoe is fifty feet long and three broad, and 
carries a cargo which he values at five hundred dollars ; that is, five hun- 
dred in efecios — two hundred and fifty in money. It is well fitted with 
armayari and pamacari, and carries six peons — Antonio, himself, his 
wife, and his adopted daughter, a child of ten years ; besides aftbrding 
room for the calls of hospitality. My friend is perfect master of all 
around him ; (a little tyrannical, perhaps, to his family ;) knows all the 
reaches and beaches of the river, and every tree and shrub that grows 
upon its banks. He is intelligent, active, and obliging ; always busy : 
now twisting fishing-lines of the fibres of a palm called chamhira ; now 
hunting turtle-eggs, robbing plantain-fields, or making me cigars of 
tobacco-leaves given me by the priest of Chasuta. Every beach is a 
house for him ; his peons build his rancho and spread his musquito 
curtain ; his wife and child cook his supper. His mess of salt fish, turtle- 
eggs, and plantains is a feast for him ; and his gourd of coffee, and pipe 
afterwards, a luxury that a king might envy. He is always well and 
happy. I imagine he has picked up and hoarded away, to keep him in 
his old age, or to leave his wife when he dies, some few of the dollars 
that are floating about here ; and, in short, I don't know a more enviable 
person. It is true Dona Antonio gets drunk occasionally ; but he licks 
her if she is troublesome, and it seems to give him very little concern. 

I sometimes twit him with the immorality of robbing the poor In- 
dians of their plantains ; but he defends himself by saying, " That to take 
plantains is not to steal ; to take a knife, or a hatchet, or an article of 
clothing, is ; but plantains, not. Every body on the river does it. It is 
necessary to have them, and he is perfectly willing to pay for them, if 
he could find the owners and they would sell them." The old rascal is 
very religious too ; he has, hanging under the parmacari of his boat, a 

172 LAGUNA. 

silver Crucifix and a wooden St. Anthony. He thinks a priest next of 
kin to a saint, and a saint perfection. He said to me, as his wife was 
combing her hair in the canoe, " A bald woman, Don Luis, must be a 
very ugly thing : not so a bald man, because St. Peter, you know, was 
bald ;" and I verily believe that, although he is very vain of his black 
curls, were he to lose them, he would find consolation in the reflection 
that he had made an approach, in appearance at least, towards his great 

We shoved oflf from Sta. Cruz at sunset, and camped on the beach a 
mile lower down. It is very well to do this, for the canoe-men are taken 
away from the temptation of the villages, and are sober and ready for 
an early start next morning. • 

August 31. — Started at 6 a. m. ; camped on the beach at a quarter- 
past 5 p. m. 

Sejytember 1. — Heavy clouds and rains both to the northward and 
eastward and southward and westward, with an occasional spit at us; 
but we set the rain at defiance under the palm-thatched roof of Antonio. 
At half-past 3 p. m. we arrived at Laguna. This town, the principal 
one of the district and the residence of the governor, is one and a half 
mile from the port. The walk is a pleasant one through the forest ats 
this season, but is probably mud to the knees in the rains. It contains 
one thousand and forty-four inhabitants ; and the productions of the 
neighborhood are wax, sarsaparilla, copal, copaiba, and salt fish. I have 
seen all these in the hands of the Indians, but in small quantities ; there 
being so little demand for them. 

The Cocamillas, who form the largest part of the population of 
Laguna, are lazy and drunken. They are capital boatmen, however, 
when they have no liquor ; and I had more comfort with them than 
with any other Indians except those of Tingo Maria. 

September 2. — AVaiting for boats and boatmen. There are no large 
canoes, and we are again compelled to take two. I was surprised at 
this as I was led to believe — and I thought it probable — that the nearer 
we got to the Maranon the larger we should find the boats, and the 
means of navigation more complete. But I have met with nothing but 
misstatements in my whole course. The impression I received in Lima 
of the Montana was, that it was a country abounding not only with the 
necessaries, but with the luxuries of life, so far as eating was concerned. 
Yet I am now satisfied that if one hundred men were to start without 
provisions, on the route I have travelled, the half must inevitably perish 
for want of food. Of meat there is almost none ; and even salt fish, 
yuccas, and plantains are Bcarce, and often not to be had; game ii 


shy ; and the fish, of wliicli tliere are a great number, do not readily 
take the hook; of fruit I have seen literally none edible since leaving 

At Chasuta I was assured that I should find at Yurimaguas every 
facility for the prosecution of my journey ; yet I could get neither a 
boat nor a man, and had to persuade my Chasuta boatmen to carry me 
on to Sta. Cruz, where the Yurimaguas people said there would be no 
further difficulty. At Sta. Cruz I could get but two small and rotten 
canoes, with three men to each, for Laguna, which, being the great port 
of the river, could in the estimation of the people at Sta. Cruz, furnish 
me with the means oi crossing the Atlantic if necessary. I had been 
always assured that I could get at Laguna one hundred Cocamillas, if I 
wanted them, as a force to enter among the savages of the Ucayali ; 
but here, too, I could with difficulty get six men and two small canoes 
to pass me on to Nauta, which I expected to find, from the description 
of the people above, a small New York. Had it not been that Senhor 
Cauper, at that place, had just then a boat unemployed, which he was 
willing to sell, I should have had to abandon my expedition, up the 
Ucayah, and build me a raft to float down the Maranon. 

We found at the port of Lagnna two travelling merchants, a Portu- 
guese and a Brazilian. They had four large boats of about eight tons 
each, and two or three canoes. Their cargo consisted of iron, steel, 
iron implements, crockery-ware, wine, brandy, copper kettles, coarse, 
short swords, (a very common implement of the Indians,) guns, ammu- 
nition, salt fish, &c., which they expected to exchange in Moyobamba 
and Chachapoyas for straw-hats, tocuyo, sugar, cofiee, and money. 
They were also buying up all the sarsaparilla they could find, and 
despatching it back in canoes. They gave for the arroba, of twenty- 
five pounds, three dollars and fifty cents in goods, which probably cost 
in Para one dollar. They estimated the value of their cargoes at five 
thousand dollars. I have no doubt that two thousand dollars in money 
would have bought the whole concern, boats and all ; and that with 
this the traders would have drifted joyfully down the river, well satisfied 
with their year's work. They invited us to breakfast ofi" roast pig ; and 
I thought that I never tasted anything better than iiiQ farinha, which I 
saw for the first time. 

Farinha is a general substitute for bread in all the course of the 
Amazon below the Brazilian frontier. It is used by all classes, and in 
immense quantities by the Indians and laborers. Our boatmen in 
Brazil were always contented with plenty of salt fish and farinha. 
Every two or three hours of the day, whilst travelling, they, would stop 


rowing, pour a little water upon a large gourd-full of farinha, and pass 
around the mass (wliich they called pirao) as if it were a delicacy. 

The women generally mate the farinha. They soak the root of the 
mandioc (Jatropha Manihot) in water till it i^ softened a little, when 
they scrape off the skin, and grate it upon a board smeared with some 
of the adhesive gums of the forest and sprinkled with pebbles. The 
white grated mass is puf in a conical-shaped bag, made of the coarse 
fibres of a palm, and called tapiti. The bag is hung up to a peg 
driven into a tree, or a post of the shed ; a lever is put through a loop 
at the bottom of the bag; the short end of the lever is placed under a 
chock nailed to the post below, and the woman hangs her weight on 
the long end. This elongates the bag, and brings a heavy pressure 
upon the mass within, causing all the juice to ooze out through the 
interstices of the wicker-work of the bag. Wlien sufiftciently pressed 
the mass is put on the floor of a mud oven ; heat is applied, and it 
is stirred with a stick till it granulates in very irregular grains, (the 
largest about the size of our No. 2 shot,) and is sufficiently toasted to 
drive off all the poisonous qualities wliich it has in a crude state. It 
is then packed in baskets (lined and covered with palm-leaves) of 
about sixty-four pounds weight, which are generally sold, all along the 
river, at from seventy -five cents to one dollar. The sediment of the 
juice which runs from the tapiti is tapioca, and is used to make cus- 
tards, pudding's, starch, &:c. 

Sejitember 3. — Our boatmen came down to the port at 8 a. m. They 
were accompanied, as usual, by their wives, carrying their bedding, 
their jars of masato, and even their paddles ; for these fellows are too 
lazy, when on shore, to do a hand's turn ; though when embarked they 
work freely, (these Cocamillas,) and are gay, cheerful, ready, and obe- 
dient. The dress of the women is nothing more than a piece of co1> 
ton cloth, generally dark brown in color, wrapped around the loins 
and reaching to the knee. I was struck with the appearance of one, 
the only pretty Indian girl I have seen. She appeared to be about 
thirteen years of age, and was the wife of one of our boatmen. It was 
amusing to see the slavish respect with which she waited upon the 
young savage, (himself about nineteen,) and the lordly indifference with 
which he received her attentions. She was as straight as an arrow, 
delicately and elegantly formed, and had a free, wild, Indian look, that 
was quite taking. 

We got off at a quarter past nine ; the merchants at the same time ; 
and the padre also returns to-day to Yurimaguas ; so that w^e make a 
haul upon the population of Laguna, and carry off about seventy of its 


inliabitaiits. Twenty-five miles below Laguna, we arrived at tlie moutK 
of the Huallaga. Several islands occupy the middle of it. The chan- 
nel runs near the left bank. Near the middle of the river we had nine 
feet ; passing towards the left bank we suddenly fell into forty-five feet. 
The Huallaga, just above the island, is three hundred and fifty yards 
wide ; the Amazon, at the junction, five hundred. The water of both 
rivers is very muddy and filthy, particularly that of the former, which 
for some distance within the mouth is covered with a glutinous scum, 
that I take to be the excrement of fish, probably that of porpoises. 

The Huallaga, from Tingo Maria, the head of canoe navigation, to 
Chasuta, (from which point to its mouth it is navigable for a draught 
of five feet at the lowest stage of the river,) is three hundred and 
twenty -five miles long ; costing seventy-four working hours to descend 
it ; and falling four feet and twenty-seven hundredths per mile. From 
Chasuta to its mouth it has two hundred and eighty-five miles of 
length, and takes sixty-eight hours of descent, falling one foot and 
twenty-five hundredths per mile. It will be seen that these distances 
are passed in nearly proportional times'. This is to be attributed to the 
time occupied in descending the malos pasos, for the currrent is more 
rapid above than below. The difference between the times of ascent 
•and descent is, on an average, about three for one. It is proper to 
state here that all my estimates of distance, after embarkation upon 
the rivers, being obtained from measurement by the log-line^ are in 
geographical miles of sixty to the degree. 



Entrance into the Amazon — Nauta — Upper and Lower Missions of Mainas — 
Conversions of the Ubayali — Trade in sarsaparilla — Advantages of trade with 
this country. 

The river upon which we now entered is the main trunk of the 
Amazon, which carries its Peruvian name of Maranon as far as Taba- 
tinga, at the Brazilian frontier ; below which, and as far as the junction 
of the Rio Negro, it takes the name of Solimoens ; and thence to the 
ocean is called Amazon. It is the same stream throughout, and to avoid 
confusion I shall call it Amazon from this point to the sea. 

The march of the great river in its silent grandeur was sublime ; but 
in the untamed might of its turbid waters, as they cut away its banks, 
tore down the gigantic denizens of the forest, and built up islands, it was 
awful. It rolled through the wilderness with a stately and solemn air. 
Its waters looked angry, sullen, and relentless ; and the whole scene 
awoke emotions of awe and dread — ^such as are caused by the funeral 
solemnities, the minute gun, the howl of the wind, and the angry tossing 
of the waves, when all hands are called to bury the dead in a troubled 

I was reminded of our Mississippi at its topmost flood ; the waters 
are quite as muddy and quite as turbid ; but this stream lacked the 
charm and the fascination which the plantation upon the bank, the city 
upon the bluff, and the steamboat upon its waters, lends to its fellow of 
the North ; nevertheless, I felt pleased at its sight. I had already 
travelled seven hundred miles by water, and fancied that this powerful 
stream would soon carry me to the ocean ; but the water-travel was 
comparatively just begun ; many a weary month was to elapse ere I 
should again look upon the familiar face of the sea ; and many a time, 
when worn and wearied with the canoe life, did I exclaim, '^This river 
seems interminable !" 

Its capacities for trade and commerce are inconceivably great. Its 
industrial future is the most dazzling ; and to the touch of steam, settle- 
ment, and cultivation, this rolling stream and its magnificent water-shed 
would start up into a display of industrial results that would indicate 
the Valley of the Amazon as one of the most enchanting regions on the 
face of the earth. 

TrYeiaazr.! del 

\^rfi*•IlPraM<=^^uu''lf tUhUula, 



From its mountains you may dig silver, iron, coal, copper, quicksilver, 
zinc, and tin ; from the sands of its tributaries you may wash gold, dia- 
monds, and precious stones ; from its forests you may gather drugs of 
virtues the most rare, spices of aroma the most exquisite, gums and resins 
of the most varied and useful properties, dyes of hues the most brilliant, 
with cabinet and building -woods of the finest polish and most enduring 

Its climate is an everlasting summer, and its harvest perennial. I 
translate from a book of travels in these countries, by Count Castelnau, 
(received since my return to the United States,) an account of the 
capacities of some of the southern portions of this vast water-shed : 

" The productions of the country are exceedingly various. The sugar- 
cane, of which the crop is gathered at the end of eight months from 
the time of planting, forms the chief source of wealth of the province 
of Cercado. 

" Coffee is cultivated also with success in this province, and in that 
of Ckiquitos yields its fruit two years after having been planted, and 
requires scarcely any attention. Cocoa, recently introduced into these 
two provinces, gives its fruit at the end of three or four years at most 
The tamarind, which thrives in the same localities, produces its harvest 
in five years. Cotton gives annual crops ; there are two varieties — the 
one white, the other yellow. Tobacco grows, so to speak, without cultiva- 
tion in the province of Valle Grande, where it forms the principal article 
of commerce. Indigo, of which there are three cultivated kinds and one 
wild, is equally abundant. Maize yields at the end of three months all 
the year round ; it is also cultivated in the province of Cercado. The 
cassave produces in eight months after planting; there are two kinds of 
it — one sweet, and the other bitter ; the first can replace the potato, and 
even bread ; the second is only good for starch. There is an enormous 
amount of kinds or varieties of bananas, which produce in the year from 
seed ; they are specially cultivated in the province of Cercado. Two 
kinds of rfce — one white, the other colored — are cultivated in the two 
provinces of Cercado and Chiquitos. They produce every five or six 
months ; they say it is found wild in the region of Chiquitos. 

"The grape, which grows well everywhere, and especially in the 
province of Cordilleras, where it was cultivated in the Missions up to 
the time of the Independence, is nevertheless made no article of profit. 
It will some day, perhaps, form one of the principal sources of wealth 
of this country. Wheat, barley, and the potato might be cultivated 
with advantage in the provinces of Chiquitos and Cordilleras ; but till 
now results have been obtained only in that of Valle Grande. The 


cultivation of cocoa has commenced in the province of Cercado, and 
it is also found in a wild state, as well as the Peruvian bark, on the 
mountains of Samaripata. As we have already said, fruits abound in 
this region. They cultivate there principally oranges, lemons, citrons, 
figs, papaws, pomegranates, melons, watermelons, chirimoyas, (which 
the Brazilians call fruto de conde) pine apples, &c. The last of these 
fruits grow wild, and in great abundance, in the woods of Chiquitos. 
We met it, particularly the evening of our arrival, at Santa Ana. Its 
taste is excellent ; but it leaves in the mouth such a burning sensation 
that I bitterly repented having tasted it. They cultivate in sufficient 
abundance, in the province, jalap, Peruvian bark, sarsaparilla, vanilla, 
rocou, copahu. ipecacuanha, caoutchouc, copal, &c. Woods for dyeing, 
cabinet making, and building, abound ; and the people of the country 
collect carefully a multitude of gums, roots, and barks, to which they 
attribute medicinal virtues the most varied. In many points in the 
departments, and especially in the provinces of Valle Grande and Cor- 
dilleras, iron is found, and traces of quicksilver. Gold is found in the 
province of Cercado, near the village of San Xavier. The Jesuits 
wrought mines of silver in the mountains of Colchis. Don Sebastian 
Rancas, while governor of Chiquitos, announced to the government that 
diamonds, of very fine water, had been found in the streams in the en- 
virons of Santo CorazonP 

September 4. — The shores of the river are low, but abrupt. The 
lower strata next to the water's edge are of sand, hardening into rock 
from the superincumbent pressure of the soil with its great trees. There 
were a great many porpoises sporting in the river. At 3 p. m. w^e 
passed the narrow arm of the river that runs by Urarinas, a small 
village situated on the left bank. The channel inside the island seemed 
nearly dry. Ijurra, however, passed through it in a small canoe, and 
bought some fowls and a small monkey at the pueblo. The channel of 
the river runs near the right bank. Population of Urarinas, eighty. 

September 5. — The patos reales, a large and beautiful species of duck 
with which the river abounds, are now breeding. We saw numbers of 
pairs conducting their broods over the water. Though the young ones 
could not fly, they could dive so long and fast that we could not catch 
them. I brought home a pair of these ducks, and find that they answer 
exactly to the description of the Egyptian goose., They have small 
horns on their wings. 

We met canoes of Tarapoto from the Ucayali with salt fish ; also 
one belonging to Urarinas, returning from carrying sarsaparilla to 


September 6. — Passed the moiiih of the small river Airico on the 
left. One of our Indians says that the ascent of this river for a week 
brings the traveller to a lake, and for another week, to mountains. 

We have had quite heavy squalls of wind and rain every day since 
entering the Amazon. The canoes are so low that they cannot ride 
the waves of mid-river, and are compelled to haul in for the land, and 
wait for the storm to pass. We saw alligators to-day, for the first 

September '7. — Arrived at Parinari. This is an Indian village of 
three hundred and thirty inhabitants, situated on a hill on the right 
bank of the river. It is about twenty feet above the present level of 
the river, which rises, in the full, to within three feet of the houses. 
The people live principally by fishing, and gathering sarsaparilla to sell 
at Nauta. The lieutenant governor gave us some spirits made of 
plantains. It was vile stuff; very strong: and is said to be unwhole- 

September 8, — Saw Ronsocos ; and the Fiscales killed six howling 
monkeys with their pucunas. Passed the mouth of Tigre Yacu en the 
left. It is seventy yards broad, and looks deep and free from obstruc- 
tion^ Its waters are much clearer than those of the Amazon. It is 
navigable for canoes a long way up ; and a considerable quantity of 
sarsaparilla is gathered on its banks, though inhabited by savages, who 
are said to be warlike and dangerous. We camped at night on an 
island near the middle of the river. A narrow island lay between us 
and San Regis^ a small pueblo on thejeft bank, whence we could hear 
the sound of music and merry-making all night. It has two hundred 
• and ten inhabitants. 

The Fiscales, cooking their big monkeys over a large fire on the beach, 
presented a savage and most picturesque night scene. They looked more 
like devils roasting human beings than like servants of the church. 

September 9. — Passed a channel called Pucati, which is a small 
mouth of the Ucayali. It is now nearly dry. In the rainy season it is 
passable for canoes ; but spreads out so much in its course (forming 
small lakes) that it leaves few places to kindle a fire on, or sleep ; and 
is, for this reason, little used. It takes three days to come through it 
frOra the Ucayali to the Amazon ; and six to traverse it the other way. 
Soon after leaving this, we passed another small channel, said to com- 
municate with a large lake — a large one probably in the full, when this 
whole country between the Ucayali, Amazon, and channel of Pucati, is 
nearly overflowed. We arrived at Nauta at noon, having travelled two 
hundred and ten miles from the mouth of the Huallaga. 

180 NAUTA. 

We called on tlie governor general of the Missions of Mainas, Don 
Jose Maria Arebalo, wlio received us with some formality, and gave us 
lodgings in one of the houses of the village — I suspect, turning out the 
inhabitants for that pui-pose. Mj companion, Ijurra, was not sure of a 
cordial reception ; for, when sub-prefect of the province, he had caused 
Ai'ebalo to be arrested and carried prisoner from Balza Puerto to Moyo- 
bamba. But our friend was much too magnanimous to remember old 
feuds, and he and Ijurra soon became boon companions. 

Nauta is a fishing village of one thousand inhabitants, mostly Indians 
of the Cocamo. tiibe, which is distinct from that of the Cocamillas of 
Laguna. It has a few white residents engaged in trading with the 
Indians for salt fish, wax, and sarsaparilJa, which are obtained from the 
Ucayali. Don Bernardino Cauper, an old Portuguese, does most of the 
business of the place. He sends parties of Indians to fish or gather 
sarsaparilla upon the Napo and Ucuyali ; and he has two or three boats 
(called in this part of the country garreteas) trading down the river as 
far as Egas. He supplies all the country above with foreign articles 
from Brazil, and receives consignments from the upper country, which 
he sends to Egas. 

Don Bernardino lives in a sort of comfort. He has plenty of meat, 
(calling turtle, salt fish, and fowls meat,) with farinha from below* and 
beans and onions from his little garden. There is good tobacco from 
above to smoke, and wholesome, though fiery, Lisbon wine to drink. • 
I have been frequently struck during my journey with ti:e comparative 
value of thing's. The richest man of a villaore of one thousand inhab- 
itants, in the United States, woufd think Bernardino's table poorly sup- 
plied, and would turn up his nose at a grass hammock slung between 
two hooks in the shop for a bed-place. Yet these things were regal 
luxuries to us ; and, doubtless, being the best that are to be had, Don 
Bernardino is perfectly contented, and desires nothing better. 

The old gentleman is very pious. The Cura of Pebas was at this 
time in Nauta, attending to the repairs of the church; and we cekbrated 
a nine-days' service (^Novena) in honor of our Lady of Mercy, the 
patroness of the arms of Peru. The expenses of the service (being a 
fee for the padre and the lighting of the church with wax) were borne 
by individuals. The padre gave the first day ; then Senhor Caupec ; 
then his wife, his wife's sister, his son, his pretty Brazilian niece, 
Donna Candida; then came Arebalo; then Ijurra and I; the priest 
winding up on Sunday. But ray old friend was not contented with 
this ; and when I shoved off on Monday for the Ucayali, I left him en- 
gaged in another church service, setting off rockets, and firing, from 


time to time, an old blunderbuss, loaded to the muzzle, in honor of a 
miracle that had happened in Rimini, in Italy, some year and a half 
ago, of which we had just received intelligence. 

The governor general gave me some statistics, from which it appears 
that the province of Mainas is divided into the province proper, (of 
which the capital is Moyobamba,) the upper and lower Missions, and the 
Conversions of the Ucayali. 

The upper Mission has four districts — Balza Puerto, Xeberos, Laguna, 
and Andoas ; containing seventeen villages, and nine thousand nine 
hundred and eleven inhabitants. The lower Mission has two districts — 
Nauta and Loreto, with seventeen villages, and three thousand seven 
hundred and eighty-nine inhabitants. The Conversions of the Ucayali 
are confined to the villages of Sarayacu, Tierra Blanca, and Sta. Catalina, 
and number one thousand three hundred and fifty inhabitants, mostly 
converts of the Panos tribe. They are governed by priests of the Col- 
lege of Ocopa, who are under the spiritual direction of its guardian ; 
but hold their temporal authority under the prefect of the department. 
Arebalo estimates the number of whites in the Missions and Conver- 
sions — counting men, women, and children — at four hundred and seven. 

Both Missions are ' under the authority of a governor general, who 
holds his commission from the sub-prefect of the province. Each dis- 
trict has its governor, and each town its lieutenant governor. The 
other authorities of a town are curacas, captains, lieutenants, adjutants, 
ensigns, sergeants, alcaldes, and constables. (All these are Indians.) The 
office of curaca is hereditary. The right of succession is sometimes 
interfered with by the white governor ; but this always gives dissatis- 
faction, and is occasionally (added to other giuevances) the cause of 
rebellion and riot. The savages treat their curaca with great respect, 
and submit to corporal punishment at his mandate. 

I know of no legal establishment in the Missions — the law proceeding 
out of the mouths of the governors. Indians are punished by flogging 
or confinement in the stocks ; whites are sometimes imprisoned ; but if 
their oflfence is of a grave nature, they are sent to be tried and judged 
by the courts of the capital. 

Arebalo estimates the value of the commerce of the Missions with 
Brazil at twenty thousand dollars annually ; and that with the Pacific 
coast, through Chachapoyas and Truxillo, at twenty thousand more. 
The vegetable productions of the Missions do not equal the value of the 
imports ; but the people get some money from the coast for their manu- 
factures of coarse cotton and straw-hats ; and a little gold is occasion- 
ally obtained from the sands of the Napo and Pastaza. 


The Missions send to Chacliapoyas and Truxillo tobacco, salt fish, 
straw-hats, coarse cotton cloths, wax, incense for the churches, balsam 
copaiba, and vanilla, and receive, in return, cattle, horses, goods of 
Europe, and a little money. The Brazilians bring up heavy articles — 
such^ as I described as composing the cargo of the traders we met at 
Laguna ; and take back straw-hats, hammocks of the Indians, sarsapa- 
rilla, and money. The value of the sarsaparilla of the Missions is esti- 
mated at two thousand dollars at the place of production, and six thou- 
sand at its place of sale in Brazil ; the value of the wax at the same at 
the place of production ; and at four thousand dollars at place of sale. 
The greatest profit, however, is made on the fish, of which thirty thou- 
sand pieces are taken annually in the Ucayali and Amazon. It costs 
there about three cents the piece ; and is worth in Tarapoto, Lamas, 
and other places of the province, about twelve and a half cents the 

JEstimate of the expenses and returns of a canoe-load of salt-fish from 
Nauta to Balza Puerto. 

Dr. a canoe-load of eight hundred pieces may be bought in 
Nauta for one yard of English cotton cloth (valued at 
twenty-five cents) for every eight pieces - - - $25 00 

Freight, or hire of canoe, for thirty-six days, from Nauta 

to Balza Puerto, at 3-J cents per day - - - 1 12-J 

Pay of seven peons, 12 yards of cotton cloth of Tara- 
poto, valued at 12-| cents the yard - - - - 10 50 

Maintenance of the seven men for thirty-six days," at 3 

cents per day - - -- - - -'7 56 

44 18i 

Cr. Eight hundred pieces in Balza Puerto, at 1 2-|- cents - - 100 00 

Profit- - - - - - - 55 81^ 

or about one hundred and twenty-six per cent, in thirty-six days. 

The return-cargo also yields a profit : so that my friend, the governor, 
who by virtue of his ofl3ce can get as many men to take fish for him 
as he wants, will probably return to civilized parts in a few years with 
a snug little sum in his pocket. Old Cauper is rich, and the priest 
in comfortable circumstances. 


JEstimate of expenses and returns of an expedition from Nauta to the 
TJcayali for the collection of sarsaparilla. [The expedition will oc- 
cupy/four months of time.) 
Dr. Hire of two garreteas, that will carry seventy-five arrobas 

each, at 3^ cents per day, (four months) - - - $7 50 
Eighteen peons from Nauta to Sarayacu, at ten yards of 

English cotton cloth each, (twenty-five cents) - - 45 00 
Support of these peons for twenty days, at 3-J- cents per 

man per day - - - - - - - -11 25 

Contract with fifty Pirros or Conibos Indians (who now 
take the boats and go up the tributaries of the Ucayali) 
for the delivery by each man of three arrobas of sarsa- 
parilla, at '75 cents the arroba 11250 

Hire and support of peons for the return from Sarayacu 
to Nauta — being one-third of the amount for the trip 
up 18 75 

195 00 
Cr. One hundred and fifty arrobas, worth in Nauta two dollars 

the arroba 300 00 

Profit in four months - - - - - 105 00 
or about thirteen and a half per cent, per month. 

The people engaged in this occupation make, however, more profit, 
by cheating the Indians in every possible mode. They also own the 
garreteas ; and, by management, support their peons for less than three 
cents per day. 

This is an estimate made up from information given by Ajebalo. 
Hacket makes a much better business of it. He says, "Eighty working 
hours above Sarayacu, on the Ucayali, is the mouth of the river 
Aguaytia^ on the banks of which grows sarsaparilla in sufficient quantity 
not only to enrich the province of Mainas, but all the department of 
Amazonas. Its cost is eight varas of tocuyo the hundred pounds, un- 
dertaking the work of gathering it with formality — that is to say, em- 
ploying one hundred persons under the direction of a man of talent, and 
paying them a monthly salary of twenty-four varas of tocuyo each ; 
quadruple the price that is generally paid in Mainas. 

"It sells in Nauta, Peruate, and Loreto for nine dollars the hundred, 
pounds, gold or silver coin ; in Tabatinga, (frontier of Brazil,) for ten 
dollars and fifty cents ; in Park, for twenty-five dollars ; and in Europe, 
for from forty to sixty dollars, in times of greatest abundance." 


Sarsaparilla is a vine of sufficient size to shoot up fifteen or twenty 
feet from tlie root without support. It then embraces the surrounding 
trees, and spreads to a great distance. The main root sends out many- 
tendrils, generally about two lines in diameter, and five feet long. 
These are gathered and tied up in large bundles of about a Portuguese 
arroba, or thirty-two pounds of weight. The main root, or madre, 
should not be disturbed ; but the Indians are little careful in this matter, 
and frequently cut it off, by which much sarsaparilla is destroyed. 
The digging up of the small roots out of the wet and marshy soil is a 
laborious and unhealthy occupation. 

It is to be found on the banks of almost every tributary of the great 
streams of the Montana ; but a great many of these are not worked, on 
account of the savages living on their banks, who frequently attack the 
parties that come to gather it. On the '■'■Fangoa'''' are the Campas; on 
the "Pachitea," the "Aguaytia," and the "Pisque," are the "Cashibos;" 
and the whole southern border of the Amazon, from the mouth of the 
Ucayali to that of the Yavari, is inhabited by the "Mayorunas;" all 
savages, and averse to intercourse with the white man. The same is 
the case on the "Tigreyacu," where there is said to be much sarsapa- 
rilla. Padre Calvo, the president of the Missions at Sarayacu, told me 
that, although he has the exclusive right, by order of the prefect, of 
collecting all the sarsaparilla on the Ucayali and its tributaries, he could 
not, if I were willing to pay any price, supply me with more than 
three hundred arrobas per annum, on account of the difficulty of getting 
laborers who are .willing to brave the attacks of the savages. 

I have estimated the annual cost of running a small steamer be- 
tween Loreto, the frontier port of Peru and Chasuta, a distance of eight 
hundred miles, entirely within the Peruvian territory, at twenty thousand 
dollars, including the establishment of blacksmiths' and carpenters' shops 
at Nauta for her repairs. According to the estimate of Arebalo, (and I 
judge that he is very nearly correct,) the value of the imports and ex- 
ports to and from Brazil is twenty thousand dollars annually. I have no 
doubt that the appearance of a steamer in these waters would at once 
double the value ; for it would, in the first place, convert the thousand 
men who are now employed in the fetching and carrying of the articles 
of trade into producers, and would give a great impulse to trade by 
facilitating it. A loaded canoe takes eighty days to ascend these eight 
hundred miles. A steamer will do it in twelve, giving ample time to 
take in wood, to land and receive cargo at the various villages on the 
river, and to lay by at night. When the river becomes betler known 
she can run for a large part of the night, and thus shorten her time 


nearly one-half. Men shrink at the eighty days in a canoe, when they 
will jump at the twelve in a steamer. 

The steamer will also increase commerce and trade by creating 
artificial wants ; men will travel who did not travel before ; articles of 
luxury — such as Yankee clocks, cheap musical instruments, &c. — will be 
introduced, and the Indians will work to obtain them ; and, in short, 
when the wonders that the steamboat and railroad have accomplished 
are taken into consideration, I shall not be thought rash in predicting 
that in one year from the time of the appearance of the steamer, 
Arebalo's twenty thousand dollars will be made forty thousand. 

Thus we shall have twenty thousand dollars' worth of goods going 
up from Loreto to Chasuta, paying at least one hundred per cent.; and 
twenty thousand dollars going down, paying another hundred per cent.; 
giving to the steamboat company (who would monopolize the trade) 
forty thousand dollars a year, against twenty thousand dollars of 

There would be no difficulty in getting a supply of fuel. My 
Peruvian steamer would have to make her way slowly up, for the first 
time, by collecting and cutting up the abundant drift-wood on the 
islands ; but she could readily contract wdth the governors of the thirty- 
six villages between Para and Chasuta for a regular supply. The 
Brazilian government has an organized and enlisted corps of laborers, 
under the orders of the military commandants, and I should suppose 
would be willing to employ them in furnishing wood, on account of the 
great advantages to be derived from the increase of trade. The Indians 
of the Peruvian villages are entirely obedient to their governors ; and 
a suflScient number of them may always be had, at wages of twelve 
and a half cents per day, with about three cents more for their main- 
tenance. This amount of wages may be reduced one-half by paying 
them in articles for their consumption, bought at Para or brought from 
the United States. 

The only difficulty that I have in my calculations is that I know 
there are not forty thousand dollars in the whole province ; its produc- 
tions must find their way to the Pacific, on the one hand, and to the 
Atlantic, on the other, before they can be converted into money. My 
steamer, therefore, to be enabled to buy and sell, must communicate 
at Loreto with a larger ^steamer, plying between that place and Barra, 
at the mouth of the Rio Negro, a distance of eight hundred and forty 
miles ; and this with another still larger, between Barra and Para, a 
distance of a thousand miles. 

These three steamers (however much I may be out of my calculations 


regarding the one confined to the Peruvian territory ( could not fail to 
enrich their owners ; for they would entirely monopolize the trade of 
the river, which is fairly measured by the imports and exports of Para, 
which amounted in 1851 to two millions of dollars. 

These two millions are now brought down to Para, and carried away 
from Para, (with the exception of what is consumed in the city,) by 
clumsy, inefficient river-craft, which would vanish from the main stream 
at the first triumphant whistle of the engine. These would, however, 
until the profits justified the putting on of more steamers, find ample 
employment in bringing down and depositing upon the banks of the 
main stream the productions of the great tributaries. 

I can imagine the waking-up of the people on the event of the estab- 
lishment of steamboat navigation on the Amazon. I fancy I can hear 
the crash of the forest falling to make room for the cultivation of cotton, 
cocoa, rice, and sugar, and the sharp shriek of the saw, cutting into 
boards the beautiful and valuable woods of the country ; that I can see 
the gatherers of India-rubber and copaiba redoubling their efforts, to be 
enabled to j^urchase the new and convenient things that shall be pre- 
sented at the door of their huts in the wilderness ; and even the wild 
Indian finding the way from his pathless forest to the steamboat depot 
to exchange his collections of vanilla, spices, dyes, drugs, and gums, for 
the things that would take his fancy — ribbons, beads, bells, mirrors, and 
gay trinkets. 

Brazil and Peru have entered into arrangements, and bound them- 
selves by treaty, to appropriate money towards the establishment of 
steamboat navigation on the Amazon. This is well. It is doing some- 
thing towards progress ; but it is the progress of a denizen of their own 
forests — the sloth. Were they to follow the example lately set by the 
republics of the La Plata, and throw open their rivers to the commerce 
of the world, then the march of improvement would be commensurate 
with the importance of the act; and these countries would grow in 
riches and power with the rapidity of the vegetation of their own most 
fertile lands. 

We, more than any other people, are interested in the opening of this 
navigation. As has been before stated, the trade of this region must 
pass by our doors, and mingle and exchange with the products of our 
Mississippi valley. I am permitted to take extracts bearing upon this 
subject from a letter of an eminent American ^tizen residing in Lima 
to the Superintendent of the National Observatory, whose papers upon 
the Amazon, its resources and future importance, have attracted the 
attention, not only of our own people, but that of those who dwell or 


have territorial possessions upon this great water-shed ; and to whom 
belongs the honor of originating the mission upon wliich I have been 

This gentleman in Lima, whose comprehensive mind and ripe judg- 
ment had been attracted to the subject by Maury's pen, says to the 
Lieutenant, under date of July, 1852 : 

"Since I last wrote to you, I have made the acquaintance of Don 

, a native of Chili, and whom Gibbon saw at Cochabamba, in 

Bolivia. This is undoubtedly a clever man ; but I suspect that he has 
also come to act as a secret agent of Belzu, the President of Bolivia. 
However that may be, he pretends that Belzu is favorably disposed 
towards us, and would grant privileges to a steam navigation company, 
were application made to him in due form. As I know of no other 
individual in Bolivia with whom I could communicate on the subject 
of Amazonian navigation, I did not hesitate to make use of him ; for, 
in my opinion, there is no time to be lost if the United States intend 
to secure the interior trade of South America for its citizens. 

"Don declares that the Mamore is navigable for steamers from 

a point near Cochabamba to its confluence with the Guapore or Itenez, 
and so onward to the junction of the latter with the Beni, forming 
together the Rio Madeira ; that the ' Cachuelas,' or falls of the Madeira, 
are neither impassable nor formidable, and may be easily ascended by 
steamers, as there is plenty of water and no rocks. To prove this, he 
asserts that a Brazilian schooner ascended the Mamore to Trinidad, and 
fired a salute at that place, about two years ago. After passing the 
falls, the river is, of course, navigable to the Amazon.- Admitting this 

statement of Don to be true, (and I am inclined to believe it, 

as the Brazilians constantly ascend the Itenez to Matto Grosso,) there 
is open navigation from Para to within a few leagues of Cochabamba, 
at least two thousand miles ; and this is not so incredible when we con- 
sider the length of navigation on the Missouri river. The accessibility 
of the Bolivian rivers will, however, be ascertained with greater certainty 
after Gibbon has passed through the Cachuelas of the Madeira, as it is 
to be hoped that he will sound, and otherwise minutely examine, the 

different rapids of that river, and correct the errors which Don 

says are in the chart made by , a copy of which I sent you by 

Mr. O'Brian for Herndon. n 

"The account Don gives of the products of the countiy 

lying on the banks of the Mamore is very glowing. He says that the 
richest cocoa and coffee grow almost wild, and that the greatest part of 
the former is consumed by the monkeys and birds, for the want of means 


of transporting it to a market. Sugar-cane of gigantic dimensions is 
found everywhere, with white and yellow cotton of a staple equal to Sea 
island. Several kinds of cascarilla grow in abundance, as also sarsapa- 
rilla and gums, ornamental and other woods, and honey and wax, in 
immense quantities. Crossing the Mamore from Exaltacion to the 
southwest, you arrive at the river Machuno, which, according to Don 
, is a small 'Pactolus;' and he assures me that the whole coun- 
try between the Mamore and the Itenez, from latitude 14° to the north, 
is a gold district as rich as California. 

^'•My opinion decidedly is, that the whole country traversed by the 
rivers issuing from the slope of the Eastern Cordillera, from Santa Cruz 
de la Sierra, in Bolivia, to the mouth of the Ucayali, in Peru, is one 
immense gold and silver region ; gold being found in the flats near the 
rivers, and silver in the mountains. I will venture to predict that the 
same region contains diamonds and other precious stones, some of which 
are probably unknown to the lapidary at. present. The silver mines of 
Carabaya were immensely productive when worked by Salcedo; so 
much so, that the vice-regal government trumped up an accusation 
against him, tried him, and ordered his execution, to obtain possession 
of the mines by confiscation. The attempt failed, as the Indians, who 
were devoted to Salcedo, refused to give any information to the govern- 
ment respecting the mines ; and they have remained unworked up to 
the present time. 

"Gold is known to exist in considerable quantities at Carabaya, and in 

the Pampa del Sacramento. I have seen specimens from the former 

place ; but gold is the least attraction for emigration to Bolivia; the soil 

and its products are the source from which the wanderers from foreign 

lands are to find plenty and happiness. The climate is said to be good, 

and the Indians, except upon the lower part of the Beni, peaceable and 

well disposed to the whites. In short, according to Don , the 

east of Bolivia affords the greatest sphere for trade and colonization. 
********* ^- 

"For myself, I feel full of this vast subject; for I know that within 
less than one hundred leagues of me is the margin of those great soli- 
tudes : replete with riches, and occupying the wild space where millions 
of the human race might dwell in plenty and happiness; where nature 
annually wastes more than would support the population of China in 
comfort ; and where the most luxurious fruits and fairest flowers grow and 
bloom unknown and unnoticed. When I reflect on this, and on the 
miles of rivers rolling on in silence and neglect, I feel doubly the want 


of power and money to accomplisli their introduction to the civilized 

" I think that the energies and influence of all the friends of South 
American internal navigation and colonization should be directed 
towards forming a company, with a large capital, and to obtain the aid 
and support of the Congress of the United States. I know how difficult 
an undertaking it is to wring an appropriation out of our national 
legislature, for any purpose ; but if the subject could be fairly brought 
before it, and some of the leading senators and representatives could be 
excited to take a patriotic interest in it, perhaps something might be 

" We must, on our side, do all we can, and by dint of perseverance 
we may succeed at last in accomplishing our object. Should we do so, 
it will be a proud satisfaction to ourselves ; though the public may, and 
probably will, leave us to exclaim — 

" *Hos ego verslculos feci, tulit alter honores!' 

" I shall continue working on and writing to you whenever I have 
anything of the least interest to communicate." 

The greatest boon in the wide world of commerce is in the free navi- 
gation of the Amazon, its confluents and neighboring streams. The 
back-bone of South America is in sight of the Pacific. The slopes of 
the continent look east ; they are drained into the Atlantic, and their 
rich productions, in vast variety and profusion, may be emptied into 
the commercial lap of that ocean by the most majestic of water-courses. 

The time will come when the free navigation of the Amazon and 
other South American rivers will be regarded by the people of this 
country as second only in importance to the acquisition of Louisiana. 

Having traversed that water-shed from its highest ridge to its very 
caves and gutters, I find my thoughts and reflections overwhelmed with 
the immensity of this field for enterprise, commercial prosperity, and 
human happiness. 

I can bear witness to the truth of the sentiment expressed by my 
friend, Mr. Maury, that the Valley of the Amazon and the Valley of the 
Mississippi are commercial complements of each other — one supplying 
what the other lacks in the great commerciaf round. They are sisters 
which should not be separated. Had I the honor to be mustered among 
the statesmen of my country, I would risk political fame and life in the 
attempt to have the commerce of this noble river thrown open to the 

190 NAUTA. 


Nauta— River Ucayali— Saiayacu— The Missionaries— The Indians of the Ucayali. 

Senor Cauper has four or five slaves in his house — blacks, which he 
brought from Brazil. This is contrary to the law, but it is winked at ; 
and I heard the governor say that he would like much to have a pair. 
Mr. Cauper said they would be difficult to get, and would cost him five 
hundred dollars in money. A slave that is a mechanic is w^orth five 
hundred dollars in Brazil. 

Arebalo gave us spe<:'imens of the woods of the country ; they are* 
called aguano^ ishpingo^ viuena, capirono, cedro, palo de cruz^ (our lig- 
num-vitae,) and palo de sangre—B\\ good, whether for house or ship- 
building; and some of them very hard, heavy, and beautiful. The palo 
de sangre is of a rich red color, susceptible of a high polish ; and a 
decoction of its bark is said to be good to stay bloody evacuations. I 
had no opportunity of testing it, but suspect it is given on the homoeo- 
pathic principle, that "like cures like," because it is red. I thought the 
same of the guaco, in the case of the snake-bite. 

The temperature of Nauta is agreeable. The lowest thermometer I 
observed was 71° at 6 a. m., and the highest 89° at 3 p. m. We have 
had a great deal of cloudy weather and rain since we have been on the 
Amazon ; and it is now near the commencement of the rainy season at 
this place. No one suffers from heat, though this is probably the hot- 
test season of the year ; the air is loaded with moisture ; and heavy 
squalls of wind and rain sweep over the country almost every day. In 
the dry months — from the last of February to the first of September — a 
constant and heavy breeze blows, nearly all day, against the stream of 
the river ; the wind, at all seasons, is generally easterly, but is at this 
time more fitful and liable to interruption ; so that sail-boats bound up 
make, at this season, the longest .passages. ' The river, which is three- 
fourths of a mile wide opposite Nauta, and has an imposing appear- 
ance, has risen four feet between the sixteenth and twenty-fifih of Sep- 

The town is situated on a hill, with the forest well cleared away from 
around it, and is a healthy place. I saw only two cases- of sickness 
during my stay of two weeks. They were acute cases of disease, to 
which people are liable everywhere. Both patients died ; probably for 


want of medical attention. I gave the man who had the dysentery 
some doses of calomel and opium, (a prescription I had from Dr. Smith, 
of Lima;) but he died with the last dose. Though solicited, I would 
have nothing to do with the other case. It was a woman ; and I had 
no confidence in my practice. I could only add my mite to a subscrip- 
tion raised by the whites for the benefit of her orphan children. 

The Cocamas of Nauta are great fishermen and boatmen, and I 
think are bolder than most of the civilized tribes on the river. They 
make incursions, now and then, into the country of the Mayorunas — 
savages who inhabit the right banks of the Ucayali and Amazon — fight 
battles with them, and bring home prison^-s, generally children. When 
travelling in small numbers, or engaged in their ordinary avocations on 
the river, they studiously avoid the country of their enemies, who 
retaliate whenever opportunity oflers. 

These Indians are jealous, and punish conjugal infidehty with sever- 
ity, and also departure from the laws of chastity on the part of the 
unmarried female. 

Arebalo thinks that the population of the Missions is increasing, and 
found by the census, taken carefully last year by himself, that the num- 
ber of women exceeded that of the men by more than one thousand. 

A boat came in from above on the eighteenth, and reported the loss 
of another belonging to Enrique, one of the traders we had met at 
Laguna. She was loaded with salt and cotton cloth ; and, in passing 
the mouth of Tigre Yacu in the night, struck upon a " sawyer," cap- 
sized, and went down. A boy was drowned. Macready would have 
envied the low, soft, sad tones and eloquent gestures, expressis^e of pity 
and horror, with which an Indian told us the disastrous story. 

September 20. — We paid twelve rowers and a popero, and set them 
to work to fit up our boat with decks and coverings. I had purchased 
this boat from Mr. Cauper for sixty dollars, the price he paid for it 
when it was new. Most persons on the river held up their hands when 
I told them what I, had paid for it; but I thought it was cheap, espe- 
cially as I was obliged to have it on any terms. He had it repaired 
and calked for us. 

The boat (called garretea) is thirty feet long, seven wide in. its widest 
part, and three deep. The after-part is decked for about ten feet in 
length v.'ith the bark of a palm-tree, which is stripped from the trunk 
and flattened out by force. The deck is covered over by small poles, 
bent in hoop-fashion over it, and well thatched with palm-leaves ; 
making quite a snug little cabin. The pilot stands or sits on this roof 
to direct and steer, and sleeps upon it at night, to the manifest danger 



of rolling off. About twelve feet of the middle of the boat is covered 
and decked in like manner ; but the covering is lower and narrower, 
giving room for the rowers to sit on each side of it to paddle. Most of 
the cargo is stowed under the decks, thus leaving a cabin for both 
Ijurra and myself. There is a space between the two coverings which 
is not decked over, that gives a chance for bailing the boat when she 
takes in water ; and a sufficient space is left in the bow on which to 
place a large earthen vessel to make a fire in. 

I bought from Senhor Cauper some Portuguese axes, some small fish- 
hooks, (called by the Indians 7niskqui,) and some white beads, which 
are most coveted by the savages of the Ucayali. 

We had several fishing pic-nics wdth the priest and governor, and 
altogether a pleasant time at Nauta. 

September 25. — Having engaged a servant, a Tarapotino, named 
Lopez, and embarked our luggage and provisions, I hoisted a small 
American flag, given me from the frigate Raritan, and got under way for 
the Ucayali. We started with ten peons, but were joined by two others 
in a skiff (called montarid) next morning. In fifty-five minutes we ar- 
rived at the mouth of the Ucayali. It is a beautiful stream, with low, 
shelving, green banks at its mouth. But I was disappointed in its size ; 
it was not more than half as wide as the Amazon. It is the longest 
known tributary above Brazil, and is therefore called by some the main 
trunk of the Amazon. We poled and paddled slowly up the left bank 
for four and a half miles, and stopped at a bluff where there were one or 
two huts of Nauta people. Threatening rain, we attempted to sleep in 
the boat ; but our musquito curtains not being properly prepared, we 
passed a wretched night. 

September ^6. — Taking advantage of the eddies and still water near 
the shore, we paddled and poled along at about the rate of a mile and a 
half per hour. Our men work well. They commence paddling with 
a strong, slow stroke, of about fifteen or twenty to the minute, and 
gradually quicken them till they get to be half-second strokes. They 
keep this up for about half an hour, when, at a shout from the bowman, 
they toss their paddles in the air, change sides, and commence the slow 
stroke again. They, however, prefer poling ^o paddling, and will 
always make for a beach, where they can use their poles, which they 
do in a lazy, ineflBcient manner. 

The shores of the river to-day, on the left bank, are abrupt, and 
about ten or fifteen feet high. They, are of a light, loose earth, that is 
continually caving in by the action of the current, and carrying trees 
into the stream. On the other side the shores are low, green, and 

P] 14. 

/'• r 

.' U 



Pr /f inaz/i del 

^^^r4fl^ ^ 



shelving. I think they are the shores of low, narrow islands. The 
trees are not very thick, and the country is more open than on the banks 
of the Huallaga. After breakfast we pulled nearly to the middle of the 
river, and, anchoring in thirty-three feet water, we found the current, by 
the log, to be a mile and three-quarters the hour. We passed the mouth 
of a small stream called Chingana, up which there is a settlement of the 
Mayorunas. Our men are much afraid of this people, and always sleep 
on the left bank so long as they are in their country. All the peons on 
this river have their musquito curtains painted black, so that the Mayo- 
runas may not see them in the night. The mode of attack of these 
savages is to w^ait till the travellers have fallen asleep, and then rush 
upon the musquito nets and plunge in their lances. None of the 
Indians that I have travelled with seem to have any idea of the pro- 
priety of posting a sentinel. At noon the river, which has been from 
its mouth less than a quarter of a mile wide, spreads out, and is divided 
by islands. We anchored in twelve feet water, sixty yards from the 
shore, and slept without musquito netting. It was. Avindy, and these 
troublesome insects did not come off. Rain nearly all night. 

September 27. — Two of our turtles died yesterday, and the Indians are 
eating them to-day. Ijurra suspects that they killed them by putting 
tobacco in their mouths, knowing that we would not eat them, and 
that they consequently would get them. But Ijurra is of a suspicious 
nature, especially where Indians are concerned, whom he thinks to be 
the vilest and most worthless of mankind. We found the current to- 
day to be tv/o miles the hour. A fish about two feet long, and sharp- 
built, like a dolphin, jumped into the boat. It had two curved and 
very sharp teeth, like those of a squirrel, or the fangs of a serpent, in 
the lower jaw. It made us a very good mess. The river to-day is 
much divided by islands, the passages from one hundred to one hundred 
and fifty yards wide. When running between the main shore, the river 
is about a quarter of a mile wide. 

September 28. — Passed the outlet of a lake said to be a day distant. 
There are many lakes on each side of the river, where the Indians fish 
with barbasco. At this season most of the outlets are dry. Passed two 
balsas loaded with sarsaparilla, gathered in the river Aguaytia, above 
Sarayacu. One was in charge of a Brazilian negro, the other of a 
Portuguese ; they were dependants of a trading establishment at Loreto. 
The crew were Conibos Indians of the Ucayali. They had a floating 
turtle-pen along, and gave us a turtle. When we stopped to breakfast 
our people hid their jars, which they had emptied of their masata, 
to pick up on the return. Banks of the river, as usual, about ten or 


fifteen feet high. Beaches few and small, running out in ridges; so 
that at one moment our men could not touch bottom with their long 
poles, and at the next the boat was aground. 

Se2:)tember 29. — We passed a place in the river where there was a 
beach on each side, and a tree grounded in the middle. On the side 
which we passed, which was to the right of the tree, we had but four 
feet water sixty yards from the beach. I suspect the tree was grounded 
on a sand-fiat at the upper end of an island, the lower end of which we 
had not noticed, and that the channel was on the other side, and close 
to the right bank of the river. Passed the mouth of the Caiio Pucati, 
which communicates with the Maraiion just below San Reg-is. It is 
now entirely dry, and appears a mere fissure in the bank between the 
cane and small trees growing near it. The sand which is heaped up at 
its entrance, is four feet above the present level of the river. 

Stopped and bought some turtle, salt, and salted curassows, (a large, 
black, game bird, nearly the size, and with something the appearance, 
of a turkey, called piuri,) from some San Regis people, who were salt- 
ing fish, which they had taken in a lake near. Their ranchos were 
built upon a bluff on the right bank. I could not stay among them 
for the musquitoes, and had to retreat to the boat. Two large turtles, 
three salted birds, and half a peck of salt, cost us six strings of small 

September 30. — Passed the mouth of an arm of the river, which is 
said to leave the main river many miles above, and make the large 
island of Paynaco. It is navigable for canoes in the wet season ; but, 
on account of its windings, it takes nearly as long to pass it as it does 
to pass the main river; and it is seldom navigated. We see many 
cranes and huananas, (the Egyptian goose before described,) but no 
animals except flesh colored porpoises, of which there are a great many. 
Occasionally we hear " cotomonos," or howling monkeys, in the woods. 
Dull work ascending the river ; anchored near low sand islands with 
abrupt banks, which were continually tumbling into the stream. 

October 1. — After daylight we landed and shot at cotomonos. One 
is not aware of the great height of the trees until he attempts to shoot 
a monkey or a bird out of the topmost branches. He is then surprised 
to find that the object is entirely out of reach of his fowling-piece, and 
that only a rifle will reach it. The trees throughout this country 
grow with great rapidity, and, being in a light, thin' soil, with a aob- 
stratum of sand, the roots are superficial, and the trees are continually 
faUing down. Nature seems to have made a provision for their sup- 
port, for, instead of coming down round to the ground, the trunk, about 


ten feet above it, divides into thick, wide tablets, which, widening as 
they come down, stand out Kke buttresses for the support of the tree ; 
but even with this provision no day passes that we do not hear the 
crashing fall of some giant of the forest. Re-stowed the boat, and 
repaired Ijurra's palace, making it narrower and higher. 

October 3. — Many huananas, with their broods, upon the river. Shot 
a large brown bird called chansu, {cigana in Brazil ;) it has a crest, 
erectile at pleasure, and looks like a pheasant. Large flocks frequent 
the cane on the banks of the river ; they have a very game look, and 
are attractive to the sportsman ; but the Indians call them a foul bird, 
and do not eat them ; the crop of this was filled with green herbage. 

October 4. — Clear all night, with heavy dew. The anchor, which is 
a sixty-four pound weight, had sunk so deep in the thick dark sand of 
the bottom as to require the united exertions of all hands to get it. 
Met three canoes going down loaded with sarsaparilla ; bought some 
yuccas and plantains at a settlement of five families of Conibos, on the 
left bank of the river. Got also specimens of the black wax of the 
country, and "lacre," or sealing-wax, which is the gum of a tree, 
colored red with achote. The black wax is the production of a small 
bee very little larger than an ant, which builds its house in the ground. 
The white wax is deposited in the branches of a small tree, which are 
hollow, and divided into compartments like the joints of a cane. The 
wood is suflSciently soft to be perforated by the bee ; the tree is called 
cetica^ and looks, though larger, like our alder bush. 

October 5. — Stopped at a Conibo rancho on the right bank. Three 
men and sLx women, with children, were living in the rancho ; they were 
very poor, and could sell us nothing. The river rose six inches from 
eight last night to five this morning. Shores to-day low, with large 
sand beaches ; only four feet of water fifty or sixty yards from them. 
Current two and a quarter miles. 

October 6. — Passed a settlement of Conibos on left bank — four houses, 
eight men and twenty-five women and children. It was quite a treat 
to see so familiar a flower as the convolvulus growing on the bank. It 
was not so large or so gay as in our gardens, but had a home look that 
was veiy pleasing. Passed a ravine, up which there is a settlement of 
Amajuacas Indians. These men are hunters, who live in the interior, 
and seldom come down upon the rivers. The Pirros and Conibos some- 
times make war upon them, and bring away captives. Yesterday two 
men — one a Pano, from Sarayacu, and the other an Amajuaca — joined us 
to work their passage to Sarayacu. The Amajuaca was so good a 

196 STA. MARIA. 

fellow, and worked so well, that I paid him as the others. Current two 
and a quarter miles. 

October 7. — River half a mile wide and rising fast. Trunks of trees 
begin to come down. Stopped at a settlement called Guanache, I saw 
only two houses, with four or five men and women ; they said that the 
others were away gathering sarsaparilla. These people cannot count, 
and can never get from them any accurate idea of numbers. They 
are very little removed above the "beasts that perish." They are 
filthy, and covered with the sores and scars of sarna. The houses 
were very large, measuring between thirty and forty feet of length, and 
ten or fifteen in breadth. They consist of immense roofs of small poles 
and cane, thatched with palm, and supported by short stakes four feet high 
and three inches in diameter, planted in the ground three or four feet 
apart, and having the spaces, except between two in front, filled in with 
cane. Many persons " pig" together in one of these houses. Cotton 
was growing here. Current three and one-third miles. 

October 9. — Stopped at the village of Sta. Maria, a Pirros settlement, 
on the left bank, of one hundred and fifty souls. The curaca, who 
seemed a more rational and respectable being than the rest, and whom 
I afterwards saw in Nauta, told me that there were thirty-three Matri- 
monios. These Indians ascend the Ucayali in their canoes to a point 
not very far from Cuzco, where they go to exchange rare birds and 
animals for beads, fish-hooks, and the little silver ornaments which they 
wear in their noses. They bury their dead in his canoe under the floor 
of his house. The curaca said that the Conibos buried the personal 
effects of the deceased with him, difiering in this from his people, the 
Pirros. Their language is also difierent ; but in all other things they 
are as like as peas. They have no idea of a future state, and worship 
nothing. In fact, I think they have no ideas at all, although they can 
make a bow or a canoe, and take a fish; and their women can weave a 
coarse cloth from cotton, and dye it. They asked us if we had not in our 
boxes some gi-eat and infectious disease, which we could take up and let 
loose among their enemies, the Cashibos of the Pichitea. 

There were two Moyobambinos domiciliated in the village, purchasing 
salt fish from the Indians. One of them told me that an Indian would 
furnish eighty pieces of salt fish for eight yards of tocoyo; this man may 
have " let the cat out of the bag," and showed me how they cheat the 
Indians. A yard of tocuyo is the general price of three pieces. iV fish 
called payshi, which is the fish ordinarily salted, was brought in and cut 
up whilst we were here. It is a powerful fish, about six feet long and 
one and one-fourth in diameter. The head is fourteen inches long, with 


short jaws and rather small mouth. The tongue, when dried, is as hard 
as bone, and is commonally used as a rasp. The scales of the belly and 
tail are bordered with a bright red streak, which makes the fish appear 
to be nearly encircled with a number of scarlet rings, and gives it a very 
pretty appearance. (It is called pirarucu in Brazil.) 

Just below Sta. Maria is the mouth of a creek, or small channel of the 
river, which, cutting across a narrow neck of land, connects two parts of 
a great bend of the river. These canals across an isthmus are called by 
the Indians tepishka. This one is only navigable when the river is full. 

Two hours after leaving Sta. Maria we arrived at a beach where 
there was an establishment of Senhor Cauper's, for salting fish. These 
establishments are called factorias. A nephew of the old man has 
been here for two months, attending to the business. Instead of 
employing the Infidels, he brings Indians of Nauta with him — people 
generally who are in Mr. Cauper's debt. Twenty-five Indians collect 
and salt four thousand pieces of fish in six weeks. 

Bought fifty pieces at six and a quarter cents for the support of my 
peons. From eight last night to six this morning, the river rose but 
two inches, and seems to be now falling. 

The Indians on this river have in their houses cotton, maize, ground 
peas, (mani,) sweet potatoes, yuccas, plantains, fowls and fish, bows and 
arrows, lances, clubs, paddles, and pretty baskets made of cane. The 
women weave their own clothes, and those of their husbands, and manage 
to paint figures and devices on the cotton after it is woven. The Pirros 
and Conibos seem taller than they really are, on account of their cos- 
tume, which is a long cotton gown. I have seen a fellow in one of 
these gowns, slowly striding over a beach, look, at a distance, like a 
Roman patrician in his " toga." 

October 10. — River fell last night four inches. Stopped on Fuiri 
island to breakfast. There is a pretty little lake occupying nearly the 
whole centre of the island. We passed through a shallow and narrow 
arm of the river between Puiri island and the right bank. River a 
quarter of a mile wide above the island. 

Met a Conibo, with his wife and two children, on the beach. This 
man w^as evidently the dandy of his tribe. He was painted with a 
broad stripe of red under each eye ; three narrow stripes of blue were 
carried from one ear, across the upper lip, to the other — the two lower 
stripes plain, and the upper one bordered with figures. The whole of 
the lower jaw and chin were painted with a blue chain- work of figures, 
something resembling Chinese figures. Around his neck was a broad 
tight necklace of black and white beads, with a breastplate of the 


same hanging from it, and partly concealed by tlie long gown, or cushma. 
His wrists were also adorned with wide bracelets of white beads, and 
above these a bracelet of lizard skins, set round with monkeys' teeth. 
He wore a little silver shield hanging from his nose, and a narrow, thin 
plate of silver, shaped Hke a paddle, two and a half inches long, thrust 
through a hole in the lower lip, and hanging on the chin. He had 
been to Cuzco, wher« he got his silver ornaments, and said it was a 
journey of four moons. We anchored in thirty- six feet water, and 
found a current of three miles the hour. Calm, clear night ; much dew. 

October 11. — Stopped to breakfast on a beach on the left bank, back 
of which, on the firm land, were two houses of Bemos Indians. There 
were twenty-two of them — men, women, and children — with three men 
of the Shi2:>ebos tribe. There seemed to be no uniformity in their paint, 
each one consulting his own taste ; though there was one man and a 
woman, whom I understood to be man and wife, painted exactly ahke. 
The Eemos were low and small; the Shipebos taller. They were 
dressed in the common costume of the Ucayali, (the cushma,) and had 
their hair cut straight across the forehead, just above the eyes, so as to 
show the face, set, as it were, in a frame of hair. They are all 
filthy, and some have sarna. As far as I have observed, more women 
have this disease than men. Passed more huts afterwards, and some 
Indians seeking the young of the turtle on a beach. These people eat 
anything. 1 have known them to eat the eggs of the turtle with the 
young in them, and also turtle that had died a natm*al death and 
had become ofi'ensive. 

October 12. — Passed a settlement of Conibos on the right bank, 
numbering twenty-five or thirty. They said that the inhabitants of a 
village called Huamuco, which Smyth places near this place, had gone 
to the Pachitea. 

October 13. — At breakfast we found a smaller kind of turtle called 
charapilla, better and more tender than the large turtle which is called 
charapa. Stopped at a little settlement of Shipebos on the right bank — 
twenty-five all told. Met three negroes, with a crew of Conibos, who 
had been up the river for sarsaparilla. They gathered the principal part 
of what they had (about sixty arrobas) in the Aguaytia, but had been 
five days up the Pachitea, and six up the Ucayali, above the Pachitea. 
They say that the Cashibos of that river would come to the beach in 
hostile attitude; but when they found that the strangers were not 
Indians of the Uc^ali, but wore trousers and had guns, they fled. 

Passed two houses of Conibos, about fifteen in number. One of 
them, taking us for padres, insisted that Ijurra should baptize his child ; 


whicli was accordingly done. He gave it the name of the officiating 
priest, writing it on a bit of paper and giving it to tlie mother, who put 
it away carefully. I believe my companion was upbraided by the 
priest at Sarayacu for doing so. The head of the infant had been 
bound in boards, front and rear, and was flattened and increased in 
height. I do not observe that the heads of the adults bear any trace of 
this custom. 

October 15. — Arrived at the village of Tierra Blanca, belonging to the 
Mission, having passed yesterday several settlements of the Indians, and 
seen for the first time the hills in the neighborhood of Sarayacu. It is 
a clean little town, of two hundred inhabitants, situated on an eminence 
on the left bank about twenty-five feet above the present level of the 
river. In the full the water approaches within a few feet of the lower 

A priest from Sarayacu, "Father Juan de Dios Lorente," has charge 
of the spiritual and pretty much of the temporal concerns of the village. 
He is here at this time celebrating some feast, and is the only white man 
present. The Indians, as usual at a feast time, were nearly all drunk, 
and made my men drunk also. When I wished to start, I sent Ijurra 
to a large house where they were drinking to bring our people to th 
boat ; he soon came back, foaming with rage, and demanded a gun, that 
he might bring them to obedience ; I soothed him, however, and went 
up to the house, where, by taking a drink with them, and practising the 
arts that I have often practised before in getting ofi" to the ship refractory 
sailors who were drinking on shore, I succeeded in getting off" a sufficient 
number of them to work the boat, and shoved off with as drunken a 
boat's crew as one could desire, leaving the small boat for the others to 
follow ; this they are sure to do when they find that their clothes and 
bedding have been taken away. The padre said that if Ijurra had shot 
one, they would have murdered us all; but I doubt that, for ^ve were 
well armed, and the Indians are afraid of guns. 

Padre Lorente, when he joined the Mission, came down the Pachitea 
in nine days from Mayro to Sarayacu in the month of August ; if so, 
there must have been an enormous current in the Pachitea and Ucayali 
above, for it takes thirty days to reach the mouth of the Pachitea from 
Sarayacu, which distance Padre Lorente descended in six ; and Padre 
Plaza (who is said, however, to be a slow traveller) took eighteen to 
ascend the Pachitea from its mouth to Mayro, which Padre Lorente 
accomplished downwards in three. I judged from the short course of 
this river, and the great descent, that it had a powerful current. The 
padre said that, a day's journey above the mouth of the Pachitea, his 


men had to get overboard and drag tLe canoe over the bottom for five 
hundred yards. He also said that the attempt to ascend at this season 
must result in failure ; that it can only be done after Easter, when the 
current is not so rapid. The Aguaytia and Pish qui are also small 
streams, where the Indians have to wade and drag the canoes. 

October IQ. — Started at 6 a.m.; stopped at half-past five opposite 
the mouth of the river Catalina. It seemed thirty yards wide, and had 
a small island in front. 

The ascent of the river is very tedious ; we barely creep along against 
the force of the current, and day after day "wearies by" in the most 
monotonous routine. I frequently land, and with gun on shoulder, and 
clad only in shirt and drawers, walk for miles along the beaches. My 
greatest pleasure is to watch the boat struggling up against the tide. 
This is always accompanied with emotions of pride, mingled with a 
curious and scarcely definable feeling of surprise. It was almost start- 
ling to see, at her mast-head, the beautiful and well-beloved flag of my 
country dancing merrily in the breeze on the waters of the strange river, 
and waiving above the heads of the swarthy and grim figures below. I 
felt a proud afi"ection for it ; I had carried it where it had never been 
before ; there w^as a bond between us ; we w^ere alone in a strange land ; 
and it and I were brothers in the wilderness. 

October 17. — Met ten canoes ' of Conibos — twenty-eight men, women, 
and children — who had been on an excursion, with no particular object, 
as far as the first stones in the Ucayali. This is about thirty-eight days 
above Sarayacu, at a place called in Quichua "Rumi Callarina," or 
commencement of the rocks ; river rising for the last two or three days ; 
passed a village of Shipebos, called Cushmuruna ; hills in sight, bearing 

October 18. — At 11 a. m. we entered the Caiio of Sarayacu; at this 
season this is not more than fifteen or eighteen feet wide, and nearly 
covered with a tall grass something like broom-corn, or a small species 
of cane. (This is the food for the vaca marina.) The cario has as 
much as six feet depth in the middle for two miles, but it soon contracts 
so as scarcely to allow^ room for my boat to pass, and becomes shallow 
and obstructed with the branches of small trees which bend over it. It 
also, about two miles from its mouth, changes its character of caiio, 
or arm of the main river, and becomes the little river of Sarayacu, which 
retires and advances in accordance with the movements of its great 

"We could not get our boat nearer than within a quarter of a mile of 
the town ; so we took small canoes from the bank, and carried up our 


equipage in them. We were hospitably received by the padres, and 
lodgings were given us in the convento, a large house with several 
rooms in it. 

We found Sarayacu a rather neat-looking Indian village, of about 
one thousand inhabitants, including Belen, a small town of one hundred 
and fifty inhabitants, one and a half mile distant. It, or rather the 
missionary stal-ion — including the towns of Sta. Catalina and Tierra 
Blanca — is governed by four Franciscan friars, of the college of Ocopa. 
The principal and prefect. Padre Juan Chrisostomo Cimini, being now 
absent on a visit to Ocopa, the general direction is left in the hands of 
Father Vicente Calvo, assisted by the Fathers Bregati and Lorente, who 
have charge respectively of Sta. Catalina and Tierra Blanca. 

Father Calvo, meek and humble in personal concerns, yet full of zeal 
and spirit for his office, clad in his long serge gown, belted with a cord, 
with bare feet and accurate tonsure, habitual stoop, and generally bearing 
upon his shoulder a beautiful and saucy bird of the parrot kind, called 
chiridis, was my beau ideal of a missionary monk. He is an Arra- 
gonese, and had served as a priest in the army of Don Carlos. Bregati 
is a young and handsome Italian, whom Father Calvo sometimes calls 
St. John. Lorente was a tall, gi-ave, and cold-looking Catalan. A lay- 
brother named Maquin, who did the cooking, and who was unwearied 
in his attentions to us, made up the establishment. I was sick here, and 
think that I shall ever remember with gratitude the affectionate kindness 
of these pious and devoted friars of St. Francis. 

The town is situated on a level plain elevated one hundred feet above 
the rivulet of the same name, which empties into the Ucayali at three 
miles distant. 

The rivulet does not afford sufficient water for a canoe in tl^ dry 
season ; but at that time a fine road might be made through the forest to 
the banks of the Ucayali ; this probably would be miry and deep in the 
rajiiy season, which is from the first of November to Easter. We had 
rain nearly every day that we were there, but it was in passing showers, 
alternating with a hot sun. The climate of Sarayacu is delightful ; the 
maximum thermometer, at 3 p. m., being 84-|-°; the minimum, at 9 a. 
m., 74. The average temperature of the day is 79 ; the nights are 
sufficiently cool to allow one to sleep with comfort under a musquito 
curtain made of gingham. These insects are less troublesome here 
than might be expected, which may be seen from the fact that the 
priests are able to live without wearing stockings ; but it is a continual 
penanc , quite equal, I should think, to self-flagellation once a week. 

The soil is very prolific, but thin and light ; at half a foot below the 


surface there is pure sand ; and no Indian thinks of cultivating the same 
faiTU longer than three years; he then clears the forest and plants 
another. There is nothing but a little coffee produced for sale in the 
neighborhood of the town. The fathers extract about three hundred 
arrobas of sarsaparilla, from the small streams above, and sell it to 
Senhor Cauper in Xauta. This gives them a profit of about five hun- 
dred dollars. The College at Ocopa allows them a dollar for every mass 
said or sung. The four padres are able to perform about seven hundred 
annually, (those for Sundays and feast-days are not paid for ;) and this 
income of twelve huudrtd dollars is appropriated to the repairs of the 
churches and conventos, church furniture, the vestments of the priests, 
their table and chamber furniture, and some little luxuries — such as 
sugar, flower, vinegar, &c., bought of the Portuguese below. 

The padres have recently obtained an order from the prefect of the 
department of Amazonas, giving them the exclusive right of collecting 
sarsaparilla on the Ucayali and its tributaries ; but I doubt if this will 
benefit them much, for, there being no power to enforce the decree, the 
Portuguese will send their agents there as before. 

Each padre has two Mitayos, appointed monthly — one a hunter, the 
other a fisherman — to supply his table with the products of the forest and 
the river. The Fiscales cultivate him a small farm for his yuccas and 
plantains, and he himself raises poultry and eggs ; they also make him 
rum from the sugar-cane, of which he needs a large supply to give to 
the constables, (Varayos, from "vara," a wand, each one carrying a 
cane,) the Fiscales, and the Mitayos. 

The government is paternal. The Indians recognise in the padre the 
power to appoint and remove curacas, captains, and other officers ; to 
inflict stripes ; and to confine in the stocks. They obey the priest's 
orders readily, and seem tractable and docile. They take advantage, 
however, of Father Calvo's good nature, and are sometimes a little inso- 
lent. On an occasion of this kind, my friend Ijurra, who is always ^n 
advocate of strong measures, and says that in the government of the 
Indians there is nothing like the santo palo, (sacred cudgel,) asked 
Father Calvo why he did not put the impudent rascal in the stocks. 
But the good Father replied that he did not like to do it — that it was 
cruel, and hurt the poor fellow's legs. 

The Indians here, as elsewhere, are drunken and lazy. The women 
do most of the work ; carry most of the burdens to and from the chacras 
and canoes ; make the masato, and the earthen vessels out of which it is 
drunk ; spin the cotton and weave the cloth ; cook and take care of the 
childjen. And their reward is to be maltreated by their husbands, and, 


in their drunken frolics, to be cruelly beaten, and sometimes badly 

Tlie town is very healthy, there being no endemics, but only acute 
attacks from great exposure or imprudence in eating and drinking. 
From the j)arish register it appears that in the year 1850 there were ten 
marriages, sixty- two births, and twenty -four deaths. This appears, from 
an examination of the other years, to be a pretty fair average ; yet the 
population is constantly decreasing. Father Calvo attributes this to 
desertion. He says that many go down the Amazon with passengers 
and cargoes, and, finding the return difficult, they either settle in the 
villages upon the river or join the Ticumas, or other Infidel tribes, and 
never come back. 

The Spaniards, from the Huallaga, also frequently buy the young 
Indians from their parents, and cany them off for domestic services at 
home. Father Calvo spoke with great indignation of this custom ; and 
said if he could catch any person stealing his people he would hang 
him in the plaza. Our servant Lopez desired me to advance him nine 
hatchets, for the purpose of buying a young Indian which his father 
wished to sell. But I told Lopez of Father Calvo's sentiments on the 
subject, and refused him. Two boys, however, put off in a canoe the 
day before we did on our return, and joined us below Tierra Blanca. 
I did not clearly undei'stand who they were, or I should have sent them 

We afterwards met with a boat's crew of twelve, who had come off 
with a young Spaniard of Rioja, (a village between the Huallaga and 
Maraiion,) who did not intend returning ; and I fear that many of those 
that came down with me did not get back for years, if at all ; though I 
did all I could to send them back. 

Thus Sarayaou is becoming depopulated in spite of the paternal 
kindness and mild government of Father Calvo. My own impression 
as to the reason of their desertion is, not that it is on account of the 
difficulties of the return, or indifference, or a proclivity to fall back into 
savage life ; but that the missionaries have civilized the Indians in some 
degree — have taught them the value of property, and awakened in 
their minds ambition and a desire to improve their condition. For this 
reason the Indian leaves Sarayacu and goes to Brazil. In Sarayacu 
there are comparatively none to employ him and pay for his services. 
In Brazil, the Portuguese " commerciante," though he maltreats him, 
and does not give him enought to eat, pays him for his labor. Thus he 
accumulates, and becomes a man of property ; and in the course of time 
possibly returns to his family in possession of a wooden trunk painted 


blue, with a lock and key to it, and filled with hatchets, knives, beads, 
fish-hooks, mirrors, &c. He has seen the world, and is an object of 
envy to his kinsmen and neighbors. 

Not included among the deaths of 1850 are those of four men who 
died from poison. In one of their drunken frolics the Indians were dis- 
coursing of the properties of a small tree or shrub, called corrosive sub- 
limate of the forest, " soliraan del monte," and they determined to test 
it. They rasped a portion of the bark into their masato, and five men 
and tw^o women partook of it. Four of the men died in three-quarters 
of an hour, in great agony, and the others were ill for a long time. 

Growing in the padre's garden was a small tree bearing a fruit about 
the size of our hickory nut, which contained within a small, oblong nut, 
called pifion. This has a soft shell ; and the substance of the nut is a 
mild, safe, and efficient purgative. There was also a bush called 
"^way?fsa," a decoction of the leaves of which is said to be good for 
colds and rheumatism. It is also believed to be a cure for barrenness. 

The friars entertained us on Sunday evening with a dance of Indians. 
These were dressed in frocks and trousers, but had head-dresses made 
of a bandeau or circlet of short and rich-colored feathers, surmount^ 
with the long tail-feathers of the scarlet macaw. They had strings 
of dried nut shells around their legs, which made an agreeable jingling 
in the dance. The half-bent knee, and graceful waive of the plumed hat 
towards the priest before the dance commenced, with the regularity of 
the figure, gave unmistakable evidence of the teaching of the Jesuits, 
who appear to have neglected nothing, however tri\nal, that might bind 
the afi'ections of the proselytes, and gain themselves influence. 

The inhabitants of Sarayacu are divided into three distinct tribes, 
called Panos, Omaguas, and Yameos. They dweU in difl'erent parts of 
the town. Each tribe has its peculiar dialect ; but they generally com- 
mimicate in the Pano language. These last are the whitest and best- 
looking Indians I have seen. 

I was unable to gather much authentic information concerning the 
Infidels of the Ucayali. The padres had only been in Sarayacu a few 
years, and had never left their post to travel among the Indians. 

The Campas are the most numerous and warlike tribe, and are reso- 
lute in forbidding strangers to enter their territory. They inhabit all 
the upper waters of the Ucayali ; and I think it probable that they are 
the same who, under the name of Chunchos, are so hostile to the whites 
about Chanchamayo, and on the haciendas to the eastward of Cuzco. 
These are the people who, under Juan Santos Atahaullpa, in 1*742, 
swept away all the Missions of the Cerro de la Sal ; and I have very 


little doubt that tliey are descendants of tlie Inca race. From the 
extent of their territory, one might judge them to be the most numerous 
body of savages in America ; but no estimate can be formed of their 
numbers, as no one capable of making one ever ventures among them. 

The cashibos, or Callisecas, are found principally on the Pachitea. 
They also make war upon the invaders or visiters of their territory ; but 
they only venture to attack the Indians who visit their river, and who 
often come to make war upon them and carry otf their children. They 
rarely trust themselves within gun-shot of the white man; they are 
bearded, and are said to be cannibals. A small tribe called Lorenzos 
live above these on the head waters of the Pachita and banks of the 
river of Pozuzu. 

The Sends occupy the country above Sarayacu, and on the opposite 
side of the river. They are said by Lieutenant Smyth, from information 
supplied by Father Plaza, (the missionary governor, succeeded in his 
office by my friends,) who had visited them, to be a numerous, bold, and 
warlike tribe. He said that some whom he saw at Sarayacu exhibited 
much interest in his astronomical observations. They had names for 
some of the fixed stars and planets, two of which struck me as peculiarly 
appropriate. They called the brilliant Canopus "Noteste," or thing of 
the day, and the fiery Mars "Tapa," (forward ;) Jupiter they called 
Ishmavjook ; Capella was Cuchara^ or spoon ; and the Southern Cross 
Nebo, (dew-fall.) I saw some of these people at Sarayacu. They 
frequently come to the mission to get their children baptized, to which 
ceremony most of the Indians seem to attach some virtue, (as they 
probably would to any other ceremony,) and to purchase the iron 
implements they may stand in need of; but I saw no difference in 
appearance between them and the other Indians of the Ucayali, and 
did not hear that there was anything peculiar about them. 

Smyth also states (still quoting Father Plaza) that the Sencis are a 
very industrious people, who cultivate the land in common, and that they 
kill those who are idle and are indisposed to do their fair share of the 
work. If this be true, they are very different from the savages of the 
Ucayali whom I have met with, who are all drones, and who would be 
rather disposed to kill the industrious than the lazy, if they were dis- 
posed to kill at all, which I think they are not. 

The Conibos, Shipebos, Setebos, Pirros, Remos, and Amajuacas are 
the vagabonds of the Ucayali, wandering about from place to place, 
and settling where they take a fancy. They are great boatmen and 
fishermen, and are the people employed by the traders to gather sarsa- 
parilla and salt fish, and make oil or lard from the fat of the vaca 


marina, and turtle's eggs. Tliey have settlements on tlie banks of the 
river ; but many of them hve in their canoes, making huts of reeds and 
palms upon the beaches in bad weather. I could never ascertain that 
they worshipped anything, or had any ideas of a future state. Many 
have two or three wives ; they marry young and have many children, 
but do not raise more than half of them. They seem docile and tract- 
able, though lazy and f|iithless. They will not trust the white man, for 
which they have probably good cause ; and the white man would not 
trust them if he could help it ; but the Indian will do nothing unless he 
is paid in advance. 

Finally, the Mayorunas occupy the right bank of the Ucayali, near its 
mouth, and extend along the southern borders of the Amazon as far as 
the Yavari. Very little is known of this tribe. They are said to be 
whiter than the other tribes, to wear their beards, and to go naked. 
They attack any person who comes into their territory ; and our Nauta 
boatmen were careful not to camp on their side of the river. 

When I left Nauta I intended to ascend the Ucayali, if possible, as far 
as Chanchamayo, and also to examine the Pachitea. On arriving at 
Sarayacu I consulted Father Calvo on the subject. He at first spoke 
discom-agingly ; said that the larger part of the population of his village 
were away fishing, and that I would have great difficulty in recruiting a 
sufficient number of men for the expedition ; for that Padre Cimini, year 
before last, with a complement of otiG hundred and fifty men, had been 
beaten back by the Campas when within one day of Jesus Maria, at the 
confluence of the Pangoa and Perene, and had declared it was folly to 
attempt it with a less number, and these well armed. Father Calvo 
also said that, could he raise the men by contributions from Tierra Blanca 
and Sta. Catalina, he could not possibly furnish provisions for half that 
number. I told him I was ready to start with twenty-five men : fifteen 
for my own boat, and ten for a lighter canoe, to act as an advanced 
guard, and to depend upon the river itself for support ; that I had no 
idea of invading the Infidel country, or forcing a passage ; and that the 
moment I met with resistance, or want of provisions, I would return. 

Upon this reasoning the padre said he would do his best, and sent 
off expresses to Fathers Bregati and Lorente with instructions to recruit 
men in Tierra Blanca and Sta. Catalina, and send them, with what 
provisions could be mustered, to Sarayacu. In the mean time we com- 
menced beating up recruits, and gave orders to make farinha, gather 
barbasco for fishing on the route, and distil aguadiente. 

We found, however, although I offered double pay, that we could not 
get more than eight men in Sai'ayacu who were willing to go at this 


seasoD. Many of the Sarayacu people had been with Father Cimini on 
his expedition. They said that the current was so strong then, when 
the river was low, that they were forced to drag the canoes by ropes 
along the beaches ; that now the current was stronger, and the river so 
full that there were no beaches, and consequently no places for sleeping, 
or on which to make fires for cooking. In short, they made a thousand 
excuses for not going ; but I think the principal reason was, fear of the 

Fathers Bregati and Lorente reported that they could not raise a man, 
so that I saw myself obliged to abandon the expedition upon which I 
had rather set my heart ; for I thought it possible that I might gather 
great reputation with my Chanchamayo friends by joining them again 
from below, and showing them that their darling wish (a communication 
with the Alantic by the Perene and Ucayali) might be accomplished. 

I felt, in turning ray boat's head down stream, that the pleasm-e and 
excitement of the expedition were passed ; that I was done, and had 
done nothing. I became ill and dispirited, and never fairly recovered 
the gayety of temper and elasticity of spirit which had animated me at 
the start, until I received the congratulations of my friends at home. / 



Upper Ucayali— M. Castelnau— Length of navigation— Loss of the priest— De- 
parture from Sarayacu—Omaguas—Iquitos— Mouth of the Napo— Pebas— San 
Jose de los Yaguas — State of Indians of Peru. 

I have the less regret, however, in that M. Castelnau has given so 
exact and interesting an account of the descent of this river. 

This accomplished traveller and naturalist left Cuzco on the 21st 
July, 1846. His party consisted of himself, M. D'Osery, M. De\'ille, M. 
Saint Cric, (who joined the party in the valley of Sta. Ana,) three oflS- 
cers of the Peru^nan navy, seven or eight domestics and muleteers, and 
fifteen soldiers as an escort. After seven days of travel (passing a range 
of the Andes at an elevation of fourteen thousand eight hundred feet) 
he arrived at the village of Echarate, in the valley of Sta. Ana. 

He remained at this place until the 14th of August, when the canoes 
and rafts which he had ordered to be constructed were ready. He 
then embarked on a river called by the various names of Yilcanota, 
Yucay, Vilcomayo, and Urubamba, in four canoes and tw^o balsas. 

The difficulties of the navigation, dissensions with the Peruvian offi- 
cers, and desertions of the peons, soon reduced the expedition to a 
lamentable state of weakness and destitution. 

On the I'Zth M. D'Osery was sent back with a large part of the equip- 
age, and most of the instruments and collections in natural history. 
This unfortunate gentleman was murdered by his guides on his route 
from Lima to rejoin M. Castelnau on the Amazon. After passing innu- 
merable cascades and rapids, M. Castelnau reached, on the 27th of 
August, the lowest rapid on the river, that is an effectual bar to naviga- 
tion. This is one hundred and eighty miles from his point of embarka- 
tion at Eeharate. An idea may be formed of the difficulties of the 
passage when it is reflected that it cost him thirteen days to descend 
this one hundred and eighty miles, with a powerful current in his 

He found this point, by the barometer, to be about nine hundred and 
sixteen feet below Echarate ; thus giving the river a fall of a little more 
than five feet to the mile. He afterwards found that the mouth of the 
Ucayali, which is one thousand and forty miles down stream of the cas- 

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cade, was, by tlie barometer, nine hundred and four feet below it ; thus 
giving the river a fall of .8*7 of a foot per mile. 

He says that if the navigation of the Ucayali is attempted, it would 
be well to make a port at this point, and open a road thence to the 
valley of Sta. Ana, in which Echarate is situated, and which is exceed- 
ingly fertile, producing large quantities of Peruvian bark, with coca, 
and many other tropical productions. 

M. Castelnau thinks that this last cascade is the first impassable 
barrier to the navigation of the Ucayali upwards ; but he found many 
places below this where the river had but a depth of three feet, and 
many, though unimportant, rapids. Indeed, two hundred and seventy 
miles below this, he describes a strait, called the Vuelta del Diablo, as 
a dangerous passage, blocked up by heavy trunks of trees, against 
which the current dashes with great violence. 

At two hundred and sixteen miles below the cascade he passed 
the mouth of the river Tambo, the confluence of which with the 
Urubamba makes the Ucayali. 

Two hundred and fifty-two miles below the mouth of the Tambo he 
passed the mouth of the Pachitea, which he describes as being about 
the size of the Seine at Paris; and the Ucayali, after the junction of 
this river, as like the Thames at London. 

Sarayacu is two hundred and ninety-seven miles below the mouth of 
the Pachitea. 

From the Vuelta del Diablo to Sarayacu is four hundred and ninety- 
five miles. From Sarayacu to the mouth of the Ucayali is two hun- 
dred and seventy five miles ; so that we have an undoubtedly open 
navigation on this river of seven hundred and seventy miles ; and, 
taking M. Castelnau's opinion as correct, there are two hundred and 
seventy miles more to the foot of the last cascade on the Urubamba ; 
making a total of one thousand and forty miles. Well, then, may he 
call this stream the main trunk of the Amazon ; for, taking my esti- 
mate of the distance from the mouth of this river to the ocean, at two 
thousand three hundred and twenty miles, we have an uninterrupted 
navigation of three thousand three hundred and sixty miles, which will 
be found in no other direction. I estimate the distance from the Pongo 
de Chasuta, the head of clear navigation on the Huallaga, to the sea, 
at two thousand eight hundred and fifteen miles. 

An idea may be formed of the difliculties and dangers of passing the 
rapids of these rivers from the following description, given by this 
accomplished gentleman and clever writer : 


" We started about 8 o'clock, and employed an hour and a half in 
passing the cascade, \\'hich was composed of two strong rapids. Imme- 
diately after this, two other rapids arrested our course. We passed the 
first by the left bank ; but, as it was impossible to continue our route on 
that side, after consultation, we embarked to cross to the right bank. 

"We found the current of exceeding rapidity; and the second cataract 
roared and foamed only one hundred metres below us. The Indians at 
every instant cast anxious glances over the distance that separated them 
from the danger. At one moment our frail canoe manifestly lost ground ; 
but the Indians redoubled their efibrts, and we shot out of the strength 
of the current. 

"At this moment we heard cries behind us, and an Indian pointed 
with his finger to the canoe of M. Carrasco, within a few yards of us. 
It was struggling desperately with the violence of the current ; at one 
instant we thought it safe, but at the next we saw that all hope was lost, 
and that it was hurried towards the gulf with the rapidity of an arrow. 
The Peruvians and the Indians threw themselves into the water ; the old 
priest alone remained in the canoe, and we could distinctly hear him 
reciting the prayer for the dying until his voice was lost in the roar of 
the cataract. We were chilled with horror ; and we hastened to the 
bank, where we met our companions successively struggling to the shore 
from the lost canoe. M. Bizerra, particularly, encountered great danger^ 
but he evinced a remarkable sangfroid^ and, amidst his difficulties, never 
let go the journal of the expedition, which he carried in his teeth. 

" Poor little Panchito, the servant of the priest, wept bitterly, and 
begged us to let him seek the body of his benefactor ; but an hour was 
already lost, and our absolute want of provisions forbid us from acceding 
to his sad demand. 

" We deeply regretted the loss of our companion, whose death was as 
saint-like as his life." 

The party suffered greviously from the hardships of the voyage and 
the want of food. They were at the point of starvation when they 
arrived at Sarayacu, forty-four days after their embarkation at Echarate. 
M. Castelnau's description of their condition when they arrived is quite 

" At 3 p. m., after a journey of thirty miles, the Indians all at once 
turned the canoe to a deserted beach, and told us that we were arrived 
at Sarayacu. Before us was the bed of a little river nearly dry, to 
which they gave this name. The absence of any indication of habita- 
tions, and the dark forest which surrounded the beach, made us believe 
for the instant that we were the victims of some terrible mistake. We 


thouglit tliat the mission so ardently desired had been abandoned. 
Among our people only one knew the place, and his canoe had not yet 
arrived. We set ourselves to search out a path through the forest, but 
without success ; we were completely discouraged, and our eyes filled 
with tears." (The gallant Frenchman must have suffered much to have 
been brought to such a condition as this.) "We were in this state of 
anxiety more than an hour ; at last our guide arrived ; he told us that 
the town was some distance from the river, and, after considerable search, 
he found in a ravine the entrance to the narrow path which led to it. M. 
Deville and I were so enfeebled, and our legs so swollen, that we could 
not travel it. M. Carrasco, anxious to arrive, started in company with 
his friends ; and Florentino (the servant of the count) accompanied them. 
We were thus sadly detained upon the beach, when, towards nine o'clock, 
we thought we heard singing in the woods ; the voices soon became 
distinct, and we could recognise the airs. An instant after, the good 
Florentino ru.shed to us in the height of joy. He was followed by a 
dozen Indians of the Mission carrying torches, and a man dressed in 
European costume. This last gave us an affectionate shake of the hand, 
and told us, in English, that his name was Hackett ; that the prefect of 
the Missions, the celebrated Padre Plaza, had sent him to welcome us 
and to beg us to excuse him, in that his great age had not permitted him 
to come himself. The Indians brought us fowls, eggs, and a bottle of 
wine ; supper was instantly prepared ; and Mr. Hackett, who seemed 
sensibly touched with our misery, staid with us till midnight. He told 
us that the Mission was nearly six miles in the interior, but that he 
would send us Indians early in the morning to conduct us to it. We 
learned that the Peruvian government, faithful to its engagements, had 
announced our voyage in the Missions, and that the Bishop of Mainas 
had sent an express messenger to that effect ; but Padre Plaza, regarding 
our voyage from Cuzco to the Missions as an absolute impossibility, had 
supposed that we were dead, and had celebrated masses for the weal of 
our souls." 

I could get any number of men for the voyage down, and on October 
28th, at 10 a. m., we left Sarayacu and dropped down to the mouth of 
the cano, where we stopped to re-stow and shake things together. We 
found the Ucayali a very different-looking stream from what it was when 
we left it; it was much higher, with a stronger current, and covered 
with floating trees. At 3 p. m. we took leave of good Father Calvo 
with much regret, and started in company with Father Bregati, (who 
was returning to his cure of Catalina,) and with a large canoe that we 
were carrying down for the return of our peons from Pebas. 

I was much pleased with our new men, particularly with our pilot, 


old Andres Urquia, , a long, hard-weather, Tom-Coffin-looking fellow, 
whom travel and exposure for many years seemed to have hardened 
into a being insensible to fatigue, and impervious to disease. He has 
navigated the rivers of the country a great deal; was with Father 
Cimini when diiven back by the Campas ; and says that he has passed, 
in company with a Portuguese, named Da'Costa, from the Yavari to the 
Ucayali in two weeks, by a small inosculating stream called Yana 
Yacu, and returned in four by the ravine of Maquia. He says that 
there is another natural canal called Yawarangi^ which connects the 
two rivers. These canals are all very narrow, and are passed by push- 
ing the canoe with poles ; though Andres says there is plenty of water, 
but not room enough for such a boat as mine. 

We passed the distance from Sarayacu to Nauta in eight days, which 
had cost us twenty-three in the ascent. The distance from Sarayacu 
to the mouth by the channel is two hundred and seventy miles — in a 
straight line one hundred and fifty. We travelled all one night when 
near the mouth ; but this is dangerous on the Ucayali and Huallaga. 
The channels on these rivers are frequently obstructed by grounded trees, 
striking one of which the boat would almost inevitably perish. It is 
safer on the broader Amazon. 

The Ucayali, as far as Sarayacu, averages half a mile of width, 
twenty feet of depth at its lowest stage, and three miles the hour of 
current. I fear that there is a place at the great bend of the river, 
just below Sarayacu, where there are islands with extensive sand-flats, 
that may form, at the lowest stage of the river, an obstruction to navi- 
gation for a vessel of greater draught than ten feet. At this place, going 
up, we were paddling close in to the left bank, with apparently deep 
water, when, seeing a beach on what I thought was the opposite side 
of the river, probably two hundred and fifty yards distant, I directed 
the pilot to go over and camp for the night. To my surprise, almost 
immediately from the moment of his turning the boat's head outward 
to cross over, the men dropped their paddles, and, taking to their poles, 
shoved the boat over in not more than four or five feet water. I ob- 
served, when we had crossed, that we were on the beach of an island, 
and asked the pilot if there was more water in the other channel, on the 
right bank. He said, yes ; that, when the river was very low, this side 
was dry, but the other never. 

It is difficult, on account of the roving habits of the people who live 
upon the Ucayali, to make any estimate concerning the increase and 
decrease of the population. I scarcely find a village that Smyth names 
when he passed in 1835, and find several which he does not mention. 
Tipishka Nueva^ which he says was the largest settlement on the river 


next to Sarayacii, and had a population of two hundred, has now en- 
tirely disappeared ; and Sta. Maria, of which he makes no mention, has 
probably been settled since he was here, and has at present one hundred 
and fifty souls. I thought it singular (but of course a casualty) that, 
in summing up my estimates of the number of the people on the river, 
between its mouth and Sarayacu, I find it to amount to six hundred 
and thiity-four, and that Smyth's estimate makes it six hundred and 
forty. As it regards the length and direction of the reaches of the 
river, I find that officer remarkably correct. He descended about the 
1st of March, and of course had the river wider and deeper, and the 
current stronger than I found it ; for this reason our accounts diflfer 

The difference between high and low-water mark is about thirty-five 
feet. I planted a pole at a settlement called Guanache as I went up, on 
the 9th of October; when I passed it going down, on the 1st of Novem- 
ber, I found the river had risen nine feet seven inches. It did not, how- 
ever, commence its regular and steady rise till the 15th of October. A 
mile inside of the mouth, in the middle of the river, I found seventy-two 
feet of depth, and two and three-quarter miles current per hour. The 
bottom of the river is full of sunken trees. I lost two sounding-leads 
and three axe-heads in the descent. My sounding-line, however, had 
become very rotten from the dampness of the atmosphere, and did not 
even stand the strain of the current upon the log-chip, which I also lost. 

I had intended to stay at Nauta some days, for I found that so much 
canoe life was beginning to affect my health, and that I was getting 
weaker day by day ; but Nauta seemed a different place than when I 
Itft it. Arebalo, the priest, and Antonio the Paragua, were gone, and 
Senhor Cauper seemed out of humor, and not glad to see us. I expect 
the old gentleman was troubled in his mind about his fish. He had 
three thousand pieces on a beach of the Ucayali, v/ith the river rising 
fast and threatening its safety; while his boats had just got off to fetch 
them away, and were travelling very slowly up. 

I wished to get a few more peons ; but there were no authorities, and 
the Indians were engaged in drinking and dancing. Two of my men, 
whom I had picked up at a settlement called Santos Guagua, on the 
Ucayali, deserted, though paid as far as Pebas. I feared to lose more ; 
and, collecting the few birds and animals I had left here, I started at 
half-past 5 p. m. on the 5th of November, having slept in my boat on 
the night of the 4th for the want of a house, and been nearly devoured 
by the musquitoes. 


I left Lopez, the servant, who had only engaged for the Ucavali trip, 
and two of my Sarayacu people, who were reported to have gone into 
the woods to gather chambira, but who I suspected were drinking with 
the Cocamas, and did not wish to be found. 

We drifted with the current all nio^ht. The soundino^s at the mouth 
of the Ucavali were forty-two feet. The Amazon looked grand in the 
moonlight, below the island of Omaguas, where I judged it to be a mile 
and a half wide. 

November 6. — We arrived at Omaguas at 5 a. m. The two Sarayacu 
men that I had left at Nauta joined us in the montaria which I had left 
there for them, carrying off their bedding. 

Omaguas is situated on a height on the left bank, and is screened 
from the river, at this season, by a small island, which is covered in the 
full. The entrance now is by a narrow creek, to the southward of the 
town. The number of inhabitants is two hundred and thirty-two, of 
the tribes of Omaguas and Panos. They are peons and fishermen; 
cultivate chacras; and live in the usual filthy and wretched condition 
of all these people. I gave some calomel, salts, and spermaceti oint- 
ment to the governor's wife, who was a pitiable object — a mere skeleton, 
and covered with inveterate-looking sores. I was reminded of Lazarus, 
or old Job in his misery. I doubt if my remedies were of the proper 
sort; but her husband and she were anxious to have them; and she 
will probably die soon at any rate, and cannot well be worsted. 

Left Omaguas at a quarter past nine ; at eleven, anchored near mid- 
stream in eighty-four feet water, and found two and one-third miles 
current ; river three-fourths of a mile wide ; shores low, and wooded 
with apparently small trees, though they may have appeared small on 
account of the width of the river ; sand beeches few and small. 

At noon, moderate breeze from the northward and eastward. Ther- 
mometer 86°. Most of the men and animals fast asleep. Even the 
monkeys, except a restless fiiar, (who seems as sleepless as I am,) are 
dozing. The friar gapes and closes his eyes now and then ; but at the 
next instant appears to have discovered something strange or new, and 
is as wide awake and alert as if he never slept. 

There was a great disturbance among the animals this morning. 
The Pumagorza, or tiger crane, (from being speckled and colored like 
the tiger of the country,) with a bill as long and sharp as an Infidel's 
spear, has picked to pieces the head of a delicate sort of turkey-hen, 
called Pava del Monte. The Diputado (as we call a white monkey, 
because Ijurra says he is the image of the worthy deputy in Congress 
from Chachapoyas) has eaten off the ear of the Maquisa2m, (a stupid- 

THE NAPO. 215 

looking black monkey, called Coata in Brazil,) and the tail of another, 
called Yanacmachin. Some savage unknown, though I strongly suspect 
my beautiful chiriclis, has bitten off the bill of the prettiest paroquet. 
There was a desperate battle between the friar and the chiriclis, in which 
one lost fur and the other feathers ; and symptoms of warfare bet^veen 
a wild pig, called Huangana^ and a Coati^ or Mexican mongoose. The 
latter, however, fierce as he generally is, could not stand the gnash of 
the wild boar's teeth, and prudently " fled the fight." The life of the 
fowls is a state of continued strife ; and nothing has kept the peace 
except an affectionate and delicate Pinshi monkey, (Humboldt's Midas 
Leonina,) that sleeps upon my beard, and hunts game in my mous- 

We spoke two canoes that had come from near Quito by the Napo, 
and were bound to Tarapoto. This party embarked upon the Napo 
on the 3d of October. They told me that I could reach the mouth of 
the river Coca^ which empties into the Napo, in two and a half months 
from the mouth ; but could go no further in my boat for want of water. 
There are very few christianized towns upon the Napo, and the rowers 
of these boats were a more savage looking set than I had seen. I have 
met with a good many inhabitants of Quito in the Missions of the 
Huallaga ; and very many of the inhabitants are descendants of Quiteiios. 
In fact, these Missions were formerly under the charge and direction of 
the Bishopric of Quito, and most of the Jesuits who first attempted the 
conversion of these Indians came from that quarter. There is a report 
now current in these parts that thirty Jesuits recently banished from 
New Granada have gone to Ecuador ; have been well received at Quito, 
and have asked for the ancient Missions of the company, which has 
been conceded to them as far as Ecuador has jurisdiction. This party 
from the Napo also reported that the governor (Gefe Politico) of the 
Ecuador territory of the Napo had left his place of residence and gone 
up the river for the purpose of supplying with laborers a French mining 
company, that had recently arrived and was about to commence opera- 
tions. It is generally thought that much gold is mixed with the sands 
of the Napo ; but I think that the Moyobambinos would have it if it 
were there. They get a quill full of gold dust, now and then, from the 
Indians; but no regularly organized expedition for collecting it has 
been successful. It is said that the Indians of the Napo formerly paid 
their contributions to the government in gold dust, but now that they 
are relieved (as are all the Missions by express exception) from the 
burden of the contribution, there is no more gold collected. 

The inhabitants of the Missions of Mainas are exempted, by special 


legislation, from the payment of the contribution of seven dollars per 
head, paid towards the support of the government by all the other In- 
dians of Peru. This exception was made on the ground that these 
people had the forest to subdue, and were only able to wring a hard- 
earned support from the cultivation of the land. Many persons belong- 
ing to the province think that this was an unwise law, and that the 
character of the Indian has deteriorated since its passage. They think 
that some law compelling them to Avork would be beneficial to both 
country and inhabitants. 

Fearful of going to the right of Iquitos island, and thus passing the 
town, I passed to the left of some islands, which Smyth lays down on 
his chart as small, but which are at this season large ; and in running 
between the one just above Iquitos island and the left bank of the river, 
the boat grounded near the middle of the passage, which was one hun- 
dred and fifty yards broad, and came near rolling over from the velocity 
of the current. We hauled over to the left bank and passed close along 
it in forty- tw^o feet water. At half-past 9 p. m. we arrived at Iquitos. 

November Y. — Iquitos is a fishing village of two hundred and twenty- 
seven inhabitants ; a considerable part of them, to the number of ninety- 
eight, being whites and Mestizos of San Borja, and other settlements of 
the upper Mission, who were driven from their homes a few years ago 
by the Huambisas of the Pastaza and Santiago. This occurred in 1841. 
In 1843, these same Indians murdered all the inhabitants of a village 
called Sta. Teresa, situated on the upper Maraiion, between the mouths 
of the rivers Santiago and Morona. My companion Ijurra was there 
soon after the occurrence. He gave the dead bodies burial, and pub- 
lished in his Travels in Mainas a detailed account of the afiair. 

In October, 1843, Ijuria, with seventeen other young men of Moyo- 
bamba, formed a company for the purpose of w^ ashing for gold the sands 
of the Santiago ; they w ere furnished with arms by the prefecture, and 
recruited sixty-six Cocamillas of Laguna, armed with bows and arrows, 
as a light protecting force. They also engaged eighty-five of the In- 
dians of Jeveros as laborers at the washings ; and, after they started, 
were joined by four hundred and fifty of the people who had been ex- 
pelled in 1841 from Santiago and Borja, desirous of recovering their 
homes and taking vengeance of the savages. 

The party went by land from Moyobamba to Balza Puerto ; thence 
north to Jeveros ; and thence to the port of Barranca, at the mouth of the 
river Cahuapanas^ when they embarked to ascend the Amazon to the 
mouth of the Santiago. At Barranca they received intelligence of the 
massacre at Sta. Teresa, with the details. 


A Moyobambino, Canute Acosta, fearing that the company would 
get all the gold, and that he should not be able to collect a little that 
was due him by the people about Sta. Teresa, hastened on before. He 
met at Sta. Teresa with a large party of Iluambisas, who had come 
down the Santiago for the ostensible purpose of trade. Conversing with 
the curaca of the tribe, named Ambuscha, Acosta told him that a mul- 
titude of Christians were coming with arms in their hands to conquer 
and enslave his people. The curaca, turning the conversation, asked 
Acosta what he had in his packages. The reply was more foolish and 
wicked than the other speech ; for, desirous to play upon the credulity 
of the Indian, or to overawe him, he said that he had in his packages a 
great many epidemic diseases, with which he could kill the whole tribe 
of the Huambisas. It was his death warrant. The curaca plunged his 
spear into his body, and giving a shrill whistle, his people, who were scat- 
tered about among the houses, commenced the massacre. They killed 
forty-seven men, and carried off sixty women ; some few persons escaped 
into the woods. The Indians spared two boys — one of seven and one of 
nine years — and set them adrift upon the Amazon on a raft, with a mes- 
sage to the gold-hunting company that they knew of their approach, 
and were ready, with the assistance of their friends, the Paturos and 
Chinganos, to meet and dispute with them the possession of the country. 
The raft was seen floating past Barranca and brought in. 

The gold-seekers found no gold upon the borders of the Maranon ; 
quarrelled; became afraid of the savages; broke up and abandoned 
their purpose before they reached the mouth of the Santiago. 

Ijurra and a few others then turned their attention to the collection 
of Peruvian bark. They spent two or three years in the woods, about 
the mouth of the Huallaga ; gathered an enormous quantity, and floated 
it down to Para on immense rafts, that Ijurra describes as floating- 
houses, with all the comforts and conveniences of ihe house on shore. 

When they arrived at Para the cargo was examined by chymists ; 
said by them to be good ; and a mercantile house offei'ed eighty thou- 
sand dollars for it. They refused the ofier ; chartered a vessel, and took 
the cargo to Livei"pool, where the chymist pronounced the fruit of years 
of labor to be utterly worthless. 

The village of Iquitos is situated on an elevated plain, which is said 
to extend far back from the shores of the river. This is difterent from 
the situation of many towns upon the Amazon, most of which are built 
upon a hill, with a low, swampy country behind them. There are cotton 
and coffee-trees growing in the streets of the village, but no attention is 
paid to the cultivation of either. A small stream, said to be one of the 


moutlis of the river Nanay^ enters the Amazon just above the town. 
The main mouth of the Nanay is five miles below ; it is said to commu- 
nicate, back of the plain, with the Tigre Yacu, which empties into the 
Maranon above San Regis ; and branches of it, which run to the north- 
ward and eastward, inosculate with the Nape. 

We left Iquitos at half past 9 a. m. The shores of the river just 
below are bold, and of white clay ; at a quarter to eleven we passed the 
mouth of the Nanay, about one hundred and fifty yards broad. The 
depth of the Amazon at the junction of the two rivers is fifty feet ; the 
current a mile and two-thirds the hour. After passing several small 
islands, where the river appeared two miles wide, it seemed to contract 
within its own banks to half a mile, immediately in front of a settlement 
of two or three houses, called Tinicuro, where I found no bottom at one 
hundred and eighty feet ; at half-past five we arrived at Pucallpa, where 
we passed the night. 

November 8. — Pucallpa, or New Oran, is a small settlement, of twenty 
houses, and one hundred and eleven inhabitants, who formerly belonged 
to Oran, but who, finding their situation uncomfortable, removed and 
settled here. It is one of the most pleasantly-situated places I have 
seen — on a moderate eminence, with green banks shelving to the river. 
The water is bold (twenty-five to thirty feet deep) close to the shore. 
Two islands — one above and one below the town, with a narrow opening 
in front — gave the place the appearance of a snug little harbor. 

We bought at this place two of the great cranes of the river, called 
Tuyuyii. These were gray. A pair that I succeeded in getting to the 
United States were white. Started at 4 a. m. ; high white chalky banks 
just below Pucallpa. At nine we arrived at the mouth of the Xapo ; we 
found it two hundred yards broad, and of a gentle current. The sound- 
ings across the mouth were thirty -five and forty feet ; stopped at Choro- 
cocha, a settlement of eighteen inhabitants, just below the mouth of the 
Napo. We found some of our Nauta friends here salting fish, and got 
a capital breakfast from them. After leaving, we anchored near the 
head of a small island, where I supposed we would feel the effect of the 
current of the Napo ; but had but a mile and two-thirds current. 

November 9. — We started at 5, and arrived at Pebas at 10 a. m. 
We found that the people of Pebas, under the direction of Father 
Valdivia, (my Nauta friend,) were establishing a new town about a 
quarter of a mile up a stream called Ambiyacu, which enters into the 
Amazon two miles above Pebas. We pulled up this stream, and found 
the good priest and the governor general busy in directing the felling 
of trees and building of houses. I determined to stay here for some 

PEBAS. 219 

time, for I was now getting so weak that I could scarcely climb the 
banks upon which the towns are situated. Father Valdivia received us 
with great cordiality, and gave us quarters in a new house he was build- 
ing for himself. 

The new settlement had not yet a name ; Ijurra wished it called 
Echenique, after the new president ; while I insisted on " Ambiyacu," as 
being Indian and sonorous. The population already numbered three 
hundred and twenty-eight — almost all the people of Pebas having come 
over. The inhabitants are principally Oregones, or Big Ears, from the 
custom of introducing a bit of wood into a slit in the ear and gradually 
increasing the size of it until the lobe hangs upon the shoulder. They 
have, however, now discontinued the custom, and I saw only a few old 
people thus deformed. 

They are fishermen, and serve as peons ; but their condition seems 
better than that of the inhabitants of the other towns on the river, 
which is doubtless owing to the presence and exertions of the good 
priest, who is very active and intelligent. 

Visited Pebas in the afternoon. We found it nearly abandoned and 
overgrown with grass and weeds. We saw some cattle roving about 
among the houses, which were fat, and otherwise in good condition. 
The town is situated immediately on the banks of the river, which is 
here unbroken by islands, three-quarters of a mile broad, and apparently 
deep and rapid. We carried over to the new town specimens of black 
clay slate that crops out in narrow veins on the banks, and made a fire 
of it, which burned all night, with a strong bituminous smell. 

November 10. — ^I gave Arebalo the message sent him by Padre 
Oalvo, which was a request that he would send the Sarayacu men back 
in the larger canoe that we had brought down for that purpose. He, 
however, was careless in the matter, and two of them went up the 
river with a trader, and one down. The others started back in the 
canoe; but much to my surprise, and even regret, I found in the 
evening that they had returned, turned over their canoe, sold their pots 
and other utensils to Arebalo, and expressed their determination to go 
down the stream. They said that if I would not take them they would 
go with anybody that would. I of course was glad to have them, and 
I quieted my conscience in thus robbing Father Calvo by the reflection 
that if they went with me to the end of my voyage, I could give them 
my boat and fit them out for the return ; whereas, if they separated, 
they might never go back. I think that Arebalo winked at their con- 
duct in returning, because he and the padre were busy with their new 
town, and did not wish to furnish me with men of their own. But I 


think we are all culpable. The peons were culpable for not going back; 
I was culpable for taking them further ; and Arebalo was culpable for 
permitting it ; and thus it is that the population of Sarayacu diminishes, 
and the friars are cheated out of the hard earned fruits of their labor. 

Novemher 15. — Ijurra and I went with the padre to visit his mission 
of ISan Jose of the Yaguas. This is a settlement of Yaguas Indians, 
of two hundred and sixty inhabitants, about ten miles in a N. E. direc- 
tion from Ambiyacu, or (as I find by a letter received from Ijurra since 
my return home) from Echenique. 

San Jose is reached by a path through the woods over a rather 
broken country. There were two or three rivulets to pass on the road, 
which have pebbly beds, with black slate rock cropping out of the sides 
of the ravine — the first stones I have seen since leaving the Pongo of 
Chasuta. The soil is dark clay, and deeper than I have seen it else- 
where on the river. Birds of a brilliant plumage occasionally flitted 
across our path, and the woods were fragrant with aromatic odors. 

The Yaguas received their priest in procession, with ringing of the 
church bell and music of drums. They conducted him, ^nder little 
arches of palm branches stuck in the path, to the convento, and politely 
left us to rest after the fatigue of the walk. These are the most 
thorough-looking savages in their general appearance and costume, 
though without anything savage in the expression of their counte- 
nances, which is vacant and stupid. Their ordinary dress consists of 
a girdle of bark around the loins, with a bunch of fibres of another kind 
of bark, looking like a swab or mop, about a foot in length, hanging 
down from the girdle in front and rear. Similar, but smaller bunches, 
are hung around the neck and arms by a collar and bracelets of small 
beads. This is the every-day costume. On festivals they stain all their 
bodies a light brown, and on this ground they execute fantastic devices 
in red and blue. Long tail-feathers of the macaw are stuck in the 
armlets, reaching above the shoulders, and a chaplet, made of wdiite 
feathers from the wings of a smaller bird, is worn around the head. 
This generally completes the costume, though I did see one dandy who 
had stuck short white feathers all over his face, leaving only the eyes, 
nose, and mouth exposed. 

The curaca, and some one or two of the Varayos, wore frocks and 
trousers ; but I was told they had the national costume underneath 
these. The dress of the women is a yard or two of cotton cloth rolled 
around the hips. They are strong people for drinking and dancing, and 
hate work. 


Their houses are peculiar. Very long, slender poles are stuck in the 
ground opposite each other, and about thirty feet apart ; their ends are 
brought together at the top, forming a Gothic arch about twenty feet 
high. Similar poles, of different lengths, are planted in front of the 
openings of the arch, and their ends are brought down and lashed to 
the top and sides of the openings. They are secured by cross-poles, inside 
and out, and the whole is thickly thatched to the ground, leaving two 
or three apertures for entrance. The house looks, on the outside, like 
a gigantic bee-hive. On the inside, small cabins of cane are built 
at intervals around the walls, each one of which is the sleeping-room 
of a family. Four or five families generally occupy one house, and the 
middle space is used in common. This is never cleaned, nor even 
levelled, and is littered with all manner of abominations. There is a 
puddle of water before each door ; for, from the construction of the 
house, the rain, both from the heavens and the roof, pours directly 
into it. 

After evening service, the Indians went off to their houses to com- 
mence the festival. They kept the drums going all night, and until 10 
o'clock next morning, when they came in a body to conduct us to mass. 
Most of them were the worse for their night's debauch, and sat upon 
the ground in a listless and stupid manner ; occasionally talking and 
laughing with each other, and little edified, I fear, by the sacred cere- 

I was annoyed at the poverty of the church, and determined, if I ever 
went back, that I would appeal to the Roman Catholics of the United 
States for donations. The priestly vestments w^ere in rags. The lava- 
tory was a gourd, a little earthern pitcher, and a jack towel of cotton ; 
and it grieved me to see the host taken from a shaving box, and the 
sanctified wine poured from a vinegar cruet. 

After mass, and a procession, the Indians went back with us to the 
convento, and entertained us with music whilst we breakfasted. It was 
well that the drums were small, or we should have been fairly deafened. 
There were six of them, and they were beaten without intermission. 
One fellow dropt to sleep, but we gained nothing by this, for his neigh- 
bor beat his drum for him. Nearly the whole male population were 
crowded into the convento. The breakfast was furnished by the 
Indians ; each family contributing a dish. The old women were proud 
of their dishes, and seemed gratified when w^e partook of, and com- 
mended them. They continued their frolic all day and night. 

On Monday we visited the houses of the Indians to see what curiosi- 
ties we could get. We found the men stretched in their hammocks, 


sleeping off the effects of the masato ; and the patient, much-enduring 
women at work twisting chambira for hammocks, or preparing yuccas 
or plantains to make drink for their lords. We could get nothing 
except a hammock or two, and some twisted chambira to make me a 
lead line. The Indians had hidden their hammocks ; and we had to 
go poking about with our sticks, and searching in corners for them. 
The reason of this was that most of them owe the padre ; and this pay- 
ing of debts seems as distasteful to the savage man as to the civilized. 

The only article of manufacture is a coarse hammock, made of the 
jBbres of the budding top of a species of palm, called chambira in Peru, 
and tucum in Brazil. The tree is very hard, and is defended with long 
sharp thorns, so that it is a labor of a day to cut a "Cogollo," or top ; 
split the leaves into strips of convenient breadth ; and strip off the fibres, 
which are the outer covering of the leaves, and which is done very dex- 
terously with the finger and thumb. A "top" of ordinary size yields 
about half a pound of fibres ; and when it is reflected that these fibres 
have to be twisted, a portion of them dyed, and then woven into ham- 
mocks of three or four pounds weight, it will be seen that the Indian 
is very poorly paid for his labor when he receives for a hammock 
twelve and a half ce^ts in silver, or twenty -five cents in efectos. 

The women twist the thread with great dexterity. They sit on the 
ground, and, taking two threads, which consist of a number of minute 
fibres, between the finger and thumb of the left hand, they lay them, 
separated a little, on the right thigh. A roll of them down the thigh, 
under the right hand, twists each thread ; when, with a scarcely per- 
ceptible motion of the hand, she brings the two together, and a roll up 
the thigh makes the cord. A woman will twist fifty fathoms about 
the size of a common twine in a day. 

The Indians brought me some few^ birds ; but they were too drunken 
and lazy to go out into the forest to hunt rare birds, and only brought 
me those that they could shoot about their houses. 

The climate of San Jose is very agreeable. It seems drier and more 
salubrious than that of Pebas ; and there are fewer musquitoes. The 
atmosphere was very clear for the two nights I spent there ; and I 
thought I could see the smaller stars with more distinctness than I had 
seen them for a long time. 

The history of the settlement of this place is remarkable, as showing 
the attachment of the Indians to their pastor and their church. 

Some years ago. Padre " Jose de la Rosa Alva" had established a 
mission at a settlement of the Yaguas, about two days' journey to the 
northward and eastward of the present station, which he called Sta. 


Maria, and where he generally resided. Business took him to Pebas, 
and unexpectedly detained him there for fifteen days. The Indians, 
finding he did not return, reasoned with themselves and said, "Our 
father has left us; let us go to him." Whereupon they gathered together 
the personal property the priest had left ; shouldered the church uten- 
sils and furniture, even to the doors ; set fire to their houses, and joined 
the padre in Pebas. He directed them to the present station, where 
they builded houses and established themselves. 

Our little padre has also considerable influence over them ; though, 
when he will not accede to all their demands, they contrast his conduct 
with that of Father Rosa ; call him mean, get sulky, and won't go to 

It is sad to see the condition of the Peruvian Indians. (That of the 
Indians of Brazil is worse.) They make no progress in civilization, and 
they are taught nothing. The generally good, hard-working, and well- 
meaning padres, who alone attempt anything like improvement, seem 
contented to teach them obedience to the church, observance of its 
ceremonies, and to repeat the "doctrina" like a parrot, without having 
the least idea of what is meant to be conveyed. The priests, however, 
say that the fault is in the Indian — that he cannot understand. Padre 
Lorente, of Tierra Blanca, thought he had his flock a little advanced, 
and that now he might make some slight appeal to their understanding. 
He accordingly gathered them together, and exhibiting a little plaster 
image of the Virgin that they had not yet seen, he endeavored to explain 
to them that this figure represented the Mother of God, whom he had 
taug^it them to worship and pray to ; that She was the most exalted of 
human beings ; and that through Her intercession with Her Son, the 
sins and crimes of men might be forgiven, &c. The Indians paid great 
attention, passing the image from hand to hand, and the good father 
thought that he was making an impression ; but an unlucky expression 
of one of them showed that their attention was entirely occupied with 
the image, and that the lesson was lost upon them. He stopped the 
priest in his discourse, to know if the image were a man or a woman. 
The friar gave it up in despair, and fell back upon the sense-striking 
ceremonial of the church, which I think (humanly speaking) is far 
better calculated to win them to respect and obedience, and thus advance 
them in civilization, than any other system of religious teaching. 

The mind of the Indian is exactly like that of the infant, and it must 
grow rather by example than by precept. I think that good example, 
with a wholesome degree of discipline, might do much with this docile 
people ; though there are not wanting intelligent men, well acquainted 


■with their character, who scruple not to say that the best use to which 
an Indian can be put is to hang him ; that he makes a bad citizen and 
a worse slave ; and (to use a homely phrase) " that his room is more 
worth than his company." I myself believe — and I think the case of 
the Indians in my own country bears me out in the behef' — that any 
attempt to communicate with them ends in their destruction. They 
cannot bear the restraints of law or the burden of sustained toil ; and 
they retreat fiom before the face of the white man, with his improve- 
ments, till they c:isappear. This seems to be destiny. Civilization must 
advance, though it tread on the neck of the savage, or even trample 
him out of existence. 

I think that in this case the government of Peru should take the 
matter in hand — that it should draw up a simple code of laws for the 
government of the Missions ; appoint intelligent governors to the dis- 
tricts, with salaries paid from the treasury of the country; suppress the 
smaller villages, and gather the Indians into fewer ; appoint a governor- 
general of high character, with dictatorial powers and large salary ; tax 
the inhabitants for the support of a military force of two thousand men, 
to be placed at his disposal ; and throw open the country to colonization, 
inducing people to come by privileges and grants of land. I am satisfied 
that in this way, if the Indian be not improved, he will at least be cast 
out, and that this glorious country may be made to do what it is not 
now doing — that is, contribute its fair proportion to the maintenance of 
the human race. 

November 18. — Returned to Echenique; the walk occupied three 
hours without stopping. Although the Orejones have left off some of 
their savage customs, and are becoming more civilized, they are still 
sufficiently barbarous to permit their women to do most of the work. 
I saw to day twenty of the lazy rascals loitering about, whilst the same 
number of women were fetching earth and water, trampling it into mud, 
and plastering the walls of the convento with it. I also saw the women 
cleaning up and carrying away the weeds and bushes of the town ; most 
of them, too, with infants hanging to their backs. These marry very 
young. I saw some, whom I took to be children, with babies that I was 
told were their own. They suffer very little in parturition, and, in a 
few hours after the birth of a child, they bathe, go to the chacra, and 
fetch home a load of yuccas. 

The musquitoes are very troublesome here. I write my journal under 
a musquito curtain ; and whilst I am engaged in skinning birds, it is 
necessary to have an Indian with a fan to keep them off; even this does 
not succeed, and my face and hands are frequently quite bloody, where 


he has to kill them with his fingers. The Indians bring me a number 
of very beautiful birds every evening, and I have my hands full, even 
with the occasional assistance of Arebalo and the padre's servant. I do 
not know if it arises from the constant tugging at the birds' skins, or the 
slovenly use of arsenical soap, but the blood gathered under nearly all 
the nails of my left hand, and they were quite painful. 

We have increased our stock of animals largely at this place. They 
now number thirteen monkeys, a mongoose, and a wild pig, (the Mexi- 
can peccary,) with thirty-one birds, and one hundred skins. I bought 
a young monkey of an Indian woman to-day. It had coarse gray and 
white hair ; and that on the top of its head was stiff, like the quills of > 
the porcupine, and smoothed down in front as if it had been combed, i 
I offered the little fellow some plantain ; but finding he would not eat, 
the woman took him and put him to her breast, when he sucked away 
manfully and with great "gusto." She weaned him in a week so that 
he would eat plantain mashed up and put into his mouth in small bits* 
but the little beast died of mortification, because I would not let him 
sleep with his arais around my neck. 

I had two little monkeys not so large as rats ; the peccary ate one, 
and the other died of grief. My howling monkey refused food, and 
grunted himself to death. The friars ate their own tails off, and died of 
the rot; the mongoose, being tied up on account of eating the small 
birds, literally cut out his entrails with the string before it was noticed. 
The peccary jumped overboard and swam ashore ; the tuyuyus grabbed 
and swallowed every paroquet that ventured within reach of their bills; 
and they themselves, being tied on the beach at Eyas, were devoured by 
the crocodiles. My last monkey died as I went up New York bay 
and I only succeeded in getting home about a dozen mutuns, or curas- 
sows ; a pair of Egyptian geese ; a pair of birds, called pucacunga in 
Peru, and jacu in Brazil ; a pair of macaws ; a pair of parrots ; and a 
pair of large white cranes, called jaburii, which are the same, I believe, 
as the birds called adjutants in India. 

November 24. — Preparing for departure. Our boat, which had been 
very badly calked in Nauta, required re-calking. The tow, or filling, 
used is the inner bark of a tree called machinapuro, beaten and mashed 
into fibres. It answers very well, and there is great abundance in the 
forest. Its cost is twelve and a half cents the mantada, or as much as 
an Indian can carry in his blanket. An Indian can gather and grind 
two mantadas in a day. Ten or twelve mantadas are required to calk 
such a boat as mine. The pitch of the country is said to be the deposit 
of an ant in the trees. I never saw it in its original state. It is gathered 


by tli8 Indians ; heated till soft ; made into the shape of wide, thin bricks ; 
and is worth sixty-two and a half cents the arroba. It is very indifier- 
eiit. A better kind is made by mixing black wax with gum copal. 

Father Yaldivia entertained us most kindly. His aguadiente gave 
out ; and he occasionally regaled us with a glass of wine, bought for the 
church in Loreto. It is a weak white wine. I suppose I could not 
drink it at home, but here it seems very good. I find that this is the 
case with a great many things. The green plantains, roasted, which 
were at first an abomination to me, have now become a very good substi- 
tute for bread ; and a roasted yucca is quite a treat. We have some 
small red-headed pan fish that are very fine ; and, at my suggestion, the 
padre had two or three fi-ied, added to his usual evening cup of choco- 
late. I look forward to this meal with considerable pleasure. I do 
not know if it arises from the fact of our seeing so few things that are 
good to eat, or from the freshness of the cocoa, but chocolate, which I 
could not touch before this, is now very palatable and refreshing. The 
bean is simply toasted and pulverized, and the chocolate is made nearly 
as we make cofiee. 

After supper, we — that is, the padre, the governor general, Ijurra, and 
I, provided with fans to keep ofl" the musquitoes — light our cigars, stretch 
ourselves at full length in a hammock, and pass an hour before bed-time 
in agTceable conversation. The priest, in this country, has more power, 
though it is by force of opinion, than the governor of the distiicts, or 
even than the governor general. I saw an instance in Nauta, where 
a man withstood Arebalo to his face, but yielded without a struggle, 
though growlingly, to the mandate of the padre. In fact, Father Yal- 
divia, though half Indian, and exceedingly simple-minded, is a very 
resolute and energetic person. On one occasion the governor of Pebas 
succeeded in carrying off" the Indians of that village to the Napo to 
gather sarza, against the wish of the padre, who wanted them to clear 
the forest and build the new town. When the governor returned, the 
priest told him that they two could not live together ; that one or the 
other must resign his oflice and go away ; and the man, knowing the 
power and influence of the priest, retired from the contest and his post. 
The padre had great opposition and trouble in forming his new settle- 
ment. Even the women (wives of the white men) of Pebas came over 
to laugh at and ridicule his work ; but the good father called his Yara-^ 
yos, had the ladies conducted to their canoes, and, with much ceremo- 
nious politeness, directed them to be shoved off". 

We obtained from the Indians more of the poisonous milk of the 
catao, and also the milk of the cow-ti'ee. This they drink when fresh ; 


and, wlien bronght to me in a calabash, it had a foamy appearance, as 
if just drawn from the cow ; and looked very rich and tempting. It, 
however, coagulates very soon, and becomes as hard and tenacious as 
glue. The Indians make use of this property of it to eradicate their 
eyebrows. This is not so painful an operation as it would seem ; for 
the Indians have never suffered the eyebrows to grow and become 
strong, and the hair is only down, which is easily plucked up. AVhen 
the milk coagulates, it expands, so that it forced the glass stopper out 
of the bottle I put it in, though sealed with pitch. We also got some 
of the almonds of the country, which I have not seen elsewhere. They 
are about the size, and have something the appearance, of our common 
black walnut, with a single oblong kernel, similar in taste to the Brazil 

Novemher 26. — We had much heavy rain for the last day or two. 
A number of persons were affected with catarrh and headache. The 
padre told me that half of the population were ill of it, and that this 
always happens at the commencement of the rains. The disease is 
called romadizo^ and is like our influenza. Ijun-a and I were both 
indisposed with rheumatic pains in the back of the neck and shoulders. 
I don't wonder at this, for we have slept all the time in a room just 
plastered with mud, and so damp that, where my bed-clothes came in 
contact with the wall, they were quite wet; and the rain beat in upon 
my head and shoulders* through an open window nearly over head. 
My boots are covered with mould every morning, and the guns get half- 
full of water. 

I gave the padre's servant, who was suffering very much from roma- 
dizo, fifteen grains of Dover's powder, (Heaven knows if it were proper 
or not,) and also to the padre's sister, who had been suffering for some 
days with painful diarrhoea, forty drops of laudanum. The old lady was • 
cured at once, and said she had never met with so great a remedio. I 
left her a phial of it, with directions for its use; telling her (at which, 
she looked aghast) that it was a deadly poison. It is curious to see 
how entirely ignorant the best-informed people out here are concerning., 
the properties of medicines. Most of them do not know the names, 
much less the effects, of even such common drug's as calomel and. 
opium. I suspect this is the case among most Spanish peop&j^ and 
think that Spanish physicians have always made a great mystery of their 

We sailed from Echenique at half-past 1 p. m. Father Taldivis, 
who is musical, but chanted the mass in a falsetto that woidd be very. 
difficult to distinguish, at a little distance, from the rattling of a tin pan,,. 


commissioned me to bring him out (should I ever return) a small piano 
and a French horn, which he would pay for in salt fish and sarsaparilla. 
I cannot refrain from expressing my grateful thanks, for much attention 
and much information, to my friends — the well-informed and gentleman- 
like Arebalo, and the pious, simple-minded, single-hearted little Indian 
priest of Pebas. We arrived at Cochiquinas (twenty-five miles distant) 
at half-past 8 p. m. 



Gochiquinas — Caballo Cocha — Alligators — Indian Incantations — Loreto — Taba- 
tinga— River Yavari— San Paulo— River 19a— Tunantins— Making manteiga — 
River Jutay—Fonteboa— River Jurud— River Japnrd. 

Cocliiquinas, or New Cochiquinas, is a miserable fishing village of 
two hundred and forty inhabitants ; though at this time there did not 
appear to be forty in the village, most of them being absent fishing and 
seeking a livelihood. Old Cochiquinas is four miles further down the 
river, and seems a far better situation ; but the people there were afraid 
of the attacks of the savages of the Yavari, and removed up to this 

The old town, to which place we dfopped down to breakfast, has one 
hundred and twenty inhabitants, of which twenty-five are white, and the 
rest Indians of the Yavari, called Maruhos, These are dressed with 
even more simplicity than the Yaguas, dispensing with the mop behind. 
They have small, curly moustaches and beards ; are darker than the 
other Indians ; and do nothing but hunt for their living. 

The governor treated us very civilly, and gave us a good breakfast of 
soup, chickens, rice, and eggs, with milk just taken from the cow. 
What a luxuiy ! I saw before his door a large canoe filled with un- 
shelled rice, of very good quality. The governor told us that rice 
grew very well, and gave about forty-fold in five months. He seemed 
a very gay and good-tempered young person, with a fine family of a 
wife and eleven remarkably handsome children — some born in lawful 
wedlock, others natural — but all cared for alike, and brought up to- 
gether. I had the impertinence to ask him how he supported so many 
people. He said that the forest and the river yielded abundantly, and 
that he occasionally made an expedition to the Napo, and collected sar- 
saparilla enough to buy clothes and luxuries for his family in Loreto. 
The Napo, he says, is very full of sand-banks, and that twenty days from 
its mouth the men have to get overboard and drag the canoes. 

The Yavari may be reached from this point by land in four days. 
The banks of the river at this place are steep, and about thirty feet in 
height above the present level. Veins of the same black clay slate that 
we saw at Pebas, and that burned with a bituminous smell, also crop 
out of the banks here. 


We sailed at noon, and arrived at Peruate at 5 p. m., (twenty miles.) 
The population of this village is one hundred, made up of remnants of 
diflerent tribes — Ticunas, and natives of the towns of Barranca, on the 
upper Amazon, and Andoas, on the Pastaza. I talked with an old 
negro 'who had been many times up the Napo. He confirmed the 
accounts that I had from other people. 

JVovemher 28. — From Peruate to Camucheros is thirty miles. This 
place has only a population of four families, recently settled there, who 
have cleared away a small portion of the forest and commenced their 
plantations of yuccas, maize, and rice. Just below Camucheros we had 
apparently all the width of the river in view — about a mile broad. I 
was surprised to find, near the middle of it, only thirty feet of water. 
I think a sand-bank stretches out a long way from the left shore. The 
velocity of the current was two and a quarter miles the hour. We 
arrived at Moromorote at a quarter past 6 p. m., (distance fifteen miles.) 

This consists of one house of Christianized Indians. There is a house 
of Ticunas a mile further inland.' We could hear the sound of their 
music, and sent them word that v^e wanted to buy animals and food 
from them. They came to see us after night, but were drunk, and had 
nothing to sell. 

November 29. — We passed to-day a number of small islands. Be- 
tween one of them and the right bank, where the river was at least a 
quarter of a mile wide, we saw many trees grounded, and, in what ap- 
peared the deepest part, found but twelve feet of water. Doubtless there 
is more in the other channels, and more might possibly be found in this. 

At 9 a. m., after a journey of twenty miles, we entered the caiio of 
Caballococha, (Horse lake.) It is about eighty yards wide, and has 
eighteen feet of depth in the middle. The water is clear, and makes an 
agreeable contrast with the muddy waters of the Amazon ; but, there 
being no current in the cano, the water is supposed to be not so good to 
drink as that of the main river, which is very good when it is allowed 
to settle. 

The village is situated on the caiio, about a mile and a half from the 
entrance, and at the same distance from the lake. It contains two hun- 
dred and seventy-five inhabitants, mostly Ticunas Indians. These are 
darker than the generality of Indians of the Maranou, though not so 
dark as the Marubos ; and they are beardless, which frees them from 
the negro-look that these last have. Their houses are generally plastered 
with mud inside, and are far neater-looking, and more comfortable, than 
the other Indian residences that I have seen. This is, however, entirely 
owing to the activity and energy of the priest, Father Flores, who seems 


to have them in excellent order. They are now building a church for 
him, which, when finished, will be the finest in the Montana. 

The men are all decently clad in frocks and trousers ; and the women, 
besides the usual roll of cotton cloth around the loins, wear a short tunic 
covering the breast. I think that Father Flores, though he wants the 
honest simplicity and kindness of heart of Valdivia, and the noble 
patience, magnanimity, and gentleness of dear Father Calvo, is a 
better man for the Indians, and more successful in their management, 
than either of the others. He does not seem to care about their coming 
to church; for there was not an Indian at mass Sunday morning, (though , 
the padre did give us a little homily on the importance of attending 
worship; but he has them afraid of him, keeps them at work, sees that 
they keep themselves and houses clean, and the streets of the village in 
order ; and I saw none of the abominable drinking and dancing with 
which the other Indians invariably wind up the Sunday. 

The town is situated on quite an extensive plain; the soil is of a light, 
and rather sandy character, which, even in the rainy season, quickly 
absorbs the water, and makes the walking always agreeable. This is 
very rarely the case with the other villages of the Amazon. The cli- 
mate is said to be very hot ; and, from the fact that the village is yet 
closely surrounded by the forest, which keeps off the breeze, I suspect 
this is the case in the dry season. I did not find it so at this time. 

It is very dangerous to bathe in the cano, on account of the alliga- 
tors. Not long before my arrival, a woman, bathing after night-fall, in 
company with her husband, was seized and carried off by one of those 
monsters. She was not even in the cano, but was sitting on the bank, 
pouring water over her head with a gourd, when the reptile crawled from 
behind a log, where it had been lying, and carried her off in its mouth, 
though struck several heavy blows with a stick by the unfortunate hus- 
band. The padre next morning declared war upon the alligators, and 
had the Indians out with their harpoons and lances to destroy them. 
They killed a number ; and they thought it remarkable that the first 
they killed should have parts of the woman yet undigested in its stomach. 
I think it probable that a good many alligators had a bite. 

The lake is a pretty and nearly circular sheet of water of two and a 
half miles in diameter, and is twenty feet deep in the centre. There were 
a great many water-fowl in it, but principally cranes and cormorants. 

Padre Flores, as usual gave us a room in his house, and seats at his 
table. I admired a very old looking silver spoon that he had on the 
table, and which Ijurra judged to be of the date of Ferdinand and Isa- 
bella, from the armed figures and lion's head upon the handle ; where- 


upon the padi-e, with the com*tesy that belongs to his race, insisted upon 
my accepting it. I was glad to have it in my power to acknowledge 
the civility by pressing upon the padre a set of tumblers neatly put up 
in a morocco case, which had been given me by R. E. Johnson, first 
lieutenant of the Vandalia. 

After dark he proposed that we should go out and see some of the 
incantations of the Indians for the cure of the sick. We heard music 
at a distance, and approached a large house whence it proceeded, in 
which the padre said there was almost always some one sick. We 
listened at the door, which was closed. There seemed to be a number 
of persons singing inside. I was almost enchanted myself. I never 
heard such tones, and think that even instrumental music could not be 
made to equal them. I have frequently been astonished at the power 
of the Indians to mock animals ; but I had heard nothing like this be- 
fore. The tones were so low, so faint, so guttural, and at the same time 
so sweet and clear, that I could scarcely believe they came from human 
throats ; and they seemed fitting sounds in which to address spirits of 
another world. 

Some one appearing to approach the door, the priest and I fled 5 
for, though we were mean enough to listen at a man's door, we were 
ashamed to be caught at it ; but hearing nothing further we returned, 
and Ijurra, with his usual audacity, pushed open the door and proposed 
to enter. The noise we made in opening the door caused a hasty retreat 
of some persons, which we could hear and partly see ; and when we 
entered, we found but two Indians — an old man and a young one — sitting 
on the floor by a little heap of flaming copal, engaged in chewing 
tobacco and spitting in an earthern pot before them. The young man 
turned his face to the wall with a sullen look, and although the old man 
smiled when he was patted on the head and desired to proceed with his 
music, yet it was with a smile that had no mirth or satisfaction in it, 
and that showed plainly that he was annoyed, and would have expressed 
his annoyance had he dared. 

The hut was a large one, and appeared larger in the gloom. There 
was a light burning in the farther end of it, vv^hich looked to be a mile 
off; Ijurra strode the distance and found it to be just twenty-four paces. 
There were a number of hammocks slunor one above the other between 


the posts that supported the roof, and all seemed occupied. In one 
corner of the house was built a small partition of cane, in -w^iich I 
understood was confined a young girl, who was probably looking at us 
with curious eyes, but whom we could not see. I had been told before 
that it was the custom amocg most of the Indians of the Montana to 


sliTit up a girl when she entered into the period of womanhood, until 
the family could raise the means for a feast, when every body is invited j 
all hands get drunk ; and the maiden is produced with much ceremony^ 
and declared a woman of the tribe, whose hand may be sought in 
marriage. The confinements sometimes last several months; for the 
Indians do not hurry themselves in making their preparations, but are 
read y when the yuccas are gathered, the masato made, and there is a 
sufficient quantity of dried monkey in the house ; so that it sometimes 
happens, when the poor girl is brought out that she Is nearly white. It 
is said that she frequently conceals her situation from her family, prefer- 
ring a sound beating, when time betrays her, to the dreary imprisonment. 
December 1. — I lost my beautiful and valued chiriclis, which died of 
the cold ; it was put to bed as usual under the wash-basin, but the 
basin was not put under the armayari, its usual place, and it rained 
heavily all night. I was surprised at the del icacy of feeling shown by 
my Indian boatmen on the occasion; they knew how much I was 
attached to the bird, and, instead of tossing the carcass overboard, as 
they would have done with that of any other animal that I had, one of 
them brought it into my room before I was awake, and laid it decently, 
and with care, on a table at my bed-side. I felt the loss very sensibly — 
first, because it was a present from good Father Calvo, upon whose head 
and shoulder I had so often seen it perched ; and, secondly, on account 
of the bird itself. It was beautiful, gentle, and afiectionate ; and so 
gallant that I called it my Mohawk chief ; I have seen it take the 
food, unresisted, out of the mouths of the parrots and macaws many times 
its size, by the mere reputation of its valor ; and it waged many a 
desperate battle with the monkeys. Its triumphant song when it had 
vanquished an adversary was most amusing. It was very pleasant, as 
the cool of night came on, to find it with beak and claws, chmbing 
up the leg of my trousers until it arrived at the opening of my shirty 
and to hear its low note of satisfaction as it entered and stowed itself 
snugly away in my armpit. It was as sensible of caresses, and as jeal- 
ous, as a favorite ; and I could never notice my little Pinshi monkey in 
its sight that it did not fly at it and drive it ofi*. 

This bird is the psit melanocephalus of Linneus. It is about the 
size of a robin ; has black legs, yellow thighs, a spotted white breast, 
orange neck and head, and a brilliant green back and wings. There is 
another species of the same bird in Brazil. It is there called "periqii^o," 
and difiers from this in having the feathers on the top of the head black, 
so as to have the appearance of wearing a cowl. Enrique Antonii, an 
Italian resident at BaiTa, gave me one of this species, which was even 

234 LORETO. 

more docile and affectionate than the present of Father Calvo ; but, t» 
my infinite regret, he flew away from me at Para. 

I noticed growing about the houses of the village a couple of shrubs, 
six or eight feet high, called, respectively, yanapanga and pucapanga. 
From the leaves of the first is made a black dye, and from those of the 
second a very rich scarlet. I surmised that a dye, like the indigo of 
commerce, though of course of different color, might be made of these 
leaves ; and when I arrived in Brazil, I found that the Indians there 
were in the habit of making a scarlet powder of the pucapanga, called 
carajurii, quite equal, in brilliancy of color, to the dye of the cochineal. 
I believe that eftbrts have been made to introduce this dye into com- 
merce, and I do not know why they have failed. I brought home a 

Two brothers of Father Flores were quite sick with a " tertiana," taken 
in gathering sarsaparilla up on the Napo. This is an intermittent fever 
of a malignant type. The patient becomes emaciated and yellow, and 
the spleen swells. I saw several cases as I came down the Maraiion, but 
all were contracted on the tributaries, I saw or heard of no case that 
originated ujDon the main trunk, 

December 2. — Much rain during the night. Sailed from Caballo- 
cocha at half past 2 p. m. Ijurra liked the appearance of things so 
much at this place that he determined, when he should leave me, tso 
return to it and clear land for a plantation, which he has since done. 

I lost my sounding-lead soon after starting, and had no soundings to 
Loreto, where we arrived at half-past 7 p. m., (twenty miles.) The 
.river is much divided and broken up by islands, some of them small, 
and with sand-beaches. I believe they change their shape and size 
with every considerable rise of the river. 

Loreto is situated on an eminence on the left bank, having the large 
island of Cacao in front. The river is three-fourths of a mile wide, and 
has one hundred and two feet of depth in mid-stream, with three miles 
the hour of current. The soil is a light-colored, tenacious clay, which, 
in the time of the rains, makes walking almost impossible, particularly 
as there are a number of cattle and hogs running about the village 
and trampling the clay into mire. 

There are three mercantile houses in Loreto, all owned by Portuguese, 
They do a business of about ten thousand dollars a year — that is, that 
value in goods, from above and below, passes through their hands. 
They tell me that they sell the goods from below at about twenty per 
cent, on Para prices, which of course I did not believe. Senhor Sain- 
tem, the principal trader, told me that the business above was very 


mean ; tliat there Avas not a capitalist in Moyobamba able or willing to 
buy one thousand dollars' worth of goods ; and that they pay for their 
articles of merchandise from below almost altogether in straw-hats, as 
the Tarapoto people do in tocuyo. I saw a schooner-rigged boat lying 
along-side the bank. She was about forty feet long and seven broad ; 
was built in Coari, and sold here for two hundred dollars, silver. The 
houses at Loreto are better built, and better furnished, than those of the 
towns on the river above. We are approaching civilization. . 

The population of Loreto is two hundred and fifty, made up of 
Brazilians, mulattoes, negroes, and a few Ticunas Indians. It is the 
frontier post of Peru. There are a few miles of neutral territory between 
it and Tahatinga^ the frontier of Brazil. 

Decemher 4. — We left Loreto at half past 6 a. m., with a cold wind 
from the northward and eastward, and rain. Thermometer, 76°. It 
seems strange to call the weather cold with the thermometer at 76° ; 
but I really was very uncomfortable with it, and the monkeys seemed 
nearly frozen. 

I estimate the length of the neutral territory, by the windings of the 
river, at twenty miles. 

Since I purchased a boat at Nauta I had worn an American flag over 
it. I had been told that I probably would not be allowed to wear it 
in the waters of Brazil. But when the boat was descried at Tabatinga, 
the Brazilian flag was hoisted at that place ; and when I landed, which 
I did dressed in uniform, I was received by the commandant, also in 
uniform, to whom I immediately presented my Brazilian passport, of 
which the following is a translation : 

[seal of the legation.] 

I, Sergio Teixeira de Macedo, of the Council of his Majesty, the 
Emperor of Brazil, his Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipoten- 
tiary near the United States of America, Ofiicer of the Imperial Order 
of the Rose, Grand Cross of that of Christ, and Commendador of various 
Foreign Orders, &c., &c. : 

Make known to all who shall see this passport, that William L, 
Herndon^ lieutenant of the navy of the United States, and Lardner 
Gibbon, passed midshipman of the same, prosecute a voyage for the 
purpose of making geographical and scientific explorations from the 
republic of Peru, by the river Amazon and adjacent parts, to its mouth ; 
and I charge all the authorities, civil, military, and policial, of the em- 
pire, through whose districts they may have occasion to pass, that they 
place no. obstacle in the way, as well of them as of the persons of their 


company ; but rather that they shall lend them all .{he facilities they 
may need, for the better prosecution of their enterprise. 

For which purpose I have caused to be issued this passport, which I 
sign and seal with the seal of my arms. 
Imperial Legation of Brazil, in ^Washington, 

February 27, 1851. 

By order of his Excellency : 


Secretary of Legation, 

As soon as my rank was ascertained, (which appeared to be that of a 
captain in the Brazilian army,) I was saluted with seven guns. The 
commandant used much stately ceremony towards me, but never left 
me a moment to myself until he saw me safely in bed on board my 
boat. I did not know, at first, whether this was polite attention or a 
watch upon me ; but I think it was the latter, for, upon my giving him 
the slip, and walking over towards the old fort, he joined me within 
five minutes ; and when we returned to his house he brought a dic- 
tionary, and, pointing with a cunning expression to the verb tragar^ (to 
di-aw,) asked me to read it. I did so, and handed the book back to him, 
when he pointed out to me the verb delinhar. I was a little fi'etted, for 
I thought he might as well ask me at once, and told him that I had no 
intention of making any drawings whatever, and had merely intended 
to take a walk. He treated me with great civility, and entertained me 
at his table, giving me roast-beef, which v/as a great treat. 

It was quite pleasant, after coming from the Peruvian villages, which 
are all nearly hidden in the woods, to see that Tabatinga had the forest 
cleared away from about it, for a space of forty or fifty acres ; was 
covered with green grass ; and had a grove of orange-trees in its midst, 
though they were now old and past bearing. There are few houses to 
be seen, for those of the Ticunas are still in the woods. Those that are 
visible are the soldiers' quarters, and the residences of a few whites that 
live here — white, however, in contradistinction to the Indian; for I think 
the only pure white man in the place was a Frenchman, who has 
resided a long time in Brazil, and has a large Brazilian family. The 
post is garrisoned by twenty soldiers, commanded by Ulustrisshno 
Senhor Tenente Jose Virisimo dos Santos Lima, a cadet, a sergeant, 
and a corporal. The population of Tabatinga is about two hundred ; 
mostly Indians of the Ticuna tribe. It is well situated for a frontier 
post, having all the river in front, only about half a ^mile wide, and 


commanded from tlie fort by the longest range of cannon-shot. The 
fort is at present in ruins, and the artillery consists of two long brass 
twelve-pounder field-guns. 

I did not hoist my flag again, and the commandant seemed pleased. 
He said that it might give offence down the river, and told me that 
Count Castelnau, who had passed here some years before, borrowed a 
Brazilian flag from him and wore that. He also earnestly insisted that 
I should take his boat in lieu of my own, which he said was not large 
enough for the navigation of the lower part of the Amazon. I declined 
for a long time ; but finding that he was very earnest about it, and 
embarrassed between his desire to comply with the request of the Bra- 
zilian minister at Washington, contained in my passport — "that Brazilian 
authorities should facilitate me in my voyage, and put no obstacle in 
my way" — and the requirements of the law of the empire forbidding 
foreign vessels to navigate its interior waters, I accepted his proposition, 
and exchanged boats ; thus enabling him to say, in a frontier passport 
which he issued to me, that I was descending the river in Brazilian 

He desired me to leave his boat at Barra, telling me he had no doubt 
but that the government authorities there would furnish me with a 
better one. I told him very plainly that I had doubts of that, and that 
I might have to take his boat on to Para ; which I finally did, and 
placed it in the hands of his correspondent at that place. I was cor- 
rect in my doubts ; for, so far from the government authorities at Barra 
having a boat to place at my disposal, they borrowed mine and sent it 
up the river for a load of wood for building purposes. The command- 
ant at Tabatinga, I was told, compelled the circus company that pre- 
ceded me to abandon their Peruvian-built raft and construct another of 
the wood of the Brazilian forests. 

There is nothing cultivated at Tabatinga except a little sugar cane to 
make molasses and rum, for home consumption. I was told that 
Castelnau found here a fly that answered perfectly all the purposes of 
cantharides, blistering the skin even more rapidly. I heard that he also 
found the same fly at Egas, lower down. Senhor Lima instituted a 
search for some for me, but there were none to be had at this season. 
He showed me an oblong, nut-shaped fruit, growing in clusters at the 
base of a lily-like plant, called pacova catinga^ the seed of which was 
covered with a thick pulp, which, w^hen scraped off and pressed, gave 
a very beautiful dark-purple dye. This, touched with lime juice, 
changed to a rich carmine. He tells me that the trade of the river is 
increasing very fast; that in 1849 scarce one thousand dollars' w^orth of 


goods passed u]) ; in 1850, two thousand five hundred dollars ; and this 
year, six thousand dollars. 

December 5. — We were employed in fitting up the new boat, to 
which the commandant gave his personal attention. T asked him to 
give me some more peons. He said, " Certainly ;" sent out a guard of 
soldiers ; pressed five Tucunas, and put them in the guard house till I 
was ready to start ; when they were marched down to the boat, and a 
negi'o soldier sent along to take charge of them. He gave me all the 
beasts and birds he had, a demijohn of red wine, salt fish, and farinha 
for my men, and in short loaded me with kindness and civility. I had 
already parted with all the personal "traps" that I thought would be 
valuable and acceptable to my friends on the route, and could only 
make a show of acknowledgment by giving him, in return, a dozen 
masses of tobacco — an article which happened at this time to be scarce 
and valuable. 

December 6. — We embarked at half-past 1 p. m., accompanied by 
the commandant, the cadet, and the Frenchman, Jeronymo Fort^ who 
had been kind enough to place his house at Egas at my disposal 
Ijurra had privately got all the guns and pistols ready, and we received 
the commandant with a salute of, I should think, at least one hundred 
guns; for Ijurra did not leave ofi" shooting for half an hour. They 
dropped down the river with us till 5 p. m., when, taking a parting cup 
(literally tea-cup) of the commandant's present to the health of his 
Majesty the Emperor, we embraced and parted. I have always remem- 
bered Avith pleasure my intercourse with the Commandante Lima. 

We passed the end of the island of Aramasa^ which fronts the mouth 
of the river Yavari, at 6, and camped on the right bank of the river at 
half-past 7. 

From a chart in the possession of M. Castelnau, and in the correct 
ness of which he places confidence, it appears that the Yavari river has 
a distance from its mouth upwards of two hundred and seventy miles, 
and a course nearly east and west. At this point it bifurcates. The 
most western branch, which runs E. N. E., is called the Yavarisinho, 
and is a small and unimportant river. The eastern branch, called 
Jacarana, runs N. E. The authors of the chart (whom M. Castelnau 
thinks to be Portuguese commissioners, charged with the establishment 
of the boundaries) ascended the Yavari and Jacarana two hundred and 
ten miles in a straight line. But M. Castelnau says that this river is 
more than ordinarily tortuous, and estimates their ascent, by its sinuosi- 
ties, at five hundred and twenty five miles. 


A small river, called Tucuby, empties into the Yavari at forty-five 
miles from its mouth, and on the eastern side. A hundred and fifty 
miles further up enters a considerable river, called the Curuza, also from 
the east. M. Castelnau thinks, however, from report, that the Curuza 
is not navigable upwards more than ninety miles. Sugar-cane is some- 
times seen floating on the water of the Jacarana, which indicates that 
its upper parts are inhabited by people who have communication, more 
or less direct, with white men. (Castelnau, vol. 5, page 52.) 

Decemher 7. — The river now has lost its name of Maranon, and, since 
the junction of the Yavari, is called Solimoens. It is here a mile and 
a half wide, sixty-six feet deep in the middle, and has a current of two 
miles and three quarters per hour. The small boat in which we caiTy 
our animals did not stop with us last night, but passed on without be- 
ing noticed. She had all our fowls and turtles ; so that our breakfast 
this morning consisted of boiled rice. We drifted with the tide all 
night, stopping for an hour in consequence of a severe squall of wind 
and rain from the eastward. 

Decemher 8. — Rainy morning. We arrived at San Paulo at 10 a. m. 
This village is on a hill two or three hundred feet above the present 
level of the river — the highest situation I have yet seen. The ascent to 
the town is very difiicult and tedious, particularly after a rain, the soil 
being of white clay. On the top of this hill is a moist, grassy plain, 
which does not extend far back. The site is said not to be healthy, on 
ac<iount of swamps back of it. The population is three hundred and 
fifty, made up of thirty whites, and the rest Tucunas and Juries Indians. 
The commandant is the Lieutenant Don " Jose Patricio de Santa Ana." 
He gave us a good breakfast and some statistics. The yearly exports 
of San Paulo are eight thousand pounds of sarsaparilla, worth one thou- 
sand dollars; four hundred and fifty pots of manteca, or oil made from 
turtle eggs, worth five hundred and fifty dollars ; and three thousand 
two hundred pounds of cocoa, worth sixty-four dollars. These are all 
sent to Egas. Common English prints sell for thirty cents the covado, 
(about three-fourths of a yard,) and coarse, strong cotton cloth, (gener- 
ally American,) for thirty-seven and a half cents the vara, (three inches 
less than a yard.) We left San Paulo at half-past 3 p. m., and drifted 
with the current all night. Distance from Tabatinga to San Paulo, 
ninety-five miles. 

December 9. — At half-past 8 a. m. we arrived at Matura, a settle- 
ment of four or five huts, (with only one occupied,) on a muddy bank. 
Its distance from San Paulo is fifty miles. The shores of the river 
are generally low, though there are reaches where its banks are forty 


or fifty feet high, commonly of white or red clay. There is much 
colored earth on the banks of the river — red. yellow, and white — which 
those people who have taste make use of to plaster the inside of their 
houses. The banks are continually falling into the stream, sometimes 
in very large masses, carrying trees along with them, and forming one 
of the dangers and impediments to upward navigation where the boats 
have to keep close in shore to avoid the current. 

We passed through a strait, between two islands, where the river was 
not more than eighty yards wide. It presented a singular contrast to 
the main river, to which we had become so much accustomed that this 
looked like a rivulet. It had forty eight feet depth, and two and a quar- 
ter miles current. 

At half-past four we entered the mouth of the Iga, or Putumayo, 
fifteen miles from Matura. This is a fine-looking river, half a mile 
broad at the mouth, and opening into an estuary (formed by the left 
bank of the Amazon and islands on the right hand) of a mile in width. 
"We found one hundred and thirty-eight feet in the middle of the mouth, 
and a current of two miles and three-quarters an hour. The water is 
clearer than that of the Amazon. A man at Tunantins, who had navi- 
gated this river a good deal, told me that one might ascend in a canoe 
for three and a half months, and that the current was so rapid that the 
same distance might be run down in fifteen days. This I think incredi- 
ble ; but there is no doubt that the Iga is a very long and very rapid 
river. He described it as shallow after two months of navigation up- 
wards, with large sand-beaches, and many small streams emptying into 
it, on which is found much sarsaparilla. Many slaves of the Brazilians 
escape by way of this river into New Grenada. 

San Antonio is a village about two miles below the mouth of the 
Iga. It is a collection of four or five houses of Brazilians, and a few 
Indian huts. The people seemed mad for tobacco, and begged me 
earnestly to sell them some. I told them I would not sell for money, 
but I was willing to exchange for things to eat, or for rare birds and 
beasts. They ransacked the town, but could only raise five fowls, half 
a dozen eggs, two small turtles, and three bunches of plantains. They 
had no animals but such as I already had, and I only bought a macaw 
and a "pavoncito," or little peacock. The little tobacco I gave for 
these things, however, was not enough to give everybody a smoke, and 
they implored me to sell them some for money. They came to the 
canoe after night, and showed so strong a desire to have it that I feared 
they would rob me. Finding me inexorable, they went off abusing me, 
which excited the wrath of Ijurra to a high pitch. Our stock of to- 


bacco, Tvhicli we had boiiglit in Kaiita, was now very much reduced. 
We had used it, during our voyage on the Ucayali, to purchase food and 
curiosities, and to give to the peons, who were not satisfied or contented 
unless they had an occasional smoke. We also had been liberal with 
it to governors and curates, who had been civil to us ; and nov/ we had 
barely enough for our oAvn use to last us tO Barra. I gave twentj^-five 
cents the mass for it in Nauta, though the "Paragua" cheated me, and 
should only have charged me twelve and a half. AYe could have sold 
it all the way to Barra for thirty-seven and a half, and fifty cents. 

Becemher 10. — Between San Antonio and Tunantins we met the 
governor of San Antonio, a military-lookiDg white man, returning with 
his wife and children from a visit to Tunantins. I shov/ed him my 
passport, which he asked for, and we interchanged civilities and presents; 
he giving me a " chiriclis," like the one I lost at Caballo-cocha, and 
water-melons ; and I making him a present of tobacco and a tinder-box. 
The species of bird he gave me is called, in Brazil, Marianita. This one 
took a singular disease by which it lost the use of its legs — hopped about 
for some days on the knee-j-jints, with the leg and foot turned upwards in 
front, and then died. At twenty miles from San Antonio we entered the 
mouth of the Tunantins river. It is about fifty yards broad, and seems 
deep, with a considerable current. The town is prettily situated on a 
slight green eminence on the left bank, about half a mile from the 
mouth. The population is said to be between two and three hundred, 
though I would not suppose it to be near as much. It is composed 
of the tribes of Cayshanas and Juries, and about twenty-five whites. 

One sees very few Indians in the Portuguese villages. They seem to 
live apart, and in the woods ; and are, I think, gradually disappearing 
before the advance of civilization. They are used as beasts of burden, 
and are thought no further of. At 2 p. m. we left Tunantins. The 
river has eighteen, twenty-four, and thirty feet down to its entrance into 
the Amazon, where it forms a bar of sand, stretching some hundreds of 
yards out and downwards, on which is only six feet of water. 

December 11. — We stopped at a factoria on the left bank, sixty-five 
miles from Tunantins, where people were making manteiga. The efiect of 
" mirage," was here very remarkable. When within a mile or two of the 
factoria, I thought I saw quite a large town, with houses of two or three 
stories, built of stone and brick, with large heaps of white stone lying 
about in several places. There was a vessel lying off the town that I 
was satisfied was a large brig-of war; but upon drawing near, my three- 
story houses dwindled to the smallest palm ranchos ; my heaps of build- 


ing stones to piles of egg-shells ; and my man-of-war to a schooner of 
thirty tons. 

The season for making manteiga on the Amazon generally ends by 
the first of November ; but the rise of the river this year has been im- 
iisiially late and small. The people are still collecting the eggs, though 
they all have young turtles in them. 

A commandant, with soldiers, is appointed every year by some provin- 
cial or municipal authority to take care of the beaches, prevent disorder, 
and administer justice. 

Sentinels are placed at the beginning of August, when the turtles com- 
mence depositing their eggs, and are withdrawn when the beach is ex- 
hausted. They see that no one w^antonly interferes with the turtles, or 
destroys the eggs. Those engaged in the making of manteiga pay a 
capitation tax of twelve and a half cents duty to the government. 

The process of making it is very disgusting. The eggs, though they 
be rotten and offensive, are collected, thrown into a canoe, and trodden 
to a mass with the feet. The shells and young turtles are thrown out. 
Water is poured on, and the residue is left to stand in the sun for several 
days. The oil rises to the top ; is skimmed off and boiled in large copper 
boilers. It is then put in earth ern pots of about forty-f^ve pounds 
weight. Each pot of oil is w^orth on the beach one dollar and thirty 
cents, and in Para usually sells at from two and a half to three dollars. 

A turtle averages eighty egg?, ; forty turtles will give a pot. Twenty- 
five men will make two hundred pots in twelve days. The beaches of 
the Amazon and tributaries yield from five to six thousand pots annually. 
The empty pot costs twelve and a half cents in Para. Prolific as they 
are, I think the turtle is even now diminishing in number on the Ama- 
zon. Vast numbers of the young are eaten by the Indians, who take 
them by the time they are able to crawl, and when they do not measure 
more than an inch in diameter ; boil them, and eat them as a delicacy. 
One Indian wnll devour two dozen of these three or four times a day. 
The birds also pick up a great number of them as they crawl from their 
nest to the water ; and I imagine the fish, too, make them pay toll as 
they pass. I heard complaints of the growing scarcity, both of fish 
and manteiga, as I came down the river. 

This factoria is a small one, and will give but two or three hundred 
pots One requires a good stomach to be able to eat his breakfast at 
one of these places. The stench is almost intolerable ; the beach is 
covered with greedy and disgusting-looking buzzards, and the surface of 
the water dotted with the humps of the deadly alligator. 

By visiting the factoria, I missed the mouth of the Jutay, which is 


on tlae other side. I was misled by Smytb's roap. He places the 
island of Mapana some distance above the mouth of the Jiitay, and 
represents the Amazon as clear of islands where that river enters. A 
large island commences just abreast the factoria, which the people 
then told me was called Invira, though they did not seem certain of 
this. They told me that in rounding the lower end of that island I 
would find myself at the mouth of the Jutay, This was not so, for, 
when I doubled the point, I was two or three miles below it. I saw 
where it emptied into the Amazon ; but both myself and people were 
too tired to turn back and examine it. 

The Indians of the Jutay are Maraguas, (christianized Indians,) who 
inhabit the banks at a distance of two days up. (Their houses are built 
of wood and plastered, and they show a taste and fondness for mechan- 
ics.) Maragua-Catuquinas, of whom a few are baptized, two days fur- 
ther up; and Catuquinas Infidels, four days still further. 

The products of the river are one hundred and fifty arrobas of sarsa- 
parilla yearly, one hundred pots of manteiga, and a great quantity of 
farinha. In the last four years, five men of Egas have been killed by 
the Indians of the Jutay. My informant is Senhor Batalha, a merchant 
at Egas. M. Castelnau estimates, from the report of traders, that this 
river is navigable upward for about five hundred and forty miles, and 
that its sources are not far from those of the Yavari. From Tunantins 
to the mouth of the Jutay is seventy-five miles. 

I was surprised to find in this part of the river between Tunantins 
and Fonteboa but a mile and a quarter current per hour. I attrib- 
uted it to bad measurement — from having only a two-pound weight as 
a lead; yet as the line was not larger than ordinary twine, and was 
suff'ered to run freely over the gunwale of the boat, without friction or 
impediment of any kind, I can scarcely suppose that the lead dragged. 
The frequent remark of both Ijurra and myself was "The river does not 
run." (yVo corre el rio.) Belovf Fonteboa, where I bought a four-pound 
lead, I found the current at its usual velocity of two and a half miles. 
I think that I have used up nearly all the four-pound weights on the 
river, having lost at least half a dozen. My lines, generally made of 
chambira, rot with the rain and sun, and bieak with little strain. We 
anchored at 8 p. m. off a sandy beach, where there was another fac- 
toria, thirty miles distant from the upper one. 

The Ticunas whom I brought with me from Tabatinga are even 
more lazy and careless than the Sarayaquinos. I fancied that it was 
because they were forced into the service, and did not think that they 
would be paid; so I gave each one, as a gratuity, a knife, a pair of 


scissors, and a small mirror; but thej were no better afterwards than 
before. Poor fellows! tliey have been abused and maltreated so long 
that they are now insensible even to kindness. The negro soldier who 
was sent along, either as a pilot or to govern the Ticunas, or as a watch 
upon me, is drunken and worthless. He knows nothing of the river, 
and I believe s+eals my liquor. 

December 12. — There are evidently many newly-formed islands in 
the river. We ran, all the morning, through narrow island passages ; 
the channels, in some places, not over forty yards wide, but of twenty 
and thirty feet of depth. AVe passed another factoria on a point of an 
island near the main river, with a schooner moored off; and stopped at 
a quarter past six on the sandy point of a small island, where there were 
mandioca and water-melons. I am surprised at the quality of the soil 
ill which this madioc grows. ,To a casual observation it appears 
pure sand. 

December 13. — At 8 a. m. we entered a narrow arm of the river, 
sixty miles from the mouth of the Jutay, that leads by Fonteboa. This 
canal separates the island of '* Cacao" (on which much cocoa grows 
wild) from the main land. The cailo is not more than twenty yards 
broad. The least water I found was nine feet. Fonteboa is about 
eight miles from the entrance of the canal. It is situated on a hill a 
quarter of a mile within the mouth of the river of the same name that 
empties into the canal. Smyth says that the town gets its name from 
the clearness of the water of the river; but it is not so at this season. 
There is no current in the river at the village, and the water was very 
nearly quite as muddy as that of the Amazon. 

The population of Fonteboa is two hundred and fifty. There are 
eighty whites. We met several traders at this place bound up and 
down the river. One, named Guerrero, an intelligent-looking person, 
from Obydos, was going up with a cargo that I heard valued at tv/enty 
contos of reis, (about ten thousand five hundred dollars.) This was 
manifestly an exaggeration. His schooner, of some thirty-five tons bur- 
den, I think, could not carry the value of that sum in the heavy and 
bulky articles usually sent up the river. He had, however, a variety of 
articles. I bought some red wine and rum for stores; and Ijurra 
bought very good shoes and cotton stockings. This gentleman invited 
us to breakfast with him. His plates and cups were of pewter, and he 
seemed well equipped for travelling. He said that nearl}'- all the culti- 
vable land about Obydos, Sautarem, and Villa Nova was already 
occupied ; that most of it was so low and swampy that it was value- 
less; and that people would soon have to come up here where the ground 


was higli and licli. He was sixty -two working . days from Obydos, and 
expected to be thirty to Loreto. 

Sailed at 3 p. m.; found but five feet of water where the river of Fon- 
teboa joins the caiio. The distance by the caiio to its outlet into the 
main river is two miles. The banks below Fonteboa are quite high, 
and of red and white clay. Stopped for the night at half past 6 p. m. 

December 14. Started at half past 4 a. m. Misty morning. At 
ten entered the mouth of the Jurua, thirty-six miles from Fonteboa. 
Its left bank is very low, and covered with grass and shrub willows ; 
the right bank high and wooded. It has half a mile of width at the 
mouth ; but, a mile up, it seemed divided into two narrow channels by 
a large island. The Amazon is a mile and a quarter wide where the 
Jurua enters ; but here is a large island in front, and the river is 
probably equally as wide on the other side. We pulled half a mile up 
the stream. The water Avas clearer, though more yellow, -than that of 
the Amazon. In running out the half mile that I had pulled up, vrhich 
we did in mid-stream, the soundings deepened, as fasf as I could heave 
the lead, from thirty six to seventy-eight feet. Just at the mouth they 
lessened again to sixty-six. The current was a mile and three-quarters 
the hour. The bottom was of white and black sand ; temperature of 
the water 82°; the same with the temperature of the air and with 
that of the water of the Amazon. 

The Indians of the Jurua, I was aftervv^ards told by Senhor Batalha, 
are Arauas and Catauxis, who are met with at eight days' journey up. 
Some of these are baptized Indians ; but the Arauas are described as a 
treacherous people, who frequently rob and murder the traders on the 
river. Two months further up are the Culinos and Naiuas Infidels. 
Between these two was a nation called the Canamaris, but they have 
been nearly entirely destroyed by the Arauas. It is altiost impossible 
to get an accurate idea of the number of the Indians; but I judge, 
from what I bave seen, and from the diversity of names of the tribes, 
that this is not great. The production of the Jurua are sarza, man- 
teiga, copaiba, seringa, (India rubber,) cocoa, and ferinha. At the 
mouth of a creek (Igarape) called Menerua, there are Brazil nuts. 
This year all the expeditions to the Jurua were failures, on account of 
the hostility of the Arauas. 

M. Castelnau, in summing up the accounts of this riv^r, which he 
had from traders on it, supposes that it may be ascended about seven 
hundred and eighty miles, or to near the twelfth degree of south lati- 
tude. A man showed him a small medal that he had taken from an 


Indian on the Taruaca, a tributary of tlie Jarua, wliicli lie recognised 
as a Spanish quarter of a dollar. A short distance above the junction 
of the Taruaca, the Jurua bifurcates. The principal arm, which comes 
from the left, has its waters of a white color; and the Indians who 
dwell upon its branches say that the whites have a village near its 
sources. (Castelnau, vol. 5, pp. 89, 90.) 

M. Castelnau collected some very curious stories concerning the 
Indians who dwell upon the banks of the Jurua. He says, (vol. 5, p. 
105,) "I cannot pass over in silence a very curious passage of Padre 
*!N'oronha, and which one is astonished to find in a work of so arrave a 
character in other respects. The Indians, Cauamas and Uginas^ (says 
the padre,) live near the sources of the river. The first are of very short 
stature, scarcely exceeding five palms, (about three and a half feet ;) 
and the last (of this there is no doubt) have tails, and are produced by 
a mixture of Indians and Coata monkeys. Whatever may be the cause 
of this fact, I am led to give it credit for three reasons : first, because 
there is no physical reason why men should not have tails ; secondly, 
because many Indians, whom I have interrogated regarding this thing, 
have assured me of the fact, telling me that the tail vvas a palm and a 
half long; and, thirdly, because the Reverend Father Friar Jose de 
Santa Theresa Ribeiro, a Carmelite, and Curate of Castro de Avelaens, 
assured me that he saw the same thing in an Indian who came from 
Japm-a, and w^ho sent me the following attestation : 

" 'I, Jose de Santa Theresa Ribeiro, of the Order of our Lady of Mount 
Carmel, Ancient Observance, &c.. certify and swear, in my quality of 
Priest, and on the Holy Evangelists, that, when I was a missionary in 
the aacient village of Parauau, where was afterwards built the village of 
Nogiiera, I saw, in lYoo, a man called Manuel da Silva, native of 
Pernambuco, or^Bahia, who came from the river Japura with some 
Indians, amongst whom was one — an Infidel brute — who the said 
Manuel declared to me had a tail ; and as I was unwilling to believe 
such an extj-aordinary fact, he brought the Indian and caused him to 
strip, on pretence of removing some turtles from a 'pen,' near which 
I stood to assure myself of the truth. There I saw, without possibility 
of error, that the man had a tail, of the thickness of a finger, and half 
a palm long, and covered with a smooth and naked skin. The same 
Manuel assured me that the Indian had told him that every month he 
cut his tail, because he did not like to have it too long, and it grew very 
fast. I do not know to what nation this man belonged, nor if all his 
tribe had a similar tail ; but I understood afterwards that there was a 


tailed nation upon the banks of the Jurua ; and I sign this act and 
seal it in affirmation of the truth of all that it contains. 

"Establishment of Castro de Avelaens, October 14, 1*768. 


M. Baena (Corog, Para) has thought proper to repeat these strange 
assertions. "In this river," says he, speaking of the Jurua, ( p. 487,) 
"there are Indians, called Canamas, whose height does not exceed five 
palms ; and there are others, called Uginas, who have a tail of three or 
four palms, (four palms and an inch, Portuguese, make nearly an Eng- 
lish yard,) according to the report of many persons. But I leave to 
every one to put what faith he pleases in these assertions." 

M. Castelnau says, after giving these relations, "I will add but a word. 
Descending the Amazon, I saw^ one day, near Fonteboa, a black Coata. 
of enormous dimensions. He belonged to an Indian woman, to whom 
I offered a large price, for the country, for the curious beast ; but she 
refused me with a burst of laughter. 'Your eflforts are useless,' said an 
Indian who was in the cabin ; 'that is her husband.'" 

These Coatas, of which I had several, are a large, black, pot-bellied 
monkey. They average about two and a half feet of height, have a 
few thin hairs on the top of their head, and look very like an old 

We breakfasted at the mouth of the river. After breakfast one of the 
Ticuuas from Tabatinga was directed by the soldier to take up one of 
the macaws that was walking on the beach and put it in the boat pre- 
paratory to a start. The man, in an angry and rude manner, took the 
bird up and tossed it into the boat, to the manifest danger of injuring it. 
I was standing in the larger boat close by, and saw his insolent manner. 
I took up a paddle and beckoned him to come to me ; but he walked 
sulkily up the beach. I thought it a good time to see whether, in the 
event of these surly fellows becoming mutinous, I could count upon my 
Sarayacu people ; so I directed two of them to bring the Ticuna to me. 
They turned to obey, but slowly, and evidently unwillingly, w^hen my 
quick and passionate friend Ijurra sprang upon the Indian, and, taking 
him by the collar, jerked him to where I was. I made great demonstra- 
tions with my paddle, though without the slightest idea of striking him, 
(for I always shunned, with the utmost care, the rendering myself amen- 
able to any of the tribunals or authorities of Brazil,) and abused him in 
English, which I imagine answered quite as well as any other language 
but his own would have done. I think this little "fracas" had a happy 
efi"ect upon all the Indians, and they improved in cheerfulness and wil- 


lingness to work afterwards. The Ticuiias that I had with me, however, 
were far the laziest and most worthless people that I had hitherto had 
anything to do with. I believe that this is not characteristic of the 
tribe, for they seemed well enough under Father Flores at Caballo-cocha, 
and they have generally rather a good reputation among the whites on 
the river. I imagine that the proximity of the garrison at Tabatinga 
has not a good effect upon their manners and morals ; but, however 
that may be, these men were too lazy to help to cook the provisions ; 
and when we stopped to breakfast they generally seated themselves on 
file thv/arts of the boat, or on the sand of the beach, whilst the Saraya- 
quinos fetched the wood and made the fire. They were ready enough 
to eat when the breakftist was cooked. I couldn't stand this, when I 
observed that it wa=^ a customary thing, and accordingly caused the 
provisions issued to be divided between the two parties, and told my 
Ticuna friends, "Xo cook, no eat." It would take many years of saga- 
cious treatment on the part of their rulers to civilize this people, if it be 
possible to do so at all. 

December 15. — We travelled till 11 p. m., for want of a beach to 
camp on ; the men disliking to sleep ia the woods on account of snakes. 

December 16. — Finding that I Vv'as on the southern bank, and having 
an opening between two islands abreast of me, I struck off to the east- 
ward for the mouth of the Japura. We ran through island passages 
till we reached it at 3 p. m., distant one hundred and five miles from 
the mouth of the Jurua. 

The Japura has two mouths within a few hundred yards of each other. 
The one to the westward is the largest, being about one hundred yards 
wide. It is a pretty stream of clear, yellow water, with bold and abrupt, 
though not high banks, (ten or fifteen feet.) I pulled up about half a 
mile, and in mid-sl^eam found fifty-seven feet of water, which shoaled to 
the month to forty ^wo; the bottom soft mud to the touch ; but the arming 
of the lead brought up small quantities of black and white sand. There 
was very little current — only three- fourths of a mile per hour. I thought 
it mio;ht be affected bv the rush of its sjreater neio-hbor, and that the 
v/ater so near the mouth was "back water" from the Amazon ; but the 
current was quite as great close to the mouth as it was half a mile up. 
The temperature of the water, to my surprise, was 85° ; that of the 
Amazon, a quarter of an hour afterwards, was 81°. I had heard that, on 
account of the gentleness of the current of the Japura, a voyage of a 
month up this river was equal in distance to two on the Tea. A month 
up the Japura reaches the first impediment to navigation, where the 
river breaks through hills called "As Serras das Araras," or hills of the 


macaws ; and where the bed of the stream is choked with immense 
rocks, which make it impassable even for a canoe. A gentleman at 
Egas told me of an extraordinary blowing cave among these hills. 

The Indians of the Japuta are called Mirauas, (a large tribe,) Carifus, 
and Macus. The traveller reaches them' in sixteen days from the 
mouth. The Macus have no houses, but wander in the woods ; infest 
the river banks ; and rob and kill when they can. (These are the fruits 
of the old Brazilian system of hunting Indians to make slaves of them.) 
The products of the Japura are the same as those of the Jurua ; and, in 
addition, a little carajui'u, a very brilliant scarlet dye, made of the leaves 
of a bush called pucapanga in Peru. The Indians pack it in little bags 
made of the inner bark of a tree, and sell at the rate of twenty-five 
cents the pound. I am surprii^ed that it has never found its way into 
commerce. I think it of quite as brilliant and beautiful a color as 

I judge the width of the Amazon, opposite the mouth of the Japurcl, 
to be four or five miles. It is separated into several channels by two or 
three islands. We camped at half past 6 p. m., on an island where 
there was a hut and a patch of mandioc and Indian corn, but no peop>le. 
We had a clear night, (with the exception of a low belt of stratus clouds 
around the horizon,) the first we have seen for more than a week. 

December IV. — Started at 4 a. m. It was too dark to see the upper 
point of an island between us and the southern shore till we had passed 
it; so that we had to pull up for an hour against the current, so as to 
pass the head of this island, and not fall below Egas. At half-past eight 
we entered a narrow channel between a small island and the right bank, 
which conducted us into the river of Tefie, about a mile inside of its 
mouth. The river at this point is one hundred and eighty yards broad; 
water clear and apparently deep. Just below Egas, where we arrived at 
half-past ten, it expands into a lake ; or, rather, the lake here contracts 
into the river. The town is situated on a low point that stretches out 
into the lake, and has a harbor on each side of it. The point rises into 
a regular slope, covered with grass, to the woods behind. The lake is 
shallow, and is sometimes, with the exception of two or three channels, 
which have always six or eight feet of water in them, entirely dry from 
Egas to Nogueyra, a small village on the opposite side. 

On landing we showed our passports to the suh-delegado^ an officer of 
the geneial government who has charge of the police of the district, and 
to the military commandant, and forthwith inducted ourselves into the 
house of M. Fort, our French friend of Tabatinga, who had placed it at 
our disposal. 

250 EGAS. 


Egas — Trade— Lake Coari— Mouth of Rio Negro— Barra— Trade — Productions. 

Egas has a population of about eight hundred inhabitants, and is the 
largest and most thriving place above Barra. It occupies an important 
position vnth. regard to the trade of the river, being nearly midway be- 
tween Barra and Loreto, (the Peruvian frontier,) and near the mouths 
of the great rivers Jurua, Japurd, and TejSfe. 

There are now eight or ten commercial houses at Egas that drive a 
tolerably brisk trade between Peru and Para, besides employing agents 
to go into the neighboring rivers and collect from the Indians the pro- 
ductions of the land and the w^ater. 

Trade is carried on in schooners of between thirty and forty tons bur- 
den, which commonly average five months in the round trip between 
Egas and Para, a distance of fourteen hundred and fifty miles, with an 
expense (consisting of pay and support of crew, with some small provin- 
cial and church taxes) of about one hundred and fifty dollars. M. Cas- 
telnau estimates these provincial and church taxes at about thirteen per 
cent, on the whole trade. Here is the bill of lading of such a vessel 
bound down : 150 arrobas of sarsaparilla : cost at Egas, 84 the arroba ; 
value<l in Par<i at from 87 to $7 50. 300 pots manteiga : cost at Egas, 
$1 40 the pot; value in Para, |2 50 to $3 50. 200 arrobas of salt fish: 
cost at Egas, 50 cents the arroba ; value in Para, $1 to $1 25. 

Thus it appears that the cargo, which cost at Egas about thirteen 
hundred dollars, is sold in Para, in two months, for tw^enty-six hundred 
dollars. The vessel then takes in a cargo of coarse foreign goods worth 
there twenty-five hundred dollars, which she sells, in three months, in 
Egas, at twenty per cent, advance on Par4 prices ; making a profit of 
six hundred and tw^enty-five dollars. This added to the thirteen hun- 
dred of profit on the down trip, and deducting the one hundred and 
fifty of expenses, will give a gain of seventeen hundred and serenty-five 
dollars in five months, which is about two hundred and seventy-five dol- 
lars more than the schooner costs. 

There are five such vessels engaged in this trade, each making two 
trips a year ; so that the value of the trade between Pard and Egas 
may be estimated at thirty-eight thousand dollars annually. Betw^een 

TRADE. 251 

Egas and Peru, it is about twenty thousand dollars. I myself know of 
about ten thousand dollars on its way, or about to be on its way up. A 
schooner came in to-day ninety-two days from Para, which is bound up 
with a greater part of its cargo. I met one belonging to Guerrero at 
Fonteboa. Marcus Williams, a young American living at Barra, has 
one now off the mouth of the river, which has sent a boat in for provi- 
sions and stores ; and Batalha himself is about to send two. 

Major Batalha (for my friend commands a battalion of the Guarda 
Policial of the province divided between San Paulo, San Antonio, Egas, 
and Coari) complains, as all do, of the want of energy of the people. 
He says that as long as a man can get a bit of turtle or salt fish to eat, 
a glass of ca^acha, and a cotton shirt and trousers, he will not work. 
The men who fish and make manteiga, although they are employed but 
a small portion of the year in this oocupation, will do nothing else. 
There is wanting an industrious and active population, who know what 
the comforts of life are, and w^ho have artificial wants to draw out the 
great resources of the country. 

Although the merchants sell their foreign goods at an advance of 
twenty-five per cent, on the cost at Para, yet this is on credit ; and 
they say they could do much better if they could sell at fifteen per cent. 
for cash. Moreover, in this matter of credit they have no security. 
"When a trader has made sufficient money to enable him to leave off 
work with his own hands, the custom is for him to supply some young 
dependant with a boat-load of goods and a crew, and send him away 
to trade with the Indians, depending upon his success and honesty for 
the payment of the twenty-five per cent. The young trader has no 
temptation to desert or abandon his patron, {liahilitador ;) but much is 
lost from the dangers incident to the navigation, and the want of 
judgment and discretion in the intercourse of the employer with the 
Indians, and in the hostile disposition of the Indians themselves. 

There is much in this life of the ^^ hahilitado,''^ or person employed 
by t^e traders, to attract the attention of the active, energetic young 
men of our country. It is true that he will encounter much hard- 
ship and some danger. These, however, are but stimulants to youth. 
It is also true that he will meet with a feeling of jealousy in the native 
towards the foreigner; but this feeling is principally directed towards 
the Portuguese, who are hard-working, keen, and clever; and who, as 
a general rule, go to that country to make money, and return home 
with it. This is their leading idea, and it makes them frugal, even 
penurious, in their habits, and indispoies them to make common cause 
wdth the natives of the country. Not so with the Italians, the French, 


the English, and the Americans, whom I have met with in this country. 
I do not know more popular people than my friends Enrique Antonii, 
the Italian, and his associate, Marcus Williams, the Yankee, who are 
established at Barra. E\'erywhere on the river I heard sounded the 
praises of m}^ countryman. At Sarayacu, at Nauta, at Pebas, and at 
Egas, men said they wished to see him again and to trade with him. 
He himself told me that, though the trade on the river was attended 
with hardships, exposure, and privation, there was a certain charm 
attending the wild life, and its freedom from restraint, that would 
always prevent any desire on his part to return to his native country. 
I heard that he carried this feeling so far as to complain bitterly, when 
he visited Norris, the consul at J^ara, of tbe restraints of society that 
compelled him to wear trousers at dinner. 
• Any number of peons, or as they are called in Brazil, Tapuios^ may 
be had for an almost nominal rate of pay for this traffic with the 

All the christianized Indians of the province of Para (which, until 
within the last two or three years, comprehended all the Brazilian 
territory drained by the Amazon and the lower part of its tributaries 
on each side, but from which has been lately cut off and erected into a 
new province the Comarca of Alto Amazonas, comprising the Brazihan 
territory between Barra and Tabatinga)- are registered and compelled 
to serve the State, either as soldiers of the Guarda Policial, or as a 
member of "Bodies of Laborers," [Corposcle Trahalhadores) distributed 
among the different territorial divisions {comarccis) of the province. 
There are nine of these bodies, numbering in the aggregate seven 
thousand four hundred and forty -four, with one hundred and eighty- 
two officers. A better des<*/ription of the origin and character of these 
bodies of laborers cannot be given than is given in the message to the 
Provincial Assembly of the President of the Province, Jeronimo Fran- 
cisco Coelho, for the year 1849. This distinguished official, whose 
patriotism, talents, and energy are still spoken of with enthusi^ism 
throughout the province, says: 

"A sentiment of morality and of order, created by the impression of 
deplorable and calamitous facts, gave birth to this establishment; but 
abuse has converted it into a means of servitude and private gain. 
The principal object of the law which created it was to give employ- 
ment to an excessive number of tapuios, negroes, and mestizos- — people 
void of civilization and education, and who exceeded in number the 
worthy, laborious, and industrioul part of the population by more than 
three-quarters. This law founded, in some measure, a system which 


appeared to anticipate the theory of the organization of labor. In 
Europe this is a desideratum among the inferior classes of the commu- 
nity, who are oppressed by want, by pauperism, and by famine. For 
these to have work, is to have the bread of life and happiness; but in 
the fertile provinces of Para, where nature gives to all, with spontaneous 
superabundance, the necessaries of life, work is held by th'^se classes to 
be an unnecessary and intolerable constraint. Our Tapuio, who erects 
his palm-leaf hut on the margin of the lakes and rivers that are filled 
with fish, surrounded with forests rich with fruits, drugs, and spices, and 
abounding in an infinite variety of game, lives careless and at his ease 
in the lap of abundance. If these circumstances give him a dispensa- 
tion from voluntary labor, with what repugnance and dislike will he 
render himself to compulsory toil, and especially when the obligation 
to work, imposed by the law, has so generally been converted into vexa- 
tious speculation by abuse ! 

"Last year I gave my opinion to you at length upon this subject : I 
will not now tire you with a repetition. A very general idea prevails 
that the best method to do away with the abuses of this institution of 
laborers is its total abolition. But remember that the adoption of this 
measure imposes upon you a rigorous obligation to have a care of, and 
give direction (dar destino) to, nearly sixty thousand men, who, deprived 
by the law of political rights, without any species of systematic subjec- 
tion, unemployed, and delivered up to their own guidance, and to an 
indolent and unbridled life, live floating among the useful and laborious 
part of the population, who are in a most disproportionate minority. 

" Your penetration and wisdom will find a means which will guaranty 
protection to one, security to the other, and justice to all. A convenient 
law, based upon a regular enlistment, moderate employment in cases, 
and at places well defined, and subjection to certain and designated local 
authorities, may give this means ; and it was upon these principles that 
I formed the project, which I presented to you last year, of converting fLe 
corps of laborers into municipal companies, to be added to the battalions of 
the Nacional Guard. But said project depended upon the reorganiza- 
tion of this guard ; and this failing, it of course fell through. 

" The question relative to the corps of laborers is, as I have said, a 
problem of difficult solution, but which must necessarily be solved. 
The how and the when belongs to you." 

It is from these bodies that the trader, the traveller, or the collector 
of the fruits of the country, is furnished with laborers ; but, as is seen 
from the speech of the President, little care is taken by the government 
officials in their registry or proper goverAnent, and a majority of them 


are either entire drones, or have become, in fact, the slaves of indi- 
viduals. It is now difficult for the passing traveller to get a boat's 
crew; though I have no doubt that judicious and honest dealing with 
them would restore to civilization and to labor many who have retired 
from the towns and gone back to a nomadic, and nearly savage life. 

Most of the leading men at Egas own negro slaves ; but these are gen- 
erally employed irw household and domestic work. A young negro man 
is worth two hundred and fifty dollars — if a mechanic, five hundred 
dollars. Major Batalha tells me that he will purchase no more slaves ; 
he has had ill-luck both with them and with his Tapuois. The slaves 
desert to Spain, (as Peru, Ecuador, and New Granada are called here,) 
and he has lost six Tapuios, by a sort of bloody flux, within the last two 
months. I asked him if the disease was confined to his household ; 
but he told me that it was general, and supposed that it was caused by 
drinking the water of the lake, which was thought to be, in some small 
degree, impregnated with the poisonous milk of the assacu, (the 
Peruvian catao,) many of which trees grow on its borders. I have no 
idea that this is the cause, but suppose the disease originates from ex- 
posure, bad food, and an imprudent use of fruit, though I see no fruit 
except a few oranges and limes. It is even difficult to purchase a 
bunch of bananas. There are no other diseases in Egas except tertiana, 
caught ingatjiering sarsaparilla on the tributaries. 

December 25. — AVe are very gay at Egas with Christmas times. The 
people keep it up with spirit, and with a good deal of spirits, too, for I 
see a number of drunken people in the streets. I attended midnight 
mass last night. The church was filled with well dressed* people, and 
with some very pretty, though dark-complexioned ladies. The congre- 
gation was devout, but I could not very well be so, on account of the 
music, which was made by a hand-organ that wouldn't play. It gave 
a squeak and a grunt now and then, but there w^ere parts of the music 
when nothing could be heard but the turning of the handle. There was 
also a procession on the lake. A large, very well illuminated boat, with 
rockets and music moving about, and a long line of lights on logs or 
canoes anchored in the lake, had a very pretty effect. Processions of 
negroes, men and women, with songs and music of tambourines and 
drums, were parading the streets all night. 

The higher classes are taking a little Champagne, Tenerifte wine, or 
English ale. Ginger beer is a favorite and wholesome drink in this 
climate. I was surprised to see no cider. I w^onder some Yankee from 
below has not thought to seifl it up. Yankee clocks abound, and are 
worth from ten to twenty dollars. 


December 26. — I liad requested the commandante-militar to furnisli me 
with a few more Tapuios, and he had promised to send out an expedition 
to catch me some. He now says there are none to be had; but I suspect 
he gave himself no trouble about it. Many persons go down the river 
with only two rowers and a steersman ; and I having six, I have no 
doubt he thought that I had a sufficient number. 

My Ticunas, and the negro soldier sent with them, gave me a great 
deal of trouble — the soldier with his drunkenness and dishonesty, and the 
Indians by their laziness and carelessness ; suffering the boat to be in- 
jured for the want of care, and permitting the escape and destruction of 
my animals and birds. It is as much as my patience and forbearance 
towards a suffering and ill-treated people can stand, to refrain from re- 
porting them to the commandant, who would probably punish them 
with severity. Last night they broke the log of one of my tuyuyiis, and 
an alligator carried off the other. I am told that these animals have 
killed three persons at this same place. I had bathed there twice a day 
until I heard this ; but after that, although I knew that they only seize 
their prey at night, it was going too close to danger, and I chose an- 
other place. 

I saw a very peculiar monkey at Egas. It is called Acaris, and has 
a face of a very pretty rose color. The one I saw here was nearly as 
large as a common baboon. He had long hair, of a dirty-white color, 
and was evidently very old. Two that I saw at a factoria, on a beach 
of the Amazon, had hair of a reddish-yellow color ; the tail is very 
short. Castelnau says that the vermilion color of the face disappears 
after death ; and during life it varies in intensity, according to the state 
of the passions of the animal. The owners would not sell me those at 
^he factoria, and I would not buy the one at Egas, because his face was 
blotched with some cutaneous affection, and he was evidently so old that 
he would soon die. 

During our stay at Egas we had our meals cooked by an old negro 
woman who has charge of M. Fort's house, furnishing her with money 
to buy what she could. It is very difficult to get anything but turtle 
even here. I counted thirty-nine cattle grazing on the green slope 
before our door; yet neither for love nor money could we get any beef, 
and with difficulty a little milk for our coffee. We sent to Nogueyra 
for fowls and eggs, but without success. These are festival times, and 
people want their little luxuries themselves, or are too busily engaged in 
frolicking to care about selling. 

Major Batalha treated us with great kindness, sending us delicacies 
from, his own table — the greatest of which was some well-made bread. 


AVe had not tasted any since leaving Huanuco — now five months ; and 
of course it was very welcome. On Christmas day he sent us a pair of 
fine, large, sponge-cakes. A piece of these, with a glass of tolerable ale, 
was a princely luncheon to us wayfarers, who had lived so long on salt 
fish and farinha. It fair'y made Ijurra grin with delight. We could 
always get a cup of very good chocolate by v/alking round to the 
Major's house ; and the only thing I had to find fault with was, that 
I was always received in the shop. The Brazilians, as a general rule, 
do not like to introduce foreigners to their families, and their wives lead 
a monotonous and somewhat secluded life. 

An intelligent and spirited lady friend told me that the customs of 
her country confined and restrained her more than was agreeable, and 
said, with a smile, that she would not like to say how much she had 
been influenced in the choice of a husband by the hope that she would 
remove to another country, where she might see something, learn some- 
thiug, and be somebody. 

December 28. — We left Egas at half-past 2 p. m., in the rain. We 
seemed to have travelled just ahead of the rainy season ; and whenever 
we have stopped at any place for some days, the rains have caught up 
with us. 

I now parted with my Sarayacu boatmen, and very sorry I was to 
lose them. They were lazy enough, but were active and diligent com- 
pared with the stupid and listless Ticunas. They were always (though 
somewhat careless) faithful and obedient. 1 believe that the regret at 
parting was mutual. Their earnest tone of voice and aftectionate man- 
ner proclaimed their feeling ; and a courtier, addressing his sovereign, 
would have envied the style in which old Andres bent his knee and 
kissed my hand, and the tremulous tones, indicating deep feeling, with 
which he uttered the woids "^ dios, mi patron^ They are all going 
back to Sarayacu but one, who has engaged himself to Senhor Batalha. 
It is a curious thing that so many Peruvian Indians should be working 
in Brazil ; but it shows that they are removed above the condition of 
sav^'cs, for, though worse treated in Brazil, and deprived of the entire 
freedom of action they have in Peru, yet they are paid something; they 
acquire property, though it be nothing more than a painted wooden 
box with hinges and a lock to it, (the thing they most covet,) with a 
colored shin and trousers to lock up in it and guard for feast-days. 
With such a box and contents, a hatchet, a short sabre, and red v/oollen 
cap, the Peruvian Indian returns home a rich and envic-d, and 
others are iiidac«:d to (/'o helow in hopes of similar fortune. They are 
frequently gone from their homes for years. Father Calvo complained 


that they abandoned their families ; but in ray judgment this was a benefit 
to them, rather than an injury, for the man at home is, in a great 
measure, supported by the woman. 

I could not make an estimate of the number of Peruvian Indians in 
Brazil ; but I noticed that most of the tapuios were Cocamas and 
Cocamillas, from the upper Amazon. 

We entered the Amazon at 4 p. m. The mouth of the Tefi'e is three 
hundred yards wide, and has thirty feet of depth and one mile per hour 
of current. This is an inconsiderable stream, and may be ascended by 
canoes to near its sources in twenty days. In ten or twelve days' ascent, 
a branch called the Rio Gancho is reached, which communicates by a 
portage with the Jurua. Indians of the Purus, also, sometimes descend 
the Teffe to Egas. 

I was surprised to find the temperature of boiling water at Egas to 
be but 208°.2, the same within .2 of a degree that it was at a point 
one day's journey below Tingo Maria, which village is* several hundred 
miles above the last rapids of the Iluallaga river ; at Sta. Cruz, two days 
above the mouth of the Huallaga, it was 211°.2; at Nauta, three 
hundred and five miles below this, it was 211°.3 ; at Pebas, one hundred 
and seventy miles below Nauta, 211°.l. I was so much surprised at 
these results that I had put the apparatus away, thinking that its indi- 
cations were valueless ; but I was still mor« surprised, upon making the 
experiment at Egas, to find that the temperature of the boiling water 
had fallen three degrees below, what it was at Sta. Cruz, thus giving to 
Egas an altitude of fifteen hundred feet above that village, which is 
situated more than a thousand miles up stream of it. I continued my 
observations from Egas downwards, and found a regular increase in the 
temperature of the boiling water until our amval at Para, where it 
was 211°.5. 

M. Castelnau gives the height of iiTauta at four hundred and five feet 
above the level of the sea ; the temperature of boiling water gives it at 
three hundred and fifty-six. Both these, I think, are in error ; for, taking 
off forty feet for the height of the hill on which Nauta is situated, we have 
three hundred and sixty-five for the height of the river at that point 
above the level of the sea. Now, that point I estimate at two thousand 
three hundred and twenty-five miles from the sea, which would give the 
river only a fall of about sixteen-hundredths of a foot per mile — a de- 
scent which would scarcely give the river its average velocity of two 
and a half miles per hour. 

From an after-investigation, I am led to believe that the cause of this 
phenomenon arises from the fact that the trade-winds are dammed 


up by the Andes, and that the atmosphere in those parts is, from this 
cause, compressed, and consequently heavier than it is farther from the 
mountains, though over a less elevated portion of the earth. The 
discovery of this fact has led me to place little reliance in the indica- 
tions of the barometer for elevation at the eastern foot of the Andes. 
It is reasonable, however, to suppose that this cause would no longer 
operate at Egas, nearly one thousand miles below the mouth of the 

I shall, therefore, give the height of Egas above the level of the sea, 
from the temperature of boiling water, (208*^.2,) at two thousand and 
fifty-two feet. Egas is about eighteen hundred miles from the sea ; this 
would give the river a descent of a little more than a foot per mile, 
which would about give it its cuiTent of two and a half miles per hour. 

December 29. — "VVe drifted with the current, and a httle paddling on 
the part of the crew, until 10 p. m., when we made fast to a tree on the 
right bank. 

December 30. — We started at 5 a. m. At 3 p. m., where the 
river was quite a mile wide, I found but thirty feet in mid-channel; 
and about two hundred yards on our right hand was a patch of grass, 
with trees grounded on it. At 6 p. m., I judged from the appearance 
of the shores on each side (bold, red clifiPs) that we had all the width of 
the river. It was only about a mile wide, and I thought it w^ould be 
very deep ; but I found only sixty feet. I could not try the current for 
the violence of the wdnd. At seven v^e arrived at the mouth of the 
Lake Coari, one hundred and fifteen miles from Egas, and made fast to a 
schooner at anchor near the right bank. 

This schooner seemed to have no particular owner or captain, but to 
be manned by a company of adventurers ; for all appeared on an equal- 
ity. They were from Obidos, upwards of two months ; and twenty-eight 
days from Barra, which place we reached from here in five. They 
were travelling at their leisure, but complained much of the strength of 
the current and the want of strength of the easterly winds. I heard 
the same complaints at Egas, but I have found the winds quite fresh 
from the eastward, and the current, compared wdth that above, slight. 
But there is a wonderful difference in the estimation of a current, or 
the strength of a wind, when voyaging with and against them. 

The fault of the vessels navigating the Amazon is the breadth of 
beam and want of sail. I am confident that a clipper-built vessel, 
sloop, or rather ketch-rigged, with a large mainsail, topsail, topgallant- 
sail, and studding sails — the last three fitted to set going up before the 
wind, and to strike, masts and all, so as to beat down with the current 


liiader mainsail, jib, and jigger — would make good passages between 
Par4 and Egas. The vessels used now on the river are built broad and 
flat-t)ottomed, to warp along shore when the wind is light or contrary. 
Their sails are much too small, and are generally made of thin, bad 

December 31. — We pulled into the Lake of Coari ; but being told 
that it would take nearly all day to reach the village of Coari, and that 
it was an insignificant place, where I would get neither supplies nor .in- 
formation, I decided not to go. 

It may seem strange that just out of Egas I should need supplies, but 
all I could purchase there were half a dozen fowls, four turtles, and 
some farinha ; and upon opening the baskets of farinha, it was found 
to be so old and sour that, though the Indians could eat it, I could not; 
and thus we had no bread, nor even the substitute for it — plantains and 
farinha ; and had to eat our meat with some dried peas that we fortu- 
nately found at Egas. 

The entrance to the Lake of Coari is about four hundred yards 
wide, and half a mile long. It expands, particularly on the right hand, 
suddenly into the lake, which at once shows itself six or seven miles 
wide, having a large island extending apparently nearly across it. 
The entrance has forty-two feet of depth in the middle, and, being 
faced by an island at both mouths, (the one into the lake, the other 
into the river,) appears land-locked, and makes a beautiful harbor. 
The banks are very low, of a thin, sandy soil, covered with bushes ; 
and the right bank is perforated with small channels, running into the 
Amazon. The water of the lake is beautifully clear, and of a brown 
color; ,it runs into the Amazon at the rate of three-fourths of a mile 
per hour. 

We pulled up the right bank of the lake about a mile, and stopped 
at a little settlement of ten or twelve houses, but could get nothing. 
The people seemed afraid of us, and shut their doors in our faces. The 
lieutenant, or principal man of the place, said that if we would give 
him money, he would send out and get us some fowls and plantains ; 
but as he was a little drunk at this hour, (seven in the morning,) I would 
not trust him. We breakfasted, and sailed at 11, 

We passed several small streams coming into the river on the right 
bank. Some of these are probably " Furos^^'' or small mouths of the 
Purus. Igarape is the Indian name for a creek or ditch, which is filled 
with " back-water " from the river ; and the term P'aranamiri (literally, 
little river) is applied to a narrow arm of the main river, running be- 
tween the main bank and an island near to it. 


January 1, 1852. — At 9 a. m. we had the easterly breeze so strong 
that we were compelled to keep close in shore to avoid the sea raised 
by it. Our heavy flat-bottomed boat rolls nearly gumuales under. Some 
of the Indians look alarmed, and Tomas^ a servant whom we brought 
from Caballo-cocha, is frightened from all propriety. He shouts to the 
men to make for the land ; and, seizing a paddle, makes one or two 
vigorous strokes, but fear takes away his strength, and he stretches him- 
self on his face, and yields to what appears his inevitable destiny. Ijurra 
is much scandalized at his cowardice, and asks him what he would do 
if he got upon the sea. 

At 12 m. we passed another mouth of the Purus. These mouths can 
only be navigated at high water, and in small canoes. At half-past four 
we passed the mouth of the Codajash. We were on the opposite side 
of the river, and had nearly passed before I was aware of it. Smyth 
places the islands of Coro and On^a above it. They are really below. 
The mouth appeared a quarter of a mile wide ; but I was afterwards 
told that this was not the largest mouth, and that the true mouth lay 
opposite to the island of Coro. I learned from some persons who were 
engaged in salting fish upon a small sand island just below this mouth, 
(one of whom had visited it,) that it is an arm of the river communi- 
cating with a large lake abounding with fish, vaca marina, and turtle ; 
and had growing on its shores many resins and oils, particularly the 
copaiba. It requires three days to ascend the arm of the river to the 
lake, and two more to reach the head of the lake, which is fed by small 
streams that are said to communicate with the Japura, on one hand; 
and the Rio Negi'o, on the other. 

The Amazon, at this little island, commenced falling day before 
yesterday. A boat which arrived at Egas from Tabatinga the day be- 
fore we left there, reported that the river had commenced falling at 
Tabatinga on the twentieth of December. This is probably the fall due 
to the " Yerano del Niiio" of the Cordillera, and will only last a week 
or ten "days, when the river will again commence to swell. 

At seven we stopped at a factoria on Coro island, where the party 
who were working it had made one thousand pots of manteiga, and 
■were about starting for below. Camped on the beach on right bank 
at half-past 11 p. m. 

January 2. — The usual fresh easterly wind commenced at nine. 
The only time to make progress is at night ; during the day the breeze 
is so fresh, and the sea so high, that very little is made. The wind 
usually subsides about 4 or 5 p. m., and concludes with a squall of 
wind and rain ; leaving hea\n|r-looking thunder-clouds in the southward 


and westward. , The easterly wind often rises again, and blows for a 
few hours at night. 

January 3. — We stopped to breakfast at nine, in company with a 
schooner bound up. She was three months from Para, and expected 
to be another month to Egas. Two others also passed us at a distance 
this morning. We arrived at the mouth of the Purus, one hundred 
and forty-five miles from Lake Coari. The Amazon is a mile and a 
half wide from the right bank to the island of Purus, (which is opposite 
the mouth of the river.) The mouth of the Purus proper is three-quar- 
ters of a mile wide ; though a little bay on the left, and the trend of the 
right bank off to the northeast, make the two outer points more than a 
mile apart. It is a fine-looking river, with moderately bold shores, 
masked by a great quantity of bushes growing in the water. These 
bushes bore a great number of berries, which, when ripe, are purple, 
and about the size of a fox-grape. They were, at this time, green and 
red. The pulp is sweet, and is eaten. 

The water of the river is of the same color, and scarcely clearer, than 
that of the Amazon. We pulled in about a mile, and found one hun- 
dred and eight feet of water, rather nearer the left than the right bank, 
with a bottom of soft blue mud. In mid-stream there was seventy- 
eight feet, with narrow streaks of sand and mud. In the strong ripples 
formed by the meeting of the waters of the two rivers, we found ninety - 
six feet ; and when fairly in the stream of the Amazon, one hundred and 
thirty-eight feet. I am thus minute in the soundings, because, according 
to Smyth, Condamine found no bottom at six hundred and eighteen feet- 
A person sounding in a strong tide- way is very apt to be deceived, par- 
ticularly if he has a light lead and the bottom is soft ; for if he does not 
feel it the instant the lead touches the bottom, the current will cause 
the line to run out as fast as the lead would sink ; so that the lead may 
be on the bottom, and yet the observer, finding the line not checked, 
may run out as many fathoms as he has, and think that he has found 
no bottom. Ijurra has frequently run out one hundred fathoms where 
I have afterwards found fifteen and seventeen. The current of the 
Purus is, at this time, very sluggish — not over three-quarters of a mile 
per hour. Temperature of the water, 84-J-° ; that of the Amazon, 83° ; 
and the air, 82°. Drifted with the current all night; beautifully calm 
and clear. 

f^anuary 4. — We travelled slowly all day, on account of the fresh 
wind and sea. At 7 p. m. we stopped at the village of Pesquera^ 
at the mouth of the Lake Manacapuru, forty-five miles from the mouth 
of the Purus. It has only three or four houses, and is situated on a 
knee-cracking eminence of one hundred feet in height. The entrance 


to tlie lake is bold and wide — quite three hundred yards across — and 
with no bottom, at its mouth, in one hundred and twenty feet. A man 
at Pesquera, just from the lake with a cargo of manteiga, and bound to 
Para, told me that it was two days' journey to the opening of the lake ; 
that the lake was very long, and about as wide as the Amazon at this 
place, (three miles ;) that it was full of islands, and that no one knew its 
upper extremity ; but that it was reported to communicate with the Ja- 
pura. AH this country seems cut up with channels from river to river ; 
but I believe they are canoe channels, and only passable for them at 
high water. In many instances these channels, in the rainy season, 
widen out into lakes. 

The banks of the river are now losing the character of savage and 
desolate solitude that characterizes them abovd', and begin to show signs 
of habitation and cultivation. We passed tc^day several farms, with 
neatly framed and plastered houses, and a schooner-rigged vessel lying 
off several of them. 

January 5. — At 3 a. m. we passed a rock in the stream called 
Calderon, or Big Pot, from the bubbling and boiling of the water over 
it when the river is full. At this time the rock is said to be six or eight 
feet above the surface of the water. "We could hear the rush of the 
water against it, but could not see it on account of the darkness of the 

We stopped two hours to breakfast, and then drifted with the current 
broadside to the wind, (our six men being unable to keep the boat " head 
to it,") until four, when the wind went down. At five we entered the 
Rio Negro. We were made aware of our approach to it before getting 
into the mouth. The right bank at the mouth is broken into islands, 
and the black water of the Negro runs through the channels between 
these islands and alternates, in patches, (refusing to mingle,) with the 
muddy waters of the Amazon. The entrance is broad and superb. It 
is far the largest tributary of the Amazon I have yet seen; and I esti- 
mate its width at the mouth at two miles. There has been no exag- 
geration in the description of travellers regarding the blackness of its 
water. Lieut. Maw describes it perfectly when he says it looks like 
black marble. It well deserves the name of "Rio Negro." When 
taken up in a tumbler, the water is a light-red color, like a pale juniper 
water; and I should think it colored by some such berry. A body im- 
mersed in it has the color, though wanting the brilliancy, of red Bohe- 
mian glass. 

It may have been fancy, but I thought the light cumuli that hung 
over the river were darker here than elsewhere. These dark, though 
peaceful-looking clouds, the setting sun, the glitter of the rising moon 


upon tlie sparkling ripples of tlie black water, with its noble expanse, 
gave us one of the fairest scenes upon our entrance into this river that 
I ever recollect to have looked upon. 

The mouth of the river is about fifty miles below Pesquera. I found 
one hundred and five feet of depth in the middle, with a muddy bottom, 
and little or no current. We pulled across and camped at half-past six, 
on a small sand-beach on the left bank. 

January 6. — Started at 1 a. m. Moderate breeze from the eastward, 
blowing in squalls, with light rain. The left bank of the river is bold, 
and occasionally rocky. At 5 a. m. we arrived at Barra. My country- 
man, Mr. Marcus Williams, and Senhor Enrique Antonii, an Italian, 
(merchants of the place,) came on board to see me. Williams was fit- 
ting out for an expedition of six months up the river ; but Antonii took 
me at once to his house, and established me there snugly and comfort- 
ably. The greatest treat I met here, however, was a file of New York 
papers. They were not very late, it is true, but still six months, later 
than anything I had seen from home ; and I conned them with great 
interest and no small anxiety. 

The Cornarca of the Rio Negro, one of the territorial divisions of the 
great province of Par4, has, within the last year, been erected into a 
province, with the title of Amazonas. The President, Senhor Jodo 
Baptista de Figuierero Tenreiro Aranha, arrived at the capital (Barra) 
on the first of the month, in a government steamer, now lying abreast 
of the town. He brought most of the officers of the new government, 
and the sum of two hundred contos of reis, (one hundred and four 
thousand one hundred and sixty-six dollars,) drawn from the custom- 
house at Para, to pay the expenses of establishing the new order of 
things until the collection of customs shall begin to yield. 

This territor}'-, whilst a Cornarca, was a mere burden upon the public 
treasury, and will probably continue to be so for some time to come. 
I have not seen yet any laws regulating its trade, but presume that a 
custom-house will be established at Barra, where the exportation duties 
of seven per cent., and the meio dezimo^ a duty of five per cent, for the 
support of the church, now paid at Para, will be collected. Goods also 
pay a provincial tax of one and a half per cent, on foreign articles, and 
a half per cent, on articles of domestic produce. The income of the 
province would be much increased by making Barra a port of entry for 
the trade with Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and New Grenada; 
and I have no doubt that industry and enterprise will, in the course 
of time, bring goods of European manufacture from Demarara, by the 


Essequibo and Rio Branco, to Barra, and foreign trade may likewise 
grow up along the banks of the Oronoco, Cassiquiari, and Rio Negro. 

The province has six hundred thousand square miles of territory, and 
but thirty thousand inhabitants — whites and civilized Indians. (No 
estimate can be made of the number of " Gentios^^ or savages, but I 
think this is small.) It is nobly situated. By the Amazon, Ucayali, and 
Huallaga, it communicates with Peru ; by the Yavari, Jutay, Jurua, 
Purus, and Madeira, with Peru and Bolivia ; by the Santiago, Pastaza, 
and Napo, with Ecuador ; by the Iga and Japura, with New Grenada ; 
by the Negro and Branco, with Venezuela and the Guayanas ; and by 
the Madeira, Tapajos Tocantins, and Xingu, with the rich interior pro- 
vinces of Brazil. I presume that the Brazilian government would im- 
pose no obstacles to the settlement of this country by any of the citizens 
of the United States who would choose to go there and carry their slaves ; 
and I know th^ the thinking people on the Amazon would be glad 
to see them. The President, who is laboring for the good of the 
province, and sending for the chiefs of the Indian tribes for the purpose 
of engaging them in settlement and systematic labor, said to me, at 
parting, "How much I wish you could bring me a thousand of your 
active, industrious, and intelligent population, to set an example of labor 
to these people ; " and others told me that they had no doubt that 
Brazil would give titles to vacant lands to as many as came. 

Foreigners have some advantage over natives in being exempt from 
military and civil services, which are badly paid, and a nuisance. 
There is still some jealousy on the part of the less educated among the 
natives against the foreigners, who, by superior knowledge and industry, 
monopolize trade, and thus prosper. This produced the terrible revolu- 
tion of the Cabanos (serfs, people who live in cabins) in the years from 
1836 to 1840, when many Portuguese were killed and expelled. These 
are the most numerous and active foreigners in the province. I have 
been told that property and life in the province are always in danger 
from this cause ; and it was probably for this reason that the President, 
in his speech to the provincial assembly, before quoted, reminded that 
body, in such grave terms, that laws must be made for the control and 
government of the sixty thousand tapuios, who so far outnumbered the 
property-holders, and who are always open to the influence of the de- 
signing, the ambitious, and the wicked. 

The military force of the province of Amazonas consists of two battal- 
ions of a force called Guarda Policial, numbering about thirteen hundred, 
and divided amongst the villages of the province. They are not paid ; 
they furnish their own uniform, (a white jacket and trousers ;) and small 



bodies of them are compelled by turns to do actual military service in 
the barracks of some of the towns, for which time they are paid at the 
same rate as the soldiers of the line. This is a real grievance. I have 
heard individuals complain of it ; and I doubt if the government would 
get very effective service from this body in the event of civil war. This 
organization took the place of the national guard, disbanded in 1836. 
Since I left the country the national guard has been reorganized, and 
the military force of the province placed upon a better footing. 

I am indebted to Seuhor Gabriel de Guimaraes, an intelligent citizen 
of Barra, for the following table of the annual exports of the Comarca, 
being the mean of the three years, from 1839 to 1842, with the prices 
of the articles at Barra: 

- $12,000 

- 4,250 





- - - 600 

- 1,000 

- 1,000 

- 6,000 







4,000 arrobas, a 

$3 00 

Salt fish, 

8,500 , " 


Brazilian nutmegs, 

73 " 

1 00 

Tonka beans, 

3 " 

1 00 


360 " 



132 « 



320 pounds. 



1,200 airobas, 



1,000 " 

1 00 



3 00 


400 canadas. 

2 50 


750 pots, 

1 00 

Oil of turtle- eggs. 

6,000 " 

1 00 


300 alquieres, 


Brazil nuts. 

1,400 " 



30 « 








Heavy boards. 


1 25 

These are the exports of the whole province, including the town 
of Egas, (the exports of which alone I estimate now at thirteen thousand 
dollars,) with the Httle villages of Tabatinga, San Paulo, Tunantins, &c. 
Very little, however, of the trade of these last-named places passes Barra, 
and goes on to Para. We will now see how much the trade has in- 
creased by examining the following table of the exports of Barra alone 
for the year 1850. This was also furnished rae by the Senhor Giuma- 



Exports of the town of Barrafor 1850. 

Hammocks, ordinary, 

40 a 

11 50 

$60 00 

" superic 



4 00 

60 00 

" de travessa,* 


5 00 

500 00 

" feathered. 


30 00 

60 00 

*' bags containing 25, 


5 00 

45 00 

" boxes. 


10 00 

10 00 

Bird-skins, " 


10 00 

20 00 




2 00 



50 - 

13 00 

Oil of turtle-eggs, ] 



1 50 

- 1,818 00 




2 50 

67 50 




1 50 

99 00 




i 50 

3 00 

Rope of piasaba,J 



50 - 

896 00 

Piasaba, in bundles, arrobas, 



- 1,802 64 

Brazil nuts. 



50 . 

- 5,203 00 

Salt fish, 



50 . 

- 7,001 00 




1 50 

- 474 00 




1 00 

631 00 





50 00 




4 00 

616 00 




4 00 

- 3,144 00 





21 00 

Brazilian nutmeg. 



5 00 

100 00 





5 00 

* Hammocks, " de travessa," are those that are woven with close stripes across 

t Sausages made from the flesh of the Peixe-boi. 

t Piasaba is a palm, from the bark of which is made nearly all the rope used 
upon the Amazon. The appearance of the rope made from it is exactly that of 
the East India coir. It is very strong, hut liable to rot in the heat and mois- 
ture of this climate. The fibres of the hark are brought down the rivers Negro 
and Branco, put up in large bundles, and are at Barra made into cables and 
running rigging. The coils are always sixty fathoms in length, and they are sold 
at so much per inch of circumference. 

$ Guaran^ is the fniit of a low wide-spreading tree. It is about the size of a 
common walnut, and contains, within, five or six small seeds. These seeds are 
toasted, ground, mixed with a little water, pressed into moulds, and dried in an 
even. Two spoonfuls, grated into a tumbler of water, is thought to make a very 


Tonka beans, 


4 a So 00 

- $20 00 

Grude de piraiba * 


1 a 3 50 

3 50 



10,000 a 2i - 

- 250 00 

22,§75 00 

In this last list tbere appears to be no carajum, pitch, farinba, 
tapioca, or planking for vessels. In place of these we find a greater 
variety of hammocks, bird skins, tiger-skins, guarana, grude de paraiba, 
and boards. This last article, however, was only furnished for one year ; 
the saw-mill was burned, and no one seemed disposed to take the specu- 
lation up again. 

The Brazilian nutmeg (Puxiri) is the fruit of a very large tree that 
grows in great abundance in the low lands (frequently covered with 
water) that lies between the river Xegro and Japura, above Barcellos, 
a village situated on the banks of the first-named river. Its value 
seems to have increased between the dates of the two tables, or between 
the years 1840 and 1850, from one dollar the arroba to five. The 
fruit is round, and about the size of our common black walnut. Within 
a hard outer shell are contained two seeds, shaped like the grains of 
coffee, though much longer and larger, which are ligneous and aromatic, 
and are grated for use like the nutnreg of commerce. It is not equal 
in flavor to the Ceylon nutmeg ; but this may be owing to the want of 

Tonka beans (Cumarii) are found in great abundance on the upper 
waters of the Rio Kegro. This is also the nut-like fruit of a large tree. 
It is the aromatic bean that is commonly used to give flavor to snuff. 

I thought it a curious fact that nearly all the valuable fruits of this 
country are enclosed either in hard ligneous shells, or in acid pulps ; 
and judge that it is a provision of nature to protect them from the vast 
number of insects with which this region abounds. Thus we have the 
coffee and the cocoa enveloped in an acid, mucilaginous pulp, and the 
Castanhas de Maranham, or Brazil nuts, the Sapucaia nut, the Guarana, 
the Puxiri, and the Cumarii, covered with a hard outer shell, that 
neither the insects nor the monkeys ai'e able to penetrate. 

refreshing drink. It is said to be a stimulant to the nerves, and, like strong tea 
or coffee, to take away sleep. It grows principally on the banks of the upper 
Tapajos, and is much used by the inhabitants oiMatto Grosso. 

*This is isinglass, taken from a fish calledipiraiba. I heard in Para of a fish 
called gurijuba, which yielded an isinglass worth sixteen dollars the arroba. 

268 EXPORTS. ^ 

It appears from an examination of the tables, tliat the exports of 
Barra alone, in the year 1850, are not in value far below those of the 
whole Comarca in the year 1840. I have no doubt, as in the case of 
Egas, that the value of the imports is very nearly double that of the 
exports ; so that the present trade of Barra with Para may fairly be 
estimated at sixty thousand dollars per annum. 

BARRA. 269 


Town of Barra— Foreign residents — Population — Eio Negro— Connexion with 
the Oronoco — River Purus— Rio Branco — Vegetable productions of the Ama- 
zon country. 

The town of Barra, capital of the province of Amazonas, is built on 
elevated and broken ground, on the left bank of the river, and about 
seven miles from its mouth. Its height above the level of the sea is, by 
boiling point, one thousand four hundred and seventy-five feet. It is 
intersected by two or three ravines, containing more or less water, 
according to the state of the river, which are passed on tolerably con- 
structed wooden bridges. The houses are generally of one story, though 
there are three or four of two, built of wood and adobe, and roofed 
with tiles. The floors are also of tiles, and the walls are plastered with 
the colored earth which abounds on the banks of the Amazon. 

Every room has several hooks driven into the walls, for the purpose 
of hanging hammocks. People find it more comfortable, on account of 
the heat, to sleep in hammocks, though I always suffered from cold, and 
was obliged every night to wrap myself in a blanket. There are few 
musquitoes, these insects always avoiding black water. 

I was surprised to find, before I left Barra, that provisions were getting 
very scarce. The supply of flour gave out, so that for some time there 
was no bread in the city ; and beef was killed but once a fortnight 
Even the staples of the country were difficult to procure ; and I heard 
the President say that he was desirous of recruiting some fifty or sixty 
tapuios to work on the new government buildings, but that he really did 
not know where he should get a sufficient quantity of salt fish and 
farinha to feed them on. Just before I sailed, a boat-load of tm-tles came 
up from the Amazon for Henrique, and his house was besieged by the 
poorer part of the population, begging him to sell to them. 

Soon after my arrival the President did me the honor to ask me to 
dine with him, to meet the officers of the new government. There 
seemed then a great abundance of provisions. We had fish, beef, mut- 
ton, pig, turtle, and turkey. There are very fine fish taken about Barra ; 
they come, however, from the Amazon, and, unless cooked immediately 
on their arrival, invariably spoil. The best fish is called pescado ; it is 
very delicate, and quite equal, if not superior, to our striped bass, or 


rock-fish, as it is called in the Southern States. Cut into pieces, fried, 
and potted, with vinegar and spices, it makes capital provisions for a 
voyage of a week or two. 

Williams is the only American resident in Barra. He was in partner- 
ship V, ith an Irishman named Bradley, who died a few months ago of 
yellow fever, in Para ; he, however, had been very sick, but a short 
time before, of the tertiana of the Rio Negro, and had not fairly recov- 
ered when he went to Para. There had been another American in 
Barra a year ago. This was a deaf mute named Baker, who was trav- 
elling in this country for his amusement. He carried with him tablets 
and a raised alphabet, for the purpose of educating the deaf, dumb, and 
blind. He died on the 29th of April, 1850, at San Joachim, the fron- 
tier port of Brazil, on the Rio Branco. 

I heard some muttered suspicions that the poor man had possibly 
met with foul play, if not in relation to his death, a,t least in relation to 
his property ; and understanding that the soldier in whose house he 
died was then in prison in Barra, I directed a communication to the 
President, requesting an interview with this soldier. His Excellency 
did not think proper to grant that, but sent for the soldier, and himself 
examined him. He then replied to my communication, that he could 
find nothing suspicious in the matter of Mr. Baker's death, but enough 
in regard to his property to induce him to send for the commandant of 
the port of San Joachim, and bring the whole matter before a proper 
tribunal, which he should do at the earliest opportunity, and communi- 
cate the result to the American Minister at Rio. 

Enrique had told me that he saw in Mr. Baker's possession a rouleau 
of doubloons, which he judged amounted to two thousand dollars, 
besides a large bag of silver. A military gentleman whom I was in 
the habit of meeting at Enrique's house, told me that he himself had 
heard the soldier say that he should be a rich man when he got back 
to San Joachim ; all of which I communicated to the President. The 
soldier's imprisonment at Barra was on account of some military offence, 
and had nothing to do with this case. 

Tlie President also sent me a list of the j^ersonal effects of Mr. Baker, 
w^hich had been sent down by the commandant of San Joachim to Col. 
Albino, the Commandante Gcral of the Comarca. Amongst them were 
some things that I thought might be valuable to his family — such as 
daguerreotypes, maps, and manuscripts ; and I requested his Excellency 
to place them at my disposal for transportation to the United States ; 
but he replied that by a law of the empire the effects of all foreigners 
belonging to nations who have no special treaty upon the subject, who 


die in Brazil, are subject to the jurisdiction of the Juiz de Orfaos y 
Difuntos ; and that it was therefore out of his power to comply with 
my request. I am told (though this may be scandal) that if property 
once gets into this court, the heir, if he ever succeeds in getting a set- 
tlement, finds but a Flemish account of his inheritance. 

Our intelligent and efficient consul at Para, Henry L. Norris, has 
represented this matter to the government in strong terms, showing the 
effect that such a law has upon the credit and standing of large mer- 
cantile houses in Brazil. I am not aware of any other nation than the 
French being exempted from its operation. It is clear that the credit 
of a house whose property may be seized by such a court as this on the 
death of its resident principal will not be so good, cceteris paribus, as 
that of a house exempted from the operation of such a law. The Bra- 
zilian authorities are very rigid in its execution ; and I was told that a 
file of soldiers was sent (I think in Maranham) to surround the house 
of a dying foreigner, to see that no abstraction of property was made, 
and that the whole might be taken possession of, according to law, on 
the decease of the moribund. 

There were two English residents at Barra — Yates, a collector of shells 
and plants ; and Hauxwell, a collector of bird-skins, which he prepares 
most beautifully. He used the finest kind of shot, and always carried 
in his pocket a white powder, to stop the bleeding of the birds when 
shot. In the preparation of the skins he employed dry arsenic in 
powder, which is«iiuch superior, in this humid climate, to arsenical soap. 
He admired some of my birds very much, and went with Williams up 
to Pebas, in Peru, where I procured most of them. 

There were also two English botanists, whose names I have forgotten, 
then up the Rio Negro. One had been very sick with tertiana, but was 
recovering at latest accounts. 

The chief engineer of the steamer was a hard-headed, hot-tempered 
old Scotchman, who abused the steamer in particular, and the service 
generally, in no measured terms. He desired to know if ever I saw 
such beef as was furnished to them ; and if we would give such beef to 
the dogs in my country. I told him that I thought he was fortunate 
to get beef at all, for that I had not seen any for a fortnight, and that 
if he had made such a voyage as I had recently, he would find turtle 
and salt fish no such bad things. The steamer, though preserving a fair 
outside, is, I believe, very ineflicient — the machinery wanting in power, 
and beiug much out of order ; indeed, so much so that on her down- 
ward passage she fairly broke down, and had to be towed into Para. 
She, however, made the trip up in eighteen days, which, considering that 


the distance is full a thousand miles ; that this was the first ^trip ever 
made up by steam ; that the wood prepared for- her had not had time 
to dry; and that there is nearly three-miles-an-hour current against 
her for about one-third of the distance, I do not consider a very bad run. 
The officers did not call to see me or invite me on board their vessel, 
though I met some of them at the dinner and evening parties of the 

Mr. Potter, a daguerreotypist, and watchmaker, who came up in the 
steamer, and my good friend Enrique Antonii, the Italian, with his 
father-in-law, Senhor Brandao, a Portugese, make up the list of the 
foreigners of Barra, as far as I know them. Senhor Brandao, however, 
has lived many years in the country; has identified himself with it; and 
all his interests are Brazilian. He is a very intelligent man ; and I 
observe that he is consulted by the President and other officials in rela- 
tion to the affairs of the new government. 

Whilst speaking of persons, I should be derelict in the matter of 
gratitude if I failed to mention Donna Leocadia, the pretty, clever, and 
amiable wife of Enrique. She exhibited great interest in my mission, 
and was always personally kind to myself. When our sunrise meal of 
coffee and buttered toast gave out, she would always manage to send 
me a tapioca custard, a bowl of caldo, or something nice and comforta- 
ble for a tired invalid. Unlike most Brazilian ladies, whenever her house- 
hold duties would permit, she always sat with the gentlemen, and bore 
an intelligent part in the conversation, expressing hft- desire to speak 
foreign languages, and to visit foreign countries, that she might see and 
know what was in the world. A son was born to her whilst I was in 
the house, and we had become such friends that the young stranger 
was to be called Luis^ and I was to be compadre^ (godfather.) But 
the church, very properly, would not give its sanction to the assumption 
of the duties belonging to such a position by a heretic. 

Ijurra left me here, and returned up stream with Williams. He laid 
out nearly all the money received for his services in such things as 
would best enable him to employ the Indians in the clearance of the 
forest, and the establishment of a plantation, which he proposed to 
^^locate^^ at Caballo-cocha, saying to me that he would have a grand 
crop of cotton and coffee ready against the arrival of my steamer. 

Ijurra has all the qualities necessary for a successful struggle with 
the world, save two — patience and judgment. He is brave, hardy, in- 
telligent, and indefatigable. The river beach and a blanket are all that 
are necessary to him for a bed ; and I believe that he could live on coffee 
and cigars. But his want of temper and discretion mars every scheme 


for prosperity. He spent a noble fortune, dug by his fatber from the 
Mina del rey^ at Cerro Pasco, in the pohtical troubles of his country. 
He was appointed governor of the large and important province of 
Mainas, but, interfering with the elections, he was driven out. He then, 
joined a party for the purpose of washing the sands of the Santiago for 
gold, but quarrels with his companions broke that up. With infinite 
labor he then collected an immense cargo of Peruvian bark ; but, 
refusing eighty thousand dollars for it in Para, he carried it to England, 
where it was pronounced v/orthless ; and he lost the fruits of his enter- 
prise and industry. 

He gave me infinite concern and some apprehension in the manage- 
ment of the Indians ; but I shall never forget the untiring energy, the 
buoyancy of spirits, and the faithful loyalty, that cheered my lonely 
journey, and made the little Peruvian as dear to me as a brother. 

The official returns for the year 1848 gave the population of the 
town of Barra at three thousand six hundred and fourteen free persons, 
and two hundred and thirty-four slaves ; the number of marriages, one 
hundred and fifteen : births, two hundred and fifty ; and deaths twenty- 
five; the number of inhabited houses, four hundred and severity; and 
the number of foreigners, twenty-four. There are three or four large and 
commodious two-story houses that rent for two hundred and fifty dollars 
a year. The ordinary house of one story rents for fifty dollars. The 
town taxes are ten per cent, on the rent of houses, a dollar a year for a 
slave, and three dollars a year for a horse. There are no other taxes 
except the custom-house dues. The soil in the immediate neighbor- 
hood of Barra is poor, and I saw no cultivation except in the gardens 
of the town. 

The rock in the neighborhood of Barra is peculiar; it is a red sand- 
stone, covered with a thin layer of white clay. At a mill-seat about 
three miles from the town, a shallow stream, twenty yards broad, rushes 
over an inclined plane of this rock, and falls over the ledge of it in a 
pretty little cataract of about nine feet in height. The water is the 
same in color with that of the Rio Negro, when taken up in a tumbler — 
that is, a faint pink. It is impossible to resist the impression that there 
is a connexion between the color of the rock and the color of the water. 
Whether the water, tinged with vegetable matter, gives its color to the 
rock, or the rock, cemented with mineral matter, has its effect, upon the 
water, I am unable to say. The rock on which the mill stands, which 
is at the Q&gQ, of the fall, is covered with very hard white clay, about 
the eighth of an inch in thickness. 

The mill was built upon a platform of rock at the edge of the fall, 


and the yvheel placed below. There was no necessity for dam or race, 
or, at least, a log, placed diagonally across the stream, served for a dam. 
It was built by a Scotchman, in partnership with a Brazilian. The 
Brazilian dying, his widow would neither buy nor sell, and the mill was 
finally burned down. I judge that it was not a good speculation ; there 
is no fine timber in the immediate neighborhood of Barra, and no roads 
in the country by which it may be brought to the mill. 

The Indians of the neighborhood are called 3furas ; they lead an idle, 
vagabond life, and live by hunting and fishing. A few of them come 
in and take service with the whites ; and nearly all bring their children 
in to be baptized. Their reason for this is, not that they care about the 
ceremony, but they can generally persuade some good-natured white 
man to stand as godfather, which secures the payment of the church 
fee, (a cruzado) a bottle of spirits to the father, and a yard or two of 
cotton cloth to the mother. Antonii tells me he is comjmdi'e with half 
the tribe. 

They are thorough savages, and kill a number of their children from 
indisposition to take care of them. My good hostess told me that her 
father, -returnino- from a walk to his house in the country, heard a noise 
in the woods ; and, going towards the spot, found a young Indian woman, 
a tapuia of his, digging a hole in the ground for the purpose of burying 
her infant just born. He interfered to prevent it, when she flew at him 
like a tiger. The old gentleman, however, cudgelled her into submission 
and obedience, and compelled her to take the child home, where he put 
it under the care of another woman. 

The women sufi'er very little in parturition, and are able to perform 
all the ofiices of a midwife for themselves. I am told that sometimes, 
when a man and his wife are travelling together in a canoe, the woman 
will signify to her husband her desire to land; will retreat into the 
woods, and in a very short time j-eturn with a newly-born infant, which 
she will wash ia the river, sling to her back, and resume her paddle 
again. Even the ladies of this country are confined a very short time. 
The mother of my little namesake was about her household avocations 
in seven days after his birth. This probably arises from three causes : 
tbe climate, the habit of wearing loose dresses, and the absence of 

The Rio Xegro, opposite the town, is about a mile and a half wide, 
and very beautiful. The opposite shore is masked by low islands; and, 
where glimpses of it can be had, it appears to be five or six miles distant. 
The river is navigable for almost any draught to the Rio Maraya, a dis- 
tance of twenty-five days, or, according to the rate of travelling on these 


streams, about four liimdred miles; there the rapids commence, and 
the further ascent must be made in boats. Though large vessels may 
not ascend these rapids, they descend without difficulty. Most of the 
vessels that ply both on the Rio Negro and Oronoco are built at or 
near San Carlos, the frontier port of Venezuela, situated above the 
rapids of the Negro, and are sent down those rapids, and also up the 
Cassiquiari and down the Oronoco to Angostura, passing the two great 
rapids of Atures and Maypures^ where that river turns from its westerly 
course toward the north. They cannot again ascend these rapids. 
Antonii has a new vessel lying at Barra, built at San Carlos ; it is one 
hundred tons burden, and is well constructed, except that the decks, 
being laid of green wood, have w^arped, and require to be renewed. It 
cost him one thousand dollars. Brazilians pay a tax of fifteen per cent, 
on prime cost on foreign-built vessels. Foreigners not naturalized cannot 
sail vessels in their own name upon the interior watei's of the empire. 

It takes fifty- one days to go from Barra, at the mouth of the Negro, 
to San Fernando, on the Oronoco. This is by ascending the Negro 
above the mouth of the Cassiquiari, taking the caiio of Pimichim and 
a portage of six hours to the headwaters of a small stream called 
Atabapo, which empties into the Oronoco. A small boat may be 
dragged over this portage in a day ; to go between the same places by 
the Cassiquiari requires ten days more at the most favorable season, and 
twenty when the Oronoco is full. 

From the journal of a voyage made by Antonii in the months of 
April, May, and June, 1844, it appears that from Barra to Airao is five 
days ; thence to the mouth of Rio Branco, four ; to Barcellos, three ; 
to Moreira, three ; to Thomar, two ; to San Isabel, five ; to Rio Maraia, 
three ; to Castanheiro, two ; to Masarabi, one ; to San Gabriel, six ; to 
Santa Barbara, one ; to Sta. Ana, one ; to N. S. de Guia, one ; to Mabe, 
one ; to Sta. Marcellina, one ; to Maribitano, one ; to Marcellera, one ; 
to San Carlos, two ; to Tiriquim, one ; to Tomo, two ; to Marao, one ; 
to Pimichim, one ; to Javita, one ; to Baltazar, one ; to San Fernando, 

A few hours above Barcellos is the mouth of the river Quiuni, which 
is known to run up to within a very short distance of the Japura ; 
nearly opposite to San Isabel is the mouth of a river called Jurubashea, 
which also runs up nearly to the Japura. Between these rivers is the 
great Puxiri country ; it is covered with water when the rivers are full. 
There is a vagabond tribe of Indians living in this country called Magu. 
They use no canoes, and when they cannot travel on the land, for the 
depth of water, they are said to make astonishing progress from tree to 


tree, like monkeys ; the men laden with their arms and the women with 
their children. 

Just above San Isabel are found great quantities of the Brazil nut ; 
and a little further up is the mouth of the river Cababuii, where sarsapa- 
rilla, estimated at Para as being better in quality than that of any other 
in the valley of the Amazon, is gathered; still higher up, above San 
Carlos, is cocoa of very superior quality, and in great abundance. 

I have estimated that the distance between Barra and San Carlos at 
the mouth of the Cassiquiari is about six hundred and sixty miles. A 
llat-bottomed iron steamer calculated to pass the rapids of the Rio 
Negro will make seventy-five miles a day against the current. This 
will take her to San Carlos in nine days. She will ascend the Cassi- 
quiari one hundred and eighty miles in two and a half days. From the 
junction of the Cassiquiari and the Oronoco to Angostura is seven hun- 
dred and eighty miles. The steamer has the current with her, and, 
instead of seventy-five, will run one hundred and twenty-five miles a 
day. This will bring her to Angostura in six days ; thence to the ocean, 
two hundred and fifty miles, in two days. This allows the steamer 
abundance of time to take in fuel, and to discharge and take in cargo, 
at the many villages she finds on her route ; with a canal cut over the 
portage of six hours at Pimichim, she will make the voyage in five days 
less. Thus by the natural canal of the Cassiquiari the voyage between 
Barra, at the mouth of the Negro, and the mouth of the Oronoco, may 
be made by steam in nineteen and a half days ; by the canal at Pimi- 
chim in fourteen and a half days. 

I shall have occasion hereafter to speak of the portage between the 
river Tapajos (one of the southern confluents of the Amazon) and the 
headwaters of the Rio de la Plata. This gives another immense inland 

"rf he mind is confused with the great images presented to it by the 
contemplation of these things. We have here a continent divided 
into many islands, (for most of its great streams inosculate,) whose 
shores produce, or may be made to produce, all that the earth gives for 
the maintenance of more people than the earth now holds. We have 
also here a fluvial navigation for large vessels, by the Amazon and its 
great tributaries, of (in round numbers) about six thousand miles, which 
does not include the innumerable small streams that empty into the 
Amazon, and which would probably swell the amount to ten thousand ; 
neither does it include the Oronoco, with its tributaries, on the one 
hand, nor the La Plata, with its tributaries, upon the other ; the former 
of which communicates with the valley of the Amazon by the Cassi- 


quiari, and the latter merely requires a canal of six leagues in length, 
over very practicable ground, to do the same. 

Let us now suppose the banks of these streams settled by an active 
and industrious population, desirous to exchange thf< rich products of 
their lands for the commodities and luxuries of foreign countries ; let 
us suppose introduced into such a country the railroad and the steam- 
boat, the plough, the axe, and the hoe ; let us suppose the land divided 
into large estates, and cultivated by slave labor, so as to produce all 
that they are capable of producing : and with these considerations, we 
shall have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that no territory on 
the face of the globe is so favorably situated, and that, if trade there 
is once awakened, the power, the wealth, and grandeur of ancient 
Babylon and modern London must yield to that of the depots of this 
trade, that shall be established at the mouths of the Oronoco, the Ama- 
zon, and the La Plata. 

Humboldt, by far the greatest cosmographer that the world has yet 
known, and one of the most learned men and profoundest thinkers of 
any time, in contemplating the connexion between the valleys of the 
Oronoco and the Amazon by the Cassiquiari, speaks thus of its future 
importance : 

" Since my departure from the banks of the Oronoco and the Ama- 
zon, a new era unfolds itself in the social state of the nations of the 
West. The fury of civil discussions will be succeeded by the blessings 
of peace and a freer development of the arts of industry. The bifurca- 
tion of the Oronoco," (the Cassiquiari,) "the isthmus of Tuamini," (my 
portage of Pimichim,) "so easy to pass over by an artificial canal, will 
fix the attention of commercial Europe. The Cassiquiari — as broad as 
the Rhine, and the course of which is one hundred and eighty mile^ in 
length — will no longer form in vain a navigable canal between two 
basins of rivers, which have a surface of one hundred and ninety thou- 
sand square leagues. The grain of New Grenada will be carried to the 
banks of the Rio Negro ; boats will descend from the sources of the 
Napo and the Ucayali, from the Andes of Quito and upper Peru, to 
the mouths of the Oronoco — a distance which equals that from Timbuc- 
too to Marseilles. A country nine or ten times larger than Spain, and 
enriched with the most varied productions, is navigable in every direc- 
tion by the medium of the natural canal of the Cassiquiari and the bi- 
furcation of the rivers. This phenomenon, which one day will be so 
important for the political connexions of nations, unquestionably deserves 
to be carefully examined." 

K these things should, in the estimation of Humboldt, " fix the atten- 


tion of commercial Europe," miicli more should they occupy ours. A 
glance at the map, and a reflection upon the course of the trade-winds, 
will show conclusively that no ships can sail from the mouths of the 
Amazon and Oronoco without passing close by our southern ports. 
Here, then, is the natural depot for the rich and varied productions of 
that vast region. Here, too, can be found all that the inhabitants of 
that region require for their support and comfort ; and I have not the 
slightest doubt, if Brazil should pursue a manly policy, and throw open 
her great river to the trade of the world, that the United States would 
reap far the largest share of the benefits to be derived from it. 

Whilst at Barra, I had conversations with a man who had made 
several trading voyages up the " Purus." Ever since I had read the 
pamphlet of Father Bobo de Revello, in which he attempts to show 
that a navigable river, which he saw to the eastward of Cuzco, and 
which he calls Madre de Dios, is identical with the Purus, this river 
has had for me a gTeat interest. I sent Mr. Gibbon to look for its 
head-waters, and I determined, if possible, to ascend it from its mouth. 
I am not aware of the reasons which induced Gibbon to abandon the 
search for its sources, though I suspect they arose from the well-known 
fierce and hostile character of the savages who dwell on its upper banks. 
But, for myself, I am compelled to acknowledge that when I arrived at 
Barra, near the mouth of the Purus, I was broken down-, and felt con- 
vinced that I could not stand the hardship and exposure necessary for a 
thorough examination of this river. 

According to the statements of my informant — a very dark Brazilian, 
named Seraphim — the Purus commences to rise in October, and to fall 
in May. The best time to ascend it is when the river is quite full and 
done rising — in May. The beaches are then covered, and slack water 
is found close in to the proper shores of the river. 

Fifteen days, or about two hundred and fifty miles from the mouth, is 
the mouth of a stream called Farana-pishuna, which, by a succession 
of lakes and a portage of a day, connects the Purus with the Madeira* 
The connexion is only passable when the river is full. About the mouth 
of this stream, the sezoens, or intermittent fevers, are said to be very 
fatal; but a few days of navigation takes the voyager above their locality 
and out of their influence. There are several large lakes between the 
mouth of the Purus and that of the Parana-pishuna. 

Thirty days from the mouth of the Purus is the mouth of a river 
called the Mucuin, which also communicates with the Madeira, above 
the rapids of that river. The banks of the Mucuin are low and level ; 
the river is shallow, and the rocks make the passage up and down tedious 


and laborious in tlie dry season, wliiGh is from May to October. 
Tlie ascent of the Mucuin takes thirty-five days to arrive at the 
" Furo," which connects it with the Madeira ; and the navigation of the 
Furo takes ten more. I did not understand from Senhor Seraphim that 
there were any whites on the banks of the Mucuin ; but he told me 
there were broad-tailed sheep there — such as are called in Brazil sheep 
of five quarters, on account of the weight and value of the tail. If 
this be true, I suspect that the Mucuin runs through a portion of the 
great department of Beni, belonging to Bolivia ; that it communicates 
with the Madeira by means of the river Beni ; and that these sheep 
have either been stolen by the Indians, or have strayed from' whites 
who live about the little town of Cavanas, situated on a tributary of 
the Beni. 

Four years ago Senhor Seraphim, in one of his voyages, encountered 
the wreck of a boat stranded on a beach of the Purus. He knew that 
it was not a Brazilian boat, on account of its construction, and from the 
fact that he at that time w^as the only trader on the river. He also 
knew that it was not an Indian's boat, from the iron ring in its bow ; 
and the only conclusion that he could come to was that the boat had 
broken adrift from civilized people above, and been wrecked and 
broken in passing the rapids. The Indians who were wdth Seraphim 
told him that ten days higher up (though the river was broken by 
caxoeiras) would reach white people, who rode on horseback, and had 
flocks and herds. Seraphim was then probably about six hundred miles 
from the mouth of the Purus. His last voyage occupied eighteen 
months, and he brought down two hundred and twenty-five pots of 
copaiba, and one hundred and fifty arrobas of sarsaparilla. 

The catauxis and the Indians generally of the Purus build their 
houses exactly as 1 have described those of the Yaguas. There is rarely 
ever more than one house at a settlement ; it is called a malocca, and 
ten or fifteen families reside in it. Children are contracted in marriage 
at birth and are suff"ered to come together at ten or twelve years of 
age. The capacity of a boy to endure pain is always tested before he 
is permitted to take his place as a man in his tribe. The dead are 
buried in the same position .as that used by the ancient Peruvians. 
The knees and elbows are tied together, and the body placed in a sitting 
position in a large earthern jar. This jar is placed in a hole dug in 
the floor of the malocca, and is filled in around the body with earth. 
Two smaller jars are then placed, with mouth downwards, over the large 
jar, and the whole is covered up with earth. 

The Indians of the Purus, as elsewhere in the valley of the Amazon, 


are careless and lazy ; most of them go naked. Tliey cultivate a little 
maize and mandioc for sustenance, and make a little carajurii to paint 
their bodies and weapons with. Seraphim, however, had no difficulty 
in getting Indians to collect copaiba and sarsaparilla for him. He was 
not long from the Purus when I arrived at Barra ; poor fellow ! he was 
a martyr to the rheumatism, and his hands and legs were positively 
black from the marks left by the musquitoes. I sent him from Para 
physic, which is highly esteemed upon the Amazon, called loduret of 
potassa, and " Le Roi," in return for his information, and some presents 
of ajcms &c., from the Purus. 

The Amazon at Barra ordinarily commences to rise about the fifteenth 
of November, and continues filling till the end of December. It falls 
through the month of January, when it again rises till June, about the 
end of Avhich month it begins to fall. 

I found the Rio Negro stationary during the month of January. It 
commenced rising about the first of February ; it is full in Jane. I 
believe it follows the laws of the Amazon, and had risen through the 
month of December. These laws are subject to considerable fluctua- 
tions, depending upon the greater or less quantity of rain at the sources 
of the rivers. 

The Rio Branco, the greatest tributary of the Negro, is low in Janu- 
ary. This river is navigable for large craft for about three hundred miles 
fiom its mouth ; thence it is broken into rapids, only passable for large 
flat bottomed boats. It is very thickly wooded below the first rapids ; 
above these the trees disappear, and the river is bordered by immense 
plains, which would afibrd pasturage to large numbers of cattle. Barra 
is supplied with beef from the Rio Branco, where it must cost very little, 
as it is sold in Barra at five cents a pound. 

Strong northeasterly winds make the ascent of the river tedious. A 
boat will come down from San Joachim, near the sources of the river, to 
Barra, a distance of five hundred miles, and passing many rapids, in 
twelve days. 

A portage of only two hours divides the head-waters of the Branco 
from those of the Essequibo. I saw fowling pieces, of English manufac- 
ture, in Barra, that had been bought by the traders on the Rio Branco 
from Indians, who had purchased them from traders on the Essequibo. 
They were of very good quality, but had generally been damaged, and 
"were repaired by the blacksmiths of Barra. Beautiful specimens of 
rock crystal are brought from the highlands that divide the Branco 
and Essequibo. The tertianas are said to be very malignant on the Rio 


There is scarcely any attempt at the regular cultivation of the earth 
in all the province of Amazonas ; but the natural productions of its soil 
are most varied and valuable. In the forest are twenty-three well- 
known varieties of palm, all more or less useful. From the piassaba 
bark (called by Humboldt the chiquichiqui palm) is obtained cordage 
which I think quite equal in quality to the coir of India. From the 
leaves of the tucum are obtained the fibres of which all the hammocks 
of the country are made. Roofs of houses thatched with the gigantic 
leaves of the hussu will last more than ten years. The seed of the 
urucuri and inoja^ are found to make the best fires for smoking India- 
rubber ; and most of the palms give fruit, which is edible in some shape 
or other. 

Of trees fitted for nautical constructions, there are twenty-two kinds ; 
for the construction of houses and boats, thirty-three ; for cabinet-work, 
twelve, (some of which — such as the jacarandd^ the muirapinima, or 
tortoise-shell wood, and the macacauha — are very beautiful ; ) and for 
making charcoal, seven. 

There are twelve kinds of trees that exude milk from their bark ; the 
milk of some of these — such as the arvoeiro and assacii — is poisonous. 
One is the seringa, or India-rubber tree; and one thewwrwre, the milk 
of which is reported to possess extraordinary virtue in the cure of mer- 
curialized patients, or those afflicted with syphilitic sores. Mr. Norris 
told me that a young American, dreadfully afilicted with the effects of 
mercury, and despairing of cure, had come to Pard to linger out what 
was left of life in the enjoyment of a tropical clime. A few doses of 
the murure sent him home a well man, though it is proper to say that 
he died suddenly a few years afterwards. Captain Littlefield, the master 
of the barque " Peerless," told me that he had a seaman on board his 
vessel covered with sores from head to foot, who was radically cured 
with a few teaspoonfuls of murure. Its operation is said to be very 
powerful, making the patient cold and rigid, and depriving him of sense 
for a short time. Mr. Norris has made several attempts to get it home, 
but without success. A bottle which I brought had generated so fetid 
a gas that I was glad to toss it from my hand when I opened it at the 

It is idle to give a list of the medicinal plants, for their name is legion. 
The Indians use nearly everything as a " remedio." One, however, is 
peculiar — it is called manacd. Von Martins, a learned German, who 
spent several years in this country, thus describes it : " Omnis planta 
magna radix potissimum, systema lymphaticum summa efficacia excitat, 
particulas morbificas liquescit, sudore et urina eliminat. Magni usus in 


syphilitide, ideo mercurio vegetal a quibiisdam dicitur. Cortex interior 
et omnes partes herbaceae amaritiidine nauseosa, fauces vellicante, pol- 
lent. Dosi parva resolvdt, niajore exturbat alvum et urinam ciet, abortum 
mo vet, venerium a morsu serpentum excutit ; nimia dosi taraquam vene- 
num acre agit. De modo, quo hauriri solet, conferas Martium, in Buch- 
ner Repertor. Pliarm. XXXI, 379. Apud nonnullas Indorum geutes in 
regione Amazonica habitantes ejus extractum in venenum sagittarum 

Its virtue in rheumatic affections was much extolled ; and, as I was 
suffering from pains in the teeth and shoulder, I determined to try its 
efficacy ; but, understanding that its effects were powerful, and made a 
man feel as if a bucket of cold water were suddenly poured down his 
back, I begged my kind hostess, Donna Leocadia, to make the docoction 
weak. Finding no effects from the first teacupful, I took another ; but 
either I was a peculiar patient, or we had not got hold of the proper 
root. I felt nothing but a very sensible coldness of the teeth and tip of 
the tongue. Next morning I took a stronger decoction, but with no 
other effect. I think it operated upon the liver, causing an increased 
secretion of bile. I brought home the leaves and root. 

The root of ihemurapuama, a bush destitute of leaves, is used as an 
analeptic remedy, giving force and tone to the nerves. 

A little plant called douradinha, with a yellow flower, something like 
our dandelion, that grows in the streets at Barra, is a powerful emetic. 

A clear and good burning oil is made from the Brazil nut ; also from 
the nut of the andiroba, which seems a sort of bastard Brazil nut, bear- 
ing the same relation to it that our horse-chestnut does to the edible 
chestnut. Both these oils, as also the oil made from turtle-eggs, are 
used to adulterate the copaiba. The trader has to be on the alert that 
he is not deceived by these adulterations. Another very pretty oil or 
resin is called tamacuare ; its virtues are much celebrated for the cure 
of cutaneous affections. 

The banks of the rivers and inland lakes abound with wild rice, 
which feeds a vast number of water-fowl; it is said to be edible. 

The Huimha of Peru — a sort of wild cotton, with a delicate and glossy 
fibre, like silk, and called in Brazil sumauma — abounds in the province. 
It grows in balls on a very large tree, which is nearly leafless; it is so 
light and delicate that it would be necessary to strip a number of these 
large trees to get an arroba of it. It is used in Guayaquil to stuff 
mattresses. I brouo:ht home several large baskets of it. Some silk 
manufacturers in France, to whom Mr. Clay, our charge d'aftaires at 
Lima, sent specimens, thought that, mixed with silk, it would make a 


cheap and pretty fabric ; but they had not a sufficient quantity to test it. 
Where cotton is cultivated in the province, it is sown in August, and 
commences to give in May ; the bulk and best of the harvest is in June 
and July. The tree will give good cotton for three years. 

Tobacco, of which that cultivated at Borba, on the Madeira, is the 
best in Brazil, is planted in beds during the month of February. When 
the plants are about half a foot high, which is in all the month of 
April, they are set out ; the force of the crop is in September. The 
plant averages four feet in height. Good Borba tobacco is worth in 
Barra seven dollars the arroba, of thirty two pounds; it does not keep 
well, and therefore the price in Para varies much. 

The tree that gives the Brazil nut is not more than two or three feet* 
in diameter, but very tall; the nuts, in number about twenty, are en- 
closed in a very hard, round shell, of about six inches in diameter. The 
crop is gathered in May and June. It is quite a dangerous operation to 
collect it ; the nut, fully as large and nearly as heavy as a nine pounder 
shot, falls from the top of the tree without warning, and would infallibly 
knock a man's brains out if it struck him on the head. 

Humboldt says, " I know nothing more fitted to seize the mind with* 
admiration of the force of organic action in the equinoctial zone than 
the aspect of these great ligneous pericarps. In our climates the 
cucurbitacece only produce in the space of a few months fruits of an 
extraordinary size; but these fruits are pulpy and succulent. Between 
the tropics the bertholletia forms, in less than fifty or sixty days, a peri- 
carp, the ligneous part of which is half an inch thick, and which it is 
difficult to saw with the sharpest instrument." He speaks of them as 
being often eight or ten inches in diameter; I saw none so large. 

There is a variety of this tree, called sajmcaia, that grows on low 
lands subject to overflow. Ten or fifteen of the nuts, which are long, 
corrugated, and very irregular in shape, are contained in a large outer 
shell ; the shell, unlike that of the castanha, does not fall entira from the 
tree, but when the nuts are ripe the bottom falls out, leaving the larger 
part of the shell, like the cup of an acorn, hanging to the tree. The 
nuts are scattered upon the water that at this season surrounds the 
trees, and are picked up in boats or by wading. The bark of the nut 
is fragile ; easily broken by the teeth ; and its substance is far superior 
•in delicacy of flavor to that of the Brazil nut. This nut as yet must 
be scarce, or it would have been known to commerce. The tree is a 
very large one ; the flowers yellow and pretty, but destitute of smell. 
The wood is one of those employed in nautical construction. 

Shell lime, which is made in Para, sells in Barra for one dollar and 


twenty-five cents the alquier, of sixty -four pounds; stone lime is double 
in price. 

Salt is worth one dollar and twenty-five cents the panero, of one hun-- 
dred and eight pounds. 

Rains at Barra commence in September ; the force of the rain is in 
February and March, but there is scarcely ever a continuous rain of 
twenty-four hours — one day rainy and one day clear. 

The Vigario Geral, an intelligent priest, named Joaquin Gonzales de 
Azevedo, told me that there was a sharp shock of an earthquake in this 
country, in the year 1816. The ground opened' at " Serpa," a village 
below Barra, to the depth of a covado, '(three-fourths of a yard.) 



Departure from Barra — River Madeira — Serpa — Villa Nova — Maufes — River 
Trombetas — Cocoa Plantations — Obidos — Santarem. 

Having had my boat thoroughly repaired, calked, and well fitted 
with palm coverings, called in Brazil toldos. with a sort of Wandering- 
Jew feeling that I was destined to leave every body behind and never to 
stop, I sailed from Barra on the eighteenth of February. The President 
had caused me to be furnished with six tapuios, but unwilling to dispos- 
sess himself at this time of a single working hand, he could not let them 
carry me below Santarem. The President is laboring in earnest for the 
good of the province ; and if anything is to be done for its improvement 
he will do it. He paid me every attention and kindness during my stay 
at Barra. 

But to my host (Antonii, the Italian) I am most indebted for attention 
and information. From his having been mentioned by Smyth as at 
the head of trade at Barra sixteen years ago, I had fancied that I should 
find him an elderly man ; but he is a handsome, gay, active fellow, in 
the prime of life. His black hair is somewhat sprinkled with gray, but 
he tells me that this arises not from age, but from the worry and vexa- 
tion he has had in business on account of the credit system. He is as 
agreeable as good sense, much information about the country, and open- 
hearted hospitality can make a man. I asked him to look out for 
Gibbon and make him comfortable ; and was charmed with the frank 
and hearty manner in which he bade me to "have no care of that." 

I fear that I behaved a little churhshly about the mails. There are 
post offices established in the villages on the Amazon, but no public 
conveyances are provided to carry the mails. The owner or captain of 
every vessel is required to report to the postmaster before sailing, in 
order to receive the mails ; and he is required to give a receipt for them. 
I did not like to be treated as an ordinary voyager upon the river, and, 
therefore, objected to receipt for the mails, though I oftered to carry all 
letters that should be intrusted to my care. My principal reason, how- 
ever, for declining was, that my movements were uncertain, and I did 
not wish to be trammelled. The postmaster would not give me the 
mail without a receipt, but I believe I brought away all the letters. 


I am now sorry, as I came direct, that I did not give tlie required receipt 
in return for the kindness that had been shown me. 

Mr. Potter, the daguerreotypist and watchmaker, sailed in company 
with me. We found the current of the "Negro" so slight that, with 
our ■ heavy boat and few men, we could make , no way against a smart 
breeze blowing np the river : we, therefore, a mile or two below Barra, 
pulled into the shore and made fast till the wind should fall, which it 
did about 3 p. m., when we got under way and entered the Amazon. 

Entering this river from the Negro, it appears but a tributary of the 
latter, and it is generally so designated in Barra. If a fisherman just in 
is asked where he is from, he will say "from the mouth of the Soli- 
moens." It has this appearance from the Negro's flowing in a straight 
course ; while the Solimoens makes a great bend at the junction of the 
two rivers. 

It is very curious to see the black water of the Negro appearing in 
large circular patches, amid the muddy waters of the Amazon, and en- 
tirely distinct. I did not observe that the water of the Amazon was at 
all clearer after the junction of the Negro; indeed, I thought it appeared 
more filthy. We found one hundred and ninety-eight feet of depth in 
the bay or large open space formed by the junction of the two rivers. 

About sixty miles below the mouth of the Rio Negro we stopped at 
the establishment of a Scotchman, named McCuUoch, situated on the 
left bank of the river. There is a very large island opposite, which 
reduces the river in front to about one hundred yards in width ; so that 
the establishment seems to be situated on a creek. 

McCulloch, in partnership with Antonii, at Barra, is establishing here 
a sugar plantation, and a mill to grind the cane. He dams, at great 
cost of time and labor, a creek that connects a small lake with the 
river. He will only be able to grind about six months in the year, 
when the river is falling and the water runs from the lake into the 
river ; but he proposes to grind with oxen when the river is rising. The 
diflference between high and low-water mark in the Amazon at this 
point is, by actual measurement of McCulloch, forty-two feet. He works 
with five or six hands, whom he pays a cruzado, or a quarter of a dollar 
each, p{er day. There is a much greater scarcity of tapuios now than 
formerly. Antonii, who used always to have fifty in his employ, cannot 
now get more than ten. 

McCulloch has already planted more than thirty acres of sugar-cane 
on a hill eighty or one hundred feet above the present level of the river. 
It seems of tolerable quality, but much overrun with weeds, on account 
of want of hands. I gave him a leaf from my experience, and advised 

SAW MILL. 287 

him to set fire to liis field after every cutting. The soil is black and 
rich-looking, though light ; and McCiiUoch supposes that in such soil 
his cane will not require replanting for twenty years. The cane is 
planted in December, and is ready to cut in ten months. 

This is the man who, in partnership with the Brazilian, built the saw- 
mill at Barra, which was afterwards burned down. He sawed one hun- 
dred and thirty thousand feet the first year, but not more than half that 
quantity the second; in the third, by making a contract with An- 
tonii, who was to furnish the wood and receive half the profits, he sawed 
eighty thousand. This plank is sold in Para at forty dollars the thou- 
sand ; but the expenses of getting it there, and other charges, reduce it 
to about twenty-eight dollars. The only wood sawed is the cedro ; not 
that it is so valuable as other kinds, but because it is the only wood of 
any value that floats ; and thus can be brought to the mills. There are 
no roads or means of hauling timber through the forests. MuCulloch told 
me that a young American, in Para, offered to join him in the erection 
of a saw-mill, and to advance ten thousand dollars towards the enterprise. 
He said that he now thought he was unwise to refuse it, for with that 
sum he could have purchased a small steamer (besides building and 
fitting the mill) with which to cruise on the river, picking up the cedros 
and taking them to the mill. 

These are not our cedars, but a tall, branching tree, with leaves more 
like our oak. There are two kinds — red and white ; the former of which 
is most appreciated. Some of them grow to be of great size ; between 
Serpa and Villa Nova we made our boat fast to one that was floating 
on the river, which measured in length from the swell of the root to 
that of the first branches (that is a clear, nearly cylindrical trunk) ninety- 
three feet, and was nineteen feet in circumference just above the swell 
of the roots, which would probably have been eight feet from the ground 
when the tree was standing. 

McCulloch gave me some castanhas in the shell, and some roots of a 
cane like plant that grows in bunches, with very long, narrow leaves, and 
bears a delicate and fragrant white flower, that is called, from its resem- 
blance in shape to a butterfly, hoi-holeta. 

The distance hence to the mouth of the Madeira is about thirty miles. 
After passing the end of the long island, called Tamitari, that lies oppo- 
site McCulloch's, we had to cross the river, which there is about two 
miles wide. The shores are low on either hand, and well wooded with 
apparently small trees. I always felt some anxiety in crossing so large 
an expanse of water in such a boat as ours, where violent storms of wind 
are of frequent occurrence. Our men, with their light paddles, could 


not keep siicli a hay stack as our clumsy, heavy boat either head to 
wind or before it, and she would, therefore, lie broadside to in the trough 
of the sea, rolling fearfully, and threatening to swamp. I should have 
had sails fitted to her in Barra. 

After crossing the river, we passed the mouth of two considerable 
streams. The lower one, called JJauta^ is two hundred yards wide at 
its mouth, and has a considerable cuiTent. It is said to have a large 
lake near its headwaters, with outlets from this lake, communicatins: 
with the Amazon above, and also with the Madeira ; that is, it is a 
paranamiri of the Amazon, widening into a lake at some part of its 
course. At half-past 8 p. m. we made fast for the night to some bushes 
on the low, western bank of the Madeira. 

A large island occupies the middle of the Amazon, opposite the 
mouth of the Madeira. This mouth is also divided by a small island. 
The western mouth, up which I pulled nearly to the head of the island, 
(a distance of about a mile,) is three-quarters of a mile wide, with sixty- 
six feet of depth, an^ a bottom of fine white and black sand. The 
current runs at the rate of three and a quarter miles the hour. This 
current, like that of all the rivers, varies very much, according to the 
season. I was told afterwards, in Obidos, that, when the river was low — 
in the months of August, September, and October — there was very 
little current, and that a vessel might reach Borba from the mouth in 
three days; but that, when it is full and falling — in the months of 
March, April, and May — there is no tributary of the Amazon with so 
strong a current ; and then it requires twenty days to reach Borba. 

The eastern mouth is a mile and a quarter wide. The island which 
divides the mouth, is low and grassy at its outer extremity, but high 
and wooded at its upper. 1 looked long and earnestly for the broad L 
that Gibbon, was to cut on a tree at the mouth of whatever tributary 
he should come down, in hopes that he had already come down the 
Madeira, and, not being able to go up stream to BarFa, had gone on 
down ; but it was nowhere to be seen. 

The Madeira is by far the largest tributary of the Amazon. Once 
past its cascades, which are about four hundred and fifty miles from its 
mouth, and occupy a space of three hundred and fifty miles in length, 
it is navigable for large vessels by its great tributaries — the Beni and 
Mamore — into the heart of Bolivia; and by the Guapore or Itenes, quite 
through the rich Brazihan province of Matto Grosso. The Portuguese 
astronomers, charged with the investigation of the frontiers, estimate 
that it drains a surface equal to forty-four thousand square leagues. 
We shall, however, know more of this river on the arrival of Mr. Gib- 

SERPA. 289 

bon, whom last accounts left at Trinidad de Moxos, on the Mamore, one 
of the tributaries of this great stream/ 

The rapids of the Madeira are not impassable ; Pal^cios, the Brazilian 
officer before quoted, descended and ascended them in a canoe, though 
he had occasionally to drag the canoe over portages. And Mr. Clay, 
our charge at Lima, was told that a Brazilian schooner-of-war had 
ascended the Madeira above the rapids, and fired a salute at Exaltaclon, 
which is in Bolivia, above the junction of the Beni. Palacios probably 
descended at low water, and the schooner went up when the river was 

The village of Serpa, where we arrived in the afternoon, is situated 
on the left bank of the Amazon, thirty miles below the mouth of the 
Madeira. It is a collection of mud-hovels of about two hundred souls, 
built upon a considerable eminence, broken and green with grass, that 
juts out into the river. There is a point of land just above Serpa, on 
the opposite side, which, throwing the current oflf, directs it upon the 
Serpa point, and makes a strong eddy current for half a mile above the 
town close in shore. 

Serpa has a considerable lake back of it called Sarac^, on the lower 
end of which is the village of Silves, a little larger than Serpa. That 
entrance to the lake which communicates with the Amazon near Serpa 
is not large enough for my boat to enter ; that near Silves will admit 
large schooners. A mark on a tree shows that the river rises about 
twelve feet above its present level. 

We left Serpa at 6 p. m., and drifted all night. We are compelled 
to ti'avel at night, for there is so much wind and sea during the day 
that we make no headway. We are frequently compelled to lay by, 
and are sometimes in danger of being swamped, even in the little nooks 
and bays where we stop. The most comfortable way of travelling is to 
make the boat fast to a floating tree, for this keeps the boat head on to 
the wind and sea, and' drags her along against these with the velocity 
of the current. 

About fifteen miles above Villa Nova, which is one hundred and fifty 
miles below Serpa, a boat manned by soldiers pulled out from a hut on 
the shore, and told us we must stop there until examined and despatched 
by the officer in charge, called inspector. I could not well pull back 
against the stream, for we had already passed the hut ; so I sent word 
to the inspector that I had letters from the President, and pulled in 
shore abreast of where I was. The inspector had the civility to come 
down to me and inspect my papers. This is a "resisto," or coast-guard, 
stationed above the port of entry of Villa Nova, to stop vessels from 


passing, and to notify them that they must go into that port. There is 
another below Villa Nova, to stftp vessels coming up, and to examine 
the clearances from the custom-house of those coming down. 

Within a quarter of a mile from the shore I found one hundred and 
twenty feet of depth, and three miles the hour of current. The current 
of the Amazon has increased considerably since the junction of the 

The inspector told me I was within four hours of Villa Nova ; but I 
kept in store, for fear of squalls ; and thus, in the darkness of nigbt, 
pulled around the shore of a deep bay, where there was little current, 
and did not arrive for eight hours, passing the mouth of the small river 
Lima5, about a mile and a half above Villa Nova, where we arrived at 

2 a. m. 

Villa Nova de Rainba is a long straggling village of single story 
mud-buts, situated in a little bend on the right bank of the Amazon. 
The temperature of boiling water gives its elevation above the level of 
the sea at nine hundred and fifty-nine feet. It contains about two hun- 
dred inhabitants, and the district to which it belongs — embracing several 
small villages in the interior, with cocoa plantations on the banks of 
the river — numbers four or five thousand. The productions of the dis- 
trict are cocoa, coffee, and a few cattle, but principally salt fish. The 
whole country back of the village is vey much cut up by lakes, (with 
w^ater communications between them,) where the greater part of the fish 
is taken. The sub-delegado gave me a sketch of it from his own per- 
sonal knowledge and observation. 

■ This being the frontier town of the province of Amazonas, there is a 
custom-house established here. I heard that it had collected one thou- 
sand dollars since the steamer passed up in December. This gives an 
indication of the trade of the country ; foreign articles, which are the 
cargoes of vessels bound up, paying one and a half per cent, on their 
value ; and articles of domestic produce, which the vessels bound down 
carry, paying a half per cent. The collection of one thousand dollars 
was made in two months. 

The people valued their fowls at fifty cents apiece. We thought them 
extortionate, and would not buy ; but we happened to arrive on fresh- 
beef day, and got a soup-piece. These fresh-meat days are a week 
apart, though this is a cattle producing country. It is an indication of 
the listless indifference of the people. 

Just before reaching Villa Nova, my sounding-lead had hung in the 
rocks at the bottom, and a new 2^i(^ssaba Hne, which I had made in 
Barra, of about the size of a common log or cod-line, parted as if it 

MAUES. 291 

had been pack-thread. I bought another lead at the village ; this also 
hung at the first cast, and the line again parted close to my hand, so 
that I lost nearly all. My line must have been made of old fibres of 
the piassaba which had been in store some time. The bottom of the 
river near Villa Nova is very uneven and rocky. 

About a league below Villa Nova we passed the mouth of the river 
Ramos on the right. It is two hundred yards wide, and is a paranimiri, 
which leaves the Amazon nearly opposite Silves. It has many small 
streams emptying into it in the interior, and sends oft' canals, joining it 
with other rivers, one of which is the Madeira. It is the general rout^ 
to Maues — a considerable village in the interior, four days from the 
mouth of the Ramos. 

The country about Maues is described as a great grazing plain, inter- 
sected and cut up with streams and canals, all navigable for the largest 
class of vessels that now navigate the Amazon. The soil is very rich, 
and adapted to the cultivation of cotton, cofice, and cocoa. The rivere 
give abundance of fish ; any number of cattle may be pastured upon 
the plains ; and the neighboring woods yield cloves, cocoa, castanhas, 
India-rubber, guarana, sarsaparilla, and copaiba. If this country be not 
sickly (and the sub-delegado at Villa Nova, who gave me a little sketch 
of it, told me that it was not) it is probably the most desirable place of 
residence on the Amazon. 

Baena, in his chorographic essay on the province of Para, says of 
Maues, that it is situated upon a slight eminence on a bay of the river 
Maueuassu, which empties into the Furo, or canal of Ururaia, by means 
of which, and the river Tupinambaranas, one may enter the river Madeira 
thirteen leagues above its mouth. He gives the number of inhabitants 
in 1832 at one thousand six hundred and twenty-seven. The official 
report for 1850 states it at three thousand seven hundred and nine 
whites, and eighty-two slaves. This oflacial report makes an ugly state- 
ment as regards its health ; it gives the number of births in a year at 
seventy-four, and deaths at one hundred and thirty-one. I have no 
confidence in this statement, and it looks like a misprint. This report 
stated the number of inhabited houses at Barra as one hundred and 
seventy. This I knew was an error, and 1 took the liberty of making it 
four hundred and seventy. 

Just below the mouth of the Ramos, quite a neatly rigged boat, carry- 
ing the Brazilian flag, put off" from a house on shore, and seemed 
desirous to communicate with us; but she was so badly managed that, 
although there was a fine breeze, (directly ahead, however,) she could not 
catch us, though we were but drifting with the current. Had I known 


her character I would have paddled up against the stream to allow her 
to join company ; but my companion, Mr. Potter, said that she was a 
boat belonging to the church, and begging for Jerusalem. 

Finding that she could not come up with us, she put back, and a 
light canoe with a soldier in it, soon overtook us. The soldier told me 
that this was another custom-house station, and that I must pull back 
and show my clearance from the collector at Villa Nova. I was a good 
deal annoyed at this, for I thought the said collector, to whom I carried 
letters from the President, might have had the forethought to tell me 
about this station, so that I might have stopped there and saved the 
time and labor of pulling back. The soldier, seeing my vexation, told 
me that if I would merely pull in shore and wait, the inspector, who 
was then a few miles down the river, would soon be by on his way up, 
and I could communicate with him there. 

To do this even carried me some distance out of my way ; but I had 
previously resolved to conform scrupulously to the laws and usages of 
the country; so I smothered my annoyance, pulled in, and had the 
good luck to meet the inspector before reaching the land. This was a 
mere boy, who looked at my papei-s coldly, and without comment, 
except (prompted by an old fellow who was steering his boat) he asked 
me if I had no paper from the collector at Villa Nova. I told him no, 
that I was no commerciante, had nothing to sell, and that he had read 
my passports from his government. After a little hesitation he suffered 
me to pass. 

The pull into the right bank had brought me to the head of an island. 
The inspector told me that the passage was as short on that side, but 
that it was narrow, and full of caraimna^ as musquitoes are called on the 
Amazon. Although I have a musquito curtain which protects me com- 
pletely, yet the tapuios had none, and, whenever I stopped at night, 
they had a wretched time, and could not sleep a moment. This was one 
of the reasons why I travelled at night. All persons are so accustomed 
to travel from Barra downwards at night, and to keep out far from the 
shore, that they do not carry musquito curtains, which the travellers on 
the upper Amazon and its ti'ibutaries would perish without. 

V^e pulled back into the main stream and drifted all night, passing 
the small village of Parentins^ situated on some high lands that form 
the boundary between the provinces of Para and Amazonas. 

We now enter the country where the cocoa is regularly cultivated, 
and the banks of the river present a much less desolate and savage 
appearance than they do above. The cocoa-trees have a yellow-colored 
leaf, and this, together with their regularity of size, distinguishes them 


from the surrounding forest. At 8 p. m., February 25, we arrived at 
Obidos, one hundred and five miles below Villa Nova, Several gentle- 
men offered to furnish me a vacant house ; but I was surly, and slept in 
my boat. 

Whilst at Obidos, I took a canoe to visit the cacoaes, or cocoa planta- 
tions, in the neighborhood ; the fruit is called cacao. We started at 6 
a..m., accompanied by a gentleman named Miguel Figuero, and stopped 
at the mouth of the Trombetas, which empties into the Amazon four 
or five miles above Obidos. It enters the Amazon by two mouths within 
sight of each other, (the island di\dding the mouth being small ;) the 
lower and smaller mouth is called Sta. Teresa, and is about one hundred 
and fifty yards wide ; the upper (Boca de Trombetas) is half a mile wide, 
and enters the Amazon at a very sharp angle ; its waters are clear, and 
the dividing-line between them and those of the Amazon is preserved 
distinct for more than a mile. 

The Trombetas is said to be a very large river ; in some places as 
wide as the Amazon is here— about two miles. It is very productive in 
fish, castanhas, and sarsaparilla, and runs through a country well adapted 
to raising cattle. I have heard several people call it a world ; they 
may call it so on account of its productions, or it may be a " world of 
waters," for the whole country, according to the description of it, is 
entirely cut up with lakes and water-communications. The river is only 
navigable for large vessels five or six days up, and is then obstructed by 
rocks and rapids, which make it impassable. Little is known of the 
river above the falls ; it is very sickly below them with tertianas, which 
take a malignant type. 

Near the mouth of this river we stopped at an establishment for 
making pots and earthenware generally, belonging to a gentleman 
named Bentez, who received us with cordiality. This country house 
was neat, clean, and comfortable. , I caught glimpses of some ladies 
neatly dressed, and with very pretty faces ; and was charmed with the 
sight of a handsome pair of polished French leather boots sitting against 
the wall. This was the strongest sign of civilization that I had met 
with, and showed me that I was beginning to get into communication 
with the great world without. 

Senhor Bentez gave me some eggs of the "enambu," a bird of the 
pheasant or partridge species, some of which are as large as a turkey. 
There are seven varieties of them, and an intelligent young gentleman, 
named D'Andrade, gave me the names, which were Enambu-assu, (assu 
is linffoa geral, and means large,) Enambu- toro, Peira, Sororina, Macu- 
cana, Uru, and Jarsana. 


In crossing the Amazon we were swept by the current below the 
plantation we intended to visit, and thus had a walk of a mile through 
the cocoa plantations, with which the whole right bank of the river 
between Obidos and Alemquer is lined. I do not know a prettier place 
than one of these plantations. The trees interlock their branches, and, 
viiih their large leaves, make a shade impenetrable to any ray of the 
sun. The earth is perfectly level, and covered with a carpeting of dead 
leaves; and the large golden-colored fruit, hanging from branch and 
trunk, shine through the gTeen with a most beautiful effect. The only 
drawback to the pleasure of a walk through them arises from the 
quantity of musquitoes, which in some places, and at certain times, are 
unendurable to one not seasoned to their attacks. I could scarcely keep 
still long enough to shoot some of the beautiful bii'ds that were flitting 
among the trees. 

This is the time of the harvest, and we found the people of every 
plantation engaged, in the open space before the house, in breaking open 
the shells of the fruit, and spreading the seed to dry in the sun on 
boards placed for the purpose. They make a pleasant drink for a hot 
day by pressing out the juice of the gelatinous pulp that envelops the 
seeds ; it is called cacao wine ; is a white, rather viscid liquor ; has an 
agreeable, acid taste, and is very refreshing ; fermented and distilled, it 
will make a powei'ful spirit. 

The ashes of the burnt hull of the cacao contains a strong alkali, and 
it is used in all the "cacoaes" for making soap. 

We were kindly received by the gentleman whom we went to visit, 
Senhor Jose da Silva, whom we found busily engaged in gathering the 
crop. AYhen he discovered that we had eaten nothing since daylight, 
he called out in true hospitable country fashion, "Wife, cook something 
for these men ; they are hungry ;" and we accordingly got some dinner 
of turtle and fowl. 

In addition to the gathering of his cocoa, Senhor da Silva was en- 
gaged in expressing a clean, pretty-looking oil from the castanha. The 
nut was first toasted in the oven ; then pulverized in a wooden mortar ; 
and the oil was pressed out in the same sort of wicker-bag that is used 
for straining the mandioc. He said that the oil burned well, and was 
soft and pleasant to put on the skin or make unguents of, though it had 
not a pleasant smell. This oil has not yet found its way into foreign 

From the statements of this gentleman, I gathered the following facts 
regarding the cocoa : 

The seed is planted in garden beds in August. When the plants 


come up, it is sometimes necessary to water them, also to protect them 
from the sun by arbors of palm, and to watch carefully for their pro- 
tection from insects. In January, the plants are removed to their per- 
manent place, where they are set out in squares of twelve palms. 
Plantains, Indian com, or anything of quick growth, are planted be- 
tween the rows, for their further protection from the sun whilst young. 
These are to be grubbed up so soon as they begin to press upon the 
cocoa trees. 

In good land the trees will give fruit in three years, and will continue 
to give for many years ; though tradition says they begin to fail after 
seventy or eighty. 

The trees bud and show fruit in October or November for the first 
crop, and in February and March for the second. The summer harvest 
commences in January and February ; and the winter crop, which is the 
largest, is gathered in June and July. One crop is not off the trees 
before the blossoms of the second appear. We saw no blossoms ; and 
I heard at Obidos that the winter crop had probably failed entirely. 

Every two thousand fruit-bearing trees require, for their care and 
croppage, the labor of one slave. 

When they are young they need more attention, and two are neces- 
sary. The trees are kept clean about the roots, and insects are care- 
fully destroyed ; but the ground is never cleared of its thick covering of 
dead leaves, which are suffered to rot and manure it. 

The earth of the cacoaes that I saw opposite Obidos is a rich, thick, 
black mould, and is the best land I have seen. It is low, particularly 
at the back of the plantations ; and the river, by means of creeks, finds 
its way there, and frequently floods the grounds, destroying many 
trees. The banks of the river are five or six feet high ; but the river is 
constantly encroaching upon them. Senhor Silva told me that, when 
he first took possession of the place, he had seven rows of trees between 
the house and the river ; now, only three rows remain. The houses 
have frequently to be moved further back, so that these cocoa planta- 
tions must, in the course of time, be destroyed. 

In good ground, and without accident, every thousand trees will 
give fifty arrobas of the fruit; but the average is probably not over 
twenty-five. A tree in good condition, and bearing well, is worth 
sixteen cents ; the land in which it grows is not counted in the sale. 
One slave will take care of two thousand trees. The value of the 
arroba in Para is one dollar. With these data, calculation will make 
the cultivation of the cocoa, in the neighborood of Obidos, but a poor 
business ; and, indeed, I heard that most of the cultivators were in debt 

296 OBiDos. 

to the merchants below. Should the thousand trees give fifty arrobas, 
and the price of the arroba run up to one dollar and twenty-five cents, 
and one dollar and fifty cents, as it does sometimes in Par4, it would 
then be a very profitable business. 

Obidos is situated upon a high, bold point, and has all the river 
(about a mile and a half in width) in front of it. The shores are bold, 
and the current very rapid. I had heard it stated that bottom could 
not be obtained in the river ofi" Obidos, and I bought six hundred feet 
of Hne and a seven-pound lead to test it. In what was pointed out as 
the deepest part, I sounded in one hundred and fifty, one hundred and 
eighty, and two hundred and ten feet, with, generally, a pebbly bottom. 
In another place I judged I had bottom in two hundred and forty feet ; 
but the lead came up clean. I may not have had bottom, or this may 
have been of soft mud, and washed off from the arming of soap that I 
used. It is a very difficult thing to get correct soundings in so rapid a 
current, and in such deep water. 

The land on which Obidos is situated may be called mountainous, in 
comparison to the general low land of the Amazon ; and far back in the 
direction of the course of the Trombetas were seen some very respect- 
able mountains. 

The coast, fi'om the mouth of the Trombetas to Obidos, is about one 
hundred and fifty feet in height ; is of red earth ; and is supported upon 
red rock, of the same nature as that at Barra. This rock is very hard 
at bottom, but softer above, and many king-fishers build their nests in 
it. The general height is broken in one or two places, where there are 
small lakes. One of these, called Tiger lake, would afford a good mill- 
seat, which might grind for six or seven months in the year. 

The town of Obidos proper contains only about five hundred inhab- 
itants ; but the district is populous, and is said to number about four- 
teen thousand. There is quite a large church in the town, built of 
stone and mud, with some pretensions to architecture ; but, though only 
built in 1826, it seems already falling into ruins, and requires extensive 

There are several shops, apparently well stocked with English and 
American cloths, and French fripperies. I heard a complaint that the 
trade was monopolized by a few who charged their own prices ; but I 
judged, from the number of shops, that there was quite competition 
enough to keep the prices down to small profits. The value of the 
imports of the district of Obidos is nearly double that of the exports, 
the staple articles of which are cacao and cattle. 

I have my information from Senhor Antonio Monteiro Tapajos, who 

OBiDOS. 297 

was very kind to me during my stay in Obidos. He gave me some 
specimens of Indian pottery; and his wife, a thin, delicate-lookiDg lady, 
apparently much oppressed with sore eyes and children, (there being 
nine of theglatter, the oldest only thirteen years of age,) gave me a very 
pretty hammock. 

Senhor Joao Valentin de Couto, whose acquaintance I made by acci- 
dent, gave me a live young Peixe-boi, which unfortunately died after 
it had been in my possession but a day. He also made me a present of 
some statistical tables of the aflfairs of the province ; and not being able 
to find, at the time, the report of the President that accompanied these 
tables, he had the courtesy to send it to me in a canoe, after I had left 
the place and was engaged in sounding the river. 

It will be seen that here, as elsewhere, during my travels, I met with 
personal attention, kindness, and liberality. Every one whom I con- 
versed with on the subject of the Amazon advocates with earnestness 
the free navigation of the river, and says that they will never thrive 
until the river is thrown open to all, and foreigners are invited to settle 
on its banks. think that they are sincere, for they have quite intelli- 
gence enough to see that they will be benefitted by calling out the 
resources of the country. 

Obidos has a college, lately established, which has some assistance 
from the government. It has yet but twenty-four scholars, and one 
professor — a young ecclesiastic, modest and intelligent ; and enthusiastic 
and hopeftd about the afl"airs of his college. 

Antonio, a Portuguese, with whom I generally got my breakfast, told 
me that there were many poisonous serpents in the neighborhood of 
Obidos, and showed me a black swelling on the arm of his little son, 
the result of the bite of a scorpion. In five minutes after the boy was 
bitten, he became cold and senseless, and foamed »at the mouth, so that 
for some hours his life was despaired of. The remedies used were 
homoeopathic, and, what is a new thing to me, were put in the corners 
of the eye, as the boy could not swallow. I found homoeopathy a 
favorite mode of practice from Barra downwards. It was introduced 
by a Frenchman, a few years ago, and there are now several amateur 
practitioners of it. 

We left Obidos, in the rain, at 1 p. m., on the 29th February. Our 
long stay at Barra had brought the rains upon us, and we now had rain 
every day. 

We travelled all night, and at half past 9 a. m., on the 1st of March, 
we entered a furo of the Tapajos^ which, in one hour and three-quar- 
ters, conducted us into that river opposite the town of Santarem. This 


canal has a general width 6i one hundred yards, and a depth, at this 
season, of thirty feet. There are several country houses and cocoa plan- 
tations on its banks. It is called Igarape Assu. 

The Tapajos at Santarem, which is within one mile of ilA mouth, is 
about a mile and a half wide. Its waters are nearly as dark as those 
of the Negro ; but, where stirred with the paddle, it has not the faint 
red color of that river, but seems clear white water. Large portions of 
the surface were covered with very minute green leaves and vegetable 

We presented our passports and letters to the Delegado, Senhor 
Miguel Pinto de Guimaraens, and obtained lodgings in the hired house 
of a French Jew of Para, who was engaged in peddling watches and 
jewelry in Santarem. 



Santarem — Population — Trade — River Tapajos — Cuiaba — Diamond region — 
Account of the Indians of the Tapajos. 

Santarem, four hundred and sixty miles from the mouth of the Rio 
Negro, and six hundred and fifty miles from the sea, is the largest town 
of the province, after Para. By oflBcial returns it numbers four thou- 
sand nine hundred and seventy-seven free, (eighty-seven being foreign- 
ers,) and one thousand five hundred and ninety-one slave inhabitants. 
There were two hundred and eighty-nine births, forty-two deaths, and 
thirty-two marriages in the year 1849. 

I would estimate the population of the town of Santarem at about 
two thousand souls. In the official returns, all the settlers on the cocoa 
plantations for miles around, and all the tapuios engaged in the naviga- 
tion of the river, are reckoned in the estimate. This, I believe, is the 
case with all the towns ; and thus the traveller is continually surprised 
to find population rated so high in places where he encounters but few 
people. ^ 

There is said to be a good deal of elephantiasis and leprosy among 
the poorer class of its inhabitants. I did not visit their residences, which 
are generally on the beach above the town, and therefore saw nothing 
of them ; nor did I see much poverty or misery. 

There are tokens of an increased civilization in a marble monument 
in the cemetery, and a billiard table. The houses are comfortably fur- 
nished, though I believe every one still sleeps in a hammock. The rides 
in the environs are agreeable, the views picturesque, and the horses good. 
A tolerably good and well-bitted horse may be had for seventy-five dol- 
lars ; they graze in the streets and outskirts of the town, and are fed 
with Indian corn. 

There is a church (one of the towers has lately tumbled down) and 
two or three primary schools. The gentlemen all wear gold watches, 
and take an immoderate quantity of snufi". I failed to get statistics of 
the present trade of Santarem; but an examination of the following 
tables furnished by Mr. Gouzennes, the intelligent and gentlemanly vice- 
consul of France, will show the increase in the exports of the place in 
the three years between 1843 and 1846. 



These tables show the tonnage and cargoes of the vessel^ arriving in 
Santarem for three months in each year. 

Mr. Goiizennes gave me the table for 1843, and to M. Castelnaii the 
table for 1846. He also gave me a letter to M. Chaton, French consul 
at Para, requesting that gentleman to give me his tables for the last 
year, (1851 ;) but they had been sent to France, 

Three months 

Three months 

of 1843. 

of 1846. 

Number of crews 




Tonnage - 



1,287 • 

Fish - 




Peixe-boi - 




Tow - 








Tobacco - 
















Guarana - 












Cumaru (Tonka beans) 




Carajuru - 





Castanhas - 








Oil of Copaiba - 




Oil of turtle-eggs 




Oil of andiroba - 











' 664 





Piassaba rope - 






I think, but have no means of forming an accurate judgment, that the 
importations of Santarem have not increased in the same proportion in 
the years between 1846 and 1852. A few of these articles — such as 
the cotton, the coffee, a part of the tobacco, and the farinha — were 
probably consumed in Santarem. The rest were reshipped to Para for 
consumption there, or for foreign exportation. 


The decrease in the consumption of farinha is significant, and shows 
an increased consumption of flour from the United States. 

I had from Capt. Hislop, an old Scotchman, resident of Santarem, 
and who had traded much with Cuiaba, in the province of Matto Grosso, 
the following notices of the river Tapajos, and its connexion with the 
Atlantic, by means of the rivers Paraguay and La Plata. 

Hence to the port of Itaituba, the river is navigable for large vessels, 
against a strong current, for fifteen days. The distance is about two 
hundred miles. From Itaituba the river is navigable for boats of six or 
eight tons, propelled by paddling, poling, or warping. There are some 
fifteen or twenty caxoieras, or rapids, to pass, where the boat has to be 
unloaded and the cargoes carried round on the backs of the crew. At 
one or two the boat itself has to be hauled over the land. 

The voyage to the head of navigation on the Rio Preto, a confluent 
of the Tapajos^ occupies about two months. At this place mules are 
found to carry the cargo fifteen miles, to the village of DiamantinOj 
situated on the high lands that divide the headwaters of the streams 
flowing south from those of the streams flowing north, which approach 
each other at this point very closely. 

These high lands are rich in diamonds and minerals. I saw some in 
possession of Capt. Hislop. The gold dust is apparently equal in quality 
to that I had seen from California. 

From Diamantino to Cuiaba the distance is ninety miles, the road 
crossing the Paraguay river, which there, at some seasons, is nearly dry 
and muddy, and at others a rapid and deep sti-eam, dangerous for the 
mules to pass. 

Some years ago a shorter land-carriage was discovered between the 
headwaters of the northern and southern streams. 

By ascending the Arinos, a river which empties into the Tapajos, 
below the mouth of the Preto, a point was reached within eighteen 
miles by land-carriage of a navigable point on the Cuiaba river above 
the city. The boat was hauled over these eighteen miles by oxen, 
(showing that the passage can be neither very high nor rugged,) and 
launched upon the Cuiaba, which is navigable thence to the city. 

This was about three years ago ; but the trade, for some reason, is 
still carried on by the old route of the Freto, and the land-carriage of 
o«ie hundred and five miles to Cuiaba. 

A person once attempted to descend by the San Manoel, a river that 
rises in the same high lands as the Preto and Arinos, and empties into 
the Tapajos, far below them ; but he encountered so many obstructions 
to navigation that he lost all but life. 

3 02 CUIABA. 

The passage from Diamantino to Santarem occupies about twenty- 
six days. 

Cuiaba is a flourisbing town of about ten thousand inhabitants, situ- 
ated on the river of the same name, which is thence navigable for large 
vessels to its junction with the Paraguay, which river is free from im- 
pediments to the ocean. It is the chief town of the rich province of 
Matto Grosso, It receives its supplies — the lighter articles of merchan- 
dise and luxury — by land, from Rio Janeiro; and its heavier articles — 
such as cannot be transported on mules for a great distance — by this 
route of the Tapajos. These are principally salt, iron, iron implements, 
wines, liquors, arms, crockeries, and guaran4, of which the people there 
are passionately fond. 

St. Ubes or Portuguese salt is worth in Cuiaba thirteen and a half 
dollars the panero^ of one hundred and eight pounds. Lately, however, 
salt has been discovered on the bottom and shores of a lake in Bolivia, 
near the Paraguay river. It undergoes some process to get rid of its 
impurities, and then is sold at four dollars the pauero. 

Cuiaba pays for these things in diamonds, gold dust, and hides. The 
diamond region is, as I have before said, in the neighborhood of the 
village of Diamantino, situated on the high lands that divide the head- 
waters of the tributaries of the Amazon and La Plata. M. Castelnau 
visited this country, and I give the following extracts from his account 
of it. He says : 

"The mines of gold, and especially those of diamonds, to which the 
city of Diamantino owes its foundation and its importance, appear to 
have been known from the time the Paulistas made their first settle- 
ments in the province of Matto Grosso; but, under the Portuguese 
government, the working of the diamond mines was prohibited to indi- 
viduals under the severest penalties. 

"A military force occupied the diamond districts, and watched the 
Crown slaves who labored in the search of this precious mineral. Every 
person finding one of these stones was obliged to remit it to the super- 
intendency of diamonds at Cuyaba, for which he received a moderate 
recompense, whilst he would have been severely punished if detected in 
appropriating it. 

"At this period, throughout Brazil, the commerce in diamonds was 
prohibited, as strictly as their extraction, to all except the special agents 
named by the government for this purpose. 

"Subsequently to the government of Jodo Carlos^ of whom we have 
already spoken, this commerce became more or less tolerated, then alto- 
gether free. 


" If, as we are assured, the laws whicli heretofore governed this branch 
of industry are not legally repealed, they have at least completely fallen 
into disuse. The inhabitants of Dianiantino only complain that the 
prohibition of the slave trade renders it impossible for them to profit by 
the wealth of the country. 

In 1746 valuable diamonds were found, for the first time, in Matto 
Grosso, and were soon discovered in great quantities in the little river of 
Ouro. The governor, Manuel Antunes Nogueiza^ designing to take 
possession of these lands for tho benefit of the Crown, ejected the in- 
habitants therefrom. Famine made great ravages among the wretches 
thus deprived of their homes. 

" From that time the country seems to have suffered every evil. A 
long drought was followed by a terrible earthquake on the 24th Sep- 
tember, 1'746. It was not until May 13, 1805, that the inhabitants 
were again permitted to take possession of their property, but upon 
condition of remitting to the Crown, under severe penalties, all the dia- 
monds found. 

"In 1809 a royal mandate established at Cuyaba a diamond Jwn to. 
" Gold and diamonds, whii^h are always united in this region, as in 
many others, are found especially in the numerous v/ater-courses which 
furrow it, and also throughout the whole country. 

" After the rains, the children of Diamantimo hunt for the gold con- 
tained in the earth even of the streets, and in the bed of the river Ouro, 
which, as has been said, passes through the city ; and they often collect 
to the value of one or two patacas (from eight to fifteen grains) Brazil 

" It is related that a negro, pulling vegetables in his garden, found a 
diamond in the earth attached to the roots. It is also said that, shortly 
before our arrival at Diamantino, a muleteer, driving a stake in the 
ground to tie his mules, to, found a diamond of the weight of a demi- 
oitavo, (about nine carats.) This last circumstance occurred in the 
chapada (table-land) of San PedrOo 

" We have heard it stated that diamonds are sometimes found in the 
stomachs of th<3 fowls. 

" The rivers Diamantino, Ouro, and Paraguay appear already to be 
completely exhausted. The river Burite continues to furnish many 
stones ; but the Santa Anna, so to speak, is still virgin, and, notwith- 
standing the incredible quantity of diamonds taken from it, it does not 
appear to have lost its primitive richness. 

" It would appear, however, that diamond-hunting is not as produc- 
tive as it is believed ; for they quote in the country, as very remarkable. 



the result obtained by a Spaniard, Don Simon by name, who in four 
years, (only working, it is true, during the dry season, but with two hun- 
dred slaves) had collected four hundred oitavas of diamonds, (about 
seven thousand carats.) He was obliged to abandon the work because 
he lost many slaves in consequence of the pestilential fevers which reign 
in the diamond region, and particularly upon the borders of the river 
Santa Anna. Before his departure, he filled up the place from whence 
he extracted the stones. 

" Later another individual found eighty oitavas of diamonds upon 
one point alone in the river. 

'• The largest diamond taken from the Santa Anna weighed, it is said, 
three oitavas, (about fifty-two carats.) It was many years since, and 
they know not the price it sold for. 

" They assert that the stones taken from this river are more beautiful 
than those from other diamond localities, and that there are persons 
who, in commerce, can distinguish the difierence. 

" It was very difiicult to obtain from the inhabitants of Diamantino, 
who seemed to think themselves still under^the Portuguese laws in regard 
to diamonds and gold, exact information about the quantities of these 
two minerals exported each year from the district. However, by uniting 
the most positive data, we have formed the following table, which pre- 
sents the approximate quantities of diamonds drawn from the country 
from 181*7 to 1845, as well as the fluctuation of prices, and the number 
of slaves employed. 

" We have added to this table the value of the slaves. 

" At the time of our journey about two thousand persons, of whom 
eight hundred were slaves, were engaged in this kind of work. 


Price of the oita- 

Number of 

Number of 

Mean value of 

va in assorted 

oitavas found 

slaves em- 

each slave. 


in the year. 





1817 - - - 





1820 - - - 


5 a 600 



1825 - - - 


5 a 600 



1830 - - - 





1834 - - - 





1838 - - - 





1840 - - - 





1844 - - - 

125 to 150 





"In 1817 a stone of an oitava was sold for two hundred dollars. 

"Gold is worth the following prices the oitava : 

"In 1817, sixty-seven and one-half cents. 
1820," sixty-seven and one-half cents. 
1830, seventy-five cents. 
1840, one dollar and sixty cents. 
1844, one dollar and eighty cents. * 

"We see that the prices of diamonds and gold have advanced since 
1817. This is owing to three causes : 

" 1st. The diminution of the number of African slaves, in consequencJt 
of the laws against the slave trade. 

"2d. The diminution of the quantity found. 

" 3d. The celebrity which this rich locality has progressively acquired, 
and which attracts there many persons. 

"At present the vintem of diamonds in very small pieces is worth in 
commerce from four and a half to five dollars. A stone of a demi-oitava 
would be worth now from two to three hundred (|ollai-s, according to its 
beauty. A stone of an oitava would be worth seven hundred and fifty 

"Two or three years ago a stone of three-quarters of an oitava was 
sold at four hundred dollars, and another of the same weiofht for five 

"Now there is scarcely found more than two hundred oitavas of 
diamonds per annum, and only two or three stones of a demi-oitava and 

"The richest man of Diamantino had in his possession, at the time of 
our journey, two hundred oitavas of diamonds. 

"The slaves sell the diamonds they steal at two, and two and a half 
dollars the vintem ; large and small, indifferently. 

"To recapitulate. After the researches which I made at the places, it 
appears to me probable that the quantity of diamonds extracted from 
Diamantino and from Matto Grosso amounts, since the discovery by 
the Paulistas to the present time, (1849,) to about sixty-six thousand 
oitavas ; it must be remembered that in this sum are mcluded a great 
number of large stones. 

"In estimating the mean value of the oitava at one hundred and 
twenty-five dollars, we arri\'e at a total of about eight million two hun- 
dred and fifty thousand dollars. It is proper to add to this sum that of 
the diamonds taken from the basin of the river Clara. Although this^ 
last yields inconsiderably at present, and may be far from what it was 
under the Portuguese government, I cannot estimate it at less than four- 


teen thousand oitavas, worth about one million seven hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars. 

"Thus the amount of diamonds drawn to the present time from the 
pro^^nce of Matto Grosso will amount to about eighty thousand oitavas, 
worth ten millions of dollars. 

" I do not doubt that this region may one day furnish, if it is sub- 
mitted to a well-conducted exploration, an infinitely larger quantity. 
Unfortunately, as we have already said, the search for these stones is 
accompanied with great danger ; and I am convinced that these baubles 
Hhi human vanity have already cost, to Brazil alone, the life of more than 
a hundred thousand human beings." 

M. Castelnau has given the value of diamonds and gold in the Por- 
tuguese currency of reis, and occasionally in francs. In turning the 
reis into dollars, I have estimated the dollar at two thousand reis. 
When I left Brazil, the Spanish dollar was worth nineteen hundred and 
twenty reis, and the Mexican eighteen hundred : so that my values are 
imder the mark ; but there is probably less error in this than in any 
estim.ate that Castelnau could form from his data. 

One will readily perceive, from, these estimates, that diamond -hunting, 
as a business, is unprofitable. But this, like all mining operations, is a 
lottery. A man in the diamond region may stumble upon a fortune at 
an instant of time, and without a dollar of outlay; but the chances are 
fearfully against him. I would rather depend upon the supplying of 
the miners with the necessaries and. luxuries of life, even by the long 
land-travel from Rio Janeiro, or by the tedious and difiicult ascent of 
the Tapajos. 

M. Castelnau, speaking of this trade, says that, taking one article of 
merchandise with another, the difierence of their value at Para and 
Diamantino is eight hundred and fifty per cent., the round trip between 
the two places occupying eight months; but that the profits to the trader 
are not to be estimated by the enormous difi'erence of the value of the 
merchandise at the place of purchase and the place of sale. He esti- 
mates the expenses of a boat of nine tons (the largest that can ascend 
the river) at eight hundred and eighty dollars. Her cargo, bought at 
Para, cost there but three hundred and fifty-five dollars : so that when 
it arrives at Diamantino it has cost twelve hundred and thirty-five dol- 
lars ; thus diminishing the profits to the trader to about two hundred 
and forty-four per cent. 

I do not find in Castelnau's estimate of the expenses of a canoe the 
labor and time employed in shifting the cargo at Santarem from the 

TRADE. 307 

large vessel to the boats. This would probably take off the extra 
forty-four per cent., leaving a clear profit of two hundred. This is 
on the upward voyage. His return-cargo of hides, with what gold 
dust and diamonds he has been able to purchase, will also pay 
the trader one hundred per cent, on his original outlay, increased by his 

Let us suppose a man sends a cargo from Para, which costs him there 
three hundred and fifty dollars. His two hundred per cent, of clear profit 
in Diamantino has increased this sum to one thousand and fifty. One 
hundred per cent, on this, the return-cargo, has made it two thousand 
one hundred dollars ; so that he has pocketed a clear gain of seventeen 
hundred and fifty dollars, making a profit of five hundred per cent, in 
eight months. 

Although there seems, from the accounts we have of the Tapajos, 
no chance of a steamer's reaching the diamond region by that river, 
yet I have very little doubt but that she may reach it by the rivers 
Plata, Parana, and Paraguay. Should this be the case, and should 
Brazil have the magnanimity to throw open the diamond region to all 
coders, and encourage them to come by promises of protection and 
privileges, I imagine that this would be one of the richest places in the 
world, and that Brazil would reap enormous advantages from such a 

The place at present is too thinly settled, and the wants of the people 
too few, to make this trade (profitable as it appears to be on the small 
scale) of any great importance. 

Captain Hislop monopolized at one time nearly all the trade of the 
Tapajos. He told me that some years ago he sent annually to Cuiaba 
goods to the value of fifteen or twenty thousand dollars, and supposes 
that all other commerciuntes together did not send as much more. He 
complains, as all do, of the credit system, and says that the Cuiabanos 
now owe him twenty thousand dollars. 

The trade now is almost nothing. The Cuiabanos themselves come 
down to get their supplies, which they pay for principally in hides. 

I made several pleasant acquaintances in Santarem. One of the most 
agreeable was a young French engineer and architect, M. Alphonse 
Maugin Be Lincourt, to whom I am indebted for some valuable, pres- 
ents, much interesting conversation, and the following notes of a voyage 
on the Tapajos, which, as describing the manners and customs of the 
Indian tribes occupying the borders of that river, I am pei-suaded will 
not be uninteresting. 


Fragments of travels from liaituha to the cataracts of the Tapajos^ and 
among tlie Mundrucus and Manes Indians. 

"As soon as the Brazilian (the principal authonty of the 

little port of Itaituba) had procured me some Indians and a small canoe, 
called in the country canoa de Caxoeiras, I left this place for the purpose 
of visiting the great cataracts of the river Tapajos. 

" I was the only white man among nine Indians, none of whom, with 
the exception of the Indian hunter, could understand me. I cannot ex- 
press what I at first suffered in thus finding my life at their mercy. The 
boat, under the efforts of these nine pagans, had more the motion of an 
aiTOw than that of a boat ascending against the current of a river. 

"Only seeking the principal falls of the Tapajos, we passed, without 
stopping, over those of Tapacura, Assu, and Pracau^ and, continuing our 
route to the large ones, we arrived there the following day, without 
having met with anything remarkable to relate. 

" There the scene changed. The river is no longer the calm Tapajos 
which slowly moves towards the Amazon ; it is the foaming Maranhdo^ 
the advance cataract of the narrow and deep Caxoeira das Fitrndsp it 
is the roaring and terrible coata, whose currents cross and recross, and 
dash to atoms all they bear against its black rocks. 

"We surmounted all in the same day. Seated motionless in the 
middle of the canoe, I often closed my eyes to avoid seeing the dangers 
I escaped, or the perils that remained to be encountered. 
■ " The Indians — sometimes rowing with their little oars, sometimes 
using their long, iron-bound stafts, or towing the boat while swimming, 
or carrying it on their shoulders — landed me at last on the other side of 
the Caxoeiras, 

" Arrived at the foot of the fifth cataract, the Indians hesitated a 
moment and then rowed for the shore. Whilst some were employed 
in making a fire, and others in fastening the hammocks to the forest 
trees, the hunter took his bow and two arrows, and such is the abund- 
ance which reigns in these countries, that a moment afterwards he re- 
turned with fish and turtles. 

" The Indians, exhausted from the fatigues of the day, were not able 
to watch that night. I was sentinel, for these shores are infested by 
tigers and panthers. Walking along the beach to prevent sleep, I 
witnessed a singular spectacle, but (as I was informed by the inhabitants) 
one of frequent occurrence. An enormous tiger was extended full length 
upon a rock level with the water, about forty paces from me. From 
time to time he struck the water with his tail, and at the same moment 


raised one of his fore-paws and seized fish, often of an enormous size. 
These last, deceived by the noise, and taking it for the fall of forest 
fruits, (of which they are very fond,) unsuspectingly approach, and 
soon fall into the claws of the traitor. I longed to fire, for I had with 
me a double-barrelled gun ; but I was alone, and if I missed my aim 
at night I risked my life, for the American tiger, lightly or mortally 
wounded, collects his remaining strength and leaps with one bound 
upon his adversary. 

"I did not interi;upt him, and when he was satisfied he went off. 
The next day we passed the difficult and dangerous cataract of Apuy. 
The canoe was carried from rock to rock, and I followed on foot through 
the forest. 

"The farther we advance in these solitudes, the more fruitful and 
prodigal nature becomes ; but where life superabounds, e\T.l does not less 
abound. From the rising to the setting of the sun clouds of stinging 
insects blind the traveller, and render him frantic by the torments they 
cause. Take a handful of the finest sand and throw it above your head, 
and you would then have but a faint idea of the number of these 
demons who tear the skin to pieces. 

"It is true, these insects disappear at night, but only to give place to 
others yet more formidable. Large bats (true, thirsty vampires) lit- 
erally throng the forests, cling to the hammocks, and, finding a part of 
the body exposed, rest lightly there and drain it of blood. 

"At a station called by the Indians Tucunare-cuoire, where we passed 
the night, one of them was bitten, whilst asleep, by one of these vam- 
pires, and aw^oke exceedingly enfeebled. 

" In the same place the alligators were so numerous and so bold, and 
the noise they made so frightful, that it was impossible to sleep a 

"The next day I overtook a caravan of Cuyabanos, who had leftltai- 
tuba before me. They went there to exchange diamonds and gold dust 
for salt and other necessary commodities, and were returning with them 
to Cuyaba. 

"They had passed a day at Tucunare cuoire, and had slept there. 

"Thinking that I was a physician, one of them begged me to exam- 
ine the recent wounds of a companion. In vain I refused. He still con- 
tinued his importunities, lavishing upon me titles of Seign^sur and 
Signer Doctor, as if he had been in the presence of M. Orfila. 

" I went with him. The wounded man was a young Indian, whom 
an alligator had seized by the leg the night the caravan slept at Tucu- 


nare-ciioire. Awakened by liis cries, tlie Cuyabanos fell upon the mon- 
ster, who, in spite of every thing, escaped. 

" I relieved him as well as I could. I had with me but a scalpel, 
some camphor, and a phial of volatile salts. It would have been best 
to amputate the limb, which was horribly mutilated. 

" I had myself an opportunity of observing the dangers and privations 
these men submit to, to carry to Cuyaba the commodities necessary there. 

" A caravan called here Monfdo which is loaded at Itaituba, for ten 
contos of reis, (five thousand dollars,) wiih salt, ^arana, powder, and 
lead, arriving in safety at Cuyaba, can calculate upon fifteen or twenty 
contos of reis profit. 

"At Para the salt can be sold for three francs the alquiere ; at Cuyaba, 
it is worth one hundred and fifty francs. 

" They can descend the river in forty days; but it requires five months 
to ascend it. 

"The forests that border the Tapajos are infested by savage Indians, 
who frequently attack the Morifaos; and dangerous fevers sometimes 
carry oflf those whom the Indian arrow has spared. 

" I left the caravan at Sta. Ana dos Caxoeiras ; it continued its route 
towards the source of the Tapajos, and I entered the country inhabited 
by the Mundrucus. 

" The Mundrucus^ the most warlike nation of the Amazon, do not num- 
ber less than fifteen or twenty thousand warriors, and are the terror of 
all other tribes. 

" They appear to have a deadly hatred to the negro, but a slight 
sympathy for the white man. 

" During the rainy season they go to the plains to pull the sarsaparilla 
root, which they afterwards exchange for common hardware and rum ; 
the other six months of the year are given to war. 

" Each Malacca (village) has an arsenal, or fortress, where the warriors 
stay at night; in the day they live with their families. 

" The children of both sexes are tattooed (when scarcely ten years old) 
with a pencil, or rather a kind of comb, made of the thorns of the 
palm-tree, called Muru-muru. The father (if the child is a boy) marks 
upon the body of the poor creature, who is not even permitted to com- 
plain, long bloody lines, from the forehead to the waist, which he after- 
wards sprinkles with the ashes or coal of some kind of resin. 

" These marks are never effaced. But if this first tattooing, which is 
compulsory among the Mundrucus, sometimes suffices for woman's co- 
quetry, that of the warriors is not satisfied. They must have at least a 
good layer of gcni papo^ (huitoc,) or of roucou, (annatto,) upon every 


limb, and decorate themselves moreover in feathers. Without that, they 
would consider themselves as indecent as a European would be con- 
sidered who would put on his coat without his shirt. 

" The women may make themselves bracelets and collars of colored 
beads, of shells, and of tigers' teeth, but they cannot wear feathers. 

" In time of war the chiefs have right of life and death over simple 
warriors. The Mundrucus never destroy their prisoners ; on the con- 
trary, they treat them with humanity, tattoo them, and afterwards re- 
gard them as their c]»ldren. 

" This warlike nation, far from being enfeebled as other tribes are, 
who, since the conquest of Brazil by the Europeans, are nearly annihi- 
lated, increases, notwithstanding the long wars they every year under- 
take against the most ferocious savages. 

" Once friends of the whites, they yielded to them the lands they in- 
habited on the borders of the Amazon, between the rivers Tapajos and 
Madeira, and fled to live an independent life, which they have never re- 
nounced, in the deep solitudes of the Tapajos above the cataracts. 

" I visited the old Mundrueu chief, Joaquim^ who rendered himself so 
terrible to the rebels of Para during the disorders of 1835. He is a 
decrepit old man, almost paralyzed. He received me very well, and 
appeared flattered that a traveller from a distant country sought to se« 
him. He told me, in bad Portuguese, * I am the Tuchdo^ Joaquim. I 
love the whites, and have never betrayed them. I left my friends, my 
cacoaes^ (cocoa plantations,) and my house on the borders of the Madeira 
to defend them. How many Cabanos (insurgents) have I not killed 
when I showed my war canoe that never fled ? 

" Now I am old and infirm ; but if I remain in the midst of these 
women, and do not soon leave for the fields to chase away these brigands 
of Muras, who lay waste my cacoaes, I w^ll be bewitched and die here 
like a dog. 

" The Mundrucus do not believe that diseases afilict them. "When a 
prey to them, they say it is a spell some unknown enemy has cast over 
them ; and if the Puge^ or Magician of the Malocca, interrogated by 
the family of the dying man, names a guilty person, he whom he named 
may count upon his death. 

" I have heard afterwards that when he was fighting so generously 
with his Mundrucus for the cause of the white man, a Brazilian colonel, 
who commanded the expedition, ordered him to pull manioc roots in a 
field supposed to be in the power of the rebels. The chief was furious, 
and, angrily eyeing the Brazilian, said, ' Dost thou believe my canoe 


is made to carry to the field women and children ? It is a war canoe, 
and not a boat to bring thee farinha.' 

"This same colonel revenged himself for this refusal by calumniating 
to the Emperor the conduct of the brave Mundrucu; and on that 
representation the court objected to recompense him. He remained 
poor as an Indian, when, according to the example of the Brazilian offi- 
cers, he could have amassed wealth. He is old now, and has no heir, 
because he has only daughters. 

" The next day he came to see me, and begged i]%e to cure his nephew, 
a young Indian of eighteen or twenty years, whom he dearly loved, and 
whom he would have had inherit his courage and his titles ; but the 
poor devil had nothing of the warrior, and every day, for several hours, 
had an epileptic attack. I again had recourse to the phial of salts ; 
gave him some for the sick man to smell at the time of the attacks ; and 
also directed that he should drink some drops weakened with water. 

" The remedy had a good effect. The attacks became less frequent 
and. long ; and during the three days I remained in the neighborhood of 
the Malocca the old Tuchao came everyday to thank me; pressed my 
hands with affection, and brought me each time different small presents — 
fruits, birds, or spoils taken heretofore from an enemy. 

" From Santa Ana, where I crossed the river, I determined to enter 
the forests, and not to descend by the cataracts. Six Indians went back 
with the boat to Itaituba ; the three others remained to accompany me 
to the Mahues Indians, whom no European traveller had visited, and 
whom I much desired to know. 

" The Indian hunter, to whom I gave one of my guns, carried my 
hammock and walked in front. I followed him, loaded with a gun and 
a sack, (which contained ammunition,) my compass, paper, pencils, 
and some pieces of guarana. The other two Indians walked behind 
carrying a little manioc flour, travelling necessaries, and a small press to? 
dry the rare plants that I might collect on my journey. 

" We followed a narrow pathway, sometimes across forests, uneven, 
and muddy, broken by small pebbly rivulets, the water of which is 
occasionally very cold ; sometimes climbing steep mountains, through 
running vines and thorny palm-trees. I was covered with a cold and 
heavy sweat, which forced me to throw oft' my garment, preferring to 
endure the stings of myriads of insects to the touch of a garment 
that perspiration and the humidity of the forest had chilled. 

" Towards five o'clock we stopped near a rivulet ; for in these forests 
it soon becomes night. The Indians made a fire and roasted the birds 


and monkeys that the hunter had killed. I selected a parrot for 

" The following day we arrived, about nightfall, at the Indian village 
of Mandu-assu. 

" The Mahues Indians do not tattoo the body as the Mundrucus, or, 
if they do, it is only with the juice of vegetables, which disappears after 
four or five days. 

" Formerly, when they were enemies of the white man, they were 
conquered and subdued by the Mundrucus. At present they live in 
peace with their neighbors, and wilUngly negotiate with the whites. 

" The men are well formed, robust, and active ; the w^omen are gen- 
erally pretty. Less warlike than the Mundrucus, they yield willingly to 
civilization ; they surround their neat cabins with plantations of banana 
trees, coffee, or guarana. 

The precious and medicinal guarana plant, which the Brazilians of 
the central provinces of Goyaz and Matto Grosso purchase with its 
weight in gold, to use against the putrid fevers which rage at certain 
periods of the year, is owed to the Mahues Indians. They alone know- 
how to prepare it, and entirely monopolize it. 

" The Tuchao of the Malocca, called Mandu-assu, received me with 
cordiality, and offered me his cabin. Fatigued from the journey, and 
finding there some birds and rare plants, I remained several days. 

" Mandu-assu marvelled to see me carefully preserve the birds the 
hunter killed, and the leaves of plants, or wood, that possessed medicinal 
virtues. He never left me ; accompanied me through the forests, and 
gave me many plants of whose properties I was ignorant. 

" Rendered still more communicative by the small presents I made 
him, he gave me not only all the particulars I washed upon the cultiva- 
tion and preparation of the guarana, but also answered fully all my 

" I left him for the Malocca of Mosse, whose chief was his relative. 
This chief was more distant and savage than Mandu-assu, and received 
me with suspicion. I was not discouraged, as I only went to induce 
him to exchange, for some articles, his ^^a^'/ca, or complete apparatus 
for taking a kind of snufi" which the great people of the country fre- 
quently use. 

" My cause, however, was not altogether lost ; my hunter, who had 
been in a cabin of the village, took me to see a young Indian who had 
been bitten the evening previous by a surucucurano serpent. I opened 
the wound, bled him, and again used the volatile salts. Whilst I 
operated, a young Indian woman, singularly beautiful, sister of the 


wounded man, supported the leg. She watched me with astonishment, 
and, whilst I was binding up the wound with cotton soaked in alkali, 
(salts,) she disappeared, and I saw her no more. 

" The Indian was relieved. The old Tuchao knew of it; and, to thank 
me for it, or rather, I believe, to test me, presented me with a calabash, 
in which he poured a whitish and disgusting drink, exhaling a strong- 
odor of corruption. This detestable liquor was the cachiri^ (masato,) a 
drink that would make hell vomit ; but the Indians passionately love it. 
I knew by experience that by refusing to drink I woiild offend this proud 
Mahue, and that if I remained in this Malocca I should assuredly die 
from want, because even a calabash of water would be refused me. I 
shut my eyes and drank. 

" The cachiri is the substance of the manioc root, softened in hot 
water, and afterwards chewed by the old women of the Malocca. They 
spit it into great earthen pans, when it is exposed to a brisk fire until 
it boils. It is then poured into pots and suffered to stand until a putrid 
fermentation takes place. 

" The Indian afterwards took his paric^i. He beat, in a mortar of 
sapucaia, a piece of hard paste, which is kept in a box made of a shell ; 
poured this pulverized j^owder upon a dish presented by another Indian, 
and with a long pencil of hairs of the tamandua bandeira, he spread il 
evenly without touching it with the fingers ; then taking pipes joined 
together, made of the quills of the gaviao real^ (royal eagle,) and j^lacing 
it under his nose, he snufted up with a strong inspiration all the powder 
contained in the plate. His eyes started from his head ; his mouth con- 
tracted ; his limbs trembled. It was fearful to see him ; he was obliged 
to sit down, or he would have fallen ; he was drunk, but this intoxic-a- 
tion lasted but five minutes ; he was then gayer. 

" Afterwards, by many entreaties, I obtained from him his precious 
parica, or rather one of them, for he possessed two. 

" At the Malocca of Taffuariti, where I was the next day, the Tuchao, 
observing two young children returning from the woods laden with 
sarsaparilla, covered v.dth perspiration, and overcome, as much by the 
burden they carried as the distance they had travelled, called them to 
him, beat some parica, and compelled them to snufi' it. 

" I then understood that a Tuchao Mahue had a paternal authority 
in his Malocca, and treated all as his own children. He forced these 
children to take the parica, convinced that by it they avoided fevers 
and other diseases. And, in truth, I soon saw the children leave the 
cabin entirely refreshed, and run playing to the brook and throw them- 
selves in. 


" Several vegetable substances compose parica : first, the asbes of a 
vine that I cannot class, not having been able to procure the flowers ; 
second, seeds of the acacia angico, of the leguminous family ; third, 
juice of the leaves of the abuta, (cocculus) of the menispermes family. 
"I never saw a Mahue Indian sick, nor ever heard them complain of 
the slightest pain, notwithstanding that the forests they inhabit are the 
birthplaces of dangerous fevers, which rarely spare the Brazilian mer_ 
chants who come to purchase sai-saparilla root. 

"I had often heard of the great Tuchao, Socano chief, and king of 
the Mahue nation, who, (unlike the kings of France,) notwithstanding 
the urgent entreaties of his subjects, abdicated in favor of his brother, 
and retired apart in a profound solitude, to pass there tranquilly the re- 
mainder of his life. I wished to see this philosopher of the New World 
before going to Itaituba, from which I was eleven days' journey on 

"I went again to Massu to see the Indian bitten by the serpent, and 
perhaps a little, also, to see the Indian girl. He was still lame, but 
walked, however, better. The girl was incorruptible. Promises, brace- 
lets, collars of pearl, (false) — all were useless. 

"Without wishing to attack the virtue of the Mundrucus women, I 
was induced to believe she would be more charitable, because in the 
whole Mundrucuanie it is not proved that there exists a dragon of such 
virtue as to resist the temptation of a small glass of rum. 

" I assisted at an Indian festival so singular that it is only in use 
among the true Mahues. Following the example of the other nations of 
Brazil, (who tattoo themselves with thorns, or pierce the nose, the lips, 
and the ears,) and obeying an ancient law which commands these dif- 
ferent tortures, this baptism of blood, to habituate the warriors to despise 
bodily suff'erings, and even death, the Mahues have preserved from their 
ancestors the great festival of the Tocandeira. 

"An Indian is not a renowned Mahue, and cannot take a wife, until 
he has passed his arms at least ten times through long stalks of the 
palm-tree, filled intentionally with large, venomous ants. He whom I 
saw receive this terrible baptism was not sixteen years old. They con- 
ducted him to the chiefs, where the instruments awaited him ; and, when 
muffled in these terrible mittens, he was obliged to sing and dance 
before every cabin of the Malocca, accompanied by music still more 
horrible. Soon the torments he endured became so great that he 
staggered. (The father and relatives dread, as the greatest dishonor that 
can befall the family, a cry or a weakness on the part of the young 


martyr. They encourage and support him, often by dancing at his 
side.) At length he came to the last cabin ; he was pallid ; his teeth 
chattered ; his arms were swollen ; he went to lay the gloves before the 
old chief, where he still had to endure the congratulations of all the 
Indians of the Malocca. Even the young girls mercilessly embraced 
him, and dragged him through all their circles ; but the Indian, insensi- 
ble to their caresses, sought only one thing — to escape. At length he 
succeeded, and, throwing himself into the stream, remained there until 

"The Tocandeira ants not only bite, but are also armed with a sting 
like the w^asp ; but the pain felt from it is more violent. I think it 
equal to that occasioned by the sting of the black scorpion. 

"In one of my excursions in the environs of the Malocca of Mandu- 
assu, I had occasion to take several of them. I enclosed them in a 
small tin box. I afterwards let one bite me, that I might judge in a 
slight degree w^hat it costs the young Mahues to render themselves 
acceptable. I was bitten at 10 a. m. I felt an acute pain from it until 
evening, and had several hours' fever. 

"At Mandu-assu I was invited to a great festival of the Malocca. 
The chief kept me company; the people remained standing, and ate 
afterwards. As the Mahues are less filthy than the Mundrucus, I ate 
\vith a little less disgust than with the last, who never took the trouble to 
skin the monkeys or deer they killed, but w^ere contented wnth cutting 
them to pieces, and throwing them pell-mell in large earthen pots, where 
meat, hair, feathers, and all were cooked together. The Mahues at 
least, though they did not pick the game, burnt the hair and roasted the 

"The next day I departed for the Socano country. The Indians who 
accompanied me, having no curiosity to see the old Indian king, already 
tired of the journey, and seeing it prolonged four or five days independ- 
ent of the eleven it would require to reach Itaituba, concerted to deceive 
me by conducting me through a pathway which they thought led to a 
port of the river Tapajos, and where they hoped to find some Brazilians 
of Itaituba with their canoes loaded with sarsaparilla. 

"In trying to lead me by a false route, they deceived themselves; for 
we walked two long days, and the pathway, which was but a hunter's 
track, finally entirely disappeared. I was ignorant of the position of 
the Malocca I was seeking. I only heard it would be found nearer 
the river Madeira than the Tapajos. I wished to cut across the woods 
and journey tow^ards the west; the Indians were discouraged, and fol- 


lowed me unwillingly. We passed a part of the third day in the midst 
of rugged and inundated forests, where I twice sank in mud to the 

"The hunter could kill nothing; and when, towards the evening, I 
wished to take some food, I could only find a half-knawed leg of monkey. 
The Indians had not left me even a grain of farinha. Being near a 
stream, I grated some guarana in a calabash and drank it without sugar, 
for they had left me none. 

' Not daring to rest, for fear of being unable to rise, we immediately 
resumed our journey. Having again walked two hours across forests of ^ 
vines, w-hich caused me to stumble at every step ; or crawling under 
large fallen trees, which constantly barred our way ; or in the midst of 
large prickly plants, which lacerated my hands, I arrive*^, torn and 
bruised, at a small river, where we stopped. 

" After drinking another portion of guarana, I swung my hammock, 
but was soon obliged to rise, because a storm had gathered above us and 
now burst forth. 

"If there is an imposing scene to describe, it is that of a storm which 
rages at night over an old forest of the New World. Huge trees fall 
with a great crash ; a thousand terrific noises resound from every side ; 
animals, (monkeys and tigers,) whom fear drives to shelter, pass and 
repass like spectres ; frequent flashes of lightning ; deluging torrents of 
rain — all combine to form a scene from which the old poets might have 
drawn inspiration to depict the most brilliant night of the empire of 

"Towards midnight the storm ceased; all became tranquil, and I 
swung my hammock anew. The next day I awoke wdth a fever.. I 
drank guarana made more bitter than usual, and w^e started. The hun- 
ter met a band of large black monkeys. He killed five of them. The 
Indians recovered courage ; for myself, I could proceed no further, so 
great were the pains I suffered from my feet to my knees. The fever 
weakened me so much that I carried my gun with difficulty ; but I 
would not abandon it. I had only "that to animate my guides and de- 
fend myself with. 

" By frequently drinking guarana the fever had left me ; but towards 
the evening of the fifth day, finding we were still wandering, and the 
forests becoming deeper, I lost courage and could not proceed. The 
hunter swung my hammock and gave me guarana. The two others, 
perfectly indifferent, were some paces from me, employed in broiling a 
monkey. I knew if I had not strength to continue the journey the next 


day, they would abandon me without pity. Already they answered me 

"After a moment passed in the saddest reflection, I called to the 
hunter to bring me my travelling case. I took from it the entire 
preparation of paric4 of the Mosse chief, and a flask of arsenical soap, 
which I would not use except as the last resource. I took the parica 
and did as I had seen the old Indian do. I instantly fell drunk in my 
hammock, but with a peculiar intoxication, and which acted upon my 
limbs like electric shocks. On rising, I put my foot to the ground, and, 
to my great surprise, felt no pain. At first I thought I dreamed. I even 
walked without being convinced. At length, positively sure that I was 
awake, and there still remaining two hours of daylight, I detached my 
hammock, and forced the Indians, by striking them, to follow me. 

" When further on we stopped to rest, they brought me the roast 
monkey, which they had not touched. I snatched a hg and ate it with 
voracity. The next day, constantly compelling myself to take the gua- 
rana, I had but slight fever; and towards the evening, after a toilsome 
journey, we amved at a miserable Malocca, composed of about four or 
five Indian cabin-^." 



Departure from Santarem — Monte Allegre — Prainha — Almeirim — Gurupi — River* 
Xingu — Great estuary of the Amazon — India-rubber country — Method of col- 
lecting and preparing the India-rubber — Bay of Litnoeiro — Arrival at Pard. 

M. Alfonse was more generous than the Tuchao, for I could do nothing 
for him ; yet he gave me his parica, his Mundrucus gloves, and a very 
valuable collection of dried leaves and plants, that he had gathered 
during his tour. 

I spent a very agreeable day with him at the country house of M. 
Gouzennes, situated on the Igarape-assu, about three miles from Santa- 
rem. The house is a neat little cottage, built of pise, which is nearly 
the same thing as the large sun-dried bricks, called by the Spaniards 
adobe, though more carefully prepared. I supposed that this house, 
situated in the midst of a cocoa plantation, on low land, near the junc- 
tion of two great rivers, under a tropical sun, and with a tropical vege- 
tation, would be an unhealthy residence ; but I was assured there was 
no sickness here. 

We put up in earth, for transportation to the United States, plants of 
arrow-root, ginger, manaca, and some flowers. I believe that some of 
these reached home alive, and are now in the public garden. 

Other gentlemen were also kind and civil to me. Mr. Bates, a young 
English entomologist, gave me a box of very beautiful butterflies ; and 
the Vicario Geral, the foetus of a peixe-boi, preserved in spirits. Senhoi' 
Pinto, the Delegado, furnished me with horses to ride; and I took most 
of my meals with Capt. Hislop. 

An attempt was made to murder the old gentleman a few weeks be- 
fore I arrived. Whilst sleeping in his hammock, two men rushed upon 
him, and one of them gave him a violent blow in the breast with a 
knife — the point of the knife, striking the breast-bone, broke or bent. 
The robbers then seized his trunk and made oif, but were so hotly pur- 
sued by the captain's domestics, whom he had called up, that they 
dropped their booty and fled. 

A young Englishman named Golden, who had married a Brazilian 
lady, and was engag'ed in traflic on the river, was also kind to me, 
giving me specimens of India-rubber and cotton. 

The trade of Santarem with Para is carried on in schooners of about 


one liundred tons burden, of which there ^yere five or six lying in port 
whilst I was there. The average passage downwards is thirteen, and 
upwards twenty-five days. 

There are several well- stocked shops in the town, but business was at 
that time very dull. Every body was complaining of it. A schooner 
had been lying there for several months, waiting for a cargo ; but the 
smallness of the cocoa crop, and the great decrease in the fishing busi- 
ness, and making of manteiga for this year, rendered it very difficult to 
make up one. 

We had a great deal of heavy rain during our stay at Santarem, 
(generally at night,) with sharp lightning and strong squalls of wind 
from the eastward. The river rose with great rapidity for the last three 
or four days of my stay. The beach on which I was accustomed to 
bathe, and which was one hundred yards wide when I arrived, was 
entirely covered when I left. There were no symptoms of tide at that 
season, though I am told it is very perceptible in the summer time. 
"Water boiled at Santarem at 210.5, indicating a height of eight hundred 
and forty -six feet above the level of the sea. 

I left Santarem at 1 p. m., March 28. The Delegado could only 
muster me three tapuios and a pilot, and I shipped a volunteer. I 
believe he could have given me as many as I desired, (eleven,) but that 
he had many employed in the building of his new house, and, moreover, 
he had no conception that I would sail on the day that I appointed ; 
people in this country never do, I believe, by any chance. If they get 
ofi:' on a journey within a week of the time .appointed, they think they 
are doing well ; and I have known several instances where they were a 
month after the time. 

When the Delegado found that I would go with what men I had, he 
begged me to wait till morning, saying that the military commandant, 
who had charge of the Trabalh adores, had sent into the country for two, 
and was expecting them every hour. But I too well knew that it was 
idle to rely on expectations of this sort, and I sailed at once, thanking 
him for his courtesy. • 

I had several applications to ship for the voyage from Indians at 
Santarem ; but I was very careful not to take any who were engaged 
in the service of others ; for I knew that custom, if not law, gave the 
patron the service of the tapuio, provided this latter were in debt to the 
former, which I believe the patron always takes ^ood care shall be the 

I paid these men — the pilot forty, and the crew thirty cents per day. 
The Ticunas, who formed my crew from Tabatinga to Barra, I paid 


partly in money and partly in clothes, at the rate of four dollars per 
month. I paid the Muras, from Barra to Santarem, at the same rate. 
The Peruvian Indians were generally paid in cotton cloth, at the rate of 
about twelve and a half cents per day. 

"We gave passage to the French Jew who had given us lodgings 
in his house at Santarem. I had great difficulty in keeping the peace 
between him and Potter, who had as much antipathy towards each 
other as an uneducated Frenchman and Englishman might be supposed 
to have. 

We drifted with the current all night, and stopped in the morning at 
a small cocoa plantation belonging to some one in Santarem. The 
water of the river was, at this time, nearly up to the door of the house ; 
and the country seemed to be all marsh behind. I never saw a more 
desolate, sickly looking place ; but a man who was living there with 
bis wife and six children (all strong and healthy looking) told me they 
were never sick there. This man told me that he could readily sup- 
port himself and his family but for the military sei-vice he was com- 
pelled to surrender at Santarem, which took him away from his work 
and his family for several months in every year. 

Thirty miles from the mouth of the Tapajos we passed the mouth of 
a creek called Igarape Mahica, which commences close to the Tapajos. 
We found the black waters of that river at the mouth of the creek, and 
therefore it should be properly called a furo, or small mouth of the 

We stopped at 9 p. m. under some high land close to the mouth of 
a small river called Curua, on account of a heavy squall of wind and 

March 30. — We passed this morning the high lands on the left bank 
of the river, among which is situated the little town of Monte Alegre. 
This is a village of fifteen hundred inhabitants, who are principally 
engaged in the cultivation of cocoa, the raising of cattle, and the man- 
ufacture of earthern-ware, and drinking cups made from gourds, which 
they varnish and ornament with goldleaf and colors, in a neat and 
pretty style. 

In the afternoon we crossed the river, here about four miles wide, 
and stopped at the village of Prainha. 

Prainha is a collection of mud huts on a slight green eminence on 
the left bank of the river, ninety miles below Santarem. The inhabit- 
ants, numbering five hundred, employ themselves in gathering India- 
rubber and making manteiga. The island opposite the town having a 
lake in the centre abounding with turtle. 


We saw several persons at tliis place who were suffering from 
sezoens, or tertianas, but all said they took them whilst up the neigh- 
boring rivers. If general accounts are to be relied on, there seems to 
be really no sickness on the main trunk of the Amazon, but only on 
the tributaries ; though I saw none on the Huallaga and Ucayali. 

I have no doubt of the fact that sickness is more often taken on the 
tributaries than on the main trunk ; but I do not think it is because 
there is any peculiar malaria on the tributaries from which the main 
trunk is exempt. The reason, I thiuk, is this ; when persons leave their 
homes to ascend the tributaries, they break up their usual habits of life, 
live in canoes exposed to the weather, with bad and insufficient food, 
and are engaged in an occupation (the collection of India-rubber or 
sarsaparilla) which compels them to be nearly all the time wet. It is 
not to be wondered at that, after months of such a life, the voyager 
should contract chills and fever in its most malignant form. 

The mere traveller passes these places without danger. It is the 
enthusiast in science, who spends weeks and months in collecting curious 
objects of natural history, or the trader, careless of consequences in the 
pursuit of dollars, who suffers from the sezoens. 

Although there were a number of cattle grazing in the streets of 
Prainha, we could get no fresh meat ; and indeed, but for the opportune 
arrival of a canoe with a single fish, our tuyuyus, or great cranes, would 
have gone supperless. These birds frequently passed several days with- 
out food — and this on a river abounding with fish, which shows the 
listless indifference of the people. 

The banks of the river between Monte Alegre and Gurupa are 
bordered with hills that deserve the name of mountains. In this part of 
our descent we had a great deal of rain and bad weather ; for wherever 
the land elevates itself in this country, clouds and rain settle upon the 
hills. But it was very pleasant, even with these accompaniments, to 
look upon a country broken into hill and valley, and so entirely distinct 
from the low flat country above, that had wearied us so long with its 
changeless monotony. 

About fifty -five miles below Prainha we passed the mouth of the 
small river Parii, which enters the Amazon on the left bank. It is a 
quarter of a mile wide at its mouth, and has clear dark water. 

It is very difficult to get any information from the Indian pilots on 
the river. "When questioned regarding any stream, the common reply 
is, " It runs a long way up ; it has rapids ; savages live upon its banks ; 
everything grows there ;" Vai longe, tern caxoieras, tern gentios^ tern, 

GURUPA. 323 

tudo.) I was always reminded of tlie Peruvian Indian with his hat/ 
platanos, hay yuccas, hay todo. 

Our pilot, however, told me that the river was navigable for large 
vessels twenty days to the first rapids; that the current was very strong; 
that there was much sezoens on it ; and that much sarsaparilla and 
cloves could he collected there. 

The immediate banks of the river at its mouth are low ; but close to 
the left bank commences a short but quite high range of hills, that runs 
parallel to the Amazon. 

Six miles below this we passed the village of Almeirim, on the left 
bank, but did not stop. A little above the town, and a quarter of a mile 
from shore, there was a strong ripple, which the pilot said was caused 
by a ledge of rocks that are bare when the river is low. There is plenty 
of water on each side of it. 

Fifty miles below Almeirim we steered across the river for Gurupa, 
running under sail from island to island. The river here is about ten 
miles wide. Large islands divide it into the Macapa and Gurupa chan- 
nels ; the latter conducting to Para, the former running out to sea by 
the shores of Guyana. 

After crossing, and at half a mile from the right bank, we fell into the 
dark waters of the Xingu, whose mouth v^e could see some six or eight 
mils above. Fifteen miles further brought us to Gurupa, where we 
arrived at a quarter past 9 p. m. 

Gurupa is a village of one street, situated on a high grassy point on 
the right bank, with large islands in front, diminishing the width of the 
river to about a mile and a half. It contains about three hundred in- 
habitants, though the sub-delegado said it had two or three thousand; 
and the official report states the number at over one thousand. 

The principal trade of the place is in India-rubber, obtained on the 
Xingu and the neighboring smaller streams. We found at this place, 
as at every other place below Barra, a great demand for salt fish. 
Everybody asked us if we had any to sell ; and we could readily have 
obtained three dollars the arroba, for which we had paid but seventy- 
five cents in Barra. The scarcity of the fish is attributable to the fact 
that the river has fallen very little this year; but I incline to believe 
that the fish are not so plentiful, and that the people are not so active 
in taking them as before. It was amusing at Santarem to see the 
gathering of the population around a canoe, recently arrived with fish, 
as if this were a thing of rare occurrence. The people seemed so lazy 
that they would prefer eating farinha alone, rather than take the trouble 
to go down to the Amazon and catch fish. 


I met, at- the house of the Commandante-militar, with an old gentle- 
man who was on his way to Porto de Moz, near the mouth of the 
Xiiigu, to take the oflSce of municipal judge of the district. He seemed 
to be a man well informed with regard to all the river below Barra. 
He told me that the Xingu was obstructed by rapids for navigation in 
large vessels within four days' travel from its mouth, and that boats 
could not go far up on account of the savages. These rapids, however, 
cannot be a serious impediment for boats ; for I was told at Santarem 
that the caravans from Cuiaba, to Rio Janeiro passed the Xingu in 
boats, and found at that place porpoises of the Amazon ; from which 
they inferred that there were no falls or serious obstacles in the river 
below them. , 

The judge asked me for accounts from Barra; and when he received 
the usual answer, that the town was not in a flourishing condition, and 
was short of the necessaries of life, he shrugged his shoulders, (as all in 
the lower province do when speaking of the new province,) as if to say, 
" I knew it." 

He said that it might come to something in forty years ; but that 
nothing could be expected of a place that furnished nothing to com- 
merce but a few oils, and a little piassaha, and where the population 
was composed of Muras and Araras. He spoke bitterly of the Mura 
ti-ibe of Indians, and said that they were lazy and deceitful. 

Ac^jording to his account, the white man furnishes the Mura with a 
boat, pays him, beforehand, a jacket, a shirt, a pair of trousers, and 
a hat; furnishes him with fish and farinha to eat, and tobacco to 
smoke, and sends him out to take Pirarucu ; but when the Indian gets 
off, it is "Good-bye Mura;" or, if he does come back, he has spent so 
much time in his fishing that the fish are not worth the outlay and the 
time lost. 

It was true, he said, there were cattle on the Rio Branco ; but they 
could only be sent for and traded in when the river was full ; and he 
concluded by making a great cross in the air, and lifting up his eyes, to 
give vent to the expression, " Heaven deliver me from Barra !" 

I conversed with the old gentleman on some projects of reform as 
ref>'arded the Indian population. He thought that a military force 
should be employed to reduce them to a more perfect system of sub- 
jection, and that they should, by all means, be compelled to work. I 
told him that a Portuguese had said that the best reform that could be 
made would be to hang all the Indians. My friend seemed a little 
shocked at this, and said that there was no necessity for such root-and- 
branch work. He said he would grant that the old ones might be 


killed to advantage ; but lie thoiight they might be shot and not hung. 
This, I believe, was said " bona jideP I was amused at the old gentle- 
man's philanthropy, and thought that, as a judge, he might have pre- 
ferred the hanging process. 

I find that most of the gentlemen of the lower province are disposed 
to sneer at the action of the government in erecting the Comarca of 
the Rio Negro into a province ; but I think the step was a wise one. 
It may cost the government, and particularly the province of Para, 
(from which funds are drawn for the support of the new province,) 
some money to support it for a while ; but if the country is to be im- 
proved at all, it is to^be done in this way. By sending there govern- 
ment oflBcials — people who know what living is, and have wants — and 
by building government houses, (thus employing and paying the In- 
dians,) stimulants are given to labor, and the resources of the country 
are drawn out ; for these people who have gone from Para and Rio 
Janeiro will not be content to live on turtle, salt fish, and farinha. 

The tide is very apparent at Gurup4. The river fell several feet during 
the morning whilst we were there. This point is about five hundred 
miles from the sea. 

After we had sailed, the Commandante-militar, to whom I had ap- 
plied for more men, and who had told me there were none to be had, 
sent a man in a canoe after us. I suspected so much courtesy, and 
found, accordingly, that the man (a negro) was a cripple, and utterly 
worthless. He had e\ndently been palmed ofi" upon us to get rid of 
him. I made him feed the birds and cook for the men. These men 
made the best and hardest-working crew I had during my voyage. 

About thirty-five miles below Gurupa commences the great estuary of 
the Amazon. The river suddenly flares out into an immense bay, which 
is probably one hundred and fifty miles across in its widest part. This 
might appropriately be called the " Bay of the Thousand Islands," for 
it is cut up into innumerable channels. The great island of Marajo^ 
which contains about ten thousand square miles, occupies nearly the 
centre of it, and divides the river into two great channels: one, the main 
channel of the Amazon, which runs out by Cayenne ; and the other, and 
smaller one, the river of Pard. I imagine that no chart we have gives 
anything like a correct idea of this bay. The French brig-of-war Bou- 
lonnaise, some years ago, passed up the main channel from Cayenne to 
Obidos, and down the Pard channel, making a survey. But she had 
only time to make a survey of the channels through which she passed, 
leaving innumerable others unexplored. This she was permitted to do 
through the liberality of Senhor Coelbo, the patriotic President of the 


province ; but when she applied for permission to make further surveys^ 
she was sternly refused by the government of Rio Janeiro. 

I think it would cost a steamer a year of uninterrupted labor to make 
a tolerably correct chart of this estuary. 

At this point we turned into a small creek that penetrated the right 
bank, and ran for days through channels varying from fifty to five hun- 
dred yards in width, between innumerable islands. This is the India- 
rubber country. The shores of the islands were all low ; and, indeed, 
we seldom saw the land at all, the trees on the banks generally standing 
in the water. 

We stopped (April 3) at one of the establishments on the river for 
making, or rather for buying. India-rubber. The house was built of 
light poles, and on piles to keep it out of the water, which, at this time, 
flowed under and around it. The owner had a shop containing all the 
necessaries of life, and such articles of luxury as were likely to attract 
the fancy of the Indian gatherers of the rubber. It was strange, and 
veiy agreeable, to see flour-barrels marked Richmond^ and plain and 
striped cottons from Lowell and Saco^ with English prints, pewter ear 
and finger rings, combs, small guitars, cheese, gin, and aguadiente, in 
this wild and secluded-looking spot. 

This house was a palace to the rude shanty which the serin^ero, or 
gatherer of the rubber, erects for a temporary shelter near the scene of 
his labors. 

The owner of the house told me that the season for gathering the 
rubber, or seringa, as it is here called, was from July to January. The 
tree gives equally well at all times ; but the work cannot be prosecuted 
when the river is full, as the whole country is then under water. Some, 
however, is made at this time, for I saw a quantity of it in this man's 
house, which was evidently freshly made. 

The process of making it is as follows : A longitudinal gash is made 
in the bark of the tree with a very narrow hatchet or tomahawk ; a 
wedge of wood is inserted to keep the gash open, and a small clay cup 
is stuck to the tree beneath the gash. The cups may be stuck as close 
together as possible around the tree. In four or five hours the milk 
has ceased to run, and each wound has given from three to five table- 
s])oonfuls. The gatherer then collects it from the cups, takes it to his 
rancho, pom's it into an earthen vessel, and commences the operation of 
forming it into shapes and smoking it. This must be done at once, as 
the milk soon coagulates. 

A fire is made on the ground of the seed of nuts of a palm-tree, of 
which there are two kinds : one called urucari, the size of a pigeon's 


egg, thougli longer ; and tbe other inaja, which is smaller. An earthen 
pot, with the bottom knocked out, is placed, mouth down, over the fire, 
and a strong pungent smoke from the burning seeds comes up through 
the aperture in the bottom of the inverted pot. 

The maker of the rubber now takes his last, if he is making shoes, or 
his mould, which is fastened to the end of a stick ; pours the milk over 
it with a cup, and passes it slowly several times through the smoke 
until it is dry. He then pours on the other coats until he has the re- 
quired thickness ; smoking each coating until it is dry. 

Moulds are made either of clay or wood ; if of wood, it is smeared 
with clay, to prevent the adhesion of the milk. When the rubber has 
the required thickness, the moulds are either cut out or washed out. 

Smoking changes the color of the rubber very little. After it is pre- 
pared, it is nearly as white as milk, and gets its color from age. 

The most common form of the India-rubber of commerce is that of a 
thick bottle ; though it is also frequently made in thick sheets, by pour- 
ing the milk over a wooden mould, shaped like a spade, and, when it 
has a coating suflSciently thick, passing a knife around three sides of it, 
and taking out the mould. I should think this the least troublesome 
form, and the most convenient for transportation. 

From twenty to forty coats make a pair of shoes. The soles and 
heels are, of course, given more coats than the body of the shoe. The 
figures on the shoes are made by tracing them on the rubber whilst soft 
with a coarse needle or bit of wire. This is done in two days after the 
coating. In a week the shoes are taken from the last. The coating 
occupies about twenty-five minutes. 

An industrious man is able to make sixteen pounds of rubber a day ; 
but the collectors are not industrious. I heard a gentleman in Para say 
that they rarely average more than three or four pounds. 

The tree is tall, straight, and has a smooth bark. It sometimes reaches 
a diameter of eighteen inches or more. Each incision makes a rough 
w^ound on the tree, which, although it does not kill it, renders it useless, 
because a smooth place is required to which to attach the cups. The 
milk is white and tasteless, and may be taken into the stomach with 

The rubber is frequently much adulterated by the addition of tapioca 
or sand, to increase its weight ; and, unless care is taken in the manufac- 
ture, it will have many cells, containing air and water. Water is seen 
to exude from nearly all of it when cut, which is always done for the 
purpose of examination before purchase. I brought home some speci- 
mens that were more than half mud. 

328 BREVES. 

The seringeros generally work on their own account, and take their 
collection to the nearest settlement, or to some such shop as this, to ex- 
change it for such things as they stand in need of. 

We navigated all day, after leaving this place, through a labyrinth of 
island channels, generally one or two hundred yards wide, and forty- 
eight feet deep. No land is seen in threading these channels, it being 
all covered ; and the trees and bushes seem growing out of the water. 
Occasionally the bushes are cleared away, and one sees a shanty mounted 
on piles in the water, the temporary residence of a seringero. At a 
place in one of these channels, I was surprised to find one hundred and 
ninety-two feet of water, with a rocky bottom. The lead hung in the 
rocks, so that we had difficulty in getting it again. 

April 4. — The channels and shores are as before ; though we occa- 
sionally see a patch of ground with a house on it. This is generally 
surrounded with cocoa-nut trees and other palms, among which the 
miriti is conspicuous for its beauty. This is a very tall, straight, um- 
brella-like tree, that bears large cluster of a small nut, which is eaten. 

We arrived at Breves^ on the island of Marajo, at 11 a. m. This set- 
cement is about two hundred miles below Gurupa. It is a depot of 
India-rubber, and sends annually about three thousand arrobas to Para. 
It has a church, and several shops ; and seems a busy, thriving place. 
Below this we find the flood-tide sufficiently strong to compel us to lie 
by, though it is but of three or four hours' duration. The ebb is of 
longer duration, and stronger. 

Nearly opposite Breves, at a place called Portal, a village of sixty or 
eighty houses, two rivers, called the Pucajash and Guano.pu^ empty into 
the Amazon close together. A German, whom I met at Para, told me 
of these rivers. I can find no mention of them in Baena's essay. My 
German friend said that the Pucajash was a large river which came 
down from the province of Minas Geraes, and that he had found gold 
in its sands. According to his account, the Pucajash may be ascended 
for eight days in a montaria (quite equal to twenty days in a river craft) 
before the first rapids are reached. Tapuios and boats may be had at 
Portal. The savages who inhabit the banks of the Pucajash are nearly 
white ; go naked ; but are civil, and may be employed as hunters. 

We employed the 5th, 6th, and 'Zth of April in running through 
island passages, and occasionally touching on the main stream, anchor- 
ing during the flood-tide. 

I could keep no account of the tide in these passages. We would 
encounter two or three difterent tides in three or four hours. I imagine 
the reason of this was that some of the passages were channels proper 


of the Amazon ; some of them small, independent rivers ; and some, 
again, furos, or other outlets of these same rivers. On the morning of 
the 7th, we were running down on the main river, here about three 
miles wide, and with a powerful ebb-tide. Suddenly we turned to the 
right, or southward, into a creek about forty yards wide, and with 
twelve feet of water, and found a small tide against us. After pulling 
up this creek an hour, we found a powerful tide in our favor, without 
having observed that we had entered another stream ; so that from 5 
a. m. to 3 p. m., we had had but a small tide of one hour against us. 

I could get no information from ^ur pilot. He seems to me to say 
directly contrary things about it. The old man is very timid, and will 
never trust himself in the stormy waters of the main river if he can find 
a creek, though it go a long distance about. 

The channels are so intricate that we find, at the bifurcations, bits of 
sail cloth hung on the bushes, to guide the navigators on the route to 
Para. Those channels which lead to Cameta, on the Tocantins, and 
other places, are not marked. 

We passed occasionally farm houses, with mills for grinding sugar- 
cane. The mills are as rude as those in Mainas, and I believe make 
nothing but rum. 

At 8 p. m. on the 7th, we arrived at the mouth of the creek, 
which debouches upon the bay of Limoeiro, a deep indentation of the 
right bank of the Amazon, at the bottom of which is the mouth of the 
river Tocantins. "We had a stormy night, with a fresh wind from the 
eastward, and much rain, thunder, and lightning. 

April 8. — The pilot objected to attempt the passage of the bay ; but 
another pilot, who was M^aiting to take a vessel across the next day, 
encouraged him, telling him that he would havefeliz viagem. 

We pulled a mile to windward, and made sail across, steering E. S. 
E. The wind from the northward and eastward, encountering the ebb- 
tide which runs from the southward, soon made a sharp sea, which gave 
us a rough passage. The canoe containing our animals and birds, 
which was towing astern, with our crippled negro from Gurupa steering, 
broke adrift, and I had the utmost difficulty in getting her again ; indeed 
we took in so much water in our efforts to reach her that I thought for 
a moment that I should have to make sail again, and abandon the 
menagerie. ' The canoe, however, would probably not have perished. 
She was so light that she took in little water, and would have drifted 
with the ebb-tide to some point of safety. 

We had a quick run to an island near the middle of the bay, and 
about five miles from the shore that we sailed from. The bay on this 

330 CAME T A. 

side of the island has several sand-flats, that are barely covered at low 
water. They seem entirely detached from the land and have deep water 
close around them. 

Onr pilot must have steered by instinct, or the direction of the wind ; 
for most of the time he could see no land, so thick and heavy was the 
rain. He grinned with delight when we ran under the lee of the 
island, and I nodded my head approvingly to him, and said, hemfeito 
piloto, (well done pilot.) 

We breakfasted on the island, and ran with the flood-tide to its south- 
ern extremity ; where, turning to tfie north, we had the flood against us, 
and were compelled to stop. 

The Bay of Limoeiro is about ten miles wide ; runs north and south, 
and has the Tocantins pouring in at its southern extremity. Thirty-nine 
miles from the mouth of that river is situated the flourishing town of 
Cameta, containing, by the official statement for 1848, thirteen thousand 
seven hundred and forty-two free, and four thousand and thirty-eight 
slave inhabitants. I suppose in this case, as in others, the inhabitants 
of the country houses for miles around are included in the estimate. 

Baena, in speaking of the condition of this town in 1833, says : 

"The city and its ' termo' (a territorial division of a Comarca, which 
is again a territorial division of a province) has a population of eight 
thousand and sixty-eight whites, and one thousand three hundred and 
eighty-two slaves. The major part are to be found in the town on holy- 
week, or any of the great festivals ; but for the most time, they live dis- 
persed among the adjacent islands, on their cocoa plantations and farms. 

" They cultivate mandioc, cocoa, cotton, rice, tobacco, urucu, and 
sugar-cane. They make much oil from the andiroba nut, which they 
collect on the islands, and also lime from fossil shells. 

" The women paint gourds and make ewers and basins of white clay, 
which they paint very beautifully. They also make figures of turtle 
doves and crocodiles from the same clay. 

" The inhabitants enjoy a fine climate, charming views, the clear and 
good water of the river, abundance of fish, and every kind of game, 
which is found on the margin of the river and on the islands — such is 
the fertility which nature spontaneously off'ers ; and much more would 
they enjoy had they a better system of cultivation on those lands, all 
admirably fitted for every kind of labor. 

" There are those who say that the water of the Tocantins has a cer- 
tain subtle, petrifying quality, which causes attacks of gravel to those 
who use it." 

According to M. Castelnau, who descended this river from near the 


city of Goyaz^ by one of its tributaries, called the Crixas, the Tocantins 
forks, at about tliree buudred and forty miles from its mouth, into two 
great branches, called the Tocantins proper and the Araguay^ which 
latter branch he considers the principal stream. " For," he says, " when 
we consider that the Tocantins presents an almost continued succession 
of cascades and rapids, whilst the Araguay (as we have before said) is 
free for the greater part of its course, it will be seen how this latter offers 
greater advantages for navigation ; particularly when it is recollected that 
one may embark upon it at all seasons at fifty leagues from the capital, 
(Goyaz,) and in the rainy seasons at only a very few leagues from it. 
The Tocantins, on the other hand, cannot be considered navigable farther 
up than Porto Imperial, which is nearly three hundred leagues below 
Goyaz, by the windings of the route." 

Again, he says : " The rivers of which we have been treating, 
although they are secondary on a continent watered by the Amazon 
and Mississippi, would elsewhere be considered as of the first order ; for 
the Tocantins has nearly four hundred and forty leagues of course, and 
the Araguay, properly so called, has not less than four hundred and 
twenty. But this last, after uniting itself to the Tocantins, runs in the 
bed of the latter a new distance of one hundred and thirteen leagues ; 
considering, then, the Araguay, on account of its being the larger 
branch, and the most direct in its course, as the main river, it has a 
total length of nearly five hundred and thirty- three leagues," (1,599 

It is necessary, however, in ascending these rivers, to unload the boats 
at many places, and drag them over the rocks with cords. The voyage 
from Porto Imperial to Par4 occupies fi^om twenty-five to thirty days ; 
but upwards it takes from four to five months. 

M. Castelnau descended the Araguay from Salinas (fifty leagues by 
land from Goyaz) to its junction with the Tocantins in thirty-four days. 
Just below Salinas he found the Araguay upwards of five hundred yards 
wide. At the junction of the rivers, the Tocantins has a width of two 
thousand yards, with a current of three-fourths of a mile per hour. 
The height of this point above the level of the sea is one hundred and 
ninety-seven feet, and its distance from Para, in a straight line, is about 
one hundred and sixty-one miles; thus giving the river in this distance 
a fall of about eight-tenths of a foot per mile. 

We crossed the other arm of the bay (about five miles wide) with the 
ebb-tide, and anchored at the mouth of a small river called Anapui, 
which empties into the bay near its opening into the main river of Para. 


There are large mud flats near the mouth of this river, which are en- 
closed with small stakes driven in the mud close together, for the purpose 
of taking fish w^hen the tide is out. A great many small fish — about 
the size of a herring — called mapara^ are taken and salted for the food 
of the slaves and tapuios. The fishermen, in ludicrously small canoes, 
gathered around us, admiring our birds and asking many strange ques- 

This river is about two hundred and fifty yards wide, and has a general 
depth of thirty-six feet. Its banks are lined with plantations of cane, 
sugar-mills, and potteries. Nearly all the rum and the pots for putting 
up the turtle-oil that are used on the river, are made in this district. 
The owners of these establishments are nearly all away at this time 
celebrating holy-week in Sta. Ana, or other neighboring villages. 

The establishments are left in charge of domestics; and we saw no 
signs of activity or prosperity among them. Most of them have neat 
little chapels belonging to them. 

The river Sta. Ana empties into the Anajnd. We anchored at its 
mouth to await for the flood-tide. Our pilot, who always sleeps on the 
arched covering over the stern of the boat, rolled overboard in the 
night. The tide was fortunately nearly done, and the old man swam 
well, or he would have been lost. 

The village of Sta. Ana is eight miles from the mouth of the river, 
and two hundred and fifty miles below Breves. It is the centre of the 
rum and molasses trade of the district. It is a small, neat looking 
village of about five hundred inhabitants ; but the country around is 
very thickly settled ; and thus the ofiicial account states the population 
of the town of Igarape Mirbn (which I take to be this Sta. Ana) at 
three thousaind one hundred free persons, with two hundred and eighty- 
one slaves. 

The river opposite the town is one hundred yards wide, and has a 
depth of thirty feet. Just above the village we entered the mouth of 
a creek called Igarape Mirim. This creek has an average width of 
thirty yards, and depth, at this season, of fifteen feet. 

Six miles of navigation on this creek brought us to a canal which 
connects the Sta. Ana with the river Moju. 

The canal is about a mile long, and has six feet of depth at this 
season. It seems, at present, in good condition, and large enough to 
give passage to a vessel of fifty tons. 

We found the Moju a fine stream, of about four hundred yards in 
width, and forty-five feet deep opposite the entrance of the canal. The 


water was brown and clear, and the banks everywhere three or four feet 
out of the water. I was surprised to see so few houses on its banks. It 
looked very nearly as desolate as the Maranon in Peru. 

Forty-five miles of descent of the Moju brought us to the junction of 
the Acara, which comes in from the southeast. The estuary formed 
by the junction of the two rivers is about two and a half miles wide, 
and is called the river Guajard. 

Five miles of descent of the Guajark brought us to its entrance into 
the Para river, five miles above the city, where we arrived at half-past 
9 p. m. on the 11th of April. 

I was so worn out when we arrived, that, although I had not heard 
from home, and knew that there must be letters here for me, I would not 
take the trouble to go to the consul's house to seek them ; but sending 
Mr. Potter and the Frenchman ashore to their families, I anchored in 
the stream, and, wrapping myself in my blanket, went sullenly to sleep. 

The charm of Mr. Norris's breakfast table next morning, however, 
with ladies and children seated around it, conversing in English, might 
have waked the dead. Under the care and kindness of himself and his 
family, I improved every hour; and was soon in condition to see what 
was to be seen, and learn what was to be learned, of the city of Para. 

334 FARA 



The city of Santa Maria de Belem do Grao Pard^ founded by Fran- 
cisco Caldeira do Castello Branco, in the year 1616, is situated on a 
low elbow of land at the junction of the river Guama with the river 
Pafa, and at a distance of about eighty miles frona the sea. 

A ship generally requires three tides, which run with a velocity of 
about four miles to the hour, to reach the sea from the city. 

Para is not fortified, either by land or water. There is a very small 
and inefficient fort situated on an island about five miles below the city ; 
but it is only armed with a few ill-conditioned field-pieces, which do not 
command the channel. There is also a small battery in the city near 
the point of junction of the two rivers ; but there are no guns mounted, 
and its garrison could be easily driven out by musketry from the towel's 
of the cathedral. 

The harbor is a very fine one ; it is made by the long island of On§as 
in front, and at two miles distant, with some smaller ones further down 
the river. There is an abundance of water, and ships of any size may 
lie within one hundred and fifty yards of the shore. There is a good 
landing-place for boats and lighters at the custom-house wharf; and at 
half tide at the stone wharf, some five hundred yards above. 

The corporation was engaged, during my stay, in building a strong 
stone sea-wall all along in front of the town. This will make a new 
wide street on the water-front, and prevent smuggling. Formerly, 
canoes, at high stages of the river, would land cargoes surreptitiously in 
the very cellars of the warehouses situated on the river. 

The city is divided into the freguezias, or parishes, of Se and Cam- 
pina. Nine other freguezias are included in the municipio of the capi- 
tal ; but many of these are leagues distant, and should not geograph- 
ically be considered as belonging to the city, or their population be 
numbered in connexion with it. 

The population of the city proper numbered, in 1848, (the last statis- 
tical account I have, and which I think would differ very little from a 
census taken at this time,) nine thousand two hundred and eighty-four 
free persons, and four thousand seven hundred and twenty-six slaves. 


The number of inhabited houses was two thousand four hundred and 
eighteen; of births, seven hundred and eighty-five; of marriages, ninety- 
eight ; of deaths, three hundred and seventy-five ; and of resident for- 
eigners, seven hundred and eighty-four. 

Para, w^as a remarkably healthy place, and entirely free from epidemics 
of any kind, until February, 1850, when the yellow fever was taken 
there by a vessel from Pernambuco. It was originally brought from 
the coast of Africa to Bahia, and spread thence along the coast. The 
greatest malignancy of the disease was during the month of April, when 
it carried off" from twenty to twenty-five a day. 

About the same time the next year, (the fever being much diminished,) 
the small pox broke out with great violence. About twenty-five per 
cent, of the population died from the two diseases. I imagine that the 
city will now never be entirely free from either ; and the filthy condition 
in which the low tide leaves the slips, in which lie the small trading 
craft, must be a fruitful source of malaria, and an ever-exciting cause of 

The crews of these vessels, with their families, generally live in them. 
They are consequently crowded ; and, when the tide is out, they lie on 
their sides, imbedded in a mass of refuse animal and vegetable matter, 
rotting and festering under a burning sun. 

Para, however, is an agreeable place of residence, and has a delight- 
ful climate. The sun is hot till about noon, when the sea breeze comes 
in, bringing clouds with rain, thunder, and lightning, which cool and 
purify the atmosphere, and wash the streets of the city. The afternoon 
and evening are then delicious. This was invariable during my stay of 
a month. 

The rich vegetable productions of the country enhance much the 
beauty of the city. In nearly all the gardens grow the beautiful miriti 
palm, the cabbage palm, the cocoa nut, the cinnamon, the bread-fruit 
tree, and rich green vines of black pepper. The rapidity of vegetable 
growth here is wonderful. Streets opened six months ago in the suburbs 
of the city, are now filled up with bushes of the stramonium^ or James- 
town weed, of full six feet in height. There are a number of almond 
trees in various parts of the town, which are very ornamental. These 
trees throw out horizontal branches, encircling the trunk at intervals of 
five or six feet, the lowest circle being the largest, so that they resemble 
in shape a Norfolk pine. Mr. Norris and I thought it remarkable that, 
in a row of these trees planted before a house or line of houses, those 
nearest the door were invariably the farthest advanced in growth. This 
we particularly remarked in the case of a row planted before the bar- 


racks, in Im^o parts of the city. The tree under which the sentinel stood, 
in both cases, was the largest of the row. 

We saw, in a walk in the suburbs of the town, what we thought to 
be a palm tree growing out of the crotch of a tree of a different species; 
but, upon examination, it appeared that the tree, out of which the pahn 
seemed growing, was a creeper, which, embracing the palm near the 
ground, covered its trunk entirely for fifteen or twenty feet, and then 
threw off large branches on each side. It may seem strange to call that 
a creeper, which had branches of at least ten inches in diameter ; but 
so it was. It is called in Cuba the parricide tree, because it invariably 
kills the tree that supports it. {Har. Mag. January^ 1*853.) 

The most picturesque object, however, in Para was the ruins of an 
old opera house near the palace. The luxuriant vegetation of the coun- 
try has seized upon it, and it presents pillar, arch, and cornice of the most 
vivid and beautiful green. 

The society of Pard is also agreeable. The men, I am sorry to say, 
seem to be above work. Most of them are Hidalgos^ or gentlemen ; 
and nearly all are in the employ of the government, with exceedingly 
small salaries. In the whole city of Para, I am told, there are not a 
dozen Brazilians engaged in trade of any kind. The women are simple, 
frank, and engaging in their manners, and very fond of evening parties 
and dancing. I attended a ball, which is given monthly by a society 
of gentlemen, and was much pleased at the good taste exhibited in its 
management. Full dress was forbidden. No one was permitted to 
appear in diamonds ; and the consequence was, that all the pretty girls 
of the merely respectable classes, as well as of the rich, were gatheied. 
together, and had a merry time of it. 

But the principal charm of Para, as of all other tropical places, is the 
Dolce far niente. Men, in these countries, are not ambitious. They are 
not annoyed, as the more masculine people of colder climates are, to see 
their neighbors going ahead of them. They are contented to live, and 
to enjoy, without labor, the fruits which the earth spontaneously offers ; 
and, I imagine, in the majority of cases, *if a Brazilian has enough food, 
of even the commonest quality, to support life, coffee or tea to drink, 
cigars to smoke, and a hammock to lie in, that he will be perfectly 

This, of course, is the effect of climate. There was a time when the 
Portuguese nation, in maritime and scientific discoveries — in daring 
explorations — in successful colonization — in arts and arms — was inferior 
to no other in proportion to its strength ; and I have very little doubt 
but that the bold and ambitious Englishman, the spirited and cos- 

SLAVES. 337 

mopolitan Frenchman, and the hardy, persevering, scheming American, 
who likes little that any one should go ahead of him, would alike, in 
the course of time, yield to the relaxing influence of a climate that for- 
bids him to labor, and to the charm of a state of things where life may 
be supported without the necessity of labor. 

To make, then, the rich and varied productions of this country avail- 
able for commercial purposes, and to satisfy the artificial wants of man, 
it is necessary that labor should be compulsory. To Brazil and her 
political economists belongs the task of investigation, and of deciding 
how, and by what method, this shall be brought about. 

The common sentiment of the civilized world is against the renewal 
of the African slave trade ; therefore must Brazil turn elsewhere for the 
compulsory labor necessary to cultivate her lands. Her Indians will 
not work. Like the llama of Peru, they will die sooner than do more 
than is necessary for the support of their being. I am under the im- 
pression that, were Brazil to throw oflf a causeless jealousy, and a puerile 
fear of our people, and invite settlers to the Valley of the Amazon, 
there might be found, among our Southern planters, men, who, looking 
with apprehension (if not for themselves, at least for their children) to 
the state of. affairs as regards slavery at home, would, under sufficient 
guarantees, remove their slaves to that country, cultivate its lands, draw 
out its resources, and prodigiously augment the power and wealth of 

The negro slave seems very happy in Brazil. This is remarked by 
all foreigners ; and many times in Para was a group of merry, chatter- 
ing, happy-looking black women, bringing their baskets of washed 
clothes from the spring, pointed out to me, that I might notice the evils 
of slavery. The owners of male slaves in Para generally require from 
each four or five testoons a day, (twenty testoons make a dollar,) and 
leave him free to get it as he can. The slaves organize themselves into 
bands or companies, elect their captain, who directs and superintends 
their work, and contract with a certain number of mercantile houses to 
do their porterage. The gang which does the porterage for Mr. Korris, 
and for nearly all the English and American houses, numbers forty. 
Each man is paid about three cents to fill a bag or box, and four cents 
to carry it to the wharf and 'put it aboard the lighter. It costs from 
one hundred and fifty to two hundred dollars to discharge and load a 
moderate sized ship. 

I have frequently seen these gangs of negroes carrying cocoa to the 
wharf. They were always chattering and singing merrily, and would 
stop every few minutes to execute a kind of dance with the bao-s on 


their lieads, thus doubling their work. AYhen the load was deposited, 
the captain, who does no work himself unless his gang is pressed, arrays 
them in military fashion, and marches them back for another load. 

For carrying barrels, or other bulky and heavy articles of merchan- 
dise, there are trucks, drawn by oxen. 

Churches are large and abundant in Pard. The cathedral is one of the 
finest churches in Brazil. Its 'personnel^ consisting of dignitaries, {digni- 
dades) canons, chorists, and other employes, numbers seventy-four. 

A lar^-e convent of the Jesuits, near the cathedral, having a very 
ornate and pretty chapel attached, is now used as a bishop's palace, and 
a theological seminary. The officers of the seminary are a rector, a 
vice-rector, and six professors; its students number one hundred and 
fifteen ; its rental is about five thousand dollars, of which one thousand 
is given from the provincial treasury ; and it teaches Latin, the lan- 
guages, philosophy, theology, history, geography, and vocal and instru- 
mental music. 

There are but two convents in Para — one of the order of St. Anthony, 
and one of Shod Carmelites. 

I attended the celebration of the festival of the Holy Cross, in the 
chapel of the convent of the Carmelites. There was a very large, well- 
dressed congregation, and the church was redolent of the fragrance of 
sweet-scented herbs, strewn upon the floor. There were no good 
pictures in the church, but the candlesticks and other ornaments of the 
altar were very massive and rich- In the insurrection of the Cabanos 
the church property vv^as spared ; but I am told that, though they have 
preserved their ornaments, the priests have mana^^d their property 
injudiciously, and are not now so rich in slaves and real estate as 

I imagine that the priesthood in Brazil, though quite as intelligent 
am:l able as their brethren of Peru, have not so great an influence in 
society here as there. This is seen in an anecdote told me of a rigid 
Ckefe de Folicia, who forbid the clergy from burying one of their digni- 
taries in the body of the church during the prevalence of the yellow 
fever ; but compelled them, much against their will, to deposit the body 
in the public cemetery, and accompanied the funeral procession on 
horseback to see that his orders were obeyed. It is also seen in the fact 
that the provincial assembly holds its sessions in a wing of the Carmelite 
convent, and that a part of the church of the Merced is turned into a 
custom-house and a barracks. 

There are forty-one public primary schools in the province, educating 
one thousand and eighty-seven pupils. This gives a proportion of one 


for every one hundred and six free persons in the province. Each pupil 
costs the State about seven and a half dollars. 

In the four schools of Latin, one person is educated in every five 
hundred and sixty-four, at a cost of twenty-six dollars. 

In the College of Para, called ^^Lyceo da Capital^'' the proportion 
educated is one to two hundred and eleven, at a cost of sixty-two dollars. 

There are two capital institutions of instruction in Para — one for the 
education of poor boys as mechanics, who are compelled to pay for their 
education in labor for the State ; and the other for the instruction in 
the practical business in life of orphan and destitute girls. I think 
that this education is compulsory, and that the State seizes upon vaga- 
bond boys and destitute girls for these institutions. There is also another 
school of educandos for the army. 

The province also maintains three young men for the purpose of com- 
plete education in some of the colleges of Europe. 

There are several hospitals and charitable institutions in the city, 
among which is a very singular one. This is a place for the reception 
of foundlings maintained by the city. A cylinder, with a receptacle in 
it sufficiently large for the reception of a baby, turns upon an axis in a 
window ; any one may come under cover of night, deposit a child in 
the cylinder, turn the mouth of the receptacle in, and walk away with- 
out being seen. Nurses are provided to take charge of the foundling. 

Though I pumped all my acquaintances, I could get no statistics con- 
cerning this institution, or whether it was thought to be beneficial or 
not. I judge, however, that for this country it is. Public opinion here 
does not condemn, or at least treats very leniently, the sins of fornica- 
tion and adultery. This institution, therefore, while it would tend to 
lessen the crime of infanticide, would not encourage the above men- 
tioned sins by concealment ; for wdiere there is no shame there is no 
necessity for concealment. In speaking thus, I do not at all allude to 
the higher classes of Brazil. 

The executive and legislative government of the province is in a 
president and four vice presidents, appointed by the Crown, and in a 
legislative assembly. 

The provincial assembly meets once a year, in the month of May. 
The length of its sessions is determined by itself. It elects its own pre- 
siding officer. It is a very inefficient representative system. The people 
in the districts elect electors, who choose delegates and suplentes, or 
proxies. Most of these proxies belong to the city; they have little 
knowledge of the wants, and no sympathy with the feelings, of the 
people they represent. Each delegate (at least this is the case in the 


province of Amazonas) is allowed one dollar and sixty-six cents per 
diem ; and the salary of the President of that province is one thousand 
six hundred and sixty-six dollars and sixty six cents ; it is probable that 
the salary of the President of Para is greater. 

The police of the province is under the direction of a chefe de policia, 
with delegados for each comarca, and sub-delegados for the termos and 
municipios. These officers issue and visee passports, and the traveller 
should always call upon them first. 

The judiciary consists of Juizes de direito ; three for the comarca of 
the capital, and one for each of the other comarcas of the province, 
besides Juizes municrpaes^ and de or/ads. The Juiz de direito holds a 
singular office, and exercises extraordinary powers; besides being the 
judge, he presides over the jury, and has a vote in it. An appeal lies 
from his court, both by himself and the defendant, to a higher court, 
called the Court of Jielacdo, which sits in Maranham and has jurisdic- 
tion over the two provinces of Maranham and Para. There are three 
or four such courts in the empire, and an appeal lies from them to the 
Supreme Court at Rio Janeiro. 

Persons complain bitterly of the delay and vexations in the adminis- 
tration of justice. I have heard of cases of criminals confined in jail 
for years, both in Peru and Brazil, waiting for trial. It is said also, 
though I know nothing of this, that the judges are very open to bribery. 
I think, however, that this is likely to be the case, from the entire in- 
adequacy of the salaries generally paid by the government. 

I believe that the Brazilian code is mild and humane, and I am sure 
that it is humanely administered. The Biazilians ha^e what I conceive 
to be a ver}^ proper horror of taking life judicially. They do not shrink 
in battle ; and sudden anger and jealousy will readily induce them to 
kill ; but I imagine the instances of capital punishment are very rare in 

The police of the city is excellent, but, except to take up a drunken 
foreign sailor occasionally, it has nothing to do. Crime — such as vio- 
lence, wrong, stealing, drunkenness, &c. — is very rare in Para. Proba- 
bly the people are too lazy to be bad. 

The province covers an area of about 360,000 square miles, and has 
a population of 129,828 free persons, with 33,552 slaves. 

Much as it needs population, it has sufi'ered, from time to time, con- 
siderable drainage. It is calculated that from ten to twelve thousand 
persons were killed by the insurrection of the Cabanos, in 1835. Since 
that time ten thousand have been drawn from it as soldiers for the 


soutliern wars; and the yellow-fevei* and small -pox, in one year, carried 
off between four and five thousand more. 

The war of the Cabanos was a servile insurrection, instigated and 
headed by a few turbulent and ambitious men. The ostensible cause 
was dissatisfaction with the provincial government. The real cause 
seems to have been hatred of the Portuguese. 

Charles Jenks Smith, then consul at Para, writes to the Hon. John 
Forsyth, under date of January 20, 1835 : 

" After the happy conclusion of the war on the Acara, this city has 
remained in a state of perfect tranquility, until the morning of the Vth 
instant, when a popular revolution broke out among the troops, which 
has resulted in an entire change of the government of this province. 

The President and the General-das-Armas were both assassinated at 
the palace, by the soldiers there stationed, between the hours of 4 and 
5 a. m. Inglis, Commandant of the Defensora corvette, and Captain 
of the port, was also killed in passing from his dwelHng to his ship. 
The subaltern commissioned officers on duty were shot down by the 
soldiery, who, placing themselves under the command of a sergeant 
named Gomez, took possession of all the military posts in the city. 

"About fifty prisoners were. then set at liberty, who, in a body, pro- 
ceeded to a part of the city called Porto de Sol, and commenced an 
indiscriminate massacre of all the Portuguese they could find in that 
neighborhood. In this manner about twenty respectable shop-keepers 
and others lost their lives. 

" Guards were stationed along the whole line of the shore, to prevent 
any person from embarking ; and several Portuguese were shot in making 
the attempt to escape." 

A new President and General-das- Armas were proclaimed ; but they 
quarrelled very soon. The President, named Melchor, was taken pris- 
oner and murdered by his guards ; and Vinagre^ the General-das-Armas 
took upon himself the government. In the conflicts incident to this 
change about two hundred persons were killed. The persons and prop- 
erty of all foreigners, except Portuguese, were respected. Many of 
these were insulted, and some killed. 

Vinagre held the city, in spite of several attempts of Brazilian men- 
of-war to drive him out, until the 21st June, when, upon the arrival of 
a newly-appointed President, he evacuated it. During these attempts 
the British corvettes Racehorse and Despatch^ a Portuguese corvette, 
and two French brigs of-war, offered their services for protection to the 
American consul. 

On the 4th of August, Vinagre again broke into the city. The 


English and Portuguese vessels landed tlieir marines ; but, disgusted 
"with the conduct of the President, withdrew them almost immediately. 

The fire of the Racehorse, however, defeated Vinagre's attempt to get 
hold of the artillery belonging to the city. 

On the 23d of August, the President abandoned the city to the rebels 
whose leader exerted himself to save foreign life and property, permit- 
ting the foreigners to land from their vessels, and take from the custom- 
house and their own stores the principal part of their effects. 

The rebels held the city until the 13th of May, 1836, when they 
were finally driven out by the legal authorities, backed by a large force 
from Rio Janeiro. They held, however, most of the towns on the river 
above Para till late in the year 1837. They did immense mischief, 
putting many whites to death with unheard-of barbarity, and destroying 
their crops and cattle. The province was thus put back many years. 
I think that the causes which gave rise to that insurrection still exist ; 
and I believe that a designing and able man could readily induce the 
tapuios to rise upon their patrons. The far-seeing and patriotic Presi- 
dent Coelho always saw the danger, and labored earnestly for the pas- 
sage of efficient laws for the government of the body of tapuios, and 
for the proper organization of the military force of the province. His 
efforts in the latter case have been successful, and, very lately, a good 
militia system has been established. 

The city of Para is supplied with its beef from the great island of 
Marajo, which is situated immediately in the mouth of the Amazon, 
This island has a superficial extent of about ten thousand square miles, 
and is a great grazing country. Cattle were first introduced into it from 
the Cape de Verde Islands, in 1644. They increased with great rapid- 
ity, and government soon drew a considerable revenue from its tax on 

Before the year 1824, a good horse might have been bought in Ma- 
rajo for a dollar; but about that time a great and infectious disease 
broke out among the horses, and swept away vast mimbers ; so that 
Marajo is now dependent upon Ceara and the provinces to the south- 
ward for its supply of horses. I heard that the appearance of this 
disease was caused by the fact that an individual having bought the 
right from the government to kill ten thousand mares on the island, 
actually killed a great many more ; and the carcasses, being left to rot 
upon the plains, poisoned the grass and bred the pestilence which swept 
off nearly all. 

Other accounts state that the disease came from about Santarem and 
Lago Grande, where it first attacked the dogs ; then the capiuaras, or 


river-liogs ; tlieu tlie alligators ; and, finally, the horses. It attacks the 
back and loins; so that the animal loses the use of his hind-legs. 
Government sent a young man to France to study farriery, in hopes to 
arrest the disease ; but the measure was productive of no good results. 
The disease still continues ; and, ten years ago, appeared for the first 
time in the island of Mexiana, not far from Marajo. Within the last 
year, nearly all the horses on this island have died. I believe it has 
never attacked the horned cattle. 

Beeves are brought from Marajo to Para in small vessels, fitted for 
the purpose. They are frequently a week on the passage ; and all this 
time they are on very short allowance of food and water ; so that, when 
they arrive, they may almost be seen through. 

The butchering and selling are all done under municipal direction ; 
and the price of beef is regulated by law. This is about five and a half 
cents the pound. Gentlemen maintain horses and milch cows in Para, 
or its neighborhood. These are fed generally on American hay. Some 
small quantity of grass is to be had from the rofinhaSy or small farms, 
in the environs of the city; and a tolerably good food for cattle is had 
from a fine flour, found between the chaff" and grain of rice. This is 
called muinha, [qicim, in Maranham,) and is very extensively used, 
mixed with the chatf. 

The island of Marajo is very much cut up with creeks, which, in the 
rainy season, overflow the low land, and form marshes, which are the 
graves of a great number of cattle. The cattle, at this season, are also 
crowded t(5gether on the knolls of land that above the waters in the 
inundation, and many of them fall a prey to the ounces, which abound 
on the island. These creeks are also filled with alligators. Mr. Smith, 
former consul at Para, told me that he had seen the carcass of one there 
which was thirty feet long. 

I saw a number of curious and beautiful animals in Para. Mr. 
Norris had some electric eels, and a pair of large and beautiful 
anacondas. I had never heard a serpent hiss before I heard these, and 
the sound filled me with disgust and dread. The noise was very like 
the letting off of. steam at a distance. The extreme quickness and 
violence with which they darted from their coil (lacerating their mouths 
against the wire-work of the cage) was sufficiently trying to a nervous 
man; and few could help starting back when it occurred. These 
animals measured about eighteen feet in length, and the skin, which 
they shed nearly every month, measured eighteen inches in circum- 
ference. They seldom ate ; a chicken or a rat was given to them when 
it was convenient. They killed their food by crushing it between their 


head ?.nd a fold of tlieir body, and swallowed it with deliberation. I 
imagine that they would live entirely without food for six months. 

Many gentlemen had tigers about their establishments. They were 
docile, and playful in their intercourse with acquaintances ; but they 
•were generally kept chained for fear of injury to strangers. Their play, 
too, was not very gentle, for their claws could scarcely touch without 
leaving a mark. 

Mr. Pond, an American, had a pair of black tigers, that were the 
most beautiful animals I have ever seen. The ground color of the body 
was a very dark maroon ; but it was so thickly covered with black 
spots that, to a casual glance, the animal appeared coal black. The 
brilliancy of the color — the savage glare of the eye — the formidable 
appearance of their tusks and claws — and their evidently enormous 
•strenofth — gave them a very imposing appearance. They were not so 
large as the Bengal tiger ; but much larger than the common ounce. 
They were bred in Para from cubs. 

Electric eels are found in great numbers in the creeks and ditches 
about Para. The largest I have seen was about four inches in diameter, 
and five feet in length. Their shock, to me, was unpleasant, but not 
painful. Some persons, however, are much more susceptible than others. 
Captain Lee, of the Dolphin, could not feel at all the shock of an eel, 
which affected a lady so strongly as to cause her to reel, and nearly fall. 
Animals seem more powerfully affected than men. Mr. Norris told me 
that he had seen a horse drinking out of a tub, in which was one of 
these eels, jerked entirely ofl' his feet. It may be that the electric shock 
was communicated directly to the stomach by means of the w^ater he 
was swallowing ; but Humboldt gives a very interesting account of the 
manner of taking these eels by means of horses, which shows that they 
are peculiarly susceptible to the shock. He says : 

"Impatient of waiting, and having obtained very uncertain results 
from an electrical eel that had been brought to us alive, but much en- 
feebled, we repaired to the cailo de Bera to make our experiments, in 
the open air, on the holders of the water itself. To catch the gymnoti 
with nets is very difficult, on account of the extretne agility of the 
fish, which bury themselves in the mud like serpents. AVe would not 
employ the barbasco. These means would have enfeebled the gymnoti. 
The Indians, therefore, told us that they w^ould 'fish with horses,' 
' emharhascar con cavallos.^ We found it difficult to form an idea of this 
extraordinary manner of fishing ; but we soon saw our guides return 
from the Savannah, which they had been scouring for wild horses and 
mules. They brought about thirty with them, which they forced to 
enter the pool. ^ 


" The extraordinary noise caused by the horses' hoofs makes the fish 
issue from the mud, and excites them to combat. These yellowish and 
livid eels, resembling large aquatic serpents, swim on the surface of the 
w^ater, and crowd under the bellies of the horses and mules. A contest 
between animals of so different an organization furnishes a very striking 
spectacle. The Indians, provided with harpoons and long, slender reeds, 
surround the pool closely, and some climb upon the trees, the branches 
of which extend horizontally over the surface of the water. 

" By their wild cries, and the length of their reeds, they prevent the 
horses from running away and reaching the bank of the pool. The 
eels, stunned by the noise, ^efend themselves by the repeated discharge 
of their electric batteries. During a long time they seem to prove vic- 
torious. Several horses sink beneath the violence of the invisible 
strokes, which they receive from all sides, in organs the most essential 
to life ; and, stunned by the force and frequency of the shocks, they 
disappear under the water. Others, panting, with mane erect, and hag- 
gard eyes, expressing anguish, raise themselves, and endeavor to flee 
from the storm by which they are overtaken. They are driven back 
by the Indians into the middle of the water ; but a small number 
succeed in eluding the active vigilance of the fishermen. These regain 
the shore, stumbling at every step, and stretch themselves on the sand, 
exhausted with fatigue, and their limbs benumbed by the electric shocks 
of the gymnoti. 

"In less than five minutes two horses were drowned. The eel, being 
five feet long, and pressing itself against the belly of the horse, makes 
a discharge along the whole extent of its electric organ. It attacks, at 
once, the breast, the intestines, and the plexus coeliacus of the abdominal 
nerves. It is natural that the effect felt by the horses should be more 
powerful than that produced upon man, by the touch of the same fish 
at only one of his extremities. The horses are probably not killed, but 
only stunned. They are drowned from the impossibility of rising, amid 
the prolonged struggle between the other horses and the eels. 

" We had little doubt that the fishing would terminate by killing, 
successively, all the animals engaged ; but, by degrees, the impetuosity 
of this unequal combat diminished, and the wearied gymnoti dispersed. 
They require a long rest and abundant nourishment, to repair what 
they have lost of galvanic force. The mules and horses appear less 
frightened. Their manes are no longer bristled, and their eyes express 
less dread. The gymnoti approach timidly the edge of the marsh, when 
they are taken, by means of small harpoons fastened to long cords. 
When the cords are very dry, the Indians feel no shock in raising the 


fish into the air. In a few minutes we had five large eels, the greater 
part of which were but slightly wounded." 

The shops of Para are well supplied with English, French, and Ameri- 
can goods. The groceries generally come from Portugal. The ware- 
houses are piled with heaps of India-rubber, nuts, hides, and baskets of 
annatto. This pigment is made from the seed of a bur, which grows 
on a bush called urucu in Brazil, and achote in Peru. In the latter 
country it grows wild, in great abundance; in the former, it is cultivated. 

The seed is planted in January. It is necessary that the ground 
should be kept clean, the suckers pulled up, and the tree trimmed, to 
prevent too luxuriant a growth, and to give room, so that the branches 
shall not interlock. The tree grows to ten or fifteen feet in height, and 
gives its first crop in a year and a half. It afterwards gives two crops 
a year. Each tree will give three or four pounds of seed in the year, 
which are about the size of Xo. 3, shot, but irregular in shape. They 
are contained in a prickly bur, about the size and shape of that of the 

The burs are gathered just before they open, and laid in the sun to 
dry, when the seed are trodden or beaten out. The coloring matter is 
a red powder covering the seed, the principal of which is obtained by 
soaking the seed in water for twenty four hours, then passing them be- 
tween revolving cylinders, and grinding them to a pulp. The pulp is 
placed in a sieve, called guru2:)ema, made of cotton cloth; water is poured 
on, and strains through. This operation is repeated twice more, and 
the pulp is thrown away. The liquor strained oft' is boiled till it takes 
the consistence of putty. A little salt is added, and it is packed in 
baskets of about forty pounds, lined and covered with leaves. It is 
frequently much adulterated with boiled rice, tapioca, or sand, to in- 
crease the weight. The price in Para is from three to five dollars the 
arroba, of thirty-two pounds. 



An examination of the following tables will give the best idea of the 
commerce of Para. The first is an official report furnished to the pro- 
vincial assembly by the President of the province. 


Importation — Value. 

Exportation — Value . 


Relative to 
each place. 

Relative to 
each year. 

Relative to 
each place. 

Relative to 
each year. 


Great Britain 

$160, 050 

■ 52, 924 

87, 608 

19, 993 

235, 105 


107, 791 

42, 693 

26, 202 


Hanse Toatos 

United States 



12, 188 



162, 546 


18, 959 


22, 705 

93, 508 

145, 366 

Belgium ......... 


108, 431 

20, 519 

230, 531 

$560, 302 

$622, 052 


Great Britain .... 


Hause Towns 

United States.... 


2, 577 

6, 032 

149, 774 

85, 856 





646, 949 


Great Britain 


Hanse Towns 

United States 

Austrian dominions 

10, 205 
12, 547 





564, 881 

Here are tables furnished by Mr. Norris, United States consul at 

American Commerce at Poi'dfor 1850. 

No. of vessels. 


Men. j Value of imports. 


Value of exports. 




$420, 186 

$522, 293 



British commerce for 1850. 

No. of vessels. 



Value of imports. , Value of exports. 






Commerce of Para for 1851. 

No. of ves- 



Value of im- 

Value of 

AmeriGau. . - ... .. 









2, 732 
3, 666 


$425, 484 

275, 000 

122, 830 


27, 500 

5, 250 


335, 000 
188, 699 
215, 142 

Fn<7lish . 



Ilauibuiff . ...... 


lieli'ian .. . .... 


Dane.. .. .. 

34, 000 


28, 500 


14, 238 


1, 092, 271 


I am indebted to Mr. Cbaton, French consul at Para, for the follow- 
ing table, showing the mean yearly value of the articles of export from 
the city of Para. 





Cinnamon (rough) 

Vegetable wax 

Tonka beans 

Isinglass , 

Piassaba rope 



Brazilian nutmeg - 

Eice (shelled) 



Sarsaparilla , 





92, 000 arrobas. 

$552, 000 

230, 000 


270 900 



10, 583 



1, 633 









15, 968 



42, 192 




2, 000 



1, 020 





65, 126 



36, 050 






35, 073 

23, 208 alquiers. f 

18, 952 





Table — Continued. 






12, 800 alquiers. 
400 pounds. 
406, 900 pounds. 
3, 450 pounds. 
52,217 feet. 
192, 000 pairs. 
2, 888 pots. 

$6, 400 

20, 345 



Wood — Bardages 




Madriers ... 




Dry hides 

19, 445 

Tiser skins 

India-rubber shoes . 

38, 400 





To this sum is to be added the vakie of 7,338 canadas of balsam 
copaiba, worth when I was there three dollars, now worth seven and a 
half dollars; besides that of pots of oil made from the turtle, the alligator, 
and the andiroba-nut, Avhich M. Chaton has not included in his list. 
These last, however, are inconsiderable. 

Extracts of letters from Henry L. Norris, esq., United States consul at 
Para, to the Department of State : 

"Merchandise, the produce of ihis country, is usually bought for cash, 
or in exchange for the products of foreign countries by way of barter. 
There are no allowances made by way of discount, nor is brokerage 
paid for purchasing. Cash usually has the advantage over barter on the 
price of produce to the amount of from five to ten per cent. The 
American business is done chiefly for cash, while English, French, and 
Portuguese, is chiefly for barter ; dry goods, &c., are sold on long credit, 
and produce taken in payment. AVith the latter the profits of trade are 
on the outward cargo ; while with the former, the profit, if any, is with 
the homeward. 

"There are no bounties or debentures of any kind allowed here. 

*'The usual commission for the purchase and shipment of goods 
is two and a half per centum, and is the same on all descriptions of 

"The American trade, with few exceptions, is conducted either by 
partners or agents of houses at home ; consequently brokers are never 
employed to buy produce, and no brokerage is paid. When foreign 


goods are sold at auction, the commission paid is one per cent, on dry 
goods, and one and a half on groceries. 

"Merchandise is brought to market altogether by water, and is usually 
delivered into the storehouses of the purchaser or on board the shipping. 

"Export duties are as follows : 
" Meio dezimo, (for the church) - - - - - 5 per cent 

" Exportacao, (for the government) '7 per cent 

" Vero pezo, (weighing) _i.per cent 

" Capitazia (paid for labor) quarter of a cent the arroba, on all kinds 
of merchandise. 

" These duties are levied on the custom-house valuation, which is made 
at the beginning of each week, and not on the cost of the produce ; as 
in that cost is included a duty of five per cent, which is paid on some 
articles when they are landed at the port of exportation. This last is a 
provincial tax, which is levied on India-rubber, tapioca, and farinha. 

"Produce coming from an interior province — such as dry hides — does 
not pay the 7neio dezimo of five per cent., as it is paid at the time of 
embarking at the place of production; and this duty, together with 
freight, labor, &c., enters into the cost j^rice of the merchandise at this 
port, which is the only shipping port for the provinces of Para and 
Amazon as. 

" There are no dock, trade, nor city dues to be paid at this port. 

" Lighters are hired at two dollars per day ; they carry from forty to 
fifty tons. 

" Porterage is done by blacks, who place the cargo in the lighters at 
prices varying, according to the distance carried, from three to fout cents 
per bag of cocoa, India-rubber, &c., and from six to eight cents each 
for barrels and boxes. 

" Nuts and rice in husk are delivered alongside the vessel at the 
expense of the seller. 

" Packages — such as boxes, barrels, and bags — are imported from the 
United States, and with the exception of barrels, which come filled with 
flour, pay a duty of thirty per cent. 

" The cost of cooperage is eight cents per barrel. All local imports 
or taxes are paid by the producer, and are included in the selling price 
of the article. The purchaser receives with the merchandise a receipt 
that the provincial duty has been paid, which receipt is demanded at 
the time of exportation to a foreign country or to another province. 

" There is so little intercourse with the States bordering on this 
province, that there are no laws in force regulating the transit of mer- 


chandise from Peru, Boliyia, Ecuador, cfec, but all merchandise coming 
down the Amazon is considered as the produce or manufacture of Brazil. 

" By a law of Brazil, the estate of any foreigner who may die in this 
country is subject to the jurisdiction of the Jidz clos Ausentes e difuntos. 
A will is no protection to the property, but it must be 'recovered, availed, 
and deposited in the public depository by a juiz competente.' The 
getting hold of the property by the heirs to an estate is a tedious and 
expensive process; and when the inheritance consists of real estate, 
about twenty per cent, is consumed by taxes of various kinds, and in 
some cases, by the collusion of the officers entrusted with settlement, it 
has disappeared entirely. The French by treaty are exempted from this. 

" Not long since, at Maranham, a guard of soldiers was placed around 
the dwelling of a foreigner about to die, and who was supposed to be 
possessed of a large amount of personal property. A similar case also 
occurred here, which has created alarm amongst those of our countrymen 
who have property invested in this country ; for should it be made to 
appear that, upon the death of one or more of the partners of any of 
our large mercantile houses, the affairs of the concern must pass into 
the hands of a 'juiz competente,' it would have a serious effect upon 
the credit and standing of all the citizens or subjects of those nations 
which have no treaty with Brazil on this subject." 

It remains for me but to express my grateful acknowledgments for 
personal kindness and information afforded by many gentlemen of Para, 
particularly by Mr. Norris, the consul, and by Henry Bond Dewey, 
esq., now acting consul. These gentlemen were unwearied in their 
courtesy, and to them I owe the information I am enabled to give con- 
cerning the history and present condition of the province and the city. 

On May 12th, by kind invitation of Captain Lee, I embarked in the 
United States surveying brig Dolphin, having previously shipped my 
collections on board of Norris's clipper barque the Peerless. 

352 RESUME. 


My report would be incomplete were I to fail to bring to the notice 
of the department circumstances concerning the free navigation of the 
river that have occurred since my return from the valley of the Amazon. 

These circumstances are clearly the result of my mission, which 
appears to have opened the eyes of the nations who dwell upon the 
banks of the Amazon, and to have stirred into vigorous action interests 
which have hitherto laid dormant. They have an important and direct 
bearing upon the question, whether the United States may or may not 
enter into commercial relations, by the way of the Amazon, with the 
Spanish American republics, who own the headwaters of that noble 

The government of the United States had scarcely begun to entertain 
the idea of sending a commission to explore the valley of the Amazon, 
with a view to ascertain what benefits might accrue to its citizens by 
the establishment of commercial relations with the people who dwell 
upon its banks, when the fact became known to Brazil. That govern- 
ment, thus awakened to its own (more apparent, however, than real) 
interests, immediately cast about for means to secure for itself any ad- 
vantages khat might arise from a monopoly of the trade of the river. 

She accordingly despatched to Lima an able envoy, Duarte da Ponte 
Ribeiro, with instructions to make a treaty with Peru concerning the 
navigation of the Amazon; and, this done, to proceed to Bolivia for 
the same purpose, while the Brazilian Resident Minister in Bolivia, 
Micruel Maria Lisboa, was sent to the republics of Ecuador, Venezuela, 
and New Granada, so as to secure for Brazil the navigation of all the 
confluents of the Amazon belonging to Spanish South America. 

Da Ponte succeeded in making with Peru a treaty highly advan- 
tageous to his own government. It is styled " A treaty of fluvial 
commerce and navigation, and of boundary," and has the following 
articles relating to steamboat navigation : 

RESUME. 353 

"Article I. 

"The republic of Peru, and liis Majesty, the Emperor of Brazil, 
desiring to encourage, respectively, the navigation of the river Amazon 
and its confluents by steamboat, which by ensuring the exportation of 
the immense products of those vast regions, may contribute to increase 
the number of the inhabitants and civilize the savage tribes, agree, that 
the merchandise, produce, and craft, passing from Peru to Brazil, or 
from Brazil to Peru, across the frontier of both States, shall be exempt 
from all duty, imposts, or sale duty, (alcabala,) whatsoever, to which 
the same products are not subject in the territory where produced, to 
which they shall be wholly assimilated. 

"Article 2. 

"The high contracting parties, being aware of the great expense 
attending the establishment of steam navigation, and that it w^ill not 
yield a profit during the first years to the shareholders of the company 
destined to navigate the Amazon from its source to its banks (''literal") 
in Peru, which should belong exclusively to the respective States, agree 
to give to the first company which shall be formed a sum of money, 
during five years, which shall not be less than $20,000 annually for 
each of the high contracting parties, either of whom may increase the 
said amount, if it suits its particular interests, without the other party 
being thereby obliged to contribute in the same ratio. 

"The conditions to which the shareholders are to be subject, in con- 
sideration of the advantages to be conceded to them, shall be declared 
in separate articles. 

"The other conterminous States which, adopting the same principles, 
may desire to take part in the enterprise upon the same conditions, shall 
likewise contribute a certain pecuniary quota to it." 

The 5th clause of the 1st of the separate articles alluded to above 
declares that the company to be formed shall arrange w^ith both govern- 
ments touching the respective points on the river Amazon or Maranon, 
to which the steamboats shall navigate, &c., (fee. 

Article 3d, of the separate articles, declares that the agents of the 
Imperial government, with those of the govenniient of Peru^ duly au- 
thorized, shall establish the enterprise ("contrataran la empresa") upon 
the terms indicated in these articles. 

The persons undertaking the enterprise shall agree with the said 
agents touching the mode and place in which they shall receive the 
stipulated sums. 

354 RESUME. 

Both governments, in their respective territories, shall take care of 
the observance of the conditions agreed upon. 

Immediately upon the conclusion of the treaty, and before the ex- 
change of ratifications, Brazil gives a practical illustration of the svisdom 
of a remark attributed to her wily minister in Lima, which was prob- 
ably intended only for Peruvian ears, and directed rather at another 
o-overnment than his own, viz: "that it was not expedient for a weak 
nation to treat with one more powerful than itself; because, in the 
interpretation of treaties, the stronger party always enforced its own 
eonstruction, and the weaker, as invariably, went to the wall." 

By a decree of the Emperor, of date August 30th, 1852, Brazil gives 
to Ireneo Evangelista de Souza, one of her own citizens, the exclusive 
privilege of the navigation of the Amazon for thirty years, and arranges 
with him touching the respective points on the Amazon, or Maraiion, to 
which the steamers shall navigate. 

In the mean time, however, a new minister, Don Manuel Tirado, 
(more awake to the interests of his country than the framer of the 
treaty,) takes charge of the portfolio of foreign affairs of Peru. He 
thus writes to the Brazilian minister of foreign affairs : 

"Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lima, 

''January 20 1853. 

"Sir: I have the honor, by direction of my government, to inform 
your excellency that it has understood, by a communication from Don 
Evarista Gomez Sanchez, our Consul General, charged with the exchange 
of ratifications of the treaty celebrated in this capital on the 23d of 
October, 1851, with the Senor Da Ponte Ribeiro, Envoy Extraordinary 
and Minister Plenipotentiary of his Majesty, the Emperor, that said ex- 
change probably took place in Rio Janeiro, on the . 

"Said commissioner informs me, at the same time, that the govern- 
ment of his Majesty has conceded a privilege in favor of Don Juan 
{'Ireneo') Evangelista de Souza for the establishment of navigation by 
steam of the river Amazon, under the stipulations of a contract cele- 
brated by authority of his Majesty, approved in his decree of the 30th 
©f August of the preceding year. 

"Said privilege defines the course of the lines which are to be estab- 
lished ; the first to run from the city of Belen, capital of the province 
of Para, to the town at the mouth of the Rio Negro, capital of the 
province of Amazonas ; and the second to continue on from this last 
eity to Nauta, a town situated on the Peruvian banks. 

RESUME. 355 

" The establishment of said navigation by steam upon the Amazon is 
a point agreed upon in article 2d of the treaty; as also the annual 
subsidy of $20,000 by each one of the governments for the space of 
five years in favor of the company that will undertake the enterprise ; 
conditions to which this government is bound, and which it is desiroas 
of fulfilling. 

" This government, then, being aware of the contract celebrated with 
the above-mentioned Don Juan (' Ireneo') Evangelista de Souza, it is 
fit that I should say to your Excellency that, as according to article 3d 
of the separate articles of the treaty, the contracts for navigation should 
be made by agents duly authorized by both governments (the govern- 
ment of his Majesty having initiated the formation of an enterprise to 
this effect, and having also reference to that part of the course of the 
river belonging to Peru, moved, without doubt, by the desire of hasten- 
ing the attainment of the great objects to which this navigation is 
destined,) this government can but hope that that of your Excellency 
will deign to inform the company organized in Rio Janeiro, that, as 
respects the Peruvian shores, the conditions of navigation, its course 
and extent, and the obligations relative to Peru, cannot be considered 
as existing or efficacious, except for the five years agreed upon by the 
treaty, and by the celebration of an agreement or contract with the 
same government whence these obligations may arise. 

" There being no evidence up to this time that our Consul General, 
Commissioner Don Evarista Gomez Sanchez, has been consulted in the 
agreement ; and it being believed that, at the date of it, he was not in 
Rio Janeiro, your Excellency will see how proper it is to make to you 
this anticipation in furtherance of the realization of that internal navi- 
gation which, for so long a time, has yearned for a decided and effica- 
cious protection on the part of the States who share these fruitful waters, 
destined to open to the world new objects of speculation and of traffic, 
and to give to commerce and civilization one more field for their efi'orts. 

" In the mean time, as, according to the advices of the same Consul 
General, the first trip of the new steamers is to be made in the month 
of May next, this government — for the purpose of avoiding difficulties 
in their running, and to contribute to the important end which they are 
destined to accomplish, until the opportunity occurs to arrange the con- 
ditions obligatory in that navigation by a free contract on its part, as I 
have already expressed to your Excellency, and according to the mutual 
obligations contracted in the treaty — has thought proper to direct, as a 
facility spontaneously conceded in the mean time to the navigation, that 
the authorities who exercise jurisdiction on those shores should permit 

356 RESUME. 

the running of the steamers on the corresponding waters of Peru, and 
assign tliem points where they may touch, until the establishment of an 
arrangement to which this navigation is to be definitely subjected, by 
means of a contract which this government is bound to make for five 
years according to stipulation, and which it hopes your Excellency will 
deign to cause to be offered for its free acceptance by the associates of 
the company created under the authoiity of his Majesty, the Emperor. 
" With sentiments, (fee , (fee. 

" To his Excellency, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil." 

But whilst Tirado is penning this courtly caveat in Lima, Gomez 
Sanchez, in Rio Janeiro, is giving his assent to the De Souza contract, 
extending it in all its force to Peru, and entering into an agreement 
with De Souza by which he gives him the right of exploring the Ucay- 
ali, and other rivers of the west, from Rio, besides other privileges, 
which, if acceded to by the Peruvian government, would give Brazil all 
power over the navigation of those rivers, as well as over that of the 
main stream. 

Fortunately for the interests of commerce in general, and for the 
more speedy development of the great resources that lie hid in the val- 
ley of the Amazon, Tirado practically disavows the .nction of Gomez 
Sanchez, and obtains from the Council of State of Peru its assent (sub- 
ject, of course, to the approval of the legislative power) to the appro- 
priation of $200,000 towards the exploration by steamboat of the Peru- 
vian tributaries of the Amazon, and the colonization and settlement of 
their fertile lands. He has already appropriated $75,000 of this sum 
for the purchase of two small steamers, which are now in the course of 
construction in the United States, and which will be delivered at Loreto 
(the frontier port of Peru on the Amazon) by the 1st of January, 1854. 

The enlightened and patriotic President of Peru, Don Jose Rufino 
Echenique, approving and adopting the policy of Tirado, goes further, 
and issues a decree relative to the opening and settlement of the Ama- 
zon. It is dated April 5, 1853. I give a translation of some of its 
more important articles : 

Article 1. 

In accordance with the treaty concluded with the empire of Brazil, 
on the 23d of October, 1851, navigation, trade, and commerce, on the 
part of Brazilian vessels and subjects, is allowed upon the waters of the 

RESUME. 357 

Amazon, in all that part of its banks belonging to Peru as far as Nauta, 
at the mouth of the Ucayali. 

Article 2. 

The subjects and citizens of other nations which have treaties with 
Peru, by virtue of which they may enjoy the rights of those of the 
most favored nation, or to whom those same rights, as regards com- 
merce and navigation, in conformity with said treaties, may be commu- 
nicable, shall, in case of obtaining entrance into the waters of the Amazon, 
enjoy, upon the Peruvian shores, the rights conceded to the vessels and 
subjects of Brazil by the foregoing article. 

Article 3. 

To carry into effect the two preceding articles, and in agreement 
with them, the ports of Nauta and Loreto are declared open to foreign 

Article 4. 

In conformity to the law of November 20, 1852, no import or export 
duties shall be paid in said free ports on merchandise or produce which 
may be introduced or taken thence. This, however, does not extend to 
dues merely municipal, which the people themselves may impose for 
objects of local utility. 

Article 10. 

The Governor- General (resident in Loreto) is empowered to concede 
gratuitously to all, whether Peruvians or foreigners, who wish to estab- 
lish themselves in those countries under the national rule and in subor- 
dination to the laws and authorities, titles of possession to land (in 
conformity with the law of November 21, 1852,) from two to forty /aw- 
egadas^ in proportion to the means and ability of cultivation, and number 
of individuals who may constitute the family of those who shall establish 
themselves. He will give an account of these concessions, so that the 
government may confirm them, and expedite titles of proprietorship. 

Article 11. 

The governors of the districts may make concessions of lands from 
two to four fanegadas, informing the Governor-General, who shall also 
inform the government. 

358 RESUME. 

Article 12. 

Larger grants of lands for founding colonies, towns, and estates, will 
be made by the government gratuitously, but by means of agreements, 
with contractors, in which the conditions of this colonization shall be 

Article 13. 

All concessions of lands made to individuals or families, in conformity 
with articles 10 and 11, shall be void, if, at the end of eighteen months, 
no attempt has been made to cultivate or to build upon them. 

Article 15. 

Over and above the reward which the law of the lYth of November, 
1849, concedes to vessels or contractors who may introduce colonists, 
the government binds itself to giv^e to those who may come with desti- 
nation to the lands or valleys of the Amazon and its tributaries in Peru, 
a passage to the place, implements of husbandry, and seeds, all gratu- 
itous ; for which purpose sufficient deposits shall be placed in the hands 
of the Governor General at Loreto. 

Article 16. 

A national vessel shall be detailed for the service of carrying those 
who, whether citizens-bom or emigrant foreigners, may desire to estab- 
lish themselves in those countries ; and, after being landed at Huanchaco, 
the Prefect of Libertad shall make provision for the transportation of the 
immigrants to said places, by the route of the Huallaga. 

Article 17. 

In conformity with the law of November 21, 1832, the lands culti- 
vated and houses built shall be exempt from all contributions, and shall 
enjoy the other privileges which the laws concede to the owners of 
uncleared lands. 

Article 18. 

The new population shall pay no contribution for the space of twenty 
years ; nor shall the Catholics pay obventional or parochial dues, the 
cures that shall be there established being at the expense of the State. 

RESUME. 359 

The new population shall also be exempt from the impost on stamped 
paper, being permitted to use common paper for their petitions and 

Article 21. 

It shall be permitted in the new settlements that the individuals w^ho 
form them may unite themselves in municipal corporations, under the 
presidency of the governors of the respective districts or territories, for 
the purpose of making laws relative to the local administration, without 
giving the governors created by this decree any power to interfere with 
rights, of whatever nature, in respect to individual liberty ; they only 
taking care for the preservation of public order, and of the national 
authority, in conformity with the laws. 

Article 22. 

Because this territory is a new establishment, and has no judi(^ial 
authorities, it shall be permitted, for the administration of justice, that 
the new settlers shall name their own judges, electing them in the form 
most convenient, until Congress shall legislate in relation to the admin- 
istration of justice and in municipal affairs. 

The other articles divide the territory proposed to be settled into 
districts ; four on the Amazon, from Loreto upwards to Nauta ; two on 
the Ucayali, from the mouth to Sarayacu ; and four on the Huallaga, 
from the mouth of Tingo Maria — all under the direction of a governor 
general established at Loreto. The Intendente genercil of the missions 
of Pozuzu, which are near the sources of the Pachitea, a confluent of 
the Ucayali, is directed to observe the conditions of the decree ; while 
the governors of the Upper Mission, which is all the country on both 
sides of the Amazon above the mouth of the Huallaga, are directed to 
exercise their authority as before, in dependence on the })refecture of 
Amazonas, until special decrees shall be issued for their guidance and 

Article 25 appropriates the funds necessary to open roads from 
Cerro Pasco to Pozuzu, and from Pozuzu to Mayro, at the head of 
navigation on the Pachitea, under the direction of the intendente of 
Pozuzu. So that my old chatty acquaintance of Huanuco, whom Col. 
Lucar designated as the best animal magnetizer in the vvorld, has at 
last carried his point and accomplished his long-cherished purpose. If 
the country between Cerro Pasco and Mayro be such, as he described it, 

360 RESUME. 

this certainly will be the best route of communication between Lima 
and the Atlantic ; but earnest and enthusiastic men see no obstacles to 
their favorite schemes ; and I much doubt if this road would, according 
to h^s account, run for the greater part of its distance over a pampa or 

The portions of land granted by this decree are not sufficiently large, 
a fanegada being only about two acres ; but I have no doubt that a 
proper representation to the Peruvian government would set this matter 
right, and very much increase the size of the grants. No man would 
be willing to undergo the exposure, privations, and hardships of a dwell- 
ing in the wilderness whilst he was clearing his lands, unless with the 
prospect of having a large and valuable estate, if not available for himself, 
at least for his children. The government should make legal titles to 
each adult male settler of a tract of land at least a mile square. 

The decree says nothing in relation to toleration of creeds in religion. 
The President could not grant toleration, for it would be contrary to the 
constitution of Peru ; but he knows as well as I do that there will be 
very little trouble in that country from that cause. The country will 
afford room for every shade of opinion and every form of worship ; and 
men will be too busy there for years to come to find leisure for quarrel- 
ling on such trifling yet mischievous subjects. The decree refers in 
several places particularly to Catholics, as if in contradistinction to, and 
tacit acknowledgment of, a Protestant interest. 

In his letter to the council of state, asking its concurrence in the 
appropriation by the executive of the $200,000 towards the establish- 
ment of steam navigation and exploration on the Ucayali and Huallaga 
rivers, and the colonization and settlement of the lands upon their 
banks, Seiior Tirado thus expresses himself: 

" Amongst the most urgent national obligations is that of procuring 
the civilization of the savage tribes who dwell on the borders of the 
Ucayali and in other parts of Eastern Peru ; and also that which binds 
the republic to lay the foundations of the prosperity which may be 
expected from commerce and communication with the rest of the world, 
by means of the navigation of the Amazon and its confluents. 

" The Spanish government, and subsequently the independent, on ac- 
count of divers circumstances, has applied but feeble means to the 
accomplishment of the first of these objects. The wants and spirit of 
the age now call for the full and immediate application of the care and 
resources of the nation towards these places, subject to the territorial 
sovereignty of Peru, which will soon see an influx of foreign merchan- 

RESUME. 361 

dise, and in which, probably, an abundant emigration, and an extensive 
traffic, will create towns of important commerce and a field for the eftbrts 
of civilization and industry." 

These are patriotic and statesmanlike views, which give ample testi- 
mony to the truth of Ijurra's estimate of the character of this wise min- 
ister, contained in a recent letter to me. He says : 

" The minister Tirado is the man for the age in Peru. In nothing 
does he fllsemble his predecessors or his cotemporaries. His travels in 
the United States, and in some parts of Europe, have not been barren 
of results. Endowed with an intellect that comprehends all at a glance, 
and full of knowledge, he is entirely worthy of the appellation of a 
true statesman. At the same time, possessed of a heart which is full of 
enthusiasm and patriotism, he desires to introduce into my unhappy 
country the institutions, laws, and manners, which have rendered happy 
other countries that I have known, and which, doubtless, will be adapt- 
able to the necessities of our people, and conducive to the rapid progress 
of the republic. 

" He will commence by calling over industrious men of all professions 
and creeds, of all ages, nations, and conditions, with the sole condition 
that they shall be moral and laborious ; he will endow them with those 
fertile lands, with which you are famihar, to the eastward of the Andes; 
he will supply them with tools, seeds, and domestic animals, and will 
give them the necessary guarantees that they may live together like 
brothers, with absolute liberty of action and of conscience." 

All this, and more, has Tirado accomplished in the recent decree of 
the Peruvian govei-nment. I think that I can also trace Ijurra's hand in 
this action of the government, and fancy that it is the result of many 
conversations we had on this subject during our long voyage. He is 
now in high favor with the government, and has been sent to Loreto in 
quality of sub prefect and military commandant, (second in authority in 
the new province.) He writes me that he shall establish himself at 
Caballo cocha, where he will labor with zeal and vigor in the great 
cause, till death overtakes him. Long and late may it be in coming to 
my faithful companion. 

Fortunately for her own interests, the advancement of commerce, and 
the progress of civiHzation, Bolivia refused to listen to the Brazilian 
envoy ; she knew that, even with the assistance of Brazil, she was not 
able to undertake, with any prospect of success, the navigation of the 
rivers, and the development of the resources of her great territory. She 
preferred to entrust this enteiprise to the energy and competition of the 
great commercial nations of the world, rather than take it on her own 

162 RESUME. 

shoulders by a useless exclusi\^eness ; and she therefore issued a decree 
on the 27th of January, 1853, declaring several ports on each and all 
of her rivers which communicate with the Atlantic, whether by the La 
Plata or the Amazon, free and open to the commerce of the world. 

This was a very important document; it put the Northern republics on 
their guard, and excited a spirit of emulation in their governments. I 
have heard nothing of the result of Lisboa's mission ; but I know that 
some of the most distinguished citizens of those republics have declared 
themselves favorable to the project of opening their rivers and ports to 
foreign trade, and are disposed to urge their respective governments, if 
necessary, to demand of Brazil the right of way to the ocean. 

Independently of the action of the Spanish American republics con- 
cerning the free navigation of their tributaries of the Amazon, we have 
a special treaty with Peru, negotiated by J. Randolph Clay, our present 
minister, in July, 1851, which entitles us, under the present circum- 
stances, to the navigation of the Peruvian Amazon. The second article 
of that treaty declares that, " The two high-contracting parties hereby 
bind and engage themselves not to grant any favor, privilege, or immu- 
nity whatever, in matters of commerce and navigation, to other nations, 
which shall nut be also immediately extended to the citizens of the 
other contracting party, who shall enjoy the same gratuitously, or on 
giving a compensation as nearly as possible of proportionate value and 
effect, to be adjusted by mutual agreement, if the concession shall have 
been conditional." 

The concession to Brazil is conditional, but we shall find no difficulty 
in " giving a compensation as nearly as possible of proportionate value 
and effect ;" that is a matter for Peru to decide, and there is little doubt 
but that she will consider the presence of our people and our vessels in 
her country, and upon her streams, as being of proportionate value. 

It will be thus seen that our citizens have a legal right, by express 
grant and decree, to trade upon the interior waters of Peru and Bolivia, 
and it is presumed that Brazil will not attempt to dispute the now well- 
settled doctrine, that no nation holding the mouth of a river has a right 
to bar the way to market of a nation holding higher up, or to prevent 
that nation's trade and intercourse with whom she will, by a great 
highway common to both. 

But Brazil has effectually closed the Amazon by her De Souza con- 
tract ; she gives him the exclusive privilege for thirty years, with a 
bonus of 180,000 per annum, besides guaranteeing to him the $20,000 
of Peru. This of course defies competition, though I very much doubt 
if the contract will endui'e ; the Brazilians are so little acquainted with 

RESUME. 363 

river steam navigation that De Souza will run liis boats at great cost ; 
tlie conditions of the contract are also stringent and oppressive ; and 
under such circumstances, even with the bonus of $100,000, I doubt if 
the trade of the river for several years to come will support the six 
steamers that he contracts to keep on the line. 

Brazil, too, will soon see that in this matter she is standing in her 
own light. The efforts of this company, though partly supported by the 
government, will make little beneficial impression upon so vast a country, 
in comparison with that which would be made by the active competi- 
tion of the commercial nations of the world. 

Were she to adopt a liberal instead of an exclusive policy, throw open 
the Amazon to foreign commerce and competition, invite settlement upon 
its banks, and encourage emigration by liberal grants of lands, and 
efficient protection to person and property, backed as she is by such 
natural advantages, imagination could scarcely follow her giant strides 
towards wealth and greatness. 

She, together with the five Spanish American republics above named, 
owns in the valley of the Amazon more than two millions of square 
miles of land, intersected in every direction by many thousand miles of 
what might be called canal navigation. As a general rule, large ships 
may sail thousands of miles to the foot of the falls of the gigantic rivers 
of this country; and in Brazil particularly, a few hundred miles of 
artificial canal would open to the steamboat, and render available, thou- 
sands of miles more. 

This land is of unrivalled fertility ; on account of its geographical 
situation and topographical and geological formation, it produces nearly 
everything essential to the comfort and well-being of man. On the top 
and eastern slope of the Andes lie hid unimaginable quantities of silver, 
iron, coal, copper, and quicksilver, waiting but the application of siencc 
and the hand of industry for their development. The successful working 
of the quicksilver mines of Huancavelica would add several millions of 
silver to the annual product of Cerro Pasco alone. Many of the streams 
that dash from the summits of the Cordilleras wash gold from the 
mountain-side, and deposit it in the hollows and gulches as they pass. 
Barley, quinua, and potatoes, best grown in a cold, with wheat, rye, 
maize, clover, and tobacco, products of a temperate region, deck the 
mountain-side, and beautify the valley ; while immense herds of sheep, 
llamas, alpacas, and vicunas fted upon those elevated plains, and yield 
wool of the finest and longest staple. 

Descending towards the plain, and only for a few miles, the eye of 
the traveller from the temperate zone is held with wonder and delight 

364 RESUME. 

by the beautiful and strange productions of the torrid. He sees for the 
first time the symmetrical coffee-bush, rich with its dark-green leaves, 
its pure white blossoms, and its gay, red fruit. The prolific plantain, 
with its great waving fan-like leaf, and immense pendant branches of 
golden-looking fruit, enchains his attention. The sugar-cane waves in 
rank luxuriance before him, and if he be familiar with Southera planta- 
tions, his heart swells with emotion as the gay yellow blossoms and white 
boll of the cotton sets before his mind's eye the familiar scenes of home. 

Fruits, too, of the finest quality and most luscious flavor, grow here ; 
oranges, lemons, bananas, pine-apples, melons, chirimoyas, granadillas, 
and many others, which, unpleasant to the taste at first, become with use 
exceedingly grateful to the accustomed palate. The Indian gets here 
his indispensable coca, and the forests at certain seasons are redolent 
with the perfume of the vanilla. 

It is sad to recollect that in this beautiful country (I have before me 
the valley of the Chanchamayo) men should have ofi"ered me title 
deeds in gratuity to as much of this rich land as I wanted. Many of 
the inhabitants of Tarma hold grants of land in the Chanchamayo 
country from the government, but are so distrustful of its ability to 
protest them in their labors from the encroachments of the savages, that 
they do not cultivate them. 

About half a dozen persons only have cleared and are cultivating 
haciendas. One of these, the brave old Catalan Zapatero, was building 
himself a fire-proof house, mounting swivels at his gate, and swearing 
in the jargon of his province that, protection or no protection, he would 
bide the brunt of the savages, and not give up what had cost him so 
much time and labor without a fight for it. It is a pity that there are 
not more like him. The Peruvian government, however, should assure 
the settlers of efficient protection. It should not only keep up the 
stockade of San Ramon, but should open a road down the valley of the 
Chanchamayo to some navigable point on that stream, or to the Ucayali 
itself, establishing other stockades along the route for the protection 
from the Indians of those whom liberal off'ers may attract to the settle- 
ment and cultivation of that delightful country. I feel confident that 
she will pierce the continent and open a communication with the 
Atlantic with more facility and advantage by this route than by any 

The climate of this country is pleasant and healthy ; it is entirely 
free from the annoyance of sand flies and musquitoes, which infest the 
lower part of the tributaries, and nearly the whole course of the Amazon. 
There is too much rain for agreeability from August to March ; but 

RESUME. 365 

nothing could be more pleasant than the weather when I was there in 

The country everywhere in Peru, at the eastern foot of the Andes, is 
such as I have described above. Further down we find the soil, the 
peculiar condition, the productions of a country which is occasionally 
overflowed, and then subjected, with still occasional showers, to the 
influence of a tropical sun. From these causes we see a fecundity of 
soil and a rapidity of vegetation that is marvellous, and to which even 
Egypt, the ancient granary of Europe, aff'ords no parallel, because, 
similar in some other respects, this country has the advantage of Egypt 
in that there is here no drought. Here trees, evidently young, shoot 
up to such a height that no fowling piece will reach the game seated 
on their topmost branches, and with such rapidity that the roots have 
not strength or sufiicient hold upon the soil to support their weight, and 
they are continually falling, borne down by the slightest breeze, or by 
the mass of parasites and creepers that envelop them from root to top. 

This is the country of rice, of sarsaparilla, of India-rubber, balsam 
copaiba, gum copal, animal and vegetable wax, cocoa, Brazilian nutmeg, 
Tonka beans, ginger, black pepper, arrow-root, tapioca, annatto, indigo, 
sapucaia, and Brazil nuts; dyes of the gayest colors, drugs of rare 
virtue, variegated cabinet woods of the finest gi-ain, and susceptible of 
the highest polish. The forests are filled with game, and the rivers 
stocked with turtle and fish. Here dwell the anta or wild cow, the 
peixi-boi or fish-ox, the sloth, the ant-eater, the beautiful black tiger, 
the mysterious electric eel, the boa constrictor, the anaconda, the deadly 
coral snake, the voracious alligator, monkeys in endless variety, birds of 
the most briUiant plumage, and insects of the strangest forms and gayest 

The climate of this country is salubrious and the temperature agree- 
able. The direct rays of the sun are tempered by an almost constant 
east wind, laden with moisture from the ocean, so that one never 
sufi'ers either from heat or cold. The man accustomed to this climate 
is ever unwilling to give it up for a more bracing one, and will generally 
refuse to exchange the abandon and freedom from restraint that char- 
acterises his life there, for the labor and struggle necessary even to 
maintain existence in a more rigorous climate or barren soil. The 
active, the industrious, and the enterprising, will be here, as elsewhere, 
in advance of his fellows ; but this is the very paradise of the lazy and 
the careless. Here, and here only, such an one may maintain life almost 
without labor. 

I met with no epidemics on my route ; except at Para, the country 

366 RESUME. 

seemed a stranger to yellow fever, small-pox, or cholera. There seemed 
to be a narrow belt of country on each side of the Amazon where 
bilious fevers, called sezoens or maleitas, were particularly prevalent. 
These fevers are of malignant type, and often terminate in fatal jaun- 
dice. I was told that six or eight days' navigation on each tributary, 
from the mouth upwards, would bring me to this country, and three 
or four more would pass me through it ; and that I ran little risk of 
taking the fever if I passed directly through. It appeared, also, to be 
confined to a particular region of country with regard to longitude. I 
heard nothing of it on the Huallaga, the Ucayali, or the Tapajos, while 
it was spoken of with dread on the Trombetas, the Madeira, the Negro, 
and the Purus. Filth and carelessness in this climate produce ugly 
cutaneous affections, with which the Indians are much affliieted, and I 
heard of cases of elephantiasis and leprosy. 

I have been describing the country bordering on the Amazon. Up 
the tributaries, midway between their mouth and source, on each side 
are wide savannahs, where feed herds of cattle, furnishing a trade in 
hides; and at the sources of the southern tributaries are ranges of 
mountains, which yield immense treasures of diamonds and other pre- 
cious stones. 

It is again (as in the case of the country at the foot of the Andes) 
sad to think that, excluding the savage tribes, who for any present 
purposes of good may be ranked with the beasts that perish, this 
country has not more than one inhabitant for every ten square miles of 
land ; that it is almost a wilderness ; that being capable, as it is, of 
yielding support, comfort, and luxury to many millions of civilized 
people who have superfluous wants, it should be but the dwelling place 
of the savage and the wild beast. 

Such is the country whose destiny and the development of whose 
resources is in the hands of Brazil. It seems a pity that she should 
undertake the work alone ; she is not strong enough ; she should do 
what we are not too proud to do, stretch out her hands to the world at 
large, and say, " Come and help us to subdue the wilderness ; here are 
homes, and broad lands, and protection for all who choose to come." 
She should break up her steamboat monopoly, and say to the sea-faring 
and commercial people of the world, " We are not a maritime people ; 
we have no skill or practice in steam navigation ; come and do our 
carrying, while we work the lands ; bring your steamers laden with 
your manufactures, and take from the banks of our rivers the rich pro- 
ductions of our vast regions." With such a policy, and taking means 
to preserve her nationality, for which she is now abundantly strong, I 

RESUME. 367 

have no hesitation in saying, that I believe in fifty years Rio Janeiro, 
without losing a tittle of her wealth and greatness, will be but a village 
to Para, and Para will be what New Orleans would long ago have been 
but for the aciivity of New York and her own fatal climate, the greatest 
city of the New World ; Santarem will be St. Louis, and Barra, Cincin- 

The citizens of the United States are, of all foreign people, most 
interested in the free navigation of the Amazon. Y/e, as in comparison 
with other foreigners, would reap the lion's share of the advantages to 
be derived from it. We would fear no competition. Our geographical 
position, the winds of Heaven, and the currents of the ocean, are our 
potential auxilaries. Thanks to Maury's investigations of the winds 
and currents, we know that a chip flung into the sea at the mouth of 
the Amazon will float close by Cape Hatteras. We know that ships 
sailing from the mouth of the Amazon, for whatever port of the world, 
are forced to our very doors by the SE. and NE. trade winds ; that New 
York is the halfway house between Para and Europe. 

We are now Brazil's best customer and most natural ally. President 
Aranha knew this. At a dinner-party given by him at Barra, his first 
toast was, "To the nation of America most closely allied with Brazil — 
the United States." And he frequently expressed to me his strong 
desire to have a thousand of my active countrymen to help him to 
subdue the wilderness, and show the natives how to work. I would that 
all Brazilians were influenced by similar sentiments. Then would the 
mighty river, now endeared to me by association, no longer roll its 
sullen waters through miles of unbroken solitude ; no longer w^ould the 
deep forests that line its banks afl"ord but a shelter for the serpent, the 
tiger, and the Indian ; but, furrowed by a thousand keels, and bearing 
upon its waters the mighty wealth that civilization and science wTjuld 
call from the depths of those dark forests, the Amazon would "rejoice 
as a strong man to run a race;" and in a few^years we might, without 
great hyperbole, or doing much violence to fancy, apply to this river 
Byron's beautiful lines : 

" The casteled crag of Drachenfels 

Frowns o'er the wide and wiudiug Rhine, 
Whose breast of waters broadly swells 

Between the banks that bear the vine; 
And hills all rich with blossomed trees, 

And fields that promise corn and wine, 
With scattered cities crowning these, 

Whose far white walls along them shine." 

368 RESUME. 

Then miglit Brazil, pointing to the blossoming wilderness, the well- 
cultivated farm, the busy city, the glancing steamboat, and listening to 
the hum of the voices of thousands of active and prosperous men, say, 
with pride and truth : "Thus much have we done for the advancement 
of civilization and the happiness of the human race." 

In making out this report, I have been guided by the letter and spirit 
of my instructions, and have striven to present a clear and faithful picture 
of the subjects indicated by them. These were, in brief terms, the 
present condition of the country — its productions and resources — the 
navigability of its streams — its capacities for trade and commerce — and 
its future prospects. This must be my excuse for my meagre contribu- 
tions to general science. More, I fear, has been expected in this way 
than has been done; yet the expedition has collected some valuable 
specimens in each of the kingdoms of natural history, and I hope to obtain 
means and authority to have them properly described and illustrated. 

T have mentioned in various parts of my report the names of persons 
who have assisted me by counsel or information. I shall close it with the 
name of the last, the ablest, and the best. Whatever of interest and 
value may be found in the report, is mainly attributable to the guiding 
judgment and cheering heart of my friend and kinsman, M. F. Maury. 



The elevations due to the atmospheric pressure, as indicated by the barometer, 
are extracted from tables calculated, after the complete formula of La Place, 
by M. F. Delcros, contained in a volume of meteorological tables prepared by 
Arnold Guyot, and published by the Smithsonian Institution. 

Those due the indications of the boiling-point apparatus are taken from a table 
in the same volume, calculated by Regnault, from his "Tables of forces of 
vapor," published in the Annalcs de Physiqice ct de Chimie, t. xiv, p, 206. 

The height of the barometer at the level of the sea is assumed at 30.00, and 
the temperature of the air at 65° Fah. 

I have added a column of heights, measured with the barometer by Don Ma- 
riano Rivero, at places where they compare with mine. 

At the pass of Antarangra we took our observations on the summit of a hill 
about two hundred feet above the road at its highest point. 

Morococha is situated near the line of perpetual snow, on the eastern slope of 
the western chain of the Andes. 

Tingo Maria is the place of embarcation on the Huallaga. The distance from 
Callao to this point, by our route, is 337 miles. The distance hence to the At- 
lantic is 3,662. If we add to these sums the 90 miles of travel from Tarma to 
Fort San Ramon and back, with the 626 from the mouth of the Ucayali to 
j-acu and back, we shall have the whole distance travelled over — 4,715 miles. 





Names of places. 
























59 ■ 


















' *88' ' 










12; 898 





12; 786 








3. 192 



10; 5.39 


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Lower edge of snow on western slope.. . 

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