James Mudie Spence.

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THE LAND OF BOLIVAR.



VOLUME I.



AMS PRESS

NEW YORK




THE PEAK CONQUERED.



(See vol. ii- p. 59.)



THE LAND OF BOLIVAR



WAR, PEACE, AND ADVENTURE



REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA.



JAMES MUDIE SPENCE, F.R.G.S.



MEMBER OF THE ALPINE CLVB.




asaitf) iWaps anU Illustrations.
/N TWO VOLUMES. — Y Oh. I.



LONDON :

SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE, & RIVINGTON,

CROWN BUILDINGS, i88 FLEET STREET.

1878.

[All rights reserveil.]



^



i^



Library of ConKress CataloKinK in Publication Data

Spence, James Mudie.
The land of Bolivar.

Bibliography: p.

1, Venezuela. I. Title.
F2308.S74 1973 987' .062 '0924 [b] 78-175995

ISBN 0-404-06177-X



Reprinted from the edition of 1878, London
First AMS edition published in 1973
Manufactured in the United Stotes of America

International Standard Book Number:
Complete Set: 0-404-06177-X
Volume One: 0-404-06178-8

AMS PRESS INC.

NEW YORK, N. Y. 10003



TO

THE PEOPLE OF THE

REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA,

BUT MORE ESPECIALLY TO

THOSE WHOSE EFFORTS ARE DIRECTED TO THE

REGENERATION OF THEIR COUNTRY,

THIS WORK

IS DEDICATED.



\(»I-. I.



PREFACE.



Venezuela lies so much out of the beaten track of
tourist and traveller, that but little is known in
Europe of its scenery, its products, or its people.
A residence of eighteen months in this picturesque
country, full of mineral wealth, and rich in other
natural resources, yet almost untrodden by the man of
science, may perhaps be Considered sufficient apology
for this attempt to add to the scanty knowledge we
possess of a land bordering on British Guiana, and
opposite to Trinidad, and from which, it is more than
probable, the meat-supply of our West Indian pos-
sessions must, sooner or later, be derived.

The materials for this volume were collected by the
writer during 1871 and 1872, when the Eepublic of
Venezuela was gliding into peace, after twenty-five
years of continued civil war and trouble. During his
residence in the country he was in treaty with the
Government for several important mining conces-



viii PREFACE.

sioDS, which naturally brouglit him into close rela-
tions with the ruling powers, and afforded him
opportunities of acquiring accurate information from
sources not generally accessible.

His memories of places and of the people are
of the most vivid and endearing character. In
many of his excursions the author Avas accompanied
by the late Senor Ramon Bolet, an artist of great
promise, whose early death is a matter of sincere
sorrow. To his pencil are due most of the sketches
from which the illustrations are taken. The
remainder are j)rincipally copied from drawings
made on the spot by Mr. Anton Goering, no less
eminent as a botanist and ornithologist than as a
lover of the picturesque.

The valleys of Caracas, of the Tuy, and of Aragua,
for richness of soil and luxuriance of vegetation, as
well as for the natural beauty of their scenery, need
fear no comparison. Strikingly in contrast with these,
but no less attractive and beautiful, are the mountain
ranges. To the Peak of Naiguata, the hio-hest of the
coast chain, considerable space is devoted in these
pages to describe the first ascent to its summit.

Although the author has chiefly confined himself to
a record of incidents of travel, he has been desirous,
at the same time, of furnishini;- a general outline and



PREFACE. ix

character of this great South American Eepublic.
The text gives details of its geography, natural his-
tory, and political constitution, as well as a sketch
of the War of Independence, and of the successive
revolutions, ending^ with that which seated the
government of General Guzman Blanco firmly in
power. The Appendix consists of an outline of the
Colonial administration of Venezuela ; of various
papers relating to natural history, mineralogy, and
archaeology ; and of some documents of a more per-
sonal character.

To General Nicanor Bolet Peraza, and to General
Leopoldo Terrero, the author is indebted for much
information ; by Dr. A. Ernst of Caracas, he has been
supplied with a considerable amount of scientific
data; and Mr. William E. A. Axon, M.R.S.L., has
rendered most valuable aid, from his familiarity with
the language and history of Spanish America.



" Sf 3 ^aue bene tttefl, & af f^c fieri) rcquircb, it if tiji
tiling t:^at 3 befiveb : but if 3 I)aue [pollen flcnberlt)
& Bareli), it if t^at 3 couib."

— II. Maccabees xv. 39.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

THE VOYAGE OUT.

(February, 1871.)

Departure — The " Seine " — Passing the Azores — Pico — A night
of horrors — Sombrero — Virgin Islands — Bay of St. Thomas
— Quarantine — The escape — Leeward and Windward Islands
— St. Kitts — Redonda — Barbadoes — Sugar — A week's pur-
gatory — The " Cuban " — Off " Tierra Firme " — Arrival at
La Guayra— The Aduana — "Hotel Neptuno" — Origin of
La Guayra — A hot story — Description of the port — Break-
water — Plaza or Alameda — Church of St. Juan de Dios —
— The road to the capital — Arrival at Cardcas . Pages 1-23



CHAPTER n.

CARACAS : CHURCHES, STATISTICS, AND SPANISH IDIOMS.

(March, 1871.)

The British Consulate — Hotel Saint Amand — A Cardcas merchant
— Petty annoyances engendered by civil war^" Alto ! quieu
vive ?" — Caracas : Climate, Situation, Churches and Popula-
tion — Vital statistics — University of Cardcas — The Cathe-
dral — St. George and the maggots — " La Iglesia de la
Santisima Trinidad " — Extra-mundane generosity — The
miraculous image — The legend of " El Cerrito del Diablo "
— Cock-fighting — "El Casino" — An old acquaintance — The
farm of Blandin— A visit to the Minister of Foreign Rela-



CONTENTS.



tions — Seuor Antonio Leocadio Guzman — Episode in the
life of the Minister — A Brazilian Envoy Extraordinary — A
canal scheme to unite the rivers Amazon and Orinoco —
Guanape — Maiquetia — Exports from La Guayra — " La
Ij,'lesia de la Santisima Caramba ! " — Priests — Jesuitical
casuistry — Dilliculties of learning Spanish — Idioms . Payes 24-45

CHAPTER III.

GEOGRAPHY : NATURAL, PHYSICAL, AND POLITICAL HISTORY.

PART I.

Agustin Codazzi — The Country — Its limits, area, sea-board,
mountains, rivers, and climate — The three zones — Vege-
tation — Metals and minerals — Cattle-breeding — Zoology —
Population — Anthropology — Abolition of slavery — Equa-
lity — Form of government — Powers of the President —
"Alta Corte Federal" — Revenues — Religion — Religious
liberty— National defences — Education — Commerce — Smug-
gling — Public debt — States of Bolivar, " Guzman Blanco,"
Guarico, and Carabobn Pages 46-61



CHAPTER IV.

GEOGRAPHY : NATURAL, PHYSICAL, AND POLITICAL HISTORY.

PART II.

States of Nueva Barcelona and Cumana — Caves of the Guach-
aros — States of Maturin, Nueva Esparta, Yaracuy, Barqui-
simeto, Coro, and Zulia — Lake of Maracaybo — The States
of Trujillo, Merida, Tachira, Zamora, and Portugueza —
Province of Apure — The Llanos of Venezuela — Province of
Guayana — Poisoned arrows — Indian love task — Ciudad-
Bolivar Page^ 62-82



CHAPTER V.

EXCURSION TO THE COAL DISTRICT OF NUEVA BARCELONA.

(April, 1S71.)

Black diamonds — A miserable steamer — Inauguration of a cam-
paign against Civil War — Arrival at Barcelona — Tlie port —
The Monagas family — "La Casa Fuerte " — A narration of



CONTENTS.



Spanish atrocities — " Corona de Sangre" — The quack doctor's
fever remedy — Commerce, area, population, agriculture,
and rivers of the State — Caribe Indians: origin, dress,
habits, and gradual extermination of the race — Church of
San Cristobal — A rich collection of sacred relics — " Agua
Providencial de Potentini " — A ride through the cotton-
growing district — Estimated possible prodiiction of the
whole state — Valleys of the Neveri and Naricual — The
coal district — Outcrops of mineral — Route of proposed
railway — Trial of the coal — The Holy Week Procession —
Jesus IMaria Jose Juan Dios Domingo Perez — Discovery of a
new harbour — Entertainment at Posuelos — " Las balas no
conocen d nadie ! " Pa^/es 83-105



CHAPTER VI.

RESroENCE IN CARACAS.

(April-Mat, 1871.)

The President of the Republic, General Antonio Guzman Blanco
— Portrait of the President — Down with yellow fever — Grand
political celebrations — Feeding the multitude — Ministerial
and military ball — The leading citizens "at home" — La
Seiiora Elena Echanagucia de Hahn — A curious custom at
balls — " Club Union " — " Circulo de Amigos " — A breakfast
at Bonfante's — A round of invitations — Reflections on the
financial state of the country — Cotton factory at Los Adjuntos
— '' El hombre de hierro " — " The Englishman may pass ! "
— Arrest of a Minister — Insult to the " Stars and Stripes."

Pages 106-121



CHAPTER VII.

THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.

(1800- 1 830.)

Simon Bolivar becomes a patriot — Blockade of the coast of
" Tierra Firme" — The tricolour — All disputes referred to the
arbitration of the sword — The Royalists victorious — Triumph
of the Patriots — The wretch Zuazola — Spanish enormities —
Slaves manumitted by Bolivar — Patriotic heroism — Paez
takes Barinas — The "gang of Apure " — Spanish gun-boats
captured l)y cavalry — Llanero military tactics — Battle of



CONTENTS.



Quesaras del Medio— Morillo, the Spanish general, proposes
an armistice— Battle of Carabobo— The British Legion—
The Spaniard driven from the land— Conduct of Paez — Dis-
memberment of Colombia— Bolivar resigns the presidency
— Ilis country's ingratitude — He dies at Santa Marta —
Verses on the death of Bolivar .... Pages 122-1^7



CHAPTER VIII.

MODERN HISTORY — CIVIL WAR.

(1830-1870.)

The two political parties — Personal ambition of Paez and its
results — Honours to the mighty dead — Stuffing the ballot-
boxes, introduced into Venezuela — The election of A. L.
Guzman as president nullified — Negro emancipation — War
of the Federation — Biography of Antonio Guzman Blanco —
He joins the Federalists, reorganises their army, and leads it
to victory — He visits Europe to raise a loan — Election of
Falcon for President — Guzman Blanco, Vice-President —
Triumph of the Blues — Persecution of the Yellows — Attack
on the house of Guzman Blanco — He escapes to Curazao —
His return— He takes Cardcas, and becomes {provisional)
President of the Republic Pajfes 138-150



CHAPTER IX.

A DRIVE THROUGH THE VALLEYS OF ARAGUA.

(June, 1871.)

A too early start — " Compagnon de voyage" — The road to Los
Teques — Coffee and sugar estates — " Fiesta de Corpo Cristo "
— Victoria — La Quebrada sugar estate — Self-sacrifice, a
reminiscence of the great war — Native troops in marching
order — San Mateo — El Saman de Giiere tree — Maracay —
Lake of Tacarigua — " The garden of the world " — Bad roads
— Valencia — Interview with the President — Agricultural
data — Cost of civil war — " Our ancestors " — Sugar-cane —
Dr. R. Arvelo — Cheap fare in Valencia — Crossing the moun-
tains — On the coast — Arrival at Puerto-Cabello — The
double passport— Return to Gardens . . . Pajres 1 51-174



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER X.

IMMIGRATION — EARTHQUAKES — CUSTOMS.

(June-August, 1871.)

The Maguey plant — Immigration — Anecdote of a German emi-
gration agent — Tacasuruma — Attractions for settlers — Views
of the President on the Barcelona harbour and coal project
— Independence Day in Cardcas — Postal regulations — The
alienated mail-bags — Stirring events in the life of a Yankee
acquaintance — Bogley the Recorder, a tale of revenge —
"Viva el General Bruzual!" — The rainy season — Earth-
quakes — " Las Mariquitas" — " Dias de compleanos " Pages 175-189

CHAPTER XL

EXPEDITION TO THE ISLANDS OF LOS ROQUES.

(August-September, 187 i.)

An early morning intruder — A quick drive to La Guayra — The
Caribbean Sea from the heights — A backwoodsman's first
view of the ocean — Conjectures of the natives as to the ob-
jects of the expedition — The "Venus" — Sleeping quarters
— Captain Taylor — A trance — A true Sabbath — Cayo de
Sal — The Los Roques group of islands — Salt pans — Census
of Cayo Grande — The thirsty cooper — Fishermen — The
Captain in his role of literary critic — Arrival at El Gran
Roque — Topography of the island — Harbour — Preliminary
survey — Boye's narratives of shipwrecks — Rats — Phosphate
deposits — Animal life — Flora — Intense heat and its effects
— A sail round the island — Phosphates collected — Prepara-
tions to leave — The challenge — Boy6 turns tail on us — A
terrible storm — Off the reefs — Narrow escape — Excitement
of the captain — The " Venus " beaten — The Sea-serpent —
Turtle hunting — Arrival at La Guayra . . Pages igo-2 14

CHAPTER XII.

NATIONAL EDUCATION — CURRENCY — WORKING CLASSES.

(September-Novembek, 1 87 1.)

Rumours of war — Mixed currency — Change for a pound sterling
— Caracas flooded — The American Minister — Interview with
the President — National education — Opening of a new school



CONTENTS.



— II.M.S. " Racoon" visits LaGuayra — The officers in Cardcas
— CrossinfT the coast range of mountains — An eccentric
British Minister — Wliy Venezuela is slandered abroad —
Honesty of the lower orders — " Fiesta de Los Mucrtos" —
Longevity extraordinary Par/fs 2 1 5-226



CHAPTER XIII.

EXCURSION TO THE VALLEYS OF THE TUY.
PART I. — DISTRICT OF CHARALLAVE.

(November, 1871.)

Passports — Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul — A traveller's
Spartan store of provisions — On the road — "A goods train"
in motion — The Patroness — Coche — Turmerito — Campo
Alegre — Bridge of Falcon — "Pozo de los Pajaros" — "Tucu-
siapon" — Lovera's estate of Guayabo — The party regaled
with San Cocho — Analysis of the national dish — Charallave
— Hard fare — Taking stock of the district — Bad farming-
Road making — The Tuy Valley — Achiote trees — A military
chiefs courtesy — Military exigencies — The Englishman and
his donkey — " My daughter! ! My daughter ! " Pages 227-240



CHAPTER XIV.

EXCURSION TO THE VALLEYS OF THE TUY.
PART II. — DISTRICTS OF CUA, OCUMARE, AND TACATA.

(November, 187 i.)

Cua — Too much garlic — Ringing the changes on beef — A fine
cacao estate — Indigo cultivation — Produce of the Cua dis-
trict — Rich pasturage — "La Teja" — General Pedro Conde —
"Queso de manos" — Cheap estate on the Llanos — Ocumare
del Tuy — A night in a Catre — "Paseo" in the mountains —
Leseur's plantations — Coffee picking — Invitation to settle in
the Tuy — Produce of the Ocumare district — Return to Cua
— The start for Altagracia — Adieu to civilization — Tacata —
Office of the Jefe Civil — A mule's intelligence — A Tacata
merchant prince — Stock taking — Ostentatious display of
table linen — Lisboa's disgust — A horrid banquet — Sovereign
consternation of the landlord — The citizens summoned —
Altagracia — Paracoto — Return to Caracas . . Pages 241-257



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER XV.

CIVIL WAR — MISSIONARY EFFORTS — ORCHIDS.

(December- January, 1871-1872.)

Revolt of the Blues — Apostasy of Salazar — War in Trujillo
— Capture of Ciudad-Bolivar by the Blues — Flight of the
President of Guayana — Fall of San Fernando — The troops
of the Cordillera restore Trujillo to the Government — Guz-
man Blanco in person takes the field — The Grand Army of
the Apure — Advance on San Fernando — " El Chingo Olivo "
— Plan of the battle — The Yellows victorious — Retreat of
the remnant of the Blues — General Joaquin Crespo sent in
pursuit — Annihilation of the fugitives — Life in Caracas —
Official civility — Economic and scientific collection — Or-
chids — Tiger skins — New birds — A valuable relic — " My
Book" — Senorita Loria Brion — Protestantism at a discount
— An amateur evangelist — Death of the President's mother
— Popular excitement in the capital — The Danish Minister
sets a good example to his compeers . . . Pages 258-27:



CHAPTER XVI.

GOVERNMENT COMMISSION TO THE ISLAND OF ORCHIL A.

(January, 1872.)

Islands of the Republic — Resort of smugglers — Decrees — Scien-
tific commission sent to Orchila — American Guano Com-
pany's concession — Commission reports breach of contract
— The Minister of Public Works heads a second expedition
— Invitation to accompany it — Departure from Caracas —
Abortive attempts at joviality — Arrival at La Guayra —
Human freight list of the "Porteiia'' — Sufferings of the
passengers — Oft' Orchila — "El Bahia de Nuevo Napoles"
— Explorations by moonlight — Phosphate deposits —
" Ladrones " — Cayo El Dorado — The Philadelphia Guano
Company's establishment — How the deposits are worked —
Quantity of mineral exported — Seasons — Climate — BirdS' —
Fish — The Hall of Justice — Tlie victim of the inquisition
— Portrait of the victim — Double interpreter necessary —
Examination of tlic victim — The return to the mainland.

Pa(/es 273-288



xviii CONTENTS.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE VALLEYS OF THE TUY.

DISTRICTS OF YARE, SANTA TERESA, AND SANTA LUCIA.

(February, 1872.)

Early morning observations — Goering's incredible snake encoun-
ter in Merida — Our old quarters at Ocumare — How coffee i.s
grown in Venezuela — Indian of the Tuy — Foundation for a
miracle laid by Goering — A fandango of the peasantry —
Grand panorama seen from the heights of Marare — A Tuy
ball — Ethnological types — Guard of honour — A ride through
the valley — Death of the snake — Anecdote of a dog's sagacity
— San Francisco de Yare — Military sports — Santa Teresa —
A rest at Milagro — Santa Lucia — Produce of the district —
On the road to the capital — The coffee country of Los
Mariches — Summary of statistical details . . Pa^es 289-310



CHAPTER XVni.

PEACE CELEBRATIONS IN THE CAPITAL.
(Febroart-April, 1872.)

Caracas mad with excitement — " See the conquering hero comes "
— The triumphal arch — Peace speech of the victor — Grand
illuminations — A visit to the chief — Leseur's dinner party —
Linguistic powers of Englishmen — The merchants entertain
the President — " Te Deum" in the cathedral — Picnic to Catuche
— Earthquakes — Death of Padre Blanco, the soldier priest —
" Semana Santa " — The Venezuelan Press — " Academia
Espanola." Payes 311-323



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

VOL. I.



1. The Peak Conquered

2. The Port of La Guayra

3. Portrait of John R. Leseur .

4. Caracas

5. Scene on the Lake of Maracaybo

6. Group of Caribe Indians

7. Portrait of Antonio Guzman Blanco .

8. Portrait of Diego Bautista Urbaneja .

9. Portrait of Simon Bolivar

10. Portrait of Antonio Leocadio Guzman

1 1 . Maracay, and the Lake of Valencia

1 2. A Quiet Spot, near the Lake of Valencia

1 3. A Coffee Plantation in the Valleys of Aragua

14. A Bridge on the Mountain Road to the Coast

15. River Borburata, near Puerto-Cabello

16. Cayo de Sal

17. Mosquito Cayo .......

1 8. Portrait of L. C. Boye

1 9. Interior of Boye's House .....

20. Sunset from the North-East Corner of the Island

of El Gran Roque

21. The Cascaile " Pozo de los Pajaros"



Frontispiece.

To face page 16

27

To face page 29

To face page 70

91
107
118
123
141
158
face page 161
162
171

173
197
199
203

205

210
231



7'o



LIST 01' JLLUSTRATJONS.



PAGE

11. Taciilii 251

23. Musicians Playing Native Instruments .... 256

24. Shipping Orchids from the Hotel, Saint Amand . 264

25. The New Bird, Lochmias Sororia 266

26. The New Uiril, Crypturus Cerviniventria .... 267

27. American Guano Company's Establishment on Orchila . 282

28. The Victim of the Inquisition 286

29. The Incredible Snake Encounter in Merida . . . 291

30. Indian and Dogs, of the Tuy 296

31. Jos6 Carmen de Ocumare 300

32. " Flor del Tuy " 301

33. Death of the Snake 303

34. The Triumphal Arch 313

35. Illuminations on the Plaza de Bolivar . . 2'u face page 314

36. Rio Catuche 316



MAPS AND PLANS.

1 . Map of Venezuela To face page i

2. Map of the Los Roques Group of Islands . . . „ 193

3. Plan of the Battle of Apure „ 260

4. Plan of the Island of Orchila ,. 278



M \ I' () I
THE REPUBLIC OF (

VENEZUELA

SOUTH AiMEHKA



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o



THE LAND OF BOLIVAR.



CHAPTER I.

THE VOYAGE OUT.

My voyage to Venezuela, although undertaken chiefly
to benefit my health, impaired by overwork, had also
an ulterior object, and that was, to look out for any
valuable mineral deposits which the islands skirting
the coast might contain. Having spent years of adven-
ture in California and Arizona, after a lengthened stay
in Europe, the desire to wander westward again pos-
sessed me, and I was delighted with the prospect of
going to a land that had been for twenty-five years
the scene of almost uninterrupted civil war. The
condolences of my friends were freely offered, for
Venezuela had for some time been discredited in
English eyes, and many reports detrimental to it
were in circulation. The ignorance respecting the
country was so universal, that the capital was only
known to the average Englishman by the advertise-
ments of " Fry's Caracas Cocoa ; " whilst a British
Minister, once accredited there, is said to have spent
two years in a vain search for his destination.

VOL. I. A



2 THE LAND OF BOLIVAR. [Chap. i.

I left Southampton on the 3d of February 1871 by
the " Seine," one of the last of the dear old expen-
sive "ocean-going" paddle-steamers. These safe and
comfortable boats have, in the march of progress and
improvement, given way to the rakish, rolling, rol-
locking screw, unsafe and uncomfortable, the veritable
steam sea-serpent of the nineteenth century. Economy
being the order of the day, it is not to be expected
that ships which burn eighty tons of coal in twenty-
four hours will be tolerated, even though they are the
best sort of sea-boats in " dirty weather," when it has
been practically proved that this quantity can be
" screwed " down to thirty tons.

Most passengers are very proud of being on friendly
terms with the captain, but those who are wise will
cultivate the acquaintance of the head-steward, and
thus add greatly to their own enjoyment. Our cap-
tain — Moir, of the "Trent" affair — although a strict
disciplinarian, was able not only in a masterly manner
to manage his ship, but found time to see that the
helpless passengers intrusted to his care were made
as happy as possible, which is more than can be said
of every captain in the service of the Royal Mail
Company. Owing to his genial good-nature, all on
board went "merry as a marriage bell." On the
quarter-deck, " weather permitting," young and old
every evening (accompanied by the carpenter and his
classical fiddle), with dance and song, chased the
flying hours.

On the sixth day out we sighted the Azores or
Western Islands, those grand sentinels of the Atlantic,



Chap, i.] THE AZORES OR WESTERN ISLANDS. 3

which, rooted in raid-ocean, raise their proud heads
above the almost infinite expanse of waters, and seem
to separate the hemisphere which has had its day,
from its more juvenile competitor in the west. The
snow- tipped summit of Pico glittered white and
brilliant in the sunshine, whilst all below it w^as
wrapped in dark masses of clouds which moved along
the side of the mountain. The height of Pico is 76 1 3
feet.

The want of occupation is apt to make long voyages
very dull, but fortunately I had plenty of employ-
ment, for, with the aid of Ollendorff's " Spanish
Method," I managed to fill up all spare moments.

The only incident which disturbed the even tenor
of my way on board the " Seine," was one that left a
very vivid impression on my mind. We were near-
ing the tropics, and the sea, in its calm stillness, had
put on that painted-ocean appearance so common in
these latitudes. The air had been hot and sultry,
and the deck above the grand saloon (as if to prove


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