H. M. (Henry Marie) Brackenridge.

Voyage to South America, performed by order of the American Government in the years 1817 and 1818, in the frigate Congress (Volume v.2) online

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Online LibraryH. M. (Henry Marie) BrackenridgeVoyage to South America, performed by order of the American Government in the years 1817 and 1818, in the frigate Congress (Volume v.2) → online text (page 7 of 25)
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Chayanta, .... 40,000 100,000

85,000 315,000

Intendency of La Paz.

La Paz, 14,000 40,000 - 40,000 La Paz.

Pacages, 60,000 90,000

Cica-Cica, .... 20,000 60,000

Chulumani, .' 15,000 50,000

Omasuegos, .. 30,000 60.000

Laricava, .••• 25,000 65,000 12,000 Zorate.

Apolobamba, . . 6,000 35,000

109,000 400,000

Intendency of Cochabamba.

Cochabamba,.. 30,000 100,000 25,000 Oropera*

Sacaba, 15,000 60,000

Tupicari, .... 30,000 100,000

Arque, 10,000 85,000

Palca, 6,000 20,000

Clisa, 35,000 100.000

Misque, 8,000 20,000

Valle Grande, 30,000 100,000

164,000 535,000

510,090 1,496,000

Santa Cruz, Moxos, and Chiquitos .... 220,000



The population of these provinces, therefore, exceeds
a million and a half, including Indians ; and exclusive of
them, half a million. After deducting from this number
one-fifth for the monastic orders and the Old Spaniards,
with their adherents among the nobility, there will be
left between three and four hundred thousand ready and
willing to support the cause of independence, exclusive
of Indians, who may safely be counted on when they can
consult their inclinations ; but whose extreme ignorance
and the slavish state in which they have been kept,
render them of small account, compared to their num-
bers. A successful battle has, uniformly, turned the
tide in favour of the patriots; which proves, that the great
mass of the people, in heart, are with them, if it could
be possible for a moment to doubt it. They hasten to
join the patriot standard ; not so when the other party is
successful ; even where they think themselves most
firmly fixed, there arejnumerous parties of guerillas, which
continually harrass them. If there appears to be a calm
for a while, it is only the precursor of some desperate
effort. The longer the contest continues, the more for-
midable they must inevitably become.

From the foregoing estimate, it will appear, that the
proportion of whites to the aborigines, is about one to
^ye. But even amongst those regarded as whites, or Spa-
niards, the proportion of mixt race must be very consider-
able, a circumstance which tends to efface the line of dis-
tinction between the Creoles and the natives, and to bring
them nearer to each other in point of interest and feeling.*
The case of the European Spaniard is very different;
he is hated by the Creole on account of the advantages

* The difiFerence of the casts in South America is of less importance
tlian generally supposed in Europe.

Vol. II. G


lie possesses from the circumstance of being born in
Spain, while between the European and the Indian there
is nothing to produce friendship or affection ; on the
contrary, the Spaniard looks upon the poor Indian with
haughty contempt, at the same time that he despises the
Creole. Association and familiarity, independently of
any ties of blood, naturally have a tendency to remove
any thing like prejudice, or repugnance between the
latter and the Indians. The lower classes of the Peru-
vians, are not taught to read and ^vrite, and are, there-
fore, in a state of extreme ignorance, and imder the in-
fluence of the grossest superstition ; they are fit only for
the lowest occupations ; few among them have the bold-
ness to conceive any original plan or design ; they plod
on, in the " even tenor of their way," with the same
submission to their chiefs or rulers, as the Russian boor,
or Chinese peasant. As respects a people of this de-
scription, numbers are of very little importance ; when
compared to men who think and act for themselves, they
are what flocks and herds are to lions and tigers. They
have strong attachments to their Creole masters, and
enter completely into their feelings of hatred to the Cha-
pitones, or Spaniards ; they are the domestic servants in
the house of the Spanish Peruvians ; they are the tenants
and labourers on their estates, and even where they live
apart in their own villages, they look up to the protection
of some Creole of wealth and influence. Negroes and
mulattoes, form but a very small portion of the popula-
tion; there are probably not more than two or three
thousand of this class, in Upper Peru. Tliis may be
ascribed to the same cause why the number is so small
in Mexico, the great number of Indian labourers, and
the cheapness of labour.

The laws of the Indies, professing to protect the In-
dian, prohibit any one from trading with him beyond the


amount of fifty dollars, without the consent of his chief.
This, and similar restraints on his actions, necessarily
t^nd to retain him in a state of pupilage. It was, there-
fore, idle to talk of the Jesuits retaining their neophytes
in this state, because, on the expulsion of the Jesuits,
their converts would only be turned over to a pupilage
much more severe. The illiterate Indians of Peru, have
always been remarkable for their honesty and fidelity.
It was observed by Sobreviella, " that of all the king's
subjects in America, the Indians are the most affectionate
and devoted. Their ancestors," he obsei-ves, " were
very severely treated and oppressed, by the Spanish sol
diers in the time of the conquest. These intrepid war-
riors treated the Indians as their cerfs, and compelled
them to cultivate the ground assigned them, and did not
permit them to remove, or change their residence." The
commanderies, the name given to this species of sub-
jection, were, after a time, abolished ; the repartimentos
Succeeded, and were finally done away in 1779. The
condition of the Indians, therefore, has greatly improved
since the first conquest, and is partly to be attributed
to the gradual progress of civilization, as well as to the
intermixture of races. The first stages of improvement
are always the longest and most tedious, but after having
made a certain progress, this improvement increases with
a multiplied rapidity. In all probability, the hunter of
the Andes, like the hunter of the Alps, will remain
through ages unchanged ; but the Indians residing in
cities, or in thickly settled districts, will gradually be
lost and mingled with the European race.

What will probably serve to keep them longer adis -
tinct people, is the recollection of their Incas, the golden
age, which they cherish with a mournful pleasure. Their
hatrve airs, although ridiculed by Azara, are spoken of
by intelligent trayellers in Peru, as sweet and plaintive.

G 2


The descendants of the Spaniards, have borrowed this
music, with many of the customs and habits of the con-
quered people. It is not the first example we have had,
of conquerors receiving manners and customs from the
conquered. The circumstance, however, is important, as
it tends to render them more distinct from the European
Spaniards, as well as to wean their affection from Spain.
The Indians still preserve all the incidents of the con-
quest, in their dramatic representations, composed in
metre, and, it is said, with pathos and eloquence.

The supplications of Atahualpa for his life, from Pi-
zarro, will long continue to draw floods of tears from the
Indians of Peru. They still preserve many of their re-
ligious rites, intermingled with the Catholic worship ;
and this, in all probability, must give a peculiar cast to
the Catholic worship, even among the Creoles.

There was one thing in which the conquerors were
scrupulously cautious, and which has never been devi-
ated from; this was, to prohibit them entirely, the use
of fire arms. It was to these, the conquerors were in-
debted for their success, and the preservation of their
dominion required this superior advantage to be con-
tinued. The Indiems of Peru, therefore, are an unarmed,
unwarlike peasantry. It is said, they are still as much
afraid of fire-arms, as they were at the period of the
conquest ; but when trained and disciplined, and inter-
mixed in the ranks with Spanish soldiers, they gradually
become accustomed to their use. They receive the fire
of muketry with firmness, although they cannot stand the
charge of the bayonet. As militia, they are good for
nothing; and as guerillas, far inferior to the Creoles of
the south of Salta, Tucuman, or Cordova, on account
of their being inexpert horsemen ; from the nature of the
country they inhabit, they are but little accustomed to
ride. Without the materials furnished by this class of


population, it would be utterly impossible for the Spa-
niards to maintain the contest in upper Peru; but a
writer, whom I have frequently quoted, in speaking
of this country, consoles himself by the reflection, that
the Spaniards, in teaching the use of arms to the
Indian population, are pursuing the very course that will
eventuate in the overthrow of their power. " If they are
now ignorant of their rights, and the native dignity of
their character, and are made blind instruments in the
hands of their tyrants; at some future day, when the
light of knowledge shall break in upon them, they will
burst asunder the bonds which now shackle them, and,
learning their rights, they will be able to protect them."
The next class in point of numbers, is that of Mesti-
zos and Cholos. The first, spring from the mixture of
the white and Indian, but not so far removed from the
Indians, as to be ranked in the class of Spaniards, al-
though in their dress, manners, and language, no very
essential difference is perceived. They can generally
read and write ; they carry on the small traffic of the
country, are clerks and agents of one kind or other ; they
manage the large estates of the wealthy, but are seldom
possessed of more than a moderate share of wealth ;
they are, of course, in a great measure, identified with
the Creoles, or Spanish Americans. The cholos come
from a mixture of the mestizos and Indians : they are
said to surpass all other classes, both in bodily strength
and activity, and in native genius. They receive but
little education, and speak indiff'erently the Indian and
Spanish. They are the mechanics, overseers of the
mines, the bull-fighters, and engage in all hazardous un-
dertakings, and in enterprises which require more than
usual stiength or exertion. They are said to make ad-
mirable soldiers, when trained and disciplined ; possess-

G 3


ing coolness, courage, and intrepidity. They have been
the principal leaders in the present revolution, and have
made by far the greatest exertions to accomplish the in-
dependence of the country ; but, it is said, were, unfor-
nately possessed of but little influence with the other
classes. The proportion which these two classes bear
to the others, it is almost impossible to ascertain : the
gentleman from whom T received my estimate,* assured
me, that the inhabitants of pure blood, were not more
than as one to fifteen ; as many of those who are ranked
as Spaniards, have a greater or less portion of Indian
blood in their veins.

The Creoles constitute the third class in point of num-
ber. These again are divided into the nobles ; such as
counts, marquisses, mayorasgos (or owners of fiefs,)
and knights of different military orders. These, of course^
hold the most conspicuous rank in society ; especially
as they inherit large fortunes from their ancestors, the
first conquerors, and early adventurers. The eldest sons,
who suceed to the estate, are, generally, but indifferently
educated ; and from the want of suitable objects to en-
gage their minds, pass their time in idleness aad dissi-
pation. The number of these nobles, however^, in the
viceroyaitj' of La Plata, is inconsiderable, when com-
pared to Lower Peru. The younger sons, if possessed
of an inclination to study, become curates, or lawyers,
explorers of mines, or they become owners of haciendas,
or plantations, where they pursue the different cultures of
the country. There are, usually, a number of families
of Indians, whose duties are similar to those of the pea-
santry of Chili ; the young Indians are their domestic

• lie was a native of Peru, aiul had been a secretary to oflc of tho
patiiut gcneral.s.


servants. The higher clergy, as well as the monks and
friars, in whose hands immense wealth has been amassed,
are, in general, Europeans ; but the secular clergy are
Americans, and distinguished for their eloquence and
learning. They also apply themselves to the study and
practice of the canon law, which is very profitable, from
the nature of the ecclesiastical fuero, or privilege. Thus
when we hear of the part taken by priests in the revolu-
tion, it is necessary to understand that these are of the
secular clergy ; men, in some degree, habituated to busi-
ness, and but little under the influence of monkish super-
stition. The clergy, both at Buenos Ayres and Peru, mani-
fested a disposition to throw off the papal yoke, but were
not seconded by sufficient liberality and intelligence
among the people.* The profession of the law forms a
very numerous corps in these countries ; and many of its
members amass considerable fortunes. As legal pro-
ceedings are chiefly carried on in writing, their written
eloquence surpass their public speaking ; it is said, how-
ever, that there is no deficiency in the oratory of the bar,
but formed on the French style ; of course, artificial and
rhetorical; and having no juries to speak to, or an
audience attracted for the sake of amusement, or by
curiosity, it is not to be expected that their eloquence
should be of a popular kind.

* A1U0115 the lower classes of people, both in Peru and Buenos
Ayres, the monks possess great influence, and take every advantage
of their ignorance and superstition ; but among the higher classes,
and more enlightened part of the community, the secular clergy, or
curates, who are their intimates and companions, are tlie most in-
fluential. It is, perhaps, a fortunate circumstance, that all fue secu-
lar clergy, and great numbers of the regulars, should have joined the
revolution ; as, in this manner, the superstitious fears of the ignorant,
are quieted when they sec their clergy leading the rebellioyi against
the king and the pope.


The Creoles, who are the most numerous and enlighten-
ed portion of the community, have a most inveterate
hatred to the Spaniards, whom they look upon as a set
of needy adventurers, *' seeking whom they may devour/'
The magnificent and ostentatious manner in which the
Creole loves to display his wealth, contrasted with the
poverty and plainness of the Spanish adventurer, oc-
casions him to be despised. The houses of the Creoles
are splendidly furnished, and, as they are fond of a shew
of learning and knowledge, the rich take a pride in dis-
playing magnificent libraries. The greater part of their
time, however, is spent in gaming and dissipation. The
degree of luxury prevailing in Peru, is much greater than
that at Buenos Ayres ; where property is more equally
distributed among the people, and where there are no
overgrown fortunes to justify the indulgence in ostenta-
tious display or extravagance.

The European Spaniards are the least in point of num-
bers, but by no means the least in influence and im-
portaDce. Their numbers are estimated at between
eight and ten thousand in Upper Peru, besides those in
the audiencia of Buenos Ajnres. In this class is to be
found the higher clergy, the officers of government, nu-
merous expectants and adventurers, all, of course, de-
voted to the king, and adhering closely together; the
greater part illiterate and bigotted, but possessed of a
knowledge of business, and more persevering and in-
dustrious than the Creole.

Such were the materials which composed the popula-
tion of the audiencia of Los Charcas, on the breaking
out of the revolution. Of the Creoles, the only portion
inimical to it, was found among the wealthy landholders
and nobility ; probably the greater part of this class (in
itself, the least respectable or powerful, excepting
through the immediate influence exercised by them


over their vassals and dependents), preferred their pre-
sent state, to another in which they were not certain
they would be gainers, and would probably lose. The
higher clergy, and the Spaniards, formed perhaps an
equal number, but were much more formidable enemies.
Notwithstanding this, however, the first dawn of the re-
volution was hailed by a majority so overwhelming, that
all opposition to it was hushed in silence. Its enemies
were compelled to indulge their feelings in secret ; oppo-
sition dared not to raise its crest. The enemies of the
revolution did not recover from their astonishment and
dismay, until after the unfortunate battle of Huaqui, in
which the patriots were defeated. They then roused
themselves into activity, and set every engine to work for
the purpose of extinguishing the revolutionary confla-

The Indians of Peru, from the time of the conquest,
suffered their oppressions with a degree of patience un-
exampled. If they resisted, or rose up against their op-
pressors, their efforts were partial, and with but little
plan or concert. The insurrection of Tupac Amaru,
however, is a memorable exception, as it extended from
Cusco to Tucuman, and may perhaps be one reason why
they have showTi so much timidity during the present con-
test. They had not forgotten the dreadful lesson in their
last desperate effort, when as to them,

** Hope, for a season, bade the world farewell !"

To them it appeared to have fled for ever. The revolu-
tion instead of suddenly awakening the feelings of en-
thusiasm, only caused them to look on with amazement.
It was a scene they could not fully comprehend. They
saw, it is true, a sruggle between the native and Euro-
pean Spaniards, and they were called upon to share in
equal rights and privileges, as Americans, by those who


claimed to be their countrymen. Still it was beyond their
comprehension. Possibly political life was dead in them,
or perhaps so far gone, that its pulsations could but
slowly and gradually return. Perhaps, attaching the
idea of political freedom and happiness to the restora-
tion of their Incas ; this was the only cord to be touched
when it was necessary to produce a high excitement.
This, I think, is clearly proved by the narrative of the
insurrection of Tupac Amaru, as given by Funes.

Tupac Amaru, was recognised by the Spanish govern-
ment, to be a lineal descendant of the Inca Sayiri Tupac,
who, in 1578, was put to death by order of Phillip II.
He was declared entitled to the marquisate of Oropesa ;
but did not succeed in obtaining possession. A suit, it
appears, had been commenced for this purpose, in the
audiencia of Lima. He is represented as having been a
man of daring mind and generous character, but possess-
ing strong passions. He received his education at Cus-
co and Lima ; his studies probably, similar to those of
gentlemen of fortune among the Creoles. He warmly
undertook the protection of the Indians, from the abuses
practised on them; addressed memoirs to the viceroy and
to the king, soliciting their interposition. Disappointed
in these, as well as in what particularly related to himself,
he foi-med the plan of liberating his country from the
Spaniards. It is said he was encouraged in this by some
influential inhabitants of Cusco, who disappointed him
in the most critical moment of his enterprise. He be-
gan by arresting Arriaga, the corregidor of Tinta ; and
having erected a tribunal for trying him, condemned him
to sufler death, for his unjust exactions and cruel treat-
ment of the Indians. Arriaga was, accordingly, exe-
cuted in November, 1780. The flames of the revolution
now burst forth. At first, howey ex, he ncteA in the name
of the king of Spain ; intending to devclope his ultimate


designs, only, when he saw himself sufficiently strong.
AVith his followers, who weve continually increasing, he
marched against the neighbouring district, with the in-
tention of seizing its corregidor, and doing justice to
him also ; but the news of his approach enabled the
corregidor to escape. The utmost terror and dismay
now prevailed among the Spaniards in the adjoining
provinces. In the mean while, Tupac Amaru kindled
the enthusiasm of the Indians, by talking to them of
the restoration of the Incas ; had he been joined at this
moment by the Spanish Americans, it is probable the
revolution would have been complete ; as Spain had but
few troops, and the war she was then waging with Great
Britain, for the purpose of aiding our struggle for inde-
pendence, would have prevented her from throwing in any
force to maintain her power in Peru. But there was
either no previous concert with the Spanish Americans,
or these w^ere sunk into a state of apathy as to the change
of their condition, from which nothing had yet presented
itself sufficiently powerful to awaken them ; the idea of
the restoration of the Incas, would^ probably, have less
effect upon their mindSj than the abstract notions of the
rights of man upon the minds of the Indians.

With the mob, which had by this time collected,
Tupac Amaru advanced towards Cusco; and at San-
garava, engaged and defeated a body of Spaniards.
He next made an unsuccessful attempt on the city
of Cusco, with his army, (if it might be so called,)
which was, in reality, nothing more than a multitude,
armed with sticks and stones, and much less formi-
dable in war than even their ancestors, when conquered
by the Spaniards. Tupac Amaru was now declared
Inca ; and, according to the ancient ceremony, his
temples were bound with the royal fdlet. Similar
movements soon after took place in the povinces in the


neighbourhood of the lake Titicaca, in Chicuito, Chay-
anta, and La Paz. The Indians rose en masse , through-
out the whole of the audiencia of Charcas. At first they
distinguished between the European Spaniards and
Americans ; but the latter joining the Spaniards, were
involved in the same fate. The enraged and infu-
riated multitude devoted all the white inhabitants to in-
discriminate slaughter, sparing neither age nor sex.
It was a fortunate circumstance that the Indians were
badly armed, and directed by chieftains of ordinary
capacity ; otherwise they would have effected what they
were now bent upon— a total extermination of their
enemies. They were, probably, not retained long in
any considerable bodies, though we are informed,
that as many as ten or twenty thousand were as-
sembled; but as they fought with no order or dis-
cipline, a very small number of regular troops was suf-
ficient to defeat them in the field. The horrors which
they perpetrated when they overpowered the whites,
especially at Oruro and La Paz, have been ascrib-
ed to the remains of savage nature in the aborigines,
which no civilization can expel ; but the examples of
modem history sufficiently prove, that there is no ci-
viliztion in mobs of any country ; that they are mon-
sters every where. To relate all the incidents of this
memorable insurrection, which devastated the country
for upwards of two years, would take up all the re-
maining pages of this work. It was, finally, crushed
by armies of militia, and a few regulars from Buenos
Ayres, Tucuman, Salta, and Cochabamba. The tide
of war, havoc, aad destruction, was rolled back upon
the infuriated Indians, by troops composed of the same
materials as those who are now endeavouring to
break their chains ; and, if not to restore their [ncas,
at least to give them equal rights, and to elevate them


which took place in other parts of South America ;
to the dignity of freemen. The destruction of the In-
dians during this short and bloody war, was very
great ; and may serve, in some measure, to account for
the timidity they have manifested in the present con-
test. It is proper to remark, however, that some of
the Indian caciques joined the Spaniards ; one of
them, Pumacagua, in consequence of his services in
suppressing the insurrection of Tupac Amaru, receiv-
ed the commission of brigadier-general ; and, what is
somewhat singular, took an active part in the present
revolution, in favour of the patriots ; for which he was
taken by the royalists, and put to death. The most
horrid tortures ware inflicted on Tupac Amaru, and on
other chieftains who fell into the hands of the Spaniards ;
their bodies were, for a long time, seen suspended on
gibbets at all the cross roads, and many a Golgotha ex-
hibits, to this day, piles of the bleaching bones of these

Online LibraryH. M. (Henry Marie) BrackenridgeVoyage to South America, performed by order of the American Government in the years 1817 and 1818, in the frigate Congress (Volume v.2) → online text (page 7 of 25)