Copyright
Ralph S. (Ralph Stockman) Tarr.

Pictures of travel in far-off lands : a companion to the study of geography, Central America online

. (page 1 of 14)
Online LibraryRalph S. (Ralph Stockman) TarrPictures of travel in far-off lands : a companion to the study of geography, Central America → online text (page 1 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


UC-NRLF








mam



B

llSt .L




THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA



PRESENTED BY

PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID




PICTURES OF TRAVEL



FAR-OFF LANDS:



Jl Companion to the <Stttb;D of



SOUTH



Home-keeping youths have ever homely wits ;

1 would entreat your company

To see the wonders of the world abroad."

SHAKSPEARK.



LONDON:

T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.

1871.



Ps



THIS volume is the first of a Series designed
to render the study of Geography attractive
to the young. Our plan is to present a
bright and vivid picture to the imagination,
instead of dry details of facts to the memory,
which, when learned as a task, are too often
forgotten. We have endeavoured to connect
with the description of each country some
interesting narrative or adventure taken from
works of Travel, Biography, and History,
that may tend to impress upon the reader's
mind some of the characteristic features of
the land in which they took place.



SL'il



dtonitnis.



FIRST DIVISION.
)UTHERN COUNTRIES OF SOUTH AMERICA.



TERRA DEL FUEGO.

PATAGONIA.

CHILI AND ITS ISLANDS.



STATES OF LA PLATA,
URUGUAY, BUENOS
AYRES, PARAGUAY.



CHAPTER L

TERRA DEL FDEGO.

Pgc

General Description of the New World. Terra del Fuego Cape
Horn Climate Plants and Animals People Story of the
Martyrs of Fuegia, ... ... ... ... ... 18

CHAPTER II.
PATAGONIA.

Extent Climate Animals People Savage Life- Mode of Hunting
Marriage among the Patagonians Adventures of Mr. Bourne,
or " Life among the Giants," ... ... ... ... 34

CHAPTER IIL
CHILI AND ITS ISLANDS.

Description of Chili Its Mines Animals People Conquest by
the Spaniards The Islands of Chili, Juan, Fernandez
Adventures of Alexander Selkirk, the real " Robinson Crusoe," 53

CHAPTER IV.
THE PAMPAS.

General Description Storms in the Pampas People The Gauchos,
or Indians of the Pampas Other Indian Tribes Terrible Ad-
venture in the Pampas,



7111 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER V.
STATE OF LA PLATA, ETC.

La Plata Republic of Paraguay Uruguay Buenos Ayres Story
of Maldonata, ... 99



SECOND DIVISION.
CENTRAL COUNTRIES.

BRAZIL. BOLIVIA. PERU.



CHAPTER VI.
THE EMPIRE OF BRAZIL.

General Description Its vast Rivers First Discovery and Subse-
quent History Arrival of Don John VI. from Portugal Brazil
Declared a Kingdom Don John Returns to Portugal Revolu-
tion Brazil Acknowledged Independent Don Pedro I.
Crowned Emperor His Abdication The Present Emperor Don
Pedro II. ... ... ... ... ... ... 105

CHAPTER VII.
RIO DE JANEIRO.

First Discovery of the Bay Origin of the Name The Beauty of the
Scenery The Sugar-Loaf The Organ Mountains Commercial
Importance of Rio de Janeiro Its Fine Harbour General
Aspect of the City, ... ... ... ... ... no

CHAPTER VIII.

VEGETABLE PRODUCTIONS OF BRAZIL.

Extent of Brazil Its Vast Resources Its Productions, Mineral and
Vegetable The Manioc Root Its Use by the Natives By
the Portuguese Modes of Preparing it Drink made from it
The Palm Tree Its Uses The Caoutchouc, or Gum-Elastic
Tree The Milk Tree, .fee. ... ... ... ... 129

CHAPTER IX.
THE ANIMALS OF BRAZIL.

A River Voyage Birds and Monkeys Food of the Natives Saluta-
tion in Brazil The Jaguar Its Habits A Story from Catlin's



CONTENTS. IX

?

Travels The Feast interrupted The Disturber Killed The

Tapir The Ant-eater The Iguana Birds and Insects, ... 189

CHAPTER X.
M1NAS-GERAE8 ITS DIAMONDS AND ITS COFFEE.

Extent of the ProvinceIts Fertility Its Minerals Precious Stones
Diamonds The Star of the South Cotton and Coffee The
Native Country of the Coffee Shrub First Use of Coffee in
Europe The Ancestor of all the American Coffee Shrubs
Comparative Value of Diamonds and Coffee, ... ... 157

CHAPTER XI.
8ELVA8 OF THE AMAZONS.

Extent of the Selvas Night In the Forest Death-like Stillness
Roar of Wild Beast Wild Chorus at Dawn A Thunder Storm
A Primeval Forest and its Inhabitants Large Locust Trees
Wonderful Fig-tree Rosewood Trees, ... ... ... 168

CHAPTER XIL

THE RIVER AMAZON, AND THE STORY OF MADAME QODIN DBS
ODONNAIS.

Course of the Amazon Its Tributaries Its Various Names First
Discovery Expeditions of Orellana and Telxeira Voyage of
Madame Godin des Odonnais Her Sufferings Death of all
her Companions Ten days alone in the Forest Her Meeting
with the Indians Arrival at Cayenne Return to France, ... 175

CHAPTER XIIL

PLANT AND ANIMAL LIFE ON THE AMAZON.
The Turtle of the Amazon Turtle Egg Butter Indian way of Catch-
ing Turtle Indian Shooting The Umbrella Bird The Vic-
toria Regia The Jacana The Fish Ox The Anaconda A
Horse Swallowed by a Snake Narrow Escape from a Boa
Constrictor, ... ... ... ... ... 187

CHAPTER XIV.
THE MINES OF UPPER PERU.

Situation and Productions of Bolivia Maize ChichaQuinoa Coca
Description of the Coca Bush Cultivation and Uses Silver
Mines of Potosi Discovery of the Mine, ... ... 204



X CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XV.
PERU.

Pag

Extent and Productions Guano Dangers of Travelling Poisoned
Springs Storms among the Mountains Peruvian Bridges
Encounter with a Tiger Wonderful Escape, ... ... 214



THIRD DIVISION.
NORTHERN COUNTRIES.

ECUADOR. I VENEZUELA.

NEW GRANADA. QUJANA.



CHAPTER XVI.

THE THREE REPUBLICS ECUADOR, NEW GRANADA, AND
VENEZUELA.

Description of the Country Earthquakes Productions Pearl
Fishery Value of Pearls Pearl Divers Dangers and Labours
of the Divers A Shark Overhead, ... ... ... 222

CHAPTER XVII.
EARTHQUAKE IN QUITO.

Volcanoes near Quito Desolation caused by them Eruption of
Cotopaxi Story of a Sufferer His Former Prosperity A
Sudden and Terrible Storm, ... ... ... ... 233

CHAPTER XVIII.
THREE DAYS IN A TREE.

The Extensive Plains called Llanos The Plains on Fire A Voyage
on the Orinoco A Night in a Mango Tree Imprisoned in the
Tree Unpleasant Visitors A Jaguar at the Foot of the Tree
A Fearful Conflict The Fate of the Jaguar Sufferings in the
Tree Despair A Gleam of Hope Deliverance, ... .... 238

CHAPTER XIX.

GUIANA.

Productions of Guiana Population British Guiana French Guiana
Political Exiles in Guiana Their Attempt to Escape They Build
a Raft Their Sufferings A Second Raft Built A Perilous Voyage
The Exiles Reach a Dutch Colony, and are Kindly Received, 250



SOUTH AMERICA.



A R I B BE: A N>S E A >



f SOUTH
ATLANTIC
OCEAN




1. Cape Horn.

2. Cape St. Roque.

3. Cape Si. Augustii:

4. CapeBlunco.
6. The Orinoco.



7. The Rto de la Plata.

8. The Rio Negro.

9. The Santa Cruz.

10. Valparaiso.



12. Buenos Ayres.

13. Monte Video.

14. Rio de Janeiro.

15. Para.

16. Minas Geraes.



18. Quito.

19. Santa Ke de Bogota,

20. Carthagena.

21. Portobello.

22. Panama.




PICTURES OF TRAVEL

IN FAR-OFF LANDS.



CHAPTER I.

TERRA DEL FUEGO.

General Description of the New World. Terra del Fuego Cape
Horn Climate Plants and Animals People Story of the Martyrs
of Fuegia>

THE Continent of the New World consists of two
great peninsulas, joined by a long narrow isth-
mus. It is 9000 miles long, extending from within
the Arctic nearly to the Antarctic Circle. It
is divided by nature into three parts South, Cen-
tral, and North America and these three are con-
nected by a mighty chain of mountains, called the
Andes in South and Central America, and known
as the Rocky Mountains in the North. It might
seem almost as if the crust of the globe had been
thinner, or had cracked and burst nearly in a line
from north to south, and through this the mighty
Andes had arisen, thrown up by the subterranean
fires still burning so fiercely below them ever and
anon bursting forth afresh, and causing the earth to



14 PHYSICAL VIEW OF THE CONTINENT.

tremble and the hills to shake. And while the
base of the mountains is thus plunged in the burn-
ing depths, their tops, often rising above the clouds,
are covered with perpetual snow, while between
every variety of climate may be found, according to
the height to which you ascend.

" The greatest length of South America, from
Cape Horn to the Isthmus of Panama, is about
4020 geographical miles. It is very narrow at its
southern extremity, but increases in width north-
wards to the latitude of Cape San Roque, on the
Atlantic; between which and Cape Blanco, on the
Pacific, it attains its greatest breadth, of nearly
2750 miles. It consists of three mountain systems,
separated by the basins of three of the greatest
rivers in the world the Orinoco, 1600 miles long;
the Amazon or Maranon, about 4000 miles long;
and the Rio de la Plata, 2700 miles long.

" The great chain of the Andes first raises its
crest above the waves of the Antarctic Ocean, in
the majestic, sombre mass of Cape Horn, the south-
ernmost point of the archipelago of Terra del
Fuego. This group of mountainous islands, equal
in size to Great Britain, is separated from the main-
land by the Strait of Magellan. The islands are pene-
trated in every direction by bays and narrow inlets of
the sea, or fiords, ending often in glaciers fed by the
snow on the summits of mountains 6000 feet high.

" From Cape Horn, the Andes runs along the
western coast to the Isthmus of Panama, in a single
chain of inconsiderable width, but majestic height,
dipping rapidly to the narrow plains on the Pacific,
but descending on the east by huge spires, or off-



TERRA DEL FUEGO. 15

sets, and deep valleys, to plains of vast extent,
whose level is for hundreds of miles as unbroken as
that of the ocean by which they are bounded.
Nevertheless, two detached mountain systems rise
from these plains one in Brazil, between the Rio
de la Plata and the river Amazon ; the other, that
of Parima and Guiana, between the river Amazon
and the Orinoco."*

There are three great tracts of low lands in South
America, known by the names of the Pampas, an
Indian term, signifying flats, mostly treeless plains
in the south, and covered with woods, swamps, and
grassy fields in the north; the Selvas, or forest
plains of the Amazon; and the Llanos, or level
fields, chiefly covered with luxuriant grass. These
plains and their inhabitants will be more minutely
described in the course of the following chapters.



TERRA DEL FUEGO.

The outline of South America may be compared
to a paper kite; and, like a kite, there is attached
to its apex a jointed tail, of which Fuegia and the
South Shetlands are the only fragments seen above
water in other words, the mighty wall of the
Andes is broken through by the sea, and the inun-
dated valley forms the Strait of Magellan; and
after a feeble re-appearance in the Fuegian archi-
pelago, the Cordillera is lost in the ocean.

As seen on a school-room map, this Terra del
Fuego is a dim islet, deriving its chief importance
from its famous headland, Cape Horn. On a nearer

* From "Memoir of Richard Williams," by Re*. Dr. Hamilton.



16



TERRA DEL FUEGO.



inspection, however, this nebulous patch resolves
into a cluster of islands, one very large, with a crow(J
of smaller attendants to the west and south ; and, far
from the mainland, stands the kerbstone of the New
World Cape Horn, with his surf-beaten pyramid.




CAPE HORN.

Though only the fag-end of America a mere
caudal vertebra of the Andes if we had it in
Europe, Terra del Fuego would be a country of
some consideration. Its second-rate islands are
larger than the Isle of Wight or the Isle of Man,



TERRA DEL FUEGO. 17

and the surface of its mainland is equal to the
Lowlands of Scotland. Its climate, however,
renders it one of the most dreary and inhospitable
regions on the face of the globe. In a latitude
corresponding to Edinburgh, the sky seldom clears,
and the rainy squalls of the summer are the only
relief from the sleet and snow of the winter. A
calm sunshine is a great rarity. If we imagined
the mountains of the Hebrides rising to a height of
six or seven thousand feet, with glaciers coming
down to the sea, and a warm tide constantly flowing
at their base ; and if, moreover, we could bring the
north Polar ice into as low a latitude as the Ant-
arctic ice descends, our own Western Isles would be
the counterpart of Fuegia.

The range between the extremes of heat and
cold is small; and this comparative equability, along
with the abundant moisture, is favourable to certain
forms of vegetable life. In most districts of Britain,
the fuchsia is a conservatory plant; but in Devon-
shire and the Isle of Bute it grows luxuriantly in
the open air, and in winter wants no shelter.
Fuegia is one of its native lands ; and there, along
with its equally delicate companion, Veronica decus-
sata, it becomes a tree with a trunk half a foot in
diameter. The potato is indigenous on the adjacent
mainland, although we do not know that it has
been found in these islands where celery, a kind of
currant, the berry of an arbutus, and a fungus, are
the only esculents. The characteristic vegetation is
two sorts of beech-trees. One of these (Fagus betu-
loides) is an evergreen; the other (Fagus Antarctica}
is deciduous. The latter species is more hardy,

(289) 2



18 ITS VARIOUS INHABITANTS.

and can scale the mountain sides to a higher plat-
form than its glossy-green companion; so that in
winter a zone of leafless trees is seen at a lofty
elevation, succeeding to the verdure of the forest.
Except where discouraged by the thin, granitic
soil, these beeches occur everywhere; and except
when stunted by the winds, they attain a goodly size;
and one trunk is mentioned seven feet in diameter.

Land animals are few; even insects are rare;
the gloomy woods are inhabited by few birds. The
most important quadruped is the guanaco, or llama,
that useful compromise between the sheep and the
camel, so characteristic of the South American
mountains. It is found on Navarin island, and on
the main island, or Terra del Fuego proper. Two
species of fox, and a few mice and bats, complete
the list of the land animals.

But the waters largely compensate for the life-
lessness of the land. Seaweeds of gigantic size feed
and shelter a great variety of molluscs and crus~
taceans. Shoals of fishes frequent the shore, and in
the wake of the fishes come armies of seals and
clouds of sea fowl.

The inhabitants of the Fuegian archipelago are
closely allied to their neighbours the Patagonians,
but are both intellectually and physically inferior to
them. Their colour is something between dark
copper and brown ; Captain Fitzroy compares it to
very old mahogany. But owing to the wood smoke
with which they are saturated, the oil and blubber
with which they are smeared, and the earth white,
red, and black with which they are painted, it is
difficult to ascertain a Fuegian complexion. Their



A SAVAGE LIFE.




bodies and heads are large, their legs are crooked
and stunted, their clothing is scanty, and nothing
can be more wretched than their habitations. They
live chiefly on fish and sea-fowl, when they can
catch them; but for a great period of every year
these poor islanders are entirely dependent on
mussels, limpets, and similar shell-fish. Like most
savages, the life of a Fuegian is an alternation of
occasional feasts, with long intervals of famine. In



20 A FEROCIOUS FATHER.

the desperation of hunger, it is fearful to think of
the expedients to which he is occasionally driven.
There can be no doubt that these Indians are can-
nibals, and that when other subsistence fails, they
kill and devour their old women before they kill
their dogs. Those who fall in battle are in like
manner devoured by the victors.

Degraded as the savages are, traces of gentleness
and tenderness may be found among the women,
but the mercies of the men are cruel. The men
are surly tyrants, the women are laborious slaves.
An incident, related by Commodore Byron, shows
their almost incredible ferocity :

" Our cacique and his wife had gone off in their
canoe, when she dived for sea-eggs; but not meet-
ing with great success, they returned a good deal
out of humour. A little boy of" theirs, about three
years old, whom they appeared to be doatingly fond
of, watching for his father and mother's return,
ran into the surf to meet them ; the father handed a
basket of sea- eggs to the child, which being too
heavy for him to carry, he let it fall; upon which
the father jumped out of the canoe, and catching
the boy up in his arms, dashed him with the utmost
violence against the stones. The poor little crea-
ture lay motionless and bleeding, and in that condi-
tion was taken up by the mother; but died soon
after. She appeared inconsolable for some time; but
the brute, his father, showed little concern about it."

Embruted as are these savages, they are not sunk
beyond recovery. Through the mercy of our God,
there is at this moment on the earth a power well
able to cure the worst woes of Fuegia.



THE MARTYRS OF FUEOIA. 21

THE MARTYRS OF FUEGIA.

Captain Gardiner, a Christian officer in the
British navy, became deeply interested in the intro-
duction of the gospel among the South American
Indians. He found that little good could be done
in the north, as the people were on every side
so hemmed in by Spanish Popery. However,
the regions in the south appeared more practi-
cable. There were no Romish priests in Patagonia.
Far away as Fuegia was, and few as were its
hungry barbarians, he could plead their relative
importance. Guiana excepted, of all that mighty
continent, no other spot was accessible to Protestant
missions. It was the Gibraltar of the South
Pacific, and it was of no small consequence to our
mariners, to people with friendly occupants the
Straits of Magellan, and the coasts in the rear of
Cape Horn. Above all, it was the only avenue at-
tainable to the vast tribes of the interior, the ten-
ants of the Andes, and the fierce nomads of the
Pampas ; and as Popery had closed the main gates
against the gospel, it was of paramount urgency to
seize and keep open this postern. After many fruit-
less attempts, the efforts of the earnest and heroic
Captain Gardiner were at last successful in organis-
ing a mission.

Accompanied by Mr. Williams and Mr. Maid-
ment, catechists, a ship carpenter, and three young
seamen from Cornwall, he embarked in September
1850, on board a vessel named the " Ocean Queen,"
bound for San Francisco, California, which, on the
5th December of the same year, landed the little



22 GARDINER'S MISFORTUNES.

party on one of the islands of the Terra del Fuegian
archipelago. They had taken with them two
launches, twenty-six feet long, the one to be used
as a floating mission-house, the other as a store ship
and magazine, with two small boats as tenders, as
Captain Gardiner's plan was to follow from island
to island the migrations of the restless inhabitants,
and also that in case the natives should prove un-
friendly, the missionaries might be able to take
shelter in their boats. On the 19th of December the
*' Ocean Queen " sailed on her voyage, leaving the
small party alone.

A train of disasters soon overtook Gardiner and
his companions. The launches were found unfit
for the navigation of these stormy seas, and soon
became leaky. The small boats and an anchor
were lost; their gunpowder had been left in the
" Ocean Queen." The natives, too, gave them
great annoyance, being kept in good humour only
by presents; and when these were refused, they
seized every opportunity of purloining the mission
property. One of their boats became a wreck,
having been driven on the rocks. The party in this
boat then took to a cavern ; but finding it damp, and
the tide washing into it, they hauled the wreck of
the " Pioneer " (so the boat was named) on the
beach, and, covering her with a tent, made a dor-
mitory of her. Their health suffered from their
continued hardships; their provisions began to fail;
they were weakened both by disease and famine.
Winter weather came on ; snow fell day after day,
covering all around with its white mantle, accom*
panied by fearful storms of wind. They tried in



GARDINER'S MISFORTUNES. 23

vain to catch fish, none were to be seen ; and the
provisions they had brought with them were fast
consuming away. Yet, amid all these outward
hardships, their faith and patience failed not, and
they enjoyed peace through the sustaining power of
divine grace.

Some extracts from their journals may give an
idea of what their sufferings were, and how patiently
these were borne :

" On Friday, May 2d, the captain and Mr. Maid-
ment succeeded in catching a fox, or rather in killing
him. He had frequently paid them visits during
the night, entering the cavern whilst they were in
bed in the boat, and making free with whatever
came to hand. He had carried off pieces of pork,
shoes, and even books ; and, to the great mortifi-
cation of Mr. Maidment, his Bible was among the
latter, which, being bound in morocco, was doubt-
less a booty to the hungry beast. They therefore
laid a bait for him, a piece of pork attached by a
cord to the trigger of a loaded gun, so placed that
when he took the bait he should fire the gun. He
fired it off once, but escaped unhurt ; twice the cap
went off, but the powder did not take fire. At last
he received the whole discharge in his breast. In
his stomach were found feathers, fish, and mice.
He was a fine animal, with a splendid brush.
Albeit the odium attached to a fox, our party on
shore have already so far overcome any fastidious-
ness, that this morning they made a hearty break-
fast of his ' pluck.' His quarters were cut up, and
kept in reserve. This is not the first extraordinary
bonne louche our worthy caterer has put upon the



24 THE HOPE OF THE RIGHTEOUS.

spit, or made into soup for us. The penguin and
shag, and the equally fishy-tasted duck, have all
contributed their quota. The penguin was caught
on shore, without attempting to get away, more
than by a backward movement, as Mr. Maidment
laid hold on him. The shag was asleep on a fallen
tree lying on the beach, so that Mr. M. caught it
also by hand.

"The most formidable drawback of all is the
dampness of the boat. Although I have my Mac-
kintosh spread over my bed, the water from the roof
lodges in pools upon it, and has at length saturated
the counterpane under it. The side of our beds,
and all our clothes there, as well as at the head and
the foot, are all wringing wet."

In the midst of sufferings such as these, from cold
and wet, sickness, disease, and famine, the noble
little band were still patient and resigned. On the
7th of May (eight months after they had left Liver-
pool) Mr. Williams thus writes :

" Should anything prevent my ever adding to this,
let my beloved ones at home rest assured that I was
happy beyond expression the night I wrote these
lines, and would not have changed situations with
any man living. . . . The hope laid up for me in
heaven filled my whole heart with joy and gladness.
To me to live is Christ, to die is gain. I am in a
strait betwixt two, to abide in the body, or to de-
part and be with Christ, which is far better. Let
them know that I loved them, and prayed for every
one of them. God bless them all."

u May 20. I am now, as it were, suspended by
a slender thread betwixt life arid death. Three



THE HOPE OF THE RIGHTEOUS 25

days following I have had attacks which seemed to
threaten a termination in dissolution. But God is
with me. I am happy in the love of Christ. I could
not choose, were it left to me, whether to die or to live."

" May 27. To-day I have perceived new symp-
toms which show the inroads of the disease upon
my system, and strongly point out a fatal termina-
tion. Can I be in any way disappointed at this,
instead of a life of much service and glory to God ?
No, not for a moment ; for God's glory can only be
enhanced by fulfilling the counsels of his own will ;
and to suffer his blessed will as much glorifies my
God as to do it. I am not disappointed; rather
do I rejoice greatly that now it seems manifestly the
design of God to take me hence. . . . Should this,
then, be the will of God, then, my beloved ones,
weep not for me. Let no mourning thought pos-
sess your hearts, nor sigh of sadness once escape
your lips. Say rejoicingly, How good was the Lord !
How greatly was he blessed of God ; and he is gone
to be with Jesus ! "

Frequent mention is made in their journals of the
tide washing into the cavern, carrying away their
stores, and endangering their sleeping boat. This
they endeavoured to counteract by building break-
waters of stones ; but these were often washed away
by the surf in the night. On one occasion Captain


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryRalph S. (Ralph Stockman) TarrPictures of travel in far-off lands : a companion to the study of geography, Central America → online text (page 1 of 14)