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are the comforts reserved for those who travel to Santa Fé, by the Magdalena. Monpox is a place of some importance; the climate is burning, the thermometer ranges from 90° to 110, (which is the general temperature throughout the valley of this river); the inhabitants spend the day in their hammocks, and the night, in the streets; they are horribly disfigured by goitres. On leaving this place, it was discovered that the Piragua had been caulked with the fat of the Cayman, which rendered it impossible to sleep in it without the danger of being poisoned by the infectious odour which it exhaled. After ascending this solitary and dangerous river for the space of a month, the western Cordillera made their appearance; the nights became cold, and the stream more rapid as its source was approached. Society is in a very low state along the banks of the Magdalena; and the Bogas, or navigators, obtain from the terrified cottager whatever the traveller may require, without caring to remunerate him. There are three distinct climates on this stream; the sea-breezes blow from its mouth to Monpox, from whence to Morales, not a breath of air mitigates the heat of a vertical sun, whose rays, in this region, are concentrated to a degree that would be fatal to man but for the abundant dews which fall in the night; from Morales, to its source, a south wind blows during the day, which, with a greater elevation, conspires to render the heat less oppressive. At Honda the traveller, who is destined for Santa Fé, quits the river, and ascending the Cordilleras, experiences as much inconvenience from cold, as he had just felt from heat; indeed, it may be remarked generally, that throughout the mountain districts of Columbia, a few hours travelling will produce this effect; you may breakfast under the oppressive heat of the tropics, dine in a temperate climate, and sup surrounded with snow and shivering with the cold of a polar sky. In the bosom of the mountains which separate the Magdalena from the elevated plains of Bogota, the traveller enters with delight the charming canton of Guaduas, which contains seven villages; the population consists of about fourteen thousand souls, happy in the enjoyment of a climate, the most favoured, perhaps, of any in the republic; its effects are strikingly manifest, in the kindliness of their dispositions and the beauty of their forms. The climate of Bogota, from its elevated situation, is by no means genial; and on their arrival, strangers generally fall ill. The thermometer seldom rises higher than 60°, nor falls below 45°. The sky is always cloudy, they reckon six months of continued rain, three showery and three uncertain; this excessive humidity produces many diseases. The capital is, notwithstanding, one of the least unhealthy towns in Columbia. Every
part of South America is subject to earthquakes, and the architecture of Santa Fé has assumed the character necessary to resist the shocks.
"The most important town of Colombia is Panama; the best fortified, Carthagenia; the most agreeable, Santa-Fé; the best built, Papayan; the richest, Guayaquil ; the most lively, Zipagnira; the best situated, Maracaibo; Caracas is now in ruins; Quito, by all accounts, is superior to any in population, but this advantage could not procure it the honour of being the capital, and Santa-Fé is almost its rival even in this particular."
The churches of Bogota (twenty-six in number,) are splendidly decorated.
"But although the magnificence of the cathedral itself is not so great, the treasures it possesses are more valuable. One statue of the virgin alone, out of the many which adorn the altars, is ornamented with 1358 diamonds, 1295 emeralds, 59 amethysts, one topaz, one hyacinth, 372 pearls, and its pedestal is enriched with 609 amethysts; the artist was paid 4000 piastres for his labour."
The hospitals which are attached to, and under the management of, the convents, though numerous, are miserably regulated.
"Wooden beds, offensive from dirt, upon which lie patients in rooms inaccessible either to light or air, heaps of filth and ordure in the yards; kitchens, in which victuals are cooked, with all the negligence and nastiness peculiar to the den of a savage; straw carpets, black with mud, and all imaginable uncleanness; dead bodies exposed on the ground, to the view of the dying,-are objects which might impair health the most vigorous, and render any cure effected in this loathsome abode a subject of the utmost astonishment."
The vice-regal palace, now occupied by the president of the republic, has not the least pretensions to grandeur; and even the presence chamber is disfigured with cross beams in the roof, which give it the appearance of a barn; the palace of the deputies is nothing more than a large house, at the corner of a street, the ground-floor of which is let out in shops for the sale of brandy. The hall of assembly consists of a long, narrow room, and the representatives are seated on wooden chairs; the palace of the senate is even more simple than the last.
The prisons are conducted upon a principle of extreme indulgence, and state prisoners alone are treated with severity. The government has established a library, containing about six thousand volumes; a botanical garden, and an observatory. The principal employment for the press, consists in printing two weekly Gazettes, and some law papers. The falls of Tequendama, four leagues distant from the capital,
are visited by all strangers, and present one of those sublime spectacles which Nature has delighted to exhibit in so many parts of the new world.
"Never did I experience such sensations as those caused by the view of this cascade; I was at first so dazzled, that I could scarcely see the objects around me; I was wrapt in mute admiration at seeing the waters of the Bagota precipitate themselves in mass over the rocks which they had crushed like an avelanche, detached from the top of Chimbarazo. In order to observe the fall the more safely,* we laid ourselves down flat upon the rocky wall forming the side of the precipice above which we were placed.
"Our eyes penetrated into the abyss without perceiving ought but waves of foam continually swallowed in an ocean of vapour; we were in astonishment, and yet only perceived one part of this imposing spectacle, on account of the profound obscurity in which the haze enveloped us. We anxiously wished for a clearer sky. The waters of the river falling from the frozen heights of the Cordilleras into the foaming gulpli hollowed out at their base, formed a thick fog, which, raised up by the sun, whose face it obscured, inundated us on all sides.”
From hence the author proceeded to the natural bridge of
"It is formed of a stone not more than twenty feet wide; placing myself upon it, I cast my eyes down into the opening which separates the two mountains; and which is, in depth, about 363 feet. I perceived a stream of water, which, at the elevation where I stood, appeared to me a rivulet. The shortest distance, however, must be traversed in a piragua. Among the enormous stones which, in rolling from the summits of the mountains, have been stopped in the immense gap, that which formed the bridge less attracted my admiration thau one of prodi gious size which is beneath it, and which, like the key-stone of an arch, is suspended in the air, and seems every moment threatening to fall with hideous ruin."
The province of Tocooro, situated to the north of Santa Fé, next engaged the attention of M. Mollien, and in the month of June he set off to examine it. The route lies over desolate paramas, alternating with high mountains, and occasionally cheered by fruitful valleys; the passage of the Lerinsa is not effected without considerable danger, especially when the Paramo, in the expressive language of the country, se pone
"A wind, loaded with icy vapours, blows with tremendous violence; thick darkness covers the earth, and conceals every trace of a road. The birds which, on the appearance of a fine day, had attempted the passage, fall motionless. The traveller seeks to shelter himself under
* Bolivar stood upright upon one of the rocks which bar the issues of the
the stunted shrubs which here and there grow in these deserts, but their wet foliage obliges him to find another covert. Worn out with fatigue and hunger, in vain urging on his mules, benumbed with cold, he sits down to recover his exhausted strength. Fatal repose: his stomach soon becomes affected as when at sea, his blood freezes in his veins, his muscles grow stiff, his lips open as if to smile, and he expires with the expression of joy upon his features. The mules, no longer hearing their masters' voice, remain standing, till at length tired, they lie down to die."
In these desolate regions labour is very ill paid, and the wretched peasant is content to carry a load of seventy-five pounds weight from Santa Rosa to Socorro, a journey of three days, for the trifling remuneration of three shillings and ninepence! Notwithstanding the extreme cold which prevails in the higher Cordilleras, the inhabitants have a strong prejudice against the use of fire; and at a venta, on the Seruisa, the host has conceived the singular idea of bringing up a number of cats, who place themselves upon the feet of the traveller, and by their thick furs impart a degree of warmth which he might otherwise hope for in vain. The author visited a copper mine on the Moniquira, and on his way observed, that the quartz rocks were covered with oxyd of copper; but notwithstanding the richness of the ore, the capital employed does not realize more than three per cent! On the road to Popayan, lies the mountain of the Guanacas. The following description of the passage, we have reason to know is not exaggerated
"As soon as daylight appeared our eyes were fixed upon the summit of the Guanacas, and my experienced guides assured me that we should have a fine day and a pleasant journey. The mules were immediately saddled, and we departed with the assurance that the Paramo would be free from storms. The first part of our journey we travelled as on the preceding day, through thick forests of low trees loaded with water, which deluged us every time our mules touched their branches. The road was perhaps better than before, for as it was formed upon rocks, the water ran over it without producing any of those dangerous marshes we had met with in other places. In proportion as we ascended, we observed the vegetation to be more sickly, aud soon perceived that we were near the Paramo, from, the number of bleached human bones which lay scattered all around. Perhaps, alas! they were those of the proscribed, who had concealed themselves in these frightful retreats during the late wars, one might have supposed it to have been a field of battle: here, were shoes, there, female clothing; further on, the head of an infant indicated its having died after having lost its mother. Our company became serious aud silent, as we advanced into these desolate regions; we were all gay in the morning, but now not a word was spoken, and we looked at each other to see whether fatigue did not excite in some of us a fatal propensity to
sleep, that we might prevent its being indulged. We soon after saw nothing but a few crooked and stunted trees covered with moss, and nearly falling from age, these were succeeded by frailecous, whose yellow flowers are so brilliant amid the surrounding desolation. We were now opposite a lake of small extent. The danger is very great, if the passage be attempted when the tempest agitates it, and an icy wind blows which is fatal to those who yield to fatigue or the want of
"Near this fearful spot we recognised the garments of a clergyman and of two black servants, who had fallen dead beside him; and at a short distance saw many mules, who, abandoned by their masters, were living upon frailecous, waiting till a tempest should terminate their misfortunes, by death. We now found the ground less strong and much drier, being now upon the western side of Guanacas. The sky was cloudy, but without a threatening aspect, and we now and then saw the sun, as in our winters; his rayless disk scarcely warmed us, whilst at the distance of a day's journey, glowing with light, he poured torrents of fire on the inhabitants of the banks of the Cauca."
The neighbourhood of Papayan exhibits the only instance. we ever met with of the ingenuity of man being successfully employed in the prevention of Earthquakes. A considerable number of laborers are constantly employed on the Volcano of Purace, in clearing the crater from obstructions, by which Papayan is preserved from those shocks which would otherwise destroy it. The Dagua, which forms the communication from this part of the Cordilleras to the Pacific, is extremely dangerous, in consequence of the velocity of its current, and the innumerable rocks which obstruct its waters.
"I was furnished with two negroes reputed to be excellent sailors, and a long narrow canoe. In order to preserve the equilibrium, my baggage was divided into two parts, an equal weight being placed at each end; three feet in the centre were appropriated to receive my body, bent almost in two; my two negroes, one provided with a pole, the other with an oar, were stationed at each end of the canoe; when all was ready and duly adjusted, the rope which moored us to the beach was loosened; inmediately, we were hurried on by the stream with the rapidity of an arrow, and carried before wall over which the waters dashed with a frightful noise. Which way shall we pass? was the thought that struck me at the sight of so terrible an obstacle; quicker than thought the bark, skilfully guided through a narrow opening, glided into calmer water; having escaped one danger we encountered another, having to descend from the high mountains of Las Juntas into the plains which were washed by the ocean; and when I thought the Dagua had reached its level, I perceived its agitated waters flowing several feet below the place where I was.
"The negro with the pole dexterously avoided the current of the river where it was too rapid, entered boldly among the windings of the rocks, and, without fearing to dash the canoe to pieces, conducted it through those narrow issues; sometimes, however, a stone