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the third and fourth volumes of the English translation. In the former part, it may be recollected, we left our travellers, Messrs. de Humboldt and Bonpland, at Cumana; in this now under review, we are conducted to the mountains of New Andalusia ; to the missions of the Chaymas Indians; to La Guayra, and thence to the Caraccas; at all of which, and in the various excursions into the mountains and forests, the valleys and caverns, the convents and villages, objects and observations of considerable interest and importance are brought forward, and described with a vigour of language and a glow of eloquence which, unless now and then chastened by the sober severity of a philosophical remark, or a mathematical result, would almost lead the reader to conceive himself transported into the regions of fancy. If, however, as we think we perceive, M. de Humboldt is sometimes more florid than in the former part of his • Personal Narrative,' he is certainly less excursive; and, we may add, less disposed to theory: whether this be owing to any new view which he has taken of the subject, or to the expediency of crowding a greater number of facts into a given space, it is at any rate an improvement, which neither the author nor the reader will have occasion to regret.
It was on the 4th of September that our travellers recommenced their tour, and, leaving Cumana, directed their steps towards that group of elevated mountains which crosses the province of New Andalusia :
' After a journey of two hours, we reached the foot of the lofty chain of the interior mountains, which runs from east to west, from the Brigantine to the Cerro de San Lorenzo. Here new species of rocks commence, and, with them, a new aspect of vegetation. Every thing here assumes a more majestic and picturesque character. The ground, watered by springs, is intersected in all directions. Trees, of a gigantic height, and covered with creepers, shoot up in the ravines; their bark, blackened and burned by the two-fold action of light and atmospheric oxygen, forms a contrast with the vivid green of the Pothos and Dracontium, the leather-like and glossy leaves of which, frequently shoot out to the length of several feet. The parasitical Monocotyledons, between the tropics, may be said to occupy the place of the mosses and the lichens of our northern zone. As we proceeded, the mountains, both by their shape and grouping, brought to our recollection the scenery of Swisserland and the Tyrol. Upon these Alps of America, even at considerable heights, we met with the Heliconia, the Costus, the Maranta, and others of the cane family; while, near the coast, the same plants delight only in low and swampy situations. It is thus, that, by an extraordinary similarity, in the torrid zone, as in the North of Europe, under the influence of an atmosphere continually loaded with fog, as upon a soil moistened by melting snow, the vegetation of mountains presents all the characteristic features of that of marshy places.'--P. 357.
The cabins of the Mestees, in the ravines of Los Frailes, were placed in the midst of an inclosure containing bananas, papayas, sugar-cane and mays. One would be surprized, says M. de Humboldt, at the small extent of these cleared spots, if one did not reflect that an acre, planted with banana-trees, yields nearly twenty times the quantity of aliment which the same space would give if sowu with grain. In Europe, the farinaceous grasses necessary for the food of man cover a vast extent of country, and the cultivators are necessarily brought in contact with each other. In the torrid zone, where man can avail himself of those vegetables which yield most abundantly and rise most rapidly, it is just the reverse. In those happy climates, (which, however, have their full share of inisery in other respects,) the fertility of the soil corresponds with the heat and the humidity of the atmosphere; and a numerous population finds abundant subsistence within a narrow space. Hence, in the neighbourhood of the most populous cities of equinoctial America, the surface of the earth is bristled with forests, or covered with a thick sward which the ploughshare has never divided; plants of spontaneous growth predominate by their luxuriance and their masses over those that are cultivated, and determine the character and the aspect of the country.
Our travellers ascended the group of mountains which separate the coast from the vast plains or savannas bordering on the Oronoco; to one part of which has been given the name of The Impossible, because it is supposed that this crest would secure the inhabitants of America against the incursion of an enemy who might land at Cumana; yet the cultivators of the plains transport by this route their provisions, dressed skins, and cattle to that port. On the slope of this mountain grows the Cuspa, a plant still unclassed by the botanists of Europe, though well known of late years by the vame of Cascarilla, or the Quinquina of New Andalusia, from the eminent quality of its bark as a febrifuge. M. de Humboldt considers it not a little remarkable, that during their long sojourn on the coasts of Cumana and the Caraccas, their residence on the þanks of the Apura, the Oronoco and the Rio Negro, a tract of territory embracing an extent of forty thousand square leagues, they should not have met with a single plant of the numerous species of Chincona or Exostema, which are peculiar to the low and heated regions of the tropics, above all to the archipelago of the Antilles;—a circumstance, M. de Humboldt observes, which would lead to the belief that the mountainous islands of the Antilles and the Cordilleras of the Andes have their particular Floras, and that they possess groups of vegetables which have not passed either from the islands to the continent, or from South America to the coasts of New Spain.
When a traveller, just arrived from Europe, penetrates, for the first time, into the forests of South America, nature presents herself under an aspect quite unlooked for. The surrounding objects recal but a faint remembrance of the pictures traced by writers of celebrity on the banks of the Mississipi, in Florida, and in the other temperate regions of the New World. He is sensible, at every step, that he is not on the borders, but in the centre of the torrid zone; not on one of the islands of the Antilles, but on a vast continent, where everything is gigantic,-mountains, rivers, and the whole mass of the vegetable creation. If he takes delight in the beauties of rural scenery, he finds himself at a loss to define the nature of his mingled feelings. He is unable to distinguish that which most excites his wonder,--whether the deep stillness of the wilderness, the individual beauty and contrast of the forms of objects, or that freshness and grandeur of vegetable life, which characterize tropical climates. The plants with which the earth is overburdened may be said to want room for their developement. The trunks of trees are every where concealed under a thick carpet of verdure; and if one could carefully transplant the families of the Orchis, the Piper, and the Pothos, which draw their nourishament from a single Courbaril, or fig-tree of America, (Ficus Gigantea,) one might be able to cover with them a very extensive spot of ground. By this singular grouping, forests and the sides of rocks and mountains enlarge the dominion of organic nature. The same creeping plants which run along the ground climb to the tops of trees, and pass
from one to another at the height of more than a hundred feet. It is thus that the continual intertwining of parasitical plants often leads the botanist to confound the flowers, fruits, and foliage belonging to different species.'-p. 370.
The road from hence to San Fernando was bordered by a species of bamboo (Bambusa Guadua) growing to the height of more than forty feet. Nothing can be compared with the elegance of this arborescent gramineous plant. The form and disposition. of its leaves give to it a character of lightness which contrasts agreeably with its vast height; and our author thinks, that of all the vegetable forms of the tropical regions, that of the bamboo and of the fern-tree are those which strike most forcibly the imagination of the traveller. This arundinaceous genus affords an anomaly of which many examples, we suspect, will be found in the new theory of the geography of plants. One would say,' observes our author,
that the western slope of the Andes was their true country; yet, what is sufficiently remarkable, we have found them not only in the low regions on a level with the ocean, but also in the high vallies of the Cordilleras, even at an elevation of 860 toises.'
The Mission of San Fernando, by the regularity of the town, the uniformity of the buildings, the sober and silent air of the inhabitants, and the extreme neatness of the houses, recalled to the recollection of our travellers the establishments of the Moravian brethren ; and this is saying not a little in their favour. Every
Indian family, besides its proper garden, assists in the cultivation of the common garden, Conuco de la communidad; every adult of both sexes working therein one hour in the morning and one in the evening. The great square in the centre of the village contains the church, the dwelling of the missionary, and an humble'edifice on which is bestowed the pompous appellation of Casa del Rey, the house of the king; a sort of caravansera intended to give shelter to travellers, and of infinite service in a country where the hotel or inn is utterly unknown. The following is the portrait of the good father of San Fernando.
“The missionary of San Fernando was a Capuchin, a native of Arragon, very far advanced in years, but still vigorous and cheerful. His great corpulency, his sprightly disposition, and the interest which he took in battles and sieges, but ill accorded with the notion formed, in northern countries, of the melancholic abstraction and contemplative life of a missionary. Though closely busied with a cow which was to be slaughtered the next morning, the old monk yet received us with good humour; and gave us leave to sling our hammocks in a gallery of his house. Seated, without employment, during the chief part of the day, in a great arm-chair of red wood, he complained bitterly of what he termed the idleness and ignorance of his countrymen. He asked us a thousand questions concerning the real motive of our travels which to him seemed hazardous, and, at best, useless.
Here, as on the Oronoco, we were harassed by that eager curiosity which, in the midst of the forests of America, Europeans retain respecting the wars and political storms of the Old World.
' In other respects, our missionary appeared to be satisfied with his situation. He treated the Indians mildly; he saw his mission prosper; and he extolled with enthusiasm the water, the bananas, and the milk diet of the district. He smiled contemptuously at the sight of our instruments, books, and dried plants; and acknowledged, with a frankness peculiar to these climates, that, of all the enjoyments of life, not even excepting sleep, none was to be compared with the pleasure of eating good beef, carne de vacca: so true is it, that sensuality springs from the absence of mental occupation. Our host persuaded us repeatedly to visit the cow which he had just purchased; and the next day, at sun-rise, he insisted on our going to see the animal killed according to the custom of the country, namely, by cutting the hamstring, and then plunging a large knife between the vertebræ of the neck. Disgusting as the operation was, we learnt from it the expertness of the Chaymas Indians, who, eight in number, cut the beast into small joints in less than twenty minutes. The cow had cost but seven piastres, yet this seemed to be considered a very high price. The same day the missionary paid eighteen piastres to a soldier of Cumana, for bleeding him in the foot. This fact, of little apparent importance, strikingly proves how much, in wild, uncultivated countries, the value of commodities differs from that of labour.'—p. 374. From San Fernando they passed through the village of Arenas,
famous for having produced a labouring man, who, during the illness of his wife, brought up a child by giving it suck at his own breasts two or three times a day for five months, during which time it received no other food. Our travellers saw both the father and the son (the latter being at this time thirteen or fourteen years old) at Cumana, and also an authenticated account of the fact drawn up on the spot.
The little town of Cumanacoa, which they next reached, is situated on a plateau, whose elevation is about one hundred toises above the level of the sea, and at the distance of seven leagues from the port of Cumana; yet it seldom or never rains at the latter, while at the former there is a regular rainy season of seven months duration. The difference in the temperature both of day and night between the two places is very considerable. The plain of Camanacoa is famous for its tobacco-a plant, as M. de Humboldt observes, whose use was spread over the greater part of America, whilst the potatoe was unknown, both in Mexico and the Antilles.-He might have added, that the tobacco plant had made the circuit of the globe before the potatoe in its slow progress had travelled eastward beyond Ireland, and before it had even crossed the Irish Channel. It is a singular fact, that in all the extent of territory traversed by Messrs. Humboldt and Bonpland, they neither met with, nor could hear of, the potatoe growing in its native wildness; nor bad it been discovered in any part of America till very recently, when the authors of the · Flora Peruviana' are said to have found the common species (Solanum tuberosum) growing in a wild state in the mountains of Chili, together with a new and edible species larger than the common one.
The two travellers visited next the caverns of Cuchivano, out of which jets of flame are said, of late years, to have issued' more frequently than usual. The inhabitants were disposed to predict the same fatal consequences from these increasing fames, which followed a similar kind that burst from the ground near Cumana. M. de Humboldt mentions the shining light which had been observed from Chillo upon the summit of Cotopaxi, at a time when the mountain was in a state of perfect repose, and which he ascribes to the inflammation of hydrogen gas; he also notices the account given by the ancients of Mount Albanus near Rome, known at present by the name of Monte Cavo, which is said to have thrown out a flame during the night; but Albanus is a volcano burnt out, and became extinct at no very remote period of time. Nothing volcanic however appears in the vicinity of Cuchivano. We shall not attempt to follow M. de Humboldt in his conjectures and reasoning respecting the cause; but content ourselves with the mention of an instance which appears to afford an exact parallel with that of Cu