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When those times come, we have no doubt the South American market will restore to our merchants those golden days of prosperity, of which the present generation knows only the tradition.
But it is more than time to turn our attention to the interesting volume, which we have named at the head of the article. It is the journal of an American gentleman, written and sent home for the amusement of his friends, and with no view to publication. Of literary criticism, therefore, it is not fairly the subject. This remark we make, not as if it were open to any exceptions in this connexion ; on the contrary, it is evidently the production of an accomplished mind, and as well prepared for the public eye, as any work not written for the press can be ordinarily expected to be. We waive all other remarks, merely that we may have room to give a better account of the substantial contents of the volume, and to lay before our readers ampler specimens from it.
The journal of our author commences with the departure of the ship Canton, bound to the North West Coast, in which he sailed from Staten Land, east of Terra del Fuego, on the 1st of August, 1817. Fourteen days were passed near Cape Horn, and in the attempt to double it. This they at last effected in latitude 56 degrees south, and made the Highland near Concepcion, on the 22d of August, and two days after came to anchor on the eastern side of Queriquina, the island which lies in the entrance of Concepcion bay. Here, by an artifice on the part of the Royalists, they were betrayed into their power, and carried to the bay of Talcahuano, the only place at that time in Chili, which was not in the hands of the Patriots. With scarcely the forms of law, the vessel and cargo were searched and plundered. Another American ship, the Beaver of New York, shortly after arrived, and was treated in the same manner.
“The supplies brought by our two vessels,' says the author, have proved a most seasonable relief to the garrison here. The troops were miserably armed, and badly supplied in every respect. Our muskets were recognized upon their shoulders, the very day after they were taken from on board. A great part of the cargo also, which they have taken on appraisal, after their own manner, had already been converted into clothes for the soldiers, who were paid too with our money.'
Such vexations, to which the lawful commerce of our citizens was exposed, are truly revolting. At this time, the headquarters of the Patriots were at Concepcion, distant only nine miles from Talcahuano, and separated from it only by a broad pampas. The gentlemen of the Canton passed their time in constant expectation of an attack upon the king's troops. This actually took place on the 6th of December. The Patriots had at one moment forced the lines of Talcahuano, and our author and the other persons attached to the Canton, moored in the harbor of that city, witnessed the advance and the retreat of the assailing force. News having shortly afterwards been received of an intended expedition of the Royalists from Lima, directed against Concepcion, it was judged prudent by the Patriots to desert that city, and to retreat to Santiago. Scarcely had they taken up their march to the interior, when the Royal squadron, consisting of one frigate, nine transports, and about four thousand men, under Osorio, arrived from Lima ; and after a short stay at Concepcion, followed the retreating army of the Patriots towards Santiago. While our author was delayed in the port of Talcahuano, he had full opportunity of informing himself of the materials of which the contending armies were composed. Among the troops, which made up the force of the Royalists, were a large number of the natives.
Since we have been in Talcahuano, there have arrived several deputations from the Indians ; and it is one of the most singular circumstances attending the present warfare, that these old and inveterate enemies of the king, whom he has spent so much blood and treasure in endeavoring to subdue, are now his firm allies, and universally* opposed to the Patriots. ***. It is said, that they have greatly degenerated from the old Araucanian character, and that the intercourse of the Spaniards has been greatly deleterious to them. That they still possess their territories, which are known to be richer in mines, and more fruitful than any other parts of Chili, is owing probably rather to the weakness of the Spaniards, than any strength of their own. I have seen several bodies of them from twenty to sixty in number. Their general appearance is not very different from that of the tribes of Indians, upon the frontiers of the United States.'
The term, universally, applies, we presume, to the war in Chili.
The retreat of the Patriots took place in the month of December, or midsummer, for the seasons are here inverted from the order in which we experience them on this side of the equator. The ensuing months of January, February, and March, were passed by our author at Talcahuano, and diversified with excursions to Concepcion, which he found bearing evident marks of its military occupation, by the Patriots, for the preceding eight months. In April, 1818, after momentary successes on the part of the Royalists, they were defeated in a decisive battle at Maypu, near Santiago; the army of 5000, which they had lately marched against that city, was annihilated; and the commander, Osorio, escaped as a fugitive to Talcahuano. The Beaver and Canton were immediately prepared to take the unsuccessful commander and his suite back to Lima. The gentlemen attached to these vessels were of course obliged to leave them. Under these circumstances, our author accepted the invitation of a friend in Talcahuano, to retire with him to his country seat, or estancia, at Gualqui, on the right bank of the Biobio, at a distance of about forty miles from the coast. The descriptions of the appearance of the country, the productions of the soil, and the manners of the inhabitants, which are given by occasion of the winter passed by our author in this romantic retirement, are highly curious. We regret that we have room only for the following extracts.
• This (June) and the following two or three months, are likewise the season of diversion. The farmers, planters, and country gentlemen are everywhere exchanging visits, not of an hour or a day, but of weeks; and it makes no difference in what numbers they arrive at a friend's estancia. Thirty can be aś conveniently accommodated as three. There is never a lack of provisions, and their beds, both rich and poor, they always take with them. These consist of some eight or ten rugs, and pillions of skins, sometimes beautifully colored, which form the furniture of their horses. Their saddles are of different construction from ours; or are rather only the frames of ours, but rendered easy for the horse, by the great number of these rugs and pillions placed under and upon them. The havio, as this furniture is called, is almost as heavy as the man who mounts it; and a Chileno, unsaddling his horse, will bring to your mind the grave digger in Hamlet, preparing for his work. After supper, each one spreads his bed, with the saddle
for a pillow, and ten or fifteen, and often more, are thus handsomely accommodated in the Sala.'
The following passages may serve to complete the picture of the establishments of the Chilian gentry.
“The estancia, in which I am, may be taken as a pretty fair sample of the better order of country houses, in this part of the country. The house is about eighty feet in length, by twenty five in breadth, with a broad corridor, and three quartos, as they are called,- little apartments attached to the house which serve for sleeping rooms. The walls are of sunburnt brick, three feet in thickness, plaistered within and without; two large doors opposite each other, and one small window; the roof thatched with reeds, and covered with takas, made of clay burned, in form semi-cylindrical, and fixed upon the roof with mortar, lapping over each other in rows, alternately concave and convex, and thus forming spouts for the water to descend. The floor is the earth, and this rough and uneven. There are few houses that are waterproof, and in winter they are extremely damp and uncomfortable. They are generally about twelve feet in height, and with no other ceiling than the roof. Near the window is a raised platform, about twenty feet long and six broad, covered with a Turkey carpet, or rugs that resemble one; and on this the women, when not actively engaged, always sit, in the manner of tailors with us. Almost every house is furnished with a few chairs, but I do not remember to have seen a woman seated in one, either in the city or the country.'
The fashion of their entertainments may be seen in the following account.
I was last week at one of the regular entertainments called rifas, given in all directions at this season. They are thus conducted. The major-domo, or owner of an estancia, gives a week's notice to the neighborhood, that on such a day he shall kill a hog, and keep open doors. On the evening of the day, men and women, old and young, flock to the house from all quarters. The entertainment commences with music of the guitar, and singing. Then follows the fandango in one part of the house, while three or four circles of men in another are engaged in a game of cards, somewhat resembling loo. About midnight, supper is served up of various and savory dishes, pork being the most conspicuous. Wine, punch, and other liquors are kept in readiness, and of these each one pays for what he calls for. This is often kept up for two or three days and nights, with no more sleep than is requisite to refresh them and begin again. This sort of festival is, I believe, peculiar to the country and small villages.'
The following extract will serve to show that the dread of earthquakes, notwithstanding the frequency of their occurrence in Chili, makes but little encroachment on the happiness of its inhabitants, beyond obliging them to live in one
• To balance all this fertility and beauty of soil and climate, say our geographers, they are subject to the most dreadful of all natural phenomena, earthquakes. It is no doubt true, that the shocks are more frequent here than in most parts of Europe or North America, and it is true, that the inhabitants live in constant and superstitious dread of them. Yet, after inquiring of the oldest individuals I have met, I cannot find one who can recollect a death caused by an earthquake. This general dread of them, probably proceeds from the removal of the capital of the province to its present site, in consequence of the inundation and destruction of many of the houses of the old city, in the great earthquake, some eighty or ninety years ago. For the year past there has been but one very perceptible shock in the province of Concepcion. This was a few evenings since. Some eight or ten were at supper in the estancia, when suddenly they all started up, and rushed out of doors, overturning everything in their way, and shrieking " misericordia, misericordia.” The shock continued but for an instant, and was lighter than one, which was felt in Massachusetts a few days before we sailed, and was the talk of a moment. I am told, however, that I can form no idea of the effect of an earthquake in Chili, as the year past has been remarkably and providentially exempt from this calamity.'
The close of a year from the period at which he arrived at Talcahuano, found our author in the position in which we have seen him with his friends at Gualqui. At this time, the Patriot arms were successful throughout the provinces of Santiago and Concepcion ; Talcahuano was abandoned by the royal troops, and all who were devoted to the Royal cause were ordered by the king's commander, general Sanchez, to repair to los Angeles, a city about one hundred and fifty miles in the interior, east of Concepcion, near the Biobio, a depôt of the trade between Chili and the independent tribes. It was proposed by the Royalists here to make a stand against the Patriots, and if driven from this post, to retreat across one of the ridges that descend to the Pacific, at right angles to the main chain of the Cordilleras, and thus traverse the country of the friendly Araucanians to Valdivia. In the