« AnteriorContinuar »
witnessed in the solitudes of the pampas. He no sooner crosses the rapid and beautifully-rolling Tala, than are presented to him some of the most enchanting beauties ever seen in the face of nature. Wooded hills, fertile plains, lofty mountains, profound glens, and thick, dark forests, present themselves alternately in their gayest and grandest as. pects. This vast landscape, enlivened by a fine variety of birds and animals, needs only the presence of man, and the blooming fields that would smile under the culture of his hand, to give it perfection. But this splendid scene, possessing so much intrinsic interest, on which nature has lavished her beauties with the most unsparing hand, has, since the date of the flood, been almost without an intelligent eye to behold, or an improved mind to enjoy it. But the gayety and beauty of this scenery do not exceed the wildness and grandeur of that witnessed for more than a hundred miles from Salta toward Potosi. Here is a narrow space between two lofty ramparts of rock, on one or both sides of which are mountains wild and fantastic; now awfully impending over the traveller's head, then rising in craggy turrets to the clouds, wild, grand, and sublime; furnishing indubitable attestation of some great convulsion of nature, either referable to the universal deluge, or to the action of some great disturbing powers that have since been at work. Perhaps nowhere within the same space will the lover of nature find crowded together more of her mingled beauties and terrors to admire.
In this rapid glance at the United Provinces, some reference, at least, should be made to their noble rivers. The Paraguay, which rises far in the empire of Brazil, within 13° of the equator, after being swelled by numerous branches, and traversing a distance of more than twelve hundred miles, at its junction with the Parana assumes the name of the La Plata. On these tranquil waters a vessel may ascend almost a thousand miles, and a boat more than two thousand. The two great branches on the east of this far-running stream are the Parana and Maguay. The former does not discharge its waters till it has rolled from the distant interior over a space of more than nine hundred miles, more than one half of which is navigable; nor does the latter empty itself into the great La Plata till after it has traversed nearly a thousand miles. Among the other streams it receives in its winding course is the celebrated Nigro, which is far famed for its healing properties. The vast strata of sarsaparilla over which it rolls give it a restoring efficacy, which has been enjoyed by invalids from the extremity of the peninsula.
The principal streams from the west that pour into the Paraguay and La Plata are the Pilcomago and Rio Grande. The former, rising in the distant regions of Peru, after running more than a thousand miles, empties, by two mouths, into the Paraguay, below the city of Assumption. This smoothly-gliding stream opens navigation into the very heart of the high provinces. The latter is navigable through its whole extent, from its source, eight hundred miles, to its mouth, at Parana. Salado, which, after a southern course of almost nine hundred miles, disembogues at Santa Fe into the great La Plata, that common receiver of these noble streams. The Colorado, and several other important rivers, roll directly to the Atlantic without mingling their waters with the La Plata. If the navigable distances on these great natural canals in the United Provinces be added, they will amount to more
than five thousand miles. These, diverging in almost every direction, must, at some future age, be of immense importance to the dense population of which these rich provinces must ultimately become the abodes.
Next to these provinces, on the west, lies CHILI, which is a long parallelogram stretched out on the Pacific, nine times the length of its width. The summit of the Andes, that great bulwark of nature, bounds it on the east; the Pacific Ocean washes its western shores; the desolate sands of Atacama form its northern limit; and the wild regions of savage Patagonia are its southern boundary. There is not another as fine a portion of the globe so inaccessible on all sides, excepting on the west, as Chili. On the south it cannot be approached but through the sterile regions and savage tribes of Patagonia; on the east, but for a few passes through which the traveller works his hazardous way, it could never be entered over the snowy summits of the Andes; and on the north the fearful desert of Atacama stretches out three hundred miles toward Peru. No military leader would have the temerity to enter Chili through this terrible waste. Over all this impassable plain of dismal sand there is not a visible thing of the vegetable or animal kingdom. Every way-mark disappears, excepting the bleached bones of mules, which perished in their hazardous attempt to pass over this insuperable barrier.
On the whole range of the Andes by which the eastern line of Chili is skirted, there are seven lofty peaks, some of which are the habitation of perpetual winter. Frost has never unloosed its grasp on these sum. mits since the waters of the flood subsided. There are also on this section of the Andes numerous volcanoes. Some of these have, centu. ries ago, burned out their fires; others occasionally rekindle by the mysterious conflict of imprisoned elements, and, after having been at rest for successive years, seem to wake up in dreadful agonies and vomit out their fiery contents. Others, to the number of fourteen, are in a state of ceaseless eruption; darkening the heavens with their smoke by day, and often causing them to glow with a dreadful brightness by night.
Chili has a maritime coast of more than a thousand miles in extent, and is better supplied with gulfs and bays than any other large portion of South America. In the number of its rivers it is above comparison. They amount to more than a hundred, one half of which fall directly into the Pacific Ocean. But, as these rivers gush from the foot of the Andes, and are created by the melting snows which annually fall in immense depths on these mountains, some of them are without water through a portion of the year; but several of them are deep, ever-flowing streams, that rush with rapidity and majesty to the ocean. So great is the inclination from the Pacific to the Andes, that every plain in the neighborhood of a stream may be conveniently irrigated. The multitude of these mountain torrents is of the highest importance to Chili, a part of which is covered, for months in succession, with a calm and cloudless heaven. It is especially so in that portion of this repub. lic which lies between 25° and 36° south latitude. Here the sun is never shaded by a cloud, or the stars dimmed by an interposing vapor, from November to May; and from this unshaded heaven there scarcely ever descends any perceptible quantity of dew. But, though the elements thus hang in even scale, and the sunbeams are obstructed by no
interposing medium, the climate is so delightfully temperate that for six months the mercury fluctuates between 70° and 80°. So perfectly are the elements in repose, that a gust of wind or heavy thunder is never known under this unruffled heaven. With regard to the dis. turbed state of the elements, this is a perfect contrast to the eastern side of the mountain. There are the most terrific thunder-storms that ever awed the creation. Under their dreadful roarings the most stupid brutes stand aghast, and whole miles of rock seem to glow in this elec. tric flame. The deep ravines respond to the naked mountains with so deafening an echo, that the thunder seems to burst from under ground. But, on the west side, the proximity of the valleys on one side to the Andes, and on the other to the ocean, secures to them a climate which, in salubrity, will vie with any other on the globe.
The spring, in Chili, is beautiful beyond all the power of language to describe. The rains in winter fertilize the hills and less elevations that cannot be irrigated, so that their verdant summits, covered with flowering shrubs, present to the eye nature in her richest attire; and the well-watered valleys, carpeted with flowers of every hue, bloom in the most enchanting beauty. The grains and fruits that flourish in every climate on the globe, are furnished in the richest variety and abun. dance in this, Harvests here amount to from forty to a hundred times the quantity of the seed. The winter is too mild to require that their flocks and herds should be either fed or stabled. South of 36° the cli. mate is far less uniform. Here, rains are not unfrequent in the midst of summer; and in the winter they are often attended with tremendous winds. Over this portion of the republic are the most stately forests. These are not confined to the summits of the hills, or the borders of the streams, but beautifully wave over the rich valleys.
But Chili is not less remarkable for the richness of its mines, than for the salubrity of its climate and the loveliness of its valleys. The mineral treasure is abundantly deposited in almost every mountain in this mighty range. Here are not only some of the most productive copper mines in the world, but those of iron, tin, lead, and quicksilver, are numerous; and, in prosperous times, not less than three millions of dollars are estimated to have been taken [annually] from the exhaustless gold and silver mines. What mind can calculate the stream of wealth which these mountains shall pour forth through some future ages, when, in coming generations, a dense population shall crowd these smiling val. leys? But, at present, the inhabitants are far too sparse to prove half the capability of nature in this country. On the sixty-seven thousand square miles in Chili there are probably less than one million of inha bitants. But the above description of the valleys of Chili, as being the most lovely and productive on the globe, by no means extends to the whole, or even one-fourth, of this republic; for, in that large portion of it where not a drop of rain descends for half a year, more than fourfifths of it is incapable of irrigation, and, therefore, of cultivation.
Over the Andes to Chili, from the United Provinces, there are five passes:-1. The La Dehesa pass is on the high road to the famous city of Mendoza. 2. The road through the Los Patos pass is furnished with an abundance of both the finest pasture and water, but it is a tediously circuitous route, crossing no less than five lofty ranges of the Cordillera. 3. That of Portilo is far the shortest way over the moun
tain, and, in several other respects, vastly preferable to any other; but there are only four months in the year during which the traveller can, with any degree of safety, ascend through this pass; during the other eight months, so overwhelming are the falls of snow, that he is in danger of being buried in their impassable depths. 4. The Planchon pass is seldom travelled, excepting by those who trade with the few Indians that wander over the pampas. This carries the traveller over two elevated and rugged ridges of the Cordillera, from the summits of which he sees the ever-smoking peak of Peterua. 5. The Antuco pass ascends no mountains higher than eight thousand feet, and is, by far, the most feasible route. A single glance at the scenery of one of these routes will furnish an idea sufficiently accurate of all the others.
In approaching that pass to which the Uspulata now leads, the traveller passes mountains which, though chiefly covered with herbage, are so abrupt and lofty that the sun lets not a single beam fall on the valley till it has ascended three hours above the horizon. The Canota road, leading from Mendoza, passes over that remarkable ridge called the Peremillo chain, which is nowhere connected with the main Cordillera, but proceeds from the grand chain extending far into the Brazilian empire, and separating Upper Peru from that wild, unexplored region, in which rise several head waters of the Amazon. This pass has, in many places, protecting rocks on one side, and a profound precipice on the other, so deep that the river flowing below is almost inaudible, though its dashings and roarings make the very mountains tremble. The most terrible apprehensions are excited when the traveller, passing on a narrow path three hundred feet above a furious stream, beholds a perpendicular rock lifting itself hundreds of feet in the air above his head. Vegetation now disappears, and all is wild, solitary, naked rock. Farther on are found huge heaps of fractured rocks, piled up five hundred feet in the air, steep as their broken state would permit them to lie. Loosing their foothold, loaded mules not unfrequently tumble down these frightful precipices, and are dashed and lost in the fierce torrent beneath. Passing through to the valley of Tupungto, the most striking view is had of a peak by that name, which, being much the highest in that part of the Cordillera, and, for a large part of the season, having its summit covered with snow, resembles a spacious dome of polished silver; for, under the pure atmosphere of these mountain heights, so brilliant are the sunbeams when reflected by incrusted snow, that their splendor is insufferable. After some farther advance, a deep, romantic valley is passed, on one side of which rises a singular elevation, resembling a vast castle in almost a square form, flanked at repeated intervals with numerous buttresses and towers, connected with regular embattlements. These walls tower up more than four hundred feet in height, and extend nearly five hundred in length; and there is connected with them a series of ramparts and fortifications, almost six hundred feet long. This fairy castle has been erected by nature on a height not less than fifteen hundred feet above the wild valley at its base. Ten or twelve miles from this romantic spot is the famous Inca's bridge, which consists of a natural regular arch, with an elliptic curvature. Its span is not less than seventy-five feet, its breadth is more than ninety-five, and the middle of the arch rises a hundred and fifty feet above the stream that darkly rolls
beneath. From thence, descending into Chili, the traveller witnesses the most lovely scenes unfolded in the vegetable kingdom. The trees and shrubs are mostly evergreen, rich in their foliage, beautiful in their flowers, and almost infinite in their variety. As most of these are. sought in vain out of Chili, the botanist will feel his toils and hazards rewarded by obtaining so valuable an accession to his list of vegetables. Buenos Ayres, May 24, 1837.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.
ART. IV. THE PROGRESS AND FINAL TRIUMPH OF THE
BY S. W. COGGESHALL, OF THE NEW-ENGLAND CONFERENCE.
OUR Saviour, in his own day, denominated his disciples the "little flock." And although so many centuries have passed away, and such wonders of grace have been wrought by the preaching of the gospel, the company of the believers in every nation are yet but a little flock;" constituting but a small minority of the inhabitants of any country individually, and especially of the whole world collectively. But we are assured by the word of prophecy that it shall not always be so, but that a time is coming in which "no man shall say unto his brother, Know the Lord, but when all shall know him, from the least unto the greatest." Observe the quotation "from the least unto the greatest." This has always been the order of God in converting the nations. It has commenced among the poor, the ignoble, and the illiterate, and has proceeded in its upward course to subdue the rich, the noble, and the learned to the sceptre of Jesus. To the Corinthians St. Paul wrote "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the earth to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, hath God chosen to bring to nought things which are: that no flesh should glory in his presence," 1 Cor. i, 26-29. In the Reformation in the beginning of the sixteenth century, the same order was observed. The work commenced with an Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, who succeeded with the common people some time before the great and the powerful fell into his measures, or professed to receive his doctrines and renounce their allegiance to the papal see. The common people first embraced the truth, not through the instrumentality of the bishops and other church dignitaries, but through a comparatively obscure monk, whom God raised up for this purpose. And the princes of the German states would have nothing to do with the Reformation until they saw they could secure a greater amount of independence by breaking with the pope, who was before their master in temporals as well as spirituals; and that they could also greatly enhance their wealth and revenues by seizing upon the church property, which was immense. In England Henry VIII. appears
VOL. IX.-January, 1838. 9