Page images
PDF
EPUB

paspalum purpureum, the milium nigricans, and particularly the medicugo sitiva, which grows abundantly in Peru in the waruiest districts. The introduction of camels would be still a surer means of diminishing the expense of carriage. These land ships, as they are called by the orientals, hitherto exist only in the province of Caraccas, and were brought there from the Canary islands by the Marquis de Toro. .

Moreover, no political consideration should oppose the progress of population, agriculture, commerce and civilization, in the isthmus of Panama. The more this neck of land shall be cul. tivated, the more resistance will it oppose to the enemies of the Spanish government. The events which took place at Buenos Ayres prove the advantages of a concentrated population in the case of an invasion. If any enterprising nation wished to become possessed of thu isthmus, it could do so witli the greatest ease at present, when good and numerous fortifications are destitute of arms to defend them. The unh-althiness of the climate, though now much diminished at Portobello, would alone oppose great obstacles to any military undertaking in the isthmus. it is from St. Charles de Chiloe, and not from Panama, that Peru can be attacked. It requires from three to five months to ascend from Panama to Lima. But the whale and cuchalot fishery, which in 1803 drew 60 English vessels to the South Sea, and

the facilities for the Chinese commerce and the furs of Nootka Sound, are baits of a very seduce tive nature. The will draw, sooner or later, the masters of the ocean to a point of the globe destined by nature to change the face of the commercial system of nations.

6. To the south-east of Panama, following the coast of the Pacific Ocean, from Cape S. Jhiguel to Cape Corientes, we find the small port nd bay of Cupica. The name of this bay has acquired celebrity in the kingdom of New Grenauli, on account of a new plan of communication between the two seas. From Cupica, we cross, for five or six marine leagues, a soil quite level and proper for a canal, which would terminate at the Embarcadero of the Rio Naipi. This last river is navigable, and flows below the village of Zitara into the great Rio Atrato, which itself enters the Atlantic Sea. A very intelligent Biscayan pilot, M. Gogueneche, was the first who had the merit of turning the attention of government to the bay of Cupica, which ought to be for the new continent what Suez was formerly for Asia. M. Gogueneche proposed to tra::sport the cacao of Guayaquil, by the Rio Naipi to Carthagena.

The same way offers the advantage of a very quick communication between Cadiz and Lima. Instead of despatching couriers by Carthagena, Santa Fe, and Quito, or by Buenos Ayres and Mendoza, good quick sailing packet-boats should be sent from Cupica to Peru. If this plan were carried into execution, the viceroy of Lima would have no linger 10 wait five or six months for the orders of his court. Besides, the environs of the Bay of Cupica abounds with excellent timber fit to be carried to Linn. We might almost say that the ground between Cupica and the mouth of the strato is the only part of all America in which the chain of the Andes is entirely broken.

7. In the interior of the province of Choco, the small ravine (Q ebraila) de la Raspadura, unites the neighbouring sources of the Rio de Noanama, called also Rio San Juan, and the small river Quito. The latter, the Rio Andayeda and the Rio Zitara, form the Rio d'Atrato which discharges itself into the Atlantic Ocean, while the Rio San Juan flows into the South Sca. A monk of great acti ity, curé of the village of Novita, employed his pari hioners to dig a small canal in the ravine de la Raspudura, by means of which, when the rains are abundant, canoes loaded with cacao pass from sea to sea. This interior communication has existed since 1788, unknown in Europe. The small canal of Raspadura unites, on the coasts of the two oceans, two points 75 leagues distant from one another.

8. In the 100 of south latitude, two or three days journey from Lima, we reach the banks of the lio Guallaga (or Huallaga), by which we may without doubling Cape Horn arrive at the banks of the grand Para in Brazil. The sources even of the Rio Huanuco * which runs into the Guallaga, are only four or five leagues distant from the source of the Rio Huaura, which flows into the Pacific Ocean. The Rio Xauxa, also, which contributes to form the Apuremac and the Ucayale, has its rise near the source of the Rio Rimac. The height of the Cordillera, and the nature of the ground, render the execution of a canal impossible; but the construction of a commodious road, from the capital of Peru to the Rio de Huanaco, would facilitate the transport of goods to Europe. The great rivers Ucayale and Guallaga would carry in five or six weeks the productions of Peru to the mouth of the Amazons, and to the neighbouring coasts of Europe, while a passage of four months, is requisite to convey the same goods to the same point, in doubling Cape Horn. The cultivation of the fine regions situated on the eastern declivity of the Andes, and the prosperity and wealth of their inhabitants, depend on a free navigation of the river

ources

* See the maps given by Father Sobreviola, in the third voJume of an excellent literary journal published at Lima, under the title of Mercurio Peruviano. The work of Skinner, on Peru, is an extract from this journal, of which some volumes, unfortunately not the most interesting, have found their way to London. I deposited the whole work in the king's library, at Berlin.

of the Amazons. This liberty, denied by the court of Portugal to the Spaniards, might have been acquired in the sequel to the events which preceded the peace of 1801.

9. Before the coast of the Patagonians was suf. ficiently known, the Gulf of St. George, situated between the 45° and the 470 of south latitude, was supposed to enter so far into the interior of the country, as to communicate with the arms of the sea which interrupt the continuity of the western coast, that is to say, with the coast o; posite to the archipelago of Chayamapu. Were this supposition founded on solid bases, the vessels destined for the South Sea might cross South America 70 to the north of the Straits of Magellan, and shorten their roule more than 700 leagues In this way, navigators might avoid the dangers which, notwithstanding the p rfection of nautical science, still accompany the voyage round Cape Horn and along the Patagonian coast, from Cape Pilares to the parallel of the i honos i lands. These ideas, in 17 (', o cupied the attention of the court of Madsid. 11. Guillemus, viceroy of Peru, an upright and ze lus administrator, equipped a small expedition under the orders of Jl. Moraleda *, to

* Don Jose de Moraleda y Montero visited the archipelagos of Chiloe and Chonos, and the western coast of the Patagoniaus, froin 1787 down to 1796. Two very interesting manuscripts, drawn up by M. Moraleda, are to be found in the archives of the viceroyalty of Lima: the title of the one is,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »