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The grinder, standing upon this upper stone, spreads his feet apart, and gives it motion by the movement of his body. The bits of ore are placed between these stones, and a small stream of water from a barrel above mixes with the harina, and carries it off to a receptacle below. It may be imagined that, to draw any profit from so rude a contrivance as this, it is necessary that the ores ground by it should be of the richest kind.
The apparatus for driving off the mercury by heat is as rude as the boliche. The pella is placed in a kind of earthen jar or bottle made in the neighborhood, and worth from two to three reals. An iron tube, of about two yards long, is introduced into the mouth of the jar, which is then closed with a yellowish clay. The other end of this tube (which is bent) is put into an earthen jar half-full of water, where the fumes of the mercury are condensed. Fire is kindled around the earthen bottles which contain the pella, and continued for three or four hours, when the bottles are broken and the piña taken out.
The man who was buried by the falling in of one of the mines was got out yesterday. He seemed strong, though he had had no food for nearly seven days. He had lost the account of time, and thought he had been enclos in the earth but three days.
July 9.-Suffering from an affection called macolca, which is incident to nearly every one on his first visit to the mines.
This is a painful soreness of the muscles, particularly on the front of the thigh. I could scarcely bear that my legs should be touched, and locomotion was anything but agreeable.
The town of Cerro Pasco is (by temperature of boiling water) thirteen thousand eight hundred and two feet above the level of the sea. Rivero states it at fourteen thousand two hundred and seventy-nine. The population varies from six to fifteen thousand souls, according to the greater or less yield of the mines. Most of the adult part of this population
are, of course, engaged in mining. This seems to be a calling that distorts much the moral perception, and engenders very confused ideas of right and wrong. The lust for money-making seems to have swallowed up all the finer feelings of the heart, and cut off all the amenities of society. There are no ladies—at least I saw none in society; and the men meet to discuss the mines, the probable price of quicksilver, and to slander and abuse each other. There seems to be no religion here even in form. The churches are mere barns, going to decay; and I saw no processions or religious ceremonies. Smyth saw a procession in 1834, but I should doubt if there had been one of these
contemptible mockeries since. Not that the people are getting better, but that their love of gain is swallowing up even their love of display. Rivero speaks of the wretched condition of society, and tells of drunkenness, gaming, assassination, and bad faith, as of things of common oc
I met with much kindness on the part of the few gentlemen whose acquaintance I made, particularly on that of the sub-prefect, who lodged me in his house, and, by his frank and sincere manner, made me feel at home; and I do not say that men here are individually bad; but only speak of the philosophical fact that mining, as an occupation, has a tendency to debase men's characters, and destroy those sensibilities and affections that smooth and soften the rugged path of life. Moreover, I don't speak half so badly of them as they do of themselves; for one, if he were to seek it, might easily hear that every individual in the Cerro was a rascal.
The climate of this place is exceedingly uncomfortable, and I should suppose unhealthy. I could not sleep between sheets, but preferred “the woollens," with an abundance of them. Rivero states the mean temperature, during the months of July, August, and September, at 44° in the day, and 35° at night. In these months there is an abundance of snow and hail, which lowers the thermometer considerably; and even without these it goes down to 30° and 28° in August. From the middle of October to the end of April the climate is insupportable from the rains, tempests and lightnings, which almost every year cause damage. There is a period of fine weather from the middle of December to the middle of January, called, in the poetic language and religious turn of thought of the Spaniards, El verano del niño, or the summer of the child, from its happening about Christmas. The streams, which are fed from the rains of this country, invariably stop rising, and fall a little after this period. The temperature is so rigorous here that the hens do not hatch, nor the llamas procreate; and women, at the period of their confinement, are obliged to seek a more genial climate, or their offspring will not live.
Persons recently arrived, particularly if they have weak lungs, suffer from affections of the chest and difficulty of breathing. The miners suffer paralysis from the sudden changes of temperature to which they are exposed in and out of the mines, and from inhaling the fumes of the mercury in the operation of distilling. Those who suffer in this way are called azogados, from azogue, (quicksilver.) The most common diseases are pleurisies, rheumatisms, and a putrid fever called