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rowing, pour a little water upon a large gourd-full of farinha, and pass around the mass (which they called pirào) as if it were a delicacy.
The women generally make the farinha. They soak the root of the mandioc (Iatropha Manihot) in water till it is softened a little, when they scrape off the skin, and grate it upon a board smeared with some of the adhesive gums of the forest, and sprinkled with pebbles. The white grated mass is put into a conical-shaped bag, made of the coarse fibres of a palm, and called tapiti. The bag is hung up to a peg driven into a tree, or a post of the shed; a lever is put through a loop at the bottom of the bag; the short end of the lever is placed under a chock nailed to the post below, and the woman hangs her weight on the long end. This elongates the bag, and brings a heavy pressure upon the mass within, causing all the juice to ooze out through the interstices of the wicker-work of the bag. When sufficiently presscd the mass is put on the floor of a mud oven; heat is applied, and it is stirred with a stick till it granulates in very irregular grains, (the largest about the size of our No. 2 shot,) and is sufficiently toasted to drive off all the poisonous qualities wbich it has in a crude state. It is then packed in baskets (lined and covered with palm-leaves) of about sixty-four pounds weight, which are generally sold, all along the river, at from seventy-five cents to one dollar. The sediment of the juice which runs from the tapiti is tapioca, and is used to make custards, puddings, starch, &c.
September 3.-Our boatmen came down to the port at 8 a. m. They were accompanied, as usual, by their wives, carrying their bedding, their jars of masato, and even their paddles; for these fellows are too lazy, when on shore, to do a hand's turn; though when embarked they work freely, (these Cocamillas,) and are gay, cheerful, ready, and obedient. The dress of the women is nothing more than a piece of cotton cloth, generally dark brown in color, wrapped around the loins and reaching to the knee. I was struck with the appearance of one, the only pretty Indian girl I have seen. She appeared to be about thirteen years of age, and was the wife of one of our boatmen. It was amusing to see the slavish respect with which she waited upon the young savage, (himself about nineteen,) and the lordly indifference with which he received her attentions. She was as straight as an arrow, delicately and elegantly formed, and had a free, wild, Indian look, that was quite taking
We got off at a quarter past nine; the merchants at the same time; and the padre also returns to-day to Yurimaguas; so that we make a haul upon the population of Laguna, and carry off about seventy of its
inhabitants. Twenty-five miles below Laguna, we arrived at the mouth of the Huallaga. Several islands occupy the middle of it. The channel runs near the left bank. Near the middle of the river we had nine feet; passing towards the left bank we suddenly fell into forty-five feet. The Huallaga, just above the island, is three hundred and fifty yards wide; the Amazon, at the junction, five hundred. The water of both rivers is very muddy and filthy, particularly that of the former, which for some distance within the mouth is covered with a glutinous scum, that I take to be the excrement of fish, probably that of porpoises.
The Huallaga, from Tingo Maria, the head of canoe navigation, to Chasuta, (from which point to its mouth it is navigable for a draught of five feet at the lowest stage of the river,) is three hundred and twenty-five miles long; costing seventy-four working hours to descend it; and falling four feet and twenty-seven hundredths per mile. From Chasuta to its mouth it has two hundred and eighty-five miles of length, and takes sixty-eight hours of descent, falling one foot and twenty-five hundredths per mile. It will be seen that these distances are passed in nearly proportional times. This is to be attributed to the time occupied in descending the malos pasos, for the current is more rapid above than below. The difference between the times of ascent and descent is, on an average, about three for one.
It is proper to state here that all my estimates of distance, after embarkation upon the rivers, being obtained from measurement by the log-line, are in geographical miles of sixty to the degree.
Entrance into the Amazon-Nauta-Upper and Lower Missions of Mainas
Conversions of the Ucayali— Trade in sarsaparilla-Advantages of trade with this country
The river upon which we now entered is the main trunk of the Amazon, which carries its Peruvian name of Marañon as far as Tabatinga, at the Brazilian frontier; below which, and as far as the junction of the Rio Negro, it takes the name of Solimoens; and thence to the ocean is called Amazon. It is the same stream throughout, and, to avoid confusion, I shall call it Amazon from this point to the sea.
The march of the great river in its silent grandeur was sublime; but in the untamed might of its turbid waters as they cut away its banks, tore down the gigantic denizens of the forest, and built up islands, it was awful. It rolled through the wilderness with a stately and solemn air. Its waters looked angry, sullen, and relentless; and the whole scene awoke emotions of awe and dread—such as are caused by the funeral solemnities, the minute gun, the howl of the wind, and the angry tossing of the waves, when all hands are called to bury the dead in a troubled
I was reminded of our Mississippi at its topmost flood; the waters are quite as muddy and quite as turbid; but this stream lacked the charm and the fascination which the plantation upon the bank, the city upon the bluff, and the steamboat upon its waters, lend to its fellow of the North ; nevertheless, I felt pleased at its sight. I had already travelled seven hundred miles by water, and fancied that this powerful stream would soon carry me to the ocean; but the water-travel was comparatively just begun; many a weary month was to elapse ere I should again look upon the familiar face of the sea; and many a time, when worn and wearied with the canoe life, did I exclaim, “This river seems interminable!”
Its capacities for trade and commerce are inconceivably great. Its industrial future is the most dazzling; and to the touch of steam, settlement, and cultivation, this rolling stream and its magnificent water-shed would start up into a display of industrial results that would indicate the Valley of the Amazon as one of the most enchanting regions on the face of the earth.
From its mountains you may dig silver, iron, coal, copper, quicksilver, zinc, and tin; from the sands of its tributaries you may wash gold, diamonds, and precious stones; from its forests you may gather drugs of virtues the most rare, spices of aroma the most exquisite, gums and resins of the most varied and useful properties, dyes of hues the most brilliant with cabinet and building-woods of the finest polish and most enduring texture.
Its climate is an everlasting summer, and its harvest perennial. I translate from a book of travels in these countries, by Count Castelnau, (received since my return to the United States,) an account of the capacities of some of the southern portions of this vast water-shed :
“The productions of the country are exceedingly various. The sugarcane, of which the crop is gathered at the end of eight months from the time of planting, forms the chief source of wealth of the province of Cercado.
“Coffee is cultivated also with success in this province, and in that of Chiquitos yields its fruit two years after having been planted, and requires scarcely any attention. Cocoa, recently introduced into these two provinces, gives its fruit at the end of three or four years at most. The tamarind, which thrives in the same localities, produces its harvest in five years. Cotton gives annual crops; there are two varieties—the one white, the other yellow. Tobacco grows, so to speak, without cultivation in the province of Valle Grande, where it forms the principal article of commerce. Indigo, of which there are three cultivated kinds and one wild, is equally abundant. Maize yields at the end of three months all the
year round; it is also cultivated in the province of Cercado. The cassave produces in eight months after planting; there are two kinds of it-one sweet, and the other bitter; the first can replace the potato, and even bread; the second is only good for starch. There is an enormous amount of kinds or varieties of bananas, which produce in the year
from seed; they are specially cultivated in the province of Cercado. Two kinds of rice—one white, the other colored-are cultivated in the two provinces of Cercado and Chiquitos. They produce every five or six months; they say it is found wild in the region of Chiquitos.
" The grape, which grows well everywhere, and especially in the province of Cordilleras, where it was cultivated in the Missions up to the time of the Independence, is nevertheless made no article of profit. It will some day, perhaps, form one of the principal sources of wealth of this country. Wheat, barley, and the potato might be cultivated with advantage in the provinces of Chiquitos and Cordilleras; but till now results have been obtained only in that of Valle Grande. The
cultivation of coca has commenced in the province of Cercado, and it is also found in a wild state, as well as the Peruvian bark, on the mountains of Samaripata. As we have already said, fruits abound in this region. They cultivate there principally oranges, lemons, citrons, figs, papaws, pomegranates, melons, watermelons, chirimoyas, (which the Brazilians call fruto de conde,) pine-apples, &c. The last of these fruits grow wild, and in great abundance, in the woods of Chiquitos. We met it, particularly the evening of our arrival, at Santa Ana. Its taste is excellent; but it leaves in the mouth such a burning sensation that I bitterly repented having tasted it. They cultivate in sufficient abundance, in the province, jalap, Peruvian bark, sarsaparilla, vanilla, rocou, copahu, ipecacuanha, cooutchone, copal, &c. Woods for dyeing, cabinet-making, and building, abound; and the people of the country collect carefully a multitude of gums, roots, and barks, to which they attribute medicinal virtues the most varied. In many points in the departments, and especially in the provinces of Valle Grande and Cordilleras, iron is found, and traces of quicksilver. Gold is found in the province of Cercado, near the village of San Xavier. The Jesuits wrought mines of silver in the mountains of Colchis. Don Sebastian Rancas, while governor of Chiquitos, announced to the government that diamonds, of very fine water, had been found in the streams in the environs of Santo Corazon.”
September 4.-The shores of the river are low, but abrupt. The lower strata next to the water's edge are of sand, hardening into rock from the superincumbent pressure of the soil with its great trees. There were a great many porpoises sporting in the river. At 3 p. m. we passed the narrow arm of the river that runs by Urarinas, a small village situated on the left bank. The channel inside the island seemed nearly dry. Ijurra, however, passed through it in a small canoe, and bought some fowls and a small monkey at the pueblo. The channel of the river runs near the right bank. Population of Urarinas, eighty.
September 5.—The patos reales, a large and beautiful species of duck with which the river abounds, are now breeding. We saw numbers of pairs conducting their broods over the water. Though the young ones could not fly, they could dive so long and fast that we could not catch them. I brought home a pair of these ducks, and find that they answer exactly to the description of the Egyptian goose. They have small horns on their wings.
We met canoes of Tarapoto from the Ucayali, with salt fish; also one belonging to Urarinas, returning from carrying sarsaparilla to Nauta.