« 上一頁繼續 »
We called on the governor general of the Missions of Mainas, Don José Maria Arebalo, who received us with some formality, and gave us lodgings in one of the houses of the village-I suspect, turning out the inhabitants for that purpose. My companion, Ijurra, was not sure of a cordial reception; for, when sub-prefect of the province, he had caused Arebalo to be arrested and carried prisoner from Balza Puerto to Moyobamba. But our friend was much too magnanimous to remember old feuds; and he and Ijurra soon became boon companions.
Nauta is a fishing village of one thousand inhabitants, mostly Indians of the Cocama tribe, which is distinct from that of the Cocamillas of Laguna. It has a few white residents engaged in trading with the Indians for salt fish, wax, and sarsaparilla, which are obtained from the Ucayali. Don Bernardino Cauper, an old Portuguese, does most of the business of the place. He sends parties of Indians to fish or gather sarsaparilla upon the Napo and Ucayali; and he has two or three boats (called in this part of the country garreteas) trading down the river as far as Egas. He supplies all the country above with foreign articles from Brazil, and receives consignments from the upper country, which he sends to Egas.
Don Bernardino lives in a sort of comfort. He has plenty of meat, (calling turtle, salt fish, and fowls meat,) with farinha from below, and beans and onions from his little garden. There is good tobacco from above to smoke, and wholesome, though fiery, Lisbon wine to drink. I have been frequently struck during my journey with the comparative value of things. The richest man of a village of one thousand inhabitants, in the United States, would think Bernardino's table poorly supplied, and would turn up his nose at a grass hammock slung between two hooks in the shop for a bed-place. Yet these things were regal luxuries to us; and, doubtless, being the best that are to be had, Don Bernardino is perfectly contented, and desires nothing better.
The old gentleman is very pious. The Cura of Pebas was at this time in Nauta, attending to the repairs of the church; and we celebrated a nine-days service (Novena) in honor of our Lady of Mercy, the patroness of the arms of Peru. The expenses of the service (being a fee for the padre and the lighting of the church with wax) were borne by individuals. The padre gave the first day; then Senhor Cauper; then his wife, his wife's sister, his son, his pretty Brazilian niece, Donna Candida; then came Arebalo; then Ijurra and I; the priest winding up on Sunday. But my old friend was not contented with this; and when I shoved off on Monday for the Ucayali, I left him engaged in another church service, setting off rockets, and firing, from
time to time, an old blunderbuss, loaded to the muzzle, in honor of a miracle that had happened in Rimini, in Italy, some year and a half ago, of which we had just received intelligence.
The governor general gave me some statistics, from which it appears that the province of Mainas is divided into the province proper, (of which the capital is Moyabamba,) the upper and lower Missions, and the Conversions of the Ucayali.
The upper Mission has four districts-Balza Puerto, Xeberos, Laguna, and Andoas; containing seventeen villages, and nine thousand nine hundred and eleven inhabitants. The lower Mission has two districtsNauta and Loreto, with seventeen villages, and three thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine inhabitants. The Conversions of the Ucayali are confined to the villages of Sarayacu, Tierra Blanca, and Sta. Catalina, and number one thousand three hundred and fifty inhabitants, mostly converts of the Panos tribe. They are governed by priests of the College of Ocopa, who are under the spiritual direction of its guardian; but hold their temporal authority under the prefect of the department. Arebalo estimates the number of whites in the Missions and Conversions-counting men, women, and children—at four hundred and seven. Both Missions are under the authority of a governor general, who holds his commission from the sub-prefect of the province. Each district has its governor, and each town its lieutenant governor. other authorities of a town are curacas, captains, lieutenants, adjutants, ensigns, sergeants, alcaldes, and constables. (All these are Indians.) The office of curaca is hereditary. The right of succession is sometimes interfered with by the white governor; but this always gives dissatisfaction, and is occasionally (added to other grievances) the cause of rebellion and riot. The savages treat their curaca with great respect, and submit to corporal punishment at his mandate.
I know of no legal establishment in the Missions; the law proceeding out of the mouths of the governors. Indians are punished by flogging or confinement in the stocks; whites are sometimes imprisoned; but if their offence is of a grave nature, they are sent to be tried and judged by the courts of the capital.
Arebalo estimates the value of the commerce of the Missions with Brazil at twenty thousand dollars annually; and that with the Pacific coast, through Chachapoyas and Truxillo, at twenty thousand more. The vegetable productions of the Missions do not equal the value of the imports; but the people get some money from the coast for their manufactures of coarse cotton and straw-hats; and a little gold is occasionally obtained from the sands of the Napo and Pastaza.
The Missions send to Chachapoyas and Truxillo tobacco, salt fish, straw-hats, coarse cotton cloths, wax, incense for the churches, balsam copaiba, and vanilla; and receive, in return, cattle, horses, goods of Europe, and a little money. The Brazilians bring up heavy articlessuch as I described as composing the cargo of the traders we met at Laguna; and take back straw-hats, hammocks of the Indians, sarsaparilla, and money. The value of the sarsaparilla of the Missions is estimated at two thousand dollars at the place of production, and six thousand at its place of sale in Brazil; the value of the wax at the same at the place of production; and at four thousand dollars at place of sale. The greatest profit, however, is made on the fish, of which thirty thousand pieces are taken annually in the Ucayali and Amazon. It costs there about three cents the piece; and is worth in Tarapoto, Lamas, and other places of the province, about twelve and a half cents the piece.
Estimate of the expenses and returns of a canoe-load of salt fish from Nauta to Balza Puerto.
DR. A canoe-load of eight hundred pieces may be bought in Nauta for one yard of English cotton cloth (valued at twenty-five cents) for every eight pieces
Freight, or hire of canoe, for thirty-six days, from Nauta
Pay of seven peons, 12 yards of cotton cloth of Tara-
CR. Eight hundred pieces in Balza Puerto, at 124 cents
- 100 00
or about one hundred and twenty-six per cent. in thirty-six days.
The return-cargo also yields a profit: so that my friend, the governor, who by virtue of his office can get as many men to take fish for him as he wants, will probably return to civilized parts in a few years with a snug little sum in his pocket. Old Cauper is rich, and the priest in comfortable circumstances.
Estimate of expenses and returns of an expedition from Nauta to the Ucayali for the collection of sarsaparilla. (The expedition will occupy four months of time.)
DR. Hire of two garreteas, that will carry seventy-five arrobas
Contract with fifty Pirros or Conibos Indians (who now
CR. One hundred and fifty arrobas, worth in Nauta two dollars the arroba
Profit in four months
or about thirteen and a half per cent. per month.
The people engaged in this occupation make, however, more profit, by cheating the Indians in every possible mode. They also own the garreteas; and, by management, support their peons for less than three cents per day.
This is an estimate made up from information given by Arebalo. Hacket makes a much better business of it. He says, "Eighty working hours above Sarayacu, on the Ucayali, is the mouth of the river Aguaytia, on the banks of which grows sarsaparilla in sufficient quantity not only to enrich the province of Mainas, but all the department of Amazonas. Its cost is eight varas of tocuyo the hundred pounds, undertaking the work of gathering it with formality-that is to say, employing one hundred persons under the direction of a man of talent, and paying them a monthly salary of twenty-four varas of tocuyo each; quadruple the price that is generally paid in Mainas.
"It sells in Nauta, Peruate, and Loreto for nine dollars the hundred pounds, gold or silver coin; in Tabatinga, (frontier of Brazil,) for ten dollars and fifty cents; in Pará, for twenty-five dollars; and in Europe, for from forty to sixty dollars, in times of greatest abundance."
Sarsaparilla is a vine of sufficient size to shoot up fifteen or twenty feet from the root without support. It then embraces the surrounding trees, and spreads to a great distance. The main root sends out many tendrils, generally about two lines in diameter, and five feet long. These are gathered and tied up in large bundles of about a Portuguese arroba, or thirty-two pounds of weight. The main root, or madre, should not be disturbed; but the Indians are little careful in this matter, and frequently cut it off, by which much sarsaparilla is destroyed. The digging up of the small roots out of the wet and marshy soil is a laborious and unhealthy occupation.
It is to be found on the banks of almost every tributary of the great streams of the Montaña; but a great many of these are not worked, on account of the savages living on their banks, who frequently attack the parties that come to gather it. On the "Pangoa" are the Campas; on the "Pachitea," the "Aguaytia," and the " Pisque," are the "Cashibos;" and the whole southern border of the Amazon, from the mouth of the Ucayali to that of the Yavari, is inhabited by the "Mayorunas;" all savages, and averse to intercourse with the white man. The same is the case on the "Tigreyacu," where there is said to be much sarsaparilla. Padre Calvo, the president of the Missions at Sarayacu, told me that, although he has the exclusive right, by order of the prefect, of collecting all the sarsaparilla on the Ucayali and its tributaries, he could not, if I were willing to pay any price, supply me with more than three hundred arrobas per annum, on account of the difficulty of getting laborers who are willing to brave the attacks of the savages.
I have estimated the annual cost of running a small steamer betwen Loreto, the frontier port of Peru and Chasuta, a distance of eight hundred miles, entirely within the Peruvian territory, at twenty thousand dollars, including the establishment of blacksmiths' and carpenters' shops at Nauta for her repairs. According to the estimate of Arebalo, (and I judge that he is very nearly correct,) the value of the imports and exports to and from Brazil is twenty thousand dollars annually. I have no doubt that the appearance of a steamer in these waters would at once double the value; for it would, in the first place, convert the thousand men who are now employed in the fetching and carrying of the articles of trade into producers, and would give a great impulse to trade by facilitating it. A loaded canoe takes eighty days to ascend these eight hundred miles. A steamer will do it in twelve, giving ample time to take in wood, to land and receive cargo at the various villages on the river, and to lay by at night. When the river becomes better known she can run for a large part of the night, and thus shorten her time