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Maria, and where he generally resided. Business took him to Pebas, and unexpectedly detained him there for fifteen days. The Indians, finding he did not return, reasoned with themselves and said, “Our father has left us; let us go to him." Whereupon they gathered together the personal property the priest bad left; shouldered the church utensils and furniture, even to the doors; set fire to their houses, and joined the padre in Pebas. He directed them to the present station, where they builded houses and established themselves.
Our little padre has also considerable influence over them; though, when he will not accede to all their demands, they contrast his conduct with that of Father Rosa; call him mean, get sulky, and won't go to mass.
It is sad to see the condition of the Peruvian Indians. (That of the Indians of Brazil is worse.) They make no progress in civilization, and they are taught nothing. The generally good, hard-working, and wellmeaning padres, who alone attempt anything like improvement, seem contented to teach them obedience to the church, observance of its ceremonies, and to repeat the "doctrina" like a parrot, without having the least idea of what is meant to be conveyed. The priests, however, say that the fault is in the Indian—that he cannot understand. Padre Lorente, of Tierra Blanca, thought he had his flock a little advanced, and that now he might make some slight appeal to their understanding. He accordingly gathered them together, and exhibiting a little plaster image of the Virgin that they had not yet seen, he endeavored to explain to them that this figure represented the Mother of God, whom he had taught them to worship and pray to; that She was the most exalted of human beings; and that through Her intercession with Her Son, the sins and crimes of men might be forgiven &c. The Indians paid great attention, passing the image from hand to hand, and the good father thought that he was making an impression; but an unlucky expression of one of them showed that their attention was entirely occupied with the image, and that the lesson was lost upon them. He stopped the priest in his discourse, to know if the image were a man or a woman. The friar gave it up in despair, and fell back upon the sense-striking ceremonial of the church, which I think (humanly speaking) is far better calculated to win them to respect and obedience, and thus advance them in civilization, than any other system of religious teaching,
The mind of the Indian is exactly like that of the infant, and it must grow rather by example than by precept. I think that good example, with a wholesome degree of discipline, might do much with this docile people; though there are not wanting intelligent men, well acquainted
with their character, who scruple not to say that the best use to which an Indian can be put is to hang him; that he makes a bad citizen and a worse slave; and (to use a homely phrase) “that his room is more worth than his company.” I myself believe—and I think the case of the Indians in my own country bears me out in the belief—that any attempt to communicate with them ends in their destruction. They cannot bear the restraints of law or the burden of sustained toil; and they retreat from before the face of the white man, with his improvements, till they disappear. This seems to be destiny. Civilization must advance, though it tread on the neck of the savage, or even trample him out of existence.
I think that in this case the government of Peru should take the matter in hand—that it should draw up a simple code of laws for the government of the Missions; appoint intelligent governors to the districts, with salaries paid from the treasury of the country; suppress the smaller villages, and gather the Indians into fewer; appoint a governorgeneral of high character, with dictatorial powers and large salary; tax the inhabitants for the support of a military force of two thousand men, to be placed at his disposal; and throw open the country to colonization, inducing people to come by privileges and grants of land. I am satisfied that in this way, if the Indian be not improved, he will at least be cast out, and that this glorious country may be made to do what it is not now doing—that is, contribute its fair proportion to the maintenance of the human race.
November 18.-Returned to Echenique; the walk occupied three hours without stopping. Although the Orejones have left off some of their savage customs, and are becoming more civilized, they are still sufficiently barbarous to permit their women to do most of the work. I saw to-day twenty of the lazy rascals loitering about, whilst the same number of women were fetching earth and water, trampling it into mud, and plastering the walls of the convento with it. I also saw the women cleaning up and carrying away the weeds and bushes of the town; most of them, too, with infants hanging to their backs. These marry very young
whom I took to be children, with babies that I was told were their own. They suffer very little in parturition, and, in a few hours after the birth of a child, they bathe, go to the chacra, and fetch home a load of
The musquitoes are very troublesome here. I write my journal under a musquito curtain; and whilst I am engaged in skinning birds, it is necessary to have an Indian with a fan to keep them off; even this does not succeed, and my face and hands are frequently quite bloody, where
I saw some,
he has to kill them with his fingers. The Indians bring me a number of very beautiful birds every evening, and I have my hands full, even with the occasional assistance of Arebalo and the padre's servant. I do not know if it arises from the constant tugging at the bird-skins, or the slovenly use of arsenical soap, but the blood gathered under nearly all the nails of my left hand, and they were quite painful.
We have increased our stock of animals largely at this place. They now number thirteen monkeys, a mongoose, and a wild pig, (the Mexican peccary,) with thirty-one birds, and one hundred skins. I bought a young monkey of an Indian woman to-day. It had coarse gray and white hair; and that on the top of its head was stiff, like the quills of the porcupine, and smoothed down in front as if it had been combed. I offered the little fellow some plantain ; but finding he would not eat, the woman took him and put him to her breast, when he sucked away manfully and with great “gusto.” She weaned him in a week so that he would eat plantain mashed up and put into his mouth in small bits ; but the little beast died of mortification, because I would not let him sleep with his arms around my neck.
I had two little monkeys not so large as rats; the peccary ate one, and the other died of grief. My howling monkey refused food, and grunted himself to death. The friars ate their own tails off, and died of the rot; the mongoose, being tied up on account of eating the small birds, literally cut out his entrails with the string before it was noticed. “The peccary jumped overboard and swam askore; the tuyuyus grabbed and swallowed every paroquet that ventured within reach of their bills; and they themselves, being tied on the beach at Eyas, were devoured by the crocodiles. My last monkey died as I went up New York bay; and I only succeeded in getting home about a dozen mutuns, or curassows; a pair of Egyptian geese; a pair of birds, called pucacunga in Peru, and jacu in Brazil; a pair of macaws; a pair of parrots; and a pair of large white cranes, called jaburú, which are the same, I believe, as the birds called adjutants in India.
November 24.- Preparing for departure. Our boat, which had been very badly calked in Nauta, required re-calking. The tow, or filling used is the inner bark of a tree called machinapuro, beaten and mashed into fibres. It answers very well, and there is great abundance in the forest. Its cost is twelve and a half cents the mantada, or as much as an Indian can carry in his blanket. An Indian can gather and grind two mantadas in a day. Ten or twelve mantadas are required to calk such a boat as mine. The pitch of the country is said to be the deposit of an ant in the trees. I never saw it in its original state. It is gathered
by the Indians; heated till soft; made into the shape of wide, thin bricks; and is worth sixty-two and a half cents the arroba. It is very indifferent. A better kind is made by mixing black wax with gum copal.
Father Valdivia entertained us most kindly. His aguadiente gave out; and he occasionally regaled us with a glass of wine, bought for the church in Loreto. It is a weak white wine. I suppose I could not drink it at home, but here it seems very good. I find that this is the case with a great many things. The green plantains, roasted, which were at first an abomination to me, have now become a very good substitute for bread; and a roasted yucca is quite a treat. We have some small red-headed pan fish that are very fine; and, at my suggestion, the padre had two or three fried, added to his usual evening cup of chocolate. I looked forward to this meal with considerable pleasure. I do not know if it arises from the fact of our seeing so few things that are good to eat, or from the freshness of the cocoa, but chocolate, which I could not touch before this, is now very palatable and refreshing. The bean is simply toasted and pulverized, and the chocolate is made nearly as we make coffee. After supper, we—that is, the padre, the governor general, Ijurra, and
, I, provided with fans to keep off the musquitoes—light our cigars, stretch ourselves at full length in a hammock, and pass an hour before bed-time in agreeable conversation. The priest, in this country, has more power, though it is by force of opinion, than the governor of the districts, or even than the governor general. I saw an instance in Nauta, where a man withstood Arebalo to his face, but yielded without a struggle, though growlingly, to the mandate of the padre. In fact, Father Valdivia, though half Indian, and exceedingly simple-minded, is a very resolute and energetic person. On one occasion the governor of Pebas succeeded in carrying off the Indians of that village to the Napo to gather sarza, against the wish of the padre, who wanted them to clear the forest and build the new town, When the governor returned, the priest told him that they two could not live together; that one or the other must resign his office and go away; and the man, knowing the power and influence of the priest, retired from the contest and his post. The padre had great opposition and trouble in forming his new settlement. Even the women (wives of the white men) of Pebas came over to laugh at and ridicule his work; but the good father called his Varayos, had the ladies conducted to their canoes, and, with much ceremonious politeness, directed them to be shoved off.
We obtained from the Indians more of the poisonous milk of the catao, and also the milk of the cow-tree. This they drink when fresh;
and, when brought to me in a calabash, it had a foamy appearance, as if just drawn from the cow; and looked very rich and tempting. It, however, coagulates very soon, and becomes as hard and tenacious as glue. The Indians make use of this property of it to eradicate their eyebrows. This is not so painful an operation as it would seem; for the Indians have never suffered the eyebrows to grow and become strong, and the hair is only down, which is easily plucked up. When the milk coagulates, it expands, so that it forced the glass stopper out of the bottle I put it in, though sealed with pitch. We also got some of the almonds of the country, which I have not seen elsewhere. They are about the size, and have something the appearance, of our common black walnut, with a single oblong kernel, similar in taste to the Brazil nut.
November 26.—We had much heavy rain for the last day or two. A number of persons were affected with catarrh and headache. The padre told me that half of the population were ill of it, and that this always happens at the commencement of the rains. The disease is called romadiza, and is like our influenza. Ijurra and I were both indisposed with rheumatic pains in the back of the neck and shoulders. I don't wonder at this, for we have slept all the time in a room just plastered with mud, and so damp that, where my bed-clothes came in contact with the wall, they were quite wet; and the rain beat in upon my head and shoulders through an open window nearly over head. My boots are covered with mould every morning, and the guns get halffull of water.
I gave the padre's servant, who was suffering very much from romadiza, fifteen grains of Dover's powder, (Heaven knows if it were proper or not,) and also to the padre's sister, who had been suffering for some days with painful diarrhoea, forty drops of laudanum. The old lady was cured at once, and said she had never met with so great a remedio. I left her a phial of it, with directions for its use; telling her (at which she looked aghast) that it was a deadly poison. It is curious to see how entirely ignorant the best-informed people out here are concerning the properties of medicines. Most of them do not know the names, much less the effects, of even such common drugs as calomel and opium. I suspect this is the case among most Spanish people, and think that Spanish physicians have always made a great mystery of their science.
We sailed from Echenique at half-past 1 p. m. Father Valdivia, who is musical, but chanted the mass in a falsetto that would be very difficult to distinguish, at a little distance, from the rattling of a tin pan,