ePub 版

the missionary rule; some seventy or eighty of the priests perishing in the wreck.

It is quite evident that no distaste for the Catholic religion induced this rebellion; for in the year 1750, eight years afterward, the Marquis of Minahermosa, marching into this country for the punishment of the rebels, found the church at Quimiri, on the river Perene, in perfect order, with candles burning before the images. He burned the town and church. And six years after this, when another entrance into this country was made by Gen. Bustamente, he found the town rebuilt, and a large cross erected in the middle of the plaza, or public square. I have had occasion myself to notice the respect and reverence of these Indians for their pastors, and their delight in participating in the ceremonial, and sense-striking worship of the Roman Church.

It remains but to speak of the conversions of the Ucayali, in the Pampa del Sacramento, made by the Franciscans of Ocopa, and which are the only trophies that now remain of the zeal, patience, and suffering of these devoted men.


The missions established on the Ucayali by Fathers Biedma and Caballero, in the years 1673 to 1686, were lost by insurrections of the Indians in 1704. In 1726, the converted Indians about the head of canoe navigation on the Huallaga, (the tidings of the gospel were first carried to these from Huanuco, by Felipe Luyendo, in 1631,) crossing the hills that border that river on its eastern bank, discovered a wooded plain, which was named Pampa del Sacramento, from the day of its discovery being the festival of Corpus Cristi. This was a new field for the missionary; and by 1760, the Fathers of the college at Ocopa had penetrated across this plain to the Ucayali, and re-established the missions of Manoa, the former spiritual conquests of Biedma. get at these missions with less difficulty, expeditions were made from Huanuco by the way of Pozuzu, Mayro, and the Pachitea, in the years 1763 to 1767. Several missionaries lost their lives by the Cushibos Indians of the Pachitea; and in this last year the Indians of the Ucayali rose upon the missionaries, killed nine of them, and broke up their settlements. But not for this were they to be deterred. In 1790 Father Narciso Girbal, with two others, under the direction of Sobreviela, then guardian of the college at Ocopa, went down the Pachitea and again established these missions, of which there remain three at this time, called, respectively, Sarayacu, Tierra Blanca, and Sta. Catalina.

The difficulties of penetrating into these countries, where the path is to be broken for the first time, can only be conceived by one who has

travelled over the roads already trodden. The broken and precipitous mountain track—the deep morass-the thick and tangled forest-the danger from Indians, wild beasts, and reptiles-the scarcity of provisions-the exposure to the almost appalling rains-and the navigation of the impetuous and rock-obstructed river, threatening at every moment shipwreck to the frail canoe- -form obstacles that might daunt any heart

but that of the gold-hunter or the missionary.

The most remarkable voyage down the Amazon was made by a woman. Madame Godin des Odonnais, wife of one of the French commissioners who was sent with Condamine to measure an arc of the meridian near Quito, started in 1769, from Rio Bamba, in Ecuador, to join her husband in Cayenne by the route of the Amazon. She embarked at Canelos, on the Borbonaza, with a company of eight persons; two, besides herself, being females. On the third day the Indians who conducted their canoe deserted: another Indian, whom they found sick in a hovel near the bank, and employed as pilot, fell from the canoe in endeavoring to pick up the hat of one of the party, and was drowned.

The canoe, under their own management, soon capsized, and they lost all their clothing and provisions. Three men of the party now started for Andoas, on the Pastaza, which they supposed themselves to be within five or six days of, and never returned. The party left behind, now consisting of the three females and two brothers of Madame Godin, lashed a few logs together and attempted again to navigate; but their frail vessel soon went to pieces by striking against the fallen trees in the river. They then attempted to journey on foot along the banks of the river, but finding the growth here too thick and tangled for them to make any way, they struck off into the forest in hopes of finding a less obstructed path.

They were soon lost: despair took possession of them, and they perished miserably of hunger and exhaustion. Madame Godin, recov ering from a swoon, which she supposes to have been of many hours' duration, took the shoes from her dead brother's feet and started to walk, she knew not whither. Her clothes were soon torn to rags, her body lacerated by her exertions in forcing her way through the tangled and thorny undergrowth, and she was kept constantly in a state of deadly terror by the howl of the tiger and the hiss of the serpent. It is wonderful that she preserved her reason. Eight terrible days and nights did she wander alone in the howling wilderness, supported by a few berries and birds' eggs. Providentially (one cannot say accidentally) she struck the river at a point where two Indians (a man and a woman)

were just launching a canoe. They received her with kindness, furnished her with food, gave her a coarse cotton petticoat, which she preserved for years afterwards as a memorial of their goodness, and carried her in their canoe to Andoas, whence she found a passage down the river, and finally joined her husband. Her hair turned gray from suffering, and she could never hear the incidents of her voyage alluded to without a feeling of horror that bordered on insanity.



Orders-Investigation of routes-Lake Rogoaguado-River Beni-Chanchamayo-Cuzco route-River Madre de Dios-Gold mines of Carabaya-Route through the cities of Truxillo, Caxamarca, Chachapoyas, Moyobamba, &c.Preparations for the journey-The start.

On the 4th of April, 1851, Lieutenant Lardner Gibbon, of the navy, arrived at Lima, and delivered me orders from the Navy Department, of which the following is a copy:

NAVY DEPARTMENT, February 15, 1851. SIR: The department is about to confide to you a most important and delicate duty, which will call for the exercise of all those high qualities and attainments, on account of which you have been selected.

The government desires to be put in possession of certain information relating to the valley of the river Amazon, in which term is included the entire basin, or water-shed, drained by that river and its tributaries.

This desire extends not only to the present condition of that valley, with regard to the navigability of its streams; to the number and condition, both industrial and social, of its inhabitants, their trade and products; its climate, soil, and productions; but also to its capacities for cultivation, and to the character and extent of its undeveloped commercial resources, whether of the field, the forest, the river, or the mine.

You will, for the purpose of obtaining such information, proceed across the Cordillera, and explore the Amazon from its source to its mouth.

Passed Midshipman Lardner Gibbon, a prudent and intelligent officer, has been selected to accompany you on this service, and is instructed to report accordingly.

This, together with a few instruments, necessary for such an expedition, will be delivered to you by him.

Being joined by him, you will commence to make such arrangements as may be necessary for crossing the Andes and descending the Amazon; and having completed them, you will then proceed on your journey without further orders.

The route by which you may reach the Amazon river is left to your discretion. Whether you will descend the Ucayali, or the Huallaga, or any other of the Peruvian tributaries, or whether you will cross over into

Bolivia, and, passing through the province of Yongas, embark on the Mamoré or Ytenes, or whether you will try the Beni or any other route to the Madeira, and thence to the Amazon, the state of the information which you have collected, under a former order, will enable you to decide more judiciously than it is possible for the department, with the meagre state of its information upon the subject, to do.

It is not desired that you should select any route by which you and your party would be exposed to savage hostility, beyond your means of defence and protection.

Neither is it desirable that your party should be so large, on the one hand, as to excite the suspicion of the people, or give offence to the authorities, of the country through which you may pass, nor so small, on the other, as to endanger its success.

You are, therefore, authorized to employ a cook, servant, guide, and interpreter, and to provide them with such arms as it is customary only for travellers generally, in that part of the world, to carry for their own protection. And these arms you will have returned to you at Pará.

The Navy Agent at Lima has been instructed to furnish, upon your requisition, the necessary articles for the outfit of yourself and party, and to honor your draft for a sum not exceeding five thousand dollars, to cover your expenses by the way. As these expenses will be mostly for mules and arrieros, boats and boats' crews, it is supposed that the sum named will be much more than sufficient. You will use of it only for the necessary expenses of the party.

The geographical situation and the commercial position of the Amazon indicate the future importance, to this country, of the free navigation of that river.

To enable the government to form a proper estimate as to the degree of that importance, present and prospective, is the object of your


>You will, therefore, avail yourself of the best sources of information that can be had in answer to any or all of the following questions:

What is the present condition of the silver mines of Peru and Bolivia-their yield: how and by whom are they principally wrought? What is the machinery used, whence obtained, and how transported? Are mines of this metal, which are not worked, known to exist? What impulse would the free navigation of the Amazon give to the working of those mines? What are their capacities; and if the navigation of that river and its tributaries were open to commerce, what effect would it have in turning the stream of silver from those mines down these rivers? With what description of craft can they be navigated respectively?

« 上一頁繼續 »