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exploration of the main stream and adjacent tributaries, until my arrival, or you hear from me.
You are already possessed of the views of the department regarding the objects of this expedition. A copy of its instructions is herewith furnished you. You will follow them as closely as possible.
Should you go into “ Bolivia," I would call your attention to the “cascarilla,” or Peruvian bark, which is of a better quality in that country than elsewhere. Make yourself acquainted with its history and present condition. Wishing you success, I remain your obedient servant,
WM. LEWIS HIERNDON,
Lieutenant U. S. Navy. Passed Midshipman LARDNER GIBBON,
U. S. Navy.
Other reasons that induced me to take this step were, that I might carry out the instructions of the department as fully as lay in my power; and while I gave my own personal attention to the countries drained by the upper Marañon and its tributaries, Mr. Gibbon might
, explore some, and gather all the information he could respecting others, x of the Bolivian tributaries of the Amazon. The objections were, that
the department had not sanctioned the step, and that by separating we were deprived of the comfort and assistance to be derived from companionship--no small item in so long and lonely a journey. But I did not conceive that these should weigh against the consideration that we could cover more ground apart than together.
TI felt that, under my instructions requiring me to explore the Amazon from its source to its mouth, I could not neglect the route I finally determined to take. This route would enable me to form a judgment respecting the practicability of a transitable connexion between Lima and the navigable head waters of the tributaries of the Amazon-would lead me through the richest and most productive mineral district of Peru—would put under my observation nearly all the course of the Amazon-and would enable me to gather information regarding the Pampa del Sacramento, or great plain, shut in between four great rivers, and concerning which the “Viagero Universal ” says " that the two continents of America do not contain another country so favorably situated, or so fertile."
The last and most commonly-used route to the Montaña is through
the cities of Truxillo, Caxamarca, Chachapoyas, Moyobamba, &c. The
This route crosses the Amazon, or rather the Marañon, where, ac-
That the rains might be entirely over, and the roads on the mend in
Our purchases were four saddle-mules, which, through the agency of
hoofs were round, sound, and apparently as hard as iron, we decided not to shoe; and, I believe, did better than if we had followed a contrary course. We also purchased about a thousand yards of coarse cotton cloth, made in the mills at Lima, and put up for mountain travel in bales of half a mule-load; hatchets, knives, tinder-boxes, fish-hooks, beads, looking-glasses, cotton handkerchiefs, ribbons, and cheap trinkets, which we thought might take the fancy of the Indians, and purchase us services and food when money would not. These things were also put up in boxes of the same size and shape, and each equal to half a mule-load. Our trunks were arranged in the same way, so that they might be lashed one on each side of the mule's back, with an Indiarubber bag, (also obtained from the Raritan,) which carried our bedclothes, put on top in the space between them. This makes a compact and easily-handled load ; and every traveller in the Cordillera should take care to arrange his baggage in this way, and have, as far as possible, everything under lock and key, and in water-tight chests. Such small, incongruous articles as our pots and pans for cooking, our tent, and particularly the tent-pole, which was carried fore and aft above a cargo, and which, from its length, was poking into everything, and constantly getting awry, gave us more trouble than anything else.
Our bedding consisted of the saddle-cloths, a stout blanket, and anything else that could be packed in the India-rubber bag. An Englishman frorn New Holland, whom I met in Lima, gave me a coverlet made of the skins of a kind of raccoon, which served me many a good turn; and often, when in the cold of the Cordillera I wrapped myself in its warm folds, I felt a thrill of gratitude for the thoughtful kindness which had provided me with such a comfort. We purchased thick flannel shirts, ponchos, of India-rubber, wool, and cotton, and had straw hats, covered with oil-cloth, and fitted with green veils, to protect our eyes from the painful affections which often occur by the sudden bursting out of the sunlight upon the masses of snow that lie forever upon the mountain tops.
We carried two small kegs-one containing brandy, for drinking, and the other, the common rum of the country, called Ron de Quemar, for burning; also, some coarse knives, forks, spoons, tin cups and plates. I' did not carry, as I should have done, a few cases of preserved meat, sardines, cheese, &c., which would have given us a much more agreeable meal than we often got on the road; but I did carry, in the Indiarubber bags, quite a large quantity of biscuit, which I had baked in Lima, which served a very good purpose, and lasted us to Tarma.
We had the mules fitted with the heavy, deep-seated box saddles of
Peru. I believe the English saddle would be much more comfortable, and probably as safe to the rider accustomed to it; but it would be almost impossible with these to preserve the skin of the mule from chafe. The Peruvian saddles rest entirely upon the ribs of the animal, which are protected by at least six yards of a coarse woollen fabric manufactured in the country, called jerga, and touch the back-bone nowhere. These saddles are a wooden box frame, stuffed thickly on the inside, and covered outwardly with buckskin. They are fitted with heavy, square, wooden stirrups, which are thought to preserve the legs from contact with projecting rocks, and, being lined with fur, to keep the feet warm. There is also a heavy breast-strap and crupper for steep ascents and descents; and a thick pillon, or mat, made of thrums of cotton, silk, or hair, is thrown over the saddle, to make the seat soft. The reins and head-stall of the bridle should be broad and strong, and the bit the coarse and powerful one of the country. Our guns, in leathern cases, were slung to the crupper, and the pistols carried in holsters, made with large pockets, to carry powder-flasks, percussion caps, specimens that we might pick up on the road, &c. A small box of instruments, for skinning birds and dissecting animals; a medicine chest, containing, among other things, some arsenical soap, for preserving skins; a few reams of coarse paper, for drying leaves and plants; chart paper, in a tin case; passports and other papers, also in a tin case; note books, pencils, &c., completed our outfit. A chest was made, with compartments for the sextant, artificial horizon, boiling-point apparatus, camera lucida, and spy-glass. The chronometer was carried in the pocket, and the barometer, slung in a leathern case made for it, at the saddle-bow of Mr. Gibbon's mule. On the 15th of May, I engaged the services of an arriero, or muleteer.
I He engaged to furnish beasts to carry the party and its baggage from Lima to Tarma at ten dollars the head, stopping on the road wherever I pleased, and as long as I pleased, for that sum. An ordinary train of baggage mules may be had on the same route for about seven dollars the head. The arrieros of Peru, as a class, have a very indifferent reputation for faithfulness and honesty, and those on the route, (that from Lima to Cerro Pasco,) to which my friend particularly belonged, are said to be the worst of their class. He was a thin, spare, dark Indian of the Sierra, or mountain land, about forty-five years of age, with keen, black eye, thin moustache, and deliberate in his speech and gesture. I thought I had seldom seen a worse face; but Mr. McCall said that he was rather better-looking than the generality of them. He managed to cheat me very soon after our acquaintance.
Arrieros, when they supply as many mules as I had engaged, always furnish a peon, or assistant, to help load and unload, and take care of
he mules. Mine, taking advantage of my ignorance in these matters, said to me that his peon was “ desanimado.” (disheartened,) was afraid of the “Piedra Parade” or upright rock, where we were to cross the Cordillera, and had backed out; but that he himself could
well attend to the mules if I would be good enough to let him have the occasional assistance of my Indian servant. I unwarily promised, which was the cause of a good deal of difficulty; but when the old rascal complained of over-work and sickness on the road, I had an answer for him which always silenced him—that is, that it was his own cupidity and dishonesty which caused it, and that, if he did not work and behave himself, I would discharge him without pay, and send back to Lima for another.
I directed him to bring the mules to the hotel-door on the 20th; but, upon his finding that this was Tuesday, he demurred, saying that it was an unlucky day, and that no arriero was willing to start on that day, but that Monday was lucky, and begged that I would be ready by then. This I could not do; so that on Wednesday, the 21st of May, we loaded up, though I had to cajole, and finally to bribe the old fellow, to take on all the baggage, which he represented to be too much for his beasts.
I did wrong to start, for the party was short of a servant allowed by my instructions. (I had not been able to get one in Lima, except at an unreasonable price, and depended upon getting one in some of the towns of the Sierra.) The arriero needed a peon, and the mules were overloaded. I would strongly advise all travellers in these parts to imitate the conduct of the Jesuits, whose first day's journey is to load their burden-mules, saddle, and mount their riding-mules ; go twice round the patio, or square, on the inside of their dwelling, to see that everything is prepared and fits properly; and then unload and wait for the morning. However, I foresaw a longer delay by unloading again than I was willing to make; and after a hard morning's work in drumming up the Peruvian part of the expedition, these people have not the slightest idea that a man will start on a journey on the day he proposes,) the party, consisting of myself, Mr. Gibbon, Mr. Richards, Mr. Ijurra, Mauricio, an Indian of Chamicuros, (a village on the Huallaga,) and the arriero, Pablo Luis Arredondo, with seven burdenmules, defiled out, by the Gate of Marvels, (Puerta de Maravillas,) and took the broad and beaten road that ascends the left bank of the Rimac.