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baggage when they went out to fight or to hunt, they must necefsarily have been inured to hardships, and rendered capable of forming so bold a resolution. Since this story has been propagated, infinite pains have been taken to find out the truth of it, but no traces could ever be discovered.
The mind of a good man is pleafed with the reflection, that any part of South-America has escaped the ravages of European tyrants. This country has hitherto remained unsubdued; the original inhabitants, therefore, enjoy their native freedom and independence, the birthright of every human being.
P A TAG ON I A.
ATAGONIA is situated between 350 and 54° south latitude ; its length is eleven hundred miles, and its breadth three hundred and fifty: it is bounded north by Chili and Paragua; cast by the Atlantic ocean; south by the Straits of Magellan ; west by the Pacific ocean.
The climate is said to be much colder in this country than in the north under the same parallels of latitude, which is imputed to the Andes, which pass through it, being covered with eternal snow: it is almost impossible to say what the soil would produce, as it is not at all cultivated by the natives. The northern parts are covered with wood, among which is an inexhaustible fund of large timber ; but towards the south, it is said, there is not a single tree large enough to be of use to mechanics. There are, however, good pastures, which feed incredible numbers of horned cattle and horses, first carried there by the Spaniards, and now increased in an amazing degree.
It is inhabited by a variety of Indian tribes, among which are the Patagons, from whom the country takes its names, the Pampas and the Coffores : they all live upon fish and game, and what the earth produces spontaneously: their huts are thatched, and, notwithstanding the rigour of the climate, they wear no other clothes than a mantle made of seal kin, or the skin of some beast, and that they throw off when they are in action: they are exceedingly hardy,
rave and active, making use of their arms, which are bows and arrows headed with flints, with amazing dexterity.
Magellan, who first discovered the straits which bear his name, and after him Commodore Byron, have reported, that there exists, in these regions, a race of giants ; but others, who have failed this way, contradict the report. Upon the whole we may conclude, that this story is, perhaps, like that of the female republic of Amazons.
The Spaniards once built a fort upon the straits, and left a garrison in it to prevent any other European nation passing that way into the Pacific ocean; but most of the men perished by hunger, whence VOL. IV.
the place obtained the name of port Famine, and since that fatal event, no nation has attempted to plant colonies in Patagonia. As to the religion or government of these savages, we have no certain information : some have reported, that these people believe in invisible powers, both good and evil; and that they pay a tribute of gratitude to the one, and deprecate the wrath and vengeance of the other.
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS. We have now traversed the several provinces of that extensive region, which is comprehended between the isthmus of Darien and the fifty-fourth degree of south latitude. We have taken a curfury view of the rivers, the soil, the climate, the productions, the commerce, the inhabitants, &c.
The history of Columbus, together with his bold and adventurous actions in the discovery of this country, we have but slightly noticed in this account, as we had done this in a preceding part of this work. * His elevated mind suggested to him ideas superior to any other man of his age, and his aspiring genius prompted him to make greater and more noble efforts for new discoveries : he crossed the extensive At. lantic, and brought to view a world unheard of by the people of the ancient hemisphere. This excited an enterprising, avaricious, spirit among the inhabitants of Europe; and they flocked to America for the purposes of plunder. In confequence of which, a scene of barbarity has been acted, of which South-America has been the principal theatre, which shocks the human mind, and almost staggers belief. No sooner had the Spaniards set foot upon the American continent, than they laid claim to the soil, to the mines, and to the services of the natives, wherever they came.
Countries were invaded, kingdoms were overturned, innocence was attacked, and happiness had no afylum. Des. potism and cruelty, with all their terrible scourges, attended their advances in every part: they went forth, they conquered, they ra. vaged, they destroyed: no deceit, no cruelty, was too great to be made use of to satisfy their avarice : justice was disregarded, and mercy formed no part
of the character of these in human conquerors : they were intent only on the prosecution of schemes molt degrading and most scandalous to the human character. In South-America, the kingdoms of Terra Firma, of Peru, of Chili, of Paragua, of Brasil, and of Guiana, fucceffively fell a facrifice to their vicious
ambition and avarice. The history of their several reductions was too copious to be inserted at large in a work of this kind; but we have endeavoured to afford the reader a brief view of those transactions which have blasted the character of all those who had any thing to do with the conquest of this part of the globe. Let us then turn from these distressing scenes ; let us leave the political world, where nothing but spectacles of horror are presented to our view; where scenes of blood and carnage distract the imagination; where the avarice, injustice and inhumanity of men, furnish nothing but uneasy sensations ; let us leave these, and enter the natural world, whose laws are constant and uniform, and where beautiful, grand and sublime objects continually present themselves to our view.
We have given a description of those beautiful and spacious rivers which every where intersect this country; and of that immense chain of mountains, which runs from one end of the continent to the other. These enormous maffes, which rise to such prodigious heights above the humble surface of the earth, where almost all mankind have fixed their residence; these masses, which in one part are crowned with impenetrable and ancient forests, that have never resounded with the stroke of the hatchet, and in another, raise their towering tops, and arrest the clouds in their course, while in other parts they keep the traveller at a distance from their summits, either by ram, parts of ice that surround them, or from vollies of filame issuing forth from the frightful and yawning caverns; these masses giving rise to impetuous torrents descending with dreadful noise from their open fides, to rivers, fountains and boiling springs, fill every beholder with astonishment.
The height of the most elevated point in the Pyrenees is, according to Mr. Collini, fix thousand fix hundred and forty-six feet. The height of the mountain Gemmi, in the canton of Berne, is ten thousand one hundred and ten feet. The height of the peak of Teneriffe, is thirteen thousand one hundred and seventy-eight feet. The height of the Chimborazo, the most elevated point of the An. des, is twenty thousand two hundred and eighty feet. Thus, upon comparison, the highest part of the Andes is seven thoufand one hundred and two feet higher than the peak of Teneriffe, the mos elevated mountain known in the ancient hemisphere.
The valt continent of America is divided into tivo parts, North and South, the narrow isthmus of Darien serving as a link to connect them together ; between the Florida fhore on the northern peninsula, and the gulf of Maracabo on the southern, lie a multitude of islands, which are called the West-Indies, from the name of India, originally assigned to them by Columbus ; though, in consequence of the opinions of some geographers of the fifteenth century, they are frequently known by the appellation of Antilia or Antilles : this term is, however, more often applied to the windward or Caribbean ilands.
Subordinate to this comprehensive and simple arrangement, necessity or convenicnce has introduced more local distinctions : that portion of the Atlantic which is separated from the main ocean to the north and east by the islands, though known by the general appella: tion of the Mexican gulf, is itself properly divided into three distinct parts; the gulf of Mexico, the bay of Honduras, and the Carib. bean sça, so called from that class of islands which bound this part of the ocean on the east. Of this class, a group nearly adjoining to the eastern side of St. John de Porto Rico is likewise called the Virgin illes. * The name of Bahama islands is likewise given, or
be proper to observe, that the old Spanish navigators, in speaking of the Weft-India islınds, frequently distinguith them into two classes, by the terms Barlon venia pod Sotavento, from whence our Windward and Leeward islands, the Caribbean constituting, in ftri&t propriety, the former class, and the islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola and Porto-Rico the latter ; but the Englisha mariners appropriate both terms to the Caribbean islands only, subdividing them according to their situation in the course of trade; the Windyard islands, by their arrangement, terminating, I be. lieve, with Martinico, and the Leeward commencing at Dominica and extending ta Porto-Rico. Edwards' Hift. Vol. I. p. 5.