Page:The Present State of Peru.djvu/380

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330
TOPOGRAPHY.

through which they pass, their windings, confluences, and the places where they discharge themselves, not having been well ascertained. Don Fernandez Cornejo, a colonel of militia resident in the city of Salta, one of those true and zealous patriots who do honour to the nation and to the age, projected a fluviatic voyage, to be undertaken at his own expence, With a view to ascertain whether the Bermejo is navigable from the province of Tucuman to the spot where it empties itself into the Parahuay. Ignorance, envy, calumny, and treachery, those malignant geniuses which take a barbarous delight in opposing and throwing obstacles in the way of great enterprizes, made their utmost efforts to defeat the execution of this one. Their aim was, however, frustrated; since its author obtained, for the accomplishment of his purpose, a powerful and extraordinary aid, such as is without any example in the history of the two Americas. Donna Josefa Meono, the lady of Don Nicolas de Arredondo, viceroy of Buenos-Ayres, took under her protection both the project and the consequences which might result from it. Cornejo, sheltered and encouraged by this distinguished patronage, imposed silence on his enemies, overcame every obstacle, and commenced his expedition on the 27th day of June, 1790. The place from which he took his departure is a small haven or bay, formed by the river Bermejo at its confluence with the Centa. He embarked on board a kind of xebeck, with a crew of twenty-six persons, partly soldiers and partly seamen, distributed in his vessel, and in the two canoes which followed and composed the armament. After a navigation of forty-four days, he reached the spot where the Bermejo disembogues itself into the Paraguay, twenty-four leagues to the north of the city of

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