The Present State of Peru/8

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In all nations and states, the progress of the sciences has been uniformly slow. When the temples of Egypt, and the porticoes of Athens, were the archives of history and philosophy, human acquirements remained in a manner stagnant, in the obscurity of the hieroglyphics, and in the verbal precepts of the masters. The Romans, to whom the knowledge of the Greeks devolved, propagated in every part of the globe the refinement of their ideas, conjointly with the glory of their triumphant arms. With the prosperity of the empire, civilization, study, and literature, received a proportionate increase. Soon, however, this smiling scene underwent an entire change: the establishment of two empires, in the east and in the west; the successive revolutions in each of these dominions; the wars carried on by the barbarians; the irruptions made by them into almost every part of Europe; and other analogous events, caused the sciences and fine arts to disappear, and in that point of view may be said to have brutalized society. Then it was that the monk, retired from the world, or voluntarily obscured according to the conception of men, was the sole depository of these arts, and of these sciences, more especially of those which are termed abstract. In the cloisters, the judge, the warrior, and the monarch, received their education; and thence issued the faint light which was progressively diffused among the rest of the social body. We should never have ceased to depend on cenobitical instruction, if the surprizing and most useful invention of the press had not generalized the ideas of literature, facilitating at the same time both its study and acquisition. The press associated the talents of the whole world; and by its means the meditations of the swarthy Lydian were transmitted to the remote inhabitants of the British isles.

Among the different objects which have occupied the press, no one has been more useful than that of periodical papers, the adoption of which has established, in a certain degree, the epoch of the intellectual acquirements of nations. London alone maintains an infinite number of flying sheets, which appear daily, to record domestic and national transactions, foreign intelligences, and the physical and moral results drawn by certain sages, who examine man in the wide extent of his complicated relations. Spain, France, Germany, Italy, &c. have, as it were, endeavoured to surpass each other in the production of similar works. We shall now see the progress which has been made in this way, in South America.

The city of Mexico has been sufficiently prosperous to support a gazette, a civil diary, and another of natural history. In Lima, the first periodical work which made its appearance, was the Diario Economico (Economical Diary), the production of Don Jayme Bausate, whose plan was chiefly confined to the intelligence of the moment, and the more important events which took place in the country. The date of its earliest publication is not mentioned; but it was soon followed by that of the Mercurio Peruano[1] (Peruvian Mercury), comprising history, literature, public notices, &c. &c. the first number of which appeared on the 2d of January, 1791. A quarto sheet of closely printed text was given twice a week, so as to form three volumes annually. Its learned editor, Don Jacinto Calero y Moreira, in the prospectus by which, in his own name, and in that of the Academical Society of Lima, consisting of a certain number of literati calling themselves “the Lovers of the Country,” he announces this work, introduces the following observation explanatory of the motive by which its publication was influenced: “The deficiency of the information we possess, relative to the interior and remote regions of the country we inhabit, and the utter want of the vehicles necessary to disseminate our notions in the literary world, are the causes why a kingdom such as Peru, so favoured by Nature in the benignity of the climate, and in the richness of the soil, scarcely occupies a small space in the delineation of the universe, as it has been traced by historians. To remedy this defect is the primary object of the Mercury, in the publication of which I have engaged.”

The very flattering reception experienced by this work, induced father Antonio Olavarrieta, of the Seraphic order of monks, to publish another, at the commencement of June of the above year (1791), under the title of Semanario Critico (Weekly Critic). This production, of the size of a gazette, appeared every Sunday, and was sold at two reals, or nine-pence English. The criticisms embraced a variety of objects, consisting, in general, of education, whether physical, moral, or political, public customs, and other analogous subjects. The author attached himself more particularly to public diversions, lyric poetry, and the theatre; but without neglecting whatever appertains to natural history, and the sciences in general. The balls, assemblies, promenades, literary clubs, coffee-houses, &c. in the capital, were matters of a subordinate consideration.

Father Olavarrieta, aware that the abundance of good and bad criticisms with which Europe has been inundated, were not, on account of the diversity of circumstances, adaptable to the civil and domestic system of the country he had newly chosen for his residence, the defeats of which required a particular demonstration, in the same way as the physical maladies of each climate demand a distinct remedy, proposed to himself to apply the valuable departments of criticism to the particular objects and occupations of the capital of Peru. His active genius, and profound literary attainments, generally admitted by the philosophers of Europe, eminently qualified him for this undertaking, in announcing which, the editor of the Mercury makes this observation: “Lima has at length placed itself on a footing with Mexico, at the time of the greatest splendour of the latter city, by possessing a Diary, a Mercury, and a Weekly Critic. If these three papers should alike meet with a flattering encouragement, a new author may perhaps one day present himself on the literary theatre, to propose the idea of publishing the essence, or spirit, of the best periodical papers of Lima.”

At Santa Fé, a weekly journal was set on foot at the commencement of the month of February, 1791, under the simple title of the “Periodical Paper of Santa Fé de Bogota,” and bearing the Latin device, from Livy: Communis utilitas societatis maximum est vinculum. In the preliminary article of the first number, intended as a prospectus, the author employs the following short episode, to shew the principles of the felicity of man: “Of the three philosophies, the political, which leads us to the knowledge of the government of nations, the moral, which influences the regularity of our customs, and the economical, which inspires us with a wise method in the regulation of our families, it may be said, that they are the powers of the soul of prudence. By the triple alliance of these virtues, the beautiful structure of the felicity of man is formed, seeing that they are productive of an innumerable number of objects interesting to society and civil harmony, not only in a lucrative, but likewise in a decorous point of view.”—Conformably to these principles, this author planned his work, which was occasionally embellished by light and agreeable essays, and appears to have been successfully established.

Quito, in consequence of the productiveness of the different branches of its flourishing commerce, was formerly one of the most opulent provinces of South America. At the commencement of the eighteenth century, it fell into so sensible a decay, that its plantations, manufactures, &c. were reduced to a fifth part of what they had heretofore been, and presented nothing more than a sad skeleton of its former affluence. To give a new vigour to this decayed province, Count Casa-Gijon, an illustrious character, whose name will one day occupy a distinguished place in the literary history of America, after having, at a very considerable expence, procured from Europe several skilful artists, to re-establish the manufactures, and perfectionate the arts, set on foot a patriotic society, of which he declared himself the patron. It was established in the year 1789, under the denomination of “the School of Concord,” and consisted of twenty-six associates, and twenty-two corresponding members. Owing to a variety of unpropitious events, this society made but little progress until the close of the year 1791 , when the new governor of the province, Don Luis Munoz, declared himself its protector, and bestowed


The Present State of Peru.djvu

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A Mestizo of Quito professing a liberal art, accompanied by his pupil.
Pub. Feb. 21. 1805 by Richard Phillips. 6. New Bridge Street.

its direction on the bishop of Quito, a prelate eminently distinguished by his talents and zeal for the public good. To the end that the society should be established on a solid basis, a selection was made of twenty-four individuals, distinguished as well by their patriotism, as by a profound knowledge of the branches of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, and consequently best able to discern whatever might lead to the improvement of each. The secretary, Don Francisco Xavier, shortly after announced the intention of the society to publish a periodical work, under the modest title of “the First Fruits of the Culture of Quito;” the first number of which accordingly made its appearance at the commencement of 1792, and which was continued once a fortnight. In the preliminary instruction drawn up by Xavier, Quito is represented as a country sufficiently enlightened to be aware of the necessity of recurring to a more solid literary civilization. “This periodical work,” he observes, “is therefore proposed as a trial of the strength the geniuses of Quito may possess, to accomplish their journey to the temple of wisdom.”

In Quito, as well as in all the principal cities of Peru, the mestizos are distinguished by their fondness for the fine arts, which they cultivate with an uncommon degree of success. Although, in the prosecution of their studies, they are denied the advantage of the models which are elsewhere deemed so essential to improvement, many of their productions, both in painting and sculpture, have excited the admiration of the virtuosi of Europe. A mestizo professing a liberal art, and accompanied by his young pupil, is represented in Plate XVIII.


There are not, perhaps, in any part of the globe, roads so bad as those which are to be found in all the provinces of the interior of Peru. The passes which are the least dangerous and inconvenient, are the brinks or declivities of the mountains: and these have rather the air of narrow cornices, fastened to the summit of the Cordillera, than of paths destined for the continual journeying of men and beasts of burden. The steep descents, the little balconies, as they are named, the quarries of stone, and precipices, are nothing when compared with the passes denominated barbacoas, or steps. In descending these last, a man, mounted on a horse or mule, forms with his head, and with that of the beast, an obtuse angle, the base of which is the road itself, in the midst of his descent. From this description it will readily be perceived, that the risk of the traveller is the greater, inasmuch as he proceeds, out of the equilibrium, by a plane nearly perpendicular: consequently, on the mule or horse making the slightest trip, or on the least inadvertence of the rider, the precipice is inevitable.

The barbacoas consist of cross poles, fixed in the rock, but without being fastened at the extremities. They are usually placed at the sharpest prominences of a rock by which the road is interrupted, and which it is necessary to cross, by passing on the top of these bridges, so weak that they tremble, and are sometimes bent double by the weight of the passenger. On one side of these barbacoas rises an inaccessible mountain; and on the other, and beneath them, are precipices of a league and a half in extent, commonly terminating in rivers, the obstreperous course of which is scarcely to be perceived from the elevated station where the path is opened. The traveller, when, for the first time, he has to cross one of these tottering bridges, cannot shun the reflection, that it would be still safer to attempt the navigation of Cape Horn. Those who have frequented the roads of Huanuco and Cuzco, will most assuredly assent to this truth.

To lessen these risks and terrors, to improve the roads of the above description, and to open others of a safer and more commodious nature, various projects, more or less extensive and costly, according to the particular views of their authors, have at different times been formed. Not one, however, has as yet been devised, in which the facility of the execution has been combined with the permanence of the necessary works, and the resources made to accord with economy and humanity. The fundamental principles of almost all the projectors who have hazarded their conjectures on this head, have consisted of the forced mita, or service of the Indians, and the augmentation of the duties on certain merchandizes. This mode of viewing things is similar to that which cost the life of the unfortunate Abdoul-Hassan-Benamar, the minister of Muley-Mehemed, king of Morocco. It is related of this courtier, that having been called on by his sovereign, to propose some tolerable mode of filling the royal coffers, he replied, after having meditated the subject for six weeks, that he had fallen on a simple, natural, and mild expedient, to give the state an annual revenue of three millions of piastres. For this purpose, nothing more, he observed, was required, than to levy a new tax of two piastres on each of the subjects, whether male or female, of the empire of Morocco. Muley-Mehemed, enraged at this deception, ordered his wicked minister to be thrown into the sea; and the latter thus expiated, by the forfeiture of his life, the tyranny of his intentions. How many projectors merit a fate similar to that which attended Abdoul-Hassan-Benamar!

The Academical Society, desirous to be useful to the country, and to convert to its benefit the sole pecuniary advantages that have been hitherto derived from the circulation of the Peruvian Mercury,[2] having obtained the permission of the supreme authority for that purpose, invites all the learned inhabitants of the kingdom, whom it proposes to stimulate by honorary rewards, agreeably to the custom of the academies of Europe, to transmit the result of their meditations on the above subject of the amelioration of the roads. This invitation is accompanied by ardent prayers, that the proposal may be well received, and may be productive of the advantages the Society experts to result from it.

The Society therefore offers the reward of a gold medal, of the weight of eleven ounces, with a ring and chain of the same metal, to him who shall present a dissertation on the easiest, most economical, and most secure method of improving the roads of the kingdom; such dissertation, when compared with the others of its class, meriting the highest approbation, and the greatest number of suffrages. In the same way it offers a silver medal, of the same weight and description, to the author whose dissertation on this subject, being next in merit, shall, after the preceding one, be worthy of the adoption and applauses of the public.

A grant to that effect having been obtained from his excellency the viceroy, the medals will be struck in the royal mint. In addition to the arms of the Society, and the hieroglyphics allusive to the subject, a short inscription will explain the motive on which they have been struck, and the honour they will confer on those who may chance to possess them. Whenever they shall have undergone the necessary processes of minting, engraving, &c. due notice will be given through the channel of the Mercury, to the end that those who are desirous to do so, may see and examine them. This publicity, which would be ridiculous in Europe, we deem necessary, to protect us from the calumnies of some malicious or ignorant individual, who might otherwise presume to throw doubts on the seriousness of our engagement.

The result of this patriotic proposal to bestow premiums, the first that had been offered in Peru on any similar occasion, remains to be given. The dissertations were to be delivered on or before the 30th of March 1792, and were to be examined by thirteen persons well known to possess a theoretical and practical knowledge of the subject proposed; six to be selected from among the members of the Society, and the remaining seven from the body of the literati of the capital. Contrary to the expectations of the Society, not any dissertation was sent, with the exception of one from Chachapoyas, in the mountainous territory, whence little was to be expected. This dissertation possessed some degree of merit, but not such as to entitle it to either of the honorary rewards the Society had proposed.

The bishop of Quito, Don Joseph Perez Calama, in his pastoral edicts, which are utterly divested of the bigotry of the Romish Church, displays the most benevolent and patriotic views. In the course of a general visitation to the parishes of his diocese, he published, during his stay at Hambato, an edict, of which the following is the most remarkable clause: “Seeing that in this department of Hambato, there is an abundance of excellent wheaten flour, and that a great portion of the commerce consists in the sale of bread, we offer a premium of fifty piastres to the baker who shall make and present to us a specimen of the wheaten bread here named pan de agua, well fermented, well kneaded, and well baked.” Here is introduced the detail of the characteristic qualities of the best and most wholesome bread; and the premium is extended to the bakers of the city of Quito, as well as to those residing in any of the districts of the diocese.

One of the most interesting projects of this worthy prelate has been, to establish a communication between the cities of Ibarra and Otabalo, and the provinces of Asquande, Choco, and Barbacoas, the want of which prevented the exportation of the produdlions and manufactures, and reduced the inhabitants to a state of extreme misery. For this purpose it was necessary to construct a capacious road, by tracks which had before been scarcely passable. This was undertaken with the approbation of the president; and Don Perez Calama subscribed, in the first instance, five hundred piastres to carry the project into effect. His patriotic example was followed by the subscriptions of the rectors, and other public-spirited individuals; insomuch that, in the month of July 1791, the road was completed. One of the beneficial results of this enterprize was the discovery of several valuable gold mines, at the same time that others which had been long neglected, on account of the defect of the necessary communications, were again worked. In a word, the efforts of this dignitary of the church, to remedy evils, to eradicate abuses, to promote public works, and to advance the sciences, are incredible. His discourse, at the opening[3] of the Economical Society of Quito, which has been already referred to, deserves to be given at length, on account of the soundness of policy it displays, and of the masterly eloquence in which it abounds. It is as follows:

“The extreme poverty experienced by this my beloved capital, and by the whole of my diocess, has notably afflicted me, as I have manifested in several of my edicts, and in reiterated communications made to the king, our sovereign lord. Amid this gloom and despondency, I had the particular satisfaction to read, a few days ago, I think, in the moral work entitled ‘the Education of Eusebius,’ that ‘not only those capitals and provinces are felicitous in which abundance abounds, but likewise those in which abound misery and scarcity.’ I confess that I was surprized at this thought, which at first sight appeared to me to be paradoxical; but on revolving it in my mind, and on considering this celebrated sentence: Omnia quippe docuit duris in rebus urgens egestas, I was convinced of the Eusebian truth delivered by the mentor Hardil.

“Yes, gentlemen, our great misery and poverty constitute our greatest felicity, now that harmony is established among us, and that we witness the formation of an industrious, active, and vigilant society. Not any force can resist the union of the learned, when their studies are directed to the investigation of the three kingdoms of Nature, namely, the vegetable, animal, and metallurgical. If in this my beloved capital and diocess, there were a mint in which eight or ten millions of piastres should be coined annually, all would unite in declaring Quito to be a powerful and abundant kingdom. And will it be possible for us, of ourselves, and by ourselves, to form this important machine, or mint? Will it be possible that in Quito, so poor and miserable, the great art of making money, which is the spirit and political soul of all cultivated nations, should, provided it be your wish, gentlemen, be established?

“The art of making money, is the art of collecting gold and silver. But what is this art? Let us divest ourselves of every idea of conquests, oracles, and superstitions. What then, I proceed to ask, is the true, solid, and permanent art of making or acquiring money with all security of conscience? The learned exclaim with one voice, that it consists in agriculture, in the arts, and in maritime commerce, without neglecting the working of the mines, when that is practicable, and with well-founded prospects. By agriculture, by the arts, and by maritime commerce, metals and monies are attracted, they being drawn by political chemistry from the countries which possess them, by the means of the exchange of the productions they need, for the money they hold in superfluity. It is an incontrovertible truth, that there is a reciprocal attraction between money and the things it represents; but with this difference, that the force of what is represented is greater than that of the representative, or token, which is the money.

“Who among us is ignorant, that the nations of Europe which have most money are England and Holland? without these powers possessing any other means of acquiring it, unless by agriculture, arts, and maritime commerce. And if the productions and woollen manufactures of the English are the magnet, which, by the touch or spring of commerce, gently attracts to them money, and enriches them year after year; why is Quito so poor, and wherefore does it remain in that state, when there are, within its territory, an abundance of productions, and whatever is needful for the manufacture of woollens and cottons, the latter of which constitute the principal mine of opulent India? The cause of our decline is very visible: we are in need of an active commerce, both internal and external. Our natural productions have not a lucrative vent; and this observation applies equally to the products of industry. From this fatal principle results the necessary consequence of depopulation; because all flee from the poor, in the same way as many poor neglect to marry and settle, simply because they are poor.

“Hence I return to my proposition, that the extreme poverty to which my beloved Quito is reduced, is and ought to be the fruitful origin of its supreme felicity, so long as you, gentlemen, and all the other noble citizens, may please to make an honourable muster of active and laborious individuals, composing the illustrious Economical Society of the Friends of the Country. Can it be doubted, but that you, and the other sages and nobles of Quito, possessing a well known intelligence and activity, may succeed in obtaining a knowledge of the political maladies which have laid this kingdom prostrate; in investigating the causes whence they have originated; and in finding, by the dint of observation and study, the most effectual means of re-establishment? Can it perchance be doubted, but that each of you, gentlemen, through the impulse of his patriotism, will be very ready to sacrifice a part of his property, by hazarding some such proofs as may verify, at a small expence, the solidity of these reflections?

“For my part, I offer to contribute all the resources of money and books which depend on me. The economical societies of our Old Spain (and truly they are and have been a fertile mine of felicity) have without exception been supported, and are augmented daily, by the constant application of the learned nobility, and by the royal protection of our august sovereign, and that of his enlightened ministry. Both causes, or sources, exist in Quito. If we look to the royal protection, it is secured to us by the warranty and engagement of our illustrious president, as well as by the supplications he promises to direct to the throne; and with respect to the learned and patriotic nobility, can it be doubted, but that, in ingenuity, and activity of mind, the nobles of Quito are on a par with those of the other provinces?

“The sole causes which can impede the progress of our Society, are envy, discord, and inapplication. It is certain, and I have wept it even with tears of blood, that in my beloved Quito, the spirit of litigation has been very predominant: but henceforth, I doubt not that all my beloved Quitinians (Quitenos) will sedulously vie with each other, in crowning themselves with the laurel of peace, and the concord of souls, in such a way as that this illustrious Society of the Friends of the Country may be the bond of christian and political charity. With the concord of souls, the most lowly republics have been re-established and resuscitated; and without it, the greatest empires have been submerged. Let us all, then, with a patriotic emulation, proceed to obtain, that of the noble and learned Quitinians it may be said: justiciæ legem in concordia disposuerunt, as Solomon spake of the patriotism of the Hebrews.

“To you, gentlemen, it belongs to devise, discover, and make a trial of the most seasonable means for the resurrection of this our dying country. With the greatest joy of my heart I see in Quito (now that the royal university is re-integrated and revived by our illustrious president), that to ignorance succeed the sciences; to remissness, application; to indolence, industry; to incommodity, enjoyment; and to misery and wretchedness, opulence and riches: in a word, that the throne of public prosperity is erected on the infelicity and extreme poverty of this our beloved country. Omnia quippe docuit duris in rebus urgens egestas.

“All this I already consider as certain, and very certain. For what may not Quito promise itself from a Society animated, swayed, and protected, by a learned president, and by a governor and captain-general, in whom Mars and Minerva dispute their empire? Happy Quito! and happy thou, illustrious Quitinian Society, seeing that thou art about to confer happiness on a country so deserving of thy benefits! And you, gentlemen, whom I shall always name my friends and companions, I question not but that your united efforts will be crowned with success, and that each of you will apply himself more and more to that which the love of the country requires, laying aside every other consideration for the public good and utility. Small, even very small, are the means and resources which Quito possesses; but if we all of us unite with the spirit of patriotism, without leaving the smallest room for envy or sloth, Quito will resuscitate, and we shall all of us resuscitate. Let us begin, let us begin, seeing that with constancy and union we shall certainly triumph. That which is never undertaken, can never be brought to a conclusion; and there is not in any kingdom a more mortal paralysis than that of doing nothing. We are all of us poor; but we shall all be rich, if we propose to ourselves, as our guide, to be loving friends of the country. I am aware of the superior obligation which the character of bishop imposes on me; and it is full in my remembrance, that one of the five vows I made, on the day when I received the very unexpected notice of my being elected bishop of Quito, was, ‘that all my incomes, all my books, and all my voice and pen, although weak, should be employed for the benefit and succour of my beloved diocess.’

This eloquent discourse concludes by a tribute of the most cordial thanks to the president, the founder of the Society—felices nos imperio tuo—and by an address to his lady, whom the bishop beseeches, in the most energetic terms, to found,

Pl. XIX.

The Present State of Peru.djvu

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Mulattoes of Quito
Pub. Feb. 21. 1805 by Richard Phillips. 6. New Bridge Street.

direct, and govern, under the auspices of her illustrious husband, the common protector and Mecenas, the charitable and civil society of the fair sex of Quito.

On quitting the subject of the above city, which, although it has, from a variety of causes, fallen into decay, is still extremely populous, it may be proper to notice, that the costumes of the inhabitants are in every respect similar to those of Lima; to illustrate which, several plates have been given under the head of Customs and Manners. As, however, in Quito, the more efficient part of the population consists of mestizos and mulattoes, whose talents and industry are exerted with great benefit to the community, in occupations which are disdained by the haughty Spaniards, two of the latter cast (mulattoes), a male and a female, to the end that they may not be passed over entirely unnoticed, are introduced, with their appropriate costumes, in Plate XIX.

The following particulars, demonstrative of the noxious effects resulting from the burial of the dead in the churches of populous cities, more especially in a climate similar to that of Peru, gave rise to several learned dissertations, which appeared from time to time in the Peruvian Mercury, on this important subject of political economy.

The city of Tarma is situated in a spot which is, in a manner, entirely destitute of ventilation. The three hills by which it is surrounded form an obtuse angle, without any outlet or passage, unless at the side of the broken ground named Acobamba, leading to the great road to Lima. This circumstance, and the consideration of the depth in which it is placed, respectively to the other towns in its vicinity, gave a certain degree of probability to the suspicion, that its temperature was vitiated. In reality, every year, at a determinate season, epidemical fevers made their appearance, and readily degenerated into pains in the side, which were in most cases fatal. The inhabitants of the district attributed to the climate this malign influence; and in some parts the prejudice was so strong, that it was usual to name Tarma the country of tertian fevers.

Don Juan Maria de Galves, whose administration was so honourably distinguished by the re-population of the valley of Vitoc, a succinct account of which has been given, undertook to find the real cause of these calamities; and this cause he removed for ever. The talents of this worthy minister, and the philosophy by which he is characterized, were the counsellors, the physicians, and the remedies. The history is as follows:

In Tarma there is but one church; the population is numerous in proportion to the ground it occupies; and all the interments were made in the interior of the temple, according to the custom which, having been, since the eighth century, insensibly introduced into the whole of the christian world, has been confounded with piety and devotion. It was very natural to suppose, that the corruption of so many dead bodies, in a space so circumscribed and so much frequented, would be fatal to the health of those who resided in the vicinity: in this case, however, prejudice operated still more powerfully than reason. The diseases which originated from this abuse, and even the deaths manifestly arising from the infection of the air, did not suffice to remove the impression the inhabitants of Tarma had received. The intendant, superior to the tyranny of opinion, formed the project of a burial-ground withoutside the city. Among the embarrassments which in the first instance presented themselves, the principal were the general opposition of all the classes of citizens, and the want of the funds necessary to defray the expences of the erection. The narrowness of his own fortune, and the impracticability, under such circumstances, of having recourse to voluntary contributions, would have prevented the accomplishment of the undertaking, if it had not been directed by an unchangeable constancy. All that economy, personal co-operation, the influence of authority, and a promptness of execution, can contribute to advance the progress of a public monument, concurred in the construction of this one. At the close of the year 1789, the project was formed to build a cemetery: and at the middle of the following year, 1790, it was completed. Its figure is a parallelogram, the length of which is fifty-four geometrical paces, and its breadth thirty. It is situated to the W. N. W. of the city, at the distance of two musket shots, and lies on the left, on entering by the above-mentioned route. Its position is highly advantageous, inasmuch as it receives the benefit of the little ventilation the city enjoys, and is on a kind of eminence which facilitates the evaporation of the contagious and noxious effluvia. Fronting the entrance is a chapel in which the funeral rites are performed, and which is opened on all occasions when the relatives are desirous to solemnize the memory of any of the defunct who are there interred. The ornaments of the building, and the judicious choice of the site, do honour to the talents and taste of Don Juan de Galves.

The sepulchres within the church have been closed; and all the corpses, without distinction, interred in the cemetery. The result has been, that the tertians and pestilential fevers, which before made so dreadful a havoc in that territory, have entirely ceased. Tarma has contracted an eternal debt of gratitude towards the benefactor by whose wise provisions it has been freed from the calamities by which it was so often and so deeply afflicted. Dr. Don Juan de Alvarez, rector of the doctrina and valley of Late, after having, at his own expence, built in the town of that name a commodious church, constructed at the side of it a cemetery in which the dead bodies are inhumed; and an ossuary destined for the reception of the last fragments of deplorable humanity, when found in an incorrupted state on the opening of a grave. By this wise and commendable plan, which was carried into effect in the year 1790, and by the means of interring at a very considerable depth, he has preserved his church from the bad smells and dangerous exhalations, so usual in those in which the sepultures are made in the centre.


The following biographical sketches were drawn up by the authors of the Peruvian Mercury, as the commencement of a series intended to rescue from the oblivion into which they had fallen, the learned and distinguished characters by whom Peru has been adorned since the epoch of the conquest.

Father Juan Perez Menacho was born in Lima in the year 1565; his parents were equally distinguished by an illustrious descent, and by the exercise of the milder virtues. At the age of six years he could read, write, cipher, and draw, possessing at the same time the christian doctrine so perfectly, that it was his task to instruct all the other children in the school. His stature was prodigious: at seven years of age he appeared to have attained his fifteenth year;[4] and at five-and-twenty he had grown in such a proportion, that there was not any person in the kingdom whom he did not, like Saul, exceed from the shoulder upward. He was scarcely ten years of age when he had learned by heart the whole of the Psaltery, with the pious intention of replying to the priest when he accompanied the holy sacrament.

In 1579, he began his grammatical studies; and in the space of two years completed his course of philosophy. At the age of seventeen years, in 1582, he entered into the society of Jesus, and was received, as a noviciate, into the college named St. Joseph, situated in the suburb del Cercado, it being the first the society possessed in the capital. His noviciate and theological studies having been completed in the space of two years, he was appointed professor of philosophy, notwithstanding he had not yet been ordained. This privilege, among the Jesuits, was exclusively enjoyed by father Francisco Suarez in Salamanca, and by our father Menacho in Lima.

He next became professor of theology in the city of Cuzco, and after having resided there for some years, returned to Lima to fill the same chair in the college of San Pablo. The royal university having presented a petition to that effect, he was called to the first chair of theology, which he occupied on the death of his master, father Avila, in 1601. On that occasion he afforded a remarkable instance of the retentiveness of his memory, which was so good, that what he had once read, remained deeply imprinted, insomuch that he never forgot it, or changed the smallest of the words. Being seated in the professor’s chair, in the presence of the viceroy, of the members of the royal audience, of the nobility, chapter, doctors, &c. he requested the rector to order one of the secretaries to open at random the book of the theology of St. Thomas, and name to him the question and article which should thus fortuitously present themselves. This having been done, he repeated the article literally, and commented on it for an hour, to the admiration of all present.

He continued to teach theology in the royal university of St. Mark, for the space of twenty-five years without any interruption. His studies and application were unwearied and unremitting: he employed daily from ten to twelve hours in reading and meditation. There was not a subject, however complicated and obscure, which he could not comprehend without the necessity of a re-perusal. To his eminent wisdom he united the exercise of the christian virtues, and possessed in an extraordinary degree, humility, purity, a contempt of all sublunary enjoyments, and patience. The latter enabled him to support the excruciating pains under which he laboured for upwards of fifteen years, in consequence of a fall from the top of a staircase, in fleeing from the devastations of the dreadful earthquake which occurred at Lima in the month of October 1609. He expired without a groan, on the 20th of January, 1626, in the sixty-first year of his age, having preserved his judgment and faculties until the latest hour. His funeral was attended by the archbishop of Lima, the ecclesiastical and secular chapters, the religious communities, and the whole of the nobility residing in the capital. The tears of the poor, the encomiums of the learned, and the grief of all, were his funereal panegyric and his triumph.

Don Antonio Leon Pinelo was the eldest of three brothers, all of them distinguished by their learning and accomplishments. It has not been precisely ascertained whether he was born in Lima, or in another part of the kingdom; but it is certain that he was entered as a student in the royal university of St. Mark, where his preceptor. Dr. Velazques, a native of Lima, inspired him with a taste for the study of the jurisprudence of the Indies. Accordingly, in 1623, he published a discourse on the importance, and methodical compilement (recopilacion), of the laws of the Indies, which was so well received in Spain, that it procured him the appointment of reporter to the supreme council for the affairs of the Indies. He afterwards composed two volumes, in which he made a practical application of the theory of his discourse; and, which, under the title of “Compilement of the Laws of the Indies,” are consulted at this hour in all affairs relative to the jurisprudence of the Spanish colonies. In prosecuting this very arduous and useful task, he appears to have laboured with a most indefatigable industry. “Having,” he observes, “obtained permission to consult all the books and papers contained in the departments of the two secretaries of Peru and New Spain, I perused, in the space of two years, five hundred books of manuscript schedules, and, in them, upwards of a hundred and twenty thousand leaves, and more than three hundred thousand decisions, the minutes of which are in my possession. From these materials I have drawn my first volume; and am now engaged in the second, by which the work will be completed.”

It was followed by two productions, one on the polity of the Indies, and the other on their ecclesiastical and spiritual government. Into the latter he introduced upwards of three hundred pontifical decisions, relative to the Indies, drawn from the apostolical bulls and briefs, and from the replies of the congregations of cardinals.

At the particular request of the Duke of Modena, he next wrote and published an Epitome of the Oriental and Occidental Library, in which, with infinite labour and diligence, he analyzed the productions of all the authors who had at that time published on either of the Indies. Considerable additions were afterwards made to this interesting work, which was reprinted in 1737, in three folio volumes, by order of the enlightened Spanish minister, Don Gonzales de Garcia, to whom the republic of letters is indebted for new editions of many old and scarce tracts relative to South America.

Anxious to enrich his country with whatever depended on his genius, talents, and assiduous application, Pinelo afterwards composed a work, in four books, entitled “the Foundation, and Historical and Political Grandeur of the famous City of los Reyes (Lima).” It was drawn up with much study and care; as was likewise his “History of the Imperial City of Potosi, with the Discovery of its rich Mines.” These productions were never printed, but several MS. copies are known to have been in the hands of the curious. As there is a great vacuity in the civil, political, and literary histories of that time, it is earnestly to be desired that they may be one day recovered. They were followed by a Treatise on Royal Confirmations; by the Political State of the West Indies; the Ecclesiastical and Political History of the Churches; the History of the Supreme Council of the Indies; the Paradise of the New World, an Apologetic Commentary on the Natural and Choice History of the West Indies; Deliberations of the Council of the Indies; the Patriarchal Dignity of the Indies, its Institution, Exercise, Pre-eminences, and Corresponding Prerogatives; and the Grand Chancellor of the Indies. The above works were published between the years 1653 and 1658, with the exception of the former, which appeared so early as 1630, and of the latter, which is still preserved, in MS. in the library of the Duke of Alba at Madrid.

Our author’s “Life of Santo Torribio” furnished the principal materials for nine other productions which appeared on the same subject, and was not equalled by any one of them in the purity and perspicuity of the style and notices. In his treatise entitled “Ancient and Modern Veils on the Faces of the Women, their Conveniences and Mischiefs, or Illustration of the Royal Pragmatics relative to the Disguise of Females,” he discourses learnedly on the veils of all the nations of the world, and concludes by the following propositions: “That the women should go abroad uncovered in Castille, is a law which ought to be observed, without their being allowed to appear veiled or disguised.—That they should cover the face, by throwing the mantle over it, without affectation, contrivance, or artifice, is lawful and honest, and ought to be allowed so long as there is not any law which enacts the contrary. That they should cover the one half of the eye, disclosing a part of the view, is lascivious and unnecessary, and ought to be every where prohibited,” &c.

In 1636 our author published, in Madrid, a quarto work, on the question: whether chocolate breaks the ecclesiastical fast? This work is replete with erudition, and is couched in a natural style, free from the pompous affectation which in his time began to infect the Spanish writers, and by which the language was corrupted and altered for more than a century. He also composed several tracts and orations on sacred subjects, together with a poem on the Conception of the Blessed Virgin; insomuch that our illustrious Peruvian was not only a civilian of the most distinguished class, but likewise theologist, canonist, historian, orator, and poet. He has, notwithstanding, been denied a slight mention in the French Dictionary entitled, by misnomer, the Impartial.

As a reward for his eminent services, the king appointed him resident minister at Seville for the commerce of the Indies. As, however, his presence at the court could not be dispensed with, he was recalled shortly after to Madrid, where the post of principal chronologist of the Indies was bestowed on him, he being still allowed to retain the honours and emoluments of his ministerial appointment. The last production of the prolific pen of Don Antonio Pinelo, which remains to be recorded, is his History and Annals of Madrid, carried down to the year 1658: it was preserved, in MS. in the library of Count Villa-Umbrosa, the president of Castille.

Friar Francisco del Castillo, a lay brother of the Order of Mercy, was born in Lima, where he was cut off, a few years ago, in the meridian of his life. It is not certain whether he came into the world with an irreparable obstacle in the organs of vision, or was deprived of his sight in his infancy, so as to have been prevented from receiving the instructions which are bestowed on children from the earliest dawn of reason, and are continued, with a constant application, during their literary progress, at a time when the external means of collecting information preserve all their vigour. In despight of these invincible impediments, by which the channels of wisdom were choked, he was a prodigy of intelligence and comprehension. It was sufficient for him to hear a theme, however lofty, to be enabled to descant on it, and to bestow on it every illustration of which it was susceptible. He was delighted when the theologians expounded to him the most abstruse points of their profession; and repeated, without study or hesitation, what he had acquired without difficulty. When, at his request, the students conferred together on the subjects of their tasks, he instantly became more effectually master of them than were those by whom they had been communicated.

But what rendered his talent most conspicuous was versification. Without any other knowledge of the poetic art than that which he derived from Nature, he expressed himself in verse at once fluent, natural, beautiful, and copious. He proposed to himself subjects, and gave them extemporaneously in harmonious poetry. Without stop or interruption, he varied the kinds of metre at his own pleasure, or at the request of those who were present. The sublime theological, philosophical, philological, and historical points which he learned in conversation, flowed from his mouth, without quitting the company, in the richest vein of composition. Alone, he framed a comedy, either on a subject given to him, or on one he drew from his fertile imagination: he selected the performers from among those who were assembled, and happily suggested to each of these actors and actresses, what was best adapted to his extemporaneous drama. He engaged with men of genius and talents, in the composition of verses answering to each other in succession (carmina amoebæa), and constantly obtained the superiority and triumph. Mythology supplied him with ornaments, history offered to him a store of subjects, the sciences endowed him with mental illumination, and he profited by the whole to display his inexhaustible facility. He played on various instruments: his common mode of versifying Was to touch a guitar, and at the close of the day, to recapitulate all that he had done, said, treated, disputed, and discussed, without omitting any of the circumstances, which he constantly realized with grace and ingenuity, and preserved, in the intervening personages, their language and character. On this account, there was not any fashionable assemblage, any festival, banquet, rejoicing, or meeting, to which he was not invited and earnestly solicited.

The following case of mania, although it may not be singular in its kind, is interesting, inasmuch as it presents an additional beacon to those who, in attempting to accomplish that which is impracticable, incur the risk of an alienation of their reason.

Don Diego Lopez, a native of Pontevedra in Gallicia, resided many years in Lima, and died there at an advanced age. He possessed more than a common share of mathematical knowledge; and having heard that the Paris Academy of Sciences offered a considerable premium to him who should discover, for the benefit of the longitudes at sea, the quadrature of the circle; his wish for a reward, and for a celebrity, which would so effectually promote his happiness, agitated him to such a degree, that, laying aside every thought of business, he exerted all his powers and faculties, and drew up his principles, such as they were, in battle array. He began to draw lines, to make calculations, and to resolve problems, cherishing, after a time, the idea that the discovery was not impossible.

Confined to this sole labour, he formed tables, circles, and other apparatuses, in the construction of which he went so far as to employ wood. He filled with numbers and geometrical figures many reams of paper, which he kept, turned over, and combined incessantly, until at length he became fully persuaded that the precious discovery was made. He was so highly delighted with his invention, that he announced it to the whole world. The incredulity of many persons, obliged him to have recourse to the professors and teachers of the mathematics, who, however strenuously he maintained that he was right, constantly pronounced his labours to be as defective as useless. These very attempts to undeceive him, had the effect of engaging him to lay out in paper, the bounties which his friends bestowed on him for his support, to the end that he might be enabled to continue his operations. In his distress, he consoled himself with saying, that a nobleman of the first distinction in the capital was indebted to him six millions of piastres, as a reward for the secret of the quadrature, which he had revealed to him. Every day he repaired to the house of this nobleman, and did not leave it empty-handed; insomuch that the efficacy of the impertinent claim of the maniac, and the philosophical patience and generosity of the supposed debtor, became the admiration of all.

At length he drew up a memorial, addressed to the viceroy, in which, styling himself the Hercules of geography, and the prodigy of the mathematics, he beseeched him, as an ardent lover of the sciences, and of their progress, to transmit his discovery to Paris, and to demand for him the reward, to which he thought himself justly entitled. When in the act of presenting it, he was suddenly snatched off by death, towards the close of the month of December 1790; and this toil of fifty years, contained in a prodigious heap of papers, was what he left as an inheritance to a natural daughter. Thus perished miserably this laborious investigator of the quadrature of the circle.

His case brings to our recollection another of a similar nature, but having a different object. Don Manuel de Torquemada, formerly principal equerry to the viceroy, the Marquis of Casteldosrius, augmented the number of maniacs. This man, polished, discreet, and highly agreeable in conversation, finally concentrated the whole of his ideas in the construction of a machine, simply consisting of a slab and muller, similar to those employed by the apothecaries in levigating their powders; with which he asserted that he could refine all the ores in Peru, and pave the streets of the capital with bars of silver. This persuasion took so strong a hold of him, that his society at length became tiresome and painful, as he could speak of nothing but his incomprehensible discovery.


In the town of San Sebastian de Huaraz, the capital of the province of Huaylas, died on the 12th of December, 1790, Don Juan Modesto de Castro-Monte, at the remarkable age of a hundred and thirty-three years. He was a native of the above province, in which he resided until his death. He was twice married, and left behind him eight children, a multitude of grand-children, and a still greater number belonging to the third and fourth degrees. A daughter by his first marriage, had, during his lifetime, three great grand-children already grown up. His second wife died at the age of ninety-six years, after having been eighty years the partner of his bed. He never on any occasion tasted either wine or strong liquors; and was never subject to the slightest ailment, not even to a pain of the head. Until his latest years he preserved the use of his faculties free and entire. On the day of his decease there was not any visible change in his health: having received the sacrament from the hands of the Franciscan friars residing in the above place, he died without any pang, beside that which the laws of human nature, when it has reached its precise boundary, bring with them. His equitable, compassionate, and liberal character, procured him the love and esteem of all the inhabitants of the province, by whom his loss was sensibly felt. A frugal life, separated from the tumultuous passions of the world, and devoted to the innocent pleasures of agriculture, secured to him the enjoyment of that felicity, which in the ancient law was the benediction of heaven—a long life and a numerous posterity.


The following account of an extraordinary meteor seen in the valley of Canete, on the evening of the 25th of December, 1790, was communicated to the Academical Society of Lima by an inhabitant of the city of Canete.

"The sun having set at twelve minutes after six in the evening, had scarcely, by its absence, begun to obscure the night, when, the atmosphere being clear and serene, a dusky meteor, running north and south below the zenith, presented itself to the view, and illuminated the whole of the valley. Its figure was that of a segment of a circle, about 115 degrees in circumference, the two extremities of which, perpendicular to the horizon, were accurately defined, and suspended in the air. Its equal aspect in every part, denoted its thickness to be about half a yard. It was embellished, or rather rendered terrific, by the mixture of black and ash colours, which resembled an overshadowed iris. It remained fixed and motionless in its primitive situation until half past ten o'clock, when it began to be dispersed by the rays of light emitted by the moon.

"While the people, with uplifted hands, implored the Deity to suspend the calamities which this sinister token, as they thought it, announced to them, my mind was wholly occupied by reflections on the nature of meteors. The knowledge, such as it is, which I possess on that subject, impelled me to make a philosophical exhortation to the spectators, and to combat their vain terrors; but I was deterred by the recollection of the austral aurora which appeared at Cusco in the year 1742, and did not wish to bring down mischief on my head. The inhabitants of the above city, struck with awe at so rare a phenomenon, vented their curses on the learned Marquis of Valle-Umbroso, who formed the hazardous resolution to attack their prejudices. I therefore left the persuasion they entertained, to make all the impressions which are usual in these cases; and endeavoured to explore the cause of the above-mentioned phenomenon, which I believe to be as follows.

"The spring was very rainy, and even on several days during the summer, a greater quantity of water fell on the coast than in the severest winter. It is natural to suppose that the abundant rain, combined with the great humidity of this valley, must have impregnated the earth with infinite vapours, which, being blended with so many other exhalations, would rise into the atmosphere, volatilized by the heat produced, as well by the perpendicular dire6tion of the solar rays in summer, as by the commotion of the central fire introduced by themselves into the present station. The heights there occupied by the aforementioned vapours must have been proportionate to their different specific gravity, by which they would equiliberate themselves with the columns of the aerial fluid. Thus some would rise to the upper part, while others would remain in the lower.

"The winds which, from the eastern quarter, are wont to blow gently at five in the evening, wandering and without any particular destination, having united them in such a way as that they appeared to be equally distant in every part at sunset, the imagination figured this arc. The tranquillity which prevailed, and the mutual attraction between some of the corpuscles and the others, kept them stationary, until the east wind, blowing with some degree of force, at the rising of the moon, divided and extinguished them. In the acta Eruditorum, printed at Leipsic[5], it will be seen that, on the 4th of March, 1728, an arc, formed by the concurrence of several clouds, was observed at Germendorf: its projection, N. E. and S. W. led to a supposition that it originated in the S. E. whence the wind then blew.

"May I be permitted to hazard another conjecture, in an age when physical novelties are rated at so high a price. I believe that the above-mentioned arc was a true iris, occasioned by the reflection of some of the stars which were setting. The demonstration is clear: it being granted that the atmosphere was charged with a multitude of atoms, and terrestrial vapours, these would, with the cold of the night, be gradually condensed, and would descend, according as their gravity should exceed that of the air in which they swam, as happens in the case of rain. As our situation was between these descending exhalations and the above-mentioned stars, the former of which were in front of us, and the latter at our side, it follows that the centre of the one, or of the other, would, according as we varied our position, coincide with our optical axes. This hypothesis being admitted, all the luminous rays with which the constellation invested the vapours, would fall on the eye of the spectator at the same angle, equal to that of its incidence. The objects which are seen at an identical angle, appear to be at an equal distance; but this equal distance could not have been verified, unless the atoms which divided the valley had represented an arc, according to the principles of optics and grometry: it is therefore natural to infer, that it was an iris produced by the before- mentioned cause.

"The variety of its colours was the effecct, not merely of the decomposition of the light, but likewise of the quantity refracted: where it was least, the black was represented; and where greatest, the ash-colour. As the beams of the moon extinguished the faint splendour of these stars, it is not extraordinary that, on its rising, we should have been deprived of this rare phenomenon, as would happen in the case of the lunar irises, on the approach of the blushing dawn of Aurora.

"That goddess has already begun to illumine the plains; and the cries of the shepherd oblige me to put out the candle, to terminate my philosophical meditations, and to proceed to my agricultural labours."

In the course of the year 1791, five earthquakes, four of which occurred in the capital, and the fifth in the city of Pasco, are recorded in the Peruvian Mercuries. The details relative to them are introduced by the following reflections.

There is not any country in the world, in which naturalists ought to apply themselves more sedulously to the observation of earthquakes, than in ours. The greater part of their history presents tragical scenes, in which the violent convulsions of the earth have not only destroyed the fine produ6tions of the hands of man, but have likewise deranged many of those of Nature, by which they were supported. As not any physical revolution happens in the globe, without being preceded by certain warnings emanating from the very dispositions whence they originate; if, by the dint of a constant application, we could succeed in characterizing them, we might perhaps escape many of these ravages. The annals of natural philosophy relate, that Anaximander and Pherecydes possessed the art of prognosticating earthquakes; and Don Juan de Barrenechea, professor ad interim of mathematics in the university of St. Mark, endeavoured to reduce to a computation, by the means of his astronomical clock, this celestial virtue. He did not, however, on this occasion, lay any stress on those prophecies, or astrological dreams, the evidences of the small advancement of kingdoms in the true sciences, that refer to remote times; but on the knowledge of the changes of the atmosphere, and of the superficies of the earth, which precede its convulsions. The direction of the latter, which is, generally speaking, the same with that of the chains of mountains, ought likewise to be examined, on account of the advantages it presents. The deep excavations made by the Persians from mount Taurus to the mountains Caucasus and Ararat, to facilitate the transpiration of the inflammable substances, freed those regions from the earthquakes which had been frequently observed to follow the direction of the above-mentioned mountains.

On the 8th of February, 1791, at seven in the evening, an earthquake was felt in Lima, with two pretty strong shocks, having an interval of a minute between them. It made a loud report; and its direction was S. E. N. W., nearly the same with that followed by all the earthquakes which have made such dreadful devastations in the capital.

On the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th, the river overflowed its banks. This arose from a copious fall of rain which extended for the space of sixty or seventy leagues, beginning at the first elevated land which presents itself in front of Chincha, and following the direction of the mountains, which is parallel to the coast as far as the lofty ground in front of . This rain was extraordinary, not relatively to its station, it being that of the waters in the mountainous territory, but with reference to the quantity, seeing that, although it did not last for the space of two hours, it formed new rivers, destroyed various plantations, and desolated several towns.

On the 21st, at three in the afternoon, another earthquake was felt in Lima. It was short, and but of small intensity. Its direction was the same with that of the preceding one of the 8th; and it may thence be inferred that each of them had the same origin.

On the 4th of July of the above year, at half past five in the morning, Lima was subjected to another shock of an earthquake. Its direction was N. E. S. W.; its duration somewhat less than a minute; and it was of middle intensity.

On the 14th of October, at seventeen minutes after nine o'clock at night, a violent shock of an earthquake, which lasted five seconds, was felt in the city of Pasco. Its direction was N. E. S. W., and its motion undulatory. The sky was clouded, and very obscure in the N. and N. E. The noise by which it was accompanied was very loud, and resembled the regular discharges of a regiment, or those described in the Literary Memoirs of Great Britain[6], as the effect of the meteor which appeared there on the night of the 1 9th of March, 1718. Earthquakes being very unusual in the above city, this one excited a particular surprize, pn account of the singularity of the noise and movement.

The order of succession both of the one and the other, unquestionably arose from this circumstance, that there being in all those places, immense depositions of pyrites, several mines of that substance, stationed from distance to distance, communicated with each other by small conductors. The first of them, attacked by some portion of water, &c. having taken fire, the igneous matter was successively imparted to the following ones, which, by their explosions, and by the collision and precipitation of the detached fragments, represented the discharges of artillery.

On the 26th of December, a shock of an earthquake, the most considerable which had occurred in the course of the year, was felt in Lima. Its duration was one minute thirty seconds, somewhat more or less; and its direction S. E., N. W.

According to Don Antonio Ulloa, the continual vapours by which the sky is obscured, in the winter season, in every part of low Peru, are occasioned by the prevalence of the north winds; but this opinion is controverted by a correspondent of the Peruvian Mercury on the following grounds. That, in 1791, on the days when the dews fell abundantly, as well as on those which preceded them, the winds blew constantly from the S. and S. W., and not from the N. The cause of the above phenomenon was not therefore to be ascribed to the latter winds. "It may be objected," he observes, "that these winds, having a considerable elevation, may not be perceived in the lower part of the atmosphere, their operation being entirely confined to the higher part. This might be granted, provided the southerly winds had ceased to blow in the inferior region of the air; but as they have been unremitting, and have maintainedthe same disposition as in the preceding seasons, a similar objection cannot be allowed. The blowing of contrary winds, even although one should be inferior, and the other superior, instead of fixing the vapours, would dissipate them, and would prevent them from being condensed, which can alone enable them to produce the wetting fogs."

Meteorological Observations, in degrees and tenths of degrees of Fahrenheit’s Thermometer, made in the City of Lima, at mid-day, in the open air, and in the shade, from January 1791 to March 1792 inclusive.

of the
January. February. March. April. May. June. July. August. September. October. November. December. January. February. March.
1 71.5 76.1 80.4 77.5 74.6 67.0 62.0 67.5 66.0 70.0 74.0 80.0 84.0
2 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 81.5 {{{1}}} 73.5 66.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
3 {{{1}}} 75.9 82.3 77.0 {{{1}}} 68.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 76.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
4 {{{1}}} 78.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 73.8 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 65.6 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 83.0
5 73.4 {{{1}}} 81.5 77.5 72.5 67.2 65.0 69.5 66.0 73.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
6 73.1 80.3 78.0 75.8 71.5 {{{1}}} 67.2 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
7 74.1 81.0 79.2 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 67.8 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 75.5 {{{1}}} 81.0
8 76.5 78.8 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 72.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 67.0 65.6 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
9 76.9 81.5 78.9 {{{1}}} 73.0 {{{1}}} 65.0 66.0 67.6 {{{1}}} 79.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
10 77.2 79.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 72.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 70.0 {{{1}}} 75.0 {{{1}}} 80.5 82.0
11 78.5 81.0 77.0 78.0 72.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 71.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 81.0
12 76.9 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 77.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 79.2 {{{1}}}
13 {{{1}}} 79.2 79.2 77.0 69.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
14 {{{1}}} 80.3 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 70.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 80.5 78.8 {{{1}}}
15 75.8 80.5 78.9 75.8 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
16 75.0 79.5 77.4 76.5 73.5 66.0 62.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 72.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 79.8
17 75.2 81.6 76.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 65.2 65.0 68.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
18 78.0 {{{1}}} 77.2 78.0 {{{1}}} 66.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 69.5 {{{1}}} 79.2 {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
19 {{{1}}} 79.5 {{{1}}} 75.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 82.5 {{{1}}}
20 79.2 80.3 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 70.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 68.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
21 78.5 80.6 79.9 {{{1}}} 69.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 79.2
22 79.2 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 75.5 {{{1}}} 64.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 81.8 {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
23 75.8 81.8 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 70.0 65.2 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
24 77.5 81.5 81.5 77.0 69.0 65.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 72.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 78.0
25 78.2 80.5 79.9 78.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 66.5 {{{1}}} 75.5 {{{1}}} 78.8 {{{1}}}
26 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 76.5 {{{1}}} 70.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
27 80.0 78.5 77.0 76.0 69.5 66.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 77.7
28 78.5 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 78.0 69.0 67.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 67.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
29 {{{1}}} 77.6 74.0 68.5 68.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 75.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}}
30 79.5 {{{1}}} 73.0 70.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 76.8
31 78.0 {{{1}}} 69.0 {{{1}}} {{{1}}} {{{1}}} 80.0 {{{1}}}

The thermometers employed in making the observations, were of the manufacture of the celebrated Adams. The days opposite to which those to which the degrees are not marked, have invariably the same temperature with the one which stands about them.

In the foregoing meteorological table, the months of June and August 1791 have been unavoidably omitted. Many curious and interesting results may, notwithstanding, be drawn from a comparison between the respective temperatures of the air in that part of Peru, and Great Britain. At Lima, the winter begins at the latter end of June; and consequently, although the table may, on account of the above omission, be in some measure defective, sufficient information may be collected from it relative to the degrees of temperature in each of the seasons. It appears, then, that the greatest heat at Lima, during the continuance of the meteorological observations, made at noon, in the open air, and in the shade, was 84°; and the lowest temperature of the atmosphere, 62°; a variation of 22° only, the longest of which was 30° above the freezing point. During the summer, the gentle breezes from the south moderate the heat; and the slight degree of cold felt in the winter season, is owing to the constant fogs, which not only intercept the rays of the sun, but, by affording a shelter to the winds, enable them to retain the particles of cold they collect beneath the frozen zone.

The meteorological journal for 1791, kept at the apartments of the Royal Society, gives, as the result of the observations made at two in the afternoon of each day, with outside, 80° as the highest temperature of the air in London; and 31° as the lowest, at that particular hour. The extremes are not, however, so distant and marked as they have been in other years. For instance, on the following year, 1792, the thermometer rose, in the summer, at two in the afternoon of a particular day, to 84°; and sunk in the winter, at the same hour, to 26°, or 8° below the freezing point. In this case there was a difference of 58° of temperature; while that difference in Lima, as has been seen, did not exceed 22°. In the latter city, the observations were all of them made at noon: the greatest variation to be found in the table, of the temperature of any one month, is 8°.5, in that of January 1791, when the heats prevailed; and the least variation is 3°.5, in the month of July, belonging to the mild season. In London, in the above year, the greatest variation in the observations of any one month, made at two in the afternoon, is 28°, in the month of June, that variation being six degrees more considerable than the one resulting from the observations of the whole year in Lima; and the least variation is 16° in the month of March. But a still more striking fact, relative to the changes of the temperature of the air, in establishing a comparison on that point between the two capitals, is the following: that on one particular day, the 13th of September, between seven in the morning and two in the afternoon, a space of seven hours only, there was in London a variation of 21°, the mercury having risen from 52° to 73°, within 1° of its complete annual range in Lima. The greatest variation of the degree of atmospherical heat, between any two consecutive days at Lima, was 5°.5, namely, between the 27th of November, when the mercury stood at 72°.5, and the 28th, when it sunk to 67°. In London, the greatest variation in the observations made in the afternoon, was, under the same circumstances, 14°, between the 7th and 8th of June, when the mercury sunk from 80° to 66°; and between the 22d and 23d of December, when it rose from 34 to 48. The mean degree of temperature of the coolest month at Lima, September, was 64°.5, and comes the nearest to that of the same month of the same year in London, the latter having, agreeably to the observations of the afternoon, been 69°.9. The mean degree of temperature of the month of March, the hottest which occurred in Lima in 1791, was 78°.4, and exceeded that of the hottest month of the same year in London, August, by 9°.4. The March of the following year was still hotter in Lima, the mean degree of temperature having been 80°.25. The cause of the difference of more than 9° of mean temperature between the two capitals, at the same time that the mercury was never higher at Lima than it has been in London, appears to have been owing to the constancy of the heats in the former city, and to the few variations to which the atmosphere is there subjected. Between the 17th and 30th of September 1791, both days included, there was not the slightest variation in the observations made at noon. In London, on the other hand, the fluctuations, which are at all times unceasing, produced in the month of June 1791, according to the observations of the afternoon, varieties of temperature to the extent of 28°. But for the presence of the southerly winds which prevail on the coast, the changes of temperature at Lima would be still less, as in other parts of Peru. In the plains of Bombon, there is a variation of 6° only, throughout the year; and at Santa Fe, the observations of two successive years afforded a result of only 30 of variation.

To complete the series of subjects introduced into this work, an Indian woman of a village near Lima, holding in her arms an infant, is represented in Plate XX. in her simple and rustic garb. The portraiture of this female peasant maybe regarded as a companion to the male Indian wearing the poncho, delineated in Plate XVII.

Pl. XX.

The Present State of Peru.djvu

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Indian woman of a village near Lima.
Pub. Feb. 16. 1805 by Richard Phillips. 6. New Bridge Street.

  1. Little need be said about this publication, of the merit or demerit of which, as it has furnished the chief materials for the present work, the reader will be enabled to form his own judgment. It will probably be grateful to him to know the degree of encouragement afforded to literary pursuits in Peru, where letters have within a few years been very assiduously cultivated by all ranks of society. Independently of the general sale, there were, in the first instance, two hundred and sixteen subscribers, in the number of whom were comprehended the viceroy, archbishop, members of the royal audience, and many other distinguished personages, to the Peruvian Mercury, which, in the course of a month after its promulgation, received an augmentation of a hundred and thirty-three subscribers, making in the whole three hundred and forty-nine. From several hints thrown out by the editor, as well as from the list of subscribers, of the reduced number of two hundred and forty-one, prefixed to the second volume, it appears to have met with considerable opposition in Lima, more especially from the church, on account of the freedom introduced into the discussion of a variety of subjects of polity, &c. The name of the patriotic viceroy, Don Francisco Gil y Lemos, still stands as the distinguished patron of the work; but that of the archbishop of Lima no longer appears. In proportion as it became known in the interior, the remote subscribers compensated in a great measure for the falling off of those in the capital, and swelled the list, at the commencement of the third volume, to the amount of three hundred and ten names. That the authors of the Peruvian Mercury were not actuated by selfish motives, but, on the other hand, by the love of their country, as they profess, in engaging in this undertaking, appears by the low price of the subscription, in a kingdom where money is so cheap and plentiful, and every article of life proportionally dear. Fourteen reals only, or 5 s. 3 d. English, were demanded of the subscribers per month, notwithstanding the numbers were in general accompanied by commercial and meteorological tables, lists of shipping, with their cargoes, &c. &c. which were not, any more than the occasional supplements, separately charged.
  2. The proposition which follows is dated the close of the month of September 1791, when the Mercury had subsisted for nearly nine months.
  3. This meeting took place, in the great hall of the new royal university of Quito, on the 30th of November 1791, and was attended by a numerous assemblage of distinguished personages. At the head of the principal females and matrons of Quito, was the lady of the president of the province, by whose order the chief artisans, or masters of all the corporate trades, were admitted. A subscription, by which a fund to defray the expences of the Society might be formed, was proposed by the bishop, in his quality of director; and, in setting the example, which was generally followed, he himself subscribed three hundred piastres. The annual subscription of the associates and honorary members, for the benefit of the Society, was likewise regulated on this occasion.
  4. This is not the only example which might be cited, to confute the foreign authors, those who have been engaged in drawing up the Encyclopædias more particularly, who ascribe to the descendants of the Spaniards in America, a diminutive stature.
  5. December, 1730.
  6. Memoires Litteraires de la Grande Bretagne, t. i. p. 141.