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Various races of natives inhabit this grand and wild scenery, separated by a decided difference of language. Some lead a wandering life, ignorant of agriculture, and living on ants, gums, and even earth, like the Otomaks and Jaruren, the outcasts as it were of mankind.
While the Orinoco and the Meta flow between their bunks, these tribes live on fish and turtle; they kill the former by arrows when they rise to the surface, and are very expert in the use of their weapon for this chase. As soon as the river begins to rise, the fishery ceases, and during the floods, which last two or three months, these Otomaks consume enormous quantities of earth as food; large stores are kept in their huts, ready prepared by baking, in pyramidal heaps of balls*; and the Missionaries state, that one man will eat from three quarters to a pound and a quarter of it in a day. According to their own avowal, this clay is their principal food during the rainy season, occasionally adding a lizard or a small fish if they can obtain either, or a fern-root; but they are so fond of this strange diet, that, even during the dry season, when they have an ample supply of fish, they daily swallow some of the clay after a repast, by way of a treat. They are of a dark copper complexion, with disagreeable Tartarian features, robust, but not with prominent bellies, as most savages, and they appear to undergo little diminution in flesh during the season of their earth-diet, nor does their health appear at all injured by itt.
Other tribes, like the Maquiritars and tho Makos, are more cultivated, consume fruits raised by themselves, and have fixed abodes in consequence. But large portions of territory between the Cassiquiare and the Atabapo, are tenanted only by the tapir and tho gregarious species of apes; yet in these deserted plains, images carved in the rocks, show that at some former period they were the abodes of more cultivated races than any now bordering on them, which, generally speaking, are in the lowest scale of human existence, and quite incapable of executing any such sculptures.
Among the present degraded races, the most violent passions, as might be expected, reign without control. Whole races drink the blood of their enemies, and others more skilled than all civilized mankind ever are in the knowledge of vegetable poisons, have their thumb-nail dipped in a most violent one J, always ready to inflict the mortal wound on any enemy whom they can surprise. The weaker tribes, when migrating, are compelled, for self-preservation, to obliterate with care their footmarks, in order to foil their relentless and ingenious pursuers.
South America, contains another plain three times as extensive as the Llanos, if not so interesting from its productions. This plain, called the Pampas, lies on the
• " On the 6th of June, 1800, on our return from the Rio Negro, when we descended the Orinoco, we passed a day in a mission inhabited by the earth-eating Otomaks; the village was called La Conception di Uranua, and was picturesquely situated against a granite rock. The earth which this people devour is an unctuous mild clay, true potters'-earth, coloured yellowish-gray by a little oxide of iron; it is carefully selected for use, and is found on some banks on the shores of the Orinoco and Meta. They distinguish one kind nf earth from another by the taste, for all clay is not equally agreeable to them: they knead the earth into balls of from four to six inches in diameter, and toast these before a slow fire till the outside becomes reddish; when wanted they are again softened in water. These Indians are very wild, and averse from all agriculture: it is a proverbial expression among the farthest nations of the Orinoco, in designating any thing very filthy, to say, ' so dirty that the Otomaks eat it.'"—Humboldt.
t To the physiological question, whether, or in what way, this simple cntli can supply the place of food, there is, atpresent.no decided satisfactory answer, but it is a well-known fact, that every where within the Tropics, men have a singular and unconquerable craving for svvallowing*earth at times. The Indian women engaged in the potteries on the Magdalena, often eat a portion of the clay on which they are at work, but all except the Otomaks suffer in their health severely, by the indulgence of this propensity. The negroes brought to the West Indies during the prevalence of the slave-trade, always endeavoured to obtain a kind of clay, simila, to what, as they said, they had been accustomed to eat with impunity in their own country; but the practice was forbidden, from finding that they were injured by it, and the earth was consequently only sold secretly in the markets. According to the accounts of different travellers, a similar taste is found in many parts of tropical countries.
t This poison is called curare, and is obtained from an unknown plant, but belonging to a genus which is very poisonous; the single Bscd of one species is sufficient to kill twenty psrsonj.
eastern side of the Andes, and extends from their foot to the Atlantic. Captain Sir F. B. Head, who journeyed over this immense expanse in 1825, has given the latest, and by far the most interesting account of it; and from his work we shall principally tuke our notice.
The Pampas are about nine hundred miles in breadth: and in the same latitude, that of Buenos Aires, are divided into three very distinct regions. On leaving Buenos Aires, the earth for about one hundred and eighty miles is clothed with large thistles and clover; for the next four hundred and fifty, the plain presents nothing but long grass, and the remainder, to the base of the Cordillera, is covered with evergreen trees and shrubs; the two latter divisions are little changed during the year, the grass only becoming more brown from the summer-heats, but the district of thistles varies in a singular manner. In winter, the country looks like a vast turnip-field, the clover is luxuriant, and the herds of wild cattle grazing in unrestrained liberty, present a beautiful scene. The clovef disappears as spring advances, the thistles gain the ascendancy, and attain an altitude of ten or eleven feet; forming a forest impenetrable to man or beast by their strong and prickly steins and leaves; the road through them is hemmed in on each side, cutting off all view, and so rapid is the growth, and so effectual the barrier, that Captain Head says, it is not impossible that an army might be completely surrounded by them and imprisoned, biluiv it could escape. Dried and withered by the increasing heat,, this forest yields at last to the periodical hurricanes that sweep over the plains; it lies strewed along, fertilizing li:o soil anew by its decay, and the succession is renewed by the re-appearance of the clover-crop.
The grass and woody regions, though less varied, are not less beautiful; the former seems to be without a weed, and in the latter such order exists in the growth of the trees, that a rider may gallop between them in every direction.
The climate of the Pampas, like that of all continents, is varied by intense heat during the summer, while the winter is about as cold as November in our latitude; but the effects occasioned by the difference in the moisture of the atmosphere, is the more striking feature in the regions of wuud and grass. Owing to the level nature of the country, its distance from the ocean, and other causes, the air is so dry, that dead animals dry up in their skins on the plains, as they do in the great deserts of Africa. There is no dew at night in the hottest weather: on the contrary, in the first, or eastern region, the air is excessively damp, animal decomposition after death is rapid, the walls of the houses in Buenos Aires are so damp, as to make them disagreeable, and sugar, salt, &c., can hardly be kept from dissolving; but it does not appear that even this part is unhealthy in consequence, so that on the whole, the climate of the country is beautiful and salubrious.
Like the Llanos, there are few fixed residents on these fertile plains; the native Indians wander in tribes from place to place over the southern part, and a few straggling towns and huts, the residence of the keepers of enormous herds, are widely scattered over the rest. The impolicy of the Spanish government having prevented the natural advantages of the country from being available, the want of good navigation and of a harbour on the coast, are impediments to the progress of cultivation.
The inhabitants of these isolated residences, descendant of Spanish settlers, are termed Gauchos, and live a monotonous life in the hut inhabited by their predecessors. It consists of one room, in which the whole family reside promiscuously; a shed serves for a kitchen, and about fifty or a hundred yards off, is a circle of thirty yards, enclosed with strong posts, in which the cattle are penned for slaughter, and which, consequently, is strewed with bones, carcasses, horns, and skins of bullocks and horses, while on the fence are perched vultures attracted by the stench, and overcome with gorging on tho carrion.
The food of these people consists solely of beef and water, and inured from their infancy to fatigue in riding, for they never walk, they are hardy and healthy. Their principal occupation is to catch and kill cattle, and their principal accomplishment, the use of the lasso, to which they are trained from an early age, children being always seen lassoing the dogs or wild birds; the use and nature °f this lasso will be presently explained.
It appeal-3 tual tno '"difference to the conveniences or even ^lc yie'-essarics of civilized life, which characterizes the G^Ucho, however phdosophical it may appear at (kit as the result of contentment, leads to the usual consequences of moral degradation*.
There are no regular roads, of course, through these plains, and the mode of travelling is extraordinary. A rude carriage is prepared for the journey, hy having strips of soaked hide bound wet over every part of its wheels and frame; this, on drying, contracts and becomes as hard as wood, and will endure a course of seven hundred miles without being cut or worn through; horses are harnessed by a single rope from the saddle, and each mounted by a peon, or postilion: the vehicle is dragged at a full gallop across ditches, lakes, and over all obstacles. At the end of a stage the riders unhook their animals, and set off to catch other fresh horses from the enclosures near the buildings which serve as post-houses, and the immense troops of horses produced in the country, prevent any delays from want of fresh relays; but the mode of riding is cruel in the extreme, the sides of the horse are streaming, and the heels and legs of the riders are literally bathed in blood.
Those who, like the Gauchos from youth, are inured to it, or who can stand it, prefer, however, to ride, instead of using these vehicles. Captain Head gives an animated account of the effects of his journey on horseback across this country and though at first, suffering from the fatigue of riding one hundred and fifty miles a day, at a fud gallop for weeks together, yet ho states that when broke in to it, and strengthened by the temperate yet invigorating diet of beef and water, to which a prudent traveller prefers trusting, in preference to encumbering himself with luggage and provisions, it causes no permanent injury to the health, and is a very exhilarating and pleasant mode of life.
One constant source of danger in riding over the Pampas, arises from the holes like rabbit-holes, made by an animal called the biscachot, or viscacho. When full grown, they are nearly as large as badgers, their head is like a rabbit, but they have large bushy whiskers. In the day-time they keep in their burrows, and are only seen to come forth at sunset; but what appears extraordinary regarding these animals and their dwellings, is, that in the day time, two small owls sit at the mouth of the holes, into which they retire on the approach of any danger: the same thing is said to occur in the prairies of North America, with respect to the animal called the prairie dog J. The fact is, the bird is a variety of the burrowing owl (strix cunicularia,) which to save the trouble of making a retreat for itself, takes possession of the deserted holes of the viscacho, and like the snake mentioned in the note, has no other connexion with the quadruped. This bird belongs to a division of the family (owl,) which can see as well by day as by night, and this species not being savage, likes to sit at the door of its bouse and see what is going on in the world.
The puma, or American lion, a species of ostrich, the gama, the Patagonian cavy, are among the principal indigenous animals of the Pampas.
In one part of the country. Captain Head found locusts so numerous as to cover the ground. At one of the posts a woman was sweeping them away with a broom, and they swarmed in crowds up his horse's legs; he placed his straw hat on the ground while he was drinking some water, and on going to resume it, it was covered with these insects biting the straw.
The method of taking the wild cattle and horses by the lasso is singular; this is a long line made of thongs of leather, and having a running noose at one end. The gaucho, or peon, being mounted on a well-trained horse, holds the lasso coiled up loosely in his right hand, but without any risk of its entangling; the other end is fastened by a hook to the saddle. When he has approached sufficiently near the animal he has selected, he throws the lasso, and with such unerring aim, acquired by long practice, t hat the noose falls on the neck or round the horns. On feeling the strange incumbrance, the ox gallops off, the man
* Captain Head asked a young woman nursing a very pretty child, " who was its father." "W ho knows?" was the reply.
t This is a species of Marmot. (An-lomys httltnicintii. Order Uoflentia.) It digs holes and burrows: a small speckled snake takes shelter in these holes, and is believed by the Indians to be the dogs' guard.
J This animal is not very well known, and it is believed that the name is given to more than one species, they make very extensive burrows with galleries, and live on vegetable food, they are very clean and neat in their habits, they run and do not hrap like rabbits, hence it is inferred, that they belong rather to the agoutis or cavis than to the hare tribe; it weighs about twenty pounds,
immediately turns his horse round, and causes it to lean on the opposite side from the course of the ox, so that when this is stopped by the lasso being run out, the horse may be able to resist tho sudden jerk; this otlen, however, draws him sliding on all four feet for some yards; but more commonly tho ox, as being unprepared for the check, is thrown down, and affords time to the hunter to secure him by either dragging hiin along the ground before he can rise, or by houghing him.
THE GREAT DESERT OF AFRICA.
The immense sterile desert of Africa, which equals onehalf of Europe in extent, or is nearly three times as large as the Mediterranean sea, is called tiahara§, and may be considered as an ocean of sand, having bays or gulfs of lesser deserts branching off from it, and various islands, of different magnitudes, of fertile spots in it, called Oases; the largest of these, Fezzan, is 300 miles long and 200 broad; this is surrounded by an irregular ridge of rocks, except on the west, where it is open to the desert. The fertility of this and other Oases arises from their having a comparatively abundant supply of water from wells, supplied from tho neighbouring mountains; for very little rain falls hero any more than in the open desert. Date-palms are the principal vegetable productions, though the soil and climate are not unfavourable for raising wheat. These Oases are far more abundant on the eastern than on tho western side of the Sahara. The Sahara forms only the major part of a still larger tract, extending to the further side of Arabia, and divided by the valley of the Nile and the Red Sea into three unequal portions, for all this part of the globe is of a similar physical character in most respects.
The Sahara, or African part, is estimated at about 2,r>00 miles in length by 720 in average breadth. Its sandy surface is a general character, but this is of different levels. In many places it is quite naked, but generally it produces an odoriferous plant, called by the Arabs She, somewhat resembling our wild thyme; with this are found other plants, one of which, very thorny, and serving as food for the camel, is the most common.
In some places large flocks of sheep, goats, or even cattle, find a scanty pasture, but more commonly nothing is to be seen but desolate hills of shifting sands; these are termed " deserts without water," a name conveying to an Arab's ear the fearful idea of an intense and suffocating heat, of a total absence of vegetation, and of the hazard uf a dreadful death from want of water. The western division is "of this nature, and is no less than 1600 miles in length by half that number in breadth, and is, without doubt, the largest desert in the world.
One peculiarity of these plains is the abundance of salt found every where on the surface. Natron (a carbonate of soda,) is also abundant.
Besides the animals already mentioned, the ostrich is found in the Sahara, though more abundant in the southern parts of the continent. Some species of deer, or gazelles, also frequent the fertile spots; hut, from the dearth of vegetation, and want of water, the natural history of this desert is very limited.
The persevering energy of man has conquered the obstacles which the Sahara apparently presents to any intercourse between the nations separated by it. From the earliest ages traders have traversed it, by uniting in large bodies, called caravans, and the camel, by its wonderful structure, its strength, docility, and abstemiousness, is tho means which have enabled man to effect these journeys, for without it they would be impossible; but even with this auxiliary, and with all tho precautions that experience can take, the caravans have frequently to endure the most terrible distress from want of water, for the shifting sands frequently obliterate the land-marks of the route, and delayed by the search for the path, the stock is exhausted before the multitude can reach one of the few and fardistant wells. The dried and bleached corpses and skeletons of the camels and horses who constantly perish on tho journey, are the principal guides on many of these dangerous roads.
We have already mentioned the phenomenon of columns of sand raised by whirlwinds, as common to all extensive plains in tropical regions; but those which visit the desert of Africa have been more particularly described from their
$ Tins word in Arabic means Desert,
being better known. The caravans which have traversed these desolate regions from the remotest antiquity, being constantly exposed to their destructive violence. Ail travellers who have crossed these plains, have described the precursors and the appearance of the storm in similar terms: a more death-like stillness in the air, a lurid light, and those optical phenomena mentioned in p. 36, announce the approach, and the coming clouds of sand are seen in the horizon. If the direction of the wind brings them towards the caravan, and sufficient time is not allowed for escape, the riders, dismounting from their camels and horses, throw themselves flat on their faces, closing the mouth and eyes to keep out the suffocating particles, and the vapour which carries them. The camels instinctively bury their noses in the sand for the same purpose, while the horse, unless inured to it by experience, and trained to take the same precaution, suffers fearfully, if not fatally. When the danger is passed, and the bewildered fainting traveller rises from his constrained position, he often finds all the known landmarks swept away, which were to guide him on his path, his associates dead from fatigue, heat, or suffocation, or if he escapes these calamities, his provisions, his clothes, his stock, are usually much injured, if not destroyed by the sand, which is so subtile and penetrating, as to enter every package, however closely secured and guarded. We have endeavoured to convey an idea of the appearance of a sand-storm and its effects, in the engraving at the beginning of this paper.
THE TABLE LAND OF CENTRAL ASIA.
Between the thirtieth and fiftieth parallels of latitude from the Caspian Sea to Lake Baikal, and from the sources of the Indus to the wall of China, is an immense TableLand, parts of which are the highest spots, not being mere peaks of mountains, on the globe. Generally it consists of an assemblage of naked mountains, enormous rocks, and vast plains, the principal of which latter is the Desert of Kobi, or Shamo. Those table-lands form two distinct tracts, differing in extent and elevation: the most eastern, comprising the plateau of Thibet, and the great desert of Kobi or Gobi, rises from 4 to upwards of 16,000 feet above the level of the sea, and contains about 7,000,000 square miles.
The most western, the plateau of Iran or Persia, is not so elevated or extensive, no where exceeding 4000 feet, and not comprehending more than 1,700,000 square miles. In length, the two together extend about 5500 miles from west to east, and vary in breadth from 700 to 2000 miles.
Unfortunately, little is at present known of the natural history and productions of this country. The climate, from the great elevation, is very cold, yet a vegetation adorns many parts of it, and the wild horses, in large droves, pasture on the more fertile portions. That it was once the abode of numerous and civilized nations, appears from the remains of temples and sepulchres found on some of the mountains. The present Mongolian population are wandering tribes, professing the/ religion of the Dalai-Lama, and keeping immense flocks of horses, camels, cattle, sheep, and goats, and therefore, plentifully provided with all the necessaries of life, and, indeed, raised far above many other nations in their habits and customs.
The desert of Kobi resembles that of Africa, consisting of a mass of barren sand, incapable of cultivation, and nearly destitute of water from the absence of vegetation.
The tribes who overrari the Roman empire, and came from the East, the Huns, Avars, and Alani, are supposed to have emigrated from this Table-Land of Asia: and some of the Gothic tribes, as they are called, came from a more limited plain of Europe, Jutland, and Denmark, which, though now peopled, yet preserves some of its natural characters, and is marked out by extensive heaths, which still present an obstacle to all cultivation. Why these uninviting districts should have been so apparently overpeopled that emigration was rendered necessary, when the rest of the known world was comparatively under-populated, is a mystery in history which there is no means of fully explaining: it may be partly accounted for by the peculiar nature of the physical geography of this central region, which presents facilities of communication, and varieties of soil and climate, favourable to the spread of population. Its present comparative solitude is due to moral causes, to which we have not space to do more than allude.
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
THE STATUE OF THOMAS GUY, IN THE CHAPEL OF GUY'S HOSPITAL
Vol. V. - 134
No. VII. Statue Of Thomas Guy, In The
Chapel Of Guv's Hospital, Southwark.'
Teach me to soothe the helpless orphan's grief,
To misery's moving cries afford relief,
With great pleasure we place on our list of National Statues that of Guy, the amiable friend of the poor and unfortunate, and founder of the noble Hospital which bears his name. The monumental group represented in our engraving, is of white marble, and stands against the wall, facing the visiter as he enters the hospital-chapel. It was executed by the late Mr. Bacon, in 1779, and is said to have cost 1000/. Mr. Guy is represented in his livery gown, holding out one hand to raise a poor invalid lying on the earth, and pointing with the other to a distressed object, carried on a litter into one of the wards, the hospital being in the background. On the pedestal is this inscription;
Underneath are deposited the remains of Thomas Guy, • Citizen of London, Member of Parliament, and the sole founder
of this hospital in his life-time. It is peculiar to this beneficent man to have persevered, during a long course of prosperity and industry, in pouring forth to the want* of others, all that he had earnerl by labour, or withheld from self-indulgence. Warm with philanthropy, and exalted by charity, his mind expanded to those noble affections which grow but too rarely from the most elevated pursuits. After administering with extensive bounty to the claims of consanguinity, he established this asylum for that stage of languor and disease, to which the charity of others had not reached: he provided a retreat for hopeless insanity, and rivalled the endowments of kings. lie died the 27th of December, 1724, in the 80th year of his age.
Thomas Guy, the son of a lighterman and coaldealer, was born in Horslcydown, Southwark, in 1645. He was apprenticed to a bookseller in Cheapside, and having been admitted it freeman of the Stationers' Company in 1668, was received into their livery in 1673. He began business with a stock of about 200/., in the house which, till lately, formed the angle between Cornhill and Lombard Street, but which has been pulled down for the improvements now making in that neighbourhood. His first success was owing to the great demand for English Bibles, printed in Holland, in which he dealt largely: but on the importalion of these being stopped by law, he contracted with the University of Oxford for the privilege of printing Bibles; and having furnished himself with types from Holland, carried on this branch of business for many years, with great profit.
But whatever foundation he might have laid for his future wealth, in the usual course of trade, no small portion of his property arose from his purchase of seamen's tickets. These he bought at a large discount, and afterwards subscribed in the South Sea Company, which was established in 1710, for the purpose of discharging those tickets, and giving a large interest. Here Mr. Guy was so extensively, as well as cautfbusly concerned, that in 1720, he was possessed of 45,500/. stock, by disposing of which when it bore an extremely advanced price, he realized a considerable sum.
If it should seem to detract from the character of this benevolent man, that he trafficked in sailors' tickets, and South Sea stock, it must be observed, that as to the former, the blame of the tickets being brought to market, lay with the government of that time, who instead of paying the sailors in money, as they ought, gave them bills or tickets, payable at a future day: and to such as wanted money, these were
useless, unless the holders could obtain ready cash for them, in which case, discount, and therefore, loss, was unavoidable. With regard to the South Sea stock, Mr. Guy had no hand in framing or conducting that scandalous fraud; he obtained the stock when low, and had the good sense to sell it at the time it was at its height. Never, indeed, can we approve of that speculative spirit, which leads men to step out of the line of a particular calling, and to "make haste to be rich;" nor, while we admire the mode in which a fortune has been spent, and contemplate some splendid endowment that has derived its origin from the "bad success" of gambling or avarice, can we be so far misled as to allow that the end justifies the means. Gay, who, under the form of a fable, often couched just and biting satire, alluding to the large fortunes suddenly made, by means of the "South Sea bubble," remarks;
How many saucy airs we meet,
From Temple-bar, to Aldgate-street!
Proud rogues who shared the South Sea prey.
And sprung, like mushrooms, in a day.
While we are compelled, in this sketch of Mr. Guy's life, to associate his name with one of the most infamous transactions in the commercial history of our country, it is due to his memory, as well as to the cause of Christian charity, to add, that no dishonourable imputation ever attached to him on this score*. Be it remembered, that much of his money was acquired by labour and perseverance, as well as by that practice of self-denial, which probably was necessary at the outset of life, and afterwards became a habit. To his relations he was attentive while he lived; and his actions prove that he did not hoard tip his means until they could no longer be of use to himself. He kindly lent money to some of his connexions, and granted annuities to others. His liberal benefactions to St. Thomas's Hospital, rhndo during his life, have been long known and appreciated in that excellent establishment. He had, also, founded an alms-house (afterwardsendowed by his will) for fourteen poor people, at Tamworth, his mother's native town, which lie represented in several parliaments. He left annuities to his older relatives,amounting to 870/. a year; and to the younger, extending to grandchildren of his uncles and aunts, he left stock in the funds, mostly in sums of 1000/. each, to the extent of more than 74,000/., besides bequeathing land. To Christ's Hospital he gave a perpetual annuity of 400/., to receive on the nomination of his trustees, four children yearly, who must be his connexions: and there are always applicants. He left 1000/. to discharge poor prisoners in London, Middlesex, and Surrey, at 5/. each, and another 1000/. to be distributed among poor housekeepers at the discretion of his executors. The erection of the hospital, the earliest part of which was built by Mr. Dance, is said to have cost nearly 19,0007., the amount of the residue of Mr. Guy's personal property being stated at upwards of 219,000/.
The following anecdote has been supplied to us by a correspondent, to whom, for this and other agreeable contributions to our pages, we offer, once for all, our best acknowledgements.
"The munificent founder of Guy's Hospital was a man of very humble appearance, and of a melancholy cast of countenance t. One day, while pensively leaning over one of the bridges, he attracted the attention and commiseration of a by-stander, who, apprehensive that he meditated self-destruction, could not refrain from addressing him with nn
• Notwithstanding the flippant and unfair ranaiis isf PWiViarit, in his History of London.
t See also his statue in bronze, by Scheemahers, in the first court of the hospital. . ,7