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JOURNEY INTO THE INTERIOR-BILOCHES-TRAVELLING – CASA BLANCA – GEOLOGI CAL FORMATION.—CURACOWI–HEIGHT ABOVE THE SEA-CUESTA DE ZAPATA—CUESTA DEL PRADO-ROADS—TRANSPORTATION OF GOODS – BEGGARS–PLAIN OF MAYPO – CORDILLERAS – ST. JAGO – MINT – LIBRARY — AMUSEMENTS — FASHIONS.–MARKETCLIMATE–EXCURSION TO THE CORDILLERAS–MOUNTAIN SCENERY-SNOW–GUANACOES – HEAT –RETURN TO ST. JAGO – MAYPOCHO – JOURNEY TO SAN FELIPE – QUILLOTA – TUPONGATI PEAK – DIKES – EVANGELISTO CELIDONO — FARM-HOUSE – CATCHING WILD HORSES-RANCHO – ENTERTAINMENT – ARRIVAL AT SAN FELIPE DE ACONCAGUA—MR. NEWMAN'S-MR. CHASE—TOWN OF SAN FELIPE—CHICHA AND AGUARDIENTE – THEIR MANUFACTURE – AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENTS – VISIT THE COPPER MINES-MODES OF WORKING THEM-THEIR SITUATION.—TRANSPORTATION OF ORES_WAGES-TEMPERANCE REGULATIONS-LAKE ON THE HIGH CORDILLERAS– COPPER ORES-RETURN TO SAN FELIPE—KINDNESS OF MR. NEWMAN AND LADYCELIDONO – QUILLOTA – RETURN TO VALPARAISO – EARTHQUAKES – PROTESTANT CHURCH – LIBERALITY OF PRIESTHOOD-ORACION–COMMERCE—EXPORTS – IMPORTS – FOREIGN VESSELS – POPULATION – COLLEGES – CONGRESS — IMPROVEMENTS IN PROGRESS - REVENUE — NATIONAL DEBT – CLIMATE – FRUITS – ADMINISTRATION – EXECUTIVE-SENATE–HOUSE OF DEPUTIES-MILITIA—ARMY-NAVY-G. G. HOBSON, Esq., U. S. CONSUL–LIEUTENANT CRAVEN–HIS GALLANT CONDUCT-CAPTAIN ISAAC MPKEEVER—U. S. SHIP FALMOUTH–FLYING-FISH-GALE–SEA-GULL LAST SEEN–HER Loss—PASSED MIDSHIPMAN JAMES W. E. REID—PASSED MIDSHIPMAN FREDERICK A. BACON.—ADMINISTRATION OF GOVERNMENT OF CHILI.
PREvious to my arrival at Valparaiso, the naturalists and some officers on board the Peacock and Relief had made excursions into the interior. On my arrival, I allowed all those who could be spared, and were desirous of visiting Santiago, sufficient leave to make the trip. Several set out for that city, and some with a view of extending their journey to the Cordilleras beyond. The bilocheros were eager for opportunities to hire their biloches, a vehicle somewhat resembling a double gig, which is generally used for travelling in Chili. They have a most rickety and worn-out appearance; almost every part appears mended with cords made of hide. They accommodate two passengers; and the time required between Valparaiso and the city (Santiago), is about eighteen or twenty hours. In the shafts a horse is put; a postilion rides one on the left, and sometimes another is placed on the right, both being fastened to the vehicle by lassos of raw-hide proceeding from the saddle. Each vehicle is attended by three bilocheros or drivers, with a drove of twelve or fifteen horses, forming quite a cavalcade. The bilocheros are very expert at their business. They are excellent riders, having been brought up to this exercise from their infancy, and understand managing their horses, though in a rude way. Their horses are small, but spirited, and bear fatigue well. Their usual speed is about nine or ten miles an hour. Few equipages can compare with these crazy machines, driven, as they sometimes are, pellmell up hill and down dale, with all their accompaniments of horses, Guachos, &c.; and it affords no small amusement to those on foot, to witness the consternation of the affrighted passengers, in momentary expectation of a break-down, and a broken neck or limbs. It is a WOL. & 23 (177)
difficult matter to acquire composure, on seeing the numerous temporary lashings, giving ocular proof that accidents have been frequent, however well satisfied one may be with the skill of the conductor. Fortunately the road is excellent, though at this season (May) it is divested of much of its beauty from the want of vegetation. The interest is, however, carried forward to the lofty peaks of the Andes, of whose summits occasional glimpses are had ; and the eye glances over the surrounding scenery in the immediate neighbourhood, that would elsewhere be deemed grand, to rest on some high and towering peak. Among these the peak of Tupongati is the most noted, ranking, since the measurement of King, as next in height to the Himmaleh mountains. The first stopping-place is at Casa Blanca, a small pueblo of some five hundred inhabitants, where travellers usually sleep. The accommodations were good, having been recently much improved. In the neighbourhood is the only tract of woodland to be found in this part of the country. The elevation of Casa Blanca, about thirty miles from Valparaiso, is five hundred and ninety-eight feet about the level of the sea. The primitive district extends about fifty miles from the coast, and of course is found here. It is composed chiefly of gneiss, which is generally easily decomposed. The mountains, in consequence, are not rugged, but of an easy ascent, and mural precipices are not met with. The gneiss was in some places observed to pass into hornblende rock, resembling the trachytic or igneous greenstone. It contains abundance of diffused epidote, and among the minerals schorl was observed, but no garnets were found. The road from Casa Blanca next passes through Curacovi, a small pueblo, three hundred and forty-four feet above the level of the sea, where the trap rock first makes its appearance, and then over a high ridge, called the Cuesta de Zapata. This terminates the first plain, and divides it from the second, of similar character, which extends to the Cuesta del Prado. It is passed over by a zigzag road, and was found to be two thousand three hundred and ninety-four feet high. On reaching the top, the view that presents itself is extensive and magnificent. In front is the extensive plain of Maypo, with here and there a conical mountain standing alone on it. At the extremity of the plain rise the lofty peaks of the Andes, covered with eternal snow, some reaching above the clouds. They appear but a few hours' ride off, although at a distance of twenty leagues. On either side rise the high ridges of the Cuesta. Beneath lie grazing grounds, extending over the plain, and covered with flocks and herds. Variety and life are given to the whole by the view of the national road, on which are seen numbers of