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The whole is kept quite clean, and has a pretty effect. Fruit and vegetables are abundant and cheap. They are of excellent quality. The grapes and peaches are of the finest kind; apples are also plenty. but no care appears to have been taken to secure the best kinds Cabbages, beets, potatoes, cauliflower, &c., are all large and good. Beef is proverbially fine, and also the mutton: the prices are six and a quarter cents for the former, the latter three cents per pound. The average price of a horse is twelve dollars, but some that are well broken are valued as high as those in the United States. The climate of Chili is justly celebrated throughout the world, and that of Santiago is deemed delightful even in Chili; the temperature is usually between 60° and 75°. Notwithstanding this, it has its faults. It is extremely arid, and were it not for its mountain streams, which afford the means of irrigation, the country would be a barren waste for two-thirds of the year. Rains fall only during the winter months, (June to September,) and after they have occurred, the whole country is decked with flowers. The rains often last several days, are excessively heavy, and during their continuance the rivers become impassable torrents. The temperature near the coast does not descend below 5S°. . The mean temperaturé, deduced from the register kept at Valparaíso, gave 63°. At Santiago, the climate is drier and colder, but snow rarely falls. On the ascent of the Cordilleras, the aridity increases with the cold. The snow was found much in the same state as at Terra del Fuego, lying in patches about the summits. Even the high peak of Tupongati was bare in places, and to judge from appearances, it seldom rains in the highest regions of the Cordilleras, to which cause may be imputed the absence of glaciers. Several of our gentlemen made an excursion to the Cordilleras, in order to get information in their various departments. I regretted they were not provided with the necessary instruments for ascertaining heights. The party left Santiago in biloches, and travelled to the eastward five leagues, to the “Snow Bank” from which the city is supplied. The ascent was gradual, but quite constant, as no intervening ravines occurred. They then took horses, leaving their biloches to return. Their route after this lay up a valley. On the surrounding heights the guanacoes were seen in great numbers. On reaching the head of the valley, one of the party became so unwell that he was unable to proceed, and was obliged to return. Dr. Pickering, Messrs. Dana, Peale, and Drayton, went on. As they proceeded they found the middle region was marked by spiny plants, principally Burnadesia. The soil was found to be a mixture of loose earth and pieces of rock. On rising higher, the vegetation became almost wholly extinct. Places occurred of an eighth of a mile in breadth, destitute of verdure of any kind. The party then ascended a ridge belonging to the main body of the Cordilleras, and at an elevation of about ten thousand feet, they reached its summit. Here they had an extensive view of all the line of the snow peaks. That of Tupongati appeared the most conspicuous, although at a distance of eighty miles. The guide asserted that he could see smoke issuing from its volcano in a faint streak, but it was beyond the vision of our gentlemen. The peak itself from this view of it was quite sharp-pointed. The scene immediately around them was one of grandeur and desolation: mountain after mountain, separated by immense chasms, to the depth of thousands of feet, and the sides broken in the most fantastic forms imaginable. In these higher parts of the Cordilleras they found a large admixture of the jaspery aluminous rock, which forms the base of the finest porphyries; also chlorite, in abundance. The rock likewise contains fine white chalcedony in irregular straggling 'masses. Trachytic breccia was observed in various places. The porphyry is of a dull purple colour, rather lighter than the red sandstone of the United States. No traces of cellular lava were seen, nor of other more recent volcanic productions. No limestone was seen in the regions traversed by our parties; all the lime used at Santiago is obtained from sea-shells; nor were any proper sedimentary rocks seen. Nothing could be more striking than the complete silence that reigned every where; not a living thing appeared to their view. After spending some time on the top, they began their descent; and after two hours' hard travelling they reached the snow line, and passed the night very comfortably in the open air, with their blankets and pillions, or saddle-cloths. Fuel for a fire they unexpectedly found in abundance: the Alpinia umbellifera answering admirably for that purpose, from the quantity of resinous matter it contains. Near their camp was the bank of snow before spoken of, from which the city has been supplied for many years. It covers several acres. The snow line here seemed to have remained constant, and would have afforded a fine opportunity to have verified the rule of Humboldt, but they had no instruments. The height they had ascended was supposed to have been about eleven thousand feet, and the Cordilleras opposite them about four thousand feet higher. The view of the mass of the Cordilleras, in its general outline, was not unlike those of Mont Blanc and other mountains in Switzerland. Mr. Peale went in search of the guanacoes, and succeeded in killing one nine feet in length and four feet in height. They were found to WOL. I. Q.2 24

frequent only the most inaccessible summits, and are said never to leave the vicinity of the snow. They feed upon several small thorny bushes, which impart a flavour to their flesh, and a smell to their excrement that may be distinguished at some distance from their places of resort. They make a peculiar sound when alarmed, like that of the katydid, (Gryllus.) This animal is never hunted for the market, though its flesh is good. The Bezoar is often found in its stomach, and is highly prized among the natives and Spaniards as a remedy for various complaints. It is also used as a gum. All the party suffered greatly from the heat of the sun's rays, and the dryness of the atmosphere. Their faces and hands were blistered, and the nose and lips made exceedingly sore, while the reflection of the light from the snow caused a painful sensation to the eyes. The next day they reached Santiago, whence they returned to the Port, as Valparaiso is usually distinguished in the country. Over the Maypocho at Santiago there is a substantial stone bridge, with five arches. For nine months of almost every year, the bed of the stream is nearly dry. At the time of our visit it was about two yards wide and several inches deep; but in the winter and spring, during the melting of the snows, it becomes quite a torrent, and from the damage that has been done in former times, they have taken the precaution to wall it in on the side of the city, towards the Cordilleras, for several miles, with stone and hard brick. When swollen it is a quarter of a mile wide, rapid and deep, and would cut off the communication with the surrounding country were it not for the bridge. Messrs. Couthouy and Dana were desirous of making a trip to the copper mines of San Felipe, to which I readily consented, and gave them all the time possible. Although this was short, yet by their indefatigable industry it afforded some interesting results. They left Valparaiso on the 17th for San Felipe, which is about one hundred miles north of Valparaiso. They were to have taken a barometer with them in case of ascending some heights, but it was forgotten. These gentlemen took a biloche as far as Quillota, a distance of forty miles, and proceeded thence to San Felipe on horses; for the use of which they were to give thirty dollars each, and one dollar extra for the service of the peon who accompanied them, for seven days. The road to Quillota was found good, although many hills and valleys were met with. For the first twenty-five miles the road passed along the sea-shore, with no elevation over two hundred feet; it was thought equal to the most frequented turnpikes in our own country. At six miles from Valparaiso, the road is cut through a bed of sienite, remarkable for the singular vertical dikes of granite by which it is intersected. As this curious formation will be ably treated of in the Geological Report, I shall refer the reader to that for a description. Ten miles from Valparaiso, the valley of Villa del Mar, having a breadth of nearly three miles, is crossed. This is a sandy plain, through which a broad shallow stream, coming from the eastern hills, runs. At twenty-five miles they reached the broad valley of Concon. Here the road turns to the eastward. This valley varies in width from three to six miles. The character of the rocks is granitic, and they appear to decompose rapidly when exposed to the air. Sienite was frequent, and on approaching the mountains, numerous varieties of trap formation, greenstone, porphyry, &c., were met with. Ten miles before reaching Quillota, the road passes over a level plain, which extends beyond that place. The hills which bound the valley to the south, are of low elevation until approaching Quillota. Near Quillota, in the south and southeastern direction, a lofty ridge rises, adjoining the campagna of Quillota, which is one of the high cones used as sea-marks for the harbour of Valparaiso. This is lost sight of at the town, in consequence of it being shut out by an intervening ridge. The town, or city of Quillota, occupies the centre of the valley, and is twenty miles from the sea. They reached it about one

hour before sunset, when they stopped at Mr. Blanchard's, who keeps

a house for the accommodation of foreigners. On the 18th they arose at daybreak, at which time the thermometer stood at 36° in the open air, seventy feet above the sea. The town of Quillota, (according to Mr. Blanchard,) is embraced within a circumference of three leagues. It contains several churches, of simple construction. The “Calle Largo,” the longest street, is upwards of a league in length. The same authority gives its population at ten thousand inhabitants. The houses are all of one story, and are built of adobes, with thatched roofs. There is an abundance of fine building-stone, but in this land of earthquakes, it is considered safest to use the lightest materials. Almost every house has a vineyard attached to it, the grapes of which were of good quality, and very abundant. At some places, although the vintage was half gathered, yet the crop still on the vines was such as would have been considered elsewhere an abundant yield. A portion of the grapes rot upon the vines, as the inhabitants have not the industry or inclination to manufacture them, although by proper attention they would yield a good wine. As it is, they only manufacture some into a hard and acid wine, called Masta, or boil the juice down to the favourite drink of the lower classes, called Chicha, which somewhat resembles perry or cider in flavour. The small quantity that is not consumed, is distilled into aguardiente, and disposed of at Valparaiso. Besides grapes, considerable quantities of wheat and Indian corn are cultivated. Apples, pears, and quinces, are also raised. The former are inferior to our own, the latter much superior, and in great plenty. Oranges were also abundant, but of indifferent flavour. Quillota is well supplied with water from the river Concon or Aconcagua. The water is led through all the streets and gardens of the place. It is used for all household purposes, as taken directly from the gutters, which are the recipients of dirt of every description from the town. For drinking, it is allowed to settle in large jars kept for the purpose. The intercourse with strangers at Quillota, has been much less than at Valparaiso or Santiago, and consequently they are less liberal, and more bigoted. This was particularly shown, about four years previous to our visit, by their burning in the public square, a large number of Bibles in the Spanish language, along with a heap of immoral and indecent pamphlets, in the presence of the civil, military, and ecclesiastical authorities. These Bibles had been distributed by our countryman, Mr. Wheelwright, who has done so much by his enterprise in introducing the communication by steam along the western coast of South America. In the morning early, the thermometer stood at 36°. The greatest cold is experienced just before sunrise and after sunset. On leaving Quillota, they went through the “Calle Largo,” and took the southern side of the valley, passing along the foot of the Mellacca Hill, a smooth and rounded elevation, about three hundred feet in height, and a mile and a half in circumference. This hill is covered with a thin soil, formed from the decomposition of its own rocks. The valley now narrows, and in some places is not more than a few hundred feet in width. At about a league from Quillota, they ascended a cuesta of the Quillota ridge, one thousand feet above the plain. On its top, they were much gratified with the beautiful prospect. The fruitful plain or vega of Aconcagua, varying in width from one to six miles, extends to the west some twenty miles to the ocean, and is lost in the other direction in the mountains; it is watered by pure streams, and covered with farm-houses and hamlets, surrounded by trees and vineyards. To the northeast are the Andes, heaped as it were on each other, until the towering and distant peak of Tupongati, with its giant form, crowns the whole. One feature of the plain was peculiar: the mountains seemed to sink into it as if it were the ocean itself. In some cases the line was so well defined, that one foot could be placed

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