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The daily union. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1845-1857, August 28, 1845, Image 2

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NATIONAL INSTITUTE.
Litter from .J. C. Pickett, late charge d affairee
of the United Stat re at Peru.
on ouano, or huano.
Washington city, Aug. 23, 1845.
Dear Sir: Finding on ray return recently to the
United Slates, after an absence of seven years, that
tlie atlicle called guano has attracted considerable attention
among our citizens, |>articijlarly among those
dedicated to agriculture and horticulture, I have concluded
to trouble you with a communication upon
the subject. I have resided several years in the
country (Peru) where that manure most abounds;
und having picked up a little information about it, it
muy be in my power, (Missibly, to uay something
that is new, but not much, 1 fear, that will be intergating.
Guana, or huano, as it is now written in Peru, (lbs
k not aspintted,) but originally with theg, is, as is
known to everybody, the excrement of sea-fowl,
in the condition, chemically considered, to be used
in agriculture at once, and without any previous
preparation, as manure, i no wuru nuuiut is appueu
also to all kinds of animal excrement entirely or
partially decomposed; and dry; pulverulent mules
and asses' dung used for miying with uiortnr, or
for packing ice to be sent from the snowy mountains
to the hot country below, is called huauu too;
and it is a most excellent non-conductor.
Guano is more abundant, I presume, on the coaBt
of Peru than in any other country, and of u superior
quality, for which it is not difficult to assign very
satisfactory reasons. The principal one is, that on
that coast it does aot rain as it aoes in most other
intertropical and extratropical regions; and thus one
great obstacle to its accumulation and preservation
is removed, or, to apeak more accurately, does not
exist. For this reason (as 1 suppose) all the guano
either already found, or to be found, in countries
where it rains much, will contain, pound for pound,
less fertilizing matter than the Peruvian guano.
This la the case with that brought from Ichaboe,
on the coast of Africa, which is of an inferior quality,
and commands in England only about twothirds
of the price at which the other is sold. That
heavy nnd frequent rains would produoe this deteriorating
effect, appears to me to be very probable;
sod, tins guano naul to be lately discovered on the
coast of Florida will be found also to be inferior to
the Peruvian. It will be, though, notwithstanding,
a moat valuable manure, i have no doubt; and if it
exists in large quantities, and is easily accessible, it
will be of more value to our country than all our
gold mines and gold washings together, which 1,
why have lived long in countries abounding in gold
, . and silver mines, am inclined to believe are, nationally
considered, of no benefit to any country?thai
ihey do not contribute either to its wealth, its health,
its morula, or its happiness. I speak only of the
mines of the precious metals. Of those of iron, co;>per,
lead, <Stc-, 1 have a different opinion; though
they, too, sometimes occasion much wild and ruinous
experiment arid speculation.
1 have said that it does not rain in Peru where
guano is found. 1 will explain. At Lima, in 12?
2' 8. latitude, and for some hundreds of miles to the
north and to the south, and until the Cordilleras (the
high mountains of the Andes) are reached, from 60
to 70 or 80 miles, rain, as known in our country, is
n phenomenon of very rare occurrence. It may
happen once or twice in a century at Lima, and
once in four or five years on the part of the coast
five or six hundred miles farther north; and then
along the sea shore, where nothing is seen generally
but dry burren sand, unblessed by any visible trace of
vegetation, there springs up suddenly, as if by enchantment,
a tolerable growth of grass and wild
llowers. Nevertheless, Captain Belcher, of the
British navy, distinguished as a navigator and
an hydrographer, says in hie work " Cruise in the
HiUphur," that he had been told it never rained at
Lima; but that he heard (in July and August, 1838,)
at that place "heavy pattering of rain, and saw
heavy streams issuing from the tops of Jiouses, and
traversing the streets." This to me is inexplicable.
1 resided at Lima about six years, and never heard
any of this "pattering," or saw any of these "heavy
streams;"and I inquired particularly of intelligent and
observant persons if they had seen all this in 1838.
They replied that they bad not?never had seen
such tilings?never had heard of them, even as tradi'
lions; and yet those persons had resided many years
at Lima. I have seen, indeed, whole Hoods of water
"issuing from the tops of houses," thrown during
the carnival, by merry and mischievous persons,
UDOn those nassinv aluiur tin* streets, and some of il
not altogether as sweet and transparent as it comes
^ from the clouds; and I have seen, too, daily, "heavy
streams" running along the gutter in the centre of
the Upsets; but as it is impossible that Captain Belcher
could have mistaken these for a shower of rain,
.1 am wholly at a loss to account for his statement,
so at variance with the experience of all others. I
t heve seen aleo, every year?and always in the month
' of December, I think?a fall of rain for a few moments,
composed of enormous drops, perhaps half
' nn inch in diameter, falling ten or fifteen feet apart;
out not i nough of it to wet anything, or to tie avoided
This depended, of course, upon a peculiar state
of the atmosphere, und upon electrical phenomena,
to the solution of which 1 did not feel equal, and do
not now; and leave it, therefore, unsolved.
L It will not do, though, to say that it does not rain
at Lima, without saying whut it docs do in the way
of precipitating humidity. From the last of May to
the month of December, there falls a considerable
quantity of water from the heavens, in the shape of
mist, or rather what we call drizzle. It falls generally
in the night-time; in consequence of it, the
streets are often inconveniently muddy of a morning.
What quantity is precipitated during the season,
I do not know; nor do 1 believe it has ever
been ascertained, for the philosopher has not been
much "abroad" along that coast. I do not recollect
whether Humboldt mude any estimate of the
. quantity that falls, or not. If any one has, he is the
man, probably. I suppose it to be less than a foot
for the whole time. Tnis drizzle, though it assists
m vegetation somewhat, is not relied upon by the culti
vntors of the soil in that region, whose sole dependence
is upon artificial irrigation?the water being
brought from the small rivers that have their origin
in the Andes. The plain about Lima, for instance,
is supplied with watcrdrnwn from the Rimac, which
flows through the city. During this moist season,
* which at Limn is called winter, (the mercury in Fahs
renheit varying from 60? to 62?, generally,) the
naked, stony, desolate, uncultivated hills about the
2 city, Irom nix or seven hundred to two thousand
feet high, become somewhat verdant, and with the
' verdure are mingled various flowers. But I return
to the guano.
f The quantity of guano within the jurisdiction of
i rcru has been estimated at from 40 to 00 millions of
i, tons. The last, I have no doubt, is too high, and the
f first may be pretty near the truth. The article being
found in many places, and in depositee of very irregular
forms, it is impossible to get at the quantity,
& even approximative^. The visible contours might
be managed; but, then, the form of the floor upon
which the mass reposes cannot be known without
being uncovered. There are considetable quantities
also of guano on the coasts of Bolivia and Chile; and
I have thought that, including all of it between the
6th and 31st decrees of south latitude, there may be
not less than (my millions of tons. Taking other
calculations for my datn, I am placing the nuanlity
lowar, perhaps, than any person in Peru would place
it. And if it is true, as has been asserted, that large
subterranean depositee have been discovered, the
quantity actually in existence may be vastly greater
than 1 have supposed. But I nave doubts about
these depositee, except near the seashore, where
some may have been buried in consequence of the
drifting of the sand, continued probably for many
centuries. But it has been sain, that there exiat
other depositee in the interior of the country,
and at a considerable distance from the seashore,
which are found by excavating the earth, as other
hidden treasure* are. But this is an illusion, or delusion,
or both. Some persons about Lima, who
imagined themselves to be very knowing, without
being so in fact, (rather n common disease,) took it
into their wise bends, whilst I whs st Lima, to maintain
that guano was a mineral substance, and not an
animal product. Their proof of this was the vast
quantity?more, they said, than all the birds in the
J world could have produced from the days of Adam
f and the inland subterranean depoaites, the existence
of which they either ussumed, or ndmilted upon
very queetionable authority. But this only
proved that those pseudo itrrans knew nothing about
guano?notntng of lis nature, or or lis nisiory, or
of the history of the country, or of it* agriculture.
And had the inland mines of the article really ex
isted, it would have proved nothing more than that
their locality must once have been near the aca.
t Guano was much more used, and much more appreciated,
I have no doubt, by the ancient Peruviana,
in the time of the Incaa, (four or five hundred year*
"K?i) it ha* ever been, either by the Spaniard*,
or by the present occupants of the country?the independent
Spanish American*. And agriculture, it
i* certain, waa much more flourishing than it ha*
ever been *ince the conouest. fcWer vegetable production*
were cultivated, and none of the cerealta, I
believe, except maive, (Indian corn-,) yet at least
double the present population was supported in
f more abundance, more comfort, and more happineaa,
| than haa ainoe been known nmong the common people.
There i* not, on the fare of the earth, a mora
wretched and down-trodden creature than the poor
jndian in Peru. He w a christian nominally, and
is theoretically and constitutionally a free man; hut I
practically be is no more than a heathen, and his i
condition, under every social and political aspect, is t
vastly inferior to that of the slave in the United t
States. He is not as intelligent, nor aa much re- i
spected, nor as well fed, nor as well clothed, nor aa I
well cared for in any sense. He baa no more polit- t
ical rights, or rights of any kind, and is, in truth, a I
much more degraded being. And so one-half, at least, I
of the human beings who inhabit South America i
are in no better condition; nor, for that matter, is t
the condition of one-half the people of powerful,
(Kilished, boasting Europe, any better; and all would <
be glad, could they ao so, to exchange circumstances
with the slaves in some of the States. 1 say this,
and I believe it; yet 1 am no advocate of slavery?
am neither ita friend nor its apologist?but I have
seen enough to convince me that, "bitter draught"
aa'it is, the slave, when well treated, as he is in this
country, ia by no means lowest in the scale of human
beings. In South America, the poor and unprotected
classes (about thfce-fourlha of the whole
mass) are subjected to an oppression more galling
and intolerable than all the wrongs and injustice of
our system of slavery together?which is, military
impressment; not conscription, for that operates
equally?but there, every indigent, friendless man ia
liable to be seized at any moment, and lorn Irom a
starving and helplens family, (to which he probably
never returns,) to be dragged, fettered and handcuffed,
to the army, there to die of disease, to starve,
qr to be shot, as the case may be; and the servitude
on our farms and plantations is a holyday, compared
with the condition of a South American common
soldier when on a campaign. And thin enormous
wrong is not inAicted by virtue of any law, or system,
or rule; but a brutal alcalde, (a sort of justice
of the peace,) or a still greater brute, it may be,
in epaulettea, (which he disgraces,) may kidnap, at
discretion, the poor, and powerless, and unprotected.
And the naval impressment in Orent Britain is
not much better than this. Nertnoni a nos mouloiu!
?i. e. to the guano.
I mention in hnvo neen it ntnted. in some nrinted
document in Peru, that the quantity of guano an- I
nually consumed there amounts to about three thou- '
sand tons?which is hot the tenth part of what I
ought to be used; but the Spanish American could i
not well be called a manure using animal. He gen- t
erally goes on cultivating his ground, as it hud been
cultivated for hundreds of years before he was born; I
not knowing whether its fertility may be increased or I
not, by any appliance of the kind, and caring nothing I
either. There are thousands of tons of manure within '
the walls that surround the city of Lima, which
might be very advantageously used in the neighborhood,
but it is very little in requisition. Guano,
it would be naturally supposed, from its applicability
to all sorts of crops, with a few exceptions,
and from the facility with which it might be obtained,
would be in great request in Peru. Yet it is
not so; and could it be furnished at a reasonable
price, the demand would be not less than a hundred
times as great for it in England, as it is in the country
where it is produced. Agriculture is yet in its
infancy as a science in South America. But very
few, ir any, wealthy and enlightened persons have
dedicated themselves to its improvement; and where
any attempt of the kind has been made, the results
have not been, in general, very encouraging. In all
South America there is not, 1 believe, a single periodical,
or a single newspaper, devoted to agriculture;
and it is us rare an occurrence to see a work
upon agriculture, as it is to see a Bible, which is scarcely
ever seen, unless in the possession of a priest. Rambling
about some years ago in the Andes, I spent a
day with a proprietor, who was somewhat a farmer,
and aomewnat a grazier, and in his possession I
found, to my very great surprise, a Spanish translation
of a part of Columella's work upon rural
economy, entitled "Dt Re RusticA," written about
eighteen hundred years ago. This was his oracle
about all matters pertaining to his rural occupations;
and he studied it, not doubting for a moment that it
was a recent and standard publication. And finding
him ftlix i? ruo err ore, (happy under his mistake,)
i thought it would he cruel to disabuse him,
and 1 did not. Columella is a favorite, 1 think, with
Spanish agriculturists?for the not unnatural reason,
perhaps, that he was a Spaniard himself. His
work possesses great merit, however, and is a very
remarkable one, considering the state of agriculture
at the time it was written.
In Peru, guano, though it is used very sparingly,
is applied, notwithstanding, to almost every kin dof
vegetable production, except the sugar-cane; and it
would be lo that, it it was thought to need manure.
It is usetl chiefly in the cultivation of maize (Indian
corn) and polatoea, (Irish,) and is supposed to increase
the crop from one-fourth to one-third, li has
been frequently asserted, und 1 have Keen it stated in
Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, that it increases
the product thirty nnd forty fold. This is n great
mistake, and is nothing more nor lens than a gratuitous
assumption, warranted neither by actual experiment,
nor by any rational hypothesis. I append
hereto an extract or a letter to me from William F.
Taylor, esq., formerly United States consul at
Arequipa, about the use of guano. It is used, more
than anywhere else in Peru, at that place, six
or seven hundred miles to the southward of Lima,
where agriculture is in a more respectable and efficient
condition, perhaps, than anywhere else in that <
country. Mr. Taylor is right, I suppose, in saying
that guano is "never" used (at Arequipa) "for
wheal and other crops." But still it has been used
for them elsewhere, and is considered to be suitable.
This I say upon the authority of Dr. Rivero, a
man of science at Lima, who has written some articles
upon the subject. He says, that in the province
of Tarapeca it is used for wheat, and for all
kinds of fruit-trees, though not for sugar-cane; but
at Arequipa, Indian corn and potatoes only require
It was formerly, and may be yet, the custom in
some parts of Peru, to apply the gunno to the soil,
and then let it lie fallow a whole year; which seems
to me to be the worst kind of husbandry, thus im- <
providently to permit the precious material for so
long a time to "waste its sweetness on the desert
air." Bad, because, when committed to the ground,
it is completely decomposed, nnd ready at once to
impart its fertilizing properties to the crop, (whatever
it might be,) a great portion of Whicn, by exposure
to the sun and atmbsphere for no long a time,
must be lost. But this opinion I advance diffidently,
and under correction; for, to say the truth, I
nm mvnelf rather n nnrrv sprieiiltiirint. thniurh I
have had opportunities ot being a tolerably good (
one. 1 would take rank, probably, in the same cat- r
egory with the famous Tnptolemus Yellowly, who <
figures in Sir Walter Scott's novel of the "Pirolr," ?
though not quite so persevering an improver. I
Though I express myself rather depreciatingly of
Peruvian agriculture in general, yet, in justice, it ?
must be admitted that some productions are culti- <
vated here and there, in a few places, with con- t
siderable success?particularly the topical fruits, the f
sugar-cane, and the vine. Urapes ore very ahull- 1
dant in some districts, and of a fine quality. Pretty t
fair and palatable wines are made of them, too, I
which might pass very well with any one that was |
not a connoisseur, or a ban vivanl. They have a i
food body, are pure and well flavored, and superior, c
have no doubt, to that on which the good old pa- t
triorch Noah suffered himself to get "unco happy." c
About the port of Pisco, 170 or 180 milea from I
Lima, there ia an extensive vine district, and in it f
some wealthy and intelligent proprietors, and among 1
them Don Domingo Eliaa, supreme chief at Lima i
about a year ago?whose supremacy, however, like c
that of many of his predecessors, was rather epnem- r
eral; he, being but a cultivator, had to succumb t
with his pruntng-hook to another that wielded the t
a word. r
There haa been considerable speculation with re- t
snect to the rate at which guano accumulates, t
Humboldt wai of opinion (forty years ago) that the 1
depositee increased in bulk very slowly?not more f
than a few lines (IS to the inch) annually: thus as- I
signing to the great depositee a very high antiquity,
forsoms of them arc said to he more than n hundred
feet in depth?about the depth, 1 suppose, of the
innv on tne summit of Chimliorazo, judging with
the eye at the distance of seven or eight thousand
feet below. 1 have not Humboldt at nnnd to refer
to; but, from the data given hy him, (which are,
however, rather assumptions than verified facta,) the
guano may have been accumulating for the last two
or three thousand years. Dr. Rivero (the same that
I have quoted above) does not hesitate, however, to
assign to some of the guano depositee a much highftr
Afltinilifv wliiok <>Ai.?kt In l,o naUiUlorl I* lia a
says, "from epochs anterior to the deluge." This
may seem to be extravagant; but I perceive nothing
in the supposition that ta absolutely absurd.
A British subject (Dr. Hamilton) made various
calculations to determine the rait at which the guano
accumulates; and he fixed upon the quantity of
fifteen tons per diem for the coast of Peru, assuming
the number of birds to be one million; that each bird
would depfleite daily one ounce, one hnlf of which
would be lost by evaporation, leaving for the total
result about the amount given?15 tona. This calculation
must be, however, very inaccurate; for the
number of birds is greatly underrated, whilst the
quantity of guano that each produces daily is, I
have no doubt, overrated. Instead of one million,
there must be many millions. Dr. Rivero says that
the great quantity of guano "will reaee to attract admiration
when the millions of birds that produre it
are considered." Don Antonio Ulloa, who travelled
in Peru about one hundred years ago, says, in his
Vnvaft, that he saw at the port sf Arira, seven or
eight hundred miles south of Lima, a flight of birds
that waa an hour and a half passing oil the wing;
and that, during that time, ho sow no sky anywhere.
Don Antonio waa an accurate observer, scientific
md intelligent, and, aa we muat suppose that he
*w what he relates, there must have been in that
me flock a good many millions?and that he aaw at
>no spot, on a coast sixteen or seventeen hundred
niles in extent, where guano is to be found. I, too,
tare aeen the bay of Callao covered with birds aomeimes
for several square miles in extent?the num>er
not being under a million, I think, certainly,
rlad Dr. Hamilton assumed the number to be leu
nillions, I should still suppose him to be short of
he reality.
A very natural question might be asked, Why
ire those marine birds (of various sixes, colors,
ipecies, and variety) so much more numerous on
he coast of Peru than elsewhere? The reason is,
hat they find a climate adapted to their nature, and
luitable food in great abundance. That food is
ish, the number of which is still more surprising
hen the number of the birds that prey upon them
Hie fish abound as they do, because they too find a
ilenty of food adapted to them, if asked, though,
shy that food is so abundant, I should have to coness
that the question would be rather too deep for
nv philosophy. Along that coast, the variety 01
ish is very great, of all sizes and flavors; and every
ipicure and every glutton can have hie palate gratiled,
be he man, bird, or beaat.
There have been many analyses of guano, by
Foueroy & Vauquelin, Bret*Ure, Liebig, and othsrs?the
first analysis being made by F. andV.
ibout forty years ago, the guano having been sent
0 them by Humboldt. In no two coses have the
-esults been exucliy alike; but the discrepancies
niply neither carelessness nor ignorance on the
aart of the chemists. The samples may not have
seen of the same quality. Some might have been
more completely decomposed than the others, or
aave contained more extraneous matter?saline,
libelous, earthy, aqueous, Ac. Or they may have
aeen of different kinds; for in Peru three are known,
lifffering all from each other, more or less, in their
:onstituent parts. These three kinds are the rediiah,
(rojo.) the gray, (parduzco,) and the white,
|bianco;) of which the latter is considered to be
;he strongest, being the most recent; and it, as
well as the gray, becomes red by age. All the difference
between the three kinds is the result of time,
ind the accidental introduction of the foreign matter
ilreody mentioned.
Dr. lire's analysis seems to be considered in Peru
jo be the most exact, and is the one most relied on;
aut I am not aware of any good reason for this
3reference. Dr. U. is certainly a profound chemist;
aut so are the other analysers. According to him.
:he red guano, contains 50 parts of one hundred
if organic azotised matter, including urate of ammolia,
giving from 8 to 17 parts of ammonia, water
11 parts, phosphate of lime 35 parts, phosphate of
magnesia and ammonia, and of oxalate of ammonia
13 parts, silicioua matter 1=100. I take this from
t Spanish document, in which Ure's analysis has
>een mutilated; it is minute enough, though, to
ihow ut ance that guano, as a manure, must possess
rery great fertilizing qualities?a decisive proof of
which is, that British agriculturists can afford to pay
1 higher price for it than for any other known mature
which is attainable in large quantities. It has
Man found, by experiment, that the genuine Peruviin
or Bolivian guano furnishes out of 100 parts, 88
tarts promotive of vegetation; the lchaboe, 77; Posicssion
island, 61; Porto Cabello, 37; the latter beng
of a very inferior quality. But still this does
tot show the relative value in commerce, and to the
griculturist, of theso various species of guano; for
n England the Peruvian is now selling for about
light pounds sterling the ton, whilst the lchaboe
commands not much more than five pounds. It
teems to show, in fact, nothing more than the
imount of extraneous mattec contained in each,
eaving still a great difference in the quality, when
Guano was not exported from Peru, i believe, ae
U) article of commerce, until within the last ten
rear*. The quantity exported, to far, has not yet
-cached a hundred thousand tone, I think. About
ive year* ago, the government at Lima made a contact
with some individuals, stipulating that they
ihould export within five years one hundred and
wenty thousand tons, the government (to which all
he guano belongs) receiving about twenty dollars per
on for alt exported. But, in consequence of the define
of the article in the English market, this has
een a losing speculation for the contractors so far,
ind not one-half of the hundred and twenty thoumnd
tons has been yet exported. Some guano,
vhen first taken to England, sold as high as 140 delnrs
a ton; some at 90 dollars; and it got down finaly
as low as to 33 dollars; and it could not be sold
or much less than that, supposing it to cost nothing
n Peru. This is a matter about which the English
armers appear to have been very capricious. At
me lime, they would give for it an enormous price?
nore than it could possibly be worth; and at anothir,
they would not give near its indisputable value;
or, in England, I have no doubt that the farmer can
ifTord to pav 50 dollars per ton for it, and be amply
emunerated at the same time. In the United States
t is doubtful whither this price can be given for the
general purposes of agriculture. For horticultural
mrpoees, it may be, I imagine, near our large
owns.
It seems to be admitted in Peru, (and it is to be
leplored,) that the sea-fowl that produce the guano
ire sensibly diminishing in numbers. This is there
mputed to three causes: the excessive heat of the
lummers of late years, the scarcity of food, and the
;reat increase in the number of vessels that frequent
he ports, to the noise made by their crews, and to
he firing of cannon. The two first I consider as of
to cogency, and as ideal. The summers, if they have
teen a little warmer than usual, (which is doubtful,)
vould not drive away the birds; or, if it drove any,
vould drive nearly ail; for, among the inferior aninals,
(inferior to man,) instinct is uniform and un'acillating;
if it influences aay, it influences nearly
ill. With the reasoning biped, man, it is otherwise,
n his migrations, he may be influenced by a hunIred
motives that may influence all, or but a small
lortion. It is not so, though, with the feathered
>iped. Nor can 1 subscribe to the alleged scarcity
if food. Nobody has observed a diminution in the
lumber of tl e fish?the whale excepted, upon which
he birds do not prey; nor has there been any, in my
ipinion. They are as abundant, I suppose, as they
iave been for some thousands of years past, and as
hey will be, probably, for some thousands to come,
rhe noise made by tne cannon, Ac., may have proluced
some efTect upon the more sensitive and timid
if the birds, perhaps; but, judging from the fearless
mil familiar manner in which they come into the bay
>f Callao, where there is much noise and firing, 1
ihould conclude that they are not so very easily
lightened.
The guano which is exported from Peru is taken
it present from a small island near the shore, called
Hhincha, 160 or 170 miles south of Lima. Ufion
his island is the great drposite, which astonishes
ill who see it; and which was estimated by a Peruvian
Minister of Foreign Affairs, a few years ago,
i conscientious and intelligent man, (Don JosP Vila,)
to contain fifty millions of tons alone. Though I
is ve assumed that to be the whole quantity to be found
n the country, I do this, because I am an enemy of
ill hyperbole and exaggeration, and because I know
hat it is n very common thing to exaggerate a little
>n such occasions. Fifty millions of tons is a very
arge quantity; if it is there, so much the better it is
or somebody. I hope that Mr. Villa was right.
Fifty millions of tons, at twenty dollars a ton, which
t is worth at the island, is a thousand millions of
lollars?enough to pay one-fourth of that financial
nonstrosity, the British national debt; or equal in
ralue, perhaps, to all the public domain of the Unied
States. Or, supposing each ton of guano to
epresent, in grain, two tons of wheat?which it
Iocs at least, I think,?we have 100,000,000 Ions of
nrheat, or 9,000,000,000 bushels?equal in value,
lerhaps, to all the gold and silver that have been
bund on this continent since its discovery by Coumbua.
And to carry away the guano from Chincha
it once, would require seven or eight times as much
ihipping as there is in all the world.
This is an interesting calculation, and one that
nay not only be true, as fur as it goes, but short
iven of the whole truth. On a barren rock of only
i square mile or two?not worth, of itself, a single
lollar?there exists, at this moment, tangible, posiive,
indisputable wealth of greater value than all
he gold and silver mines of Peru, rich as some of
hem are. And what is remarkable is, that, until
vithin a very few years, this vast amount, of wealth
vas not only not appreciated, but scarce I y known.
o exist, even in Peru, and in foreign countries not
it all. And what is more remarkable still, is, that'
he country which owns this great treasure is, finally
and agriculturally considered, one of the poorist
and moat miserable countries under heaven. So
nuch for bad government!
Dr. Feuchtwanger, of New York, has suggested
hat an artificial gtinno might be made to rival the
Peruvian. I doubt this, myself. _ All the ingredients
night be put together, to be sure, and trie result
eould l>e, I have no doubt, a very valuable comx>st;
tint it would not be guano. It would lack
lome thousands of years of age; and, even with
hat, it would be but a counterfeit still. Nature
loes not permit herself to be rivalled by Art in any
>f her operations. The chemist can compose and
lecomnose, analyse and destroy; but he cannot r.relte.
All the ingenuity of man, with all the appliinces
of science, cannot make a blade of grass, or a
liamond of the lowest water, although mnny tons
if charcoal have been burnt in the attempt to make
it. And I coneider it equally impossible to make,
t>y art. a singlecunce or genuine Peruvian guano.
In the guano depositee, end far below the surface,
incient tools and instruments are frequently found,
nd sometimes birds' eggs?some of Uiem external
CA ... -Bte, ... bi *?
1 y pretty perfect, but probably altogether changed ei
from their original nature in the interior; for thoae ft
of which the sheila have been abraded, preaent the 8
ap|tearance of an inorganic, indurated maaa; the vi- a|
la I principle having been extinct for many ages, I a
presume.
It would be a curious and interesting experiment, tl
were it practicable, (in my opinion, it ia not,) to rl
batch aome of those eggs, which may be four or ei
five thousand years old, to see what kind of birds si
would be produced?whether identical with the spe- s]
cies that produce the guano at preaent, whether any tl
change had taken place in the external appearance
or internal organization, or whether a new race had
succeeded to what Dr. Kivero might call the aniedi- luvian,
and which may now be extinct.
It ia very certain that great changes have taken,
and will yet take place, in all the departments of rta- ture;
but not to the extent, I imagine, that some ingenious
though visionary investigators have asI
I ILa 1 4.1 ? f.._ i.... L . _j
ouiiicu uuiu muiiuuuuv, ?v? moiauuc, W 111) auvanced
the opinion that man waa originally an ape 0
or a monkey, and had, through lapse of time, lost t|
hia tail, and gained the faculty we call reason?thus t<
leaving the matter in doubt whether, upon ^he t|
whole, he haa been a gainer or loser. And Bory tl
St. Vincent seemed to think that the monkey was 0
rather the more perfect animal of the two, phyaical- ?
ly considered?having the advantage of possessing (_
four hands, which answer the purpose also of four .p
feet. But enough of this philosophy. t-(
Besides its udmirable agricultural and fructifying a
3ualitie?, guano iiossesses a virtue (as is supposed) q
lat cannot be made too public. It is believed in a
Peru to be a specific against that foul and loath- v
some disease, the leprosy. Whether it is or not, I j
cannot determine; but 1 will state facts, and then f,
every one can judge for himself. Three or four g
years ago, two lepers, whose cases were considered c
incurable and desperate, were sent from the main j(
land to the island of Chincha, to live or die us Provi- w
dence might will it. They were deported, and in n
fact marooned. There they remained two years, v
living amidst the guano, sleeping on it, and work- j
ing in it a little; and, at the end of that time, they
were perfectly cured. Of this fact there can be no j
doubt, 1 think. The proof is official and document- u
ary. The medical faculty in Lima imptted the c
cure to the ammonia contained in the guano?and t|
with reason, perhaps. But it does not follow, though, ]
that ammonia will per u cure leprosy. It may be b
requisite that it should be in combination with other a
substances; or it may be that the curative principle ti
really exists in some other component part of the f
guano, not now regarded, it may be, as possessing 0
any therapeutic virtue. But I will leave the matter p
to the physicians, saying no more lest I get be- p
yond my depth. I will merely add, that the food tl
of the lepers, and the pure sea air they breathed, h
might have had some effect. Their food was simple jj
and scanty. r
Having stumbled, incidentally, upon the leprosy, n
I am going to say a few more words about it, though ,,
what! shall say has nothing to do with guano. Mv tj
object is to correct a fallacy that has gone abroad,
and which includes a libel (prejudice) upon that
most useful and most valuable, though not very ^
graceful or attractive auadruncd. the hoe. I recol- _
feci to have seen it stated, in some letters written n
from Texas, that it is universally admitted, through- .
out Spanish America, that the eating of pork causes (|
leprosy. This I consider to be altogether a mis- .
take. It is a mistake to suppose that eating pork
produces the leprosy; and a mistake to assume that .
it is admitted, throughout Spanish America, to pro- "
duce it. I have travelled considerably through that '
country, and I have not seen pork anywhere repu- P
diated among the natives, though it may be in some n
places. Bui, on the contrary, it is in several parts '
the favorite butcher's meat of the laboring classes? '
as at Lima, where it is consumed in great quanti- "
ties, and where, although there ore cases of leprosy, #l
yet that disease does not predominate in any remarkable
degree. If pork generated it, not less '
than three-fourths of the people would be afflicted 1,1
with it, instead of one out of three or four thou
sand. P
1 am of opinion that, if pork is at all connected v
with leprosy, it is the want, and not the use of it, [>
that causes it. My own theory is, right or wrong, ">
that the causes of leprosy, where there is no hereof- 0
tary taint, are bad air, filthy habits, scarcity of nu- e:
tritious food, (not pork enough,) and laziness. I u
must explain what I mean lay bad air; for 1 have ''
seen cases of the leprosy in the Andes, some thou- n
sands of feet above the sea level, where the atmos- P
phere was pure and transparent to a degree of 0
which we who dwell but a few feet above tidewater
can scarcely form an idea. The bad air is in "
the wretched, smoky, suffocating, stinking, window- P
less hovels, the usual abodes of the laboring classes J1
in South America.
Wherever a prejudice prevails against pork in h
Spanish America, it has been brought from Spain
three hundred years ago; and the Spaniards had it P
from the Jews or Moors?from the latter, probably. 01
The Jew regarded the hog as an unclean animal, be- *
cause he was commanded so to do; the Mahometan, *'
because lie had a tradition, that he believed, which "
assigned to that animal an impure and revolting origin.
It was, that he was spontaneously engendered
in Noah's ark from the excrement of the elephant. J1
He was considered, therefore, to be too filthy to be "
eaten. And, singular as it may appear, it may pos- "
sibly be true that a Christian repugnance to pork, P
where it exists, may have its origin in this whimsi- '
cal and puerile Mahometan legend. I take this sto- y
ry from Montesnuieu's iMtrti Prrsants; and hav- P
ing given my authority, I am not responsible for it tr
in any manner. Bl
Peruvian guano is selling at present in the United 1
States, I believe, at three dollars per hundred pounds. *
This is, in my opinion, a higher price than the farm- ll
ers will be able to give habitually, until the price of "
grain gets up again?such, I mean, as apply it to '
grain crops. Otherkindsof guano will be imported, 81
probably, and sold much lower ; but it ought to he c<
borne in mind, that, though nominally cheaper, it 8
may in fact be dearer; for none has yet been discov- n
erea, that is to be compared with the Peruvian in '
riint of fertilizing capability. Another suggestion c
will make is, that those who purchase an inferior
kind of guano to experiment with, and the experi- w
ments do not result satisfactorily, ought not, for e
that reason, to condemn all guuno, but only the ''
particular kind they have used. With our present
limited knowledge of that manure, and of its vari- 8'
oua kinds and qualities, it does not seem to be safe a
for the agriculturist to experiment with any other B
kind than the genuine, unadulterated Peruvian ar- "
tide. * 1]
A very important question is, to what kind of l
crops is guano best adapted? And it is one that I
confess myself not at all qualified to answer; being, |
as an agriculturist, rather of the Triptolemus Yel- ^
lowly school, as 1 have before said. I have made (j
no experiments, and do not suppose I shall make
any. I incline, though, strongly to the opinion that g,
gunno is adapted, if any manure is, to every kind of f(
soil, and to every kind of crop. But, since the researches
of Sir Humphrey Davy and of Liebig?in
consequence of the discoveries they have mndc in j,
chemistry as applied to agriculture?it may be doubted
whether there exists any such manure; but there 0|
must be a mutual adaptation?the soil suiting the w
manure, and this suiting the soil. But ns this is a n|
matter that I am not competent to discuss; and as it e)
has no necessary connexion with the objects of this y|
letter, I leave it to abler heads and to abler pens.
And I here conclude this long, nnd, I fear, dull and P
uninteresting epistle; assuring you that I am here, Bj
as in Peru, ever, nnd
With the most perfect respect,
Your very obedient servant, '
J. C. PICKETT. Tl
PasNcis Mahkok, jr., esq., '
Corresponding Secretary of the National Institute. "
Extract <tf a UUtrfrom IFin. F. Taylor, esq., late Uni- ^
ted States consul at Jlrequipa. m
* "April 19th, 1845. th
"The yellowish-red hvano is the class exported, ai
There is also a white species?actual bird's excre- al
menu. It is applied almost exclusively to crops of pi
Indian com, though sometimes used for potatoes? vi
for wheat, or oiher crops, I believe never. This w
may be owing to corn and potatoes being sown in w
hillocks or furrows; for it would lie difficult to np- si
ply it to wheat the way it in used here, and would ca
be expensive. I know of no other reason for not qi
using it. It is applied but once to a crop?vir.: In- sa
dian corn is sown as with us?that is, in hillocks
about 13 inches apart; and when they "amontonar," tv
(hill up,) which is done but once to each plant after ol
getting to be about 34 to 36 inches high, the weeds ec
being removed, women take a handfull of guano, q,
(women's hands are rather small here,) and place at p,
me toot oi me plant (there are generally j, 4, ami |H
5 plants in each hillock) aa much huano as may be rc
held between the three fingers?so that a handful d,
screes for three or four plants. At the time of sp- pi
plying, they scrape a little earth over it, lightly, f?
with the toes. Then follows the hillocking, and, as di
soon aa done, the plants are irrigated at once. All hi
cultivation is done here by irrigation, and not by th
rains, as it only rains a little here in January and ?i
February. Muize is sown at the end of August and pi
Heptemlier, and is gathered at the last of April and sa
the beginning of May; so that in the seasons of rain to
here, (he corn is well grown?say, 7 or 9 feet high. 01
In December and January we have roasting ears. U|
Each atalk has two or three, and sometimes more fi
ears, nearly aa large as ours. The grain is much th
larger, though flatter, not round, and I think not so f]
sweet; rather of the yellow kind, though there are pi
rfiflgninl answiiM .V
I To each iopo of land, (a msasure of fire thousand I th
juare vara*of 33 inches each,) they uae from 3. to 4
inegas of huano?each fanega being SOU pounds
pamsh, or 906 pounds English. To potatoes, it is
[iplied just in the same manner?once only, and
-ben the plant bears the first flowers.
1 cannot state exactly the effect of guano, more
tan that they say it is heating? fortifies the plant,
ipens it more promptly, and produces a larger
rop?(more ears of corn and a fuller grain.) It is
upiiosed that land Auanrods (dressed with huano)
hould produce from one-fourth to one-third more
tan land on which it is not used.
? a
W. F. TAYLOR.
COMMUNICATIONS.
For the Union.
FREMONT'S EXPEDITIONS.
t. .... Mm- .1. a .rv.t.n ?fll,.
fficittl connexion between Fremont end Nicollet?
fie former having been principal assistant to the later
in hia expeditions under the government, and in
le making of the map. We have ulao taken noce
of the servicea of Nicollet, us well from a motive
f doing justice to that distinguished and lamented
tan, aa to ahow the severe schooling through which
lap!. Fremont waa taken, before he was himself in-usted
with a separate command. It was, indeed, a
>rtunatc event for Fremont that he waa made the
aiatunt of Nicollet?a man who had already ncuired
great experience with our Indians, who had
hown great tact in hia intercourse with them, and
vho had obtained no small degree of reputation
or his ability to manage them?who, to a proHind
knowledge of the mathematics, united a ainular
expertneas aa an astronomical observer and
alculator, and a fondness of communicating and
islructing. It was fortunate, therefore, to serve
rith such a man; and fortunate, also, that Frflont
possessed the abilities to profit by such a series,
and to avail himself of the valuable lessons
ally placed before him.
But, as previously remarked, the feeble health of
Jicollet did not admit of hia again taking the field,
nd the experience and services of Fremont were
onsidered as fully justifying the placing of him in
fie command of lha expedition then (the spring of
843) about being organised to explore the country
etween the Missouri and the Rocky mountains,
nd to detarminesomeoftlie features of those mountins.
He waa accordingly placed in the command,
ie left the frontier in May, returned in the course
f that year, and completed hia report and map in
line to have it printed in March, 1843. This reort
was reprinted by Congress under an order of
lie last session, in conjunction with the report of
is second expedition; and the maps of both expeitions
are blended into one, and printed with the
eports of the expeditions. The first report relates
j the country between the Missouri and the Rocky
lountains; the second relates more particularly to
fie country of Oregon and North California.
The style of Captain FrCmont is worthy of imitaion
bv all travellers. Simple, clear, unassuming,
euutifully graphic; describing what was seen preisely
as seen, with sentiments which would nalutlly
arise on the occasion. We give as a specimen
fis pasaage of the "carton" of the Sweet Water, a
ibutary of the Platte. It ia taken from page 72 of
ie firat expedition:
'August 24.?We started before sunrise, intendlg
to breakfast at Goat island. I had directed the
ind party, in charge of Bernier, to proceed to this
lace, where they were to remain, should they find
0 note to apprize them of our having passed. In
ie event of receiving this information, tney were to
ontinue their route, passing by certain places which
ad been designated. Mr. Preusa accompanied me,
nd with ua were five of my best men, viz: C. Lamert,
Basil Lajeunease, Honor? Ayot, Benoist, and
iesceteaux. Here appeared no scarcity of water,
nd we took on board, with various instruments and
aggage, provisions for ten or twelve days. We
addled down the river rapidly, for our little craft
raa light as a duck on the water; and the sun had
een some time risen, when we heard before ua a
ollow roar, which we supposed to be that of a fall,
f which we had heard a vague rumor, but whose
xact locality no one had been able to describe to
a. We were approaching a ridge, through which
ie river passes by a place culled "cafion" (proounced
kanyon,) a Spanish word, signifying a
iece of artillery, the barrel of u gun, or any kind
f tube; and which, in this country, has been adopt1
to describe the passage of a river between |>erpenictilar
rocks of great height, which frequently aproach
each other so closely overhead as to form a
ind of tunnel over the stream, which foams along
elow, half-choked up by fallen fragment#. Beveen
the mouth of the Sweet Water and Goat islnd,
there is probably a fall of 300 feet, and that was
rincipally made in the cafione before us; as, with ut
them, the water was comparatively smooth. As
re neared the ridge, the river made a sudden turn,
nd swept squarely down against one of the walls of
ie cafion with a great velocity, and so steep a decent,
that it had, to the eye, the appearance of an inlined
plane. When we launched into this, the men
imped overboard to check the velocity of the boat,
ut were soon in water up to their necks, and our bont
tn on; but we succeeded in bringing her to a-small
oint of rocks on the right, at the mouth of the cafion.
lere was a kind of elevated sand-beach, not many
ards square, backed by the rocks, and around the
oint the river swept at a right angle. Trunks of
sea deposited on jutting points 20 or 30 feet above,
nd other marks, showed that the water here freuently
rose to a considerable height. The ridge
'as of the same decomposing granite already menoned,
and the water had worked the surface, in
isny places, into a wavy surface of ridges and holes.
Ve ascended the rocks to reconnoitre the ground,
nd from the summit the passage appeared to be a
ontinued cataract foaming over many obstructions,
nd broken by a number of small falls We saw
owhere a fall answering to that which had been decribed
to us as having 20 or 25 feet; but still conluded
this to be the place in question, as, in the eeaon
of floods, the rush of the river against the wall
tould produce a great rise, and the waters, reflectd
squarely off, would descend through the passage
i a slieetof foam, having every appearance of a large
til. Eighteen yeara previous to thistime.ns I have
ubsequently learned from himself, Mr. Fitzpatrick,
omewhere above on this river, had embarked with
valuable cargo of beaver. Unacquainted with the
tream, which he believed would conduct him safef
to the Missouri, he came unexpectedly into this
afion, where he wus wrecked, with the total loss of
is furs. It would have been a work df great time
nd labor to pack our baggage across the ridge, and
determined to run the caflon. We all again cmarked,
and at first attempted to check the way of
te boat; but the water swept through with so
inch violence, that we narrowly escaped being
wamped, and were obliged to let her go in the full
>rce of the current, and to trust to the skill of the
oatmen. The dangerous places in this caflon were
here huge rocks had fallen from above, and
emmed in the already narrow pass of the river to
n open space of three or four and five feet. These
bstructiona raised the water considerably above,
hich was sometimes precipitated over in a fall; and
I other places, where this Jam was too high, ruah1
through the contracted opening with tremendous
iolence. Had our boat been made of wood, in
aseing the narrows rhe would have been slaved;
ut her elasticity preserved hcr.unhurt from every
lock, and she seemed fairly to leap over the falls.
"In this way we passed three cataracts in suceeaon,
where, perhnpa, 100 feet of smooth water inlerened;
and finally, with a shout of pleasure ut our
iccess, issued from opr tunnel into the open day
:yond. We were so' delighted with the performtce
of our boat, and so confident in her powers,
lat we would not have hesitated to leap a fall of
n feet with her. We put to shore for breakfast at
>me willows on the right bank, immediately below
le mouth of the caflon; for it was now 6 o'clock,
id we had been working since daylight, and were
I wet, fatigued, and hungry. While the men were
-ennrinir lirenkfnst I u*enl mil In r^nnttnilpa Tl,.
cw wns very limited. The course of the river
aa smooth, ao far as I could see; on lioth sides
ere broken hills, and hut a mile or two below waa
tother high ridge. The rock at the mouth of the
iflon was still the decomposing granite, with great
lantitiea of mica, which made a very glittering
ind.
"We re-embarked at 9 o'clock, and in about
renty minutes reached the neat caffon. Landing
i a rocky shore at its commencement, we aacendI
the ridge to reconnoitre. Portage was out of the
jestion. So far as we could see, the jagged rocks
minted out the course of the caffon, on a winding
rte of aeven or eight miles. It was simply a nariw,
dark chasm in the rock; and here the perpencular
faces were much higher than in the previous
urn, being at this end two to three hundred, and
irther down, as we afterwards ascertained, five hunred
feel in vertical height. Our previous success
id made us bold, and we determined again to run
le caffon. Everything was secured as firmly as posble;
and, having divested ourselves of the greater
irt of our clothing, we pushed into the stream. To
ive our chronometer from accident, Mr. Preuse
ok it, and attempted to proceed along the shore
a the masses of rock, which in places were piled
[> on either side; but, after he had walked about
re minuea, everything like chore diaappeared, end
ic vertical wall came equarely down into the water,
le therefore waited until we came up. An ugly
tea lay before us. We had made fhat to the item of
ie boat a atrong rope about fifty feet along; and
tree of the men clambered along among the rocka,
and with ibia rope let her down slowly through the
pass. In aereral places high rocks lay scattered
about in the channel; and in the narrows it required
all our strengthen*! skill to avoid staving the laiat
on the sharp points. In one of these, the boat proved
a little too broad, and stuck fast for nil instant,
while the water flew over us; fortunately it was but
for an instant, as our united strength forced her immediately
through. The water swept overboard
only a sextant and a pair of saddlebugs. 1 caught
the sextant as it passed by me; but the saddlebags
became the prey of the whirlpools. We reached the
place where Mr. Pre una was standing, look linn on
board, and,, with the aid of the boat, put the men
with the rope on the succeeding pile of rocks. We
found this passage much worse than the previous
one, and our position was rather a bad one. To go
hark was imuosaible: liefore us. the calaiact waa a
sheet of foam; and, shut up in the chasm by the
rocks, which in some places seemed almost to meet
overhead, the roar of the water was deafening.
We pushed off again; but, after making a little distance,
the force of the current became too great for
the men on shore, and two of them let go the rope.
Lajeunessc, the thud man, hung oil, ami was jerked
headforemost into the river from a rock about twelve
feet high;and down the boat shot like an arrow,
Basil following us in the rapid current, and exerting
all hia strength to keep in mid channel?his head
only seen occasionally like a black spot in the white
foam. How far we went, I do not exactly know;
but wc succeeded in turning the boat into an eddy
below. " 'Cri Ihtu," said Basil Lajeunesse, as he
arrived immediately after us, "Jt crow bien que j'ui
nage un demi mile." He had owed his life to
his skill as a swimmer; and I determined to take
him and the others on board, and trust to skill and
fortune to reach the other end in safety. We placed
ourselves on our knees, with the short paddles in
our hands, the most skillful boatman being at the
bow; and again we commenced our rapid descent.
We cleared rock after rock, and shot past fall after
fall, our little boat seeming to play with the cataract.
We became flushed with success and familiar with
the danger; and, yielding to the excitement of the
ucct&mon, Drone inrin logeincr into a t?i)amun mmi
song. Singing, or rather shouting, we dashed along;
and were, i believe, iu the midst of the chorus, when
the boat struck a concealed rock immediately at the
foot of a fall, which whirled' her over in an instant.
Three of my men could not swim, and my first feeling
was to assist litem, and save some of our effects;
but a sharp concussion or two convinced me that 1
had not yet saved myself. A few strokes brought
me into an eddy, and 1 landed on a pile of rocks on
the left side. Looking around, i saw that Mr.
Preuss had gained the shore on the same side, about
twenty yards below; and a little climbing and swimming
soon brought him to my side. On the oppo-,
site side, against the wall, lay, the boat bottom up; |
and Lambert was in the act of 'saving Deacoleaux,
whom he had grasped by the hair, and Who
could not swim; "Laclu pas," said he, as I afterwards
learned, "luehe pas, cher frirt." "Cramspal,"
was the reply, "J* m'en eau mourir avant que de U
tacher." Such was the reply of courage and generosity
in this danger. For a hundred yards below, the
current was covered with floating books and boxes,
bales of blankets, and scattered articles of clothing;
and so strong and boiling was the stream, that even
our heavy instruments, which were all in cases,
kept on the surface, and the sextant, circle,
and the long black box of the telescope,
were in view at once. For a moment, I felt
somewhat disheartened. All our books?almost
every record of the journey?our journals and registers
of astronomical and barometrical observations,
had been lost in a moment. But it was no time to
indulge in regrets; and 1 immediately set about etrdeavoring
to save something from the wreck. Making
ourselves understood as well as possible by
signs, (for nothing could be heard in the roar of
wuters,) we commenced our operations. Ofeverythingon
board, the only article that had been saved
was my double-barrelled gun, which Descoteaux
had caught, and clung to with drowning tenacity.
The men continued down the river on the left bank.
Mr. Preuss and myself descended on the side we
were on; and Lajeunessc, with a paddle in his hand,
jumped on the boat alone, and continued down the
cailon. She was now light, and cleared every bad
place with much less difficulty. In a short time, he
wus joined by Lambert; and the search was continued
for nbout a mile and a half, which was as far as
the boat could proceed in lite pass.
"Here the walls were about five hundred feet
high, and the fragments of rocks from above had
choked the river into a hollow pass, but one or two
feet above the surface. Through this and the interstices
of the rock, the water found its way. Favored
beyond our expectations, all of our registers
had been recovered, with the exception of one of my
journals, which contained the notes and incidents of
travel, nnd topographical descriptions, a number of
C ittered astronomical observations, principally meridian
altitudes of the sun, and our barometrical
register west of Laramie. Fortunately, our oilier
journals contained duplicates of the most important
barometrical observations which had been taken in
the mountains. These, with a few scattered notes,
were all that had been preserved of our meteorological
observations. In addition to these, we saved the
circle; and thtse, with a few blankets, constituted
everything that had been rescued from the waters."
After this perilous adventure, Fremont found himself,
and the few men who had used the boat with him,
with their lives safe, but drenched to the skin, without
provisions, arms and ammunition gone, "entirely
at the mercy of any straggling party of savages,
and not a little in danger of starvation." The
day was passing away, and it was necessary that
he should reach before night a place called Qoat
island, to which the part of his party which could
not take the boat had gone by land. He clambered
up the banks of the river, and pursued his weary
course; yet, even under these sufferings and exposures,
we perceive his delight in the beauties of the
scenes around him:
"The scenery was extremely picturesque, nnd,
notwithstanding our forlorn condition, we were frequently
obligedto stop and admire it. Our progress
wns not very rapid. We had emerged from the
water half naked, and, on arriving at the top of the
precipice, I found myself with only one moccasin.
The fragments of rock made walking painful, nnd I
was frequently obliged to stop, and pull out the
thorns of the cactus, here the prevailing plant, and
with which a few minutes' walk covered the liottom
of my feet."
These are some of the trials to which such hardy
adventurers are exposed, and which require the
greatest energies of body and mind successfully to
surmount, fie had previously described his daring
ascent of one of the peaks of the "Wind River chain."
We climb with him;?we hear the roar of dreadful
cataracts;?we stop shuddering upon the edge of precipicee;-<-wc
suffer with him the pains of hunger
and cold, and sink with him exhausted from the
difficult breathing in such elevated regions. At last,
the crest is attained?the object of his grent labor is
accomplished.
"Putting hands and feet in the crevices between
the blocks, I succeeded in getting over it, and, when
I reached the top, found my companions in a small
valley below. Descending to them, we continued
climbing, and in a short time reached the crest. I
sprang upon the summit, and another step would
have precipitated me into an immense snowneld five
hundred feet below. To the eds-e of din fi..M .
sheer icy precipice; and then, with a gradual Tall,
lite field eloped off for about a mile, until it atruck
the foot of another lower ridge. I atood on a narrow
creat, about three feet in width, with an inclination
of about 20? N. 51? E. A? Boon aa I had gratified
the first feelings of curiosity, I descended, and
each man ascended in hia turn; for I would only
allow one at a time to mount the unstable and precarious
alab, which it seemed a breath would hurl
into the abyas below. We mounted the barometer
in the anow of the summit, and, fixing a ramrod in
a crevice, unfurled the national flag to wave in the
breeze where never Aag waved before. During our
morning's ascent, we had met no sign of animal life,
except the small sparrow-like bird already mentioned.
A stillness the moat profound and a terrible
solitude forced themselves constantly on the mind
as the great features of the place. Here, on the
summit, where the stillness was absolute, unbroken
by any sound, and ftie solitude complete, we thought
ourselves beyond the region of animated life; but
while we were sitting on the r^ck, a solitary bee
(bromua, the humble bee) came winging his flight from i
the eastern valley, and lit on the knee of one of the
men."
Who does not envy the feelings of Frfmont on
this occasion? Who would not nave encountered
all hia hardships, to have seen that flag "wave in the
breeze, where flag had never waved before?" Ominous
adveniure! The highest point of land north of
the great isthmus was allained; and there that flag
was waved, the flair of "hnn? ?r?J
w ?!? ?? , use mi me i
world. i
On the 3d of September, 1843, Fremont and hia i
party bade adieu to the wild and romantic acenery of \
the Rocky mountain region, and turned their atepe
towarda home. One of the objecta of hia expedition <
waa to determine correctly the character of the i
" Platte" or " Nebraaka" nver. Thia river entara
the Miaaouri about forty milee below " Council
Bluffh," extending from tne Miaaouri in a direction
very little north of wen, to the Rocky mountaina,
leading directly by the valley of the "Sweet Water," t
to the famoua **"" " * 1 '* 1
_? * ?? ivotm uir - imnidfr I
* ?ingle riser at about midway of its course, (
wharethe "North Fork" and the "South Fork" ,
unite; both coming from the Rocky mountains, and I
communicating?the former with the trading estab
bailment of "Fort Lmmin," the latter with iw ",|
"FortSt. Vrairi." By otoanrinf the
< oni'i. * rturintr the winter which peered \dm
pediuon, it ?,iii I..- perceived that then WM,
laatian leWHUMi military |h>?i in i|,sljlr^|B
It became, thereiore, a matter of Kriuu*
to know whether or not the " Nehraika" ,
ueed aa a medium for the trnnimiaaion of lup(jl
All previoua accounta had represented ibu ??**
until tor nth purpoaea?having a aide bed J!1
which it? walera were aprcad without cha^jJ
depth, and, except when under die itJuJZ'B
freaheta, totally unfit for any kind of n*,,,,, *1
Kreniont'a account but confirmed our 1
knowledge of the river, leaving it very clear wl
navigation ia not to be improved, or to he msj{ ^*1
ticabic even for amull boats. It haa w?itr eno^l
however, "to feed n canal," and probably,
future day, the construction of a canal up^n 1(1?B
dera will relieve it? nuviention IWu? ?
I ties. The following extract from il.c wLjjfj
I show theMmlliN encouiuereil, even iR ??
to descend ihe (MM in a very li^ln bom of u9
"We hailed for a short time on ih- J
the 5th wifti a villuge of Siuux Indians ijfl
ol whore chief* we had met at Laramie. Tvl
water in the Platte was extremely lor j!|
many places, the large expanse of ssnd,, ,al
gome occasional stunted trees on die 'bufc.1
gave it the air of the seacoast; the bed jfTjI
river lieing merely a succession of sandbars, u&Z|
which the chunnel was divided into ris'ulmjl
few inches deep. We crossed anil recromedral
our carU repeatedly, and at our pleasure, *.1
whenever an obstruction barred our wuy,iBTm
shape of precipitous blufl's thai came down upmj
river, we turned directly into it, ?nd nude uur'*?
along the sandy bed, with no other inconmjfl
than the frequent quicksands, which greatly ;iH
tigucd our animals. Disinterring on the way thtl
cache which had been made by our party * |,en (51
ascended the river, we reached without MeMat^l
the evening of the 19th al September, our old g.1
campment of the 5ld of July, at tlie junction of thtl
forks. OurcaeAeof the barrel of pork wan foundl
undisturbed, and proved a seasonable addition til
our stock of provisions. At this plate I had da-l
(outlined to make another attempt to descend ih|
Platte by water, and accordingly spent lwodiyi?l
the construction of abull-lsiat. Men were sent ml
on the evening of our arrival, the necessary n?g.|
ber of bulla killed, and their skins brought totkt|
camp. Four of the beat of iliem were slrorwi|
sewed together with buffalo sinew, and streukef|
over a banket-frame of willow. The reams vtnl
then covered with ashes and tallow, and theb?|
left exposed to the sun for the greater part of om|
day, which was sufficient to dry and contract tk|
skin, and make the whole work solid and strowl
It had a rounded bow. was eielu t~< i
broad, and drew with four men about four mels
water. On the morning of the 15th, we embuM
in our hide-boat'?Mr. PreuM and myeelf, with twe
men. We dragged her over the nnnda for three?
four miles, and then left her on a bar, and tin.
doned entirely all further at tempt a to navigate tfe
river. The names given by the Indiana are aim
remarkably appropriate* and certainly none ta
ever more so than that which they hare gives k
this stream?'the Nebraska, or Shallow nwr1
Walking steadily the remainder of the day,alb
before dark we overtook our people at their???
camp, about twenty-one milea below the junetst
The next morning we crossed the Platte, and ?
tinned our way down the river bottom, an tie Id
bank, where we found an excellent, plainly-beaia
road."
On the A of October, he arrived at the Mill*
moits on the Missouri, from whence he proceed!
to 8t. Louis, and to Washington?at which pha
he arrived and "reported" on the 29th of the
month.
The whole report (of the firstexpedition)occupis
207 octavo pages?of which, 76 are taken up in d
narrative, and the balance in the "catalogs t
plants," and in the "astronomical" and "roeteoa
logical" observations.
Catalogue of plants.?This catalogue is smug
by Professor Torrey, who accompanies it will
short but appropriate preface. We find 350 specie
nutned?many of them new, all of interest. P?
feasor Torrey says of them: "As the plants of Las
Fremont were under examination while thefimps
of the Flora of North America was in the praas,
nearly all the new matter relating to the compose
was inserted in that work. Descriptions of s in
of the new species were necessarily omitted, osis
to the report of the expedition having bets cslld
for by Congress before I could finish the neceasp
analyses and comparisons. These, howcrtr, wi
lie inserted in the successive numbers of the ml
to which I have just alluded."
Of the astronomical and meteorological obans
lions, and of the map, we shall say nothing si pis
ent?reserving our observations on these subjaei
until we have completed our views and extncti d
the second expedition, which will be attended Si
our next. T.
OUSEHOLD FURNITURE AT AUCTIOS
For sale, on Fridny, the 29th instant, stM
o'clock, a.m., at the residence of Mrs. E. Ei?t
on the corner of 8th street and New York ertts,
north, (the flag will designate the house,) s vsiiscj
of household furniture, among which ore:
1 very superior piano, Chickering's mike, ofds
lighlful tone, nearly new, and rich covering si
handsome stool for the same.
1 large and valuable sofa; 1 smaller do.
1 superior centre table, and a solar lamp, newt
fashion.
Room, entry, and stair carpets, roda, Ac.
3 arm-chairs, parlor chairs, common do.
Parlor tables and coverings.
Window curtains and fixtures.
Looking-glasses, bureaus, woshstanda, bedsltsk,
bedding, 4c.
Brass fire sets, fenders, fireboards, Ac.
Entry lamp, glass and China ware, common to,
stone do., 2 stoves, kitchen requisites.
A great variety of other articles, among which m
two fowling-pieces.
Also, a young, quiet, and valuable milch cow.
All sums of and under $20, cash; over $520, a cred*
of six months, for atotes fiatisfnctorily emlorsf,
bearing interest.
WM. MARSHALL,
Aug. 26?3t AuctioneerHouse
and lot on pennsylvam
AVENUE for sale at public auction.-^
virtue of a deed of trust, executed on the 29th Ape*.
18*1, duly recorded in Liber W B No. 86, M*
220 to 224, the subscriber will offer for sale, at poh
lie auction, on the premises, on Monday, the V
day of September next, at hnlf-past 4 o'clock p.?>
the east half of Lot No. 15, in square No. 168, fro*
ing 28 feet 2 inches on Pennsylvania avenue, aj
running back the same width, the whole depth s
the lot, in the square immediately west oft*
War Office; together with the improvements thn?
on, consisting of a small two-story brick house,*''
The terms of sale are: One-fourth of the pw
chase money to be paid in hand, and the bah""**
six, twelve, eighteen, and twenty-four months; *
purchaser to give notes, satisfactorily endofl*
liearing interest from the day of sale, snd a he?
the properly, to secure the payment of said tWJJ
and, on compliance with theec tcrma, the subset*
will convey all the right, title, and interest gives '
the said deed of trust to him.
RD. SMITH, Trustee.
ROBT. W. DYER A CO,
August 25?roldsif Auctions**~
S. L. LEWIS,
ATTORNEY AT LAW. CENTRE VlLLE, VIRfifl'*
Continues the practice of his profession in
various courts. He regards the report that
is about to change his residence as somewhat W*
lous. Any business, therefore, in the line
profession, shall receive prompt, efficient, and saur
factory attention.
Aug. 14?d3mif. ^
BREISS, Professor of Music, respectfully'
forma ihe public thst he continues to P"
lessons on. the piano, guitar, and singing. Hi kf
for a continuance of the patronage so liberally
tended to him for the last twelve years.
Orders may be left at Dr. Oilman's drug J*'
at Mr. Fischer's music store, or at my reejo***
on 20th street.
For sale, new and second-hand pianos.
Aug. 26-?eodlw*
CABINET AND CHAIR WAREROO*.
PENV. AVENUE, 4 DOORS WEST or 4j ' ,T ,
J AS. WILLIAMS keeps constantly on
good assortment of furniture, cane and Win"'
chairs, china, glass, and crockery-ware.
sell low for cash; or receive monthly psyn>eet?-^
all sums under $100, from one to an months; ?
?100, from one to nine months. . _ ?
N. B. Hand-rail for aale. Old furniture taW*
exchange for new. Furniture and chairs tepee*
ind repainted.
Aug. 7?lw3w
Furnished parlors for rent-t*
parlors, handsomely furnished, in the ""-.j,
ite vicinity of the Treasury Department, em
mm-A rt- ,k. r.imi.licd or unfursw"
sd, may be rented; and, if agreeable, tlhr P ^
jecunnnta (a widow lady and her daughter)
oard with the family. Inquire at thia officeAny.
25?4t

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