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most favorable parts of the country for colonisation are, unquestionably, the four maritime provinces of Orinoco, Caraccas, Zulia, and Magdalena, near the Gulf of Paria: in the first of these provinces the land is extremely fertile, and particularly famous for the culture of the cocoa. The district of Barcelona is not only very fruitful, but it is almost uninhabited. Of all these provinces, however, Caraccas is the most beautiful, and unrivalled for fertility; but a small portion only of its land is uncultivated, and there is hardly a single estate, that is not so shackled, as to involve a purchaser in endless litigations. Besides this, perhaps, emigrants would do well not to visit this province, since they might with great difficulty renounce its celestial climate and its lovely valleys for the, confessedly, greater advantages of other parts of Columbia. In Zulia the province of Merida has most attractions for the foreign settlers; it has a charming climate, and though its territory is mountainous it is fruitful; all the grains and fruits of the temperate zone are produced in abundance on the high lands, while every tropical production, particularly sugar cane and cocoa, is yielded by the warmest valleys below. Maracaibo also, from its immense lake and gulf, possesses great advantages for agriculture and commerce; nearly a hundred rivers discharge themselves into its basin, the banks of which are amazingly fertile; but many of the settlements have been abandoned on account of their unhealthy climate. But Magdalena is the most advantageous for a foreign settlement; its lands are almost unoccupied, and produce in great abundance coffee, cocoa, cotton, sugar, rice, indigo, tobacco, maize, and fruits and vegetables of every kind. There are also extensive pastures for cattle, the soil of which is excellent. The climate is generally healthy, and the settler may find a temperature suited to his constitution, by ascending the mountains to a greater or less elevation. Game and fish are found in great plenty in the woods and in the adjacent seas. Two principal ports, Santa Marta on the west, and Cuidad del Hacha on the east, tend much to forward the commercial business of this province; the latter, especially, affording an excellent market for the produce raised in the country, and for every article of consumption brought from other parts. Savinilla or Saldanilla, in Carthagena, is the natural port of Magdalena, and is destined, no doubt, by its situation, to become the principal mart for the trade of the interior, though it is now closed in favor of Santa Marta, the communication between which and the river Cauca is circuitous and troublesome, whereas Savanilla lies at the very mouth of that river. The principal defect of this port is the extreme shallowness of water above it, so that even flat boats, when loaded, with difficulty can reach Baranquilla, but this might be remedied were the mouth, called Boca Viega, stopped up, and the great body of the water directed to the other outlet.
In common with all those countries through which the mighty chain of the Andes passes, Colombia is subject to frequent earthquakes.
There are several volcanoes in this part of that chain, particularly Cotopaxi, Pichincha, Sangai, and El Altar, or Altair, the aescription of which having been so fully given in the article ANDES, we forbear to enlarge. Caraccas, as well as Quito, and the central parts, is liable to very sensible shocks of earthquakes. In 1797 dreadful ravages were produced by them in the month of December; on the first of May, 1802, at eleven at night, there was a pretty strong shock, with oscillation, from west to east; on the 20th of the same month, at four in the morning, another was felt in a vertical direction, and the earth did not recover its horizontal level for the space of two minutes; on the 14th of July following, two shocks occurred at forty minutes past two o'clock in the morning, and another at thirty-five minutes past six. The causes and local origin of these earthquakes must exist in the province of Cumana, since they are more violent there than elsewhere.
The seasons of this part of South America are only two, winter and summer; and these are marked not so much by heat and cold as by rain and drought. In Caraccas, during the wet season, it rains for the space of three hours a day, and more commonly in the evening than in the morning. There are, however, some days in which not a drop of rain falls, and others when it rains incessantly, the country generally, plains, mountains, and valleys sharing its blessings and its inconveniences. It is not drizzling rain as in the northern regions; but it descends in torrents, producing more water in a single day than that of Europe does in a week. The total quantity is ten times that of the polar regions. The rivers inundate the country during the greater part of this season, and the lands are covered to an immense depth, only the tops of the tallest trees being visible, and serving for land-marks. This is the case, especially, in the north plain of Orinoco, which extends 450 miles in length and 120 in breadth. M. de Humboldt describes the dry season in Guiana as a horrible time, and gives an excellent picture of the regeneration of nature, especially of vegetation, on the return of the rain. Crocodiles, and other reptiles, seem then to revive, and multitudes of horses, oxen, wild asses, and ferocious animals, rush, panting with eagerness, from the burning desert to quench their thirst in the marshes, plunging into them and drinking with so much avidity, that they become swollen, and often die in a few hours. The effect is different, however, in some parts; along the coast of Cayenne, Surinam, Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo the air is refreshed by the sea-breezes, the dry season is delightful, while, on the other hand, the rainy season is hotter and more unhealthy. The climate of Condinamarca is very various; the lofty Cordillera of the Andes, and the snows which constantly cover its summit, subject this country, though lying under the equator, to all the cold of the polar regions, while on the lower plains the heat is intense. The elevated spots between the ridges of the mountains are temperate and settled in their climate, and there Europeans chiefly fix their abode. There are many lakes in Colombia, a great
number of which are formed by the rains, and others are the reservoirs of rivers, which flow into them. The former are frequently met with in the low grounds in the neighbourhood of the Orinoco; the greatest of the second description are Maracaibo and Valencia. The lake of Maracaibo has been already referred to in our article AMERICA, under the division of Colombia; it is very deep and navigable for the largest vessels; its waters are always fresh; but violent storms will sometimes force those of the neighbouring gulf into it. There is generally a considerable undulation on it, and when the north wind blows hard the waves rise very high. The shores in the vicinity are unhealthy in consequence of the vapors that arise in the night; but the richness of the soil in the western part has induced some Spaniards to take up their residence there, in order to cultivate cacão and provisions. On the south it is uncultivated, and without inhabitants; the northern side, though hotter, is much more healthy. The Indians build their villages on the margin of the lake, deeming it the most healthy plan; to one of these the Spaniards gave the name of Little Venice, or Venezuela, which was afterwards transferred to the whole province. There are four of these villages remaining, under the superintendence of a monk. There is a mine or vein of mineral pitch on the north-west of Lake Maracaibo, used in graving vessels, which emits, during the hot weather, corruscations from its surface like frequent lightnings; the natives call them St. Anthony's lanterns; they make use of them in steering by during the dark nights of the torrid zone. The lake of Valencia is of much less extent, being only forty miles long and twelve broad; it is situated in a valley, everywhere, except on the west, surrounded by lofty and steep precipices. Its banks are covered with the most luxuriant herbage. The waters of this lake are much subject to evaporation, and, being elevated more than 1300 feet above the level of the ocean, it is thought that they have some subterraneous communication. This gradual retreat of the waters, and some new islands appearing frequently, have given reason to believe that the lake may perhaps become dry. The southern shores are desert, and a gloomy monotony prevails in consequence of their being overshadowed by a ridge of high mountains, while on the north the country is cheerful and richly cultivated. This part of the shore has the appearance of a garden, regularly laid out with borders of cestrums, azedaracs, and other shrubs always blooming, which join together the scattered farms. The houses are surrounded with trees; the ceiba, with its large yellow flowers, entwines its branches with the purple erithryna; the most vivid vegetable colors form a pleasing contrast with the unclouded uniformity of the sky; and in the dry season artificial watering preserves the burning soil in a state of continual verdure and fertility. Here and there vast masses of granite rock break abruptly through the cultivated vegetation of the valley, nourishing on their bare and forked surfaces a few succulent plants that prepare mould for distant ages, and with their withered branches stand like signals on a high cliff. In ancient times this valley was
covered with waters, and there were probably shoals or islets in the midst of it. The lake has many islands on it, not less than fifteen, forming three clusters; the largest of these, Burro, is two miles long, and is inhabited by Mestizoes, who rear a few goats. The fish is abundant, but there are only three sorts, the guavina, the vagra, and the sardina; their flesh, however, is very insipid in flavor. On the southern shore tobacco is raised, and here are some of the finest plantations in the whole province. In Guiana is the lake of Parima or Paranatipinca, an oblong piece of water about 100 miles long by fifty broad; in an island of which there is a rock of glittering mica, said to have been the site of the city of El Dorado, a supposed place, the streets of which were asserted to be paved with gold. This lake gives rise to the large river Rio Blanco, and is described as situated in lat. 3° 40′ N., and long. 67° 20′ W.
It is difficult to find a country in the world so abundant in rivers; every valley has them, either of the larger or smaller description, and, if they are not navigable, yet they would copiously supply all the wants of the population, were it even increased a hundred fold. Those streams which take their rise on the northern sides of the mountains in Caraccas, and flow into the sea, are so fenced in by their rocky banks, and favored by the declivity of their channels, that they seldom overflow, and never for any length of time, or with much detriment to the country; but those which rise on the south of the same mountains, running in smoother and shallower beds, frequently mingle their water through a great part of the year, and form an immense sea in the country. Almost all of these flow to augment the waters of the Orinoco, which is not only one of the largest, but the finest of the rivers of the southern peninsula. We have treated of it among the rivers of South America, and shall not therefore repeat our observations. Rising in the lake Ipava, it winds a circuitous course, passing through lake Parima, and afterwards receiving the Guaviare; and more northward the Meta, the Apura, the Arauca, and a multitude of other streams, large and small, it issues by numerous estuaries into the Atlantic opposite to Trinidad. Seven of its mouths are navigable, but very dangerous; the largest is eighteen miles broad. The scenery on the banks of this great river is truly magnificent, forests of aromatic trees diffuse, to a great extent, their delighful odors and agreeable shade; birds of the most beautiful plumage are observed in every direction, and the traveller is astonished at the innumerable monkeys that are seen leaping from tree to tree, with the most surprising agility. Vast plains of the greatest verdure extend from the forests to a distance that no eye can reach. The cataracts of the Orinoco, said to be the most awful in the world, occur near the bend of the river at the villages of Maypures and Atures, in about 6° north latitude. From the end of April to October the waters are swelled by the rains, rising to the height of forty feet above their lowest level; they then begin to subside, and continue sinking till March, when they are at the lowest: they fluctuate in this way with constant regularity
The rains are not the only causes of this variation; the principal cause, no doubt, is the melting of the snows in the mountains of Bogota. The seas that wash the coasts of Colombia are not remarkable for any great variation in the tides; in some parts on the north and north-east, near the gulf of Paria, they rise during the equinoxes to six or seven feet; but near the mouths of the Orinoco they scarcely attain the height of ten inches. The trade winds prevail off the coasts, blowing from north-east by east; but nearer to the shore they blow only from nine in the morning till evening, and are succeeded in the night by the land breezes. All the coasts of Caraccas are exposed to rolling and monstrous billows, and there is only one port, the road of Porto Cabello, where the navy can ride securely.
The principal place on the north of this vast country is Caraccas; its port, La Guayra, is situated in lat. 10° 36′ N. and 67° 10′ W. long. This port is singularly situated; it is separated from the elevated valley of Caraccas by a chain of mountains descending directly into the sea, and forming a rocky wall for the backs of the houses of the town, not much more than 140 toises from the ocean. On this account serious damage is sometimes occasioned by the stones that fall from the heights. This circumstance also occasions a striking peculiarity in the surrounding prospect, there being no visible horizon, except what the sea forms on the north. This town has only two streets running east and west, and parallel to each other, but not in a direct line; they are narrow and badly paved, and the houses generally mean. The place is defended by batteries, of which that of Cerrocolorado is the chief; and the works on the seaside are well disposed, and in good repair. The appearance of this town is singularly gloomy; one seems to be on an island, rocky and destitute of vegetation, and except Cape Blanco and Maiquetia, where there are a few cocoa trees, the horizon, the sea, and the heavens, are the only objects that meet the eye. The climate is the most ardent in all the country, not only from the scorching rays of the sun, but from the heat retained by the almost perpendicular rocks; and the air is considerably stagnated in the hollows of these mountains, and consequently has a more unwholesome effect upon the organs of the human frame, than the same degree of heat in the open country. By the thermometrical observations of Humboldt, it appears that La Guayra is one of the hottest places in the world, that the quantity of heat there, in the course of the year, is a little more than at Cumana; but that from November to January the atmosphere is cooler at La Guayra: probably this may arise from its more westerly position. This port, however, was not formerly so unhealthy, nor the yellow fever so prevalent as in Porto Cabello, Carthagena, and Santa Martha; but since the year 1797, to whatever cause it may be owing, this destructive malady has committed dreadful ravages. La Guayra is not a safe anchorage for ships; the depth of the water nearly a quarter of a league from the beach, is not more than eight fathoms; the sea is in constant agitation, and the surge runs high. It is,
consequently, difficult for vessels to take in their lading: this operation is done by the negroes and mulattoes, a remarkably strong race of men, who go up to their middles through the water; and it is particularly deserving of notice, that the sharks here, and at Santa Martha, are perfectly harmless, and never attack any one; while, at the opposite island, they are dangerous and blood-thirsty. The people, generally superstitious, attribute this to a bishop's having given his blessing to the sharks at both these places. In peaceable times the imports into this port amount to rather more than £500,000, and the exports of cacao, indigo, cotton, coffee, and hides, are nearly £350,000. When in the season of the great heat,' says the author of Colombia, we breathe the burning atmosphere of La Guayra, and turn our eyes towards the mountains, we are strongly impressed with the idea, that at the direct distance of 5,000 or 6,000 toises, a population of 40,000 souls assembled in a narrow valley, enjoys all the coolness of spring, of a temperature, which at night descends to 12° of the centesimal thermometer. This near approach of different climates is common in the Cordilleras of the Andes; but everywhere at Mexico, at Quito, in Peru and in New Grenada, a long journey must be made into the interior either by the plains, or by proceeding up the rivers, in order to reach the great cities, which are the centres of civilisation. The height of Caraccas is but a third of that of Mexico, Quito, and Santa Fe de Bagota; yet among all the capitals of Spanish America, which enjoy a cool and delicious climate in the midst of the torrid zone, Caraccas stands nearest to the coast. What a privilege to possess a sea-port at three leagues distance, and to be situated among mountains on a table land, which would produce a heat, if the cultivation of the coffee-tree were not preferred.'
Nothing can be finer than the road from La Guayra to the valley of Caraccas; it requires but three hours to travel it with good mules, and two to return; it takes about four or five hours to go on foot. It is very similar to that of St. Gothard, or of the Great St. Bernard in Switzerland; at first you ascend by a ridge of steep rocks, afterwards the ascent is rather more easy, and the windings of the road render the declivity more easy as in the old road over mount Cenis. The leap or Salto is a crevice that is crossed by a drawbridge, and on the top of the mountain there are real fortifications. At La Venta you find some most beautiful scenery; and when the clouds permit, the sea and the neighbouring coast present a magnificent prospect. You have an horizon of more than sixty-six miles in radius, the barren, white shore reflects the light in such a mass as to dazzle the beholder; while, at your feet, you sec Cape Blanco, Maiquetia with its groves of cocoatrees, La Guayra, and the vessels entering its port; and, when the sky is not clear, long trains of clouds, brightly illumined on their upper surface, present the appearance of islands floating on the ocean. Houses and trees are often seen bursting through the openings of the clouds, that are rolling one over another; and these objects thus appear at a greater depth, than when beheld through a serene atmosphere. Caraccas lies in a small valley near the lofty mountains of
Avila and the Silla, which give a character of gloom to its scenery, especially towards the end of the year; when the atmosphere in the evenings is thick, and when streams of vapors cling to the evergreen slopes of the hills. But in June and July the nights are delicious, the air is pure and transparent, and this is the season for enjoying the beauty of this scenery. The climate of the place is remarkably mild, the temperature in the day time being between 20° and 26°; and at night between 16° and 18°, being favorable equally to the plantain, the orange-tree, the coffee-tree, the apple, the apricot, and to corn. It is, however, generally, inconstant and variable, the inhabitants complain of having several seasons in a day, and those in rapid succession. These variations act violently on the human frame. Two winds generally prevail, one from the west, or sea side, and the other from the east or the interior of the country; the first called Catia, because it blows from that place through the ravine of Tipe, is loaded with humid vapors, which it deposits, as its temperature decreases; it causes dreadful head-aches to persons of irritable nerves, and the people shut themselves up in their houses to avoid it, as they do the sirocco in Italy. The mean temperature of the air may be about from 20° to 22°. Rains are frequent, and hai! occurs here about every four or five years, though none falls in the low regions of the tropics. The comparative coolness of the climate agrees well with the cultivation of equinoctial productions. The sugar-cane thrives even on the heights above Caraccas; but in the valley the coffee-tree is preferred, which yields little fruit; but that little of the finest quality. Pineapples of the highest flavor are produced at Baruto Empedrado, Buonavista, and on the way to Victoria. The traveller is surprised here with a sight of the culinary plants of our climates, and beholds the strawberry, the vine, and all the fruit trees of the temperate zone growing by the side of the coffee and banana tree. The best apples and peaches come from Macarao on the west of the valley, and the quince, not above four or five feet in height, has become wild. Excellent apples are sometimes produced from trees not grafted; there are no cherry-trees, and the olive-trees, though luxuriant in vegetation, bear little fruit. Four small rivers water the vicinity of Caraccas, the Guayra on the south, the Anauco and the Caroata on the east, and the Catucho; these, after supplying the domestic wants of the town, unite in one bed, and flowing through the valley Chacao, at length mingle with the Tuy, and under that appellation fall into the ocean about thirty-six miles east of Cape Codera. The streets are in straight lines about twenty feet wide, crossing each other at right angles, at a distance of 300 feet; there are three squares that deserve the name; the houses are well built, and in the interior there are many storied and of fine appearance, some of brick, but the greater part of stone, with sharp roofs. The houses of the principal people are neatly and even richly
Coro is another principal town in Venezuela: it is situated on an isthmus separating the Gulf Venezuela or Maracaibo, from the Carribbean
Sea, eight leagues to the west of Caraccas. It stands in a dry sandy plain, where scarcely anything grows but Indian figs, and plants of the Cactus family; the inhabitants have their fruit and vegetables from a place three leagues distant, and such is the great scarcity of water, that it is brought two miles on mules and asses into the town. It is, however, so well situated for trade with Porto Rico and St. Domingo, that the Spaniards fixed on it for their settlement on the coast of Terra Firma. Its streets are regular, but not paved, and the houses are mean; there are about 10,000 inhabitants, who possess little activity or enterprise, but are very proud of being descended from those who conquered the country. There are very few negroes; the Indians who live in the suburbs doing the laborious work; they are paid very low wages, and live with so much parsimony that they will not accommodate each other with a bit of fire without receiving a piece of wood in return. The next place of consequence is Porto Cavello or Puerto Cabello, thirty leagues to the north-east of Caraccas, in a fine harbour in the Golfo Triste; it is near Curacoa, to which island it owes its importance. About a league from Porto Cavello is Barburatæ, a village and harbour, long infested by smugglers, but afterwards in the possession of the Guipuzcoa company, who built a town, wharf, and forts with immense warehouses, and ejected these most troublesome inmates. Guanara, ninety-three leagues south-west of Caraccas, is situated in a fine plain towards Varinas; the river, which gives its name to the town, affords excellent water for the inhabitants and their cattle, and irrigates their land; while there is no impediment to prevent the free circulation of the air. This city has a number of uniform and regular streets, with wellbuilt houses, a handsome church, and a good hospital; its population is about 12,000. It is surrounded with fertile lands and rich pastures for cattle, of which they keep great numbers, and in which, as well as mules, their chief trade consists. Formerly they raised good tobacco in some parts, which was a great source of riches.
The next place of importance is Barquisimeto, about 120 miles W. S.W. of Caraccas, situated in an elevated plain, where it enjoys a happy temperature. It has a fine parish church, in which is a crucifix famed for working miracles, that is an object of devotion to the people, and yields an abundant revenue to the clergy. The town has a population of about 11,000 persons, who find sufficient employ in the plains, valleys, and rising grounds in the neighbourhood, in feeding cattle, and cultivating sugar and excellent wheat. Besides these there are Tocuyo, with about 10,000 inhabitants, who are said to be much addicted to suicide; San Carlos, a large and handsome town on the small river Aguare, with a population of 9500 persons; Araura, with about 11,000 people, who are very indolent, and addicted to pleasure; Maracay, a beautiful town, forty miles south-west of Caraccas, having three-fourths of its houses built of stone, with an industrious, cleanly, and moral population; Victoria, founded by the missionaries, in the plain of which, though very low, European corn is cultivated in large quantities by a popu
lation of nearly 8000 persons; Tulmero, in a valley near that or Aragua, containing about 8000 inhabitants, many of whom are free Indians, who are active and laborious, but much addicted to strong liquors, in which they spend in one week the produce of two months; San Matheo, the inhabitants of which are rich and industrious; Valentia, about sixteen miles south-west of Caraccas, remarkable as the scene of the death of the tyrant Lopez de Aguieme, who having declared against Philip II., at the moment when he fell, plunged a dagger into the bosom of his only daughter, that she might not have to blush before the Spaniards at the name of the daughter of a traitor. Here the ants are so innumerable, that their excavations under the houses resemble underground canals, which fill with water in the rainy season, and cause great danger to the buildings; San Felipe, surrounded with a fertile soil, watered by a great number of rivulets, and exposed to violent rains and excessive heats; Carora, a handsome town, having three parish churches, in a parched and thorny plain, but favored with a healthy climate; San Juan Baptista del Pao, a city inhabited solely by proprietors of cattle; Calabozo, round which it is computed about 98,000 head of cattle wander in the pastures; San Luis de Cuba, San Sebastian de los Reyes, both feeding large herds of cattle; Nirgua, erected on account of the mines in its soil, but which is going to decay; and the Bay of Ocumara, five leagues east of Porto Cavello, which is an excellent port; the valleys round which contain a population of about 52,500 persons of different descriptions. The greater part of the inhabitants of these towns are farmers, who cultivate their lands, or feed numerous herds and flocks in the surrounding country; the rest are priests, physicians, escrivanas (who discharge the offices of barristers, attorneys, notaries, and even bailiffs), and a few shopkeepers. The territory of one town or village is separated from that of another by forests and natural meadows, or savannahs; and occasionally we find missions or villages of half-civilised Indians.
according to the different elevations of the mountains, valleys, and plains, in the interior. The most flourishing part of the country is the coast on the Gulf of Paria, where there are two villages, inhabited by French refugees and Spaniards, which are rising in importance; this district promises soon to be the richest in the province. The port of Cumana is capable of receiving all the navies of Europe, and the whole Gulf of Cariaco, thirty-five miles long, and sixtyeight broad, affords very good anchorage; the ocean being calm, and hurricanes never felt here. The city, situated at the foot of a hill, is commanded by the castle of St. Antonio, which forms a beautiful object to vessels advancing into the port, appearing as a bright object on the dark sides of the mountains that rise into the clouds. The town is only fifty-three feet above the level of the sea; the heat is very intense, and scarcely any rain ever falls in the plain, though in the neighbouring mountains it is frequent. There are no very remarkable buildings, owing to the dreadful effects of the last earthquake; on account of the frequency of these, the houses are low and slightly built, beauty and elegance being sacrificed to safety. In 1530 the whole coast was shaken, and a city called New Toledo destroyed; towards the end of the sixteenth century these shocks were very frequent, the sea sometimes rising fifteen or twenty fathoms; on the 21st of October, 1766, Cumana was overthrown, and great numbers perished; the tremblings continued hourly for fourteen months. The next year the inhabitants lived in the streets, when the shocks happened only once a month; in this earthquake the ground opened, and quantities of hot water were thrown out. In 1794 there was another tremendous convulsion, and in 1797 the earth heaved with frightful noises, and four-fifths of the city were destroyed. Half an hour before this there was a strong sulphureous smell, a loud noise was heard from under ground, and flames arose from the banks of the river. Though so constantly exposed to this dreadful visitation, the inhabitants of this place are very insensible to it; they think it never happens but at certain intervals, and that the weather and other appearances indicate its approach. The population of this town, comparing all the statements that have been given, may be about 17,000; they are not so rich as the Caraccans, but they are inclined to business, economical, and industrious; they trade abundantly in cattle, smoked meat, and salted fish; the retail trade is mostly carried on by Catalans, Biscayans, and Canarians, men who begin with a few dollars, and in a few years acquire fortunes by frugality and industry. These people first taught the natives to derive advantage from their local productions.
The government of Cumana, including New Barcelona and New Andalusia, is bounded on the north and east by the sea, on the west by the river Unara, and on the south by the Orinoco, on the left bank of which there are some inhabitants in several places. It is very mountainous, the Andes running through it as far as the Gulph of Paria, and giving birth to the rivers that flow into the Caribbean Sea on the north, and into the Orinoco on the south. The Unara is navigable nearly twenty miles from the sea, up to the village of San Antonio de Clarinas, its whole course being about sixty miles. By the Neveri the port of Barcelona carries on its trade in cattle and skins; at Cumana the small river Manganares is remarkable for having its banks lined with fruitful plantations. The soil in some parts is rather fertile; in others sandy, and presenting nothing but an inexhaustible mine of salt, both marine and mineral. In other places it is wonderfully fruitful, producing every species of vegetation, and the most precious trees, as the guiacum, anacardium, Brasil, and Campeachy woods, down to the very coast of Paria. The climate varies
Provisions are remarkably cheap here; 'two pounds of beef,' says the author of Colombia, are sold at Cumana for twopence-halfpenny; and twenty-two pounds of salt meat at fron three shillings and fourpence to four shillings and twopence. Fish is never weighed there: some days there is such a quantity caught by the fishermen, that they give ten, twelve, or fifteen, pounds weight for fivepence. The poor go to the