« AnteriorContinuar »
physical exhaustion which we be- Not very long after his recovery, lieve that no man of weaker mind Dr. Chalmers married a lady whose could have survived. In the agony maiden name was Pratt; with her he of pain, in the exhaustion of nature, got a small addition to his fortune, and and almost in the absence of bope, the a great deal to the comforts of his firmness and placidity, nay the cheer- home; in which there were no more fulness of his temper never forsook double dishes of salt-fish, or borrowhim; and when we have sat by the ing of John Bouthron's " kail pot ;" side of his bed or his couch, in that and as he had less occasion to go gloomy mood which steals over one abroad for society, his health was on such occasions, some bright saying, soon, in a great measure, restored. which came but in a half-articulated In a few years he was invited to St. whisper, has compelled us to laugh, at John's Church, Glasgow, in a manner the same time that the undiminished highly complimentary to his talents; and force and lustre of his mind, ainid a though many of his friends dissuaded physical wreck so nearly total, afford - him, from an idea that the labor would ed a very strong argument for mental be too much for his bodily strength, immortality. We have seen Dr. and tried to persuade him that he Chalmers in many attitudes ; in the would be more useful living in comglee of social enjoyment, in the sub- parative literary ease at Kilmeny, he limity of science, and in the terrible resolved, at all hazards, to go. The power of a Christian orator; but we impression which he made at Glasgow are not sure that we ever saw him was very great ; and bis fame soon more truly in the character of a great spread over the whole country. When man, than when, to all appearances, he visited London, the hold that he the scale of life was doubtful, and his took on the minds of men was quite friends were tretubling for his fate. unprecedented.
a time of Since that time he has come more be- strong political feeling ; but even that fore the world, and commanded admi- was unheeded, and all parties throngration from quarters which he then ed to hear the Scottish preacher. little thought of; but physically, be The very best judges were not prehas never been the same man; and pared for the display they heard. mentally, though his experience has Canning and Wilberforce went togebeen enlarged, his powers did not ad- ther; and got into a pew near the mit of enlargement.
door. The elder in attendance stood The grand feature in the theology close by the pew. Chalıners began of Dr. Chalmers, apart from his power in his usual unpromising way, by as a practical divine, is his meeting stating a few nearly self-evident prothe sceptic on grounds, and combat- positions, neither in the choicest laning him with weapons, to which he guage, nor in the most impressive cannot object. Instead of taking up voice. “ If this be all,” said Canwbat is called the internal evidence ning to his companion, “it will never of Christianity, which is a matter of do." Chalmers went on : the shuffeeling and not of argument, he rests fing of the congregation gradually the whole upon the external, upon that subsided. He got into the mass of which has the same evidence as any his subject; bis weakness became other fact; and the truth being de- strength ; his hesitation was turned monstrated upon this basis, cannot be into energy; and, bringing the whole shaken, Now we know, that this was voluine of his mind to bear upon it, the mode in which he proposed to he poured forth a torrent of the most treat the subject, for we heard him close and conclusive argument, brilmention it, a long time previous to his liant with all the exuberance of an illness, at which time, it has been er- imagination which ranged over all naroneously stated, a change took place ture for illustrations, and yet managed in his opinions on this subject. and applied each of them with the
29 ATHENEUM, VOL. 2, 3d series.
same unerring dexterity, as if that phy in St. Andrew's. Of his conduct single one had been the study of a there we are not informed; but we whole life. “ The tartan beats us,” are inclined to think that the place said Canning, “ we have no preaching was too confined for him. In Edinlike that in England.”
burgh his office is more important; The measure of his pulpit celebrity and if his life be continued, he will was now full; and after about two do much to extend sound and liberal years in Glasgow, during which he views among the Scottish clergy. Of published several works, he was ap- his tolerance we have just had an expointed to the chair of Moral Philoso- ample.
THE TWO MINERS OF FAMATINA.*
The great mountain of Famatina, si- display of the physical consequences tuated in the province of Rioja, has (in wealth and consideration) to be long been looked upon traditionally as gained by the enterprise in question, the depositary of enormous wealth in could have induced them to commence the form of gold and silver ore ; but or continue the prosecution of it, even the turning this wealth to any impor- since the revolution, and the new train tant practical account is a circumstance of motives and feelings which that of very recent date ; partly owing to event has introduced. But before the superstitious feelings which the that period the wealth of the Famatinative Indians have always connected, na mountain remained a treasure of and still connect, with the supposed the imagination merely; and was, as demons and other supernatural beings such, as much superior to the actual who are believed to inhabit the nioun- possessions of the miser, who has not tain ; but chiefly, no doubt, from the the heart to use what he has hoarded, absence of any sufficient motive, on as the feeling of having all one's wants the part of the occupiers of the sur- supplied is to that of wants increasing rounding country, to encounter the in the exact ratio of the supply to perils and hardships attendant on ex which they refer. The innumerable ploring the scene of those, to them, herds of the Pampas, to be had almost useless and unnecessary treasures; for by seeking for—the inexhaustible ferso rich and fertile are the surrounding tility of the soil, requiring nothing plains of the Rioja, and the Pampas, worthy the name of toil in its tillage and so comparatively trifling is the la- —the peculiar character of some porbor required to obtain from them all tion of the vegetation, serving for alwhich the simple-minded inhabitants most every purpose connected with the need for their subsistence and comfort, actual wants of human life ;t and, that probably nothing but an actual finally, the beautiful, but enervating
* This brief sketch of the singular circumstances attending the comparatively recent discovery of the wealth of the Famatina mines, is by one who collected them on the spot, and from persons who may be described as eye and ear witnesses of what they reported.
† Allusion is here made to the Algarrova tree, in particular. This tree seems to have been expressly provided by Providence for the sustenance of the rude inhabitants of these districts, and if it were by any accident of nature to be exterminated, it is scarcely too much to say that the population would follow it. It is the universal sustenance of the poor, the idle, and the destitute; there is a drink made from its bean-like pod, which is excellent-its seeds are ground into four-its leaves are used as the general food for cattle--and its branches, which are studded with sharp-pointed thorns, are stuck in the earth, and wattled together into a sort of palissade, which even a starving bull will not attempt to break through, though he see the tempting pasture on the other side. The wood, too, is not only excellent for all agricultural and archiiectural purposes, but is, from its hard and solid nature, almost as durable as coals, for fuel. Finally, even dogs are fond of the pod, and pigs fatten on it better than on any other food. The former will often leave their homes, and live in the Algarrova woods as long as the pod is in season; and the poor will nonc of them work-nor need they, while that portion of the Al. garrova trec lasts.
and relaxing climate ; all these things expeditions into the heart of the desounited, afforded ample means of con- late mountain ; and the consequence tent to the comparatively few inhabi- was that a little silver got into circutants of the vast province of Rioja; lation in the province--a thing, till which, even at the present time, does then, almost unknown. At length, in not number more than twenty thousand the year 1805, about four years after souls. It is true the King of Spain the slight and insignificant atteinpts and his government have made repeat- just referred to, there were seen one ed attempts to work the mines, known day, riding into the village of Chilecito have formerly existed in this moun- to, two wretchedly clad men, both tain. But they could never hit upon mounted on one sorry mule, and armany inducements sufficiently strong to ed with one old musket. On inquiry, secure the earnest and active coöpe- it appeared that these men had travelration of the inhabitants, or even to led from Peru in the manner just deovercome that superstitious horror scribed, and had supported themselves which had been left as a legacy to on their journey, entirely by the aid them by their simple, but in this in- of their old gun, with which they had stance, perhaps, wise ancestors, rela- killed, from time to time, what they tive to the dangers—unnamed and un- needed for their subsistence. It was known, but not the less effectual in ascertained, too, that, having been long their influence-attendant on the task engaged as laborers in the Peruvian of exploring the vast and naturally mines, and having acquired the knowterrific solitudes inmediately surround- ledge necessary for their purpose, they ing the objects of search. The early had left that country solely with the Indians, just referred to, had also view of seeking their fortune in the adopted another precaution, as if with mountain of Famatina—the traditionthe view of deterring their descend- al reports of its wealth having long ago ants froin the perilous enterprise in reached the country from which they question-perilous even, more on ac
These two men were named count of the cupidity, which its re- Juan Leita, and Juan Echavaria ; and sults excited in their European mas I have been told by persons who were ters, than in the actual physical hard- eye-witnesses to their first entry into ships and evils connected with it. On Chilecito, that nothing could exceed ceasing to work the mines, they care the astonishment excited in the inhafully built up and concealed, by every bitants of the village, at the idea of means in their power, the various two poverty-stricken and almost naked openings to them, so as to remove all beings attempting to contend with the clue, if possible, to the exploring of dangers and rigors of the so dreaded them in future.
solitudes of the Famatina mountain. It should be mentioned, however, But these men, unlike the happier inthat just before the great discovery, habitants of the fertile plains of Rioja, now about to be described in detail, had long felt the evils of poverty, and a slight impulse had been given to the craved the advantages which they had Riojanos, to avail themselves of the been accustomed to see enjoyed by wealth which all believed to be at the possessors of wealth alone; and their disposal, if needed, by the smug- they determined to risk, and to bear gling trade, which commenced at the everything, with the view of bettering opening of the present century, be- their condition. These are the class tween the province and Buenos Ayres, of persons from whom we are to look in articles of English clothing. The for those discoveries and achievements, desire of being more gaily clad than which demand unwearying persevetheir neighbors-a desire always easy rance, and suppose and include conto be put in action, in idle and unoc stant privation. The two pennyless cupied bosoms—had induced a few of and friendless adventurers, from a disthe inhabitants to undertake mining tant land, looked on the wondrous
mountain, of which they had heard so Nevertheless, they persevered-their much ; and seeing in its now visible first attenpt being made at that part forin literally “a mine of wealth,' of the mountain, called the Cerro Nethey deterioined within themselves to gro, where, after working for some explore and take possession of its trea- time, they discovered a small vein of sures, or perish in the attempt. On virgin silver, mixed with sulphuret of their arrival at Chilecito, they were silver. They continued working upliterally destitute of everything neces on this for about a month, never quitsary to their enterprise, except that ting the mountain during that period ; unquenchable desire and determination at the end of which time, having colto accomplish it which constitutes in lected together as much ore as they such cases great part of the required could carry, they returned with it to power. They had not even brought Chilecito. As all mining speculations with them any of the mining tools ne- bad ceased in that neighborhood, they cessary for the commencemet of their were now at a loss how to turn their operations ; nor a farthing of money little treasure to account, by reducing to purchase them. These, therefore, it to a tangible form. This, however, together with the supply of provisions they at last effected, by grinding the indispensable to their very existence, ore to powder, on a large flat stone, while working on a spot, near which as painters grind their colors, and then none could, by possibility, be procur- triturating it with mercury to extract ed, they contrived to obtain on credit, the silver. The produce of this their from a curate of Chilecito, named first adventure was about one hundred Granillo, who agreed to supply them dollars ; with which, having first paid with what they needed, to the amount the curate his promised sixty dollars, of thirty dollars, on condition, that if they purchased more provisions, and they succeeded in their undertaking, a little clothing, and then returned to they were to repay hin double the the mountain, and were heard of no amount within a certain time; and, more for three months. At the end with these supplies they started for of that time one of them came back to the mountain, the very day after their the village, with sufficient silver ore to arrival in its neighborhood. They purchase two additional mules, for the proceeded on foot themselves, as it purpose of bringing back the increaswas necessary to load their mule with ing produce of their labors. And thus the provisions, tools, &c., which they they went on for about twelve months, were enabled by the curate to take never quitting the inountain but when with them. It is said that the hard compelled to return in search of proships they endured, for the first three visions. It was understood that, by or four days, were almost incredible; this time, they had accumulated a cafor, during the whole of that time, pital of about two thousand dollars ; they were exposed to the fury of a and about this time it was that they snow storm, almost naked, and with- discovered the rich mine called Santo out firing or even shelter. At the end Domingo. They now found thenof that time they had contrived to dig selves sufficiently beforehand with the out a small cave in the side of the rock world to feel justified in hiring laborto shelter them at night from the snow rers from the village to work for thein; and rain ; and there they used to lie and having also purchased a spot of close together, with no other means of ground in the valley of Famatina, in avoiding being frozen to death, but which there was a convenient fall of that of receiving the animal warmth of water from one of the mountain rivueach other. Their only provisions lets, Juan Leita, who was a man of were biscuit, and a little dried beef, great mechanical ingenuity, constructor charqui, which they were obliged ed with his own hands a trapichi mill, to eat cold-having, as I have said, no for the purpose of grinding the ore on means of procuring firing of any kind. a larger scale. The whole of this
construction he completed without as- sures; and his reply to the governsistance; and then, being the hardier ment order was that they had already man of the two, he returned to the deprived him of all his gains. But mountain, to work and superintend the they were not to be put off in this operations there, while Echavaria came
On receiving the above reto reside at the mill, and attend to the ply, they immediately had a meeting extraction of the metal froin the ore. of the Cabildo, in the town of Rioja ;
In this manner they proceeded for and the result was the sending a miten years, by which time they had ac- litia officer, and twenty men, to take cumulated a capital of a hundred Leita into custody, and lodge him in thousand dollars. But in doing this prison, under the pretence that he was they had excited the malicious envy an old Spaniard, and an enemy to the of the Riojanos, whose cupidity made state. The party arrived at his them covet the wealth which their house, in the Escaleras, just as he want of industry prevented them from was sitting down to dinner; and haveven attempting to compass for them- ing immediately taken him, and placed selves by similar means. At this beavy fetters upon his legs, they were period, too, the revolution broke out, about to place him on a horse, and and afforded the means of, in some carry him away. But he determined measure, accomplishing the object on having recourse to stratagein, with which was now contemplated by some the view of, if possible, gaining his of the heads of the people. The first liberty, and escaping from their hands. step taken against thein was to order Accordingly, pretending the utmost them to pay a contribution of a thou- submission to the coinmands of the sand dollars for the service of the government, he invited the party to state. This was no sooner complied take some dinner with him before they with than another was sent for a simi- set out, and offered to supply them lar sum, and shortly afterwards others with some excellent wine, which he to the amount of five thousand dollars possessed. This proposal was immeinore. On this, Echavaria, who was diately accepted by the officer comat once a shrewd and a timorous man, manding the party; and, as the only and foresaw the storm that was brew- servant of Leita, a black slave, bad ing, endeavored to prevail on Leita run away on the approach of the milito join him in retiring to Peru with tary party, Leita offered to wait on the property they had amassed. But them himself, and fetch the wine, Leita refused to consent ; and the re serve the dinner, &c. This he did sult was, that they came to the reso for some time with great apparent lution of dividing their property, and good humor, and with great satisfacEchavaria made his escape immediate- tion to the party ; who, as their spirly after having first buried in a spot, its waxed higher with Leita’s excelnear the mill, that portion of his lent wine, grew more favorably disgains which he was not able to carry posed towards their prisoner; and the with him. Shortly after the depar- head of them, seeing with what alacture of Echavaria, it was reported rity he went in and out in their serthat Leita had discovered another vice, observed that it was a pity he mine, still richer than any of those should be so much inconvenienced by they had hitherto been working upon. his setters, and ordered that they Whether this was true or not, it had should be taken off. Freed from this the effect of exciting still further the incumbrance, he still kept running in cupidity of the new government, and and out doing their bidding, and supan order was speedily sent to Leita, plying them with more wine ; till at requiring him to furnish a still larger length, having ascertained the position contribution. This he bad expected, and arms of the three sentinels who and had prepared himself for, by bu- had been placed without, he watched rying in the ground nearly all his trea- his opportunity, and suddenly closed