Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Through Five Republics on Horseback by G. Whitfield Ray

Part 2 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

that his native prairie stretches away to the end of the world. He
will gaze with wonder on your watch, for his only mode of
ascertaining the time is by the shadow the sun casts. As that
luminary rises and sets, so he sleeps and wakes. His only bed is the
sheepskin, which when riding he fastens over his saddle, and the
latter article forms his pillow. His coverlet is the firmament of
heaven, the Southern Cross and other constellations, unseen by
dwellers in the Northern Hemisphere, seeming to keep watch over him;
or in the colder season his poncho, which I have already described.
Around his couch flit the fireflies, resembling so many stars of
earth with their strangely radiant lights. The brightness of one,
when held near the face of my watch, made light enough to enable me
to ascertain the hour, even on the darkest night.

The Gaucho with his horse is at home anywhere. When on a journey he
will stop for the evening meal beside the dry bones of some dead
animal. With these and grass he will make a fire and cook the meat he
carries hanging behind him on the saddle. I have known an animal
killed and the meat cooked with its own bones, but this is not usual.
Dry bones burn better, and thistle-stalks better still. He will then
lie down on mother earth with the horse-cloth under him and the
saddle for a pillow. When travelling with these men I have known
them, without any comment, stretch themselves on the ground, even
though the rain was falling, and soon be in dreamland. After having
passed a wretched night myself, I have asked them, "How did you
sleep?" _"Muy Bien, Senor"_ (Very good, sir), has been the invariable
answer. They would often growl much, however, over the wet saddle-
cloths, for these soon cause a horse's back to become sore.

Here and there, but sometimes at long distances apart, there is a
_pulperia_ on the road. This is always designated by having a white
flag flying on the end of a long bamboo. At these places cheap
spirits of wine and very bad rum can be bought, along with tobacco,
hard ship-biscuits (very often full of maggots, as I know only too
well), and a few other more necessary things. I have observed in some
of these wayside inns counters made of turf, built in blocks as
bricks would be. Here the natives stop to drink long and deep, and
stew their meagre brains in bad spirits. These draughts result in
quarrels and sometimes in murder.

The Gaucho, like the Indian, cannot drink liquor without becoming
maddened by it. He will then do things which in his sober moments he
would not dream of. I was acquainted with a man who owned a horse of
which he was very fond This animal bore him one evening to a pulperia
some miles distant, and was left tied outside while he imbibed his
fill inside. Coming out at length beastly intoxicated, he mounted his
horse and proceeded homeward. Arriving at a fork in the path, the
faithful horse took the one leading home, but the rider, thinking in
his stupor that the other way was the right one, turned the horse's
head. As the poor creature wanted to get home and have the saddle
taken off, it turned again. This affront was too much for the Gaucho,
who is a man of volcanic passions, so drawing his knife, he stabbed
it in the neck, and they dropped to the ground together. When he
realized that he had killed his favorite horse he cried like a child.
I passed this dead animal several times afterwards and saw the
vultures clean its bones. It served me as a witness to the results of
ungoverned passion.

The Gaucho does not, and would not under any consideration, ride a
mare; consequently, for work she is practically valueless. Strain,
who rode across the pampas, says: "In a single year ten million hides
were exported." For one or two dollars each the buyer may purchase
any number; indeed, of such little worth are the mares that they are
very often killed for their hide, or to serve as food for swine. At
one estancia I visited I was informed that one was killed each day
for pig feed. The mare can be driven long distances, even a hundred
miles a day, for several successive days, The Argentine army must
surely be the most mobile of any in the world, for its soldiers, when
on the march, get nothing but mare's flesh and the custom gives them
great facility of movement. The horse has, more or less, its standard
value, and costs four or five times the price of the mare.


Sometimes it happens that the native finds a colt which is positively
untamable. On the cheek of such an animal the Gaucho will burn a
cross and then allow it to go free, like the scape-goat mentioned in
the book of Leviticus.

The native horse is rather small, but very wiry and wild. I was once
compelled, through sickness, to make a journey of ninety-seven miles,
being in the saddle for seventeen consecutive hours, and yet my poor
horse was unable to get one mouthful of food on the journey, and the
saddle was not taken off his back for a moment. He was very wild, yet
one evening between five and eight o'clock, he bore me safely a
distance of thirty-six miles, and returned the same distance with me
on the following morning. He had not eaten or drunk anything during
the night, for the locusts had devoured all pasturage and no rain had
fallen for a space of five months.

The horse is not indigenous to America, although Darwin tells us that
South America had a native horse, which lived and disappeared ages
ago. Spanish history informs us that they were first landed in Buenos
Ayres in 1537. We are further told that the Indians flew away in
terror at the sight of a man on horseback, which they took to be one
animal of a strange, two-headed shape. When the colony was for a time
deserted these horses were suffered to run wild. Those animals so
multiplied and spread over such a vast area that they were found,
forty-three years later, even down to the Straits of Magellan, a
distance of eleven hundred miles. With good pasture and a limitless
expanse to roam over, they soon turned from the dozens to thousands,
and may now be counted by millions. The Patagonian "foot" Indians
quickly turned into "horse" Indians, for on those wide prairie lands
a man without a horse is almost comparable to a man without legs. In
former years, thousands of wild horses roamed over these extensive
plains, but the struggle of mankind in the battle of life turned
men's attention to them, and they were captured and branded by
whomsoever had the power and cared to take the trouble. In the more
isolated districts, there may still be found numbers which are born
and die without ever feeling the touch of saddle or bridle. Far away
from the crowded busses and perpetually moving hansoms of the city,
they feel not the driver's whip nor the strain of the wagon, as, with
tail trailing on the ground and head erect, they gallop in freedom of
life. Happy they!

In all directions on the prairie ostriches are found. The natives
catch them with _boliadoras_, an old Indian weapon, which is simply
three round stones, incased in bags of hide, tied together by twisted
ropes, also of hide. When the hunters have, by galloping from
different directions, baffled the bird in his flight, they thunder
down upon him, and, throwing the _boliadoras_ round his legs, where
they entangle, effectually stop his flight. I have seen this weapon
thrown a distance of about eighty yards.

The ostrich is a bird with wonderful digestive powers, which I often
have envied him; he eats grass or pebbles, insects or bones, as suits
his varying fancy. If you drop your knife or any other article, he
will stop to examine it, being most inquisitive, and, if possible, he
will swallow it. The flesh of the ostrich is dry and tough, and its
feathers are not to be compared in beauty with those of the African
specimen. Generally a very harmless bird, he is truly formidable
during breeding time. If one of the eggs is so much as touched he
will break the whole number to shivers. Woe to the man whom he
savagely attacks at such times; one kick of his great foot, with its
sharp claws, is sufficient to open the body of man or horse. The
Gaucho uses the skin from the neck of this bird as a tobacco pouch,
and the eggs are considered a great delicacy. One is equal to about
sixteen hen's eggs.

As all creation has its enemy, the ostrich finds his in the _iguana_,
or lizard--an unsightly, scaly, long-tailed species of land
crocodile. This animal, when full-grown, attains the length of five
feet, and is of a dark green color. He, when he can procure them,
feeds on the ostrich eggs, which I believe must be a very
strengthening diet. The lizard, after fattening himself upon them
during the six hotter months of the year, is enabled to retire to the
recesses of his cave, where he tranquilly sleeps through the
remaining six. The shell of the ostrich's egg is about the thickness
of an antique china cup, but the iguana finds no difficulty in
breaking it open with a slash of his tail This wily animal is more
astute than the bird, which lays its eggs in the open spaces, for the
lizard, with her claws, digs a hole in the ground, in which hers are
dropped to the number of dozens. The lizard does not provide shells
for her eggs, but only covers them with a thick, soft skin, and they,
buried in the soil, eventually hatch themselves.

When the Gaucho cannot obtain a better meal, the tail of the lizard
is not considered such a despicable dish by him, for he is no
epicure. When he has nothing he is also contented. His philosophy is:
_"Nunca tenga hambre cuando no hay que comer"_ (Never be hungry when
no food is to be had).

The estancia, or catile ranch, is a feature of the Argentine prairie.
Some of these establishments are very large, even up to one hundred
square miles in extent. On them hundreds of thousands of cattle,
sheep and horses are herded. "It is not improbable that there are
more cattle in the pampas and llanos of South America than in all the
rest of the world." [Footnote: Dr. Hartwig in "Argentina," 1910] An
estancia is almost invariably called by the name of some saint, as
are the different fields belonging to it. "Holy Mary field" and
"Saint Joseph field" are common names. Notwithstanding the fact that
there may be thousands of cows on a ranch, the visitor may be unable
to get a drop of milk to drink. "Cows are not made to milk, but to
eat," they say. Life on these establishments is rough and the fare
generally very coarse. Even among the wealthy people I have visited
you may sit down to dinner with nothing but meat put before you,
without a bite of bread or any vegetables. All drink water out of an
earthenware pitcher of peculiar shape, which is the centrepiece of
the table.

Around the ranches of the people are many mice, which must be of a
ferocious nature, for if one is caught in a trap it will be found
next morning half, if not almost wholly, eaten by its own comrades.
Well is it called "the cannibal mouse."

In times of drought the heat of the sun dries up all vegetation. The
least spark of fire then suffices to create a mighty blaze,
especially if accompanied by the _pampero_ wind, which blows with
irresistible force in its sweep over hundreds of miles of level
ground. The fire, gathering strength as it goes, drives all before
it, or wraps everything in its devouring flames. Casting a lurid
light in the heavens, towards which rise volumes of smoke, it
attracts the attention of the native, who lifts his starting eyes
towards heaven in a speechless prayer to the Holy Virgin. Madly
leaping on his fleetest horse, without saddle, and often without
bridle, he wildly gallops down the wind, as the roaring, crackling
fire gains upon him. In this mad race for life, men, horses,
ostriches, deer, bullocks, etc., join, striving to excel each other
in speed. Strange to say, the horse the native rides, cheered on by
the touch of his master, is often the first to gain the lake or
river, where, beneath its waters at least, refuge may be found. In
their wild stampede, vast herds of cattle trample and fall on one
another and are drowned. A more complete destruction could not
overtake the unfortunate traveller than to be caught by this
remorseless foe, for not even his ashes could be found by mourning
friends. The ground thus burnt retains its heat for days. I have had
occasion to cross blackened wastes a week after this most destructive
force in nature had done its work, and my horse has frequently reared
in the air at the touch of the hot soil on his hoofs.

The Gaucho has a strange method of fighting these fires. Several
mares are killed and opened, and they, by means of lassos, are
dragged over the burning grass.

The immensity of the pampas is so great that one may travel many
miles without sighting a single tree or human habitation. The weary
traveller finds his only shade from the sun's pitiless rays under the
broad brim of his sombrero. At times, with ears forward and extended
nostrils, the horse gazes intently at the rippling blue waters of the
_mirage_, that most tantalizingly deceptive phenomenon of nature. May
it never be the lot of my reader to be misled by the illusive mirage
as I have been. How could I mistake vapor for clear, gurgling water?
Yet, how many times was I here deceived! Visions of great lakes and
broad rivers rose up before me, lapping emerald green shores, where I
could cool my parched tongue and lave in their crystal depths; yet
to-day those waters are as far off as ever, and exist only in my
hopes of Paradise. Not until I stand by the "River of Life" shall I
behold the reality.

The inhabitant of these treeless, trackless solitudes, which, with
their waving grass, remind one of the bosom of the ocean, develops a
keen sight Where the stranger, after intently gazing, descries
nothing, he will not only inform him that animals are in sight, but
will, moreover, tell him what they are. I am blest with a very clear
vision, but even when, after standing on my horse's back, I have made
out nothing, the Gaucho could tell me that over there was a drove of
cattle, a herd of deer, a troop of horses, or a house.

It is estimated that there are two hundred and forty millions of
acres of wheat land in the Argentine, and of late years the prairie
has developed into one of the largest wheat-producing countries in
the world, and yet only one per cent, of its cultivable area is so
far occupied.

The Gaucho is no farmer, and all his land is given up to cattle
grazing, so _chacras_ are worked generally by foreign settlers. The
province of Entre Rios has been settled largely by Swiss and Italian
farmers from the Piedmont Hills. Baron Hirsch has also planted a
colony of Russian Jews there, and provided them with farm implements.
Wheat, corn, and linseed are the principal crops, but sweet potatoes,
tobacco, and fruit trees do well in this virgin ground, fertilized by
the dead animals of centuries. The soil is rich, and two or three
crops can often be harvested in a year.

No other part of the world has in recent years suffered from such a
plague of locusts as the agricultural districts of Argentina. They
come from the north in clouds that sometimes darken the sun. Some of
the swarms have been estimated to be sixty miles long and from twelve
to fifteen miles wide. Fields which in the morning stand high with
waving corn, are by evening only comparable to ploughed or burnt
lands. Even the roots are eaten up.

In 1907 the Argentine Government organized a bureau for the
destruction of locusts, and in 1908 $4,500,000 was placed by Congress
at the disposal of this commission. An organized service, embracing
thousands of men, is in readiness at any moment to send a force to
any place where danger is reported. Railway trains have been
repeatedly stopped, and literally many tons of them have had to be
taken off the track. A fine of $100 is imposed upon any settler
failing to report the presence of locust swarms or hopper eggs on his
land. Various means are adopted by the land-owner to save what he can
from the voracious insects. Men, women and children mount their
horses and drive flocks of sheep to and fro over the ground to kill
them. A squatter with whom I stayed got his laborers to gallop a
troop of mares furiously around his garden to keep them from settling
there. All, however, seemed useless. About midsummer the locust lays
its eggs under an inch or two of soil. Each female will drop from
thirty to fifty eggs, all at the same time, in a mass resembling a
head of wheat. As many as 50,000 eggs have been counted in a space
less than three and a half feet square.

During my sojourn in Entre Rios, the province where this insect seems
to come in greatest numbers, a law was passed that every man over the
age of fourteen years, whether native or foreigner, rich or poor, was
compelled to dig out and carry to Government depots, four pounds
weight of locusts' eggs. It was supposed that this energetic measure
would lessen their numbers. Many tons were collected and burnt, but,
I assure the reader, no appreciable difference whatever was made in
their legions. The young _jumpers_ came, eating all before them, and
their numbers seemed infinite. Men dug trenches, kindled fires, and
burned millions of them. Ditches two yards wide and deep and two
hundred feet long were completely filled up by these living waves.
But all efforts were unavailing--the earth remained covered. A
Waldensian acquaintance suffered for several years from this fearful
plague. Some seasons he was not even able to get back so much as the
seed he planted. If the locusts passed him, it so happened that the
_pampero_ wind blew with such terrific force that we have looked in
vain even for the straw. The latter was actually torn up by the roots
and whirled away, none knew whither. At other times large hailstones,
for which the country is noted, have destroyed everything, or tens of
thousands of green paroquets have done their destructive work. When a
five-months' drought was parching everything, I have heard him
reverently pray that God would spare him wheat sufficient to feed his
family. This food God gave him, and he thankfully invited me to share
it. I rejoice in being able to say that he afterwards became rich,
and had his favorite saying, _"Dios no me olvidae"_ (God will not
forget me), abundantly verified.

Notwithstanding natural drawbacks, which every country has, Argentina
can claim to have gone forward as no other country has during the
last ten years. There are many estates worth more than a million
dollars. Dr. W. A. Hirot, in "Argentina," says: "Argentina has more
live stock than any other country of the world. Ten million hides
have been exported in one year, and it is not improbable that there
are more cattle in South America than there are in all the rest of
the world combined." Belgium has 220 people occupying the space one
person has in Argentina, so who can prophesy as to its future?




Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there's nothing
else to gaze on,
Set pieces and drop curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets
Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?

--_Robert W. Service._


Bolivia, having no sea-coast, has been termed the Hermit Republic of
South America. Its territory is over 600,000 square miles in extent,
and within its bounds Nature displays almost every possible panorama,
and all climates. There are burning plains, the home of the emu,
armadillos, and ants; sandy deserts, where the wind drifts the sand
like snow, piling it up in ever-shifting hills about thirty feet in
height. Bolivia, shut in geographically and politically, is a world
in itself--a world of variety, in scenery, climate, products and
people. Its capital city, La Paz, has a population of 70,000, but the
vast interior is almost uninhabited. In the number of inhabitants to
the square mile, Bolivia ranks the lowest of all the nations of the

Perhaps no country of the world has been, and is, so rich in precious
metals as Bolivia. "The mines of Potosi alone have furnished the
world over $1,500,000,000 worth of silver since the Spaniards first
took possession of them." [Footnote: "Protestant Missions in South

Bolivia can lay claim to the most wonderful body of water in the
world--Lake Titicaca. This lake, nearly two and a half miles high in
the air, is literally in the clouds. "Its lonely waters have no
outlet to the sea, but are guarded on their southern shores by
gigantic ruins of a prehistoric empire--palaces, temples, and
fortresses--silent, mysterious monuments of a long-lost golden age."
Some of the largest and most remarkable ruins of the world are found
on the shores of Lake Titicaca, and as this was the centre of the
great Incan Dynasty, that remarkable people have also left wonderful
remains, to build which stones thirty-eight feet long, eighteen feet
wide, and six feet thick, were quarried, carried and elevated. The
Temple of the Sun. the most sacred edifice of the Incas, was one of
the richest buildings the sun has ever shone upon, and it was itself
a mine of wealth. From this one temple, Pizarro, the Spanish
conqueror, took 24,000 pounds of gold and 82,000 pounds of silver.
"Ninety million dollars' worth of precious metals was torn from Inca
temples alone." The old monarch of the country, Atahuallpa, gave
Pizarro twenty-two million dollars in gold to buy back his country
and his liberty from the Spaniards, but their first act on receiving
the vast ransom was to march him after a crucifix at the head of a
procession, and, because he refused to become a Roman Catholic, put
him to death. Perhaps never in the world's history was there a baser
act of perfidy, but this was urged by the soldier-priest of the
conquerors, Father Valverde, who himself signed the King's death-
warrant. This priest was afterwards made Bishop of Atahuallpa's

Surely no country of the world has had a darker or a sadder history
than this land of the Incas. The Spaniards arrived when the "Children
of the Sun" were at the height of their prosperity. "The affair of
reducing the country was committed to the hands of irresponsible
individuals, soldiers of fortune, desperate adventurers who entered
on conquest as a game which they had to play in the most unscrupulous
manner, with little care but to win it. The lands, and the persons as
well, of the conquered races were parcelled out and appropriated by
the victors as the legitimate spoils of victory. Every day outrages
were perpetrated, at the contemplation of which humanity shudders.
They suffered the provident arrangements of the Incas to fall into
decay. The poor Indian, without food, now wandered half-starved and
naked over the plateau. Even those who aided the Spaniards fared no
better, and many an Inca noble roamed a mendicant over the fields
where he once held rule; and if driven, perchance, by his necessities
to purloin something from the superfluity of his conquerors, he
expiated it by a miserable death." [Footnote: Prescott's "Conquest
of Peru."]

Charles Kingsley says there were "cruelties and miseries unexampled
in the history of Christendom, or perhaps on earth, save in the
conquests of Sennacherib and Zinghis-Khan." Millions perished at the
forced labor of the mines, The Incan Empire had, it is calculated, a
population of twenty millions at the arrival of the Spaniards, In two
centuries the population fell to four millions.

When the groans of these beasts of burden reached the ears of the
good (?) Queen Isabel of Spain, she enacted a law that throughout her
new dominions no Indian, man or woman, should be compelled to carry
more than three hundred pounds' weight at one load! Is it cause for
wonder that the poor, down-trodden natives, seeing the flaunting flag
of Spain, with its stripe of yellow between stripes of red, should
regard it as representing a river of gold between two rivers of

"Not infrequently," said a reliable witness, "I have seen the
Spaniards, long after the Conquest, amuse themselves by hunting down
the natives with blood hounds, for mere sport, or in order to train
their dogs to the game. The most unbounded scope was given to
licentiousness. The young maiden was torn remorselessly from the arms
of her family to gratify the passion of her brutal conqueror. The
sacred houses of the Virgins of the Sun were broken open and
violated, and the cavalier swelled his harem with a troop of Indian
girls, making it seem that the crescent would have been a more
fitting emblem for his banner than the immaculate cross."

With the inexorable conqueror came the more inexorable priest.
"Attendance at Roman Catholic worship was made compulsory. Men and
women with small children were compelled to journey as much as
thirty-six miles to attend mass. Absentees were punished, therefore
the Indian feared to disobey." [Footnote: Neely, "Spanish America."]

As is well known, the ancient inhabitants worshipped the sun and the
moon. The Spanish priest, in order to gain proselytes with greater
facility, did not forbid this worship, but placed the crucifix
between the two. Where the Inca suns and moons were of solid gold and
silver, they were soon replaced by painted wooden ones. The crucifix,
with sun and moon images on each side, is common all over Bolivia

Now, four hundred years later, see the Indian under priestly rule.
The following is taken from an official report of the Governor of
Chimborazo: "The religious festivals that the Indians celebrate--not
of their own will, but by the inexorable will of the priest--are,
through the manner in which they are kept, worse than those described
to us of the times of Paganism, and of monstrous consequences to
morality and the national welfare ... they may be reckoned as a
barbarous mixture of idolatry and superstition, sustained by infamous
avarice. The Indian who is chosen to make a feast either has to use
up in it his little savings, leaving his family submerged in misery,
or he has to rob in order to invest the products of his crime in
paying the fees to the priest and for church ceremonies. These are
simply brutal orgies that last many days, with a numerous attendance,
and in which all manner of crimes and vices have free license."

"For the idols of the aborigines were substituted the images of the
Virgin Mary and the Roman saints. The Indians gave up their old
idols, but they went on with their image-worship. Image-worship is
idolatry, whether in India, Africa, or anywhere else, and the worship
of Roman images is essentially idolatry as much as the worship of any
other kind of images. Romanism substituted for one set of idols
another set. So the Indians who were idolaters continued to be
idolaters, only the new idols had other names and, possibly, were a
little better-looking." [Footnote: Neely, "South America."]

What has Romanism done for the Indians of Bolivia in its four hundred
years of rule? Compare the people of that peaceful, law-keeping
dynasty which the Spaniards found with the Bolivian Indian of to-day!
Now the traveller can report: "The Indians are killing the whites
wherever they find them, and practising great cruelties, having bored
holes in the heads of their victims and sucked the brains out while
they were yet alive. Sixteen whites are said to have been killed in
this way! These same Indians are those who have been Christianized by
the Roman priests for the past three centuries, but such cruelties as
they have been practising show that as yet not a ray of Christ's love
has entered their darkened minds." How can the priest teach what he
is himself ignorant of?

Where the Indian has been civilized, as well as Romanized, Mr. Milne,
of the American Bible Society, could write:

"Since the Spanish conquest the progress of the Indians has been in
the line of deterioration and moral degradation. They are oppressed
by the Romish clergy, who can never drain contributions enough out of
them, and who make the children render service to pay for masses for
deceased parents and relatives. Tears came to our eyes as Mr.
Penzotti and I watched them practising their heathen rites in the
streets of La Paz, the chief city of Bolivia. They differ from the
other Indians in that they are domesticated, but _they know no more
of the Gospel than they did under the rule of the Incas."_

What is to be the future of these natives? Shall they disappear from
the stage of the world's history like so many other aborigines,
victims of civilization, or will a hand yet be stretched out to help
them? Civilization, after all, is not entirely made up of greed and
lust, but in it there is righteousness and truth. May the day soon
dawn when some of the latter may be extended to them ere they take
the long, dark trail after their fathers, and have hurled the last
malediction at their cursed white oppressors!

"We suffer yet a little space
Until we pass away,
The relics of an ancient race
That ne'er has had its day."

For four hundred years Bolivia has thus been held in chains by Romish
priestcraft. Since its Incan rulers were massacred, its civilization
has been of the lowest. Buildings, irrigation dams, etc., were
suffered to fall into disrepair, and the country went back to
pre-Incan days.

The first Christian missionaries to enter the country were imprisoned
and murdered. Now "the morning light is breaking." A law has been
passed granting liberty of worship.

Bolivia, with its vast natural riches, must come to the forefront,
and already strides are being taken forward. She can export over five
million dollars' worth of rubber in one year, and is now spending
more than fifty million dollars on railways. So Bolivia is a country
of the past and the future.



Since the days when Pizarro's adventurers discovered the hitherto
undreamed-of splendor of the Inca Dynasty, Bolivia has been a land of
surprises and romantic discovery. Strange to say, even yet much of
the eastern portion of this great republic remains practically
unexplored. The following account of exploration in those regions,
left for men of the twentieth century, may not, I am persuaded, be
without interest to the general reader. Bolivia has for many years
been seriously handicapped through having no adequate water outlet to
the sea, and the immense resources of wealth she undoubtedly
possesses have, for this reason, been suffered to go, in a measure,
unworked. Now, however, in the onward progress of nations, Bolivia
has stepped forward. In the year 1900, the Government of that country
despatched an expedition to locate and explore Lake Gaiba, a large
sheet of water said to exist in the far interior of Bolivia and
Brazil, on the line dividing the two republics. The expedition staff
consisted of Captain Bolland, an Englishman; M. Barbiere, a
Frenchman; Dr. Perez, Bolivian; M. Gerard D'Avezsac, French artist
and hunter, and the writer of these pages. The crew of ten men was
made up of Paraguayans and Argentines, white men and colored, one
Bolivian, one Italian, and one Brazilian. Strange to relate, there
was no Scotchman, even the ship's engineer being French. Perhaps the
missing Scotch engineer was on his way to the Pole, in order to be
found sitting there on its discovery by----(?)

The object of this costly journey was to ascend the rivers La Plata,
Paraguay and Alto Paraguay, and see if it were possible to establish
a port and town in Bolivian territory on the shores of the lake.
After some months of untiring energy and perseverance, there was
discovered for Bolivia a fine port, with depth of water for any
ordinary river steamer, which will now be known to the world as
_Puerto Quijarro_. A direct fluvial route, therefore, exists between
the Atlantic and this far inland point.

The expedition left Buenos Ayres, the capital of the Argentine
Republic. Sailing up the western bank of the River of Silver, we
entered the Parana River, and after an uneventful voyage of six days,
passed the mouth of the River of Gold, and turned into the Paraguay.

Three hundred miles up the Higher Parana, a mighty stream flowing
from the northeast, which we here left to our right, are the Falls of
Yguasu. These falls have been seen by few white men. The land on each
side of the river is infested by the Bugres Indians, a tribe of
cannibals, of excessively ferocious nature. The Falls of Big Water
must be the largest in the world--and the writer is well acquainted
with Niagara.

The river, over two and a half miles wide, containing almost as much
water as all the rivers of Europe together, rushes between
perpendicular cliffs. With a current of forty miles an hour, and a
volume of water that cannot be less than a million tons a minute, the
mighty torrent rushes with indescribable fury against a rocky island,
which separates it into two branches, so that the total width is
about two miles and a half. The Brazilian arm of the river forms a
tremendous horseshoe here, and plunges with a deafening roar into the
abyss two hundred and thirteen feet below. The Argentine branch
spreads out in a sort of amphitheatre form, and finishes with one
grand leap into the jagged rocks, more than two hundred and twenty-
nine feet below, making the very earth vibrate, while spray, rising
in columns, is visible several miles distant.

"Below the island the two arms unite and flow on into the Parana
River. From the Brazilian bank the spectator, at a height of two
hundred and eighty feet, gazes out over two and a half miles of some
of the wildest and most fantastic water scenery he can ever hope to
see. Waters stream, seethe, leap, bound, froth and foam, 'throwing
the sweat of their agony high in the air, and, writhing, twisting,
screaming and moaning, bear off to the Parana.' Under the blue vault
of the sky, this sea of foam, of pearls, of iridescent dust, bathes
the great background in a shower of beauty that all the more adds to
the riot of tropical hues already there. When a high wind is blowing,
the roar of the cataract can be heard nearly twenty miles away. A
rough estimate of the horse-power represented by the falls is
fourteen million."

Proceeding up the Paraguay River, we arrived at Asuncion, the capital
of Paraguay, and anchored in a beautiful bay of the river, opposite
the city. As many necessary preparations had still to be made, the
expedition was detained in Asuncion for fifteen days, after which we
boarded the S.S. _Leda_, for the second stage of our journey.

Steaming up the Alto Paraguay, we passed the orange groves of that
sunny land on the right bank of the river, and on the left saw the
encampments of the Tobas Indians, The dwellings of these people are
only a few branches of trees stuck in the ground. Further on, we saw
the Chamococos Indians, a fine muscular race of men and women, who
cover their bronze-colored bodies with the oil of the alligator, and
think a covering half the size of a pocket-handkerchief quite
sufficient to hide their nakedness. As we stayed to take in wood, I
tried to photograph some of these, our brothers and sisters, but the
camera was nothing but an object of dread to them. One old woman,
with her long, black, oily hair streaming in the breeze, almost
withered me with her flashing eyes and barbarous language, until I
blushed as does a schoolboy when caught in the act of stealing
apples. Nevertheless, I got her photo.

The Pilcomayo, which empties its waters into the Paraguay, is one of
the most mysterious of rivers. Rising in Bolivia, its course can be
traced down for some considerable distance, when it loses itself in
the arid wastes, or, as some maintain, flows underground. Its source
and mouth are known, but for many miles of its passage it is
invisible. Numerous attempts to solve its secrets have been made.
They have almost invariably ended disastrously. The Spanish
traveller, Ibarete, set out with high hopes to travel along its
banks, but he and seventeen men perished in the attempt. Two half-
famished, prematurely-old, broken men were all that returned from the
unknown wilds. The Pilcomayo, which has proved itself the river of
death to so many brave men, remains to this day unexplored. The
Indians inhabiting these regions are savage in the extreme, and the
French explorer, Creveaux, found them inhuman enough to leave him and
most of his party to die of hunger. The Tobas and the Angaitaes
tribes are personally known to me, and I speak from experience when I
say that more cruel men I have never met. The Argentine Government,
after twenty years of warfare with them, was compelled, in 1900, to
withdraw the troops from their outposts and leave the savages in
undisputed possession. If the following was the type of civilization
offered them, then they are better left to themselves: "Two hundred
Indians who have been made prisoners are _compelled to be baptized_.
The ceremony takes place in the presence of the Governor and
officials of the district, and a great crowd of spectators. The
Indians kneel between two rows of soldiers, an officer with drawn
sword compels each in turn to open his mouth, into which a second
officer throws a handful of salt, amid general laughter at the wry
faces of the Indians. Then a Franciscan padre comes with a pail of
water and besprinkles the prisoners. They are then commanded to rise,
and each receives a piece of paper inscribed with his new name, a
scapulary, and--_a glass of rum_" [Footnote: Report of British and
Foreign Bible Society, 1900.] What countries these for missionary

After sailing for eighteen days up the river, we transhipped into a
smaller steamer going to Bolivia. Sailing up the bay, you pass, on
the south shore, a small Brazilian customs house, which consists of a
square roof of zinc, without walls, supported on four posts, standing
about two meters from the ground. A Brazilian, clothed only in his
black skin, came down the house ladder and stared at us as we passed.
The compliment was returned, although we had become somewhat
accustomed to that style of dress--or undress. A little farther up
the bay, a white stone shone out in the sunlight, marking the
Bolivian boundary, and giving the name of Piedra Blanca to the
village. This landmark is shaded by a giant tamarind tree, and
numerous barrel trees, or _palo boracho_, grow in the vicinity. In my
many wanderings in tropical America, I have seen numerous strange
trees, but these are extraordinarily so. The trunk comes out of the
ground with a small circumference, then gradually widens out to the
proportions of an enormous barrel, and at the top closes up to the
two-foot circumference again. Two branches, like giant arms spread
themselves out in a most weird-looking manner on the top of all.
About five leaves grow on each bough, and, instinctively, you
consider them the fingers of the arms.

It was only three leagues to the Bolivian town of Piedra Blanca, but
the "Bahia do Marengo" took three hours to steam the short distance,
for five times we had to stop on the way, owing to the bearings
becoming heated. These the Brazilian engineer cooled with pails of

In the beautiful Bay of Caceres, much of which was grown over with
lotus and Victoria Regia, we finally anchored. This Bolivian village
is about eighteen days' sail up the river from Montevideo on the

Chartering the "General Pando," a steamer of 25 h.p. and 70 ft. long,
we there completed our preparations, and finally steamed away up the
Alto Paraguay, proudly flying the Bolivian flag of red, yellow, and
green. As a correct plan of the river had to be drawn, the steamer
only travelled by day, when we were able to admire the grandeur of
the scenery, which daily grew wilder as the mountains vied with each
other in lifting their rugged peaks toward heaven. From time to time
we passed one of the numerous islands the Paraguay is noted for.
These are clothed with such luxuriant vegetation that nothing less
than an army of men with axes could penetrate them. The land is one
great, wild, untidy, luxuriant hot-house, "built by nature for
herself." The puma, jaguar and wildcat are here at home, besides the
anaconda and boa constrictor, which grow to enormous lengths. The
Yaci Reta, or Island of the Moon, is the ideal haunt of the jaguar,
and as we passed it a pair of those royal beasts were playing on the
shore like two enormous cats. As they caught sight of us, one leapt
into the mangrove swamp, out of sight, and the other took a plunge
into the river, only to rise a few yards distant and receive an
explosive bullet in his head. The mangrove tree, with its twisting
limbs and bright green foliage, grows in the warm water and fotid mud
of tropical countries. It is a type of death, for pestilence hangs
round it like a cloud. At early morning this cloud is a very visible
one. The peculiarity of the tree is that its hanging branches
themselves take root, and, nourished by such putrid exhalations, it
quickly spreads.

There were also many floating islands of fantastic shape, on which
birds rested in graceful pose. We saw the _garza blanca_, the aigrets
of which are esteemed by royalty and commoner alike, along with other
birds new and strange. To several on board who had looked for years
on nothing but the flat Argentine pampas, this change of scenery was
most exhilarating, and when one morning the sun rose behind the
"Golden Mountains," and illuminated peak after peak, the effect was
glorious. So startlingly grand were some of the colors that our
artist more than once said he dare not paint them, as the world would
think that his coloring was not true to nature.

Many were the strange sights we saw on the shore. Once we were amused
at the ludicrous spectacle of a large bird of the stork family, which
had built its nest in a tree almost overhanging the river. The nest
was a collection of reeds and feathers, having two holes in the
bottom, through which the legs of the bird were hanging. The feet,
suspended quite a yard below the nest, made one wonder how the bird
could rise from its sitting position.

Every sight the traveller sees, however, is not so amusing. As
darkness creeps over earth and sky, and the pale moonbeams shed a
fitful light, it is most pathetic to see on the shore the dead trunk
and limbs of a tree, in the branches of which has been constructed a
rude platform, on which some dark-minded Indian has reverently lifted
the dead body of his comrade. The night wind, stirring the dry bones
and whistling through the empty skull, makes weird music!

The banks of the stream had gradually come nearer and nearer to us,
and the great river, stretching one hundred and fifty miles in width
where it pours its volume of millions of tons of water into the sea
at Montevideo, was here a silver ribbon, not half a mile across.

Far be it from me to convey the idea that life in those latitudes is
Eden. The mosquitos and other insects almost drive one mad. The
country may truly be called a naturalists' paradise, for butterflies,
beetles, and creeping things are multitudinous, but the climate, with
its damp, sickly heat, is wholly unsuited to the Anglo-Saxon. Day
after day the sun in all his remorseless strength blazes upon the
earth, is if desirous of setting the whole world on fire. The
thermometer in the shade registered 110, 112 and 114 degrees
Fahrenheit, and on one or two memorable days 118 degrees. The heat in
our little saloon at times rose as high as 130 degrees, and the
perspiration poured down in streams on our almost naked bodies. We
seemed to be running right into the brazen sun itself.

One morning the man on the look-out descried deer on the starboard
bow, and arms were quickly brought out, ready for use. Our French
hunter was just taking aim when it struck me that the deer moved in a
strange way. I immediately asked him to desist. Those dark forms in
the long grass seemed, to my somewhat trained eyes, naked Indians,
and as we drew nearer to them so it proved, and the man was thankful
he had withheld his fire.

After steaming for some distance up the river several dug-outs,
filled with Guatos Indians, paddled alongside us. An early traveller
in those head-waters wrotes of these: "Some of the smaller tribes
were but a little removed from the wild brutes of their own jungles.
The lowest in the scale, perhaps, were the Guatos, who dwell to the
north of the Rio Apa. This tribe consisted of less than one hundred
persons, and they were as unapproachable as wild beasts. No other
person, Indian or foreigner, could ever come near but they would fly
and hide in impenetrable jungles. They had no written language of
their own, and lived like unreasoning animals, without laws or

The Guato Indian seems now to be a tame and inoffensive creature, but
well able to strike a bargain in the sale of his dug-out canoes,
home-made guitars and other curios. In the wrobbling canoe they are
very dexterous, as also in the use of their long bows and arrows; the
latter have points of sharpened bone. When hungry, they hunt or fish.
When thirsty, they drink from the river; and if they wish clothing,
wild cotton grows in abundance.

These Indians, living, as they do, along the banks of the river and
streams, have recently been frequently visited by the white man on
his passage along those natural highways. It is, therefore
superfluous for me to add that they are now correspondingly
demoralized. It is a most humiliating fact that just in proportion as
the paleface advances into lands hitherto given up to the Indian so
those races sink. This degeneration showed itself strikingly among
the Guatos in their inordinate desire for _cachaca_, or "firewater."
Although extremely cautious and wary in their exchanges to us,
refusing to barter a bow and arrows for a shirt, yet, for a bottle of
cachaca, they would gladly have given even one of their canoes. These
_ketchiveyos_, twenty or twenty-five feet long by about twenty inches
wide, they hollow from the trunk of the cedar, or _lapacho_ tree.
This is done with great labor and skill; yet, as I have said, they
were boisterously eager to exchange this week's work for that which
they knew would lead them to fight and kill one another.

As a mark of special favor, the chief invited me to their little
village, a few miles distant. Stepping into one of their canoes--a
large, very narrow boat, made of one tree-trunk hollowed out by fire--
I was quickly paddled by three naked Indians up a narrow creek,
which was almost covered with lotus. The savages, standing in the
canoe, worked the paddles with a grace and elegance which the
civilized man would fail to acquire, and the narrow craft shot
through the water at great speed. The chief sat in silence at the
stern. I occupied a palm-fibre mat spread for me amidships. The very
few words of Portuguese my companions spoke or understood rendered
conversation difficult, so the stillness was broken only by the
gentle splash of the paddles. On each side the dense forest seemed
absolutely impenetrable, but we at last arrived at an opening. As we
drew ashore I noticed that an Indian path led directly inland.

Leaving our dug-out moored with a fibre rope to a large mangrove
tree, we started to thread our way through the forest, and finally
reached a clearing. Here we came upon a crowd of almost naked and
extremely dejected-looking women. Many of these, catching sight of
me, sped into the jungle like frightened deer. The chief's wife,
however, at a word from him, received me kindly, and after accepting
a brass necklace with evident pleasure, showed herself very affable.
Poor lost Guatos! Their dejected countenances, miserable grass huts,
alive with vermin, and their extreme poverty, were most touching.
Inhabiting, as they do, one of the hottest and dampest places on the
earth's surface, where mosquitos are numberless, the wonder is that
they exist at all. Truly, man is a strange being, who can adapt
himself to equatorial heat or polar frigidity. The Guatos' chief
business in life seemed to consist in sitting on fibre mats spread on
the ground, and driving away the bloodthirsty mosquitos from their
bare backs. For this they use a fan of their own manufacture, made
from wild cotton, which there seems to abound. Writing of mosquitos,
let me say these Indian specimens were a terror to us all. What
numbers we killed! I could write this account in their blood. It was
_my_ blood, though--before they got it! Men who hunt the tiger in
cool bravery boiled with indignation before these awful pests, which
stabbed and stung with marvellous persistency, and disturbed
the solitude of nature with their incessant humming. I write the
word _incessant_ advisedly, for I learned that there are several
kinds of mosquitos. Some work by day and others by night. Naturalists
tell us that only the female mosquito bites. Did they take a
particular liking to us because we were all males?

Some of the Indians paint their naked bodies in squares, generally
with red and black pigment. Their huts were in some cases large, but
very poorly constructed. When any members of the tribe are taken sick
they are supposed to be "possessed" by a stronger evil power, and the
sickness is "starved out." When the malady flies away the life
generally accompanies it. The dead are buried under the earth inside
the huts, and in some of the dwellings graves are quite numerous.
This custom of interior burial has probably been adopted because the
wild animals of the forest would otherwise eat the corpse. Horrible
to relate, their own half-wild dogs sometimes devour the dead, though
an older member of the tribe is generally left home to mount guard.

Seeing by the numerous gourds scattered around that they were
drinking _chicha_, I solicited some, being anxious to taste the
beverage which had been used so many centuries before by the old
Incas. The wife of the chief immediately tore off a branch of the
feather palm growing beside her, and, certainly within a minute, made
a basket, into which she placed a small gourd. Going to the other
side of the clearing, she commenced, with the agility of a monkey, to
ascend a long sapling which had been laid in a slanting position
against a tall palm tree. The long, graceful leaves of this cabbage
palm had been torn open, and the heart thus left to ferment. From the
hollow cabbage the woman filled the gourd, and lowered it to me by a
fibre rope. The liquid I found to be thick and milky, and the taste
not unlike cider.

Prescott tells us that Atahuallpa, the Peruvian monarch, came to see
the conqueror, Pizarro, "quaffing chicha from golden goblets borne by
his attendants." [Footnote: Este Embajador traia servicio de Senor, i
cinco o seis Vasos de Oro fino, con que bebia, i con ellos daba a
beber a los Espanoles de la chicha que traia."--Xerez.] Golden
goblets did not mean much to King Atahuallpa, however, for his palace
of five hundred different apartments is said to have been tiled with
beaten gold.

In these Guato Indians I observed a marked difference to any others I
had visited, in that they permitted the hair to grow on their faces.
The chief was of quite patriarchal aspect, with full beard and mild,
intelligent-looking eyes. The savages inhabiting the Chaco consider
this custom extremely "dirty."

Before leaving these people I procured some of their bows and arrows,
and also several cleverly woven palm mats and cotton fans.

Some liquor our cook gave away had been taken out by the braves to
their women in another encampment. These spirits had so inflamed the
otherwise retiring, modest females that they, with the men, returned
to the steamer, clamoring for more. All the stores, along with some
liquors we carried, were under my care, and I kept them securely
locked up, but in my absence at the Indian camp the store-room had
been broken open, and our men and the Indians--men and women--had
drunk long and deep. A scene like Bedlam, or Dante's "Inferno," was
taking place when I returned. Willing as they were to listen to my
counsel and admit that I was certainly a great white teacher, with
superior wisdom, on this love for liquor and its debasing
consequences they would hear no words. The women and girls, like the
men, would clamor for the raw alcohol, and gulp it down in long
draughts. When ardent spirits are more sought after by women and
girls than are beads and looking-glasses it surely shows a terribly
depraved taste. Even the chattering monkeys in the trees overhead
would spurn the poison and eagerly clutch the bright trinket. Perhaps
the looking-glasses I gave the poor females would, after the orgies
were over, serve to show them that their beauty was not increased by
this beastly carousal, and thus be a means of blessing. It may be
asked, Can the savage be possessed of pride and of self-esteem? I
unhesitatingly answer yes, as I have had abundant opportunity of
seeing. They will strut with peacock pride when wearing a specially
gaudy-colored headdress, although that may be their only article of

Having on board far more salt than we ourselves needed, I was enabled
to generously distribute much of that invaluable commodity among
them. That also, working in a different way, might be a means of
restoring them to a normal soundness of mind after we left.

Poor lost creatures! For this draught of the white man's poison, far
more terrible to them than the deadly nightshade of their forests,
more dangerous than the venom of the loathsome serpent gliding across
their path, they are willing to sell body or soul. Soul, did I say?
They have never heard of that. To them, so far as I could ascertain,
a future life is unknown. The explorer has penetrated some little way
into their dark forests in search of rubber, or anything else which
it would pay to exploit, but the missionary of the Cross has never
sought to illumine their darker minds. They live their little day and
go out into the unknown unconscious of the fact that One called
Jesus, who was the Incarnate God, died to redeem them. As a
traveller, I have often wondered why men should be willing to pay me
hundreds of dollars to explore those regions for ultimate worldly
gain, and none should ever offer to employ me in proclaiming the
greatest wonder of all the ages--the story of Calvary--for eternal
gain. After all, are the Indians more blind to the future than we
are? Yet, strange to say, we profess to believe in the teachings of
that One who inculcated the practice of laying up treasure in heaven,
while they have not even heard His name. For love of gain men have
been willing to accompany me through the most deadly fever-breeding
morass, or to brave the poisoned arrows of the lynx-eyed Indian, but
few have ever offered to go and tell of Him whom they profess to

The suffocating atmosphere quite precluded the idea of writing, for a
pen, dipped in ink, would dry before reaching the paper, and the
latter be saturated with perspiration in a few seconds; so these
observations were penned later. So far as I could ascertain, the
Romish Church has never touched the Guatos, and, notwithstanding all
I have said about them, I unhesitatingly affirm that it is better so.
Geo. R. Witte, missionary to Brazil, says: "With one exception, all
the priests with whom I came in contact (when on a journey through
Northern Brazil) were immoral, drunken, and ignorant. The tribes who
have come under priestly care are decidedly inferior in morals,
industry, and order to the tribes who refuse to have anything to do
with the whites. The Charentes and Apinages have been, for years,
under the care of Catholic friars--this is the way I found them: both
men and women walk about naked."

"We heard not one contradiction of the general testimony that the
people who were not under the influence of the Roman Catholic Church
as it is in S. America were better morally than those who were."
[Footnote: Robert E. Speer, "Missions in South America."]

In Christendom organs peal out the anthems of Divine love, and well-
dressed worshippers chant in harmonious unison, "Lord, incline our
hearts to keep Thy law." That law says: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor
as thyself." To the question: "Who is my neighbor?" the Divine voice
answers: "A certain man." May he not be one of these neglected



"It sleeps among a hundred hills
Where no man ever trod,
And only Nature's music fills
The silences of God."

After going about two thousand three hundred miles up this serpentine
river, we discovered the entrance to the lake. Many had been the
conjectures and counsels of would-be advisers when we started. Some
said that there was no entrance to the lake from the river; others,
that there was not sufficient depth of water for the steamer to pass
through. On our port bow rose frowning rocks of forbidding aspect.
Drawing nearer, we noticed, with mingled feelings of curiosity and
wonder, that the face of these rocks was rudely carved by unmistakably
Indian art. There were portrayed a rising sun, tigers' feet, birds'
feet, etc. Why were they thus carved? Are those rocks the everlasting
recorders of some old history--some deed of Indian daring in days of
old? What these hieroglyphics signify we may never know; the workman
is gone, and his stone hammer is buried with him. To twentieth century
civilization his carving tells nothing. No Indians inhabit the shores
of the lake now, perhaps because of this "writing on the wall."

With the leadsman in his place we slowly and cautiously entered the
unexplored lake, and thus for the first time in the world's history
its waters were ploughed by a steamer's keel.

Soon after our arrival the different guards were told off for the
silent watches. Night shut in upon the lake, and all nature slept.
The only lights on shore were those of the fire-flies as they danced
through the myrtle boughs. The stars in the heavens twinkled above
us. Now and again an alligator thrust his huge, ugly nose out of the
water and yawned, thus disturbing for the moment its placid surface,
which the pale moon illuminated with an ethereal light; otherwise
stillness reigned, or, rather, a calm mysterious peace which was deep
and profound. Somehow, the feeling crept upon us that we had become
detached from the world, though yet we lived. Afterwards, when the
tigers [Footnote: Jaguars are invariably called tigers in South
America.] on shore had scented our presence, sleep was often broken
by angry roars coming from the beach, near which we lay at anchor;
but before dawn our noisy visitors always departed, leaving only
their footprints. Early next morning, while the green moon was still
shining (the color of this heavenly orb perplexed us, it was a pure
bottle green), each one arose to his work. This was no pleasure
excursion, and duties, many and arduous, lay before the explorers.
The hunter sallied forth with his gun, and returned laden with
pheasant and mountain hen, and over his shoulder a fine duck, which,
unfortunately, however, had already begun to smell--the heat was so
intense. In his wanderings he had come upon a huge tapir, half eaten
by a tiger, and saw footprints of that lord of the forest in all

Let me here say, that to our hunter we were indebted for many a good
dish, and when not after game he lured from the depths of the lake
many a fine perch or turbot. Fishing is an art in which I am not very
skilled, but one evening I borrowed his line. After a few moments'
waiting I had a "bite," and commenced to haul in my catch, which
struggled, kicked, and pulled until I shouted for help. My fish was
one of our Paraguayan sailors, who for sport had slipped down into
the water on the other side of the steamer, and, diving to my cord,
had grasped it with both hands. Not every fisher catches a man!

Lake Gaiba is a stretch of water ten miles long, with a narrow mouth
opening into the River Paraguay. The lake is surrounded by mountains,
clad in luxuriant verdure on the Bolivian side, and standing out in
bare, rugged lines on the Brazilian side. The boundary of the two
countries cuts the water into two unequal halves. The most prominent
of the mountains are now marked upon the exhaustive chart drawn out.
Their christening has been a tardy one, for who can tell what ages
have passed since they first came into being? Looking at Mount Ray,
the highest of these peaks, at sunset, the eye is startled by the
strange hues and rich tints there reflected. Frequently we asked
ourselves: "Is that the sun's radiance, or are those rocks the fabled
'Cliffs of Opal' men have searched for in vain?" We often sat in a
wonder of delight gazing at the scene, until the sun sank out of
sight, taking the "opal cliffs" with it, and leaving us only with the

On the shores of the lake the beach is covered with golden sand and
studded with innumerable little stones, clear as crystal, which
scintillate with all the colors of the rainbow. Among these pebbles I
found several arrowheads of jasper. In other parts the primeval
forest creeps down to the very margin, and the tree-roots bathe in
the warm waters. Looking across the quivering heat-haze, the eye
rests upon palms of many varieties, and giant trees covered with
orchids and parasites, the sight of which would completely intoxicate
the horticulturist. Butterflies, gorgeous in all the colors of the
rainbow, flit from flower to flower; and monkeys, with curiously
human faces, stare at the stranger from the tree-tops. White cotton
trees, tamarinds, and strangely shaped fruits grow everywhere, and
round about all are entwined festoons of trailing creepers, or the
loveliest of _scarlet_ mistletoe, in which humming-birds build their
nests. Blue macaws, parrots, and a thousand other birds fly to and
fro, and the black fire-bird darts across the sky, making lightning
with every flutter of his wings, which, underneath, are painted a
bright, vivid red. Serpents of all colors and sizes creep silently in
the undergrowth, or hang from the branches of the trees, their
emerald eyes ever on the alert; and the broad-winged eagle soars
above all, conscious of his majesty.

Here and there the coast is broken by silent streams flowing into the
lake from the unexplored regions beyond. These _riachos_ are covered
with lotus leaves and flowers, and also the Victoria Regia in all its
gorgeous beauty. Papyrusa, reeds and aquatic plants of all
descriptions grow on the banks of the streams, making a home for the
white stork or whiter _garza_. Looking into the clear warm waters you
see little golden and red fishes, and on the bed of the stream shells
of pearl.

On the south side of the Gaiba, at the foot of the mountains, the
beach slopes gently down, and is covered with golden sand, in which
crystals sparkle as though set in fine gold by some cunning workman.
A Workman, yes--but not of earth, for nature is here untouched,
unspoilt as yet by man, and the traveller can look right away from it
to its Creator.

During our stay in these regions the courses of several of the larger
streams were traced for some distance. On the Brazilian side there
was a river up which we steamed. Not being acquainted with the
channel, we had the misfortune to stick for two days on a tosca reef,
which extended a distance of sixty-five feet. [Footnote: The finding
of tosca at this point confirms the extent inland of the ancient
Pampean sea.--Colonel Church, in "Proceedings of the Royal
Geographical Society," January, 1902.] During this time, a curious
phenomenon presented itself to our notice. In one day we clearly saw
the river flow for six hours to the north-west, and for another six
hours to the south-east. This, of course, proved to us that the
river's course depends on the wind.

On the bank, right in front of where we lay, was a gnarled old tree,
which seemed to be the home, or parliament house, of all the
paroquets in the neighborhood. Scores of them kept up an incessant
chatter the whole time. In the tree were two or three hanging nests,
looking like large sacks suspended from the boughs. Ten or twenty
birds lay in the same nest, and you might find in them, at the one
time, eggs just laid, birds recently hatched, and others ready to
fly. Sitting and rearing go on concurrently. I procured a tame pair
of this lovely breed of paroquets from the Guatos. Their prevailing
color was emerald green, while the wings and tail were made up of
tints of orange, scarlet, and blue, and around the back of the bird
was a golden sheen rarely found even in equatorial specimens. Whether
the bird is known to ornithologists or not I cannot tell. One night
our camp was pitched near an anthill, inhabited by innumerable
millions of those insects. None of us slept well, for, although our
hammocks were slung, as we thought, away from them, they troubled us
much. What was my horror next morning when the sun, instead of
lighting up the rainbow tints of my birds, showed only a black moving
mass of ants! My parrots had literally been eaten alive by them!

But I am wandering on and the ship is still aground on the reef!
After much hauling and pulling and breaking of cables, she at last
was got off into deep water. We had not proceeded far, however, when
another shock made the vessel quiver. Were we aground again? No, the
steamer had simply pushed a lazy alligator out of its way, and he
resented the insult by a diabolical scowl at us.

Continuing on our way, we entered another body of hitherto unexplored
water, a fairy spot, covered with floating islands of lotus, anchored
with aquatic cables and surrounded by palm groves. On the shallow,
pebbly shore might be seen, here and there, scarlet flamingoes. These
beautiful birds stood on one leg, knee deep, dreaming of their
enchanted home. Truly it is a perfect paradise, but it is almost as
inaccessible as the Paradise which we all seek. What long-lost
civilizations have ruled these now deserted solitudes? Penetrate into
the dark, dank forest, as I have done, and ask the question. The only
answer is the howling of the monkeys and the screaming of the
cockatoos. You may start when you distinctly hear a bell tolling, but
it is no call to worship in some stately old Inca temple with its
golden sun and silver moon as deities. It is the wonderful bell-bird,
which can make itself heard three miles away, but it is found only
where man is not. Ruins of the old Incan and older pre-Incan
civilizations are come across, covered now with dense jungle, but
their builders have disappeared. To have left behind them until this
day ruins which rank with the pyramids for extent, and Karnak for
grandeur, proves their intelligence.

The peculiar rasping noise you now hear in the undergrowth has
nothing to do with busy civilization--'tis only the rattlesnake
drawing his slimy length among the dead leaves or tangled reeds. No,
all that is past, and this is an old new world indeed, and romance
must not rob you of self possession, for the rattle means that in the
encounter either he dies--or you.

Meanwhile the work on shore progressed. Paths were cut in different
directions and the wonders of nature laid bare. The ring of the axe
and the sound of falling trees marked the commencement of
civilization in those far-off regions. Ever and anon a loud report
rang out from the woods, for it might almost be said that the men
worked with the axe in one hand and a rifle in the other. Once they
started a giant tapir taking his afternoon snooze. The beast lazily
got up and made off, but not before he had turned his piercing eyes
on the intruders, as though wondering what new animals they were.
Surely this was his first sight of the "lords of creation," and
probably his last, for a bullet quickly whizzed after him. Another
day the men shot a puma searching for its prey, and numerous were the
birds, beasts and reptiles that fell before our arms. The very
venomous _jaracucu_, a snake eight to twelve feet long, having a
double row of teeth in each jaw, is quite common here.

The forests are full of birds and beasts in infinite variety, as also
of those creatures which seem neither bird nor beast. There are large
black howling monkeys, and little black-faced ones with prehensile
tails, by means of which they swing in mid-air or jump from tree to
tree in sheer lightness of heart. There is also the sloth, which, as
its name implies, is painfully deliberate in its motions. Were I a
Scotchman I should say that "I dinna think that in a' nature there is
a mair curiouser cratur." Sidney Smith's summary of this strange
animal is that it moves suspended, rests suspended, sleeps suspended,
and passes its whole life in suspense. This latter state may also
aptly describe the condition of the traveller in those regions; for
man, brave though he may be, does not relish a _vis-a-vis_ with the
enormous anaconda, also to be seen there at most inconvenient times.
I was able to procure the skins of two of these giant serpents.

The leader of the "forest gang," a Paraguayan, wore round his neck a
cotton scapular bought from the priest before he started on the
expedition. This was supposed to save him from all dangers, seen and
unseen. Poor man, he was a good Roman Catholic, and often counted his
beads, but he was an inveterate liar and thief.

Taking into consideration the wild country, and the adventurous
mission which had brought us together, our men were not at all a bad
class. One of them, however, a black Brazilian, used to boast at
times that _he had killed his father while he slept._ In the quiet of
the evening hour he would relate the story with unnatural gusto.

We generally slept on the deck of the steamer, each under a thin
netting, while the millions of mosquitos buzzed outside--and inside
when they could steal a march. Mosquitos? Why _"mosquitos a la
Paris"_ was one of the items on our menu one day. The course was not
altogether an imaginary one either. Having the good fortune to
possess candles, I used sometimes to read under my gauzy canopy. This
would soon become so black with insects of all descriptions as to
shut out from my sight the outside world.

After carefully surveying the Bolivian shore, we fixed upon a site
for the future port and town. [Footnote: The latitude of Port
Quijarro is 17 47' 35", and the longitude, west of Greenwich, 57
44' 38". Height above the sea, 558 feet.] Planting a hugh palm in the
ground, with a long bamboo nailed to the crown, we then solemnly
unfurled the Bolivian flag. This had been made expressly for the
expedition by the hands of Senora Quijarro, wife of the Bolivian
minister residing in Buenos Ayres. As the sun for the first time
shone upon the brilliant colors of the flag, nature's stillness was
broken by a good old English hurrah, while the hunter and several
others discharged their arms in the air, until the parrots and
monkeys in the neighborhood must have wondered (or is wondering only
reserved for civilized man?) what new thing had come to pass. There
we, a small company of men in nature's solitudes, each signed his
name to the _Act of Foundation_ of a town, which in all probability
will mean a new era for Bolivia. We fully demonstrated the fact that
Puerto Quijarro will be an ideal port, through which the whole
commerce of south-eastern Bolivia can to advantage pass.

Next day the Secretary drew out four copies of this _Act_. One was
for His Excellency General Pando, President of the Bolivian Republic;
another for the Mayor of Holy Cross, the nearest Bolivian town, 350
miles distant; a third for Senor Quijarro; while the fourth was
enclosed in a stone bottle and buried at the foot of the flagstaff,
there to await the erection of the first building. Thus a
commencement has been made; the lake and shores are now explored. The
work has been thoroughly done, and the sweat of the brow was not
stinted, for the birds of the air hovered around the theodolite, even
on the top of the highest adjacent mountain. [Footnote: The opening
of the country must, from its geographical situation, be productive
of political consequences of the first magnitude to South America.--
Report of the Royal Geographical Society, January, 1902.]

At last, this work over and an exhaustive chart of the lake drawn up,
tools and tents collected, specimens of soil, stones, iron, etc.,
packed and labelled, we prepared for departure.

The weather had been exceptionally warm and we had all suffered much
from the sun's vertical rays, but towards the end of our stay the
heat was sweltering--killing! The sun was not confined to one spot in
the heavens, as in more temperate climes; here he filled all the sky,
and he scorched us pitilessly! Only at early morning, when the
eastern sky blushed with warm gold and rose tints, or at even, when
the great liquid ball of fire dropped behind the distant violet-
colored hills, could you locate him. Does the Indian worship this
awful majesty out of fear, as the Chinaman worships the devil?

Next morning dawned still and portentous. Not a zephyr breeze stirred
the leaves of the trees. The sweltering heat turned to a suffocating
one. As the morning dragged on we found it more and more difficult to
breathe; there seemed to be nothing to inflate our lungs. By
afternoon we stared helplessly at each other and gasped as we lay
simmering on the deck. Were we to be asphyxiated there after all? I
had known as many as two hundred a day to die in one South American
city from this cause. Surely mortal men never went through such
awful, airless heat as this and lived. We had been permitted to
discover the lake, and if the world heard of our death, would that
flippant remark be used again, as with previous explorers, "To make
omelettes eggs must be broken"?

However, we were not to _melt_. Towards evening the barometer, which
had been falling all day, went lower and lower. All creation was
still. Not a sound broke the awful quiet; only in our ears there
seemed to be an unnatural singing which was painful, and we closed
our eyes in weariness, for the sun seemed to have blistered the very
eyeballs. When we mustered up sufficient energy to turn our aching
eyes to the heavens, we saw black storm-clouds piling themselves one
above another, and hope, which "springs eternal in the human breast,"
saw in them our hope, our salvation.

The fall of the barometer, and the howling of the monkeys on shore
also, warned us of the approaching tempest, so we prepared for
emergencies by securing the vessel fore and aft under the lee of a
rugged _sierra_ before the storm broke--and break it did in all its

Suddenly the wind swept down upon us with irresistible fury, and we
breathed--we lived again. So terrific was the sweep that giant trees,
which had braved a century's storms, fell to the earth with a crash.
The hurricane was truly fearful. Soon the waters of the lake were
lashed into foam. Great drops of rain fell in blinding torrents, and
every fresh roll of thunder seemed to make the mountains tremble,
while the lightning cleft asunder giant trees at one mighty stroke.


In the old legends of the Inca, read on the "Quipus," we find that
Pachacamac and Viracocha, the highest gods, placed in the heavens
"Nusta," a royal princess, armed with a pitcher of water, which she
was to pour over the earth whenever it was needed. When the rain was
accompanied by thunder, lightning, and wind, the Indians believed
that the maiden's royal brother was teasing her, and trying to wrest
the pitcher from her hand. Nusta must indeed have been fearfully
teased that night, for the lightning of her eyes shot athwart the
heavens and the sky was rent in flame.

Often in those latitudes no rain falls for long months, but when once
the clouds open the earth is deluged! Weeks pass, and the zephyr
breezes scarcely move the leaves of the trees, but in those days of
calm the wind stores up his forces for a mighty storm. On this dark,
fearful night he blew his fiercest blasts. The wild beast was
affrighted from his lair and rushed down with a moan, or the mountain
eagle screamed out a wail, indistinctly heard through the moaning
sounds. During the whole night, which was black as wickedness, the
wind howled in mournful cadence, or went sobbing along the sand. As
the hours wore on we seemed to hear, in every shriek of the blast,
the strange tongue of some long-departed Indian brave, wailing for
his happy hunting-grounds, now invaded by the paleface. Coats and
rugs, that had not for many months been unpacked, were brought out,
only in some cases to be blown from us, for the wind seemed to try
his hardest to impede our departure. The rain soaked us through and
through. Mists rose from the earth, and mists came down from above.
Next morning the whole face of nature was changed.

After the violence of the tempest abated we cast off the ropes and
turned the prow of our little vessel civilizationward. When we
entered the lake the great golden sun gave us a warm welcome, now, at
our farewell, he refused to shine. The rainy season had commenced,
but, fortunately for us, after the work of exploration was done. This
weather continued--day after day clouds and rain. Down the rugged,
time-worn face of the mountains foaming streams rushed and poured,
and this was our last view--a good-bye of copious tears! Thus we saw
the lake in sunshine and storm, in light and darkness. It had been
our aim and ambition to reach it, and we rejoiced in its discovery.
Remembering that "we were the first who ever burst into that silent
sea," we seemed to form part of it, and its varying moods only
endeared it to us the more. In mining parlance, we had staked out our
claims there, for--

"O'er no sweeter lake shall morning break,
Or noon cloud sail;
No fairer face than this shall take
The sunset's golden veil."



In due time we again reached Piedra Blanca, and, notwithstanding our
ragged, thorn-torn garments, felt we were once more joined on to the

The bubonic plague had broken out farther down the country,
steamboats were at a standstill, so we had to wait a passage down the
river. Piedra Blanca is an interesting little spot. One evening a
tired mule brought in the postman from the next town, Holy Joseph. He
had been eight days on the journey. Another evening a string of dusty
mules arrived, bringing loads of rubber and cocoa. They had been five
months on the way.

When the Chiquitana women go down to the bay for water, with their
pitchers poised on their heads, the sight is very picturesque.
Sometimes a little boy will step into one of the giant, traylike
leaves of the Victoria Regia, which, thus transformed into a fairy
boat, he will paddle about the quiet bay.

The village is built on the edge of the virgin forest, where the red
man, with his stone hatchet, wanders in wild freedom. It contains,
perhaps, a hundred inhabitants, chiefly civilized Chiquitanos
Indians. There is here a customs house, and a regular trade in
rubber, which is brought in from the interior on mule-back, a journey
which often takes from three to four months.

One evening during our stay two men were forcibly brought into the
village, having been caught in the act of killing a cow which they
had stolen. These men were immediately thrown into the prison, a
small, dark, palm-built hut. Next morning, ere the sun arose, their
feet were thrust into the stocks, and a man armed with a long hide
whip thrashed them until the blood flowed in streamlets down their
bare backs! What struck us as being delicately thoughtful was that
while the whipping proceeded another official tried his best to drown
their piercing shrieks by blowing an old trumpet at its highest

The women, although boasting only one loose white garment, walk with
the air and grace of queens, or as though pure Inca blood ran in
their veins. Their only adornment is a necklace of red corals and a
few inches of red or blue ribbon entwined in their long raven-black
hair, which hangs down to the waist in two plaits. Their houses are
palm-walled, with a roof of palm-leaves, through which the rain pours
and the sun shines. Their chairs are logs of wood, and their beds are
string hammocks. Their wants are few, as there are no electric-
lighted store windows to tempt them. Let us leave them in their
primitive simplicity. Their little, delicately-shaped feet are
prettier without shoes and stockings, and their plaited hair without
Parisian hats and European tinsel. They neither read nor write, and
therefore cannot discuss politics. Women's rights they have never
heard of. Their bright-eyed, naked little children play in the mud or
dust round the house, and the sun turns their already bronze-colored
bodies into a darker tint; but the Chiquitana woman has never seen a
white baby, and knows nothing of its beauty, so is more than
satisfied with her own. The Indian child does not suffer from
teething, for all have a small wooden image tied round the neck, and
the little one, because of this, is supposed to be saved from all
baby ailments! Their husbands and sons leave them for months while
they go into the interior for rubber or cocoa, and when one comes
back, riding on his bullock or mule, he is affectionately but
silently received. The Chiquitano seldom speaks, and in this respect
he is utterly unlike the Brazilian. The women differ from our mothers
and sisters and wives, for they (the Chiquitanas) have nothing to
say. After all, ours are best, and a headache is often preferable to
companioning with the dumb. I unhesitatingly say, give me the music,
even if I have to suffer the consequences.

The waiting-time was employed by our hunter in his favorite sport.
One day he shot a huge alligator which was disporting itself in the
water some five hundred yards from the shore. Taking a strong rope,
we went out in an Indian dug-out to tow it to land. As my friend was
the more dexterous in the use of the paddle, he managed the canoe,
and I, with much difficulty, fixed the rope by a noose to the
monster's tail. When the towing, however, commenced, the beast seemed
to regain his life. He dived and struggled for freedom until the
water was lashed into foam. He thrust his mighty head out of the
water and opened his jaws as though warning us he could crush the
frail dug-out with one snap. Being anxious to obtain his hide, and
momentarily expecting his death, for he was mortally wounded, I held
on to the rope with grim persistency. He dived under the boat and
lifted it high, but as his ugly nose came out on the other side the
canoe regained its position in the water. He then commenced to tow
us, but, refusing to obey the helm, took us to all points of the
compass. After an exciting cruise the alligator gave a deep dive and
the rope broke, giving him his liberty again. On leaving us he gave
what Waterton describes as "a long-suppressed, shuddering sigh, so
loud and so peculiar that it can be heard a mile." The bullet had
entered the alligator's head, but next morning we saw he was still
alive and able to "paddle his own canoe." The reader may be surprised
to learn that these repulsive reptiles lay an egg with a pure white
shell, fair to look upon, and that the egg is no larger than a hen's.

One day I was called to see a dead man for whom a kind of wake was
being held. He was lying in state in a grass-built hovel, and raised
up from the mud floor on two packing-cases of suspiciously British
origin. His hard Indian face was softened in death, but the observant
eye could trace a stoical resignation in the features. Several men
and women were sitting around the corpse counting their beads and
drinking native spirits, with a dim, hazy belief that that was the
right thing to do. They had given up their own heathen customs, and,
being civilized, must, of course, be Roman Catholics. They were
"reduced," as Holy Mother Church calls it, long ago, and, of course,
believe that civilization and Roman Catholicism are synonymous terms.
Poor souls! How they stared and wondered when they that morning heard
for the first time the story of Jesus, who tasted death for us that
we might live. To those in the home lands this is an old story, but
do they who preach it or listen to it realize that to millions it is
still the newest thing under the sun?

Next day the man was quietly carried away to the little forest
clearing reserved for the departed, where a few wooden crosses lift
their heads among the tangled growth. Some of these crosses have four
rudely carved letters on them, which you decipher as I. N. R. I. The
Indian cannot tell you their meaning, but he knows they have
something to do with his new religion.

As far as I could ascertain, the departed had no relatives. One after
another had been taken from him, and now he had gone, for "when he is
forsaken, withered and shaken, what can an old man do but die?"--it
is the end of all flesh. Poor man! Had he been able to retain even a
spark of life until Holy Week, he might then have been saved from
purgatory. Rome teaches that on two days in the year--Holy Thursday
and Corpus Christi--the gates of heaven are unguarded, because, they
say, _God is dead_. All people who die on those days go straight to
heaven, however bad they may have been! At no other time is that gate
open, and every soul must pass through the torments of purgatory.

A missionary in Oruru wrote: "The Thursday and Friday of so-called
Holy Week, when Christ's image lay in a coffin and was carried
through the streets, _God being dead_, was the time for robberies,
and some one came to steal from us, but only got about fifty dollars'
worth of building material. Holy Week terminates with the 'Saturday
of Glory,' when spirits are drunk till there is not a dram left in
the drink-shops, which frequently bear such names as 'The Saviour of
the World,' 'The Grace of God,' 'The Fountain of Our Lady,' etc. The
poor deluded Romanists have a holiday on that day over the tragic end
of Judas. A life-size representation of the betrayer is suspended
high in the air in front of the cafes. At ten a.m. the church bells
begin to ring, and this is the signal for lighting the fuse. Then,
with a flash and a bang, every vestige of the effigy has disappeared!
At night, if the town is large enough to afford a theatre, the crowds
wend their way thither. This place of very questionable amusement
will often bear the high-sounding name, _Theatre of the Holy Ghost!_"

There is no church or priest in the village of Piedra Blanca. Down on
the beach there is a church bell, which the visitor concludes is a
start in that direction, but he is told that it is destined for the
town of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, three hundred miles inland. The bell
was a present to the church by some pious devotee, but the money
donated did not provide for its removal inland. This cost the priests
refuse to pay, and the Chiquitanos equally refuse to transport it
free. There is no resident priest to make them, so there it stays. In
the meantime the bell is slung up on three poles. It was solemnly
beaten with a stick on Christmas Eve to commemorate the time when the
"Mother of Heaven" gave birth to her child Jesus. In one of the
principal houses of the village the scene was most vividly
reproduced. A small arbor was screened off by palm leaves, in which
were hung little colored candles. Angels of paper were suspended from
the roof, that they might appear to be bending over the Virgin, which
was a highly-colored fashion-plate cut from a Parisian journal that
somehow had found its way there. The child Jesus appeared to be a
Mellin's Food-fed infant. Round this fairy scene the youth and beauty
of the place danced and drank liberal potations of chicha, the
Bolivian spirits, until far on into morning, when all retired to
their hammocks to dream of their goddess and her lovely babe.

After this paper Virgin the next most prominent object of worship I
saw in Piedra Blanca was a saint with a dress of vegetable fibre,
long hair that had once adorned a horse's tail, and eyes of pieces of

Poor, dark Bolivia! It would be almost an impossible thing to
exaggerate the low state of religion there. A communication from
Sucre reads: "The owners of images of Jesus as a child have been
getting masses said for their figures. A band of music is employed,
and from the church to the house a procession is formed. A scene of
intoxication follows, which only ends when a good number lie drunk
before the image--the greater the number the greater the honor to the
image?" The peddler of chicha carries around a large stone jar, about
a yard in depth. The payment for every drink sold is dropped into the
jar of liquor, so the last customers get the most "tasty" decoction.

Naturally the masses like a religion of license, and are as eager as
the priests to uphold it. Read a tale of the persecution of a
nineteenth century missionary there. Mr. Payne in graphic language
tells the story:

"Excommunication was issued. To attend a meeting was special sin, and
only pardoned by going on the knees to the bishop. Sermons against us
were preached in all the churches. I was accused before the Criminal
Court. It was said I carried with me the 'special presence' of the
devil, and had blasphemed the Blessed Virgin, and everyone passing
should say: 'Maria, Joseph.' One day a crowd collected, and
sacristans mixed with the multitude, urging them on to 'vengeance on
the Protestants.' About two p.m. we heard the roar of furious
thousands, and like a river let loose they rushed down on our house.
Paving-stones were quickly torn up, and before the police arrived
windows and doors were smashed, and about a thousand voices were
crying for blood. We cried to the Lord, not expecting to live much
longer. The Chief of Police and his men were swept away before the
mob, and now the door burst in before the huge stones and force used.
There were two parties, one for murder and one for robbery. I was
beaten and dragged about, while the cry went up, 'Death to the
Protestant!' The fire was blazing outside, as they had lots of
kerosene, and with all the forms, chairs, texts, clothes and books
the street was a veritable bonfire. Everything they could lay hands
on was taken. At this moment the cry arose that the soldiers were
coming, and a cavalry regiment charged down the street, carrying fear
into the hearts of the people. A second charge cleared the street,
and several soldiers rode into the _patio_ slashing with their

In this riot the missionary had goods to the value of one thousand
dollars burnt, and was himself hauled before the magistrates and,
after a lengthy trial, condemned to _die_ for heresy!

Baronius, a Roman Catholic writer, says: "The ministry of Peter is
twofold--to feed and to kill; for the Lord said, 'Feed My sheep,' and
he also heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Kill and eat.'" Bellarmine
argues for the necessity of _burning_ heretics. He says: "Experience
teaches that there is no other remedy, for the Church has proceeded
by slow steps, and tried all remedies. First, she only
excommunicated. Then she added a fine of money, and afterwards exile.
Lastly she was compelled to come to the punishment of death. If you
threaten a fine of money, they neither fear God nor regard men,
knowing that fools will not be wanting to believe in them, and by
whom they may be sustained. If you shut them in prison, or send them
into exile, they corrupt those near to them with their words, and
those at a distance with their books. Therefore, the only remedy is
to send them betimes into their own place."

As this mediaeval sentence against Mr. Payne could hardly be carried
out in the nineteenth century, he was liberated, but had to leave the
country. He settled in another part of the Republic. In a letter from
him now before me as I write he says: "The priests are circulating
all manner of lies, telling the people that we keep images of the
Virgin in order to scourge them every night. At Colquechaca we were
threatened with burning, as it was rumored that our object was to do
away with the Roman Catholic religion, which would mean a falling off
in the opportunities for drunkenness." So we see he is still

The Rev. A. G. Baker, of the Canadian Baptist Mission, wrote: "The
Bishop of La Paz has sent a letter to the Minister of Public Worship
of which the following is the substance: 'It is necessary for me to
call attention to the Protestant meetings being held in this city,
which cause scandal and alarm throughout the whole district, and
which are contrary to the law of Bolivia. Moreover, it is
indispensable that we prevent the sad results which must follow such
teachings, so contrary to the true religion. On the other hand, if
this is not stopped, _we shall see a repetition of the scenes that
recently took place in Cochabamba_.'" [Footnote: Referring to the
sacking and burning of Mr. Payne's possessions previously referred

Bolivia was one of the last of the Republics to hold out against
"liberty of worship," but in 1907 this was at last declared. Great
efforts were made that this law should not be passed.

In my lectures on this continent I have invariably stated that in
South America the priest is the real ruler of the country. I append a
recent despatch from Washington, which is an account of a massacre of
revolutionary soldiers, under most revolting circumstances, committed
at the instigation of the ecclesiastical authorities: "The Department
of State has been informed by the United States Minister at La Paz,
Bolivia, that Col. Pando sent 120 men to Ayopaya. On arriving at the
town of Mohoza, the commander demanded a loan of two hundred dollars
from the priest of the town, and one hundred dollars from the mayor.
These demands being refused, the priest and the mayor were
imprisoned. Meanwhile, however, the priest had despatched couriers to
the Indian village, asking that the natives attack Pando's men. A
large crowd of Indians came, and, in spite of all measures taken to
pacify them, the arms of the soldiers were taken away, the men
subjected to revolting treatment, and finally locked inside the
church for the night. In the morning the priest, after celebrating
the so-called 'mass of agony,' allowed the Indians to take out the
unfortunate victims, two by two, and 103 were deliberately murdered,
each pair by different tortures. Seventeen escaped death by having
departed the day previous on another mission."

After Gen. Pando was elected President of the Republic of Bolivia,
priestly rule remained as strong as ever. To enter on and retain his
office he must perforce submit to Church authority. When in his
employ, however, I openly declared myself a Protestant missionary;
and, because of exploration work, was made a Bolivian citizen.

In 1897 it was my great joy to preach the gospel in Ensenada. Many
and attentive were the listeners as for the first time in their lives
they were told of the Man of Calvary who died that they might live.
With exclamations of wonder they sometimes said: "What fortunate
people we are to have heard such words!" Four men and five women were
born again. Ensenada, built on a malarial swamp, was reeking with
miasma, and the houses were raised on posts about a yard above the
slime. I was in consequence stricken with malarial fever. One day a
man who had attended the meetings came into my room, and, kneeling
down, asked the Lord not to let me suffer, but to take me quickly.
After long weeks of illness, God, however, raised me up again, and
the meetings were resumed, when the reason of the priest's non-
interference was made known to me. He had been away on a long
vacation, and, on his return, hearing of my services, he ordered the
church bells rung furiously. On my making enquiries why the bells
clanged so, I was informed that a special service was called in the
church. At that service a special text was certainly taken, for I was
the text. During the course of the sermon, the preacher in his fervid
eloquence even forbade the people to look at me. After that my
residence in the town was most difficult. The barber would not cut my
hair, nor would the butcher sell me his meat, and I have gone into
stores with the money ostentatiously showing in my hand only to hear
the word, "_Afuera_!" (Get out!) When I appeared on the street I was
pelted with stones by the men, while the women ran away from me with
covered faces! It was now a sin to look at me!

I reopened the little hall, however, for public services. It had been
badly used and was splashed with mud and filth. The first night men
came to the meetings in crowds just to disturb, and one of these shot
at me, but the bullet only pierced the wall behind. A policeman
marched in and bade me accompany him to the police station, and on
the way thither I was severely hurt by missiles which were thrown at
me. An official there severely reprimanded me for thus disturbing the
quiet town, and I was ushered in before the judge. That dignified
gentleman questioned me as to the object of my meetings. Respectfully
answering, I said: "To tell the people how they can be saved from
sin." Then, as briefly as possible, I unfolded my mission. The man's
countenance changed. Surely my words were to him an idle tale--he
knew them not. After cautioning me not to repeat the offence, he gave
me my liberty, but requested me to leave the town. Rev. F. Penzotti,
of the B. & F. B. Society, was imprisoned in a dungeon for eight long
months, so I was grateful for deliverance.

An acquaintance who was eye-witness to the scene, though himself not
a Christian, tells the following sad story:

"Away near the foot of the great Andes, nestling quietly in a fertile
valley, shut away, one would think, from all the world beyond, lay
the village of E---. The inhabitants were a quiet, home-loving
people, who took life as they found it, and as long as they had food
for their mouths and clothes for their backs, cared little for
anything else. One matter, however, had for some little time been
troubling them, viz., the confession of their sins to a priest. After
due consideration, it was decided to ask Father A., living some
seventeen leagues distant, to state the lowest sum for which he would
come to receive their confessions. 'One hundred dollars,' he replied,
'is the lowest I can accept, and as soon as you send it I will come.'

"After a great effort, for they were very poor, forty dollars was
raised amongst them, and word was sent to Father A. that they could
not possibly collect any more. Would he take pity on them and accept
that sum? 'What! only forty dollars in the whole of E---,' was his
reply, 'and you dare to offer me that! No! I will not come, and,
furthermore, from this day I pronounce a curse on your village, and
every living person and thing there. Your children will all sicken
and die, your cattle all become covered with disease, and you will
know no comfort nor happiness henceforth. I, Father A., have said it,
and it will come to pass.'

"Where was the quiet, peaceful scene of a few weeks before? Gone, and
in its place all terror and confusion. These ignorant people,
believing the words of the priest, gathered together their belongings
and fled. As I saw those poor, simple people leaving the homes which
had sheltered them for years, as well as their ancestors before them,
and with feverish haste hurrying down the valley--every few minutes
looking back, with intense sorrow and regret stamped on their faces--
I thought surely these people need some one to tell them of Jesus,
for, little as I know about Him, I am convinced that He does not wish
them to be treated thus."

The priest is satisfied with nothing less than the most complete
submission of the mind and body of his flock. A woman must often give
her last money for masses, and a man toil for months on the well-
stocked land of the divine father to save his soul. If he fail to do
this, or any other sentence the priest may impose, he is condemned to
eternal perdition.

Mr. Patrick, of the R. B. M. U., has described to me how, soon after
he landed in Trujilla, he attended service at a Jesuit church. He had
introduced some gospels into the city, and a special sermon was
preached against the Bible. During the service the priest produced
one of the gospels, and, holding it by the covers, solemnly put the
leaves into the burning candle by his side, and then stamped on the
ashes on the pulpit floor. The same priest, however, Ricardo Gonzales
by name, thought it no wrong to have seventeen children to various
mothers, and his daughters were leaders in society. "Men love
darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil." In
Trujilla, right opposite my friend's house, there lived, at the same
time, a highly respected priest, who had, with his own hands, lit the
fire that burnt alive a young woman who had embraced Christianity
through missionary preaching. Bear in mind, reader, I am not writing
of the dark ages, but of what occurred just outside Trujilla during
my residence in the country. Even in 1910, Missionary Chapman writes
of a convert having his feet put in the stocks for daring to
distribute God's Word. [Footnote: I never saw greater darkness
excepting in Central Africa. I visited 70 of the largest cathedrals,
and, after diligent enquiry, found only one Bible, and that a
Protestant Bible about to be burned--Dr. Robert E. Speer, in
"Missionary Review of the World," August, 1911.]

Up to four years ago, the statute was in force that "Every one who
directly or through any act conspires to establish in Bolivia any
other religion than that which the republic professes, namely, that
of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church, is a traitor, and shall
suffer the penalty of death."

After a week's stay in Piedra Blanca, during which I had ample time
for such comparisons as these I have penned, quarantine lifted, and
the expedition staff separated. I departed on horseback to inspect a
tract of land on another frontier of Bolivia 1,300 miles distant.




"I need not follow the beaten path;
I do not hunt for any path;
I will go where there is no path,
And leave a trail."


Paraguay, though one of the most isolated republics of South America,
is one of the oldest. A hundred years before the "Mayflower" sailed
from old Plymouth there was a permanent settlement of Spaniards near
the present capital. The country has 98,000 square miles of
territory, but a population of only 800,000. Paraguay may almost be
called an Indian republic, for the traveller hears nothing but the
soft Guarani language spoken all over the country. It is in this
republic that the yerba mate grows. That is the chief article of
commerce, for at least fifteen millions of South Americans drink this
tea, already frequently referred to. Thousands of tons of the best
oranges are grown, and its orange groves are world-famed.

The old capital, founded in 1537, was built without regularity of
plan, but the present city, owing to the despotic sway of Francia, is
most symmetrical. That South American Nero issued orders for all
houses that were out of his lines to be demolished by their owners.
"One poor man applied to know what remuneration he was to have, and
the dictator's answer was: 'A lodgment gratis in the public prison.'
Another asked where he was to go, and the answer was, 'To a state
dungeon.' Both culprits were forthwith lodged in their respective new
residences, and their houses were levelled to the ground."

"Such was the terror inspired by the man that the news that he was
out would clear the streets. A white Paraguayan dared not utter his
name. During his lifetime he was 'El Supremo,' and after he was dead
for generations he was referred to simply as 'El Difunto.'"
[Footnote: Robertson's "Reign of Terror."]

Paraguay, of all countries, has been most under the teaching of the
Jesuit priest, and the people in consequence are found to be the most
superstitious. Being an inland republic, its nearest point a thousand
miles from the sea-coast, it has been held in undisputed possession.

Here was waged between 1862 and 1870 what history describes as the
most annihilating war since Carthage fell. The little republic,
standing out for five and a half years against five other republics,
fought with true Indian bravery and recklessness, until for every man
in the country there could be numbered nine women (some authorities
say eleven); and this notwithstanding the fact that the women in
thousands carried arms and fought side by side with the men. The
dictator Lopez, who had with such determination of purpose held out
so long, was finally killed, and his last words, "_Muero con la
patria_" (I die with the country) were truly prophetic, for the
country has never risen since.

Travellers agree in affirming that of all South Americans the
Paraguayans are the most mild-mannered and lethargic; yet when these
people are once aroused they fight with tigerish pertinacity. The
pages of history may be searched in vain for examples of warfare
waged at such odds; but the result is invariably the same, the weaker
nation, whether right or wrong, goes under. Although the national
mottoes vary with the different flags, yet the Chilian is the most
universally followed in South America, as elsewhere: "_Por la razon o
la fuerza_" (By right or by might). The Paraguayans contended
heroically for what they considered their rights, and such bloody
battles were fought that at Curupaita alone 5,000 dead and dying were
left on the field! Added to the carnage of battle was disease on
every hand. The worst epidemic of smallpox ever known in the annals
of history was when the Brazilians lost 43,000 men, while this war
was being waged against Paraguay. One hundred thousand bodies were
left unburied, and on them the wild animals and vultures gorged
themselves. The saying now is a household word, that the jaguar of
those lands is the most to be dreaded, through having tasted so much
human blood.

"Lopez, the cause of all this sacrifice and misery, has gone to his
final account, his soul stained with the blood of seven hundred
thousand of his people, the victims of his ambition and cruelty."

Towns which flourished before the outbreak of hostilities were sacked
by the emboldened Indians from the Chaco and wiped off the map, San
Salvador (Holy Saviour) being a striking example. I visited the ruins
of this town, where formerly dwelt about 8,000 souls. Now the streets
are grass-grown, and the forest is creeping around church and
barracks, threatening to bury them. I rode my horse through the high
portal of the cannon-battered church, while the stillness of the
scene reminded me of a city of the dead. City of the dead, truly--men
and women and children who have passed on! My horse nibbled the grass
growing among the broken tiles of the floor, while I, in imagination,
listened to the "passing bell" in the tower above me, and under whose
shade I sought repose. A traveller, describing this site, says: "It
is a place of which the atmosphere is one great mass of malaria, and
the heat suffocating--where the surrounding country is an
uninterrupted marsh--where venomous insects and reptiles abound." San
Salvador as a busy mart has ceased to exist, and the nearest approach
to "the human form divine," found occasionally within its walls, is
the howling monkey. Such are the consequences of war! During the last
ten years Paraguay has been slowly recovering from the terrible
effects of this war, but a republic composed mostly of women is
severely handicapped. [Footnote: Would the suffragettes disagree with
the writer here?]

Paraguay is a poor land; the value of its paper currency, like that
of most South American countries, fluctuates almost daily. In 1899
the dollar was worth only twelve cents, and for five gold dollars I
have received in exchange as many as forty-six of theirs. Yet there
is a great future for Paraguay. It has been called the Paradise of
South America, and although the writer has visited sixteen different
countries of the world, he thinks of Paraguay with tender longing. It
is perhaps the richest land on earth naturally, and produces so much
mate that one year's production would make a cup of tea for every
man, woman and child on the globe. Oranges and bananas can be bought
at six cents a hundred, two millions of cattle fatten on its rich
pasture lands; but, of all the countries the writer has travelled in,
Mexico comes first as a land of beggars, and poor Paraguay comes



Being in England in 1900 for change and rest, I was introduced to an
eccentric old gentleman of miserly tendencies, but possessed of
$5,000,000. Hearing of my wanderings in South America, he told me
that he owned a tract of land thirteen miles square in Paraguay, and
would like to know something of its value. The outcome of this visit
was that I was commissioned by him to go to that country and explore
his possession, so I proceeded once more to my old field of labor.
Arriving at the mouth of the River Plate, after five weeks of sea-
tossing, I was, with the rest, looking forward to our arrival in
Buenos Ayres, when a steam tug came puffing alongside, and we were
informed that as the ship had touched at the infected port of Bahia,
all passengers must be fumigated, and that we must submit to three
weeks' quarantine on Flores Island. The Port doctor has sent a whole
ship-load to the island for so trifling a cause as that a sailor had
a broken collar-bone, so we knew that for us there was nothing but
submission. Disembarking from the ocean steamer on to lighters, we
gave a last look at the coveted land, "so near and yet so far," and
were towed away to three small islands in the centre of the river,
about fifty miles distant. One island is set apart as a burial
ground, one is for infected patients, and the other, at which we were
landed, is for suspects. On that desert island, with no other land in
sight than the sister isles, we were given time to chew the cud of
bitter reflection. They gave us little else to chew! The food served
up to us consisted of strings of dried beef, called _charqui_, which
was brought from the mainland in dirty canvas bags. This was often
supplemented by boiled seaweed. Being accustomed to self-
preservation, I was able to augment this diet with fish caught while
sitting on the barren rocks of our sea-girt prison. Prison it
certainly was, for sentries, armed with Remingtons, herded us like

The three weeks' detention came to an end, as everything earthly
does, and then an open barge, towed by a steam-launch, conveyed us to
Montevideo. Quite a fresh breeze was blowing, and during our eleven
hours' journey we were repeatedly drenched with spray. Delicate
ladies lay down in the bottom of the boat in the throes of
seasickness, and were literally washed to and fro, and saturated, as
they said, to the heart. We landed, however, and I took passage up to
Asuncion in the "Olympo."

The "Olympo" is a palatial steamer, fitted up like the best Atlantic
liners with every luxury and convenience. On the ship there were
perhaps one hundred cabin passengers, and in the steerage were six
hundred Russian emigrants bound for Corrientes, three days' sail
north. Two of these women were very sick, so the chief steward, to
whom I was known, hurried me to them, and I was thankful to be able
to help the poor females.

The majestic river is broad, and in some parts so thickly studded
with islands that it appears more like a chain of lakes than a
flowing stream. As we proceeded up the river the weather grew warmer,
and the native clothing of sheepskins the Russians had used was cast
aside. The men, rough and bearded, soon had only their under garments
on, and the women wore simply that three-quarter length loose garment
well known to all females, yet they sweltered in the unaccustomed

At midnight of the third day we landed them at Corrientes, and the
women, in their white (?) garments, with their babies and ikons, and
bundles--and husbands--trod on terra firma for the first time in
seven weeks.

After about twelve days' sail we came to Bella Vista, at which point
the river is eighteen miles wide. Sixteen days after leaving the
mouth of the river, we sighted the red-tiled roofs of the houses at
Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, built on the bank of the river,
which is there only a mile wide, but thirty feet deep. The river
boats land their passengers at a rickety wooden wharf, and Indians
carry the baggage on their heads into the dingy customs house. After
this has been inspected by the cigarette-smoking officials, the dark-
skinned porters are clamorously eager to again bend themselves under
the burden and take your trunks to an hotel, where you follow,
walking over the exceedingly rough cobbled streets. There is not a
cab for hire in the whole city. The two or three hotels are fifth-
rate, but charge only about thirty cents a day.

Asuncion is a city of some 30,000 inhabitants Owing to its isolated
position, a thousand miles from the sea-coast, it is perhaps the most
backward of all the South American capitals. Although under Spanish
rule for three hundred years, the natives still retain the old Indian
language and the Guarani idiom is spoken by all.

The city is lit up at night with small lamps burning oil, and these
lights shed fitful gleams here and there. The oil burned bears the
high-sounding trade-mark, "Light of the World," and that is the only
"light of the world" the native knows of. The lamps are of so little
use that females never dream of going out at night without carrying
with them a little tin farol, with a tallow dip burning inside.

Book of the day: