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Alexander von Humboldt: „Short Account of the Travels between the Tropics, by Messrs. Humboldt and Bonpland, in 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803, and 1804. By J. C. Delametherie“, in: ders., Sämtliche Schriften digital, herausgegeben von Oliver Lubrich und Thomas Nehrlich, Universität Bern 2021. URL: <https://humboldt.unibe.ch/text/1804-Baron_Humboldt-19-neu> [abgerufen am 25.05.2024].

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Titel Short Account of the Travels between the Tropics, by Messrs. Humboldt and Bonpland, in 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803, and 1804. By J. C. Delametherie
Jahr 1805
Ort London
Nachweis
in: The Philosophical Magazine 21:84 (Mai 1805), S. 353–362; 22:85 (Juni 1805), S. 54–61.
Sprache Englisch
Typografischer Befund Antiqua (mit lang-s); Auszeichnung: Kursivierung, Kapitälchen; Fußnoten mit Asterisken; Schmuck: Initialen.
Identifikation
Textnummer Druckausgabe: II.23
Dateiname: 1804-Baron_Humboldt-19-neu
Statistiken
Seitenanzahl: 18
Zeichenanzahl: 42078

Weitere Fassungen
Baron Humboldt (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1804, Englisch)
Notice d’un voyage aux tropiques, exécuté par MM. Humboldt et Bonpland, en 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803 et 1804. Par J.-C. Delamétherie (Paris, 1804, Französisch)
Baron Humboldt (New York City, New York, 1804, Englisch)
Baron Humboldt (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1804, Englisch)
Baron Humboldt (New York City, New York, 1804, Englisch)
Baron Humboldt (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1804, Englisch)
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Baron Humboldt (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1804, Englisch)
Baron Humboldt (Washington, District of Columbia, 1804, Englisch)
Travels of Baron Humboldt (Kingston, New York, 1804, Englisch)
Baron Humboldt (Washington, District of Columbia, 1804, Englisch)
Baron Humboldt (Amherst, New Hampshire, 1804, Englisch)
Baron Humboldt (Richmond, Virginia, 1804, Englisch)
Baron Humboldt (New Bedford, Massachusetts, 1804, Englisch)
Baron Humboldt (Dover, New Hampshire, 1804, Englisch)
Auszug aus Delametheriés vorläufiger Nachricht von der durch die Herren v. Humboldt und Bonpland in den Jahren 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803 und 1804 nach den Wendekreisen unternommenen Reise (Wien, 1804, Deutsch)
Reise der Herren von Humboldt und Bonpland nach den Wendekreisen In den Jahren 1799 bis 1804. Eine gedrängte Uebersicht des Auszugs ihrer Memoiren v. J. C. Delametherie. Nach dem Französischen übertragen von Schirges Dr. (Hannover, 1805, Deutsch)
J. C. Delametherie’s vorläufige Nachricht von der durch die Herren v. Humboldt und Bonpland in den Jahren 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803 und 1804 nach den Wendekreisen unternommenen Reise (Weimar, 1805, Deutsch)
Short Account of the Travels between the Tropics, by Messrs. Humboldt and Bonpland, in 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803, and 1804. By J. C. Delametherie (London, 1805, Englisch)
J. C. Delametherie’s vorläufige Nachricht von der durch die Herren von Humboldt und Bonpland in den Jahren 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803 und 1804 nach den Wendekreisen unternommenen Reise (Salzburg, 1805, Deutsch)
Account of the Travels between the Tropics of Messrs. Humboldt and Bonpland, in 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803, and 1804. By J. C. Delamétherie (London, 1805, Englisch)
Travels in South America (Edinburgh, 1805, Englisch)
Voyage de Humboldt et Bonpland en Amérique, tiré du magasin littéraire de Philadelphie, publié en juillet 1804 (Paris, 1807, Französisch)
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Short Account of Travels between the Tropics, byMessrs. Humboldt and Bonpland, in 1799, 1800,1801, 1802, 1803, and 1804. By J. C. Delame-therie *.

The interest which the learned world so justly takes inthe travels of Messrs. Humboldt and Bonpland, as well asmy friendship for them, impose on me the agreeable obli-gation of giving an abstract of what I have been able tolearn respecting them, either from their public and privatecorrespondence, or from the memoirs read in the Institute.This account will be short, but correct. After making physical researches for eight years in Ger-many, Poland, England, France, Swisserland, and Italy,M. Humboldt came to Paris in 1798, where the Museumof Natural History afforded him an opportunity of makinga voyage round the world with captain Baudin. When onthe point of setting out for Havre, with Alexander-AiméGoujou Bonpland, a pupil of the School of Medicine andGarden of Plants, the war which recommenced with Austria,and the want of funds, induced the Directory to put off thevoyage of Baudin till a more favourable occasion. M. Hum-boldt, who since 1792 had conceived the design of under-taking, at his own expense, a voyage to the tropics, in orderto promote the physical sciences, resolved then to accom-pany the men of science who were destined for Egypt. Thebattle of Aboukir having interrupted all direct communi-cation with Alexandria, his plan was to take advantage ofa Swedish frigate which was to carry the consul Seziolde-
* From Journal de Physique, Thermidor, an 12.
|354| brant to Algiers, to accompany the caravan thence to Mecca,and to proceed to India by Egypt and the Persian Gulph:but the war, which broke out in an unexpected mannerin the month of October 1798, between France and theBarbary powers, and the troubles in the East, preventedM. Humboldt from setting out from Marseilles, where hewaited to no purpose for two months. Impatient at thisnew delay, but always firm in the project of joining theexpedition in Egypt, he set out for Spain, hoping he shouldbe able to proceed more easily under the Spanish flag fromCarthagena to Algiers or Tunis. He took the road to Ma-drid through Montpellier, Perpignan, Barcelona, and Va-lentia; but the news from the East became every day moredistressing. The war there was carried on with unexampledfury, and he was at length obliged to renounce the designof going through Egypt to Indostan. A happy concurrenceof circumstances soon indemnified M. Humboldt for thisdelay. In the month of March 1799, the court of Madridgranted him full permission to proceed to the Spanish colo-nies in both the Americas, in order to make such researchesas might be useful to the sciences. His catholic majesty evendeigned to show particular interest for the success of thisexpedition; and M. Humboldt, after residing some monthsat Madrid and Aranjues, set out from Europe in June 1799,accompanied by his friend Bonpland, who unites an exten-sive knowledge of botany and zoology to that indefatigablezeal and love for the sciences which induce men to submitwith indifference to every kind of hardship.
With this friend M. Humboldt travelled for five years,at his own expense, between the tropics, passing over, bysea and land, nearly 9000 leagues. These two travellers,provided with recommendations from the court of Spain,embarked in the Pizarro frigate, at Corunna, for the Ca-naries. They touched at the island of Graciosa, near Lan-cerotta, and at Teneriff, where they ascended to the crater ofthe peak, in order to analyse the atmospheric air, and makegeological observations on the basaltes and porphyritic schistof Africa. In the month of July they arrived at the port ofCumana, in the gulph of Cariaco, a part of South America celebrated by the labours and misfortunes of the indefatiga-ble Löfling. In the eourse of 1799 and 1800 they visitedthe coast of Paria, the Indian missions of Chaymas, andthe province of New Andalusia, one of the hottest, but atthe same time healthiest, countries in the world, thoughconvulsed by dreadful and frequent earthquakes. Theytraversed the provinces of New Barcelona, Venezuela, and |355| Spanish Guyana. After determining the longitude of Cu-mana, Caraccas, and several other points by observationsof the satellites of Jupiter; after collecting plants on thesummits of Caripe and Silla de Avila, crowned by Befaria, they set out for the capital of Caraccas in February 1800,and the beautiful valleys of Aragua, where the large lakeof Valentia calls to remembrance that of Geneva, but em-bellished by the majestic vegetation of the tropics. From Portocabello they proceeded south, penetratingfrom the coast of the sea of the Antilles as far as the boun-daries of Brazil towards the equator. They first traversedthe immense plains of Calabozo, Apure, and Lower Ore-noko; the Llanos, deserts similar to those of Africa, whereby the reverberation of the heat, but under the shade, Reau-mur’s thermometer rises to 33° or 37°, and where thescorching soil, for more than 2000 leagues, differs in itslevel only five inches. The sand, similar to the horizon atsea, exhibits every where the most curious phænomena ofrefraction and elevation. Without any vegetation, in thedry months it affords shelter to the crocodile and the torpidboa. The want of water, the heat of the sun, and the dustraised by the scorching winds, harass in turns the traveller,who directs himself and mule by the course of the stars, orby some scattered trunks of the mauritia and embothrium which are discovered every three or four leagues. At St. Fernando d’Apure, in the province of Varinas,Messrs. Humboldt and Bonpland began a laborious navi-gation of nearly 500 nautical leagues in canoes, duringwhich they made a chart of the country by the help oftimekeepers, the satellites, and lunar distances. They de-scended the river Apure, which falls into the Orenoko inthe latitude of seven degrees. Having escaped from thedanger of imminent shipwreck near the island of Pana-numa, they ascended the latter river as far as the mouth ofthe Rio Guaviare, passing the famous cataracts of Atures and Maypure, where the cavern of Ataruipe contains mum-mies of a nation destroyed by the war of the Caribs andMaravitains. From the mouth of the Rio Guaviare, whichdescends from the Andes of New Granada, and which fa-ther Gumilla erroneously took for the sources of the Ore-noko, they quitted the latter and ascended the small rivers Atabapo, Tuamini, and Temi. From the mission of Javita they proceeded by land to thesources of the Guainia, which the Europeans call the RioNegro, and which Condamine, who saw it only at its |356| mouth in the river Amazon, calls a fresh water sea. ThirtyIndians carried their canoes through bushy trees of hevea,lecythis, and the laurus cinnamomoides, to Cano Pimichin.By this small stream our travellers proceeded to the Rio Ne-gro, which they descended as far as the small fortress of SanCarlos, which has been erroneously believed to be situatedunder the equator, and as far as the frontiers of the GrandPara, the captainry-general of Brazil. A canal from Temito Pimichin, which on account of the level nature of theground is very practicable, would form an interior com-munication between the province of Caraccas and the ca-pital of Para much shorter than that of Casquiare. By thiscanal also, such is the astonishing disposition of the riversin this new continent, one might descend in a canoe fromRio Guallaga, within three days journey of Lima, or theSouth Sea, by the river Amazon and Rio Negro, as far asthe mouths of the Orenoko opposite to Trinidad, a navi-gation of nearly 2000 leagues. The misunderstanding whichprevailed then between the courts of Madrid and Lisbonprevented M. Humboldt from carrying his operations be-yond St. Gabriel de las Cochuellas, in the captainry-generalof Great Para. La Condamine and Maldonado having determined astro-nomically the mouth of the Rio Negro, this obstacle wasless sensible, and it remained to fix a part more unknown,which is the arm of the Orenoko called Casquiare, form-ing the communication between the Orenoko and the riverAmazon, and respecting the existence of which there havebeen so many disputes for fifty years past. To execute thislabour, Messrs. Humboldt and Bonpland ascended from theSpanish fortress of St. Carlos along the Rio Negro and theCasquiare to the Orenoko, and on the latter to the missionof Esmeraldo, near the volcano Duida, or as far as the sourcesof that river. The Guaica Indians, a very white, small, and almostpigmy race of men, but exceedingly warlike, who inhabitthe country to the east of the Pasimoni; and the Guajaribes,of a dark copper colour, extremely ferocious, and still an-thropophagi, render fruitless every attempt to reach thesources of the Orenoko, which the maps of Caulin, thoughin other respects meritorious, place in a longitude much toofar east. From the mission of Esmeralda, an assemblage of hutssituated in the most remote and most solitary corner of thisIndian world, our travellers descended, with the assistanceof the floods, 340 leagues; that is to say, the whole of the |357| Orenoko, as far as towards its mouths at St. Thomas de laNueva Guyana or Angostura, passing a second time thecataracts, to the south of which the two historiographers ofthese countries, father Gumilla and Caulin, never penetrated. In the course of this long and painful navigation, thewant of food and shelter; the nocturnal rains; living inthe woods; the mosquitoes, and a multitude of other sting-ing and venomous insects; the impossibility of coolingthemselves by the bath, on account of the ferocity of thecrocodile and of the small carib fish; together with themiasmata of a hot and damp climate, exposed our travellersto continual suffering. They returned from the Orenoko to Barcelona and Cumana by the plains of Cari and the mis-sions of the Carib Indians, a very extraordinary race ofmen, and, next to the Patagonians, the tallest and mostrobust perhaps in the world. After a stay of some months on the coast, they proceededto the Havannah by the south of St. Domingo and Jamaica.This navigation, performed when the season was far ad-vanced, was both long and dangerous, the vessel havingbeen in great danger of being lost on the bank of Vibora,the position of which M. Humboldt determined by thetimekeeper. He staid in the island of Cuba three months,during which time he employed himself on the longitudeof the Havannah, and the construction of a new kind ofstove in the sugar-houses, which was speedily and gene-rally adopted. When on the point of setting out for LaVera Cruz, intending to proceed by the way of Mexicoand Acapulco to the Philippines, and thence, if possible,by Bombay, Bussorah, and Aleppo, to Constantinople,false intelligence respecting the voyage of captain Baudin alarmed him, and induced him to alter his plan. TheAmerican papers announced that this navigator would setout from France for Buenos-Ayres, and that after doublingCape Horn he would proceed along the coasts of Chili andPeru. M. Humboldt, at the time of his departure from Parisin 1798, had promised to the Museum and to captain Bau-din, that in whatever part of the world he might be, hewould endeavour to join the French expedition as soon ashe should hear of its having been set on foot. He flatteredhimself that his researches and those of Bonpland would bemore useful to the progress of the sciences if they unitedtheir labours to those of the men of science who were toaccompany captain Baudin. These considerations inducedM. Humboldt to send his manuscripts of the years 1799 |358| and 1800 directly to Europe, and to freight a small galliotin the port of Batabano to proceed to Carthagena in theIndies, and thence, as soon as possible, by the isthmus ofPanama to the South Sea. He hoped to find captain Baudin at Guyaquil or at Lima, and to visit New Holland and theislands of the Pacific Ocean, so interesting in a moral pointof view, and by the richness of their vegetation. It appeared to him imprudent to expose the manuscriptsand collections already formed to the dangers of this longnavigation. The manuscripts, respecting the fate of whichM. Humboldt remained in painful uncertainty for threeyears, till his arrival at Philadelphia, were saved; but athird of the collections were lost at sea by shipwreck: for-tunately this loss, and that of some insects from the Ore-noko and Rio Negro, extended only to duplicates; butthis shipwreck proved fatal to a friend to whom M. Hum-boldt had intrusted his plants and insects, Fray Juan Gon-zales, a Franciscan, a young man of great courage and ac-tivity, who had penetrated in this unknown world fromSpanish Guyana much farther than any other European. M. Humboldt set out from Batabano in March 1801,coasting along the south side of the island of Cuba, anddetermining astronomically several points in that group ofsmall isles called the King’s Gardens, and the approachesto the port of Trinidad. A navigation which ought to havebeen only thirteen or fifteen days, was prolonged by cur-rents beyond a month. The galliot was carried by themtoo far east, beyond the mouths of the Atracto. Theytouched at Rio Sinu, where no botanist had ever searchedfor plants; but they found it difficult to land at Carthagena,on account of the violence of the breakers of St. Martha.The galliot had almost gone to pieces near Giant’s Point;they were obliged to save themselves towards the shore inorder to anchor; and this disappointment gave M. Hum-boldt an opportunity of observing the eclipse of the moonon the 2d of March 1801. Unfortunately they learned onthis coast that the season for navigating the South Sea fromPanama to Guyaquil was already too far advanced: it wasnecessary to give up the design of crossing the isthmus;and the desire of seeing the celebrated Mutis, and exa-mining his immense treasures in natural history, inducedM. Humboldt to spend some weeks in the forests of Tur-baco, ornamented with gustavia, toluifera, anacardium ca-racoli, and the Cavanillesca of the Peruvian botanists; andto ascend in thirty-five days the beautiful and majestic riverof the Magdalen, of which he sketched out a chart, though |359| tormented by the mosquitoes, while Bonpland studied thevegetation, rich in heliconia, psychostria, melastoma, my-rodia, and dychotria emetica, the root of which is the ipe-cacuanha of Carthagena. Having landed at Honda, our travellers proceeded onmules, the only way of travelling in South America, andby frightful roads through forests of oaks, melastoma and cinchona, to Santa Fé de Bagota, the capital of the kingdomof New Grenada, situated in a beautiful plain 1360 toisesabove the level of the sea, and, in consequence of a perpe-tual spring temperature, abounding in the wheat of Europeand the sesamum of Asia. The superb collections of Mutis;the grand and sublime cataract of Tequendama, 98 toisesor 588 feet in height; the mines of Mariquita, St. Ana,and Zipaguira; the natural bridge of Icononzo, two de-tached rocks which by means of an earthquake have beendisposed in such a manner as to support a third; occupiedthe attention of our travellers at Santa Fé till September1801. Though the rainy season had now rendered the roads al-most impassable, they set out for Quito; they re-descendedby Fusagasuga, in the valley of Magdalena, and passed the Andes of Quindiu, where the snowy pyramid of Tolina risesamidst forests of styrax passiflora in trees, bambusa, andwax palms. For thirteen days they were obliged to dragthemselves through horrid mud, and to sleep, as on theOrenoko, under the bare heavens, in woods where they sawno vestiges of man. When they arrived, bare-footed anddrenched with continual rain, in the valley of the riverCauca, they stopped at Cathago and Buga, and proceededalong the province of Choco, the country of platina, whichis found between rolled fragments of basaltes, filled witholivin and augite, green rock (the grunstein of Werner),and fossil wood. They ascended by Caloto and Quilichao, where gold iswashed, to Popayan, visited by Bouguer when he returnedto France, and situated at the bottom of the snowy volca-noes of Puracé and Sotara, one of the most picturesquesituations and in the most delightful climate of the uni-verse, where Reaumur’s thermometer stands constantly be-tween 17 and 19 degrees. When they had reached, withmuch difficulty, the crater of the volcano of Puracé, filledwith boiling water, which from the midst of the snowthrows up, with a horrid roaring, vapours of sulphuratedhydrogen, our travellers passed from Popayan by the steep |360| cordilleras of Almaguer a Parto, avoiding the contagiousair of the valley of Patia. From Pasto, a town situated at the bottom of a burningvolcano, they traversed by Guachucal the high plateau ofthe province of Pastos, separated from the Pacific Oceanby the Andes of the volcano of Chili and Cumbal, andcelebrated by its great fertility in wheat and the erytroxy-lon Peruvianum, called cocoa. At length, after a journeyof four months on mules, they arrived at the towns ofIbarra and Quito. This long passage through the cordilleraof the high Andes, at a season which rendered the roadsimpassable, and during which they were exposed to rainswhich continued seven or eight hours a day, encumberedwith a great number of instruments and voluminous collec-tions, would have been almost impossible, without the ge-nerous and kind assistance of M. Mendiunetta, viceroy ofSanta Fé, and the baron de Carondelet, president of Quito,who, being equally zealous for the progress of science,caused the roads and the most dangerous bridges to be re-paired on a route of 450 leagues in length. Messrs. Humboldt and Bonpland arrived on the 6th ofJanuary 1802 at Quito, a capital celebrated in the annalsof astronomy by the labours of La Condamine, Bouguer, Godin, and Don Jorge-Juan and Ulloa; justly celebratedalso by the great amiableness of its inhabitants and theirhappy disposition for the arts. Our travellers continuedtheir geological and botanical researches for eight or ninemonths in the kingdom of Quito; a country rendered per-haps the most interesting in the world by the colossalheight of its snowy summits; the activity of its volcanoes,which in turns throw up flames, rocks, mud, and hydro-sulphureous water; the frequency of its earthquakes, oneof which, on the 7th of February 1797, swallowed up ina few seconds nearly 40,000 inhabitants; its vegetation;the remains of Peruvian architecture; and, above all, themanners of its ancient inhabitants. After two fruitless attempts, they succeeded in twiceascending to the crater of the volcano of Pinchinca, wherethey made experiments on the analysis of the air; its elec-tric charge, magnetism, hygroscopy, electricity, and thetemperature of boiling water. La Condamine saw the samecrater, which he very properly compares to the chaos ofthe poets; but he was there without instruments, and couldremain only some minutes. In his time this immense mouth, hollowed out in basaltic |361| porphyry, was cooled and filled with snow: our travellersfound it again on fire; and this intelligence was distressingto the town of Quito, which is distant only about four orfive thousand toises. Here M. Humboldt was in dangerof losing his life. Being alone with an Indian, who wasas little acquainted with the crater as himself, and walkingover a fissure concealed by a thin stratum of congealed snow,he had almost fallen into it. Our travellers, during their stay in the kingdom of Quito,made several excursions to the snowy mountains of Anti-sana, Cotopaxi, Tunguragua, and Chimborazo, which isthe highest summit of our earth, and which the Frenchacademicians measured only by approximation. They exa-mined in particular the geognostic part of the cordillera ofthe Andes, respecting which nothing has yet been publishedin Europe; mineralogy, as we may say, being newer than thevoyage of La Condamine, whose universal genius and in-credible activity embraced every thing else that could beinteresting to the sciences. The trigonometrical and baro-metrical measurements of M. Humboldt have proved thatsome of these volcanoes, and especially that of Tunguragua,have become considerably lower since 1753; a result whichaccords with what the inhabitants of Pelileo and the plainsof Tapia have observed. M. Humboldt found that all these large masses werethe work of crystallization. “Every thing I have seen,”says he in a letter to Delametherie, “in these regions,where the highest elevations of the globe are situated, haveconfirmed me more and more in the grand idea that youthrew out in your Theory of the Earth, the most completework we have on that subject, in regard to the formation ofmountains. All the masses of which they consist haveunited according to their affinities by the laws of attraction,and have formed these elevations, more or less considerablein different parts on the surface of the earth, by the laws ofgeneral crystallization. There can remain no doubt in thisrespect to the traveller who considers without prejudicethese large masses. You will see in our relations that thereis not one of the objects you treat of which we have not en-deavoured to improve by our labours.” In all these excursions, begun in January 1802, our travel-lers were accompanied by M. Charles Montufar, son of the marquis de Selvalegre, of Quito, an individual zealous for theprogress of the sciences, and who caused to be reconstructed,at his own expense, the pyramids of Sarouguier, the boun-daries of the celebrated base of the French and Spanish aca- |362| demicians. This interesting young man, having accom-panied M. Humboldt during the rest of his expedition toPeru and the kingdom of Mexico, proceeded with him toEurope. The efforts of these three travellers were so muchfavoured by circumstances, that they reached the greatestheights to which man had ever attained in these mountains.On the volcano of Antisana they carried instruments 2200,and on Chimborazo June 23, 1802, 3300 feet higher than Condamine and Bouguer did on Corazon. They ascended tothe height of 3036 toises above the level of the PacificOcean, where the blood issued from their eyes, lips, andgums, and where they experienced a cold not indicated bythe thermometer, but which arose from the little caloricdisengaged during the inspiration of air so much rarefied.A fissure eighty toises in depth and of great breadth pre-vented them from reaching the top of Chimborazo whenthey were distant from it only about 224 toises. [To be continued.]
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VIII. Short Account of Travels between the Tropics, byMessrs. Humboldt and Bonpland, in 1799, 1800,1801, 1802, 1803, and 1804. By J. C. Delame-therie. [Concluded from p. 362]

During his residence at Quito M. Humboldt received aletter from the French National Institute, informing himthat captain Baudin had set out for New Holland, pursuingan easterly course by the Cape of Good Hope. He foundit necessary therefore to give up all idea of joining him,though our travellers had entertained this hope for thirteenmonths, by which means they lost the advantage of an easypassage from the Havannah to Mexico and the Philippines.It had made them travel by sea and by land more than athousand leagues to the south, exposed to every extreme oftemperature, from summits covered with perpetual snow tothe bottom of those profound ravines where the thermo-meter stands night and day between 25° and 31° of Reau-mur. But, accustomed to disappointments of every kind,they readily consoled themselves on account of their fate.They were once more sensible that man must depend onlyon what can be produced by his own energy; and Baudin’s voyage, or rather the false intelligence of the direction hehad taken, made them traverse immense countries towardswhich no naturalist perhaps would otherwise have turnedhis researches. M. Humboldt being then resolved to pursuehis own expedition, proceeded from Quito towards the riverAmazon and Lima, with a view of making the importantobservation of the transit of Mercury over the sun’s disk. Our travellers first visited the ruins of Lactacunga,Hambato, and Riobamba, a district convulsed by thedreadful earthquake of the year 1797. They passed throughthe snows of Assonay to Cuenca, and thence with greatdifficulty, on account of the carriage of their instrumentsand packages of plants, by the paramo of Saraguro toLoxa. It was here, in the forests of Gonzanama and Ma-lacates, that they studied the valuable tree which first madeknown to man the febrifuge qualities of cinchona. Theextent of the territory which their travels embraced, gavethem an advantage never before enjoyed by any botanist,namely, that of comparing the different kinds of cinchonaof Santa Fé, Popayan, Cuenca, Loxa, and Jaen, with the cuspa and cuspare of Cumana and Rio Carony, the latterof which, named improperly Cortex angusturæ, appears to |55| belong to a new genus of the pentandria monogynia, withalternate leaves. From Loxa they entered Peru by Ayavaca and Gounca-bamba, traversing the high summit of the Andes, to pro-ceed to the river Amazon. They had to pass thirty-fivetimes in the course of two days the river Chamaya, some-times on a raft, and sometimes by fording. They saw thesuperb remains of the causeway of Ynga, which may becompared to the most beautiful causeways in France andSpain, and which proceeds on the porphyritic ridge of the Andes, from Cusco to Assonay, and is furnished with tambo (inns) and public fountains. They then embarkedon a raft of ochroma, at the small Indian village of Cha-maya, and descended by the river of the same name, to thatof the Amazons, determining by the culmination of severalstars, and by the difference of time, the astronomical posi-tion of that confluence. La Condamine, when he returned from Quito to Para andto France, embarked on the river Amazon only belowQuebrada de Chucunga; he therefore observed the longi-tude only at the mouth of the Rio Napo. M. Humboldt endeavoured to supply this deficiency in the beautiful chartof the French astronomer, navigating the river Amazon asfar as the cataracts of Rentema, and forming at Tomependa,the capital of the province of Jaen de Bracamorros, a de-tailed plan of that unknown part of the Upper Maranon,both from his own observations and the information ob-tained from Indian travellers. M. Bonpland in the mean-time made an interesting excursion to the forests aroundthe town of Jaen, where he discovered new species of cin-chona; and after greatly suffering from the scorching heatof these solitary districts, and admiring a vegetation rich innew species of Jacquinia, Godoya, Porteria, Bougainvillea,Colletia, and Pisonia, our three travellers crossed for thefifth time the cordillera of the Andes by Montan, in orderto return to Peru. They fixed the point where Borda’s compass indicated thezero of the magnetic inclination, though at 7 degrees ofsouth latitude. They examined the mines of Hualguayoc,where native silver is found in large masses at the height of2000 toises above the level of the sea, in mines, somemetalliferous veins of which contain petrified shells, andwhich, with those of Huantajayo, are at present the richestof Peru. From Caxamarca, celebrated by its thermalwaters, and by the ruins of the palace of Atahualpa, theydescended to Truxillo, in the neighbourhood of which are |56| found vestiges of the immense Peruvian city of Mansiche,ornamented with pyramids, in one of which was discovered,in the eighteenth century, hammered gold to the value ofmore than 150,000 l. sterling. On this western declivity of the Andes our travellers en-joyed, for the first time, the striking view of the PacificOcean; and from that long and narrow valley, the inhabi-tants of which are unacquainted with rain or thunder, andwhere, under a happy climate, the most absolute power,and that most dangerous to man, theocracy itself, seemsto imitate the beneficence of nature. From Truxillo they followed the dry coasts of the SouthSea, formerly watered and rendered fertile by the canals ofthe Ynga; nothing of which remains but melancholyruins. When they arrived, by Santa and Guarmey, at Lima,they remained some months in that interesting capital ofPeru, the inhabitants of which are distinguished by thevivacity of their genius and the liberality of their sentiments.M. Humboldt had the happiness of observing, in a prettycomplete manner, at the port of Callao at Lima, the endof the transit of Mercury: a circumstance the more fortu-nate, as the thick fog which prevails at that season oftenprevents the sun’s disk from being seen for twenty days.He was astonished to find in Peru, at so immense a distancefrom Europe, the newest literary productions in chemistry,mathematics, and physiology; and he admired the greatintellectual activity of a people whom the Europeans accuseof indolence and luxury. In the month of January 1803 our travellers embarked inthe king’s corvette La Castora for Guyaquil; a passage whichis performed, by the help of the winds and the currents, inthree or four days, whereas the return from Guyaquil re-quires as many months. In the former port, situated onthe banks of an immense river, the vegetation of which inpalms, plumeria, tabernæmontana, and scitamineæ, is ma-jestic beyond all description. They heard growling everymoment the volcano of Catopaxi, which made a dreadfulexplosion on the 6th of January 1803. They immediately set out that they might have a nearerview of its ravages, and to visit it a second time; but theunexpected news of the sudden departure of the Atlantafrigate, and the fear of not finding another opportunity forseveral months, obliged them to return, after being tor-mented for seven days by the mosquitoes of Babaoyo andUgibar. They had a favourable navigation of thirty days on the |57| Pacific Ocean to Acapulco, the western port of the king-dom of New Spain, celebrated by the beauty of its bason,which appears to have been cut out in the granite rocks bythe violence of earthquakes; celebrated also by the wretch-edness of its inhabitants, who see there millions of piastresembarked for the Philippines and China; and unfortunatelycelebrated by a climate as scorching as mortal. M. Humboldt intended at first to stay only a few monthsin Mexico, and to hasten his return to Europe; his travelshad already been too long; the instruments, and particularlythe time-keepers, began to be gradually deranged; and allthe efforts he had made to get new ones had proved fruit-less. Besides, the progress of the sciences in Europe isso rapid, that in travels of more than four years a travellermay see certain phænomena under points of view which areno longer interesting when his labours are presented to thepublic. M. Humboldt flattered himself with the hope, of beingin England in the months of August or September 1803;but the attraction of a country so beautiful and so variegatedas the kingdom of New Spain, the great hospitality of itsinhabitants, and the dread of the yellow fever at Vera Cruz,which cuts off almost all those who between the monthsof June and October come down from the mountains, in-duced him to defer his departure till the middle of winter.After having occupied his attention with plants, the stateof the air, the hourly variations of the barometer, the phæ-nomena of the magnet, and in particular the longitude of Acapulco, a port in which two able astronomers, Messrs. Espinosa and Galeano, had before made observations, ourtravellers set out for Mexico. They ascended gradually fromthe scorching valleys of Mescala and Papagayo, where thethermometer in the shade stood at 32° of Reaumur, andwhere they passed the river on the fruit of the crescentiapinnata, bound together by ropes of agave, to the highplateaux of Chilpantzingo, Tehuilotepec and Tasco. At these heights of six or seven hundred toises above thelevel of the sea, in consequence of the mildness and cool-ness of the climate, the oak, cypress, fir, and fern, beginto be seen, together with the kinds of grain cultivated inEurope. Having spent some time in the mines of Tasco, the oldestand formerly the richest in the kingdom, and having studiedthe nature of those silvery veins which pass from the hardcalcareous rock to micaceous schist and inclose foliaceousgypsum, they ascended, by Cuernaraca and the cold regions |58| of Guchilaqua, to the capital of Mexico. This city, whichhas 150,000 inhabitants, and stands on the site of the oldTenochtitlan, between the lakes of Tezcuco and Xochimilo,which have decreased in size since the Spaniards, to lessenthe danger of inundations, have opened the mountains ofSincoc, is intersected by broad straight streets. It standsin sight of two snowy mountains, one of which is namedPopocatepec; and of a volcano still burning; and, at theheight of 1160 toises, enjoys a temperate and agreeable cli-mate: it is surrounded by canals, walks bordered with trees,a multitude of Indian hamlets, and without doubt may becompared to the finest cities of Europe. It is distinguishedalso by its large scientific establishments, which may viewith several of the old continent, and to which there arenone similar in the new. The botanical garden, directed by that excellent botanistM. Cervantes; the expedition of M. Sesse, who is accom-panied by able draftsmen, and whose object is to acquirea knowledge of the plants of Mexico; the School of Mines,established by the liberality of the corps of miners and bythe creative genius of M. d’Elhuyar; and the Academy ofPainting, Engraving, and Sculpture; all tend to diffusetaste and knowledge in a country the riches of whichseem to oppose intellectual culture. With instruments taken from the excellent collection ofthe School of Mines, M. Humboldt determined the lon-gitude of Mexico, in which there was an error of nearlytwo degrees, as has been confirmed by corresponding ob-servations of the satellites made at the Havannah. After a stay of some months in that capital, our travellersvisited the celebrated mines of Moran and Real-del-Monte,where the vein of La Biscayna has given millions of piastresto the counts De Regla; they examined the obsidian stonesof Oyamel, which form strata in the pearl stone and por-phyry, and served as knives to the ancient Mexicans. Thewhole of this country, filled with basaltes, amygdaloids,and calcareous and secondary formations, from the largecavern of Danto, traversed by a river to the porphyriticrocks of Actopan, presents phænomena interesting to thegeologue, which have been already examined by M. del Rio,the pupil of Werner, and one of the most learned minera-logists of the present day. On their return from their excursion to Moran in July1803, they undertook another to the northern part of thekingdom. At first they directed their researches to Hue-huetoca, where, at the expense of six millions of piastres, |59| an aperture has been formed in the mountain of Sincoc todrain off the waters from the valley of Mexico to the riverMontezuma. They then passed Queretaro, by Salamancaand the fertile plains of Yrapuato, to Guanaxuato, a townwhich contains 50,000 inhabitants: it is situated in a narrowdefile, and celebrated by its mines, which are of far greaterconsequence than those of Potosi. The mine of count de Valenciana, which has given birthto a considerable town on a hill which thirty years agescarcely afforded pasture to goats, is already 1840 feet inperpendicular depth. It is the deepest and richest in theworld; the annual profit of the proprietors having neverbeen less than three millions of livres, and it sometimesamounts to five or six. After two months employed in measurements and geo-logical researches, and after having examined the thermalwaters of Comagillas, the temperature of which is 11° of Reaumur higher than those of the Philippine islands, which Sonnerat considers as the hottest in the world, our travel-lers proceeded through the valley of St. Jago, where theythought they saw in several lakes at the summits of the ba-saltic mountains so many craters of burnt-out volcanoes, toValladolid, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Michoa-can. They thence descended, notwithstanding the con-tinual autumnal rains, by Patzquaro, situated on the marginof a very extensive lake towards the coast of the PacificOcean, to the plains of Jorullo, where in the course of onenight in 1759, during one of the greatest convulsions whichthe globe ever experienced, there issued from the earth avolcano 1494 feet in height, surrounded by more than2000 mouths still emitting smoke. They descended intothe burning crater of the great volcano to the perpendiculardepth of 258 feet, jumping over fissures which exhaledflaming sulphurated hydrogen gas. After great danger,arising from the brittleness of the basaltic and sienitic lava,they reached nearly the bottom of the crater, and analysedthe air in it, which was found to be surcharged in an extra-ordinary manner with carbonic acid. From the kingdom of Michoacan, one of the most agree-able and most fertile countries in the Indies, they returnedto Mexico by the high plateau of Tolucca, in which theymeasured the snowy mountain of the same name, ascendingto its highest summit, the peak of Fraide, which rises 2364toises above the level of the sea: they visited also at Toluc-ca the famous hand-tree the cheiranthostæmon of M. Cer-vantes, a genus which presents a phænomenon almost |60| unique,—that of there being only one individual of it,which has existed since the remotest antiquity. On their return to the capital of Mexico they remainedthere several months to arrange their herbals, abundant ingramineous plants, and their geological collections; to cal-culate their barometric and trigonometrical measurementsperformed in the course of that year; and in particular tomake fair drawings of the geological atlas, which M. Hum-boldt proposes to publish. Their return furnished them also with an opportunity ofassisting at the erection of the colossal equestrian statue ofthe king, which one artist, M. Tolsa, overcoming diffi-culties of which a proper idea cannot be formed in Europe,modelled, cast, and erected on a very high pedestal: it iswrought in the simplest style, and would be an ornament tothe finest capitals in Europe. In January 1804 our travellers left Mexico to explore theeastern declivity of the cordillera of New Spain: they mea-sured geometrically the two volcanoes of Puebla, Popoca-tepec and Itzaccihuatl. According to a fabulous tradition, Diego Ordaz entered the inaccessible crater of the formersuspended by ropes, in order to collect sulphur, which maybe found every where in the plains. M. Humboldt discovered that the volcano of Popocatepec,on which M. Sonnenschmidt, a zealous mineralogist, hadthe courage to ascend 2557 toises, is higher than the peakof Orizaba, which has hitherto been considered the highestcolossus of the country of Anahuac: he measured also thegreat pyramid of Cholula, a mysterious work constructedof unbaked brick by the Tultequas, and from the summitof which there is a most beautiful view over the snowysummits and smiling plains of Tlaxcala. After these researches they descended by Perote to Xa-lapa, a town situated at the height of 674 toises above thelevel of the sea, at a mean height at which the inhabitantsenjoy the fruits of all climates, and a temperature equallymild and beneficial to the health of man. It was here that,by the kindness of Mr. Thomas Murphy, a respectable in-dividual, who to a large fortune adds a taste for the sciences,our travellers found every facility imaginable for performingtheir operations in the neighbouring mountains. The level of the horrid road which leads from Xalapa toPerote, through almost impenetrable forests of oaks and firs,and which has begun to be converted into a magnificentcauseway, was three times taken with the barometer.M. Humboldt, notwithstanding the quantity of snow which |61| had fallen the evening before, ascended to the summit ofthe famous Cofre, which is 162 toises higher than the peakof Teneriffe, and fixed its position by direct observations.He measured also trigonometrically the peak of Orizava,which the Indians call Sitlaltepetl, because the luminousexhalations of its crater resemble at a distance a falling star,and respecting the longitude of which M. Ferrer publishedvery exact operations. After an interesting residence in these countries, where,under the shade of the liquidambar and amyris, are foundgrowing the epidendrum vanilla and convolvulus jalappa, two productions equally valuable for exportation, our tra-vellers descended towards the coast of Vera Cruz, situatedbetween hills of shifting sand, the reverberation of whichcauses a suffocating heat; but happily escaped the yellowfever, which prevailed there at the time. They proceeded in a Spanish frigate to the Havannah toget the collections and herbals left there in 1800, and, aftera stay of two months, embarked for the United States: butthey were exposed to great danger in the channel of the Ba-hamas from a hurricane which lasted seven days. After a passage of thirty-two days they arrived at Phila-delphia; remained in that city and in Washington twomonths; and returned to Europe in August 1804 by theway of Bourdeaux with a great number of drawings, thirty-five boxes of collections, and 6000 species of plants.