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millions of men, we represent a population almost as great as that of Mexico, which has six millions of Indians, entirely unfitted for civilization, and, in fact, more inclined to oppose than to accept it.
VARIETY OF CLIMATE.
In the third place, Chili possesses all varieties of climate, from the warm and semi-tropical valleys of Copiapó to the frozen regions of the Archipelago of Chiloe. So it is that at the same time are flowering, under a pure and diaphanous sky, the banana and the pineapple in the north, the peach and the watermellon in the central valleys, and the fruits of the piñones, or fir-pines, in its southern limits. It is to these circumstances, probably, that Chili is indebted for the name of the "Italy of South America," although it has also been called by some kind traveler, who wished to explain the name of our principal port, Valparaiso" the Valley of Paradise." At least the Chilian ladies believe, as a matter of faith, that they are living in the spot first inhabited by Eve; and I may add that the immense woods of wild apple trees which cover our southern provinces give some reason for their romantic belief. (Applause.)
IMMENSE EXTENSION OF COAST.
There is another peculiarity of the physical structure of Chili-its immense extent of coast of more than two thousand miles, indented by hundreds of ports and bays, which make the country fitted for carrying on, throughout its entire extent, an active and profitable commerce with the rest of the world. In fact, internal locomotion in Chili is almost unnecessary; and so near are the Andes to the coast, that a witty Venezuelan critic, the tutor of Bolivar, used to say, "that the country being so narrow, the Chilians were obliged to cling with their nails to the sides of the Andes to avoid falling into the sea." But I make this remark only to show you how easy it is for the foreigner to reach our country without any expenses of inland traveling and settling, and to point out what splendid prospects are there open to foreign emigration.
And that is the very country, ladies and gentlemen, with such boundless extent of shores, that the Spanish Admiral Pareja dares to declare is generally and completely blockaded with five old frigates, when it is in the memory
of every one that you needed no less than 462 ships to keep up a blockade (not always effective) of just the same extent of sea-coast during your late gigantic war. Pareja declared the blockade of all our ports, which are sixty or seventy, and do you know how the Government of Chili answered that ridiculous threat? Declaring free and accessible to all nations sixty or seventy ports more.
But in the present age, when Don Quixote is dead and buried for ever in La Mancha, with all the pride and chivalry of the old Castilians, the invention of steam has, it seems, brought them to sea; and there is Admiral Pareja, the Don Quixote of the Pacific, trying to shut up to the commerce of the world no less than a hundred ports with a fleet of five frigates! The story of the wind-mills recurs to every one. (Laughter.) But I have now, with your kind permission, to follow steadily the thread of my lecture.
PARTICULAR INFLUENCE OF THE OCEAN.
There is yet something worthy of your notice in the formation of Chili. Exposed as it is in its whole extent and widely open to the direct influence of the Pacific Ocean, the soil derives from its grateful breezes a robust and wholesome vegetation, which covers her fields with carpets of flowers and boundless prairies of pasturage. This climatogical peculiarity is most striking when the traveler to Chili from the east of the Andes crosses from that petrified ocean of earth called the "Pampas of Buenos Ayres." There, on the oriental side of the lofty mountains, every trace of natural vegetation disappears, as if Chili was ambitiously taking for itself, and pumping into the other side, that moisture from the surface of the ocean which renders rich and beautiful her plains and valleys. It is supposed at the same time, that the elasticity of the atmosphere along the shores of Chili has a certain influence on the minds of the people-giving a more acute intelligence to those living in the vicinity of the ocean than the inhabitants of the interior enjoy. That was, at least, the opinion of an old Jesuit historian, MIGUEL DE OLIVAREZ, who probably lived on the sea coast.
GEOLOGY OF CHILI.
I will devote a moment to giving you a passing idea of the general geological formation of Chili. No country
has, perhaps, more to interest the modern geologist than that unexplored region. With the exception of the German traveler MEYER, the eminent English naturalist DARWIN, and our Professor PISSIS, nobody has devoted even a superficial study to that branch of science in our country. If the famous LYELL, or Prof. AGASSIZ, now busily engaged on the banks of the Amazones, had visited our shores, many important discoveries would have been added to that beautiful science.
But, nevertheless, it is clearly demonstrated from what is now known that Chili is quite a modern country. There are, indeed, persons still living who, I can properly say, have seen it growing, and coming but as a new-born giant from the bottom of the sea. The phenomenon of the gradual rising of the shores, which has been observed as well in Norway and in some other parts of the world, is plainly visible in Chili. Admiral FITZROY saw it with his own eyes, when the earthquake of 1835 (the last severe one we have experienced) took place. In a few minutes the land was raised in some places many feet; a small island appeared in the bay of Talcahuano, and so uniform was and is yet continuing to be this gradual rising of the land, that the theatre of Valparaiso stands now in a place that thirty years ago formed part of the anchorage for ships.
These facts prove, in my humble opinion, that Chili is quite a new country, comparatively, and as far as I know, no traces have ever been found within its limits of an age previous to the tertiary period. The general opinion that the Andes belong to the last epochs of the formation of the earth, is entirely confirmed in the Chilian system of those prodigious mountains.
And upon that matter allow me to relate a very simple fact which illustrates fully in its own simplicity the tremendous revolution which that part of the Continent has gone through. The geologist Darwin found, in 1837, in the pass of the Pinquenes, at the elevation of 15,000 feet, the trunk of a pine standing with its roots firm on the rocks, and saturated with marine salts and incrustations of shells. The trunk was cut, brought to England, and there the analysis proved that it had been under the water of the sea for many years, perhaps centuries.
Well, now, the conclusions that we derive from that modest discovery are very striking. In the first place, it
shows that the tree had existed in firm land where it first put out its roots. Next, by some powerful change of the earth, shaken by volcanic action, the land was submerged, when the tree got petrified with marine salts, and afterward was again uplifted to the immense height in which it was found. It is, perhaps, interesting to know that that kind of tree does not now exist in the same latitude.
THE THREE KINGDOMS OF NATURE.
I wished, gentlemen, to be able to entertain you at length about the beauties and marvels of Chili, and its resources in the three kingdoms of nature, from the humble calceolaria, a wild flower of Chili, admired by all the lovers of gardening, to the gigantic palm tree (jubea spectabilis), indigenous to Chili, worthy of taking a place among the tallest trees of the California or Nevada forests.
But that course would take us a long distance from our principal purpose, and I beg your kind permission to pass over any picturesque description, and limit myself to point out the general outlines of the land, although I am afraid of fatiguing you with the dryness of my discourse. [No, no. Go on !]
I will only call your attention to a more decided physical feature of Chili, in order to explain to you more clearly the general aspect of the country.
A perfect line of separation divides, and, indeed, nearly in the centre, two very different portions of the land. That line is the beautiful valley of the Aconcagua, which was properly called "Chili" in the time of the Spanish conquest.
To the north of that valley the country is formed by a series of high granite and basaltic chains that descend transversely from the Andes to the sea, and are cut at proportional distances by deep and narrow valleys, teeming with vegetation and villages thickly populated. These are the valleys of Copiapó, so famous by its immense production of silver; next, the valley of Coquimbo, which produces perhaps half of the copper that comes every year into the markets of the world, and the valleys of Huasco, Ligua and Petorca, noted for the abundance of gold they produced in the time of the Spaniards.
I cannot give you the exact statistics of the immense wealth buried in those northern mountains, but some facts that I will take the liberty of mentioning to you hereafter
will give you some idea of the marvelous profits which those localities offer to industry and capital. Southward of the Aconcagua valley the structure of the territory changes entirely. The mountains disappear and a series of magnificent broad valleys, which were undoubtedly large geographical basins and lakes, now converted into real gardens of cultivation, come to sight.
The first of these large valleys, which preserves the form of an immense lake drained by nature, is that of the Mapocho, in the centre of which lies the beautiful capital of Chili, and is, perhaps, 200 miles in circumference. Next follows that of Rancagua; next that of Colchagua, and so forth up to the mighty Biobió, now navigated by steamers, which is the boundary of civilized Chili. those who have visited the plains of Lombardy or glanced over the valley of Mexico from the heights of the Sierra Madre, the view of the Chilian valleys will undoubtedly bring to their minds pleasant recollections and comparisons, the endless rows of poplar trees and a real net of irrigating canals being the principal features of the landscape.
And here another trait of the physiognomy of the country comes out. The immense plains of the Araucania, whose wild and brave children live and die on the back of their swift horses, worthy yet by their courage and their indisputable love of their native land, of the finest and most beautiful of Spanish poems-the Araucana.
Further to the southern extremity of those plains begins what we might call the fourth system of the topography of Chili, the primitive mountains which the human foot has never trod, and the immense rivers and lakes not yet explored by science.
The last aspect of the country is afforded by the barren and endless plains of Patagonia, which extend from the limits of the province of Llanquihue to the settlement of Punta Arenas, in the Straits of Magellan, a place well known to all the American navigators who choose to go through that passage between the two oceans.
WEALTH IN SILVER.
Now permit me to make a very rapid inland tour from Copiapó down to Valdivia, in order to point out to you some of the more prominent features of the principal provinces into which Chili is divided, being fourteen in