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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 Gopiapó, 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. To 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 number.
On a chily night, thirty years ago, a shepherd made a fire in the mountains of Copiapó, and next morning he saw at his feet a stream of silver, which the heat had melted. That was the discovery of the mines of Copiapó, which have produced in thirty years more than $100,000,000. Now they are rather in the decay; but the produce of the last year was $1,638,272–a sum inferior to that of Guanajuato and Real del Monte, which the anonymous and ominous company of Napoleon and Maximilian wishes to develop, against the decided opinion of the old and glorious President Monroe.
IMMENSE PRODUCTION OF COPPER.
Next follows the province of Coquimbo, whose capital, the beautiful town of La Serena rests, a real syren at the foot of the hills by the sea side, supporting a population of thirty thousand inhabitants, and containing some of the most beautiful and syren-like daughters of Chili.
The wealth of that province is almost indescribable. There is, indeed, a mountain, that of Famaya, formed, if it could be so said, of pure copper ore. The value of this single product, as it is manufactured in Chili, was, in 1864, $9,506,957, and that of the copper regulus, or in its more imperfect state, $4,716,912, making in the whole (and not taking in consideration the raw ore sent to England, and which is worth several millions), the immense amount of $14,221,849.
Now you will be able to form an idea of the deep alarm awakened in England on the arrival of the the news that through the mere wicked and cowardly caprice of a vulgar sailor, such a fountain of so valuable and indispensable an article, was shut off from the commerce and urgent necessities of the world. The London Times, denouncing to all civilized nations, in warm and eloquent language, the unwarrantable conduct of Spain, declares in its leading article of the 19th inst., that out of 498,780 cwt. of manufactured copper imported last year into England, 304,380 cwt., that is to say, more than two-thirds, came from Chili, and that out of 25,000 tons of regulus 22,000 tons, or almost the whole quantity, came from that source.
And now I beg to ask, in the presence of these data, if such a country, young, energetic, and industrious, and which sends to Europe every year more than twenty millions of dollars, in only two standard articles, is to be conquered, to be humiliated by Spain, ruled, as she is, by a corfapt court, without credit whatever in the markets of the world, and whose name is perpetually placed on the black slate of the hopeless debtors, at the very hour that the bonds of Chili are quoted at a higher rate than those of any other nation, England, France, or the United States included ? (Long applause.)
ITS AGRICULTURAL WEALTH,
Now, I will detain you a little while in Santiago, the capital of Chili, as the remainder of the country southward is merely a rich but mountainous series of agricultural valleys and plains, with large but rather dull oldfashioned Spanish towns. It will be interesting, nevertheless, to establish the fact that this part of the country after providing liberally for the interior wants of all classes, leaves a surplus of flour and wheat of the value of millions of dollars, which are paid to us by Peru, Brazil, and even England. The statistical report of last year shows an exportation of $2,231,090 flour, and $1,039,071 wheat. In the golden days of the discovery of California these values amounted to several millions more, being ourselves during three
or four years, the sole source of agricultural supplies for El Dorado.
THE SOCIETY OF CHILI.
Let us now rest for a while in the capital of Chili, the sunny land of my boyhood, where my heart first beat to the tender feelings of hope and love, and where yet God is willing to rejoice my home with the presence of all that there is dear in life, fathers, brothers, friends. [Applause.]
But before going any further in the social consideration of my native land, I will call your kind attention to a very singular idea prevailing in this country, and almost everywhere in the Atlantic nations, and about the habits, morals, and social condition of the South American republics. The other day a friend of mine, and a man of undoubted superiority in this country, looking at my clothes in Broadway, asked me with surprise, if such things were used in Chili, or if I had bought them in New York. [Great laughter.]
But the explanation of these curious errors consists in the fact that a great majority of the people forming their ideas through reading novels and sensation books, believe