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In truth they are not much to our taste. We have no conception of a genuine sisterly affection, giving a poetical expression to feelings which arise out of the real perils of a brother, exposed to an ignominious death. The woe that springs in a truly affectionate heart from such a source as this, is silent. It seeks to hide its shame and agony, instead of arraying them in the garments of poetry. That Heywood was less guilty than his fellow mutineers who were executed, is a fact, which we suppose we are to consider as sufficiently proved, by the mercy of the crown having been exercised in his favour; he was afterwards employed in the public service, in which he acquitted himself in the most satisfactory manner. He died in the present year, having reached nearly to the top of the list of captains.
ART. VIII.—Campaigns and Cruises, in Venezuela and New Grenada, and in the Pacific Ocean, from 1817 to 1830: with the Narrative of a March from the River Oronoco to San Buenaventura on the Coast of Choco; and Sketches of the West Coast of South America, from the Gulf of California to the Archipelago of Chilüe. Also, Tales of Venezuela: Illustrative of Revolutionary Men, Manners, and Incidents. In three volumes. London : Longman and Co. 1831. SINCE the publication of the very lively and faithful Sketches of South America, the manners and habits of some portion of its inhabitants, by Captain Hall, we have met with no work, on the , same subject, that is better calculated than the one before us, to sustain, amongst the British public, that interest for the great SouthWestern Continent which the gallant captain, by his acute observation and his versatile talents, had been amongst the first to excite. The author, in the present case, however, had the advantage of his predecessor, in a considerably longer residence in that country, and in being a witness to a greater variety of aspects of the national character, than it fell to the lot of Captain Hall to become acquainted with. Wanting the skill and address of the captain as a writer, our author may still boast of a far more copious fund of information than the former had it in his power to collect; and though we miss in his volumes the ornaments and graces with which a practised hand can recommend those subjects, that in themselves are destitute of all attraction, yet so varied and extensive is the personal familiarity of the present author with the manners of the South American people—so completely exempted are his pages from all the appearances of bad faith or exaggeration, that we cannot hesitate to rank his volumes with the very best illustrations which we possess, of the peculiarities in the customs and general character of foreign countries. The writer of these volumes deserves to have it told, that, up to the moment of his publication, we had no detailed accounts of the very important and interesting campaigns, in which, as we shall see, he was engaged. The general spirit of adventure, which
usually agitates a youthful mind, assisted by an ambition for a military life, had impelled our author to direct his views to South America, at a time when Europe, exhausted by too protracted an indulgence in the martial passion, and languishing under the effects of its debilitating influence, appeared to be guided by a resolution to avoid in future the seductions of war. He volunteered his services in the cause of South American patriotism, and joined a company of lancers which set out from Europe in the year 1817, in order to support the newly formed government of Venezuela, then consisting of Bolivar, Marino, and Sir Gregor M*Gregor. After numerous adventures, interspersed with perils more or less formidable, the author, with his companions, who were bound for the same destination, proceeded to the head quarters of Bolivar, which happened to be at the time on the road between the river Apuri and the city of Calabozo. Bolivar was then deliberating what course he should adopt in the prosecution of a war, which he had commenced under the most favourable auspices, having, by a bold and ingenious manoeuvre, succeeded in obtaining the command of the Apuri. The description which our author gives of the appearance of the constitutional forces, at the period of his joining in the same service, is well worth attention.
‘The dress which was worn by him (Bolivar) and his suit, corresponded perfectly with the scanty resources of the patriot army. His helmet was such as was then usually worn by a private light dragoon. It had been sent him as a pattern, by a merchant of Trinidad, who had imported on speculation from London some yeomanry accoutrements, which had been sold off on the commencement of the peace. A plain round jacket of blue cloth, with red cuffs, and three rows of gilt sugar-loaf buttons; coarse blue trowsers; and alpargates, or sandals (the soles of which are made of the fibres of the aloe plaited,) completed his dress. He carried in his hand a light lance, with a small black banner having embroidered on it a white skull and crossed bones, with the motto “ Muerte & Libertàd I’’
“The native officers, by whom he was surrounded, were chiefly men of colour, of lighter or darker shades ; except the two generals, Paëz and Urdanéta, who are white. Few of them had any jackets. Their usual dress consisted of a shirt, made of handkerchief-pieces of different colours, and generally of checked patterns, very ample in size, and with wide sleeves, worn outside large white drawers, which reached below the knee; and a hat made of cogollo, or split palm leaves, with plumes of variegated feathers. They were almost all barefoot; but every one wore large silver or brass spurs, with rowels of at least four inches in diameter, and some of even more extravagant dimensions. They generally wore, under these hats, coloured silk or cotton handkerchiefs, for the purpose of shading their faces from the sun; although, to all appearance, their spreading sombréros might have afforded sufficient shelter for such dark complexions. We afterwards found, however, that dark as they all were, and several were even quite black,-they could not endure the severe heat as well as most of the English. One of Paëz's favourite cavalry officers, Col. Juan Gomez, had a helmet given him by that general, the casque of which was of beaten gold, the work of some rude country artist. Another, who commanded his body guard, Col. Jose Carbajal, wore a silver helmet; and many officers and distinguished soldiers had silver scabbards to their sabres, besides silver stirrups, and weighty ornaments of the same metal on their bridles. ‘ On observing our party approaching, these wild looking chiefs spurred forward to meet us, with a shrill shout of welcome; ahd favoured us with a profusion of embraces, as is their custom on meeting intimate friends after a long absence. They were soon, however, obliged to leave us, and postpone the examination of our dress and accoutrements to the evening bivouac ; as Bolivar himself rode on in silence, merely returning our salute with his peculiar melancholy smile, as he passed. ‘When we halted for the night, we were summoned by an aid-de-camp to attend the Gefe Supremo. We found him seated in a cotton net hammock, under some trees (a tent being of course out of the question); and were received by him with the politeness of a man who had seen the world. After slightly apologizing for the poorness of accommodations to be found in the patriot service, he expressed his joy at seeing, at last, Europeans in his army, that would be capable of disciplining his troops, and assisting the native officers by their instruction and example. He then made enquiries, on various points, which showed him to be well acquainted with the state of affairs in Europe; and dismissed us, after recommending us, individually, to the particular care of some of the officers of the staff.”— pp. 66–68. Such were the commander-in-chief and his staff, and a few pages on we have a still more ludicrous account of the constitutional army, the strange and various costume of which appears not to have struck, the author, until he contemplated those forces in contrast with the royalist troops. This he had an opportunity of doing in a short time after his arrival, for the enemy had so far succeeded in harrassing Bolivar, that the latter had no alternative but a conflict, the event of which was exceedingly doubtful.
“At sunrise the two armies were formed, opposite and in sight of each other; divided only by a small river, the passes of which were obstinately contested, with various success, during the day. The contrast between the clothing and appointments of the royalist and patriot forces was here very conspicuous. The regiments of the former wore their respective uniforms, which they had latelv received from Carácas. This gave them a martial appearance, and a decided advantage, in the confidence with which it inspired them, when they saw the ragged appearance of the patriots, independent of their consciousness of superiority in numbers and discipline. The only corps, on our side, with any pretensions to uniform, was Bolivar's guard. This had received English marines' coats, which had been condemned in London and sold to Bolivar's agent; with trowsers, or drawers of various colours. The greater part, especially the front rank, wore hussar caps, which had once belonged to the unfortunate Husares de la Reyna.
‘The rest of the army wore, literally, what they could get. Some were to be seen, in every corps, with Spanish uniforms, either with or without broad brimmed straw hats; but these few were so far from improving the appearance of the line, that they made it resemble a rabble, and displayed to greater disadvantage the miserable clothing of their comrades. Many were nearly stark naked; but the greater part wore small ragged blankets and pieces of carpet, which they plundered on the retreat, with holes cut in them for the head to pass through. Straw hats were in general use; but some colonels had partially introduced into their corps a kind of nondescript schakos, made of raw cow's hide of various colours. The firearms, too, of this devoted army were all old, and, generally speaking, in a very bad condition. Some muskets were absolutely without locks, and were apparently carried for show, until the fall of a few friends or foes should give their owners an opportunity of exchanging them for more effective weapons. The rear-rank men were, of course, the worst armed; though, as to dress, there was little difference to be perceived. Many of these had lances, or bayonets on poles; and not a few carried their cartridges in their breasts, for want of pouches. ‘The remnant of the cavalry, that had escaped on the night of the 14th, when they were so unfortunately surprised, had as ill-assorted accoutrements and apparel as the infantry. All had lances of different lengths; and some few carbines were to be seen among them, which, by the way, were muskets that had been cut short in the barrel. They were stationed in the rear; for they were totally unfit, from their small number, and the tired state of their horses, to take any share in the action. The park and baggage guard were Indians, armed with bows and arrows. These, however, were a timid, peaceful tribe, unused to the sound of musketry, who, therefore, took every opportunity, when not closely watched, of conveying themselves out of the way of mischief. On the whole, our army wore a most unpromising appearance. We had not even any musical instruments to animate the men, except a few old cracked drums, that were anything but spirit-stirring, and Captain Grant's prize clarionet. But, to do the troops justice, they behaved, in spite of every disadvantage, as well as men could do, struggling for victory long after the battle was evidently lost. If the day could have been gained by the number of generals, we had certainly enough on the field for that purpose.”—pp. 82–85.
Bolivar having been worsted in this battle, he and his followers were under the necessity of seeking their safety in flight. The author, in attempting to keep up with the fugitive soldiers whom he had just commanded, soon found that it required the agility of a native to overcome all the obstacles which opposed a very rapid journey through the country, and was ultimately reduced to the condition of a solitary wanderer. He proceeds—
* I followed, of course, as long as I could ; but was soon sensible of the impossibility of escaping in a hilly country, encumbered as I was with boots and a sabre, and fatigued with the day's exertions; to say nothing of our having been, for the last two days, rapidly retreating by forced marches, without any provisions being served out. I therefore threw myself, exhausted, into a bush, where I lay expecting, every moment, to be bayonetted by the pursuers. Finding, however, that several had passed without observing me, I began to entertain some hopes of being able to rejoin our army; and crept farther into the underwood, to the brink of a rock, from whence the whole field could plainly be seen beneath me. It was thickly spotted over with bodies, especially in the defile leading to Los Morros, where men and horses were lying in heaps. Our army had totally disappeared, except a few stragglers, who were still entangled in the broken ground, and whom the enemy had surrounded, and were firing at, not choosing to encumber themselves with prisoners. A Spanish general, whom I believed to be Morillo, and his staff, were halted on a small eminence, which the patriot army had previously occupied. A few prisoners, apparently officers, were occasionally brought to him, and, after a short pause, while by his gestures he appeared to interrogate and threaten them, were taken aside and shot. ‘Night soon approached; and it was evident, by the number of fires, that the greater part of the Spanish army had encamped on the field. Towards midnight, I left my place of concealment, and reached the small river, which had been the scene of the hottest part of the recent conflict. The banks were strewed with bodies, many of which were lying in the shallow stream; and the vultures and wild dogs had already commenced their banquet. I had but little leisure, however, to look about me. Having drank heartily of the brook, I proceeded cautiously up the bed of the river, being concealed by the bushes on the banks, and secure of not being met by any patroles, in that direction. “By day-break, I had advanced pretty high up the valley; and, hearing the crowing of cocks, ventured, at all hazards, to approach a cottage, which I saw not far off, surrounded by sugar-cane patches and plantain groves. The inhabitants, a venerable old Indian, with his wife and four daughters, came out to receive me with great formality; supposing from my colour and dress that I was a Spaniard. They soon found, from my imperfect manner of speaking the language, that they were mistaken : and readily comprehending that I was one of the English, who they had heard were with Bolivar, assured me that I was in no danger of being betrayed by them, for they also were patriots, as, indeed, most of the Indians in that part of the couutry were. The old man explained to me, in a few words, the danger there was of my being discovered in the cottage. by stragglers from the Spanish camp, who would, in all probability, come up the valley in seach of plaintains and other fruit, and to plunder what they could. He, therefore, sent one of his daughters to show me a place of concealment, in a thick copse behind the sugar-cane patch. She spread for me here a mat of rushes to rest on ; and after bringing water for my feet, set before me a wooden tray, with a substantial breakfast of broiled fowl, eggs, and roast plantains, besides various fruits. In the evening, one of the youngest children brought me a supply of provisions, in a basket; and told me that several Spanish soldiers had come up to the cottage, and were waiting there, while her mother was making them arépas. “I remained in this place of concealment for a few days, visited but rarely by the old man, who was fearful of being watched, and detected in concealing an officer of the insurgent army, which would have cost him his life; but I was constantly supplied with provisions by the daughters, whose occasional absence would not be so much remarked. I felt uneasy, however, at exposing this kind family to danger; besides being in constant expectation of discovery, by means of the numerous parties of soldiers, whom I could see from my retreat, during the day, traversing the