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Guatimala or the United Provinces of Central America in 1827-8

GUATIMALA,

OR, THE

UNITED PROVINCES OF

CENTRAL AMERICA,

IN 1827-8;

BEING

Sketches and Memorandums

MADE DURING

A TWELVE MONTHS' RESIDENCE

IN THAT REPUBLIC.



BY HENRY DUNN.



NEW YORK:

G. & C. CARVILL, BROADWAY.


1828.

Southern District of New York, ss.

BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the thirty-first day of July A. D. 1828, in the fifty third year of the Independence of the United States of America, G. & C. Carvill of the said District, have deposited in this office the title of a Book, the right whereof they claim as proprietors, in the words following, to wit:

“Guatimala, or the United Provinces of Central America, in 1827–8; being Sketches and Memorandums made during a twelve months' residence in that Republic, by Henry Dunn."

In conformity to the Act of Congress of the United States, entitled "An Act for the encouragement of Learning by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the time therein mentioned." And also to an Act, entitled "an Act, supplementary to an act, entitled an Act for the encouragement of Learning, by assuring the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."

FRED. J. BETTS,

Clerk of the Southern District of New York.




Printed by Vanderpool & Cole.
CONTENTS.



PART I.

Journey from England to the City of Guatimala, by the
bay of Honduras.


PAGE
CHAPTER I
Voyage, -Sunset, -Night at Sea, -West India Islands, -Jamaica, -English Quay. 9
CHAPTER II
Belize, -Population, -Government, -Commerce, -Soil, -Climate, -Diseases,-Emigration. 13
CHAPTER III
Black Population, -Character, -Amusements, -Morals, -Inhabitants of the Mosquito Shore, -Coronation of their King, -Customs, &c. 19
CHAPTER IV
Voyage to Yzabal, -Quays, -Settlements, -Coast of Yucatan, -Rio Dulce, -Pirates, -Castillo del Golfo. 30
CHAPTER V
Yzabal, -Mountain of Mico, -Indians, -Character of these Aborigines, -Superstitions, -Iguana. 38
PAGE
CHAPTER VI.
Iguana, -Gualan, -Town, -Morals, -Customs, -Intolerance, -Superstition, -Education, -Prison, &c. 46
CHAPTER VII.
San Pablo, -Ampú, -Simplicity of the Inhabitants, Chimalapa, -Sulphureous Springs, -Entrance into Guatimala. 54

PART II.
The City, -Its Manners, Customs, &c. -Population, -Police, -Moral and Religious State, &c. &c.

CHAPTER I.
Former Sites of the City, -Its present Situation and advantages, -Public Buildings, -Streets, -Houses, &c. 63
CHAPTER II.
Customs and Manners, -Tobacco, -Morning Calls, -Occupations of a domestic Man, -Scenes in the Plaza, -Evening Parties, -Gambling, -Superstitions, -Marriages and Funerals, -Almoneda or Auction 76
CHAPTER III.
Population, -Its characteristics, -Public Morals, -Police, -Political offences, -Prison, -Lawsuits, -Education, -Schools, &c. 90
CHAPTER IV.
Amusements, -Theatre, -Bull Fights, -Literature, -Newspapers, -Booksellers, -Fine Arts, &c 106
PAGE
CHAPTER V.
Religious Processions, -Masked Dancers, -Clergy Regular and Secular, -Ecclesiastical Quarrels, -Low state of true Piety, -Extracts from a Journal. 112
CHAPTER VI.
Climate, -Temperature, -Rainy Season, -Thunder Storms, -Earthquakes, -Debility, -Diseases, -Small Pox. 143
CHAPTER VII.
Suburbs, -Villages, -Bee Hives, -Cochineal Plantations, -Grazing Farms, -Bathing Places, -Trip to the Antigua or old Guatimala 156

PART III.
History of the Revolution, -Trade and Commerce, -Sketch of Natural History, -Aboriginal Inhabitants.

CHAPTER I.
State of Guatimala before the Revolution, -Causes which produced that Event, -Declaration of Independence, -Junction with Mexico, -General Congress, -Publication of the Constitution, -Resources, -Struggle between the Aristocracy and the People, -Financial difficulties, -War of San Salvador, -Resignation of the President, -Probable results 167
CHAPTER II.
Early Commerce, -Manufactures, -Harvests of Indigo, -Cochineal, -Tobacco, -Sugar, -Balsams, -Cotton, -Coffee, -Hides, -Productions of the
different States, -Mines, -Corpus, -Tabanco, -Imports and Exports, -Ports of the North, -Roads, -River Polichic, -Ports of the South Sea, -Independencia, -Impediments to Commercial Prosperity 206
CHAPTER III.
Natural History, -Productions, -Physical Geography, Rivers and Lakes, -Diseases, -Idiotcy 246
CHAPTER IV.
Aboriginal Population, -Conquests of Alvarado, -Utatlan, -Palaces &c. of the King of Quiché, -Languages, -Establishment of the Roman Religion, -Las Casas and the Dominicans, -Population, -Employment, -Mode of Life and Customs, Taxes, -Physiognomy, -Bodily Construction, -Mental Capacities, -Means of Civilization 258

PART IV.
Journey from the Capital to the shores of the Pacific.

CHAPTER I.
A Party of Pleasure, -Visit to a Grazing Farm, -Views, -Taking of Cattle by the Lazo, -Medical Men, -Value of Labour 284
CHAPTER II.
Vale of Petapa, -Lake of Amatitan, -Falls of San Pedro Martyr, -Escuintla, -Salt works, &c. 297
CHAPTER III.
Bar of Istapa, -Fisheries, -Vampyres, -Rock of Mirandilla, -Alotenango, -Almolonga, -The two Volcanoes, -Ascent of the Water Volcano. 309

PREFACE.

The following sketches have been published chiefly from the conviction that Central America is in great measure unknown ground.

In order to insure the correct statement of historical events, the author requested the late British Consul, as well as the Consul General of the Low Countries, to examine this MS. The former was occupied in doing it a few days before the melancholy event happened which occasioned his death; and to the friendship of the latter gentleman, in whose company he made the tour, which forms the last part of this book, the author is indebted for many valuable communications.

He is aware that there are individuals who will complain of his work not being more exclusively religious. To such he can only reply that piety was intended to sanctify, not to exclude the business of the world; and in his opinion, in order to do good in any country, it is necessary to know it, not merely in a moral and religious point of view, but politically and statistically. Considerable trouble has been taken in order to procure a map for insertion, but after a careful examination of all those which have yet been published, the idea has been laid aside, because it was found impossible to obtain one, which on account of numerous and important errors, was not more calculated to mislead than to inform.

ERRATA.

A considerable portion of the present Volume has been printed from manuscripts hastily thrown together, in consequence of which some errors have escaped observation.

The quotation from the Journal at Page 136 in which Louisiana and Georgia are referred to, was not intended for insertion. The reference to those states, the author is now aware was altogether erroneous. In the early part of the Volume, the mark denoting seconds (") has been fixed to those figures which represent minutes ('); these errors will not however be found to have occurred after page 184.

Page 229 for Dr. Rhy, read Dr. Rhys.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.