thousand men and unnumbered animals are employed." The foregoing statement was written twenty-five years ago, and so far as prospective wealth is concerned might be repeated to-day, for the old mines seem yet unexhausted, and the company is still prosecuting its labors with great vigor. One can scarcely comprehend the inexhaustible nature of these veins, some of which have been worked three centuries and a half, and, after glutting all their possessors with precious metal, still beckon
on to perhaps yet greater deposits, though they have already been followed for miles. It seems as though the expression "silver hills" has more than a figurative meaning, and that the entire backbone of the republic is of silver, with ribs of that metal and of gold extending deep into the bowels of the earth.
Leaving behind us this centre of ancient enterprise, situated, according to Humboldt, nine thousand feet above the sea, we took the road leading to Regla. It was crowded with mules and don-