Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/627

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CHIHUAHUA, THE GREAT FRONTIER STATE.

Parral is about two hundred miles, nearly due west, and the district is situated in a very deep ravine, where the climate is warm, but healthy.

The metallic lodes, says Mr. Ward, visible by their elevated crests, are almost innumerable. The principal mines, most of which have been in bonanza, are the Carmen, San Antonio, Nevada, Pastrana, Arbitrios, Dolores, Candelaria, and Buen Suceso. The Carmen is the mine that produced the enormous wealth of the Marquis of Bustamente, and from which a mass of solid silver was extracted which weighed 425 pounds. The ores of Pastrana were so rich that the lode was worked by bars, with a point at one end and a chisel at the other, for cutting out the silver. Buen Suceso was discovered by an Indian, who swam across the river after a great flood. On arriving at the other side he found the crest of an immense lode laid bare by the force of the waters. The greater part of this crest was pure and massive silver, and sparkling in the sun. The Indian extracted great wealth from his mine, but on arriving at the depth of three varas, the abundance of water obliged him to abandon it. In the Batopilas district the silver is generally found pure, and unaccompanied by any extraneous substances. The reduction of the ores is consequently easy and simple. When the silver is not found in solid masses which require to be cut with a chisel, it is generally finely sprinkled through the lode, and often seems to nail together the particles of stone through which it is disseminated. The lodes are of considerable width, but the masses of silver are only met with at intervals.

Not so far to the south is the Cusihuiriachi District, in the centre of which region is a metallic deposit in the general shape of a tree, from the trunk of which radiate many veins in every direction. Upon the hill, which is the highest of this branch of the Sierra Madre, are the mines of silver, lead, and zinc of San Martina, San Antonio, and San Bartolo, which have been recently purchased by an American company, for a large sum, and are full of rich promise for the future.

One evening, as I sat on the balcony of the American House, overlooking the beautiful plaza, a shouting and cracking of whips