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a third thrusts the lacerated member into the bowl of a red-hot pipe, which he smokes like tobacco. Then they pound the toes and fingers to pieces between stones: they strip the flesh with their teeth, and trace circles about the joints, and gashes in the muscular parts, which they immediately sear with redhot irons, cutting, burning, and pinching alternately. The flesh, thus mangled and roasted, is sometimes devoured with greediness, morsel by morsel, while the blood serves to smear their faces, and to give the tormentors a look as infernal as their hearts. Having torn of the flesh, they twist the bare nerves and tendons about an iron, tearing and snapping them ; while others are employed in stretching the limbs every way that ingenuity can devise, to increase the torment. This process continues for five or six hours together; and such is the strength and fortitude of savages, that it has sometimes been extended to days. To protract the work of death they sometimes unbind the captive, to give a respite to their fury, and to invent new inflictions. He is again fastened to the stake, and again they renew their cruelty. Even amid the temporary respite they sometimes give him, it has been known that a profound sleep has overtaken the victim, and that the application of fire was necessary to awake him. He is now stuck over with matches of wood, easily kindled, but slow in consuming; they pierce the body in every part with reeds, they pull out the teeth, they scoop out the eyes; and lastly, having mangled the frame in such a manner that it is only one continued wound, having mutilated the face so as to leave nothing human in it, and carried barbarity to its most exalted pitch, they again unbind the wretch. Now blind, faultering, failing, assailed with stones and clubs, and passive of the worst, one of the chiefs, perhaps, wearied of cruelty, rather than satiated with revenge, gives him a coup-de-grace with a dagger or a club. The body is then committed to the kettle, and a barbarous feast is the winding up of this dismal tragedy. In most countries the female character is distinguished for a superior degree of softness and humanity; here the women,
if possible, outdo the men in this scene of horror, while the principal persons of the country form a circle round the stake, and smoke on without emotion. But what will most surprize is, that the sufferer himself, in the intervals of his torments, smokes too, and converses with indifference. Indeed, seldom does a groan escape him, amidst the most aggravated sufferings. He endures them all with a fortitude and a constancy more than human. He possesses his mind unmoved; not a distortion of face betrays the anguish he endures. He recounts his exploits; he boasts what cruelties he has inflicted on their countrymen, and menaces them with the revenge that will attend his death. Though exasperated to madness by his reproaches, he continues his insults, upbraids them with their ignorance in the science of tormenting; and points out more efficacious means. Even the women possess the same degree of resolution and torture; to suffer without emotion is the pride, the glory of an Indian. Such is the force of inbred habits, and a ferocious thirst of frame. The history of human nature does not furnish a stronger contrast than this cruelty of the savages towards those with whom they are at war, and the warmth of their affection to their friends. When any member of the society is cut off, he is lamented by the whole with a thousand demonstrations of genuine sorrow. One of the most remarkable ceremonies used on this melancholy occasion, and which discovers both the intenseness and the continuance of their grief, is what they denominate the feast of souls. This day of awful form is appointed by public order; and no care is neglected to render the celebration magnificently solemn. The neighbouring tribes are invited to join in the solemnity. On this occasion, all who have died since the last commemoration (which is renewed every eight or ten years) are disinterred, and brought to the general rendezvous of corruption. It is impossible to describe the horror of this scene in more lively terms than those which Lafitau has used. ‘Unquestionably, says he, “the opening of these tombs displays one of the most striking scenes that can be conceived; this humbling portrait of human misery, in so many images of death, wherein
she seems to take a pleasure to paint herself in a thousand various shapes of horror, according to the degree which corruption has prevailed over them, or in the manner in which it has attacked them. Some appear dry and withered; others have a sort of parchment on their bones; some look as if they were baked and smoked, without any appearance of putridity; some are just verging to the point of putrefaction; while others are swarming with worms, and a mass of corruption. I know not which ought to strike us most; the horror of such a shocking sight, or the tender pity and affection of these poor people towards their departed friends. For nothing deserves our admiration more, than that eager zeal and attention with which they discharge this melancholy duty of their respect; gathering up carefully even the minutest bones, handling the carcases, disgustful as they are with every thing loathsome, cleansing them from the worms, and carrying them on their shoulders through tiresome journies of several days, without sinking under their burden, or the offensiveness of the smell, and without suffering any emotions to intrude, but those of regret for having lost persons so dear to them in life, so lamented in death. “Having brought the remains into their cottages, they prepare a feast in honour of the dead; during which their heroic actions are celebrated, and all the tender intercourses that took place between them and their surviving friends are piously called to mind. Even the strangers, who sometimes attend from very remote tribes, join in tender condolence; and the natural shrieks of the females prove, that they are penetrated with the sharpest sorrow. The dead are then carried out to be re-interred. A large pit is dug in the ground; and thither, at a certain time, each person, attended by his family and friends, marches in solemn silence, bearing the dust of a near and tender relation. When they are all convened, the dead bodies are deposited in the pit together, with what valuables they most esteemed, and even the presents of strangers; and then the torrent of grief breaks out afresh. After this they descend into the pit; and each supplies himself with a little of the earth, which is preserved with religious care. The
bodies, ranged in order, are covered with fresh furs, and over these with bark, on which they heap wood, earth, and stones. Then taking a last adieu, they return to their homes.” Though religion is not a very prevailing sentiment among the savages, religious imposters are as numerous here as in any country; and some of them act their part with much dexterity and success. These, when their character is once established on the popular belief of their supernatural powers, not only prescribe laws and observances, but even undertake to unfold the mysteries of futurity, and to solve and interpret visions and dreauns. They, in general, represent the other world as a place abounding with an inexhaustible plenty of every thing desireable; and that the full and exquisite gratification of all the senses shall be the reward of the conduct they prescribe. Hence the Indians meet death with a stoical apathy. The news, that they have but a few hours to live, communicates no alarm. An American, on the brink of eternity, harangues his family and friends with spirit and composure; and gives his dying advice with the same collected mind, as if he were directing in daily occupations. It will immediately be recognized, that the preceding remarks apply chiefly to the North American Indians. In our account of the conquests of Mexico and Peru it appeared, that the original inhabitants of South America were very different. Such of the inhabitants of the New World as first fell under the observation of Europeans, differed essensially from those we have just described, and from the generality of people in the ancient hemisphere. They are generally more feeble in their frames, and less vigorous in their mental efforts. Their spirit is more mild and gentle; but they are enervated by indolence and a love of pleasure, and timid and irresolute in all their pursuits.
THE Spaniards are by no means a literary nation, and as far as an intimate knowledge of their American settlements extends, foreigners, from want of opportunity, must be confessedly deficient. It is therefore with pleasure we enter on the present voyage, not less distinguished for accuracy and fidelity, than for the abilities of the writer, and the ample scope his situation gave him for enquiry and remark. The expedition, which gave rise to this narrative, was undertaken by the command of the king of Spain, and the original was published at Madrid under his direction. In order to determine the true figure of the earth, it was a desideratum to measure a degree of the meridian near the equator. For this purpose, Louis XV. had applied to the Spanish monarch to be permitted to send some of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris to Quito, which is situated near the equator, that they might make the necessary observations for solving a problem of such importance to the sciences in general, and to those of geography and navigation in particular. The king of