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Art. 1.-1. Narrative of a Journey from Lima to Para, across
the Andes and down the Amazon, undertaken with a view of ascertaining the Practicability of a Navigable Communication with the Atlantic, by the Rivers Pachitea, the Ayali, and Amazon. By Lieut. W. Smyth, and Mr. F. Lowe. 8vo. London.
1836. 2. Journal of a Passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic, cross
ing the Andes in the Northern Provinces of Peru, and descending the River Marañon, or Amazon. By Henry Lister Maw,
Lieut. R.N. 8vo. London. 1829. IT T is at least something to be able to say—non cuivis hominum
contingit, &c.-it does not fall to the lot of every one-to have climbed and traversed, if not the very loftiest, at least the second, and by far the most lengthened chain of mountains, and also to have navigated the largest river, in the world. It is likewise true that Mr. Maw, when he launched upon the Amazon, was right in supposing himself to be the first British officer that had ever embarked on the main trunk of this mighty stream ; and that Mr. Smyth may take the credit of being the second. But many other travellers of different nations had long ago preceded both; and among, or rather above the rest, we must not omit the name of Orellana, one of those daring Spanish hidalgos that embarked for the New World with Pizarro, and who, in quest of adventures, but chiefly of gold, crossed the Cordilleras from Peru in 1539, descended the Napo to its confluence with the Amazon, and then proceeded down the gigantic main stream to
the Atlantic. After him was Pedro de Ursoa, who, in 1568, was sent by the viceroy of Peru in search of the golden lake of Parima, and the city of El Dorado, but was cut off by the hand of the rebel assassin Aguirre, who continued his course of murder and rapine in the descent of the great river, and finished his career by being hanged and quartered. Pedro Texeira, in 1638, ascended the Amazon from Para, and also the Napo branch as far as it was navigable, and returned the same way in
company with two Jesuits; and M. de la Condamine, in 1743, came back from Peru by the same route. VOL. LVII. NO. CXIII.
The merit of the discovery of a passage from the shores of the Pacific to those of the Atlantic, by means of this grand river, and one of its numerous affluents, belongs undoubtedly to Orellana, whose name ought, therefore, to have been conferred upon it; and so it undoubtedly would, had he not himself prevented it, by publishing an idle story of his having been attacked by a host of armed women, which his vivid imagination led him to proclaim to the world as the discovery of a new nation of Amazons. Such an unexpected adventure with a people, whose habits seemed to authorize the revival of a name celebrated in ancient lore, was quite enough, in those romantic times, teeming with new discovery, to transfer to this mighty river the appellation which it has borne ever since, though not without rival claims. The fact however is, that the first great branch, which takes its rise in the Andes, was the discovery of a Spanish captain of the name of Marañon, in the year 1513, and from him this name is also given to the whole river, indiscriminately with that of the Amazon. Lieutenant Maw's story, therefore, that the first discoverer had supposed it to be the ocean, but afterwards finding the water fresh, made use of the expression Mare Non, “ not the sea,' is equally correct with Swift's etymologies of Archimedes, Alexander, and the Roman God of War.
There is, however, another traveller in more recent times by this route, and a female too, the story of whose adventures and iniraculous preservation is most extraordinary and romantic: and we shall not hesitate to give a concise sketch of it, as we believe it will be new to almost every English reader.* This lady was the wife of M. Godin des Odonais, the associate of Bouger and Condamine, in their operations of measuring a degree of the meridian, near the equator, in Peru. Family affairs having suddenly called M. Godin to Cayenne, his lady remained at Riobombo, in Peru, to take care of the property till his return. For many years, however, he applied in vain for passports from the Portuguese government:-such, indeed, was the jealousy existing at that time between the two crowns of Spain and Portugal, that it was not until he obtained, at the end of fifteen years, the intercession of the French minister, that the latter power was prevailed on to allow him to return to Quito by the route of the Amazon. It at length, however, granted him, apparently in a liberal spirit, an armed vessel to take him up the Amazon ; but just at this time falling dangerously ill, he commissioned a person whom he
* It is narrated in a letter written by the husband of the lady to M de la Condamine, at his particular request, and printed in an edition of his · Relation d'un Voyage,' &c. published at Maestricht.