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300

CARACAS.

years after Cumana, 39 after Coro, 33 after
Barcelona, and 15 after Barquisimeto.

2. Ils privileges.— It is the capital, not only of
the province of Venezuela, but likewise of that
immense extent of country occupied by the go
vernments of Maracaibo, Barinas, Guayana, Cu
mana, and the island of Margareta ; since it is the
seat as well of the captain-generalship, the political '
and military authority of which extends over all
these provinces, as of the royal audience, of the
intendancy, and of the consulate, the jurisdiction
of which extends as far as the captain-general
ship.

3. Temperature.— Its temperature does not at
all correspond with its latitude ; for, instead of
insupportable heat, which, it would appear,
ought to reign so near the equator, it, on the
contrary, enjoys an almost perpetual spring. It
owes this advantage to its elevation, which is 460
fathoms above the level of the sea. Thus, al
though the sun has the power usual in such a lati
tude, the elevated situation of Caracas counter
balances its influence. The transitions from heat
to cold are great and sudden, from whence nume
rous diseases arise; the most common of which are
colds, called by the Spaniards catarros.

4. Meteorology.— Height of Fahrenheit’s ther-

mometer at Caracas.

In the winter.

Generally at 6 A. M 58°

2 P. M. ' ... 73

10 P. M 68

The maximum .... 76
The minimum . . . .52

In the summer.

Generally at 6 A. M 72°

2 P. M 79

10 P. M 75

Maximum . . . . .85

Minimum ..... 69
Humidity, according to the hydrometer of Duluc.

Generally 47

Maximum 58

Minimum 37

The mercury, which rises in the most s. parts
of Europe, and in the variations of the atmo
sphere to 1 l-12ths of the Paris inch, ascends only
2-12ths in the e. parts of Tierra Firme. They ob
serve at Caracas, in all the seasons, four small at
mospherical variations every 24 hours, two in the
day, and two in the night.

5. Blue of the skies by the cyanometer of Seaus
sure.

Generally .... 18

6. Oxigen and nitrogen gas. — Of 100 parts, 28
of oxj'^gen and 72 of nitrogen.

The maximum of the first is 29
The minimum . . . 27f

7. Variation of the needle.

Sept. 27th, 1799 . . 4° 38' 45"

8. Inclination of the dipping needle. Generally
^^4-so- Oscillation of the pendulum : in 15 minutes,
1270 oscillations.

9. Situation. — The city of Caracas is built in a
valley of four leagues in length, in a direction from
e. to w. and between that great chain of mountains
Avhich runs in a line with the sea from Coro to Cu
mana. It is, as it were, in a basin or hollow form
ed by this chain ; for it has mountains of equal
height to the n. and to the s. The city occupies a
space of 2000 square paces ; the ground on which
it stands remains as nature formed it, art having
done nothing towards levelling it, or diminishing
its irregularities. The declivity is every where
decidedly from the s. : the whole of it is 75 fa
thoms perpendicular from the gate De la Pastora
to the n. unto the river Guaire, which bounds the
city to the s.

10. Its waters. — It derives its waters from four
small rivers. The first, which is called Guaire,
bounds it entirely on the s. part without pene
trating into the city. Although this be scarcely
considerable enough to deserve the name of a river,
it is too large to pass by the name of a rivulet. The
second, which bears the name of Anauco, waters
the e. side of the town ; and the part where it ap
proaches nearest is called Candelaria, where there
is built a handsome bridge, facilitating the com
munication with the valley of Chacao. The third
is the Caroata : its course is from n. to s. through
all the w. part of the city, and separates it from
the quarter called St. John, which parts are united
by a stone bridge of a sufficiently solid construc
tion, but the regularity of which does not equal
that of the Candelaria. The fourth is named Ca
tucho, to which the city owes the waters of an in
finite number of public and private fountains ; yet
the inhabitants of Caracas, insensible to its bene
fits, suffer it to run in the same channel that time
has made for it, and amidst all the deformities
which the rains have occasioned ; for the four
bridges of communication which are thrown across
it are rather to be considered the offsprings of ne
cessity than as objects of ornament. These four
rivers, after having served all the domestic uses of
the city, run in one single channel across the valley
of Chacao, which is covered Avith fruits, provi
sions, and merchandize ; and, mixing their wa-]

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