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306

[crowded with poor of both sexes, who Iiave no
other subsistence than what tliey derive from alms,
and who prefer these means of living to that of
labour. It is feared that the indiscriminate cha
rity exhibited liere is productive of the worst ef
fects ; that it affords to vice the means of remain
ing vicious. The police are indeed acquainted
with these abuses, but cannot repress them without
the imputation of impiety. To form a correct idea
of the number of mendicants that wander in the
.streets, it is but necessary to know that the arch
bishop distributes generally alms every Saturday ;
that each mendicant receives a half-escalin, or
l-16th of a dollar ; and that at each of these pious
distributions there is given a sum of from 75 or 76
dollars, wliich should make the number of beggars
at least 1200 ; and in this list are not included those
who are ashamed to beg publicly, and to whom
the worthy prelate D. Francis d’lbarra, a Creole
of Caracas, distributes certain revenues in secret.
The cabildo^ composed of 22 members, and se
conded by the alcaldes de barrio, who are magis
trates distributed throughout the wards of the city,
would be more than sufficient to manage the af
fairs of the police ; but the presence of the higher
authorities, who wish to share the prerogatives of
command, has made a division of all matters of
police between the governor, the lieutenant-go
yernor, and a member of the audience, who, under
the title of judge of the province, exercises its func
tions in conjunction with the authorities just men
tioned.

25. Communications with the interior. — Caracas,
the centre of all the political, judicial, fiscal, mili
tary, commercial, and religious concerns of its de
pendencies, is also naturally that of all the com
munication in the interior. The roads are almost
every where just traced, and nothing more. The
mud and overflowing of the rivers, over which
there are neither bridges nor passage-boats, render
them impracticable in the rainy season ; and in no
part of the year are they convenient. They count
the distance by a day’s journey, and not by leagues :
but a fair computation of a day’s journey is 10
leagues, of 2000 geometrical paces each. The
orders transmitted by the governor to the several
towns of the interior arrive there by expre.ss, and
communications of whatever nature are returned
by the same means. There are no regular couriers
setting out from the capital, excepting for Mara
caibo, Puerto Cabello, Sante Fe, Cumana, and
Guayana. All the towns situate on the roads to
these four chief places enjoy the advantages of a
post. The courier for Maracaibo sets out from
Caracas every Thursday evening at six o’clock ;

it carries the letters of Victoria, Tulmeco, Mara
cay, Valencia, St. Philip, Puerto Cabello, and
Coro ; it is 10 days going from Caracas to Mara
caibo, and arrives from Maracaibo at Caracas ol’ v
every 15th day, but from Puerto Cabello every
Tuesday. On the 6th and 22d of each month,
a courier sets out from Caracas for Santa Fe ; it
carries the letters of San Carlos, Guanare, Araux,
Tocayo, Barquisimeto, Barinas, Merida, Carta
gena, Santa Marta, and Peru ; and arrives, or ought
to arrive, the 4th and 20th of each month ; it is
generally 42 days in going from Caracas to Santa
Fe. The courier of Cumana and Guayana arrives
at Caracas once a month ; it proceeds, or stops,
according to the state of the roads and rivers.
Five days after its arrival at Caracas it sets out
again. The letters for Guayana go directly from
Barcelona by a courier ; and those for Cumana and
Margareta by another. This arrives at its place
of destination in 12 days, and that of Guayana
in SO days.

26. With Spain . — The official letters from Spain
arrive at Caracas every month. A king’s packet
sails on one of the first three days of each month
from Coruna, touches at the Canaries to leave
their letters, then sails for the Havanah, and
leaves in its way to Puertorico the letters addresser!
as well for that island as for tim government of
Caracas. The latter are immediately forwarded
by one of the little vessels kept for this service.
During war the mail from Spain, instead of touch
ing at Puertorico, leaves the letters for Caracas
and its dependencies at Cumana, and those for the
kingdom of Santa Fe at Cartagena, and finally al
ways proceeds to the Havanah, from whence its
departure for Spain is regular and periodical.
The answers from Caracas, even those that are of
ficial, are sent to Spain by the merchant vessels
which sail from Guaira to Cadiz.

27. Geographical and statistical notices of the
capt amship'general of Caracas, and present his
torij. — Depons’ Voyage to the e. part of Tierra
Firme, or the Spanish main, in S. America, com
prises an ample description of this region ; and is
the principal authority for the anterior and subse
quent notices. This territory is situate between
the 12th degree of«. latitude and the equinoctial.
It comprehends

Venezuela, containing

500,000 inhabitants

Maracaibo,

100,000

Cumami,

80,000

Spanish Guayana,

54,000

Isle of Margareta,

14,000

728,000 ]

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