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CHILE.

41S

[ing that the comets, called by them cheruvoe^
proceed from terrestrial exhalations, inflamed in
the upper regions of the air ; but they are not
considered as the precursors of evil and disaster, as
they have been esteemed by almost all the nations
of the earth. An eclipse of the sun is called by
them layanlUy and that of the moon lacujcn^
that is, the death of the sun or of the moon. But
these expressions are merely metaphorical, as are
the correspondent ones in Latin, of defectus solis
mil lunoi. Their opinions as to the causes of tliese
phenomena are not known, but it has been observ-
ed that they evince no greater alarm upon these oc-
casions than at the most common operations of
nature. Their language contains many words
solely applicable to astronomical subjects, such as
thoren, the late rising of the stars, and others
similar, which prove that their knowledge in this
respect is much greater than what is generally
supposed.

17. A/easwres.— -Their long measures are the
palm, nela; the span, duche ; the foot, namun ;
the pace, thecan ; the ell, neveu ; and tlie league,
tupu, which answers to the marine league, or the
parasang of the Persians. Their greater distances
are computed by mornings, corresponding to the
day’s journeys of Europe. Their liquid and dry
measures are less numerous: the gunmpar, a
quart ; the can, a pint ; and the wencu, a mea-
sure of a less quantity, serve for the first. The
dry measures are the chmigue, which contains
about six pints ; and the gliepu, which is double
that quantity. With regard to the speculative
sciences they have very little information. Their
geometrical notions are, as might be expected from
an uncultivated people, very rude and confined.
They have not even proper words to denote the
principal figures, as the point, the line, the angle,
the triangle, the square, the circle, the sphere,
the cube, the cone, &c. ; their language, however,
is so flexible and copious, that it would be easy
to form from it a vocabulary of technical words to
facilitate the acquisition of the sciences to the
Araucanians.

18. iiVreiorfc.— Notwithstanding their general
ignorance, they cultivate successfully the sciences
of rhetoric, poetry, and medicine, as far as these
are attainable by practice and observation ; for
they have no books among them, nor are there any
of them who know how to read or w rite. Neither
can they be induced to learn these arts, either
from their aversion to every thing that is practised
by the Europeans, or from their being urged by a
savage spirit to despise whatever does not belong
to their country. Oratory is particularly held in

high estimation, and, as among the ancient
Romans, is the high road to honour, and the
management of public affairs. It is equally valued
amongst the North American Indians. The eldest
son of an ulmenwho is deficient in this talent, is
for that sole reason excluded from the right of
succession, and one of his younger brothers, or
the nearest relation that he has, who is an able
speaker, substituted in his place. Their parents,
therefore, accustom them from their childhood lo
speak in public, and carry them to their national
assemblies, where the best orators of the country
display their eloquence. From hence is derived
the attention which they generally pay to speak
their language correctly, and to jireserve it in its
purity, taking great care to avoid the introduction
of any foreign word ; in which they are so parti-
cular, that whenever a foreigner settles among
them, they oblige him to relinquish his name, and
take another in the Chilian language. The mis-
sionaries themselves are obligerl to conform to this
singular regulation, if they would obtain the pub-
lic favour. These have much to endure from
their excessive fastidiousness, as even while they
are preaching, the audience will interrupt them,
and with importunate rudeness correct the mis-
takes in language or pronunciation which may es-
cape them. Many of them are well acquainted
with the Spanish language, from their frequent
communication with the neighbouring Spaniards.
They, however, make but little use of it, none of
them ever attempting to speak in Spanish in any
of the assemblies or congresses that have been held
between the two nations; on which occasions they
had much rather submit to the inconvenience of
listening to some tiresome interpreter, than, by
hearing another language, to suffer their native
tongue to be degraded. The speeches of their
orators resemble those of the Asiatics, or more
properly those of all barbarous nations. The style
is highly figurative, allegorical, elevated, and re-
plete with peculiar phrases and expressions, that
are employed only in similar compositions ; from
whence it is called coi/agtucan, the style of parlia-
mentary harangues. They abound with parables
and apologues, which sometimes furnish the wdiole
substance of the discourse. Their orations, not-
withstanding, contain all the essential parts re-
quired by the rules of rhetoric; which need not
excite our surprise, since the same principle of
nature which led the Greeks to reduce eloquence
to an art, has taught the use of it to these people.
They are deficient neither in a suitable exordium, a
clear narrative,a well-founded argument, or a pathe-
tic peroration : they commonly divide their subject]

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