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The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies [volume 1]
[and three counts. All the wliites pretend to be noble,and nearly one third of them are acknowledged to beko. The whites are all either planters, merchants, sol-diers, priests, monks, financiers, or lawyers. ASpanish white person, especially a Creole, howeverpoor he may be, thinks it the greatest disgrace tolabour as a mechanic. The Europeans in Caracasform at least two very distinct classes ; the first com-prises those who come from Spain with apjjoint-ments : the second those actuated by industry anda spirit of enterprise, and who emigrate to acquirewealth ; the greater part of these come from Cata-lonia and Biscay ; their views are purely mercan-tile. Both Catalonians and Biscayans are dis-tinguished among their fellow-citizens by the good,faith they observe in their business, and by theirpunctuality in their payments. The former class,the European placemen, are most obnoxious to theCreoles, and these are in point of ability and edu-cation almost always the superiors. The Spa-niards from the Canary islands, who are impelledby want, rather than fired by ambition, to quittheir native soil and to establish themselves at Ca-racas, import with them tlie united industry ofthe Catalonians and Biscayans. Their geniusassimilates more to that of the latter than to that ofthe former ; but, in fine, both are useful citizens,like all who strive by honest means to gain theirlivelihood, and who are not ashamed to prove byexample, that man is born to labour. The womenof Caracas are agreeable, sensible, and engaging ;few of them are fair, but they have jet black hair,with complexions as clear as alabaster ; their eyesare large, well set, and lovely, whilst the car-nation of their lips marks a health and vigourof constitution. There are a very few, however,above the middle size, whilst there are a greatmany under ; and their feet too are rarely hand-some. As they pass a great part of their lives attheir windows, it may be said that they are soli-citous to display that in which nature has mostfavoured them. There are no female schools here ;the women therefore learn nothing but what theirparents teach them, which is confined, in manycases, to praying, reading badly, and writingAvorse ; it is diflicult for any but an inspired loverto read their scrawl. They have neither dancing,drawing, nor music masters ; all they learn ofthese accomplishments is to play a fgw airs on theguitar and pianoforte; there are but a very fewwho understand the rudiments of music. But inspite of this want of education, the ladies of Ca-racas know very avcU Jiow to unite social mannerswith politeness, and the art of coquetry with ferni-ainc modesty. 'I'his is, however, a picture only
of those women whose husbands or fathers possesslarge fortunes or lucrative places ; for that part ofthe female sex who are doomed to procure theirown livelihood, seldom know of any other meansof existence than the public prostitution of theirvirtue : about 200 of these poor creatures passtheir days in rags and tatters in the ground-floorsof houses, and stroll out only at night to procurethe pittance for their next day’s fare ; their dressis a white petticoat and cloak, with a pasteboardbonnet covered with lustring, to which they at-tach a bunch of artificial flowers and tinsel. Thesame dress often serves in one evening for two orthree of these unhappy beings. The class of do-mestic slaves is considerable at Caracas, since aperson believes himself rich only in proportion tothe number of slaves he has in his house. In ge-neral, four times more servants are kept than are ne-cessary, for this is thought an etfectual method ofconcealing poverty. Thus a white Avouian goes tomass with two Negro or Mulatto women in hertrain, without having an equal value in any otherspecies of property. Those who are reputedlyrich, are followed by four or five servants, whilstas many attend every white person of the samefamily going to another church. Some houses atCaracas contain 12 or 15 servants, Aritliout count-ing the footmen in attendance on the men.
22. Freed persons , — Probably there is not acity throughout all the West Indies that has sogreat a proportion, Avith respect to other classes,of enfranchised persons and their descendants, asCaracas ; they carry on all the trades which thewhites disdain. Every carpenter, joiner, mason,blacksmith, locksmith, tailor, shoemaker, andgoldsmith, &c. is or has been an enfranchisedslave ; they do not excel in any of these trades,because in learning them mechanically they al-ways err in the principle : moreover, indolence,which is so natural to them, extinguishes thatemulation to Avhich tlie arts owe all their progress.However, their masonry and their carpentry aresutiiciently correct, but the joiner’s art is yet inits infancy. They Avork very little; and Avhatappears rather contradictory is, that they workmuch cheaper than the European artists ; in .ge-neral, burdened with families, they live heaped uptogether in poor houses, and in the midst of priva-'tions : In this state of poverty, to employ them,you must aflbrd an immediate advance of money.The blacksmith never has coals nor fire. Thecarpenter is always Avithout Avood even for a table ;even the wants of their families must be administer-ed to by the employer. In fine, the predominantpassion among this class of people is to consume]
the Nuevo Reynb de Granada ; situate in a greatvalley called the Llano Grande, where is bred alarge proportion of neat-cattle. Upon its side isthe river of its name, which presently enters theSaldana, and is full of fish. It is of a hot tempe>rattire, abounds in maize, cacaoj tobacco, yucas^and plantains ; and amongst the sand of the river’sside is found a great quantity of gold. It contains700 housekeepers, and a little more than 80 In-dians. It is 40 leagues to the s. w. of Santa Fe.
CUENCA, a province and corregimiento ofthe kingdom of Quito; bounded n. by the provinceof Riobamba ; s. by that of Jaen de Bracamoros ;e. by that of Guayaquil ; w. by that of Quijosand Macas ; n. e. by that of Chimbo ; and s. e.by that of Loxa. Its temperature is mild,balm and healthy. Great herds of cattle are bredhere, and it consequently abounds in flesh-meats ;likewise in every species of birds, grains, pulse,garden herbs, sugar, and cotton ; the natives mak-ing of the latter very good woven articles, and inwhich they trade, as well as in wheat, chick-peas,bark, French beans, lentils, bams, and sweetmeats.Its mines are of gold, silver, copper, quicksilver,and sulphur; but none of them are worked; alsoin the llanos or plain of Talqui, are some minesof alabaster, extremely fine, though somewhatsoft. Tlie principal traffic of this province arefloor-carpets, cabinet articles, and tapestries, herecalled pawos de cor/e, (cloths of the court), beauti-fully worked, and which are so highly esteemedthat no house in the kingdom, that has any pre-tensions to elegance and convenience, is seen with-out them. It is watered by four large rivers, call-ed Yanuneay, Machangara, Banos, and Tume-bamba ; the latter being also called Matadero, andis the largest. It abounds in bark and cochineal,the latter being gathered in great quantities, andemployed in the dyeing of baizes, which areesteemed the best of any in America. Its tannedhides and prepared skins are equally in high esti-mation. It is, in short, more highly favouredthan any other province in natural riches j and itwould not have to envy any other, were it not thatits inhabitants, who have been called Morlacos,were of a haughty, domineering disposition, greatdisturbers of peace, and more inclined to riot anddiversion than to labour. The capUal is
Cuenca, Santa Ana de, a city founded by GilRamirez Davalos, in 1557, in the valley of Yunquilla, celebrated for its pleasantness and fertility ;this valley is six leagues and an half long, and asmany wide in the middle of the serrania; from thisserrama issue, to water the same valley, four large
rivers, the first called Machangara, which runs r,of the city, and very close to it; the second,which runs to the n, is called Matadero, being alsonearthetown ; the third Yanuneay, at half a quarterofa league’s distance, and the fourth Banos: of allthese united is formed a very large one, which af-terwards takes the name of Paute, and which hasin its environs mines of gold and silver. This cityis large, and one of the most beautiful of any inthe kingdom. The parish church, which was erectedinto a cathedral, and head of the bishopric of theprovince, in the year 1786, is magnificent. Ithas four parishes, (he five following convents, viz.of the religious order of St. Francis, St. Domingo,St. Augustin, St. Peter Nolasco, and a collegewhich belonged to the regulars of the company ofJesuits, two monasteries of nuns, one of La Concep-cion, and the other of Santa Teresa, and an hospi-tal, being one of the most sumptuous, convenient,and well attended possible; the whole of thesebeing very superior edifices. The streets run instraight lines; the temperature is kind, mild, andhealthy ; and the neighbourhood abounds in everykind of flesh, and in whatsoever productions canbe required, as pu)ge, vegetables, and fruits.Some very fine large cheeses are made here, whichresemble those of Parma, and are carried as dain-ties to Lima, Quito, and other parts. The sugarywhich is made in great quantities, is of the finestand most esteemed sort, as are also the conservesof various fruits, which are known by the name ofcaccetas de Cuenca. A few years ago, a hat manu-factory was established here, when a stamp wasmade bearing the resemblance of an EmperorInca, and with the motto, “ Lahore duce, comitefortuna.” This proved one of the best and mostuseful manufactories of any in the city. In theterritory to the s. is the height of Tarqui, cele-brated for being the spot where the base of themeridian was taken by the academicians of thesciences of Paris, M. Godin, Bouger, and La Con-damine, assisted by Jorge Juan and Don Anto-nio de Ulloa, who accompanied them, in 1742.yhis city is subject to tempests, which form on asudden when the sky is clear, and which are ac-companied with terrible thunder and lightning,the women apply themselves to labour, and it isby these that is carried on the great commercewhich exists in baizes which they fabricate, andare held in high esteem, together with other wo-ven articles. It is the native place of the FatherSebastian Sedeno, missionary apostolic of the ex-tinguished company of the Jesuits in the provinceof Mainas- The population of Cuenca is 14,000