A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 05 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 739 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.

[Footnote 95:  This absurd story evidently belongs to the same class with the Seven cities formerly mentioned, and the El Dorado and Welsh colony, which will both occur in the sequel of this work.  Though not exactly connected in point of time with this fabled city of Osorno, a similar fable respecting a supposed white nation in the interior of Chili, may be noticed in this place, the reflections on which, in the paragraphs subjoined, give a clear explanation of the origin of several of these tales.—­E.]

“In the reign of the Emperor Charles V. the bishop of Placentia is said to have sent four ships to the Moluccas.  When they had advanced about twenty leagues within the Straits of Magellan, three of them were wrecked, and the fourth was driven back into the southern Atlantic.  When the storm abated, this fourth ship again attempted the passage, and reached the place where the others were lost where they found the men still on shore, who entreated to be taken on board; but as there was neither room nor provision for so great a number, they were necessarily left.  An opinion long prevailed that they had penetrated into the interior of Chili, where they settled and became a nation called the Cesares, whose very ploughshares were said to be of gold.  Adventurers reported that they had been near enough to hear the sound of their bells; and it was even said that men of a fair complexion had been made prisoners, who were supposed to belong to this nation.  The existence of this city of the Cesares was long believed, and even about the year 1620, Don Geronimo Luis de Cabrera, then governor of Peru, made an expedition in search of this El Dorado of Chili.  Even after Feyjo had attempted to disprove its existence, the jesuit Mascardi went in search of it with a large party of Puelches, but was killed by the Poy-yas on his return from the fruitless quest[96].”

[Footnote 96:  Dobrizhoffer, III. 407.]

“The groundwork of this and other similar fables is thus satisfactorily explained by Falkner[97].—­’I am satisfied that the reports concerning a nation in the interior of South America descended from Europeans, or the remains of shipwrecks, are entirely false and groundless, and occasioned by misunderstanding the accounts given by the Indians.  When asked in Chili respecting any settlement of the Spaniards in the inland country, they certainly give accounts of towns and white people, meaning Buenos Ayres, and other places to the eastwards of the Andes.  And vice versa, on being asked in the east the same question, their answers refer to Chili or Peru; not having the least idea that the inhabitants of these distant countries are known to each other.  Upon questioning some Indians on this subject, I found my conjecture perfectly right; and they acknowledged, when I named Chiloe, Valdivia, and other places in Chili, that these were the places they alluded to under the description of European settlements, and seemed amazed that I should know that such places existed.’”

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