chapter  X
36 Pages

THE CAPTAINCY-GENERAL OF CHILE

Two years later Captain Vancouver passed over this road going from Valparaiso to Santiago. "The making of the new road," he wrote, "had doubtless been a work of great labor; and to a people who are not very industriously inclined, and who are all bigoted to former practices and original habits, it is no wonder that the manifest advantages that must result to the inhabitants of the country from his Excellency's wise undertaking, should be overlooked, or rather not be seen by them; and that the execution of his judicious plan should have deprived him, amongst the lower orders of the people, of much of his populari ty." 1

On a certain part of the road Vancouver found laborers at work, but was informed "that as a sufficient number of people could not be procured to carry the whole of the design into execution at once, his Excellency, the President, had, in order to facilitate the intercourse between these two great towns, ordered the most difficult and dangerous parts of the new line of road to be first made passable and commodious." 2

"There were about fifty men at work with common pick-axes and shovels; and to supply the place of wheelbarrows for the removal of the earth from the higher to the lower side of the road, the hide of an ox was spread on the ground, and when as much earth was thrown upon it as would require the strength of two men to remove, the corners of

the hide were drawn together by each of them, and in that state dragged to the depressed side of the road, and emptied where requisite, to preserve a gentle slope in the breadth; or else discharged over the brink and sent down the side of the hill." 1 The laborers engaged in this work received a wage equivalent to fourteen cents a day.2