Page:Guatimala or the United Provinces of Central America in 1827-8.pdf/261

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


On the banks of some of the rivers as well as on the shores of one or two of the lakes, salt is collected in considerable quantities, and forms in some of the provinces, a considerable branch of trade. Salt springs and sulphureous streams, both hot and cold, are found in the different provinces, and mineral waters, possessing medical properties, exude from the rocks in various parts of the country.

All these things merit the attention of the lovers of science, and make one regret that this interesting and unknown ground has not yet been occupied by some learned traveller, able to favour us with details similar to those we have received of the plains and hills of Anahuac, from the pen of the unwearied Humboldt.

The diseases of the coasts for the most part consist of intermittent fevers, which, when contracted by the inhabitants of the temperate regions, are very difficult to cure, frequently clinging to the sufferer till they produce the most perfect mental debility, and oftentimes idiotcy. The number of idiots and of individuals in other stages of madness is truly melancholy, and of these the greater part have been produced by fevers contracted on the coast. In some of the provinces the inhabitants are dreadfully afflicted with a swelling in the glands of the throat, vulgarly called “güegüecho;” these sometimes grow to an