Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/189

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and the ,Strait of Ma9alimens. 157 Strait of Magalhaens) to the island of Chiloe, may be said to have been wholly unknown; for since the time of Sarmiento de Gainboa nothing but the brief notices of two missionary voyages in piraguas, from Chiloe to the Guiateca and Guaianeco islands, had been published in the least descriptive of it. Every person conversant with South American geography must be acquainted with the voyage of Sarmiento. From the determined perseverance through difficulties of no ordinary nature shown by this excellent and skilfnl navigator, we are possessed of the details of a voyage down the western coast and through the Strait of Magalhaens that has never been .surpassed. His journal has furnished us with the descs'iption of a coast more difficulf and dangerous to explore than any that could readily be selected; for it was at that time perfectly unknown, and is exposed to a climate of.perpetual storms and rain: yet the account is written with such minute care and .correctness, that we have been enabled to detect upon our charts almost every place that is described in the Gulf of Trinidad, and the channels to the south of it, particularly their termination at his//neon sin ?alida. It would be irrelevant to enter here into the history of Sar- miemo's voyage, or indeed of any other connected with the coasts I am about to describe. Modern surveys are made s? much more in detail than what was formerly practised or considered necessary, that little use can be derived from the charts and plans that have been hitherto formed; but the accounts of the voyages connected with them are replete with interesting and useful matter, at?d much amusement as well as information may be derived from their perusal, particularly Sir John ]qarborough's journal, and Byron's romantic and pathetic narrative of the loss of the Wager. The Cordillera of the Andes, which is known to extend from the northern part of the continent almost to its southern extremity without a break, gradually decreases in elevation as it reaches the higher southern latitudes. In the neighbourhood of Quite, Chim- borazo, and Pinchincha rear their summits to the height nearly of twenty-two thousand feet above the level of the sea: near Santiago de Chile the highest land is fourteen thousand feet; farther south, at Concepcion, it is still lower; and at Chiloe there are few parts of the range exceeding six thousand feet. Between Chiloe and the Strait of. Magalhaens the average height may be taken at three thousand feet; but there are some mountains which may be be- tween five and six thousand feet high. By a reference to tl?e chart it will be seen that.about the parallel of 40 � coast begins to assume, a,?d retains to its furthest ex- tremity, a very different appear.ance from that which it exhibits to the northward, where the' sea, which is kept at a distauce the Cordillera by a belt of comparatively low land for continuous