Page:The Present State of Peru.djvu/74

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that country, the vicuna can, like the llama, be tamed and domesticated, flocks may be collected to open a new speculation to the cultivator, and to afford the prospect of great commercial benefits to the community.



Giants and dwarfs are antipodal nations, the existence of which is still problematical to philosophers and naturalists. The enormous bulk which several voyagers have ascribed to the Patagonians, is as much doubted as the diminutive stature of the Indians who inhabit the mountains of Madagascar. On a survey of the different parts of the globe, it will be found that South America is the country which affords the greatest number of testimonies in favour of the former. The histories which ancient traditions have handed down, relate that, in the primitive ages, a certain race of men, who, from the knee downward, measured as much in length as a man of the highest stature measures in his whole body, landed at the point of St. Helena. The sepulchres discovered on the coasts of Peru, and those of the provinces of Chichas and Tarija, bestow some colour of probability on these narrations. In the cabinet of natural history now forming at Lima[1], is deposited a tooth (one of the molares, or grinders) of a mummy dis-

  1. In the year 1792.