|President of Honduras Luis Bogran.|
The Cortland Democrat, Friday, February 28, 1890.
FROM NACAOME TO TEGUCIGALPA.
Myself and Foster attended by that most excellent mozo [helper], Exiquil, and the cargo mule carrying bedding, clothing, etc., left Nacaome at 12 o'clock, Nov. 27th, for the meca of Honduras, fifteen miles over a most beautiful coast plain, luxuriant in tropical foliage, and pastured by thousands of cattle. Four times the Nacaome river crosses our road. Beautiful to look at is this winding river but disagreeable to ford, even now in the dry season. At Pespire, a large village of white adobe houses and a large church built on the hillside, we slept, the acquaintance of Foster gaining the best rooms in town.
From Pespire over two leagues of rolling road and we passed the Indian village of San Antonio de Flores; another league and we reach the Pasa Real, a ford on the same river that crossed our path so many times the day before. Another league of rolling road crossing the diminishing river three times more and we are at the foot of the great ascent of the La Venta mountain. The aneroide indicates 1,000 feet of altitude.
We have not breakfasted yet and Foster says we will ride up the mountain just one hour before we do so. We start from the great conglomerate boulder of which Mr. Schutt carried home a diminutive photograph, and up and up without any rest from tipping it, we ride for sixty-one minutes, when we alight in the corridor of the Posada or Hotel. The registered altitude is 2,250 feet.
La Venta is a small village with lots of orange trees and bananas. The hotel is a simple square adobe building. The kitchen a square covered pen of round poles and sets in the middle of the street. The proprietors are an old woman and four daughters. Arriving here at 11 o'clock A. M., we start out again at 2 P. M., still going up. At 2,400 feet we reach the first yellow pine, and at 3,500 feet we reach the summit when we go down again for 1,000 feet, and then we go up again, and then we go down again, and then we go up a little and then we go down a little more and we are in Sabanna Grande, a distance of four leagues from La Vinta. The rocks of the mountains passed are of the volcanic sediments, largely tuffa, until within a league of Sabanna Grande, when it changes to basalt.
Sabanna Grande is a pretty little village in a valley inhabited and sustained largely by the laborers in San Marcos mines. This mine is about two miles from the village. The ore of San Marcos is a very clean silver sulphide, with the varieties ruby and black, silver principally; the ore body in large frequent bonanzas. The bullion produced by a tin stamp mill is better than 95 fine.
Sleeping in Sabanna Grande we started next morning at daylight to complete the journey to Tegucigalpa. Passing over a rolling road about five leagues we reached the foot of the mountain Cerro de Hule, which we gradually ascend to its summit over an excellent cart road. The elevation of this mountain is but (4,500) feet yet it is nearly always bathed in misty clouds or swept by fierce cold winds. Passing over a table land for about four miles "of Cerro de Hule or rubber mountains" we descend several hundred feet to another table land called Terreno del Padre, or the priests land.
These mountains are clothed in a fine grass on which feed many cattle and horses. The winds we think are too strong to admit of agriculture; the tree growth is live oak, with pines in the ravines and many forms of cactus abound. We saw one century plant in blossom. The flower stalk sprung from the centre of the plant with a diameter of about five inches and terminated in a point at a height of twenty feet. The first great cluster of yellow blossoms was just within reach on tip toe. The lowest were withered. The uppermost scarcely developed, indicating that the blossoming begins at the lower point of the stalk and passes slowly upward, the bunch of blossoms on the end of the stems about fifteen inches long springing from the great stalk.
From here we get our first sight of the city of Tegucigalpa at the foot of the mountains on the other side of the valley. It appears that we may reach there in an hour, but three hours are consumed before we enter its first street. The crooked road winding down the mountains is very long and often carries us away from our destination. About two leagues before reaching the city and at about the level of the valley plain we enter a magnificent boulevard, cut into the soft rock of volcanic ash. This leads us into the city of Comayaguela, the Brooklyn of Tegucigalpa.
We cross the wide river which divides the two towns by an ancient and massive stone arch bridge and enter the capitol city. We had been passing through a country in which all was new to me. We enter a city in which everything was strange and in which we could not quietly contemplate the novelties, but were confused by the bustle and movement.
It was the anniversary of the inauguration of the President. Banners, streamers and flags of every description fluttered from window, door and balcony. The common people in holiday attire, augmented by visitors from without, crowded the streets. But we didn't stop to look, and at a quick pace went on to the residence of Don Manuel Sequieros, Foster's friend, and whose guests we were to be. At the sight of us a ready servant ran to open the great doors of the patio and we were soon on our feet and taking a glass of fine French brandy with our cordial host on the corridor. Having rested, bathed, shaved and dined, we went out into the streets, where at the hotel we met several Americans and were presented by Foster to several Honduranean gentleman.
Tegucigalpa is built upon a very narrow, rough snip of land, lying between the river and the mountain, in fact on the toes of a very precipitous mountain which raises at its back. Comayaguela, on the other side of the river, stretches out into a plain; these two cities are practically one, although the municipal governments are separate. The houses are of adobe built in the same general style of all we have seen in Honduras. In the few two-story buildings, the upper story are of boards and this is the style of the Palace. In front of the great church, La Mercedes, is a park of about a quarter of an acre and laid out like a flower garden. In the centre of this plot is a large and beautiful bronze equestrian statue of Morozan, the patriot. Facing another small park at the side of the Palace is the National Theatre, which is used about three months in the year as a theatre and the balance of the time as a college.
The city is kept in order by a well regulated body of police, well equipped as our own and are commanded by an American, now a colonel in the Houduranean army and who was a captain in the U. S. A. The central part of the town is made up of stores largely presided over by women and which remind one of the Jew shops of our own cities.
Little Jacks with a square box of water swung on each side of them are a common sight and are the water works of the city. The prisoners of the city are utilized by labor on public works, each one when at work being guarded by a soldier. The regular army is uniformed in blue Jean. The body guard and military staff of the President are well uniformed in blue and red. President Bogran, although of much personal dignity, is very simple and democratic in his dress and manner.
In Tegucigalpa one meets with many American and English managers of mining enterprises. The inhabitants of this town number about eighteen thousand. The outskirts are building up very rapidly and the city steadily increasing In strength and importance. J. H. H. [John H. Howard]
Francisco Morazan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Moraz%C3%A1n
Luis Bogran: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luis_Bogr%C3%A1n
Cortland’s Gold Mining Connection in Honduras: http://jeffpaine.blogspot.com/2015/01/cortlands-gold-mining-connection-in.html
San Rafael Mining and Milling Company: http://jeffpaine.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-san-rafael-mining-and-milling-co.html