general appearance of the Islands, mode of loading etc.
They are uninhabited, except by the sea fowl which resort
to them (for rest, or perhaps incubation) in myriads, + whose excrementitious deposits has
for ages (which forms the guano) for ages, have thus accumulating.
The vessel was moored within a few yards of a rock,
nearly mast head high; and by means of a simple fixture constructed
of cane, into which it is thrown as dug up, (being so compact
that picks are required to loosen it) it is conveyed through
a canvas shute or tube directly into the hold of the
vessel - consequently the labour of loading is light, as by
employing some natives of the coast, several hundred tons
may could be put aboard in some 24 to 36 hours - the
"trimming", ie spreading in the hold, is the most unpleasant
part of the business - The Guano is cut down in layers, or in
steps, as it recedes from the point of embarcation, & has been removed
to a depth of about 35 feet only. *[insert asterisked text below] Wells or pits, as indicated
by the dotted lines, have been sunk to determine the extent
of the deposits; but as yet, have not "touched bottom" and it
is supposed the mass in many places, is not less than from
one to two hundred feet thick.
*On my enquiring as to how long before the supply
was exhausted, his reply was, "all the commerce of the
world would not exhaust it on these Islands alone, in
one hundred years".
Now with such an almost inexhaustable supply,
+ facility of removal, the query naturally presents, "What
then is the reason it cannot be obtained at less price?"
The reason is obvious to my mind: and from all I can
learn, the business appears to be thus arranged. The Peruvian
Notes and Questions
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