It is a curious circumstance

The figure of the city of Lima approaches to that of a semicircle,
having the river Rima for its diameter; it is two miles long from east
to west, and one and a quarter broad from the bridge to the wall; it is
chiefly divided into squares, the length of each side being 130 yards;
but in some parts approaching to the wall this regularity is not
preserved; all the streets are straight, and they are generally about 25
feet wide; the place contains 157 _quadras_, being either squares or
parallelograms, with a few diagonal intersections towards the
extremities of the city.

The wall which encloses Lima, except on the side bordering on the river,
is built of _adobes_, sun-dried bricks, each brick being twenty inches
long, fourteen broad and four thick; they are made of clay, and contain
a very large quantity of chopped straw: these bricks are considered as
better calculated than stone to resist the shocks of earthquakes, and
from their elasticity they would probably be found pretty tough in
resisting a cannonading; however, of this there is little risk. The
walls are on an average twelve feet high, with a parapet three feet on
the outer edge: they are about ten feet thick at the bottom, and eight
at the top, forming a beautiful promenade round two-thirds of the city.
The wall is flanked with thirty-four bastions, but without embrasures;
it has seven gates and three posterns, which are closed every night at
eleven o’clock, and opened again every morning at four. This wall of
enclosure more than of defence was built by the Viceroy Duke de la
Palata, and finished in the year 1685; it was completely repaired by the
Viceroy Marquis de la Concordia, in the year 1808. All the gateways are
of stone, and of different kinds of architecture; that called _de
maravillas_, leading towards the pantheon, is very much ornamented with
stucco work.

At the south east extremity of the city is a small citadel called Santa
Catalina; in it are the artillery barracks, the military depôt, and the
armoury. It is walled round and defended by two bastions, having small
pieces of artillery. The Viceroy Pezuela being an officer of artillery,
and formerly commandant of the body guard at Lima, paid great attention
to the citadel, and expended considerable sums of money in altering and
repairing it during the time of his viceroyalty.

The bridge leading from the city to the suburb called San Lazaro is of
stone; it has five circular arches, and piers projecting on each side;
those to the east are triangular next the stream, and those on the
opposite side are circular; on the tops are stone seats, to which a
number of fashionable people resort and chat away the summer evenings.
From eight to eleven o’clock, or even later, it is remarkably pleasant,
both on account of the quantity of people passing to and fro, and from
the river being at this season full of water. On the east side the water
falls from an elevated stone base about five feet high, and forms a
species of cascade, the sound of the falling water adding much to the
pleasure enjoyed during the cool evenings of a tropical climate. At the
south end of the bridge is a stone arch, crowned with small turrets and
stucco, having a clock and dial in the centre; the whole was built and
finished by the order of the Viceroy Marquis of Montes Claros, in the
year 1613.

The general aspect of the houses in Lima is novel to an Englishman on
his first arrival; those of the inferior classes have but one floor, and
none exceed two; the low houses have a mean appearance, too, from their
having no windows in front. If the front be on a line with the street
they have only a door, and if they have a small court-yard, patio, a
large heavy door opens into the street. Some of the houses of the richer
classes have simply the ground floor, but there is a patio before the
house, and the entrance from the street is through a heavy-arched
doorway, with a coach house on one side; over this is a small room with
a balcony and trellis windows opening to the street. Part of these
houses have neat green balconies in front, but very few of the windows
are glazed. Having capacious patios, large doors and ornamented trellis
windows, beside painted porticos and walls, with neat corridors, their
appearance from the street is exceedingly handsome. In some there is a
prospect of a garden through the small glazed folding doors of two or
three apartments; this garden is either real or painted, and contributes
very much to enliven the scenery. The patios, in summer, have large
awnings drawn over them, which produce an agreeable shade; but the flat
roofs, without any ornaments in front, present an appearance not at all
pleasing; if to this we add the sameness of the many dead walls of the
convents and nunneries, some of the streets must naturally look very

Of the principal churches the fronts are elegant and the steeples more
numerous and more elevated than might be expected in a country so
subject to earthquakes as Peru. The architecture displayed in the
façades of these churches is more worthy of being called a peculiar
composite than any regular order; but in a great many instances this
peculiarity is pleasing: a particular description of them will be given
in the course of this work.

The outer walls of the houses are generally built of adobes as far as
the first floor, and the division walls are always formed of canes,
plastered over on each side; this is called _quincha_: the upper story
is made first of a frame-work of wood; canes are afterwards nailed or
lashed with leather thongs on each side the frame-work; they are then
plastered over, and the walls are called _bajareque_. These additions so
considerably increase their bulk, that they seem to be composed of very
solid materials, both with respect to the thickness which they exhibit,
and the cornices and other ornaments which adorn them. Porticos, arches,
mouldings, &c. at the doorways are generally formed of the same
materials. Canes bound together and covered with clay are substituted
also for pillars, as well as other architectural ornaments, some of
which being well executed, and coloured like stone, a stranger at first
sight easily supposes them to be built of the materials they are
intended to imitate. The roofs being flat are constructed of rafters
laid across, and covered with cane, or cane mats, with a layer of clay
sufficient to intercept the rays of the sun, and to guard against the
fogs. Many of the better sort of houses have the roofs covered with
large thin baked bricks, on which the inhabitants can walk; these
asoteas, as they are called, are very useful, and are often overspread
with flowers and plants in pots; they also serve for drying clothes and
other similar purposes. Among the higher classes the ceilings are
generally of pannel work, ornamented with a profusion of carving; but
among the lower they are often of a coarse cotton cloth, nailed to the
rafters and whitewashed, or painted in imitation of pannel work. In
several of the meaner, however, the canes or cane mats are visible.

Some of the churches have their principal walls and pillars of stone;
others of adobes and bajareque; the towers are generally of the latter
work, bound together with large beams of Guayaquil wood; the spires are
commonly of wood work, cased over with planks, and painted in imitation
of stone; with mouldings, cornices and other ornaments, either of wood
or stucco.

In large buildings of every description there is generally a great
proportion of timber, keeping up a connection from the foundation to the
roof; thus there is less danger from the shocks of earthquakes than if
they were built of brick or more solid materials; for the whole building
yields to the motion, and the foundation being combined with the roof
and other parts, the whole moves at the same time, and is not so easily
thrown down. I suggested to a friend in Lima the idea of placing between
every tenth layer of adobes one of long canes; this he put in practice,
and afterwards informed me, that it was considered a great improvement,
so much so, that he thought the plan would be generally adopted,
especially as it produced a saving of timber, which is a dear article;
had also the effect of preventing the walls from cracking by the shocks
of earthquakes, and was equal to that of rafters of wood or frame-work
and bajareque.

The city is divided into four parishes, the Sagrario, with three
rectors; Saint Ann, two; Saint Sebastian, two; Saint Marcelo, one. Here
are two chapels of ease, that of Saint Salvador in the parish of Saint
Ann, and that of the Orphans in the parish of the Sagrario. Over the
bridge are the suburbs of Saint Lazaro, with one rector, a curate at the
Cabesas and another at Carabaillo, five leagues from the city, beside
several chapels on the different plantations. In the Cercado there is a
parish of indians, founded by the Jesuits, and formerly under their

The convents are numerous. I shall first give a list of them, and
afterwards mention those that are individually worthy of notice.

{ La casa grande.
San Francisco 3 { Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe } in the suburbs.
{ Recoleto de San Diego }

{ La casa grande.
{ Recoleta de la Magdalena.
Santo Domingo 4 { Santo Tomas, college for studies.
{ Santa Rosa, hermitage.

{ Casa grande.
{ San Ildefonso, college for studies.
San Augustin 4 { Nuestra Señora de guia, for novices.
{ Cercado, college, formerly of the Jesuits.

{ Casa grande.
La Merced 3 { San Pedro Nolasco, college for studies.
{ Recoleta de Belen.

{ San Pedro, formerly colegio maximo of the
San Pedro 1 { Jesuits, now Oratorio de San Felipe Neri.

{ Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados, formerly
Desamparados 1 { belonging to the Jesuits, now to the Oratorio
{ de San Felipe Neri.

{ Angonizantes, buena muerte.
San Camilo 2 { Recoleta, in the suburbs of San Lazaro.

San Francisco 2 { San Francisco de Paula, minims, new.
de Paula { Do. old, both in the suburbs of San Lazaro.

{ Nuestra Señora de Montserrat, hospicio of the
San Benedicto 1 { Benedictine Monks.

{ Convalecencia of San Rafael.
San Juan de Dios 2 { Nuestra Señora del Carmen, on the road to Callao.

{ Casa grande, outside the walls, for convalescents.
Bethlemitas 2 { Incurables, inside the walls.

The nunneries in Lima are La Encarnacion, La Concepcion, Santa Catalina,
Santa Clara, Las Trinitarias, El Carmen Alto, Santa Teresa, or Carmen
Baxo, Descalsos de San Jose, Capuchinas de Jesus Maria, Nasarenas,
Mercedarias, Santa Rosa, Trinitarias descalsas. El Praso, and Nuestra
Señora de Copacavana for indian ladies.

The following are _beaterios_, houses of seclusians, which do not take
the monastic vows: Santa Rosa de Viterbo, Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio,
San Jose for women divorced from their husbands, and the Recogidas for
poor women, somewhat similar to the Magdalen Hospital in London.

Each of these religious houses has a church or chapel, making in the
whole as follows:–

Parish Churches 6
Semi-parochias, chapels of ease 2
Conventual Churches and Chapels 44


Besides these each hospital has a chapel; many of the convents also
have chapels attached to them: San Francisco has that of Los Dolores and
El Milagro, and several of the principal inhabitants have private
oratories, there being altogether upwards of one hundred places of
worship, supporting more than eight hundred secular and regular priests,
and about three hundred nuns, with a great number of lay brothers and

Lima has the following hospitals, each appropriated to some peculiar

San Andres, for Spaniards and maniacs–Santa Ana, for indians–San
Bartolome, for negroes and African castes–San Pedro, for poor
ecclesiastics–El Espiritu Santo, for seamen–San Pedro Alcantara, for
females–La Caridad, for females–Bethlemitas, for females, opposite the
convent–San Lazaro, for lepers; in addition to the three already

The Colleges in Lima are:–Santo Toribio, an ecclesiastical
seminary–San Martin, afterwards San Carlos, now San Martin again, for
secular studies–Colegio del Principe, for Latin grammar and the sons of
indian caciques, besides the conventual colleges, where many of the
lower classes are taught Latin, and some branches of science, gratis, by
the friars.

The _plasa mayor_, principal square, stands nearly in the centre of the
city (the suburbs of San Lazaro being included) about 150 yards from the
bridge; on the north side stands the Viceroy’s palace, having an
ornamented gateway in the centre, where the horse guards are stationed;
this front is 480 feet long: the lower part is divided into petty
pedlars’ shops, filled with all kinds of wares, open in front, the doors
which enclose them being thrown back; so that those of one shop meet
those of two neighbouring ones, and all of them are generally adorned
with part of the stock in trade, hung on them for sale. Over these runs
a long gallery, with seats rising one above another, for the
accommodation of the inhabitants when there is any féte in the square;
on the top there is a railing, carved in imitation of balustrades. At
the north-west corner is a gallery for the family of the Viceroy, which
on days of ceremony was fitted up with green velvet hangings, ornamented
with gold lace and fringe; a state chair to correspond being placed for
his Excellency in the centre. It was here that the Viceroy Marquis de
Castel-forte presented himself to witness the death of the innocent
Fiscal Antequera, in 1726; here LORD COCHRANE stood, when the
independence of Lima was declared in 1821; and from hence the medals
commemorative of that glorious day were distributed.

On the east side is the cathedral, having a light ornamented façade,
with large folding doors in the centre and smaller ones on each side,
surmounted by a handsome balustrade and two steeples, each of which
contains a peal of fine-toned bells, a clock and dials. The entrance to
this rich building is by a flight of steps, the area being ten feet
above the level of the plasa. On the north side of the cathedral is the
Sagrario, with a very beautiful façade; and adjoining stands the
Archbishop’s palace, which surpasses in appearance every other building
in the square. Green balconies, glazed, run along the front, on each
side of an arched gateway, which leads into the patio; but the lower
part is disgraced with small shops, the nearest one to the Sagrario
being a _pulperia_, grog shop! Under the area of the cathedral there is
also a range of small shops, one of which formerly belonged to Don
Ambrosio Higgins, who was a pedlar and failed. He afterwards went to
Chile, entered the army, obtained promotion, discovered the city of
Osorno, and was honoured with the title of Marquis of Osorno. In 1786 he
returned to Lima in the high capacity of Viceroy, and found his old
friend and brother pedlar, La Reguera, enjoying the archiepiscopal
mitre: a coincidence of good fortune not often equalled. La Reguera had
some time before left Lima for Spain, his native country, and having
been more fortunate in trade than Higgins, had prosecuted his studies,
and returned archbishop in 1781.

On the south side is a row of private houses, having a balcony and
trellis windows: over the piazza, which is ten feet broad, the pillars
are of stone; a row of mercers’ and drapers’ shops occupies the piazza,
and between the pillars are stationed a number of men, principally
indians, employed in making fringe, silk buttons, epauletts, &c.; hence
it is called, _el portal de botoneros_. In the middle of this piazza is
_el callejon de petateros_, remarkable as being the site of Pizarro’s
palace, and where he was murdered.

The west side is similar to the south, and at the north end of it is the
_casa consistorial_, corporation house; under it is the city gaol, in
front of which is the council hall, which has on one side the door a
canopy over the royal arms. Under this the alcaldes formerly stood to
administer justice. Here it was that, some years ago, the young Viscount
de San Donas sentenced the coachman of Judge Nuñes to receive a hundred
lashes for carrying prohibited arms: the man was tied to an ass, and the
hangman, having inflicted twenty-five stripes, was marching him to the
next corner to administer the same number, when the judge, informed of
the affair, left the audience chamber, and proceeded in his robes to the
rescue of his servant; but in this he was prevented by the alcalde; the
judge became boisterous,–the punishment was continued; at length his
lordship insulted the alcalde, who immediately ordered his alguazils to
seize him and conduct him to the court gaol, where San Donas confined
him in a dungeon, took the keys, went home, ordered his horse, and left
the city. When he returned in the evening he waited on the Viceroy,
Castel-forte, who urgently interceded for the judge; but the alcalde
kept him in prison until he apologised for his improper attempt to
prevent a magistrate from enforcing the execution of a lawful sentence.

In the centre of the square is a beautiful brass fountain, erected by
the Viceroy Count de Salvatierra in 1653. The basin is very capacious:
in the middle rises a brass column twenty two feet high, on the top of
which is a small cupola supported by four pillars; the whole is
surmounted by a figure of Fame. Through the trumpet water is ejected;
but the greater portion rises within the dome, after which it falls into
a large basin, from thence into another of greater dimensions, and from
thence through four orifices into a basin which has an ornamented brass
enclosure, surmounted by four treble lions, ejecting water from their
mouths into the basin. There are also four smaller fountains at the
angles of the central one, having each a brass pillar five feet high,
with four orifices, whence water issues. The water is the best in Lima,
and at all hours of the day the carriers are busy in conveying it to
different parts of the city. For this purpose they have a mule, with a
pack-saddle and two hoops affixed to it, into which they put two
barrels, each containing about ten gallons, behind which a man generally
jumps up and rides. The carrier has a thick stick with an inverted iron
hook near the top, with which he props one barrel when he takes out the
other. If the water be for sale a small bell is attached to one of the
hoops, which continues tinkling as the mule trots along. The price is
one real for the two barrels.

In this square the principal market is held, and one of the greatest
luxuries which the eye can witness is enjoyed by visiting it about five
or six o’clock in the morning, when the articles for sale are just
brought in. It is divided into several compartments by rows of large
pebbles, which are placed merely to limit the venders, and prevent
their encroaching on the public walks. The butchers’ market is generally
well supplied with excellent beef and mutton; but calves and lambs are
never killed, this being prohibited by an old law for the promotion of
the breed of cattle. Pork is sold in one part; in another all kinds of
salted and dried meats, principally brought from the interior; these are
_charque_, jerked beef; _sesina_, beef salted and smoked or dried in the
sun: hams, bacon, and frozen kid from the mountains, which last is most
delicate eating: there are likewise many kinds of sausages; salt fish,
principally _bacalao_, from Europe; _tollo_, _congrio_, and corbina. The
fish market is in some seasons abundantly supplied from the neighbouring
coasts with corbina, _jureles_, mackerel, _chita_, plaice, turbot, peje
rey, lisa, anchovies, &c., and most excellent crayfish, _camarones_,
from the rivers, some of which are six or seven inches long. Fish is
generally cheap; but during Lent, and particularly in Passion Week, it
is excessively dear; which arises from the indians enjoying the
exclusive privilege of fishing, and being at that time of the year too
much occupied with their religious duties to attend to their regular
business. Indeed no indian will fish on the Thursday, Friday, or
Saturday in Passion Week; and I have seen a fish sold on those days for
twenty or twenty-five dollars, which at other times might have been
bought for one, or even less.

The poultry market is divided, one place being set apart for the live,
and another for the dead. Poultry is almost always dear; a turkey costs
from three to five dollars; a fowl from one to two dollars; ducks,
Muscovy, the same price; pigeons half a dollar each; geese are seldom
seen in the market, for as the natives never eat them, very few are
bred. Here is also a market for all kinds of pulse–beans of several
descriptions, peas, lentils, maize of five or six kinds, _gurbansos_,
quinua, &c. The vegetable market contains every description of
horticultural produce known in England, as well as the _arracacha_,
_yuca_, casava root, _camote_, sweet potatoe, yam, _oca_, &c. The
vegetables are remarkably fine, in great abundance, and generally cheap.
The fruit market is splendid, furnishing the most delicious fruits of
Europe–the grape of several varieties, the peach, apricot and
nectarine, the apple, the pear, the pomegranate, the quince, the tomate,
and the strawberry; and an abundance of luscious tropical fruits–the
pine, the melon, badeas, granadillas, sapote, lucuma, nisperos, guavas,
paltas, guanabanas, custard apples, the sweet and sour orange, lime,
and lemon, the shaddock, the citron, the plantane, the banana, and above
all the chirimoya, the queen of tropical fruits. The portion allotted to
the flower sellers is appropriately called the _calle del peligro_,
street of danger; for here the gentle fair resort, and their gallant
swains watch the favourable opportunity of presenting to them the
choicest gifts of Flora. This corner of the market, at an early hour in
the morning, is truly enchanting; the fragrance of the flowers, their
beauty and quantity, and the concourse of lovely females–altogether
would persuade a stranger that he had found the Muses wandering in
gardens of delight! In the vicinity stands a _fresquera_, vender of iced
lemonade, pine-apple water, _orchata_, almond milk, pomegranate water,
&c. which offer another opportunity for gallantry. It is no exaggeration
in the citizens of Lima when they assert, that they have one of the
finest markets in the world, for every thing in art and nature
contributes to its support: the beautiful climate near the coast, the
vicinity of the mountains, where all climates may be found, from the
ever-during snow to perpetual sunshine–send their abundant and rich
produce to this cornucopia of Ceres and Pomona.

The interior of the Viceroy’s palace is very mean; but it is said to
have been a magnificent building before it was destroyed by an
earthquake on the 20th October, 1687. Its principal entrance is on the
west side, in a narrow street leading to the bridge from the plasa; to
the right of the entrance is the guard-room, where a company of
infantry, a captain, lieutenant, and ensign are stationed: to the left
there are four flights of steps leading to the _sala de los Vireys_, at
the door of which is a guard of halberdiers, dressed in blue coats with
full trimming of broad gold lace, crimson waistcoat and breeches with
gold lace, silk stockings, velvet shoes, a laced hat, and a halberd.
These soldiers are generally of good families: they are twenty-five in
number, and the captain, their only officer, was always a young
nobleman, because the situation was considered as highly honourable.
Each Viceroy nominated a captain on his arrival. Don Diego Aliaga, son
to the Marquis de Lurigancho, was captain to Abascal and Pezuela. The
_sala de los Vireys_, so called on account of its containing full-length
portraits of all the Viceroys from Pizarro to Pezuela,[5] was used only
on days of ceremony, when the Viceroy stood under a canopy of crimson
velvet, trimmed with gold, and received in the name of the King the
compliments addressed to him, which however were generally set speeches,
studied for the occasion. The Regent pronounced the first harangue, then
followed the controller of the tribunal of accompts, the dean in the
name of his chapter, the alcalde of the first vote, the prior of the
consulate, the inquisitor mayor, the commissary of the crusade, the
rector of the university, a senior collegian from each college, and a
master friar from each community. These levees were called _dias de besa
manos_, which ceremony was performed _de facto_ in Madrid, the whole
court kissing the King’s hand, and this was almost the only ceremony
which the royal representative in Lima dispensed with.

To the right of this hall there is a narrow corridor, looking into a
small garden on the right, having a suite of rooms on the left, which on
days of ceremony were used as assembly rooms; there are also some
closets, which may serve as sleeping rooms or studies, each having a
small glazed balcony next the street. Two young British officers,
belonging to the Briton, were one night detected by the sentry
attempting to pay a visit, at one of those commodious _ventanas_, to
Miss Ramona Abascal, the Viceroy’s daughter, and her female companion.
The young ladies made fast the end of the sash belonging to Mr. B., but
an unfortunate laugh alarmed the intruding sentry. From the north-west
corner another range of rooms extends along the north side, which leads
to those of the pages and other domestics; on the east side of the
garden there is a terrace forming a passage to a range of apartments,
where the chaplain, surgeon and secretary usually resided. A private
passage under the terrace leads to one of those rooms constructed by the
Viceroy Amat, for the purpose of receiving the midnight visits of the
famous Perricholi. This name was given to the lady by her husband, an
Italian, who wishing to call her a _perra chola_, indian b—-h, gave an
Italian termination to the words, and a name to his wife, by which she
was ever afterwards known in Lima. In 1810 she was living at the new
mills, at the corner of the _alameda vieja_. This circumstance I take
the liberty to mention, because persons going to Lima will often hear on
their arrival the name of this once handsome and generous woman, whose
beauty had so far influenced her admirer, the Viceroy, that she at one
time persuaded him to feed her mules at midnight, _en camisa_; and at
another obtained from him the reprieve of a criminal on the morning he
was to have suffered. In her youth she was on the stage; but she spent
her last days in seclusion, and her last dollars in works of charity.
The dining room is on the east side of the garden, and has a staircase
leading from the kitchen; it is low and dark, and has a dirty
appearance. The rooms used on public occasions have each a crimson
velvet canopy, under which were hung portraits of the reigning King and
Queen; beside some antique furniture which belonged to the palace, glass
chandeliers, &c.; but the whole was a very mean display for a Viceroy of

The palace also contained the royal treasury, the courts of the royal
audience, the Viceroy’s chapel, the county gaol, the secretary’s
offices, and some others belonging to the attendants. Each front of the
palace was disgraced with mean pedlars’ and shoemakers’ shops, and close
to the principal entrance was a pulperia, common grog shop, for the
accommodation, I suppose, of the coachmen, footmen and soldiers on duty.
The north and south sides of this building are four hundred and eighty
feet long; the others four hundred and ten.

The interior of the archbishop’s palace is but small; a flight of steps
opposite the entrance leads to a corridor that runs round the
court-yard; on the north side are the dining and drawing rooms; on the
west, fronting the plasa, are the principal levee rooms; on the south
the secretary’s offices; and on the east the apartments belonging to the
domestics. The principal rooms are neatly fitted up; in some of them the
walls are covered with crimson damask, having gilt cornices and

The interior of the Sagrario, which may be called the principal parish
church, or matrix, is more splendid than rich; the roof is beautifully
pannelled, having a cupola in the centre, resting on the four corners
formed by the intersection of the cross aisle; it is lofty, and the
several altars are splendidly carved, varnished and gilt. Great part of
the high altar is cased with silver; the sacrarium is highly finished,
and the custodium of gold, richly ornamented with diamonds and other
precious stones. The whole service is costly, both in plate and robes.
The baptismal font is in a small chapel on one side; it is large, and
covered with a thick casing of pure silver.

The cathedral, like all others, is spoiled by having the choir in the
centre, blocking up the view of the high altar, which otherwise would
present a most majestic appearance from the centre porch. The walls and
floor are of good freestone, and the roof, which is divided into
compartments, is most beautifully pannelled and carved; it is upheld by
a double row of neat square pillars of stone work, supporting the
arches, and corresponding with the buttresses in the walls; all these,
on festivals, are covered with Italian crimson velvet hangings, except
in Passion Week, when they are clothed with purple ones of the same
quality. Both sets are edged with broad gold lace, with a deep gold
fringe at the bottom, and festoons with lace and fringe at the top.

The lateral altars are placed in niches between the buttresses, having
ornamented gates before them, which, when opened inwards, form the
presbytery. Some of these altars are rich, but none of them handsome. At
the back of the high altar is a chapel dedicated to Saint Francisco
Xavier, in which there are effigies of two archbishops, in white marble,
kneeling before reclinatories. In this chapel was the archbishops’
burying vault, which is now closed, and they, in common with all other
people, are carried to the pantheon, where the first corpse interred was
that of Archbishop La Reguera, being exhumed for the purpose.

The throne, or high altar, has a most magnificent appearance; it is of
the Corinthian order, the columns, cornices, mouldings, pedestals, &c.
being cased with pure silver; it is also surmounted with a celestial
crown of gilt silver; in the centre is the sacrarium, richly ornamented
with chased silver work. The custodium is of gold, delicately wrought,
and enriched with a profusion of diamonds and other precious stones:
from the pedestal to the points of the rays it measures seven feet, and
is more than any moderate sized person can lift. The front of the altar
table is of embossed silver, very beautiful. On each side of the altar
is an ornamented reading desk, where the gospel and epistle are
chaunted. From the foot of the presbytery runs on either side to the
choir a railing, and the front of the choir is closed by tastefully
wrought gilt iron palisades, having two large gates in the centre. The
stalls are of carved cedar, and the state chair of curious workmanship;
it is considered as a relic, because it was used by Saint Toribio de
Mogroviejo, archbishop of Lima, from 1578 to 1606. The choral music is
very select, and the two organs finely toned. The pulpit is in the
modern taste, highly varnished and gilt.

On grand festivals this church presents an imposing coup d’oeil; the
high altar is illuminated with more than a thousand wax tapers; the
large silver candelabra, each weighing upwards of a hundred pounds; the
superb silver branches and lamps, and the splendid service of plate on
the left of the altar, are indescribably striking. The archbishop in his
costly pontifical robes is seen kneeling under a canopy of crimson
velvet, with a reclinatory and cushions of the same material; a number
of assisting priests in their robes of ceremony fill the presbytery;
from which, leading towards the choir, are seats covered with velvet, on
the left for the officers of state and the corporation, on the right for
the judges, who attend in full costume. In the centre, in front of the
altar, is a state chair covered with crimson velvet, with cushions, and
a reclinatory to match, for the Viceroy, when he attended in state,
having on each side three halberdiers of his body guard; behind him
stood his chaplain, chamberlain, groom, captain of the body guard, and
four pages in waiting. If any ceremony can flatter the vanity of man, it
must be that of offering incense to him in such a situation:–three
times during mass one of the acolites came down from the presbytery with
an incensary, and bowed to the Viceroy, who stood up amid a cloud of
smoke; the acolite bowed and retired, and the Viceroy again knelt down.

The gold and silver brocades, tissues and other stuffs, the laces and
embroidery for robes, vestments and decorations, are of the most costly
kind that can be procured. The sacred vessels, chalices, patenas,
hostiarias, &c. are often of gold, enriched with a profusion of the
rarest gems, so that nothing can display more grandeur than is beheld
here on great festivals, when divine service is performed with a pomp
scarcely to be imagined.

At the east end are two doors, corresponding with the two lateral doors
in the front, and producing a fine effect. The area is spacious, and
paved with freestone on the west, south, and east sides of this
building, and the surrounding wall is surmounted by an ornamental

The corporation hall, sala consistorial, on the north-west side of the
plasa, or square, offers nothing worthy of notice; it is a large room,
containing benches for the members of the cavildo, a state chair and
canopy for the president, some plans of the city hanging on the walls,
and a closet for the archives.

The parish churches of Lima have nothing to recommend them particularly
to the notice of a stranger. St. Lazaro has an elegant façade, and
presents a good appearance from the bridge; the interior is tastefully
ornamented; the ceiling is of pannel work, and the several altars highly
varnished and gilt. The living is said to produce about thirty thousand
dollars annually, and is often called the little bishopric.

Of the conventual churches, only those belonging to the principal houses
are remarkably rich. St. Dominic, Santo Domingo, about a hundred yards
from the plasa mayor, is truly magnificent; the tower is the loftiest in
the city, being sixty-one yards high, built chiefly of bajareque; the
bells are good, especially the great one, which was cast in 1807: none
of the large bells are rung as in England; having no swing wheels, the
clappers are merely dragged backwards and forwards till they strike the
sides of the bells. The roof of the church is supported by a double row
of light pillars, painted and gilt; the ceiling is divided into pannels
by gilt mouldings, and the large central pannels exhibit some good
scriptural paintings in fresco. The high altar, as usual, is on an
elevated presbytery: it is of modern architecture, of the Ionic order;
the columns are varnished in imitation of marble, with gilt mouldings,
cornices and capitals. At the foot of the presbytery, on the right,
stands the beautifully rich chased and embossed silver cased altar of
our Lady of the Rosary. This altar exceeds any other in Lima both in
richness and effect; it is entirely covered with pure silver; its
elegant fluted columns, highly finished embossed pedestals, capitals,
cornices, &c., some of which are doubly gilt, are magnificently superb.
In the centre of the altar is the niche of the Madonna, of exquisite
workmanship; the interior contains a transparent painting of a temple,
the light being admitted to it by a window at the back of the altar. The
effigy is gorgeously dressed–the crown is a cluster of diamonds and
other precious gems; and the drapery of the richest brocades, laces and
embroidery; the rosary is a string of large pearls of the finest orient.
Such is the abundance, or rather profusion, of drapery, that the same
dress is never continued two days together, throughout the year. Before
the niche fifteen large wax tapers are continually burning in silver
sockets; and in a semicircle before the altar are suspended, by massy
silver chains, curiously wrought, fourteen large heavy silver lamps,
kept constantly lighted with olive oil. Besides these are, similarly
suspended, eight fancifully wrought silver bird cages, whose inmates, in
thrilling notes, join the pealing tones of the organ and the sacred
chaunt of divine worship. Four splendid silver chandeliers hang opposite
the altar, each containing fifteen wax tapers; below are ranged six
heavy silver candelabra, six feet high, and six tables cased in silver,
each supporting a large silver branch with seven tapers; also four urns
of the same precious metal, filled with perfumed spirits, which are
always burning on festivals, and emit scents from the most costly drugs
and spices; the whole being surrounded by fuming pastillas, held by
silver cherubim. On those days when the festivals of the Virgin Mary
are celebrated, and particularly at the feast of the rosary and octavo,
the sumptuous appearance of this altar exceeds all description: at that
time, during nine days, more than a thousand tapers blaze, and the
chaunting and music of the choir are uninterrupted.

At the celebration of these feasts many miracles are pretended to be
wrought by this Madonna; and many absurd legends are related from the
pulpit, tending more to inculcate superstition than religion–more to
increase pious frauds, than to enforce sound morality. It was for
speaking thus irreverently of these ceremonies, to one of the
double-hooded brethren, that I was brought before the holy inquisition,
of which I shall say more when I conduct my readers to that now-deserted
mansion. On the left of the high altar stands one dedicated to Saint
Rose; it is richly ornamented, and has a large urn, containing an effigy
of the saint, in a reclining posture, of white marble, and good
sculpture. On each side of the church are six altars, coloured and
varnished in imitation of different marbles, lapis lazuli, &c. with gilt
mouldings, cornices, and other embellishments. The choir is over the
entrance at the principal porch; it is capacious, and has two good
organs. The music belonging to this church is all painted on vellum by
a lay brother of the order, and some of the books are ably done.

Three of the cloisters are very good; the principal one is elegant; it
has two ranges of cells, and the pillars and arches are of stone, of
fine workmanship. The lower part of the walls is covered with Dutch
tiles, exhibiting sketches from the life of St. Dominick, &c. Above are
large indifferently executed paintings of the life and miracles of the
tutelary saints: they are generally concealed by panelled shutters,
which are opened on holidays and festivals. At the angles of this
cloister are small altars, with busts and effigies, most of them in bad
style. The lower cloisters are paved with freestone flags–the upper
ones with bricks. Some of the cells are richly furnished, and display
more delicate attention to luxury than rigid observance of monastic
austerity. The library contains a great number of books on theology and
morality. On the wall of the stairs leading from the cloister to the
choir is a fine painting of Christ in the sepulchre.

The rents of this convent amount to about eighty thousand dollars
annually, and the number of friars belonging to the order is one hundred
and forty. The provincial prelates are elected by the chapter every
year, being a Spaniard and a Creole alternately, and the contests run so
high, that a military force has sometimes been found necessary to
prevent bloodshed.

Belonging to this order is the sanctuary of Saint Rose, she having been
a _beata_, a devotee of the order, wearing the Dominican habit. In the
small chapel are several relics or remains of the saint, as bones, hair,
&c., but more particularly a pair of dice, with which, it is pretended,
when Rose was exhausted by prayers and penance, Christ often entertained
her with a game. Shame having become paramount to deceit, the pious
brethren have lately been loath to expose these dice, which, however,
were shewn to me in 1805, and I kissed them with as much pious devotion
as I would have done any other pair.

The church, chapels and convents of San Francisco, belonging to the casa
grande, about 200 yards from the great square, plasa mayor, are the
largest and most elegant in Lima. The church does not possess the riches
of St. Dominick’s, but its appearance is more solemn; the porch is
filled with statues and other ornaments, and the two steeples are lofty
and somewhat elegant. The roof is supported by two rows of stone
pillars, and is of panel work of the Gothic order: some of the altars
are curiously carved and gilt, and the pillars, moulding, &c. of the
sacrariums are cased with silver: the service of plate is rich, and the
robes of the priests are splendid. Like the cathedral, this church has a
complete set of crimson velvet hangings, laced and fringed with gold.

The chapel called _del Milagro_ is most tastefully ornamented; some of
the paintings executed by Don Matias Maestre are good: the high altar is
cased with silver, and the niche of the Madonna is beautifully wrought
of the same material. Mass is celebrated here every half-hour, from five
in the morning till noon. In the vestry of this chapel are paintings of
the heads of the apostles, by Reubens, or, as some assert, by Morillo;
however this may be, they are undoubtedly very fine. The following story
is related of this Madonna. On the 27th of November, 1630, a very severe
shock of an earthquake was felt; the effigy was then standing over the
porch of the church, fronting the street; but at the time of the shock
she turned round, they say, and facing the high altar, lifted up her
hands in a supplicating posture, and thus, according to many pious
believers, preserved the city from destruction! From this act she is
called _del milagro_, of the miracle.

[Illustration: FEMALES OF LIMA.

_Engraved for Stevenson’s Narrative of South America._]

Another chapel, elegantly ornamented, is of Nuestra Señora de los
Dolores; and one in the interior of the convent is dedicated to the
fraternity of Terceros of the order, and the religious exercises of St.
Ignacio de Loyola, with a cloister of small cells for _exercitantes_.
The chapel contains five beautiful paintings from the passion of Christ,
by Titian; they belong to the Count of Lurigancho, and are only lent to
the chapel. Inside the convent is a pantheon or mausoleum for the order
and some of the principal benefactors; but it is at present closed, all
the dead being now interred at the pantheon on the outside the city
walls. The principal cloister is very handsome: the lower part of the
walls is covered with blue and white Dutch tiles, above which is a range
of paintings, neatly executed, taken from the life of St. Francis. The
pillars are of stone; the mouldings, cornices, &c. of stucco. The roof
is of panel work, which with the beams is most laboriously carved: at
the angles are small altars of carved wood. In the middle of this
cloister there is a garden and an arbour of jessamine on trellis work,
crossing it at right angles: in the centre is a beautiful brass
fountain; and in the middle of each square, formed by the intersection
of the arbour, is a smaller one, throwing the water twenty feet high.
The minor squares are filled with pots of choice flowers, and a number
of birds in cages hang among the jessamines. Two large folding gates
lead from the church to the cloister, and whether the garden be viewed
from the former, or the music of the choir be heard from the latter, the
effect is equally fascinating. The stairs from the lower cloister to the
upper, as well as the church choir, are beautifully finished. There are
two flights of steps to the first landing place, and one from thence to
the top; the centre flight is supported by a light groined arch; over
the whole is a dome of wood-work, elegantly carved, and producing a most
noble effect. This convent has nine cloisters, including the noviciate,
and belonging to it there are about three hundred friars. The provincial
prelate is elected by the chapter, a Spaniard and a Creole alternately;
the order is of mendicants, and consequently possesses no property; it
is supported by charity, and having the exclusive privilege of selling
shrouds, it acquires a very large income, as no one wishes that a
corpse should be buried without the sacred habit of St. Francis. The
shroud is in fact exactly the same as the habit of the friar, which gave
rise to the curious remark of a foreigner, “that he had observed none
but friars died in this place.” The library is rich in theological

Belonging to St. Francis is the recluse of St. Diego. The friars in this
small convent wear the coarse grey habit, and are barefooted. They lead
a most exemplary life, seldom leave their cloisters except on the duty
of their profession, and even then one never goes alone; if a young
friar be sent for, an old friar accompanies him, and vice versa: to the
intent that the young friar may profit by the sage deportment of the
old. At this convent, as well as at every other of the order of St.
Francis, food is daily distributed to the poor at twelve o’clock, at the
postern, and many demi-paupers dine with the community in the refectory.
The gardens of St. Diego are extensive, and contain a large stock of
good fruit trees, as well as medicinal plants. The solemn silence which
reigns in the small but particularly clean cloisters of this convent
seem to invite a visitor to religious seclusion; for, as it is often
said, the very walls breathe sanctity. Here is also a cloister of small
cells, and a chapel for religious exercises, where any man may retire
for a week from the hurry and bustle of the town, and dedicate a portion
of his life to religious meditation. During Lent the number of those who
thus retire is very great; their principal object is to prepare
themselves to receive the communion; and they have every assistance with
which either precept or example can furnish them.

The church of San Agustin is small, light, and ornamented with sculpture
and gilding. The convent is of the second class, but the order is rich,
and their college of San Ildefonso is considered the best conventual
college in Lima.

The church of Nuestra Señora de la Merced is large, but not rich. This
order, as well as that of San Agustin, elect their provincial prelates
every year; they are always natives, no Spaniard being allowed to become
a prelate; even the habit is denied them, so that few Spaniards of
either of the two orders are to be found in Lima, and these few belong
to other convents. The duty of the order, which is denominated a
military one, is to collect alms for the redemption of captive

In the churches belonging to the nunneries there is a great quantity of
tasteful ornaments, but nothing very costly, although the income of one,
the Concepcion, exceeds a hundred thousand dollars annually. It is said,
that the four best situations in Lima are the Mother Abbess of
Concepcion, the Provincialate of Santo Domingo, the Archbishopric, and
the Viceroyalty.

The enormous sums of money which the nunneries have received at
different times almost exceed belief; for independently of gifts and
other pious donations, the dowry of each nun, when she takes the veil,
amounts to three thousand dollars; and many females who have been
possessed of large sums have declared their whole property to have been
their dowry–thus preventing the possibility of a law-suit, and often
depriving, by this subterfuge, poor relatives from enjoying what they
had long hoped for at the death of the possessor.

Nuns, as well as friars, have one year of probation, as novices, before
they can profess or take the veil, which seals their doom for life. When
a female chooses to become a nun she is usually dressed in her best
attire, and attended by a chosen company of friends, whom she regales at
her own house, or at that of some acquaintance; in the evening she goes
to the church of the nunnery, and is admitted into the lower choir by a
postern in the double gratings; she retires, but soon re-appears
dispossessed of her gay attire, and clothed in the religious habit of
the order, without either scapulary or veil, and then bids adieu to her
friends, who immediately return to their houses, whilst the nuns are
chaunting a welcome to their new sister. At the expiration of a year,
the novice is questioned as to the purity of her intentions, by the
Mother Abbess, or Prioress; and if she express a desire to profess, a
report is made to the Prelate of the order, who is the bishop, or his
delegate, or the provincial prelate of the monastic order; for some
nunneries are under the jurisdiction of the ordinary, or bishop, and
others under that of the regulars of their own order. The evening before
the day appointed for the solemn ceremony of taking the veil, the
prelate, accompanied by the chaplain of the nunnery, and the parents and
friends of the nun, goes to the gate or locutory of the nunnery, and the
novice is delivered to him by the Mother Abbess and community, in their
full habits of ceremony; she is then led to the church, when the prelate
seating himself, the chaplain reads to her the institute or laws and
regulations of the order; he questions her as to her own will, explains
to her the duty of the profession she is going to embrace, and warns her
not to be intimidated by threats, nor hallucinated by promises, but to
say whether by her own consent, free will, and choice she have
determined to become a sister of the order, and a professed spouse of
Christ, according to the spirit of the Church. If she answer in the
affirmative, she is re-conducted to the locutory, where she spends the
evening with her friends, or, if she desire it, she can go to the house
of her parents, or visit other religious houses. Early the next morning
the novice makes her private vows of chastity, poverty, obedience and
monastic seclusion, in the hands of the Mother Abbess, the whole
sisterhood being present. At a later hour the prelate and the
officiating priests attend the church, and high mass is celebrated; the
novice is now presented at the communion grating, where she receives the
sacrament from the prelate; she then retires, and the rules of the order
are again read to her, and if she still give her assent to them, she
kisses the rules and the missal. A funeral pall is spread on the floor
of the choir, on which the novice lies down, and is covered with
another; the knell for the dead is tolled by the nunnery bells, the
nuns holding funeral tapers in their hands, with their veils down,
chaunting a mournful dirge, after which a solemn requiem is performed by
the priests and the choir. The novice rises, assisted by the nuns, and
the prelate, going to the communion table, takes a small veil in his
hands, and chaunts the anthem, “Veni sponsa Christi.” The novice
approaches the table, the veil is laid on her head, and a lighted taper
put into her hand, ornamented as a palm, after which she is crowned with
flowers. The Mother Abbess next presents her to each nun, whom she
salutes, and lastly the Abbess. She then bows to the prelate, priests,
and her friends, and retires in solemn procession, the whole community
chaunting the psalm, “Laudate Domini.”

Much has been said and written respecting nuns and nunneries, and most
unfeeling assertions have been made both with regard to the cause and
effect of taking the veil; but, from what I have heard and seen, these
assertions are generally as false as they are uncharitable; they are too
often the effusions of bigots, who endeavour to load with the vilest
epithets as well the cloistered nun, the devout catholic, and the pious
protestant, as the immoral libertine. They apply to themselves the
text, “he that is not for me, is against me,” and every thing that
militates against their own peculiar doctrines must be wrong. I never
knew a nun who repented of her vows, and I have conversed with hundreds:
many have said that they doubted not but that happiness was to be found
without the walls, and discontent within, but that neither could be
attributed exclusively to their being found in or out of a nunnery. Let
those who would revile the conduct of their fellow creatures look to
their own; let those who pity, search at home for objects: they who
would amend others, should set the example. If we suppose that some of
the inmates of cloisters are the victims of tyranny, we should recollect
how many others are sacrificed at the shrine of avarice to the bond of
matrimony! for the vows at the altar are alike indissoluble, and their
effects are often far more distressing.

The vows of a friar are similar to those of the nuns; but owing perhaps
to the door of the convent being as open as that of the choir, they are
not so religiously fulfilled. The friars may indeed be considered as a
nuisance, for they are generally formed of the dregs of society. When a
father knows not what to do with a profligate son, he will send him to a
convent, where having passed his year in the noviciate, he professes,
and relying on his convent as a home, he becomes a drone to society, a
burden to his order, and a disgrace to his own character. It was well
said, by Jovellanos, that “friars enter their convent without knowing
each other, live without loving one another, and die without bewailing
one another.” I have nevertheless known many virtuous and learned men
among the hooded brethren, but rarely have I heard any one state, that
he did not regret having taken the solemn oath that bound him to the
cloister, and made him one of a fraternity which he could not avoid
disliking. It generally happens, that the respectable individuals who
assume a religious habit apply themselves to study, and by becoming
lecturers, or getting a degree of D. D. in the University, they escape
the drudgery of a hebdomadary, and take a seat in the chapter of the

The hospital of San Andres is appropriated to white people; it has
several large neat wards, with clean beds; these are placed in small
alcoves on each side the ward, and are so constructed, that in case of
necessity, another row of beds can be formed along the top of the
alcoves; it contains about six hundred beds, a number which can be
doubled. The wards are well ventilated from the roof, and are kept
wholesome. When a patient enters, he has a bed assigned him; his clothes
are taken away, deposited in a general wardrobe, and not returned to him
until orders are given by the physician or surgeon. The sick are not
allowed to have any money in their possession, nor are visitors
permitted to give them any thing, without the consent of one of the
major domos, or overseers. A good garden, called a botanic garden,
belongs to the hospital; also an amphitheatre, or dissecting room. The
college of San Fernando, built by the Viceroy Abascal, for the study of
medicine and surgery, adjoins this hospital, and here the students
practise. It has also a department for drugs, where all the
prescriptions are attended to by regular professors. The druggists, as
well as the physicians and surgeons, are subject to examination in the
university, and cannot practise without permission from the college of
physicians, to whose annual visits they are liable, for the purpose of
examining their drugs. No physician or surgeon is allowed to have drugs
at his own house, or to make up his own prescriptions: even the barbers,
who are phlebotomists, are examined by the board of surgeons.

The hospital of San Bartolome is for negroes and other people of
colour; if they are free, they are received gratis, but if slaves, their
owners pay half a dollar a day for the time they remain. St. Ana is for
indians, and was founded by an indian lady, called Catalina Huanca. This
casica was very rich, and besides this pious establishment she left
large sums of money for other charitable uses; but her most
extraordinary bequest was a sum for forming and paying the body guard of
the Viceroy, both the halberdiers and the cavalry, consisting of a
hundred men. The hospital del Espiritu Santo is for sailors, and a
portion of the wages is deducted, called hospital money, from the pay of
every sailor who enters the port of Callao. San Pedro is part of the
convent bearing the same name, formerly belonging to the Jesuits, and
now occupied by the congregation of San Felipe Neri. This hospital is
for poor clergymen. San Pedro de Alcantara, and la Caridad, are both for
females, and San Lazaro for lepers. Particular care is taken in the
different hospitals, as well to the administration of medicine and
surgical operations, as to the diet, cleanliness, ventilation, and
comfort of the sick.

Besides these hospitals, there are the convalescencies of Belen and San
Juan de Dios, under the management of the friars of the two orders.
More particular attention is paid here to the sick than in the
hospitals; any individual is received on paying half a dollar a day, or
through the recommendation of one of the benefactors. I was twice in San
Juan de Dios, and received every assistance and indulgence that I had a
right to expect.

The college of Santo Toribio is a tridentine seminary, where young
gentlemen are educated principally for the church; four collegians
attend mass at the cathedral every morning, for the purpose of being
initiated into the ceremonies of their future professions. Their habit
is an almond coloured gown, very wide at the bottom, and buttoned round
the neck; when spread open its form is completely circular, having a
hole with a collar in the centre; this is called the _opa_. A piece of
pale blue cloth, about eight inches broad, is passed over one shoulder,
then folded on the breast, and the end thrown across the opposite
shoulder, the two ends hanging down behind the bottom of the opa. On the
left side of this cloth, called the beca, the royal arms are
embroidered. A square clerical cap or bonnet of black cloth is worn on
the head. This college bears the name of its founder, and is supported
by rents appertaining to it; there is also a subsidy paid annually by
each beneficed curate in the archbishopric, and a certain sum by each

The college of San Carlos is called the royal college; it was founded by
the Jesuits, under the title of San Martin, but after the extinction of
that order it was changed to San Carlos. The principal studies in this
college are a course of arts and law; but theology is also taught. The
dress is a full suit of black, a cocked hat, dress sword of gold or
gilt, and formerly the royal arms suspended at a button-hole on the left
side by a light blue ribbon. The college is capacious, having a chapel,
refectory, garden, baths, different disputing rooms, and a good library,
containing many prohibited French and other authors. San Carlos is
supported by a yearly stipend from the treasury, assisted by what the
collegians pay for their education. Lectures are delivered by
_pasantes_, or the head collegians, to the lower classes; for which they
receive a pecuniary reward, and wear as a distinguishing badge, a light
blue ribbon or scarf, crossing from the left shoulder to the right side,
to which the arms are suspended instead of the button-hole.

In the college del Principe, young noble indian caciques are educated
for the church; their dress is a full suit of green, a crimson shoulder
ribbon and cocked hat. That of San Fernando, for medicine, has for dress
a full suit of blue, yellow buttons, the collar trimmed with gold lace,
and a cocked hat.

All the secular colleges have a rector and vice-rector, who are secular
clergymen; some of the lecturers are also clergymen, but more commonly
collegians pasantes. There is a proviso in the synodal laws for
collegians from Santo Toribio and San Carlos; among those who receive
holy orders benefices are insured to a certain number. In what was the
palace of the Viceroy, is a nautical academy, where several young men
study astronomy, navigation, &c.: it has a good stock of instruments,
maps, and charts. Many of the maps are original, from surveys made at
different times, and which have not been published.

The university stands in the _plasa de la inquisicion_. It is a handsome
building, containing several good halls, beside the public disputing
room, which is fitted up with desks and benches, tribunes, galleries,
&c.; a neat chapel, a small cloister, and an extensive library. The
rector enjoys a good salary, and has many perquisites; one is elected by
the professors every three years, and the one chosen is alternately a
secular priest and a layman. The professors’ chairs are sinecures, for
the professors never lecture, and only attend on days of public
disputation, or when degrees are conferred. Degrees of bachelor and
master are granted by the rector, on paying the fees. That of doctor in
any faculty requires a public examination, and plurality of votes of the
examiners and professors in the faculty of the degree solicited.
Previous to the examination the rector holds a table of the points of
controversy; the candidate pricks into one of them, and is obliged to
defend this point on the following day, at the same hour. The discussion
is opened by the candidate with an harangue in Latin, which lasts an
hour, after which the point is discussed in forma scholastica by the
candidate and the examiners; this lasts another hour, when the rector
and professors retire, and vote the degree. On the following day the
candidate presents a thesis to the rector, who reads it, and challenges
the students who are present to dispute it. This act is generally opened
by the candidate with an elegant speech in Latin; after which he
supports his argument against the wranglers who may present themselves.
If the degree be voted him, he goes up to the rector, who places on his
head the bonnet, which bears in deep silk fringe from the centre the
distinguishing colour of the faculty, blue and white for divinity, red
for canons, green for jurisprudence or law, and yellow for medicine. The
young doctor takes his place on his proper bench, and is complimented by
the senior professors of the faculty; when the whole company adjourns to
a splendid collation prepared by the new brother of the bonnet and

This university, now under the title of San Marcos, was founded in 1549
by a bull of Pius V. with the same privileges as those enjoyed by that
of Salamanca in Spain; it was, till 1576, in the hands of the Dominican
friars; but by an edict of Felipe III. it was placed under the royal
patronage, and built where it at present stands. It has produced many
great scientific characters, the portraits of several of whom adorn the
walls of the principal hall. Among the faculty, those whose talents are
most conspicuous are, in theology, Rodrigues, rector of San Carlos; in
law, Vivar, rector of the college of advocates; Unanue, president of the
college of physicians, _protomedico_, and director of San Fernando;
Valdes, president of the board of surgeons: (he is a man of colour, the
first who has taken the degree of doctor in the university); Parades,
professor of mathematics; and many others, who are famous in the pulpit,
the forum or the hospitals.

In the same square are the holy tribunal, whence the plasa derives its
name, and the hospital of la Caridad: it is often called the plasa of
the three cardinal virtues–Faith, the inquisition; Hope, the
university; and Charity, the hospital.

I shall now describe the inquisition as it was, “_bearing its blushing
honours thick upon it_,” or rather, what I saw of it when summoned to
appear before that dread tribunal; and also what I saw of it after its
abolition by the Cortes.

Having one day engaged in a dispute with Father Bustamante, a Dominican
friar, respecting the image of the Madonna of the Rosary, he finished
abruptly, by assuring me that I should hear of it again. On the same
evening I went to a billiard-room, where the Count de Montes de Oro was
playing. I observed him look at me, and then speak to some friends on
the opposite side of the table. I immediately recollected the threat of
Father Bustamante–I knew, too, that the count was alguazil mayor of the
inquisition. I passed him and nodded, when he immediately followed me
into the street. I told him that I supposed he had some message for me;
he asked my name, and then said that he had. I said I was aware of it,
and ready to attend at any moment. Considering for a short time, he
observed, “this is a matter of too serious a nature to be spoken of in
the street,” and he went with me to my rooms. After some hesitation, his
lordship informed me that I must accompany him on the next morning to
the holy tribunal of the Faith; I answered that I was ready at any
moment; and I would have told him the whole affair, but, clapping his
hands to his ears, he exclaimed “no! for the love of God, not a word; I
am not an inquisitor; it does not become me to know the secrets of the
holy house,” adding the old adage, “_del Rey y la inquisicion,
chiton_,–of the King and the inquisition, hush. I can only hope and
pray that you be as rancid a Christian as myself.” He most solemnly
advised me to remain in my room, and neither see nor speak to any
one–to betake myself to prayer, and on no account whatever to let any
one know that he had anticipated the summons, because, said he, “that is
certainly contrary to the laws of the holy house.” I relieved him from
his fears on this point, and assured him, that I should return with him
to the coffee-house, and that I would remain at home for him on the
following morning at nine o’clock. At the appointed hour, an under
alguazil came to my room, and told me that the alguazil mayor waited for
me at the corner of the next street. On meeting him there, he ordered
me not to speak to him, but to accompany him to the inquisition. I did
so, and saw the messenger and another person following us at a distance.
I appeared unconcerned until I had entered the porch after the count,
and the two followers had passed. The count now spoke to me, and asked
me if I were prepared; I told him I was: he then knocked at the inner
door, which was opened by the porter. Not a word was uttered. We sat
down on a bench for a few minutes, till the domiciliary returned with
the answer, that I must wait. The old count now retired, and looked, as
he thought, a long adieu; but said nothing. In a few minutes a beadle
beckoned me to follow him. I passed the first and second folding doors,
and arrived at the tribunal: it was small, but lofty, a scanty light
forcing its way through the grated windows near the roof. As I entered,
five Franciscan friars left the hall by the same door–their hoods were
hung over their faces–their arms folded–their hands hid in their
sleeves–and their cords round their necks. They appeared by their gait
to be young, and marched solemnly after their conductor, a grave old
friar, who had his hood over his face, but his cord round his waist,
indicating that he was not doing penance. I felt I know not how–I
looked upon them with pity, but could not help smiling, as the idea
rushed across my mind, that such a procession at midnight would have
disturbed a whole town in England, and raised the posse comitatus to lay
them. I turned my eyes to the dire triumvirate, seated on an elevated
part of the hall, under a canopy of green velvet edged with pale blue, a
crucifix of a natural size hanging behind them; a large table was placed
before them, covered and trimmed to match the canopy, and bearing two
green burning tapers, an inkstand, some books, and papers. Jovellanos
described the inquisition by saying it was composed of _un Santo Cristo,
dos candileros, y tres majderos_–one crucifix, two candlesticks, and
three blockheads. I knew the inquisitors–but how changed from what at
other times I had seen them! The puny, swarthy Abarca, in the centre,
scarcely half filling his chair of state–the fat monster Zalduegui on
his left, his corpulent paunch being oppressed by the arms of his chair,
and blowing through his nostrils like an over-fed porpoise–the fiscal,
Sobrino, on his right, knitting his black eyebrows, and striving to
produce in his unmeaning face a semblance of wisdom. A secretary stood
at each end of the table; one of them bad me to approach, which I did,
by ascending three steps, which brought me on a level with the
above-described trinity of harpies. A small wooden stool was placed for
me, and they nodded to me to sit down; I nodded in return, and complied.

The fiscal now asked me, in a solemn tone, if I knew why I had been
summoned to attend at this holy tribunal? I answered that I did, and was
going to proceed, when he hissed for me to be silent. He informed me,
that I must swear to the truth of what I should relate. I told him that
I would _not_ swear; for, as I was a foreigner, he was not sure that I
was a catholic; it was therefore unnecessary for me to take that oath
which, perhaps, would not bind me to speak the truth. At this time a few
mysterious nods passed between the fiscal and the chief inquisitor, and
I was again asked, whether I would speak the truth: I answered, yes. The
matter at last was broached; I was asked if I knew the reverend father
Bustamante? I replied, “I know _friar_ Bustamante, I have often met him
in coffee houses; but I suppose the reverend father you mean is some
grave personage, who would not enter such places.” “Had you any
conversation with father Bustamante, touching matters of religion?” “No,
but touching matters of superstition, I had.” “Such things are not to
be spoken of in coffee houses,” said Zalduegui. “No,” I rejoined, “I
told father Bustamante the same thing.” “But you ought to have been
silent,” replied he. “Yes,” said I, “and be barked at by a _friar_.”
Zalduegui coloured, and asked me what I meant by laying such a stress on
the word friar. “Any thing,” said I, “just as you choose to take it.”
After questions and answers of this kind, for more than an hour, Abarca
rang a small bell; the beadle entered, and I was ordered to retire. In a
short time I was again called in, and directed to wait on Sobrino the
following morning at eight o’clock, at his house: I did so, and
breakfasted with him.[6] He advised me in future to avoid all religious
disputes, and particularly with persons I did not know, adding, “I
requested an interview, because on the seat of judgment I could not
speak in this manner. You must know,” said he, “that you are here
subject to the tribunal of the Faith, you, as well as all men who live
in the dominions of his Catholic Majesty; you must, therefore, shape
your course accordingly.” Saying this he retired, and left me alone to
find my way out of the house, which I immediately did. In the evening I
went to a coffee house, where I saw my friend, friar Bustamante; he
blushed, but with double civility nodded, and pointed to a seat at the
table at which he was sitting. I shrugged my shoulders, and nodded
significantly, perhaps sneeringly; he took the hint, and left the room.
Soon afterwards I met the old Count de Montes de Oro, who looked,
hesitated, and in a short time passed me, caught my hand, which he
squeezed, but spoke not a word.

The act of the Cortes of Spain which abolished the inquisition, and
which, during its discussion, produced many excellent though over-heated
speeches, was published in Lima just after the above occurrence. The
Señora Doña Gregoria Gainsa, lady of Colonel Gainsa, informed me that
she and some friends had obtained permission of the Viceroy Abascal to
visit the ex-tribunal; and she invited me to accompany them on the
following day, after dinner. I attended, and we went to visit the
monster, as they now dared to call it. The doors of the hall being
opened, many entered who were not invited, and seeing nothing in a
posture of defence, the first victims to our fury were the table and
chairs: these were soon demolished; after which some persons laid hold
of the velvet curtains of the canopy, and dragged them so forcibly, that
canopy and crucifix came down with a horrid crash. The crucifix was
rescued from the ruins of inquisitorial state, and its head discovered
to be moveable. A ladder was found to have been secreted behind the
canopy, and thus the whole mystery of this miraculous image became
explainable and explained:–a man was concealed on the ladder, by the
curtains of the canopy, and by introducing his hand through a hole, he
moved the head, so as to make it nod consent, or shake dissent. In how
many instances may appeal to this imposture have caused an innocent man
to own himself guilty of crimes he never dreamt of! Overawed by fear,
and condemned, as was believed, by a miracle, falsehood would supply the
place of truth, and innocence, if timid, confess itself sinful. Every
one was now exasperated with rage, and “there are yet victims in the
cells,” was universally murmured. “A search! a search!” was the cry, and
the door leading to the interior was quickly broken through. The next we
found was called _del secreto_; the word secret stimulated curiosity,
and the door was instantly burst open. It led to the archives. Here were
heaped, upon shelves, papers, containing the written cases of those who
had been accused or tried; and here I read the name of many a friend,
who little imagined that his conduct had been scrutinized by the holy
tribunal, or that his name had been recorded in so awful a place. Some
who were present discovered their own names on the rack, and pocketed
the papers. I put aside fifteen cases, and took them home with me; but
they were not of great importance. Four for blasphemy bore a sentence,
which was three months’ seclusion in a convent, a general confession,
and different penances–all secret. The others were accusations of
friars, _solicitantes in confesione_, two of whom I knew, and though
some danger attended the disclosure, I told them afterwards what I had
seen. Prohibited books in abundance were in the room, and many found
future owners. To our great surprise we here met with a quantity of
printed cotton handkerchiefs. These alas! had incurred the displeasure
of the inquisition, because a figure of religion, holding a chalice in
one hand and a cross in the other was stamped in the centre: placed
there perhaps by some unwary manufacturer, who thought such devout
insignia would insure purchasers, but who forgot the heinousness of
blowing the nose or spitting upon the cross. To prevent such a crime
this religious tribunal had taken the wares by wholesale, omitting to
pay their value to the owner, who might consider himself fortunate in
not having his shop removed to the sacred house. Leaving this room we
forced our way into another, which to our astonishment and indignation
was that of torture! In the centre stood a strong table, about eight
feet long and seven feet broad; at one end of which was an iron collar,
opening in the middle horizontally, for the reception of the neck of the
victim; on each side of the collar were also thick straps with buckles,
for enclosing the arms near to the body; and on the sides of the table
were leather straps with buckles for the wrists, connected with cords
under the table, made fast to the axle of an horizontal wheel; at the
other end were two more straps for the ancles with ropes similarly fixed
to the wheel. Thus it was obvious, that a human being might be extended
on the table, and, by turning the wheel, might be stretched in both
directions at the same time, without any risk of hanging, for that
effect was prevented by the two straps under his arms, close to the
body; but almost every joint might be dislocated. After we had
discovered the diabolical use of this piece of machinery, every one
shuddered, and involuntarily looked towards the door, as if
apprehensive that it would close upon him. At first curses were
muttered, but they were soon changed into loud imprecations against the
inventors and practisers of such torments; and blessings were showered
on the Cortes for having abolished this tribunal of arch tyranny. We
next examined a vertical pillory, placed against the wall; it had one
large and two smaller holes; on opening it, by lifting up the one half,
we perceived apertures in the wall, and the purpose of the machine was
soon ascertained. An offender having his neck and wrists secured in the
holes of the pillory, and his head and hands hidden in the wall, could
be flogged by the lay brothers of St. Dominick without being known by
them; and thus any accidental discovery was avoided. Scourges of
different materials were hanging on the wall; some of knotted cord, not
a few of which were hardened with blood; others were of wire chain, with
points and rowels, like those of spurs; these too were clotted with
blood. We also found tormentors, made of netted wire, the points of
every mesh projecting about one-eighth of an inch inward, the outside
being covered with leather, and having strings to tie them on. Some of
these tormentors were of a sufficient size for the waist, others for
the thighs, the legs and arms. The walls were likewise adorned with
shirts of horse hair, which could not be considered as a very
comfortable habit after a severe flagellation; with human bones, having
a string at each end, to gag those who made too free a use of their
tongues; and with nippers, made of cane, for the same purpose. These
nippers consisted of two slips of cane, tied at the ends; by opening in
the middle when they were put into the mouth, and fastened behind the
head, in the same manner as the bones, they pressed forcibly upon the
tongue. In a drawer were a great many finger screws; they were small
semicircular pieces of iron, in the form of crescents, having a screw at
one end, so that they could be fixed on the fingers, and screwed to any
degree, even till the nails were crushed and the bones broken. On
viewing these implements of torture, who could find an excuse for the
monsters who would use them to establish the faith which was taught, by
precept and example, by the mild, the meek, the holy Jesus! May he who
would not curse them in the bitterness of wrath fall into their
merciless hands! The rack and the pillory were soon demolished; for such
was the fury of more than a hundred persons who had gained admittance,
that had they been constructed of iron they could not have resisted the
violence and determination of their assailants. In one corner stood a
wooden horse, painted white: it was conceived to be another instrument
of torture, and instantly broken to pieces; but I was afterwards
informed, that a victim of the inquisition, who had been burnt at the
stake, was subsequently declared innocent of the charges preferred
against him, and as an atonement for his death, his innocence was
publicly announced, and his effigy, dressed in white, and mounted on
this horse, was paraded about the streets of Lima. Some said that the
individual suffered in Lima, others, that he suffered in Spain, and that
by a decree of the inquisitor-general this farce was performed in every
part of the Spanish dominions where a tribunal existed. We proceeded to
the cells, but found them all open and empty: they were small, but not
uncomfortable as places of confinement. Some had a small yard attached;
others, more solitary, had none. The last person known to have been
confined was a naval officer, an Andalusian, who was exiled in 1812 to
Boca Chica.

Having examined every corner of this mysterious prison-house, we retired
in the evening, taking with us books, papers, scourges, tormentors,
&c., many of which were distributed at the door, particularly several
pieces of the irreligious handkerchiefs. The following morning the
archbishop went to the cathedral, and declared all those persons
excommunicated, _vel participantes_, who had taken and should retain in
their possession any thing that had belonged to, or had been found in
the ex-tribunal of the inquisition. In consequence of this declaration,
many delivered up what they had taken; but with me the case was
different–I kept what I had got, in defiance of _flamines infernorum_
denounced by his grace against the _renitentes_ and _retinentes_.

It is said, that when Castel-forte was Viceroy in Lima, he was summoned
by the inquisition, and attended accordingly. Taking with him to the
door his body-guard, a company of infantry, and two pieces of artillery,
he entered, and laying his watch on the table, told the inquisitors,
that if their business were not despatched in one hour, the house would
be battered down about their ears, for such were the orders he had left
with the commanding officer at the gate. This was quite sufficient; the
inquisitors rose, and accompanied him to the door, too happy when they
beheld the backs of his excellency and his escort.

During my residence in Lima, I saw two men publicly disgraced by the
inquisition; the one for having celebrated mass without having been
ordained, and the other for soothsaying and witchcraft. They were placed
in the chapel of the tribunal at an early hour in the morning, each
dressed in a _sambenito_, a short loose tunic, covered with ridiculous
paintings of snakes, bats, toads, flames, &c. The pseudo priest had a
mitre of feathers placed on his head, the other a crown of the same.
They stood in the centre of the chapel, each holding a green taper in
his hand. At nine o’clock one of the secretaries ascended the pulpit,
and read the cause for which they were punished. The poor mass-sayer
appeared very penitent, but the old fortune-teller, when some of his
tricks were related, burst into a loud laugh, in which he was joined by
most of the people present. Two mules were brought to the door, and the
two culprits were tied on their backs, having their faces towards the
tails. The procession then began to move: first several alguazils, with
the Count de Montes de Oro at their head; next the mules, led by the
common hangman; while the inquisitors, in their state coaches, brought
up the rear. Two friars of the order of St. Dominick carried on each
side the coaches large branches of palm. In this order they marched to
St. Dominick’s church, and were received at the door by the provincial
prelate and community: the culprits were placed in the centre of the
church, and the same papers read from the pulpit, after which the men
were sentenced to serve in the hospitals during the will of the

To those who visit Lima, it may perhaps be interesting to know, that the
stake at which the unfortunate victims of inquisitorial tyranny were
burnt was near the ground on which the _plasa de toros_, bull circus,
now stands; and that at the foot of the bridge, at the door of the
church, _de los desamparados_, of the abandoned, they were delivered to
the ordinary ministers of justice for execution.

It is well known, that many exaggerated accounts have been given of the
inquisition, tending more to create doubts, than to establish the truth
of the inhuman proceedings of that tribunal. I have stated this fact
elsewhere, not with the view of palliating the proceedings, but to put
readers on their guard, neither to believe nor disbelieve all that is
written. That enough may be said to make humanity shudder, and still
more remain untold, is proved by what I saw in the Pandemonium of Lima.
But the inquisitors knew too well, that those who had undergone the
pains and torments which they inflicted would be apt to divulge them, so
that it was their interest either to be sparing of torture, or to
prevent a discovery by sacrificing the victim.

When the beloved Ferdinand abolished the Cortes and the constitution in
1812 he restored the inquisition, and often in Madrid personally
presided at its sessions. This was not however sufficient to encourage
its ministers to proceed with that rigour they had been wont to
exercise; they had been once dethroned, and were not certain of their
own stability. In Lima the monsters were tame, nay harmless; but this
proceeded from fear. No doubt Ferdinand, like his predecessor, Pedro,
and the inquisitors, like their founder, St. Dominick, wished for the
arrival of a time when they could repeat, “nothing rejoices my soul so
much as to hear the bones of heretics crackling at the stake.” To the
credit of the new governments in South America, the inquisition has been
every where abolished, and all spiritual jurisdiction re-invested in the

The _casa de los huerfanos_, foundling hospital, is an establishment
that does honour to its founder, who was an apothecary. All white
children are received by tapping at a small revolving window, and
placing the child on it when it turns. They are brought up and educated,
the males to the age of fourteen, when they are apprenticed to some
trade, and according to the rules of the college of medicine, two are
received there every two years. The females have a dowry of one thousand
dollars each on their marriage, and if they become nuns, there is
another charitable institution, founded by the same individual, to which
they apply, and the annual dowries, being five of one thousand dollars
each, are decided by chance, the names of the solicitors being put into
a vase, and drawn in a manner similar to a lottery. Charles IV. declared
all foundlings to be noble, for the purpose of their being eligible to
any situation. Before the establishment of the foundling hospital, many
children were laid at the doors of the wealthy inhabitants, and they
were always taken care of. In small towns this practice still occurs,
but they are more frequently exposed near the huts of the indians, or
slaves; and as the exposed are generally, or I may say always white,
they are received, and their foster-parents often treat them with
greater kindness than their own children, shewing a kind of predilection
for the foundlings. Civilized whites may vaunt of their pious
establishments, but let them turn their eyes to the rude hut of an
indian, robbed of his country and of his native privileges; or to that
of a negro, deprived of the blessings of liberty by the overwhelming
power of white men, and behold a female mingling her tears with those of
a white child, because she is unable to provide for it what by whites
she herself has lost–food, clothing and education! But human nature,
not civilized humanity, is the temple of piety.

The weekly lottery in Lima is an excellent establishment; the tickets
cost one real one-eighth of a dollar each; the prizes are, one of a
thousand dollars, two of five hundred, and the remainder is divided into
smaller sums. There are but few individuals, however poor they may be,
who cannot purchase one or two tickets weekly, and many slaves have
procured their manumission by means of this lottery. I was passing the
fountain belonging to the convent of San Juan de Dios, when two negroes
were disagreeing about the water; an old friar persuaded them to be
quiet and friendly; a seller of lottery tickets happened to pass at the
time, and the two negroes joined in buying a ticket, which an hour
afterwards was drawn a prize of a thousand dollars. In the afternoon the
negroes were free, having purchased their liberty; for which piece of
good fortune the old friar put in his claim, as being the principal

According to the Spanish laws, a master is obliged to sign the deed of
manumission, if the slave can emancipate himself at a fair valuation;
and if the master refuse, the slave may deposit the sum in the public
treasury, and the receipt is a sufficient voucher for his liberty.

The Mint was established in Lima in 1565; in 1570 it was removed to
Potosi, but re-established in Lima in 1603. It is a large building,
containing all the necessary offices. The machinery was formerly worked
by mules, eighty being daily employed, till the year 1817, when Don
Pedro Abadia being the contractor for the coinage, Mr. Trevethick
directed the erection of a water wheel, which caused a great saving of
expense. The assaying, melting, rolling, cutting, weighing, stamping and
milling, are all carried on in different apartments by black men,
principally slaves; but the different offices of superintendance are
filled by white men. The whole is under the direction of an intendant,
and subaltern officers. The coinage is contracted for, and sold to the
highest bidder, who is allowed a per centage on all the gold and silver
that is coined, which in the year 1805 was as follows:–

Gold 501,287 value in dollars.
Silver 8,047,623 do. do.

Lima owes to the Viceroy Abascal, Marquis de la Concordia, the erection
of a place for the interment of all those who die in the city and
suburbs; it is called the pantheon. Situated on the outside of the
walls, it is sufficiently large to contain all the dead bodies for six
years, without removal; when this becomes necessary, the bones are taken
out of the niches, and placed in the osariums. Many of the rich families
have purchased allotments for family vaults, having their names
inscribed above. The building is a square enclosure, divided into
several sections; in the wall are niches, each sufficient to hold a
corpse, and the divisions are also formed by double rows of niches built
one above another, some of them eight stories high, the fronts being
open. The walks are planted with many aromatics and evergreens. In the
centre is a small chapel, or rather altar, with a roof: its form is
octagonal, so that eight priests can celebrate mass at the same time.
The corpse is put into the niche with the feet foremost, if in a coffin,
which seldom happens, except among the richer classes, the lid is
removed, and a quantity of unslaked lime being thrown on each body, its
decay is very rapid. For the conveyance of the dead several hearses of
different descriptions are provided, belonging to the pantheon, and
they are not permitted to traverse the streets after twelve o’clock in
the day.

Before the establishment of this cemetery, all the dead were buried in
the churches, or rather, placed in vaults, many of which had wooden
trap-doors, opening in the floors; and notwithstanding the plentiful use
of lime, the stench and other disgusting effects were sometimes almost
insufferable. When the first nun was to be carried to the pantheon,
great opposition was made by the sisterhood; but the Viceroy sent a file
of soldiers, and enforced the interment of the corpse in the general

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