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Mr. Gordon tells us (under date Trinidad
10th March, 1870) that he had, some
time before, privately heard from the
President of the Republic of Guyana, that
certain English colonists had been sent out
by a company having offices in London, and
styled the "Chartered American, English,
and Venezuelan Trading and Commercial
Company." That the emigrants had been
sent out, almost destitute, to an unhealthy,
uncleared, and undrained locality on the
Caura river. And that he (President
Dalla Costa) had provided these
unfortunate persons with three months'
provisions, and had forwarded them to the
land they had unhappily bought. Furthermore,
the President begged Mr. Gordon
to do all he could to prevent any further
immigration under similar auspices. From
December, 1869, until a few days before
the date of Mr. Gordon's despatch,
nothing more was heard of the unfortunate
immigrants. Early in March, however,
the re-appearance of two of their number,
survivors of a party of three who had
been sent by their fellow victims to seek
assistance, confirmed the gloomiest views
that had been formed of the probable
prospects of the expedition. These two
gentlemen, one of whom, Mr. Barry, had
been an officer in the Third King's Own
Hussars, gave a lamentable account of
the disasters that had attended the journey
of their party. Under the leadership of
Mr. Bond, late a captain in Her Majesty's
Ninety-first Highlanders, it had, in the
previous December, left the city of Ciudad
Bolivar for the Caura river.

Mr. Barry and the other messenger from
the Caura river reported that they had left
some sixty-five persons, men, women, and
children, chiefly English, at the settlement.
The "township" to which they had been
sent was merely a dense, uncleared, tropical
forest, liable in many places to be overflowed
by the river during the wet season; and it
was the chosen home of fever and dysentery.
Two deaths had taken place at the settlement,
and two elsewhere. The canoe men
had stolen the greater part of President
Dalla Costa's provisions. The supply of
meat (hard jerked beef at the best)
had run out, and a week's stock of rice and
country beans was all that remained
between the party and absolute starvation.
Alas, for the birds, and the fruit, and the
fish, and the other choice articles of the
Vade Mecum! They had no more existence
in fact than certain tools, with delusive
promises of which Mrs. Pattison (who appears
to have transacted Mr. Pattison's business
with Mr. Bond's followers) had charmed
the ears of her confiding customers. Yes;
the advantages of Venezuela turned out to
be as mythical as the agricultural implements
which Mrs. Pattison promised to
bring out with her for the use of the
colonists; but which, as the sensible lady
discreetly stayed at home, were never
supplied. What has since become of this
wretched, deluded, starving, sixty-five Mr.
Gordon does not inform us. But it is to
be hoped that President Dalla Costa has
added one more kindness to the kindnesses
he had already done our countrymen, and
has helped them out of the mud of their
primeval forest. If so, it is devoutly to be
wished that some survivors of the sixty-five
may eventually confront some of the
individuals connected with the management
of the American, English, and Venezuelan
Trading and Commercial Company.

The price charged by the company for
their land does not appear, at first sight,
high. Four pounds for ten acres sounds
reasonable, and, a reduction being made to
persons taking a quantity, the larger allotments
were still cheaper. Thus, one hundred
acres might be had for seventeen pounds
ten shillings; and any fortunate possessor of
twenty-five pounds, might find himself a
Venezuelan landowner to the extent of one
hundred and sixty acres. But, as the land
was unhealthy, utterly unimproved and
undrained, and a mere famishing-ground,
the bargain was not so good after all for
the buyer. Anybody can die miserably, on
a more contracted area than ten acres, and
for less than four pounds! For the seller,
the terms were well enough. Dr. Price's
company had been fortunate enough to
secure their grant at the moderate rate of
four pounds for three square miles. It is
easy to see that if Mr. Pattison could only
have disposed of sufficient land, the profits
would have been decidedly comfortable.
That this company did really receive a large
grant of land in Venezuela seems to be
established; whether the two hundred and
forty thousand miles mentioned in the
company's prospectus represent the actual
quantity allotted, or whether the same halo
of romance which pervades most of the
statements of the Vade Mecum has also
tinged this part of the business with a
roseate hue, may be open to question. But
it appears that the grant, whatever it was,
has been revoked, in consequence of the
non-fulfilment of its conditions by the company;
and that any future purchasers of