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sort live comfortably and bring up a family. Every vegetable production for the table with all kinds of fruits, are not only in uncommon profusion but excellent of their sorts. Poultry no where better; turkeys are kept in great droves, and driven to feed on berries as regularly as sheep to pasture; they are fattened on myrtle-berries, and are not only of a delicious flavour but a great size, even to thirty-six pounds weight. Mutton is excellent; some sheep are so small from the island of Yuvica, that three legs are sometimes served up in one dish.

All these circumstances united, seem to point out this island as an excellent winter residence for those who can no longer resort to Nice or Hyeres, and is probably a better climate, than either of them.

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The extent of Majorca is 1234 square leagues, whereof twenty to one degree.

Majorca is reckond to be the 1s part of the continent of Spain; and the whole of Spain does not amount to 250,000,000 pesos per annum, according to the opinion of many well-informed Spaniards.

Majorca. 316,011 3 0 Spain. 55,933,988 17 0


1,121,248 7 0


Engraved by P.Maverick Newark NJ

Mont Blanc

Satley of Chamoung on the Side ascended by Soupure.

from the Valley of







WHEN I was writing the preliminary discourse and the first part of this work, I looked upon the summit of Mont Blanc as absolutely unattainable. In my first excursions to Chamouni in 1760 and 1761, I had it published in all the parishes of the valley, that I would give a considerable recompence to whoever should find a practicable route. I had even promised to those who made unsuccessful trials to pay them for their labour: these promises were of no avail. Pierre Simon made one attempt at the Tacul side, and another at the side of the glacier of Buissons, but returned without any hope of success.

However fifteen years after, that is to say in 1775, four of the Chamouni guides attempted to gain it by the mountain de la Cote, this mountain which forms a ridge pretty near parallel to the glacier of Buissons, approaches to the ices and snows which continue without interruption to the top of Mont Blanc.

There is some difficulty to overcome before entering on these ices, and to cross the first crevices; but these first obstacles once surmounted, there remains no more than the length of the way, and the difficulty of accomplishing in one day the ascent and descent. I say in one day, because the people of the country think it not safe to run the risk of passing the night on these snows.

These four travellers got very well over the first obstacles; they then endeavoured to follow a great valley of snow, which appeared to conduct them immediately to the summit of the mountain. All appeared to promise them the most happy success; they had the finest weather imaginable, they neither met with openings too large, nor precipices too rapid: but the reverberation of the sun on the snow, and the stagnation of the air in this valley made them undergo as they said a suffocating heat, and gave them at the same time such a distaste for the provisions with which they were provided, that overcome by inanition and weariness, they had the grief to be forced to return the same way they went, without having met any visible insurmountable obstacle. It however appears that the efforts they had made were very great, for their strength was very much tried in this excursion, and from it they became more or less ill.

This disappointment however did not prevent three other of Chamouni guides from undertaking the same task, and by the same road in 1783. They passed the night at the top of the mountain de la Cote, crossed the glacier, and followed the same valley of snow. They had already got to a good height, and were proceeding courageously, when one of the boldest and most vigorous of the three was suddenly seized with an insurmountable propensity to sleep: he desired the other two to leave him and go on without, but they could not think of abandoning him, and leaving him to sleep on the snow; persuaded as they were that the heat of the sun would kill him: they therefore Voyage dans les Alpes, ii. 550. 5 G


renounced the undertaking and returned back together to Chamouni. For this propensity to sleep, produced by the rarity of the air, left him as soon as they had descended low enough to find themselves in a thicker atmosphere.

It is very likely that even if this overpowering propensity to sleep had not stopped these brave fellows, they would not have been able to have gained the summit of the mountain, for in effect though they had attained a great height, they had still a great way to go, the heat incommoded them excessively, a thing surprising at this height; they had no appetite; the wine and provisions that they took with them had no charms for them. One of them* told me seriously that it was useless to carry any provisions in this excursion; and that if he should make another trial by the same way, he would only take a parasol and a smelling bottle. When I figured to myself this tall and vigorous mountaineer grapling with the snow, and holding in one hand a little parasol, and in the other a bottle of eau sans pareille, this image had something in it so ridiculous and strange, that nothing could be more convincing to my mind than the idea he had formed to himself of the difficulty of this undertaking, and of consequence of its absolute impossibility for people who have neither the head or the joints of a good guide of Chamouni. Yet M. Bourrit would again make another trial at the end of the season, he likewise slept at the mountain de la Cote, but an unexpected storm coming on obliged him to turn back just at the entrance of the glacier.

For my part, after the informations which I had received from those who had made the attempt at this side, I looked on the success as absolutely impossible, and this was the opinion of all the intelligent people of Chamouni.

M. Bourrit, who interested himself more than I did in the conquest of Mont Blanc, thought he ought to try it by some other side; he gained from all parts all the intelligence he could; at length he learned that two hunters in following some chamois had got on some ridges of rock to so very great a height, that from the place to which they were come, to the summit of Mont Blanc, there remained no more than four or five hundred toises to get up by the declivities of snow which were not very rapid, and in so open an air that there was nothing to fear from that sort of suffocation, that had been found in the valley of snow which ends at the mountain de la Cote.

Charmed with this discovery, M. Bourrit ran to La Grue, the village where these hunters lived, and immediately engaged them to make another trial with him. He left the village the same evening, and arrived with them at break of day at the foot of some steep rocks which it was necessary to pass. The morning air was of an extraordinary keenness; M. Bourrit seized by the cold and overpowered by fatigue could not follow his guides. Two of those, after having left him with the third at the foot of the rocks mounted alone, not only to the top of the same rocks, but very far on the snow: they said that they had reached to the foot of the highest summit of Mont Blanc, from which they were separated only by a ravine of ice, in which, if they had had more time and help they could have made stairs by which they might easily have got to the top.

As soon as this trial had permitted me to believe in the possibility of success, I resolved to make the attempt as soon as the season would permit; I charged two men of the neighbourhood † to watch near the mountain, and to give me notice as soon as the melting of the snows would render it possible. Unhappily they accumulated during the rigorous winters of 1784 and 1785, and those which have frequently fallen during the cold and rainy summer which has succeeded this winter have retarded my departure till the middle of September.

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