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Albert Millican




This is quite the adventure tale and travelog. We see cities, peoples, plants and wildlife of Columbia and the ports our intrepid 'hunter' visits on the way there and back. It is an interesting period; a canal is being cut through Columbia to the city of Panama by the French. The characterisation is appropriate to the time - Europeans and the South American elite are seen as admirable, especially in comparison to the natives and blacks. Indeed, the deaths of several of Millican's native support staff along the way seem to be of minor concern. Millican describes collecting orchids by cutting down many huge trees for a few plants per tree which, we find out later, are unlikely to even survive the trip back to England. The large areas pillaged by previous collectors are an annoyance since he has to travel further afield to collect orchids. He tells us they don't seem to be growing back in areas already stripped. The hiking and boating into and through the jungles and mountains are impressively narrated, but he reduces our admiration by counting up 9 jaguar skins he's carrying back with him, not to mention the crates of plants.

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Cover designed by Availle using the frontispiece of the book. This design is in the public domain.