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By Angela Perez-Mejia, Dick Cluster

Unravels the wealthy complexities of the colonial go back and forth event.

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To listen to these people speak of some effects of nature is to pass one’s time listening to the delirium of madmen. . Let Your Honor learn something of these people’s manner of thought, and give thanks to heaven that you are not in a country where rationality is so scarce that any wellenlightened understanding is in danger. (Viaje a Santa Fe de José Celestino Mutis, 1991, 23) The letter was written from Cartagena during the first year of Mutis’s visit. His journal of that period also displays his disdain for the curative practices of the residents of Nueva Granada.

There he would work for ten more years, but he would not write any more in the notebooks that he called journals. The nation was living through the commotion of communard uprisings. In 1793 the crown began to question the results of the expedition, which seemed to prolong itself endlessly, and sent Don Francisco Martínez to act as supervisor. Martínez praised the work of the expedition but warned that Mutis was old and sick. In 1801, Humboldt and Bonpland came to visit. In a letter to his brother, Humboldt described his visit with the venerable old man whom he had altered his American itinerary in order to see.

This part contains endless local expeditions, descriptions of the work of the group, and endless botanical reports. The final entry is for an unspecified day of 1790; the next-to-final one, from Mariquita in 1785. The journal of thirty years of life in America closes with a phrase as inconclusive as it is enigmatic: “Day 11. 13 During his silent years, Mutis wrote a text, “La vigilia y el sueño de las plantas” (The Sleep and Waking Life of Plants), which has been excluded MUTIS 27 from the final version of the Diario de observaciones, but which for purposes of this study may be considered its third part.

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