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ELDORADO

BY LEVI BISHOP


Soon after the discovery of America by Columbus the imaginary place of untold riches and gold, called the Eldorado, which was supposed to be situated somewhere in the far west, and probably, as was believed, in South America, became a subject not only of fond hopes but of firm belief in the European mind. This belief, though much shaken, must have still existed to a considerable extent in the days of Voltaire, about the middle of the eighteenth century; or if it did not then exist a clear remembrance of it must have then remained in the public mind, for we find in a romance of this another entitled "Candide, or L'Optimism, " perhaps the best account of the imaginary Eldorado to be found in any work whatever. A full translation of this part of the work referred to would be of interest, but I have thought that an abstract of the description of the Eldorado would furnish an appropriate paper for this society. In the course of the romance, Candide, a native of Westphalia and the hero of the story, after many adventures found himself in Paraguay in South . America. He had brought with him from Europe as his servant or companion a Spanish quarter breed, a native of Peru, who had before been in Paraguay. By a strange coincidence, which among the old romancers is very apt to happen to wanderers in quest of adventures, it so turned out that Candide had slain an old acquaintance who had become a Jesuit priest, and he and his companion were, in consequence, compelled to fly the country in disguise, in order to avoid condign punishment.

Michigan


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