By: Francis Bond Head (1793-1875)
“Galloped on with no stopping, but merely to change horses until five o’clock in the evening—very tired indeed, but . . . saw fresh horses in the corral, and resolved to push on. At half-past seven, after having galloped a hundred and fifty-three miles, and been fourteen hours and a half on horseback got to the post—quite exhausted—I could scarcely speak . . . an hour before daylight was awakened by the Gaucho, got up, had some mate, mounted my horse, and as I galloped along felt pleased that the sun should find me at my work. . .”
Later in life nicknamed “Galloping Head,” for his exploits on the Argentine pampas, Sir Frances Head Bond, went to the Argentine in 1825 as mining supervisor for the Rio Plata Mining Association, a group of English speculators whose ill-planed and financially disastrous idea it was to send Cornish miners to re-open old gold and silver mines in the former Spanish colonies. His “Rough Notes,” often written in a staccato style that is surprisingly fresh, show a gusty, resourceful adventurer— riding across the Andes on mules who sank into snow above their knees at every step, obliging the riders to balance their feet on the mules’ ears; clambering down 250 feet of notched sticks to inspect a silver mine; foraging bluntly for food for his men in a land of scarcity: “We found they had got dry peaches and live goats. We put some of the former in a pot to boil . . . and because I was very hungry, I put a pistol to (the goat’s) ear, and in a short time he was roasting on the burning embers.” Sir Bond Head later served as lieutenant –governor of Upper Canada 1835-1837.