No. 596.
Mr. Baker to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 720.]

Sir: The much dreaded locust (langosta) is again upon Venezuela, with what measure of extent and devastation I am not yet sufficiently advised to approximate with any accuracy. In the most general view it seems that this invasion took its rise in the western part of the Republic, and has moved and is moving eastward. Millions of locusts have passed over Caracas to-day from west to east. My attention was drawn to them about 9 o’clock this morning. I observed their flight attentively for some time. They were of various sizes, and their wings and sides glistened in the sunlight as they advanced through the air. From my point of observation they moved, for the most part, in a stratum extending from about 30 to 100 feet above the surface of the earth, some, however, flying lower, and some higher than these respective limits. They cast their individual shadows upon the ground as they passed forward, and these small shadows, which I observed dotted over street or patio, moved in accompaniment to the flight of the insects. There was, however, no general shadow, no cloud-like darkening of the sun. At times, when the field of view had the back ground of a cloud, or of the near range of mountain which rises just north of the city, the effect of the moving multitude was somewhat similar to that which is produced by large flakes of snow deflected by the wind. There was some appearance that they migrated in groups, by communities or colonies, the groups showing or suggesting some average difference in the size of the insect, and each group being followed by an interspace, occupied by comparatively few fliers. As I have said, my attention was drawn to the phenomenon about 9 o’clock this morning. At about 2.30 p.m. I suspended my observation, and at that time the multitude of locusts appeared to be still moving eastward in unabated force. Upon looking again, at about 5 p.m., I found that the insect stream had ceased, there remaining only a few laggards flying about roof or street, and being captured and impaled by the boys. So that the locust movement which I have sketched continued for at least about five hours and a half, and probably longer.

I am, &c.,