Obrazy na stronie



tions were established in the Montaña, Godin, recovering from a swoon, which and in less than a century afterwards, she supposes to have been of many hours nearly every Indian town and village was duration, took the shoes from her dead surmounted by the cross, and a large part brother's feet, and started to walk, she of the inhabitants rudely indoctrinated knew not whither. Her clothes were into the belief of the Church.

soon torn to rags, her body lacerated by “ The difficulties of

penetrating into

her exertions in forcing her way through these countries,” says Lieutenant Hern the tangled and thorny undergrowth, don, “where the path is to be broken for and she was kept constantly in a state of the first time, can only be conceived by deadly terror by the howl of the tiger and one who has travelled over the roads al the hiss of the serpent. It is wonderful ready trodden. The broken and precipi that she preserved her reason. “Eight tous mountain track—the deep morass terrible days and nights did she wander the thick and tangled forest—the danger alone in the howling wilderness, supportfrom Indians, wild beasts, and reptiles ed by a few berries and birds' eggs. Prothe scarcity of provisions—the exposure videntially (one cannot say accidentally) to the almost appalling rains—and the she struck the river at a point where two navigation of the impetuous and rock-ob Indians (a man and a woman) were just structed river, threatening at every mo launching a canoe. They received her ment shipwreck to the frail canoe—form with kindness, furnished her with food, obstacles that might daunt any heart but gave her a coarse cotton petticoat, which that of the gold-hunter or the mission she preserved for years afterwards as a

memorial of their goodness, and carried The most remarkable voyage down her in their canoe to Andoas, whence she the Amazon, according to the same found a passage down the river, and authority, was made by a woman. Ma finally joined her husband. Her hair dame Godin des Odonnais, wife of turned

gray from suffering, and she could one of the French commissioners who never hear the incidents of her voyage

sent with Condamine to mea alluded to without a feeling of horror that sure an arc of the meridian near Quito, bordered on insanity.” started in 1769, from Rio Bamba, in The river Amazon, as we all know Equador, to join her husband in Cayenne, from our school-books, is the second larby the route of the Amazon. She em gest river in the world, being second only to barked at Canelos, on the Borbonaza, the Mississippi, and with its numerous and with a company of eight persons; two, mighty tributaries, drains a basin which besides herself, being females. On the surpasses in its dimensions that ofany other third day, the Indians who conducted river. Situated in the tropics, alternately their canoe deserted; another Indian, on both sides of the equator, it is supwhom they found sick in a hovel near the plied by abundant rains throughout its bank, and employed as a pilot, fell from whole extent, and pours a flood of water the canoe in endeavoring to pick up the into the ocean, to which the magnificent hat of one of the party, and was drowned. streams of the Mississippi, the Hoang Ho,

The canoe, under their own management, the Ganges, and the Danube, afford scarcesoon capsized, and they lost all their ly a comparison. From the fourth declothing and provisions. Three men of gree of north latitude to the twentieth the party now started for Andoas, on the south, all the rivers that flow down the Pastaza, which they supposed themselves eastern slope of the Andes, are its conto be within five or six days of, and fluents, which is as if, says Mr. Wallace, never returned. The party left behind, every river of Europe, from St. Petersnow consisting of the three females and two burg to Madrid, united their waters in a brothers of Madame Godin, lashed a few single flood. Considering the Marañon logs together, and attempted again to na as its true source, we find its whole vigate ; but their frail vessel soon went to length about 2,740 English miles, while pieces by striking against the fallen trees its tributaries on the north and south, in the river. They then attempted to cover a space of 1,720 miles. The whole journey on foot along the banks of the area of its basin, is 2,330,000 English river, but finding the growth here too square miles, or more than one third of all thick and tangled for them to make any South America, and equal to two thirds way, they struck off into the forest, in

of all Europe.

“ All western Europe,” hopes of finding a less obstructed path. says Mr. Wallace, “could be placed in it

I'hey were soon lost; despair took pos without touching its boundaries, and it session of them, and they perished miser would even contain the whole Indian ably of hunger and exhaustion. Madame empire."

The same writer remarks upon a cu tween the Tocantins and the Madeira, rious contrast in the colors of the Ama says Mr. Wallace, and between the Mazon and several of its branches: the deira and the Yuacali, there are two tracts waters of the former are of a yellowish of country of five hundred thousand olive hue, while those of the Rio Brancho square miles each, and each twice as large are almost milk-white, those of the Yua as France, and as completely unexplored cali a transparent blue, and those of the as the interior of Africa. It is probable, Nigro, as the name imports, quite black. however, from their size, and the reports The difference of color does not depend of the Indians, that the greater part of entirely on free earthy matter, but on them are navigable for many miles from some material which they hold in solu their discharge into the mainstream. tion; for in lakes and inlets where the “ As a general rule," says Lieut. Herndon, waters are undisturbed, and can deposit "large ships may sail thousands of miles all their sediment, they still retain the to the foot of the falls of the gigantic same tints. This material is evidently rivers of this country; and in Brazil parderived from the soils through which ticularly, a few hundred miles of canal they flow; a rocky and sandy district would open to the steamboat, and render always giving clear water-a clayey one available, thousands of miles more.” the yellow or olive colored, while the in But though the velocity of the Amazon fusion of decaying leaves and other vege

is not so great as is commonly supposed, table matter makes the black. The Rio the first sight of it produces an impresBrancho looks likes a stream of dissolved sion of awful grandeur and force. Lieuchalk, and the Madeira and Puros are tenant Herndon writes: also white. The Tocantins, the Xingu, “The march of the great river in its silent granand the Tapajoz, which rise in the moun deur was sublime; but in the untamed might of its tains of Brazil, are blue and clear ; while turbid waters as they cut away its banks, tore down the Nigro, the Coary, the Teffe, the the gigantic denizens of the forest, and built up islJntai, and some others, are black as ink,

ands, it was awful. It rolled through the wilderness

with a stately, and solemn air. Its waters looked only getting a little paler in shallow

angry, sullen, relentless; and the whole scene awoke places.

emotions of awe and dread-such as are caused by The velocity of the Amazon varies the funeral solemnities, the minuto gun, the howl of with the width of the current and the tho wind, and the angry tossing of the waves, when time of the year, but is nowhere and at

all hands are called to bury the dead in a troubled no time so great as it has been represented in the older accounts. A large num

"I was reminded of our Mississippi at its topmost

flood; the waters are quite as muddy and quite as ber of people think of it only as pouring turbid; but this stream lacked the charm and the down with the fierce flow of a torrent, fascination which the plantation upon the bank, the but the truth is, that its average flow is city upon the bluff, and the steamboat upon its waabout three and a half miles an hour, and

ters, lend to its fellow of the North ; nevertheless, I its fleetest, not more than five or six

felt pleased at its sight. I had already travelled seven

hundred miles by water, and fancied that this powermiles. This opinion of its rapidity rose

ful stream would soon carry me to the ocean; but probably from the fact, that it carried its the water-travel was comparatively just begun; many fresh waters far out to sea, discoloring a weary month was to elapso ere I should again look the ocean to the distance of one hundred upon the familiar face of the sea; and many a time, and fifty miles; yet it would appear that

when worn and wearied with the canoe life, did I the rush is never sufficiently strong to

exclaim, "This river seems interminable!?" impede navigation, even by sail, and The whole of the region through which much less by steam. The mighty stream this magnificent stream flows appears to may be ascended almost to its source, be one of unexampled fertility, for it is without an obstruction—at least this is covered by a rich and tangled vegetation, the prevailing impression both of travel forming the most dense and extensive lers and of the dwellers upon its banks forest in the world. One may travel for though it must be confessed that our weeks and months, in any direction, withknowledge of the courses of the tributaries out discovering more than a rood of is quite incomplete. The main stream, ground unoccupied by trees. On the with the Madeira and the Nigro, and we coasts of Southern Brazil, and on the Panow add, since the exploration of Lieut. cific coasts, you encounter rocky mounHerndon, the Huallaga, and part of the tain ridges, and immense plains that are Yuacali, are tolerably well ascertained and parched and barren; but in the interior, laid down upon the maps; but of the comprising an area of some 2,700 miles in Xingu, the Tapajoz, the Coary, the Puros, one direction, and from 400 to 1,700 in the Jutai, the Jabari

, the Ica, and others, another, the entire surface is a virgin we possess only vague conjectures. Be forest. What are the woods of central


Europe, what those of Africa, what the immense forests of Asia even, compared with this? In North America alone is there a parallel, in the vast wooded country, west of the Mississippi.

This vast forest is distinguished for the variety as well as the size of the trees of which it is composed. Herndon enumerates of trees fitted for nautical constructions, twenty-two kinds; for the construction of houses and boats, thirty-three; for cabinet work, twelve (some of which, such as the jacarandá, the tortoise-shell wood, and the macacauba, are very beautiful); and for mak. ing coal, seven. There are twelve kinds of trees that exude milk from some of their bark; though the milk of some of thesesuch as the arvoeiro and assucú—is poisonous. One is the seringa, or India-rubber tree, and one, the mururé, the inilk of which is reported to possess extraordinary virtue in the cure of mercurialized patients. “It is idle,” he says, “to give a list of the medicinal plants, for their name is legion.” Yet, he proceeds to describe more than two dozen species of plants which already furnish valuable additions to our materia medica.

“This is the country,” adds the author, "of rice, of sarsaparilla, of India-rubber, balsam copaiba, gum copal, animal and vegetable wax, cocoa, Brazilian nutmegs, Tonka beans, ginger, black pepper, arrowroot, tapioca, annatto, indigo, sapacaia, and Brazil nuts; dyes of the gayest colors, drugs of rare virtue, variegated cabinet woods of the finest grain, and susceptible of the highest polish. The forests are filled with game, and the rivers stocked with turtlo and fish. Here dwell the anta, or the wild cow, tho peixe boi, or fish ox, the sloth, the ant-eater, the beautiful black tiger, tho mysterious electric eel, the boa-constrictor, the anaconda, the deadly coral snake, the voracious alligator, monkeys in endless variety, birds of the most brilliant plumage, and insects of the strangest forms and gayest colors."

Of the Zoology of the region, however, Mr. Wallace furnishes us the most copious details, while both of our authorities speak of productions, not mentioned in the above list, which are more important than any other in the view of commerce. We refer to a species of wild cotton, called Huimba in Peru, which, mixed with silk, can be spun into a tough yet delicate fabric; tobaco exuberance and of excellent quality; the sugar-cane, of which plentiful crops are gathered in the province of Cercado; and coffee, which is easily cultivated. There are three kinds of indigo yielding in great abundance; maize is produced every three months all the year round; the cassave, one kind able to replace the potato, and the other giving out starch, is prolific;

wheat, barley, and oats may be raised in many districts; while, in respect to fruits, grapes, oranges, lemons, pomegranates, melons, figs, papaws, chiromas, pine-apples, &c., there is no end to the supply, at the same time the climate is spoken of as very salubrious and agreeable.

The entire valley is remarkable for the uniformity of its temperature and the regular supply of moisture. Neither the wet nor the dry seasons are as severe as in other tropical countries, and the stranger seldom suffers from either excessive heat or excessive cold.

An admirable country to live in-our readers will see, presenting rare opportunities for agriculture and commerce, and promising to be in the future the seat of a prosperous empire. But as yet, we must confess, it holds forth few temptations to settlement: or rather it exhibits certain peculiarities not entirely compatible with our ideas of civilized comfort and refinement. In the first place, the present inhabitants do not invite a more familiar acquaintance. The greater part of them are Indians, and Indians generally of worthless and debased characters. Mr. Wallace, who describes some thirty different tribes, saying at the same time that there are “countless varieties of others with peculiar languages and customs, and distinct physical characteristics,” thinks them superior on the whole to the Indians of South Brazil, and more like " the intelligent and noble races” of the North American prairies; but he admits, also, that they are for the most part lazy, squalid, savage, polygamic, superstitious, fond of caxaça, which is native for bad rum, licentious, and what is most shocking of all, the rascals, male and female go about as naked as they were born, with the exception that they wear sometimes a brilliant head-dress of parrots' tail feathers. Some, indeed, tattoo their carcasses, in red, yellow, and blue, until they look as much dressed as the clown of a circus: there are one or two tribes, too, such as the Purupurus, who are infected universally with a scrofula, or itch, spotting their bodies with white, black, and brown patches, and who bore large holes in their lips, the septum of the nose, and in their ears, out of which sticks five or six feet long, dangle as ornaments; while the Ximănas, and Cauxañas, kill their first-born children, and the Miraubas eat the first friend they can lay their jaws upon! Precious neighbors these fellows would make !

In short, if we must tell the whole truth about these Indians, let us say that

which grows in

curious beast; but she refused me with a burst of laughter. “Your efforts are useloss,' said an Indian who was in the cabin; that is her husband.'”

Mr. IIerndon himself does not confirm this story, which we suspect the Count borrowed from Voltaire's Candide, but he narrates that when he was at Echènique he bought a young monkey of an Indian woman, which refused to eat plantain when he offered it, whereupon "the woman took it and put it to her breast, where it sucked away manfully and with great gusto. She weaned it in a week, so that it would eat plantain mashed up and put into its mouth in small bits: but the little beast died of mortification, because I would not let him sleep with his arms round my neck!”

Mr. Wallace, in the course of his description of one of the tribes on the river Uaupés, gives so rational a conjecture as to the origin of the fable about a nation of Amazons, or fighting females, that we extract his words:

Mr. Herndon quotes from the work of Count Castelnau, a Frenchman who ascended the Amazon some years since, an account going to show that some of them are lineal descendants from the monkey. Here is the passage:

"M. Castelnau collected some very curious stories concerning the Indians who dwell upon the banks of the Jurub. IIe says, (vol. 5, p. 105,) 'I cannot pass over in silence a very curions passage of Padre Noronlia, and which one is astonished to find in a work of so grave a character in other respects. The Indians, Cunamas and Uginas (says the parlre), live near the sources of the river. The first are of a very short staturo, scarcely exceeding five palms (about three and a half fect); and the last (of this there is no doubt) bave tails, and are produced by a mixture of Indians and Coata monkeys. Whatever may be the cause of this fact, I am led to give it credit for three reasons: first, becanso there is no physical reason why men should not havo tails; secondly, because many Indians, whom I have interrogated regarding this thing, have assured mo of the fact, telling me that the tali was a palm and a half long; and, thirdly, because the Reverend Father Friar José de Santa Theresa Ribeiro, a Carmelite, and Curate of Castro de Avelaens, assured me that he saw the same thing in an Indian who came from Japurá, and who sent me the following attestation :

** I, José de Santa Theresa Ribeiro, of the Order of our Lady of Mount Carmel, Ancient Observance, &c., certify and swear, in my quality of priest, and on tho Iloly Evangelists, that when I was a missionary in the ancient village of Parauaù, where was afterwards built the village of Noguera, I saw, in 1755, a man called Manuel da Silva, native of Pernambuco, or Bahia, who came from the river Japurá with some Indians, amongst whom was one-an Infidel brutewho the said Manuel declared to me had a tail; and as I was unwilling to believe such an extraordinary fact, he brought the Indian and caused him to strip, on pretenco of removing some turtles from a “pen,' near which I stood to assure unyself of the truth. There I saw, without possibility of error, that the man had a tail, of the thickness of a finger, and half a palm long, and covered with smooth and naked skin. Tho samo Manuel assured me that the Indian had told him that every month he cut his tail, because he did not like to have it too long, and it grew very fast. I do not know to what nation this man belonged, nor if all his tribe had a similar tail; but I understood afterwards that there was a tailed nation upon the banks of the Juruá; and I sign this act and scal it in affirmation of the truth of all that it contains.



“ M. Baena (Corog, Para) has thought proper to ropeat these strange assertions. “In this river,' says he, speaking of tho Juruá (p. 487), “there aro Indians, called Canamas, whose height dees not exceod five palms; and there are others, called Uginas, who bavo a tail of three or four palms (four palms and an inch, Portuguese, make nearly an English yard), according to the report of many persons. But I leave to every one to put what faith he pleases in these assertions'

“M. Castelnau says, after giving these relations, I will add but a word. Descending the Amazon, I saw, one day, near Fonteboa, a black Coata, of enormous dimensions. He belonged to an Indian woman, to whom I offered a large price, for the country, for the

• The use of ornaments and trinkets of various kinds is almost confined to the men. The women wear a bracelet on the wrists, but none on the neck, and no comb in the hair; they have a garter below the knee, worn tight from infancy, for the purpose of swelling out the calf, which they consider a great beauty. While dancing in their festivals, the women wear a small tanga or apron, made of beads, prettily arranged: it is only about six inches square, but is never worn at any other time, and immediately the dance is over it is taken off.

The men, on the other hand, have the hair carefully parted and combed on each sido, and tied in a quoue behind. In the young men, it hangs in long locks down their necks, and, with the comb, which is invariably carried stuck in the top of the head, gives them a most feminine appearance: this is increased by the large necklaces and bracelets of beads, and the careful extirpation of every symptom of beard. Taking these circumstances into consideration, I am strongly of opinion that the story of the Amazons has arisen from these feminine-looking warriors encountered by the early voyager. I am inclined to this opinion, from the effect they first produced on myself, when it was only by close exanzination I saw that thoy were men; and, were the front part of their bodies and their breasts covered with shields, such as they always use, I am convinced any person seeing them for the first time would conclude they were

We have only therefore to suppose that tribes having similar customs to those now existing on the river Uaupés, inhabited the regions where the Amazons were reported to have been seen, and we have a rational explanation of what has so much puzzled all geographers. The only objection to this explanation is, that traditions aro said to exist among the natives, of a nation of women without husbands.' of this tradition, however, I was myself unable to obtain any trace, and I can easily imagine it entirely to have risen from the suggestions and inquiries of Europeans themselves. When the story of the Amazons was first made known, it became of course a point with all futuro travellers to verify it, or if possiblo to get a glimpso of these warlike ladies. The Indians must no doubt bave been overwhelmed with ques


tions and suggestions about them, and they, thinking imitations, that when lying half-dozing in that the white men must know best, would transmit

the canoe, I have often fancied myself at to their descendants and families the idea that such a nation did exist in some distant part of the country.

home, hearing the familiar sounds of the Succeeding travellers, finding traces of this idea among approaching mail-train, and the hammerthe Indians, would take it as a proof of the existence ing of the boiler-makers at the iron-works. of the Amazons; instead of being merely the effect of Then, we often had the “guarhibas," or a mistake at the first, which had been unknowingly

howling monkeys, with their terrific spread among them by preceding travellers, seeking

noises; the shrill grating whistle of the to obtain some evidence on the subject."

cicadas and locusts, and the peculiar notes Next to the human or demi-human in of the suacúras and other aquatic birds habitants the greatest annoyances are the add to these the loud unpleasant hum of animals. There are alligators, in some of the mosquitoes in your immediate vicinity, the streams, big enough to bolt an Indian and you have a pretty good idea of oui warrior; there are vampire bats, which, nightly concert."" A serenade of that in spite of what some naturalists assert, sort, however, seems to us only a proper will phlebotomize a horse until he dies; accompaniment to the general experiences there are jaguars, which are quite as fierce of life in those latitudes. and strong as the royal Bengal tiger; and For there is another sense that must be there are snakes, which the good Father sometimes revolted, in spite of the luxuVernazza avers (and he wrote as late as riant fruits that we read of,—the sense of 1845) are forty-five feet long and five and a taste. A breakfast of alligator-tail is not half thick, and who suck in their prey, man, perhaps objectionable when you are hard bird, or beast, by mere inhalation, from a pressed; nor a dinner of raw turtle, which distance of fifty yards. Yet the plague is so excellent when broiled or made into of the country are the smaller vermin, the soup, that it may be, possibly, somewhat ants, the ticks, and the mosquitoes. Our of a dainty when underdone; but heaven readers will probably remember Sidney preserve us from monkey chops or a salad Smith's description of the insectivorous of nut-oil and river-hog! Mr. Ilerndon tribes, where he says, –

informs us that monkeys are rather tough, “The bète rouge lays the foundation of a tromon

though the livers he found tender and dous ulcer. In a moment you are covered with ticks.

good. Yet, even after a luxurious banChigoes bury themselves in your flesh, and batch a quet on liver, Jocko was sure to have his colony of young chigoes in a few hours. They will

revenge on the feeder, who always nearly not livo together, but every chico sets up a separato

perished of nightmare. “ Some devil," ulcer, and has his own private portion of pus. Flies get entry into your mouth, into your eyes, into your

says the gallant Lieutenant, “with arms nose: you eat flies, drink flies, and breathe flies. as nervous as the monkey's, had me by the Lizards, cockroaches, and snakes get into tho bed : throat, and staring on me, with his cold ants eat ap the books: scorpions sting you on the cruel eye, expressed his determination to foot. Every thing bites, stings or bruises: every hold on to the death." second of your existence you are wounded by somo

Still, an enthusiast may tell us that the piece of animal life that nobody has ever seen before except Swammerdam and Meriam. An insect with

glorious imagery, which nature every eleven legs is swimming in your teacup, a nondo

where in the tropics addresses to the eye, script of nine wings is struggling in the small beer, or is a compensation for the defeats suffered & caterpillar with several dozen eyes in his belly is by the other senses. The eye, as in hastening over the bread and butter. All nature is

Macbeth's soliloquy, "is worth all the alive, and seems to be gathering her entonological hosts to eat you up, as you are standing, out of your

rest;” for the grand forms of the trees, coat, waistcoat, and breeches. Such are the tropics."

the varied hues of the foliage, the endless

brilliancy of the birds and butterflies, and Now this is all bad enough ; but Mr. the deep azure of the skies, present a Wallace complains of another nuisance, panorama which quite overwhelms the which assailed his ears. “ Every night," mind with its beauty and magnificence. he says, speaking of a voyage up the But Mr. Wallace, in spite of the enthuTocantins, we had a concert of frogs, siasm of earlier travellers, is inclined to which make most extraordinary noises. think that he found quite as much pictuThere are three kinds, which can be heard resque landscape at home as in the tropics. all at once. One makes a noise somewhat “It is on the roadside, and on the river's like what one would expect from a frog, banks,” he says, “ that we see all the namely, a disinal croak, but the sounds beauties of the tropical vegetation. There uttered by the others were like no animal we find a mass of bushes, and trees, and that I ever heard before. A distant rail shrubs of every height, rising one over way train approaching and a blacksmith another, all exposed to the bright light hammering on his anvil

, are what they and fresh air, and putting forth within exactly resemble. They are such true reach their flowers and fruits, which, in



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