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cheap and pretty fabric; but they had not a sufficient quantity to test it.
Where cotton is cultivated in the province, it is sown in August, and commences to give in May; the bulk and best of the harvest is in June and July. The tree will give good cotton for three years.
Tobacco, of which that cultivated at Borba, on the Madeira, is the best in Brazil, is planted in beds during the month of February. When the plants are about half a foot high, which is in all the month of April, they are set out; the force of the crop is in September. The plant averages four feet in height. Good Borba tobacco is worth in Barra seven dollars the arroba, of thirty-two pounds; it does not keep well, and therefore the price in Pará varies very much.
The tree that gives the Brazil nut is not more than two or three feet in diameter, but very tall; the nuts, in number about twenty, are enclosed in a very hard, round shell, of about six inches in diameter. The crop is gathered in May and June. It is quite a dangerous operation to collect it; the nut, fully as large and nearly as heavy as a nine-pounder shot, falls from the top of the tree without warning, and would infallitly knock a man's brains out if it struck him on the head. Humboldt
says, “I know nothing more fitted to seize the mind with admiration of the force of organic action in the equinoctial zone than the aspect of these great ligneous pericarps. In our climates the cucurbitacec only produce in the space of a few months fruits of an extraordinary size; but these fruits are pulpy and succulent. Between the tropics the bertholletia forms, in less than fifty or sixty days, a pericarp, the ligneous part of which is half an inch thick, and which it is difficult to saw with the sharpest instrument.” He speaks of them as being often eight or ten inches in diameter; I saw none so large.
There is a variety of this tree, called sapucaia, that grows on low lands subject to overflow. Ten or fifteen of the nuts, which are long, corrugated, and very irregular in shape, are contained in a large outer shell; the shell, unlike that of the castanha, does not fall entire from the tree, but when the nuts are ripe the bottom falls out, leaving the larger part of the shell, like the cup of an acorn, hanging to the tree. The nuts are scattered upon the water that at this season surrounds the trees, and are picked up in boats or by wading. The bark of the nut is fragile; easily broken by the teeth; and its substance is far superior in delicacy of flavor to that of the Brazil nut. This nut as yet must be scarce, or it would have been known to commerce. The tree is a very large one; the flowers yellow and pretty, but destitute of smell. The wood is one of those employed in nautical construction.
Shell lime, which is made in Pará, sells in Barra for one dollar and
twenty-five cents the alquier, of sixty-four pounds; stone lime is double in price.
Salt is worth one dollar and twenty-five cents the panero, of one hundred and eight pounds.
Rains at Barra commence in September; the force of the rain is in February and March, but there is scarcely ever a continuous rain of twenty-four hours—one day rainy and one day clear.
The Vigario Geral, an intelligent priest, named Joaquin Gonzales de Azevedo, told me that there was a sharp shock of an earthquake in this country in the year 1816. The ground opened at "Serpa," a village below Barra, to the depth of a covado, (three-fourths of a yard.)
Departure from Barra-River Madeira-Serpa—Villa Nova-Maués-River
Having had my boat thoroughly repaired, calked, and well fitted with palm coverings, called in Brazil toldos, with a sort of WanderingJew feeling that I was destined to leave every body behind and never to stop, I sailed from Barra on the eighteenth of February. The President had caused me to be furnished with six tapuios, but, unwilling to dispossess himself at this time of a single working hand, he could not let them carry me below Santarem. The President is laboring in earnest for the good of the province; and if anything is to be done for its improvement he will do it. He paid me every attention and kindness during my stay at Barra.
But to my host (Antonii, the Italian) I am most indebted for attention and information. From his having been mentioned by Smyth as at the head of trade at Barra sixteen years ago, I had fancied that I should
I find him an elderly man; but he is a handsome, gay, active fellow, in the prime of life. His black hair is somewhat sprinkled with gray, but he tells me that this arises not from age, but from the worry and vexation he has had in business on account of the credit system. He is as agreeable as good sense, much information about the country, and openhearted hospitality can make a man. I asked him to look out for Gibbon and make him comfortable; and was charmed with the frank and hearty manner in which he bade me to “have no care of that.”
I fear that I behaved a little churlishly about the mails. There are post offices established in the villages on the Amazon, but no public conveyances are provided to carry the mails. The owner or captain of every vessel is required to report to the postmaster before sailing, in order to receive the mails; and he is required to give a receipt for them. I did not like to be treated as an ordinary voyager upon the river, and, therefore, objected to receipt for the mails, though I offered to carry all letters that should be intrusted to my care. My principal reason, however, for declining was, that
my movements were uncertain, and I did not wish to be trammelled. The postmaster would not give me the mail without a receipt, but I believe I brought away all the letters.
I am now sorry, as I came direct, that I did not give the required receipt in return for the kindness that had been shown me.
Mr. Potter, the daguerreotypist and watchmaker, sailed in company with me.
We found the current of the “Negro” so slight that, with our heavy boat and few men, we could make no way against a smart breeze blowing up the river: we, therefore, a mile or two below Barra, pulled into the shore and made fast till the wind should fall, which it did about 3 p. m., when we got under way and entered the Amazon.
Entering this river from the Negro, it appears but a tributary of the latter, and it is generally so designated in Barra. If a fisherman just in is asked where he is from, he will say “ from the mouth of the Solimoens.” It has this appearance from the Negro's flowing in a straight course; while the Solimoens makes a great bend at the junction of the two rivers,
It is very curious to see the black water of the Negro appearing in large circular patches, amid the muddy waters of the Amazon, and entirely distinct. I did not observe that the water of the Amazon was at all clearer after the junction of the Negro; indeed, I thought it appeared more filthy. We found one hundred and ninety-eight feet of depth in the bay or large open space formed by the junction of the two rivers.
About sixty miles below the mouth of the Rio Negro we stopped at the establishment of a Scotchman, named McCulloch, situated on the left bank of the river. There is a very large island opposite, which reduces the river in front to about one hundred yards in width; so that the establishment seems to be situated on a creek.
McCulloch, in partnership with Antonii, at Barra, is establishing here a sugar plantation, and a mill to grind the cane. He dams, at great cost of time and labor, a creek that connects a small lake with the river. He will only be able to grind about six months in the year, when the river is falling and the water runs from the lake into the river ; but he proposes to grind with oxen when the river is rising. The difference between high and low-water mark in the Amazon at this point is, by actual measurement of McCulloch, forty-two feet. He works with five or six hands, whom he pays a cruzado, or a quarter of a dollar each, per day. There is a much greater scarcity of tapuios now than formerly. Antonii, who used always to have fifty in his employ, cannot now get more than ten.
McCulloch bas already planted more than thirty acres of sugar-cane on a hill eighty or one hundred feet above the present level of the river. It seems of tolerable quality, but much overrun with weeds, on account of want of hands. I gave him a leaf from my experience, and advised
him to set fire to his field after every cutting. The soil is black and rich-looking, though light; and McCulloch supposes that in such soil his cane will not require replanting for twenty years. The cane is planted in December, and is ready to cut in ten months.
This is the man who, in partnership with the Brazilian, built the sawmill at Barra, which was afterwards burned down. He sawed one hundred and thirty thousand feet the first year, but not more than half that quantity the second; in the third, by making a contract with Antonii, who was to furnish the wood and receive half the profits, he sawed eighty thousand. This plank is sold in Pará at forty dollars the thousand; but the expenses of getting it there, and other charges, reduce it to about twenty-eight dollars. The only wood sawed is the cedro ; not that it is so valuable as other kinds, but because it is the only wood of any value that floats; and thus can be brought to the mills. There are no roads or means of hauling timber through the forests. McCulloch told me that a young American in Pará offered to join him in the erection of a saw-mill, and to advance ten thousand dollars toward the enterprise. He said that he now thought he was unwise to refuse it, for with that sum he could have purchased a small steamer (besides building and fitting the mill) with which to cruise on the river, picking up the cedros and taking them to the mill.
These are not our cedars, but a tall, branching tree, with leaves more like our oak. There are two kinds—red and white; the former of which is most appreciated. Some of them grow to be of great size; between Serpa and Villa Nova we made our boat fast to one that was floating on the river, which measured in length from the swell of the root to that of the first branches (that is a clear, nearly cylindrical trunk) ninetythree feet, and was nineteen feet in circumference just above the swell of the roots, which would probably have been eight feet from the ground when the tree was standing.
McCulloch gave me some castanhas in the shell, and some roots of a cane-like plant that
that grows in bunches, with very long, narrow leaves, and bears a delicate and fragrant white flower, that is called, from its resemblance in shape to a butterfly, borboleta.
The distance hence to the mouth of the Madeira is about thirty miles, After passing the end of the long island, called Tamitari, that lies opposite McCulloch's, we had to cross the river, which there is about two miles wide. The shores are low on either hand, and well wooded with apparently small trees. I always felt some anxiety in crossing so large an expanse of water in such a boat as ours, where violent storms of wind are of frequent occurrence. Our men, with their light paddles, could