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Title: A Journey in Brazil
Author: Agassiz, Louis, Agassiz, Elizabeth Cabot Cary
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Journey in Brazil" ***

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[Illustration: Cocoeiro Palm]

                           JOURNEY IN BRAZIL.


                 And whenever the way seemed long,
                 She would sing a more wonderful song,


                          TICKNOR AND FIELDS.

       Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by
                          TICKNOR AND FIELDS,
     in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of

                            SECOND EDITION.


                          MR. NATHANIEL THAYER,

                          SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION,

                            The Present Volume

                        _IS GRATEFULLY INSCRIBED_.



In the winter of 1865 it became necessary for me, on account of some
disturbance of my health, to seek a change of scene and climate, with
rest from work. Europe was proposed; but though there is much enjoyment
for a naturalist in contact with the active scientific life of the Old
World, there is little intellectual rest. Toward Brazil I was drawn by a
lifelong desire. After the death of Spix, when a student of twenty years
of age, I had been employed by Martius to describe the fishes they had
brought back with them from their celebrated Brazilian journey. From
that time, the wish to study this fauna in the regions where it belongs
had been an ever-recurring thought with me; a scheme deferred for want
of opportunity, but never quite forgotten. The fact that the Emperor of
Brazil was deeply interested in all scientific undertakings, and had
expressed a warm sympathy with my efforts to establish a great
zoölogical museum in this country, aiding me even by sending collections
made expressly under his order for the purpose, was an additional
incentive. I knew that the head of the government would give me every
facility for my investigations. Nevertheless, tempting as was the
prospect of a visit to Brazil, as a mere vacation it had little charm
for me. Single-handed, I could make slight use of the opportunities I
should have; and though the excursion might be a pleasant one for
myself, it would have no important result for science. I could not
forget that, had I only the necessary means, I might make collections on
this journey which, whenever our building could be so enlarged as to
give room for their exhibition, would place the Museum in Cambridge on a
level with the first institutions of the kind. But for this a working
force would be needed, and I saw no possibility of providing for such an
undertaking. While I was brooding over these thoughts I chanced to meet
Mr. Nathaniel Thayer, whom I have ever found a generous friend to
science. The idea of appealing to him for a scheme of this magnitude had
not, however, occurred to me; but he introduced the subject, and, after
expressing his interest in my proposed journey, added, “You wish, of
course, to give it a scientific character; take six assistants with you,
and I will be responsible for all their expenses, personal and
scientific.” It was so simply said, and seemed to me so great a boon,
that at first I hardly believed I had heard him rightly. In the end, I
had cause to see in how large and liberal a sense he proffered his
support to the expedition, which, as is usual in such cases, proved
longer and more costly than was at first anticipated. Not only did he
provide most liberally for assistants, but, until the last specimen was
stored in the Museum, he continued to advance whatever sums were needed,
always desiring me to inform him should any additional expenses occur on
closing up the affairs of the expedition. It seems to me that the good
arising from the knowledge of such facts justifies me in speaking here
of these generous deeds, accomplished so unostentatiously that they
might otherwise pass unnoticed.

All obstacles thus removed from my path, I made my preparations for
departure as rapidly as possible. The assistants I selected to accompany
me were Mr. James Burkhardt as artist, Mr. John G. Anthony as
conchologist, Mr. Frederick C. Hartt and Mr. Orestes St. John as
geologists, Mr. John A. Allen as ornithologist, and Mr. George Sceva as
preparator. Beside these, my party was enlarged by several volunteers,
to whom I was indebted for assistance as untiring and efficient as if
they had been engaged for the purpose. These were Mr. Newton Dexter, Mr.
William James, Mr. Edward Copeland, Mr. Thomas Ward, Mr. Walter
Hunnewell, and Mr. S. V. R. Thayer. I should not omit to mention my
brother-in-law, Mr. Thomas G. Cary, as one of my aids; for, though not
nominally connected with the expedition, he made collections for me at
Monte Video, Buenos Ayres, and other places. I was also joined by my
friends Dr. and Mrs. Cotting. Dr. Cotting, like myself, was in need of a
vacation, and it was his intention to remain with us for as long a time
as he could spare from his professional practice. But the climate proved
unfavorable to his health, and after passing a couple of months in Rio,
and sharing with us all our excursions in that neighborhood, he sailed
with Mrs. Cotting for Europe, where they passed the summer. His presence
with us during that time was most fortunate, for it so happened that the
only serious cases of illness we had among us occurred before he left,
and his medical advice and care were of great service. I lost the
assistance of Mr. Anthony, and Mr. Allen also, early in the expedition;
their health, always delicate, obliging them to leave for home. With
these exceptions, our working force remained intact, and I am happy to
state that every member of the party returned in safety to the United

No sooner was the Brazilian Expedition known to the public, than I
received a letter from Mr. Allen McLane, President of the Pacific Mail
Steamship Company, offering to me and my whole party the hospitality of
their magnificent ship the Colorado, then just sailing from New York for
the Pacific coast. She was going almost empty of passengers, being bound
by the way of Cape Horn for San Francisco. We left New York on board
this beautiful vessel, on the 1st of April, 1865. The record of our
delightful voyage to Rio de Janeiro will be found in the narrative; but
I wish here publicly to acknowledge my obligation to Mr. McLane for his
generosity to the expedition. Besides the sympathy accorded me by
private individuals, I have to thank the Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary
of the Navy, for a general order, received on the eve of my departure,
desiring the officers of the United States Navy, wherever I should fall
in with them, to afford me such assistance in my scientific researches
as would not interfere with the regular service; and I learned at Rio
that Mr. Seward had warmly recommended the expedition to General Webb,
at that time United States Minister to Brazil. Finally, I would express
my thanks also to Messrs. Garrison and Allen for the free passage
offered to myself and my companions for our return, on board the line of
steamers established between New York and Rio de Janeiro during our stay
in Brazil.

It will be seen hereafter what facilities were granted me throughout
this journey by the Brazilians themselves, and that the undertaking, so
warmly speeded on its way, was welcomed no less cordially in the country
to which it was bound.

One word as to the manner in which this volume has grown into its
present shape, for it has been rather the natural growth of
circumstances than the result of any preconceived design. Partly for the
entertainment of her friends, partly with the idea that I might make
some use of it in knitting together the scientific reports of my journey
by a thread of narrative, Mrs. Agassiz began this diary. I soon fell
into the habit of giving her daily the more general results of my
scientific observations, knowing that she would allow nothing to be lost
which was worth preserving. In consequence of this mode of working, our
separate contributions have become so closely interwoven that we should
hardly know how to disconnect them, and our common journal is therefore
published, with the exception of a few unimportant changes, almost as it
was originally written. In this volume I have attempted only to give
such an account of my scientific work and its results as would explain
to the public what were the aims of the expedition, and how far they
have been accomplished. It is my hope to complete a work, already begun,
on the Natural History, and especially on the Fishes of Brazil, in which
will be recorded not only my investigations during the journey and those
of my assistants in their independent excursions, but also the
researches now regularly carried on in connection with the immense
Brazilian collections stored in the Museum at Cambridge. This must,
however, be the slow labor of many years, and can only be published very
gradually. In the mean time I hope that this forerunner of the more
special reports may serve to show that our year in Brazil, full as it
was of enjoyment for all the party, was also rich in permanent results
for science.

                                                             L. AGASSIZ.


Footnote 1:

  There is but one sad record I have to make connected with this
  journey. My friend and companion of many years, Mr. Burkhardt, died
  about ten months after his return, of a disease which, though not
  contracted in Brazil, since it was of some years’ standing, was no
  doubt aggravated by the hot climate. His great desire to accompany me
  led him, against my advice, to undertake a journey which, in his case,
  was a dangerous one. He suffered very much during our stay on the
  Amazons, but I could not persuade him to leave his work; and in the
  following pages it will be seen that his industry was unflagging.

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS.

                               CHAPTER I.



 First Sunday at Sea.—Gulf Stream.—Gulf-Weed.—Lectures
   proposed.—First Lecture: On the Gulf Stream in the Gulf
   Stream.—Aquarium established on board.—Second Lecture.—Rough
   Sea.—Peculiar Tint of Water.—Third Lecture: Laying out Work
   of Expedition in Brazil; Distribution of Fishes in Brazilian
   Rivers; its Bearing on Origin of Species; Collecting of
   Eggs.—Tropical Sunset.—Fourth Lecture: Plan of Geological
   Investigations with special reference to Glacial Phenomena in
   South America.—Flying-Fish.—Fifth Lecture: Glacial Phenomena,
   continued.—Second Sunday at Sea.—Rough Water.—Sixth Lecture:
   Embryological Investigations as a Guide to sound
   Classification.—Seventh Lecture.—Moonlight
   Nights.—Trade-Winds.—Eighth Lecture: Importance of Precision
   in Localizing Specimens.—Southern Cross.—Ninth Lecture:
   Fresh-water Fishes of Brazil.—Easter Sunday.—First Sight of
   South American Shore.—Olinda.—Pernambuco.—Catamarans.—Tenth
   Lecture: Methods of Collecting.—Eleventh Lecture:
   Classification of Fishes as illustrated by
   Embryology.—Preparations for Arrival.—Twelfth Lecture:
   Practical Lesson in Embryology.—Closing Lecture:
   Transmutation Theory; Intellectual and Political
   Independence.—Resolutions and Speeches.—Singular Red Patches
   on the Surface of the Sea                                        1–45

                               CHAPTER II.


 Arrival.—Aspect of Harbor and City.—Custom-House.—First Glimpse
   of Brazilian Life.—Negro Dance.—Effect of Emancipation in
   United States upon Slavery in Brazil.—First Aspect of Rio de
   Janeiro on Land.—Picturesque Street Groups.—Eclipse of the
   Sun.—At Home in Rio.—Larangeiras.—Passeio Publico.—Excursion
   on the Dom Pedro Railroad.—Visit of the Emperor to the
   Colorado.—Cordiality of the Government to the
   Expedition.—Laboratory.—Botanical Garden.—Alley of
   Palms.—Excursion to the Corcovado.—Juiz de Fora
   Road.—Petropolis.—Tropical Vegetation.—Ride from Petropolis
   to Juiz de Fora.—Visit to Senhor Lage.—Excursion to the
   Forest of the Empress.—Visit to Mr. Halfeld.—Return to
   Rio.—News of the Great Northern Victories, and of the
   President’s Assassination                                       46–79

                              CHAPTER III.


 Botafogo.—Insane Hospital.—Tijuca.—Erratic
   Drift.—Vegetation.—Birthday Dinner.—Arrangements for Parties
   to the Interior.—Public Lectures in Rio.—Procession of St.
   George.—Leave Rio on Excursion to the Fortaleza de Santa
   Anna.—Localities for Erratic Drift between Rio and
   Petropolis.—Departure from Juiz de Fora.—Arrival at the
   Fazenda. Ride in the Forest.—Eve of San João.—Cupim
   Nests.—Excursion to the Upper Fazenda.—Grand
   Hunt.—Picnic.—Coffee Plantation.—Return to Rio.—Mimic
   Snow-Fields.—Coffee Insect spinning its Nest.—Visit to the
   Fazenda of Commendador Breves.—Botanizing Excursion to
   Tijuca.—Preparations for leaving Rio.—Major
   Coutinho.—Collegio Dom Pedro Segundo.                          80–125

                               CHAPTER IV.

                      VOYAGE UP THE COAST TO PARÁ.

 On board the Cruzeiro do Sul.—Members of the Party.—Arrival at
   Bahia.—Day in the Country.—Return to the
   Steamer.—Conversation about Slavery in Brazil.—Negro
   Marriages.—Maceio.—Pernambuco.—Parahyba do Norte.—Ramble on
   Shore.—Ceará.—Difficult Landing.—Brazilian
   Baths.—Maranham.—Assai Palm.—Visit to Orphan Asylum.—Detained
   in Port.—Variety of Medusæ.—Arrival of American Gunboat.—More
   Medusæ.—Dinner on Shore.—Cordiality toward the
   Expedition.—Arrival at Pará.—Kind Reception.—Environs of
   Pará.—Luxuriant Growth.—Markets.—Indian Boats.—Agreeable
   Climate.—Excursion in the Harbor.—Curious Mushroom.—Success
   in collecting, with the assistance of our Host and other
   Friends.—Fishes of the Forests.—Public Expressions of
   Sympathy for the Expedition.—Generosity of the Amazonian
   Steamship Company.—Geological Character of the Shore from Rio
   to Pará.—Erratic Drift.—Letter to the Emperor.                126–151

                               CHAPTER V.

                          FROM PARÁ TO MANAOS.

 First Sunday on the Amazons.—Geographical Question.—Convenient
   Arrangements of Steamer.—Vast Dimensions of the River.—Aspect
   of Shores.—Village of Breves.—Letter about
   Collections.—Vegetation.—Variety of Palms.—Settlement of
   Tajapuru.—Enormous Size of Leaves of the Miriti Palm.—Walk on
   Shore.—Indian Houses.—Courtesy of Indians.—Row in the
   Forest.—Town of Gurupá.—River Xingu.—Color of Water.—Town of
   Porto do Moz.—Flat-topped Hills of Almeyrim.—Beautiful
   Sunset.—Monte Alégre.—Character of Scenery and
   Soil.—Santarem.—Send off Party on the River Tapajoz.—Continue
   up the Amazons.—Pastoral Scenes on the Banks.—Town of Villa
   Bella.—Canoe Journey at Night.—Esperança’s
   Cottage.—Picturesque Scene at Night.—Success in
   Collecting.—Indian Life.—Making Farinha.—Dance in the
   Evening.—Howling Monkeys.—Religious Impressions of
   Indians.—Cottage of Maia.—His Interest in Educating his
   Children.—Return to Steamer.—Scientific Results of the
   Excursion.                                                    152–184

                               CHAPTER VI.


 Arrival at Manaos.—Meeting of the Solimoens with the Rio
   Negro.—Domesticated at Manaos.—Return of Party from the
   Tapajoz.—Generosity of
   Government.—Walks.—Water-Carriers.—Indian School.—Leave
   Manaos.—Life on board the Steamer.—Barreira das
   Cudajas.—Coari.—Wooding.—Appearance of Banks.—Geological
   Constitution.—Forest.—Sumaumeira-Tree.—Arrow-Grass.—Red Drift
   Cliffs.—Sand-Beaches.—Indian Huts.—Turtle-Hunting.—Drying
   Fish.—Teffé.—Doubts about the Journey.—Unexpected
   Adviser.—Fonte Bôa.—Geological Character of
   Banks.—Lakes.—Flocks of Water Birds.—Tonantins.—Picturesque
   Grouping of Indians.—San Paolo.—Land-Slides.—Character of
   Scenery.—Scanty Population.—Animal Life.—Tabatinga.—Aspect of
   the Settlement.—Mosquitoes.—Leave one of the Party to make
   Collections.—On our Way down the River.—Party to the Rivers
   Iça and Hyutahy.—Aground in the Amazons.—Arrival at Teffé.    185–211

                              CHAPTER VII.

                             LIFE IN TEFFÉ.

 Aspect of Teffé.—Situation.—Description of Houses.—Fishing
   Excursion.—Astonishing Variety of Fishes.—Acará.—Scarcity of
   Laborers.—Our Indoors Man.—Bruno.—Alexandrina.—Pleasant
   Walks.—Mandioca-shed in the Forest.—Indian Encampment on the
   Beach.—Excursion to Fishing Lodge on the Solimoens.—Amazonian
   Beaches.—Breeding-Places of Turtles, Fishes, etc.—Adroitness
   of Indians in finding them.—Description of a “Sitio.”—Indian
   Clay-Eaters.—Cuieira-Tree.—Fish Hunt.—Forest Lake.—Water
   Birds.—Success in Collecting.—Evening Scene in
   Sitio.—Alexandrina as Scientific Aid.—Fish
   Anecdote.—Relations between Fishes as shown by their
   Embryology.—Note upon the Marine Character of the Amazonian
   Faunæ.—Acará.—News from the Parties in the Interior.—Return
   of Party from the Iça.—Preparations for Departure.—Note on
   General Result of Scientific Work in Teffé.—Waiting for the
   Steamer.—Sketch of
   Observations.                                                 212–250

                              CHAPTER VIII.


 Arrival at Manaos.—New Quarters.—The Ibicuhy.—News from
   Home.—Visit to the Cascade.—Banheiras in the
   Forest.—Excursion to Lake Hyanuary.—Character and Prospects
   of the Amazonian Valley.—Reception at the Lake.—Description
   of Sitio.—Successful Fishing.—Indian Visitors.—Indian
   Ball.—Character of the Dancing.—Disturbed Night.—Canoe
   Excursion.—Scenery.—Another Sitio.—Morals and Manners.—Talk
   with the Indian Women.—Life in the Forest.—Life in the
   Towns.—Dinner-Party.—Toasts.—Evening Row on the Lake.—Night
   Scene.—Smoking among the Senhoras.—Return to Manaos.          251–275

                               CHAPTER IX.

                      MANAOS AND ITS NEIGHBORHOOD.

 Photographic Establishment.—Indian Portraits.—Excursion to the
   Great Cascade.—Its Geological Formation.—Bathing
   Pool.—Parasitic Plants.—Return by the Igarapé.—Public
   Ball.—Severity in Recruiting, and its Effects.—Collecting
   Parties.—Scenes of Indian Life.—Fête Champêtre at the Casa
   dos Educandos.—Prison at Manaos.—Prison Discipline on the
   Amazons.—Extracts from Presidential Reports on this
   Subject.—Prison at Teffé.—General Character of Brazilian
   Institutions.—Emperor’s Birthday.—Illuminations and Public
   Festivities.—Return of Collecting Parties.—Remarks on the
   Races.—Leave Manaos for Mauhes.                               276–300

                               CHAPTER X.


 Leave Manaos.—On board the Ibicuhy.—Navigation of the River
   Ramos.—Aspect of the Banks.—Arrival at Mauhes.—Situation of
   Mauhes.—Tupinambaranas.—Character of Population.—Appearance
   of the Villages of Mauhes.—Bolivian
   Indians.—Guaraná.—Excursion to Mucaja-Tuba.—Mundurucu
   Indians.—Aspect of Village.—Church.—Distribution of
   Presents.—Generosity of the Indians.—Their
   Indifference.—Visit to another Settlement.—Return to
   Mauhes.—Arrival of Mundurucus in the Village.—Description of
   Tattooing.—Collection.—Boto.—Indian Superstitions.—Palm
   Collection.—Walk in the Forest.—Leave Mauhes.—Mundurucu
   Indian and his Wife.—Their Manners and Appearance.—Indian
   Tradition.—Distinctions of Caste.                             301–321

                               CHAPTER XI.


 Christmas Eve at Manaos.—Ceremonies of the Indians.—Churches on
   the Amazons.—Leave Manaos for the Rio Negro.—Curious River
   Formation.—Aspect of the River.—Its Vegetation.—Scanty
   Population.—Village of Taua Péassu.—Padre of the
   Village.—Palms.—Village of Pedreira.—Indian Camp.—Making
   Palm-thatch.—Sickness and Want at Pedreira.—Row in the
   Forest.—Tropical Shower.—Geology of Pedreira.—Indian
   Recruits.—Collection of Palms.—Extracts from Mr. Agassiz’s
   Notes on Vegetation.—Return to Manaos.—Desolation of the Rio
   Negro.—Its future Prospects.—Humboldt’s Anticipations.—Wild
   Flowers.—Distribution of Fishes in the Amazonian Waters.—How
   far due to Migration.—Hydrographic System.—Alternation
   between the Rise and Fall of the Southern and Northern
   Tributaries.                                                  322–350

                              CHAPTER XII.


 Farewell Visit to the Great Cascade at Manaos.—Change in its
   Aspect.—Arrival at Villa Bella.—Return to the House of the
   Fisherman Maia.—Excursion to the Lago Maximo.—Quantity of
   Game and Waterfowl.—Victoria regia.—Leave Villa Bella.—Arrive
   at Obydos.—Its Situation and Geology.—Santarem.—Visit to the
   Church.—Anecdote of Martius.—A Row overland.—Monte
   Alégre.—Picturesque Scenery.—Banheiras.—Excursion into the
   Country.—Leave Monte Alégre.—Anecdote of
   Indians.—Almeyrim.—New Geological Facts.—Porto do
   Moz.—Collections.—Gurupá.—Tajapurú.—Arrive at Pará.—Religious
   Procession.—Excursion to Marajo.—Sourés.—Jesuit
   Missions.—Geology of Marajo.—Buried
   Forest.—Vigia.—Igarapé.—Vegetation and Animal
   Life.—Geology.—Return to Pará.—Photographing Plants.—Notes on
   the Vegetation of the Amazons.—Prevalence of Leprosy.         351–396

                              CHAPTER XIII.


 Drift about Rio de Janeiro.—Decomposition of underlying
   Rock.—Different Aspect of Glacial Phenomena in different
   Continents.—Fertility of the Drift.—Geological Observations
   of Messrs. Hartt and St. John.—Correspondence of Deposits
   along the Coast with those of Rio and those of the Valley of
   the Amazons.—Primitive Formation of the Valley.—First known
   Chapter of its History.—Cretaceous Fossil Fishes.—Former
   Extent of the South-American Coast.—Cretaceous Fossils from
   the Rio Purus.—Comparison between North and South
   America.—Geological Formations along the Banks of the
   Amazons.—Fossil Leaves.—Clays and Sandstones.—Hills of
   Almeyrim.—Monte Alégre.—Situation and Scenery.—Serra of
   Ereré.—Comparison with Swiss Scenery.—Boulders of
   Ereré.—Ancient Thickness of Amazonian Deposits.—Difference
   between Drift of the Amazons and that of Rio.—Inferences
   drawn from the present Condition of the Deposits.—Immense
   Extent of Sandstone Formation.—Nature and Origin of these
   Deposits.—Referred to the Ice-Period.—Absence of Glacial
   Marks.—Glacial Evidence of another Kind.—Changes in the
   Outline of the South-American Coast.—Souré.—Igarapé
   Grande.—Vigia.—Bay of Braganza.—Anticipation.                 397–441

                              CHAPTER XIV.


 Leaving Pará.—Farewell to the Amazons.—Ease of Travelling on
   the Amazons.—Rough Passage.—Arrival at Ceará.—Difficulty of
   Landing.—Aspect of the Town.—Rainy Season.—Consequent
   Sickliness.—Our Purpose in stopping at Ceará.—Report of Dr.
   Felice about Moraines.—Preparations for Journey into the
   Interior.—Difficulties and Delays in getting off.—On the
   Way.—Night at Arancho.—Bad Roads.—Carnauba Palm.—Arrival at
   Monguba.—Kind Reception by Senhor Franklin de Lima.—Geology
   of the Region.—Evening Games and Amusements.—Pacatuba.—Traces
   of ancient Glaciers.—Serra of Aratanha.—Climb up the
   Serra.—Hospitality of Senhor da Costa.—Picturesque Views.—The
   Sertaō.—Drought and Rains.—Epidemics.—Return to
   Monguba.—Detained by extraordinary Rains.—Return to
   Ceará.—Overflowed Roads.—Difficulty of fording.—Arrival at
   Ceará.—Liberality of the President of the Province toward the
   Expedition.                                                   442–465

                               CHAPTER XV.


 Voyage from Ceará.—Freshets at Pernambuco.—Arrival at
   Rio.—Collections.—Vegetation about Rio as compared with that
   on the Amazons.—Misericordia Hospital.—Charities connected
   with it.—Almsgiving in Brazil.—Insane Asylum.—Military
   School.—The Mint.—Academy of Fine Arts.—Heroism of a
   Negro.—Primary School for Girls.—Neglected Education of
   Women.—Blind Asylum.—Lectures.—Character of a Brazilian
   Audience.—Organ Mountains.—Walk up the
   Serra.—Theresopolis.—Visit to the St. Louis Fazenda.—Climate
   of Theresopolis.—Descent of the Serra.—Geology of the Organ
   Mountains.—The Last Word.                                     466–494

                              CHAPTER XVI.


 Religion and Clergy.—Education.—Law, Medical, and Scientific
   Schools.—High and Common Schools.—Public Library and Museum
   in Rio de Janeiro.—Historical and Geographical
   Institute.—Social and Domestic Relations.—Public
   Functionaries.—Agriculture.—Zones of
   Vegetation.—Coffee.—Cotton.—Timber and other Products of the
   Amazons.—Cattle.—Territorial Subdivision of the Great
   Valley.—Emigration.—Foreigners.—Paraguayan War.               495–517


   I. The Gulf Stream                                                519

  II. Flying-Fishes                                                  522

 III. Resolutions passed on board the Colorado                       525

  IV. Dom Pedro Segundo Railroad                                     527

   V. Permanence of Characteristics in different Human Species       529

  VI. Sketch of Separate Journeys undertaken by different Members of
        the Expedition                                               533

                           LIST OF WOODCUTS.

 COCOEIRO PALM                                              FRONTISPIECE

 A species of Attalea common in the Serra d’Estrella. It
   bears two or three large bunches of olive-like berries,
   hanging immediately below the crown of leaves. The upper
   part of the stem is often overgrown with parasites, as
   in the specimen represented here.

                   From a photograph by G. Leuzinger.


 TREE ENTWINED BY SIPOS                                               54

 There are a great many parasites, the stem and roots of
   which are attached to larger trees; this woodcut
   represents one of those strange “tree-killers,” as they
   are called by the natives, belonging to the family of
   the Fig-trees, which, beginning their growth among the
   upper branches of trees, gradually descend to the
   ground, throw out branches around the stem they attack,
   and in the end kill it in their embrace. On the right
   are Lianas, from which hang parasitic flowers.

                   From a photograph by G. Leuzinger.

 SIDE VIEW OF THE ALLEY OF PALMS                                      60

 Part of the Botanical Garden in Rio de Janeiro. In the
   foreground a Pandanus covered with fruits. The Palms
   standing in pairs in the great alley are commonly called
   Palma Real. Their botanical name is Oreodoxa oleracea.
   The peak of Corcovado forms the background.

            From a photograph by Messrs. Stahl & Wahnschaffe.

 VISTA DOWN THE ALLEY OF PALMS                                        61

 The objects are the same as in the preceding woodcut, only
   seen at right angles, to afford a view down the alley.

            From a photograph by Messrs. Stahl & Wahnschaffe.

 BOTAFOGO BAY                                                         81

 The great southeastern bay in the harbor of Rio de
   Janeiro. The highest peak in the centre is the
   Corcovado, at the foot of which stand the Insane Asylum
   and the Military School. On the left are the Gavia and
   the Sugar-Loaf; on the right, Tijuca. A beach runs all
   round the bay.

                   From a photograph by G. Leuzinger.

 MINA NEGRESS                                                         83

            From a photograph by Messrs. Stahl & Wahnschaffe.

 MINA NEGRESS AND CHILD                                               84

            From a photograph by Messrs. Stahl & Wahnschaffe.

 FALLEN TRUNK OVERGROWN BY PARASITES                                  91

 A comparison with the woodcut facing p. 54 will show how
   parasites growing upon living trees differ from those
   springing from dead trunks.

                   From a photograph by G. Leuzinger.

 FAZENDA DE SANTA ANNA, IN MINAS GERAES                              103

 The level grounds in front of the buildings are used for
   drying the coffee.

                  From a photograph by Senhor Machado.

 ESPERANÇA’S COTTAGE                                                 179

           From a water-colored painting by Mr. J. Burkhardt.

 VERANDA AND DINING-ROOM AT TEFFÉ                                    214

                   From a drawing by Mr. J. Burkhardt.

 HEAD OF ALEXANDRINA                                                 245

 Extraordinary as the head of hair of this girl may seem,
   it is in no way exaggerated; it stood six inches beyond
   the shoulders each way.

                     From a sketch by Mr. Wm. James.

 DINING-ROOM AT HYANUARY                                             258

 The palm on the left is a Pupunha (Guilielma speciosa);
   the large-leaved trees back of the building are Bananas,
   and the Palm on the right a Javari (Astrocaryum Javari).

           From a water-colored painting by Mr. J. Burkhardt.

 MAUHES RIVER                                                        304

 The Palm in the foreground is a Mucaja (Acrocomia
   lasiospatha); near the fence stand Banana-trees, and in
   the distance on the right a Tucuma Palm (Astrocaryum

           From a water-colored painting by Mr. J. Burkhardt.

 MUNDURUCU INDIAN; male                                              313

              From a photograph by Dr. Gustavo, of Manaos.

 MUNDURUCU INDIAN; female                                            314

            Also from a photograph by Dr. Gustavo, of Manaos.

 FAN BACCÁBA                                                         335

 This Palm, called Œnocarpus distychius by botanists, is
   remarkable for the arrangement of its leaves, which are
   placed opposite to each other on two sides of the trunk,
   and higher and higher alternately, so that, seen from
   one side, the two rows of leaves are equally visible,
   and have the appearance of a wide fan; seen in profile,
   they look like a narrow plume.

                   From a drawing by Mr. J. Burkhardt.

 SUMAUMEIRA                                                          391

 This colossal tree is known to botanists under the name of
   Eriodendrum Sumauma, and may be seen everywhere in the
   basin of the Amazons.

          From a photograph presented by Senhor Pimenta Bueno.

 GARRAFAŌ, among the Organ Mountains                                 486

 This peak is called the Finger by the English residents of
   Rio. The Brazilians liken it to a bottle.

                   From a photograph by G. Leuzinger.

 ORGAN MOUNTAINS                                                     490

 The loose boulder alluded to in the text stands on the
   fourth peak from the left.

                   From a photograph by G. Leuzinger.


                          A JOURNEY IN BRAZIL.

                               CHAPTER I.


_April 2d, 1865._—Our first Sunday at sea. The weather is delicious, the
ship as steady as anything on the water can be, and even the most
forlorn of our party have little excuse for sea-sickness. We have had
service from Bishop Potter this morning, and since then we have been on
deck reading, walking, watching a singular cloud, which the captain says
is a cloud of smoke, in the direction of Petersburg. We think it may be
the smoke of a great decisive engagement going on while we sail
peacefully along. What it means, or how the battle ends, if battle it
be, we shall not know for two months perhaps.[2] Mr. Agassiz is busy
to-day in taking notes, at regular intervals, of the temperature of the
water, as we approach the Gulf Stream. To-night we cut it at right
angles, and he will remain on deck to continue his observations.

_April 3d._—The Professor sat up last night as he intended, and found
his watch, which was shared by one or two of his young assistants, very
interesting. We crossed the Gulf Stream opposite Cape Hatteras, at a
latitude where it is comparatively narrow, some sixty miles only in
breadth. Entering it at about six o’clock, we passed out of it a little
after midnight. The western boundary of the warm waters stretching along
the coast had a temperature of about 57°. Immediately after entering it,
the temperature began to rise gradually, the maximum being about 74°,
falling occasionally, however, when we passed through a cold streak, to
68°. These cold streaks in the Gulf Stream, which reach to a
considerable depth, the warm and cold waters descending together in
immediate contact for at least a hundred fathoms, are attributed by Dr.
Bache to the fact that the Gulf Stream is not stationary. It sways as a
whole sometimes a little toward the shore, sometimes a little away from
it, and, in consequence of this, the colder water from the coast creeps
in, forming these vertical layers in its midst. The eastern boundary is
warmer than the western one, for the latter is chilled by the Arctic
currents, which form a band of cold water all along the Atlantic shore.
Their influence is felt nearly to the latitude of Florida. On coming out
of the Gulf Stream the temperature of the water was 68°, and so it
continued for an hour longer, after which Mr. Agassiz ceased his
observations. To-day some of the gulf-weed was gathered by a sailor, and
we found it crowded with life. Hydroids, in numbers, had their home upon
it; the delicate branching plumularia and a pretty campanularia, very
like some of our New England species; beside these, bryozoa, tiny
compound mollusks, crusted its stem, and barnacles were abundant upon
it. These are all the wonders that the deep has yielded us to-day,
though the pretty Portuguese men-of-war go floating by the vessel, out
of reach thus far. Such are the events of our life: we eat and drink and
sleep, read, study Portuguese, and write up our journals.

_April 4th._—It has occurred to Mr. Agassiz, as a means of preparing the
young men who accompany him for the work before them, to give a course
of lectures on ship-board. Some preparation of the kind is the more
necessary, since much of the work must be done independently of him, as
it will be impossible for so large a party to travel together; and the
instructions needed will be more easily given in a daily lecture to all,
than in separate conversations with each one singly. The idea finds
general favor. The large saloon makes an excellent lecture-room; a
couple of leaves from the dining-table with a black oil-cloth stretched
across them serve as a blackboard. The audience consists, not only of
our own company, but includes the few ladies who are on board, Mr.
Bradbury, the captain of our steamer, Bishop Potter, some of the ship’s
officers, and a few additional passengers, all of whom seem to think the
lecture a pleasant break in the monotony of a sea voyage. To-day the
subject was naturally suggested by the seaweeds of the Gulf Stream, so
recently caught and so crowded with life,—“A lecture on the Gulf Stream
in the Gulf Stream,” as one of the listeners suggests. It was opened,
however, by a few words on the exceptional character of the position of
this scientific commission on board the Colorado.

“Fifty years ago, when naturalists carried their investigations to
distant lands, either government was obliged to provide an expensive
outfit for them, or, if they had no such patronage, scanty opportunities
grudgingly given might be granted them on ordinary conveyances. Even if
such accommodation were allowed them, their presence was looked upon as
a nuisance: no general interest was felt in their objects; it was much
if they were permitted, on board some vessel, to have their bucket of
specimens in a corner, which any sailor might kick over, unreproved, if
it chanced to stand in his way. This ship, and the spirit prevailing in
her command, opens to me a vista such as I never dreamed of till I stood
upon her deck. Here, in place of the meagre chances I remember in old
times, the facilities could hardly be greater if the ship had been built
as a scientific laboratory. If any such occasion has ever been known
before, if any naturalist has ever been treated with such consideration,
and found such intelligent appreciation of his highest aims, on board a
merchant-ship fitted up for purposes of trade, I am not aware of it. I
hope the first trip of the Colorado will be remembered in the annals of
science. I, at least, shall know whom to thank for an opportunity so
unique. This voyage, and the circumstances connected with it, are, to
me, the signs of a good time coming; when men of different interests
will help each other; when naturalists will be more liberal and sailors
more cultivated, and natural science and navigation will work hand in
hand. And now for my lecture,—my first lecture on ship-board.”

The lecture was given, of course, specimen in hand, the various
inhabitants of the branch of seaweed giving their evidence in succession
of their own structure and way of life. To these living illustrations
were added drawings on the blackboard to show the transformations of the
animals, their embryological history, &c.[3] Since the lecture, Captain
Bradbury has fitted up a large tank as an aquarium, where any specimens
taken during the voyage may be preserved and examined. Mr. Agassiz is
perfectly happy, enjoying every hour of the voyage, as well he may,
surrounded as he is with such considerate kindness.

_April 6th._—Though I took notes, as usual, of the lecture yesterday, I
had not energy enough to enter them in my journal. The subject was the
Gulf Stream,—the stream itself this time, not the animals it carries
along with it. Mr. Agassiz’s late observations, though deeply
interesting to himself, inasmuch as personal confirmation of facts
already known is always satisfactory, have nothing novel now-a-days; yet
the history of the facts connected with the discovery of the Gulf
Stream, and their gradual development, is always attractive, and
especially so to Americans, on account of its direct connection with
scientific investigations carried on under our government. Mr. Agassiz
gave a slight sketch of this in opening his lecture. “It was Franklin
who first systematically observed these facts, though they had been
noticed long before by navigators. He recorded the temperature of the
water as he left the American continent for Europe, and found that it
continued cold for a certain distance, then rose suddenly, and after a
given time sank again to a lower temperature, though not so low as
before. With the comprehensive grasp of mind characteristic of all his
scientific results, he went at once beyond his facts. He inferred that
the warm current, keeping its way so steadily through the broad
Atlantic, and carrying tropical productions to the northern shores of
Europe, must take its rise in tropical regions, must be heated by a
tropical sun.[4] This was his inference: to work it out, to ascertain
the origin and course of the Gulf Stream, has been, in a great degree,
the task of the United States Coast Survey, under the direction of his
descendant, Dr. Bache.”[5]

We are now fairly in the tropics. “The trades” blow heavily, and
yesterday was a dreary day for those unused to the ocean; the beautiful
blue water, of a peculiar metallic tint, as remarkable in color, it
seemed to me, as the water of the Lake of Geneva, did not console us for
the heavy moral and physical depression of sea-sick mortals. To-day the
world looks brighter; there is a good deal of motion, but we are more
accustomed to it. This morning the lecture had, for the first time, a
direct bearing upon the work of the expedition. The subject was, “How to
observe, and what are the objects of scientific explorations in modern

“My companions and myself have come together so suddenly and so
unexpectedly on our present errand, that we have had little time to
organize our work. The laying out of a general scheme of operations is,
therefore, the first and one of the most important points to be
discussed between us. The time for great discoveries is passed. No
student of nature goes out now expecting to find a new world, or looks
in the heavens for any new theory of the solar system. The work of the
naturalist, in our day, is to explore worlds the existence of which is
already known; to investigate, not to discover. The first explorers, in
this modern sense, were Humboldt in the physical world, Cuvier in
natural history, Lavoisier in chemistry, La Place in astronomy. They
have been the pioneers in the kind of scientific work characteristic of
our century. We who have chosen Brazil as our field must seek to make
ourselves familiar with its physical features, its mountains and its
rivers, its animals and plants. There is a change, however, to be
introduced in our mode of work, as compared with that of former
investigators. When less was known of animals and plants the discovery
of new species was the great object. This has been carried too far, and
is now almost the lowest kind of scientific work. The discovery of a new
species as such does not change a feature in the science of natural
history, any more than the discovery of a new asteroid changes the
character of the problems to be investigated by astronomers. It is
merely adding to the enumeration of objects. We should look rather for
the fundamental relations among animals; the number of species we may
find is of importance only so far as they explain the distribution and
limitation of different genera and families, their relations to each
other and to the physical conditions under which they live. Out of such
investigations there looms up a deeper question for scientific men, the
solution of which is to be the most important result of their work in
coming generations. The origin of life is the great question of the day.
How did the organic world come to be as it is? It must be our aim to
throw some light on this subject by our present journey. How did Brazil
come to be inhabited by the animals and plants now living there? Who
were its inhabitants in past times? What reason is there to believe that
the present condition of things in this country is in any sense derived
from the past? The first step in this investigation must be to ascertain
the geographical distribution of the present animals and plants. Suppose
we first examine the Rio San Francisco. The basin of this river is
entirely isolated. Are its inhabitants, like its waters, completely
distinct from those of other basins? Are its species peculiar to itself,
and not repeated in any other river of the continent? Extraordinary as
this result would seem, I nevertheless expect to find it so. The next
water-basin we shall have to examine will be that of the Amazons, which
connects through the Rio Negro with the Orinoco. It has been frequently
repeated that the same species of fish exist in the waters of the San
Francisco and in those of Guiana and of the Amazons. At all events, our
works on fishes constantly indicate Brazil and Guiana as the common home
of many species; but this observation has never been made with
sufficient accuracy to merit confidence. Fifty years ago the exact
locality from which any animal came seemed an unimportant fact in its
scientific history, for the bearing of this question on that of origin
was not then perceived. To say that any specimen came from South America
was quite enough; to specify that it came from Brazil, from the Amazons,
the San Francisco, or the La Plata, seemed a marvellous accuracy in the
observers. In the museum at Paris, for instance, there are many
specimens entered as coming from New York or from Pará; but all that is
absolutely known about them is that they were shipped from those
sea-ports. Nobody knows exactly where they were collected. So there are
specimens entered as coming from the Rio San Francisco, but it is by no
means sure that they came exclusively from that water-basin. All this
kind of investigation is far too loose for our present object. Our work
must be done with much more precision; it must tell something positive
of the geographical distribution of animals in Brazil. Therefore, my
young friends who come with me on this expedition, let us be careful
that every specimen has a label, recording locality and date, so secured
that it shall reach Cambridge safely. It would be still better to attach
two labels to each specimen, so that, if any mischance happens to one,
our record may not be lost. We must try not to mix the fishes of
different rivers, even though they flow into each other, but to keep our
collections perfectly distinct. You will easily see the vast importance
of thus ascertaining the limitation of species, and the bearing of the
result on the great question of origin.

“Something is already known. It is ascertained that the South American
rivers possess some fishes peculiar to them. Were these fishes then
created in these separate water-systems as they now exist, or have they
been transferred thither from some other water-bed? If not born there,
how did they come there? Is there, or has there ever been, any possible
connection between these water-systems? Are their characteristic species
repeated elsewhere? Thus we narrow the boundaries of the investigation,
and bring it, by successive approaches, nearer the ultimate question.
But the first inquiry is, How far are species distinct all over the
world, and what are their limits? Till this is ascertained, all theories
about their origin, their derivation from one another, their successive
transformation, their migration from given centres, and so on, are mere
beating about the bush. I allude especially to the fresh-water fishes,
in connection with this investigation, on account of the precision of
their boundaries. Looking at the matter theoretically, without a
positive investigation, I do not expect to find a single species of the
Lower Amazons above Tabatinga.[6] I base this supposition upon my own
observations respecting the distribution of species in the European
rivers. I have found that, while some species occur simultaneously in
the many upper water-courses which combine to form the Rhine, the Rhone,
and the Danube, most of them are not found in the lower course of these
rivers; that, again, certain species are found in two of these
water-basins and do not occur in the third, or inhabit only one and are
not to be met in the two others. The brook trout, for instance (_Salmo
Fario_), is common to the upper course and the higher tributaries of all
the three river-systems, but does not inhabit the main bed of their
lower course. So it is, also, and in a more striking degree, with the
Salmling (_Salmo Salvelinus_). The Huchen (_Salmo Hucho_) is only found
in the Danube. But the distribution of the perch family in these rivers
is, perhaps, the most remarkable. The Zingel (_Aspro Zingel_) and the
Schrætzer (_Acerina Schrætzer_) are only found in the Danube; while
_Acerina cernua_ is found in the Danube as well as in the Rhine, but not
in the Rhone; and _Aspro asper_ in the Danube as well as in the Rhone,
but not in the Rhine. The Sander (_Lucioperca Sandra_) is found in the
Danube and the other large rivers of Eastern Europe, but occurs neither
in the Rhine nor in the Rhone. The common perch (_Perca fluviatilis_),
on the contrary, is found both in the Rhine and Rhone, but not in the
Danube, which, however, nourishes another species of true Perca, already
described by Schaeffer as _Perca vulgaris_. Again, the pickerel (_Esox
Lucius_) is common to all these rivers, especially in their lower
course, and so is also the cusk (_Lota vulgaris_). The special
distribution of the carp family would afford many other striking
examples, but they are too numerous and too little known to be used as
an illustration here.

“This is among the most remarkable instances of what I would call the
arbitrary character of geographical distribution. Such facts cannot be
explained by any theory of accidental dispersion, for the upper mountain
rivulets, in which these great rivers take their rise, have no
connection with each other; nor can any local circumstance explain the
presence of some species in all the three basins, while others appear
only in one, or perhaps in two, and are absent from the third, or the
fact that certain species inhabiting the head-waters of these streams
are never found in their lower course when the descent would seem so
natural and so easy. In the absence of any positive explanation, we are
left to assume that the distribution of animal life has primary laws as
definite and precise as those which govern anything else in the system
of the universe.

“It is for the sake of investigations of this kind that I wish our party
to divide, in order that we may cover as wide a ground as possible, and
compare a greater number of the water-basins of Brazil. I wish the same
to be done, as far as may be, for all the classes of Vertebrates, as
well as for Mollusks, Articulates, and Radiates. As we have no special
botanist in the party, we must be content to make a methodical
collection of the most characteristic families of trees, such as the
palms and tree ferns. A collection of the stems of these trees would be
especially important as a guide to the identification of fossil woods.
Much more is known of the geographical distribution of plants than of
animals, however, and there is, therefore, less to be done that is new
in that direction.

“Our next aim, and with the same object, namely, its bearing upon the
question of origin, will be the study of the young, the collecting of
eggs and embryos. This is the more important, since museums generally
show only adult specimens. As far as I know, the Zoölogical Museum at
Cambridge is the only one containing large collections of embryological
specimens from all the classes of the animal kingdom. One significant
fact, however, is already known. In their earliest stages of growth all
animals of the same class are much more alike than in their adult
condition, and sometimes so nearly alike as hardly to be distinguished.
Indeed, there is an early period when the resemblances greatly outweigh
the differences. How far the representatives of different classes
resemble one another remains to be ascertained with precision. There are
two possible interpretations of these facts. One is that animals so
nearly identical in the beginning must have been originally derived from
one germ, and are but modifications or transmutations, under various
physical conditions, of this primitive unit. The other interpretation,
founded on the same facts, is, that since, notwithstanding this material
identity in the beginning, no germ ever grows to be different from its
parent, or diverges from the pattern imposed upon it at its birth,
therefore some other cause besides a material one must control its
development; and if this be so, we have to seek an explanation of the
differences between animals outside of physical influences. Thus far
both these views rest chiefly upon personal convictions and opinions.
The true solution of the problem must be sought in the study of the
development of the animals themselves, and embryology is still in its
infancy; for, though a very complete study of the embryology of a few
animals has been made, yet these investigations include so small a
number of representatives from the different classes of the animal
kingdom that they do not yet give a basis for broad generalizations.
Very little is known of the earlier stages in the formation of hosts of
insects whose later metamorphoses, including the change of the already
advanced larva, first to the condition of a chrysalis and then to that
of a perfect insect, have been carefully traced. It remains to be
ascertained to what extent the caterpillars of different kinds of
butterflies, for instance, resemble one another during the time of their
formation in the egg. An immense field of observation is open in this
order alone.

“I have, myself, examined over one hundred species of bird embryos, now
put up in the museum of Cambridge, and found that, at a certain age,
they all have bills, wings, legs, feet, &c., &c. exactly alike. The
young robin and the young crow are web-footed, as well as the duck. It
is only later that the fingers of the foot become distinct. How very
interesting it will be to continue this investigation among the tropical
birds!—to see whether, for instance, the toucan, with its gigantic bill,
has, at a certain age, a bill like that of all other birds; whether the
spoonbill ibis has, at the same age, nothing characteristic in the shape
of its bill. No living naturalist could now tell you one word about all
this; neither could he give you any information about corresponding
facts in the growth of the fishes, reptiles, or quadrupeds of Brazil,
not one of the young of these animals having ever been compared with the
adult. In these lectures I only aim at showing you what an extensive and
interesting field of investigation opens before us; if we succeed in
cultivating even a few corners of it we shall be fortunate.”

In the evening, which is always the most enjoyable part of our day, we
sat on the guards and watched the first tropical sunset we had yet seen.
The sun went down in purple and gold, and, after its departure, sent
back a glow that crimsoned the clouds almost to the zenith, dying off to
paler rose tints on the edges, while heavy masses of gray vapor, just
beginning to be silvered by the moon, swept up from the south.

_April 7th._—To-day the lecture was upon the physical features of South
America, something with reference to the geological and geographical
work in which Mr. Agassiz hopes to have efficient aid from his younger
assistants. So much of the lecture consisted of explanations given upon
geological maps that it is difficult to record it. Its principal object,
however, was to show in what direction they should work in order to give
greater precision to the general information already secured respecting
the formation of the continent. “The basin of the Amazons, for instance,
is a level plain. The whole of it is covered with loose materials. We
must watch carefully the character of these loose materials, and try to
track them to their origin. As there are very characteristic rocks in
various parts of this plain, we shall have a clew to the nature of at
least some portion of these materials. My own previous studies have
given me a special interest in certain questions connected with these
facts. What power has ground up these loose materials? Are they the
result of disintegration of the rock by ordinary atmospheric agents, or
are they caused by the action of water, or by that of glaciers? Was
there ever a time when large masses of ice descended far lower than the
present snow line of the Andes, and, moving over the low lands, ground
these materials to powder? We know that such an agency has been at work
on the northern half of this hemisphere. We have now to look for its
traces on the southern half, where no such investigations have ever been
made within its warm latitudes; though to Darwin science is already
indebted for much valuable information concerning the glacial phenomena
of the temperate and colder portions of the South American continent. We
should examine the loose materials in every river we ascend, and see
what relation they bear to the dry land above. The color of the water in
connection with the nature of the banks will tell us something. The
waters of the Rio Branco, for instance, are said to be milky white;
those of the Rio Negro, black. In the latter case the color is probably
owing to the decomposition of vegetation. I would advise each one of our
parties to pass a large amount of water from any river or stream along
which they travel through a filter, and to examine the deposit
microscopically. They will thus ascertain the character of the detritus,
whether from sand, or lime, or granite, or mere river mud formed by the
decomposition of organic matter. Even the smaller streams and rivulets
will have their peculiar character. The Brazilian table-land rises to a
broad ridge running from west to east, and determining the direction of
the rivers. It is usually represented as a mountain range, but is in
fact nothing but a high flat ridge serving as a water-shed, and cut
transversely by deep fissures in which the rivers flow. These fissures
are broad in their lower parts, but little is known of their upper
range; and whoever will examine their banks carefully will do an
important work for science. Indeed, very little is known accurately of
the geology of Brazil. On the geological maps almost the whole country
is represented as consisting of granite. If this be correct, it is very
inconsistent with what we know of the geological structure of other
continents, where the stratified rocks are in much larger proportions.”

Upon this followed some account of the different kinds of valley
formation and of terraces. “Do the old terraces above the rivers of
South America correspond to the river terraces on any of our
rivers,—those of the Connecticut, for instance,—showing that their
waters had formerly a much greater depth and covered a much wider
bottom? There must of course have been a cause for this great
accumulation of water in ancient periods. I account for it in the
northern half of the hemisphere by the melting of vast masses of ice in
the glacial period, causing immense freshets. There is no trustworthy
account of the river terraces in Brazil. Bates, however, describes
flat-topped hills between Santarem and Pará in the narrow part of the
valley, near Almeyrim, rising 800 feet above the present level of the
Amazons. If this part of the valley were flooded in old times, banks
might have been formed of which these hills are a remnant. But because
such a theory might account for the facts it does not follow that the
theory is true. Our work must be to study the facts, to see, among other
things, of what these hills are built, whether of rock or of loose
materials. No one has told us anything as yet of their geological

To-day we have seen numbers of flying-fish from the deck, and were
astonished at the grace and beauty of their motion, which we had
supposed to be rather a leap than actual flight. And flight indeed it is
not, their pectoral fins acting as sails rather than wings, and carrying
them along on the wind. They skim over the water in this way to a great
distance. Captain Bradbury told us he had followed one with his glass
and lost sight of it at a considerable distance, without seeing it dip
into the water again. Mr. Agassiz has great delight in watching them.[8]
Having never before sailed in tropical seas, he enjoys every day some
new pleasure.

_April 9th._—Yesterday Mr. Agassiz lectured upon the traces of glaciers
as they exist in the northern hemisphere, and the signs of the same kind
to be sought for in Brazil. After a sketch of what has been done in
glacial investigation in Europe and the United States, showing the great
extension of ice over these regions in ancient times, he continued as
follows: “When the polar half of both hemispheres was covered by such an
ice shroud, the climate of the whole earth must have been different from
what it is now. The limits of the ancient glaciers give us some estimate
of this difference, though of course only an approximate one. A degree
of temperature in the annual average of any given locality corresponds
to a degree of latitude; that is, a degree of temperature is lost for
every degree of latitude as we travel northward, or gained for every
degree of latitude as we travel southward. In our times, the line at
which the average annual temperature is 32°, that is, at which glaciers
may be formed, is in latitude 60° or thereabouts, the latitude of
Greenland; while the height at which they may originate in latitude 45°
is about 6,000 feet. If it appear that the ancient southern limit of
glaciers is in latitude 36°, we must admit that in those days the
present climate of Greenland extended to that line. Such a change of
climate with reference to latitude must have been attended by a
corresponding change of climate with reference to altitude. Three
degrees of temperature correspond to about one thousand feet of
altitude. If, therefore, it is found that the ancient limit of glacier
action descends on the Andes, for instance, to 7,000 feet above the
level of the sea under the equator, the present line of perpetual snow
being at 15,000, it is safe to infer that in those days the climate was
some 24° or thereabouts below its present temperature. That is, the
temperature of the present snow line then prevailed at a height of 7,000
feet above the sea level, as the present average temperature of
Greenland then prevailed in latitude 36°. I am as confident that we
shall find these indications at about the limit I have pointed out as if
I had already seen them. I would even venture to prophesy that the first
moraines in the valley of the Marañon should be found where it bends
eastward above Jaen.”[9]

Although the weather is fine, the motion of the ship continues to be so
great that those of us who have not what are popularly called
“sea-legs,” have much ado to keep our balance. For my own part, I am
beginning to feel a personal animosity to “the trades.” I had imagined
them to be soft, genial breezes wafting us gently southward; instead of
which they blow dead ahead all the time, and give us no rest night or
day. And yet we are very unreasonable to grumble; for never were greater
comforts and conveniences provided for voyagers on the great deep than
are to be found on this magnificent ship. The state-rooms large and
commodious, parlor and dining-hall well ventilated, cool, and cheerful,
the decks long and broad enough to give a chance for extensive
“constitutionals” to everybody who can stand upright for two minutes
together, the attendance punctual and admirable in every respect; in
short, nothing is left to be desired except a little more stable

_April 10th._—A rough sea to-day, notwithstanding which we had our
lecture as usual, though I must say, that, owing to the lurching of the
ship, the lecturer pitched about more than was consistent with the
dignity of science. Mr. Agassiz returned to the subject of embryology,
urging upon his assistants the importance of collecting materials for
this object as a means of obtaining an insight into the deeper relations
between animals.

“Heretofore classification has been arbitrary, inasmuch as it has rested
mainly upon the interpretation given to structural differences by
various observers, who did not measure the character and value of these
differences by any natural standard. I believe that we have a more
certain guide in these matters than opinion or the individual estimate
of any observer, however keen his insight into structural differences.
The true principle of classification exists in Nature herself, and we
have only to decipher it. If this conviction be correct, the next
question is, How can we make this principle a practical one in our
laboratories, an active stimulus in our investigations? Is it
susceptible of positive demonstration in material facts? Is there any
method to be adopted as a correct guide, if we set aside the idea of
originating systems of classification of our own, and seek only to read
that already written in nature? I answer, Yes. The standard is to be
found in the changes animals undergo from their first formation in the
egg to their adult condition.

“It would be impossible for me here and now to give you the details of
this method of investigation, but I can tell you enough to illustrate my
statement. Take a homely and very familiar example, that of the branch
of Articulates. Naturalists divide this branch into three
classes,—Insects, Crustacea, and Worms; and most of them tell you that
Worms are lowest, Crustacea next in rank, and that Insects stand
highest, while others have placed the Crustacea at the head of the
group. We may well ask why. Why does an insect stand above a crustacean,
or, _vice versa_, why is a grasshopper or a butterfly structurally
superior to a lobster or a shrimp? And indeed there must be a difference
in opinion as to the respective standing of these groups so long as
their classification is allowed to remain a purely arbitrary one, based
only upon interpretation of anatomical details. One man thinks the
structural features of Insects superior, and places them highest;
another thinks the structural features of the Crustacea highest, and
places them at the head. In either case it is only a question of
individual appreciation of the facts. But when we study the gradual
development of the insect, and find that in its earliest stages it is
worm-like, in its second, or chrysalis stage, it is crustacean-like, and
only in its final completion it assumes the character of a perfect
insect, we have a simple natural scale by which to estimate the
comparative rank of these animals. Since we cannot suppose that there is
a retrograde movement in the development of any animal, we must believe
that the insect stands highest, and our classification in this instance
is dictated by Nature herself. This is one of the most striking
examples, but there are others quite as much so, though not as familiar.
The frog, for instance, in its successive stages of development,
illustrates the comparative standing of the orders composing the class
to which it belongs. These orders are differently classified by various
naturalists, according to their individual estimate of their structural
features. But the growth of the frog, like that of the insects, gives us
the true grade of the type.[10] There are not many groups in which this
comparison has been carried out so fully as in the insects and frogs;
but wherever it has been tried it is found to be a perfectly sure test.
Occasional glimpses of these facts, seen disconnectedly, have done much
to confirm the development theory, so greatly in vogue at present,
though under a somewhat new form. Those who sustain these views have
seen that there was a gradation between animals, and have inferred that
it was a material connection. But when we follow it in the growth of the
animals themselves, and find that, close as it is, no animal ever misses
its true development, or grows to be anything but what it was meant to
be, we are forced to admit that the gradation which unquestionably
unites all animals is an intellectual, not a material one. It exists in
the Mind which made them. As the works of a human intellect are bound
together by mental kinship, so are the thoughts of the Creator
spiritually united. I think that considerations like these should be an
inducement for us all to collect the young of as many animals as
possible on this journey. In so doing we may change the fundamental
principles of classification, and confer a lasting benefit on science.

“It is very important to select the right animals for such
investigations. I can conceive that a lifetime should be passed in
embryological studies, and yet little be learned of the principles of
classification. The embryology of the worm, for instance, would not give
us the natural classification of the Articulates, because we should see
only the first step of the series; we should not reach the sequence of
the development. It would be like reading over and over again the first
chapter of a story. The embryology of the Insects, on the contrary,
would give us the whole succession of a scale on the lowest level of
which the Worms remain forever. So the embryology of the frog will give
us the classification of the group to which it belongs, but the
embryology of the Cecilia, the lowest order in the group, will give us
only the initiatory steps. In the same way the naturalist who, in
studying the embryology of the reptiles, should begin with their lowest
representatives, the serpents, would make a great mistake. But take the
alligator, so abundant in the regions to which we are going. An
alligator’s egg in the earliest condition of growth has never been
opened by a naturalist. The young have been occasionally taken from the
egg just before hatching, but absolutely nothing is known of their first
phases of development. A complete embryology of the alligator would give
us not only the natural classification of reptiles as they exist now,
but might teach us something of their history from the time of their
introduction upon earth to the present day. For embryology shows us not
only the relations of existing animals to each other, but their
relations to extinct types also. One prominent result of embryological
studies has been to show that animals in the earlier stages of their
growth resemble ancient representatives of the same type belonging to
past geological ages. The first reptiles were introduced in the
carboniferous epoch, and they were very different from those now
existing. They were not numerous at that period; but later in the
world’s history there was a time, justly called the ‘age of reptiles,’
when the gigantic Saurians, Plesiosaurians, and Ichthyosaurians
abounded. I believe, and my conviction is drawn from my previous
embryological studies, that the changes of the alligator in the egg will
give us the clew to the structural relations of the Reptiles from their
first creation to the present day,—will give us, in other words, their
sequence in time as well as their sequence in growth. In the class of
Reptiles, then, the most instructive group we can select with reference
to the structural relations of the type as it now exists, and their
history in past times, will be the alligator. We must therefore neglect
no opportunity of collecting their eggs in as large numbers as possible.

“There are other animals in Brazil, low in their class to be sure, but
yet very important to study embryologically, on account of their
relation to extinct types. These are the sloths and armadillos,—animals
of insignificant size in our days, but anciently represented in gigantic
proportions. The Megatherium, the Mylodon, the Megalonyx, were some of
these immense Mammalia. I believe that the embryonic changes of the
sloths and armadillos will explain the structural relations of those
huge Edentata and their connection with the present ones. South America
teems with the fossil bones of these animals, which indeed penetrated
into the northern half of the hemisphere as high up as Georgia and
Kentucky, where their remains have been found. The living
representatives of the family are also numerous in South America, and we
should make it one of our chief objects to get specimens of all ages and
examine them from their earliest phases upward. We must, above all, try
not to be led away from the more important aims of our study by the
diversity of objects. I have known many young naturalists to miss the
highest success by trying to cover too much ground,—by becoming
collectors rather than investigators. Bitten by the mania for amassing a
great number and variety of species, such a man never returns to the
general consideration of more comprehensive features. We must try to set
before ourselves certain important questions, and give ourselves
resolutely to the investigation of these points, even though we should
sacrifice less important things more readily reached.

“Another type full of interest, from an embryological point of view,
will be the Monkeys. Since some of our scientific colleagues look upon
them as our ancestors, it is important that we should collect as many
facts as possible concerning their growth. Of course it would be better
if we could make the investigation in the land of the Orangs, Gorillas,
and Chimpanzees,—the highest monkeys and the nearest to man in their
development. Still even the process of growth in the South American
monkey will be very instructive. Give a mathematician the initial
elements of a series, and he will work out the whole; and so I believe
when the laws of embryological development are better understood,
naturalists will have a key to the limits of these cycles of growth, and
be able to appoint them their natural boundaries even from partial data.

“Next in importance I would place the Tapirs. This is one of a family
whose geological antecedents are very important and interesting. The
Mastodons, the Palæotherium, the Dinotherium, and other large Mammalia
of the Tertiaries, are closely related to the Tapir. The elephant,
rhinoceros, and the like, are of the same family. From its structural
standing next to the elephant, which is placed highest in the group, the
embryology of the Tapir would give us a very complete series of changes.
It would seem from some of the fossil remains of this family that the
Pachyderms were formerly more nearly related to the Ruminants and
Rodents than they now are. Therefore it would be well to study the
embryology of the Capivari, the Paca, and the Peccary, in connection
with that of the Tapir. Lastly, it will be important to learn something
of the embryology of the Manatee or Sea-Cow of the Amazons. It is
something like a porpoise in outline, and seems to be the modern
representative of the ancient Dinotherium.”

_April 12th._—The lecture to-day was addressed especially to the
ornithologists of the party, its object being to show how the same
method of study,—that of testing the classification by the phases of
growth in the different groups,—might be applied to the birds as
profitably as to other types.

We have made good progress in the last forty-eight hours, and are fast
leaving our friends “the trades” behind. The captain promises us smooth
waters in a day or two. With the dying away of the wind will come
greater heat, but as yet we have had no intensely warm weather. The sun,
however, keeps us within doors a great part of the day, but in the
evening we sit on the guards, watch the sunset over the waters, and then
the moonlight, and so while away the time till nine or ten o’clock, when
one by one the party disperses. The sea has been so rough that we have
not been able to capture anything, but when we get into smoother waters,
our naturalists will be on the look out for jelly-fish, argonautas, and
the like.

_April 13th._—In to-day’s lecture Mr. Agassiz returned again to the
subject of geographical distribution and the importance of localizing
the collections with great precision.

“As Rio de Janeiro is our starting-point, the water-system in its
immediate neighborhood will be as it were a schoolroom for us during the
first week of our Brazilian life. We shall not find it so easy a matter
as it seems to keep our collections distinct in this region. The
head-waters of some of the rivers near Rio, flowing in opposite
directions, are in such close proximity that it will be difficult
sometimes to distinguish them. Outside of the coast range, to which the
Organ Mountains belong, are a number of short streams, little rills, so
to speak, emptying directly into the ocean. It will be important to
ascertain whether the same animals occur in all these short
water-courses. I think this will be found to be the case, because it is
so with corresponding small rivers on our northern coast. There are
little rivers along the whole coast from Maine to New Jersey; all these
disconnected rivers contain a similar fauna. There is another extensive
range inland of the coast ridge, the Serra de Mantiquera, sloping gently
down to the ocean south of the Rio Belmonte or Jequitinhonha. Rivers
arising in this range are more complex; they have large tributaries.
Their upper part is usually broken by waterfalls, their lower course
being more level; probably in the lower courses of these rivers we shall
find fishes similar to those of the short coast streams, while in the
higher broken waters we shall find distinct faunæ.” The lecture closed
with some account of the excursions likely to be undertaken in the
neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro on arriving, and with some practical
instructions about collecting, based upon Mr. Agassiz’s personal

_April 14th._—Last evening was the most beautiful we have had since we
left home; perfectly clear with the exception of soft white masses of
cloud on the horizon, all their edges silvered by the moonlight. We
looked our last for many months to come on the north star, and saw the
southern cross for the first time. With the visible image I lost a far
more wonderful constellation which had lived in my imagination; it has
vanished with all its golden glory, a celestial vision as amazing as
that which converted Constantine, and in its place stands the veritable
constellation with its four little points of light.

The lecture to-day was upon the fishes of South America. “I will give
you this morning a slight sketch of the characteristic fishes in South
America, as compared with those of the Old World and North America.
Though I do not know how the fishes are distributed in the regions to
which we are going, and it is just upon the investigation of this point
that I want your help, I know their character as distinguished from
those of other continents. We must remember that the most important aim
of all our studies in this direction will be the solution of the
question whether any given fauna is distinct and has originated where it
now exists. To this end I shall make you acquainted with the Brazilian
animals so far as I can in the short time we have before beginning our
active operations, in order that you may be prepared to detect the law
of their geographical distribution. I shall speak to-day more especially
of the fresh-water fishes.

“In the northern hemisphere there is a remarkable group of fishes known
as the Sturgeons. They are chiefly found in the waters flowing into the
Polar seas, as the Mackenzie River on our own continent, the Lena and
Yenissei in the Old World, and in all the rivers and lakes of the
temperate zone, communicating with the Atlantic Ocean. They occur in
smaller numbers in most tributaries of the Mediterranean, but are common
in the Volga and Danube, as well as in the Mississippi, in some of the
rivers on our northern Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and in China. This
family has no representatives in Africa, Southern Asia, Australia, or
South America, but there is a group corresponding in a certain way to it
in South America,—that of the Goniodonts. Though some ichthyologists
place them widely apart in their classifications, there is, on the
whole, a striking resemblance between the Sturgeons and Goniodonts.
Groups of this kind, reproducing certain features common to both, but
differing by special structural modifications, are called
‘representative types.’ This name applies more especially to such groups
when they are distributed over different parts of the world. To
naturalists the comparison of one of these types with another is very
interesting, as touching upon the question of origin of species. To
those who believe that animals are derived from one another the
alternative here presented is very clear: either one of these groups
grew out of the other, or else they both had common ancestors which were
neither Sturgeons nor Goniodonts, but combined the features of both and
gave birth to each.

“There is a third family of fishes, the Hornpouts or Bullheads, called
Siluroids by naturalists, which seem by their structural character to
occupy an intermediate position between the Sturgeons and Goniodonts.
There would seem to be, then, in these three groups, so similar in
certain features, so distinct in others, the elements of a series. But
while their structural relations suggest a common origin, their
geographical distribution seems to exclude it. Take, for instance, the
Hornpouts; they are very few in the northern hemisphere, hardly ever
occurring in those rivers where the Sturgeons abound, and they are very
numerous in the southern hemisphere, in southern Asia, Australia,
Africa, and South America, where the Sturgeons are altogether wanting.
In South America the Siluroids everywhere exist with the Goniodonts, in
all other parts of the world without them; the Goniodonts being only
found in South America. If these were the ancestors of the Siluroids in
South America, they were certainly not their ancestors anywhere else. If
the Sturgeons were the ancestors of the Siluroids and of the Goniodonts,
it is strange that their progeny should consist of these two families in
South America, and in the Old World of the Siluroids only. But if all
three had some other common ancestry, it would be still more
extraordinary that its progeny should exhibit so specific a distribution
upon the surface of our globe. The Siluroids lay very large eggs, and as
they are very abundant in South America we shall no doubt have
opportunities of collecting them. Of the reproduction of the Goniodonts
absolutely nothing is known. Of course the embryology of both these
groups would have a direct bearing on the problem of their origin.

“Another family very abundant in various parts of the world is that of
the Perches. They are found all over North America, Europe, and Northern
Asia; but there is not one to be found in the fresh waters of the
southern hemisphere. In South America and in Africa they are represented
however by a very similar group, that of the Chromids. These two groups
are so much akin that from their structure it would seem natural to
suppose that the Chromids were transformed Perches; the more so, since
in the western hemisphere the latter extend from the high north to
Texas, south of which they are represented by the Chromids. Here the
geographical as well as the structural transition would seem an easy
one. But look at the eastern hemisphere. Perches abound in Asia, Europe,
and Australia, but there are no Chromids there. How is it that the
Perches of this continent have been so fertile in producing Chromids,
and the Perches of all other continents, except Africa, absolutely
sterile in this respect? Or if we reverse the proposition, and suppose
the Perches to have grown out of the Chromids, why have their ancestry
disappeared so completely on the Asiatic side of the world, while they
do not seem to have diminished on this? And if Perches and Chromids
should be represented as descending from an older common type, I would
answer that Palæontology knows nothing of such a pedigree.

“Next come the Chubs, or in scientific nomenclature the Cyprinoids.
These fishes, variously called Chubs, Suckers, or Carps, abound in all
the fresh waters of the northern hemisphere. They are also numerous in
the eastern part of the southern hemisphere, but have not a single
representative in South America. As the Goniodonts are characteristic of
the southern hemisphere in its western half, so this group seems to be
characteristic of it in its eastern half. But while the Cyprinoids have
no representative in South America, there is another group there,
structurally akin to them, called the Cyprinodonts. They are all
small-sized; our Minnows belong to this group. From Maine to Texas they
are found in all the short rivers or creeks all along the coast. It is
for this reason that I expect to find the short coast rivers of South
America abounding in Minnows. I remember to have found in the
neighborhood of Mobile no less than six new species in the course of an
afternoon’s ramble. These fishes are almost all viviparous, or at least
lay their eggs in a very advanced state of development of the young. The
sexes differ so greatly in appearance that they have sometimes been
described as distinct species, nay, even as distinct genera.[12] We must
be on our guard against a similar mistake. Here again we have two
groups, the Cyprinoids and Cyprinodonts, so similar in their structural
features that the development of one out of the other naturally suggests
itself. But in South America there are no Cyprinoids at all, while the
Cyprinodonts abound; in Europe, Asia, and North America on the contrary,
the Cyprinoids are very numerous and the Cyprinodonts comparatively
few.” The Characines were next considered with reference to their
affinities as well as their geographical distribution; and a few remarks
were added upon the smaller families known to have representatives in
the fresh waters of South America, such as the Erythrinoids, the
Gymnotines, &c. “I am often asked what is my chief aim in this
expedition to South America? No doubt in a general way it is to collect
materials for future study. But the conviction which draws me
irresistibly, is that the combination of animals on this continent,
where the faunæ are so characteristic and so distinct from all others,
will give me the means of showing that the transmutation theory is
wholly without foundation in facts.” The lecture closed with some
account of the Salmonidæ, found all over the northern hemisphere, but
represented in South America by the Characines, distinct species of
which may be looked for in the separate water-basins of Brazil; and also
of several other important families of South American fishes, especially
the Osteoglossum, the Sudis, &c., interesting on account of their
relation to an extinct fossil type, that of the Cœlacanths.[13]

_April 17th._—Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and the day was beautiful.
The services from Bishop Potter in the morning were very interesting;
the more so for us on account of the God speed he gave us. Wind and
weather permitting, it is the last Sunday we shall pass on board ship
together. The Bishop spoke with much earnestness and sympathy of the
objects of the expedition, addressing himself especially to the young
men, not only with reference to their duties as connected with a
scientific undertaking, but as American citizens in a foreign country at
this time of war and misapprehension.

This morning we were quite entertained at meeting a number of the
so-called “Catamarans,” the crazy crafts of the fishermen, who appear to
be amphibious animals on this coast. Their boats consist of a few logs
lashed together, over which the water breaks at every moment without
apparently disturbing the occupants in the least. They fish, walk about,
sit, lie down or stand, eat, drink, and sleep, to all appearance as
contented and comfortable as we are in our princely steamer. Usually
they go into port at nightfall, but are occasionally driven out to sea
by the wind, and may sometimes be met with two hundred miles and more
from the shore. To-day we have fairly come upon the South American
coast. Yesterday we could catch sight occasionally of low sand banks;
but this morning we have sailed past the pretty little town of Olinda,
with its convent on the hill, and the larger city of Pernambuco, whose
white houses come quite down to the sea-shore. Immediately in front of
the town lies the reef, which runs southward along the coast for a
hundred miles and more, enclosing between itself and the shore a strip
of quiet waters, forming admirable anchorage for small shipping. Before
Pernambuco this channel is quite deep, and directly in front of the town
there is a break in the reef forming a natural gateway through which
large vessels can enter. We have now left the town behind, but the shore
is still in sight; a flat coast rising into low hills behind, and here
and there dotted with villages and fishing-huts.

The lecture on Saturday was rather practical than scientific, on the
best modes of collecting and preserving specimens, the instruments to be
used, &c. To-day it was upon the classification of fishes as illustrated
by embryology; the same method of study as that explained the other day
and now applied to the class of fishes. “All fishes at the time when the
germ becomes distinct above the yolk have a continuous fin over the
whole back, around the tail, and under the abdomen. The naked reptiles,
those which have no scales, such as frogs, toads, salamanders, and the
like, share in this embryological feature of the fishes. From this
identity of development I believe the naked reptiles to be structurally
nearer to the true fishes than to the scaly reptiles. All fishes, and
indeed all Vertebrates, even the highest, have, at this early period,
fissures in the side of the neck. These are the first indications of
gills, an organ the basis for which exists in all Vertebrates at a
certain period of their life, but is fully developed and functionally
active only in the lower ones, in which it acquires a special final
structure; giving place to lungs in the higher ones before they reach
their adult condition. From this time forward not only the class
characters, but those of the family, begin to be distinguished. I will
show you to-day how we may improve the classification of fishes by
studying their embryology. Take, for instance, the family of Cods in its
widest acceptation. It consists of several genera, among which are the
Cod proper, the Cusk, and the Brotula. Naturalists may differ in their
estimation of the relative rank of these genera, and even with reference
to their affinity, but the embryology of the Cod seems to me to give the
natural scale. In its early condition the Cod has the continuous fin of
the Brotula, next the dorsal and caudal fins become distinct, as in the
Cusk, and lastly the final individualization of the fins takes place,
and they break up into the three dorsals and two anals of the Cod. Thus
the Brotula represents the infantile condition of the Cod, and of course
stands lowest, while the Cusk has its natural position between the two.
There are other genera belonging to this family, as, for instance, the
Lota or fresh-water Cusk and the Hake, the relative position of which
may be determined by further embryological studies. I had an opportunity
of observing something in the development of the Hake which throws some
light on the relation of the Ophidini to the Cod family, though thus far
they have been associated with the Eel. The little embryonic Hake on
which I made my investigation was about an inch and a half in length; it
was much more slender and elongated in proportion to its thickness than
any of the family of Cods in their adult condition, and had a continuous
fin all around the body. Although the structural relations of the Eels
are not fully understood, some of them, at least, now united as a
distinct family under the name of Ophidini, are known to be closely
connected with the Cods, and this character of the Hake in its early
condition would seem to show that this type of Eel is a sort of
embryonic form of the Cod family.

“Another well-known family of fishes is that of the Lophioides. To this
group belongs the Lophius or Goose-fish, with which the Cottoids or
Sculpins, and the Blennioids, with Zoarces and Anarrhichas, the
so-called Sea-cat, ought to be associated. It was my good fortune to
have an opportunity of studying the development of the Lophius, and to
my surprise I found that its embryonic phases included the whole series
here alluded to, thus presenting another of those natural scales on
which I hope all our scientific classifications will be remodelled when
we obtain a better knowledge of embryology. The Lophius in its youngest
stage recalls the Tænioids, being long and compressed; next it resembles
the Blennioids, and growing stouter passes through a stage like Cottus,
before it assumes the depressed form of Lophius. In the family of
Cyprinodonts I have observed the young of Fundulus. They are destitute
of ventrals, thus showing that the genus Orestias stands lowest in its
family. I would allude to one other fact of this kind observed by
Professor Wyman. There has been a doubt among naturalists as to the
relative standing of the Skates and Sharks. On geological evidence I had
placed the Skates highest, because the Sharks precede them in time; but
this fact had not been established on embryological evidence. Professor
Wyman has followed the embryology of the Skate through all its phases,
and has found that in its earlier condition it is slender in outline,
with the appearance of a diminutive shark, and that only later it
assumes the broad shield-like form and long tapering tail of the skate.
Were it only that they enable us to set aside all arbitrary decisions
and base our classifications on the teachings of nature, these
investigations would be invaluable; but their importance is increased by
the consideration that we are thus gradually led to recognize the true
affinities which bind all organized beings into one great system.”

_April 20th._—The day after to-morrow we shall enter the Bay of Rio de
Janeiro. One begins to see already that little disturbance in the
regularity of sea life which precedes arrival. People are making up
their letters, and rearranging their luggage; there is a slight stir
pervading our small party of passengers and breaking up the even tenor
of the uniform life we have been leading together for the last three
weeks. It has been a delightful voyage, and yet, under the most charming
circumstances, life at sea is a poor exchange for life on land, and we
are all glad to be near our haven.

On Tuesday the lecture was upon the formation and growth of the egg; a
sort of practical lesson in the study of embryology; yesterday, upon the
importance of ascertaining, at the outset, the spawning season of the
animals in Brazil, and the means to that end. “It will often be
impossible for us to learn the breeding season of animals, a matter in
which country people are generally very ignorant. But when we cannot
obtain it from persons about us, there are some indications in the
animals themselves which may serve as a guide. During my own
investigations upon the development of the turtles, when I opened many
thousands of eggs, I found that in these animals, at least, the
appearance of the ovaries is a pretty good guide. They always contain
several sets of eggs. Those which will be laid this year are the
largest; those of the following year are next in size; those of two
years hence still smaller, until we come to eggs so small that it is
impossible to perceive any difference between their various phases of
development. But we can readily tell whether there are any eggs so
advanced as to be near laying, and distinguish between the brood of the
year and those which are to be hatched later. When the eggs are about to
be laid the whole surface is covered with ramifying blood-vessels, and
the yolk is of a very clear bright yellow. Before the egg drops from the
ovary this network bursts; it shrivels up and forms a little scar on the
side of the ovary. Should we, therefore, on examining the ovary of a
turtle, find that these scars are fresh, we may infer that the season
for laying is not over; or if we find some of the eggs much larger than
the rest and nearly mature, we shall know that it is about to begin. How
far this will hold good with respect to alligators and other animals I
do not know. I have learned to recognize these signs in the turtles from
my long study of their embryology. With fishes it could hardly be
possible to distinguish the different sets of eggs because they lay such
numbers, and they are all so small. But if we cannot distinguish the
eggs of the different years, it will be something to learn the size of
their broods, which differs very greatly in different families.”

The lecture concluded with some advice as to observing and recording the
metamorphoses of insects. “Though much has been written on the societies
of ants and other like communities in Brazil, the accounts of different
naturalists do not agree. It would be well to collect the larvæ of a
great many insects, and try to raise them; but as this will be difficult
and often impossible in travelling, we must at least get the nests of
ants, bees, wasps, and the like, in order to ascertain all we can
respecting their communities. When these are not too large it is easy to
secure them by slipping a bag over them, thus taking the whole
settlement captive. It may then be preserved by dipping into alcohol,
and examined at leisure, so as to ascertain the number and nature of the
individuals contained in it, and learn something at least of their
habits. Nor let us neglect the domestic establishments of spiders. There
is an immense variety of spiders in South America, and a great
difference in their webs. It would be well to preserve these on sheets
of paper, to make drawings of them, and examine their threads

_April 21st._—Yesterday Mr. Agassiz gave his closing lecture, knowing
that to-day all would be occupied with preparations for landing. He gave
a little history of Steenstrup and Sars, and showed the influence their
embryological investigations have had in reforming classification, and
also their direct bearing upon the question of the origin of species. To
these investigators science owes the discovery of the so-called
“alternate generations,” in which the Hydroid, either by budding or by
the breaking up of its own body, gives rise to numerous jelly-fishes;
these lay eggs which produce Hydroids again, and the Hydroids renew the
process as before.[14]

“These results are but recently added to the annals of science, and are
not yet very extensively known in the community; but when the facts are
more fully understood, they cannot fail to affect the fundamental
principles of zoölogy. I have been astonished to see how little weight
Darwin himself gives to this series of transformations; he hardly
alludes to it, and yet it has a very direct bearing on his theory, since
it shows that, however great the divergence from the starting-point in
any process of development, it ever returns to the road of its normal
destiny; the cycle may be wide, but the boundaries are as impassable as
if it were narrower. However these processes of development may
approach, or even cross each other, they never end in making any living
being different from the one which gave it birth, though in reaching
that point it may pass through phases resembling other animals.

“In considering these questions we should remember how slight are most
of those specific differences, the origin of which gives rise to so much
controversy, in comparison with the cycle of changes undergone by every
individual in the course of its development. There are numerous genera,
including many very closely allied species, distinguished by differences
which, were it not for the fact that they have remained unchanged and
invariable through ages, might be termed insignificant. Such, for
instance, are the various species of corals found in the everglades of
Florida, where they lived and died ages ago, and had the identical
specific differences by which we distinguish their successors in the
present Florida reefs. The whole science of zoölogy in its present
condition is based upon the fact that these slight differences are
maintained generation after generation. And yet every individual on such
a coral stock,—and the same is true of any individual in any class
whatsoever of the whole animal kingdom, whether Radiate, Mollusk,
Articulate, or Vertebrate,—before reaching its adult condition and
assuming the permanent characters which distinguish it from other
species, and have never been known to vary, passes in a comparatively
short period through an extraordinary transformation, the successive
phases of which differ far more from each other than do the adult
species. In other words, the same individual differs more from himself
in successive stages of his growth than he does in his adult condition
from kindred species of the same genus. The conclusion seems inevitable,
that, if the slight differences which distinguish species were not
inherent, and if the phases through which every individual has to pass
were not the appointed means to reach that end, themselves invariable,
there would be ever-recurring deviations from the normal types. Every
naturalist knows that this is not the case. All the deviations known to
us are monstrosities, and the occurrence of these, under disturbing
influences, are to my mind only additional evidence of the fixity of
species. The extreme deviations obtained in domesticity are secured, as
is well known, at the expense of the typical characters, and end usually
in the production of sterile individuals. All such facts seem to show
that so-called varieties or breeds, far from indicating the beginning of
new types, or the initiating of incipient species, only point out the
range of flexibility in types which in their essence are invariable.

“In the discussion of the development theory in its present form, a
great deal is said of the imperfection of the geological record. But it
seems to me that, however fragmentary our knowledge of geology, its
incompleteness does not invalidate certain important points in the
evidence. It is well known that the crust of our earth is divided into a
number of layers, all of which contain the remains of distinct
populations. These different sets of inhabitants who have possessed the
earth at successive periods have each a character of their own. The
transmutation theory insists that they owe their origin to gradual
transformations, and are not, therefore, the result of distinct creative
acts. All agree, however, that we arrive at a lower stratum where no
trace of life is to be found. Place it where we will: suppose that we
are mistaken in thinking that we have reached the beginning of life with
the lowest Cambrian deposit; suppose that the first animals preceded
this epoch, and that there was an earlier epoch, to be called the
Laurentian system, beside many others older still; it is nevertheless
true that geology brings us down to a level at which the character of
the earth’s crust made organic life impossible. At this point, wherever
we place it, the origin of animals by development was impossible,
because they had no ancestors. This is the true starting-point, and
until we have some facts to prove that the power, whatever it was, which
originated the first animals has ceased to act, I see no reason for
referring the origin of life to any other cause. I grant that we have no
such evidence of an active creative power as Science requires for
positive demonstration of her laws, and that we cannot explain the
processes which lie at the origin of life. But if the facts are
insufficient on our side, they are absolutely wanting on the other. We
cannot certainly consider the development theory proved, because a few
naturalists think it plausible: it seems plausible only to the few, and
it is demonstrated by none. I bring this subject before you now, not to
urge upon you this or that theory, strong as my own convictions are. I
wish only to warn you, not against the development theory itself, but
against the looseness in the methods of study upon which it is based.
Whatever be your ultimate opinions on this subject, let them rest on
facts and not on arguments, however plausible. This is not a question to
be argued, it is one to be investigated.

“As I have advanced in these talks with you, I have become more and more
dissatisfied, feeling the difficulty of laying out our work without a
practical familiarity with the objects themselves. But this is the
inevitable position of one who is seeking the truth: till we have found
it, we are more or less feeling our way. I am aware that in my lectures
I have covered a far wider range of subjects than we can handle, even if
every man do his very best; if we accomplish one tenth of the work I
have suggested, I shall be more than satisfied with the result of the
expedition. In closing, I can hardly add anything to the impressive
admonitions of Bishop Potter in his parting words to us last Sunday, for
which I thank him in your name and my own. But I would remind you, that,
while America has recovered her political independence, while we all
have that confidence in our institutions which makes us secure, that so
far as we are true to them, doing what we do conscientiously and in full
view of our responsibilities we shall be in the right path, we have not
yet achieved our intellectual independence. There is a disposition in
this country to refer all literary and scientific matters to European
tribunals; to accept a man because he has obtained the award of
societies abroad. An American author is often better satisfied if he
publish his book in England than at home. In my opinion, every man who
publishes his work on the other side of the water deprives his country
of so much intellectual capital to which she has a right. Publish your
results at home, and let Europe discover whether they are worth reading.
Not until you are faithful to your citizenship in your intellectual as
well as your political life, will you be truly upright and worthy
students of nature.”

At the conclusion of these remarks a set of resolutions was read by
Bishop Potter.[15] They were followed by a few little friendly speeches,
all made in the most informal and cordial spirit; and so ended our
course of lectures on board the Colorado. Later in the day we observed
singular bright red patches in the sea. Some were not less than seven or
eight feet in length, rather oblong, and the whole mass looked as red as
blood. Sometimes they seemed to lie on the very top of the water,
sometimes to be a little below it, so as only to tinge the rippling
surface. One of the sailors succeeded in catching a portion of it in a
bucket, when it was found to consist of a solid mass of little
crustaceans, bright red in color. They were all very lively, keeping up
a constant rapid motion. Mr. Agassiz examined them under the microscope
and found them to be the young of a crab. He has no doubt that every
such patch is a single brood, floating thus compactly together like


Footnote 2:

  On the 17th of May, nearly a month after our arrival in Rio, this
  cloud was interpreted to us. It was, indeed, charged with the issues
  of life and death, for it was on this day and the following that the
  final assaults on Petersburg were made, and the cloud which marred an
  otherwise stainless sky, as we were passing along the shores of
  Virginia, was, no doubt, the mass of smoke gathered above the opposing
  lines of the two armies.

Footnote 3:

  The species of Hydroids most numerous upon the gulf-weed have not yet
  been described, and would form a valuable addition to the Natural
  History of the Acalephs. For an account of the animals of this class
  inhabiting the Atlantic coast of North America, and especially the New
  England shores, I may refer to the third volume of my Contributions to
  the Natural History of the United States, and to the second number of
  the Illustrated Catalogue of the Museum of Comparative Zoloögy at
  Cambridge.—L. A.

Footnote 4:

  “This stream,” he writes, “is probably generated by the great
  accumulation of water on the eastern coast of America, between the
  tropics, by the trade-winds which constantly blow there.” These views,
  though vaguely hinted at by old Spanish navigators, were first
  distinctly set forth by Franklin, and, as is stated in a recent
  printed report of the Coast Survey Explorations, “they receive
  confirmation from every discovery which the advance of scientific
  research brings to aid in the solution of the great problem of oceanic

Footnote 5:

  No one can read the account of the explorations undertaken by the
  Coast Survey in the Gulf Stream, and continued during a number of
  successive years, and the instructions received by the officers thus
  employed from the Superintendent, Dr. A. D. Bache, without feeling how
  comprehensive, keen, and persevering was the intellect which has long
  presided over this department of our public works. The result is a
  very thorough survey of the stream, especially along the coast of our
  own continent, with sections giving the temperature to a great depth,
  the relations of the cold and warm streaks, the form of the ocean
  bottom, as well as various other details respecting the direction and
  force of the current, the density and color of the water, and the
  animal and vegetable productions contained in it. (See Appendix No.
  I.)—L. A.

Footnote 6:

  This anticipation was more than confirmed by the result of the
  journey. It is true that Mr. Agassiz did not go beyond the Peruvian
  frontier, and therefore could not verify his prophecy in that region.
  But he found the localization of species in the Amazons circumscribed
  within much narrower limits than he expected, the whole length of the
  great stream, as well as its tributaries, being broken up into
  numerous distinct faunæ. There can be no doubt that what is true for
  nearly three thousand miles of its course is true also for the
  head-waters of the Amazons; indeed, other investigators have already
  described some species from its higher tributaries differing entirely
  from those collected upon this expedition.

Footnote 7:

  Mr. Agassiz afterward visited these hills himself, and an account of
  their structure and probable origin will be found in the chapter on
  the physical history of the Amazons.

Footnote 8:

  See Appendix No. II.

Footnote 9:

  It proved in the sequel unnecessary to seek the glacial phenomena of
  tropical South America in its highest mountains. In Brazil the
  moraines are as distinct and as well preserved in some of the coast
  ranges on the Atlantic side, not more than twelve or fifteen hundred
  feet high, as in any glaciated localities known to geologists in more
  northern parts of the world. The snow line, even in those latitudes,
  then descended so low that masses of ice formed above its level
  actually forced their way down to the sea-coast.—L. A.

Footnote 10:

  In copying the journal from which these notes are taken, I have
  hesitated to burden the narrative with anatomical details. But for
  those who take an interest in such investigations it may be well to
  add here that the frog, when first hatched, is simply an oblong body,
  without any appendages, and tapering slightly towards its posterior
  end. In that condition it resembles the Cecilia. In its next stage,
  that of the tadpole, when the extremity has elongated into a tail, the
  gills are fairly developed, and it has one pair of imperfect legs, it
  resembles the Siren, with its rudimentary limbs. In its succeeding
  stages, when the same animal has two pairs of legs and a fin around
  the tail, it recalls the Proteus and Menobranchus. Finally the gills
  are suppressed, the animal breathes through lungs, but the tail still
  remains; it then recalls Menopoma and the Salamanders. At last the
  tail shrinks and disappears, and the frog is complete. This gives us a
  standard by which the relative position of the leading groups of the
  class may safely be determined.—L. A.

Footnote 11:

  On account of the many exploring expeditions for which the Bay of Rio
  de Janeiro has been a favorite port, it has acquired a special
  interest for the naturalist. It may seem at first sight as if the fact
  that French, English, German, Russian, and American expeditions have
  followed each other in this locality, during the last century, each
  bringing away its rich harvest of specimens, by diminishing its
  novelty would rather lessen than increase its interest as a collecting
  ground. On the contrary, for the very reason that the specimens from
  which the greater part of the descriptions and figures contained in
  the published accounts of these voyages were obtained from Rio de
  Janeiro and its neighborhood, it becomes indispensable that every
  zoölogical museum aiming at scientific accuracy and completeness
  should have original specimens from that very locality for the
  identification of species already described. Otherwise doubts
  respecting the strict identity or specific difference of specimens
  obtained on other parts of the Atlantic shore, not only in South
  America but in Central and North America, may at any time invalidate
  important generalizations concerning the distribution of animals in
  these seas. From this point of view, the Bay of Rio de Janeiro forms a
  most important centre of comparison, and it was for this reason that
  we made so prolonged a stay there. Although the prospect of
  discovering any novelties was diminished by the extensive
  investigations of our predecessors, I well knew that whatever we
  collected there would greatly increase the value of our collections
  elsewhere. One of my special aims was to ascertain how far the marine
  animals inhabiting the coast of Brazil to the south of Cape Frio
  differed from those to the north of it, and furthermore, how the
  animals found along the coast between Cape Frio and Cape St. Roque
  differed from or agreed with those inhabiting the more northern shore
  of the continent and the West Indian Islands. In the course of the
  following chapters I shall have occasion to return, more in detail, to
  this subject.—L. A.

Footnote 12:

  Molinesia and Pœcilia.

Footnote 13:

  This lecture was accompanied by careful descriptions and drawings on
  the blackboard, showing the structural differences between these
  groups. These are omitted, as they would have little interest for the
  general reader. The chief object in reporting these lectures is to
  show the aims which Mr. Agassiz placed before himself and his
  companions in laying out the work of the expedition, and these are
  made sufficiently clear without further scientific details.

Footnote 14:

  As these investigations have been published with so much detail
  (Steenstrup, Alternate Generation, Sars’s Fauna Norwegica; L. Agassiz,
  Contr. to Nat. Hist. of U. S.), it has not been thought necessary to
  reproduce this part of the lecture here. Any one who cares to read a
  less technical account of these investigations than those originally
  published, will find it in “Methods of Study,” by L. Agassiz.

Footnote 15:

  See Appendix No. III.

                              CHAPTER II.


_April 23d._—Yesterday at early dawn we made Cape Frio light, and at
seven o’clock were aroused by the welcome information that the Organ
Mountains were in sight. The coast range here, though not very lofty,
(its highest summits ranging only from two to three thousand feet,) is
bold and precipitous. The peaks are very conical, and the sides slope
steeply to the water’s edge, where, in many places, a wide beach runs
along their base. The scenery grew more picturesque as we approached the
entrance of the bay, which is guarded by heights rising sentinel-like on
either side. Once within this narrow rocky portal, the immense harbor,
stretching northward for more than twenty miles, seems rather like a
vast lake enclosed by mountains than like a bay. On one side extends the
ridge which shuts it from the sea, broken by the sharp peaks of the
Corcovado, the Tijuca, and the flat-topped Gavia; on the other side, and
more inland, the Organ Mountains lift their singular needle-like points,
while within the entrance rises the bare bleak rock so well known as the
Sugar Loaf (_Paō de Assucar_). Were it not for the gateway behind us,
through which we still have a glimpse of the open ocean, and for the
shipping lying here at anchor, leaving the port or entering it, we might
easily believe that we were floating on some great quiet sheet of inland

We reached our anchorage at eleven o’clock, but were in no haste to
leave the ocean home where we have been so happy and so comfortable for
three weeks past; and as the captain had kindly invited us to stay on
board till our permanent arrangements were made, we remained on deck,
greatly entertained by all the stir and confusion attending our arrival.
Some of our young people took one of the many boats which crowded at
once around our steamer, and went directly to the city; but we were
satisfied with the impressions of the day, and not sorry to leave them
undisturbed. As night came on, sunset lit up the mountains and the
harbor. In this latitude, however, the glory of the twilight is soon
over, and as darkness fell upon the city it began to glitter with
innumerable lights along the shore and on the hillsides. The city of Rio
de Janeiro spreads in a kind of crescent shape around the western side
of the bay, its environs stretching out to a considerable distance along
the beaches, and running up on to the hills behind also. On account of
this disposition of the houses, covering a wide area and scattered upon
the water’s edge, instead of being compact and concentrated, the
appearance of the city at night is exceedingly pretty. It has a kind of
scenic effect. The lights run up on the hill-slopes, a little cluster
crowning their summits here and there, and they glimmer all along the
shore for two or three miles on either side of the central, business
part of the town.

Soon after our arrival Mr. Agassiz received an official visit from a
custom-house agent, saying that he had orders to land all our baggage
without examination, and that a boat would be sent at any day and hour
convenient to him to bring his effects on shore. This was a great
relief, as the scientific apparatus, added to the personal luggage of so
large a party, makes a fearful array of boxes, cases, &c. It would be a
long business to pass it all through the cumbrous ceremonies of a
custom-house. This afternoon, while Mr. Agassiz had gone to San
Christovāo[16] to acknowledge this courtesy and to pay his respects to
the Emperor, we were wandering over a little island (_Ilha das Enxadas_)
near which our ship lies, and from which she takes in coal for her
farther voyage. The proprietor, besides his coal-wharf, has a very
pretty house and garden, with a small chapel adjoining. It was my first
glimpse of tropical vegetation and of Brazilian life, and had all the
charm of novelty. As we landed, a group of slaves, black as ebony, were
singing and dancing a fandango. So far as we could understand, there was
a leader who opened the game with a sort of chant, apparently addressed
to each in turn as he passed around the circle, the others joining in
chorus at regular intervals. Presently he broke into a dance which rose
in wildness and excitement, accompanied by cries and ejaculations. The
movements of the body were a singular combination of negro and Spanish
dances. The legs and feet had the short, jerking, loose-jointed motion
of our negroes in dancing, while the upper part of the body and the arms
had that swaying, rhythmical movement from side to side so
characteristic of all the Spanish dances. After looking on for a while
we went into the garden, where there were cocoa-nut and banana trees in
fruit, passion-vines climbing over the house, with here and there a dark
crimson flower gleaming between the leaves. The effect was pretty, and
the whole scene had, to my eye, an aspect half Southern, half Oriental.
It was nearly dark when we returned to the boat, but the negroes were
continuing their dance under the glow of a bonfire. From time to time,
as the dance reached its culminating point, they stirred their fire, and
lighted up the wild group with its vivid blaze. The dance and the song
had, like the amusements of the negroes in all lands, an endless
monotonous repetition. Looking at their half-naked figures and
unintelligent faces, the question arose, so constantly suggested when we
come in contact with this race, “What will they do with this great gift
of freedom?” The only corrective for the half doubt is to consider the
whites side by side with them: whatever one may think of the condition
of slavery for the blacks, there can be no question as to its evil
effects on their masters. Captain Bradbury asked the proprietor of the
island whether he hired or owned his slaves. “Own them,—a hundred and
more; but it will finish soon,” he answered in his broken English.
“Finish soon! how do you mean?” “It finish with you; and when it finish
with you, it finish here, it finish everywhere.” He said it not in any
tone of regret or complaint, but as an inevitable fact. The death-note
of slavery in the United States was its death-note everywhere. We
thought this significant and cheering.

_April 24th._—To-day we ladies went on shore for a few hours, engaged
our rooms, and drove about the city a little. The want of cleanliness
and thrift in the general aspect of Rio de Janeiro is very striking as
compared with the order, neatness, and regularity of our large towns.
The narrow streets, with the inevitable gutter running down the
middle,—a sink for all kinds of impurities,—the absence of a proper
sewerage, the general aspect of decay (partly due, no doubt, to the
dampness of the climate), the indolent expression of the people
generally, make a singular impression on one who comes from the midst of
our stirring, energetic population. And yet it has a picturesqueness
that, to the traveller at least, compensates for its defects. All who
have seen one of these old Portuguese or Spanish tropical towns, with
their odd narrow streets and many-colored houses with balconied windows
and stuccoed or painted walls, only the more variegated from the fact
that here and there the stucco has peeled off, know the fascination and
the charm which make themselves felt, spite of the dirt and discomfort.
Then the groups in the street,—the half-naked black carriers, many of
them straight and firm as bronze statues under the heavy loads which
rest so securely on their heads, the padres in their long coats and
square hats, the mules laden with baskets of fruit or vegetables,—all
this makes a motley scene, entertaining enough to the new-comer. I have
never seen such effective-looking negroes, from an artistic point of
view, as here. To-day a black woman passed us in the street, dressed in
white, with bare neck and arms, the sleeves caught up with some kind of
armlet, a large white turban of soft muslin on her head, and a long
bright-colored shawl passed crosswise under one arm and thrown over the
other shoulder, hanging almost to the feet behind. She no doubt was of
the colored gentry. Just beyond her sat a black woman on the curbstone,
almost without clothing, her glossy skin shining in the sun, and her
naked child asleep across her knees. Or take this as another picture: an
old wall several feet wide, covered with vines, overhung with thick
foliage, the top of which seems to be a stand for the venders of fruits,
vegetables, &c. Here lies at full length a powerful negro looking over
into the street, his jetty arms crossed on a huge basket of crimson
flowers, oranges and bananas, against which he half rests, seemingly too
indolent to lift a finger even to attract a purchaser.

_April 25th._—Nature seems to welcome our arrival, not only by her most
genial, but also by her exceptional moods. There has been to-day an
eclipse of the sun, total at Cape Frio, sixty miles from here, almost
total here. We saw it from the deck of the ship, not having yet taken up
our quarters in town. The effect was as strange as it was beautiful.
There was a something weird, uncanny in the pallor and chill which came
over the landscape; it was not in the least like a common twilight, but
had a ghastly, phantom-like element in it. Mr. Agassiz passed the
morning at the palace where the Emperor had invited him to witness the
eclipse from his observatory. The clouds are poor courtiers, however,
and unfortunately a mist hung over San Christovāo, obscuring the
phenomenon at the moment of its greatest interest. Our post of
observation was better for this special occasion than the Imperial
observatory, and yet, though the general scene was perhaps more
effective in the harbor than on the shore, Mr. Agassiz had an
opportunity of making some interesting observations on the action of
animals under these novel circumstances. The following extract is from
his notes. “The effect of the waning light on animals was very striking.
The bay of Rio is daily frequented by large numbers of frigate-birds and
gannets, which at night fly to the outer islands to roost, while the
carrion-crows (_urubús_) swarming in the suburbs, and especially about
the slaughterhouses of the city, retire to the mountains in the
neighborhood of Tijuca, their line of travel passing over San
Christovāo. As soon as the light began to diminish, these birds became
uneasy; evidently conscious that their day was strangely encroached
upon, they were uncertain for a moment how to act. Presently, however,
as the darkness increased, they started for their usual night quarters,
the water-birds flying southward, the vultures in a northwesterly
direction, and they had all left their feeding-grounds before the moment
of greatest obscurity arrived. They seemed to fly in all haste, but were
not half-way to their night home when the light began to return with
rapidly increasing brightness. Their confusion was now at its height.
Some continued their flight towards the mountains or the harbor, others
hurried back to the city, while others whirled about wholly uncertain
what to do next. The re-establishment of the full light of noon seemed
to decide them, however, upon making another day of it, and the whole
crowd once more moved steadily toward the city.”

The cordial interest shown by the Emperor in all the objects of the
present expedition is very encouraging to Mr. Agassiz. So liberal a
spirit in the head of the government will make his own task
comparatively easy. He has also seen several official persons on
business appertaining to his scientific schemes. Everywhere he receives
the warmest expressions of sympathy, and is assured that the
administration will give him every facility in its power to carry out
his plans. To-night finds us established in our rooms, and our Brazilian
life begins; with what success remains to be seen. While still on board
the “Colorado” we seemed to have one foot on our own soil.

_April 26th._—This morning Mrs. C—— and myself devoted to the arranging
of our little domestic matters, getting out our books, desks, and other
knickknacks, and making ourselves at home in our new quarters, where we
suppose we are likely to be for some weeks to come. This afternoon we
drove out on the Larangeiras road (literally, the “orangery”). Our first
drive in Rio left upon my mind an impression of picturesque decay;
things seemed falling to pieces, it is true, but mindful of artistic
effect even in their last moments. This impression was quite effaced
to-day. Every city has its least becoming aspect, and it seems we had
chosen an unfavorable direction for our first tour of observation. The
Larangeiras road is lined on either side by a succession of country
houses; low and spreading, often with wide verandas, surrounded by
beautiful gardens, glowing at this season with the scarlet leaves of the
Poinsettia, or “Estrella do Norte” as they call it here, with blue and
yellow Bignonias, and many other shrubs and vines, the names of which we
have hardly learned as yet. Often, as we drove along, a wide gateway,
opening into an avenue of palms, would give us a glimpse of Brazilian
life. Here and there a group of people were sitting in the garden, or
children were playing in the grounds under the care of their black
nurses. Farther out of town the country houses were less numerous, but
the scenery was more picturesque. The road winds immediately under the
mountains to the foot of the Corcovado, where it becomes too steep for
carriages, the farther ascent being made on mules or horses. But it was
too late for us,—the peak of the Corcovado was already bathed in the
setting sun. We wandered a little way up the romantic path, gathered a
few flowers, and then drove back to the city, stopping on our return to
ramble for half an hour in the “Passeio Publico.” This is a pretty
public garden on the bay, not large but tastefully laid out, its great
charm being a broad promenade built up from the water’s edge with very
solid masonry, against which the waves break with a refreshing coolness.
To-morrow we are invited by Major Ellison, chief engineer of the Dom
Pedro Railroad, to go out to the terminus of the road, some hundred
miles through the heart of the Serra do Mar.

[Illustration: Tree entwined by Sipos.]

_April 27th._—Perhaps in all our journeyings through Brazil we shall not
have a day more impressive to us all than this one; we shall, no doubt,
see wilder scenery, but the first time that one looks upon nature, under
an entirely new aspect, has a charm that can hardly be repeated. The
first view of high mountains, the first glimpse of the broad ocean, the
first sight of a tropical vegetation in all its fulness, are epochs in
one’s life. This wonderful South American forest is so matted together
and intertwined with gigantic parasites that it seems more like a solid,
compact mass of green than like the leafy screen, vibrating with every
breeze and transparent to the sun, which represents the forest in the
temperate zone. Many of the trees in the region we passed through to-day
seemed in the embrace of immense serpents, so large were the stems of
the parasites winding about them; orchids of various kinds and large
size grew upon their trunks; and vines climbed to their summits and
threw themselves down in garlands to the ground. On the embankments also
between which we passed, vines of many varieties were creeping down, as
if they would fain clothe in green garments the ugly gaps the railroad
had made. Yet it must be confessed that, in this instance, the railroad
has not destroyed, but rather heightened, the picturesque scenery,
cutting, as it does, through passes which give beautiful vistas into the
heart of the mountain range. Once, as we issued from a tunnel, where the
darkness seemed tangible, upon an exquisite landscape all gleaming in
the sunshine, a general shout from the whole party testified their
astonishment and admiration. We were riding on an open car in front of
the engine, so that nothing impeded our view, and we had no
inconvenience from smoke or cinders. During the latter part of the ride
we came into the region of the most valuable coffee-plantations; and
indeed the road is chiefly supported by the transportation of the
immense quantities of coffee raised along its track or beyond it. Near
its terminus is an extensive fazenda, from which we were told that five
or six hundred tons of coffee are sent out in a good year. These
fazendas are singular-looking establishments, low (usually only one
story) and very spreading, the largest of them covering quite an
extensive area. As they are rather isolated in situation, they must
include within their own borders all that is needed to keep them up.
There is something very primitive in the way of life of these great
country proprietors. Major Ellison told me that some time ago a wealthy
Marqueza living at some distance beyond him in the interior, and going
to town for a stay of a few weeks, stopped at his house to rest. She had
a troop of thirty-one pack-mules, laden with all conceivable baggage,
besides provisions of every sort, fowls, hams, &c., and a train of
twenty-five servants. Their hospitality is said to be unbounded; you
have only to present yourself at their gates at the end of a day’s
journey, and if you have the air of a respectable traveller, you are
sure of a hearty welcome, shelter and food. The card of a friend or a
note of introduction insures you all the house can afford for as long as
you like to stay.

The last three miles of our journey was over what is called the
“temporary road,” the use of which will be discontinued as soon as the
great tunnel is completed. I must say, that to the inexperienced this
road looks exceedingly perilous, especially that part of it which is
carried over a wooden bridge 65 feet high, with a very strong curvature
and a gradient of 4 per cent (211 feet per mile). As you feel the engine
laboring up the steep ascent, and, looking out, find yourself on the
edge of a precipitous bank, and almost face to face with the hindmost
car, while the train bends around the curve, it is difficult to resist
the sense of insecurity. It is certainly greatly to the credit of the
management of the line that no accident has occurred under circumstances
where the least carelessness would be fatal.[17]

It gives one an idea of the labor expended on this railroad, to learn
that for the great tunnel alone, now almost completed (one of fourteen),
a corps of some three hundred men, relieving each other alternately,
have been at work day and night, excepting Sundays, for seven years. The
sound of hammer and pick during that time has hardly ever been still,
and so hard is the rock through which the tunnel is pierced, that often
the heaviest blows of the sledge yield only a little dust,—no more in
bulk than a pinch of snuff.[18]

On our return we were detained for half an hour at a station on the bank
of the river Parahyba. This first visit to one of the considerable
rivers of Brazil was not without its memorable incident. One of our
friends of the Colorado, who parts from us here on his way to San
Francisco, said he was determined not to leave the expedition without
contributing something to its results. He improvised a fishing
apparatus, with a stick, a string, and a crooked pin, and caught two
fishes, our first harvest from the fresh waters of Brazil, one of which
was entirely new to Mr. Agassiz, while the other he had never seen, and
only knew from descriptions.

_April 28th._—This morning we went over to the Colorado, which still
lies in the harbor, and where the visit of the Emperor was expected. We
all felt an interest in the occasion, for we have a kind of personal
pride in the fine ship whose first voyage has been the source of so much
enjoyment to us. The Imperial yacht arrived punctually at twelve
o’clock, and was received by the captain with a full salute from his
Parrott guns, fired with a promptness and accuracy which the Emperor did
not fail to notice. His Majesty went over the whole steamer; and really
an exploring expedition over such a world in little, with its
provision-shops, its cattle stalls, its pantries and sculleries, its
endless accommodations for passengers and freight, its variety of decks
and its great central fires, deep below all, is no contemptible journey
for a tropical morning. The arrangements of the vessel seemed to excite
the interest and admiration both of the Emperor and his suite. Captain
Bradbury invited his Majesty to lunch on board; he very cordially
accepted, and remained some time afterward, conversing chiefly about
scientific subjects, and especially on matters connected with the
expedition. The Emperor is still a young man; but though only forty, he
has been the reigning sovereign of Brazil for more than half that time,
and he looks careworn and somewhat older than his years. He has a
dignified, manly presence, a face rather stern in repose, but animated
and genial in conversation; his manner is courteous and friendly to all.

_May 1st._—We celebrated May-day in a strange land, where May ushers in
the winter, by driving to the Botanical Garden. When I say we, I mean
usually the unprofessional members of the party. The scientific corps
are too busily engaged to be with us on many of our little pleasure
excursions. Mr. Agassiz himself is chiefly occupied in seeing numerous
persons in official positions, whose influence is important in matters
relative to the expedition. He is very anxious to complete these
necessary preliminaries, to despatch his various parties into the
interior, and to begin his personal investigations. He is commended to
be patient, however, and not to fret at delays; for, with the best will
in the world, the dilatory national habits cannot be changed. Meanwhile
he has improvised a laboratory in a large empty room over a warehouse in
the Rua Direita, the principal business street of the city. Here in one
corner the ornithologists, Mr. Dexter and Mr. Allen, have their bench,—a
rough board propped on two casks, the seat an empty keg; in another, Mr.
Anthony, with an apparatus of much the same kind, pores over his shells;
a dissecting-table of like carpentry occupies a conspicuous position;
and in the midst the Professor may generally be seen sitting on a
barrel, for chairs there are none, assorting or examining specimens, or
going from bench to bench to see how the work progresses. In the midst
of the confusion Mr. Burkhardt has his little table, where he is making
colored drawings of the fish as they are brought in fresh from the
fishing-boats. In a small adjoining room Mr. Sceva is preparing
skeletons for mounting. Every one, in short, has his special task and is
busily at work. A very questionable perfume, an “ancient and fish-like
smell,” strongly tinged with alcohol, guides one to this abode of
Science, where, notwithstanding its unattractive aspect, Mr. Agassiz
receives many visitors, curious to see the actual working process of a
laboratory of Natural History, and full of interest in the expedition.
Here also pour in specimens from all quarters and of every kind;
voluntary contributions, which daily swell the collections.[19] Those of
the party who are not engaged here have their work elsewhere. Mr. Hartt
and Mr. St. John are at various stations along the railroad line, making
geological sections of the road; several of the volunteers are
collecting in the country, and Mr. Hunnewell is studying at a
photographic establishment, fitting himself to assist Mr. Agassiz in
this way when we are beyond the reach of professional artists.

[Illustration: Side View of the Alley of Palms.]

[Illustration: Vista down the Alley of Palms.]

Our excursion of to-day took us to another of those exquisite drives in
the neighborhood of the city, always along the harbor or some inlet of
it, always in sight of the mountains, always bordered by pretty country
houses and gardens. The Botanical Garden is about eight miles from the
centre of the town. It is beautiful, because the situation is admirably
well chosen, and because anything that calls itself a garden can hardly
fail to be beautiful in a climate where growth is so luxuriant. But it
is not kept with great care. Indeed, the very readiness with which
plants respond to the least culture bestowed upon them here makes it
very difficult to keep grounds in that trim order which we think so
essential. This garden boasts, however, one feature as unique as it is
beautiful, in its long avenue of palms, some eighty feet in height. I
wish it were possible to give in words the faintest idea of the
architectural beauty of this colonnade of palms, with their green crowns
meeting to form the roof. Straight, firm, and smooth as stone columns, a
dim vision of colonnades in some ancient Egyptian temple rises to the
imagination as one looks down the long vista.[20]

_May 6th._—Yesterday, at the invitation of our friend Mr. B——, we
ascended the famous Corcovado peak. Leaving the carriages at the
terminus of the Larangeiras road, we made the farther ascent on
horseback by a winding narrow path, which, though a very fair road for
mountain travelling in ordinary weather, had been made exceedingly
slippery by the late rains. The ride was lovely through the fragrant
forest, with enchanting glimpses of view here and there, giving promise
of what was before us. Occasionally a brook or a little cascade made
pleasant music by the roadside, and when we stopped to rest our horses
we heard the wind rustle softly in the stiff palms overhead. The beauty
of vegetation is enhanced here by the singular character of the soil.
The color of the earth is peculiar all about Rio; of a rich warm red, it
seems to glow beneath the mass of vines and large-leaved plants above
it, and every now and then crops out in vivid, striking contrast to the
surrounding verdure. Frequently our path followed the base of such a
bank, its deep ochre and vermilion tints looking all the softer for
their framework of green. Among the larger growth, the Candelabra-tree
(_Cecropia_) was conspicuous. The strangely regular structure of the
branches and its silvery-tinted foliage make it stand out in bold relief
from the darker background. It is a striking feature of the forest in
this neighborhood.

A wide panoramic prospect always eludes description, but certainly few
can combine such rare elements of beauty as the one from the summit of
the Corcovado. The immense landlocked harbor, with its gateway open to
the sea, the broad ocean beyond, the many islands, the circle of
mountains with soft fleecy clouds floating about the nearer peaks,—all
these features make a wonderful picture. One great charm of this
landscape consists in the fact, that, though very extensive, it is not
so distant as to deprive objects of their individuality. After all, a
very distant view is something like an inventory: so many dark, green
patches, forests; so many lighter green patches, fields; so many white
spots, lakes; so many silver threads, rivers, &c. But here special
effects are not lost in the grandeur of the whole. On the extreme peak
of the height a wall has been built around the edge, the descent on one
side being so vertical that a false step might hurl one to instant
destruction. At this wall we dismounted and lingered long, unwilling to
leave the beautiful view before sunset. We were, however, anxious to
return by daylight, and, to confess the truth, being a timorous and
inexperienced rider at best, I was not without some anxiety as to the
descent, for the latter part of the slippery road had been a sheer
scramble. Putting a bold face on the matter, however, I resumed my seat,
trying to look as if it were my habit to mount horses on the tops of
high mountains and slide down to the bottom. This is really no
inaccurate description of our descent for the first ten minutes, after
which we regained the more level path at the little station called “the
Païneiras.” We are told to-day that parties usually leave their horses
at this station and ascend the rest of the way on foot, the road beyond
that being so steep that it is considered unsafe for riding. However, we
reached the plain without accident, and I look back upon yesterday’s
ride with some complacency as a first lesson in mountain travelling.[21]

_May 20th._—On Friday, the 12th of May, we left Rio on our first
excursion of any length. A day or two after our arrival Mr. Agassiz had
received an invitation from the President of the Union and Industry
Company to go with some of his party over their road from Petropolis to
Juiz de Fora, in the Province of Minas Geräes, a road celebrated not
only for the beauty of its scenery, but also for its own excellence. A
word as to the circumstances under which it has been built may not be
amiss here; and it must be confessed, that, if the Brazilians are, as
they are said to be, slow in their progress, the improvements they do
undertake are carried out with great thoroughness. It is true that the
construction of the road has been intrusted to French engineers, but the
leading man in its projection and ultimate completion has been a
Brazilian, Senhor Mariano Procopio Ferreira Lage, a native of the
province of Minas Geräes. This province is said to be remarkable for the
great energy and intelligence of its inhabitants, as compared with those
of the adjoining provinces. Perhaps this may be owing to its cooler
climate, most of its towns lying among the highlands of the Serras, and
enjoying a fresher, more stimulating air than those nearer the
sea-coast. Before undertaking the building of this road, Senhor Lage
travelled both in Europe and America with the purpose of learning all
the modern improvements in works of a similar character. The result
bears testimony to the energy and patience with which he has carried out
his project.[22] Twelve years ago the only means of going into the
interior from Petropolis was through narrow, dangerous, broken
mule-tracks, and a journey of a hundred miles involved a difficult ride
of three or four days. Now one travels from Petropolis to Juiz de Fora
between sunrise and sunset over a post-road equal to any in the world,
changing mules every ten or twelve miles at pretty little stations,
built somewhat in the style of Swiss châlets, each one of which is a
settlement for the German colonists who have been induced to come out as
workmen on the road. This emigration in itself is a great advantage to
the country; wherever these little German villages occur, nestled down
among the hills, there are the neat vegetable and flower gardens, the
tidy houses, the general aspect of thrift and comfort, so characteristic
of the better classes of the German peasantry. Nominally no slaves are
allowed on the service of the road, Portuguese and German workmen being
chiefly employed. This is a regulation which applies not only here, but
on other public works about Rio. The contracts granted by the government
expressly exclude the employment of slaves, though unfortunately this
rule is not adhered to strictly, because for the performance of certain
kinds of work no substitute for slave labor has yet been found. In the
direct care of the road, however, in the repairs, for instance,
requiring gangs of men who are constantly at work blasting rock and
cracking the fragments into small pieces for the fresh macadamizing of
any imperfect spot, mending any defects in the embankments or walls,
&c., none but free labor is employed.

This attempt to exclude slaves from the public works is an emancipation
movement, undertaken with the idea of gradually limiting slave labor to
agricultural processes, and ridding the large cities and their
neighborhood of the presence of slavery. The subject of emancipation is
no such political bugbear here as it has been with us. It is very
liberally and calmly discussed by all classes; the general feeling is
against the institution, and it seems to be taken for granted that it
will disappear before many years are over. During this very session of
the Assembly one or two bills for emancipation have been brought
forward. Even now any enterprising negro may obtain his freedom, and,
once obtained, there is no obstacle to his rising in social or political
station. But while from this point of view slavery is less absolute than
it was with us, it has some appalling aspects. The slaves, at least in
the cities, are literally beasts of burden. One sees the most cumbersome
furniture,—pianos and the like, and the heaviest trunks or barrels,
piled one on top of the other, or bales of sugar and coffee weighing
hundreds of pounds,—moving about the streets on the heads of the
negroes. The result of this is that their limbs often become crippled,
and it is common to see negroes in the prime of life who are quite
crooked and maimed, and can hardly walk without a stick to lean upon. In
justice I must add, however, that this practice, though it shocks a
stranger even now, is gradually disappearing. We are told that a few
years ago there were hardly any baggage-wagons except these living ones,
and that the habit of using the blacks in this way is going out of
vogue. In this as in other matters the Emperor’s opinions are those of
an enlightened and humane man, and were his power equal to his will,
slavery would vanish from his dominions at once. He is, however, too
wise not to know that all great social changes must be gradual; but he
openly declares his abhorrence of the system.[23]

But to return from this digression to the road of the Union and Industry
Company. It is now completed as far as Juiz de Fora, affording every
convenience for the transport of the rich harvest of coffee constantly
travelling over it from all the fazendas in the region. As the whole
district is very rich in coffee-plantations, the improvement in the
means of transportation is of course very important to the commercial
interests of the country, and Senhor Lage is making practicable roads to
the smallest settlements in his neighborhood. He has not, however, been
free from the difficulties which men encounter whose schemes are in
advance of their surroundings. No doubt a great part of the
dissatisfaction is owing to the fact that the road is not so
remunerative as was anticipated, the advance of the Dom Pedro Railroad
having impaired its success. Still it must be considered as a monument
to the public spirit and energy of the men who undertook it. Not wishing
to interrupt the course of the narrative, I have thought it best to
preface the story of our journey by some account of this road, the
building of which is a significant fact in the present history of
Brazil. I will now take up again the thread of our personal adventures.

Leaving the city at two o’clock in the ferry-boat, we kept up the harbor
some fifteen miles. There was a cool breeze, and the day, though warm,
was not oppressive. Passing the large Ilha do Governador, the smaller
but exceedingly pretty island of Paqueta, and many others, with their
palms, banana and acacia trees, dotting the harbor of Rio and adding
another grace to its beauty, we landed in about an hour and a quarter at
the little town of Mauá.[24] Here we took the cars, and an hour’s ride
through low and marshy grounds brought us to the foot of the Serra
(_Raiz da Serra_), where we left the railroad for the post-coach, which
runs regularly from this station. The drive was delightful, in an open
diligence drawn by four mules on the full gallop over a road as smooth
as a floor. It wound zigzag up the mountains, through the wildest
scenery, while below us lay the valley broken into a billowy sea of
green hills, and the harbor with the coast range beyond, growing soft
and mellow in the afternoon sunshine. To complete the picture, one must
clothe it in palms and acacias and tree-ferns, and drape it in a tangle
of parasitic growth, with abundant bloom of the purple Quaresma (Flower
of Lent),[25] the Thunbergia vine, with its little straw-colored
blossoms creeping over every wall and shrub, and the blue and yellow
Bignonias. We are constantly astonished at the variety of palms. A palm
is such a rarity in our hot-houses, that we easily forget how numerous
and varied they are in their native forests. We have the scarlet-oak,
the white-oak, the scrub-oak, the chestnut-oak, the swamp-oak, and many
others. And so in the tropical forest there is the cocoanut-palm, with
its swollen, bulb-like stem when young, its tall, straight trunk when
full grown, its cluster of heavy fruit, and its long, plume-like,
drooping flower;[26] the Coccoeiro, with its slighter trunk and pendant
branches of small berry-like fruit; the Palmetto, with its tender
succulent bud on the summit of the stem, which is used as a vegetable
here, and makes an excellent substitute for cabbage; the thorny Icaree
or Cari, a variety of fan-palms, with their leaves cut like ribbons; and
very many others, each with its characteristic foliage and

The mountains along the road, as indeed throughout the neighborhood of
Rio, are of very peculiar forms, steep and conical, suggesting at first
sight a volcanic origin. It is this abruptness of outline which gives so
much grandeur to mountain ranges here, the average height of which does
not exceed two or three thousand feet. A closer examination of their
structure shows that their wild, fantastic forms are the result of the
slow processes of disintegration, not of sudden convulsions. Indeed, the
rocks here differ so much in external character from those of the
Northern Hemisphere, that the European geologist stands at first
bewildered before them, and feels that the work of his life is to be
done over again. It is some time before he obtains a clew to the facts
and brings them into harmony with his previous knowledge. Thus far Mr.
Agassiz finds himself painfully perplexed by this new aspect of
phenomena so familiar to him in other regions, but so baffling here. He
comes upon a rock, for instance, or a rounded elevation which by its
outline he would suppose to be a “roche moutonnée,” but approaching it
more nearly he finds a decomposed crust instead of a glaciated surface.
It is the same with the loose materials corresponding to the drift of
the Northern hemisphere, and with all boulders or detached masses of
rock; on account of their disintegration wherever they are exposed to
the atmosphere, nothing is to be learned from their external appearance.
There is not a natural surface of rock, unless recently broken, to be
found anywhere.

The sun had set before we drove into the pretty town of Petropolis, the
summer paradise of all Rio Janeirans whose circumstances enable them to
leave the heat and dirt and vile smells of the city, for the pure air
and enchanting views of the Serra. In a central position stands the
summer palace of the Emperor, a far gayer and more cheerful-looking
edifice than the palace at San Christovāo. Here he passes six months of
the year. Through the midst of the town runs the pretty river Piabanha,
a shallow stream, now rippling along in the bottom of its bed between
high green banks; but we were told that a night of rain in the hot
season is enough to swell its waters till they overflow and flood the
road. I could not but think how easy it would be for any one who cares
to see tropical scenery to come here, when the direct line of steamers
from New York is established, and, instead of going to Newport or
Nahant, to take a house in Petropolis for the summer. It commands all
the most beautiful scenery about Rio, and the horseback rides are
without end. During our summer the weather is delightful here, just
admitting a semblance of wood-fire morning and evening, while the orange
orchards are golden with fruit, and flowers are everywhere. We had
little time to become acquainted with the beauty of the place, which we
hope to explore more at our leisure on some future visit, for sunrise
the next morning saw us on our road again. The soft clouds hanging over
the tops of the mountains were just tinged with the first rays of the
sun when we drove out of the town on the top of the diligence, the mules
at full gallop, the guard sounding a gay reveille as we rattled over the
little bridge and past the pretty houses where closed windows and doors
showed that the inhabitants were hardly yet astir.

The first part of our road lay through the lovely valley of the
Piabanha, the river whose acquaintance we had already made in
Petropolis, and which accompanied us for the first forty or fifty miles
of our journey, sometimes a restless stream broken into rapids and
cascades, sometimes spreading into a broad, placid river, but always
enclosed between mountains rising occasionally to the height of a few
thousand feet, lifting here and there a bare rocky face seamed with a
thousand scars of time and studded with Bromelias and Orchids, but more
often clothed with all the glory of the Southern forest, or covered from
base to summit with coffee shrubs. A thriving coffee plantation is a
very pretty sight; the rounded, regular outline of the shrubs gives a
tufted look to the hillside on which they grow, and their glittering
foliage contrasts strikingly at this season with their bright red
berries. One often passes coffee plantations, however, which look ragged
and thin; in this case the trees are either suffering from the peculiar
insect so injurious to them, (a kind of Tinea,) or have run out and
become exhausted. As we drove along, the scenes upon the road were often
as amusing as they were picturesque. Now we came upon a troop of pack
mules with a _tropeiro_ (driver) at their head; if a large troop, they
were divided into companies of eight, with a man to guide each company.
The guard wound his horn to give warning of our coming, and a general
struggle, garnished with kicks, oaths, and many lashes, ensued, to
induce the mules to make way for the coach. These troops of mules are
beginning to disappear from the seaboard since the modern improvements
in railroads and stage lines, making transportation so much easier; but
until lately it was the only way of bringing down the produce from the
interior. Or again we fell in with a line of country wagons made of
plaited bamboo, a kind of fabric which is put to a variety of uses here,
such as the building of fences and lining of ceilings or roofs, as well
as the construction of carts. Here and there the laborers were sitting
in groups at the roadside, their work suspended while they cooked their
midday meal, their kettles hanging over the fire, their coffee-pot
simmering over the coals, and they themselves lying about in gypsy-like
freedom of attitude.

At Posse, the third stage of our road, after having gone some thirty
miles, we also stopped to breakfast, a meal which was by no means
unacceptable after our three hours’ ride. It is an almost universal
custom with the Brazilians, especially when travelling, to take their
cup of black coffee on rising, and defer their more solid breakfast till
ten or eleven o’clock. I do not know whether my readers will sympathize
with me, but I am always disappointed myself if any book of travels,
having led me along the weary road, does not tell me what the hungry
wanderers had to eat. It seems hardly fair, having shared their
fatigues, that I should not also share their refreshment and be invited
to sit down at table with them. Doing, therefore, as I would be done by,
I shall give our bill of fare, and take an opportunity of saying a word
at the same time of the characteristic Brazilian dishes. In the first
place we had black beans stewed with _carne secca_ (dried meat), the
invariable accompaniment of every meal in Brazil. There is no house so
poor that it does not have its _feijōes_, no house so rich as to exclude
this homely but most excellent dish, a favorite alike with high and low.
Then there was chicken stewed with potatoes and rice, almost as marked a
feature of the Brazilian cuisine as the black beans. Beside these, there
were eggs served in various ways, cold meat, wine, coffee, and bread.
Vegetables seem to be rare, though one would expect a plentiful variety
in this climate.[28] At Posse Mr. Agassiz found a cordial co-operator in
Mr. Charles Taylor, who expressed a warm interest in his scientific
researches, and kept one of the collecting cans that he might fill it
with fishes from the neighboring rivers and streams.[29]

Our kind friend Senhor Joaō Baptista da Fonseca, who was our guide and
our host on this journey, had neglected nothing which could contribute
to the success and pleasure of the party, and had so prepared the way
for the scientific objects of the excursion that at several points of
the road we found collections of fishes and other animals awaiting us by
the roadside. Once or twice, as we passed a fazenda, a negro carrying a
basket came out to stop the diligence, and, lifting the cool green
leaves which covered them, showed freshly caught fishes of all hues and
sizes. It was rather aggravating, especially as we approached the end of
our long drive, and the idea of dinner readily suggested itself, to see
them disappear in the alcohol cans.[30]

At about midday we bade good by to the pretty river we had followed thus
far, and at the Estaçaō d’Entre Rios (between the rivers) crossed the
fine bridge which spans the Parahyba at this point. The Parahyba is the
large river which flows for a great part of its course between the Serra
do Mar and the Serra da Mantiqueira, emptying into the Atlantic at San
Joaō da Barra considerably to the northeast of Rio de Janeiro. One is a
little bewildered at first by the variety of Serras in Brazil, because
the word is used to express not only important chains of mountains, but
all their spurs. Any mountainous elevation is a Serra; but though there
is an endless number of them between the Serra do Mar and the Serra da
Mantiqueira, these are the two most important chains, running parallel
with the sea-coast. Between them flows the Parahyba with its many
branches. It is important to make collections here, as the peculiar
character of this water basin, the many tributaries of which drain the
southern water-shed of the Serra da Mantiqueira, and the northern
water-shed of the Serra do Mar, make it of especial interest for the
naturalist. On account of its neighborhood to the sea, it is also
desirable to compare its inhabitants with those of the many short,
disconnected rivers which empty into the Atlantic on the other side of
the coast range. In short, it gives a good opportunity for testing those
questions of the geographical distribution of living beings, as
connected with their origin, which Mr. Agassiz so strongly urged upon
his assistants during our voyage.

Soon after crossing the Parahyba, the road strikes the Parahybuna, a
tributary which enters the main river on its northern side, nearly
opposite the Piabanha. The latter part of the journey is less wild than
the first half; the mountains fall away in somewhat gentler slopes, and
do not shut in the road with the steep rugged precipices so striking in
the valley of the Piabanha. But though perhaps less picturesque on
approaching Juiz de Fora,[31] the scenery is beautiful enough throughout
the whole ride to satisfy the most fastidious and keep the attention
constantly awake. We arrived at the end of our journey at about six
o’clock, and found most comfortable accommodations prepared for us at a
little cottage, built somewhat in the style of a Swiss châlet, and kept
by the company for the use of their guests or for the directors of the
road. An excellent dinner awaited us at the little hotel just opposite,
the door of which is shaded by two stately palms; and with a ramble in
the neighboring grounds of Senhor Lage, and a concert by a band of
German musicians, consisting of employees on the road, our day closed,—a
day full of pleasure.

The following morning we were indebted to Senhor Lage for a walk, as
instructive as it was charming, through his gardens and orange orchards.
Not only has he arranged his grounds with exquisite taste, but has
endeavored to bring together the shrubs and trees most characteristic of
the country, so that a stroll through his place is a valuable lesson to
the botanist, the more so if he is fortunate enough to have the
proprietor as a companion, for he may then learn the name and history of
every tree and flower he passes. Such a guide is invaluable here, for
the Brazilians seem to remain in blissful ignorance of systematic
nomenclature; to most of them all flowers are “flores,” all animals,
from a fly up to a mule or an elephant, “bixos.” One of the most
beautiful features of Senhor Lage’s grounds is a plantation of
parasites,—an extensive walk, bordered on either side by a rustic fence,
over which are trained some of the most exquisite parasitic plants of
the Brazilian forests. In the midst of this walk is the Grotto of the
Princesses, so called after the daughters of the Emperor who, on
occasion of a visit made by the Imperial family to Juiz de Fora, at the
opening of the road, were exceedingly pleased with this pretty spot,
where a spring all overhung with parasitic vines, orchids, &c. flows out
from the rock. The spring, however, is artificial, and is a part of the
admirable system of irrigation introduced over the whole estate. So
rapid is the growth of everything here that one can hardly believe this
beautiful country place to have been under cultivation only five or six
years; a few years more under the same direction will make it a tropical

A variety of plans combining pleasure and science had been arranged for
the next day. First on the list was a drive to the “Forest of the
Empress.” Everything of any interest in the neighborhood recalls the
visit of the Imperial family at the opening of the road. From this event
all loyal Juiz de Forans date, and the virgin forest we were to visit is
consecrated by the fact that on this great occasion the Emperor with his
family and suite breakfasted here in presence of a numerous assemblage
of their loving subjects. Surely a more stately banqueting-hall could
scarcely be found. The throne was cut in the broad buttressed trunk of a
huge figueira; the rustic table, built of rough stems, stood under the
shadow of great palm-trees; and around was the tropical forest,
tapestried with vines, and embroidered with Orchids. These were royal
accompaniments, even though the whole entertainment was conducted with a
simplicity in harmony with the scene. Neither gold nor silver nor glass
was brought to vie with the beauties of nature; the drinking-cups were
made from the hollow stems of the wild bamboo-tree, and all the service
was of the same rustic description. The tables, seats, &c. stand,
undisturbed, as they were on that day, and of course this spot remains a
favorite resort for humbler picnics than the one by which it was
inaugurated. We wandered about for some time in the cool shade of the
wood, lunched under the rustling palms, and then drove homeward,
stopping for a while by the side of the river, where a pretty cascade
rushes over the stones, and a rustic house built for the same memorable
occurrence makes a pleasant resting-place. In the afternoon a heavy rain
kept us within doors, but we were not sorry, for we were in danger of
having a surfeit of pleasure, and quiet was very grateful.

A great part of our last day at Juiz de Fora was spent at the hospitable
house of Mr. Halfeld, the German engineer who has gained an honorable
distinction by his explorations in the interior. His work on the Rio San
Francisco was well known to Mr. Agassiz, so that they found themselves
at once on familiar ground, and Mr. Halfeld was able to give him a great
deal of valuable information respecting the prospects of the present
expedition, especially that department of it which will go to the
Amazons by way of the Rio San Francisco and the Tocantins. He has also
an interesting collection of objects of natural history, and cordially
offered his assistance in obtaining the fishes of the neighborhood. As
for the collections, they had been going on famously during our whole
visit. We had hardly been in Juiz de Fora twenty-four hours before a
dozen collectors were actively at work. All the urchins of the
neighborhood and many of the Germans employed on the road lent a helping
hand. Even the ladies did their full share, and Mr. Agassiz was indebted
to our friend Mrs. K—— for some of the most interesting specimens from
this locality. No doubt such as were left of the “bixos” of Juiz de Fora
must have congratulated themselves on our departure the following

We enjoyed our return over the same road scarcely less than our first
introduction to it; but the latter part of the day was full of an
interest which touched us more nearly. At Posse, where we had
breakfasted on our way up, Mr. Taylor welcomed us with a Portuguese
paper containing a bulletin announcing the great victories of the North.
Petersburg and Richmond taken,—Lee in full retreat,—the war virtually
over. This was the substance of the news received with delight and
acclamation, not without tears of gratitude also, and we went on our way
rejoicing. As we drove up to the Hotel Inglez after dark that evening,
hoping to get a glimpse of an American paper, or at least to have the
good news confirmed through the American Minister, General Webb, whose
residence is at Petropolis, we were greeted by the announcement of the
assassination of Lincoln and Seward, both believed at this time to be
dead. At first it seemed absolutely incredible, and the more sanguine
among us persisted in regarding it as a gigantic street rumor, invented
perhaps by Secession sympathizers, till on our return to town the next
morning our worst fears were confirmed by the French steamer just
arrived. The days seemed very long till the next mail, which reassured
us somewhat, as it brought the news of Mr. Seward’s probable recovery
and strengthened our faith in the stability of the national character.
All the accounts, public and private, assure us that, though there is
mourning throughout the land, there is no disturbance of the general
regularity and order.


Footnote 16:

  The winter palace of the Emperor.

Footnote 17:

  Some weeks after this I chanced to ask a beautiful young Brazilian
  woman, recently married, whether she had ever been over this temporary
  road for the sake of seeing the picturesque scenery. “No,” she
  answered with perfect seriousness, “I am young and very happy, and I
  do not wish to die yet.” It was an amusing comment on the Brazilian
  estimate of the dangers attending the journey.

Footnote 18:

  This road, which is but the beginning of railroad travel in Brazil,
  opens a rich prospect for scientific study. From this time forward the
  difficulty of transporting collections from the interior to the
  seaboard will be diminishing. Instead of the few small specimens of
  tropical vegetation now preserved in our museums, I hope that
  hereafter, in every school where geology and palæontology are taught,
  we shall have large stems and portions of trunks to show the structure
  of palms, tree-ferns, and the like,—trees which represent in modern
  times the ancient geological forests. The time is coming when our
  text-books of botany and zoölogy will lose their local, limited
  character, and present comprehensive pictures of Nature in all her
  phases. Then only will it be possible to make true and pertinent
  comparisons between the condition of the earth in former times and its
  present aspect under different zones and climates. To this day the
  fundamental principle guiding our identification of geological
  formations in different ages rests upon the assumption that each
  period has had one character throughout; whereas the progress of
  geology is daily pressing upon us the evidence that at each period
  different latitudes and different continents have always had their
  characteristic animals and plants, if not as diversified as now, at
  least varied enough to exclude the idea of uniformity. Not only do I
  look for a vast improvement in our collections with improved methods
  of travel and transportation in Brazil, but I hope that scientific
  journeys in the tropics will cease to be occasional events in the
  progress and civilization of nations, and will be as much within the
  reach of every student as journeys in the temperate zone have hitherto
  been. For further details respecting the building of this road, see
  Appendix No. IV.—L. A.

Footnote 19:

  Among the frequent visitors at the laboratory, and one to whom Mr.
  Agassiz was indebted for most efficient aid in making his collection
  of fishes from the harbor of Rio, was our friend Dr. Pacheco de Silva,
  who never lost an opportunity of paying us all sorts of friendly
  attentions. He added quite a number of luxuries to the working-room
  described above. Another friend who was often at the laboratory was
  Dr. Nägeli. Notwithstanding his large practice, he found time to
  assist Mr. Agassiz not only with collections but with drawings of
  various specimens. Being himself an able naturalist, his co-operation
  was very valuable. The collections were indeed enriched by
  contributions from so many sources that it would be impossible to
  enumerate them all here. In the more technical reports of the
  expedition all such gifts are recorded, with the names of those
  persons from whom the specimens were received.

Footnote 20:

  The palm is the beautiful _Oreodoxa oleracea_.

Footnote 21:

  Leuzinger’s admirable photographs of the scenery about the Corcovado,
  as well as from Petropolis, the Organ Mountains, and the neighborhood
  of Rio generally, may now be had in the print-shops of Boston and New
  York. I am the more desirous to make this fact known as I am indebted
  to Mr. Leuzinger for very generous assistance in the illustration of
  scientific objects.—L. A.

Footnote 22:

  A commemorative tablet, set in the rocks on the dividing line between
  the provinces of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Geräes, recording the speech
  of the Emperor on the occasion of the opening of the road, testifies
  the appreciation in which this undertaking was held by the government
  of Brazil.

Footnote 23:

  Since this was written the Emperor, at a large pecuniary sacrifice,
  has liberated all the slaves belonging to the property of the crown,
  and a general scheme of emancipation has been announced by the
  Brazilian government, the wisdom, foresight, and benevolence of which
  can hardly be too highly praised. If this be adopted, slavery in
  Brazil will disappear within the century by a gradual process,
  involving no violent convulsion, and perilling neither the safety of
  the slave nor the welfare of his master.

Footnote 24:

  To the Baron de Mauá, a leader in the great improvements now going on
  in Brazil, the citizens of Rio de Janeiro owe their present convenient
  road to Petropolis, their favorite summer residence.

Footnote 25:

  A species of Melastoma, with very large, conspicuous flowers.—L. A.

Footnote 26:

  This is not, however, native to Brazil.

Footnote 27:

  Indeed, their diversity is much greater even than that of our Oaks,
  and it would require a comprehensive comparison with a majority of our
  forest-trees to match the differences they exhibit among themselves;
  and their native names, far more euphonic than the systematic names
  under which they are entered in our scientific works, are as familiar
  to the Indians as those of our beeches, birches, hazels, chestnuts,
  poplars, or willows to our farmers. There are four essentially
  different forms among the palms: the tall ones, with a slender and
  erect stem, terminating with a crown of long feathery leaves, or with
  broad fan-shaped leaves; the bushy ones, the leaves of which rise as
  it were in tufts from the ground, the stem remaining hidden under the
  foliage; the brush-like ones, with a small stem, and a few rather
  large leaves; and the winding, creeping, slender species. Their
  flowers and fruits are as varied as their stock. Some of these fruits
  may be compared to large woody nuts, with a fleshy mass inside; others
  have a scaly covering; others resemble peaches or apricots, while
  others still are like plums or grapes. Most of them are eatable and
  rather pleasant to the taste. It is a thousand pities that so many of
  these majestic trees should have been deprived of their sonorous
  native names, to bear henceforth, in the annals of science, the names
  of some unknown princes, whom flattery alone could rescue from
  oblivion. The Inaja has become a Maximiliana, the Jara a Leopoldinia,
  the Pupunha a Guilielma, the Pachiuba an Iriartea, the Carana a
  Mauritia. The changes from Indian to Greek names have not been more
  felicitous. I would certainly have preferred Jacitara to Desmonchus,
  Mucaja to Acrocomia, Baccába to Œnocarpus, Tucuma to Astrocaryum. Even
  Euterpe for Assai is hardly an improvement.—L. A.

Footnote 28:

  This observation was confirmed by our year’s travel. The Brazilians
  care little for a variety of vegetables, and do not give much
  attention to their cultivation. Those they do use are chiefly imported
  in cans from Europe.

Footnote 29:

  On our return from the Amazons a year later we heard with great regret
  of the death of Mr. Taylor For many months he took an active part in
  the objects of the Expedition, being himself a good naturalist, and
  not only made valuable collections for Mr. Agassiz, but also some
  admirable colored drawings of fishes and insects, which it is hoped
  may be published at a future time with the other scientific results of
  this journey.

Footnote 30:

  My experience of this day might well awaken the envy of any
  naturalist, and I was myself no less astonished than grateful for its
  scientific results. Not only had Senhor Lage provided us with the most
  comfortable private conveyance, but he had sent messengers in advance
  to all the planters residing near our line of travel, requesting them
  to provide all the fishes that were to be had in the adjoining rivers
  and brooks. The agents of the stations situated near water-courses had
  also received instructions to have similar collections in readiness,
  and in two places I found large tanks filled with living specimens of
  all the species in the neighborhood. The small number of species
  subsequently added, upon repeated excursions to different parts of the
  basin of the Parahyba, convinced me that in this one day, thanks to
  the kindness of our host and his friends, I had an opportunity of
  examining nearly its whole ichthyological fauna, and of making
  probably as complete a collection from it as may be found from any of
  the considerable rivers of Europe in the larger museums of the Old
  World.—L. A.

Footnote 31:

  In some maps this place is inscribed under the name of Parahybuna.

                              CHAPTER III.


[Illustration: Botafogo Bay.]

_May 22d._—This afternoon Dr. and Mrs. C—— and myself went out for a
country ramble, somewhat at a venture, it is true, but feeling sure that
in the beautiful scenery about Rio we could hardly go amiss. We took one
of the many ferry-boats in the neighborhood of our hotel, and presently
found ourselves on the way to Botafogo. Almost all the environs of the
city are built along beaches; there is the beach or Praia of Botafogo,
the Praia of San Christovāo, the Praia of San Domingo, and half a dozen
others, all of which mean some suburb of the town situated on the shore
with a beach in front of it. As it is rather the fashion for the better
class of people to live out of town, the houses and gardens in these
suburbs are often delightful. We enjoyed the sail exceedingly. For a
part of the way the boat keeps close under the mountains, and no
description can give an idea of their picturesque outlines, or of the
wonderful coloring which softens all their asperities and mellows the
whole landscape. We landed at a jetty thrown out from a romantic-looking
road, and as we found no carriage on the wharf, and ascertained that the
boat did not return for two hours, we wandered up this road to see where
chance would lead us. The afternoon would have been full of interest had
it ended in the walk along the crescent-shaped bay, with the water
rippling on the sands, and the mountains opposite all purple in the
afternoon sunshine. The road brought us, however, to a magnificent
hospital for the insane, the hospital of Dom Pedro Segundo, which we had
seen and admired from the deck of the steamer on the day of our arrival.
We entered the grounds, and as the great door of the building was open
and the official on guard looked by no means forbidding, we ascended the
steps and went in. It is difficult to imagine an edifice more
appropriate for the purpose to which it is devoted. It is true we saw
only the public rooms and corridors, as a permit was required to enter
the wards; but a plan hanging near the entrance gave us an idea of the
arrangement of the building, and its general aspect bore testimony to
the cleanliness, cheerfulness, and order of the establishment. Some of
the public rooms were very handsome,—especially one, at the end of which
stands a statue of the boy Emperor, taken, no doubt, at the time of his
coronation. In the man of forty you still recognize the frank,
intelligent, manly face of the lad on whom such great responsibility was
thrown at the age of fifteen. As we went up the spacious staircase, the
sound of music brought us to the door of the chapel, where the evening
service was going on. Patients and nurses were kneeling together; a
choir of female voices was singing sweetly a calm, peaceful kind of
music; that somewhat monotonous chanting, so passionless in its regular
movement, which one hears in the Catholic Church; the candles were
burning before the altar, but the great window just outside the door was
open to the setting sun, and, as I stood in the balcony looking out on
the mountains and listening to the music, I thought that a mind which
had gone astray might find its way back again in such scenes and under
such influences. Certainly, if nature has any healing power, it must be
felt here. We lingered and listened as long as we dared, and stole away
as the services were closing, just in time to take the evening boat.

[Illustration: Mina Negress.]

_May 25th._—The fish-market is, in all seaport towns, a favorite haunt
with Mr. Agassiz, and here it has an especial interest for him on
account of the variety and beauty of the fishes brought in every
morning. I sometimes accompany him in these rambles for the pleasure of
seeing the fresh loads of oranges, flowers, and vegetables, and of
watching the picturesque negro groups selling their wares or sitting
about in knots to gossip. We have already learned that the fine-looking
athletic negroes of a nobler type, at least physically, than any we see
in the States, are the so-called Mina negroes, from the province of
Mina, in Western Africa. They are a very powerful-looking race, and the
women especially are finely made and have quite a dignified presence. I
am never tired of watching them in the street and market, where they are
to be seen in numbers, being more commonly employed as venders of fruit
and vegetables than as house-servants. It is said that a certain wild
and independent element in their character makes them unfit for domestic
service. The women always wear a high muslin turban, and a long,
bright-colored shawl, either crossed on the breast and thrown carelessly
over the shoulder, or, if the day be chilly, drawn closely around them,
their arms hidden in its folds. The amount of expression they throw into
the use of this shawl is quite amazing. I watched a tall, superbly made
woman in the street to-day who was in a great passion. Gesticulating
violently, she flung her shawl wide, throwing out both arms, then,
drawing it suddenly in, folded it about her, and stretched herself to
her full height; presently opening it once more, she shook her fist in
the face of her opponent, and then, casting one end of her long drapery
over her shoulder, stalked away with the air of a tragedy queen. It
serves as a cradle also, for, tying it loosely round their hips, they
slip the baby into the folds behind, and there it hangs, rocked to sleep
by the mother’s movement as she walks on with her long, swinging tread.
The Mina negress is almost invariably remarkable for her beautiful hand
and arm. She seems to be conscious of this, and usually wears
close-fitting bracelets at the wrist, made of some bright-colored beads,
which set off the form of the hand and are exceedingly becoming on her
dark, shining skin. These negroes are Mohammedans, and are said to
remain faithful to their prophet, though surrounded by the observances
of the Catholic Church. They do not seem to me so affable and responsive
as the Congo negroes, but are, on the contrary, rather haughty. One
morning I came upon a cluster of them in the market breakfasting after
their work was done, and I stopped to talk with them, asking what they
had for breakfast, and trying various subjects on which to open an
acquaintance. But they looked at me coldly and suspiciously, barely
answering my questions, and were evidently relieved when I walked away.

[Illustration: Mina Negress and Child.]

_May 26th._—Tijuca. In the pleasant environs of Rio there is no resort
more frequented than the establishment of Mr. Bennett at Tijuca, and we
were not sorry the day before yesterday to leave the hot, dusty city,
with a pleasant party of friends, for this cluster of mountains, some
eighteen hundred feet above the sea level and about eight miles from
Rio. It takes its name from the peak of Tijuca, so conspicuous an object
in the coast range. On our arrival we were very cordially welcomed by
our host himself, who was not quite a stranger to us, for Mr. Agassiz
has been already indebted to him for valuable collections. Mr. Bennett
has an Englishman’s love of nature, and is very familiar with the botany
and zoölogy of the beautiful region which has been his home for many
years. Under his guidance, we have taken a number of pleasant rambles
and rides, regretting only that we cannot avail ourselves for a longer
time of his intimate knowledge of the locality and its productions.

I have alluded before to the perplexing character of the geology, and
the almost universal decomposition of the rock surfaces, making it
difficult to decipher them. The presence of the drift phenomena, so
universal in the Northern hemisphere, has been denied here; but, in his
long walk to-day, Mr. Agassiz has had an opportunity of observing a
great number of erratic boulders, having no connection with the rocks in
place, and also a sheet of drift studded with boulders and resting above
the partially stratified metamorphic rock in immediate contact with it.
I introduce here a letter written by him to his friend, Professor Peirce
of Harvard University, under the first impression of the day’s
experience, which will best explain his view of the subject.

                                              “May 27th, 1865, TIJUCA.


  “Yesterday was one of the happiest days of my life, and I want to
  share it with you. Here I am at Tijuca, a cluster of hills, about
  eighteen hundred feet high and some seven or eight miles from Rio,
  in a charming cottage-like hotel, from the terrace of which you see
  a drift hill with innumerable erratic boulders, as characteristic as
  any I have ever seen in New England. I had before seen sundry
  unmistakable traces of drift, but there was everywhere connected
  with the drift itself such an amount of decomposed rocks of various
  kinds, that, though I could see the drift and distinguish it from
  the decomposed primary rocks in place, on account of my familiarity
  with that kind of deposits, yet I could probably never have
  satisfied anybody else that there is here an equivalent of the
  Northern drift, had I not found yesterday, near Bennett’s hotel at
  Tijuca, the most palpable superposition of drift and decomposed
  rocks, with a distinct line of demarcation between the two, of which
  I shall secure a good photograph. This locality afforded me at once
  an opportunity of contrasting the decomposed rocks which form a
  characteristic feature of the whole country (as far as I have yet
  seen it) with the superincumbent drift, and of making myself
  familiar with the peculiarities of both deposits; so that I trust I
  shall be able hereafter to distinguish both, whether they are in
  contact with one another or found separately. These decomposed rocks
  are quite a new feature to me in the structure of the country.
  Imagine granite, gneiss, mica slate, clay slate, and in fact all the
  various kinds of rocks usually found in old metamorphic formations,
  reduced to the condition of a soft paste, exhibiting all the
  mineralogical elements of the rocks, as they may have been before
  they were decomposed, but now completely disintegrated and resting
  side by side, as if they had been accumulated artificially in the
  manner you have seen glass cylinders filled with variously colored
  sands or clays to imitate the appearance of the beds of Gay-Head.
  And through this loose mass there run, here and there, larger or
  smaller dikes of quartz-rock or of granite or other rocks equally
  disintegrated; but they retain the arrangement of their materials,
  showing them to be disintegrated dikes in large disintegrated masses
  of rock; the whole passing unmistakably to rocks of the same kind in
  which the decomposition or disintegration is only partial, or no
  trace of it visible, and the whole mass exhibiting then the
  appearance of an ordinary metamorphic set of rocks.

  “That such masses forming everywhere the surface of the country
  should be a great obstacle to the study of the erratic phenomena is
  at once plain, and I do not therefore wonder that those who seem
  familiar with the country should now entertain the idea that the
  surface rocks are everywhere decomposed, and that there is no
  erratic formation or drift here. But upon close examination it is
  easy to perceive that, while the decomposed rocks consist of small
  particles of the primitive rocks which they represent, with their
  dikes and all other characteristic features, there is not a trace of
  larger or smaller boulders in them; while the superincumbent drift,
  consisting of a similar paste, does not show the slightest sign of
  the indistinct stratification characteristic of the decomposed
  metamorphic rocks below it, nor any of the decomposed dikes, but is
  full of various kinds of boulders of various dimensions. I have not
  yet traced the boulders to their origin; but the majority consist of
  a kind of greenstone composed of equal amounts of a greenish black
  hornblende and feldspar. In Entre Rios on the Parahyba, I was told
  by an engineer on the road that in Minas Geräes iron mines are
  worked in a rock like these boulders. This week I propose to explore
  the Serra da Mantiqueira,[32] which separates the province of Rio
  from Minas, and may advance the question further. But you see that I
  need not go to the Andes to find erratics, though it may yet be
  necessary for me to go, in order to trace the evidence of glacier
  action in the accumulation of this drift; for you will notice that I
  have only given you the evidence of extensive accumulations of drift
  similar in its characteristics to Northern drift. But I have not yet
  seen a trace of glacial action properly speaking, if polished
  surfaces and scratches and furrows are especially to be considered
  as such.

  “The decomposition of the surface rocks to the extent to which it
  takes place here is very remarkable, and points to a new geological
  agency, thus far not discussed in our geological theories. It is
  obvious here (and to-day with the pouring rain which keeps me in
  doors I have satisfactory evidence of it) that the warm rains
  falling upon the heated soil must have a very powerful action in
  accelerating the decomposition of rocks. It is like torrents of hot
  water falling for ages in succession upon hot stones. Think of the
  effect, and, instead of wondering at the large amount of decomposed
  rocks which you meet everywhere, you will be surprised that there
  are any rocks left in their primitive condition. It is, however, the
  fact, that all the rocks you see are encased, as it were, in a
  lining of the decomposed part of their surface; they are actually
  covered with a rotten crust of their own substance.

                                         “Ever truly yours,

                                                         “L. AGASSIZ.”

Among the objects of special interest which we have seen here for the
first time are the colossal fruits of the Sapucaia-tree, a species of
Lecythis, belonging to the same family as the Brazilian nuts. These
fruits, of which there are a number of species, vary from the size of an
apple to that of an ordinary melon; they resemble an urn closed with a
lid, and contain about fifty seeds as large as almonds. The woods all
over these Tijuca hills are beautiful and wonderfully luxuriant; but I
lack names for the various trees. We are not yet familiar enough with
the aspect of the forest to distinguish readily its different forms of
vegetation; and it is besides exceedingly difficult here to ascertain
the common names of plants. The Brazilians do not seem to me observant
of nature in its details; at all events, I never get a satisfactory
answer to the question I am constantly putting, “What do you call this
tree or flower?” And if you ask a botanist, he invariably gives you the
scientific, not the popular name, nor does he seem to be aware that any
such exists. I have a due respect for nomenclature, but when I inquire
the name of some very graceful tree or some exquisite flower, I like to
receive a manageable answer, something that may fitly be introduced into
the privacy of domestic life, rather than the ponderous official Latin
appellation. We are struck with the variety of Melastomas in full flower
now, and very conspicuous, from their large purple blossoms, and have
remarked also several species of the Bombaceæ, easily distinguished by
their peculiar foliage and large cotton fruits. The Candelabra-tree
(Cecropia) is abundant here, as throughout the neighborhood of Rio, and
is covered at this season with fruit resembling somewhat the fruit of
the bread-tree, but more slender and cylindrical in form. Large
Euphorbias, of the size of forest-trees, also attract our attention, for
it is the first time we have seen them except as shrubs, such as the
“Estrella do Norte” (Poinsettia). But there is before Mr. Bennett’s
house a very large nut-tree, “Nogueira,” of this family. The palms are
numerous; among them the Astrocaryum Cari, whose spiny stems and leaves
make it difficult to approach, is very common. Its bunches of bright
chestnut-brown fruit hang from between the leaves which form its crown,
each bunch about a foot in length, massive and compact, like a large
cluster of black Hamburg grapes. The Syagrus palm is also frequent; it
has a greenish fruit not unlike the olive in appearance, also hanging in
large pendent bunches just below the leaves. The mass of foliage is
everywhere knit together by parasitic vines without number, and every
dead branch or fallen trunk is overgrown by parasites. Foreign tropical
trees are cultivated about the houses everywhere,—bread-fruit trees and
Ameixas, a kind of plum of the hawthorn family, bananas, etc. The bamboo
of the East Indies also is used to form avenues in Rio de Janeiro and
its environs. The alleys of bamboo in the grounds of the palace at San
Christovāo are among its most beautiful ornaments.

[Illustration: Fallen Trunk overgrown by Parasites.]

Mr. Agassiz has been surprised to find that shrimps of considerable size
are common in all the brooks and even in the highest pools of Tijuca. It
seems strange to meet with Crustacea of marine forms in mountain

To-day we are kept in the house by a violent rain, but there is enough
to do in looking over specimens, working up journals, writing letters,
&c., to prevent the time from hanging heavy on our hands. To-morrow we
return to town.

_May 28th_, RIO.—To-day is Mr. Agassiz’s birthday, and it has been so
affectionately remembered here that it is difficult to believe ourselves
in a foreign country. The Swiss citizens gave him a dinner yesterday on
the eve of the anniversary, where everything recalled the land of his
birth, without excluding the land of his adoption. The room was draped
with the flags of all the Cantons, while the ceiling was covered by two
Swiss national flags, united in the centre just above his own seat by
the American flag, thus recognizing at once his Swiss nationality and
his American citizenship.[33] The Brazilian flag which gave them all
hospitality and protection had also an honored place. The fête is
reported to have been most genial and gay, closing with a number of
student songs in which all bore their share, and succeeded by a serenade
under our windows. To-day our room is festive with flowers and other
decorations, and friendly greetings on every side remind us that, though
in a foreign land, we are not among strangers.

_June 14th._—Since our return from Tijuca we have been almost constantly
in town, Mr. Agassiz being engaged, often from early morning till deep
into the night, in taking care of the specimens which come in from every
quarter, and making the final preparations for the parties which he
intends sending into the interior. The most important of these, or
rather the one for which it is most difficult to procure the necessary
facilities, is bound for the upper course of the San Francisco. At this
point one or more of their number will strike across the country to the
Tocantins, and descend that river to the Amazons, while the others will
follow the valley of the Piauhy to the coast. This is a long, difficult,
but, as we are assured, not a dangerous journey for young and vigorous
men. But wishing to anticipate every trouble that may befall them, Mr.
Agassiz has made it his business to ascertain, as far as possible, the
nature of the route, and to obtain letters to the most influential
people for every step of the road. This has been no light task; in a
country where there are no established means of internal communication,
where mules, guides, camaradas, and even an armed escort may be
necessary, and must be provided for in advance, the preparation for a
journey through the interior requires a vast deal of forethought. Add to
this the national habit of procrastination, the profound conviction of
the Brazilian that to-morrow is better than to-day, and one may
understand how it happens that, although it has been a primary object
since our arrival to expedite the party to the Tocantins, their
departure has been delayed till now. And yet it would be the height of
ingratitude to give the impression that there has been any backwardness
on the part of the Brazilians themselves, or of their government, to
facilitate the objects of the expedition. On the contrary, they not only
show a warm interest, but the utmost generosity, and readiness to give
all the practical aid in their power. Several leading members of the
Cabinet, the Senate, and the House of Representatives have found time
now, when they have a war upon their hands, and when one ministry has
been going out and another coming in, not only to prepare the necessary
introductions for these parties from Rio to the Amazons, but also to
write out the routes, giving the most important directions and
information for the separate journeys.[34] Yet with the best will in the
world the Brazilians know comparatively little of the interior of their
own country. It is necessary to collect all that is known from a variety
of sources, and then to combine it as well as may be, so as to form an
organized plan. Even then a great deal must be left to be decided in
accordance with circumstances which no one can foresee. No pains have
been spared to anticipate all the probable difficulties, and to provide
for them as far as it is humanly possible to do so; and we feel that
this journey, a part of which has been made by very few persons before,
has never been undertaken under better auspices. This party will explore
the upper course of the Rio Doce, the Rio das Velhas, and the San
Francisco, with the lower course of the Tocantins and its tributaries,
as far as they can; making also collections of fossils in certain
regions upon the route. Another party, starting at about the same time,
is to keep nearer the coast, exploring the lower course of the Rio Doce
and the San Francisco. Mr. Agassiz thus hopes to make at least a partial
survey of this great water system, while he himself undertakes the
Amazons and its tributaries.[35] In the mean time, the result of the
weeks he has been obliged to spend in Rio, while organizing the work of
these parties and making the practical arrangements for its prosecution,
has been very satisfactory. The collections are large, and will give a
tolerably complete idea of the fauna of this province, as well as a part
of that of Minas Geräes. A survey of the Dom Pedro Railroad, made under
his direction by his two young friends, Messrs. Hart and St. John, is
also an excellent beginning of the work in this department, and his own
observations on the drift phenomena have an important bearing on the
great questions on which he hoped to throw new light in coming here. The
closing words of a lecture delivered by him last evening at the Collegio
Dom Pedro Segundo will best express his own estimation of the facts he
has collected in their bearing on the drift phenomena in other parts of
the world. After giving some account of the erratic blocks and drift
observed by him at Tijuca and already described in his letter to Mr.
Peirce, he added: “I wish here to make a nice distinction that I may not
be misunderstood. I _affirm_ that the erratic phenomena, viz. erratic
drift, in immediate superposition with partially decomposed stratified
rock, exist here in your immediate neighborhood; I _believe_ that these
phenomena are connected, here as elsewhere, with the action of ice. It
is nevertheless possible that a more intimate study of these subjects in
tropical regions may reveal some phase of the phenomena not hitherto
observed, just as the investigation of the glacial action in the United
States has shown that immense masses of ice may move over a plain, as
well as over a mountain slope. Let me now urge a special study of these
facts upon the young geologists of Rio, as they have never been
investigated and their presence is usually denied. If you ask me, ‘To
what end?—of what use is such a discovery?’—I answer, It is given to no
mortal man to predict what may be the result of any discovery in the
realms of nature. When the electric current was discovered, what was it?
A curiosity. When the first electric machine was invented, to what use
was it put? To make puppets dance for the amusement of children. To-day
it is the most powerful engine of civilization. But should our work have
no other result than this,—to know that certain facts in nature are thus
and not otherwise, that their causes were such and no others,—this
result in itself is good enough, and great enough, since the end of man,
his aim, his glory, is the knowledge of the truth.”

One word upon these lectures, since we are told by the Brazilians
themselves that the introduction of public lectures among them is a
novelty and in a certain sense an era in their educational history. If
any subject of science or letters is to be presented to the public here,
it is done under special conditions before a selected audience, where
the paper is read in presence of the Emperor with all due solemnity.
Popular instruction, with admittance for all who care to listen or to
learn, has been hitherto a thing unknown. The suggestion was made by Dr.
Pacheco, the Director of the Collegio Dom Pedro II., a man of liberal
culture and great intelligence, who has already done much for the
progress of education in Rio de Janeiro; it found favor with the
Emperor, who is keenly alive to anything which can stimulate the love of
knowledge among his people, and at his request Mr. Agassiz has given a
course of lectures in French on a variety of scientific subjects. He was
indeed very glad to have an opportunity of introducing here a means of
popular education which he believes to have been very salutary in its
influence among us. At first the presence of ladies was objected to, as
too great an innovation on national habits; but even that was overcome,
and the doors were opened to all comers, the lectures being given after
the true New England fashion. I must say that, if the absolutely
uninterrupted attention of an audience is any test of its intelligence,
no man could ask a better one than that which Mr. Agassiz has had the
pleasure of addressing in Rio de Janeiro. It has also been a great
pleasure to him, after teaching for nearly twenty years in English, to
throw off the fetters of a foreign tongue and speak again in French.
After all, with a few exceptions, a man’s native language remains for
him the best; it is the element in which he always moves most at ease.

The Emperor, with his family, has been present at all these lectures,
and it is worthy of note, as showing the simplicity of his character,
that, instead of occupying the raised platform intended for them, he
caused the chairs to be placed on a level with the others, as if to show
that in science at least there is no distinction of rank.[36]

_June 11th._—To-day has been a festa, but one the significance of which
it is somewhat difficult to understand, so singularly is the religious
element mingled with the grotesque and quaint. In the Church it is the
feast of Corpus Christi, but it happens to fall on the same date as
another festival in honor of St. George, which is kept with all sorts of
antique ceremonies. I went in the morning with our young friend, Mr.
T——, to the Imperial chapel, where high mass was celebrated, and at the
close of the services we had some difficulty in finding our way back to
the hotel, before which the procession was to pass, for the street was
already draped with all sorts of gay colors and crowded with spectators.
First in order came the religious part of the procession; a long array
of priests and church officials carrying lighted candles, pyramids of
flowers, banners, &c. Then came the host, under a canopy of white satin
and gold, supported by massive staffs; the bearers were the highest
dignitaries of the land, first among them being the Emperor himself and
his son-in-law, the Duke of Saxe. In strange contrast with these
solemnities was the stuffed equestrian figure of St. George, a huge,
unwieldy shape on horseback, preceded and followed by riders almost as
grotesque as himself. With him came a number of orders resembling, if
not the same as, the Free-Masons, the Odd Fellows, and like societies.
The better educated Brazilians speak of this procession as an old legacy
from Portugal, which has lost its significance for them, and which they
would gladly see pass out of use, as it is already out of date.

This evening Mr. Agassiz gave the closing lecture of his course. It is
to be followed next week by a lecture from Dr. Capanema, the Brazilian
geologist, and there will be an attempt made to organize courses of
public lectures on the same plan hereafter. Our numbers are gradually
diminishing. Last week the party for the interior, consisting of Messrs.
St. John, Allen, Ward, and Sceva, started, and Messrs. Hartt and
Copeland leave in a day or two to undertake an exploration of the coast
between the Parahyba do Sul and Bahia.

_June 30th._—On the 21st we left Rio on our way to the province of Minas
Geräes, where we were to pass a week at the coffee fazenda of Senhor
Lage, who received us so courteously on our former visit to Juiz de
Fora, and who was so influential in projecting and carrying out the
Union and Industry road. The journey to Juiz de Fora, though we had made
it once before, had lost nothing of its beauty by familiarity, and had
gained in interest of another kind; for his examination of the erratic
drift at Tijuca has given Mr. Agassiz the key to the geological
constitution of the soil, and what seemed to him quite inexplicable on
our first excursion over this road is now perfectly legible. It is
interesting to watch the progress of an investigation of this character,
and to see how the mental process gradually clears away the obscurity.
The perception becomes sharpened by dwelling upon the subject, and the
mind adapts itself to a difficult problem as the eye adapts itself to
darkness. That which was confused at first presently becomes clear to
the mental vision of the observer, who watches and waits for the light
to enter. There is one effect of the atmospheric influence here, already
alluded to in the previous pages, which at first sight is very
deceptive. Wherever there is any cut through drift, unless recently
opened, it becomes baked at the surface so as to simulate stone in such
a way as hardly to be distinguished from the decomposed rock surfaces in
place, unless by a careful examination. This, together with the partial
obliteration of the stratification in many places, makes it, at first
glance, difficult to recognize the point of contact between the
stratified rock and the drift resting above it. A little familiarity
with these deceptive appearances, however, makes it as easy to read the
broken leaves of the book of nature here as elsewhere, and Mr. Agassiz
has now no more difficulty in following the erratic phenomena in these
Southern regions than in the Northern hemisphere. All that is wanting to
complete the evidence of the actual presence of ice here, in former
times, is the glacial writing, the striæ and furrows and polish which
mark its track in the temperate zone. These one can hardly hope to find
where the rock is of so perishable a character and its disintegration so
rapid. But this much is certain,—a sheet of drift covers the country,
composed of a homogeneous paste without trace of stratification,
containing loose materials of all sorts and sizes, imbedded in it
without reference to weight, large boulders, smaller stones, pebbles,
and the like. This drift is very unevenly distributed; sometimes rising
into high hills, owing to the surrounding denudations; sometimes
covering the surface merely as a thin layer; sometimes, and especially
on steep slopes, washed completely away, leaving the bare face of the
rock; sometimes deeply gullied, so as to produce a succession of
depressions and elevations alternating with each other. To this latter
cause is due, in great degree, the billowy, undulating character of the
valleys. Another cause of difficulty in tracing the erratic phenomena
consists in the number of detached fragments which have fallen from the
neighboring heights. It is not always easy to distinguish these from the
erratic boulders. But a number of localities exist, nevertheless, where
the drift rests immediately above stratified rock, with the boulders
protruding from it, the line of contact being perfectly distinct. It is
a curious fact, that one may follow the drift everywhere in this region
by the prosperous coffee plantations. Here as elsewhere ice has been the
great fertilizer,—a gigantic plough grinding the rocks to powder and
making a homogeneous soil in which the greatest variety of chemical
elements are brought together from distant localities. So far as we have
followed these phenomena in the provinces of Rio and Minas Geräes, the
thriving coffee plantations are upon erratic drift, the poorer growth
upon decomposed rock in place. Upon remarking this, we were told that
the farmers who are familiar with the soil select that in which they
find loose rocks imbedded, because it is the most fertile. They
unconsciously seek the erratic drift. It may not be amiss to point out
some of the localities in which these geological phenomena may be most
readily studied, since they lie along the public road, and are easy of
access. The drift is very evident in the swamp between Mauá and Raiz da
Serra on the way to Petropolis. In ascending the Serra at the half-way
house there is an excellent locality for observing drift and boulders;
and beyond one may follow the drift up to the very top of the road. The
whole tract between Villa Theresa and Petropolis is full of drift. Just
outside of Petropolis, the Piabanha has excavated its bed in drift,
while the banks have been ravined by the rains. At the station of
Correio, in front of the building, is also an admirable opportunity for
observing all the erratic phenomena, for here the drift, with large
boulders interspersed throughout the mass, overlies the rock in place. A
few steps to the north of the station Pedro do Rio there is another
great accumulation of large boulders in drift. These are but a few of
the localities where such facts may be observed.

On the evening of the 22d we arrived at Juiz de Fora, and started at
sunrise the next morning for the fazenda of Senhor Lage, some thirty
miles beyond. We had a gay party, consisting of the family of Senhor
Lage and that of his brother-in-law, Senhor Machado, with one or two
other friends and ourselves. The children were as merry as possible, for
a visit to the fazenda was a rarity, and looked upon by them as a great
festivity. To transport us all with our luggage, two large coaches were
provided, several mules, and a small carriage, while a travelling
photographic machine, belonging to Senhor Machado, who is an admirable
photographist, brought up the rear.[37] The day was beautiful and our
road lay along the side of the Serra, commanding fine views of the
inland country and the coffee plantations which covered the hillsides
wherever the primeval forest had been cut down. The road is another
evidence of the intelligence and energy of the proprietor. The old roads
are mere mule tracks up one side of the Serra and down the other,
gullied of course by all the heavy rains and rendered at times almost
impassable. Senhor Lage has shown his neighbors what may be done for
their comfort in a country life by abandoning the old method, and,
instead of carrying the road across the mountain, cutting it in the side
with so gradual an ascent as to make the ride a very easy one. It is but
a four hours’ drive now from Juiz de Fora to the fazenda, whereas, until
the last year, it was a day’s, or even in bad weather a two days’
journey on horseback. It is much to be desired that his example should
be followed, for the absence of any tolerable roads in the country makes
travelling in the interior almost an impossibility, and is the most
serious obstacle to the general progress and prosperity. It seems
strange that the governments of the different provinces, at least of the
more populous ones, such as Minas Geräes and Rio, should not organize a
system of good highways for the greater facility of commerce. The
present mode of transportation on mule back is slow and cumbrous in the
highest degree; it would seem as if, where the produce of the interior
is so valuable, good roads would pay for themselves very soon.

[Illustration: Fazenda de Santa Anna in Minas Geraës.]

At about eleven o’clock we arrived at the “Fazenda,” the long, low,
white buildings of which enclosed an oblong, open space divided into
large squares, where the coffee was drying. Only a part of this
extensive building is occupied as the living rooms of the family; the
rest is devoted to all sorts of objects connected with the care of the
coffee, provision for the negroes, and the like.

When we reached the plantation the guests had not all arrived. The
special occasion of this excursion to the fazenda was the festival of
San João, kept always with great ceremonies in the country; the whole
week was to be devoted to hunting, and Senhor Lage had invited all the
best sportsmen in the neighborhood to join in the chase. It will be seen
in the end that these hunters formed themselves into a most valuable
corps of collectors for Mr. Agassiz. After an excellent breakfast we
started on horseback for the forest with such of the company as had
already assembled. The ride through the dense, deep, quiet wood was
beautiful; and the dead pause when some one thought the game was near,
the hushed voices, the breathless waiting for the shot which announced
success or failure, only added a charm to the scene. They have a strange
way of hunting here; as the forest is perfectly impenetrable, they
scatter food in a cleared space for the animals, and build green
screens, leaving holes to look through; behind such a screen the hunter
waits and watches for hours perhaps, till the paca, or peccary, or
capivara steals out to feed. The ladies dismounted and found a cool seat
in one of these forest lodges, where they waited for the hunt. No great
success, after all, this afternoon, but some birds which were valuable
as specimens. We rode home in the evening to a late dinner, after which
an enormous bonfire, built by the negroes in honor of the Eve of St.
João, was lighted in front of the house. The scene was exceedingly
picturesque, the whole establishment, the neighboring negro huts, and
the distant forest being illuminated by the blaze, around which the
blacks were dancing, accompanying their wild gestures with song and
drum. Every now and then a burst of fireworks added new brightness to
the picture.

The next day, the 24th, began with a long ride on horseback before
breakfast, after which I accompanied Mr. Agassiz on a sort of
exploration among the Cupim nests (the nests of the Termites). These are
mounds sometimes three or four or even six feet high, and from two to
three or four feet in diameter, of an extraordinary solidity, almost as
hard as rock. Senhor Lage sent with us several negroes carrying axes to
split them open, which, with all their strength, proved no easy task.
These nests appear usually to have been built around some old trunk or
root as a foundation; the interior, with its endless serpentine
passages, looked not unlike the convolutions of a meandrina or brain
coral; the walls of the passages seemed to be built of earth that had
been chewed or kneaded in some way, giving them somewhat the consistency
of paper. The interior was quite soft and brittle, so that as soon as
the negroes could break through the outer envelope, about six inches in
thickness, the whole structure readily fell to pieces. It had no opening
outside, but we found, on uprooting one of these edifices from the
bottom, that the whole base was perforated with holes leading into the
ground beneath. The interior of all of them swarmed with the different
kinds of inhabitants; the little white ones, the larger black ones with
brown heads and powerful forceps, and in each were found one or two very
large swollen white ones, quite different in dimensions and appearance
from the rest, probably the queens. With the assistance of the negroes,
Mr. Agassiz made, for future examination, a large collection of all the
different kinds of individuals thus living together in various numeric
proportions, and he would gladly have carried away one of the nests, but
they are too cumbersome for transportation. The Cupim nests are very
different from the dwellings of the Sauba ants, which have large
external openings. The latter make houses by excavating, and sometimes
undermine a hill so extensively, with their long galleries, that when a
fire is lighted at one of the entrances to exterminate them, the smoke
issues at numerous openings, distant perhaps a quarter of a mile from
each other, showing in how many directions they have tunnelled out the
hill, and that their winding passages communicate with each other
throughout. So many travellers have given accounts of these ant-houses,
and of the activity of their inhabitants in stripping and carrying off
the leaves of trees to deposit them in their habitations, that it hardly
seems worth while to repeat the story. Yet no one can see without
astonishment one of these ant-armies travelling along the road they have
worn so neatly for themselves, those who are coming from the trees
looking like a green procession, almost hidden by the fragments of
leaves they carry on their backs, while the returning troops, who have
already deposited their burden, are hurrying back for more. There seems
to be another set of individuals running to and fro, whose office is not
quite so clear, unless it be to marshal the whole swarm and act as a
kind of police. This view is confirmed by an anecdote related by an
American resident here, who told us that he once saw an ant, returning
without his load to the house, stopped by one of these anomalous
individuals, severely chastised and sent back to the tree apparently to
do his appointed task. The Sauba ants are very injurious to the coffee
shrubs, and difficult to exterminate.[38]

In the afternoon, the hunters of the neighborhood began to come in and
the party was considerably enlarged. This fazenda life, at least on an
informal jovial occasion like this, has a fascinating touch of the
Middle Ages in it. I am always reminded of this when we assemble for
dinner in the large dimly lighted hall, where a long table, laden with
game and with large haunches of meat, stands ready for the miscellaneous
company, daily growing in numbers. At the upper end sit the family with
their immediate guests; below, with his family, is the “Administrador,”
whose office I suppose corresponds to that of overseer on a Southern
plantation. In this instance he is a large picturesque-looking man,
generally equipped in a kind of gray blouse strapped around the waist by
a broad black belt, in which are powder-flask and knife, with a bugle
slung over his shoulder, a slouched hat, and high top-boots. During
dinner a number of chance cavaliers drop in, entirely without ceremony,
in hunter’s costume, as they return from the chase. Then at night, or
rather early in the morning, (for the Brazilian habit is “early to bed
and early to rise,” in order to avoid the heat,) what jollity and song,
sounding the bugles long before the dawn, twanging the guitar and
whistling on the peculiar instrument used here to call the game.
Altogether it is the most novel and interesting collection of social
elements, mingling after a kind of picnic fashion without the least
formality, and we feel every day how much we owe to our kind hosts for
admitting us to an occasion where one sees so much of what is national
and characteristic. The next day we went to breakfast at a smaller
fazenda belonging also to Senhor Lage, higher up on the Serra da
Babylonia. Again, starting before sunrise, we went slowly up the
mountain, the summit of which is over 3,000 feet above the sea level. We
were preceded by the “liteira,” a queer kind of car slung between two
mules, in which rode the grandmamma and the baby; as carriages are
impossible on these mountain roads, some such conveyance is necessary
for those who are too old or too young for horseback travelling. The
view was lovely, the morning cool and beautiful, and after a two hours’
ride we arrived at the upper fazenda. Here we left our horses and went
on foot into the forest, where the ladies and children wandered about,
gathering flowers and exploring the wood walks, while the gentlemen
occupied themselves with fishing and hunting till midday, when we
returned to the house to breakfast. The result of the chase was a
monkey, two caititú (wild pigs), and a great variety of birds, all of
which went to swell the scientific collections.[39] We returned to dine
at the lower fazenda, and all retired soon after, for the next day the
great hunt of the week would take place, and we were to be early astir.

At dawn the horses were at the door, and we were mounting the Serra
before sunrise. We were bound to a fazenda on the Serra da Babylonia,
some two leagues from the one at which we were staying, and on higher
ground, too high indeed for the culture of coffee, and devoted to
pasture land. It is here that Senhor Lage has his horses and cattle. The
ride along the zigzag road winding up the Serra was delightful in the
early morning. The clouds were flushed with the dawn; the distant hills
and the forest, spreading endlessly beneath us, glowed in the sunrise.
The latter part of the road lay mostly through the woods, and brought us
out, after some two hours’ ride, on the brow of a hill overlooking a
small lake, sunk in a cuplike depression of the mountain, just beyond
which was the fazenda. The scenic effect was very pretty, for the border
of the lake was ornamented with flags, and on its waters floated a
little miniature steamer with the American flag at one end and the
Brazilian at the other. Our host invited us to ride in at the gate of
the fazenda, in advance of the rest of our cavalcade, a request which we
understood when, as we passed the entrance, the little steamer put into
shore, and, firing a salute in our honor, showed its name, AGASSIZ, in
full. It was a pleasant surprise very successfully managed. After the
little excitement of this incident was over, we went to the house to tie
up our riding-habits and prepare for the woods. We then embarked in the
newly-christened boat and crossed the lake to a forest on the other
side. Here were rustic tables and seats arranged under a tent where we
were to breakfast; but while the meal was making ready and a fire
building for the boiling of coffee, the stewing of chicken, rice, and
other creature comforts, we wandered at will in the wood. This was the
most beautiful, because the wildest and most primitive, specimen of
tropical forest we have yet seen. I think no description prepares one
for the difference between this forest and our own, even though the
latter be the “forest primeval.” It is not merely the difference of the
vegetation, but the impenetrability of the mass here that makes the
density, darkness, and solemnity of the woods so impressive. It seems as
if the mode of growth—many of the trees shooting up to an immense
height, but branching only toward the top—were meant to give room to the
legion of parasites, sipos, lianas, and climbing plants of all kinds
which fill the intervening spaces. There is one fact which makes the
study of the tropical forest as interesting to the geologist as to the
botanist, namely, its relation to the vegetable world of past ages
hidden in the rocks. The tree-ferns, the Chamærops, the Pandanus, the
Araucarias, are all modern representatives of past types, and this walk
in the forest was an important one to Mr. Agassiz, because he made out
one of those laws of growth which unite the past and the present. The
Chamærops is a palm belonging to the ancient vegetable world, but having
its representatives in our days. The modern Chamærops, with its fan-like
leaves spreading on one level, stands structurally lower than the Palms
with pinnate leaves, which belong almost exclusively to our geological
age, and have numerous leaflets arranged along either side of a central
axis. The young Palms were exceedingly numerous, springing up at every
step upon our path, some of them not more than two inches high, while
their elders towered fifty feet above them. Mr. Agassiz gathered and
examined great numbers of them, and found that the young Palms, to
whatever genus they may belong, invariably resemble the Chamærops,
having their leaves extending fan-like on one plane, instead of being
scattered along a central axis, as in the adult tree. The infant Palm is
in fact the mature Chamærops in miniature, showing that among plants as
among animals, at least in some instances, there is a correspondence
between the youngest stages of growth in the higher species of a given
type and the earliest introduction of that type on earth.[40]

At the close of our ramble, from which the Professor returned looking
not unlike an ambulatory representative of tropical vegetation, being
loaded down with palm-branches, tree-ferns, and the like, we found
breakfast awaiting us. Some of our party were missing, however, the
hunters having already taken their stations at some distance near the
water. The game was an Anta (Tapir), a curious animal, abounding in the
woods of this region. It has a special interest for the naturalist,
because it resembles certain ancient mammalia now found only among the
fossils, just as the tree-fern, Chamærops, &c. resemble past vegetable
types. Although Mr. Agassiz had seen it in confinement, he had a great
desire to observe it in action under its natural condition, and in the
midst of a tropical forest as characteristic of old geological times as
the creature itself. It was, in fact, to gratify this desire that Mr.
Lage had planned the hunt. “L’homme propose et Dieu dispose,” however,
and, as the sequel will show, we were not destined to see an Anta this
day. The forest being, as I have said, impenetrable to the hunter,
except where paths have been cut, the game is roused by sending the dogs
into the wood, the sportsmen stationing themselves at certain distances
on the outskirts. The Anta has his haunts near lakes or rivers, and when
wearied and heated with the chase he generally makes for the water, and,
springing in, is shot as he swims across. As we were lingering over the
breakfast-table we heard the shout of Anta! Anta! In an instant every
man sprang to his gun and ran down to the water-side, while we all stood
waiting, listening to the cries of the dogs, now frantic with
excitement, and expecting every moment the rush of the hunted animal and
his spring into the lake. But it was a false alarm; the cries of the
dogs died away in the distance: the day was colder than usual, the Anta
turned back from the water, and, leading his pursuers a weary chase, was
lost in the forest. After a time the dogs returned, looking tired and
dispirited. But though we missed the Tapir, we saw enough of the sport
to understand what makes the charm to the hunter of watching for hours
in the woods, and perhaps returning, after all, empty-handed. If he does
not get the game, he has the emotion; every now and then he thinks the
creature is at hand, and he has a momentary agitation, heightened by the
cries of the dogs and the answering cry of the sportsmen, who strive to
arouse them to the utmost by their own shouts, and then if the animal
turns back into the thicket all sound dies away, and to a very
pandemonium of voices succeed the silence and solitude of the forest.
All these things have their fascination, and explain to the uninitiated,
to whom it seems at first incomprehensible, why these men will wait
motionless for hours, and think themselves repaid (as I heard one of
them declare) if they only hear the cry of the dogs and know they have
roused the game, even if there be no other result. However, in this
instance, we had plenty of other booty. The Anta lost, the hunters, who
had carefully avoided firing hitherto, lest the sounds of their guns
should give him warning, now turned their attention to lesser game, and
we rode home in the afternoon rich in spoils, though without a Tapir.

The next day was that of our departure. Before leaving, we rode with Mr.
Lage through his plantation, that we might understand something of the
process of coffee culture in this country. I am not sure that, in giving
an account of this model fazenda, we give a just idea of fazendas in
general. Its owner carries the same large and comprehensive spirit, the
same energy and force of will, into all his undertakings, and has
introduced extensive reforms on his plantations. The Fazenda da
Fortaleza de Santa Anna lies at the foot of the Serra da Babylonia. The
house itself, as I have already said, makes a part of a succession of
low white buildings, enclosing an oblong square divided into neat lots,
destined for the drying of coffee. This drying of the coffee in the
immediate vicinity of the house, though it seems a very general custom,
must be an uncomfortable one; for the drying-lots are laid down in a
dazzling white cement, from the glare of which, in this hot climate, the
eye turns wearily away, longing for a green spot on which to rest. Just
behind the house on the slope of the hill is the orangery. I am never
tired of these golden orchards, and this was one of especial beauty. The
small, deep-colored tangerines, sometimes twenty or thirty in one
cluster, the large, choice orange, “Laranja selecta,” as it is called,
often ten or twelve together in a single bunch, and bearing the branches
to the ground with their weight; the paler “Limaō dôce,” or sweet lemon,
rather insipid, but greatly esteemed here for its cool, refreshing
properties,—all these, with many others,—for the variety of oranges is
far greater than we of the temperate zone conceive it to be,—make a mass
of color in which gold, deep orange, and pale yellow are blended
wonderfully with the background of green. Beyond the house enclosure, on
the opposite side of the road, are the gardens, with aviary, and
fish-ponds in the centre. With these exceptions, all of the property
which is not forest is devoted to coffee, covering all the hillsides for
miles around. The seed is planted in nurseries especially prepared,
where it undergoes its first year’s growth. It is then transplanted to
its permanent home, and begins to bear in about three years, the first
crop being of course a very light one. From that time forward, under
good care and with favorable soil, it will continue to bear and even to
yield two crops or more annually, for thirty years in succession. At
that time the shrubs and the soil are alike exhausted, and, according to
the custom of the country, the fazendeiro cuts down a new forest and
begins a new plantation, completely abandoning his old one, without a
thought of redeeming or fertilizing the exhausted land. One of the
long-sighted reforms undertaken by our host is the manuring of all the
old, deserted plantations on his estate; he has already a number of
vigorous young plantations, which promise to be as good as if a virgin
forest had been sacrificed to produce them. He wishes not only to
preserve the wood on his own estate, and to show that agriculture need
not be cultivated at the expense of taste and beauty, but to remind his
country people also, that, extensive as are the forests, they will not
last forever, and that it will be necessary to emigrate before long to
find new coffee grounds, if the old ones are to be considered worthless.
Another of his reforms is that of the roads, already alluded to. The
ordinary roads in the coffee plantations, like the mule-tracks all over
the country, are carried straight up the sides of the hills between the
lines of shrubs, gullied by every rain, and offering, besides, so steep
an ascent that even with eight or ten oxen it is often impossible to
drive the clumsy, old-fashioned carts up the slope, and the negroes are
obliged to bring a great part of the harvest down on their heads. An
American, who has been a great deal on the coffee fazendas in this
region, told me that he had seen negroes bringing enormous burdens of
this kind on their heads down almost vertical slopes. On Senhor Lage’s
estate all these old roads are abandoned, except where they are planted
here and there with alleys of orange-trees for the use of the negroes,
and he has substituted for them winding roads in the side of the hill
with a very gradual ascent, so that light carts dragged by a single mule
can transport all the harvest from the summit of the plantation to the
drying-ground. It was the harvesting season, and the spectacle was a
pretty one. The negroes, men and women, were scattered about the
plantations with broad, shallow trays, made of plaited grass or bamboo,
strapped over their shoulders and supported at their waists; into these
they were gathering the coffee, some of the berries being brilliantly
red, some already beginning to dry and turn brown, while here and there
was a green one not yet quite ripe, but soon to ripen in the scorching
sun. Little black children were sitting on the ground and gathering what
fell under the bushes, singing at their work a monotonous but rather
pretty snatch of song in which some took the first and others the
second, making a not inharmonious music. As their baskets were filled
they came to the Administrador to receive a little metal ticket on which
the amount of their work was marked. A task is allotted to each one,—so
much to a full-grown man, so much to a woman with young children, so
much to a child,—and each one is paid for whatever he may do over and
above it. The requisition is a very moderate one, so that the
industrious have an opportunity of making a little money independently.
At night they all present their tickets and are paid on the spot for any
extra work. From the harvesting-ground we followed the carts down to the
place where their burden is deposited. On their return from the
plantation the negroes divide the day’s harvest, and dispose it in
little mounds on the drying-ground. When pretty equally dried, the
coffee is spread out in thin even layers over the whole enclosure, where
it is baked for the last time. It is then hulled by a very simple
machine in use on almost all the fazendas, and the process is complete.
At noon we bade good by to our kind hosts, and started for Juiz de Fora.
Our stage was not a bad imitation of Noah’s ark, for we carried with us
the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fishes from the
waters,[41] to say nothing of the trees from the forest. The party with
whom we had passed such pleasant days collected to bid us farewell, and
followed us, as we passed out from the gate, with vivas and waving hats
and handkerchiefs.

The following day we were fortunate in having cool weather with a
somewhat cloudy sky, so that our ride of ten hours from Juiz de Fora to
Petropolis, on the top of the stage, was delightful. The next morning in
driving down the Serra to Mauá we witnessed a singular phenomenon,
common enough, I suppose, to those who live in high regions. As we
turned the corner of the road which first brings us in sight of the
magnificent view below the Serra, there was a general exclamation of
surprise and admiration. The valley and harbor, quite out to the sea,
were changed to a field of snow, white, soft, and fleecy, as if fallen
that night. The illusion was perfect, and though recognized at once as
simply an effect of the heavy morning fog, we could hardly believe that
it would disperse at our approach and not prove to be the thing it
seemed. Here and there the summit of a hill pierced through it like an
island, making the deception more complete. The incident was especially
interesting to us as connecting itself with our late discussions as to
the possible former existence of glaciers in this region. In his lecture
a few nights before, describing the greater extension of the ice in
former geological ages, when the whole plain of Switzerland between the
Alps and Jura must have been filled with glaciers, Mr. Agassiz had said
“there is a phenomenon not uncommon in the autumn in Switzerland which
may help us to reconstruct this wonderful picture. Sometimes in a
September morning the whole plain of Switzerland is filled with vapor
which, when its pure white, undulating surface is seen from the higher
summits of the Jura, looks like a snowy ‘mer de glace,’ appearing to
descend from the peaks of the Alps and extending toward the Jura, while
from all the tributary valleys similar masses pour down to meet it.” It
was as if the valley and harbor of Rio had meant to offer us a similar
picture of past times, with the image of which our minds had been filled
for the last few days in consequence of the glacial phenomena constantly
presented to us on our journey.

_July 6th._—To-morrow was to have been the day of our departure for the
Amazons, but private interests must yield to public good, and it seems
that the steamer which was to have left for Pará to-morrow has been
taken by the government to transport troops to the seat of war. The
aspect of the war grows daily more serious, and the Emperor goes himself
the day after to-morrow to Rio Grande do Sul, accompanied by his
son-in-law, the Duke of Saxe, soon to be followed by the Conte d’Eu, who
is expected by the French steamer of the 18th of this month. Under these
circumstances, not only are we prevented from going at the appointed
date, but it seems not improbable that the exigencies of war may cause a
still further delay, should other steamers be needed. A very pleasant
public dinner, intended to be on the eve of his departure, was given to
Mr. Agassiz yesterday by Messrs. Fleiuss and Linde. Germans, Swiss,
French, Americans, and Brazilians made up the company, a mingling of
nationalities which resulted in a very general harmony.

_July 9th._—For some time Mr. Agassiz has been trying to get living
specimens of the insect so injurious to the coffee-tree; the larva of a
little moth akin to those which destroy the vineyards in Europe.
Yesterday he succeeded in obtaining some, and among them one just
spinning his cocoon on the leaf. We watched him for a long time with the
lens as he wove his filmy tent. He had arched the threads upwards in the
centre, so as to leave a little hollow space into which he could
withdraw; this tiny vault seemed to be completed at the moment we saw
him, and he was drawing threads forward and fastening them at a short
distance beyond, thus lashing his house to the leaf as it were. The
exquisite accuracy of the work was amazing. He was spinning the thread
with his mouth, and with every new stitch he turned his body backward,
attached his thread to the same spot, then drew it forward and fastened
it exactly on a line with the last, with a precision and rapidity that
machinery could hardly imitate. It is a curious question how far this
perfection of workmanship in many of the lower animals is simply
identical with their organization, and therefore to be considered a
function, as inevitable in its action as digestion or respiration,
rather than an instinct. In this case the body of the little animal was
his measure: it was amazing to see him lay down his threads with such
accuracy, till one remembered that he could not make them longer or
shorter; for, starting from the centre of his house, and stretching his
body its full length, they must always reach the same point. The same is
true of the so-called mathematics of the bee. The bees stand as close as
they can together in their hive for economy of space, and each one
deposits his wax around him, his own form and size being the mould for
the cells, the regularity of which when completed excites so much wonder
and admiration. The mathematical secret of the bee is to be found in his
structure, not in his instinct. But in the industrial work of some of
the lower animals, the ant for instance, there is a power of adaptation
which is not susceptible of the same explanation. Their social
organization, too intelligent, it seems, to be the work of any reasoning
powers of their own, yet does not appear to be directly connected with
their structure. While we were watching our little insect, a breath
stirred the leaf and he instantly contracted himself and drew back under
his roof; but presently came out again and returned to his work.

_July 14th._—I have passed two or three days of this week very
pleasantly with a party of friends who invited me to join them on a
visit to one of the largest fazendas in this neighborhood, belonging to
the Commendador Breves. A journey of some four hours on the Dom Pedro
Railroad brought us to the “Barra do Pirahy,” and thence we proceeded on
mule-back, riding slowly along the banks of the Parahyba through very
pleasant, quiet scenery, though much less picturesque than that in the
immediate vicinity of Rio. At about sunset we reached the fazenda,
standing on a terrace just above the river, and commanding a lovely view
of water and woodland. We were received with a hospitality hardly to be
equalled, I think, out of Brazil, for it asks neither who you are nor
whence you come, but opens its doors to every wayfarer. On this occasion
we were expected; but it is nevertheless true that at such a fazenda,
where the dining-room accommodates a hundred persons if necessary, all
travellers passing through the country are free to stop for rest and
refreshment. At the time of our visit there were several such transient
guests; among others a couple quite unknown to our hosts, who had
stopped for the night, but had been taken ill and detained there several
days. They seemed entirely at home. On this estate there are about two
thousand slaves, thirty of whom are house-servants; it includes within
its own borders all that would be required by such a population in the
way of supplies: it has its drug-shop and its hospital; its kitchens for
the service of the guests and for that of the numerous indoor servants,
its church, its priest, and its doctor. Here the church was made by
throwing open a small oratory, very handsomely fitted up with gold and
silver service, purple altar-cloth, &c., at the end of a very long room,
which, though used for other purposes, serves on such an occasion to
collect the large household together. The next morning our hostess
showed us the different working-rooms. One of the most interesting was
that where the children were taught to sew. I have wondered, on our
Southern plantations, that more pains was not taken to make clever
seamstresses of the women. Here plain sewing is taught to all the little
girls, and many of them are quite expert in embroidery and lace-making.
Beyond this room was a storeroom for clothing, looking not unlike one of
our sanitary rooms, with heaps of woollen and cotton stuffs which the
black women were cutting out and making up for the field hands. The
kitchens, with the working and lodging rooms of the house negroes,
enclosed a court planted with trees and shrubs, around which extended
covered brick walks where blacks, young and old, seemed to swarm, from
the withered woman who boasted herself a hundred, but was still proud to
display her fine lace-work, and ran like a girl, to show us how
sprightly she was, to the naked baby creeping at her feet. The old woman
had received her liberty some time ago, but seemed to be very much
attached to the family and never to have thought of leaving them. These
are the things which make one hopeful about slavery in Brazil;
emancipation is considered there a subject to be discussed, legislated
upon, adopted ultimately, and it seems no uncommon act to present a
slave with his liberty. In the evening, while taking coffee on the
terrace after dinner, we had very good music from a brass-band composed
of slaves belonging to the estate. The love of the negroes for music is
always remarkable, and here they take pains to cultivate it. Senhor
Breves keeps a teacher for them, and they are really very well trained.
At a later hour we had the band in the house and a dance by the black
children which was comical in the extreme. Like little imps of darkness
they looked, dancing with a rapidity of movement and gleeful enjoyment
with which one could not but sympathize. While the music was going on,
every door and window was filled with a cloud of dusky faces, now and
then a fair one among them; for here, as elsewhere, slavery brings its
inevitable and heaviest curse, and white slaves are by no means
uncommon. The next morning we left the fazenda, not on mule-back,
however, but in one of the flat-bottomed coffee-boats, an agreeable
exchange for the long, hot ride. We were accompanied to the landing by
our kind hosts, and followed by quite a train of blacks, some of them
bringing the baggage, others coming only for the amusement of seeing us
off. Among them was the old black woman who gave us the heartiest cheers
of all, as we put off from the shore. The sail down the river was very
pleasant; the coffee-bags served as cushions, and, with all our
umbrellas raised to make an awning, we contrived to shelter ourselves
from the sun. Neither was the journey without excitement, the river
being so broken by rocks in many places that there are strong rapids,
requiring a skilful navigation.

_July 15th._—A long botanizing excursion to-day among the Tijuca hills
with Mr. Glaziou, director of the Passeio Publico, as guide. It has been
a piece of the good fortune attending Mr. Agassiz thus far on this
expedition to find in Mr. Glaziou a botanist whose practical familiarity
with tropical plants is as thorough as his theoretical knowledge. He has
undertaken to enrich our scientific stores with a large collection of
such palms and other trees as illustrate the relation between the
present tropical vegetation and the ancient geological forests. Such a
collection will be invaluable as a basis for palæontological studies at
the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy in Cambridge.

_July 23d._—At last our plans for the Amazons seem definitely settled.
We sail the day after to-morrow by the Cruzeiro do Sul. The conduct of
the government toward the expedition is very generous; free passages are
granted to the whole party, and yesterday Mr. Agassiz received an
official document enjoining all persons connected with the
administration to give him every facility for his scientific objects. We
have another piece of good fortune in the addition to our party of Major
Coutinho, a member of the government corps of engineers, who has been
engaged for several years in explorations on the Amazonian rivers.
Happily for us, he returned to Rio a few weeks ago, and a chance meeting
at the palace, where he had gone to report the results of the journey
just completed, and Mr. Agassiz to discuss the plans for that about to
begin, brought them together. This young officer’s investigations had
made his name familiar to Mr. Agassiz, and when the Emperor asked the
latter how he could best assist him, he answered that there was nothing
he so much desired or which would so materially aid him as the
companionship of Major Coutinho. The Emperor cordially consented, Major
Coutinho signified his readiness, and the matter was concluded. Since
then there have been frequent conferences between Mr. Agassiz and his
new colleague, intent study of maps and endless talk about the most
desirable mode of laying out and dividing the work. He feels that Major
Coutinho’s familiarity with the scenes to which we are going will
lighten his task of half its difficulties, while his, scientific zeal
will make him a most sympathetic companion.[42] We found to-day some
large leaves of the Terminalia Catappa of the most brilliant colors; red
and gold as bright as any of our autumnal leaves. This would seem to
confirm the opinion that the turning of the foliage with us is not an
effect of frost, but simply the ripening of the leaf; since here, where
there is no frost, the same phenomenon takes place as in our northern

_July 24th._—Our last preparations for the journey are completed; the
collections made since our arrival, amounting to upwards of fifty
barrels and cases, are packed, in readiness for the first opportunity
which occurs for the United States, and to-morrow morning we shall be on
our way to the great river. We went this morning to the Collegio Dom
Pedro Segundo to bid farewell to our excellent friend Dr. Pacheco, to
whose kindness we owe much of our enjoyment during our stay here. The
College building was once a “seminario,” a charitable institution where
boys were taken to be educated as priests. The rules of the
establishment were strict; no servants were kept, the pupils were
obliged to do their own work, cooking, &c., and even to go out into the
streets to beg after the fashion of the mendicant orders. One condition
only was attached to the entrance of the children, namely, that they
should be of pure race; no mulattoes or negroes were admitted. I do not
know on what ground this institution was broken up by the government and
the building taken as a school-house. It has still a slightly monastic
aspect, though it has been greatly modified; but the cloisters running
around closed courts remind one of its origin. The recitations were
going on at the moment of our visit, and as we had seen nothing as yet
of the schools, Dr. Pacheco took us through the establishment. A college
here does not signify a university as with us, but rather a high school,
the age of the pupils being from twelve to eighteen. It is difficult to
judge of methods of education in a foreign language with which one is
not very familiar. But the scholars appeared bright and interested,
their answers came promptly, their discipline was evidently good. One
thing was very striking to a stranger in seeing so many young people
collected together; namely, the absence of pure type and the feeble
physique. I do not know whether it is in consequence of the climate, but
a healthy, vigorous child is a rare sight in Rio de Janeiro. The
scholars were of all colors, from black through intermediate shades to
white, and even one of the teachers having the direction of a higher
class in Latin was a negro. It is an evidence of the absence of any
prejudice against the blacks, that, on the occasion of a recent vacancy
among the Latin professors, this man, having passed the best
examination, was unanimously chosen in preference to several Brazilians,
of European descent, who presented themselves as candidates at the same
time. After hearing several of the classes we went over the rest of the
building. The order and exquisite neatness of the whole establishment,
not forgetting the kitchen, where the shining brasses and bright tins
might awaken the envy of many a housekeeper, bear testimony to the
excellence of the general direction. Since the institution passed into
Dr. Pacheco’s hands he has done a great deal to raise its character. He
has improved the library, purchased instruments for the laboratory, and
made many judicious changes in the general arrangement.


Footnote 32:

  Mr. Agassiz was prevented from making this excursion.

Footnote 33:

  Though a resident of the United States for nearly twenty years, Mr.
  Agassiz was only naturalized in 1863. At the moment when a general
  distrust of our institutions prevailed in Europe, it was a
  satisfaction to him to testify by some personal and public act his
  confidence in them.

Footnote 34:

  A short account of these explorations may be found at the end of the
  volume.—L. A.

Footnote 35:

  I am particularly indebted to Senator Th. Ottoni, Baron de Prados,
  Senator Pompeo, Senator Paranagua, Senhor Paula Souza, and Senhor J.
  B. da Fonseca, for information, maps, and other documents relative to
  the regions intended to be explored by my young friends and myself.—L.

Footnote 36:

  Since it was reported in the newspapers that the proceeds of these
  lectures were devoted to the expedition, it may be well to mention
  here that they were free, given simply at the request of the Emperor,
  and open to all without charge.

Footnote 37:

  Mr. Agassiz was indebted to Senhor Machado for a valuable series of
  photographs and stereoscopic views of this region, begun on this
  excursion and completed during our absence in the North of Brazil.

Footnote 38:

  The most complete account of these curious animals is to be found in
  Bates’s “Naturalist on the Amazons.”

Footnote 39:

  I was especially interested in examining the vegetable productions of
  a little lake, hardly larger than a mill-pond, near this fazenda. It
  was strange to see Potamogeton and Myriophyllum, plants which we
  associate exclusively with the fresh waters of the temperate zone,
  growing in the shadow of tropical forests where monkeys have their
  home. Such combinations are very puzzling to the student of the laws
  of geographical distribution.—L. A.

Footnote 40:

  In the same way, it may be said that in its incipient growth the
  Dicotyledonous Plant exhibits, in the structure of its germinative
  leaves, the characteristic features of Monocotyledonous Plants.—L. A.

Footnote 41:

  Senhor Lage had caused an extensive collection of fishes to be
  gathered from the waters of the Rio Novo, so that this excursion
  greatly extended the range of my survey of the basin of the
  Parahyba.—L. A.

Footnote 42:

  Never were pleasant anticipations more delightfully fulfilled. During
  eleven months of the most intimate companionship I had daily cause to
  be grateful for the chance which had thrown us together. I found in
  Major Coutinho an able collaborator, untiring in his activity and
  devotion to scientific aims, an admirable guide, and a friend whose
  regard I trust I shall ever retain.—L. A.

                              CHAPTER IV.
                      VOYAGE UP THE COAST TO PARÁ.


_July 25th._—On board the “Cruzeiro do Sul.” We sailed to-day at 11
o’clock, bidding good by with regret, though not without hope of return,
to the beautiful bay and mountains on which we have been looking for
three months. Our party consists of Major Coutinho, Mr. Burkhardt,
Monsieur Bourget, who accompanies Mr. Agassiz to the Amazons as
collector and preparator, our two young friends Mr. Hunnewell and Mr.
James, and ourselves. At Bahia we shall be joined by Mr. Dexter and Mr.
Thayer, two of our party who have preceded us up the coast, and have
been collecting in the neighborhood of Bahia for two or three weeks. The
aspect of the steamer is not very inviting, for it has been used of late
for the transportation of troops to the south, in consequence of which
it is very dirty; it is also overcrowded on account of the number of
persons bound northward, who have been detained in Rio by the
interruption of the regular trips on this line. We are promised better
accommodations after a few days, however, as many of the passengers will
drop off at Bahia and Pernambuco.

_July 28th._—Bahia. Half the enjoyment of life borrows intensity from
contrast, and to this principle we certainly owe a part of our pleasure
to-day. After three half sea-sick days on a dirty, crowded steamer, the
change is delightful to a breezy country house, where we are received
with that most gracious hospitality which relieves both host and guests
of the sense of entertaining or being entertained. Here I have been
sitting under the deep shade of a huge mango-tree, with a number of the
“Revue des Deux Mondes” on my knee, either reading or listening lazily
to the rustle of the leaves or the cooing of the pigeons as they patter
up and down on the tiled floor of the porch near by, or watching the
negroes as they come and go with trays of vegetables or baskets of fruit
and flowers on their heads, for the service of the house. In the mean
time, Mr. Agassiz is engaged in examining the collections made by Mr.
Dexter and Mr. Thayer during their visit here. They have been aided most
cordially by our friend Mr. Antonio de Lacerda, at whose hospitable
house we are staying, and where we found our travelling companions quite
domesticated. He received them on their arrival, and has given them
every facility during their stay here for the objects they had in view,
his own love of natural history, to which he devotes every spare hour
from his active business life, rendering him an efficient ally. He has a
large and very valuable collection of insects, admirably arranged and in
excellent preservation. They are also greatly indebted to Mr. Nicolai,
the resident English clergyman here, who has accompanied them on some of
their excursions, and put them in the way of seeing whatever was most
interesting in the neighborhood.

On arriving in South America one should land first in Bahia, for in its
aspect it is the most national and characteristic of the cities. As we
passed directly through the town this morning, we can give but little
account of it, and yet we saw enough to confirm all that has been said
of its quaint and picturesque character. On first disembarking, you find
yourself at the foot of an almost perpendicular hill, and negro-bearers
appear at your side to carry you up the steep ascent, almost impassable
for carriages, in a “cadeira,” or curtained chair. This is in itself an
odd experience for one to whom it is new, and the rest of the city, with
its precipitous streets, its queer houses, its old churches, is as
quaint and antique as these original carriages.

_July 29th._—To-day we have the “revers de la médaille”; we have
returned to our prison, and a violent rain drives us all to take refuge
in the hot, close dining-room, our only resort when the weather is bad.

_July 30th._—Off Maceió. Last evening, when the rain was over and the
moonlight tempted every one on deck, we had a long conversation with our
pleasant travelling companion, Mr. Sinimbu, senator from the province of
Alagôas, on the aspect of slavery in Brazil. It seems to me that we may
have something to learn here in our own perplexities respecting the
position of the black race among us, for the Brazilians are trying
gradually and by installments some of the experiments which are forced
upon us without previous preparation. The absence of all restraint upon
the free blacks, the fact that they are eligible to office, and that all
professional careers are open to them, without prejudice on the ground
of color, enables one to form some opinion as to their ability and
capacity for development. Mr. Sinimbu tells us that here the result is
on the whole in their favor; he says that the free blacks compare well
in intelligence and activity with the Brazilians and Portuguese. But it
must be remembered, in making the comparison with reference to our own
country, that here they are brought into contact with a less energetic
and powerful race than the Anglo-Saxon. Mr. Sinimbu believes that
emancipation is to be accomplished in Brazil by a gradual process which
has already begun. A large number of slaves are freed every year by the
wills of their masters; a still larger number buy their own freedom
annually; and as there is no longer any importation of blacks, the
inevitable result of this must be the natural death of slavery.
Unhappily, the process is a slow one, and in the mean while slavery is
doing its evil work, debasing and enfeebling alike whites and blacks.
The Brazilians themselves do not deny this, and one constantly hears
them lament the necessity of sending their children away to be educated,
on account of the injurious association with the house-servants. In
fact, although politically slavery has a more hopeful aspect here than
elsewhere, the institution from a moral point of view has some of its
most revolting characters in this country, and looks, if possible, more
odious than it did in the States. The other day, in the neighborhood of
Rio, I had an opportunity of seeing a marriage between two negroes,
whose owner made the religious, or, as it appeared to me on this
occasion, irreligious ceremony, obligatory. The bride, who was as black
as jet, was dressed in white muslin, with a veil of coarse white lace,
such as the negro women make themselves, and the husband was in a white
linen suit. She looked, and I think she really felt, diffident, for
there were a good many strangers present, and her position was
embarrassing. The Portuguese priest, a bold, insolent-looking man,
called them up and rattled over the marriage service with most
irreverent speed, stopping now and then to scold them both, but
especially the woman, because she did not speak loud enough and did not
take the whole thing in the same coarse, rough way that he did. When he
ordered them to come up and kneel at the altar, his tone was more
suggestive of cursing than praying, and having uttered his blessing he
hurled an amen at them, slammed the prayer-book down on the altar,
whiffed out the candles, and turned the bride and bridegroom out of the
chapel with as little ceremony as one would have kicked out a dog. As
the bride came out, half crying, half smiling, her mother met her and
showered her with rose-leaves, and so this act of consecration, in which
the mother’s benediction seemed the only grace, was over. I thought what
a strange confusion there must be in these poor creature’s minds, if
they thought about it at all. They are told that the relation between
man and wife is a sin, unless confirmed by the sacred rite of marriage;
they come to hear a bad man gabble over them words which they cannot
understand, mingled with taunts and abuse which they understand only too
well, and side by side with their own children grow up the little
fair-skinned slaves to tell them practically that the white man does not
keep himself the law he imposes on them. What a monstrous lie the whole
system must seem to them if they are ever led to think about it at all.
I am far from supposing that the instance I have given should be taken
as representing the state of religious instruction on plantations
generally. No doubt there are good priests who improve and instruct
their black parishioners; but it does not follow because religious
services are provided on a plantation, the ceremony of marriage
observed, &c., that there is anything which deserves the name of
religious instruction. It would be unjust not to add the better side of
the question in this particular instance. The man was free, and I was
told that the woman received her liberty and a piece of land from her
master as her marriage dower.

We arrived at Maceió this morning, and went on shore with Mr. Sinimbu,
who leaves us here, and with whose family we passed a delightful day,
welcomed with that hearty cordiality so characteristic of Brazilians in
their own homes. Although our stay was so short, a considerable addition
was made here to the collections. On arriving at any port the party
disperses at once, the young men going in different directions to
collect, Mr. Bourget hurrying to the fish-market to see what may be
found there of interest, and Mr. Agassiz and Mr. Coutinho generally
making a geological excursion. In this way, though the steamer remains
but a few hours at each station, the time is not lost.

_July 31st._—Pernambuco. Arrived to-day off Pernambuco, and were too
happy, after a stormy night, to find ourselves behind the famous reef
which makes such a quiet harbor at this port. Our countryman, Mr. Hitch,
met us on landing, and drove us at once out to his “chacara,” (country
place,) where it was delightful to be welcomed, like old friends, to an
American home.[43] Pernambuco is by no means so picturesque as Bahia or
Rio de Janeiro. It has a more modern air than either of these, but looks
also more cleanly and more prosperous. Many of the streets are wide, and
the river running through the business part of the city, crossed by
broad, handsome bridges, is itself suggestive of freshness. The country
is more open and flat than farther south. In our afternoon drive some of
the views across wide, level meadows, if we could have put elms here and
there in the place of palms, would have reminded us of scenery at home.

_August 2d._—Yesterday we left Pernambuco, and this morning found
ourselves at the mouth of the Parahyba do Norte, a broad, beautiful
river, up which we steamed to within a few miles of the little town
bearing the same name. Here we took a boat and rowed to the city, where
we spent some hours in rambling about, collecting specimens, examining
drift formations, &c. In the course of our excursion we fell in with
some friends of Major Coutinho’s, who took us home with them to an
excellent breakfast of fresh fish, with bread, coffee, and wine. The
bread is to be noticed here, for it is said to be the best in Brazil.
The flour is the same as elsewhere, and the people generally attribute
the superiority of their bread to some quality of the water. Whatever be
the cause, there is no bread in all Brazil so sweet, so light, and so
white as that of Parahyba do Norte.

_August 5th._—We arrived yesterday at Ceará, where we were warmly
welcomed and most hospitably entertained at the house of Dr. Mendes, an
old acquaintance of Major Coutinho. It was blowing hard and raining when
we left the steamer; our boat put into the beach in a heavy surf, and I
was wondering how I should reach the shore, when two of our negro rowers
jumped into the water, and, standing at the side of the boat behind me,
motioned me to come, crossing their arms basket-fashion, as we do
sometimes to carry children. They looked as if it were the ordinary mode
of conveyance, so I seated myself, and with one arm around the neck of
each of my black bearers, they laughing as heartily as I did, I was
landed triumphantly on the sands. After the first greetings at the house
of Dr. Mendes were over, we were offered the luxury of a bath before
breakfast. The bath is a very important feature in a Brazilian
household. This one was of the size of a small room, the water (about
two feet deep and of a delicious, soft, velvety character) constantly
flowing through over the smooth sand floor. They are often larger than
this, from four to five feet deep, and sometimes lined with blue and
white tiles, which make a very clean and pretty floor. It is a great
luxury in this warm climate, and many persons bathe several times a day.
The bathhouse is usually in the garden, at a convenient distance from
the house, but not immediately adjoining it. The bath was followed by an
excellent breakfast, after which we drove through the city. Ceará is a
wonderfully progressive town for Brazil. Five years ago it had not a
paved street; now all the streets are well paved, with good sidewalks,
and the city is very carefully laid out, with a view to its future
growth.[44] To-day we are again coasting along within sight of land,
with a quiet sea and a delicious breeze. The ocean is covered with white
caps, and of a very peculiar greenish, aquamarine tint, the same which I
observed as soon as we reached these latitudes in coming out. This
singular color is said to be owing to the nature of the sea bottom and
the shallowness of the water, combined, farther north, with the
admixture of fresh water along the coast.

_August 6th._—Arrived early this morning before Maranham, and went on
shore to breakfast at the hotel; for, wonderful to relate, Maranham
possesses a hotel, a great rarity in many Brazilian towns. We passed the
greater part of the day in driving about the city with Dr. Braga, who
kindly undertook to show us everything of interest.[45] The town and
harbor are very pretty, the city itself standing on an island, formed by
two bays running up on either side and enclosing it. The surrounding
country is flat and very thickly wooded, though the woods are rather
low. Here, at the house of Dr. Braga’s brother-in-law, we saw, for the
first time, the slender, graceful Assai palm, from which the drink is
made so much appreciated in Pará and on the Lower Amazons. It is curious
to see the negroes go up the tree to gather the fruit. The trunk is
perfectly smooth, the fruit growing in a heavy cluster of berries, just
below the crown of leaves on its summit. The negro fastens a cord or a
strip of palm-leaf around his insteps, thus binding his feet together
that they may not slide apart on the smooth stem, and by means of this
kind of stirrup he contrives to cling to the slippery trunk and scramble

We were much interested in seeing here an admirably well conducted
institution for the education of poor orphans. Its chief aim is to
educate them, not as scholars, though they receive elementary
instruction in reading, writing, and ciphering, but to teach them a
variety of occupations by which they can earn an honest livelihood. They
are trained in several trades, are taught to play on a number of
instruments, and there is also a school of design connected with the
establishment. A faultless order and scrupulous neatness prevailed
through the whole building, which was not the result of an exceptional
preparation, since our visit was wholly unexpected. This surprised us
the more, because, notwithstanding their fondness for bathing, order and
neatness in their houses are not a virtue among the Brazilians. This may
be owing to slave labor,—rarely anything better than eye-service. The
large dormitories looked fresh and airy, with the hammocks rolled up and
laid on a shelf, each one above the peg to which it belonged; the shoes
were hung on nails along the walls, and the little trunks, holding the
clothing of each scholar, were neatly arranged beneath them. On the
upper story was the hospital, a large, well-ventilated room, with
numerous windows commanding beautiful views, and a cool breeze blowing
through it. Here were cots instead of hammocks, but I thought the sick
boys might prefer the swinging, cradle-like beds to which they were
accustomed, and which they evidently find very comfortable. When Mr.
Agassiz remarked, as we passed through the dormitory, that sleeping in a
hammock was an experience he had yet to make, one of the boys took his
down from the shelf, and, hanging it up, laughingly threw himself into
it, with a lazy ease which looked quite enviable. The kitchen and
grocery rooms were as neat as the rest of the house, and the simplicity
of the whole establishment, while it admitted everything necessary for
comfort and health, was well adapted for its objects. A pretty little
chapel adjoined the house, and the house itself was built around an open
square planted with trees,—a pleasant playground for the boys, who have
their music there in the evening. On our return to town we heard that,
owing to the breakage of some part of the machinery, the steamer would
be detained in this port for a couple of days. We have, however,
returned to our quarters on board, preferring to spend the night on the
water rather than in the hot, close town.

_August 7th._—To-day we have all been interested in watching the
beautiful Medusæ swept along by the tide, so close to the side of the
steamer that they could easily be reached from the stairway. We have now
quite a number disposed about the deck in buckets and basins, and Mr.
Burkhardt is making colored sketches of them. They are very beautiful,
and quite new to Mr. Agassiz. In some the disk has a brown tracery like
seaweed over it, while its edge is deeply lobed, every lobe being tinged
with an intensely brilliant dark blue; the lobes are divided into eight
sets of four each, making thirty-two in all, and an eye is placed on the
margin between each set; the tubes running to the eyes are much larger
than those in the intervals between, and the network of vessels on the
margin is wonderfully fine and delicate; the curtains hanging from the
mouth are white and closely fringed with full flounces, somewhat like
our Aurelia. The movement is quick, the margin of the disk beating with
short, rapid pants. Another is altogether brown and white, the
seaweed-like pattern being carried down to the edge of the lobes, and
the lobes themselves being more delicate than those of the blue-edged
one, the disk thinning out greatly towards the periphery. The brown
marks are, however, darker, more distinct, and cover a larger space in
some specimens than in others. This is also true of those with the blue
margin, the brown pattern covering the whole disk in some, confined to a
simple zone around the disk in others, and even entirely absent
occasionally. Mr. Agassiz inclines to think, from the similarity of
their other features, however, that, notwithstanding their difference of
color, they all belong to the same species, the variety in coloration
being probably connected with difference of sex. He has, at any rate,
ascertained that all the wholly brown specimens caught to-day are males.

We were rejoiced this morning by the sight of our own flag coming into
harbor. We presently found that the ship was the gunboat Nipsic. She had
sailed from Boston on the 4th of July, and brought papers of a later
date than any we have seen. The officers were kind enough to send us a
large bundle of papers, which we have been eagerly devouring.

_August 8th._—Another quite new and beautiful Medusa to-day. As we were
waiting for breakfast this morning a number floated past, so dark in
color that in the water they appeared almost black. Two of our party
took a boat and went in search of them, but the tide was so swift that
they swept past like lightning, and one had hardly time to point them
out before they were gone again. However, after many efforts, we
succeeded in getting one, whose portrait Mr. Burkhardt is now taking.
The disk is of a chocolate-brown, shading into a darker, more velvety
hue toward the edge, which is slightly scalloped, but not cut up into
deep lobes like those of yesterday. The eyes, eight in number, are
distinctly visible as lighter-colored specks on the margin. The
appendages hanging from the mouth are more solid and not so thickly
fringed as in those of yesterday. It moves rather slowly in its glass
prison, the broad margin shading from lighter brown to a soft chocolate
color almost verging on black, as it flaps up and down somewhat
languidly, but still with a regular, steady pulsation.[46]

_August 9th._—We passed yesterday afternoon with the Braga family in
town. The weather was charming, a cool breeze blowing through the
veranda where we dined. There were a number of guests to meet us, and we
had again cause to acknowledge how completely the stranger is made to
feel himself at home among these hospitable people. We sailed this
morning, Mr. Agassiz taking with him a valuable collection, though our
time was so short. The fact is, that, not only here, but at every town
where we have stopped in coming up the coast, the ready, cordial desire
of the people to help in the work has enabled him to get together
collections which it would otherwise have been impossible to make in so
short a time. If he is unexpectedly successful in this expedition, it is
as much owing to the active sympathy of the Brazilians themselves, and
to their interest in the objects he has so much at heart, as to the
efforts of himself and his companions.

_August 11th._—Pará. Early yesterday morning, a few yellowish patches
staining the ocean here and there gave us our first glimpse of the water
of the Amazons. Presently the patches became broad streaks, the fresh
waters encroaching gradually upon the sea, until, at about ten o’clock,
we fairly entered the mouth of the river, though, as the shores are some
hundred and fifty miles apart, we might have believed ourselves on the
broad ocean. As we neared the city, the numerous islands closing up
about Pará and sheltering its harbor limited the view and broke the
enormous expanse of the fresh-water basin. We anchored off the city at
about three o’clock, but a heavy thundershower, with violent rain,
prevented us from going on shore till the next morning. None of the
party landed except Major Coutinho. He went to announce our arrival to
his friend, Mr. Pimenta Bueno, who has kindly invited us to make his
house our home while we stay in Pará. The next morning was beautiful
after the rain, and at seven o’clock two boats were sent to take us and
our effects on shore. On landing we went at once to Mr. Pimenta’s large
business establishment near the wharves. Here he has provided several
excellent working-rooms to serve as laboratories and storage-places for
the specimens, and besides these a number of airy, cool chambers on the
floor above, for the accommodation of our companions, who have already
slung their hammocks, arranged their effects, and are keeping a kind of
bachelor’s hall. Having disposed of the scientific apparatus, we drove
out to Mr. Pimenta’s “chacara,” some two miles out of town, on the Rua
de Nazareth, where we were received with the utmost kindness. Mr.
Agassiz and Major Coutinho soon returned to town, where no time is to be
lost in beginning work at the laboratory. I remained at home and passed
a pleasant morning with the ladies of the family, who made me acquainted
with the peculiar beverage so famous in these regions, prepared from the
berries of the Assai palm. They are about the size of cranberries, and
of a dark-brown color. Being boiled and crushed they yield a quantity of
juice, which when strained has about the consistency of chocolate, and
is of a dark purplish tint like blackberry juice. It has a sweetish
taste, and is very nice eaten with sugar and the crisp “farinha d’agua,”
a kind of coarse flour made from the mandioca root. People of all
classes throughout the province of Pará are exceedingly fond of this
beverage, and in the city they have a proverb which runs thus:—

                   “Who visits Pará is glad to stay,
                   Who drinks Assai goes never away.”

_August 12th._—This morning we rose early and walked into town. Great
pains have been taken with the environs of Pará, and the Rua de Nazareth
is one of the broad streets leading into the country, and planted with
large trees (chiefly mangueiras) for two or three miles out of town. On
our way we saw a lofty palm-tree completely overpowered and stifled in
the embrace of an enormous parasite. So luxuriant is the growth of the
latter that you do not perceive, till it is pointed out to you, that its
spreading branches and thick foliage completely hide the tree from which
it derives its life; only from the extreme summit a few fan-like
palm-leaves shoot upwards as if trying to escape into the air and light.
The palm cannot long survive, however, and with its death it seals the
doom of its murderer also. There is another evidence, and a more
pleasing one, of the luxuriance of nature on this same road. The
skeleton of a house stands by the wayside; whether a ruin or unfinished,
I am unable to say, but at all events only the walls are standing, with
the openings for doors and windows. Nature has completed this imperfect
dwelling;—she has covered it over with a green roof, she has planted the
empty enclosure with a garden of her own choosing, she has trained vines
around the open doors and windows; and the deserted house, if it has no
other inmates, is at least a home for the birds. It makes a very pretty
picture. I never pass it without wishing for a sketch of it. On our
arrival in town we went at once to the market. It is very near the
water, and we were much amused in watching the Indian canoes at the
landing. The “montaria,” as the Indian calls his canoe, is a long,
narrow boat, covered at one end with a thatched roof, under which is the
living-room of the family. Here the Indian has his home; wife and
children, hammock, cooking utensils,—all his household goods, in fact.
In some of the boats the women were preparing breakfast, cooking the
coffee or the tapioca over a pan of coals. In others they were selling
the coarse pottery, which they make into all kinds of utensils,
sometimes of quite graceful, pretty forms. We afterwards went through
the market. It is quite large and neatly kept; but the Brazilian markets
are only good as compared with each other. The meats are generally poor;
there is little game to be seen; they have no variety of vegetables,
which might be so easily cultivated here, and even the display of fruit
in the market is by no means what one would expect it to be. To-night
Mr. Agassiz goes off with a party of gentlemen on an excursion to some
of the islands in the harbor. This first expedition in the neighborhood
of Pará, from which the Professor promises himself much pleasure, is
planned by Dr. Couto de Magalhaês, President of the Province.[47]

_August 14th._—We are very agreeably surprised in the climate here. I
had expected from the moment of our arrival in the region of the Amazons
to be gasping in a fierce, unintermitting, intolerable heat. On the
contrary, the mornings are fresh; a walk or ride between six and eight
o’clock is always delightful; and though during the middle of the day
the heat is certainly very great, it cools off again towards four
o’clock; the evenings are delightful, and the nights always comfortable.
Even in the hottest part of the day the heat is not dead; there is
always a breeze stirring. Mr. Agassiz returned this afternoon from his
excursion in the harbor, more deeply impressed than ever with the
grandeur of this entrance to the Amazons and the beauty of its many
islands, “An archipelago of islands,” as he says, “in an ocean of fresh
water.” He describes the mode of fishing of the Indians as curious. They
row very softly up the creek, having first fastened the seine across
from shore to shore at a lower point, and when they have gained a
certain distance above it, they spring into the water with a great plash
and rush down the creek in a line, driving the fish before them into the
net. One draught alone filled the boat half full of fish. Mr. Agassiz
was especially interested in seeing alive for the first time the curious
fish called “Tralhote” by the Indians, and known to naturalists as the
Anableps tetrophthalmus. This name, signifying “four-eyed,” is derived
from the singular structure of the eye. A membranous fold enclosing the
bulb of the eye stretches across the pupil, dividing the visual
apparatus into an upper and lower half. No doubt this formation is
intended to suit the peculiar habits of the Anableps. These fishes
gather in shoals on the surface of the water, their heads resting partly
above, partly below the surface, and they move by a leaping motion
somewhat like that of frogs on land. Thus, half in air, half in water,
they require eyes adapted for seeing in both elements, and the
arrangement described above just meets this want.

_August 19th._—To-night at ten o’clock we go on board the steamer, and
before dawn shall be on our way up the river. This has been a delicious
week of rest and refreshment to me. The quiet country life, with morning
walks in the fresh, fragrant lanes and roads immediately about us, has
been very soothing after four months of travel or of noisy hotel life.
The other day as we were going into town we found in the wet grass by
the roadside one of the most beautiful mushrooms I have ever seen. The
stem was pure white, three or four inches in height, and about half an
inch in diameter, surmounted by a club-shaped head, brown in color, with
a blunt point, and from the base of this head was suspended an open
white net of exquisitely delicate texture, falling to within about an
inch of the ground; a fairy web that looked fit for Queen Mab
herself.[48] The week, so peaceful for me, has been one, if not of rest,
at least of intense interest for Mr. Agassiz. The very day of his
arrival, by the kindness of our host, his working-rooms were so arranged
as to make an admirable laboratory, and, from the hour he entered them,
specimens have poured in upon him from all quarters. His own party make
but a small part of the scientific corps who have worked for and with
him here. In Pará alone he has already more than fifty new species of
fresh-water fishes; enough to reveal unexpected and novel relations in
the finny world, and to give the basis of an improved classification. He
is far from attributing this great success wholly to his own efforts.
Ready as he is to work, he could not accomplish half that he does,
except for the active good-will of those about him. Among the most
valuable of these contributions is a collection made by Mr. Pimenta
Bueno, of the so-called fishes of the forest. When the waters overflow
after the rainy season and fill the forest for a considerable distance
on either side, these fish hover over the depressions and hollows, and
as the waters subside are left in the pools and channels. They do not
occur in the open river, but are always found in these forest retreats,
and go by the name of the “Peixe do Mato.”

Mr. Agassiz has not only to acknowledge the untiring kindness of
individuals here, but also the cordial expression of sympathy from
public bodies in the objects of the expedition. A committee from the
municipality of the city has waited upon him to express the general
satisfaction in the undertaking, and he has received a public
demonstration of the same kind from the college. The bishop of the
province and his coadjutor have also been most cordial in offers of
assistance. Nor does the interest thus expressed evaporate in empty
words. Mr. Pimenta Bueno is director of the Brazilian line of steamers
from Pará to Tabatinga.[49] The trip to Manaos, at the mouth of the Rio
Negro, is generally made in five days, allowing only for stoppages of an
hour or two at different stations, to take or leave passengers and to
deposit or receive merchandise. In order that we may be perfectly
independent, however, and stop wherever it seems desirable to make
collections, the company places at our disposition a steamer for one
month between Pará and Manaos. There are to be no passengers but
ourselves, and the steamer is provided with everything necessary for the
whole company during that period,—food, service, &c. I think it may
fairly be said that in no part of the world could a private scientific
undertaking be greeted with more cordiality or receive a more liberal
hospitality than has been accorded to the present expedition. I dwell
upon these things and recur to them often, not in any spirit of egotism,
but because it is due to the character of the people from whom they come
to make the fullest acknowledgment of their generosity.

While Mr. Agassiz has been busy with the zoölogical collections, Major
Coutinho has been no less so in making geological, meteorological, and
hydrographic investigations. His regular co-operation is invaluable, and
Mr. Agassiz blesses the day when their chance meeting at the Palace
suggested the idea of his joining the expedition. Not only his
scientific attainments, but his knowledge of the Indian language
(_lingua geral_), and his familiarity with the people, make him a most
important coadjutor. With his aid Mr. Agassiz has already opened a sort
of scientific log-book, in which, by the side of the scientific name of
every specimen entered by the Professor, Major Coutinho records its
popular local name, obtained from the Indians, with all they can tell of
its haunts and habits.

I have said nothing of Mr. Agassiz’s observations on the character of
the soil since we left Rio, thinking it best to give them as a whole.
Along the entire length of the coast he has followed the drift,
examining it carefully at every station. At Bahia it contained fewer
large boulders than in Rio, but was full of small pebbles, and rested
upon undecomposed stratified rock. At Maceió, the capital of the
province of Alagôas, it was the same, but resting upon decomposed rock,
as at Tijuca. Below this was a bed of stratified clay, containing small
pebbles. In Pernambuco, on our drive to the great aqueduct, we followed
it for the whole way; the same red clayey homogeneous paste, resting
there on decomposed rock. The line of contact at Monteiro, the aqueduct
station, was very clearly marked, however, by an intervening bed of
pebbles. At Parahyba do Norte the same sheet of drift, but containing
more and larger pebbles, rests above a decomposed sandstone somewhat
resembling the decomposed rock of Pernambuco. In the undecomposed rock
below, Mr. Agassiz found some fossil shells. In the neighborhood of Cape
St. Roque we came upon sand-dunes resembling those of Cape Cod, and
wherever we sailed near enough to the shore to see the banks distinctly,
as was frequently the case, the bed of drift below the shifting
superficial sands above was distinctly noticeable. The difference in
color between the white sand and the reddish soil beneath made it easy
to perceive their relations. At Ceará, where we landed, Mr. Agassiz had
an opportunity of satisfying himself of this by closer examination. At
Maranham the drift is everywhere conspicuous, and at Pará equally so.
This sheet of drift which he has thus followed from Rio de Janeiro to
the mouth of the Amazons is everywhere of the same geological
constitution. It is always a homogeneous clayey paste of a reddish
color, containing quartz pebbles; and, whatever be the character of the
rock in place, whether granite, sandstone, gneiss, or lime, the
character of the drift never changes or partakes of that of the rocks
with which it is in contact. This certainly proves that, whatever be its
origin, it cannot be referred to the localities where it is now found,
but must have been brought from a distance. Whoever shall track it back
to the place where this peculiar red soil with its constituent elements
forms the primitive rock, will have solved the problem. I introduce here
a letter written by Mr. Agassiz, a few days later, to the Emperor, which
will better give his views on the subject.

                                    A BORD DE L’ICAMIABA, SUR L’AMAZONE,
                                             le 20 Aout, 1865.

SIRE:—Permettez moi de rendre un compte rapide à Votre Majesté, de ce
que j’ai observé de plus intéressant depuis mon départ de Rio. La
première chose qui m’a frappé en arrivant à Bahia, ce fut d’y trouver le
terrain erratique, comme à la Tijuca et comme dans la partie méridionale
de Minas, que j’ai visitée. Ici comme là, ce terrain, d’une constitution
identique, repose sur les roches en place les plus diversifiées. Je l’ai
retrouvé de même à Maceio, à Pernambuco, à Parahyba do Norte, à Ceará, à
Maranham, et au Pará. Voilà donc un fait établi sur la plus grande
échelle! Cela démontre que les matériaux superficiels, que l’on pourrait
désigner du nom de drift, ici comme dans le Nord de l’Europe et de
l’Amérique, ne sauraient être le résultat de la décomposition des roches
sous-jacentes, puisque celles-ci sont tantôt du granit, tantôt du
gneiss, tantôt du schiste micacé ou talqueux, tantôt du grès, tandis que
le drift offre partout la même composition. Je n’en suis pas moins aussi
éloigné que jamais de pouvoir signaler l’origine de ces matériaux et la
direction de leur transport. Aujourd’hui que le Major Coutinho a appris
à distinguer le drift des roches décomposées, il m’assure que nous le
retrouverons dans toute la vallée de l’Amazône. L’imagination la plus
hardie recule devant toute espèce de généralisation à ce sujet. Et
pourtant, il faudra bien en venir à se familiariser avec l’idée que la
cause qui a dispersé ces matériaux, quelle qu’elle soit, a agi sur la
plus grande échelle, puisqu’on les retrouvera probablement sur tout le
continent. Déjà j’apprends que mes jeunes compagnons de voyage ont
observé le drift dans les environs de Barbacena et d’Ouro-Preto et dans
la vallée du Rio das Velhas. Mes résultats zoologiques ne sont pas moins
satisfaisants; et pour ne parler que des poissons, j’ai trouvé à Pará
seulement, pendant une semaine, plus d’espèces qu’on n’en a décrit
jusqu’à présent de tout le bassin de l’Amazône; c. à. d. en tout
soixante-trois. Cette étude sera, je crois, utile à l’ichthyologie, car
j’ai déjà pu distinguer cinq familles nouvelles et dix-huit genres
nouveaux et les espèces inédites ne s’élèvent pas à moins de
quarante-neuf. C’est une garantie que je ferai encore une riche moisson,
lorsque j’entrerai dans le domaine de l’Amazône proprement dit; car je
n’ai encore vu qu’un dixième des espèces fluviatiles que l’on connait de
ce bassin et les quelques espèces marines qui remontent jusqu’au Pará.
Malheureusement M. Burkhardt est malade et je n’ai encore pu faire
peindre que quatre des espèces nouvelles que je me suis procurées, et
puis près de la moitié n’ont été prises qu’en exemplaires uniques. Il
faut absolument qu’à mon retour je fasse un plus long séjour au Pará
pour remplir ces lacunes. Je suis dans le ravissement de la nature
grandiose que j’ai sous les yeux. Votre Majesté régne sans contredit sur
le plus bel empire du monde et toutes personelles que soient les
attentions que je reçois partout où je m’arrête, je ne puis m’empêcher
de croire que n’était le caractère généreux et hospitalier des
Brésiliens et l’intérêt des classes supérieures pour le progrès des
sciences et de la civilisation, je n’aurais point rencontré les
facilités qui se pressent sous mes pas. C’est ainsi que pour me
faciliter l’exploration du fleuve, du Pará à Manaos, M. Pimenta Bueno,
au lieu de m’acheminer par le steamer régulier, a mis à ma disposition,
pour un mois ou six semaines, un des plus beaux bateaux de la compagnie,
où je suis instalé aussi commodément que dans mon Musée à Cambridge. M.
Coutinho est plein d’attention et me rend mon travail doublement facile
en le préparant à l’avance par tous les renseignements possibles.

Mais je ne veux pas abuser des loisirs de Votre Majesté et je la prie de
croire toujours au dévouement le plus complet et à l’affection la plus

           De son très humble et très obéissant serviteur,

                                                         L. AGASSIZ.[50]


Footnote 43:

  Mr. Agassiz was indebted to Mr. Hitch for valuable additions to his
  collections, and for many acts of kindness in behalf of the

Footnote 44:

  Here, as elsewhere, I found ready and willing coadjutors among amateur
  collectors. On my return from the Amazons, many months later, I found
  collections made in my absence by Dr. Mendes and Senhor Barroso, who
  had been our companions on board the steamer. At Parahyba do Norte I
  was indebted in the same way to Dr. Justa. These collections will
  afford invaluable materials for the comparison of the Coast Faunæ.—L.

Footnote 45:

  At a later period I owed to Dr. Braga far more than the ordinary
  courtesy extended to a stranger. I had informed him that Mr. St. John,
  then following the course of the Rio San Francisco, on his way to the
  province of Piauhy, would arrive in Maranham at the close of his
  journey. When he reached that city he was very seriously ill with
  fever. Dr. Braga took him into his house, where he was attended by him
  and his family as if he had been one of their kindred. I have, indeed,
  little doubt that my young friend owed his recovery to the considerate
  care with which he was treated under their kindly roof.—L. A.

Footnote 46:

  These two Medusæ belong to the Rhizostomidæ, and I shall take an early
  opportunity to publish a description of them, with the drawings of Mr.
  Burkhardt.—L. A.

Footnote 47:

  To Dr. Couto de Magalhaês Mr. Agassiz was indebted for unremitting
  attentions during our stay in the region of the Amazons. He never
  failed to facilitate the success of the expedition by every means in
  his power, and the large collections made under his directions during
  our sojourn upon the Upper Amazons were among the most valuable
  contributions to its scientific results. When he heard that Mr. Ward,
  one of our young companions, was coming down the Tocantins, he sent a
  boat and boatmen to meet him, and on his arrival in Pará received him
  in his own house, where he remained his guest during his stay in the

Footnote 48:

  This mushroom belongs to the genus Phallus, and seems to be an
  undescribed species. I preserved it in alcohol, but was unable to have
  any drawing made from it before its beauty and freshness were quite
  gone. In the early morning, while the grass was still damp, we often
  found a peculiar snail, a species of Bulimus, creeping by the
  roadside. The form of the anterior part of the foot was unlike that of
  any species known thus far from this group. Such facts show the
  desirableness of making drawings from the soft parts of these animals
  as well as from their solid envelopes.—L. A.

Footnote 49:

  The President of this line is the Baron de Mazá, esteemed by his
  countrymen as a financier of great ability and a man of rare energy,
  perseverance, and patriotism. As he was in Europe during the year of
  my visit to Brazil, I had not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance
  with him, and I therefore welcome this opportunity of thanking him for
  the liberality shown in all their dealings with me by the company of
  which he is the moving spirit.—L. A.

Footnote 50:

                                  ON BOARD THE ICAMIABA, ON THE AMAZONS,
                                              August 20, 1865.

  SIRE:—Allow me to give your Majesty a rapid sketch of the most
  interesting facts observed by me since leaving Rio. The first thing
  which struck me on arriving at Bahia was the presence of the erratic
  soil, corresponding to that of Tijuca and the southern part of
  Minas-Geräes, which I have visited. Here, as there, this soil,
  identical in its constitution, rests upon rocks in place, of the most
  diversified character. I have found it also at Maceió, at Pernambuco,
  at Parahyba do Norte, at Ceará, at Maranham, and at Pará. This is a
  fact, then, established on the largest scale. It shows that the
  superficial materials which, here as in the North of Europe and
  America, may be designated as drift, cannot be the result of the
  decomposition of underlying rocks, since the latter are sometimes
  granite, sometimes gneiss, sometimes mica or talcose slate, sometimes
  sandstone, while the drift presents the same composition everywhere. I
  am as far as ever from being able to point out the origin of these
  materials and the direction of their transportation. Now that Major
  Coutinho has learned to distinguish the drift from the decomposed
  rocks, he assures me that we shall find it throughout the valley of
  the Amazons. The boldest imagination shrinks from any generalization
  on this subject, and yet we must gradually familiarize ourselves with
  the idea that the cause which has dispersed these materials, whatever
  it be, has acted on the largest scale, since they are probably to be
  found all over the continent. Already I learn that my young travelling
  companions have observed the drift in the environs of Barbacena and
  Ouro-Preto, and in the valley of the Rio das Velhas. My zoölogical
  results are not less satisfactory; and to speak of the fishes alone, I
  have found at Pará during one week more species than have as yet been
  described from the whole basin of the Amazons,—sixty-three in all.
  This study will be useful, I hope, to ichthyology, for I have already
  succeeded in distinguishing five new families and eighteen new genera,
  while the unpublished species do not number less than forty-nine. It
  is a guaranty of the rich harvest I shall make when I enter upon the
  domain of the Amazons properly so called; for I have seen as yet but a
  tenth part of the fluviatile species known from this basin, and some
  of the marine species which come up to Pará. Unhappily, Mr. Burkhardt
  is ill, and has been able to paint but four of the new species we have
  procured; and of nearly half the number, only single specimens have
  been secured. On my return I must make a longer stay in Pará in order
  to fill these deficiencies. I am enchanted with the grandeur of nature
  here. Your Majesty certainly reigns over the most beautiful empire of
  the world; and, personal as are the attentions which I receive
  wherever I stop, I cannot but believe that, were it not for the
  generous and hospitable character of the Brazilians and the interest
  of the higher classes in the progress of science and civilization, I
  should not have met with the facilities which crowd my path. Thus, in
  order to render the exploration of the river from Pará to Manaos more
  easy, Mr. Pimenta Bueno, instead of allowing me to take the regular
  steamer, has put at my disposition, for a month or six weeks, one of
  the finest boats of the company, where I am installed as conveniently
  as in my Museum at Cambridge. Mr. Coutinho is full of attention, and
  renders my work doubly light by procuring, in advance, all the
  information possible. But I will not further abuse your Majesty’s
  leisure, only begging you to believe in the complete devotion and
  respectful affection of

                                 Your humble and obedient servant,

                                                             L. AGASSIZ.

                               CHAPTER V.
                          FROM PARÁ TO MANAOS.


_August 20th._—On board the “Icamiaba.” Our first Sunday on the Amazons;
for, notwithstanding the warm dispute as to whether both the rivers
enclosing the island of Marajó must be considered as parts of the great
river, it is impossible not to feel from the moment you leave Pará that
you have entered upon the Amazons. Geology must settle this knotty
question. If it should be seen that the continent once presented an
unbroken line, as Mr. Agassiz believes, from Cape St. Roque to Cayenne,
the sea having encroached upon it so as to give it its present limits,
the Amazons must originally have entered the ocean far to the east of
its present mouth, at a time when the Island of Marajó divided the river
in two channels flowing on either side of it and uniting again beyond
it. We came on board last night, accompanied to the boat by a number of
the friends who have made our sojourn in Pará so agreeable, and who came
off to bid us farewell. Thus far the hardships of this South American
journey seem to retreat at our approach. It is impossible to travel with
greater comfort than surrounds us here. My own suite of rooms consists
of a good-sized state-room, with dressing-room and bath-room adjoining,
and, if the others are not quite so luxuriously accommodated, they have
space enough. The state-rooms are hardly used at night, for a hammock on
deck is far more comfortable in this climate. Our deck, roofed in for
its whole length, and with an awning to let down on the sides, if
needed, looks like a comfortable, unceremonious sitting-room. A table
down the middle serving as a dinner-table, but which is at this moment
strewn with maps, journals, books, and papers of all sorts, two or three
lounging-chairs, a number of camp-stools, and half a dozen hammocks, in
one or two of which some of the party are taking their ease, furnish our
drawing-room, and supply all that is needed for work and rest. At one
end is also a drawing-table for Mr. Burkhardt, beside a number of kegs
and glass jars for specimens. This first day, however, it is almost
impossible to do more than look and wonder. Mr. Agassiz says: “This
river is not like a river; the general current in such a sea of fresh
water is hardly perceptible to the sight, and seems more like the flow
of an ocean than like that of an inland stream.” It is true we are
constantly between shores, but they are shores, not of the river itself,
but of the countless islands scattered throughout its enormous breadth.
As we coast along their banks, it is delightful to watch the exquisite
vegetation with which we have yet to become familiar. The tree which
most immediately strikes the eye, and stands out from the mass of green
with wonderful grace and majesty, is the lofty, slender Assai palm, with
its crown of light plume-like leaves, and its bunches of berry-like
fruit, hanging from a branch that shoots out almost horizontally, just
below the leaves. Houses on the shore break the solitude here and there.
From this distance they look picturesque, with thatched, overhanging
roofs, covering a kind of open porch. Just now we passed a cleared nook
at the water-side, where a wooden cross marked a single mound. What a
lonely grave it seemed! We are now coasting along the Isle of Marajó,
keeping up the so-called Pará river; we shall not enter the undisputed
waters of the Amazons till the day after to-morrow. This part of the
river goes also by the name of the Bay of Marajó.

_August 21st._—Last evening we stopped at our first station,—the little
town of Breves. Its population, like that of all these small settlements
on the Lower Amazons, is made up of an amalgamation of races. You see
the regular features and fair skin of the white man combined with the
black, coarse, straight hair of the Indian, or the mulatto with partly
negro, partly Indian features, but the crisp taken out of the hair; and
with these combinations comes in the pure Indian type, with its low
brow, square build of face, and straight line of the shoulders. In the
women especially the shoulders are rather high. In the first house we
entered there was only an old half-breed Indian-woman, standing in the
broad open porch of her thatched home, where she seemed to be surrounded
with live stock,—parrots and parroquets of all sorts and sizes, which
she kept for sale. After looking in at several of the houses, buying one
or two monkeys, some parroquets, and some articles of the village
pottery, as ugly, I must say, as they were curious, we wandered up into
the forest to gather plants for drying. The palms are more abundant,
larger, and in greater variety than we have seen them hitherto. At dusk
we returned to the steamer, where we found a crowd of little boys and
some older members of the village population, with snakes, fishes,
insects, monkeys, &c. The news had spread that the collecting of “bixos”
was the object of this visit to their settlement, and all were thronging
in with their live wares of different kinds. Mr. Agassiz was very much
pleased with this first harvest. He added a considerable number of new
species to his collection of Amazonian fishes made in Pará, already so
full and rare. We remained at the Breves landing all night, and this
morning we are steaming along between islands, in a channel which bears
the name of the river Aturia. It gives an idea of the grandeur of the
Amazons, that many of the channels dividing the islands by which its
immense breadth is broken are themselves like ample rivers, and among
the people here are known by distinct local names. The banks are flat;
we have seen no cliffs as yet, and the beauty of the scenery is wholly
in the forest. I speak more of the palms than of other trees, because
they are not to be mistaken, and from their peculiar port they stand out
in bold relief from the mass of foliage, often rising above it and
sharply defined against the sky. There are, however, a host of other
trees, the names of which are unknown to us as yet, many of which I
suppose have no place even in botanical nomenclature, forming a dense
wall of verdure along the banks of the river. We have sometimes heard it
said that the voyage up the Amazons is monotonous; but to me it seems
delightful to coast along by these woods, of a character so new to us,
to get glimpses into their dark depths or into a cleared spot with a
single stately palm here and there, or to catch even the merest glance
at the life of the people who live in the isolated settlements,
consisting only of one or two Indian houses by the river-side. We are
keeping so near to the banks to-day, that we can almost count the leaves
on the trees, and have an excellent opportunity of studying the various
kinds of palms. At first the Assai was most conspicuous, but now come in
a number of others. The Mirití (Mauritia) is one of the most beautiful,
with its pendant clusters of reddish fruit and its enormous, spreading,
fan-like leaves cut into ribbons, one of which Wallace says is a load
for a man. The Jupatí (Rhaphia), with its plume-like leaves, sometimes
from forty to fifty feet in length, seems, in consequence of its short
stem, to start almost from the ground. Its vase-like form is peculiarly
graceful and symmetrical. Then there is the Bussù (Manicaria), with
stiff, entire leaves, some thirty feet in length, more upright and close
in their mode of growth, and serrated along their edges. The stem of
this palm also is comparatively short. The banks in this part of the
river are very generally bordered by two plants forming sometimes a sort
of hedge along the shore; namely, the Aninga (Arum), with large,
heart-shaped leaves on the summit of tall stems, and the Murici, a lower
growth, just on the water’s edge. We are passing out of the so-called
river Aturia into another channel of like character, the river Tajapurú.
In the course of the day we shall arrive at a little settlement bearing
the same name, where is to be our second station.

_August 22d._—Yesterday we passed the day at the settlement mentioned
above. It consists only of the house of a Brazilian merchant,[51] who
lives here with his family, having no neighbors except the inhabitants
of a few Indian houses in the forest immediately about. One wonders at
first what should induce a man to isolate himself in this solitude. But
the India-rubber trade is very productive here. The Indians tap the
trees as we tap our sugar-maples, and give the produce in exchange for
various articles of their own domestic consumption. Our day at Tajapurú
was a very successful one in a scientific point of view, and the
collections were again increased by a number of new species. Much as has
been said of the number and variety of fishes in the Amazons, the fauna
seems far richer than it has been reported. For those of my readers who
care to follow the scientific progress of the expedition as well as the
thread of personal adventure, I add here a letter on the subject,
written a day or two later by Mr. Agassiz to Mr. Pimenta Bueno, in Pará,
the generous friend to whom he owes in a great degree the facilities he
enjoys in this voyage.

                          22 Aout, au matin: entre Tajapurú et Gurupá.

  MON CHER AMI:—La journée d’hier a été des plus instructives, surtout
  pour les poissons “do Mato.” Nous avons obtenu quinze espèces en
  tout. Sur ce nombre il y en a dix nouvelles, quatre qui se trouvent
  aussi au Pará et une déjà décrite par moi dans le voyage de Spix et
  Martius; mais ce qu’il y a de plus intéressant, c’est la preuve que
  fournissent ces espèces, à les prendre dans leur totalité, que
  l’ensemble des poissons qui habitent les eaux à l’ouest du groupe
  d’îles qu’on appelle Marajó, diffère de ceux des eaux du Rio do
  Pará. La liste des noms que nous avons demandée aux Indiens prouve
  encore que le nombre des espèces qui se trouvent dans ces localités
  est beaucoup plus considérable que celui des espèces que nous avons
  pu nous procurer; aussi avons nous laissé des bocaux à Breves et à
  Tajapurú pour compléter la collection.

  Voici quelques remarques qui vous feront mieux apprécier ces
  différences, si vous voulez les comparer avec le catalogue des
  espèces du Pará que je vous ai laissé. À tout prendre, il me parait
  évident dès à présent que notre voyage fera une révolution dans
  l’Ichthyologie. Et d’abord, le Jacundá de Tajapurú est différent des
  espèces du Pará; de même l’Acará; puis nous avons une espèce
  nouvelle de Sarapó et une espèce nouvelle de Jeju; une espèce
  nouvelle de Rabeca, une espèce nouvelle d’Anojá, un genre nouveau de
  Candiru, un genre nouveau de Bagre, un genre nouveau d’Acary et une
  espèce nouvelle d’Acary du même genre que celui du Pará; plus une
  espèce nouvelle de Matupirim. Ajoutez à ceci une espèce d’Aracu déjà
  décrite, mais qui ne se trouve pas au Pará et vous aurez à Tajapurú
  onze espèces qui n’existent pas au Pará, auxquelles il faut ajouter
  encore quatre espèces qui se trouvent à Tajapurú aussi bien qu’au
  Pará, et une qui se trouve au Pará, à Brèves, et à Tajapurú. En tout
  vingt espèces, dont quinze nouvelles, en deux jours. Malheureusement
  les Indiens ont mal compris nos directions, et ne nous ont rapporté
  qu’un seul exemplaire de chacune de ces espèces. Il reste donc
  beaucoup à faire dans ces localités, surtout à en juger d’après le
  catalogue des noms recueillis par le Major Coutinho qui renferme
  vingt-six espèces “do Mato” et quarante-six “do Rio.” Il nous en
  manque donc au moins cinquante-deux de Tajapurú, même à supposer que
  cette localité renferme aussi les cinq espèces de Breves. Vous voyez
  que nous laisserons encore énormément à faire à nos successeurs.

  Adieu pour aujourd’hui, votre bien affectioné

                                                       L. AGASSIZ.[52]

The Indians here are very skilful in fishing, and instead of going to
collect, Mr. Agassiz, immediately on arriving at any station, sends off
several fishermen of the place, remaining himself on board to
superintend the drawing and putting up of the specimens as they
arrive.[53] He made at Tajapurú a collection of the leaves and fruit of
palms, of which there were several very beautiful ones near the shore. I
sat for a long time on the deck watching an Indian cutting a leaf from a
Mirití palm. He was sitting in the crotch of a single leaf, as safe and
as perfectly supported as if he had been on the branch of an oak-tree,
and it took many blows of his heavy axe to separate the leaf at his side
which he was trying to bring down. The heat during the day was intense,
but at about five o’clock it became quite cool and R—— and I strolled on
shore. Walking here is a peculiar process, and seems rather alarming
till you become accustomed to it. A great part of the land, even far up
into the forest, is overflowed, and single logs are thrown across the
streams and pools, over which the inhabitants walk with as much security
as on a broad road, but which seem anything but safe to the new-comer.
After we had gone a little way we came to an Indian house on the border
of the wood. Here we were very cordially invited to enter, and had again
cause to comment on the tidy aspect of the porch, which is their general
reception-room. A description of one of these dwellings will do for all.
Their materials are drawn from the forest about them. The frames are
made of tall, slender tree-trunks, crossing each other at right angles.
Between these are woven long palm-leaves, making an admirable thatch, or
sometimes the walls are filled in with mud. The roof overhangs, covering
the wide, open porch, which extends the length of one side of the house,
and is as deep as a good-sized room; it is usually left open on the
sides as well as in front. Within, the rest of the house is divided off
into one or more chambers, according to its size. I have not penetrated
into these, but can bear testimony to the usual cleanliness and order of
the outer room. The hard mud-floor is neatly swept, there is no litter
about, and, except for the mosquitoes, I should think it no hardship to
sling my hammock for the night under the thatched roof of one of these
primitive veranda-like apartments. There is one element of dirt common
in the houses of our own poor which is absent here. Instead of the mass
of old musty bedding, a nest for vermin, the Indians have their cool
hammocks, slung from side to side of the room. One feature in their mode
of building deserves to be mentioned. Owing to the submerged state of
the ground on which they live, the Indians often raise their houses on
piles sunk in the water. Here we have the old lacustrine buildings, so
much discussed of late years, reproduced for us. One even sees sometimes
a little garden lifted in this way above the water.

But to return to our walk. One of the Indians invited us to continue our
ramble to his house, which he said was not far beyond, in the forest. We
readily complied, for the path he pointed out to us looked tempting in
the extreme, leading into the depth of the wood. Under his guidance we
continued for some distance, every now and then crossing one of the
forest creeks on the logs. Seeing that I was rather timid, he cut for me
a long pole, with the aid of which I felt quite brave. But at last we
came to a place where the water was so deep that I could not touch
bottom with my pole, and as the round log on which I was to cross was
rather rocking and unsteady, I did not dare to advance. I told him, in
my imperfect Portuguese, that I was afraid. “Naō, mia branca” (No, my
white) he said, reassuringly; “naō tem medo” (don’t be afraid). Then, as
if a thought struck him, he motioned me to wait, and, going a few steps
up the creek, he unloosed his boat, brought it down to the spot where we
stood, and put us across to the opposite shore. Just beyond was his
pretty, picturesque home, where he showed me his children, telling me
their ages, and introduced me to his wife. There is a natural courtesy
about these people which is very attractive, and which Major Coutinho,
who has lived among them a great deal, tells me is a general
characteristic of the Amazonian Indians. When we took leave of them and
returned to the canoe, I supposed our guide would simply put us across
to the other shore, a distance of a few feet only, as he had done in
coming. Instead of that he headed the canoe up the creek into the wood.
I shall never forget that row, the more enchanting that it was so
unexpected, through the narrow water-path, overarched by a solid roof of
verdure, and black with shadows; and yet it was not gloomy, for outside,
the sun was setting in crimson and gold, and its last beams struck in
under the boughs and lit the interior of the forest with a warm glow.
Nor shall I easily forget the face of our Indian friend, who had
welcomed us so warmly to his home, and who evidently enjoyed our
exclamations of delight and the effect of the surprise he had given us.
The creek led by a detour back into the river, a few rods above the
landing where our steamer lay. Our friendly boatman left us at the
stairway with a cordial good-by, and many thanks from us at parting.

We left our landing early this morning, and at about half past ten
turned into the main Amazons. Thus far we have been in what is called
the Pará river, and the branches connecting it with the Amazons proper.
The proportions of everything in nature amaze one here, however much one
may have heard or read about them. For two days and nights we have been
following the isle of Marajo, which, though but an island in the mouth
of the Amazons, is half as large as Ireland. I add here a second letter
from Mr. Agassiz to Mr. Pimenta Bueno, giving a short summary of his
scientific progress.

  MON CHER AMI:—Je suis exténué de fatigue, mais je ne veux pas aller
  me reposer avant de vous avoir écrit un mot. Hier soir nous avons
  obtenu vingt-sept espèces de poissons à Gurupá et ce matin,
  cinquante-sept à Porto do Moz, en tout quatre-vingt-quatre espèces
  en moins de douze heures et, sur ce nombre, il y en à cinquante et
  une nouvelles. C’est merveilleux. Je ne puis plus mettre en ordre ce
  qu’on m’apporte au fur et à mesure que cela arrive; et quant à
  obtenir des dessins coloriés du tout, il n’en est plus question, à
  moins qu’à notre retour nous ne passions une semaine entière ici.

                                             Tout à vous,

                                                       L. AGASSIZ.[54]

_August 23d._—Yesterday morning, before reaching the little town of
Gurupá, we passed a forest of Miriti palms; it is the first time we have
seen a palm wood exclusive of other trees. In the afternoon we stopped
at Gurupá and went on shore; but just as we landed, a violent
thunder-storm burst upon us with sheets of rain, and we saw little of
the town except the inside of the house where we took shelter. Mr.
Agassiz obtained a most valuable collection of “forest fishes,”
containing a number of new species; the Indians enumerate, however, some
seventy distinct species of forest fishes in this vicinity, so that,
notwithstanding his success, he leaves much to be done by those who
shall come after him. We left during the night, and this morning we
entered the river Xingu, stopping at Porto do Moz. The water is very
blue and dark as compared with the muddy waters of the main river. Here
Mr. Agassiz found two collections, one of forest fishes, the other of
river fishes, awaiting him, Mr. Pimenta Bueno having sent messengers by
the last steamer to a number of ports, desiring that collections should
be in readiness for him. The harvest of this morning, however, was such
an one as makes an era in the life of a naturalist, for it contained
forty-eight new species,—more, Mr. Agassiz said, than it had ever fallen
to his lot to find in the course of a single day. Ever since we entered
the Amazons the forest seems to me, though more luxuriant, less sombre
than it did about Rio. It is more transparent and more smiling; one sees
into it, and sees the sunshine glimmering through it and lighting up its
depths. The steamer has just left behind the first open land we have
passed,—wide, extensive flats, with scarcely a tree, and covered with
thick, coarse grass.

_August 24th._—Yesterday afternoon we saw, on the north side of the
river, the first elevations of any consequence one meets on the Amazons,
the singular flat-topped hills of Almeirim. They are cut off as squarely
on the top as if levelled with a plane, and divided from each other by
wide openings, the sides being shaved down with the same evenness as the
summits. Much has been said about the geology of these singular hills,
but no one has fairly investigated it. Von Martius landed, and
ascertained their height to be about eight hundred feet above the level
of the river, but beyond this, no one seems to know anything of their
real nature. They are generally represented as spurs of the higher
table-land of Guiana.[55] Last evening was the most beautiful we have
seen on the Amazons. We sat on the front upper deck as the crimson sun
went down, his broad red pathway across the water followed presently by
the pale trembling line of light from the crescent moon above. After the
sun had vanished, broad rays of rose-color, shooting almost to the
zenith, still attested his power, lending something of their glow also
to a great mass of white clouds in the east, the reflection of which
turned the yellow waters of the river to silver, while between glory and
glory the deep blue sky of night gathered over the hills of Almeirim.
This morning at dawn we stopped at the little settlement of Prainha, but
did not land, and we are now on our way to Monte Alégre, where we shall
pass a day and a half.

_August 25th._—Monte Alégre. We arrived before this town, situated on
the north side of the Amazons, at the mouth of the river Gurupatuba,
yesterday at about midday, but the heat was so great that I did not go
on shore till towards evening. The town is situated on the summit of a
hill sloping rather steeply upward from the shore, and it takes its name
from a mountain some four leagues to the northwest of it. But though the
ground is more broken and various than we have seen it hitherto, the
place does not seem to me to deserve its name of Monte Alégre (the gay
mountain). To me the aspect of the country here is, on the contrary,
rather sombre; the soil consists everywhere of sand, the forest is low,
while here and there intervene wide, swampy flats, covered with coarse
grass. The sand rests above the same reddish drift, filled with smooth
rounded quartz pebbles, that we have followed along our whole road. Here
and there the pebbles are disposed in undulating lines, as if a partial
stratification had taken place; and in some localities we saw
indications of the drift having been worked over by water, though not
absolutely stratified. Both at sunset and sunrise I took a walk to the
village churchyard, which commands the prettiest view in the
neighborhood. It is enclosed in a picket fence, a large wooden cross
stands in the centre, and there are a few other small crosses marking
graves; but the place looked uncared for, grown over, wherever the sand
was not bare, by the same coarse, rank shrubs which spring up everywhere
in this ungenial soil.[56] At a little distance from the churchyard, the
hill slopes abruptly down, and from its brow one looks across a wide
plain covered with low forest, to the mountain on the other side, from
which the town takes its name. Looking southward, the foreground is
filled with lakes divided from each other by low alluvial lands, forming
the level flats alluded to above. Though one of the earliest settlements
on the Amazons, this town is, by all accounts, rather decreasing than
increasing in population. In the midst of its public square stands what
seems at first to be the ruin of a large stone church, but which is, in
fact, the framework of a cathedral begun forty years ago, and standing
unfinished to this day. Cows were pastured in its grass-grown aisles,
and it seemed a rather sad memorial, bespeaking a want of prosperity in
the place. We were most kindly entertained in the house of Senhor
Manuel, who, finding that the mosquitoes were likely to be very thick on
board the steamer, invited us to pass the night under his roof. This
morning we are sailing about in the neighborhood, partly for the sake of
getting fish, but passing also a couple of hours at a cattle-farm near
by, in order to bring on board a number of cows and oxen for the Manaos
market. It seems that one of the chief occupations here is the raising
of cattle. This, with the sale of fish, cacáo, and India-rubber,
constitutes the commerce of the place.

_August 26th._—This morning found us again on the southern side of the
river, off Santarem, at the mouth of one of the great branches of the
Amazons, the Tapajoz. Here we leave a number of our party. Mr. Dexter,
Mr. James, and Mr. Talisman, a young Brazilian who joined our party at
Pará, go on a collecting expedition up the Tapajoz. Mr. Bourget and Mr.
Hunnewell remain at Santarem, the former to make collections, the latter
to attend to the repairs of his photographing apparatus, which has met
with some disasters. We are all to meet again at Manaos for our farther
voyage up to Tabatinga.[57] We remained at Santarem only long enough to
see the party fitted out with a canoe and the necessary supplies, and as
they put off from the steamer we weighed anchor and proceeded on our
way, reserving our visit to Santarem for our return. As we left the port
the black waters of the Tapajoz met the yellow stream of the Amazons,
and the two ran together for a while, like the waters of the Arve and
Rhone in Switzerland, meeting but not mingling. Instead of returning at
once to the main river, the Captain, who omits nothing which can add to
the pleasure or the profit of our voyage, put the steamer through a
narrow channel, which, on the Mississippi, would be called a “bayou,”
but goes here by the name of an “Igarapé.” Nothing could be prettier
than this “Igarapé Assú,” hardly more than wide enough to admit the
steamer, and bordered on either side by a thick wood, in which are
conspicuous the Munguba, with its oval, red fruit, the Imbauba-tree,
neither so lofty nor so regular in form as about Rio, and the Taxi, with
its masses of white flowers and brown buds. For two days past we have
lost the palms in a great degree; about Monte Alégre they were
comparatively few, and here we see scarcely any.

The shore between Santarem and Obydos, where we shall arrive this
evening, seems more populous than the regions we have been passing
through. As we coast along, keeping close to the land, the scenes revive
all our early visions of an ancient pastoral life. Groups of
Indians—men, women, and children—greet us from the shore, standing under
the overarching trees, usually trained or purposely chosen to form a
kind of arbor over the landing-place,—the invariable foreground of the
picture, with the “montaria” moored in front. One or two hammocks are
often slung in the trees, and between the branches one gets a glimpse of
the thatched roof and walls of the little straw cottage behind. Perhaps
if we were to look a little closer at these pictures of pastoral life,
we should find they have a coarse and prosaic side. But let them stand.
Arcadia itself would not bear a too minute scrutiny, nor could it
present a fairer aspect than do these Indian homes on the banks of the
Amazons. The primitive forest about the houses is usually cleared, and
they stand in the midst of little plantations of the cacáo-tree, mingled
with the mandioca shrub, from the roots of which the Indians make their
flour, and occasionally also with the India-rubber-tree, though, as the
latter grows plentifully in the forest, it is not often cultivated. The
cacáo and the India-rubber they send to Pará, in exchange for such
domestic goods as they require. We have passed so close to the shore
to-day that it has been easy to make geological observations from the
deck. For a considerable distance above Santarem we have followed drift
cliffs, resting upon sandstone; the drift of the same reddish color, and
pasty, clayey consistence, and the sandstone seemingly the same in
character, as that of Monte Alégre.

_August 27th._—Villa Bella. Last evening we stopped to wood at the town
of Obydos, but without landing; keeping straight on to this port, on the
southern side of the river, at the mouth of the river Tupinambaranas.
Here we were very cordially received by Dr. Marcus, an old correspondent
of Mr. Agassiz, who has several times sent specimens from the Amazons to
the Cambridge Museum. To-night we are to start in canoes on an excursion
to some of the lakes in the neighborhood of this port.

_August 28th._—In the porch of an Indian house on the lake José Assú. We
passed a pleasant day yesterday at the house of Dr. Marcus, keeping the
Sabbath rather after the Jewish than the Christian rule, as a veritable
day of rest, lounging in hammocks, and the gentlemen smoking. We
returned to the steamer at five o’clock, intending to start at six, in
order to have the benefit of the night fishing, said to be always the
most successful. But a violent thunder-storm, with heavy rain, lasting
almost till midnight, delayed our departure. We loaded the boats,
however, before night, that we might be ready to start whenever the
weather should clear. We have two canoes, in one of which Mr. Agassiz,
myself, and Mr. Burkhardt have our quarters, while Major Coutinho, Dr.
Marcus, who accompanies us, and Mr. Thayer occupy the other. The former,
which is rather the larger of the two, has a tiny cabin at one end, some
three feet high and six feet long, roofed in with wood; the other has
also one end covered in, but with thatch instead of wood. In the larger
boat we have our luggage, compressed to the utmost, the live stock,—a
small sheep, a turkey, and several fowls,—besides a number of barrels
and kegs, containing alcohol, for specimens. The Captain has supplied us
not only with all the necessaries, but, so far as is possible, with
every luxury, for a week’s voyage. All our preparations being made, and
no prospect of clear weather, at nine o’clock we betook ourselves to our
hammocks,—or those of us who had stowed their hammocks out of reach,—to
chairs and benches, and had a broken sleep till three o’clock. The stars
were then shining, and everything looked fair for our voyage. The wind
had gone down, the river was smooth as glass when we paddled away from
the side of the steamer, and, though we had no moon, one or two planets
threw a bright reflection across the water to cheer our way. After
keeping for some time down the river, we turned, just at dawn, into a
very narrow channel leading through the forest. It was hardly day, but
perhaps the scene was none the less impressive for the dim half-light in
which we saw it. From the verdant walls, which rose on either side and
shut us in, lofty trees, clothed from base to summit in vines, stood out
here and there like huge green columns, in bold relief against the
morning sky; hidden flowers filled the air with fragrance, great roots
stretched out into the water, and now and then a floating log narrowed
the passage so as just to leave room for the canoe to pass. After a
while a broader, fuller light shone under the boughs, and we issued from
this narrow pathway into an extensive lake. Here it was found that the
large net, which was to have made a part of the outfit of the canoe, had
been left behind, and, after calling at two or three Indian houses to
see if we could supply the deficiency, we were obliged to send back to
Villa Bella for it. In the mean time we moored our boats at the foot of
a little hill, on which stands an Indian house, where we stopped to
breakfast, and where we are still waiting for the return of our
messengers. I must say, that a near view of Arcadia tends to dispel
illusions; but it should be added, that this specimen is by no means a
favorable one. The houses at Tajapurú were far more attractive, and the
appearance of their inhabitants much neater and more respectable, than
those of our friends here. Yet at this moment the scene is not
altogether uninviting. Some of the party are lounging in the hammocks,
which we have slung under the great porch, as we are to pass several
hours here; an improvised rustic table, consisting of a board resting on
forked sticks, stands at one side; the boatmen are clearing away the
remains of our late repast; the Indian women, dirty, half clad, with
their hair hanging uncombed around their faces, are tending their naked
children, or kneading the mandioca in a huge trough. The men of the
house have just returned from fishing, the morning having been more
successful in that respect than was expected, and are now fitting up a
rough forge, in which they are repairing some of their iron instruments.
In the mean time Science has its sacred corner, where Mr. Agassiz is
investigating new species, the result of the morning’s fishing, while
Mr. Burkhardt is drawing them.

_August 29th._—Finding yesterday that our shelter grew more
uncomfortable as the day wore on, and being obliged to wait for the
night fishing, we determined to cross the lake to a “Sitio” (as the
inhabitants call their plantations) on the other side of the lake. Here
we found one of the better specimens of Indian houses. On one side of
the house is the open porch, quite gay at this moment with our brightly
colored hammocks; adjoining this is a large chamber, opening into the
porch by a wide straw, or rather palm-leaf door; which does not swing on
hinges, however, but is taken down and put up like a mat. On the other
side of the room is an unglazed window, closed at will in the same way
by a palm-leaf mat. For the present this chamber is given up to my use.
On the other side of the porch is another veranda-like room, also open
at the sides, and apparently the working-room of the family; for here is
the great round oven, built of mud, where the farinha is dried, and the
baskets of mandioca-root are standing ready to be picked and grated, and
here also is the rough log table where we take our meals. Everything has
an air of decency and cleanliness; the mud-floors are swept, the ground
about the house is tidy and free from rubbish, the little plantation
around it of cacáo and mandioca, with here and there a coffee-shrub, is
in nice order. The house stands on a slightly rising ground, sloping
gently upward from the lake, and just below, under some trees on the
shore, are moored the Indian’s “Montaria” and our two canoes. We were
received with the most cordial friendliness, the Indian women gathering
about me and examining, though not in a rough or rude way, my dress, the
net on my hair, touching my rings and watch-chain, and evidently
discussing the “branca” between themselves. In the evening, after
dinner, I walked up and down outside the house, enjoying the
picturesqueness of the scene. The husband had just come in from the
lake, and the fire on the ground, over which the fresh fish was broiling
for the supper of the family, shone on the figures of the women and
children as they moved about, and shed its glow under the thatched roof
of the working-room, making its interior warm and ruddy; a lantern in
the corner of the porch threw a dim, uncertain light over hammocks and
half-recumbent figures, and without, the moon shone over lake and
forest. The mosquitoes, however, presently began to disturb the romance
of the scene, and, as we were all rather tired from our broken rest the
night before, we retired early. My own sleep, under an excellent
mosquito-net, was very quiet and refreshing, but there were some of the
party who had not provided themselves with this indispensable
accompaniment of a hammock, and they passed the night in misery,
affording a repast to the voracious hordes buzzing about them. I was
awakened shortly after daylight by the Indian women, bringing me a
bouquet of roses and jessamine from the vines which grew about the
cottage, and wishing me good morning. After such a kindly greeting, I
could not refuse them the pleasure of assisting at my toilet, of
watching the opening of my valise, and handling every article as it came

The night fishing was unfavorable, but this morning the fishermen have
brought in new species enough to keep Mr. Agassiz and his artist busy
for many hours, so that we are likely to pass another night among these
hospitable people. I must say that the primitive life of the better
class of Indians on the Amazons is much more attractive than the
so-called civilized life in the white settlements. Anything more bald,
dreary, and uninviting than life in the Amazonian towns, with an attempt
at the conventionalisms of civilization, but without one of its graces,
I can hardly conceive. This morning my Indian friends have been showing
me the various processes to which the Mandioca is subjected. This plant
is invaluable to these people. It gives them their farinha,—a coarse
kind of flour, their only substitute for bread,—their tapioca, and also
a kind of fermented juice called tucupi,—a more questionable blessing,
perhaps, since it affords them the means of getting intoxicated. After
being peeled, the roots of the mandioca are scraped on a very coarse
grater; in this condition they make a moist kind of paste, which is then
packed in elastic straw tubes, made of the fibres of the Jacitará Palm
(Desmonchus). When her tube, which has always a loop at either end, is
full, the Indian woman hangs it on the branch of a tree; she then passes
a pole through the lower loop and into a hole in the trunk of the tree,
and, sitting down on the other end of the pole, she thus transforms it
into a primitive kind of lever, drawing out the tube to its utmost
length by the pressure of her own weight. The juice is thus expressed,
flowing into a bowl placed under the tube. This juice is poisonous at
first, but after being fermented becomes quite harmless, and is then
used for the tucupi. The tapioca is made by mixing the grated mandioca
with water. It is then pressed on a sieve, and the fluid which flows out
is left to stand. It soon makes a deposit like starch, and when hardened
they make it into a kind of porridge. It is a favorite article of food
with them.

_August 30th._—As time goes on, we grow more at home with our rustic
friends here, and begin to understand their relations to each other. The
name of our host is Laudigári (I spell the name as it sounds), and that
of his wife Esperança. He, like all the Indians living upon the Amazons,
is a fisherman, and, with the exception of such little care as his small
plantation requires, this is his only occupation. An Indian is never
seen to do any of the work of the house, not even to bring wood or water
or lift the heavy burdens, and as the fishing is done chiefly at certain
seasons, he is a very idle fellow for a great part of the time. The
women are said, on the contrary, to be very industrious; and certainly
those whom we have an opportunity of seeing here justify this
reputation. Esperança is always busy at some household work or
other,—grating mandioca, drying farinha, packing tobacco, cooking or
sweeping. Her children are active and obedient, the older ones making
themselves useful in bringing water from the lake, in washing the
mandioca, or in taking care of the younger ones. Esperança can hardly be
called pretty, but she has a pleasant smile and a remarkably sweet
voice, with a kind of child-like intonation, which is very winning; and
when sometimes, after her work is over, she puts on her white chemise,
falling loose from her brown shoulders, her dark skirt, and a rose or a
sprig of white jessamine in her jetty hair, she is by no means
unattractive in her personal appearance, though I must confess that the
pipe which she is apt to smoke in the evening injures the general
effect. Her husband looks somewhat sombre; but his hearty laugh
occasionally, and his enjoyment of the glass of cachaça which rewards
him when he brings in a new lot of specimens, shows that he has his
bright side. He is greatly amused at the value Mr. Agassiz attaches to
the fishes, especially the little ones, which appear to him only fit to
throw away. It seems that the other family who have been about here
since our arrival are neighbors, who have come in to help in the making
of mandioca. They come in the morning with all their children and remain
through the day. The names of the father and mother are Pedro Manuel and
Michelina. He is a tall, handsome fellow, whose chief occupation seems
to be that of standing about in picturesque attitudes, and watching his
rather pretty wife, as she bustles round in her various work of grating
or pressing or straining the mandioca, generally with her baby astride
on her hip,—the Indian woman’s favorite way of carrying her child.
Occasionally, however, Pedro Manuel is aroused to bear some part in the
collecting; and the other day, when he brought in some specimens which
seemed to him quite valueless, Mr. Agassiz rewarded him with a chicken.
His surprise and delight were great, perhaps a little mingled with
contempt for the man who would barter a chicken for a few worthless
fishes, fit only to throw into the river.

[Illustration: Esperança’s Cottage.]

Last evening, with some difficulty, we induced Laudigári to play for us
on a rough kind of lute or guitar,—a favorite instrument with the
country people, and used by them as an accompaniment for dancing. When
we had him fairly _en train_ with the music, we persuaded Esperança and
Michelina to show us some of their dances; not without reluctance, and
with an embarrassment which savored somewhat of the self-consciousness
of civilized life, they stood up with two of our boatmen. The dance is
very peculiar; so languid that it hardly deserves the name. There is
almost no movement of the body; they lift the arms, but in an angular
position with no freedom of motion, snapping the fingers like castanets
in time to the music, and they seem rather like statues gliding from
place to place than like dancers. This is especially true of the women,
who are still more quiet than the men. One of the boatmen was a
Bolivian, a finely formed, picturesque-looking man, whose singular dress
heightened the effect of his peculiar movements. The Bolivian Indians
wear a kind of toga; at least I do not know how otherwise to designate
their long straight robe of heavy twilled cotton cloth. It consists of
two pieces, hanging before and behind, fastened on the shoulder; leaving
only an aperture for the head to pass through. It is belted around the
waist, leaving the sides open so that the legs and arms are perfectly
free. The straight folds of his heavy white drapery gave a sort of
statuesque look to our Bolivian as he moved slowly about in the dance.
After it was over, Esperança and the others urged me to show them the
dance “of my country,” as they said, and my young friend R—— and I
waltzed for them, to their great delight. It seemed to me like a strange
dream. The bright fire danced with us, flickering in under the porch,
fitfully lighting its picturesque interior and the group of wondering
Indians around us, who encouraged us every now and then with a “Mûito
bonito, mia branca, mûito bonito” (Very pretty, my white, very pretty).
Our ball kept up very late, and after I had gone to my hammock I still
heard, between waking and sleeping, the plaintive chords of the guitar,
mingling with the melancholy note of a kind of whippoorwill, who sings
in the woods all night. This morning the forest is noisy with the
howling monkeys. They sound very near and very numerous; but we are told
that they are deep in the forest, and would disappear at the slightest

_September 1st._—Yesterday morning we bade our friendly hosts good-by,
leaving their pretty picturesque home with real regret. The night before
we left, they got together some of their neighbors in our honor, and
renewed the ball of the previous evening. Like things of the same kind
in other classes, the second occasion, got up with a little more
preparation than the first, which was wholly impromptu, was neither so
gay nor so pretty. Frequent potations of cachaça made the guests rather
noisy, and their dancing, under this influence, became far more
animated, and by no means so serious and dignified as the evening
before. One thing which occurred early in the entertainment, however,
was interesting, as showing something of their religious observances. In
the morning Esperança’s mother, a hideous old Indian woman, had come
into my room to make me a visit. Before leaving, I was rather surprised
to see her kneel down by a little trunk in the corner, and, opening the
lid slightly, throw in repeated kisses, touching her lips to her fingers
and making gestures as if she dropped the kisses into the trunk,
crossing herself at intervals as she did so. In the evening she was
again at the dance, and, with the other two women, went through with a
sort of religious dance, chanting the while, and carrying in their hands
a carved arch of wood which they waved to and fro in time to the chant.
When I asked Esperança the meaning of this, she told me that, though
they went to the neighboring town of Villa Bella for the great fête of
our Lady of Nazareth, they kept it also at home on their return, and
this was a part of their ceremonies. And then she asked me to come in
with her, and, leading the way to my room, introduced me to the contents
of the precious trunk; there was our Lady of Nazareth, a common coarse
print, framed in wood, one or two other smaller colored prints and a few
candles; over the whole was thrown a blue gauze. It was the family
chapel, and she showed me all the things, taking them up one by one with
a kind of tender, joyful reverence, only made the more touching by their
want of any material value.

We are now at another Indian house on the bank of an arm of the river
Ramos, connecting the Amazons, through the Mauhes, with the Madeira. Our
two hours’ canoe-journey yesterday, in the middle of the day, was
somewhat hot and wearisome, though part of it lay through one of the
shady narrow channels I have described before. The Indians have a pretty
name for these channels in the forest; they call them Igarapés, that is,
boat-paths, and they literally are in many places just wide enough for
the canoe. At about four o’clock we arrived at our present lodging,
which is by no means so pretty as the one we have left, though it
stands, like that, on the slope of a hill just above the shore, with the
forest about it. But it lacks the wide porch and the open working-room
which made the other house so picturesque. Mosquitoes are plentiful, and
at nightfall the house is closed and a pan of turf burned before the
door to drive them away. Our host and hostess, by name José Antonio Maia
and Maria Joanna Maia, do what they can, however, to make us
comfortable, and the children as well as the parents show that natural
courtesy which has struck us so much among these Indians. The children
are constantly bringing me flowers and such little gifts as they have it
in their power to bestow, especially the painted cups which the Indians
make from the fruit of the Crescentia, and use as drinking-cups, basins,
and the like. One sees numbers of them in all the Indian houses along
the Amazons. My books and writing seem to interest them very much, and
while I was reading at the window of my room this morning, the father
and mother came up, and, after watching me a few minutes in silence, the
father asked me, if I had any leaves out of some old book which was
useless to me, or even a part of any old newspaper, to leave it with him
when I went away. Once, he said, he had known how to read a little, and
he seemed to think if he had something to practise upon, he might
recover the lost art. His face fell when I told him all my books were
English: it was a bucket of cold water to his literary ambition. Then he
added, that one of his little boys was very bright, and he was sure he
could learn, if he had the means of sending him to school. When I told
him that I lived in a country where a good education was freely given to
the child of every poor man, he said if the “branca” did not live so far
away, he would ask her to take his daughter with her, and for her
services to have her taught to read and write. The man has a bright,
intelligent face, and speaks with genuine feeling of his desire to give
an education to his children.

_September 3d._—Yesterday we started on our return, and after a warm and
wearisome row of four hours reached our steamer at five o’clock in the
afternoon. The scientific results of this expedition have been most
satisfactory. The collections, differing greatly from each other in
character, are very large from both our stations, and Mr. Burkhardt has
been indefatigable in making colored drawings of the specimens while
their tints were yet fresh. This is no easy task, for the mosquitoes
buzz about him and sometimes make work almost intolerable. This morning
Maia brought in a superb Pirarara (fish parrot). This fish is already
well known to science; it is a heavy, broad-headed hornpout, with a bony
shield over the whole head; its general color is jet black, but it has
bright yellow sides, deepening into orange here and there. Its
systematic name is Phractocephalus bicolor. The yellow fat of this fish
has a curious property; the Indians tell us that when parrots are fed
upon it they become tinged with yellow, and they often use it to render
their “papagaios” more variegated.[58]

During our absence the commander of our steamer, Captain Anacleto, and
one or two gentlemen of the town, among others Senhor Augustinho, and
also Father Torquato, whose name occurs often in Bates’s work on the
Amazons, have been making a collection of river fishes, in which Mr.
Agassiz finds some fifty new species. Thus the harvest of the week has
been a rich one. To-day we are on our way to Manaos, where we expect to
arrive in the course of to-morrow.


Footnote 51:

  Senhor Sepeda, a most hospitable and courteous gentleman, to whom we
  were indebted then and afterwards for much kindness, and also for
  valuable collections put up during our journey to the Upper Amazons.

Footnote 52:

                       August 22d, morning: between Tajapurú and Gurupá.

  MY DEAR FRIEND:—Yesterday was a most instructive day,—above all, in
  the “forest fishes.” We have obtained fifteen species in all. Out of
  this number ten are new, four are found also in Pará, and one has been
  already described by me in the voyage of Spix and Martius; but what is
  most interesting is the proof furnished by these species, taken in
  their totality, that the fishes inhabiting the waters west of the
  group of islands called Marajó, when considered as a whole, differ
  from those of the Pará river. The list of names which we have asked
  from the Indians shows, further, that the number of species found in
  these localities exceeds greatly that which we have been able to
  procure; for this reason we have left cans at Breves and at Tajapurú
  in order to complete the collection. I add some remarks which will
  help you to appreciate these differences, if you wish to compare them
  with the catalogue of the Pará species which I left with you.
  Considering all, it seems to me already apparent that our voyage will
  make a revolution in Ichthyology. In the first place, the Jacundá of
  Tajapurú is different from those of Pará; so is the Acará; then we
  have a new species of Sarapó, and also one of Jeju; a new species of
  Rabeca, a new species of Anojá, a new genus of Candiru, a new genus of
  Bagre, a new genus of Acary, and a new species of Acary belonging to
  the same genus as that of Pará; also a new species of Matupirim. Add
  to this a species of Aracú, already described, but which is not found
  at Pará, and you will have at Tajapurú eleven species which do not
  exist at Pará, to which must be added four species which are found at
  Tajapurú as well as at Pará, and one which occurs at Pará, Breves, and
  Tajapurú. In all twenty species, of which fifteen are new, in two
  days. Unhappily, the Indians have misunderstood our directions, and
  have brought us but one specimen of each species. There remains, then,
  much to do in these localities, judging from the catalogue of names
  collected by Major Coutinho, which includes twenty-six species from
  the forest and forty-six from the river. We are still lacking at least
  fifty-two species from Tajapurú, even supposing that this locality
  contains also the five species from Breves. You see that we shall yet
  leave a large share of the work to our successors.

                               Adieu for to-day, your affectionate

                                                             L. AGASSIZ.

Footnote 53:

  The opportunity of watching these fishes in their natural element, and
  keeping many of them alive for hours or days in our glass tanks, was
  very instructive, and suggested comparisons not dreamed of before. Our
  arrangements were very convenient; and as the commander of the steamer
  allowed me to encumber the deck with all sorts of scientific
  apparatus, I had a number of large glass dishes and wooden tubs in
  which I kept such specimens as I wished to investigate with special
  care and to have drawn from life. One of the most striking changes
  made by J. Müller, in the classification of the spiny fishes, was the
  separation into a distinct order, under the name of Pharyngognathi, of
  all those in which the pharyngeal bones are soldered together. With
  these the illustrious German anatomist has associated a number of
  soft-rayed types, formerly united with the Pickerels and Herrings, and
  characterized by the same structure. It would thus seem that there is
  here a definite anatomical character easily traceable, by the aid of
  which a vast number of fishes might be correctly classified. But the
  question at once arises, Are these fishes truly related to one
  another, and so combined in this new order of Pharyngognathi as to
  include all which properly belong with them, and none others? I think
  not. I believe that Müller has always placed too much value upon
  isolated anatomical characters; and, while he was undoubtedly one of
  the greatest anatomists and physiologists of our age, he lacked
  zoölogical tact. This is especially evident with reference to the
  order of Pharyngognathi, for though the Scomberesoces have fixed
  pharyngeals like Chromides, Pomacentrides, Labroids, Holconotes, and
  Gerrides, they have no real affinities with these families. Again, the
  character assigned to this order is not constant even in the typical
  Pharyngognathi. I have found Chromides and Gerrides with movable
  pharyngeals; in the genus Cychla they are normally so. It is therefore
  not out of place to state here that the Chromides of South America are
  in reality closely related to a group of fishes very generally found
  in the United States, known as Pomotis, Bryttus, Centrarchus, etc.,
  and usually referred to the family of Perches, from which they have,
  however, been separated by Dr. Holbrook under the name of
  Helichthyoids. They not only resemble the Chromides in their form, but
  even in their habits, mode of reproduction, peculiar movements, and
  even in their coloration. Cuvier has already shown that Enoplosus is
  not a member of the family of Chætodonts, and I may now add that it is
  a near relative of the Chromides, and should stand by the side of
  Pterophyllum in a natural system. Monocirrus of Heckel, which I
  consider as the type of a small family under the name of Folhidæ, is
  also closely allied to these, though provided with a barbel, and
  should be placed with Polycentrus side by side with the Chromides and
  Helichthyoids. The manner in which Pterophyllum moves is quite
  peculiar. The profile of the head and the extended anterior margin of
  the high dorsal are brought on a level, parallel to the surface of the
  water, when the long ventrals and high anal hang down vertically, and
  the fish progresses slowly by the lateral beating of the tail.—L. A.

Footnote 54:

                                         ON THE XINGU, August 23d, 1865.

  MY DEAR FRIEND:—I am worn out with fatigue, but I will not go to rest
  before writing you a word. Yesterday evening we obtained twenty-seven
  species of fish at Gurupá and this morning fifty-seven at Porto do
  Moz,—eighty-four species in all, in less than twelve hours, and of
  this number fifty-one are new. It is wonderful. I can no longer put in
  order what is brought to me as fast as it arrives, and as to obtaining
  colored drawings of all, it is no longer possible, unless we pass a
  whole week here on our return.

                                             Wholly yours,

                                                             L. AGASSIZ.

Footnote 55:

  Representations of these hills may be found in the Atlas of Martius
  and in Bates’s “Naturalist on the Amazons.”

Footnote 56:

  Afterwards I made a longer stay at Monte Alégre, and learned to know
  its picturesque nooks and dells, where a luxuriant vegetation is
  watered by delicious springs. I feel that the above description is
  superficial; but I let it remain, as perfectly true to my first

Footnote 57:

  I soon became convinced after leaving Pará that the faunæ of our
  different stations were not repetitions of each other. On the
  contrary, at Breves, Tajapurú, Gurupá,—in short, at each
  stopping-place, as has been seen,—we found another set of inhabitants
  in the river, if not wholly different from the last, at least
  presenting so many new species that the combination was no longer the
  same. It became at once very important to ascertain whether these
  differences were permanent and stationary, or were, in part at least,
  an effect of migration. I therefore determined to distribute our
  forces in such a way as to keep collecting parties at distant points,
  and to repeat collections from the same localities at different
  seasons. I pursued this method of investigation during our whole stay
  in the Amazons, dividing the party for the first time at Santarem,
  where Messrs. Dexter, James, and Talisman separated from us to ascend
  the Tapajoz, while Mr. Bourget remained at Santarem, and I, with the
  rest of my companions, kept on to Obydos and Villa Bella.—L. A.

Footnote 58:

  I was especially interested in seeing living Gymnotini. I do not here
  allude to the electric Gymnotus, already so fully described by
  Humboldt that nothing remains to be said about it; but to the smaller
  representatives of that curious family, known as Carapus, Sternopygus,
  Sternarchus and Rhamphichthys. The Carapus, called Sarapos throughout
  Brazil, are very numerous, and the most lively of the whole group.
  Their motions are winding and rapid like those of the Eel, but yet
  different, inasmuch as they do not glide quickly forward, but, like
  Cobitis and Petromyzon, turn frequent somersets and change their
  direction constantly. This is also the case with the Sternopygus and
  Sternarchus, and even the larger and more slender Rhamphichthys have a
  kind of rolling motion. Though I had expected to find many
  Cyprinodonts, yet their great variety astonished me, and still more
  was I struck by their resemblance to Melanura, Umbra, and the
  Erythrinoids. The presence of Belone and allied forms also surprised
  me. Our stay on the shores of José Assú and Lago Maximo was
  particularly instructive on account of the numerous specimens of each
  species daily brought in by Laudigári and Maia. It afforded me a
  welcome opportunity for studying the differences exhibited by these
  fishes at different periods of life. No type passes, in that respect,
  through greater changes than the Chromides, and among them the genus
  Cychla is perhaps the most variable. I am sure that no ichthyologist
  could at first sight believe that their young are really the early
  stage of the forms known in our ichthyological works as Cychla
  monocolus, Cychla temensis, and Cychla saxatilis. The males and
  females also vary greatly during the spawning season, and the hump on
  the top of the head described as a specific character in Cychla
  nigro-maculata is a protuberance only found in the male, swelling
  during the period of spawning and soon disappearing. Once familiar
  with the young brood of some species of Chromides, it became easy for
  me to distinguish a great variety of small types, no doubt hitherto
  overlooked by naturalists travelling in this region, simply under the
  impression that they must be the young of larger species. A similar
  investigation of the young of Serrasalmo, Myletes, Tetragonopterus,
  Cynodon, Anodus, &c. led me to the discovery of an equally large
  number of diminutive types of Characines, many of which, when full
  grown, do not exceed one inch in length; among them are some of the
  most beautiful fishes I have ever seen, so far as the brilliancy and
  variety of their colors are concerned. Thus everything contributed to
  swell the collections,—the localities selected as well as the mode of
  investigating. I should add here, that, several years before my own
  journey on the Amazons, I had been indebted to the Rev. Mr. Fletcher
  for a valuable collection of fishes from this and other Amazonian
  localities. The familiarity thus obtained with them was very useful to
  me in pursuing my studies on the spot.—L. A.

                              CHAPTER VI.


_September 5th._—Manaos. Yesterday morning we entered the Rio Negro and
saw the meeting of its calm, black waters with the rushing yellow
current of the Amazons, or the Solimoens, as the Upper Amazon is called.
They are well named by the Indians the “living and the dead river,” for
the Solimoens pours itself down upon the dark stream of the Rio Negro
with such a vital, resistless force, that the latter does indeed seem
like a lifeless thing by its side. It is true, that at this season, when
the water in both the rivers is beginning to subside, the Rio Negro
seems to offer some slight resistance to the stronger river; it
struggles for a moment with the impetuous flood which overmasters it,
and, though crowded up against the shore, continues its course for a
little distance side by side with the Solimoens. But at the season when
the waters are highest, the latter closes the mouth of the Rio Negro so
completely that not a drop of its inky stream is seen to mingle with the
yellow waters outside. It is supposed that at this season the Rio Negro
sinks at once under the Solimoens; at all events, the latter flows
across its mouth, seeming to bar it completely. It must not be supposed,
from the change of name, that the Solimoens is anything more than the
continuation of the Amazons; just as the so-called river Marañon is its
continuation above Nauta, after crossing the Brazilian frontier. It is
always the same gigantic stream, traversing the continent for its whole
breadth; but it has received in its lower, middle, and upper course the
three local names of the Amazons, the Solimoens, and the Marañon. At the
point where the Brazilians give it the name of Solimoens it takes a
sudden turn to the south, just where the Rio Negro enters it from the
north, so that the two form a sharp angle.

We landed at Manaos and went at once to the house which Major Coutinho,
with his usual foresight, has provided for us. As the day of our arrival
was uncertain, the arrangements were not completed, and the house was
entirely empty when we entered it. In about ten minutes, however, chairs
and tables—brought, I believe, from the house of a friend—made their
appearance, the rooms were promptly furnished, and presently assumed a
very cosey and comfortable look, notwithstanding their brick floors and
bare walls. We have some pleasant neighbors in a family living almost
next door to us, old and intimate friends of Major Coutinho, who receive
us for his sake as if we also had a claim on their affection. Here we
rest from our wanderings, for a week at least, until the steamer sails
for Tabatinga.

_September 9th._—We have passed such quiet days here, so far as any
variety of incident is concerned, that there is little to record. Work
has gone on as usual; the whole collection of fishes, made since we left
Pará, has been so repacked as to leave it in readiness to be shipped for
that port. Our companions have rejoined us on their return from the
Tapajoz, bringing with them considerable collections from that river
also. They seem to have enjoyed their excursion greatly, and describe
the river as scarcely inferior to the Amazons itself in breadth and
grandeur, having wide sand-beaches where the waves roll in, when the
wind is high, almost as upon a sea-shore. Mr. Agassiz has done nothing
in the way of collecting here, with the exception of securing such
fishes as are to be had in the immediate neighborhood; he reserves his
voyage on the Rio Negro for our return. And, by the way, we are met here
by another practical evidence of the good-will of the Brazilian
government. On leaving Rio, the Emperor had offered Mr. Agassiz the use
of a small government steamer to make explorations on the Negro and
Madeira rivers. On our arrival at Pará he was told that the steamer had
been found to be so much out of repair that she was considered unsafe.
Under these circumstances, he supposed that we should be obliged to
resort to the small boats generally used. But to-day an official
communication informs him that, as the Piraja is found not to be
serviceable, another steamer will be furnished, which will meet us at
Manaos on our return from the Upper Amazons. The following letter,
acknowledging this favor, to the President of Pará, through whom it was
received, contains some account of the scientific results thus far, and
may not be uninteresting.

                                            MANAOS, 8 Septembre, 1865.

  _A Son Excellence M. Couto de Magalhaēs, Président du Pará._

  MON CHER MONSIEUR:—Je vous remercie infiniment de l’aimable lettre
  que vous avez eu la bonté de m’écrire la semaine dernière et je
  m’empresse de vous faire part des succès extraordinaires qui
  continuent à couronner nos efforts. Il est certain dès-à-présent que
  le nombre des poissons qui peuplent l’Amazone excède de beaucoup
  tout ce que l’on avait imaginé jusqu’ici et que leur distribution
  est très limitée en totalité, bien qu’il y ait un petit nombre
  d’espèces qui nous suivent depuis Pará et d’autres pour une étendue
  plus ou moins considérable. Vous vous rappelez peut-être qu’en
  faisant allusion à mes espérances je vous dis un jour que je croyais
  à la possibilité de trouver deux cent cinquante à trois cents
  espèces de poissons dans tout le bassin de l’Amazone; et bien
  aujourd’hui, même avant d’avoir franchi le tiers du cours principal
  du fleuve et remonté par ci par là seulement quelques lieues au delà
  de ses bords j’en ai déjà obtenu plus de trois cents. C’est inouï;
  surtout si l’on considère que le nombre total connu des naturalistes
  ne va pas au tiers de ce que j’ai déjà recueilli. Ce résultat laisse
  à peine entrevoir ce qu’on découvrira un jour lorsqu’on explorera
  avec le même soin tous les affluents du grand fleuve. Ce serait une
  entreprise digne de vous de faire explorer l’Araguay dans tout son
  cours pour nous apprendre combien d’assemblages differents d’espèces
  distinctes se rencontrent successivement depuis ses sources jusqu’à
  sa jonction avec le Tocantins et plus bas jusqu’à l’Amazone. Vous
  avez déjà une sorte de propriété scientifique sur ce fleuve à
  laquelle vous ajouteriez de nouveaux droits en fournissant à la
  science ces renseignements.

  Permettez moi de vous exprimer toute ma gratitude pour l’intérêt que
  vous prenez à mon jeune compagnon de voyage. M. Ward le mérite
  également par sa grande jeunesse, son courage et son dévouement à la
  science. M. Epaminondas vient de me faire part de vos généreuses
  intentions à mon égard et de me dire que vous vous proposez
  d’expédier un vapeur à Manaos pour prendre la place du Piraja et
  faciliter notre exploration du Rio Negro et du Rio Madeira. Je ne
  sais trop comment vous remercier pour une pareille faveur; tout ce
  que je puis vous dire dès-à-présent c’est que cette faveur me
  permettra de faire une exploration de ces fleuves qui me serait
  impossible sans cela. Et si le résultat de ces recherches est aussi
  favorable que je l’attends, l’honneur en reviendra avant tout à la
  libéralité du gouvernement Brésilien. Entraîné par les résultats que
  j’ai obtenus jusqu’ici, je pense que si les circonstances nous sont
  favorables en arrivant à Tabatinga, nous ferons une poussée jusque
  dans la partie inférieure du Pérou[59] tandis que mes compagnons
  exploreront les fleuves intermédiaires entre cette ville et Teffé;
  en sorte que nous ne serons probablement pas de retour à Manaos
  avant la fin du mois d’Octobre.

  Agréez, mon cher Monsieur, l’assurance de ma haute consideration et
  de mon parfait dévouement.

                                                       L. AGASSIZ.[60]

There is little to be said of the town of Manaos. It consists of a small
collection of houses, half of which seem going to decay, and indeed one
can hardly help smiling at the tumble-down edifices, dignified by the
name of public buildings, the treasury, the legislative hall, the
post-office, the custom-house, the President’s mansion, &c. The position
of the city, however, at the junction of the Rio Negro, the Amazons, and
the Solimoens, is commanding; and, insignificant as it looks at present,
Manaos will no doubt be a great centre of commerce and navigation at
some future time.[61]

But when we consider the vast extent of land covered by almost
impenetrable forest and the great practical difficulties in the way of
the settler here, arising from the climate, the insects, the obstacles
to communication, the day seems yet far distant when a numerous
population will cover the banks of the Amazons, when steamers will ply
between its ports as between those of the Mississippi, and when all
nations will share in the rich products of its valley.[62] One of my
greatest pleasures in Manaos has been to walk toward the neighboring
forest at nightfall, and see the water-carriers, Indian and negro,
coming down from the narrow pathways with their great red earthen jars
on their heads. They make quite a procession at morning and evening; for
the river water is not considered good, and the town is chiefly supplied
from pools and little streamlets in the woods. Many of these pools, very
prettily situated and embowered in trees, are used as bathing-places;
one, which is quite large and deep, is a special favorite; it has been
thatched over with palm, and has also a little thatched shed adjoining,
to serve as a dressing-room.

Yesterday we passed an interesting morning at a school for Indian
children a little way out of the city. We were astonished at the aptness
they showed for the arts of civilization so uncongenial to our North
American Indians: it reminded one that they are the successors, on the
same soil, of the races who founded the ancient civilizations of Peru
and Mexico, so much beyond any social organization known to have existed
among the more northern tribes. In one room they were turning out very
nice pieces of furniture,—chairs, tables, book-stands, &c., with a
number of smaller articles, such as rulers and paper-knives. In another
room they were working in iron, in another making fine fancy articles of
straw. Besides these trades, they are taught to read, write, and cipher,
and to play on various musical instruments. For music they are said to
have, like the negro, a natural aptitude. In the main building were the
school-rooms, dormitories, store-rooms, kitchen, &c. We were there just
at the breakfast hour, and had the satisfaction of seeing them sit down
to a hearty meal, consisting of a large portion of bread and butter and
a generous bowl of coffee. I could not help contrasting the expression
of these boys, when they were all collected, with that of a number of
negro children assembled together; the latter always so jolly and
careless, the former shy, serious, almost sombre. They looked, however,
very intelligent, and we were told that those of pure Indian descent
were more so than the half-breeds. The school is supported by the
province, but the fund is small, and the number of pupils is very
limited. Our pleasure in this school was somewhat marred by hearing
that, though it purports to be an orphan asylum, children who have
parents loath to part with them are sometimes taken by force from the
wild Indian tribes to be educated here. The appearance of a dark cell,
barred up like the cell of a wild animal, which was used as a prison for
refractory scholars, rather confirmed this impression. Whenever I have
made inquiries about these reports, I have been answered, that, if such
cases occur, it is only where children are taken from an utterly savage
and degraded condition, and that it is better they should be civilized
by main force than not civilized at all. It may be doubted, however,
whether any providence but the providence of God is so wise and so
loving that it may safely exercise a compulsory charity. Speaking of the
education of the Indians reminds me that we have been fortunate enough
to meet a French padre here who has furnished Mr. Agassiz with a package
of simple elementary Portuguese books, which he has already sent to our
literary Indian friend, José Maia. This kind priest offers also to take
the boy, for whom Maia was so anxious to secure an education, into the
seminary of which he is director, and where he receives charity

_September 12th._—On Sunday we left Manaos in the steamer for Tabatinga,
and are again on our way up the river. I insert here a letter which
gives a sort of _résumé_ of the scientific work up to this moment, and
shows also how constantly we were attended by the good-will of the
employés on the Amazonian line of steamers, and that of their excellent
director, Mr. Pimenta Bueno.

                                            MANAOS, 8 Septembre, 1865.

  _Senhor Pimenta Bueno._

  MON CHER AMI:—Vous serez probablement surpris de recevoir seulement
  quelques lignes de moi après le temps qui s’est écoulé depuis ma
  dernière lettre. Le fait est que depuis Obydos je suis allé de
  surprise en surprise et que j’ai à peine eu le temps de prendre soin
  des collections que nous avons faites, sans pouvoir les étudier
  convenablement. C’est ainsi que pendant le semaine que nous avons
  passée dans les environs de Villa Bella, au Lago José Assú et Lago
  Maximo, nous avons recueilli cent quatre-vingts espèces de poissons
  dont les deux tiers au moins sont nouvelles et ceux de mes
  compagnons qui sont restés à Santarem et dans le Tapajoz en ont
  rapporté une cinquantaine, ce qui fait déjà bien au delà de trois
  cents espèces en comptant celles de Porto do Moz, de Gurupá, de
  Tajapurú et de Monte Alégre. Vous voyez qu’avant même d’avoir
  parcouru le tiers du cours de l’Amazone, le nombre des poissons est
  plus du triple de celui de toutes les espèces connues jusqu’à ce
  jour, et je commence à m’apercevoir que nous ne ferons qu’effleurer
  la surface du centre de ce grand bassin. Que sera-ce lorsqu’on
  pourra étudier à loisir et dans l’époque la plus favorable tous ses
  affluents. Aussi je prends dès-à-présent la résolution de faire de
  plus nombreuses stations dans la partie supérieure du fleuve et de
  prolonger mon séjour aussi long-temps que mes forces me le
  permettront. Ne croyez pas cependant que j’oublie à qui je dois un
  pareil succès. C’est vous qui m’avez mis sur la voie en me faisant
  connaître les ressources de la fôret et mieux encore en me
  fournissant les moyens d’en tirer parti. Merci, mille fois, merci.
  Je dois aussi tenir grand compte de l’assistance que m’ont fournie
  les agents de la compagnie sur tous les points où nous avons touché.
  Notre aimable commandant s’est également évertué, et pendant que
  j’explorais les lacs des environs de Villa Bella il a fait lui-même
  une très belle collection dans l’Amazone même, où il a recueilli de
  nombreuses petites espèces que les pecheurs négligent toujours. A
  l’arrivée du Belem, j’ai reçu votre aimable lettre et une partie de
  l’alcohol que j’avais demandé à M. Bond. Je lui écris aujourd’hui
  pour qu’il m’en envoie encore une partie à Teffé et plus tard
  davantage à Manaos. Je vous remercie pour le catalogue des poissons
  du Pará; je vous le restituerai à notre retour, avec les additions
  que je ferai pendant le reste du voyage. Adieu, mon cher ami.

                                             Tout à vous,

                                                       L. AGASSIZ.[63]

Although no longer on board an independent steamer, we are still the
guests of the company, having government passages. Nothing can be more
comfortable than the travelling on these Amazonian boats. They are clean
and well kept, with good-sized state-rooms, which most persons use,
however, only as dressing-rooms, since it is always more agreeable to
sleep on the open deck in one’s hammock. The table is very well kept,
the fare good, though not varied. Bread is the greatest deficiency, but
hard biscuit makes a tolerable substitute. Our life is after this
fashion. We turn out of our hammocks at dawn, go down stairs to make our
toilets, and have a cup of hot coffee below. By this time the decks are
generally washed and dried, the hammocks removed, and we can go above
again. Between then and the breakfast hour, at half past ten o’clock, I
generally study Portuguese, though my lessons are somewhat interrupted
by watching the shore and the trees, a constant temptation when we are
coasting along near the banks. At half past ten or eleven o’clock
breakfast is served, and after that the glare of the sun becomes trying,
and I usually descend to the cabin, where we make up our journals, and
write during the middle of the day. At three o’clock I consider that the
working hours are over, and then I take a book and sit in my
lounging-chair on deck, and watch the scenery, and the birds and the
turtles, and the alligators if there are any, and am lazy in a general
way. At five o’clock dinner is served, (the meals being always on deck,)
and after that begins the delight of the day. At that hour it grows
deliciously cool, the sunsets are always beautiful, and we go to the
forward deck and sit there till nine o’clock in the evening. Then comes
tea, and then to our hammocks; I sleep in mine most profoundly till

To-day we stopped at a small station on the north side of the river
called Barreira das Cudajas. The few houses stand on a bank of red
drift, slightly stratified in some parts, and affording a support for
the river-mud, shored up against it. Since then, in our progress, we
have seen the same formation in several localities.

_September 13th._—This morning the steamer dropped anchor at the little
town of Coari on the Coari River,—one of the rivers of black water. We
were detained at this place for some hours, taking in wood; so slow a
process here, that an American, accustomed to the rapid methods of work
at home, looks on in incredulous astonishment. A crazy old canoe, with
its load of wood, creeps out from the shore, the slowness of its advance
accounted for by the fact that of its two rowers one has a broken
paddle, the other a long stick, to serve as apologies for oars. When the
boat reaches the side of the steamer, a line of men is formed some eight
or ten in number, and the wood is passed from hand to hand, log by log,
each log counted as it arrives. Mr. Agassiz timed them this morning, and
found that they averaged about seven logs a minute. Under these
circumstances, one can understand that stopping to wood is a long
affair. Since we left Coari we have been coasting along close to the
land, the continental shore, and not that of an island. The islands are
so large and numerous in the Amazons, that often when we believe
ourselves between the northern and southern margins of the river, we are
in fact between island shores. We have followed the drift almost
constantly to-day,—the same red drift with which we have become so
familiar in South America. Sometimes it rises in cliffs and banks above
the mud deposit, sometimes it crops out through the mud, occasionally
mingling with it and partially stratified, and in one locality it
overlaid a gray rock in place, the nature of which Mr. Agassiz could not
determine, but which was distinctly stratified and slightly tilted. The
drift is certainly more conspicuous as we ascend the river; is this
because we approach its source, or because the nature of the vegetation
allows us to see more of the soil? Since we left Manaos the forest has
been less luxuriant; it is lower on the Solimoens than on the Amazons,
more ragged and more open. The palms are also less numerous than
hitherto, but there is a tree here which rivals them in dignity. Its
flat dome, rounded but not conical, towers above the forest, and, when
seen from a distance, has an almost architectural character, so regular
is its form. This majestic tree, called the Sumaumeira (Eriodendron
Sumauma), is one of the few trees in this climate which shed their
leaves periodically, and now it lifts its broad rounded summit above the
green mass of vegetation around it, quite bare of foliage. Symmetrical
as it is, the branches are greatly ramified and very knotty. The bark is
white. It would seem that the season approaches when the Sumaumeiras
should take on their green garb again, for a few are already beginning
to put out young leaves. Beside this giant of the forest, the Imbauba
(Cecropia), much lower here, however, than in Southern Brazil, and the
Taxi, with its white flowers and brown buds, are very conspicuous along
the banks. Close upon the shore the arrow-grass, some five or six feet
in height, grows in quantity; it is called “frexas” here, being used by
the Indians to make their arrows.

_September 14th._—For the last day or two the shore has been higher than
we have seen it since leaving Manaos. We constantly pass cliffs of red
drift with a shallow beach of mud deposit resting against them; not
infrequently a gray rock, somewhat like clay slate, crops out below the
drift; this rock is very distinctly stratified, tilting sometimes to the
west, sometimes to the east, always unconformable with the overlying
drift.[64] The color of the drift changes occasionally, being sometimes
nearly white in this neighborhood instead of red. We are coming now to
that part of the Amazons where the wide sand-beaches occur, the
breeding-places of the turtles and alligators. It is not yet quite the
season for gathering the turtle-eggs, making the turtle-butter, &c., but
we frequently see the Indian huts on the beaches, and their stakes set
up for spreading and drying fish, which is one of the great articles of
commerce here. This morning we have passed several hours off the town of
Ega, or Teffé as the Brazilians call it. It takes its name from the
river Teffé, but the town itself stands on a small lake, formed by the
river just before it joins the Amazons. The entrance to the lake, which
is broken by a number of little channels or igarapés, and the approach
to the town, are exceedingly pretty. The town itself, with a wide beach
in front, standing on the slope of a green hill, where sheep and cattle,
a rare sight in this region, are grazing, looks very inviting. We
examined it with interest, for some of the party at least will return to
this station for the purpose of making collections.

_September 15th._—For the last two or three days we have been holding
frequent discussions as to the best disposition of our forces after
reaching Tabatinga;—a source of great anxiety to Mr. Agassiz, the time
we have to spend being so short, and the subjects of investigation so
various and so important. Should he give up the idea of continuing, in
person, his study of the fishes in the upper Amazons, leaving only some
parties to make collections, and going himself into Peru, to visit at
least the first spur of the Andes, with the purpose of ascertaining
whether any vestiges of glaciers are to be found in the valleys, and
also of making a collection of fishes from the mountain streams; or
should he renounce the journey into Peru for the present, and, making a
station somewhere in this region for the next month or two, complete, as
far as may be, his investigation of the distribution and development of
fishes in the Solimoens? Had the result of the Peruvian journey been
more certain, the decision would have been easier; but it is more than
likely that the torrential rains of this latitude have decomposed the
surface and swept away all traces of glaciers, if they ever existed at
so low a level. To go on, therefore, seemed a little like giving up a
certain for an uncertain result. Earnestly desirous of making the best
use of his time and opportunities here, this doubt has disturbed Mr.
Agassiz’s waking and sleeping thoughts for several days past. Yesterday
morning, at Teffé, a most unexpected adviser appeared in the midst of
our council of war. Insignificant in size, this individual,
nevertheless, brought great weight to the decision. The intruder was a
small fish with his mouth full of young ones. The practical plea was
irresistible,—embryology carried the day. A chance of investigating so
extraordinary a process of development, not only in this species but in
several others said to rear their young in the same fashion, was not to
be thrown away; and, besides, there was the prospect of making a
collection and a series of colored drawings, from the life, of the
immense variety of fishes in the river and lake of Teffé, and perhaps of
studying the embryology of the turtles and alligators in their breeding
season. Mr. Agassiz, therefore, decides to return to Teffé with his
artist and two or three other assistants, and to make a station there
for a month at least, leaving Mr. Bourget, with our Indian fisherman, at
Tabatinga to collect in that region, and sending Mr. James and Mr.
Talisman to the river Putumayo, or Iça, and afterwards to the Hyutahy
for the same purpose. This dispersion of parties to collect
simultaneously in different areas, divided from each other by
considerable distances, will show how the fishes are distributed, and
whether their combinations differ in these localities as they have been
found to do in the Lower Amazons.

I insert here a letter to the Emperor on the subject of this curious
fish, which happened to be one which Mr. Agassiz had formerly dedicated
to him.

                                            TEFFÉ, 14 Septembre, 1865.

  SIRE:—En arrivant ici ce matin j’ai eu la surprise la plus agréable
  et la plus inattendue. Le premier poisson qui me fut apporté était
  l’Acara que votre Majesté a bien voulu me permettre de lui dédier et
  par un bonheur inouï c’était l’époque de la ponte et il avait la
  bouche pleine de petits vivants, en voie de développement. Voilà
  donc le fait le plus incroyable en embryologie pleinement confirmé,
  et il ne me reste plus qu’à étudier en detail et à loisir tous les
  changements que subissent ces petits jusqu’au moment où ils quittent
  leur singulier nid, afin que je puisse publier un récit complet de
  cette singulière histoire. Mes prévisions sur la distribution des
  poissons se confirment; le fleuve est habité par plusieurs faunes
  ichthyologiques très distinctes, qui n’ont pour lien commun qu’un
  très petit nombre d’espèces qu’on rencontre partout. Il reste
  maintenant à préciser les limites de ces régions ichthyologiques et
  peut-être me laisserai-je entraîner à consacrer quelque temps à
  cette étude, si je trouve les moyens d’y parvenir. Il y a maintenant
  une question qui devient fort intéressante, c’est de savoir jusqu’à
  quel point le même phénomène se reproduit dans chacun des grands
  affluents du Rio Amazonas, ou en d’autres termes si les poissons des
  régions supérieures du Rio Madeira et du Rio Negro, etc., etc., sont
  les mêmes que ceux du cours inférieur de ces fleuves. Quant à la
  diversité même des poissons du bassin tout entier mes prévisions
  sont de beaucoup dépassées. Avant d’arriver à Manaos j’avais déjà
  recueilli plus de trois cents espèces, c. à. d. le triple des
  espèces connues jusqu’à ce jour au moins. La moitié environ out pu
  être peintes sur le vivant par M. Burkhardt; en sorte que si je puis
  parvenir à publier tous ces documents, les renseignements que je
  pourrai fournir sur ce sujet dépasseront de beaucoup tout ce que
  l’on a publié jusqu’à ce jour.

  Je serais bien heureux d’apprendre que Votre Majesté n’a pas
  rencontré de difficultés dans son voyage et qu’Elle a atteint
  pleinement le but qu’Elle se proposait. Nous sommes ici sans
  nouvelles du Sud, depuis que nous avons quitté Rio, et tout ce que
  nous avions appris alors était qu’après une traversée assez orageuse
  votre Majesté avait atteint le Rio Grande. Que Dieu protège et
  bénisse votre Majesté! Avec les sentiments du plus profond respect
  et de la reconnaissance la plus vive,

  Je suis de votre Majesté

                   le très humble et très obéissant serviteur,

                                                       L. AGASSIZ.[65]

The character of the banks yesterday and to-day continues unchanged;
they are rather high, rising now and then in bluffs and presenting the
same mixture of reddish drift and mud deposit, with the gray, slaty rock
below, cropping out occasionally. This morning we are stopping to wood
at a station opposite the village of Fonte Bôa. Here Mr. Agassiz has had
an opportunity of going on shore and examining this formation. He finds
a thick bed of ferruginous sandstone underlying a number of thinner beds
of mud clay, resembling old clay slate with cleavage. These beds are
overlaid by a bank of ochre-colored sandy clay (designated as drift
above), with hardly any signs of stratification. Yesterday we passed
several lakes, shut out from the river by mud-bars, and seemingly
haunted by waterfowl. In one we saw immense flocks of what looked at
that distance either like red Ibises or red spoonbills, and also numbers
of gulls. Our sportsmen looked longingly at them, and are impatient for
the time when we shall be settled on land, and they can begin to make
havoc among the birds.

_September 17th._—Last evening we took in wood from the shore some miles
below the town of Tonantins. I sat watching the Indians on the bank, of
whom there were some fifteen or twenty, men, women, and children; the
men loading the wood, the women and children being there apparently to
look on. They had built a fire on the bank, and hung their nets or
cotton tents, under which they sleep, on the trees behind. They made a
wild group, passing to and fro in the light of the fire, the care of
which seemed the special charge of a tall, gaunt, weird-looking woman,
who would have made a good Meg Merrilies. She seemed to have but one
garment,—a long, brown, stuff robe, girt round the waist; as she strode
about the fire, throwing on fresh logs and stirring the dying embers,
the flames blazed up in her face, lighting her tawny skin and long,
unkempt hair, flickering over the figures of women and children about
her, and shedding a warm glow over the forest which made the setting to
the picture. This is the only very tall Indian woman I have seen;
usually the women are rather short of stature. When the Indians had made
their preparations for the night, they heaped damp fuel on the fire till
it smouldered down and threw out thick clouds of smoke, enveloping the
sleeping-tents, and no doubt driving off effectually the clouds of
mosquitoes, from which the natives seem as great sufferers as strangers.
These upper stations on the Amazons are haunted by swarms of mosquitoes
at night, and during the day by a little biting fly called Pium, no less

_September 18th._—Another pause last evening at the village of San
Paolo, standing on a ridge which rises quite steeply from the river and
sinks again into a ravine behind. Throughout all this region the banks
are eaten away by the river, large portions falling into the water at a
time, and carrying the trees with them. These land-slides are so
frequent and so extensive as to make travelling along the banks in small
boats quite dangerous. The scenery of the Solimoens is by no means so
interesting as that of the Lower Amazons. The banks are ragged and
broken, the forest lower, less luxuriant, and the palm growth very
fitful. For a day or two past we have scarcely seen any palms. One kind
seems common, however, namely, the Paxiuba Barriguda—Pa-shee-oo-ba
(Iriartea ventricosa), a species not unlike the Assai in dignity of
port, but remarkable for the swelling of its stem at half height, giving
it a sort of spindle shape. The cut of the foliage is peculiar also,
each leaflet being wedge-shaped. The steamer is often now between the
shores of the river itself instead of coasting along by the many lovely
islands which make the voyage between Pará and Manaos so diversified;
what is thus gained in dimensions is lost in picturesqueness of detail.
Then the element of human life and habitations is utterly wanting; one
often travels for a day without meeting even so much as a hut. But if
men are not to be seen, animals are certainly plenty; as our steamer
puffs along, great flocks of birds rise up from the shore, turtles pop
their black noses out of the water, alligators show themselves
occasionally, and sometimes a troop of brown Capivari scuttles up the
bank, taking refuge in the trees at our approach. To-morrow morning we
reach Tabatinga, and touch the farthest point of our journey.

_September 20th._—On Monday evening we arrived at Tabatinga, remaining
there till Wednesday morning to discharge the cargo,—a lengthy process,
with the Brazilian method of working. Tabatinga is the frontier town
between Brazil and Peru, and is dignified by the name of a military
station, though when one looks at the two or three small mounted guns on
the bank, the mud house behind them constituting barracks, with half a
dozen soldiers lounging in front of it, one cannot but think that the
fortification is not a very formidable one.[66] The town itself standing
on a mud bluff, deeply ravined and cracked in many directions, consists
of some dozen ruinous houses built around an open square. Of the
inhabitants I saw but little, for it was toward evening when I went on
shore, and they were already driven under shelter by the mosquitoes. One
or two looked out from their doors and gave me a friendly warning not to
proceed unless I was prepared to be devoured, and indeed the buzzing
swarm about me soon drove me back to the steamer. The mosquitoes by
night and the Piums by day are said to render life almost intolerable
here. Under these circumstances we could form little idea of the
character of the vegetation in our short stay. But we made the
acquaintance of one curious palm, the Tucum, a species of Astrocaryum,
the fibre of which makes an excellent material for weaving hammocks,
fishing-nets, and the like. It is gradually becoming an important
article of commerce. The approach to Tabatinga, with two or three
islands in the neighborhood, numerous igarapés opening out of the river,
and the Hyavary emptying into it, is, however, one of the prettiest
parts of the Solimoens. We found here four members of a Spanish
scientific commission, who have been travelling several years in South
and Central America, and whose track we have crossed several times
without meeting them. They welcomed the arrival of the steamer with
delight, having awaited their release at Tabatinga for two or three
weeks. The party consisted of Drs. Almagro, Spada, Martinez, and Isern.
They had just accomplished an adventurous journey, having descended the
Napo on a raft, which their large collection of live animals had turned
into a sort of Noah’s ark. After various risks and exposures they had
arrived at Tabatinga, having lost almost all their clothing, except what
they wore, by shipwreck. Fortunately, their papers and collections were
saved.[67] We are now on our way down the river again, having left Mr.
Bourget at Tabatinga to pass a month in making collections in that
region, and dropped Mr. James and Mr. Talisman last evening at San
Paolo, where they are to get a canoe and Indians for their further
journey to the Iça. This morning, while stopping to wood at Fonte Bôa,
Mr. Agassiz went on shore and collected a very interesting series of
fossil plants in the lower mud deposit; he was also very successful in
making a small collection of fishes, containing several new species,
during the few hours we passed at this place.

_September 25th._—Teffé. On Friday, the day after my last date, we were
within two or three hours of Teffé; we had just finished packing our
various effects, and were closing our letters to be mailed from Manaos,
when the steamer came to a sudden pause with that dead, sullen,
instantaneous stop which means mischief. The order to reverse the
engines was given instantly, but we had driven with all our force into
the bed of the river, and there we remained, motionless. This is
sometimes rather a serious accident at the season when the waters are
falling, steamers having been occasionally stranded for a number of
weeks. It is not easily guarded against, the river bottom changing so
constantly and so suddenly that even the most experienced pilots cannot
always avoid disaster. They may pass with perfect safety in their upward
voyage over a place where, on their return, they find a formidable bank
of mud. During three hours the crew worked ineffectually, trying to back
the steamer off, or sinking the anchor at a distance to drag her back
upon it. At five o’clock in the afternoon the sky began to look black
and lowering, and presently a violent squall, with thunder and rain,
broke upon us. The wind did, in an instant, what man and steam together
had failed to do in hours. As the squall struck the steamer on her side,
she vibrated, veered and floated free. There was a general stir of
delight at this sudden and unexpected liberation, for the delay was
serious to all. One or two of the passengers were merchants, to whom it
was important to meet the steamer of the 25th at Manaos, which connects
with other steamers all along the coast; and the members of the Spanish
scientific commission, if they could not at once transfer their effects
to the other steamer, would not only miss the next European steamer, but
must be at the expense and care of storing their various luggage and
maintaining their live stock at Manaos for a fortnight. And lastly, to
Mr. Agassiz himself it was a serious disappointment to lose two or three
days out of the precious month for investigations at Teffé. Therefore,
every face beamed when the kindly shock of the wind set us afloat again;
but the work, so vainly spent to release us, was but too efficient in
keeping us prisoners. The anchor, which had been sunk in the mud at some
distance, was so deeply buried that it was difficult to raise it, and in
the effort to do so we grounded again. Indeed, environed as we were by
mud and sand, it was no easy matter to find a channel out of them. We
now remained motionless all night, though the Captain was unremitting in
his efforts and kept the men at work till morning, when, at about seven
o’clock, the boat worked herself free at last, and we thought our
troubles fairly over. But the old proverb “There’s many a slip ‘twixt
the cup and the lip” never was truer; on starting once more we found
that, in the strain and shock to which the ship had been submitted, the
rudder was broken. In view of this new disaster, the passengers for Pará
gave up all hope of meeting the steamer at Manaos, and the rest resigned
themselves to waiting with such philosophy as they could muster. The
whole of that day and the following night were spent in rigging up a new
rudder, and it was not until eight o’clock on Sunday morning that we
were once more on our way, arriving at Teffé at eleven o’clock.


Footnote 59:

  As will be seen hereafter, want of time and the engrossing character
  of his work in the Amazons, compelled Mr. Agassiz to renounce the
  journey into Peru, as also the ascent of the river Madeira.

Footnote 60:

  _To His Excellency M. Couto de Magalhaēs, President of Pará._

  MY DEAR SIR:—I thank you sincerely for the kind letter you were so
  good as to write me last week, and I hasten to inform you of the
  extraordinary success which continues to crown our efforts. It is
  certain from this time forth, that the number of fishes inhabiting the
  Amazons greatly exceeds all that has hitherto been imagined, and that
  their distribution is very limited on the whole, though a small number
  of species have followed us since we left Pará and others have a range
  more or less extensive. You remember, perhaps, that, when alluding to
  my hopes, I told you one day that I believed in the possibility of
  finding from two hundred and fifty to three hundred species of fish in
  the whole basin of the Amazons; even now, having passed over less than
  one third of the main stream, and only diverged here and there to some
  points beyond its shores, I have already obtained more than three
  hundred. It is incredible, above all, if one considers that the total
  number known to naturalists does not reach one third of what I have
  already collected. This result scarcely allows one to foresee the
  discoveries to be made whenever the affluents of the great river are
  explored with the same care. An exploration of the Araguay for its
  whole course, in order to teach us how many different combinations of
  distinct species occur in succession, from its sources to its junction
  with the Tocantins and lower down till it meets the Amazons, would be
  an enterprise worthy of you. You have already a sort of scientific
  property in this river, to which you would add new rights in
  furnishing science with this information.

  Permit me to express to you all the gratitude I feel for the interest
  you take in my young travelling companion. Mr. Ward is worthy of it,
  alike from his youth, his courage, and his devotion to science. Mr.
  Epaminondas has just communicated to me your generous intentions
  towards myself, and your purpose of sending a steamer to Manaos to
  take the place of the Piraja, and facilitate our exploration of the
  Rio Negro and the Rio Madeira. I do not know how to thank you enough;
  all that I can say is, that this favor will allow me to make an
  exploration of these rivers which would be otherwise impossible. If
  the result of these researches be as favorable as my hopes, the honor
  will be due, in the first instance, to the liberality of the Brazilian
  government. Encouraged by the results thus far obtained, I think that,
  if the circumstances are favorable, on arriving at Tabatinga, we shall
  make a push into the lower part of Peru, while my companions will
  explore the rivers intermediate between this town and Teffé; so that
  we shall probably not return to Manaos before the end of October.

  Accept, my dear Sir, the assurance of my high regard, &c., &c.

                                                             L. AGASSIZ.

Footnote 61:

  Some English travellers have criticised the position of the town, and
  regretted that it is not placed lower down, at the immediate junction
  of the Rio Negro with the Solimoens. But its actual situation is much
  better, on account of the more quiet port, removed as it is from the
  violent currents caused by the meeting of the two rivers.—L. A.

Footnote 62:

  When this was written there was hardly any prospect of the early
  opening of the Amazons to the free commerce of the world. The
  circumstance that since the 7th of September last this great
  fresh-water ocean has been made free to the mercantile shipping of all
  nations will, no doubt, immensely accelerate the development of
  civilization in these desert regions. No act could have exhibited more
  unequivocally the liberal policy which actuates the Brazilian
  government than this. To complete the great work, two things are still
  wanting,—a direct high road between the upper tributaries of the Rio
  Madeira and Rio Paraguay, and the abolition of the subsidies granted
  to privileged companies, that the colossal traffic of which the whole
  basin is susceptible may truly be thrown open to a fair
  competition.—L. A.

Footnote 63:

  _Senahor Pimenta Bueno._

  MY DEAR FRIEND:—You will probably be surprised to receive only a few
  lines from me after the time which has elapsed since my last letter.
  The truth is, that, since Obydos, I have passed from surprise to
  surprise, and that I have scarcely had time to take care of the
  collections we have made, without being able to study them properly.
  Thus, during the week we spent in the environs of Villa Bella, at Lago
  José Assú and Lago Maximo, we have collected one hundred and eighty
  species of fishes, two thirds of which, at least, are new, while those
  of my companions who remained at Santarem and upon the Tapajoz have
  brought back some fifty more, making already more than three hundred
  species, including those of Porto do Moz, of Gurupá, of Tajapurú, and
  of Monte Alégre. You see that before having ascended the Amazons for
  one third of its course, the number of fishes is more than triple that
  of all the species known thus far, and I begin to perceive that we
  shall not do more than skim over the surface of the centre of this
  great basin. What will it be when it becomes possible to study all its
  affluents at leisure and in the most favorable season! I have resolved
  to make more numerous stations in the upper part of the river and to
  stay as long as my strength and means will allow. Do not think,
  however, that I forget to whom I owe such a success. It is you who
  have put me on the path, by making known to me the resources of the
  forest, and, better still, by furnishing me with the means to profit
  by them. Thanks, a thousand times, thanks. I ought also to acknowledge
  the assistance afforded me by the agents of the Company, at all the
  points where we have touched. Our amiable commander has also exerted
  himself, and while I explored the lakes in the neighborhood of Villa
  Bella, he made a very fine collection in the Amazons, especially of
  the numerous small species always overlooked by fishermen. On the
  arrival of the Belem I received your kind letter and a part of the
  alcohol I had asked from Mr. Bond. I am writing to-day to ask him to
  send me a part to Teffé, and, somewhat later, more to Manaos. Thank
  you for the catalogue of Pará fishes; I shall give it back on our
  return, with the additions I shall make during the remainder of the
  voyage. Adieu, my dear friend.

                                            Ever yours,

                                                             L. AGASSIZ.

Footnote 64:

  In the course of the investigation, I have ascertained that this slaty
  rock, as well as the hard sandstone seen along the river-banks at
  Manaos, forms part of the great drift formation of the Amazons, and
  that there is neither old red sandstone, nor trias, here, as older
  observers supposed.—L. A.

Footnote 65:

                                              TEFFÉ, 14 September, 1865.

  SIRE:—On arriving here this morning I had the most agreeable and
  unexpected surprise. The first fish brought to me was the Acara, which
  your Majesty kindly permitted me to dedicate to you, and by an
  unlooked-for good fortune it was the breeding season, and it had its
  mouth full of little young ones in the process of development. Here,
  then, is the most incredible fact in embryology fully confirmed, and
  it remains for me only to study, in detail and at leisure, all the
  changes which the young undergo up to the moment when they leave their
  singular nest, in order that I may publish a complete account of this
  curious history. My anticipations as to the distribution of fishes are
  confirmed; the river is inhabited by several very distinct
  ichthyological faunæ, which have, as a common link, only a very small
  number of species to be met with everywhere. It remains now to
  ascertain with precision the limits of these ichthyological regions,
  and I may perhaps be drawn on to devote some time to this study, if I
  find the means of accomplishing it. There is a question which now
  becomes very interesting; it is to know how far the same phenomenon is
  reproduced in each one of the great affluents of the river Amazons,
  or, in other words, whether the fishes of the upper regions of the Rio
  Madeira, the Rio Negro, &c., &c., are the same as those of the lower
  course of these rivers. As to the diversity of fishes in the whole
  basin, my expectations are far surpassed. Before arriving at Manaos I
  had already collected more than three hundred species, that is to say,
  at least three times the number of species thus far known. About half
  have been painted from life by Mr. Burkhardt; if I can succeed in
  publishing all these documents, the information I shall be able to
  furnish on this subject will exceed all that has been thus far made
  known. I should be very glad to learn that your Majesty has not met
  with difficulties on the voyage, and has been able fully to accomplish
  the ends proposed. We are here without news from the South since we
  left Rio, and all we had learned then was, that after a very stormy
  passage your Majesty had reached the Rio Grande. May God protect and
  bless your Majesty!

  With sentiments of the most profound respect and the liveliest
  gratitude, I am

                   Your Majesty’s very humble and obedient servant,

                                                             L. AGASSIZ.

Footnote 66:

  At this point the Amazonian meets the Peruvian steamer, and they
  exchange cargoes. Formerly the Brazilian company of Amazonian steamers
  extended its line of travel to Laguna, at the mouth of the Huallaga.
  Now this part of the journey has passed into the hands of a Peruvian
  company, whose steamers run up to Urimaguas on the Huallaga. They are,
  however, by no means so comfortable as the Brazilian steamers, having
  little or no accommodation for passengers. The upper Marañon is
  navigable for large steamers as far as Jaen, as are also its
  tributaries, the Huallaga and Ucayali on the south, the Moronha,
  Pastazza, and Napo on the north, to a great distance above their
  junction with the main stream. There is reason to believe that all
  these larger affluents of the Amazons will before long have their
  regular lines of steamers like the great river itself. The opening of
  the Amazons, no doubt, will hasten this result.—L. A.

Footnote 67:

  These gentlemen descended the river with us as far as Teffé, and we
  afterwards heard of their safe arrival in Madrid. They had, however,
  suffered much in health, and Mr. Isern died soon after his return to
  his native land.

                              CHAPTER VII.
                             LIFE IN TEFFÉ.


_September 27th._—Of all the little settlements we have seen on the
Amazons, Teffé looks the most smiling and pleasant. Just now the town,
or, as it should rather be called, the village, stands, as I have said,
above a broad sand-beach; in the rainy season, however, we are told that
the river covers this beach completely, and even encroaches on the
fields beyond, coming almost to the threshold of some of the dwellings.
The houses are generally built of mud, plastered over and roofed with
tiles, or thatched with palm. Almost all have a little ground about
them, enclosed in a picket fence, and planted with orange-trees and
different kinds of palms,—Cocoa-nut, Assais, and Pupunhas or
peach-palms. The latter bears, in handsome clusters, a fruit not unlike
the peach in size and coloring; it has a mealy character when cooked,
and is very palatable, eaten with sugar. The green hill behind the town,
on which cows and sheep are grazing,[68] slopes up to the forest, and
makes a pretty background to the picture. In approaching the village,
many little inlets of the lake and river give promise of pleasant canoe
excursions. Through our friend Major Coutinho we had already bespoken
lodgings, and to-day finds us as comfortably established as it is
possible for such wayfarers to be. Our house stands on an open green
field, running down to the water, and is enclosed only on two sides by
buildings. In front, it commands a pretty view of the beach and of the
opposite shore across the water. Behind, it has a little open ground
planted with two or three orange-trees, surrounding a turtle-tank, which
will be very convenient for keeping live specimens. A well-stocked
turtle-tank is to be found in almost every yard, as the people depend
largely upon turtles for their food. The interior of the house is very
commodious. On the right of the flagged entry is a large room already
transformed into a laboratory. Here are numerous kegs, cans, and barrels
for specimens, a swinging-shelf to keep birds and insects out of the way
of the ants, a table for drawing, and an immense empty packing-case, one
side of which serves as a table for cleaning and preparing birds, while
the open space beneath makes a convenient cupboard for keeping the
instruments and materials of one sort and another, used in the process.
After a little practice in travelling one learns to improvise the
conveniences for work almost without the accessories which seem
indispensable at home. Opposite to the laboratory on the other side of
the entry is a room of the same size, where the gentlemen have slung
their hammocks; back of this is my room, from the window of which,
looking into the court behind, I get a glimpse of some lovely Assai
palms and one or two orange-trees in full flower; adjoining that is the
dining-room, with a large closet leading out of it, used as a
storage-place for alcohol, and serving at this moment as a prison-house
for two live alligators who are awaiting execution there. The news of
our arrival has already gone abroad, and the fishermen and boys of the
village are bringing in specimens of all sorts,—alligators, turtles,
fish, insects, birds. Enough is already gathered to show what a rich
harvest may be expected in this neighborhood.

[Illustration: Veranda and Dining-room at Teffé.]

_September 28th._—Yesterday afternoon, between sunset and moonlight, our
neighbor Dr. Romualdo invited us to go with him and his friend Senhor
Joaō da Cunha on a fishing excursion into one of the pretty bayous that
open out to the lake. As our canoe entered it, lazy alligators were
lying about in the still glassy water, with their heads just resting
above the surface; a tall, gray heron stood on the shore, as if watching
his reflection, almost as distinct as himself, and a variety of
water-birds sailed over our heads as we intruded upon their haunts. When
we had reached a certain point, the Indians sprang up to their necks in
the water, (which was, by the way, unpleasantly warm,) and stretched the
net. After a few minutes, they dragged it into shore with a load of
fish, which seemed almost as wonderful as Peter’s miraculous draught. As
the net was landed the fish broke from it in hundreds, springing through
the meshes and over the edges, and literally covering the beach. The
Indians are very skilful in drawing the net, going before it and lashing
the water with long rods to frighten the fish and drive them in. Senhor
da Cunha, who is a very ardent lover of the sport, worked as hard as any
of the boatmen, plunging into the water to lend a hand at the net or
drive in the fish, and, when the draught was landed on the beach,
rushing about in the mud to catch the little fishes which jumped in
myriads through the meshes, with an enthusiasm equal to that of Mr.
Agassiz himself. The operation was repeated several times, always with
the same success, and we returned by moonlight with a boat-load of fish,
which Mr. Agassiz is examining this morning, while Mr. Burkhardt makes
colored drawings of the rarer specimens. Here, as elsewhere in the
Amazonian waters, the variety of species is bewildering. The collections
already number more than four hundred, including those from Pará, and,
while every day brings in new species, new genera are by no means
infrequent. The following letter to Professor Milne Edwards, of the
Jardin des Plantes, gives some account of the work in this department.

                                           TEFFÉ, le 22 Septembre, 1865.

MON CHER AMI ET TRÈS HONORÉ CONFRÈRE:—Me voici depuis deux mois dans le
bassin de l’Amazone et c’est ici que j’ai eu la douleur de recevoir la
nouvelle de la mort de mon vieil ami Valenciennes. J’en suis d’autant
plus affecté que personne plus que lui n’aurait apprécié les résultats
de mon voyage, dont je me réjouissais déjà de lui faire part
prochainement. Vous concevrez naturellement que c’est à la classe des
poissons que je consacre la meilleure partie de mon temps et ma récolte
excède toutes mes prévisions. Vous en jugerez par quelques données. En
atteignant Manaos, à la jonction du Rio Negro et de l’Amazonas, j’avais
déjà recueilli plus de trois cents espèces de poissons, dont la moitié
au moins ont été peintes sur le vivant c. à. d. d’après le poisson
nageant dans un grand vase en verre devant mon dessinateur. Je suis
souvent peiné de voir avec quelle légèreté on a publié des planches
coloriées de ces animaux. Ce n’est pas seulement tripler le nombre des
espèces connues, je compte les genres nouveaux par douzaines et j’ai
cinq ou six familles nouvelles pour l’Amazone et une voisine des
Gobioides entièrement nouvelle pour l’Ichthyologie. C’est surtout parmi
les petites espèces que je trouve le plus de nouveautés. J’ai des
Characins de cinq à six centimètres et au-dessous, ornés des teintes les
plus élégantes, des Cyprinodontes, se rapprochant un peu de ceux de Cuba
et des Etats-Unis, des Scomberésoces voisins du Bélone de la
Méditerranée, un nombre considérable de Carapoides, des Raies de genres
differents de ceux de l’océan, et qui par conséquent ne sont pas des
espèces qui remontent le fleuve. Une foule de Goniodontes et de
Chromides de genres et d’espèces inédits. Mais ce que j’apprécie surtout
c’est la facilité que j’ai d’étudier les changements que tous ces
poissons subissent avec l’âge et les différences de sexe qui existent
entr’eux et qui sont souvent très considérables. C’est ainsi que j’ai
observé une espèce de Geophagus dont le mâle porte sur le front une
bosse très-saillante qui manque entièrement à la femelle et aux jeunes.
Ce même poisson a un mode de reproduction des plus extraordinaires. Les
œufs passent, je ne sais trop comment, dans la bouche dont ils tapissent
le fond, entre les appendices intérieurs des arcs branchiaux et surtout
dans une poche formée par les pharyngiens supérieurs qu’ils remplissent
complètement. Là ils éclosent et les petits, libérés de leur coque, se
développent jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient en état de fournir à leur
existence. Je ne sais pas encore combien de temps cela va durer; mais
j’ai déjà rencontré des exemplaires dont les jeunes n’avaient plus de
sac vitellaire, qui hébergeaient encore leur progéniture. Comme je
passerai environ un mois à Teffé, j’espère pouvoir compléter cette
observation. L’examen de la structure d’un grand nombre de Chromides m’a
fait entrevoir des affinités entre ces poissons et diverses autres
familles dont on ne s’est jamais avisé de les rapprocher. Et d’abord je
me suis convaincu que les Chromides, répartis autrefois parmi les
Labroides et les Sciènoides, constituent bien réellement un groupe
naturel, reconnu à peu près en même temps et d’une manière indépendante
par Heckel et J. Müller. Mais il y a plus; les genres Enoplosus,
Pomotis, Centrarchus et quelques autres genres voisins, rangés parmi les
Percoides par tous les Ichthyologistes, me paraissent, d’ici et sans
moyen de comparaison directe, tellement voisins des Chromides que je ne
vois pas comment on pourra les en séparer, surtout maintenant que je
sais que les pharyngiens inférieurs ne sont pas toujours soudés chez les
Chromides. Et puis l’embryologie et les métamorphoses des Chromides que
je viens d’étudier m’ont convaincu que les “Poissons à branchies
labyrinthiques” séparés de tous les autres poissons par Cuvier comme une
famille entièrement isolée, à raison de la structure étrange de ses
organes respiratoires, se rattachent de très-près aux Chromides. Ce
groupe devient ainsi par ses affinités variées, l’un des plus
intéressants de la classe des poissons, et le bassin de l’Amazone paraît
être la vraie patrie de cette famille. Je ne veux pas vous fatiguer de
mes recherches ichthyologiques; permettez moi seulement d’ajouter que
les poissons ne sont point uniformément répandus dans ce grand bassin.
Déjà j’ai acquis la certitude qu’il faut y distinguer plusieurs faunes
ichthyologiques, très-nettement caractérisées; c’est ainsi que les
espèces qui habitent la rivière du Pará, des bords de la mer jusque vers
l’embouchure du Tocantins, diffèrent de celles que l’on rencontre dans
le réseau d’anastomoses qui unissent la rivière de Pará à l’Amazone
propre. Les espèces de l’Amazone, au-dessous du Xingu, diffèrent de
celles que j’ai rencontrées plus haut; celles du cours inférieur du
Xingu, diffèrent de celles du cours inférieur du Tapajos. Celles des
nombreux igarapés et lacs de Manaos diffèrent également de celles du
cours principal du grand fleuve et de ses principaux affluents. Il reste
maintenant à étudier les changements qui peuvent survenir dans cette
distribution, dans le cours de l’année, suivant la hauteur des eaux et
peut-être aussi suivant l’époque à laquelle les différentes espèces
pondent leurs œufs. Jusqu’à présent je n’ai rencontré qu’un petit nombre
d’espèces qui aient une aire de distribution très étendue. C’est ainsi
que le Sudis gigas se trouve à-peu-près partout. C’est le poisson le
plus important du fleuve; celui qui comme aliment remplace le bétail
pour les populations riveraines. Un autre problème à résoudre c’est de
savoir jusqu’à quel point les grands affluents de l’Amazone répètent ce
phénomène de la distribution locale des poissons. Je vais chercher à le
résoudre en remontant le Rio Negro et le Rio Madeira et comme je
reviendrai à Manaos, je pourrai comparer mes premières observations dans
cette localité, avec celles d’une autre saison de l’année. Adieu, mon
cher ami. Veuillez faire mes amitiés à M. Elie de Beaumont et me
rappeler aux bons souvenirs de ceux de mes collègues de l’Académie qui
veulent bien s’intéresser à mes travaux actuels. Faites aussi, je vous
prie, mes amitiés à M. votre fils.

                              Tout à vous,

                                                         L. AGASSIZ.[69]

Mr. Agassiz has already secured quite a number of the singular type of
Acarà, which carries its young in its mouth, and he has gathered a good
deal of information about its habits. The fishermen here say that this
mode of caring for the young prevails more or less in all the family of
Acarà. They are not all born there, however; some lay their eggs in the
sand, and, hovering over their nest, take up the little ones in their
mouth, when they are hatched. The fishermen also add, that these fish do
not always keep their young in the mouth, but leave them sometimes in
the nest, taking them up only on the approach of danger.[70]

Our household is now established on a permanent basis. We had at first
some difficulty in finding servants; at this fishing season, when the
men are going off to dry and salt fish, and when the season for hunting
turtle-eggs and making turtle-butter is coming on, the town is almost
deserted by the men. It is like haying-time in this country, when every
arm is needed in the fields. Then the habits of the Indians are so
irregular, and they care so little for money, finding, as they do, the
means of living almost without work immediately about them, that even if
one does engage a servant, he is likely to disappear the next day. An
Indian will do more for good-will and a glass of cachaça (rum) than he
will do for wages, which are valueless to him. The individual, who has
been supplying the place of indoors man while we have been looking for a
servant, is so original in his appearance that he deserves a special
description. He belongs to a neighbor who has undertaken to provide our
meals, and he brings them when they are prepared and waits on the table.
He is rather an elderly Indian, and his dress consists of a pair of
cotton drawers, originally white, but now of many hues and usually
rolled up to the knees, his feet being bare; the upper part of his
person is partially (very partially) concealed by a blue rag, which I
suppose in some early period of the world’s history must have been a
shirt; this extraordinary figure is surmounted by an old straw hat full
of holes, bent in every direction, and tied under the chin by a red
string. Had he not been a temporary substitute, we should have tried to
obtain a more respectable livery for him; but to-day he gives place to
an Indian lad, Bruno by name, who presents a more decent appearance,
though he seems rather bewildered by his new office. At present his idea
of waiting on the table seems to be to sit on the floor and look at us
while we eat. However, we hope to break him in gradually. He looks as if
he had not been long redeemed from the woods, for his face is deeply
tattooed with black, and his lips and nose are pierced with holes,
reminding one of the becoming vanities he has renounced in favor of
civilization.[71] Besides Bruno we have a girl, Alexandrina by name,
who, by her appearance, has a mixture of Indian and black blood in her
veins. She promises very well, and seems to have the intelligence of the
Indian with the greater pliability of the negro.

_September 29th._—One of the great charms of our residence here is, that
we have so many pleasant walks within easy reach. My favorite walk in
the early morning is to the wood on the brow of the hill. From the
summit, the sunrise is lovely over the village below, the lake with its
many picturesque points and inlets, and the forests on the opposite
shores. From this spot a little path through the bushes brings one at
once into a thick, beautiful wood. Here one may wander at will, for
there are a great many paths, worn by the Indians, through the trees;
and one is constantly tempted on by the cool, pleasant shade, and by the
perfume of moss and fern and flower. The forest here is full of life and
sound. The buzz of insects, the shrill cry of the cicadas, the
chattering talk of the papagaios, and occasionally busy voices of the
monkeys, make the woods eloquent. The monkeys are, however, very
difficult of approach, and though I hear them often, I have not yet seen
them on the trees; but Mr. Hunnewell told me that the other day, when
shooting in this very wood, he came upon a family of small white monkeys
sitting on a bough together, and talking with much animation. One of the
prettiest of the paths, with which my daily walks made me familiar,
leads over an igarapé to a house, or rather to a large thatched shed, in
the forest, used for preparing mandioca. It is supplied with four large
clay ovens, having immense shallow pans fitted on to the top, with
troughs for kneading, sieves for straining, and all the apparatus for
the various processes to which the mandioca is subjected. One utensil is
very characteristic; the large, empty turtle-shells, which may be seen
in every kitchen, used as basins, bowls, &c. I suppose this little
establishment is used by a number of persons, for in my morning walks I
always meet troops of Indians going to it, the women with their deep
working baskets,—something like the Swiss “hotte,”—in which they carry
their tools, on their backs, supported by a straw band fastened across
the forehead, and their babies astride on their hips, so as to leave
their hands perfectly free. They always give me a cordial morning
greeting and stop to look at the plants and flowers with which I am
usually laden. Some of the women are quite pretty, but as a general
thing the Indians in this part of the country do not look very healthy,
and are apt to have diseases of the eyes and skin. It is a curious thing
that the natives seem more liable to the maladies of the country than
strangers. They are very subject to intermittent fevers, and one often
sees Indians worn to mere skin and bone by this terrible scourge.

If the morning walk in the woods is delightful, the evening stroll on
the beach in front of the house is no less so, when the water is dyed in
the purple sunset, and the quiet of the scene is broken here and there
by a fire on the sands, around which a cluster of Indians are cooking
their supper. As Major Coutinho and I were walking on the shore last
evening we came on such a group. They were a family who had come over
from their home on the other side of the lake, with a boat-load of fish
and turtle to sell in the village. When they have disposed of their
cargo, they build their fire on the beach, eat their supper of salted or
broiled fish, farinha, and the nuts of a particular kind of palm
(Atalea), and then sleep in their canoe. We sat down with them, and,
that they should not think we came merely out of curiosity, we shared
their nuts and farinha, and they were soon very sociable. I am
constantly astonished at the frank geniality of these people, so
different from our sombre, sullen Indians, who are so unwilling to talk
with strangers. The cordiality of their reception, however, depends very
much on the way in which they are accosted. Major Coutinho, who has
passed years among them, understands their character well, and has
remarkable tact in his dealings with them. He speaks their language a
little also, and this is important here where many of the Indians speak
only the “lingua geral.” This was the case with several of the family
whose acquaintance we made last evening, though some of them talked in
Portuguese fluently enough, telling us about their life in the forest,
their success in disposing of their fish and turtle, and inviting us to
come to their house. They pointed out to us one of the younger girls,
who they said had never been baptized, and they seemed to wish to have
the rite performed. Major Coutinho promised to speak to the priest about
it for them. So far as we can learn, the white population do little to
civilize the Indians beyond giving them the external rites of religion.
It is the old sad story of oppression, duplicity, and license on the
part of the white man, which seems likely to last as long as skins shall
differ, and which necessarily ends in the degradation of both races.

_October 4th._—On Saturday morning at four o’clock, Major Coutinho, Mr.
Agassiz, and myself left Teffé in company with our neighbor and landlord
Major Estolano, on our way to his “sitio,” a rough sort of Indian lodge
on the other side of the Solimoens, where he goes occasionally with his
family to superintend the drying and salting of fish, a great article of
commerce here. It had rained heavily all night, but the stars were
bright, and the morning was cool and fresh when we put off in the canoe.
When we issued from Teffé lake it was already broad day, and by the time
we entered the Solimoens we began to have admonitions that
breakfast-time was approaching. There is something very pleasant in
these improvised meals; the coffee tastes better when you have made it
yourself, setting up the coffee-machine under the straw-roof of the
canoe, dipping up the water from the river over the side of the boat,
and cooking your own breakfast. One would think it a great bore at home,
with all the necessary means and appliances; but with the stimulus of
difficulty and the excitement of the journey it is quite pleasant, and
gives a new relish to ordinary fare. After we had had a cup of hot
coffee and a farinha biscuit, being somewhat cramped with sitting in the
canoe, we landed for a walk on a broad beach along which we were
coasting. There is much to be learned on these Amazonian beaches; they
are the haunts and breeding-places of many different kinds of animals,
and are covered by tracks of alligators, turtles, and capivari. Then
there are the nests, not only of alligators and turtles, but of the
different kind of fishes and birds that lay their eggs in the mud or
sand. It is curious to see the address of the Indians in finding the
turtle-nests; they walk quickly over the sand, but with a sort of
inquiring tread, as if they carried an instinctive perception in their
step, and the moment they set their foot upon a spot below which eggs
are deposited, though there is no external evidence to the eye, they
recognize it at once, and, stooping, dig straight down to the eggs,
generally eight or ten inches under the surface. Besides these tracks
and nests, there are the rounded, shallow depressions in the mud, which
the fishermen say are the sleeping-places of the skates. They have
certainly about the form and size of the skate, and one can easily
believe that these singular impressions in the soft surface have been
made in this way. The vegetation on these beaches is not less
interesting than these signs of animal life. In the rainy season more
than half a mile of land, now uncovered along the margins of the river,
is entirely under water, the river rising not only to the edge of the
forest, but penetrating far into it. At this time of the year, however,
the shore consists, first of the beach, then of a broad band of tall
grasses, beyond which are the lower shrubs and trees, leading up, by a
sort of gradation, to the full forest growth. During this dry season the
vegetation makes an effort to recover its lost ground; one sees the
little Imbauba (Cecropia) and a kind of willow-tree (Salix humboldiana),
the only familiar plant we met, springing up on the sand, and creeping
down to the water’s edge, only to be destroyed again with the next rise
of the river. While we were walking, the boatmen were dragging the net,
and though not with such astonishing success as the other day, yet it
landed not only an ample supply of fresh fish for breakfast, but also a
number of interesting specimens. At about eleven o’clock we turned from
the Solimoens into the little river on which Mr. Estolano’s
fishing-lodge is situated, and in a few minutes found ourselves at the
pretty landing, where a rough flight of steps led up to the house. In
this climate a very slight shelter will serve as a house. Such a
dwelling is indeed nothing but a vast porch; and a very airy, pleasant,
and picturesque abode it makes. A palm-thatched roof to shed the rain
and keep off the sun, covering a platform of split logs that one may
have a dry floor under foot; these, with plenty of posts and rafters for
the swinging of hammocks, are the essentials. It was somewhat after this
fashion that Major Estolano’s lodge was built. The back part of it
consisted of one very large, high chamber, to which the family retired
in the hottest part of the day, when the sun was most scorching; all the
rest was roof and platform, the latter stretching out considerably
beyond the former, thus leaving an open floor on one side for the
stretching and drying of fish. The whole structure was lifted on piles
about eight feet above the ground, to provide against the rising of the
river in the rainy season. In front of the house, just on the edge of
the bank, were several large, open, thatched sheds, used as kitchen and
living-rooms for the negroes and Indians employed in the preparation of
the fish. In one of these rooms were several Indian women who looked
very ill. We were told they had been there for two months, and they were
worn to skin and bone with intermittent fever. Major Coutinho said they
were, no doubt, suffering in part from the habit so prevalent among
these people of eating clay and dirt, for which they have a morbid love.
They were wild-looking creatures, lying in their hammocks or squatting
on the ground, often without any clothes, and moaning as if in pain.
They were from the forest, and spoke no Portuguese.

We were received most cordially by the ladies of the family, who had
gone up to the lodge the day before, and were offered the refreshment of
a hammock, the first act of hospitality in this country, when one
arrives from any distance. After this followed an excellent breakfast of
the fresh fish we had brought with us, cooked in a variety of ways,
broiled, fried, and boiled. The repast was none the less appetizing that
it was served in picnic fashion, the cloth being laid on the floor, upon
one of the large palm-mats, much in use here to spread over the
uncarpeted brick floors or under the hammocks. For several hours after
breakfast the heat was intense, and we could do little but rest in the
shade, though Mr. Agassiz, who works at all hours if specimens are on
hand, was busy in making skeletons of some fish too large to be
preserved in alcohol. Towards evening it grew cooler, and we walked in
the banana plantation near the house, and sat under an immense
gourd-tree on the bank, which made a deep shade; for it was clothed not
only by its own foliage, but the branches were covered with parasites,
and with soft, dark moss, in contrast with which the lighter green,
glossy fruit seemed to gain new lustre. I call it a gourd-tree, simply
from the use to which the fruit is put. But it goes here by the name of
the Cuieira-tree (Crescentia Cajeput), the cup made from the fruit being
called a Cuia. The fruit is spherical, of a light green, shiny surface,
and grows from the size of an apple to that of the largest melon. It is
filled with a soft, white pulp, easily removed when the fruit is cut in
halves; the rind is then allowed to dry. Very pretty cups and basins, of
many sizes, are made in this way; and the Indians, who understand how to
prepare a variety of very brilliant colors, are very skilful in painting
them. It would seem that the art of making colors is of ancient date
among the Amazonian Indians, for in the account of Francisco Orellana’s
journey down the Amazons in 1541, “the two fathers of the expedition
declare that in this voyage they found all the people to be both
intelligent and ingenious, which was shown by the works which they
performed in sculpture and painting in bright colors.”[72] Their paints
are prepared from a particular kind of clay and from the juices of
several plants which have coloring properties. In an Amazonian cottage
one hardly sees any utensils for the table except such as the Indians
have prepared and ornamented themselves from the fruits of the
Cuieira-tree. I longed to extend my walk into the woods which surrounded
us on all sides; but the forest is very tantalizing here, so tempting
and so impenetrable. The ladies told me there were no paths cut in the
neighborhood of the house.

The next morning we were off early in the canoes on a fish hunt; I call
it a hunt advisedly, for the fish are the captives of the bow and spear,
not of the net and line. The Indians are very adroit in shooting the
larger fish with the bow and arrow, and in harpooning some of the
veritable monsters of their rivers, such as the Peixe-boi (“fish-cow”),
Manatee or Dugon, with the spear. We made two parties this morning, some
of us going in the larger canoe to drag a forest lake with the net,
while some of the fishermen took a smaller, lighter boat, to be able to
approach their larger prey. Our path lay through a pretty igarapé,
where, for the first time, I saw monkeys in a tree by the water-side. On
coming to the Amazons we expect to see monkeys as frequently as
squirrels are seen at home; but, though very numerous, they are so shy
that one rarely gets a fair view of them. After an hour’s row we landed
at a little point jutting out into the water, and went through the
forest, the men cutting the way before us, clearing the path of
branches, fallen trees, and parasitic vines which obstructed it. I was
astonished to see the vigor and strength with which Dona Maria, the
mother-in-law of our host, made her way through the tangled trees,
helping to free the road, and lopping off branches with her great
wood-knife. We imagine all the ladies in this warm country to be very
indolent and languid; and in the cities, as a general thing, their
habits are much less vigorous than those of our women. But here, in the
Upper Amazons, the women who have been brought up in the country and in
the midst of the Indians are often very energetic, bearing a hand at the
oar or the fishing-net with the strength of a man. A short walk brought
us out upon a shallow forest lake, or, as the Indians call it, “round
water.” The Indian names are often very significant. I have mentioned
the meaning of igarapé, “boat path”; to this, when they wish to indicate
its size more exactly, they affix either the word “assù” (large) or
“mirim” (small). But an igarapé, whether large or small, is always a
channel opening out of the main river and having no other outlet. For a
channel connecting the upper and lower waters of the same river, or
leading from one river to another, they have another word, “Paraná”
(signifying river), which they modify in the same way, as Paraná-assú or
Paraná-mirim. Paraná-assú, the big river, means also the sea. A still
more significant name for a channel connecting two rivers is the
Portuguese word “fúro,” meaning bore.

The lake was set in the midst of long, reed-like grass, and, as we
approached it, thousands of white water-birds rustled up from the margin
and floated like a cloud above us. The reason of their numbers was plain
when we reached the lake: it was actually lined with shrimps; one could
dip them out by the bucketful. The boatmen now began to drag the net,
and perhaps nowhere, from any single lake or pond, has Mr. Agassiz made
a more valuable collection of forest fishes. Among them was a pipe-fish,
one of the Goniodont family, very similar to our ordinary Syngnathus in
appearance, but closely related to Acestra, and especially interesting
to him as throwing light on certain investigations of his, made when
quite a young man. This specimen confirmed a classification by which he
then associated the pipe-fish with the Garpikes and Sturgeons, a
combination which was scouted by the best naturalists of the time, and
is even now repudiated by most of them. Without self-glorification, it
is impossible not to be gratified when the experience of later years
confirms the premonitions of youth, and shows them to have been not mere
guesses, but founded upon an insight into the true relations of things.
Wearied after a while with watching the fishing in the sun, I went back
into the forest, where I found the coffee-pot already boiling over the
fire. It was pleasant to sit down on a fallen, moss-grown trunk, and
breakfast in the shade. Presently the fishermen came back from the lake,
and we found our way to the boats again, laden with an immense number of
fishes. The gentlemen returned to the house in one of the smaller
montarias, taking the specimens with them, and leaving me to return in
the larger canoe with the Senhoras. It seemed to me strange on this
Sunday morning, when the bells must be ringing and the people trooping
to church under the bright October sky, in our far-off New England home,
to be floating down this quiet igarapé, in a boat full of half-naked
Indians, their wild, monotonous chant sounding in our ears as they kept
time to their oars. In these excursions one learns to understand the
fascination this life must have for a people among whom civilization is
as yet but very incomplete; it is full of physical enjoyment, without
any mental effort. Up early in the morning and off on their fishing or
hunting excursions long before dawn, they return by the middle of the
day, lie in their hammocks and smoke during the hours of greatest heat;
cook the fish they have brought with them, and, unless sickness comes to
them, know neither want nor care. We reached the house in time for a
twelve o’clock breakfast of a more solid character than the lighter one
in the forest, and by no means unacceptable after our long row. In the
course of the day two “Peixe-bois” (Manatees) were brought in, also a
Boto (porpoise), and some large specimens of Pirarucu (Sudis). All these
are too clumsy to preserve in alcohol, especially when alcohol is so
difficult to obtain and so expensive as it is here; but Mr. Agassiz has
had skeletons made of them, and will preserve the skins of the
Peixe-bois for mounting. He obtained at the same time an entirely new
genus of the Siluroid family. It is a fish weighing some ten pounds,
called here the Pacamum, and of a bright canary color.

The evening scene at the “Sitio” was always very pretty. After dinner,
when the customary “boa noite,” the universal greeting at the close of
the day, had been exchanged, the palm-mats, spread over the platforms,
had each their separate group, Indians or negroes, children, members of
the family or guests, the central figure being usually that of Major
Coutinho, who was considered to be especially successful in the making
of coffee and who generally had a mat to himself, where he looked, as
the blue flame of his alcohol lamp flickered in the wind, not unlike a
magician of old, brewing some potent spell. Little shallow cups, like
open antique lamps, filled with oil and having a bit of wick hanging
over the edge, were placed about the floors, and served to light the
interior of the porch, though after a glimmering and uncertain fashion.
On Monday morning we left the “Sitio” and returned to Teffé, where Mr.
Agassiz had the pleasure of receiving all his collections, both those he
had sent on before him and those which accompanied us, in good

_October 9th._—Alexandrina turns out to be a valuable addition to the
household, not only from a domestic, but also from a scientific point of
view. She has learned to prepare and clean skeletons of fish very
nicely, and makes herself quite useful in the laboratory. Besides, she
knows many paths in the forest, and accompanies me in all my botanizing
excursions; with the keen perceptions of a person whose only training
has been through the senses, she is far quicker than I am in discerning
the smallest plant in fruit or flower, and now that she knows what I am
seeking, she is a very efficient aid. Nimble as a monkey, she thinks
nothing of climbing to the top of a tree to bring down a blossoming
branch; and here, where many of the trees shoot up to quite a height
before putting out their boughs, such an auxiliary is very important.
The collections go on apace, and every day brings in new species; more
than can be easily cared for,—far more than our artist can find time to
draw. Yesterday, among other specimens, a hollow log was brought in,
some two feet and a half in length, and about three inches in diameter,
crowded with Anojas (a common fish here) of all sizes, from those
several inches long to the tiniest young. The thing was so extraordinary
that one would have been inclined to think it was prepared in order to
be passed off as a curiosity, had not the fish been so dexterously
packed into the log from end to end, that it was impossible to get them
out without splitting it open, when they were all found alive and in
perfectly good condition. They could not have been artificially jammed
into the hollow wood, in that way, without injuring them. The fishermen
say that this is the habit of the family; they are often found thus
crowded into dead logs at the bottom of the river, making their nests as
it were in the cavities of the wood.[73]

_October 14th._—Mr. Agassiz has a corps of little boys engaged in
catching the tiniest fishes, so insignificant in size that the regular
fishermen, who can never be made to understand that a fish which is not
good to eat can serve any useful purpose, always throw them away.
Nevertheless, these are among the most instructive specimens for the
ichthyologist, because they often reveal the relations not only between
parent and offspring, but wider relations between different groups. Mr.
Agassiz’s investigations on these little fish here have shown repeatedly
that the young of some species resemble closely the adult of others.
Such a fish, not more than half an inch long, was brought to him
yesterday. It constitutes a new genus, Lymnobelus, and belongs to the
bill-fish family, Scomberesoces, with Belone and others,—that long,
narrow type, with a long beak, which has such a wide distribution over
the world. In the Northern United States, as well as in the
Mediterranean, it has a representative of the genus Scomberesox, in
which the jaws of its long snout are gaping; in the Mediterranean, and
almost everywhere in the temperate and torrid zones, Belones are found
in which, on the contrary, the bill is closed; in Florida and on the
Brazilian coast, as well as in the Pacific, species of Hemirhamphus
occur in which the two jaws are unequal, the upper one being very short
and the lower one enormously long, while the Amazonian bill-fish has a
somewhat different cut of the bill from either of those mentioned above,
though both jaws are very long, as in Belone. When, then, the young of
this Amazonian species was brought to Mr. Agassiz, he naturally expected
to find it like its parent. On the contrary, he found it far more like
the species of Florida and the Brazilian coast, having the two jaws
unequal, the upper one excessively short, the lower enormously long,
showing that the Amazonian species, before taking on its own
characteristic features, passes through a stage resembling the permanent
adult condition of the Hemirhamphus. It is interesting to find that
animals, which have their natural homes so far from each other that
there is no possibility of any material connection between them, are yet
so linked together by structural laws, that the development of one
species should recall the adult form of another.[74] The story of the
Acaras, the fish which carries its young in its mouth, grows daily more
wonderful. This morning Mr. Agassiz was off before dawn, on a fishing
excursion with Major Estolano, and returned with numerous specimens of a
new species of that family. These specimens furnished a complete
embryological series, some of them having their eggs at the back of the
gills, between the upper pharyngeals and the branchial arches, others
their young in the mouth in different stages of development, up to those
a quarter of an inch long and able to swim about, full of life and
activity, when removed from the gills and placed in water. The most
advanced were always found outside of the gills, within the cavity
formed by the gill-covers and the wide branchiostegal membrane. In
examining these fishes Mr. Agassiz has found that a special lobe of the
brain, similar to those of the Triglas, sends large nerves to that part
of the gills which protects the young; thus connecting the care of the
offspring with the organ of intelligence. The specimens of this morning
seem to invalidate the statement of the fishermen, that the young,
though often found in the mouth of the parent, are not actually
developed there, but laid and hatched in the sand. The series, in these
specimens, was too complete to leave any doubt that in this species at
least the whole process of development is begun and completed in the

_October 17th._—Teffé. Yesterday, to our great pleasure, our companions,
Mr. James and Mr. Talisman, returned from their canoe expedition on the
rivers Iça and Hyutahy, bringing most valuable collections. Mr. Agassiz
has felt some anxiety about their success, as, in consequence of their
small supply of alcohol, for preserving specimens, which was,
nevertheless, all he could spare from the common store, a great deal of
judgment in the choice of specimens was required in order to make a
truly characteristic collection. The commission could not have been
better executed, and the result raises the number of species from the
Amazonian waters to more than six hundred, every day showing more
clearly how distinctly the species are localized, and that this immense
basin is divided into numerous zoölogical areas, each one of which has
its own combination of fishes. Our stay at Teffé draws to a close, and
to-day begins the great work of packing, in preparation for the arrival
of the steamer at the end of the week. These days are the most laborious
of all; on leaving every station, all the alcoholic specimens have to be
overhauled, their condition ascertained, the barrels, kegs, and cans
examined, to make sure that the hoops are fast, and that there are no
leakages. Fortunately, there are some of our party who are very
dexterous as coopers and joiners, and at these times the laboratory is
turned into a workshop. We were reminded of the labors of the day by a
circular distributed at breakfast this morning:—

  “SIR:—The ‘United Coopers’ Association’ will meet in the laboratory
  after breakfast. You are particularly requested to attend.

  “TEFFÉ, Oct. 17th, 1865.”

And at this moment the laboratory rings with click of hammer, and nails,
and iron hoops. As usual, there are a number of uninvited spectators
watching the breaking up of the scientific establishment, which has
been, during the past month, a source of constant entertainment to the
vagrant population of Teffé. In this country of open doors and windows
one has not the same protection against intrusion as in a colder
climate, and we have had a constant succession of curious visitors
hanging about our premises.

I have dwelt especially on the fish collection; but we do not go away
empty-handed in other respects. Mr. Dexter has prepared a large number
of the forest birds for mounting,—papagaios, toucans, and a great
variety of smaller species of very brilliant plumage, not to speak of
the less showy water-birds. He has been often in the woods shooting,
with Mr. Hunnewell and Mr. Thayer, and has employed several sportsmen of
the place to assist him. Turtles, jacarés, and snakes are also largely
represented in the collections; and Mr. Agassiz has obtained, by
purchase, a large and well-preserved collection of insects, made by a
Frenchman during a several years’ residence in this little town. In
Teffé and its neighborhood we constantly tread in the footsteps of the
English naturalist, Mr. Bates, “Senhor Henrique,” as the people call him
here, whose charming book, “The Naturalist on the Amazons,” has been a
very pleasant companion to us in our wanderings.[75]

[Illustration: Head of Alexandrina.]

_October 21st._—Since Thursday afternoon our canoe has been loaded, all
the specimens, amounting to something more than thirty barrels, kegs,
and boxes, packed and waiting the arrival of the steamer. We have paid
our parting visits to friends and acquaintances here. I have taken my
last ramble in the woods where I have had so many pleasant walks, and
now we are sitting in the midst of valises and carpet-bags, waiting to
see the steamer round the wooded point in front of the house, before we
turn the key on our four weeks’ home, and close this chapter of our
Amazonian life. In this country, where time seems to be of comparatively
little importance, one is never sure whether the boat will leave or
arrive on the appointed day. One has only to make the necessary
preparations, and then practise the favorite Brazilian virtue,
“paciencia.” The adjoining sketch is a portrait of my little house-maid,
Alexandrina, who, from her mixture of Negro and Indian blood, is rather
a curious illustration of the amalgamation of races here. She consented
yesterday, after a good deal of coy demur, to have her portrait taken.
Mr. Agassiz wanted it especially on account of her extraordinary hair,
which, though it has lost its compact negro crinkle, and acquired
something of the length and texture of the Indian hair, retains,
nevertheless, a sort of wiry elasticity, so that, when combed out, it
stands off from her head in all directions as if electrified. In the
examples of negro and Indian half-breeds we have seen, the negro type
seems the first to yield, as if the more facile disposition of the
negro, as compared with the enduring tenacity of the Indian, showed
itself in their physical as well as their mental characteristics. A few
remarks, gathered from Mr. Agassiz’s notes on the general character of
the population in this region may not be without interest.

“Two things are strongly impressed on the mind of the traveller in the
Upper Amazons. The necessity, in the first place, of a larger
population, and, secondly, of a better class of whites, before any fair
beginning can be made in developing the resources of the country; and,
as an inducement to this, the importance of taking off all restraint on
the navigation of the Amazons and its tributaries, opening them to the
ambition and competition of other nations. Not only is the white
population too small for the task before it, but it is no less poor in
quality than meagre in numbers. It presents the singular spectacle of a
higher race receiving the impress of a lower one, of an educated class
adopting the habits and sinking to the level of the savage. In the towns
of the Solimoens the people who pass for the white gentry of the land,
while they profit by the ignorance of the Indian to cheat and abuse him,
nevertheless adopt his social habits, sit on the ground and eat with
their fingers as he does. Although it is forbidden by law to enslave the
Indian, there is a practical slavery by which he becomes as absolutely
in the power of the master as if he could be bought and sold. The white
man engages an Indian to work for him at a certain rate, at the same
time promising to provide him with clothes and food until such time as
he shall have earned enough to take care of himself. This outfit, in
fact, costs the employer little; but when the Indian comes to receive
his wages he is told that he is already in debt to his master for what
has been advanced to him; instead of having a right to demand money, he
owes work. The Indians, even those who live about the towns, are
singularly ignorant of the true value of things. They allow themselves
to be deceived in this way to an extraordinary extent, and remain bound
to the service of a man for a lifetime, believing themselves under the
burden of a debt, while they are, in fact, creditors. Besides this
virtual slavery, an actual traffic of the Indians does go on: but it is
so far removed from the power of the authorities that they cannot, if
they would, put a stop to it. A better class of emigrants would suppress
many of these evils. Americans or Englishmen might be sordid in their
transactions with the natives; their hands are certainly not clean in
their dealings with the dark-skinned races; but they would not degrade
themselves to the social level of the Indians as the Portuguese do; they
would not adopt his habits.”

I cannot say good by to Teffé without a word in commemoration of one
class of its inhabitants who have interfered very seriously with our
comfort. There is a tiny creature called the Mocuim, scarcely visible
except for its bright vermilion color, which swarms all over the grass
and low growth here. It penetrates under the skin so that one would
suppose a red rash had broken out over the body, and causes excessive
itching, ending sometimes in troublesome sores. On returning from a walk
it is necessary to bathe in alcohol and water, in order to allay the
heat and irritation produced by these little wretches. Mosquitoes are
annoying, piums are vexatious, but for concentrated misery commend me to
the Mocuim.

_October 23d._—We left Teffé on Saturday evening on board the Icamiaba,
which now seems quite like a home to us; we have passed so many pleasant
hours in her comfortable quarters since we left Pará. We are just on the
verge of the rainy season here, and almost every evening during the past
week has brought a thunder-storm. The evening before leaving Teffé we
had one of the most beautiful storms we have seen on the Amazons. It
came sweeping up from the east; these squalls always come from the east,
and therefore the Indians say “the path of the sun is the path of the
storm.” The upper, lighter layer of cloud, travelling faster than the
dark, lurid mass below, hung over it with its white, fleecy edge, like
an avalanche of snow just about to fall. We were all sitting at the
doorstep watching its swift approach, and Mr. Agassiz said that this
tropical storm was the most accurate representation of an avalanche on
the upper Alps he had ever seen. It seems sometimes as if Nature played
upon herself, reproducing the same appearances under the most dissimilar
circumstances. It is curious to mark the change in the river. When we
reached Teffé it was rapidly falling at the rate of about a foot a day.
It was easy to measure its retreat by the effect of the occasional rains
on the beach. The shower of one day, for instance, would gully the sand
to the water’s edge, and the next day we would find the water about a
foot below the terminus of all the cracks and ruts thus caused, their
abrupt close showing the line at which they met the water the previous
day. Ten days or a fortnight before we left, and during which we had
heavy rains at the close of every day, continuing frequently through the
night, those oscillations in the river began, which the people here call
“repiquete,” and which, on the Upper Amazons, precede the regular rise
of the water during the winter. The first repiquete occurs in Teffé
toward the end of October, accompanied by almost daily rains. After a
week or so the water falls again; in ten or twelve days it begins once
more to ascend, and sinks again after the same period. In some seasons
there is a third rise and fall, but usually the third repiquete begins
the permanent annual rise of the river. On board the steamer we were
joined by Mr. Bourget, with his fine collections from Tabatinga. He,
like both the other parties, has been hindered, by want of alcohol, from
making as large collections as he might otherwise have done; but they
are, nevertheless, very valuable, exceedingly well put up, and embracing
a great variety of species, from the Marañon as well as from the
Hyavary. Thus we have a rich harvest from all the principal tributaries
of the Upper Amazons, within the borders of Brazil, above the Rio Negro,
except the Purus, which must be left unexplored for want of time and a
sufficient working force.

On leaving Teffé I should say something of the nature of the soil in
connection with Mr. Agassiz’s previous observations on this subject.
Although he has been almost constantly occupied with his collections, he
has, nevertheless, found time to examine the geological formations of
the neighborhood. The more he considers the Amazons and its tributaries,
the more does he feel convinced that the whole mass of the reddish,
homogeneous clay, which he has called drift, is the glacial deposit
brought down from the Andes and worked over by the melting of the ice
which transported it. According to his view, the whole valley was
originally filled with this deposit, and the Amazons itself, as well as
the rivers connected with it, are so many channels worn through the
mass, having cut their way just as the igarapé now wears its way through
the more modern deposits of mud and sand. It may seem strange that any
one should compare the formation of these insignificant forest-streams
with that of the vast river which pours itself across a whole continent;
but it is, after all, only a reversal of the microscopic process of
investigation. We magnify the microscopically small in order to see it,
and we must diminish that which transcends our apprehension by its great
size, in order to understand it. The naturalist who wishes to compare an
elephant with a Coni (Hyrax),[76] turns the diminishing end of his glass
upon the former, and, reducing its clumsy proportions, he finds that the
difference is one of size rather than structure. The essential features
are the same. So the little igarapé, as it wears its channel through the
forest to-day, explains the early history of the great river and feebly
reiterates the past.


Footnote 68:

  It is a curious fact, that though a large number of cows were owned in
  Teffé, and were constantly seen feeding about the houses, milk was
  among the unattainable luxuries. Indeed, milk is little used in
  Brazil, so far as our observation goes. It is thought unhealthy for
  children, and people will rather give coffee or tea to a two-year-old
  baby than pure milk. The cows are never milked regularly, but the
  quantity needed for the moment is drawn at any time.

Footnote 69:

                                              TEFFÉ, September 22, 1865.

  MY DEAR FRIEND AND HONORED COLLEAGUE:—Here I have been for two months
  in the basin of the Amazons, and it is here that I have heard with
  sorrow of the death of my old friend Valenciennes. I am the more
  affected by it, because no one would have appreciated more than he the
  results of my journey, which I had hoped soon to share with him. You
  will naturally understand that it is to the class of fishes I
  consecrate the better part of my time, and my harvest exceeds all my
  anticipations. You will judge of it by a few statements.

  On reaching Manaos, at the junction of the Rio Negro and the Amazons,
  I had already collected more than three hundred species of fishes,
  half of which have been painted from life, that is, from the fish
  swimming in a large glass tank before my artist. I am often pained to
  see how carelessly colored plates of these animals have been
  published. Not only have we tripled the number of species, but I count
  new genera by dozens, and I have five or six new families for the
  Amazons, and one allied to the Gobioides entirely new to Ichthyology.
  Among the small species especially I have found novelties. I have
  Characines of five or six centimetres and less, adorned with the most
  beautiful tints, Cyprinodonts resembling a little those of Cuba and
  the United States, Scomberesoces allied to the Belone of the
  Mediterranean, a considerable number of Carapoides, and Rays of
  different genera from those of the ocean, and therefore not species
  which ascend the river; and a crowd of Goniodonts and Chromides of
  unpublished genera and species. But what I appreciate most highly is
  the facility I have for studying the changes which all these fishes
  undergo with age and the differences of sex among them; which are
  often very considerable. Thus I have observed a species of Geophagus
  in which the male has a very conspicuous protuberance on the forehead,
  wholly wanting in the female and the young. This same fish has a most
  extraordinary mode of reproduction. The eggs pass, I know not how,
  into the mouth, the bottom of which is lined by them, between the
  inner appendages of the branchial arches, and especially into a pouch,
  formed by the upper pharyngials, which they completely fill. There
  they are hatched, and the little ones, freed from the egg-case, are
  developed until they are in a condition to provide for their own
  existence. I do not yet know how long this continues; but I have
  already met with specimens whose young had no longer any vitelline
  sac, but were still harbored by the progenitor. As I shall still pass
  a month at Teffé I hope to be able to complete this observation. The
  examination of the structure of a great number of Chromides has led me
  to perceive the affinities between these fishes and several other
  families with which we have never thought of associating them. In the
  first place, I have convinced myself that the Chromides, formerly
  scattered among the Labroides and the Sciænoids, really constitute a
  natural group recognized nearly at the same time and in an independent
  manner by Heckel and J. Müller. But, beside these, there are the
  genera Enoplosus, Pomotis, Centrarchus, and some other neighboring
  genera, classed among the Percoids by all Ichthyologists, which seem
  to me, from this distance and without means of direct comparison, so
  near the Chromides that I do not see how they can be separated,
  especially now that I know the lower pharyngials not to be invariably
  soldered in the Chromides. And then the embryology and metamorphoses
  of the Chromides, which I have just been studying, have convinced me
  that the fishes with labyrinthic branchiæ, separated from all other
  fishes by Cuvier, as a family entirely isolated on account of the
  strange structure of its respiratory organs, are closely related to
  the Chromides. Thus this group becomes, by its various affinities, one
  of the most interesting of the class of fishes, and the basin of the
  Amazons seems to be the true home of this family. I will not fatigue
  you with my ichthyological researches; let me only add, that the
  fishes are not uniformly spread over this great basin. I have already
  acquired the certainty that we must distinguish several ichthyological
  faunæ very clearly characterized. Thus the species inhabiting the
  river of Pará, from the borders of the sea to the mouth of the
  Tocantins, differ from those which are met in the network of
  anastomoses uniting the river of Pará with the Amazons proper. The
  species of the Amazons below the Xingu differ from those which occur
  higher up; those of the lower course of the Xingu differ from those of
  the lower course of the Tapajoz. Those of the numerous igarapés and
  lakes of Manaos differ as much from those of the principal course of
  the great river and of its great affluents. It remains now to study
  the changes which may take place in this distribution in the course of
  the year, according to the height of the waters, and perhaps also
  according to the epoch at which the different species lay their eggs.
  Thus far I have met but a small number of species having a very
  extensive area of distribution. One of those is the Sudis gigas, found
  almost everywhere. It is the most important fish of the river, that
  which, as food, corresponds to cattle for the population along the
  banks. Another problem to be solved is, how far this phenomenon of the
  local distribution of fishes is repeated in the great affluents of the
  Amazons. I shall try to solve it in ascending the Rio Negro and Rio
  Madeira, and as I return to Manaos I shall be able to compare my first
  observations in this locality with those of another season of the
  year. Adieu, my dear friend. Remember me to M. Elie de Beaumont and to
  those of my colleagues of the Academy who are interested in my present
  studies. My kind remembrance also to your son.

                                             Always yours,

                                                             L. AGASSIZ.

Footnote 70:

  We found that this information was incorrect, at least for some
  species, as will be seen hereafter. I let the statement stand in the
  text, however, as an instance of the difficulty one has in getting
  correct facts, and the danger of trusting to the observations even of
  people who mean to tell the real truth. No doubt some of these Acaras
  do occasionally deposit their young in the sand, and continue a
  certain care of them till they are able to shift for themselves. But
  the story of the fisherman was one of those half truths as likely to
  mislead, as if it had been wholly false. I will add here a few details
  concerning these Acaras, a name applied by the natives to all the
  oval-shaped Chromides. The species which lay their eggs in the sand
  belong to the genera Hydrogonus and Chætobranchus. Like the North
  American Pomotis, they build a kind of flat nest in the sand or mud,
  in which they deposit their eggs, hovering over them until the young
  are hatched. The species which carry their young in the mouth belong
  to several genera, formerly all included under the name of Geophagus
  by Heckel. I could not ascertain how the eggs are brought into the
  mouth, but the change must take place soon after they are laid, for I
  have found in that position eggs in which the embryo had just begun
  its development as well as those in a more advanced stage of growth.
  Occasionally, instead of eggs, I have found the cavity of the gills,
  as also the space enclosed by the branchiostegal membrane, filled with
  a brood of young already hatched. The eggs before hatching are always
  found in the same part of the mouth, namely, in the upper part of the
  branchial arches, protected or held together by a special lobe or
  valve formed of the upper pharyngeals. The cavity thus occupied by the
  eggs corresponds exactly to the labyrinth of that curious family of
  fishes inhabiting the East Indian Ocean, called Labyrinthici by
  Cuvier. This circumstance induces me to believe that the branchial
  labyrinth of the eastern fishes may be a breeding pouch, like that of
  our Chromides, and not simply a respiratory apparatus for retaining
  water. In the Amazonian fish a very sensitive network of nerves
  spreads over this marsupial pouch, the principal stem of which arises
  from a special nervous ganglion, back of the cerebellum, in the
  medulla oblongata. This region of the central nervous system is
  strangely developed in different families of fishes, and sends out
  nerves performing very varied functions. From it arise, normally, the
  nerves of movement and sensation about the face; it also provides the
  organs of breathing, the upper part of the alimentary canal, the
  throat and the stomach. In the electric fishes the great nerves
  entering the electric battery arise from the same cerebral region, and
  now I have found that the pouch in which the egg of the Acara is
  incubated and its young nursed for a time, receives its nerves from
  the same source. This series of facts is truly wonderful, and only
  shows how far our science still is from an apprehension of the
  functions of the nervous system.—L. A.

Footnote 71:

  It is a very general habit among the South American Indians to pierce
  the nose, ears, and lips with holes, in which they hang pieces of wood
  and feathers, as ornaments.

Footnote 72:

  See “Expeditions into the Valley of the Amazons,” published by the
  Hakluyt Society.

Footnote 73:

  This species belongs to one of the subdivisions of the genus
  Auchenipterus; it is undescribed, and Mr. Burkhardt has made five
  colored sketches of a number of specimens of different sizes, varying
  in their markings.—L. A.

Footnote 74:

  When I attempted to record my impression of the basin of the Amazons,
  and characterized it as a fresh-water ocean with an archipelago of
  islands, I did not mean to limit the comparison to the wide expanse of
  water and the large number of islands. The resemblance extends much
  further, and the whole basin may be said to be oceanic also, in the
  character of its fauna. It is true, we are accustomed to consider the
  Chromides, the Characines, the Siluroids, and the Goniodonts, which
  constitute the chief population of this network of rivers, as
  fresh-water fishes; but in so doing we shut our eyes to their natural
  affinities, and remember only the medium in which they live. Let any
  one enter upon a more searching comparison, and he will not fail to
  perceive that, under the name of Chromides, fishes are united which in
  their form and general appearance recall several families of the
  class, only known as inhabitants of the sea. The genus Pterophyllum,
  for instance, might be placed side by side with the Chætodonts,
  without apparently violating its natural affinities, since even Cuvier
  considered it as a Platax. The genera Symphysodon and Uaru would not
  seem very much out of place, by the side of Brama. The genus Geophagus
  and allied forms recall at once the Sparoids, with which some of them
  were associated by earlier ichthyologists; while the genus Crenicichla
  forms a striking counterpart to the genus Malacanthus. Finally, the
  genus Acara and their kindred closely resemble the Pomacentroids.
  Indeed, had not the fresh-water genera Pomotis, Centrarchus, and the
  like, been erroneously associated with the Percoids, the intimate
  relations which bind them to the Chromides, and these again to the
  marine types mentioned above, would long ago have been acknowledged.
  The genus Monocirrus is a miniature Toxotes, with a barbel.
  Polycentrus, which is also found in the Amazons, stands nearest to
  Acara and Heros; it has only a larger number of anal spines. In this
  connection it ought not to be overlooked that these fishes are not
  pelagic, like the Scomberoids, but rather archipelagic, if I may use
  this word to designate fishes dwelling among low islands. If we
  discard the long-prevailing idea of a close relationship between the
  Characines and Salmonides, based solely upon the presence of an
  adipose fin, we may at once perceive how manifold are the affinities
  between the Characines on one hand, and on the other the Scopelines
  and Clupeoids, all of which are essentially marine. These relations
  may be traced to the details of the genera; Gasteropelecus, from the
  family of Characines, is the pendant of Pristigaster among the
  Clupeoids, as Chalcinus recalls Pellona. In the same way may Stomias
  and Chauliodus be compared to Cynodon and the like; or Sudis and
  Osteoglossum to Megalops, and Erythrinus to Ophicephalus, &c., &c. The
  Goniodonts may at first sight hardly seem to have any kindred among
  marine fishes; but if we take into account the affinity which
  unquestionably links the genus Loricaria and its allies with Pegasus,
  and further remember that to this day all the ichthyologists, with the
  sole exception of C. Duméril, have united Pegasus in one order with
  the Pipe-fishes, it will no longer be doubted that the Goniodonts have
  at least a remarkable analogy with the Lophobranches, if they should
  not be considered as bearing a close structural relation to them. But
  this relation truly exists. The extraordinary mode of rearing their
  young, which characterizes the various representatives of the old
  genus Syngnathus, is only matched by the equally curious incubation of
  the eggs in Loricaria. And as to the other families represented in the
  basin of the Amazons, such as the Skates, the Sharks, the Tetraodonts,
  the Flat-fishes (Pleuronectides), the Bill-fishes (Scomberesoces), the
  Anchovis, Herrings, and other forms of the family of Clupeoids, the
  Murænoids, the genuine Sciænoids, the Gobioids, &c., &c., they are
  chiefly known as marine types; while the Cyprinodonts occur elsewhere
  both in salt and fresh water. The Gymnotines are thus far only known
  as fresh-water fishes, nor do I see any ground for comparing them to
  any marine type. They cannot be compared to the Murænoids, with which
  they have thus far been associated. The only real affinity I can trace
  in them is with the Mormyri of the Nile and Senegal, and with the
  Notopteri of the Sunda Islands. Eel-shaped fishes are by no means all
  related to one another, and their elongated form, with a variety of
  patterns, is no indication of their relationship. It may,
  nevertheless, be inferred from what precedes, that the fishes of the
  Amazons have, as a whole, a marine character peculiarly their own, and
  not at all to be met with among the inhabitants of the other great
  rivers of the world.

  These peculiarities extend to other classes besides fishes. Among the
  Bivalve shells, it has long been known that the Amazons nourishes
  genera of Naiades peculiar to its waters, or only found besides in the
  other great rivers of South America; such as Hyria, Castalia, and
  Mycetopus, to which I would add another genus, founded upon slender,
  sickle-shaped Unios, common to North and South America. But what seems
  to have escaped the attention of conchologists is the striking
  resemblance of Hyria and Avicula, of Castalia and Arca, of Mycetopus
  and Solen, &c. Thus exhibiting another repetition of marine types in a
  family exclusively limited to fresh waters, and having structural
  characters of its own, entirely distinct from the marine genera, the
  appearance of which they so closely ape. In this connection I cannot
  suppress the remark, that it would be puerile to consider such mimicry
  as indicative of a community of origin. Some of the land shells even
  recall marine forms; such are some of the Bulimus tribe, which
  resemble the genus Phasianella and Littorina far more than their own
  relatives. The similarity of the fringes of the anterior margin of the
  foot is particularly striking. The Ampullariæ remind one also, in a
  measure, of the marine genera Struthiolaria, Natica, &c., and many
  fossils of the latter family have been confounded with fresh-water

  The most noticeable feature of the Amazonian fauna, considered with
  reference to its oceanic character, is, however, the abundance of
  Cetaceans through its whole extent. Wherever I have navigated these
  waters, from Pará, where the tides still send the salt brine up the
  river, to Tabatinga on the borders of Peru, in all the larger and
  smaller tributaries of the great stream as well as in the many lakes
  connected with their ever-changing course, I have seen and heard them,
  gamboling at the surface and snoring rhythmically, when undisturbed in
  their breathing. At night, especially, when quietly at anchor in the
  river, you hardly ever fail to be startled by the noise they make,
  when reaching the surface to exhale forcibly the air they have long
  retained in their lungs while under water. I have noticed five
  different species of this order of animals in the waters of the
  Amazons, four of which belong to the family of Porpoises and one to
  that of Manatees. Mr. Burkhardt has drawn three of them from fresh
  specimens for me, and I hope before long to secure equally faithful
  representations of the others, when I shall describe them all
  comparatively. One of the Porpoises belongs to the genus Inia, and may
  be traced on the upper tributaries of the Amazons to Bolivia, another
  resembles more our common Porpoise, while still another recalls the
  Dolphin of the sea-coast; but I have been unable to ascertain whether
  any one of them is identical with the marine species. At all events,
  the black Porpoise of the bay of Marajo, frequently seen in the
  vicinity of Pará, is totally different from the gray species seen
  higher up the stream.—L. A.

Footnote 75:

  As from the beginning our arrangements were made to stay at least a
  month in Teffé, it became possible to lay out our work in a more
  systematic form than during our rambling travels. It was here that I
  secured the largest number of fish skeletons and had several of the
  larger animals of the country prepared for the Museum; such as
  Manatees, Porpoises, Pirarucus, Sorubims, and the like. I also
  undertook here, for the first time, a regular search for the young of
  all the species of fishes that could be obtained. Here again my
  neighbors, and indeed all the inhabitants of the place, vied with one
  another in their efforts to procure specimens for me. Senhor Joaō da
  Cunha and Dr. Romualdo made frequent fishing excursions for my
  benefit; and when I could not accompany them, a boatful of fish was
  nevertheless moored to the shore, in the evening, from which I could
  select whatever was useful or interesting. The grocer of the place,
  Mr. Pedro Mendez, who employed a skilful fisherman daily to supply his
  large family, gave directions that all the fishes caught should be
  brought in, and before the kitchen received its provisions, I had my
  choice of everything. This was a great favor, especially since the
  Indian fisherman, José, whom I had engaged in Manaos to accompany me
  through the rest of my journey, was now at Tabatinga, assisting Mr.
  Bourget, who had been left there when I returned to Teffé. An old
  Passé Indian, who was as familiar with the fishes of the waters as
  with the animals of the forest, and whom Major Coutinho had befriended
  for many years, rendered also great service in hunting particular
  kinds of fishes and reptiles, the haunts of which he alone seemed to
  know. The schoolmaster and his boys, in short, everybody who knew how
  to catch fish or fowl, was out at work, and, with the assistance of my
  young friends Dexter, Hunnewell, and Thayer, and the co-operation of
  Major Coutinho and Mr. Burkhardt, our daily progress was unmistakable.
  They generally took care of the collections of land animals, while I
  reserved the fishes to myself, and Major Coutinho was busy with
  geological and meteorological observations. Even the servants helped
  in cleaning the skeletons. I made here a very extensive collection of
  fish brains, embracing most genera found in this locality, but it was
  unfortunately lost on arriving at Manaos. Aware of the difficulty of
  transporting preparations so delicate, I kept them always by my side,
  simply packed in an open barrel, in the hope of bringing them safely
  home, and also that I might, without difficulty, add to the number. In
  an unguarded moment, however, while landing, one of our attendants
  capsized the whole into the Rio Negro. It is the only part of my
  collections which was completely lost.

  After setting my whole party well under way in Teffé, I made the very
  instructive excursion with Major Estolano, of which an account is
  given in the text, to the Lago do Boto, a small sheet of water, by the
  side of his sitio on the banks of the main course of the Amazons,
  where I had a fair opportunity of ascertaining how widely different
  the fishes may be that inhabit adjoining faunæ in the same
  hydrographic basin. To this day I have not yet recovered from my
  surprise at finding that shores which, from a geographic point of
  view, must be considered simply as opposite banks of the same stream,
  were, nevertheless, the abode of an essentially different
  ichthyological population. Among the most curious fishes obtained
  here, I would mention a new genus, allied to Phractocephalus, of which
  I know only a single very large species, remarkable for its uniform
  canary-yellow color. Doras, Acestra, Pterygoplichthys, &c., were
  particularly common. Small as this lake is, the largest animals known
  in the whole basin are found in it: such as Manatees Botos,—the
  Porpoise of the Amazons, which has given its name to the lake,
  Alligators, Pirarucus,—the Sudis gigas of systematic writers;
  Sorubims, the large flat-headed Hornpouts; Pacamums, the large, yellow
  Siluroid above alluded to, &c., &c.—L. A.

Footnote 76:

  It was Cuvier who first ascertained that the small Hyrax belongs to
  the same order as the elephant.

                             CHAPTER VIII.


_October 24th._—Manaos. We reached Manaos yesterday. As we landed in the
afternoon, and as our arrival had not been expected with any certainty,
we had to wait a little while for lodgings; but before night we were
fairly established, our corps of assistants and all our scientific
apparatus, in a small house near the shore, Mr. Agassiz and myself in an
old, rambling edifice, used when we were here before for the public
treasury, which is now removed to another building. Our abode has still
rather the air of a public establishment, but it is very quaint and
pleasant inside, and, from its open, spacious character, is especially
agreeable in this climate. The apartment in which we have taken up our
quarters, making it serve both as drawing-room and chamber, is a long,
lofty hall, opening by a number of doors and windows on a large, green
enclosure, called by courtesy a garden, but which is, after all, only a
ragged space overgrown with grass, and having a few trees in it.
Nevertheless, it makes a pleasant background of shade and verdure. At
the upper end of our airy room hang our hammocks, and here are disposed
our trunks, boxes, &c.; in the other half are a couple of
writing-tables, a Yankee rocking-chair that looks as if it might have
come out of a Maine farmer’s house, a lounging-chair, and one or two
other pieces of furniture, which give it a domestic look and make it
serve very well as a parlor. There are many other apartments in this
rambling, rickety castle of ours, with its brick floors and its
rat-holes, its lofty, bare walls, and rough rafters overhead; but this
is the only one we have undertaken to make habitable, and to my eye it
presents a very happy combination of the cosey and the picturesque. We
have been already urged by some of our hospitable friends here to take
other lodgings; but we are much pleased with our quarters, and prefer to
retain them, at least for the present.

On our arrival we were greeted by the tidings that the first steamer of
the line recently opened between New York and Brazil had touched at Pará
on her way to Rio. According to all accounts, this has been made the
occasion of great rejoicing; and, indeed, there appears to be a strong
desire throughout Brazil to strengthen in every way her relations with
the United States. The opening of this line seems to bring us nearer
home, and its announcement, in connection with excellent news, public
and private, from the United States, made the day of our return to
Manaos a very happy one. A few hours after our own arrival the steamer
“Ibicuhy,” provided by the government for our use, came into port. To
our great pleasure, she brings Mr. Tavares Bastos, deputy from Alagoas,
whose uniform kindness to us personally ever since our arrival in
Brazil, as well as his interest in the success of the expedition, make
it a great pleasure to meet him again. This morning Mr. Agassiz received
the official document placing the steamer at his disposition, and also a
visit from her commander, Captain Faria.

_October 26th._—Yesterday morning at six o’clock we made our first
excursion to a pretty spot much talked of in Manaos on account of its
attractions for bathing, picnics, and country enjoyments of all sorts.
It is called the “little cascade,” to distinguish it from a larger and,
it is said, a much more picturesque fall, half a league from the city on
the other side. Half an hour’s row through a winding river brings you to
a rocky causeway, over which the water comes brawling down in a shallow
rapid. Here you land, and a path through the trees leads along the edge
of the igarapé to a succession of “banheiras,” as they call them here;
and they are indeed woodland bathing-pools fit for Diana and her nymphs,
completely surrounded by trees, and so separated from each other by
leafy screens, that a number of persons may bathe in perfect seclusion.
The water rushes through them with a delicious freshness, forming a
little cascade in each. The inhabitants make the most of this forest
bathing establishment while it lasts; the rise of the river during the
rainy season overflows and effaces it completely for half the year.
While we were bathing, the boatmen had lighted a fire, and when we
returned to the landing we found a pot of coffee simmering very
temptingly over the embers. Thus refreshed, we returned to town just as
the heat of the day was beginning to be oppressive.

_October 28th._—Yesterday morning, at about half past six o’clock, we
left Manaos on an excursion to the Lake of Hyanuary on the western side
of the Rio Negro. The morning was unusually fresh for these latitudes,
and a strong wind was blowing up so heavy a sea in the river, that, if
it did not make one actually sea-sick, it certainly called up very vivid
and painful associations. We were in a large eight-oared custom-house
barge, our company consisting of His Excellency Dr. Epaminondas,
President of the province, his Secretary, Senhor Codicera, Senhor
Tavares Bastos, Major Coutinho, Mr. Agassiz and myself, Mr. Burkhardt,
Mr. Dexter, and Mr. James. We were preceded by a smaller boat, an Indian
montaria, in which was our friend Senhor Honorio, who has been so kind
as to allow us to breakfast and dine with him during our stay here, and
who, having undertaken to provide for our creature comforts, had the
care of a boatful of provisions. After an hour’s row we left the rough
waters of the Rio Negro, and, rounding a wooded point, turned into an
igarapé which gradually narrowed up into one of those shaded, winding
streams, which make the charm of such excursions in this country. A
ragged drapery of long, faded grass hung from the lower branches of the
trees, marking the height of the last rise of the river to some eighteen
or twenty feet above its present level. Here and there a white heron
stood on the shore, his snowy plumage glittering in the sunlight, and
numbers of Ciganas (Opistocomus), the pheasants of the Amazons,
clustered in the bushes; once a pair of large king vultures
(Sarcorhamphus papa) rested for a moment within gunshot, but flew out of
sight as our canoe approached; and now and then an alligator showed his
head above water. As we floated along through this picturesque channel,
so characteristic of the wonderful region to which we were all more or
less strangers, Dr. Epaminondas and Senhor Tavares Bastos being here
also for the first time, the conversation turned naturally enough upon
the nature of this Amazonian valley, its physical conformation, its
origin and resources, its history past and to come, both alike obscure,
both the subject of wonder and speculation. Senhor Tavares Bastos,
although not yet thirty years of age, is already distinguished in the
politics of his country, and from the moment he entered upon public life
to the present time the legislation of the Amazons, its relation to the
future progress and development of the Brazilian Empire, have been the
object of his deepest interest. He is a leader in that class of men who
advocate the most liberal policy with regard to this question, and has
already urged upon his countrymen the importance, even from selfish
motives, of sharing their great treasure with the world. He was little
more than twenty years of age when he published his papers on the
opening of the Amazons, which have done more, perhaps, than anything
else, of late years, to attract attention to the subject.[77] There are
points where the researches of the statesman and the investigator meet,
and natural science is not without a voice even in the practical
bearings of this question. Shall this region be legislated for as sea or
land? Shall the interests of agriculture or navigation prevail in its
councils? Is it essentially aquatic or terrestrial? Such were some of
the inquiries which came up in the course of the discussion. A region of
country which stretches across a whole continent and is flooded for half
the year, where there can never be railroads or highways, or even
pedestrian travelling to any great extent, can hardly be considered as
dry land. It is true that in this oceanic river-system the tidal action
has an annual instead of a daily ebb and flow, that its rise and fall
obey a larger orb, and is ruled by the sun and not the moon; but it is,
nevertheless, subject to all the conditions of a submerged district, and
must be treated as such. Indeed, these semiannual changes of level are
far more powerful in their influence on the life of the inhabitants than
any marine tides. People sail half the year above districts where for
the other half they walk, though hardly dry shod, over the soaked
ground; their occupations, their dress, their habits are modified in
accordance with the dry and wet seasons. And not only the ways of life,
but the whole aspect of the country, the character of the landscape, are
changed. The two picturesque cascades, at one of which we took our bath
the other morning, and at this season such favorite resorts with the
inhabitants of Manaos, will disappear in a few months, when the river
rises for some forty feet above its lowest level. Their bold rocks and
shady nooks will have become river bottom. All that we hear or read of
the extent of the Amazons and its tributaries fails to give an idea of
its immensity as a whole. One must float for months upon its surface, in
order to understand how fully water has the mastery over land along its
borders. Its watery labyrinth is rather a fresh-water ocean, cut up and
divided by land, than a network of rivers. Indeed, this whole valley is
an aquatic, not a terrestrial basin; and it is not strange, when looked
upon from this point of view, that its forests should be less full of
life, comparatively, than its rivers.

While we were discussing these points, talking of the time when the
banks of the Amazons will teem with a population more active and
vigorous than any it has yet seen,—when all civilized nations will share
in its wealth, when the twin continents will shake hands and Americans
of the North come to help Americans of the South in developing its
resources,—when it will be navigated from north to south as well as from
east to west, and small steamers will run up to the head-quarters of all
its tributaries,—while we were speculating on these things, we were
approaching the end of our journey; and as we neared the lake, there
issued from its entrance a small two-masted canoe, evidently bound on
some official mission, for it carried the Brazilian flag, and was
adorned with many brightly-colored streamers. As it drew near we heard
music, and a salvo of rockets, the favorite Brazilian artillery on all
festive occasions, whether by day or night, shot up into the air. Our
arrival had been announced by Dr. Canavaro, of Manaos, who had come out
the day before to make some preparations for our reception, and this was
a welcome to the President on his first visit to the Indian village.
When they came within speaking distance, a succession of hearty cheers
went up for the President, for Tavares Bastos, whose character as the
political advocate of the Amazons makes him especially welcome here, for
Major Coutinho, already well known from his former explorations in this
region, and for the strangers within their gates,—for the Professor and
his party. After this reception they fell into line behind our boat, and
so we came into the little port with something of state and ceremony.

This pretty Indian village is hardly recognized as a village at once,
for it consists of a number of sitios scattered through the forest; and
though the inhabitants look on each other as friends and neighbors, yet
from our landing-place only one sitio is to be seen,—that at which we
are staying. It stands on a hill sloping gently up from the lake-shore,
and consists of a mud-house containing two rooms, besides several large,
open palm-thatched rooms outside. One of these outer sheds is the
mandioca kitchen, another is the common kitchen, and a third, which is
just now used as our dining-room, serves on festal days and occasional
Sundays as a chapel. It differs from the others in having the upper end
closed in with a neat thatched wall, against which, in time of need, the
altar-table may stand, with candles and rough prints or figures of the
Virgin and saints. We were very hospitably received by the Senhora of
the mud-house, an old Indian woman, whose gold ornaments, necklace, and
ear-rings were rather out of keeping with her calico skirt and cotton
waist. This is, however, by no means an unusual combination here. Beside
the old lady, the family consists, at this moment, of her “afilhada”[78]
(god-daughter), with her little boy, and several other women employed
about the place; but it is difficult to judge of the population of the
sitios now, because a great number of the men have been taken as
recruits for the war with Paraguay and others are hiding in the forest
for fear of being pressed into the same service. The situation of this
sitio is exceedingly pretty, and as we sit around the table in our open,
airy dining-room, surrounded by the forest, we command a view of the
lake and wooded hillside opposite and of the little landing below, where
are moored our barge with its white awning, the gay canoe, and two or
three Indian montarias. After breakfast our party dispersed, some to
rest in their hammocks, others to hunt or fish, while Mr. Agassiz was
fully engaged in examining a large basket of fish, Tucanarés (Cichla),
Acaras (Heros and other genera), Curimatas (Anodus), Surubims
(Platystoma), &c., just brought up from the lake for his inspection, and
showing again, what every investigation demonstrates afresh, namely, the
distinct localization of species in each different water basin, be it
river, lake, igarapé, or forest pool.

[Illustration: Dining Room at Hyanuary.]

One does not see much of the world between one o’clock and four, in this
climate. These are the hottest hours of the day, and there are few who
can resist the temptation of the cool, swinging hammock, slung in some
shady spot within doors or without. After a little talk with our Indian
hostess and her daughter, I found a quiet retreat by the lake-shore,
where, though I had a book in my hand, the wind in the trees overhead,
the water rippling softly around the montarias moored at my side, lulled
me into that mood of mind when one may be lazy without remorse or ennui.
The highest duty seems then to be to do nothing. The monotonous notes of
a “Viola” came to me from a group of trees at a little distance, where
our boatmen were resting in the shade, the red fringes of their hammocks
giving to the landscape just the bit of color which it needed;
occasionally a rustling flight of parroquets or ciganas overhead
startled me for a moment, or a large pirarucu plashed out of the water,
but except for these sounds nature was still, and animals as well as men
seemed to pause in the heat and seek shelter. Dinner brought us all
together again at the close of the afternoon. As we are with the
President of the province, our picnic is of a much more magnificent
character than our purely scientific excursions have been. Instead of
our usual makeshifts,—teacups doing duty as tumblers, and empty barrels
acting as chairs,—we have a silver soup-tureen, and a cook, and a
waiter, and knives and forks enough to go round, and many other luxuries
which such wayfarers as ourselves learn to do without. While we were
dining, the Indians began to come in from the surrounding forest to pay
their respects to the President, for his visit was the cause of great
rejoicing, and there was to be a ball in his honor in the evening. They
brought an enormous cluster of game as an offering. What a mass of color
it was!—more like a gorgeous bouquet of flowers than a bunch of birds.
It was composed entirely of Toucans, with their red and yellow beaks,
blue eyes, and soft white breasts bordered with crimson; and of parrots,
or papagaios as they call them here, with their gorgeous plumage of
green, blue, purple, and red. When we had dined, we took coffee outside,
while our places around the table were filled by the Indian guests, who
were to have a dinner-party in their turn. It was pleasant to see with
how much courtesy several of the Brazilian gentlemen of our party waited
upon these Indian Senhoras, passing them a variety of dishes, helping
them to wine, and treating them with as much attention as if they had
been the highest ladies of the land. They seemed, however, rather shy
and embarrassed, scarcely touching the nice things placed before them,
till one of the gentlemen, who has lived a good deal among the Indians,
and knows their habits perfectly, took the knife and fork from one of
them, exclaiming, “Make no ceremony, and don’t be ashamed; eat with your
fingers as you’re accustomed to do, and then you’ll find your appetites
and enjoy your dinner.” His advice was followed, and I must say they
seemed much more comfortable in consequence, and did more justice to the
good fare. Although the Indians who live in the neighborhood of the
towns have seen too much of the conventionalities of life not to
understand the use of a knife and fork, no Indian will eat with one if
he can help it.

When the dinner was over, the room was cleared of the tables and swept;
the music, consisting of a viola, flute, and violin, was called in, and
the ball was opened. The forest belles were rather shy at first in the
presence of strangers; but they soon warmed up and began to dance with
more animation. They were all dressed in calico or muslin skirts, with
loose, cotton waists, finished around the neck with a kind of lace they
make themselves by drawing the threads from cotton or muslin, so as to
form an open pattern, sewing those which remain over and over to secure
them. Some of this lace is quite elaborate and very fine. Many of the
women had their hair dressed either with white jessamine or with roses
stuck into their round combs, and several wore gold beads and ear-rings.
The dances were different from those I saw in Esperança’s cottage, and
much more animated; but the women preserved the same air of quiet
indifference which I noticed there. Indeed, in all the Indian dances I
have seen the man makes the advances, while the woman is coy and
retiring, her movements being very languid. Her partner throws himself
at her feet, but does not elicit a smile or a gesture; he stoops and
pretends to be fishing; making motions as if he were drawing her in with
a line, he dances around her, snapping his fingers as if he were playing
on castanets, and half encircling her with his arms, but she remains
reserved and cold. Now and then they join together in something like a
waltz, but this is only occasionally and for a moment. How different
from the negro dances which we saw frequently in the neighborhood of
Rio, and in which the advances generally come from the women, and are
not always of the most modest character. The ball was gayer than ever at
ten o’clock when I went to my room,—or rather to the room where my
hammock was slung, and which I shared with Indian women and children,
with a cat and her family of kittens, who slept on the edge of my
mosquito-net and made frequent inroads upon the inside, with hens and
chickens and sundry dogs, who went in and out. The music and dancing,
the laughter and talking outside, continued till the small hours. Every
now and then an Indian girl would come in to rest for a while, take a
nap in a hammock, and then return to the dance. When we first arrived in
South America we could hardly have slept soundly under such
circumstances; but one soon becomes accustomed, on the Amazons, to
sleeping in rooms with mud floors and mud walls, or with no walls at
all, where rats and birds and bats rustle about in the thatch overhead,
and all sorts of unwonted noises in the night suggest that you are by no
means the sole occupant of your apartment. There is one thing, however,
which makes it far pleasanter to lodge in the houses of the Indians here
than in those of our poorer class at home. One is quite independent in
the matter of bedding; nobody travels without his own hammock, and the
net which in many places is a necessity on account of the mosquitoes.
Beds and bedding are almost unknown; and there are none so poor as not
to possess two or three of the strong and neat twine hammocks made by
the Indians themselves from the fibres of the palm. Then the open
character of the houses and the personal cleanliness of the Indians make
the atmosphere fresher and purer in their houses than in those of our
poor. However untidy they may be in other respects, they always bathe
once or twice a day, if not oftener, and wash their clothes frequently.
We have never yet entered an Indian house where there was any
disagreeable odor, unless it might be the peculiar smell from the
preparation of the mandioca in the working-room outside, which has, at a
certain stage of the process, a slightly sour smell. We certainly could
not say as much for many houses where we have lodged when travelling in
the West, or even “Down East,” where the suspicious look of the bedding
and the close air of the room often make one doubtful about the night’s

This morning we were up at five o’clock, and at six we had had coffee
and were ready for the various projects suggested for our amusement. Our
sportsmen were already in the forest, others had gone off on a fishing
excursion in a montaria, and I joined a party on a visit to a sitio
higher up on the lake. Mr. Agassiz was obliged to deny himself all these
parties of pleasure, for the novelty and variety of the fish brought in
kept him and his artist constantly at work. In this climate the process
of decomposition goes on so rapidly, that, unless the specimens are
attended to at once, they are lost; and the paintings must be made while
they are quite fresh, in order to give any idea of their vividness of
tint. Mr. Burkhardt is indefatigable, always busy with his drawing, in
spite of heat, mosquitoes, and other discomforts; occasionally he makes
not less than twenty colored sketches of fishes in one day. Of course,
made with such rapidity, they are mere records of color and outline; but
they will be of immense service in working up the finished drawings.[79]
Leaving Mr. Agassiz, therefore, busy with the preparation of his
collections, and Mr. Burkhardt painting, we went up the lake through a
strange, half-aquatic, half-terrestrial region, where land seemed at
odds with water. Groups of trees rose directly from the lake, their
roots hidden below its surface, while numerous blackened and decayed
trunks stood up from the water in all sorts of picturesque and fantastic
forms. Sometimes the trees had thrown down from their branches those
singular aerial roots so common here, and seemed standing on stilts.
Here and there, where we coasted along by the bank, we had a glimpse
into the deeper forest, with its drapery of lianas and various creeping
vines, and its parasitic sipos twining close around the trunks or
swinging themselves from branch to branch like loose cordage. But
usually the margin of the lake was a gently sloping bank, covered with a
green so vivid and yet so soft, that it seemed as if the earth had been
born afresh in its six months’ baptism, and had come out like a new
creation. Here and there a palm lifted its head above the line of
forest, especially the light, graceful Assai, its crown of feathery
leaves vibrating above the tall, slender, smooth stem with every breeze.
Half an hour’s row brought us to the landing of the sitio for which we
were bound. Usually the sitios stand on the bank of the lake or river, a
stone’s throw from the shore, for convenience of fishing, bathing, &c.
But this one was at some distance, with a very nicely kept path winding
through the forest. It stood on the brow of a hill which dipped down on
the other side into a wide and deep ravine; through this ravine ran an
igarapé, beyond which the land rose again in an undulating line of hilly
ground, most refreshing to the eye after the flat character of the Upper
Amazonian scenery. The fact that this sitio, standing now on a hill
overlooking the valley and the little stream at its bottom, will have
the water nearly flush with the ground around it, when the igarapé is
swollen by the rise of the river, gives an idea of the difference of
aspect between the dry and wet seasons. The establishment consisted of a
number of buildings, the most conspicuous being a large open room, which
the Indian Senhora who did the honors of the house told me was their
reception-room, and was often used, she said, by the “brancas” from
Manaos and the neighborhood for an evening dance, when they came out in
a large company and passed the night. A low wall, some three or four
feet in height, ran along the sides, wooden benches being placed against
them for their whole length. The two ends were closed from top to bottom
with a wall made of palm-thatch, exceedingly pretty, fine, and smooth,
and of a soft straw color. At the upper end stood an immense
embroidery-frame, looking as if it might have served for Penelope’s web,
but in which was stretched an unfinished hammock of palm-thread, the
Senhora’s work. She sat down on a low stool before it and worked a
little for my benefit, showing me how the two layers of transverse
threads were kept apart by a thick, polished piece of wood, something
like a long, broad ruler. Through the opening thus made the shuttle is
passed with the cross thread, which is then pushed down and straightened
in its place by means of the same piece of wood. After we had rested for
a while, hammocks of various color and texture being immediately brought
and hung up for our accommodation, the gentlemen went down to bathe in
the igarapé, while the Senhora and her daughter, a very pretty Indian
woman, showed me the rest of the establishment. The elder of the two had
the direction of everything now, as the master of the house was absent,
having a captain’s commission in the army.

In the course of our conversation I was reminded of a social feature
which strikes us as the more extraordinary the longer we remain on the
Amazons, on account of its generality. Here were people of gentle
condition, although of Indian blood, lifted above everything like want,
living in comfort and, as compared with people about them, with a
certain affluence,—people from whom, therefore, in any other society,
you might certainly expect a knowledge of the common rules of morality.
Yet when I was introduced to the daughter, and naturally asked something
about her father, supposing him to be the absent captain, the mother
answered, smiling, quite as a matter of course, “Naō tem pai; é filha da
fortúna,”—“She hasn’t any father; she is the daughter of chance.” In the
same way, when the daughter showed me two children of her own,—little
fair people, many shades lighter than herself,—and I asked whether their
father was at the war, like all the rest of the men, she gave me the
same answer, “They haven’t any father.” It is the way the Indian or
half-breed women here always speak of their illegitimate children; and
though they say it without an intonation of sadness or of blame,
apparently as unconscious of any wrong or shame as if they said the
father was absent or dead, it has the most melancholy significance; it
seems to speak of such absolute desertion. So far is this from being an
unusual case, that among the common people the opposite seems the
exception. Children are frequently quite ignorant of their parentage.
They know about their mother, for all the care and responsibility falls
upon her, but they have no knowledge of their father; nor does it seem
to occur to the woman that she or her children have any claim upon him.

But to return to the sitio. The room I have described stood on one side
of a cleared and neatly swept ground, about which, at various distances,
stood a number of little thatched “casinhas,” as they call them,
consisting mostly of a single room. But beside these there was one
larger house, with mud walls and floor, containing two or three rooms,
and having a wooden veranda in front. This was the Senhora’s private
establishment. At a little distance farther down on the hill was the
mandioca kitchen and all the accompanying apparatus. Nothing could be
neater than the whole area of this sitio, and while we were there two or
three black girls were sent out to sweep it afresh with their stiff
twig-brooms. Around lay the plantation of mandioca and cacao, with here
and there a few coffee-shrubs. It is difficult to judge of the extent of
these sitio plantations, because they are so irregular and comprise such
a variety of trees,—mandioca, coffee, cacao, and often cotton, being
planted pellmell together. But this one, like the whole establishment,
seemed larger and better cared for than those usually seen. On the
return of the gentlemen from the igarapé we took leave, though very
warmly pressed to stay and breakfast. At parting, our Indian hostess
presented me with a wicker-basket of fresh eggs and some abacatys, or
alligator pears as we call them.[80] We reached the house just in time
for a ten o’clock breakfast, which assembled all the different parties
once more from their various occupations, whether of work or play. The
sportsmen returned from the forest, bringing a goodly supply of toucans,
papagaios, and parroquets, with a variety of other birds, and the
fisherman brought in new treasures for Mr. Agassiz.

_October 29th._—Yesterday, after breakfast, I retreated to the room
where we had passed the night, hoping to find time and quiet for writing
letters and completing my journal. But I found it already occupied by
the old Senhora and her guests, who were lounging in the hammocks or
squatting on the floor and smoking their pipes. The house is indeed full
to overflowing, as the whole party assembled for the ball are to stay
during the President’s visit. But in this way of living it is an easy
matter to accommodate any number of people, for if they cannot all be
received under the roof, they can hang their hammocks under the trees
outside. As I went to my room last evening, I stopped to look at a
pretty picture of an Indian mother with her two little children asleep
on either arm, all in one hammock, in the open air. My Indian friends
were too much interested in my occupations to allow of my continuing
them uninterruptedly. They were delighted with my books (I happened to
have “The Naturalist on the Amazons” with me, in which I showed them
some pictures of Amazonian scenery and insects), and asked me many
questions about my country, my voyage, and my travels here. In return
they gave me much information about their own way of life. They said the
present gathering of neighbors and friends was no unusual occurrence,
for they have a great many festas, which, though partly religious in
character, are also occasions of great festivity. These festas are
celebrated at different sitios in turn, the saint of the day being
carried, with all his ornaments, candles, bouquets, &c., to the house
where the ceremony is to take place, and where all the people of the
village congregate. Sometimes the festa lasts for several days, and is
accompanied with processions, music, and dances in the evening. But the
women said the forest was very sad now, because their men had all been
taken as recruits, or were seeking safety in the woods. The old Senhora
told me a sad story of the brutality exercised in recruiting the
Indians. She assured me that they were taken wherever found, without
regard to age or circumstances, women and children often being dependent
upon them; and if they made resistance, were carried off by force, and
frequently handcuffed or had heavy weights attached to their feet. Such
proceedings are entirely illegal; but these forest villages are so
remote, that the men employed to recruit may practice any cruelty
without being called to account for it. If the recruits are brought in
in good condition, no questions are asked. These women said that all the
work of the sitios—the making of farinha, the fishing, the
turtle-hunting—was stopped for want of hands. The appearance of things
certainly confirms this, for we scarcely see any men in the villages,
and the canoes we meet are mostly rowed by women.

Yet I must say that the life of the Indian woman, so far as we have seen
it, seems enviable, in comparison with that of the Brazilian lady in the
Amazonian towns. The former has a healthful out-of-door life; she has
her canoe on the lake or river and her paths through the forest, with
perfect liberty to come and go; she has her appointed daily occupations,
being busy not only with the care of her house and children, but in
making farinha or tapioca, or in drying and rolling tobacco, while the
men are fishing and turtle-hunting; and she has her frequent festa-days
to enliven her working life. It is, on the contrary, impossible to
imagine anything more dreary and monotonous than the life of the
Brazilian Senhora in the smaller towns. In the northern provinces
especially the old Portuguese notions about shutting women up and making
their home-life as colorless as that of a cloistered nun, without even
the element of religious enthusiasm to give it zest, still prevail. Many
a Brazilian lady passes day after day without stirring beyond her four
walls, scarcely ever showing herself at the door or window; for she is
always in a slovenly dishabille, unless she expects company. It is sad
to see these stifled existences; without any contact with the world
outside, without any charm of domestic life, without books or culture of
any kind, the Brazilian Senhora in this part of the country either sinks
contentedly into a vapid, empty, aimless life, or frets against her
chains, and is as discontented as she is useless.

On the day of our arrival the dinner was interrupted by the entrance of
the Indians with their greetings and presents of game to the President;
yesterday it was enlivened by quite a number of appropriate toasts and
speeches. I thought, as we sat around the dinner-table, there had
probably never been gathered under the palm-roof of an Indian house on
the Amazons just such a party before, combining so many different
elements and objects. There was the President, whose chief interest was
of course in administering the affairs of the province, in which the
Indians shared largely his attention; there was the young statesman,
whose whole heart is in the great national question of peopling the
Amazons and opening it to the world, and the effect this movement is to
have upon his country; there was the able engineer, much of whose
scientific life has been passed in surveying the great river and its
tributaries with a view to their future navigation; and there was the
man of pure science, come to study the distribution of animal life in
their waters, without any view to practical questions. The speeches
touched upon all these different interests, and were received with
enthusiasm, each one closing with a toast and music; for our little band
of the night before was brought in to enliven the occasion. The
Brazilians are very happy in their after-dinner speeches, expressing
themselves with great facility, either from a natural gift or because
speech-making is an art in which they have had much practice. The habit
of drinking healths and giving toasts is very general throughout the
country, and the most informal dinner among intimate friends does not
conclude without some mutual greetings of this kind.

As we were taking coffee under the trees afterwards, having yielded our
places, in the primitive dining-room, to the Indian guests, the
President suggested a sunset row on the lake. The hour and the light
were most tempting, and we were soon off in the canoe, taking no
boatmen, the gentlemen preferring to row themselves. We went through the
same lovely region, half water, half land, which we had passed in the
morning, floating between patches of greenest grass, and by large forest
trees, and blackened trunks standing out of the lake like ruins. We did
not go very fast nor very far, for our amateur boatmen found the evening
warm, and their rowing was rather play than work; they stopped, too,
every now and then, to get a shot at a white heron or to shoot into a
flock of parroquets or ciganas, whereby they wasted a good deal of
powder to no effect. As we turned to come back we were met by one of the
prettiest sights I have ever seen. The Indian women, having finished
their dinner, had taken the little two-masted canoe, dressed with flags,
which had been prepared for the President’s reception, and had come out
to meet us. They had the music on board and there were two or three men
in the boat; but the women were some twelve or fifteen in number, and
seemed, like genuine Amazons, to have taken things into their own hands.
They were rowing with a will; and as the canoe drew near, with music
playing and flags flying, the purple lake, dyed in the sunset and smooth
as a mirror, gave back the picture. Every tawny figure at the oars,
every flutter of the crimson and blue streamers, every fold of the green
and yellow national flag at the prow, was as distinct below the surface
as above it. The fairy boat—for so it looked—floating between glowing
sky and water, and seeming to borrow color from both, came on apace; and
as it approached, our friends greeted us with many a _Viva_, to which we
responded as heartily. Then the two canoes joined company and we went on
together, the guitar sometimes being taken into one canoe and sometimes
into the other, while Brazilian and Indian songs followed each other.
Anything more national, more completely imbued with tropical coloring
and character than this evening scene on the lake, can hardly be
conceived. When we reached the landing, the gold and rose-colored clouds
were fading into soft masses of white and ashen gray, and moonlight was
taking the place of sunset. As we went up the green slope to the sitio,
a dance on the grass was proposed, and the Indian girls formed a
quadrille; for thus much of civilization has crept into their native
manners, though they throw into it so much of their own characteristic
movements, that it loses something of its conventional aspect. Then we
returned to the house, where the dancing and singing were renewed, while
here and there groups sat about on the ground laughing and talking, the
women smoking with as much enjoyment as the men. Smoking is almost
universal among the common women here, yet is not confined to the lower
classes. Many a Senhora (at least in this part of Brazil, for we must
distinguish between the civilization on the banks of the Amazons and in
the interior and that in the cities along the coast) enjoys her pipe,
while she lounges in her hammock through the heat of the day.

_October 30th._—Yesterday our party broke up. The Indian women came to
bid us good-by after breakfast, and dispersed to their several homes,
going off in various directions through the forest-paths in little
groups, their babies, of whom there were a goodly number, astride on
their hips, as usual, and the older children following. Mr. Agassiz
passed the morning in packing and arranging his fishes, having collected
in those two days more than seventy new species.[81] His studies have
been the subject of great curiosity to the people about the sitio; one
or two were always hovering about to look at his work and to watch Mr.
Burkhardt’s drawing. They seemed to think it extraordinary that any one
should care to take the portrait of a fish. The familiarity of these
children of the forest with the natural objects about them—plants,
birds, insects, fishes, etc.—is remarkable. They frequently ask to see
the drawings; and in turning over a pile containing several hundred
colored sketches of fishes, they scarcely make a mistake,—even the
children giving the name instantly, and often adding, “É filho d’este,”
(it is the child of such an one,) thus distinguishing the young from the
adult, and pointing out their relation.

We dined rather earlier than usual, our chief dish being a stew of
parrots and toucans, and left the sitio at about five o’clock, in three
canoes, the music accompanying us in the smaller boat. Our Indian
friends stood on the shore as we left, giving us farewell greetings,
waving their hats and hands, and cheering heartily. The afternoon row
through the lake and igarapé was delicious; but the sun had long set as
we issued from the little river, and the Rio Negro, where it opens
broadly out into the Amazons, was a sea of silver. The boat with the
music presently joined our canoe, and we had a number of the Brazilian
“modinhas,” as they call them,—songs which seem especially adapted for
the guitar. These modinhas have a quite peculiar character. They are
little graceful, lyrical snatches of song, with a rather melancholy
cadence; even those of which the words are gay not being quite free from
this undertone of sadness. This put us all into a somewhat dreamy mood,
and we approached the end of our journey rather silently. But as we drew
near the landing, we heard the sound of a band of brass instruments,
effectually drowning our feeble efforts, and saw a crowded canoe coming
towards us. They were the boys from the Indian school which we visited
on our previous stay at Manaos. The canoe looked very pretty as it came
towards us in the moonlight; it seemed full to overflowing, the children
all dressed in white uniforms and standing up. This little band comes
always on Sunday evenings and festa-days to play before the President’s
house. They were just going home, it being nearly ten o’clock; but the
President called to them to turn back, and they accompanied us to the
beach, playing all the while. Thus our pleasant three days’ picnic ended
with music and moonlight.


Footnote 77:

  The most accurate information upon the industrial resources of the
  Valley of the Amazons may be found in a work published by Senhor
  Tavares Bastos, on his return to Rio de Janeiro, after this journey,
  entitled “O Valle do Amazonas—Estudo sobre a livre Navegaçaō do
  Amazonas, Estatistica, Producçöes, Commercio, Questöes Fiscaes do
  Valle do Amazonas.” Rio de Janeiro, 1866.

Footnote 78:

  This relation is a much nearer one throughout Brazil than with us. A
  god-child is treated as a member of their own family by its sponsors.

Footnote 79:

  In the course of our journey on the Amazons, Mr. Burkhardt made more
  than eight hundred paintings of fishes, more or less finished.—L. A.

Footnote 80:

  The fruit of the Persea gratissima.

Footnote 81:

  I was indebted to the President for many valuable specimens on this
  excursion, many of the birds and fishes brought in by the Indians for
  the table being turned over to the scientific collections. My young
  friends Dexter and James were also efficient, passing always a part of
  the day in the woods, and assisting me greatly in the preparation and
  preservation of the specimens. Among others we made a curious skeleton
  of a large black Doras, a species remarkable for the row of powerful
  scales extending along the side, each one provided with a sharp hook
  bent backward. It is the species I have described, in Spix and
  Martius’s great work, under the name of Doras Humboldti. The anterior
  vertebræ form a bony swelling of a spongeous texture, resembling
  drums, on each side of the backbone.—L. A.

                              CHAPTER IX.
                      MANAOS AND ITS NEIGHBORHOOD.


_Saturday, November 4th._—Manaos. This week has been rather uneventful.
Mr. Agassiz is prevented from undertaking new expeditions by the want of
alcohol. The next steamer will bring a fresh supply from Pará; and
meanwhile, being interrupted in his collections, he is making a study of
the various intermixture of races, Indians and Negroes, with their
crossings, of which a great number are found here. Our picturesque
barrack of a room, which we have left for more comfortable quarters in
Mr. Honorio’s house, serves as a photographic saloon, and here Mr.
Agassiz is at work half the day with his young friend Mr. Hunnewell, who
spent almost the whole time of our stay in Rio in learning photography,
and has become quite expert in taking likenesses. The grand difficulty
is found in the prejudices of the people themselves. There is a
prevalent superstition among the Indians and Negroes that a portrait
absorbs into itself something of the vitality of the sitter, and that
any one is liable to die shortly after his picture is taken. This notion
is so deeply rooted that it has been no easy matter to overcome it.
However, of late the desire to see themselves in a picture is gradually
gaining the ascendant, the example of a few courageous ones having
emboldened the more timid, and models are much more easily obtained now
than they were at first.

Yesterday our quiet life was interrupted by an excursion to the great
cascade, where we went with a party of friends to breakfast and dine. We
were called with the dawn, and were on the road at six o’clock, the
servants following laden with baskets of provisions. The dewy walk
through the woods in the early morning was very pleasant, and we arrived
at the little house above the cascade before the heat of the day began.
This house stands on a hill in a cleared ground entirely surrounded by
forest; just below it the river comes rushing through the wood, and
falls some ten feet over a thin platform of rock. By its formation, this
cascade is a Niagara in miniature; that is, the lower layer of rock
being softer than the upper, the water has worn it away until there now
remains only a thin slab of harder rock across the river. Deprived of
its support, this slab must break down eventually, as Table-rock has
done, when the cascade will, of course, retreat by so much and begin the
same process a little higher up. It has, no doubt, thus worn its way
upward already from a distant point. The lower deposit is clay, the
upper consists of the constantly recurring reddish sandstone,—in other
words, drift worked over by water. Below the fall, the water goes
tearing along through a narrow passage, over boulders, fallen trees, and
decaying logs, which break it into rapids. At a little distance from the
cascade there is a deep, broad basin in the wood, with a sand bottom, so
overshadowed by great trees that it looks dark even in tropical midday.
The bathing here, as we found by experience at a later hour, is most
delicious. The shade over the pool is so profound and the current runs
through it so swiftly that the water is exceedingly cold,—an unusual
thing here,—and it seems very refreshing to those coming from the hot
sun outside. At the side of this pool I saw a very large parasitic plant
in flower. Since we have been on the Amazons most of these parasites
have been out of bloom, and, though we have seen beautiful collections
in private gardens, we have not met them in the woods. This one was
growing in the lofty notch of a great tree, overhanging the water; a
tuft of dark green leaves with large violet and straw-colored blossoms
among them. It was quite out of reach, and the little garden looked so
pretty in its airy perch, that I was almost glad we had no power to
disturb it. After breakfast some of the guests, and Mr. Agassiz among
them, were obliged to return to town on business. They rejoined us in
time for a late dinner, arriving in a canoe instead of coming on foot,
an experiment which we had been prevented from trying in the morning,
because we had been told that, as the igarapé was low and the bottom
very rocky, it would be impossible to ascend the whole distance in a
boat. They came, however, in perfect safety, and were delighted with the
picturesque beauty of the row. After a very cheerful dinner, closing
with a cup of coffee in the open air, we started at twilight for town,
by different roads. Desirous to see the lower course of the igarapé,
which Mr. Agassiz reported as so beautiful, and being assured that there
was no real danger, I returned in the little canoe with Mr. Honorio. It
was thought best not to overload it, so the others took the forest road
by which we had come in the morning. I must say that as I went down the
rough steps to the landing, in the very pool where we had bathed, it
struck me that the undertaking was somewhat perilous; if this
overshadowed nook was dark at noonday, it was black at nightfall, and
the turbulent little stream, rushing along over rocks and logs, looked
mischievous. The rest of the party went with us to the embarkation, and,
as we disappeared in the darkness under the overhanging branches, one of
them called after us, laughingly,

               “Lasciate ogni speranza, voi che ’ntrate.”

However, there was only danger enough to laugh at, none to give real
concern, and I enjoyed the row through the narrow channel, where the
trees met overhead, and where the boatmen were obliged to jump into the
water to guide the canoe among the boulders and fallen trunks. We
reached home in perfect safety, and in time to welcome the others when
they arrived on foot.

_November 8th._—Manaos has been in unwonted agitation, for the last few
days, on the subject of a public ball to be given in honor of Mr.
Tavares Bastos. Where it should take place, what should be the day and
hour, and, among the Senhoras, what one should wear, have been the
subjects of discussion. The doubtful questions were at last settled, and
it was appointed for the fifth of the month, in the President’s palace.
“Palace” is the name always given to the residence of the President of
the province, however little the house may be in keeping with the title.
The night was not so auspicious as could have been wished; it was very
dark, and, as no such luxury as a carriage is known here, the different
parties might be seen groping through the streets at the appointed hour,
lighted with lanterns. Every now and then, as we were on our way, a
ball-dress would emerge from the darkness of an opposite corner, picking
its way with great care along the muddy ruts. When we had all assembled,
however, I did not see that any toilet had suffered seriously on the
road. The dresses were of every variety, from silks and satins to stuff
gowns, and the complexions of all tints, from the genuine negro through
paler shades of Indian and negro to white. There is absolutely no
distinction of color here; a black lady, always supposing her to be
free, is treated with as much consideration and meets with as much
attention as a white one. It is, however, rare to see a person in
society who can be called a genuine negro; but there are many mulattoes
and mamelucos, that is, persons having black or Indian blood. There is
little ease in Brazilian society, even in the larger cities; still less
in the smaller ones, where, to guard against mistakes, the
conventionalities of town life are exaggerated. The Brazilians, indeed,
though so kind and hospitable, are a formal people, fond of etiquette
and social solemnities. On their arrival, all the Senhoras were placed
in stiff rows around the walls of the dancing-room. Occasionally an
unfortunate cavalier would stray in and address a few words to this
formidable array of feminine charms; but it was not until the close of
the evening, when the dancing had broken up the company into groups,
that the scene became really gay. At intervals, trays of “doces” and tea
were handed round, and at twelve there was a more solid repast, at which
all the ladies were seated, their partners standing behind their chairs
and waiting upon them. Then began the toasts and healths, which were
given and received with great enthusiasm. After supper the dancing was
renewed and continued till after midnight, when the steamer from Pará
was seen coming into port, throwing up rockets and burning blue-lights
as she advanced, to announce that she was the bearer of good tidings
from the war. This, of course, gave general satisfaction, and the ball
broke up in great hilarity. There were some who did not sleep at all
that night, for many of the gentlemen went from the ball-room to the
steamer in search of the papers, which brought the news of a decided
victory over the Paraguayans, at Uruguayana, where the Emperor commanded
in person. It is said that seven thousand prisoners were taken. The next
night the ball was renewed in honor of this victory; so that Manaos,
whose inhabitants complain of the life as very dull, has had a most
unwonted rush of gayety this week.

_November 9th._—The severity in recruiting, of which we heard so much at
the Lake of Hyanuary, is beginning to bear its fruits in general
discontent. Some of the recruits have made their escape, and, on Tuesday
and Wednesday, before the steamer in which they were to go down to Pará
sailed, the disturbance was so great among them that they were kept
under lock and key. The impression seems to be general here that the
province of the Amazonas has been called upon to bear more than its
share of the burden, and that the defencelessness of the Indians in the
scattered settlements has made them especially victims. As there was no
other armed force here, several of the crew of the “Ibicuhy” were taken
to go down to Pará as guard over the unruly troops. Partly in
consequence of this, we have resolved to remain at Manaos till the end
of the month; a delay which Mr. Agassiz does not regret, as it enables
him to continue the comparison of the races which he has begun, and for
which the circumstances here are unusually favorable. In the mean time
the President has provided him with canoes and men for three separate
expeditions, on which he sends off three parties this week: Mr. Talisman
and Mr. Dexter to the Rio Negro and Rio Branco, to be absent six weeks;
Mr. Thayer and Mr. Bourget to Lake Cudajas, to be gone ten days; Mr.
James to Manacapuru, for about the same time. We feel the generosity of
this conduct the more, knowing how greatly the administration stands in
need of men and of all the resources at its command in the present
disturbed state of things.

_November 18th._—One can hardly walk in any direction out of the town
without meeting something characteristic of the people and their ways of
living. At seven o’clock, to-day, I took my morning walk through the
wood near the house to an igarapé, which is the scene of much of the
out-of-doors life here,—fishing, washing, bathing, turtle-shooting. As I
returned along the little path leading by the side of the stream, two
naked Indian boys were shooting fish with bow and arrows from a fallen
tree which jutted out into the stream. Like bronze statues they looked,
as they stood quiet and watchful, in attitudes full of grace and
strength, their bows drawn ready to let the arrow fly the moment they
should catch sight of the fish. The Indian boys are wonderfully skilful
in this sport, and also in shooting arrows through long blow-pipes
(Sarabatanas) to kill birds. This is no bad way of shooting, for the
report of the gun startles the game so effectually in these thick
forests, that after a few shots the sportsman finds the woods in his
immediate neighborhood deserted; whereas the Indian boy creeps
stealthily up to the spot from which he takes aim and discharges his
noiseless arrow with such precision, that the bird or monkey drops down
from among its companions, without their perceiving the cause of its
disappearance. While I was watching the boys, a canoe came up the
stream, paddled by women, and loaded with fruit and vegetables, on the
top of which sat two bright green parrots. Two of the women were old and
hideous, very wrinkled and withered, as these people usually are in old
age; but the third was the handsomest Indian woman I have ever seen,
with a tinge of white blood to be sure, for her skin was fairer and her
features more regular than those of the Indians generally. They were
coming from their sitio, as I learned afterwards. When they had moored
their boat to a tree, the younger woman began to unload, tucking her
petticoat about her hips, and wading to and fro with baskets of fruit
and vegetables on her head. Her hair was dressed with flowers, as is
usual with these women; however scanty their clothing, they seldom
forget this ornament.

_November 20th._—The President, Dr. Epaminondas, added yesterday to the
many kindnesses by which he has rendered our stay here doubly pleasant,
in giving an exceedingly pretty fête in honor of Mr. Agassiz. The place
chosen was the asylum for Indian children already described, well
adapted for the purpose on account of its large, airy rooms and
beautiful situation; and the invitation was given out in the name of the
“Province of the Amazonas.”[82] The day was most propitious; a rain
during the night had cooled the air, and a slightly overcast sky,
combined with the freshness of the atmosphere, gave just the conditions
most desirable for any such excursion in this climate. When we reached
the beach from which we were to leave, people were beginning to
assemble, and a number of canoes were already on their way, looking very
gay with their white awnings above and the bright dresses inside. Twenty
minutes’ row brought us to our destination. The scene was very pretty;
the path from the landing to the main house was lined with flags and
with palm-trees brought from the forest for the occasion, and the open
sides of the large rooms outside, usually working-rooms, but now fitted
up for the breakfast, were all filled in with green arches built of
trees and flowers, so that the whole space was transformed, for the time
being, into an arbor. We were received with music and conducted to the
main building, where all the guests gradually assembled, some two
hundred in number. At about one o’clock the President led the way to the
green arcades which, as yet, we had seen only from a distance. Nothing
could be more tasteful than the arrangements. The tables were placed
around a hollow square, in the centre of which was the American flag,
with the Brazilian on either side of it; while a number of other flags
draped the room and made the whole scene bright with color. The
landscape, framed in the open green arches, made so many pictures,
pretty glimpses of water and wood, with here and there a palm-thatched
roof among the trees on the opposite side of the river. A fresh breeze
blew through the open dining-room, stirring the folds of the flags, and
making a pleasant rustle in the trees, which added their music to that
of the band outside. Since we are on the Amazons, a thousand miles from
its mouth, it is worth while to say a word of the breakfast itself.
There is such an exaggerated idea of the hardships and difficulty of a
voyage on the Amazons, (at least so I infer from many remarks made to
us, not only at home, but even in Rio de Janeiro by Brazilians
themselves, when we were on the eve of departure for this journey,) that
it will hardly be believed that a public breakfast, given in Manaos,
should have all the comforts, and almost all the luxuries, of a similar
entertainment in any other part of the world. It is true, that we had
neither ices nor champagne, the former being of course difficult to
obtain in this climate; but these two exceptions were more than
compensated for by the presence of tropical fruits not to be had
elsewhere at any price,—enormous Pineapples, green and purple Abacatys
(alligator pears), crimson Pitangas, Attas (fruta do Conde), Abios,
Sapotis, Bananas of the choicest kinds and in the greatest profusion,
and a variety of Maracujas (the fruit of the passion-flower).[83] The
breakfast was gay, the toasts were numerous, the speeches animated, and
long after the Senhoras had left the table the room still echoed with
Vivas, as health followed health. At the close of the dinner there was a
little scene which struck us as very pretty; I do not know whether it is
a custom here, but, as it excited no remark, I suppose it may be. When
the gentlemen returned to the house, bringing the music with them, all
the waiters assembled in line before the door, decanter and glass in
hand, to finish the remains of the wine with a toast on their own
account. The head-waiter then stood in front of them and gave the
health, first, of the persons for whom the banquet was given, followed
by that of the President, all of which were answered with Vivas as they
filled their glasses. Then one of the gentlemen stepping forward gave,
amid shouts of laughter, the health of the head-waiter himself, which
was drank in a closing bumper with perhaps more animation than either of
the others. The afternoon closed with dancing, and at sunset the canoes
assembled and we returned to the city, all feeling, I believe, that the
festival had been a very happy one. It certainly was so for those to
whom it was intended to give pleasure, and could hardly fail to be
likewise for those who had planned and executed it. It will seem strange
to many of my readers that Sunday should be chosen for such a fête; but
here, as in many parts of continental Europe, even in Protestant
districts, Sunday is a holiday and kept as such.

_November 27th._—Yesterday I visited the prison where the wife of the
chief of police had invited me to see some of the carved articles, straw
work, &c., made by the prisoners. I had expected to be pained, because I
thought, from the retrograde character of things in general here, the
prison system would be bad. But the climate in these hot countries
regulates the prison life in some degree. Men cannot be shut up in
close, dark cells, without endangering not only their own lives, but the
sanitary condition of the establishment also. Therefore the prison is
light and airy, with plenty of doors and windows, secured by bars, but
not otherwise closed. I infer, however, from a passage on the prisons of
the province, contained in one of the able reports of President Adolfo
de Barros (1864), that within the last year there has been a great
improvement, at least in the prison of Manaos. He says: “The state of
the prisons exceeds all that can be said to their disadvantage. Not only
is it true that there is not to be found throughout the province a
prison which fulfils the conditions imposed by the law, but there is not
one which deserves the name of prison with the exception of that in the
capital. And even this one, while it does not possess one of the
conditions exacted by similar institutions, contains so disproportionate
a number of prisoners of all classes, so indiscriminately mingled, that,
setting aside the other difficulties arising from this association, it
is only by the mercy of Providence that the jail has not been converted
into a focus of epidemics during the great heat prevailing in this city
for a great part of the year. In four small rooms, insufficiently
ventilated and lighted, are assembled forty prisoners (including the
sick) of various classes and conditions. Without air, without
cleanliness, almost without room to move in their smothered and damp
enclosure, these unhappy beings, against all precepts of law and
humanity, suffer far more than the simple and salutary rigor of
punishment.” These strictures must have led to a great amendment, for
the prison does not now appear to be deficient in light or in
ventilation, and there is a hospital provided apart for the sick. Some
of the prisoners, especially those who were there for political
offences, having been concerned in a recent revolt at Serpa, were very
heavily ironed; but, excepting this, there were no signs, visible at
least to the transient observer, of cruelty or neglect. After some
remarks on the best modes of reforming these abuses and the means to be
employed for that object, Dr. Adolfo goes on to speak of the ruinous
condition of the prisons in other cities of the province. “Such is the
state of the prison in the town of Teffé. The edifice in which it is
established is an old and crumbling house, belonging to the
municipality, thatched with straw, and so ruinous, that it seemed to me,
when I visited it, rather like a deserted habitation than like a
building destined for the detention of criminals. There were but a few
prisoners, some of whom were already condemned. I formed a favorable
judgment of them all, for it seemed to me they must have either great
confidence in their own innocence, or scruples as to compromising the
few soldiers who acted as guards. In no other way could I explain the
fact that they remained in prison, when flight seemed so easy.” I well
remember one evening when walking in Teffé seeing a number of men
leaning against the wooden grating of a dimly lighted room in a ruinous
thatched house, and being told that this was the prison. I asked myself
the same question which presented itself to the President’s mind,—why
these wild-looking, half-naked creatures had not long ago made their
escape from a prison whose bars and bolts would hardly have imposed
restraint upon a child. The report continues: “A more decent and, above
all, a more secure prison at this point, the most important in the whole
Solimoens, is an urgent and even indispensable necessity. Of the sixteen
prisons in the whole province, only two, that of the capital and of
Barcellos, have their own buildings. With these exceptions, the
prisoners occupy either a part of the houses of the legislative
chambers, or are placed in private houses hired for the purpose, or in
the quarters of the military detachments. In these different prisons 538
prisoners were received during the current year, inclusive of recruits
and deserters.” This last clause, “inclusive of recruits and deserters,”
and the association of the two classes of men together, as if equally
delinquent, touches upon a point hardly to be overlooked by the most
superficial observer, and which makes a very painful impression on
strangers. The system of recruiting, or rather the utter want of system,
leads to the most terrible abuse of authority in raising men for the
army. I believe that the law provides for a constitutional draft levied
equally on all classes, excluding men below or above a certain age, or
having certain responsibilities at home. But if such a law exists it is
certainly not enforced; recruiting parties, as bad as the old
“press-gangs” of England, go out into the forest and seize the Indians
wherever they can find them. All who resist this summary treatment or
show any inclination to escape are put into prison till the steamer
leaves, by which they are despatched to Pará and thence to the army. The
only overcrowded room I saw at the prison was that where the recruits
were confined. Coming from a country where the soldier is honored, where
men of birth and education have shown that they are not ashamed to serve
in the line if necessary, it seemed to me strange and sad to see these
men herded with common criminals. The record of the province of the
Amazonas will read well in the history of the present war, for the
number of troops contributed is very large in proportion to the
population. But as most of them are obtained in this way, it may be
doubted whether the result is a very strong evidence of patriotism. The
abuses mentioned above are not, however, confined to these remote
regions.[84] It is not uncommon, even in the more populous and central
parts of Brazil, to meet recruits on the road, so-called volunteers,
chained two and two by the neck like criminals, under an armed guard.
When we first met a squad of men under these circumstances, on the Juiz
de Fora road, we supposed them to be deserters, but the Brazilians who
were with us, and who seemed deeply mortified at the circumstance, said
that they were no doubt ordinary recruits, arrested without inquiry on
the one side, or power of resistance on the other. They asserted that
this mode of recruiting was illegal, but that their chains would be
taken off before entering the city, and no questions asked. A Brazilian
told me that he had known an instance in which a personal pique against
an enemy had been gratified by pointing out its object to the recruiting
officer, who had the man at once enlisted, though a large family was
entirely dependent upon him. Our informant seemed to know no redress for
tyranny like this.

The hospitality we have received in Brazil, the sympathy shown to Mr.
Agassiz in his scientific undertakings, as well as our own sentiments of
gratitude and affection for our many friends here, forbid us to enter
into any criticism of Brazilian manners or habits which could have a
personal application. Neither do I believe that a few months’ residence
in a country entitles any one to a judgment upon the national character
of its people. Yet there are certain features of Brazilian institutions
and politics which cannot but strike a stranger unfavorably, and which
explain the complaints one constantly hears from foreign residents. The
exceedingly liberal constitution, borrowed in great part from our own,
prepares one to expect the largest practical liberty. To a degree this
exists; there is no censorship of the press; there is no constraint upon
the exercise of any man’s religion; nominally, there is absolute freedom
of thought and belief. But in the practical working of the laws there is
a very arbitrary element, and a petty tyranny of the police against
which there seems to be no appeal. There is, in short, an utter want of
harmony between the institutions and the actual condition of the people.
May it not be, that a borrowed constitution, in no way the growth of the
soil, is, after all, like an ill-fitting garment, not made for the
wearer, and hanging loosely upon him? There can be no organic relation
between a truly liberal form of government and a people for whom, taking
them as a whole, little or no education is provided, whose religion is
administered by a corrupt clergy, and who, whether white or black, are
brought up under the influence of slavery. Liberty will not abide in the
laws alone; it must have its life in the desire of the nation, its
strength in her resolve to have and to hold it. Another feature which
makes a painful impression on the stranger is the enfeebled character of
the population. I have spoken of this before, but in the northern
provinces it is more evident than farther south. It is not merely that
the children are of every hue; the variety of color in every society
where slavery prevails tells the same story of amalgamation of race; but
here this mixture of races seems to have had a much more unfavorable
influence on the physical development than in the United States. It is
as if all clearness of type had been blurred, and the result is a vague
compound lacking character and expression. This hybrid class, although
more marked here because the Indian element is added, is very numerous
in all the cities and on the large plantations; perhaps the fact, so
honorable to Brazil, that the free negro has full access to all the
privileges of any free citizen, rather tends to increase than diminish
the number.[85]

_December 3d._—Yesterday was the Emperor’s birthday, always kept as a
holiday throughout Brazil, and this year with more enthusiasm than
usual, because he has just returned from the army, and has made himself
doubly dear to his people, not only by the success which attended his
presence there, but by his humanity toward the soldiers. We had our
illuminations, bouquets, music, &c., as well as the rest of the world;
but as Manaos is not overflowing with wealth, the candles were rather
few, and there were long lapses of darkness alternating with the
occasional brilliancy. We went out in the evening to make a few calls,
and listen to the music in the open ground dignified by the name of the
public square. Here all the surrounding buildings were brightly
illuminated; there was a very pretty tent in the centre, where the band
of Indian children from the Casa dos Educandos was playing; preparations
were making for the ascension of a lighted balloon at a later hour, and
so on. But whenever we have been present at public festivities in
Brazil,—and our observation is confirmed by other foreigners,—we have
been struck with the want of gayety, the absence of merriment. There is
a kind of lack-lustre character in their fêtes, so far as any
demonstration of enjoyment is concerned. Perhaps it is owing to their
enervating climate, but the Brazilians do not seem to work or play with
a will. They have not the activity which, while it makes life a restless
fever with our people, gives it interest also; neither have they the
love of amusement of the continental Europeans.

_December 6th._—Manaos. Mr. Thayer returned to-day from Lake Alexo,
bringing a valuable collection of fish, obtained with some difficulty on
account of the height of water; it is rapidly rising now, and the fish
are in consequence daily scattered over a wider space. This addition
with the collections brought in by Mr. Bourget and Mr. Thayer from
Cudajas, by Mr. James from Manacapuru, and by Major Coutinho from Lake
Hyanuary, José-Fernandez, Curupira, &c., &c., brings the number of
Amazonian species up to something over thirteen hundred. Mr. Agassiz
still carries out his plan of dispersing his working force in such a
manner as to determine the limits of the distribution of species; to
ascertain, for instance, whether those which are in the Amazons at one
season may be in the Solimoens at another or at the same time, and also
whether those which are found about Manaos extend higher up in the Rio
Negro. For this reason, as we have seen, while at Teffé himself he kept
parties above in various localities,—at Tabatinga and on the rivers Iça
and Hyutahy; and now, while he and some of his assistants are collecting
in the immediate neighborhood of Manaos, Mr. Dexter and Mr. Talisman are
on the Rio Negro and Rio Branco. Following the same plan in descending
the river, he intends to establish one station at Serpa, another at
Obydos, another at Santarem, while he will go himself to the river
Mauhes, which connects the Amazons with the Madeira.

_December 10th._—To-day Mr. Dexter and Mr. Talisman returned from their
canoe excursion to the Rio Branco. They are rather disappointed in the
result of their expedition, having found the state of the waters most
extraordinary for the season and very unfavorable for their purpose. The
Rio Negro was so full that the beaches had entirely disappeared, and it
was impossible to draw the nets; while on the Rio Branco the people
stated that the water had not fallen during the whole year,—an
unheard-of phenomenon, and unfortunate for the inhabitants, who were
dreading famine for want of their usual supply of dried and salted fish,
on which they so largely depend for food. This provision is always made
when the waters are lowest, and when the large fish, driven into
shallower and narrower basins, are easily caught. Though their
collection of fish is therefore small, including only twenty-eight new
species, Mr. Dexter and Mr. Talisman bring several monkeys, a very large
alligator, some beautiful birds, among them the blue Mackaw, and a
number of very fine palms. To-morrow we leave Manaos in the Ibicuhy, on
an excursion to the little town of Mauhes, where we are to pass a week
or ten days. Though we return for a day or two on our way to the Rio
Negro, yet we feel that our permanent stay in Manaos is over. The six
weeks we have passed here have been very valuable in scientific results.
Not only has Mr. Agassiz largely increased his knowledge of the fishes,
but he has had an opportunity of accumulating a mass of new and
interesting information on the many varieties of the colored races,
produced by the crossing of Indians, negroes, and whites, which he has
recorded not only in notes, but in a very complete series of
photographs. Perhaps nowhere in the world can the blending of types
among men be studied so fully as in the Amazons, where mamelucos,
cafuzos, mulattoes, cabocos, negroes, and whites are mingled in a
confusion that seems at first inextricable. I insert below a few
extracts from his notes on this subject, which he purposes to treat more
in detail, should he find time hereafter to work up the abundant
material he has collected.

“However naturalists may differ respecting the origin of species, there
is at least one point on which they agree, namely, that the offspring
from two so-called different species is a being intermediate between
them, sharing the peculiar features of both parents, but resembling
neither so closely as to be mistaken for a pure representative of the
one or the other. I hold this fact to be of the utmost importance in
estimating the value and meaning of the differences observed between the
so-called human races. I leave aside the question of their probable
origin, and even that of their number; for my purpose, it does not
matter whether there are three, four, five, or twenty human races, and
whether they originated independently from one another or not. The fact
that they differ by constant permanent features is in itself sufficient
to justify a comparison between the human races and animal species. We
know that, among animals, when two individuals of different sex and
belonging to distinct species produce an offspring, the latter does not
closely resemble either parent, but shares the characteristics of both;
and it seems to me of the highest significance that this fact is equally
true of any two individuals of different sexes, belonging to different
human races. The child born of negro and white parents is neither black
nor white, but a mulatto; the child born of white and Indian parents is
neither white nor Indian, but a mameluco; the child born of negro and
Indian parents is neither a negro nor an Indian, but a cafuzo; and the
cafuzo, mameluco, and mulatto share the peculiarities of both parents,
just as the mule shares the characteristics of the horse and ass. With
reference to their offspring, the races of men stand, then, to one
another in the same relation as different species among animals; and the
word _races_, in its present significance, needs only to be retained
till the number of human species is definitely ascertained and their
true characteristics fully understood. I am satisfied that, unless it
can be shown that the differences between the Indian, negro and white
races are unstable and transient, it is not in keeping with the facts to
affirm a community of origin for all the varieties of the human family,
nor in keeping with scientific principles to make a difference between
human races and animal species in a systematic point of view. In these
various forms of humanity there is as much system as in anything else in
nature, and by overlooking the thoughtful combinations expressed in them
we place ourselves at once outside of the focus from which the whole may
be correctly seen. In consequence of their constancy, these differences
are so many limitations to prevent a complete melting of normal types
into each other and consequent loss of their primitive features. That
these different types are genetically foreign to one another, and do not
run together by imperceptible, intermediate degrees, appears plain when
their mixtures are compared. White and negro produce mulattoes, white
and Indian produce mamelucos, negro and Indian produce cafuzos, and
these three kinds of half-breeds are not connecting links between the
pure races, but stand exactly in that relation to them in which all
hybrids stand to their parents. The mameluco is as truly a half-breed
between white and Indian, the cafuzo as truly a half-breed between negro
and Indian, as is the mulatto, commonly so called, a half-breed between
white and negro. They all share equally the peculiarities of both
parents, and though more fertile than half-breeds in other families of
the animal kingdom, there is in all a constant tendency to revert to the
primary types in a country where three distinct races are constantly
commingling, for they mix much more readily with the original stocks
than with each other.[86] Children between mameluco and mameluco, or
between cafuzo and cafuzo, or between mulatto and mulatto, are seldom
met with where the pure races occur; while offspring of mulattoes with
whites, Indians and negroes, or of mamelucos with whites, Indians, and
negroes, or of cafuzos with whites, Indians, and negroes, form the bulk
of these mixed populations. The natural result of an uninterrupted
contact of half-breeds with one another is a class of men in which pure
type fades away as completely as do all the good qualities, physical and
moral, of the primitive races, engendering a mongrel crowd as repulsive
as the mongrel dogs, which are apt to be their companions, and among
which it is impossible to pick out a single specimen retaining the
intelligence, the nobility, or the affectionateness of nature which
makes the dog of pure type the favorite companion of civilized man. The
question respecting the relation of the human races to each other is
complicated by the want of precision in the definition of species.
Naturalists differ greatly in their estimation of the characters by
which species are to be distinguished, and of their natural limitations.
I have published elsewhere my own views on this subject. I believe the
boundaries of species to be precise and unvarying, based upon a category
of characters quite distinct from those on which the other groups of the
animal kingdom, as genera, families, orders, and classes, are founded.
This category of characters consists chiefly in the relation of
individuals to one another and to their surroundings, and in the
relative dimensions and proportions of parts. These characters are no
less permanent and constant in the different species of the human family
than in those of any other family in the animal kingdom, and my
observations upon the cross-breeds in South America have convinced me
that the varieties arising from contact between these human species, or
so-called races, differ from true species just as cross-breeds among
animals differ from true species, and that they retain the same
liability to revert to the original stock as is observed among all
so-called varieties or breeds.”

Our visit to Mauhes will be the pleasanter and doubtless the more
successful, because Dr. Epaminondas, who has already done so much to
facilitate the objects of the expedition, takes this opportunity of
visiting a region with which, as President of the province, he is
desirous of becoming acquainted. He is accompanied by our host, Mr.
Honorio, whose house has been such a pleasant home for us during our
stay in Manaos, and also by Mr. Michelis, Lieutenant-Colonel of the
National Guard of Mauhes, returning to his home there, after a stay of
several weeks in Manaos. Besides these, our party consists of Major
Coutinho, Mr. Burkhardt, and ourselves. The position of Mauhes, on the
southern side of the Amazons, and its proximity to Manaos and Serpa, may
make this excursion especially instructive, with reference to the study
of the geographical distribution of the Fishes in the great network of
rivers connecting the Rio Madeira and the Rio Tapajoz with the Amazons.


Footnote 82:

  I trust that the motive will not be misunderstood which induces me to
  add here a translation of the general cards of invitation distributed
  on this occasion. The graceful expression of a thought so kind, and
  the manner in which the President merges his own personality in the
  name of the Province of which he is the administrative head, are so
  characteristic of his mingled courtesy and modesty, that I am tempted
  to insert the note, notwithstanding its personal character.
  Unfortunately, I cannot always do full justice to the kindness shown
  Mr. Agassiz throughout our journey, or to the general appreciation of
  his scientific objects, without introducing testimonials into this
  narrative which it would perhaps be more becoming in me to suppress.
  But I do not know how otherwise to acknowledge our obligations, and I
  trust it will be attributed, by candid readers, to the true motive,—to
  gratitude and not to egotism.

  “The scientific labors undertaken at this time by the learned and
  illustrious Professor Agassiz in this Province, merit from the
  Amazonenses the most sincere gratitude and acknowledgment, and elicit
  on our part a manifestation by which we seek to show due appreciation
  of his high intellectual merit. I wish that for this object I could
  dispose of more abundant resources, or that the Province had in
  readiness better means of showing the veneration and cordial esteem we
  all bear to him, the respect and admiration we feel for his scientific
  explorations. But the uncertainty of his stay among us obliges me to
  offer at once some proof, however insignificant, of our profound
  esteem for this most deserving American.

  “To this end, the accomplishment of which I cannot longer defer, I
  invite all to join me in offering to Professor Agassiz and to his
  wife, in the name of the Province of the Amazonas, a modest rural
  breakfast (_almoço campestre_) in the Casa dos Educandos, on Sunday,
  the 18th of this month, at 11 o’clock in the morning. I hereby invite
  you and your family to be present, in order that this festival, great
  in the earnestness of our intentions, however small as compared with
  the importance of those to whom it is offered, should be gay and

                                          “ANTONIO EPAMINONDAS DE MELLO.

  “_Palace of the Government at Manaos, 13 November, 1865._”

Footnote 83:

  As I do not wish to mislead, and this narrative may perhaps influence
  some one to make a journey in this region, I should add, that, while
  the above is strictly true, there are many things essential to the
  comfort of the traveller not to be had. There is not a decent hotel
  throughout the whole length of the Amazons, and any one who thinks of
  travelling there must provide himself with such letters as will secure
  accommodation in private houses. So recommended, he may safely depend
  upon hospitality, or upon such assistance from individuals as will
  enable him to find a private lodging.

Footnote 84:

  Much of what follows upon social abuses, tyranny of the local police,
  prison discipline, &c., though not quoted in his own words, has been
  gathered from conversations with Mr. Agassiz, or from discussions
  between him and his Brazilian friends. The way in which this volume
  has grown up, being as it were the result of a double experience,
  makes it occasionally difficult to draw the exact line marking the
  boundaries of authorship; the division being indeed somewhat vague in
  the minds of the writers themselves. But since criticisms of this sort
  would have little value, except as based upon larger opportunities for
  observation than fell to my share, I am the more anxious to refer
  them, wherever I can, to their right source.

Footnote 85:

  Let any one who doubts the evil of this mixture of races, and is
  inclined, from a mistaken philanthropy, to break down all barriers
  between them, come to Brazil. He cannot deny the deterioration
  consequent upon an amalgamation of races, more wide-spread here than
  in any other country in the world, and which is rapidly effacing the
  best qualities of the white man, the negro, and the Indian, leaving a
  mongrel nondescript type, deficient in physical and mental energy. At
  a time when the new social status of the negro is a subject of vital
  importance in our statesmanship, we should profit by the experience of
  a country where, though slavery exists, there is far more liberality
  toward the free negro than he has ever enjoyed in the United States.
  Let us learn the double lesson: open all the advantages of education
  to the negro, and give him every chance of success which culture gives
  to the man who knows how to use it; but respect the laws of nature,
  and let all our dealings with the black man tend to preserve, as far
  as possible, the distinctness of his national characteristics, and the
  integrity of our own.—L. A.

Footnote 86:

  For some remarks concerning the structural peculiarities of the
  Indians and Negroes, see Appendix No. V.

                               CHAPTER X.


_December 12th._—We left Manaos, according to our intention, on Sunday
evening (the 10th), raising the anchor with military exactness at five
o’clock, the very moment appointed, somewhat to the disappointment of a
boatful of officials from the National Guard, who were just on their way
to pay their parting compliments to the President, at the hour fixed for
his departure. In Brazil it may safely be assumed that things will
always be a little behind time; on this occasion, however, our
punctuality was absolute, and the officers were forced to wave their
adieux as we proceeded on our way, leaving their canoe behind. The hour
was of good omen,—a cool breeze, the one blessing for which the
traveller sighs in these latitudes, blowing up the Amazons; and as we
left the Rio Negro, it lay behind us, a golden pathway to the setting
sun, which was going down in a blaze of glory. We were received on board
with all possible hospitality by the commander, Captain Faria. He has
made every arrangement for our comfort which a vessel of war, not
intended for passengers, can afford, giving up his own quarters for my
accommodation. On deck he has arranged a little recess, sheltered by a
tarpaulin from the sun and rain, to serve as a dining-room, that we may
take our meals in the fresh air instead of dining in the close cabin
below decks intended for this purpose.

The morning following our departure was an interesting one, because we
found ourselves at the mouth of the Ramos, unknown to steam navigation,
and about which the Captain had some apprehensions, as he was by no
means sure that he should find water enough for his vessel. It was,
therefore, necessary to proceed with great caution, sounding at every
step and sending out boats in advance, to ascertain the direction of the
channel. Once within the river, we had depth of water enough to float
much larger vessels. The banks of this stream are beautiful. The forest
was gay with color, and the air laden with the rich perfume of flowers,
which, when we came up the Amazons six months ago, were not yet in
bloom. We were struck also with the great abundance and variety of the
palms, so much more numerous on the lower course of the Amazons than on
the Solimoens. The shores were dotted with thrifty-looking plantations,
laid out with a neatness and care which bespeak greater attention to
agriculture than we have seen elsewhere. Healthy-looking cattle were
grazing about many of the sitios. As the puff of our steam was heard,
the inhabitants ran out to gaze in amazement at the unwonted visitant,
standing in groups on the shores, almost too much lost in wonder to
return our greetings. The advent of a steamer in their waters should be
to them a welcome harbinger of the time, perhaps not far distant, when,
instead of their present tedious and uncertain canoe journeys to Serpa
or Villa Bella, they will be able to transport their produce to either
of these points in a few hours, in small steamboats, connecting all
these settlements, and adapted to the navigation. Any such prophetic
vision was, however, no doubt very far from their thoughts; if they had
any idea as to the object of our coming, it was probably a fear lest we
should be on a recruiting expedition. If so, it is certainly a very
innocent one, fishes being the only recruits we aim at entrapping. From
the Ramos we turned into the Mauhes, ascending to the town of the same
name, where to-day we are enjoying the hospitality of Mr. Michelis.

If any of my readers are as ignorant as I was myself before making this
voyage, a bit of geography may not be out of place here. As everybody
knows, the river Madeira, that great affluent of the Amazons, all whose
children are giants, except when compared with their royal father,
enters the main stream on its southern side at a point nearly opposite
Serpa. But this is not its only connection with the Amazons. The river
Mauhes starting about twenty-five leagues from its mouth, runs from the
river Madeira almost parallel with the Amazons until it joins the river
Ramos, which continues its course in the same direction to a lower
point, where it empties into the main stream. The district of land thus
enclosed between four rivers, having the Madeira on the west, the
Amazons on the north, and the Ramos and the Mauhes on the south, is
known on the map as the island of Tupinambaranas. It is a network of
rivers, lakes, and islands; one of those watery labyrinths which would
be in itself an extensive river system in any other country, but is here
absolutely lost in the world of waters of which it forms a part. Indeed,
the vastness of the Amazons is not felt chiefly when following its main
course, but rather on its lesser tributaries, where streams to which a
place on the map is hardly accorded are found to be in fact large

The region of Mauhes is comparatively little known, because it is off
the line of steam navigation; but, thanks to the efforts of its most
prominent citizen, Mr. Michelis, who has made his home there for
twenty-five years, and contributed, by his energy, intelligence, and
honorable character, to raise the tone of the whole district, it is one
of the most prosperous in the province. It is melancholy to see how
little is done in other districts, when an instance like this shows what
one man can do to improve the forest population along the banks of the
Amazons. His example and its successful results should be an
encouragement to all intelligent settlers on the Amazons. The little
village of Mauhes stands on a sort of terrace, in front of which, at
this season when the waters are still considerably below high-water
mark, runs a broad, white beach, rendered all the prettier at the moment
of our arrival by a large party of Bolivian Indians, who had built their
camp-fires on its sands. We looked at these people with a kind of
wonder, thinking of the perilous voyages they constantly make in their
heavily-laden canoes, forced to unload their cargo over and over again
as they shoot the cataracts of the Madeira on their way down, or drag
their boats wearily up them on their return. It seems strange, when this
river is the highway of commerce from Bolivia, Matto-Grosso, and through
Matto-Grosso from Paraguay to the Amazons, that the suggestion made by
Major Coutinho in his interesting account of his journey on the Rio
Madeira, has not been adopted. He says that a road carried along the
shore of the river for a distance of forty leagues would obviate all the
difficulty and danger of this arduous journey.

[Illustration: Mauhes River.]

Mauhes is not a cluster of houses, but is built in line along a broad,
grass-grown street running the length of the terrace formed by the top
of the river-bank. In an open space, at one end of this village street,
stands the church, a small but neat-looking building, with a wooden
cross in front. Most of the houses are low and straw-thatched, but here
and there a more substantial house, with tiled roof, like that of Mr.
Michelis, breaks the ordinary level of the buildings. Notwithstanding
the modest appearance of this little town, all who know something of its
history speak of it as one of the most promising of the Amazonian
settlements, and as having a better moral tone than usually prevails.
One of its great staples is the Guaraná. This shrub, or rather vine,—for
it is a trailing plant somewhat like our high-bush blackberry,—is about
eight feet high when full grown, and bears a bean the size of a
coffee-bean, two being enclosed in each envelope. This bean, after being
roasted, is pounded in a small quantity of water, until it becomes, when
thoroughly ground, a compact paste, and when dry is about the color of
chocolate, though much harder. In this state it is grated, (the grater
being always the rough tongue of the Pirarucu,) and when mixed with
sugar and water it makes a very pleasant, refreshing drink. It is said
to have medicinal properties also, and is administered with excellent
effect in cases of diarrhœa. In certain parts of Brazil it is very
extensively used as well as in Bolivia, and will, no doubt, have a wider
distribution when its value is more generally known. The Indians display
no little fancy in the manufacture of this article, moulding the paste
into the shape of mounted soldiers, horses, birds, serpents, &c.

This morning I was attracted by voices in the street, and going to the
window I saw the door of the house where the President is lodged
besieged by a crowd of Bolivian Indians. They had brought some of their
robes to sell, and it was not long before several of our party, among
whom were ready purchasers, made their appearance in Bolivian costume.
This dress is invariable; always the long robe, composed of two pieces,
one hanging before, the other behind, belted around the waist and
fastened on the shoulders, with an opening for the head to pass through.
Such a robe, with a broad-brimmed, coarse straw hat, constitutes the
whole dress of these people. Their ordinary working garb is made of
bark; their better robe, for more festive occasions, consists of a
twilled cotton of their own manufacture, exceedingly soft and fine, but
very close and strong. These dresses may be more or less ornamented, but
are always of the same shape. The Bolivian Indians seem to be more
industrious than those of the Amazons, or else they are under more
rigorous discipline.

_December 14th._—At the settlement of Mucaja-Tuba. Mucaja signifies a
particular kind of palm, very abundant here; Tuba means a place. Thus we
are among the woods of Acrocomia. Yesterday we were to have left Mauhes
with the dawn on an excursion to this place, but at the appointed hour a
flood of rain, such as is seen only in these latitudes, was pouring down
in torrents, accompanied by thunder and lightning. The delay occasioned
by this interruption, however, proved a good fortune in the end. By
eleven o’clock the storm was over, but the sky continued overcast during
the rest of the day. Our way lay up the river Mauhes, past the mouths of
nameless streams and lakes,—broad sheets of water, perfectly unknown out
of their immediate neighborhood. Night brought us to our destination,
and at about eight o’clock we anchored before this little village. As we
approached it a light or two was seen glimmering on the shore, and we
could not help again wondering what was the feeling of the people who
saw and heard for the first time one of these puffing steam monsters.
This morning, with a boat-load of goods of all sorts, intended by the
President as presents for the Indians, we put off for the shore. Landing
on the beach we went at once to the house of the chief, a most
respectable looking old man, who stood at the door to receive us. He was
an old acquaintance of Major Coutinho, having formerly accompanied him
on his exploration of the Rio Madeira. The inhabitants of this village
are Mundurucu Indians, one of the most intelligent and kindly disposed
of the Amazonian tribes. Although they are too civilized to be
considered as illustrating in any way the wild life of the primitive
Indians, yet, as it is the first time we have seen one of their isolated
settlements, removed from every civilizing influence except the
occasional contact of the white man, the visit was especially
interesting to us. It is astonishing to see the size and solidity of
their houses, with never a nail driven, the frame consisting of rough
trunks bound together by withes made of long, elastic sipos, the cordage
of the forest. Major Coutinho tells us that they know very well the use
of nails in building, and say to one another derisively, when they want
another sipo, “Hand me a nail.” The ridge-pole of this chief’s house
could not have been less than twenty-five to thirty-eight feet high, and
the room was spacious in proportion. Hammocks were hung in the corners,
one of which was partitioned off by a low wall of palm-thatch; bows and
arrows, guns and oars, hung on the walls or were leaning against them,
and adjoining this central apartment was the mandioca kitchen. There
were a number of doors and windows in the room, closed by large
palm-mats. The house of the chief stood at the head of a line of houses
differing from his only in being somewhat smaller; they made one side of
an open square, on the opposite side of which was a corresponding row of
buildings. With a few exceptions these houses were empty, for the
population gather only three or four times in the course of the year, at
certain festival seasons. Generally they are scattered about in their
different sitios, attending to their plantations. But at these fêtes
they assemble to the number of several hundred, all the dwellings are
crowded with families, and the square in the centre is cleared of grass,
swept and garnished for their evening dances. Such festivities last for
ten days or a fortnight; then they all disperse to their working life
again. At this time there are not more than thirty or forty persons in
the village. The most interesting object we saw was their church, which
stands at the head of the square, and was built entirely by the Indians
themselves. It is quite a large structure, capable of holding an
assembly of five or six hundred persons. The walls are of mud, very
neatly finished inside, and painted in colors made by the Indians from
the bark, roots, and fruits of certain trees, and also from a particular
kind of clay. The front part of the church is wholly unfurnished, except
for the rough wooden font standing just within the door. But the farther
end is partitioned off to make a neat chancel, within which several
steps lead up to the altar and niche above, where is placed the rude
image of the Mother and the Child. Of course the architecture and the
ornaments are of the coarsest description; the painting consists only of
stripes or lines of blue, red, and yellow, with here and there an
attempt at a star or a diamond, or a row of scalloping; but there is
something touching in the idea that these poor, uneducated people of the
forest have cared to build themselves a temple with their own hands,
lavishing upon it such ideas of beauty and taste as they have, and
bringing at least their best to their humble altar. None of our city
churches, on which millions have been expended, have power to move one
like this church, the loving work of the worshippers themselves, with
its mud walls so coarsely painted, its wooden cross before the door, and
little thatched belfry at one side. It is sad that these people, with so
much religious sensibility, are not provided with any regular service.
At long intervals a priest, on his round of visitations, makes his way
to them, but, except on such rare occasions, they have no one to
administer the rites of burial or baptism, or to give religious
instruction to them or to their children. And yet their church was
faultlessly clean, the mud floor was strewn with fresh green leaves, and
everything about the building showed it to be the object of solicitude
and care. Their houses were very neat, and they themselves were decently
dressed in the invariable costume of the civilized Indian,—the men in
trousers and white cotton shirts, the women in calico petticoats, with
short, loose chemises, either of cotton or calico, and their long, thick
black hair drawn up and fastened on the top of their head by a
semicircular comb, brought so far forward that the edge is about on a
line with the forehead. A bunch of flowers is generally stuck under the
comb on one side. I have never seen an Indian woman who did not wear one
of these round combs; although of foreign manufacture, they find their
way to the most isolated forest settlements, brought, I suppose, by the
travelling pedlers, “regataō.” These gentry are known everywhere on the
banks of the Amazons and its tributaries, and are said to be most
unprincipled in their dealings with the Indians, who fall readily into
the traps set for them by the wily traders. In one of the reports of Dr.
Adolfo, who, during his short but able administration, exposed, and as
far as it was in his power reformed, abuses in the province of the
Amazonas, he says, after speaking of the great need of religious
instruction in the more remote settlements: “To-day who goes to seek the
Indian in the depth of his virgin forests along the shores of these
endless rivers? No one, if it be not the ‘regataō,’ less barbarous
certainly than he, but much more corrupt; who spies upon him, depraves
and dishonors him, under the pretext of trading.” After our visit to the
church, the whole population, men, women, and children, accompanied us
down to the beach to receive their presents, distributed by the
President in person: common jewelry, which they appreciate highly,
calico dresses, beads, scissors, needles, and looking-glasses for the
women; knives, fish-hooks, hatchets, and other working tools for the
men; and a variety of little trinkets and playthings for the children.
But though a cordial, kindly people, they have the impassiveness of the
genuine Indian. I did not see a change of expression on any face or hear
a word of acknowledgment or pleasure. The only smile was when, being
tired with standing in the sun, I sat down among the women, and, as the
things were passed rapidly around the circle, I was taken for one of
them, and received a very gay gown for my share. This caused a general
shout of laughter, and seemed to delight them greatly. We returned to
the steamer to breakfast at ten o’clock, and in the afternoon the whole
village came out to satisfy their curiosity about the vessel. They are a
generous people. I never go among them without receiving some little
present, which it would be an insult to refuse. Such as they have they
offer to the stranger; it may be a fruit, or a few eggs, or a chicken, a
cuia, a basket or a bunch of flowers, but their feelings would be
wounded were you to go away empty-handed. On this occasion the daughter
of the chief brought me a fine fat fowl, another woman gave me a basket,
and another a fruit which resembles very much our winter squash, and is
used in the same way. I was glad to have with me some large beads and a
few little pictures of saints with which to acknowledge their gifts. But
I believe they do not think of any return; it is simply a rite of
hospitality with them to make their guest a present. They went over the
vessel, heard the cannon fired off, and, as the captain took them on a
little excursion, they saw the machine and the wheels in action; but
they looked at all with the same calm, quiet air of acceptance, above,
or perhaps one should rather say below, any emotion of surprise. For is
not the readiness to receive new impressions, to be surprised,
delighted, moved, one of the great gifts of the white race, as different
from the impassiveness of the Indian as their varying complexion from
the dark skin, which knows neither blush nor pallor? We could have but
little conversation with these people, for, with the exception of the
chief and one or two men who acted as interpreters, they spoke only the
“lingua geral,” and did not understand Portuguese.

_December 15th._—After the Indians had left us yesterday, we proceeded
on our way to another settlement, where we expected to find a
considerable village. We arrived after dark, and some of the party went
on shore; but they found only a grass-grown path and deserted houses.
The whole population was in the forest. To-day, however, two or three
canoesful of people have come off to the steamer to greet the President
and receive their presents. Among them was an old woman who must have
come originally from some more primitive settlement. The lower part of
her face was tattooed in a bluish-black tint, covering the mouth and
lower part of the cheeks to the base of the ears. Below this the chin
was tattooed in a kind of network, no doubt considered very graceful and
becoming in her day and generation. A black line was drawn across the
nose, and from the outer corner of the eyes to the ears, giving the
effect of a pair of spectacles. The upper part of the breast was
tattooed in an open-work, headed by two straight lines drawn around the
shoulders as if to represent a coarse lace finish, such as one
constantly sees around the necks of their chemises. They left us at
breakfast, and we are now on our way back to Mauhes, after a most
interesting excursion.

[Illustration: Mundurucu Indian (Male).[87]]

_December 16th._—Mauhes. We arrived here yesterday at midday, and, as it
happened, we found in the village an Indian and his wife, who, as
specimens of the genuine Mundurucus, were more interesting than those we
had visited. They came on trading business from a distant settlement
some twenty days’ journey from Mauhes. The man’s whole face is tattooed
in bluish black, this singular mask being finished on the edge by a
fine, open pattern, about half an inch broad, running around the jaws
and chin. His ears are pierced with very large holes, from which, when
his costume is complete, pieces of wood are suspended, and his whole
body is covered with a neat and intricate network of tattooing. At
present, however, being in civilized regions, he is dressed in trousers
and shirt. In the woman the mask of tattooing covers only the lowest
part of the face, the upper part being free, with the exception of the
line across the nose and eyes. Her chin and neck are also ornamented
like that of the old woman we saw yesterday. They speak no Portuguese,
and seem rather reluctant to answer the questions of the interpreter.

[Illustration: Mundurucu Indian (Female).]

Mr. Agassiz has been very fortunate in collecting in this region.
Although we are at so short a distance from Manaos, where he already
knows the fishes tolerably well, he finds a surprising number of new
genera and species about Mauhes and its neighborhood. As usual, wherever
we go, everybody turns naturalist in his behalf. Our kind friend, the
President, always ready to do everything in his power to facilitate his
researches, has several boats out, manned by the best fishermen of the
place, fishing for him. The commander, while his ship lies at anchor,
has his men employed in the same way; and Mr. Michelis and his friends
are also indefatigable. Occasionally, however, in the midst of his
successes, he has to bear disappointments, arising from the ignorance
and superstition of the working people. Ever since he came to the
Amazons he has been trying to obtain a specimen of a peculiar kind of
porpoise, native to these waters. It is, however, very difficult to
obtain, because, being useless for food, there is nothing to induce the
Indian to overcome the difficulty of catching it. Mr. Michelis has,
however, impressed upon the fishermen the value of the prize, and,
yesterday evening, just as we were rising from the dinner-table, it was
announced that one was actually on its way up from the beach. Followed
by the whole party of sympathizing friends,—for all had caught the
infection,—Mr. Agassiz hastened out to behold his long-desired treasure;
and there was his Boto, but sadly mutilated, for one Indian had cut off
a piece of the fin as a cure for a sick person, another had taken out an
eye as a love-charm, which, if it could be placed near the person of the
girl he loved, would win him her favor, and so on. Injured as it was,
Mr. Agassiz was, nevertheless, very glad to have the specimen; but he
locked it up carefully for the night, not knowing what other titbits
might be coveted by the superstitious inhabitants.

_December 18th._—In the midst of the zoölogical work, the collection of
palms, which is now becoming very considerable, is not forgotten. This
morning we went into the forest for the purpose of gathering young palms
to compare with the full-grown ones, already cut down and put up for
transportation. In these woods a thousand objects attract the eye,
beside that which you especially seek. How many times we stopped to
wonder at some lofty tree which was a world of various vegetation in
itself, parasites established in all its nooks and corners, sipos
hanging from its branches or twining themselves so close against the
bark that they often seem as if sculptured on its trunk; or paused to
listen to the quick rustle of the wind in palm-leaves fifty feet above
our heads, not at all like the slow, gathering rush of the wind in
pine-trees at home, but like rapidly running water. Through the narrow
path an immense butterfly, of that vivid blue which excites our wonder
in collections of Brazilian insects, came sailing towards us. He
alighted in our immediate neighborhood, folding all his azure glories
out of sight, and looking, when still, like a great brown moth, spotted
with white. We crept softly nearer, but the first leaf trodden under
foot warned him, and he was off again, dazzling us with the beauty of
his wonderful coloring as he opened his wings and, bidding us a gay
good-by, vanished among the trees. The sailing motion of these Morphos,
though rapid, contrasts strikingly with the more fluttering flight of
the Heliconians. The former give broad, strong strokes with their wide
wings, the latter beat the air with quick, impatient, tremulous

_December 20th._—This morning we left Mauhes, accompanied by our
Mundurucu Indian and his wife. The President takes them to Manaos, in
the hope of obtaining their portraits to enlarge Mr. Agassiz’s
collection. I am interested in watching the deportment of these people,
which is marked by a striking propriety that wins respect. They have
remained in the seat where the Captain has placed them, not moving,
except to bring their little baggage, from which the woman has taken out
her work and is now busy in sewing, while her husband makes cigarette
envelopes from a bark used by the Indians for this purpose;—certainly
very civilized occupations for savages. As they speak no Portuguese, we
can only communicate with them through the interpreter or through Mr.
Coutinho, who has considerable familiarity with the “lingua geral.” They
seem more responsive, more ready to enter into conversation now than
when we first saw them; but the woman, when addressed, or when anything
is offered to her, invariably turns to her husband, as if the decision
of everything rested with him. It might be thought that the fantastic
ornaments of these Indians would effectually disguise all pretence to
beauty; but it is not so with this pair. Their features are fine, the
build of the face solid and square, but not clumsy, and there is a
passive dignity in their bearing which makes itself felt, spite of their
tattooing. I have never seen anything like the calm in the man’s face;
it is not the stolidity of dulness, for his expression is sagacious and
observant, but a look of such abiding tranquillity that you cannot
imagine that it ever has been or ever will be different. The woman’s
face is more mobile; occasionally a smile lights it up, and her
expression is sweet and gentle. Even her painted spectacles do not
destroy the soft, drooping look in the eyes, very common among the
Indian women here, and, as it would seem, characteristic of the women in
the South American tribes; for Humboldt speaks of it in those of the
Spanish provinces to the north.

Major Coutinho tells us that the tattooing has nothing to do with
individual taste, but that the pattern is appointed for both sexes, and
is invariable throughout the tribe. It is connected with their caste,
the limits of which are very precise, and with their religion. The
tradition runs thus, childish and inconsequent, like all such primitive
fables. The first man, Caro Sacaibu, was also divine. Associated with
him was his son, and an inferior being named Rairu, to whom, although he
was as it were his prime minister and executed his commands, Caro
Sacaibu was inimical. Among other stratagems he used to get rid of him
was the following. He made a figure in imitation of a tatu (armadillo),
and buried it partly in the earth, leaving only the tail exposed. He
covered the tail with a kind of oil, which when touched adheres to the
skin. He then commanded Rairu to drag the half-buried tatu out of its
hole and bring it to him. Rairu seized it by the tail, but was of course
unable to withdraw his hand, and the tatu, suddenly endowed with life by
the Supreme Being, dived into the earth, dragging Rairu with him. The
story does not say how Rairu found his way out of the earth again, but,
being a spirit of great cunning and invention, he contrived to reach the
upper air once more. On his return, he informed Caro Sacaibu that he had
found in the earth a great many men and women, and that it would be an
excellent thing to get them out to till the soil and make themselves
useful above ground. This advice seems to have found favor in the sight
of Caro Sacaibu, who forthwith planted a seed in the ground. From this
seed sprang a cotton-tree, for into this fantastic tale is thus woven
the origin of cotton. The tree throve and grew apace, and from the soft
white contents of its pods Caro Sacaibu made a long thread, with one end
of which Rairu descended once more into the earth by the same hole
through which he had entered before. He collected the people together,
and they were dragged up through the hole by means of the thread. The
first who came out were small and ugly, but gradually they improved in
their personal appearance, until at last the men began to be finely
formed and handsome, and the women beautiful. Unfortunately, by this
time the thread was much worn, and being too weak to hold them, the
greater number of handsome people fell back into the hole and were lost.
It is for this reason that beauty is so rare a gift in the world. Caro
Sacaibu now separated the population he had thus drawn from the bowels
of the earth, dividing them into different tribes, marking them with
distinct colors and patterns, which they have since retained, and
appointing their various occupations. At the end there remained over a
residue, consisting of the ugliest, smallest, most insignificant
representatives of the human race; to these he said, drawing at the same
time a red line over their noses, “You are not worthy to be men and
women,—go and be animals.” And so they were changed into birds, and ever
since, the Mutums, with their red beaks and melancholy wailing voices,
wander through the woods.

The tattooing of the Mundurucus is not only connected with this dim idea
of a primitive creative command; it is also indicative of aristocracy. A
man who neglected this distinction would not be respected in his tribe;
and so strong is this traditional association, that, even in civilized
settlements where tattooing is no longer practised, an instinctive
respect is felt for this mark of nobility. A Mundurucu Indian, tattooed
after the ancient fashion of his tribe, arriving in a civilized village,
such as the one we visited, is received with the honor due to a person
of rank. “Il faut souffrir pour être beau,” was never truer than among
these savages. It requires not less than ten years to complete the
tattooing of the whole face and body; the operation being performed,
however, only at intervals. The color is introduced by fine puncturings
over the whole surface; a process which is often painful, and causes
swelling and inflammation, especially on such sensitive parts as the
eyelids. The purity of type among the Mundurucus is protected by
stringent laws against close intermarriages. The tribe is divided into
certain orders or classes, more or less closely allied; and so far do
they carry their respect for that law, which, though recognized in the
civilized world, is so constantly sinned against, that marriage is
forbidden, not only between members of the same family, but between
those of the same order. A Mundurucu Indian treats a woman of the same
order with himself as a sister; any nearer relation between them is
impossible. Major Coutinho, who has made a very careful study of the
manners and habits of these people, assures us that there is no law more
sacred among them, or more rigidly observed, than this one. Their fine
physique, for which they are said to be remarkable, is perhaps owing to
this. They are free from one great source of degeneration of type. It is
to be hoped that Major Coutinho, who, while making his explorations as
an engineer on the Amazonian rivers, has also made a careful study of
the tribes living along their margins, will one day publish the result
of his investigations. It is to him we owe the greater part of the
information we have collected on this subject.


Footnote 87:

  I did not succeed in getting good likenesses of this Mundurucu pair.
  The above wood-cuts do no justice to their features and expression,
  though they give a faithful record of the peculiar mode of
  tattooing.—L. A.

                              CHAPTER XI.


_December 25th._—Manaos. The Indians have a pretty observance here for
Christmas eve. At nightfall, from the settlements at Hyanuary, two
illuminated canoes come across the river to Manaos; one bearing the
figure of Our Lady, the other of Saint Rosalia. They look very brilliant
as they come towards the shore, all the light concentrated about the
figures carried erect in the prows. On landing, the Indians, many of
whom have come to the city in advance, form a procession,—the women
dressed in white, and with flowers in their hair, the men carrying
torches or candles; and they follow the sacred images, which are borne
under a canopy in front of the procession, to the church, where they are
deposited, and remain during Christmas week. We entered with them, and
saw the kneeling, dusky congregation, and the two saints,—one a wooden,
coarsely painted image of the Virgin, the other a gayly dressed
doll,—placed on a small altar, where was also a figure of the infant
Jesus, surrounded by flowers. At a later hour the midnight mass was
celebrated; less interesting to me than the earlier ceremony, because
not so exclusively a service of the Indians, though they formed a large
part of the congregation; and the music, as usual, was performed by the
band of Indian boys from the Casa dos Educandos. But there is nothing
here to make the Catholic service impressive; the churches on the
Amazons generally are of the most ordinary kind, and in a ruinous
condition. There is a large unfinished stone church in Manaos, standing
on the hill, and occupying a commanding position, which will make it a
conspicuous object if it is ever completed; but it has stood in its
present state for years, and seems likely to remain so for an indefinite
length of time. It is a pity they have not the custom here of dressing
their churches with green at Christmas, because they have so singularly
beautiful and appropriate a tree for it in the palms. The Pupunha palm,
for instance, so architectural in its symmetry, with its columnar-like
stem and its dark-green vault of drooping leaves, would be admirable for
this purpose. To-morrow we leave Manaos in the “Ibicuhy,” in order to
ascend the Rio Negro as far as Pedreira, where the first granitic
formation is said to occur.

_December 27th._—On board the “Ibicuhy.” There was little incident to
mark our day yesterday, and yet it was one full of enjoyment. The day
itself was such as rarely occurs in these regions; indeed, I should say
it is the only time, during the whole six months we have passed on the
Amazons, when we have had cool weather with a clear sky. Cool weather
here is usually the result of rain. As soon as the sun shows his face
the heat is great. But yesterday a strong wind was blowing down the Rio
Negro; and its usually black, still waters were freshened to blue, and
their surface broken by white caps. It is a curious fact in the history
of this river, that, while tributary to the Amazons, it also receives
branches from it. A little above its junction with the Solimoens, the
latter sends several small affluents into the Rio Negro, the entrance to
which we passed yesterday. The contrast between their milky-white waters
and the clear, dark, amber tint of the main river makes them very
conspicuous. It would seem that this is not a solitary instance of river
formation in this gigantic fresh-water system; for Humboldt says,
speaking of the double communication between the Cassiquiare and the Rio
Negro, and the great number of branches by which the Rio Branco and the
Rio Hyapura enter into the Rio Negro and the Amazons: “At the confluence
of the Hyapura there is a much more extraordinary phenomenon. Before
this river joins the Amazons, the latter, which is the principal
recipient, sends off three branches, called Uaranapu, Manhama, and
Avateparana, to the Hyapura, which is but a tributary stream. The
Portuguese astronomer, Ribeiro, has proved this important fact. The
Amazons gives waters to the Hyapura itself before it receives that
tributary stream.” So does it also to the Rio Negro.

The physiognomy of the Rio Negro is peculiar, and very different from
that of the Amazons or the Solimoens. The shores jut out in frequent
promontories, which, while they form deep bays between, narrow the river
from distance to distance, and, as we advance towards them, look like
the entrances to harbors or lakes. Indeed, we have already passed
several large lakes; but great sheets of water so abound here that they
are nameless, and hardly attract attention. The vegetation also is
different from that of the Amazons. As yet we have seen few palms; and
the forest is characterized by a great number of trees, the summits of
which are evenly and gently arched, forming flattened domes. The most
remarkable of these, on account of its lofty height and spreading
foliage, is the Sumauméra, to which I have alluded before. But this
umbrella-like mode of growth is by no means confined to one tree, but,
like the buttressed trunks, characterizes a number of Brazilian trees.
It is, however, more frequent here than we have seen it elsewhere. The
shores seem very scantily inhabited; indeed, during our whole journey
yesterday, we met but one canoe, which we hailed, in order to inquire
our distance from the little hamlet of Taua Péassu, where we meant to
drop anchor for the night. It was the boat of an Indian family going
down the river. We were reminded that we were leaving inhabited regions,
for the man who was rowing was quite naked; his wife and children peeped
out from under the tolda in the stern of the boat. We received from them
the welcome intelligence that we were not far from our destination,
where we accordingly arrived soon after nightfall. At this hour we could
form but little idea of the appearance of the place; yet, by the
moonlight, we could see that its few houses (some eight or ten, perhaps)
stood on a crescent-shaped terrace, formed by the bank of a little bay
which puts in just at this point. The gentlemen went on shore, and
brought back the padre of the village to tea. He seems a man of a good
deal of intelligence, and was eloquent upon the salubrity of the
village, its freedom from mosquitoes, piums, and all kinds of noxious
insects. At first a life so remote and isolated seems a hard lot, and
one would think only the greatest devotion could induce a man to
undertake it. But there is hardly a corner so remote in Brazil as not to
be reached by the petty local politics; and the padre is said to be a
great politician, his campaign before election among the poor people
with whom his lot is cast being as exciting to him as that of any man
who canvasses in a more distinguished arena; the more satisfactory,
perhaps, because he has the game very much in his own hands. We left
Taua Péassu with the dawn, and are again on our way to Pedreira. The
weather still continues most favorable for travelling,—an overcast sky
and a cool breeze. But to-day the black river sleeps without a ripple;
and, as we pass along, the trees meet the water, and are so perfectly
reflected in it that we can hardly distinguish the dividing line. I have
said that the forest is not characterized by palms, and yet we see many
species which we have not met before; among these is the Jara-assú, with
its tall, slender stem, and broom-like tuft of stiff leaves. Mr. Agassiz
has just gone on shore in the montaria, to cut down some palms of
another kind, new to him. As he returns, the little boat seems to have
undergone some marvellous change; it looks like a green raft floating on
the water, and we can hardly see the figures of the rowers for the
beautiful crowns of the palm-trees.

_December 29th._—Pedreira. I have said little about the insects and
reptiles which play so large a part in most Brazilian travels, and,
indeed, I have had much less annoyance from this source than I had
expected. But I must confess the creature who greeted my waking sight
this morning was not a pleasant object to contemplate. It was an
enormous centipede close by my side, nearly a foot in length, whose
innumerable legs looked just ready for a start, and whose two horns or
feelers were protruded with a most venomous expression. These animals
are not only hideous to look upon, but their bite is very painful,
though not dangerous. I crept softly away from my sofa without
disturbing my ugly neighbor, who presently fell a victim to science;
being very adroitly caught under a large tumbler, and consigned to a
glass jar filled with alcohol. Captain Faria says that centipedes are
often brought on board with the wood, among which they usually lie
concealed, seldom making their appearance, unless disturbed and driven
out of their hiding-place. To less noxious visitors of this kind one
gets soon accustomed. As I shake out my dress, I hear a cold flop on the
floor, and a pretty little house-lizard, who has found a warm retreat in
its folds, makes his escape with all celerity. Cockroaches swarm
everywhere, and it would be a vigilant housekeeper who could keep her
closets free of them. Ants are the greatest nuisance of all, and the
bite of the fire-ant is really terrible. I remember once, in Esperança’s
cottage, having hung some towels to dry on the cord of my hammock; I was
about to remove them, when suddenly my hand and arm seemed plunged into
fire. I dropped the towels as if they had been hot coals, which for the
moment they literally seemed to be, and then I saw that my arm was
covered with little brown ants. Brushing them off in all haste, I called
Laudigari, who found an army of them passing over the hammock, and out
of the window, near which it hung. He said they were on their way
somewhere, and, if left undisturbed, would be gone in an hour or two.
And so it proved to be. We saw no more of them. Major Coutinho says
that, in certain Amazonian tribes, the Indian bridegroom is subjected to
a singular test. On the day of his marriage, while the wedding
festivities are going on, his hand is tied up in a paper bag filled with
fire-ants. If he bears this torture smilingly and unmoved, he is
considered fit for the trials of matrimony.

Yesterday we arrived at Pedreira, a little village consisting of some
fifteen or twenty houses hemmed in by forest. The place certainly
deserves its name of the “place of stones,” for the shore is fringed
with rocks and boulders. We landed at once, and Mr. Coutinho and Mr.
Agassiz spent the morning in geologizing and botanizing. In the course
of our ramble we came upon an exceedingly picturesque Indian camp. The
river is now so high that the water runs far up into the forest. In such
an overflowed wood, a number of Indian montarias were moored; while, on
a tract of dry land near by, the Indians had cleared a little grove,
cutting down the inner trees, and leaving only the outer ones standing,
so as to make a shady, circular arbor. Within this arbor the hammocks
were slung; while outside were the kettles and water-jugs, and utensils
of one sort and another. In this little camp were several Indian
families, who had left their mandioca plantations in the forest, to pass
the Christmas festa in the village. I asked the women what they did,
they and their babies, of which there were a goodly number, when it
rained; for a roof of foliage is poor shelter in these tropical rains,
descending, not in drops, but in sheets. They laughed, and, pointing to
their canoes, said they crept under the tolda, the arched roof of
palm-thatch which always encloses the stern of an Indian montaria, and
were safe. Even this, in the open river, would not be a protection; but,
moored as the boats are in the midst of a thick wood, they do not
receive the full force of the showers. In returning from our walk we
stopped at a house where an Indian was making palm-thatch from the
leaflets of the Curua palm. When quite young, they are packed closely
around the midrib. The Indians turn them down, leaving them attached to
the axis by a few fibres only, so that, when the midrib is held up, they
hang from it like so many straw-colored ribands, being, at that age, of
a very delicate color. With these leaves they thatch their walls and
roofs, setting the midrib, which is strong and sometimes four or five
yards long, across, to serve as a support, and binding down the pendent
leaves. Such a thatch will last for years, and is an excellent
protection from rain as well as sun. I should add, that, in other parts
of the country, different kinds of palms are used for this purpose.

On our return to the village we were met by the padre, who invited us to
rest at his house, stopping on the way, at our request, to show us the
church. The condition of a settlement is generally indicated by the
state of the church. This one was sadly in want of repairs, the mud
walls being pierced with more windows than they were originally intended
to possess; but the interior was neat, and the altar prettier than one
would expect to find in so poor a place as Pedreira appears to be.
Perhaps the church was in better order than usual, being indeed in
festival trim. Christmas week was not yet over, and the baby Christ lay
on his green bed in a little arbor of leaves and flowers, evidently made
expressly for the purpose. The padre of this little village, Father
Samuel, an Italian priest, who has passed many years of his life among
the Indians of South America, partly in Bolivia and partly in Brazil,
had not so much to say in favor of the healthfulness of his parish as
the padre whom we had seen the night before in Taua Péassu. He told us
that intermittent fever, from which he had suffered much himself, is
frequent, and that the people are poorly and insufficiently fed. When
they have had no recent arrival from Manaos, neither coffee, sugar, tea,
nor bread are to be had in the village. As there is no beach here, the
fishing is done at a distance on the other side of the river; and when
the waters are very high, fish are not obtained even there. At such
times the Indians live exclusively on farinha d’agua and water. This
meagre diet, though injurious to the health, satisfies the cravings of
hunger with those accustomed to it; but the few whites in this solitary
place suffer severely. What a comment is this scarcity of food on the
indolence and indifference of the population in a region where an
immense variety of vegetables might be cultivated with little labor,
where the pasturage is excellent (as is attested by the fine condition
of the few cows at Pedreira), and where coffee, cacao, cotton, and sugar
have a genial climate and soil, and yield more copious crops than in
many countries from which large exports of these productions are made!
And yet, in this land of abundance, the people live in dread of actual
want. The village consists, as I have said, of some fifteen or twenty
houses, all of which are at this moment occupied; but Father Samuel
tells us that we see the little place at its flood-tide, Christmas week
having brought together the inhabitants of the neighborhood. They will
disperse again, after a few days, to their palm-houses and mandioca
plantations in the forest; and the padre says that, on many a Sunday
throughout the year, his congregation consists only of himself and the
boys who assist at the service.

After we had rested for half an hour at the priest’s house, he proposed
to send us to his little mandioca plantation at a short distance in the
forest, where a particular kind of palm, which Mr. Agassiz greatly
coveted, was to be obtained. Such a proposition naturally suggests a
walk; but in this country of inundated surfaces land journeys, as will
be seen, are often made by water. We started in a montaria, and, after
keeping along the river for some time, we turned into the woods and
began to navigate the forest. The water was still and clear as glass:
the trunks of the trees stood up from it, their branches dipped into it;
and as we wound in and out among them, putting aside a bough here and
there, or stooping to float under a green arbor, the reflection of every
leaf was so perfect that wood and water seemed to melt into each other,
and it was difficult to say where the one began and the other ended.
Silence and shade so profound brooded over the whole scene that the mere
ripple of our paddles seemed a disturbance. After half an hour’s row we
came to dry land, where we went on shore, taking our boatmen with us;
and the wood soon resounded with the sound of their hatchets, as the
palms fell under their blows. We returned with a boat-load of palms,
besides a number of plants of various kinds which we had not seen
elsewhere. We reached the “Ibicuhy” just in time; for scarcely were we
well on board and in snug quarters again, when the heavens opened and
the floods came down. I am not yet accustomed to the miraculous force
and profusion of these torrents of water, and every shower is a fresh
surprise. Yet the rainy season is no such impediment to travelling and
working as we had supposed it would be. The rain is by no means
continuous, and there are often several days together of clear weather.
Indeed, it no more rains all the time in the rainy season here than it
snows all the time in the winter with us. One word of the geology. The
Pedreira granite, of which we had heard, proves to be a granitoid
mica-slate,—a highly metamorphic rock, indistinctly stratified, but
resembling granite in its composition. It is in immediate contact with
the red drift which rests above it.

This morning we had a melancholy proof of the brutality of recruiting
here, of which we have already heard so much. Several Indians, who had
been kept in confinement in Pedreira for some days, waiting for an
opportunity to send them to Manaos, were brought out to the ship. These
poor wretches had their feet passed through heavy blocks of wood, the
holes being just large enough to fit around the ankles. Of course they
could only move with the greatest difficulty; and they were half pushed,
half dragged up the side of the vessel, one of them having apparently
such a fit of ague upon him that, when he was fairly landed on his feet,
I could see him shake from my seat at a distance of half the deck. These
Indians can speak no Portuguese: they cannot understand why they are
forced to go; they only know that they are seized in the woods and
treated as if they were the worst criminals; punished with barbarity for
no crime, and then sent to fight for the government which so misuses
them. To the honor of our commander be it said, that he showed the
deepest indignation at the condition in which these men were delivered
into his hands: he caused the blocks of wood to be sawed off their feet
immediately, gave them wine and food, and showed them every kindness. He
protested that the whole proceeding was illegal, and contrary to the
intentions of the central authority. It is, however, the way in which
the recruiting is accomplished throughout this Indian district; and the
defence made by those who justify it is, that the Indians, like any
other citizens, must fight for the maintenance of the laws which protect
them; that the government needs their services; and that this is the
only way to secure them, as they are very unwilling to go, and very
cunning and agile in escaping. Beside these three men, there were two
others; one a volunteer, and the other from a better class, the pilot of
the cataract on the Rio Branco. A man so employed ought, for the sake of
the community, to be exempt from military service, as few persons
understand the dangerous navigation of the river, where broken by
cascades. He will doubtless be sent back when his case is represented to
the President of the province.

_December 31st._—Again on our way back to Manaos, having made, on our
return, another short stay at Taua Péassu, where, during the two days of
our absence, the padre of the village had prepared a large collection of
palms for Mr. Agassiz. Our collection of palms is becoming quite
numerous; and though they must of course, in the process of drying, lose
all their beauty of coloring, we hope they may retain something of the
grace and dignity of their bearing. But even should this not be the
case, they will answer every purpose of study, as with each one
specimens of its fruit and flowers are preserved in alcohol. A palm has
just been brought on board—the Baccába, or wine-palm (Œnocarpus)—from
which the flowers droop in long crimson cords, with bright-green berries
from distance to distance along their length, like an immense coral
tassel, flecked here and there with green, hanging from the dark trunk
of the tree. The mode of flowering of the cocoa-nut palm, which we see
everywhere though it is not indigenous here, is very beautiful. The
flowers burst from the sheath in a long plume of soft, creamy-white
blossoms: such a plume is so heavy with the weight of pendent flowers
that it can hardly be lifted; and its effect is very striking, hanging
high up on the trunk, just under the green vault of leaves. I think
there is nothing among the characteristic features of tropical scenery
of which one forms less idea at home than of the palms. Their name is
legion; the variety of their forms, of their foliage, fruit, and
flowers, is perfectly bewildering; and yet, as a group, their character
is unmistakable. The following extracts are taken from Mr. Agassiz’s
notes on palms, written during this excursion on the Rio Negro.

[Illustration: Fan Baccába (Œnocarpus distychius).]

“The palms, as a natural group, stand out among all other plants with
remarkable distinctness and individuality. And yet this common
character, uniting them so closely as a natural order, does not prevent
the most striking difference between various kinds of palms. As a whole,
no family of trees is more similar; generically and specifically none is
more varied, even though other families include a greater number of
species. Their differences seem to me to be determined in a great
measure by the peculiar arrangement of their leaves; indeed, palms, with
their colossal leaves, few in number, may be considered as ornamental
diagrams of the primary laws according to which the leaves of all plants
throughout the whole vegetable kingdom are arranged; laws now recognized
by the most advanced botanists of the day, and designated by them as
Phyllotaxis. The simplest arrangement in these mathematics of the
vegetable world is that of the grasses, in which the leaves are placed
alternately on opposite sides of the stem, thus dividing the space
around it in equal halves. As the stem of the grasses elongates, these
pairs of leaves are found scattered along its length; and it is only in
ears or spikes of some genera that we find them growing so compactly on
the axis as to form a close head. Of this law of growth the palm known
as the Baccába of Pará (Œnocarpus distychius) is an admirable
illustration; its leaves being disposed in pairs one above another at
the summit of the stem, but in such immediate contact as to form a thick
crown. On account of this disposition of the leaves, its appearance is
totally different from that of any other palm with which I am
acquainted. I do not know any palm in which the leaves are arranged in
three directions only, as in the reeds and sedges of our marshes, unless
it be the Jacitara (Desmonchus), whose winding slender stem, however,
makes the observation uncertain. An arrangement in five different
directions is common in all those palms which, when young, have only a
cluster of five fully developed leaves above the ground, with a
spade-like sixth leaf rising from the centre. When full grown, they
usually exhibit a crown of ten or fifteen leaves and more, divided into
tiers of five, one above the other, but so close together that the whole
appears like a rounded head. Sometimes, however, the crown is more open,
as in the Maximiliana regia (Inaja), for instance, in which the stem is
not very high, and the leaves, always in cycles of five, spread
slightly, so as to form an open vase rising from a slender stem. The
Assai (Euterpe edulis) has an eight-leaved arrangement, and has never
more than a single cycle of leaves, though it may sometimes have seven
leaves when the first of the old cycle has dropped, before the ninth,
with which the new cycle begins, has opened; or nine, if the first leaf
of the new cycle (the ninth in number) has opened, before the first of
the old cycle has dropped. These leaves, of a delicate, pale green, are
cut into a thousand leaflets, which tremble in the lightest breeze, and
tell you that the air is stirring even when the heat seems breathless. A
more elegant and attractive diagram of the Phyllotaxis of ⅜ probably
does not exist in nature. The common Cocoa-nut tree has its leaves
arranged according to the fraction of 5/13; but, though the crown
consists of several cycles of leaves, they do not form a close head,
because the older ones become pendent, while the younger are more erect.
The Pupunha, or peach palm (Guilielma), follows the Phyllotaxis of 8/21;
but in this instance all the leaves are evenly arched over, so that the
whole forms a deep-green vault, the more beautiful from the rich color
of the foliage. When the heavy cluster of ripe, red fruit hangs under
this dark vault, the tree is in its greatest beauty. As the leaves of
this palm are not so closely set in the younger specimens as in the
older ones, its aspect changes at different stages of growth; the leaves
in the younger trees being distributed over a greater length of the
trunk, while, in the adult taller ones, they are more compact. This
arrangement is repeated in the Javari and Tucuma (Astrocaryum); but in
these the closely-set leaves stand erect, broom-like, at the head of the
long stalk. In the Mucaja (Acrocomia) the leaves are arranged according
to the fraction 13/34. Thus, under the same fundamental principle of
growth, an infinite variety is introduced, among trees of one order, by
the slight differences in the distribution and constitution of the
leaves themselves. In the Musaceæ, or Scytamineæ, the Bananas, another
order of the same class of plants, a diversity equally remarkable is
produced in the same way, namely, by slight modifications of this
fundamental law. What can differ more in appearance than the common
Banana (Musa paradisiaca), with its large simple leaves, so loosely
arranged around the stem, so graceful and easy in their movements, and
the Banana of Madagascar (Ravenala madagascariensis), commonly known as
the Traveller’s tree, which, like the Baccába of Pará, has its leaves
alternating regularly on opposite sides of the trunk, and so closely
packed together as to form an immense flat fan on a colossal stem? Yet,
in all these plants the arrangement of leaves obeys the same law, which
is illustrated with equal distinctness by each one. This mathematical
disposition of leaves is thus shown to be compatible with a great
variety of essentially different structures; and though the law of
Phyllotaxis prevails in all plants, being limited neither to class,
orders, families, genera, nor species, but running in various
combinations through the whole kingdom, I believe it can be studied to
especial advantage in the group of palms, on account of the prominence
of their few large leaves. The most abundant and characteristic palms of
the Rio Negro are the Javari (Astrocaryum Javari), the Muru-Muru
(Astrocaryum Murumuru), the Uauassu (Attalea speciosa), the Inaja
(Maximiliana regia), the Baccába (Œnocarpus Baccába), the Paxiuba
(Iriartea exorhiza), the Carana (Mauritia Carana), the Caranai (Mauritia
horrida), the Ubim (Geonoma), and the Curua (Attalea spectabilis); of
these the two latter are the most useful. The remarkable Piassaba
(Leopoldinia Piassaba) occurs only far above the junction of the Rio
Negro and Rio Branco. We obtained, however, a specimen that had been
planted at Itatiassu. The many small kinds of Ubim (Geonoma), and Maraja
(Bactris), and even the Jara (Leopoldinia), are so completely
overshadowed by the larger trees that they are only noticed where
clustered along the river-banks. Bussus (Manicaria), Assais (Euterpe)
Mucaja (Acrocomia), grow also on the Rio Negro, but it remains to be
ascertained whether they are specifically identical with those of the
Lower Amazons. So peculiar is the aspect of the different species of
palms that, from the deck of the steamer, they can be singled out as
easily as the live-oaks or pecan-nut trees, so readily distinguished on
the lower course of the Mississippi, or the different kinds of oaks,
birches, beeches, or walnut-trees which attract observation when sailing
along the shores of our Northern lakes. It seems, however, impossible to
discriminate between all the trees of this wonderful Amazonian forest;
partly because they grow in such heterogeneous associations. In the
temperate zone we have oak-forests, pine-forests, birch, beech, and
maple woods, the same kinds of trees congregating together on one soil.
Not so here; there is the most extraordinary diversity in the
combination of plants, and it is a very rare thing to see the soil
occupied for any extent by the same kind of tree. A large number of the
trees forming these forests are still unknown to science, and yet the
Indians, those practical botanists and zoölogists, are well acquainted,
not only with their external appearance, but also with their various
properties. So intimate is their practical knowledge of the natural
objects about them, that I believe it would greatly contribute to the
progress of science if a systematic record were made of all the
information thus scattered through the land; an encyclopædia of the
woods, as it were, taken down from the tribes which inhabit them. I
think it would be no bad way of collecting, to go from settlement to
settlement, sending the Indians out to gather all the plants they know,
to dry and label them with the names applied to them in the locality,
and writing out, under the heads of these names, all that may thus be
ascertained of their medicinal and otherwise useful properties, as well
as their botanical character. A critical examination of these
collections would at once correct the information thus obtained,
especially if the person intrusted with the care of gathering these
materials had so much knowledge of botany as would enable him to
complete the collections brought in by the Indians, adding to them such
parts as might be wanted for a complete systematic description. The
specimens ought not to be chosen, however, as they have hitherto been,
solely with reference to those parts which are absolutely necessary to
identify the species; the collections, to be complete, ought to include
the wood, the bark, the roots, and the soft fruits in alcohol. The
abundance and variety of timber in the Amazonian Valley strikes us with
amazement. We long to hear the saw-mill busy in these forests, where
there are several hundred kinds of woods, admirably suited for
construction as well as for the finest cabinet-work; remarkable for the
beauty of their grain, for their hardness, for the variety of their
tints and their veining, and for their durability. And yet so ignorant
are the inhabitants of the value of timber that, when they want a plank,
they cut down a tree, and chop it to the desired thickness with a
hatchet. There are many other vegetable products, besides those already
exported from the Amazons, which will one day be poured into the market
from its fertile shores. The clearest and purest oils are made from some
of the nuts and palm fruits, while many of the palms yield the most
admirable fibrous material for cordage, singularly elastic and
resistant. Besides its material products,—and of these the greater part
rot on the ground for want of hands to gather them,—the climate and soil
are favorable for the growth of sugar, coffee, cocoa, and cotton; and I
may add, that the spices of the East might be cultivated in the valley
of the Amazons as well as in the Dutch possessions of Asia.”

_Sunday, 31st._—Manaos. We had wished exceedingly to extend our
excursion on the Rio Negro to the mouth of the Rio Branco, but our pilot
would not undertake to conduct the “Ibicuhy” beyond Pedreira, as he said
the stones in the bed of the river were numerous and large and the
channel at this season not very deep. We were, therefore, obliged to
return without accomplishing the whole object of this voyage; but though
short, it was nevertheless most interesting, and has left with us a
vivid impression of the peculiar character of this great stream.
Beautiful as are the endless forests, however, we could not but long,
when skirting them day after day without seeing a house or meeting a
canoe, for the sight of tilled soil, for pasture-lands, for open ground,
for wheat-fields and haystacks,—for any sign, in short, of the presence
of man. As we sat at night in the stern of the vessel, looking up this
vast river, stretching many hundred leagues, with its solitary,
uninhabited shores and impenetrable forests, it was difficult to resist
an oppressive sense of loneliness. Though here and there an Indian
settlement or a Brazilian village breaks the distance, yet the
population is a mere handful in such a territory. I suppose the time
will come when the world will claim it, when this river, where, in a six
days’ journey, we have passed but two or three canoes, will have its
steamers and vessels of all sorts going up and down, and its banks will
be busy with life; but the day is not yet. When I remember the poor
people I have seen in the watch-making and lace-making villages of
Switzerland, hardly lifting their eyes off their work from break of day
till night, and even then earning barely enough to keep them above
actual want, and think how easily everything grows here, on land to be
had for almost nothing, it seems a pity that some parts of the world
should be so overstocked that there is not nourishment for all, and
others so empty that there are none to gather the harvest. We long to
see a vigorous emigration pour into this region so favored by Nature, so
bare of inhabitants. But things go slowly in these latitudes; great
cities do not spring up in half a century, as with us. Humboldt, in his
account of his South-American journey, writes: “Since my departure from
the banks of the Orinoco and the Amazon, a new era has unfolded itself
in the social state of the nations of the West. The fury of civil
dissensions has been succeeded by the blessings of peace, and a freer
development of the arts of industry. The bifurcations of the Orinoco,
the isthmus of Tuamini, so easy to be made passable by an artificial
canal, will erelong fix the attention of commercial Europe. The
Cassiquiare, as broad as the Rhine, and the course of which is one
hundred and eighty miles in length, will no longer form uselessly a
navigable canal between two basins of rivers which have a surface of one
hundred and ninety thousand square leagues. The grain of New Granada
will be carried to the banks of the Rio Negro; boats will descend from
the sources of the Napo and the Ucuyale, from the Andes of Quito and of
Upper Peru, to the mouths of the Orinoco,—a distance which equals that
from Timbuctoo to Marseilles.” Such were the anticipations of Humboldt
more than sixty years ago; and at this day the banks of the Rio Negro
and the Cassiquiare are still as luxuriant and as desolate, as fertile
and as uninhabited, as they were then.

_January 8th._—Manaos. The necessity for some days of rest, after so
many months of unintermitted work, has detained Mr. Agassiz here for a
week. It has given us an opportunity of renewing our walks in the
neighborhood of Manaos, of completing our collection of plants, and also
of refreshing our memory of scenes which we shall probably never see
again, and among which we have had a pleasant home for nearly three
months. The woods are much more full of flowers than they were when I
first became acquainted with their many pleasant paths. Passion-flowers
are especially abundant. There is one kind which has a delicious
perfume, not unlike Cape Jessamine. It hides itself away in the shade,
but its fragrance betrays it; and if you put aside the branches of the
trees, you are sure to find its large white-and-purple flowers, and
dark, thick-leaved vine, climbing up some neighboring trunk. Another,
which seems rather to court than avoid observation, is of a bright red;
and its crimson stars are often seen set, as it were, in the thick
foliage of the forest. But, much as I enjoy the verdure here, I
appreciate, more than ever before, the marked passage of the seasons in
our Northern hemisphere. In this unchanging, green world, which never
alters from century to century, except by a little more or less
moisture, a little more or less heat, I think with the deepest gratitude
of winter and spring, summer and autumn. The circle of nature seems
incomplete, and even the rigors of our climate are remembered with
affection in this continual vapor-bath. It is literally true that you
cannot move ten steps without being drenched in perspiration. However,
this character of the heat prevents it from being scorching; and we have
no reason to change our first impression, that, on the whole, the
climate is much less oppressive than we expected to find it, and the
nights are invariably cool.

At the end of this week we resume our voyage on board the “Ibicuhy,”
going slowly down to Pará, stopping at several points on the way. Our
first station will be at Villa Bella, where Mr. Agassiz wishes to make
another collection of fishes. It may seem strange that, after having
obtained, nearly five months ago, very large collections from the
Amazons itself at this point, as well as from the lakes in the
neighborhood, he should return to the same locality, instead of choosing
another region for investigation. Were his object merely or mainly to
become acquainted with the endless diversity of fishes he now knows to
exist in this immense fresh-water basin, such a repetition of specimens
from the same locality would certainly be superfluous, since it is
probable that a different point would be more prolific in new species.
The mere accumulation of species is, however, entirely subordinate to
the object which he has kept in view ever since he began his present
researches, namely, that of ascertaining by direct observation the
geographical range of the fishes, and determining whether their
migrations are so frequent and extensive as they are said to be. I make
an extract from Mr. Agassiz’s notes on this subject.

“I have been frequently told here that the fishes were very nomadic, the
same place being occupied at different seasons of the year by different
species. My own investigations have led me to believe that these reports
are founded on imperfect observations, and that the localization of
species is more distinct and permanent in these waters than has been
supposed; their migrations being, indeed, very limited, consisting
chiefly in rovings from shallower to deeper waters, and from these to
shoals again, at those seasons when the range of the shore in the same
water-basin is affected by the rise and fall of the river;—that is to
say, the fishes found at the bottom of a lake covering perhaps a square
mile in extent, when the waters are lowest, will appear near the shores
of the same lake when, at the season of high waters, it extends over a
much wider area. In the same way, fishes which gather near the mouth of
a rivulet, at the time of low waters, will be found as high as its
origin at the period of high waters; while fishes which inhabit the
larger igarapés on the sides of the Amazons when they are swollen by the
rise of the river, may be found in the Amazons itself when the stream is
low. There is not a single fish known to ascend from the sea to the
higher courses of the Amazons at certain seasons, and to return
regularly to the ocean. There is no fish here corresponding to the
salmon, for instance, which ascends the streams of Europe and North
America to deposit its spawn in the cool head-waters of the larger
rivers, and then returns to the sea. The wanderings of the Amazonian
fishes are rather a result of the alternate widening and contracting of
their range by the rise and fall of the waters, than of a migratory
habit; and may be compared to the movements of those oceanic fishes
which, at certain seasons, seek the shoals near the shore, while they
spend the rest of the year in deeper waters.

“Take our shad as an example. It is caught on the coast of Georgia in
February, on the Carolina shores a little later; in March it may be
found in Washington and Baltimore, next in Philadelphia and New York;
and it does not make its appearance in the Boston market (except when
brought from farther south) before the latter part of April, or the
beginning of May. This sequence has led to the belief that the shad
migrates from Georgia to New England. An examination of the condition of
these fishes, during the months when they are sold in our markets, shows
at once that this cannot be the case. They are always full of roe, and,
being valued for the table at this period, they are brought to market at
each locality until the spawning season is over. Now, as they cannot
breed twice within a few weeks, it is evident that the shad which make
their appearance successively along the Atlantic coast from February to
May are not the same. It is the spring which migrates northward, calling
up the shoals of shad from the deeper sea, as it touches in succession
different points along the shore. Such movements, if thus connected with
the advancing spring along a whole coast, appear to be migrations from
south to north, when they are, in fact, only the successive rising of
the same species from deeper to shallower waters at the breeding season.
In the same way it is probable that the inequality in the seasons of
rise and fall, between the different tributaries of the Amazons and the
various parts of its own course, may give a sequence to the appearance
of the fish in certain localities, which seems like migration without
being so, in fact.

“Keeping in view all the information I could obtain upon this subject, I
have attempted, wherever it was possible to do so, to make collections
simultaneously at different points of the Amazons: thus, while I was
collecting at Villa Bella six months ago, some of my assistants were
engaged in the same way at Santarem, and higher up on the Tapajoz; while
I was working at Teffé, parties were busy in the Hyavary, the Iça, and
the Hyutahy; and during my last stay at Manaos, parties have been
collecting at Cudajas and at Manacaparu, and higher up on the Rio Negro,
as well as at some lower points on the main river. At some of these
stations I have been able to repeat my investigations at different
seasons, though the intervals between the earlier and later collections
made at the same localities have, of course, not been the same. Between
the first collections made at Teffé and the last, hardly two months
intervened, while those made on our first arrival at Manaos in September
up to the present time cover an interval of four months; from the first
to the last at Villa Bella more than five months will have elapsed. On
this account I attach great importance to the renewal of my
investigations at that place, as well as to the later collections from
Obydos, Santarem, Monte Alegre, Porto do Moz, Gurupá, Tajapurú, and
Pará. As far as these comparisons have gone, they show that the distinct
faunæ of the above-named localities are not the result of migrations;
for not only have different fishes been found in all these basins at the
same time, but at different times the same fishes have been found to
recur in the same basins, whenever the fishing was carried on, not
merely in favored localities, but as far as possible over the whole area
indiscriminately, in deep and shoal waters. Should it prove that at
Pará, as well as at the intervening stations, after an interval of six
months, the fishes are throughout the same as when we ascended the
river, the evidence against the supposed extensive migrations of the
Amazonian fishes will certainly be very strong. The striking limitation
of species within definite areas does not, however, exclude the presence
of certain kinds of fish simultaneously throughout the whole Amazonian
basin. The Pirarucu, for instance, is found everywhere from Peru to
Pará; and so are a few other species more or less extensively
distributed over what may be considered distinct ichthyological faunæ.
But these wide-spread species are not migratory; they have normally and
permanently a wide range, just as some terrestrial animals have an
almost cosmopolite character, while others are circumscribed within
comparatively narrow limits. Though most quadrupeds of the United
States, for instance, differ from those of Mexico and Brazil,
constituting several distinct faunæ, there is one, the puma or red lion,
the panther of the North, which is found on the east of the Rocky
Mountains and the Andes, from Patagonia to Canada.

“The movement of the waters, which affects so powerfully the
distribution of the fishes, forms in itself a very curious phenomenon.
There is, as it were, a rhythmical correspondence in the rise and fall
of the affluents on either shore of the Amazons, causing the great body
of the water, in its semiannual tides, to sway alternately more to the
north or to the south. On the southern side of the valley, the rains
begin in the months of September and October. They pour down from the
table-lands of Brazil and the mountains of Bolivia with cumulative
force, gathering strength as the rainy season progresses, swelling the
head-waters of the Purus, Madeira, Tapajoz, and other southern
tributaries, and gradually descending to the main stream. The process is
a slow one, however, and the full force of the new flood is not felt in
the Amazons until February and March. During the month of March, in the
region below the confluence of the Madeira, for instance, the rise of
the Amazons averages a foot in twenty-four hours, so great is the
quantity of water poured into it. At about the same period with the
southern rains, or a little earlier, say in the months of August and
September, the snows in the Andes begin to melt and flow down towards
the plain. This contribution from the Cordilleras of Peru and Equador,
coinciding with that from the highlands of Brazil and Bolivia, swells
the Amazons in its centre and on its southern side to such an extent
that the bulk of the water pushes northward, crowding upon its northern
shore, and flowing even into the tributaries which open on that side of
the river, and are now at their lowest ebb. Presently, however, the
rains on the table-lands of Guiana, and on the northern spurs of the
Andes, where the rainy season prevails chiefly in February and March,
repeat the same process in their turn. During April and May the northern
tributaries are rising, and they reach their maximum in June. Thus, at
the end of June, when the southern rivers have already fallen
considerably, the northern rivers are at their flood-tide. The Rio
Negro, for instance, rises at Manaos to about forty-five feet above its
lowest level. This mass of water from the north now presses against that
in the centre, and bears it southward again. The rainy season along the
course of the Amazons is from December till March, corresponding very
nearly, in the time of the year and in duration, with our winter. It
must be remembered that the valley of the Amazons is not a valley in the
ordinary sense, bordered by walls or banks enclosing the waters which
flow between. It is, on the contrary, a plain some seven or eight
hundred miles wide and between two and three thousand miles long, with a
slope so slight that it hardly averages more than a foot in ten miles.
Between Obydos and the sea-shore, a distance of about eight hundred
miles, the fall is only forty-five feet; between Tabatinga and the
sea-shore, a distance of more than two thousand miles in a straight
line, the fall is about two hundred feet. The impression to the eye is,
therefore, that of an absolute plain; and the flow of the water is so
gentle that, in many parts of the river, it is hardly perceptible.
Nevertheless, it has a steady movement eastward, descending the gentle
slope of this wide plain, from the Andes to the sea; this movement,
aided by the interflow from the south and north at opposite seasons,
presses the bulk of the water to its northernmost reach during our
winter months, and to its southernmost limit during our summer months.
In consequence of this, the bottom of the valley is constantly shifting,
and there is a tendency to form channels from the main river to its
tributaries, such as we have seen to exist between the Solimoens and the
Rio Negro,—such as Humboldt mentions between the Hyapura and the
Amazons. Indeed, all these rivers are bound together by an extraordinary
network of channels, forming a succession of natural highways which will
always make artificial roads, to a great degree, unnecessary. Whenever
the country is settled, it will be possible to pass from the Purus, for
instance, to the Madeira, from the Madeira to the Tapajoz, from the
Tapajoz to the Xingu, and thence to the Tocantins, without entering the
course of the main river. The Indians call these passes ‘_furo_,’
literally, a bore,—a passage pierced from one river to another.
Hereafter, when the interests of commerce claim this fertile, overflowed
region, these channels will be of immense advantage for

                              CHAPTER XII.


_January 15th._—To-day finds us on our way down the Amazons in the
“Ibicuhy.” The day before leaving Manaos we paid a last visit to the
great cascade, bathed once more in its cool, delicious waters, and
breakfasted by the side of the fall. Before many weeks are over, the
cascade will have disappeared; it will be drowned out, as it were, for
the igarapé is filling rapidly with the rise of the river, and will soon
reach the level of the sandstone shelf over which the water is
precipitated. Already the appearance of the spot is greatly changed
since we were there before. The banks are overflowed; the rocks and logs
which stood out from the water are wholly covered; and where there was
only a brawling stream, so shallow that it hardly afforded depth for the
smallest canoe, there is now a not insignificant river. Indeed,
everywhere we see signs of the changes wrought by the “enchente.” The
very texture of the Amazons is changed; it is thicker and yellower than
when we ascended it, and much more laden with floating wood, detached
grasses, and _débris_ of all sorts washed from the shore. Wild-flowers
are also more abundant than they were when we came up the river in
September; not delicate, small plants, growing low among moss and grass,
as do our violets, anemones, and the like; but large blossoms, covering
tall trees, and resembling exotics at home, by their rich color and
powerful odor. Indeed, the flowers of the Amazonian forests always
remind me of hot-house plants: and there often comes a warm breath from
the depths of the woods, laden with moisture and perfume, like the air
from the open door of a conservatory.

_January 17th._—We reached Villa Bella at eight o’clock yesterday
morning, but waited there only a few hours to make certain necessary
arrangements, and then kept on to the mouth of the river Ramos, an
hour’s sail from the town,—the same river which we had ascended from its
upper point of juncture with the Amazons, on our excursion to Mauhes. We
anchored at a short distance from the entrance, before the house of our
old acquaintances, the Maias, where, it may be remembered, we passed a
few days when collecting in this neighborhood before. Fortunately, Maia
himself was in Manaos when we left, employed as a soldier in the
National Guard; and the President kindly gave him leave to accompany us,
that Mr. Agassiz might have the advantage of his familiarity with the
locality, and his experience in fishing. The man himself was pleased to
have an opportunity of visiting his family, to whom his coming was an
agreeable surprise. We went on shore this morning to make them a visit,
taking with us some little souvenirs, such as beads, trinkets, knives,
&c. We were received as old friends, and made welcome to all the house
would afford; but, though as clean as ever, it looked poorer than on our
former visit. I saw neither dried fish nor mandioca nor farinha, and the
woman told me that she found it very hard to support her large family,
now that the husband and father was away.

The quantity of detached grass, shrubs, &c. carried past the vessel, as
we lie here at anchor, is amazing,—floating gardens, sometimes half an
acre in extent. Some of these green rafts are inhabited; water-birds go
sailing by upon them, and large animals are occasionally carried down
the river in this way. The commander told me that, on one occasion, when
an English vessel was lying at anchor in the Parana, one of these grassy
gardens was seen coming down the river with two deer upon it. The
current brought it directly against the ship, and the captain had only
to receive on board the guests who arrived thus unexpectedly to demand
his hospitality. In the same river another floating island brought with
it a less agreeable inhabitant: a large tiger had possessed himself of
it and was sailing majestically with the current, passing so near the
shores that he was distinctly seen from the banks; and people went out
in montarias to get a nearer view of him, though keeping always at a
respectful distance. The most conspicuous of the plants thus detached
from the shore are the Canarana (a kind of wild cane), a variety of
aquatic Aroides, Pistia among the number, Ecornia, and a quantity of
graceful floating Marsileaceæ.

_January 18th._—To-day we have been on a hunt after the Victoria regia.
We have made constant efforts to see this famous lily growing in its
native waters; but, though frequently told that it was plenty at certain
seasons in the lakes and igarapés, we have never been able to find it.
Yesterday some of the officers of the ship, who had been on an excursion
to a neighboring lake, returned laden with botanical treasures of all
sorts, and, among other plants, an immense lily-leaf, which, from its
dimensions, we judged must be the Victoria regia, though it had not the
erect edge so characteristic of it. This morning, accompanied by two or
three of yesterday’s party, who kindly undertook to be our guides, we
went to visit the same lake. A short walk from the river-bank brought us
to the shore of a large sheet of water,—the Lago Maximo,—which connects
with the Ramos by a narrow outlet, but at a point so distant from our
anchorage that it would have been necessary to make a great detour in
order to reach it in a canoe. We found an old montaria, with one or two
broken paddles, left, as it seemed, at the lake-shore for whom it might
concern, and in that we embarked at once. The banks of this lake are
bordered with beautiful forests, which do not, however, rise immediately
from the water, but are divided from it by a broad band of grass. We saw
many water-birds on this grassy edge, as well as on several dead trees,
the branches of which were completely covered with gulls, all in exactly
the same attitude, facing one way, to meet the wind which blew strongly
against them. Ducks and ciganas were plenty; and once or twice we
startled up from the woods small flocks of mackaws,—not only the gaudy
red, green, and yellow species, but the far more beautiful blue mackaw.
They flew by us, with their gorgeous plumage glittering in the sun, and
disappeared again among the trees, seeking deeper and more undisturbed
retreats. From the reedy grasses came also the deep note of the unicorn,
so greatly prized in Brazil,—a large bird, half wader, half fowl,
belonging to the genus Palamedea; but as we were only prepared for a
botanizing expedition, we could not avail ourselves of any of the
opportunities thus offered; and the birds, however near and tempting the
shots, had little to fear from us. At the upper end of the lake we came
upon the bed of water-lilies from which the trophies of yesterday had
been gathered. The leaves were very large, many of them from four to
five feet in diameter; but, perhaps from having lost their first
freshness and something therefore of their natural texture, the edge of
the leaf was scarcely perceptibly raised, and in most instances lay
perfectly flat upon the water. We found buds, but no perfect flower. In
the afternoon, however, one of the daughters of our fisherman Maia,
hearing that we wished to see one of the flowers, brought us a very
perfect specimen from another more distant locality, which we had not
time to visit. The Indians, by the way, have a characteristic name for
the leaf. They call it “forno,” on account of its resemblance to the
immense shallow pans in which they bake their farinha over the mandioca
ovens. The Victoria regia, with its formidable armor of spines, its
gigantic leaves, and beautiful flowers, deepening in color from the
velvety white outer leaves through every shade of rose to deepest
crimson, and fading again to a creamy, yellowish tint in the heart of
the flower, has been described so often that I hardly dare dwell upon
it, for fear of wearying the reader. And yet we could not see it growing
in its native waters—a type, as it were, of the luxuriance of tropical
nature—without the deepest interest. Wonderful as it is when seen in the
tank of a greenhouse, and perhaps even more impressive, in a certain
sense, from its isolation, in its own home it has the charm of harmony
with all that surrounds it,—with the dense mass of forest, with palm and
parasite, with birds of glowing plumage, with insects of all bright and
wonderful tints, and with fishes which, though hidden in the water
beneath it, are not less brilliant and varied than the world of life
above. I do not remember to have seen an allusion, in any description,
to the beautiful device by which the whole immense surface of the adult
leaf is contained within the smaller dimensions of the young one; though
it is well worth notice, as one of the neatest specimens of Nature’s
packing. All know the heavy scaffolding of ribs by which the colossal
leaf, when full grown, is supported on its under side. In the young leaf
these ribs are comparatively small, but the whole green expanse of the
adult leaf is gathered in between them in regular rows of delicate
puffings. At this period, the leaf is far below the surface of the
water, growing slowly up from the base of the stock from which it
springs. Thus drawn up, it has the form of a deep cup or vase; but in
proportion as the ribs grow, their ramifications stretching in every
direction, the leaf lets out one by one its little folds, to fill the
ever-widening spaces; till at last, when it reaches the surface of the
water, it rests horizontally above it, without a wrinkle. Mr. Agassiz
caused several stocks to be dragged up from the bottom (no easy matter,
on account of the spines), and found the leaf-buds just starting between
the roots,—little white caps, not more than half an inch in height.
There was another lily growing in this lake, which, though diminutive by
the side of the Victoria, would be a giant among our water-lilies. The
leaf measured more than a foot in diameter, and was slightly scolloped
around the edge. There were no open flowers, but the closed buds
resembled those of our common white water-lilies, and were no larger.
The stalk and ribs, unlike those of the Victoria, were quite smooth, and
free from thorns. After our visit to the lilies, we paddled in among the
trees along the overflowed margin of the lake, in order that the boatmen
might cut down several palms new to us. While waiting under the trees in
the boat, we had cause to admire the variety and beauty of the insects
fluttering about us; the large blue butterflies (Morpho), and the
brilliant dragon-flies, with crimson bodies and burnished wings,
glittering with metallic lustre.[88]

_January 21st._—Obydos. We left Villa Bella yesterday with a large
collection of fishes, and some valuable additions to the collection of
palms. The general character of the fish collections, both from the
river Ramos and the Lago Maximo, shows the faunæ to be the same now as
when we were here five months ago. Certainly, during this interval,
migration has had no perceptible influence upon the distribution of life
in these waters. Leaving Villa Bella at night, we reached Obydos early
this morning. This pretty town is one of the most picturesque in
position, on the Amazons. It stands on a steep bluff, commanding an
extensive view of the river west and east, and is one of the few points
at which the southern and northern shores are seen at the same time. The
bluff of Obydos is crowned by a fortress, which has stood here for many
years without occasion to test its power. It may be doubted whether it
would be very effectual in barring the river against a hostile force,
inasmuch as its guns, though they carry perfectly well to the opposite
side, are powerless nearer home. The slope of the cliff on which the
fortress stands intervenes between it and the water below, so that by
keeping well in to shore the enemy could pass with impunity immediately
under the guns. The hill consists entirely of the same red drift so
constantly recurring on the banks of the Amazons and its tributaries.
Here it is more full of pebbles than at Manaos or at Teffé; and we saw
these pebbles disposed in lines or horizontal beds, such as are found in
the same deposit along the coast and in the neighborhood of Rio. The
city of Obydos is prettily laid out, its environs are very picturesque,
its soil extremely fertile; but it has the same aspect of neglect and
hopeless inactivity so painfully striking in all the Amazonian towns.

_January 23d._ Yesterday, in the early morning, we arrived at Santarem,
and went on shore for a walk at half past seven. The town stands on a
point of land dividing the black waters of the Tapajoz, on the one side,
from the yellow flood of the Amazons on the other, and has a very
attractive situation, enhanced by its background of hills stretching
away to the eastward. Our first visit was to the church, fronting on the
beach and standing invitingly open. We had, however, a special object in
entering it. In 1819 Martius, the naturalist, on his voyage of
exploration on the Amazons, since made famous by his great work on the
Natural History of Brazil, was wrecked off the town of Santarem, and
nearly lost his life. In his great danger he took a vow to record his
gratitude, should he live, by making a gift to the church of Santarem.
After his return to Europe, he sent from Munich a full-length figure of
Christ upon the cross, which now hangs against the wall, with a simple
inscription underneath, telling in a few words the story of his peril,
his deliverance, and his gratitude. As a work of art it has no special
value, but it attracts many persons to the church who never heard of
Martius or his famous journey; and to Mr. Agassiz it was especially
interesting, as connected with the travels and dangers of his old friend
and teacher.

After a walk through the town, which is built with more care, and
contains some houses having more pretensions to comfort and elegance
than we have seen elsewhere on the Amazons, we returned to the ship for
breakfast. At a later hour we went on a very pleasant canoe excursion to
the other side of the Tapajoz, again in search of the Victoria regia,
said to grow in great perfection in this neighborhood. Our guide was
Senhor Joachim Rodriguez, to whom Mr. Agassiz has been indebted for much
personal kindness, as well as for a very valuable collection made since
we stopped here on our way up the river, partly by himself and partly by
his son, a bright boy of some thirteen years of age. Crossing to the
opposite side of the river, we came upon a vast field of coarse, high
grass, looking like an extensive meadow. To our surprise, the boatmen
turned the canoe into this green field, and we found ourselves
apparently navigating the land, for the narrow boat-path was entirely
concealed by the long reedy grasses and tall mallow-plants with large
pink blossoms rising on either side, and completely hiding the water
below. This marshy, overflowed ground, above which the water had a depth
of from four to six feet, was full of life. As the rowers pushed our
canoe through the mass of grass and flowers, Mr. Agassiz gathered from
the blades and stalks all sorts of creatures; small bright-colored toads
of several kinds, grasshoppers, beetles, dragon-flies, aquatic snails,
bunches of eggs,—in short, an endless variety of living things, most
interesting to the naturalist. The harvest was so plentiful that we had
only to put out our hands and gather it; the oarsmen, when they saw Mr.
Agassiz’s enthusiasm, became almost as interested as he was; and he had
soon a large jar filled with objects quite new to him. After navigating
these meadows for some time, we came upon open water-spaces where the
Victoria regia was growing in great perfection. The specimens were much
finer than those we had seen before in the Lago Maximo. One leaf
measured five feet and a half in diameter, and another five feet, the
erect edge being three inches and a half in height. A number of leaves
grew from the same stalk; and seen thus together they are very
beautiful, the bright rose-color of the outer edge contrasting with the
vivid green of the inner surface of the leaf. As before, there were no
open flowers to be seen; Senhor Rodriguez told us that they are cut by
the fishermen almost as soon as they open. When Mr. Agassiz expressed a
wish to get the roots, two of our boatmen plunged into the water with an
alacrity which surprised me, as we had just been told that these marshes
are the haunts of Jacarés. They took turns in diving to dig up the
plants, and succeeded in bringing to the surface three large stalks, one
with a flower-bud. We returned well pleased with our row overland.

Our live-stock is increasing as we descend the river, and we have now
quite a menagerie on board; a number of parrots, half a dozen monkeys,
two exquisite little deer from the region of Monte Alégre, and several
Agamis, as tame and gentle as barn-yard fowls, stepping about the deck
with graceful, dainty tread, and feeding from the hand. Their voices are
singularly harsh, however, and out of keeping with their pretty looks
and ways. Every now and then they raise their heads, stretch their long
necks, and utter a loud, gurgling sound, more like the roll of a drum
than the note of a bird. Last, but not least, we have a sloth on board,
the most fascinating of all our pets to me, not certainly for his
charms, but for his oddities. I am never tired of watching him, he looks
so deliciously lazy. His head sunk in his arms, his whole attitude lax
and indifferent, he seems to ask only for rest. If you push him, or if,
as often happens, a passer-by gives him a smart tap to arouse him, he
lifts his head and drops his arms so slowly, so deliberately, that they
hardly seem to move, raises his heavy lids and lets his large eyes rest
upon your face for a moment with appealing, hopeless indolence; then the
lids fall softly, the head droops, the arms fold heavily about it, and
he collapses again into absolute repose. This mute remonstrance is the
nearest approach to activity I have seen him make. These live animals
are not all a part of the scientific collections; many of them belong to
the captain and officers. The Brazilians are exceedingly fond of pets,
and almost every house has its monkeys, its parrots, and other tame
animals and birds.

_January 26th._—Monte Alégre. Leaving Santarem on Tuesday we arrived
here on Wednesday morning, and, as on our former visit, were received
most hospitably at the house of Senhor Manuel. Mr. Agassiz and Mr.
Coutinho have gone on a geologizing excursion to the Serra d’Ereré, that
picturesque range of hills bounding the campos, or open sandy plain, to
the northwest of the town. They took different routes, Major Coutinho,
with Captain Faria and one or two other friends, crossing the campos on
horseback, while Mr. Agassiz went by canoe. They will meet at the foot
of the Serra, and pass two or three days in that neighborhood. Little is
as yet known of the geological structure of the Amazonian Serras,—those
of Santarem, of Monte Alégre, and of Almeyrim. Generally they have been
considered as prolongations either of the table-land of Guiana on the
north, or that of Brazil on the south. Mr. Agassiz believes them to be
independent of both, and more directly connected with the formation of
the Amazonian Valley itself. The solution of this question is his
special object, while Major Coutinho has taken barometers to determine
the height of the range. In the mean time, I am passing a few quiet days
here, learning to be more familiar with the scenery of a region very
justly called one of the most picturesque on the borders of the Amazons.
Not only are the views extensive, but the friable nature of the soil, so
easily decomposed, combined with the heavy rains, has led to the
formation of a variety of picturesque dells and hollows, some of which
have springs running into them, surrounded by rocky banks and overhung
with trees. One of these is especially pretty; the excavation is large,
and has the form of an amphitheatre; its rocky walls are crowned with
large forest-trees, palms, mimosas, etc., making a deep shade; and at
one side the spring flows down from the top of the cliff, with a
pleasant ripple. Here the negro or Indian servants come to fill their
water-jars. They often have with them the children under their charge;
and you may sometimes see the large red jars standing under the mouth of
the spring above, while white babies and dark nurses splash about in the
cool water-basin below. Although in the campos the growth is low, and
the soil but scantily covered with coarse grass and shrubs, yet, in some
localities, and especially in the neighborhood of the town, the forest
is beautiful. We have seen nowhere larger and more luxuriant mimosas,
sometimes of a green so rich and deep, and a foliage so close that it is
difficult to believe, at a distance, that its dense mass is formed by
the light, pinnate leaves of a sensitive plant. The palms are also very
lofty and numerous, including some kinds which we have not met before.

_January 28th._—Yesterday our kind host arranged an excursion into the
country, for my especial pleasure, that I might see something of the
characteristic amusements of Monte Alégre. One or two neighbors joined
us, and the children, a host of happy little folks, for whom anything
out of the common tenor of every-day life is “_festa_,” were not left
behind. We started on foot to walk out into a very picturesque Indian
village called Surubiju. Here we were to breakfast, returning afterwards
in one of the heavy carts drawn by oxen, the only conveyance for women
and children in a country where a carriage-road and a side-saddle are
equally unknown. Our walk was very pleasant, partly through the woods,
partly through the campos; but as it was early in the day, we did not
miss the shade when we chanced to leave the trees. We lingered by the
wayside, the children stopping to gather wild fruits, of which there
were a number on the road, and to help me in making a collection of
plants. It was about nine o’clock when we reached the first straw-house,
where we stopped to rest. Though it has no longer the charm of novelty
for me, I am always glad to visit an Indian cottage. You find a cordial
welcome; the best hammock, the coolest corner, and a _cuia_ of fresh
water are ready for you. As a general thing, the houses of the Indians
are also more tidy than those of the whites; and there is a certain
charm of picturesqueness about them which never wears off.

After a short rest, we went on through the settlement, where the sitios
are scattered at considerable distances, and so completely surrounded by
trees that they seem quite isolated in the forest. Although the Indians
are said to be a lazy people, and are unquestionably fitful and
irregular in their habits of work, in almost all these houses some
characteristic occupation was going on. In two or three the women were
making hammocks, in one a boy was plaiting the leaves of the Curua palm
into a tolda for his canoe, in another the inmates were making a coarse
kind of pottery; and in still another a woman, who is quite famous in
the neighborhood for her skill in the art, was painting cuias. It was
the first time I had seen the prepared colors made from a certain kind
of clay found in the Serra. It is just the carnival season, and, as
every one has a right to play pranks on his neighbors, we did not get
off without making a closer acquaintance than was altogether pleasant
with the rustic artist’s colors. As we were leaving the cottage, she
darted out upon us, her hands full of blue and red paints. If they had
been tomahawks, they could not have produced a more sudden rout; and it
was a complete _sauve qui peut_ of the whole company across the little
bridge which led to the house. As a stranger, I was spared; but all were
not fortunate enough to escape, and some of the children carried their
blue and red badges to the end of the day.

The prettiest of all these forest sitios was one at the bottom of a deep
dell, reached by a steep, winding path through a magnificent wood
abounding in palms. But though the situation was most picturesque, the
sickly appearance of the children and the accounts of prevailing illness
showed that the locality was too low and damp to be healthful. After a
very pleasant ramble we returned to breakfast at our first
resting-place, and at about one o’clock started for town in two ox-carts
which had come out to meet us. They consist only of a floor set on very
heavy, creaking wooden wheels, which, from their primitive, clumsy
character, would seem to be the first wheels ever invented. On the floor
a straw-mat was spread, an awning was stretched over a light scaffolding
above, and we were soon stowed away in our primitive vehicle, and had a
very gay and pleasant ride back to town. Yesterday evening Mr. Agassiz
returned from his excursion to the Serra Ereré. I add here a little
account of the journey, written out from his notes, and containing some
remarks on the general aspect of the country, its vegetation and
animals. A summary of the geological results of the excursion will be
found in a separate chapter at the close of our Amazonian journey.

“I started before daylight; but as the dawn began to redden the sky
large flocks of ducks, and of the small Amazonian goose, might be seen
flying towards the lakes. Here and there a cormorant sat alone on the
branch of a dead tree, or a kingfisher poised himself over the water,
watching for his prey. Numerous gulls were gathered in large companies
on the trees along the river-shore; alligators lay on its surface,
diving with a sudden plash at the approach of our canoe; and
occasionally a porpoise emerged from the water, showing himself for a
moment and then disappearing again. Sometimes we startled a herd of
capivaras, resting on the water’s edge; and once we saw a sloth, sitting
upon the branch of an Imbauba tree (Cecropia), rolled up in its peculiar
attitude, the very picture of indolence, with its head sunk between its
arms. Much of the river-shore consisted of low, alluvial land, and was
covered with that peculiar and beautiful grass known as Capim; this
grass makes an excellent pasturage for cattle, and the abundance of it
in this region renders the district of Monte Alégre very favorable for
agricultural purposes. Here and there, where the red-clay soil rose
above the level of the water, a palm-thatched cabin stood on the low
bluff, with a few trees about it. Such a house was usually the centre of
a cattle-farm, and large herds might be seen grazing in the adjoining
fields. Along the river-banks, where the country is chiefly open, with
extensive low, marshy grounds, the only palm to be seen is the Maraja
(Geonoma). After keeping along the Rio Gurupatuba for some distance, we
turned to the right into a narrow stream, which has the character of an
igarapé in its lower course, though higher up it drains the country
between the serra of Ereré and that of Tajury, and assumes the
appearance of a small river. It is named after the serra, and is known
as the Rio Ereré. This stream, narrow and picturesque, and often so
overgrown with capim that the canoe pursued its course with difficulty,
passed through a magnificent forest of the beautiful fan-palm, called
the Miriti (Mauritia flexuosa). This forest stretched for miles,
overshadowing, as a kind of underbrush, many smaller trees and
innumerable shrubs, some of which bore bright, conspicuous flowers. It
seemed to me a strange spectacle,—a forest of monocotyledonous trees
with a dicotyledonous undergrowth; the inferior plants thus towering
above and sheltering the superior ones. Among the lower trees were many
Leguminosæ,—one of the most striking, called Fava, having a colossal
pod. The whole mass of vegetation was woven together by innumerable
lianas and creeping vines, in the midst of which the flowers of the
Bignonia, with its open, trumpet-shaped corolla, were conspicuous. The
capim was bright with the blossoms of the mallow, growing in its midst;
and was often edged with the broad-leaved Aninga, a large aquatic Arum.

“Through such a forest, where the animal life was no less rich and
varied than the vegetation, our boat glided slowly for hours. The number
and variety of birds struck me with astonishment. The coarse, sedgy
grasses on either side were full of water birds, one of the most common
of which was a small chestnut-brown wading bird, the Jaçana (Parra),
whose toes are immensely long in proportion to its size, enabling it to
run upon the surface of the aquatic vegetation, as if it were solid
ground. It was now the month of January, their breeding season; and at
every turn of the boat we started them up in pairs. Their flat, open
nests generally contained five flesh-colored eggs, streaked in zigzag
with dark brown lines. The other waders were a snow-white heron, another
ash-colored, smaller species, and a large white stork. The ash-colored
herons were always in pairs; the white ones always single, standing
quiet and alone on the edge of the water, or half hidden in the green
capim. The trees and bushes were full of small warbler-like birds, which
it would be difficult to characterize separately. To the ordinary
observer they might seem like the small birds of our woods; but there
was one species among them which attracted my attention by its numbers,
and also because it builds the most extraordinary nest, considering the
size of the bird itself, that I have ever seen. It is known among the
country people by two names, as the Pedreiro or the Forneiro; both names
referring, as will be seen, to the nature of its habitation. This
singular nest is built of clay, and is as hard as stone (_pedra_), while
it has the form of the round mandioca oven (_forno_) in which the
country people prepare their farinha, or flour, made from the mandioca
root. It is about a foot in diameter, and stands edgewise upon a branch,
or in the crotch of a tree. Among the smaller birds I noticed bright
Tanagers, and also a species resembling the Canary. Besides these, there
were the wagtails; the black and white widow-finches; the hang-nests, or
Japi, as they are called here, with their pendent, bag-like dwellings,
and the familiar “Bem ti vi.” Humming-birds, which we are always apt to
associate with tropical vegetation, were very scarce. I saw but a few
specimens. Thrushes and doves were more frequent, and I noticed also
three or four kinds of woodpeckers, beside parrots and paroquets; of
these latter there were countless numbers along our canoe path, flying
overhead in dense crowds, and at times drowning every other sound in
their high, noisy chatter.

“Some of these birds made a deep impression upon me. Indeed, in all
regions, however far away from his own home, in the midst of a fauna and
flora entirely new to him, the traveller is startled occasionally by the
song of a bird or the sight of a flower so familiar that it transports
him at once to woods where every tree is like a friend to him. It seems
as if something akin to what in our own mental experience we call
reminiscence or association existed in the workings of Nature; for
though the organic combinations are so distinct in different climates
and countries, they never wholly exclude each other. Every zoölogical
and botanical province retains some link which binds it to all the
others, and makes it part of the general harmony. The Arctic lichen is
found growing under the shadow of the palm on the rocks of the tropical
serra; and the song of the thrush and the tap of the woodpecker mingle
with the sharp, discordant cries of the parrot and paroquet.

“Birds of prey, also, were not wanting. Among them was one about the
size of our kite, and called the Red Hawk, which was so tame that, even
when our canoe passed immediately under the low branch on which he was
sitting, he did not fly away. But, of all the groups of birds, the most
striking as compared with corresponding groups in the temperate zone,
and the one which reminded me the most distinctly of the fact that every
region has its peculiar animal world, was that of the gallinaceous
birds. The most frequent is the Cigana, to be seen in groups of fifteen
or twenty, perched upon trees overhanging the water, and feeding upon
berries. At night they roost in pairs, but in the daytime are always in
larger companies. In their appearance they have something of the
character of both the pheasant and peacock, and yet do not closely
resemble either. It is a curious fact, that, with the exception of some
small partridge-like gallinaceous birds, all the representatives of this
family in Brazil, and especially in the valley of the Amazons, belong to
types which do not exist in other parts of the world. Here we find
neither pheasants, nor cocks of the woods, nor grouse; but in their
place abound the Mutum, the Jacu, the Jacami, and the Unicorn (Crax,
Penelope, Psophia, and Palamedea), all of which are so remote from the
gallinaceous types found farther north that they remind one quite as
much of the bustard, and other ostrich-like birds, as of the hen and
pheasant. They differ also from northern gallinaceous birds in the
greater uniformity of the sexes, none of them exhibiting those striking
differences between the males and females which we see in the pheasants,
the cocks of the woods, and in our barn-yard fowls, though the plumage
of the young has the yellowish-mottled color distinguishing the females
of most species of this family. While birds abounded in such numbers,
insects were rather scarce. I saw but few and small butterflies, and
beetles were still more rare. The most numerous insects were the
dragon-flies,—some with crimson bodies, black heads, and burnished
wings; others with large green bodies, crossed by blue bands. Of
land-shells I saw but one, creeping along the reeds; and of water-shells
I gathered only a few small Ampullariæ.

“Having ascended the river to a point nearly on a line with the serra, I
landed, and struck across the campos on foot. Here I entered upon an
entirely different region,—a dry, open plain, with scanty vegetation.
The most prominent plants were clusters of Cacti and Curua palms, a kind
of stemless, low palm, with broad, elegant leaves springing vase-like
from the ground. In these dry, sandy fields, rising gradually toward the
serra, I observed in the deeper gullies formed by the heavy rains the
laminated clays which are everywhere the foundation of the Amazonian
strata. They here presented again so much the character of ordinary
clay-slates that I thought I had at last come upon some old geological
formation. Instead of this I only obtained fresh evidence that, by
baking them, the burning sun of the tropics may produce upon laminated
clays of recent origin the same effect as plutonic agencies have
produced upon the ancient clays,—that is, it may change them into
metamorphic slates. As I approached the serra, I was again reminded how,
under the most dissimilar circumstances, similar features recur
everywhere in nature. I came suddenly upon a little creek, bordered with
the usual vegetation of such shallow water-courses, and on its brink
stood a sand-piper, which flew away at my approach, uttering its
peculiar cry, so like what we hear at home that, had I not seen him, I
should have recognized him by his voice. After an hour’s walk under the
scorching sun, I was glad to find myself at the hamlet of Ereré, near
the foot of the serra, where I rejoined my companions. This is almost
the only occasion in all my Amazonian journey when I have passed a day
in the pure enjoyment of nature, without the labor of collecting, which
in this hot climate, where specimens require such immediate and constant
attention, is very great. I learned how rich a single day may be in this
wonderful tropical world, if one’s eyes are only open to the wealth of
animal and vegetable life. Indeed, a few hours so spent in the field, in
simply watching animals and plants, teaches more of the distribution of
life than a month of closet study; for under such circumstances all
things are seen in their true relations. Unhappily, it is not easy to
present the picture as a whole; for all our written descriptions are
more or less dependent on nomenclature, and the local names are hardly
known out of the districts where they belong, while systematic names are
familiar to few.”

_January 30th._—On board the “Ibicuhy.” Yesterday we parted from our
kind hosts, and bade good by to Monte Alégre. I shall long retain a
picture, half pleasant, half sad, of its shady, picturesque walks and
dells; of its wide green square, with the unfinished cathedral in the
centre, where trees and vines mantle the open doors and windows, and
grass grows thick over the unfrequented aisles; of its neglected
cemetery, and the magnificent view it commands over an endless labyrinth
of lakes on one side, beyond which glitter the yellow waters of the
Amazons, while, on the other, the level campos is bordered by the
picturesque heights of the distant Serra. I have never been able to
explain quite to my own satisfaction the somewhat melancholy impression
which this region, lovely as it unquestionably is, made upon me when I
first saw it,—an impression not wholly destroyed by a longer residence.
Perhaps it is the general aspect of incompleteness and decay, the
absence of energy and enterprise, making the lavish gifts of Nature of
no avail. In the midst of a country which should be overflowing with
agricultural products, neither milk, nor butter, nor cheese, nor
vegetables, nor fruit, are to be had. You constantly hear people
complaining of the difficulty of procuring even the commonest articles
of domestic consumption, when, in fact, they ought to be produced by
every land-owner. The agricultural districts in Brazil are rich and
fertile, but there is no agricultural population. The nomad Indian,
floating about in his canoe, the only home to which he has a genuine
attachment, never striking root in the soil, has no genius for
cultivating the ground. As an illustration of the Indian character, it
may not be amiss to record an incident which occurred yesterday when we
were leaving Monte Alégre. On his journey to Ereré, Major Coutinho had
been requested by an Indian and his wife, whose acquaintance he had made
in former excursions there, to take one of their boys, a child about
eight years of age, with him to Rio. This is very common among the
Indians; they are not unwilling to give up their children, if they can
secure a maintenance for them, and perhaps some advantages of education
besides. On the day of departure, the mother and father and two sisters
accompanied the child to the steamer, but I think, as the sequel showed,
rather for the sake of seeing the ship, and having a day of amusement,
than from any sentiment about parting with the child. When the moment of
separation came, the mother, with an air of perfect indifference, gave
the little boy her hand to kiss. The father seemed to be going off
without remembering his son at all; but the little fellow ran after him,
took his hand and kissed it, and then stood crying and broken-hearted on
the deck, while the whole family put off in the canoe, talking and
laughing gayly, without showing him the least sympathy. Such traits are
said to be very characteristic of the Indians. They are cold in their
family affections; and though the mothers are very fond of their babies,
they seem comparatively indifferent to them as they grow up. It is,
indeed, impossible to rely upon the affection of an Indian, even though
isolated cases of remarkable fidelity have been known among them. But I
have been told over and over again, by those who have had personal
experience in the matter, that you may take an Indian child, bring him
up, treat him with every kindness, educate him, clothe him, and find him
to be a useful and seemingly faithful member of the household; one day
he is gone, you know not where, and in every probability you will never
hear of him again. Theft is not one of their vices. On the contrary,
such an Indian, if he deserts the friend who has reared him and taken
care of him, is very likely to leave behind him all his clothes, except
those he has on, and any presents he may have received. The only thing
he may be tempted to take will be a canoe and a pair of oars: with these
an Indian is rich. He only wants to get back to his woods; and he is
deterred by no sentiment of affection, or consideration of interest.

To-day we are passing the hills of Almeyrim. The last time we saw them
it was in the glow of a brilliant sunset; to-day, ragged edges of clouds
overhang them, and they are sombre under a leaden, rainy sky. It is
delightful to Mr. Agassiz, in returning to this locality, to find that
phenomena, which were a blank to him on our voyage up the river, are
perfectly explicable now that he has had an opportunity of studying the
geology of the Amazonian Valley. When we passed these singular
flat-topped hills before, he had no clew to their structure or their
age,—whether granite, as they have been said to be, or sandstone or
limestone; whether primitive, secondary, or tertiary: and their strange
form made the problem still more difficult. Now he sees them simply as
the remnants of a plain which once filled the whole valley of the
Amazons, from the Andes to the Atlantic, from Guiana to Central Brazil.
Denudations on a colossal scale, hitherto unknown to geologists, have
turned this plain into a labyrinth of noble rivers, leaving only here
and there, where the formation has resisted the rush of waters, low
mountains and chains of hills to tell what was its thickness.[89]

_February 1st._—On Tuesday evening we reached Porto do Moz, on the river
Xingú, where we had expected to be detained several days, as Mr. Agassiz
wished especially to obtain the fishes from this river, and, if
possible, from its upper and lower course, between which rapids
intervene. He found, however, his harvest ready to his hand. Senhor
Vinhas, with whom, when stopping here for a few hours on his voyage up
the river, he had had some conversation respecting the scientific
objects of his visit to the Amazons, has made during our absence one of
the finest collections obtained in the whole course of our journey,
containing, in separate lots, the fishes from above and below the
cascade. By means of this double collection, which Mr. Agassiz has
already examined carefully, he ascertains the fact that the faunæ on
either side of the falls are entirely distinct from each other, as are
those of the upper and lower courses of the Amazons, and also those of
its tributaries, lakes, and igarapés. This is a most important addition
to the evidence already obtained of the distinct localization of species
throughout the waters of the Amazonian Valley. We regretted that, on
account of the absence of Senor Vinhas from the town, we could not thank
him in person for this valuable contribution. Finding that the efforts
of this gentleman had really left nothing to be done in this locality,
unless, indeed, we could have stayed long enough to make collections in
all the water-basins connected with the Xingu, we left early in the
morning and reached Gurupá yesterday. This little town stands on a low
cliff some thirty feet above the river. On a projecting point of this
cliff there is an old, abandoned fort; and in the open place adjoining
it stands a church of considerable size, and seemingly in good repair.
But the settlement is evidently not prosperous. Many of its houses are
ruinous and deserted, and there is even less of activity in the aspect
of the place than in most of the Amazonian villages. We heard much of
its insalubrity, and found very severe cases of intermittent fever in
one or two of the houses we entered. While Mr. Agassiz made a call upon
the subdelegado, who was himself confined to his room with fever, I was
invited to rest in the open veranda of a neighboring house, which looked
pretty and attractive enough; for it opened into a sunny garden, where
bananas and oranges and palm-trees were growing. But the old woman who
received me complained bitterly of the dampness, to which, indeed, her
hoarse cough and rheumatism bore testimony; and a man was lying in his
hammock, slung under the porch, who was worn to mere skin and bone with
fever. Here also we received some valuable specimens, collected, since
our previous visit, by the subdelegado and one or two other residents.

_February 3d._—On Thursday we reached Tajapuru, where we were detained
for two days on account of some little repair needed on the steamer. The
place is interesting as showing what may be done on the Amazons in a
short time by enterprise and industry. A settler in these regions may,
if he has the taste and culture to appreciate it, surround himself with
much that is attractive in civilized life. Some seventeen years ago
Senhor Sepeda established himself at this spot, then a complete
wilderness. He has now a very large and pleasant country-house, with a
garden in front and walks in the forest around. The interior of the
house is commodious and tasteful; and we could not but wish, while we
enjoyed Senhor Sepeda’s hospitality, that his example might be followed,
and that there might be many such homes on the banks of the Amazons.
This morning we are again on our way down the river.

_February 4th._—We reached Pará to-day, parting, not without regret,
from the “Ibicuhy,” on board of which we have spent so many pleasant
weeks. Before we left the vessel, Captain Faria ordered the carpenter to
take down our little pavilion on deck. It had been put up for our
accommodation, and had served as our dining-room and our working-room,
our shelter from the sun, and our snug retreat in floods of rain.[90] On
arriving in Pará we found ourselves at once at home in the house of our
kind friend, Senhor Pimenta Bueno, where we look forward to a pleasant
rest from our wanderings. I insert here a letter to the Emperor, written
two or three weeks later, and containing a short summary of the
scientific work on the Amazons.

                                               PARÁ, 23 Février, 1866.

  SIRE:—En arrivant à Pará, au commencement de ce mois j’ai eu le
  bonheur d’y trouver l’excellente lettre de Votre Majesté, qui
  m’attendait depuis quelques jours. J’aurais dû y répondre
  immédiatement; mais je n’étais pas en état de le faire, tant j’étais
  accablé de fatigue. Il y a trois ou quatre jours seulement que je
  commence de nouveau à m’occuper de mes affaires. J’avouerai même que
  le pressentiment des regrets qui m’auraient poursuivi le reste de
  mes jours m’a seul empêché de retourner directement aux Etats-Unis.
  Aujourd’hui encore j’ai de la peine à vaquer aux occupations les
  plus simples. Et cependant je ne suis pas malade; je suis seulement
  épuisé par un travail incessant et par la contemplation tous les
  jours plus vive et plus impressive des grandeurs et des beautés de
  cette nature tropicale. J’aurais besoin pour quelque temps de la vue
  monotone et sombre d’une forêt de sapins.

  Que vous êtes bon, Sire, de penser à moi au milieu des affaires
  vitales qui absorbent votre attention et combien vos procédés sont
  pleins de délicatesse. Le cadeau de nouvel-an que vous m’annoncez
  m’enchante. La perspective de pouvoir ajouter quelques comparaisons
  des poissons du bassin de l’Uruguay à celles que j’ai déjà faites
  des espèces de l’Amazone et des fleuves de la côte orientale du
  Brésil a un attrait tout particulier. Ce sera le premier pas vers la
  connaissance des types de la zône tempérée dans l’Amérique du Sud.
  Aussi est-ce avec une impatience croissante que je vois venir le
  moment où je pourrai les examiner. En attendant, permettez-moi de
  vous donner un aperçu rapide des résultats obtenus jusqu’à ce jour
  dans le voyage de l’Amazone.

  Je ne reviendrai pas sur ce qu’il y a de surprenant dans la grande
  variété des espèces de poissons de ce bassin, bien qu’il me soit
  encore difficile de me familiariser avec l’idée que l’Amazone
  nourrit à peu-près deux fois plus d’espèces que la Méditerrannée et
  un nombre plus considérable que l’Océan Atlantique d’un pôle à
  l’autre. Je ne puis cependant plus dire avec la même précision quel
  est le nombre exact d’espèces de l’Amazone que nous nous sommes
  procurées, parceque depuis que je reviens sur mes pas, en descendant
  le grand fleuve, je vois des poissons prêts à frayer que j’avais vus
  dans d’autres circonstances et vice versâ, et sans avoir recours aux
  collections que j’ai faites il y a six mois et qui ne me sont pas
  accessibles aujourd’hui, il m’est souvent impossible de déterminer
  de mémoire si ce sont les mêmes espèces ou d’autres qui m’avaient
  échappé lors de mon premier examen. J’estime cependant que le nombre
  total des espèces que je possède actuellement dépasse dix-huit cents
  et atteint peut-être à deux mille. Mais ce n’est pas seulement le
  nombre des espèces qui surprendra les naturalistes; le fait qu’elles
  sont pour la plupart circonscrites dans des limites restreintes est
  bien plus surprenant encore et ne laissera pas que d’avoir une
  influence directe sur les idées qui se répandent de nos jours sur
  l’origine des êtres vivants. Que dans un fleuve comme le
  Mississippi, qui, du Nord au Sud, passe successivement par les zones
  froide, tempérée et chaude, qui roule ses eaux tantôt sur une
  formation géologique, tantôt sur une autre, et traverse des plaines
  couvertes au Nord d’une végétation presque arctique et au Sud d’une
  flore subtropicale,—que dans un pareil bassin on rencontre des
  espèces d’animaux aquatiques différentes, sur différents points de
  son trajet, ça se comprend dès qu’on s’est habitué à envisager les
  conditions générales d’existence et le climat en particulier comme
  la cause première de la diversité que les animaux et les plantes
  offrent entre eux, dans les différentes localités; mais que, de
  Tabatinga au Pará, dans un fleuve où les eaux ne varient ni par leur
  température, ni par la nature de leur lit, ni par la végétation qui
  les borde, que dans de pareilles circonstances on rencontre, de
  distance en distance, des assemblages de poissons complètement
  distincts les uns des autres, c’est ce qui a lieu d’étonner. Je
  dirai même que dorénavant cette distribution, qui peut être vérifiée
  par quiconque voudra s’en donner la peine, doit jeter beaucoup de
  doute sur l’opinion qui attribue la diversité des êtres vivants aux
  influences locales.

  Un autre côté de ce sujet, encore plus curieux peut-être, est
  l’intensité avec laquelle la vie s’est manifestée dans ces eaux.
  Tous les fleuves de l’Europe réunis, depuis le Tage jusqu’au Volga,
  ne nourissent pas cent cinquante espèces de poissons d’eau douce; et
  cependant, dans un petit lac des environs de Manaos, nommé Lago
  Hyanuary, qui a à peine quatre ou cinq-cents mètres carrés de
  surface, nous avons découvert plus de deux-cents espèces distinctes,
  dont la plupart n’ont pas encore été observées ailleurs. Quel

  L’étude du mélange des races humaines qui se croisent dans ces
  régions m’a aussi beaucoup occupé et je me suis procuré de
  nombreuses photographies de tous les types que j’ai pu observer. Le
  principal résultat auquel je suis arrivé est que les races se
  comportent les unes vis-à-vis des autres comme des espèces
  distinctes; c. à. d. que les hybrides qui naissent du croisement
  d’hommes de race différente sont toujours un mélange des deux types
  primitifs et jamais la simple reproduction des caractères de l’un ou
  de l’autre des progéniteurs, comme c’est le cas pour les races
  d’animaux domestiques.

  Je ne dirai rien de mes autres collections qui ont pour la plupart
  été faites par mes jeunes compagnons de voyage, plutôt en vue
  d’enrichir notre musée que de résoudre quelques questions
  scientifiques. Mais je ne saurais laisser passer cette occasion sans
  exprimer ma vive reconnaissance pour toutes les facilités que j’ai
  dues à la bienveillance de Votre Majesté, dans mes explorations.
  Depuis le Président jusqu’au plus humbles employés des provinces que
  j’ai parcourues, tous ont rivalisé d’empressement pour me faciliter
  mon travail et la Compagnie des vapeurs de l’Amazone a été d’une
  libéralité extrême à mon égard. Enfin, Sire, la générosité avec
  laquelle vous avez fait mettre un navire de guerre à ma disposition
  m’a permis de faire des collections qui seraient restées
  inaccessibles pour moi, sans un moyen de transport aussi vaste et
  aussi rapide. Permettez-moi d’ajouter que de toutes les faveurs dont
  Votre Majesté m’a comblé pour ce voyage, la plus précieuse a été la
  présence du Major Coutinho, dont la familiarité avec tout ce qui
  regarde l’Amazone a été une source intarissable de renseignements
  importants et de directions utiles pour éviter des courses oiseuses
  et la perte d’un temps précieux. L’étendue des connaissances de
  Coutinho, en ce qui touche l’Amazone, est vraiment encyclopédique,
  et je crois que ce serait un grand service à rendre à la science que
  de lui fournir l’occasion de rédiger et de publier tout ce qu’il a
  observé pendant ses visites répétées et prolongées dans cette partie
  de l’Empire. Sa coopération pendant ce dernier voyage a été des plus
  laborieuses; il s’est mis à la zoologie comme si les sciences
  physiques n’avaient pas été l’objet spécial de ses études, en même
  temps qu’il a fait par devers lui de nombreuses observations
  thermométriques, barométriques, et astronomiques, qui ajouteront de
  bons jalons à ce que l’on possède déjà sur la météorologie et la
  topographie de ces provinces. C’est ainsi que nous avons les
  premiers porté le baromètre au milieu des collines d’Almeyrim, de
  Monte Alégre, et d’Ereré et mesuré leurs sommets les plus élevés.

  L’étude de la formation de la vallée de l’Amazone m’a naturellement
  occupé, bien que secondairement, dès le premier jour que je l’ai

                  *       *       *       *       *

  Mais il est temps que je finisse cette longue épître en demandant
  pardon à Votre Majesté d’avoir mis sa patience à une aussi rude

  De Votre Majesté le serviteur le plus dévoué et le plus affectueux,

                                                       L. AGASSIZ.[91]

_February 24th._—Pará, Nazareth. Our time has passed so quietly here
that it gives me nothing to record. Mr. Agassiz has found himself in
such absolute need of rest, after having arranged and put in order for
transportation to the United States the collections accumulated, that
our intended trip to the island of Marajo has been postponed day after
day. Yesterday I witnessed a religious procession in Pará,—one of the
many festas said to be gradually dying out, and to be already shorn of
much of their ancient glory. It represented a scene from the passion of
Christ. The life-size figure of the Saviour, sinking under the cross, is
borne on a platform through the streets. Little girls, dressed as
angels, walk before it, and it is accompanied by numerous dignitaries of
the Church. Altars are illuminated in the different churches; the
populace, even down to the children, are dressed in black; and the
balconies of every house filled with figures in mourning, waiting for
the sad procession to pass by.

_February 28th._—Off Marajo, in the steamer Tabatinga. All great rivers,
as the Nile, the Mississippi, the Ganges, the Danube, have their deltas;
but the largest river in the world, the Amazons, is an exception to this
rule. What, then, is the geological character of the great island which
obstructs its opening into the ocean? This is the question which has
made a visit to Marajo of special interest to Mr. Agassiz. Leaving Pará
at midnight, we reached the little town of Sourés early this morning. It
is a village lying on the southeastern side of the island, and so far
seaward that, in the dry season, when the diminished current of the
Amazonian waters is overborne by the tides, the water is salt enough to
afford excellent sea-bathing, and is resorted to for that purpose by
many families from Pará. At this moment, however, the water has not even
a brackish character. The only building of any interest in the town is
the old Jesuit church, a remnant of the earliest chapter in the
civilization of South America. However tinged with ambition and a love
of temporal power, the work of the Jesuits in Brazil tended toward the
establishment of an organized system of labor, which one cannot but wish
had been continued. All that remains of the Jesuit missions goes to
prove that they were centres of industry. These men contrived to impart,
even to the wandering Indian, some faint reflection of their own
persistency and steadfastness of purpose. Farms were connected with all
the Indian missions; under the direction of the fathers, the Indians
learned something of agriculture, which the Jesuits readily saw to be
one of the great civilizing influences in a country so fertile. They
introduced a variety of vegetables and grains, and had herds of cattle
where cattle now are hardly known. Humboldt, speaking of the destruction
of the Jesuit missions, says, in reference to the Indians of Atures, on
the Orinoco: “Formerly, being excited to labor by the Jesuits, they did
not want for food. The fathers cultivated maize, French beans, and other
European vegetables. They even planted sweet oranges and tamarinds round
the villages; and they possessed twenty or thirty thousand head of cows
and horses in the savannas of Atures and Carichana.... Since the year
1795, the cattle of the Jesuits have entirely disappeared. There now
remain as monuments of the ancient cultivation of these countries, and
the active industry of the first missionaries, only a few trunks of the
orange and tamarind in the savannas, surrounded by wild trees.”[92]

Our walk through the little village of Sourés brought us to the low
cliffs on the shore, which we had already seen from the steamer. The
same formations prevail all along the coast of this island that we have
found everywhere on the banks of the Amazons. Lowest, a well-stratified,
rather coarse sandstone, immediately above which, and conformable with
it, are finely laminated clays, covered by a crust. Upon this lies the
highly ferruginous sandstone, in which an irregular cross stratification
frequently alternates with the regular beds; above this, following all
the undulations of its surface, is the well-known reddish sandy clay,
with quartz pebbles scattered through its mass, and only here and there
faint traces of an indistinct stratification. This afternoon Mr. Agassiz
has been again on shore, examining the formation of both banks of the
Igarapé Grande, the river at the mouth of which stands the town of
Sourés. He has returned delighted with the result of his day’s work,
having not only obtained the most complete evidence that the geological
formation of Marajo corresponds exactly with that of the Amazonian
Valley, but having also obtained some very important data with respect
to the present encroachments of the sea upon the shore. He found upon
the beach, partially covered by sea-sand, the remains of a forest which
evidently grew in a peat-bog, and which the ocean is gradually laying

_February 29th._—Early this morning we crossed the Pará River, and
anchored at the entrance of the bay within which stands the town of
Vigia. We landed, and while the boatmen were dragging the net, we
wandered along the beach, which is bordered by thick forest, now full of
flowers. Here we found the same geological formations as on the Marajo
shore, and on the beach the counterpart of the ancient forest which Mr.
Agassiz unearthed yesterday on the opposite coast. There can hardly be
more convincing evidence that the rivers which empty into the Amazons
near its mouth, like all those higher up, as well as the main stream
itself, have cut their way through identical formations, which were once
continuous. Evidently these remains of forests on the beaches of Vigia
Bay and at the mouth of the Igarapé Grande are parts of one forest,
formerly uninterrupted and covering the whole of the intervening space
now filled by the so-called Pará River. We followed the beach to the
entrance of an igarapé, which here opens into the river, and which
looked most tempting with the morning shadows darkening its cool
recesses. As the boatmen had not been very successful in fishing, I
proposed we should put their services to better use and row up this
inviting stream. To this day, though I have become accustomed to these
forest water-paths and have had so many excursions in them, they have
lost none of their charm. I never see one without longing to follow its
picturesque windings into the depths of the wood; and to me the igarapé
remains the most beautiful and the most characteristic feature of the
Amazonian scenery. This one of Vigia was especially pretty. Clumps of
the light, exquisitely graceful Assai palm shot up everywhere from the
denser forest; here and there the drooping bamboo, never seen in the
higher Amazons, dipped its feathery branches into the water, covered
sometimes to their very tips with purple bloom of convolvulus; yellow
Bignonias carried their golden clusters to the very summits of some of
the more lofty trees; while white-flowering myrtles and orange-colored
mallows bordered the stream. Life abounded in this quiet retreat. Birds
and butterflies were numerous; and we saw an immense number of crabs of
every variety of color and size upon the margin of the water. However,
it was not so easy to catch them as it seemed. They would sit quietly on
the trunks of all the old trees or decaying logs projecting from the
bank, apparently waiting to be taken; but the moment we approached them,
however cautiously, they vanished like lightning either under the water
or into some crevice near by. Notwithstanding their nimbleness, however,
Mr. Agassiz succeeded in making a considerable collection. We saw also
an immense army of caterpillars, evidently following some concerted plan
of action. They were descending the trunk of a large tree in a solid
phalanx about two handbreadths in width, and six or eight feet in
length; no doubt coming down to make their chrysalids in the sand. We
returned to the steamer at ten o’clock; and, after breakfast, finding
our anchorage-ground somewhat rough as the tide came in, we went a
little higher up, and entered the Bahia do Sul. Here again we went on
shore to see the net drawn, this time more successfully. We should have
had a delightful walk on the beach again, had it not been for hosts of
minute flies which hovered about us, and had a power of stinging quite
disproportionate to their size. On returning we met with an unforeseen
difficulty. The tide had been falling during our walk, and the canoe
could not approach the beach within several yards. The gentlemen plunged
in, and walked out over knees in water; while the boatmen made a chair
of their arms and carried me through the surf.

_March 5th._—Our excursion in the harbor closed with a visit to the
small island of Tatuatuba, distant about six miles from Pará. In order
to examine the shores, we made the circuit of the island on foot. Here
again the same geological structure presented itself; and there was one
spot in particular where the sharp, vertical cut of the bank facing the
beach presented an admirable section of the formations so characteristic
of the Amazonian Valley; the red, sandy clay of the upper deposit
filling in all the undulations and inequalities of the sandstone below,
the surface of which was remarkably irregular. The sea is making great
encroachments on the shore of this island. Senhor Figueiredo, who lives
here with his family and by whom we were received with much hospitality,
told us that during the last eighteen or twenty years, the beach had
receded considerably in some places; the high-water line being many
yards beyond its former limit. The result of this excursion has shown
that, with the exception of some low mud-islands nearly level with the
water, all the harbor islands lying in the mouth of the Amazons are,
geologically speaking, parts of the Amazonian Valley, having the same
structure. They were, no doubt, formerly continuous with the shore, but
are separated now, partly by the fresh waters cutting their way through
the land to the ocean, partly by the progress of the sea itself.

_March 24th._—Our quiet life at Nazareth, though full of enjoyment for
tired travellers, affords little material for a journal. A second
excursion along the coast has furnished Mr. Agassiz with new evidence of
the rapid changes in the outline of the shore, produced by the
encroachment of the sea. So fast is this going on that some of the
public works near the coast are already endangered by the advance of the
ocean upon the land. During the past week he has been especially
occupied in directing the work of a photographist employed by Senhor
Pimenta Bueno, who, with his usual liberality towards the scientific
objects of the expedition, is collecting in this way the portraits of
some remarkable palms and other trees about his house and grounds. One
of the most striking is a huge Sumauméra, with buttressed trunk. These
buttresses start at a distance of about eight or ten feet from the
ground, spreading gradually toward the base; they are from ten to twelve
feet in depth. The lower part of the trunk is thus divided into open
compartments, sometimes so large that two or three persons can stand
within them. This disposition to throw out flanks or wings is not
confined to one kind of tree, but occurs in many families; it seems,
indeed, a characteristic feature of forest vegetation here. Occasionally
the buttresses partially separate from the main trunk, remaining
attached to it only at the point from which they start, so that they
look like distinct supports propping the tree. I copy here an extract
from Mr. Agassiz’s notes upon the vegetation of the Amazons, in which
allusion is made to the Sumauméra.

[Illustration: Buttressed Tree (Eriodendrum Sumauma).]

“Any one coming from the North to the Tropics, if he has been in the
habit of observing the vegetation about him, even without having made
botany a special study, is, in a measure, prepared to appreciate the
resemblances and the differences between plants of the tropical and
those of the temperate regions. An acquaintance with the Robinia
(Locust-trees), for instance, or with the large shrub-like Lotus, and
other woody Leguminosæ, will enable him to recognize the numerous
representatives of that family, forming so large a part of the
equatorial vegetation; and, even should he never have seen specimens of
the Mimosa in gardens or hot-houses, their delicate, susceptible foliage
will make them known to him; he cannot fail to be struck with the
inexhaustible combinations and forms of their pinnate leaves, as well as
with the variety in their tints of green, the diversity in their
clusters of leaves and in their pods and seeds. But there are families
with which he fancies himself equally familiar, the tropical
representatives of which will never seem to him like old acquaintances.
Thus the tree which furnishes the Indian rubber belongs to the Milk-weed
family. Every one knows the Milk-weeds of the North, to be seen, as
humble herbs, all along the roadsides, on the edges of our woods and in
the sands of our beaches. Yet on the Amazons, the Euphorbiaceæ, so small
and unobtrusive with us, assume the form of colossal trees, constituting
a considerable part of its strange and luxuriant forest-growth. The
giant of the Amazonian woods, whose majestic flat crown towers over all
other trees, while its white trunk stands out in striking relief from
the surrounding mass of green (the Sumauméra), is allied to our mallows.
Some of the most characteristic trees of the river-shore belong to these
two families. Our paleontologists who attempt to restore the forests of
older geological times should keep in mind this fact of the striking
contrasts presented under different latitudes by the same families. Of
course the equatorial regions teem with plants and trees belonging to
families either entirely unknown or but poorly represented in more
temperate latitudes; and these distinct groups naturally arrest the
attention of the botanist, and perhaps awaken his interest more than
those with which he is already familiar under other forms. But, while
these different families are recognized as distinct, and no doubt
deserve to be considered by themselves as natural groups, I believe that
much might be learned of the deeper relations of plants by studying, not
only the representatives of the same families in different latitudes,
such as the Mimosas and the Milk-weeds, but also what I may call
botanical equivalents,—groups which balance each other in the different
climatic zones. This idea is suggested to me by my zoölogical studies in
the Amazons, which have led me to perceive new relations between the
animals of the temperate and the tropical zone: it seems probable that
corresponding relations should exist in the vegetable world also.
Struck, for instance, by the total absence of sturgeons, perches,
pickerels, trouts, carps and other white fishes, cusks, sculpins, &c., I
have asked myself, while studying the fishes of the Amazons, what
analogy could exist between those of our Western rivers and those of the
tropics, as well as between the latter and those of the intermediate
latitudes. Looking at them with this view, I have been surprised to find
how closely related the Goniodonts are to the Sturgeons; so much so,
that the Loricariæ may be considered as genuine Sturgeons, with more
extensive shields upon the body. I am satisfied also that the Cychla is
a perch to all intents and purposes, that the Acaras are Sunfishes, the
Xiphorhamphus (Pirà pucu) Pickerels, and the Curimatas genuine Carps.
Now, may not a similar relation exist between the families of plants
belonging to the North and those forming the most prominent vegetation
of the South? What are the tropical trees which take the place of our
elms, maples, lindens? By what families are our oaks, chestnuts,
willows, poplars, represented under the burning sun of the equinoctial
regions? The Rosaceæ in the temperate and the Myrtaceæ in the tropical
regions seem to me such botanical equivalents. The family of Rosaceæ
gives to the North its pears, its apples, its peaches, its cherries, its
plums, its almonds; in short, all the most delicious fruits of the Old
World, as well as its most beautiful flowers. The trees of this family,
by their foliage, play a distinguished part in the vegetation of the
temperate zone, and impart to it a character of their own. The Myrtaceæ
give to the South its guavas, its pitangas, its araçàs, the juicy
plum-like fruit of the swamp-myrtles, many of its nuts, and other
excellent fruits. This family, including the Melastomaceæ, abounds in
flowering shrubs, like the purple Queresma and many others not less
beautiful; and some of its representatives, such as the Sapucaia and the
Brazilian nut-tree, rise to the height of towering trees. Both of these
families sink to insignificance in the one zone, while they assume a
dignified port and perform an important part in the other. If this
investigation be extended to the shrubs and humbler plants, I believe
the botanist who undertakes it will reap a rich harvest.”

The day after to-morrow we leave Pará in the Santa Cruz for Ceará. It
will be like leaving a sort of home to say good by to our kind friends
in the Rua de Nazareth. We have become attached to this neighborhood
also from its beauty. The wide street, bordered for two or three miles
with mangueiras, leads into the wooded country, where many a narrow
green path in the forest tempts one to long rambles. One of these paths
has been a favorite walk of mine on account of the beauty and luxuriance
of the vegetation, making some parts of it shady even at noonday. I have
often followed it for two or three miles in the early morning, between
six and eight o’clock, when the verdant walls on either side are still
fresh and dewy. Beautiful as it is, it leads to one of the saddest of
all abodes. For a long time I could not understand why this lane was
always in such good condition, the heavy rains making unfrequented
forest-paths almost impassable in the wet season. I found on inquiry
that it led to a hospital for lepers, and was kept in good repair
because the various stores and supplies for the hospital were constantly
carried over it. The prevalence of leprosy has made it necessary to
provide separate establishments for its victims; and both at Pará and
Santarem, where it is still more common, there are hospitals devoted
exclusively to this purpose. This terrible disease is not confined
wholly to the lower classes, and where it occurs in families whose
circumstances are good the invalid is often kept at home under the care
of his own friends. Bates states that leprosy is supposed to be
incurable, and also adds that, during his eleven years’ residence on the
Amazons, he has never known a foreigner to be attacked by it. We have,
however, been told by a very intelligent German physician in Rio de
Janeiro, that he has known several cases of it among his own countrymen
there, and has been so fortunate as to effect permanent cures in some
instances. He says it is a mistake to suppose that it does not yield to
treatment when taken in time, and the statistics of the disease show
that, where there are good physicians, it is found to be gradually

We must not leave Pará without alluding to our evening concerts from the
adjoining woods and swamps. When I first heard this strange confusion of
sounds, I thought it came from a crowd of men shouting loudly, though at
a little distance. To my surprise, I found that the rioters were the
frogs and toads in the neighborhood. I hardly know how to describe this
Babel of woodland noises; and if I could do it justice, I am afraid my
account would hardly be believed. At moments it seems like the barking
of dogs, then like the calling of many voices on different keys, but all
loud, rapid, excited, full of emphasis and variety. I think these frogs,
like ours, must be silent at certain seasons of the year; for, on our
first visit to Pará, we were not struck by this singular music, with
which the woods now resound at nightfall.

                  *       *       *       *       *

  NOTE.—Before leaving the Amazons, I wish to acknowledge attentions
  received from several friends, whose names do not appear in the

  To Senhor Danin, Chef de Police at Pará, I was indebted for valuable
  Indian curiosities, and for specimens of other kinds; to Doctor
  Malcher for a collection of birds; to Senhor Penna for important
  additions to my collection of fishes; to Senhor Laitaō da Cunha for
  aid in collecting, and for many introductions to persons of
  influence along our route; and to Mr. Kaulfuss, a German resident at
  Pará, for fossils from the Andes.

  I have to thank Mr. James Bond, United States Consul at Pará, for
  unwearied efforts in my behalf during the whole time of my stay in
  the Amazons. He supplied me with alcohol; received the collections
  on their arrival at Pará; examined the cases and barrels, causing
  those which were defective to be repaired, that they might reach
  their destination in safety, and finally despatched them to the
  United States, free of charge, on board sailing-vessels in which he
  had an interest. We owe it in great degree to him that our immense
  Amazonian collections arrived in Cambridge in good condition,
  suffering little loss or injury in the process of transportation.—L.


Footnote 88:

  During my short stay in the neighborhood of Villa Bella and Obydos I
  was indebted to several residents of these towns for assistance in
  collecting; especially to Padre Torquato and to Padre Antonio Mattos.
  My friend, Mr. Honorio, who accompanied me to this point, with the
  assistance of the Delegado, at Villa Bella, made also a very excellent
  collection of fishes in this vicinity. At Obydos Colonel Bentos
  contributed a very large collection of fishes from the Rio
  Trombetas.—L. A.

Footnote 89:

  See Chapter XIII., on the Physical History of the Amazons.

Footnote 90:

  It is but fitting that I should express here my thanks to Captain
  Faria for the courteous manner in which he accomplished the task
  assigned him by the government. He was not only a most hospitable host
  on board his vessel, but he allowed me to encumber his deck with all
  kinds of scientific apparatus, and gave me very efficient assistance
  in collecting.—L. A.

Footnote 91:

                                                PARÁ, February 23, 1866.

  SIRE:—On arriving at Pará in the beginning of this month, I had the
  pleasure to find your Majesty’s kind letter, which had been awaiting
  me for several days. I ought to have acknowledged it immediately, but
  I was not in a condition to do so, being overcome by fatigue. It is
  only during the last two or three days that I begin once more to
  occupy myself as usual. I confess that nothing but the presentiment of
  regrets which would have pursued me to the end of my days has
  prevented me from returning directly to the United States. Even now I
  find it difficult to take up the most simple occupations. And yet I am
  not ill; I am only exhausted by incessant work, and by the
  contemplation, each day more vivid and impressive, of the grandeur and
  beauty of this tropical nature. I need to look for a time upon the
  sombre and monotonous aspect of a pine forest.

  How good you are, Sire, to think of me in the midst of the vital
  affairs which absorb your attention, and how considerate are your
  acts! The New Year’s present you announce enchants me.[93] The
  prospect of being able to add some comparisons of the fishes from the
  basin of the Uruguay to such as I have already made between the
  Amazonian species and those of the rivers on the eastern coast of
  Brazil has a special attraction for me. It will be the first step
  towards a knowledge of the types of the temperate zone in South
  America. I wait with increasing impatience for the moment when I shall
  be able to examine them. In the mean while allow me to give you a
  rapid sketch of the results thus far obtained in my voyage on the

  I will not return to the surprising variety of species of fishes
  contained in this basin, though it is very difficult for me to
  familiarize myself with the idea that the Amazons nourishes nearly
  twice as many species as the Mediterranean, and a larger number than
  the Atlantic, taken from one pole to the other. I can no longer say,
  however, with precision, what is the exact number of species which we
  have procured from the Amazons, because, on retracing my steps as I
  descended the great river, I have seen fishes about to lay their eggs
  which I had seen at first under other conditions, and _vice versa_;
  and without consulting the collections made six months ago, and which
  are not now accessible to me, it is often impossible for me to
  determine from memory whether they are the same species, or different
  ones which escaped my observation in my first examination. However, I
  estimate the total number of species which I actually possess at
  eighteen hundred, and it may be two thousand.[94] But it is not only
  the number of species which will astonish naturalists; the fact that
  they are for the most part circumscribed within definite limits is
  still more surprising, and cannot but have a direct influence on the
  ideas now prevalent respecting the origin of living beings. That in a
  river like the Mississippi, which from the north to the south passes
  successively through cold, temperate, and warm zones,—whose waters
  flow sometimes over one geological formation, sometimes over another,
  and across plains covered at the north by an almost arctic vegetation,
  and at the south by a sub-tropical flora,—that in such a basin aquatic
  animals of different species should be met at various points of its
  course is easily understood by those who are accustomed to consider
  general conditions of existence, and of climate especially, as the
  first cause of the difference between animals and plants inhabiting
  separate localities. But that from Tabatinga to Pará, in a river where
  the waters differ neither in temperature nor in the nature of their
  bed, nor in the vegetation along their borders,—that under such
  circumstances there should be met, from distance to distance,
  assemblages of fishes completely distinct from each other, is indeed
  astonishing. I would even say that henceforth this distribution, which
  may be verified by any one who cares to take the trouble, must throw
  much doubt on the opinion which attributes the diversity of living
  beings to local influences. Another side of this subject, still more
  curious perhaps, is the intensity with which life is manifested in
  these waters. All the rivers of Europe united, from the Tagus to the
  Volga, do not nourish one hundred and fifty species of fresh-water
  fishes; and yet, in a little lake near Manaos, called Lago Hyanuary,
  the surface of which covers hardly four or five hundred square yards,
  we have discovered more than two hundred distinct species, the greater
  part of which have not been observed elsewhere. What a contrast!

  The study of the mixture of human races in this region has also
  occupied me much, and I have procured numerous photographs of all the
  types which I have been able to observe. The principal result at which
  I have arrived is, that the _races_ bear themselves towards each other
  as do distinct species; that is to say, that the hybrids, which spring
  from the crossing of men of different races, are always a mixture of
  the two primitive types, and never the simple reproduction of the
  characters of one or the other progenitor, as is the case among the
  races of domestic animals.

  I will say nothing of my other collections, which have been made for
  the most part by my young companions, rather with a view to enrich our
  Museum than to solve scientific questions. But I cannot allow this
  occasion to pass without expressing my lively gratitude for all the
  facilities, in my explorations, which I have owed to the kindness of
  your Majesty. From the President to the most humble employés of the
  provinces I have visited, all have competed with each other to render
  my work more easy; and the steamship company of the Amazons has shown
  an extreme liberality towards me. Finally, Sire, the generosity with
  which you have placed at my disposition a vessel of war has allowed me
  to make collections which, with less ample and rapid means of
  transport, must have remained utterly inaccessible to me. Permit me to
  add, that, of all the favors with which your Majesty has crowned this
  voyage, the most precious has been the presence of Major Coutinho,
  whose familiarity with all which concerns the Amazons has been an
  inexhaustible source of important information and of useful
  directions; by means of which the loss of time in unremunerative
  excursions has been avoided. His co-operation during this journey has
  been most laborious; he has applied himself to zoölogy as if the
  physical sciences had not hitherto been the special object of his
  study, while at the same time he has made numerous thermometric,
  barometric, and astronomical observations, which will furnish
  important additions to what is already known concerning the
  meteorology and topography of these provinces. We have, for instance,
  been the first to carry the barometer into the midst of the hills of
  Almeyrim, of Monte Alégre and Ereré, and to measure their highest
  summits. The study of the formation of the valley of the Amazons has
  naturally occupied me, though in a secondary degree, from the first
  day of my arrival.[95]

                  *       *       *       *       *

But it is time that I should close this long letter, begging your
Majesty to pardon me for putting your patience to so hard a trial.

           Your Majesty’s most humble and most affectionate servant,

                                                             L. AGASSIZ.

Footnote 92:

  Humboldt’s Personal Narrative, Bohn’s Scientific Library, Vol. II.
  Chap. XX. p. 267.

Footnote 93:

  The Emperor had written to Mr. Agassiz that, during the time when he
  took command of the Brazilian army on the Rio Grande, he had caused
  collections of fishes to be made for him from several of the southern

Footnote 94:

  To-day I cannot give a more precise account of the final result of my
  survey. Though all my collections are safely stored in the Museum,
  every practical zoölogist understands that a critical examination of
  more than eighty thousand specimens cannot be made in less than
  several years.—L. A.

Footnote 95:

  The rest of this letter is omitted, as its substance is contained in
  Chapter XIII., on the Physical History of the Amazons.

                             CHAPTER XIII.


A few days before we left Pará, Senhor Pimenta Bueno invited his friends
and acquaintances, who had expressed a wish to hear Mr. Agassiz’s views
on the geological character of the Amazonian Valley, to meet at his
house in the evening for that purpose. The guests were some two hundred
in number, and the whole affair was very unceremonious, assuming rather
the character of a meeting for conversation or discussion than that of
an audience collected to hear a studied address. The substance of this
talk or lecture, as subsequently written out by Mr. Agassiz, afterward
appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, and is inserted here, with some few
alterations under the head of a separate chapter. The reader will find
occasional repetitions of facts already stated in the earlier part of
the narrative; but they are retained for the sake of giving a complete
and consistent review of the subject at this point of our journey, where
it became possible to compare the geological structure of the Amazonian
Valley with that of the southern provinces of Brazil and of those
bordering on the Atlantic coast.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The existence of a glacial period, however much derided when first
announced, is now a recognized fact. The divergence of opinion
respecting it is limited to a question of extent; and after my recent
journey in the Amazons, I am led to add a new chapter to the strange
history of glacial phenomena, taken from the southern hemisphere, and
even from the tropics themselves.

I am prepared to find that the statement of this new phase of the
glacial period will awaken among my scientific colleagues an opposition
even more violent than that by which the first announcement of my views
on this subject was met. I am, however, willing to bide my time; feeling
sure that, as the theory of the ancient extension of glaciers in Europe
has gradually come to be accepted by geologists, so will the existence
of like phenomena, both in North and South America, during the same
epoch, be recognized sooner or later as part of a great series of
physical events extending over the whole globe. Indeed, when the
ice-period is fully understood, it will be seen that the absurdity lies
in supposing that climatic conditions so different could be limited to a
small portion of the world’s surface. If the geological winter existed
at all, it must have been cosmic; and it is quite as rational to look
for its traces in the Western as in the Eastern hemisphere, to the south
of the equator as to the north of it. Impressed by this wider view of
the subject, confirmed by a number of unpublished investigations which I
have made during the last three or four years in the United States, I
came to South America, expecting to find in the tropical regions new
evidences of a bygone glacial period, though, of course, under different
aspects. Such a result seemed to me the logical sequence of what I had
already observed in Europe and in North America.

On my arrival in Rio de Janeiro,—the port at which I first landed in
Brazil,—my attention was immediately attracted by a very peculiar
formation consisting of an ochraceous, highly ferruginous, sandy clay.
During a stay of three months in Rio, whence I made many excursions into
the neighboring country, I had opportunities of studying this deposit,
both in the province of Rio de Janeiro and in the adjoining province of
Minas Geraes. I found that it rested everywhere upon the undulating
surfaces of the solid rocks in place, was almost entirely destitute of
stratification, and contained a variety of pebbles and boulders. The
pebbles were chiefly quartz, sometimes scattered indiscriminately
throughout the deposit, sometimes lying in a seam between it and the
rock below; while the boulders were either sunk in its mass, or resting
loosely on the surface. At Tijuca, a few miles out of the city of Rio,
among the picturesque hills lying to the southwest of it, these
phenomena may be seen in great perfection. Near Bennett’s Hotel there
are a great number of erratic boulders, having no connection whatever
with the rock in place; and also a bluff of this superficial deposit
studded with boulders, resting above the partially stratified
metamorphic rock.[96] Other excellent opportunities for observing this
formation, also within easy reach from the city, are afforded along the
whole line of the Dom Pedro Segundo Railroad, where the cuts expose
admirable sections, showing the red, unstratified, homogeneous mass of
sandy clay resting above the solid rock, and often divided from it by a
thin bed of pebbles. There can be no doubt, in the mind of any one
familiar with similar facts observed in other parts of the world, that
this is one of the many forms of drift connected with glacial action. I
was, however, far from anticipating, when I first met it in the
neighborhood of Rio, that I should afterwards find it spreading over the
surface of the country from north to south and from east to west, with a
continuity which gives legible connection to the whole geological
history of the continent.

It is true that the extensive decomposition of the underlying rock,
penetrating sometimes to a considerable depth, makes it often difficult
to distinguish between it and the drift; and the problem is made still
more puzzling by the fact that the surface of the drift, when baked by
exposure to the hot sun, often assumes the appearance of decomposed
rock, so that great care is required for a correct interpretation of the
facts. A little practice, however, trains the eye to read these
appearances aright; and I may say that I have learned to recognize
everywhere the limit between the two formations. There is indeed one
safe guide, namely, the undulating line, reminding one of _roches
moutonnées_,[97] and marking the irregular surface of the rock on which
the drift was accumulated; whatever modifications the one or the other
may have undergone, this line seems never to disappear. Another
deceptive feature, arising from the frequent disintegration of the rocks
and from the brittle character of some of them, is the presence of loose
fragments, which simulate erratic boulders, but are in fact only
detached masses of the rock in place. A careful examination of their
structure, however, will at once show the geologist whether they belong
where they are found, or have been brought from a distance to their
present resting-place.

But, while the features to which I have alluded are unquestionably drift
phenomena, they present in their wider extension, and especially in the
northern part of Brazil, some phases of glacial action hitherto
unobserved. Just as the investigation of the ice-period in the United
States has shown us that ice-fields may move over open level plains, as
well as along the slopes of mountain valleys, so does a study of the
same class of facts in South America reveal new and unlooked-for
features in the history of the ice-period. Some will say that the fact
of the advance of ice-fields over an open country is by no means
established, inasmuch as many geologists believe all the so-called
glacial traces—viz. striæ, furrows, polish, etc., found in the United
States—to have been made by floating icebergs at a time when the
continent was submerged. To this I can only answer that, in the State of
Maine, I have followed, compass in hand, the same set of furrows,
running from north to south in one unvarying line, over a surface of one
hundred and thirty miles, from the Katahdin Iron Range to the
sea-shore.[98] These furrows follow all the inequalities of the country,
ascending ranges of hills varying from twelve to fifteen hundred feet in
height, and descending into the intervening valleys only two or three
hundred feet above the sea, or sometimes even on a level with it. I take
it to be impossible that a floating mass of ice should travel onward in
one rectilinear direction, turning neither to the right nor to the left,
for such a distance. Equally impossible would it be for a detached mass
of ice, swimming on the surface of the water, or even with its base sunk
considerably below it, to furrow in a straight line the summits and
sides of the hills, and the bottoms of the intervening valleys. It would
be carried over the inequalities of the country without touching the
lowest depressions. Instead of ascending the mountains, it would remain
stranded against any elevation which rose greatly above its own base,
and, if caught between two parallel ridges, would float up and down
between them. Moreover, the action of solid, unbroken ice, moving over
the ground in immediate contact with it, is so different from that of
floating ice-rafts or icebergs that, though the latter have
unquestionably dropped erratic boulders, and made furrows and striæ on
the surface where they happened to be grounded, these phenomena will
easily be distinguished from the more connected tracks of glaciers, or
extensive sheets of ice, resting directly upon the face of the country
and advancing over it.

There seems thus far to be an inextricable confusion in the ideas of
many geologists as to the respective action of currents, icebergs, and
glaciers. It is time that they should learn to distinguish between
classes of facts so different from each other, and so easily recognized
after the discrimination has once been made. As to the southward
movement of an immense field of ice, extending over the whole North, it
seems inevitable, the moment we admit that snow may accumulate around
the pole in such quantities as to initiate a pressure radiating in every
direction. Snow, alternately thawing and freezing, must, like water,
find its level at last. A sheet of snow ten or fifteen thousand feet in
thickness, extending all over the northern and southern portions of the
globe, must necessarily lead, in the end, to the formation of a northern
and southern cap of ice, moving toward the equator.

I have spoken of Tijuca and the Dom Pedro Railroad as favorable
localities for studying the peculiar southern drift; but one meets it in
every direction. A sheet of drift, consisting of the same homogeneous,
unstratified paste, and containing loose materials of all sorts and
sizes, covers the country. It is of very uneven thickness,—sometimes
thrown into relief, as it were, by the surrounding denudations, and
rising into hills; sometimes reduced to a thin layer; sometimes, as, for
instance, on steep slopes, washed entirely away, leaving the bare face
of the rock exposed. It has, however, remained comparatively undisturbed
on some very abrupt ascents; as may be seen on the Corcovado, along the
path leading up the mountain, where there are some very fine banks of
drift, the more striking from the contrast of their deep-red color with
the surrounding vegetation. I have myself followed this sheet of drift
from Rio de Janeiro to the top of the Serra do Mar, where, just outside
the pretty town of Petropolis, the river Piabanha may be seen flowing
between banks of drift, in which it has excavated its bed; thence I have
traced it along the beautiful macadamized road leading to Juiz de Fora
in the province of Minas Geraes, and beyond this to the farther side of
the Serra da Babylonia. Throughout this whole tract of country the drift
may be seen along the roadside, in immediate contact with the native
crystalline rock. The fertility of the land, also, is a guide to the
presence of drift. Wherever it lies thickest over the surface, there are
the most flourishing coffee-plantations; and I believe that a more
systematic regard to this fact would have a most beneficial influence
upon the agricultural interests of the country. No doubt the fertility
arises from the great variety of chemical elements contained in the
drift, and the kneading process it has undergone beneath the gigantic
ice-plough,—a process which makes glacial drift everywhere the most
fertile soil. Since my return from the Amazons, my impression as to the
general distribution of these phenomena has been confirmed by the
reports of some of my assistants, who have been travelling in other
parts of the country. Mr. Frederick C. Hartt, accompanied by Mr.
Copeland, one of the volunteer aids of the expedition, has been making
collections and geological observations in the province of Spiritu
Santo, in the valley of the Rio Doce, and afterwards in the valley of
the Mucury. He informs me that he has found everywhere the same sheet of
red, unstratified clay, with pebbles and occasional boulders overlying
the rock in place. Mr. Orestes St. John, who, taking the road through
the interior, has visited, with the same objects in view, the valleys of
the Rio San Francisco and the Rio das Velhas, and also the valley of
Piauhy, gives the same account, with the exception that he found no
erratic boulders in these more northern regions. The rarity of erratic
boulders, not only in the deposits of the Amazons proper, but in those
of the whole region which may be considered as the Amazonian basin, is
accounted for, as we shall see hereafter, by the mode of their
formation. The observations of Mr. Hartt and Mr. St. John are the more
valuable, because I had employed them both, on our first arrival in Rio,
in making geological surveys of different sections on the Dom Pedro
Railroad, so that they had a great familiarity with those formations
before starting on their separate journeys. Recently, Mr. St. John and
myself met in Pará on our return from our respective explorations, and I
have had an opportunity of comparing on the spot his geological sections
from the valley of the Piauhy with the Amazonian deposits. There can be
no doubt of the absolute identity of the formations in these valleys.

Having arranged the work of my assistants, and sent several of them to
collect and make geological examinations in other directions, I myself,
with the rest of my companions, proceeded up the coast to Pará. I was
surprised to find at every step of my progress the same geological
phenomena which had met me at Rio. It was my friend, Major Coutinho,
already an experienced Amazonian traveller, who first told me that this
formation continued through the whole valley of the Amazons, and was
also to be found on all of its affluents which he had visited, although
he had never thought of referring it to so recent a period. And here let
me say that the facts I now state are by no means exclusively the result
of my own investigations. They are in great part due to Major Coutinho,
a member of the Brazilian government corps of engineers, who, by the
kindness of the Emperor, was associated with me in my Amazonian
expedition. I can truly say that he has been my good genius throughout
the whole journey, saving me, by his previous knowledge of the ground,
from the futile and misdirected expenditure of means and time often
inevitable in a new country, where one is imperfectly acquainted both
with the people and their language. We have worked together in this
investigation; my only advantage over him being my greater familiarity
with like phenomena in Europe and North America, and consequent
readiness in the practical handling of the facts and in perceiving their
connection. Major Coutinho’s assertion, that on the banks of the Amazons
I should find the same red, unstratified clay as in Rio and along the
southern coast, seemed to me at first almost incredible, impressed as I
was with the generally received notions as to the ancient character of
the Amazonian deposits, referred by Humboldt to the Devonian, and by
Martius to the Triassic period, and considered by all travellers to be
at least as old as the Tertiaries. The result, however, confirmed his
report, at least so far as the component materials of the formation are
concerned; but, as will be seen hereafter, the mode of their deposition,
and the time at which it took place, have not been the same at the north
and south; and this difference of circumstances has modified the aspect
of a formation essentially the same throughout. At first sight, it would
indeed appear that this formation, as it exists in the valley of the
Amazons, is identical with that of Rio; but it differs from it in the
rarity of its boulders, and in showing occasional signs of
stratification. It is also everywhere underlaid by coarse,
well-stratified deposits, resembling somewhat the _Recife_ of Bahia and
Pernambuco; whereas the unstratified drift of the south rests
immediately upon the undulating surface of whatever rock happens to make
the foundation of the country, whether stratified or crystalline. The
peculiar sandstone on which the Amazonian clay rests exists nowhere
else. Before proceeding, however, to describe the Amazonian deposits in
detail, I ought to say something of the nature and origin of the valley

The valley of the Amazons was first sketched out by the elevation of two
tracts of land; namely, the plateau of Guiana on the north, and the
central plateau of Brazil on the south. It is probable that, at the time
these two table-lands were lifted above the sea-level, the Andes did not
exist, and the ocean flowed between them through an open strait. It
would seem (and this is a curious result of modern geological
investigations) that the portions of the earth’s surface earliest raised
above the ocean have trended from east to west. The first tract of land
lifted above the waters in North America was also a long continental
island, running from Newfoundland almost to the present base of the
Rocky Mountains. This tendency may be attributed to various causes,—to
the rotation of the earth, the consequent depression of its poles, and
the breaking of its crust along the lines of greatest tension thus
produced. At a later period, the upheaval of the Andes took place,
closing the western side of this strait, and thus transforming it into a
gulf, open only toward the east. Little or nothing is known of the
earlier stratified deposits resting against the crystalline masses first
uplifted along the borders of the Amazonian Valley. There is here no
sequence, as in North America, of Azoic, Silurian, Devonian, and
Carboniferous formations, shored up against each other by the gradual
upheaval of the continent; although, unquestionably, older palæozoic and
secondary beds underlie, here and there, the later formations. Indeed,
Major Coutinho has found palæozoic deposits, with characteristic
Brachiopods, in the valley of the Rio Tapajos, at the first cascade, and
carboniferous deposits have been noticed along the Rio Guapore and the
Rio Mamore. But the first chapter in the valley’s geological history
about which we have connected and trustworthy data is that of the
cretaceous period. It seems certain, that, at the close of the secondary
age, the whole Amazonian basin became lined with a cretaceous deposit,
the margins of which crop out at various localities on its borders. They
have been observed along its southern limits, on its western outskirts
along the Andes, in Venezuela along the shore-line of mountains, and
also in certain localities near its eastern edge. I well remember that
one of the first things which awakened my interest in the geology of the
Amazonian Valley was the sight of some cretaceous fossil fishes from the
province of Ceará. These fossil fishes were collected by Mr. George
Gardner, to whom science is indebted for the most extensive information
yet obtained respecting the geology of that part of Brazil. In this
connection, let me say that I shall speak of the provinces of Ceará,
Piauhy, and Maranham as belonging geologically to the valley of the
Amazons, though their shore is bathed by the ocean and their rivers
empty directly into the Atlantic. But I entertain no doubt that, at an
earlier period, the north-eastern coast of Brazil stretched much farther
seaward than in our day; so far, indeed, that in those times the rivers
of all these provinces must have been tributaries of the Amazons in its
eastward course. The evidence for this conclusion is substantially
derived from the identity of the deposits in the valleys belonging to
these provinces with those of the valleys through which the actual
tributaries of the Amazons flow; as, for instance, the Tocantins, the
Xingu, the Tapajos, the Madeira, etc. Besides the fossils above alluded
to from the eastern borders of this ancient basin, I have had recently
another evidence of its cretaceous character from its southern region.
Mr. William Chandless, on his return from a late journey on the Rio
Purus, presented me with a series of fossil remains of the highest
interest, and undoubtedly belonging to the cretaceous period. They were
collected by himself on the Rio Aquiry, an affluent of the Rio Purus.
Most of them were found in place between the tenth and eleventh degrees
of south latitude, and the sixty-seventh and sixty-ninth degrees of west
longitude from Greenwich, in localities varying from four hundred and
thirty to six hundred and fifty feet above the sea-level. There are
among them remains of Mosasaurus, and of fishes closely allied to those
already represented by Faujas in his description of Maestricht, and
characteristic, as is well known to geological students, of the most
recent cretaceous period.

Thus in its main features the valley of the Amazons, like that of the
Mississippi, is a cretaceous basin. This resemblance suggests a further
comparison between the twin continents of North and South America. Not
only is their general form the same, but their framework, as we may call
it,—that is, the lay of their great mountain-chains and of their
table-lands, with the extensive intervening depressions,—presents a
striking similarity. Indeed, a zoölogist, accustomed to trace a like
structure under variously modified animal forms, cannot but have his
homological studies recalled to his mind by the coincidence between
certain physical features in the northern and southern parts of the
Western hemisphere. And yet here, as throughout all nature, these
correspondences are combined with a distinctness of individualization
which leaves its respective character, not only to each continent as a
whole, but also to the different regions circumscribed within its
borders. In both, however, the highest mountain-chains, the Rocky
Mountains and the Western Coast Range, with their wide intervening
table-land in North America, and the chain of the Andes, with its lesser
plateaux in South America, run along the western coast; both have a
great eastern promontory, Newfoundland in the Northern continent, and
Cape St. Roque in the Southern: and though the resemblance between the
inland elevations is perhaps less striking, yet the Canadian range, the
White Mountains, and the Alleghanies may very fairly be compared to the
table-lands of Guiana and Brazil, and the Serra do Mar. Similar
correspondences may be traced among the river-systems. The Amazons and
the St. Lawrence, though so different in dimensions, remind us of each
other by their trend and geographical position; and while the one is fed
by the largest river-system in the world, the other drains the most
extensive lake surfaces known to exist in immediate contiguity. The
Orinoco, with its bay, recalls Hudson’s Bay and its many tributaries,
and the Rio Magdalena may be said to be the South-American Mackenzie;
while the Rio de la Plata represents geographically our Mississippi, and
the Paraguay recalls the Missouri. The Parana may be compared to the
Ohio; the Pilcomayo, Vermejo, and Salado rivers, to the river Platte,
the Arkansas, and the Red River in the United States; while the rivers
farther south, emptying into the Gulf of Mexico, represent the rivers of
Patagonia and the southern parts of the Argentine Republic. Not only is
there this general correspondence between the mountain elevations and
the river-systems, but as the larger river-basins of North America—those
of the St. Lawrence, the Mississippi, and the Mackenzie—meet in the low
tracts extending along the foot of the Rocky Mountains, so do the basins
of the Amazons, the Rio de la Plata, and the Orinoco join each other
along the eastern slope of the Andes.

But while in geographical homology the Amazons compares with the St.
Lawrence, and the Mississippi with the Rio de la Plata, the Mississippi
and the Amazons, as has been said, resemble each other in their local
geological character. They have both received a substratum of cretaceous
beds, above which are accumulated more recent deposits, so that, in
their most prominent geological features, both may be considered as
cretaceous basins, containing extensive deposits of a very recent age.
Of the history of the Amazonian Valley during the periods immediately
following the Cretaceous, we know little or nothing. Whether the
Tertiary deposits are hidden under the more modern ones; or whether they
are wholly wanting, the basin having, perhaps, been raised above the
sea-level before that time; or whether they have been swept away by the
tremendous inundations in the valley, which have certainly destroyed a
great part of the cretaceous deposit,—they have never been observed in
any part of the Amazonian basin. Whatever Tertiary deposits are
represented in geological maps of this region are so marked in
consequence of an incorrect identification of strata belonging, in fact,
to a much more recent period.

A minute and extensive survey of the valley of the Amazons is by no
means an easy task, and its difficulty is greatly increased by the fact
that the lower formations are only accessible on the river margins
during the _vasante_, or dry season, when the waters shrink in their
beds, leaving a great part of their banks exposed. It happened that the
first three or four months of my journey (August, September, October,
and November) were those when the waters are lowest,—reaching their
minimum in September and October, and beginning to rise again in
November,—so that I had an excellent opportunity, in ascending the
river, of observing its geological structure. Throughout its whole
length, three distinct geological formations may be traced, the two
lower of which have followed in immediate succession, and are
conformable with one another, while the third rests unconformably upon
them, following all the inequalities of the greatly denudated surface
presented by the second formation. Notwithstanding this seeming
interruption in the sequence of these deposits, the third, as we shall
presently see, belongs to the same series, and was accumulated in the
same basin. The lowest set of beds of the whole series is rarely
visible; but it seems everywhere to consist of sandstone, or even of
loose sands well stratified, the coarser materials lying invariably
below, and the finer above. Upon this lower set of beds rests everywhere
an extensive deposit of fine laminated clays, varying in thickness, but
frequently dividing into layers as thin as a sheet of paper. In some
localities they exhibit, in patches, an extraordinary variety of
beautiful colors,—pink, orange, crimson, yellow, gray, blue, and also
black and white. It is from these beds that the Indians prepare their
paints. These clay deposits assume occasionally a peculiar appearance,
and one which might mislead the observer as to their true nature. When
their surface has been long exposed to the action of the atmosphere and
to the heat of the burning sun, they look so much like clay-slates of
the oldest geological epochs that, at first sight, I took them for
primary slates, my attention being attracted to them by a regular
cleavage as distinct as that of the most ancient clay-slates. And yet at
Tonantins, on the banks of the Solimoens, in a locality where their
exposed surfaces had this primordial appearance, I found in these very
beds a considerable amount of well-preserved leaves, the character of
which proves their recent origin. These leaves do not even indicate as
ancient a period as the Tertiaries, but resemble so closely the
vegetation of to-day that I have no doubt, when examined by competent
authority, they will be identified with living plants. The presence of
such an extensive clay formation, stretching over a surface of more than
three thousand miles in length and about seven hundred in breadth, is
not easily explained under any ordinary circumstances. The fact that it
is so thoroughly laminated shows that, in the basin in which it was
formed, the waters must have been unusually quiet, containing identical
materials throughout, and that these materials must have been deposited
over the whole bottom in the same way. It is usually separated from the
superincumbent beds by a glazed crust of hard, compact sandstone, almost
resembling a ferruginous quartzite.

Upon this follow beds of sand and sandstone, varying in the regularity
of their strata, reddish in color, often highly ferruginous, and more or
less nodulous or porous. They present frequent traces of
cross-stratification, alternating with regularly stratified horizontal
beds, with here and there an intervening layer of clay. It would seem as
if the character of the water-basin had now changed, and as if the
waters under which this second formation was deposited had vibrated
between storm and calm, had sometimes flowed more gently, and again had
been tossed to and fro, giving to some of the beds the aspect of true
torrential deposits. Indeed, these sandstone formations present a great
variety of aspects. Sometimes they are very regularly laminated, or
assume even the appearance of the hardest quartzite. This is usually the
case with the uppermost beds. In other localities, and more especially
in the lowermost beds, the whole mass is honeycombed, as if drilled by
worms or boring shells, the hard parts enclosing softer sands or clays.
Occasionally the ferruginous materials prevail to such an extent that
some of these beds might be mistaken for bog-ore, while others contain a
large amount of clay, more regularly stratified, and alternating with
strata of sandstone, thus recalling the most characteristic forms of the
Old Red or Triassic formations. This resemblance has, no doubt, led to
the identification of the Amazonian deposits with the more ancient
formations of Europe. At Monte Alégre, of which I shall presently speak
more in detail, such a clay bed divides the lower from the upper
sandstone. The thickness of these sandstones is extremely variable. In
the basin of the Amazons proper, they hardly rise anywhere above the
level of high water during the rainy season; while at low water, in the
summer months, they may be observed everywhere along the river-banks. It
will be seen, however, that the limit between high and low water gives
no true measure of the original thickness of the whole series.

In the neighborhood of Almeyrim, at a short distance from the northern
bank of the river, and nearly parallel with its course, there rises a
line of low hills, interrupted here and there, but extending in evident
connection from Almeyrim through the region of Monte Alégre to the
heights of Obydos. These hills have attracted the attention of
travellers, not only from their height, which appears greater than it
is, because they rise abruptly from an extensive plain, but also on
account of their curious form; many of them being perfectly level on
top, like smooth tables, and very abruptly divided from each other by
low, intervening spaces.[99] Nothing has hitherto been known of the
geological structure of these hills, but they have been usually
represented as the southernmost spurs of the table-land of Guiana. On
ascending the river, I felt the greatest curiosity to examine them; but
at the time I was deeply engrossed in studying the distribution of
fishes in the Amazonian waters, and in making large ichthyological
collections, for which it was very important not to miss the season of
low water, when the fishes are most easily obtained. I was, therefore,
obliged to leave this most interesting geological problem, and content
myself with examining the structure of the valley so far as it could be
seen on the river-banks and in the neighborhood of my different
collecting stations. On my return, however, when my collections were
completed, I was free to pursue this investigation, in which Major
Coutinho was as much interested as myself. We determined to select Monte
Alégre as the centre of our exploration, the serra in that region being
higher than elsewhere. As I was detained by indisposition at Manaos for
some days at the time we had appointed for the excursion, Major Coutinho
preceded me, and had already made one trip to the serra, with some very
interesting results, when I joined him, and we took a second journey
together. Monte Alégre lies on a side arm of the Amazons, a little off
from its main course. This side arm, called the Rio Gurupatuba, is
simply a channel, running parallel with the Amazons, and cutting through
from a higher to a lower point. Its dimensions are, however, greatly
exaggerated in all the maps thus far published, where it is usually made
to appear as a considerable northern tributary of the Amazons. The town
stands on an elevated terrace, separated from the main stream by the Rio
Gurupatuba and by an extensive flat, consisting of numerous lakes
divided from each other by low, alluvial land, and mostly connected by
narrow channels. To the west of the town this terrace sinks abruptly to
a wide sandy plain called the Campos, covered with a low forest-growth,
and bordered on its farther limit by the picturesque serra of Ereré. The
form of this mountain is so abrupt, its rise from the plains so bold and
sudden, that it seems more than twice its real height. Judging by the
eye and comparing it with the mountains I had last seen,—the Corcovado,
the Gavia, and Tijuca range in the neighborhood of Rio,—I had supposed
it to be three or four thousand feet high, and was greatly astonished
when our barometric observations showed it to be somewhat less than nine
hundred feet in its most elevated point. This, however, agrees with
Martius’s measurement of the Almeyrim hills, which he says are eight
hundred feet in height.

We passed three days in the investigation of the Serra of Ereré, and
found it to consist wholly of the sandstone deposits already described,
and to have exactly the same geological constitution. In short, the
Serra of Monte Alégre, and of course all those connected with it on the
northern side of the river, lie in the prolongation of the lower beds
forming the banks of the river, their greater height being due simply to
the fact that they have not been worn to the same low level. The
opposite range of Santarem, which has the same general outline and
character, shares, no doubt, the same geological structure. In one word,
all these hills were formerly part of a continuous formation, and owe
their present outline and their isolated position to a colossal
denudation. The surface of the once unbroken strata, which in their
original condition must have formed an immense plain covered by water,
has been cut into ravines or carried away over large tracts, to a
greater or less depth, leaving only such portions standing as, from
their hardness, could resist the floods which swept over it. The
longitudinal trend of these hills is to be ascribed to the direction of
the current which caused the denudation, while their level summits are
due to the regularity of the stratification. They are not all
table-topped, however; among them are many of smaller size, in which the
sides have been gradually worn down, producing a gently rounded surface.
Of course, under the heavy tropical rains this denudation is still going
on, though in a greatly modified form.

I cannot speak of this Serra without alluding to the great beauty and
extraordinary extent of the view to be obtained from it. Indeed, it was
here that for the first time the geography of the country presented
itself to my mind as a living reality in all its completeness.
Insignificant as is its actual height, the Serra of Ereré commands a
wider prospect than is to be had from many a more imposing mountain; for
the surrounding plain, covered with forests and ploughed by countless
rivers, stretches away for hundreds of leagues in every direction,
without any object to obstruct the view. Standing on the brow of the
Serra, with the numerous lakes intersecting the lowlands at its base,
you look across the valley of the Amazons, as far as the eye can reach,
and through its centre you follow for miles on either side the broad
flood of the great river, carrying its yellow waters to the sea. As I
stood there, panoramas from the Swiss mountains came up to my memory,
and I fancied myself on the Alps, looking across the plain of
Switzerland instead of the bed of the Amazons; the distant line of the
Santarem hills on the southern bank of the river, and lower than the
northern chain, representing the Jura range. As if to complete the
comparison, Alpine lichens were growing among the cacti and palms, and a
crust of Arctic cryptogamous growth covered rocks, between which sprang
tropical flowers. On the northern flank of this Serra I found the only
genuine erratic boulders I have seen in the whole length of the
Amazonian Valley from Pará to the frontier of Peru, though there are
many detached masses of rock, as, for instance, at Pedreira, near the
junction of the Rio Negro and Rio Branco, which might be mistaken for
them, but are due to the decomposition of the rocks in place. The
boulders of Ereré are entirely distinct from the rock of the Serra, and
consist of masses of compact hornblende.

It would seem that these two ranges skirting a part of the northern and
southern banks of the Lower Amazons are not the only remnants of this
arenaceous formation in its primitive altitude. On the banks of the Rio
Japura, in the Serra of Cupati, Major Coutinho has found the same beds
rising to the same height. It thus appears, by positive evidence, that
over an extent of a thousand miles these deposits had a very
considerable thickness, in the present direction of the valley. How far
they extended in width has not been ascertained by direct observation;
for we have not seen how they sink away to the northward, and towards
the south the denudation has been so complete that, except in the very
low range of hills in the neighborhood of Santarem, they do not rise
above the plain. But the fact that this formation once had a thickness
of more than eight hundred feet within the limits where we have had an
opportunity of observing it, leaves no doubt that it must have extended
to the edge of the basin, filling it to the same height throughout its
whole extent. The thickness of the deposits gives a measure for the
colossal scale of the denudations by which this immense accumulation was
reduced to its present level. Here, then, is a system of high hills,
having the prominence of mountains in the landscape, produced by causes
to whose agency inequalities on the earth’s surface of this magnitude
have never yet been ascribed. We may fairly call them denudation

At this stage of the inquiry we have to account for two remarkable
phenomena,—first, the filling of the Amazonian bottom with coarse
arenaceous materials and finely laminated clays, immediately followed by
sandstones rising to a height of more than eight hundred feet above the
sea, the basin meanwhile having no rocky barrier towards the ocean on
its eastern side; secondly, the wearing away and reduction of these
formations to their present level by a denudation more extensive than
any thus far recorded in the annals of geology, which has given rise to
all the most prominent hills and mountain-chains along the northern bank
of the river. Before seeking an explanation of these facts, let us look
at the third and uppermost deposit.

This deposit is essentially the same as the Rio drift; but in the north
it presents itself under a somewhat different aspect. As in Rio, it is a
clayey deposit, containing more or less sand, and reddish in color,
though varying from deep ochre to a brownish tint. It is not so
absolutely destitute of stratification here as in its more southern
range, though the traces of stratification are rare, and, when they do
occur, are faint and indistinct. The materials are also more completely
comminuted, and, as I said above, contain hardly any large masses,
though quartz pebbles are sometimes scattered throughout the deposit,
and occasionally a thin seam of pebbles, exactly as in the Rio drift, is
seen resting between it and the underlying sandstone. In some places
this bed of pebbles intersects even the mass of the clay, giving it, in
such instances, an unquestionably stratified character. There can be no
doubt that this more recent formation rests unconformably upon the
sandstone beds beneath it; for it fills all the inequalities of their
denudated surfaces, whether they be more or less limited furrows, or
wide, undulating depressions. It may be seen everywhere along the banks
of the river, above the stratified sandstone, sometimes with the
river-mud accumulated against it; at the season of the _enchente_, or
high water, it is the only formation left exposed above the water-level.
Its thickness is not great; it varies from twenty or thirty to fifty
feet, and may occasionally rise nearly to a hundred feet in height,
though this is rarely the case. It is evident that this formation also
was once continuous, stretching over the whole basin at one level.
Though it is now worn down in many places, and has wholly disappeared in
others, its connection may be readily traced; since it is everywhere
visible, not only on opposite banks of the Amazons, but also on those of
all its tributaries, as far as their shores have been examined. I have
said that it rests always above the sandstone beds. This is true, with
one exception. Wherever the sandstone deposits retain their original
thickness, as in the hills of Monte Alégre and Almeyrim, the red clay is
not found on their summits, but occurs only in their ravines and
hollows, or resting against their sides. This shows that it is not only
posterior to the sandstone, but was accumulated in a shallower basin,
and consequently never reached so high a level. The boulders of Ereré do
not rest on the stratified sandstone of the Serra, but are sunk in the
unstratified mass of the clay. This should be remembered, as it will
presently be seen that their position associates them with a later
period than that of the mountain itself. The unconformability of the
ochraceous clay and the underlying sandstones might lead to the idea
that the two formations belong to distinct geological periods, and are
not due to the same agency acting at successive times. One feature,
however, shows their close connection. The ochraceous clay exhibits a
remarkable identity of configuration with the underlying sandstones. An
extensive survey of the two, in their mutual relations, shows clearly
that they were both deposited by the same water-system within the same
basin, but at different levels. Here and there the clay formation has so
pale and grayish a tint that it may be confounded with the mud deposits
of the river. These latter, however, never rise so high as the
ochraceous clay, but are everywhere confined within the limits of high
and low water. The islands also, in the main course of the Amazons,
consist invariably of river-mud; while those arising from the
intersection and cutting off of portions of the land by diverging
branches of the main stream always consist of the well-known sandstones,
capped by the ochre-colored clay.

It may truly be said that there does not exist on the surface of the
earth a formation known to geologists resembling that of the Amazons.
Its extent is stupendous; it stretches from the Atlantic shore, through
the whole width of Brazil, into Peru, to the very foot of the Andes.
Humboldt speaks of it “in the vast plains of the Amazons, in the eastern
boundary of Jaen de Bracamoros,” and says, “This prodigious extension of
red sandstone in the low grounds stretching along the east of the Andes
is one of the most striking phenomena I observed during my examination
of rocks in the equinoctial regions.”[100] When the great natural
philosopher wrote these lines, he had no idea how much these deposits
extended beyond the field of his observations. Indeed, they are not
limited to the main bed of the Amazons; they have been followed along
the banks of its tributaries to the south and north as far as these have
been ascended. They occur on the margins of the Huallaga and the
Ucayale, on those of the Iça, the Hyutahy, the Hyurua, the Hyapura, and
the Purus. On the banks of the Hyapura, where Major Coutinho has traced
them, they are found as far as the Cataract of Cupati. I have followed
them along the Rio Negro to its junction with the Rio Branco; and
Humboldt not only describes them from a higher point on this same river,
but also from the valley of the Orinoco. Finally, they may be tracked
along the banks of the Madeira, the Tapajos, the Xingu, and the
Tocantins, as well as on the shores of the Guatuma, the Trombetas, and
other northern affluents of the Amazons. The observations of Martius,
those of Gardner, and the recent survey above alluded to, made by my
assistant, Mr. St. John, of the valley of the Rio Guruguea and that of
the Rio Paranahyba, show that the great basin of Piauhy is also
identical in its geological structure with the lateral valleys of the
Amazons. The same is true of the large island of Marajo, lying at the
mouth of the Amazons. And yet I believe that even this does not cover
the whole ground, and that some future writer may say of my estimate, as
I have said of Humboldt’s, that it falls short of the truth; for, if my
generalizations are correct, the same formation will be found extending
over the whole basin of the Paraguay and the Rio de la Plata, and along
their tributaries, to the very heart of the Andes.

Such are the facts. The question now arises, How were these vast
deposits formed? The easiest answer, and the one which most readily
suggests itself, is that of a submersion of the continent at successive
periods, to allow the accumulation of these materials, and its
subsequent elevation. I reject this explanation for the simple reason
that the deposits show no sign whatever of a marine origin. No
sea-shells, nor remains of any marine animal, have as yet been found
throughout their whole extent, over a region several thousand miles in
length and from five to seven hundred miles in width. It is contrary to
all our knowledge of geological deposits to suppose that an ocean basin
of this size, which must have been submerged during an immensely long
period in order to accumulate formations of such a thickness, should not
contain numerous remains of the animals formerly inhabiting it.[101] The
only fossil remains of any kind truly belonging to it, which I have
found in the formation, are leaves taken from the lower clays on the
banks of the Solimoens at Tonantins; and these show a vegetation similar
in general character to that which prevails there to-day. Evidently,
then, this basin was a fresh-water basin; these deposits are fresh-water
deposits. But as the valley of the Amazons exists to-day, it is widely
open to the ocean on the east, with a gentle slope from the Andes to the
Atlantic, determining a powerful seaward current. When these vast
accumulations took place, the basin must have been closed; otherwise the
loose materials would constantly have been carried down to the ocean.

It is my belief that all these deposits belong to the ice-period in its
earlier or later phases, and to this cosmic winter, which, judging from
all the phenomena connected with it, may have lasted for thousands of
centuries, we must look for the key to the geological history of the
Amazonian Valley. I am aware that this suggestion will appear
extravagant. But is it, after all, so improbable that, when Central
Europe was covered with ice thousands of feet thick; when the glaciers
of Great Britain ploughed into the sea, and when those of the Swiss
mountains had ten times their present altitude; when every lake in
Northern Italy was filled with ice, and these frozen masses extended
even into Northern Africa; when a sheet of ice, reaching nearly to the
summit of Mount Washington in the White Mountains (that is, having a
thickness of nearly six thousand feet), moved over the continent of
North America,—is it so improbable that, in this epoch of universal
cold, the valley of the Amazons also had its glacier poured down into it
from the accumulations of snow in the Cordilleras, and swollen laterally
by the tributary glaciers descending from the table-lands of Guiana and
Brazil? The movement of this immense glacier must have been eastward,
determined as well by the vast reservoirs of snow in the Andes as by the
direction of the valley itself. It must have ploughed the valley-bottom
over and over again, grinding all the materials beneath it into a fine
powder or reducing them to small pebbles, and it must have accumulated
at its lower end a moraine of proportions as gigantic as its own; thus
building a colossal sea-wall across the mouth of the valley. I shall be
asked at once whether I have found here also the glacial
inscriptions,—the furrows, striæ, and polished surfaces so
characteristic of the ground over which glaciers have travelled. I
answer, not a trace of them; for the simple reason that there is not a
natural rock-surface to be found throughout the whole Amazonian Valley.
The rocks themselves are of so friable a nature, and the decomposition
caused by the warm torrential rains and by exposure to the burning sun
of the tropics so great and unceasing, that it is hopeless to look for
marks which in colder climates and on harder substances are preserved
through ages unchanged. With the exception of the rounded surfaces so
well known in Switzerland as the _roches moutonnées_ heretofore alluded
to, which may be seen in many localities, and the boulders of Ereré, the
direct traces of glaciers as seen in other countries are wanting in
Brazil. I am, indeed, quite willing to admit that, from the nature of
the circumstances, I have not here the positive evidence which has
guided me in my previous glacial investigations. My conviction in this
instance is founded, first, on the materials in the Amazonian Valley,
which correspond exactly in their character to materials accumulated in
glacier bottoms; secondly, on the resemblance of the upper or third
Amazonian formation to the Rio drift,[102] of the glacial origin of
which there cannot, in my opinion, be any doubt; thirdly, on the fact
that this fresh-water basin must have been closed against the sea by
some powerful barrier, the removal of which would naturally give an
outlet to the waters, and cause the extraordinary denudations, the
evidences of which meet us everywhere throughout the valley.

On a smaller scale, phenomena of this kind have long been familiar to
us. In the present lakes of Northern Italy, in those of Switzerland,
Norway, and Sweden, as well as in those of New England, especially in
the State of Maine, the waters are held back in their basins by
moraines. In the ice-period these depressions were filled with glaciers,
which, in the course of time, accumulated at their lower end a wall of
loose materials. These walls still remain, and serve as dams to prevent
the escape of the waters. But for their moraines, all these lakes would
be open valleys. In the Roads of Glen Roy, in Scotland, we have an
instance of a fresh-water lake, which has now wholly disappeared, formed
in the same manner, and reduced successively to lower and lower levels
by the breaking down or wearing away of the moraines which originally
prevented its waters from flowing out. Assuming then that, under the low
temperature of the ice-period, the climatic conditions necessary for the
formation of land-ice existed in the valley of the Amazons, and that it
was actually filled with an immense glacier, it follows that, when these
fields of ice yielded to a gradual change of climate, and slowly melted
away, the whole basin, then closed against the sea by a huge wall of
_débris_, was transformed into a vast fresh-water lake. The first effect
of the thawing process must have been to separate the glacier from its
foundation, raising it from immediate contact with the valley bottom,
and thus giving room for the accumulation of a certain amount of water
beneath it; while the valley as a whole would still be occupied by the
glacier. In this shallow sheet of water under the ice, and protected by
it from any violent disturbance, those finer triturated materials always
found at a glacier bottom, and ground sometimes to powder by its action,
would be deposited, and gradually transformed from an unstratified paste
containing the finest sand and mud, together with coarse pebbles and
gravel, into a regularly stratified formation. In this formation the
coarse materials would of course fall to the bottom, while the most
minute would settle above them. It is at this time and under such
circumstances that I believe the first formation of the Amazonian
Valley, with the coarse, pebbly sand beneath, and the finely laminated
clays above, to have been accumulated.

I shall perhaps be reminded here of my fossil leaves, and asked how any
vegetation would be possible under such circumstances. But it must be
remembered, that, in considering all these periods, we must allow for
immense lapses of time and for very gradual changes; that the close of
this first period would be very different from its beginning; and that a
rich vegetation springs on the very borders of the snow and ice fields
in Switzerland. The fact that these were accumulated in a glacial basin
would, indeed, at once account for the traces of vegetable life, and for
the absence, or at least the great scarcity, of animal remains in these
deposits. For while fruits may ripen and flowers bloom on the very edge
of the glaciers, it is also well known that the fresh-water lakes formed
by the melting of the ice are singularly deficient in life. There are,
indeed, hardly any animals to be found in glacial lakes.

The second formation belongs to a later period, when, the whole body of
ice being more or less disintegrated, the basin contained a larger
quantity of water. Beside that arising from the melting of the ice, this
immense valley bottom must have received, then as now, all which was
condensed from the atmosphere above, and poured into it in the form of
rain or dew at present. Thus an amount of water equal to that flowing in
from all the tributaries of the main stream must have been rushing
towards the axis of the valley, seeking its natural level, but spreading
over a more extensive surface than now, until, finally gathered up as
separate rivers, it flowed in distinct beds. In its general movement
toward the central and lower part of the valley, the broad stream would
carry along all the materials small enough to be so transported, as well
as those so minute as to remain suspended in the waters. It would
gradually deposit them in the valley bottom in horizontal beds more or
less regular, or here and there, wherever eddies gave rise to more rapid
and irregular currents, characterized by torrential stratification. Thus
has been consolidated in the course of ages the continuous sand
formation spreading over the whole Amazonian basin, and attaining a
thickness of eight hundred feet.

While these accumulations were taking place within this basin, it must
not be forgotten that the sea was beating against its outer
wall,—against that gigantic moraine which I suppose to have closed it at
its eastern end. It would seem that, either from this cause, or perhaps
in consequence of some turbulent action from within, a break was made in
this defence, and the waters rushed violently out. It is very possible
that the waters, gradually swollen at the close of this period by the
further melting of the ice, by the additions poured in from lateral
tributaries, by the rains, and also by the filling of the basin with
loose materials, would overflow, and thus contribute to destroy the
moraine. However this may be, it follows from my premises that, in the
end, these waters obtained a sudden release, and poured seaward with a
violence which cut and denuded the deposits already formed, wearing them
down to a much lower level, and leaving only a few remnants standing out
in their original thickness, where the strata were solid enough to
resist the action of the currents. Such are the hills of Monte Alégre,
of Obydos, Almeyrim, and Cupati, as well as the lower ridges of
Santarem. This escape of the waters did not, however, entirely empty the
whole basin; for the period of denudation was again followed by one of
quiet accumulation, during which was deposited the ochraceous sandy clay
resting upon the denudated surfaces of the underlying sandstone. To this
period I refer the boulders of Ereré, sunk as they are in the clay of
this final deposit. I suppose them to have been brought to their present
position by floating ice at the close of the glacial period, when
nothing remained of the ice-fields except such isolated
masses,—ice-rafts as it were; or perhaps by icebergs dropped into the
basin from glaciers still remaining in the Andes and on the edges of the
plateaus of Guiana and Brazil. From the general absence of
stratification in this clay formation, it would seem that the
comparatively shallow sheet of water in which it was deposited was very
tranquil. Indeed, after the waters had sunk much below the level which
they held during the deposition of the sandstone, and the currents which
gave rise to the denudation of the latter had ceased, the whole sheet of
water would naturally become much more placid. But the time arrived when
the water broke through its boundaries again, perhaps owing to the
further encroachment of the sea and consequent destruction of the
moraine.[103] In this second drainage, however, the waters, carrying
away a considerable part of the new deposit, furrowing it to its very
foundation, and even cutting through it into the underlying sandstone,
were, in the end, reduced to something like their present level, and
confined within their present beds. This is shown by the fact that in
this ochre-colored clay, and penetrating to a greater or less depth the
sandstone below, are dug, not only the great longitudinal channel of the
Amazons itself, but also the lateral furrows through which its
tributaries reach the main stream, and the network of anastomosing
branches flowing between them; the whole forming the most extraordinary
river system in the world.

My assumption that the sea has produced very extensive changes in the
coast of Brazil—changes more than sufficient to account for the
disappearance of the glacial wall which I suppose to have closed the
Amazonian Valley in the ice period—is by no means hypothetical. This
action is still going on to a remarkable degree, and is even now rapidly
modifying the outline of the shore. When I first arrived at Pará, I was
struck with the fact that the Amazons, the largest river in the world,
has no delta. All the other rivers which we call great, though some of
them are insignificant as compared with the Amazons,—the Mississippi,
the Nile, the Ganges, and the Danube,—deposit extensive deltas, and the
smaller rivers also, with few exceptions, are constantly building up the
land at their mouths by the materials they bring along with them. Even
the little river Kander, emptying into the lake of Thun, is not without
its delta. Since my return from the Upper Amazons to Pará, I have made
an examination of some of the harbor islands, and also of parts of the
coast, and have satisfied myself that, with the exception of a few
small, low islands, never rising above the sea-level, and composed of
alluvial deposit, they are portions of the main-land detached from it,
partly by the action of the river itself, and partly by the encroachment
of the ocean. In fact, the sea is eating away the land much faster than
the river can build it up. The great island of Marajo was originally a
continuation of the valley of the Amazons, and is identical with it in
every detail of its geological structure. My investigation of the island
itself, in connection with the coast and the river, leads me to suppose
that, having been at one time an integral part of the deposits described
above, at a later period it became an island in the bed of the Amazons,
which, dividing in two arms, encircled it completely, and then, joining
again to form a single stream, flowed onward to the sea-shore, which in
those days lay much farther to the eastward than it now does. I suppose
the position of the island of Marajo at that time to have corresponded
very nearly to the present position of the island of Tupinambaranas,
just at the junction of the Madeira with the Amazons. It is a question
among geographers whether the Tocantins is a branch of the Amazons, or
should be considered as forming an independent river system. It will be
seen that, if my view is correct, it must formerly have borne the same
relation to the Amazons that the Madeira River now does, joining it just
where Marajo divided the main stream, as the Madeira now joins it at the
head of the island of Tupinambaranas. If in countless centuries to come
the ocean should continue to eat its way into the Valley of the Amazons,
once more transforming the lower part of the basin into a gulf, as it
was during the cretaceous period, the time might arrive when
geographers, finding the Madeira emptying almost immediately into the
sea, would ask themselves whether it had ever been indeed a branch of
the Amazons, just as they now question whether the Tocantins is a
tributary of the main stream or an independent river. But to return to
Marajo, and to the facts actually in our possession.

The island is intersected, in its southeastern end, by a considerable
river called the Igarapé Grande. The cut made through the land by this
stream seems intended to serve as a geological section, so perfectly
does it display the three characteristic Amazonian formations above
described. At its mouth, near the town of Souré, and at Salvaterra, on
the opposite bank, may be seen, lowest, the well-stratified sandstone,
with the finely laminated clays resting upon it, overtopped by a crust;
then the cross-stratified, highly ferruginous sandstone, with quartz
pebbles here and there; and, above all, the well-known ochraceous,
unstratified sandy clay, spreading over the undulating surface of the
denudated sandstone, following all its inequalities, and filling all its
depressions and furrows. But while the Igarapé Grande has dug its
channel down to the sea, cutting these formations, as I ascertained, to
a depth of twenty-five fathoms, it has thus opened the way for the
encroachments of the tides, and the ocean is now, in its turn, gaining
upon the land. Were there no other evidence of the action of the tides
in this locality, the steep cut of the Igarapé Grande, contrasting with
the gentle slope of the banks near its mouth, wherever they have been
modified by the invasion of the sea, would enable us to distinguish the
work of the river from that of the ocean, and to prove that the
denudation now going on is due in part to both. But besides this, I was
so fortunate as to discover, on my recent excursion, unmistakable and
perfectly convincing evidence of the onward movement of the sea. At the
mouth of the Igarapé Grande, both at Souré and at Salvaterra, on the
southern side of the Igarapé, is a submerged forest. Evidently this
forest grew in one of those marshy lands constantly inundated, for
between the stumps is accumulated the loose, felt-like peat
characteristic of such grounds, and containing about as much mud as
vegetable matter. Such a marshy forest, with the stumps of the trees
still standing erect in the peat, has been laid bare on both sides of
the Igarapé Grande by the encroachments of the ocean. That this is the
work of the sea is undeniable, for all the little depressions and
indentations of the peat are filled with sea-sand, and a ridge of tidal
sand divides it from the forest still standing behind. Nor is this all.
At Vigia, immediately opposite to Souré, on the continental side of the
Pará River, just where it meets the sea, we have the counterpart of this
submerged forest. Another peat-bog, with the stumps of innumerable trees
standing in it, and encroached upon in the same way by tidal sand, is
exposed here also. No doubt these forests were once all continuous, and
stretched across the whole basin of what is now called the Pará River.

Since I have been pursuing this inquiry, I have gathered much
information to the same effect from persons living on the coast. It is
well remembered that, twenty years ago, there existed an island, more
than a mile in width, to the northeast of the entrance of the Bay of
Vigia, which has now entirely disappeared. Farther eastward, the Bay of
Braganza has doubled its width in the last twenty years, and on the
shore, within the bay, the sea has gained upon the land for a distance
of two hundred yards during a period of only ten years. The latter fact
is ascertained by the position of some houses, which were two hundred
yards farther from the sea ten years ago than they now are. From these
and the like reports, from my own observations on this part of the
Brazilian coast, from some investigations made by Major Coutinho at the
mouth of the Amazons on its northern continental shore near Macapa, and
from the reports of Mr. St. John respecting the formations in the valley
of the Paranahyba, it is my belief that the changes I have been
describing are but a small part of the destruction wrought by the sea on
the north-eastern shore of this continent. I think it will be found,
when the coast has been fully surveyed, that a strip of land not less
than a hundred leagues in width, stretching from Cape St. Roque to the
northern extremity of South America, has been eaten away by the ocean.
If this be so, the Paranahyba and the rivers to the northwest of it, in
the province of Maranham, were formerly tributaries of the Amazons; and
all that we know thus far of their geological character goes to prove
that this was actually the case. Such an extensive oceanic denudation
must have carried away not only the gigantic glacial moraine here
assumed to have closed the mouth of the Amazonian basin, but the very
ground on which it formerly stood. Although the terminal moraine has
disappeared, there is, however, no reason why parts of the lateral
moraines should not remain. And I expect in my approaching visit to
Ceará to find traces of the southern lateral moraine in that

During the last four or five years I have been engaged in a series of
investigations, in the United States, upon the subject of the
denudations connected with the close of the glacial period there, and
the encroachments of the ocean upon the drift deposits along the
Atlantic coast. Had these investigations been published in detail, with
the necessary maps, it would have been far easier for me to explain the
facts I have lately observed in the Amazonian Valley, to connect them
with facts of a like character on the continent of North America, and to
show how remarkably they correspond with facts accomplished during the
same period in other parts of the world. While the glacial epoch itself
has been very extensively studied in the last half-century, little
attention has been paid to the results connected with the breaking up of
the geological winter and the final disappearance of the ice. I believe
that the true explanation of the presence of a large part of the
superficial deposits lately ascribed to the agency of the sea, during
temporary subsidences of the land, will be found in the melting of the
ice-fields. To this cause I would refer all those deposits which I have
designated as remodelled drift. When the sheet of ice, extending from
the Arctic regions over a great part of North America and coming down to
the sea, slowly melted away, the waters were not distributed over the
face of the country as they now are. They rested upon the bottom
deposits of the ice-fields, upon the glacial paste, consisting of clay,
sand, pebbles, boulders, etc., underlying the ice. This bottom deposit
did not, of course, present an even surface, but must have had extensive
undulations and depressions. After the waters had been drained off from
the more elevated ridges, these depressions would still remain full. In
the lakes and pools thus formed, stratified deposits would be
accumulated, consisting of the most minutely comminuted clay, deposited
in thin laminated layers, or sometimes in considerable masses, without
any sign of stratification; such differences in the formation being
determined by the state of the water, whether perfectly stagnant or more
or less agitated. Of such pool deposits overlying the drift there are
many instances in the Northern United States. By the overflowing of some
of these lakes, and by the emptying of the higher ones into those on a
lower level, channels would gradually be formed between the depressions.
So began to be marked out our independent river-systems,—the waters
always seeking their natural level, gradually widening and deepening the
channels in which they flowed, as they worked their way down to the sea.
When they reached the shore, there followed that antagonism between the
rush of the rivers and the action of the tides,—between continental
outflows and oceanic encroachments,—which still goes on, and has led to
the formation of our Eastern rivers, with their wide, open estuaries,
such as the James, the Potomac, and the Delaware. All these estuaries
are embanked by drift, as are also, in their lower course, the rivers
connected with them. Where the country was low and flat, and the drift
extended far into the ocean, the encroachment of the sea gave rise, not
only to our large estuaries, but also to the sounds and deep bays
forming the most prominent indentations of the continental coast, such
as the Bay of Fundy, Massachusetts Bay, Long Island Sound, and others.
The unmistakable traces of glacial action upon all the islands along the
coast of New England, sometimes lying at a very considerable distance
from the main-land, give an approximate, though a minimum, measure of
the former extent of the glacial drift seaward, and the subsequent
advance of the ocean upon the land. Like those of the harbor of Pará,
all these islands have the same geological structure as the continent,
and were evidently continuous with it at some former period. All the
rocky islands along the coast of Maine and Massachusetts exhibit the
glacial traces wherever their surfaces are exposed by the washing away
of the drift; and where the drift remains, its character shows that it
was once continuous from one island to another, and from all the islands
to the main-land.

It is difficult to determine with precision the ancient limit of the
glacial drift, but I think it can be shown that it connected the shoals
of Newfoundland with the continent; that Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard,
and Long Island made part of the main-land; that, in like manner Nova
Scotia, including Sable Island, was united to the southern shore of New
Brunswick and Maine, and that the same sheet of drift extended thence to
Cape Cod, and stretched southward as far as Cape Hatteras;—in short,
that the line of shallow soundings along the whole coast of the United
States marks the former extent of glacial drift. The ocean has gradually
eaten its way into this deposit, and given its present outlines to the
continent. These denudations of the sea no doubt began as soon as the
breaking up of the ice exposed the drift to its invasion; in other
words, at a time when colossal glaciers still poured forth their load of
ice into the Atlantic, and fleets of icebergs, far larger and more
numerous than those now floated off from the Arctic seas, were launched
from the north-eastern shore of the United States. Many such masses must
have stranded along the shore, and have left various signs of their
presence. In fact, the glacial phenomena of the United States and
elsewhere are due to two distinct periods: the first of these was the
glacial epoch proper, when the ice was a solid sheet; while to the
second belongs the breaking up of this epoch, with the gradual
disintegration and dispersion of the ice. We talk of the theory of
glaciers and the theory of icebergs in reference to these phenomena, as
if they were exclusively due to one or the other, and whoever accepted
the former must reject the latter, and _vice versa_. When geologists
have combined these now discordant elements, and consider these two
periods as consecutive,—part of the phenomena being due to the glaciers,
part to the icebergs and to freshets consequent on their breaking
up,—they will find that they have covered the whole ground, and that the
two theories are perfectly consistent with each other. I think the
present disputes upon this subject will end somewhat like those which
divided the Neptunic and Plutonic schools of geologists in the early
part of this century; the former of whom would have it that all the
rocks were due to the action of water, the latter that they were wholly
due to the action of fire. The problem was solved, and harmony restored,
when it was found that both elements have been equally at work in
forming the solid crust of the globe. To the stranded icebergs alluded
to above, I have no doubt, is to be referred the origin of the many
lakes without outlets existing all over the sandy tract along our coast,
of which Cape Cod forms a part. Not only the formation of these lakes,
but also that of our salt marshes and cranberry-fields, I believe to be
connected with the waning of the ice period.

I hope at some future time to publish in detail, with the appropriate
maps and illustrations, my observations upon the changes of our coast,
and other phenomena connected with the close of the glacial epoch in the
United States. To give results without an account of the investigations
which have led to them, inverts the true method of science; and I should
not have introduced the subject here except to show that the fresh-water
denudations and the oceanic encroachments which have formed the
Amazonian Valley, with its river system, are not isolated facts, but
that the process has been the same in both continents. The extraordinary
continuity and uniformity of the Amazonian deposits are due to the
immense size of the basin enclosed, and the identity of the materials
contained in it.

A glance at any geological map of the world will show the reader that
the Valley of the Amazons, so far as an attempt is made to explain its
structure, is represented as containing isolated tracts of Devonian,
Triassic, Jurassic, cretaceous, tertiary, and alluvial deposits. This is
wholly inaccurate, as is shown by the above sketch, and whatever may be
thought of my interpretation of the actual phenomena, I trust that, in
presenting for the first time the formations of the Amazonian basin in
their natural connection and sequence, as consisting of three uniform
sets of comparatively recent deposits, extending throughout the whole
valley, the investigations here recorded have contributed something to
the results of modern geology.


Footnote 96:

  See Chapter III. p. 86.

Footnote 97:

  The name consecrated by De Saussure to designate certain rocks in
  Switzerland which have had their surfaces rounded under the action of
  the glaciers. Their gently swelling outlines are thought to resemble
  sheep resting on the ground, and for this reason the people in the
  Alps call them _roches moutonnées_.

Footnote 98:

  See “Glacial Phenomena in Maine,” Atlantic Monthly, 1866.

Footnote 99:

  The atlas in Martius’s “Journey to Brazil,” or the sketch accompanying
  Bates’s description of these hills in his “Naturalist on the Amazons,”
  will give an idea of their aspect.

Footnote 100:

  Bohn’s edition of Humboldt’s Personal Narrative, Chap. II. p. 134.
  Humboldt alludes to these formations repeatedly: it is true that he
  refers them to the ancient conglomerates of the Devonian age, but his
  description agrees so perfectly with what I have observed along the
  banks of the Amazons and the Rio Negro that there can be no doubt he
  speaks of the same thing. He wrote at a time when many of the results
  of modern geology were unknown, and his explanation of the phenomena
  was then perfectly natural. The passage from which the few lines in
  the text are taken shows that these deposits extend even to the

Footnote 101:

  I am aware that Bates mentions having heard that at Obydos calcareous
  layers, thickly studded with marine shells, had been found
  interstratified with the clay, but he did not himself examine the
  strata. The Obydos shells are not marine, but are fresh-water Unios,
  greatly resembling Aviculas, Solens, and Arcas. Such would-be marine
  fossils have been brought to me from the shore opposite to Obydos,
  near Santarem, and I have readily recognized them for what they truly
  are,—fresh-water shells of the family of Naiades. I have myself
  collected specimens of these shells in the clay-beds along the banks
  of the Solimoens, near Teffé, and might have mistaken them for fossils
  of that formation had I not known how Naiades burrow in the mud. Their
  resemblance to the marine genera mentioned above is very remarkable,
  and the mistake as to their true zoölogical character is as natural as
  that by which earlier ichthyologists, and even travellers of very
  recent date, have confounded some fresh-water fishes from the Upper
  Amazons, of the genus Pterophyllum (Heckel), with the marine genus

Footnote 102:

  As I have stated in the beginning, I am satisfied that the
  unstratified clay deposit of Rio and its vicinity is genuine glacial
  drift, resulting from the grinding of the loose materials interposed
  between the glacier and the solid rock in place, and retaining to this
  day the position in which it was left by the ice. Like all such
  accumulations, it is totally free from stratification. If this be so,
  it is evident, on comparing the two formations, that the ochraceous
  sandy clay of the valley of the Amazons has been deposited under
  different circumstances; that, while it owes its resemblance to the
  Rio drift to the fact that its materials were originally ground by
  glaciers in the upper part of the valley, these materials have
  subsequently been spread throughout the whole basin and actually
  deposited under the agency of water. A survey of the more southern
  provinces of Brazil, extending to the temperate zone, where the
  combined effects of a tropical sun and of tropical rains must
  naturally be wanting, will, I trust, remove all the difficulties still
  attending this explanation. The glacial phenomena, with all their
  characteristic features, are already known to cover the southernmost
  parts of South America. The intervening range, between 22° and 36° of
  south latitude, cannot fail to exhibit the transition from the drift
  of the cold and temperate zone to the formations of a kindred
  character described above from the tropical zone. The knowledge of
  these deposits will definitely settle the question; and either prove
  the correctness of my generalizations or show their absurdity. I feel
  no anxiety as to the result. I only long for a speedy removal of all

Footnote 103:

  I would here remind the reader of the terraces of Glen Roy, which
  indicate successive reductions of the barrier encasing the lake,
  similar to those assumed to have taken place at the mouth of the

                              CHAPTER XIV.


_April 2d._—Ceará. We left Pará on the 26th of March, in the evening,
feeling for the first time that we were indeed bidding good by to the
Amazons. Our pleasant voyages on its yellow waters, our canoe excursions
on its picturesque lakes and igarapés, our lingerings in its
palm-thatched cottages, belonged to the past; except in memory, our
Amazonian travels were over. When we entered upon them, what vague
anticipations, what visions of a new and interesting life, not, as we
supposed, without its dangers and anxieties, were before us. So little
is known, even in Brazil, of the Amazons, that we could obtain only very
meagre and, usually, rather discouraging information concerning our
projected journey. In Rio, if you say you are going to ascend their
great river, your Brazilian friends look at you with compassionate
wonder. You are threatened with sickness, with intolerable heat, with
the absence of any nourishing food or suitable lodgings, with
mosquitoes, with Jacarés and wild Indians. If you consult a physician,
he gives you a good supply of quinine, and tells you to take a dose
every other day as a preventive against fever and chills; so that if you
escape intermittent fever you are at least sure of being poisoned by a
remedy which, if administered incautiously, may cause a disease worse
than the one it cures. It will take perhaps from the excitement and
novelty of Amazonian travelling to know that the journey from Pará to
Tabatinga may be made with as much ease as a reasonable traveller has a
right to expect, though of course not without some privations, and also
with no more exposure to sickness than the traveller incurs in any hot
climate. The perils and adventures which attended the voyages of Spix
and Martius, or even of more recent travellers, like Castelnau, Bates,
and Wallace, are no longer to be found on the main course of the
Amazons, though they are met at every step on its great affluents. On
the Tocantins, on the Madeira, on the Purus, on the Rio Negro, the
Trombetas, or any of the large tributaries, the traveller must still
work his way slowly up in a canoe, scorched by the sun or drenched by
the rain; sleeping on the beach, hearing the cries of the wild animals
in the woods around him, and waking perhaps in the morning, to find the
tracks of a tiger in unpleasant proximity to his hammock. But along the
course of the Amazons itself, these days of romantic adventure and
hair-breadth escapes are over; the wild beasts of the forest have
disappeared before the puff of the engine; the canoe and the encampment
on the beach at night have given place to the prosaic conveniences of
the steamboat. It is no doubt true of the Amazons, as of other tropical
regions, that a long residence may reduce the vigor of the constitution,
and perhaps make one more liable to certain diseases; but during our
journey of eight months none of our large company suffered from any
serious indisposition connected with the climate, nor did we see in any
of our wanderings as many indications of intermittent fever as are to be
met constantly on our Western rivers. The voyage on the Amazons proper
has now become accessible to all who are willing to endure heat and
mosquitoes for the sake of seeing the greatest river in the world, and
the magnificent tropical vegetation along its shores. The best season
for the journey is from the close of June to the middle of
November,—July, August, September, and October being the four driest
months of the year, and the most salubrious throughout that region.

We had a rough and boisterous passage from Pará to Ceará, with unceasing
rain, in consequence of which the decks were constantly wet. Indeed, the
cabins were not free from water, and it was only by frequent bailing
that the floor of our state-room was kept tolerably dry. At Maranham we
had the relief of a night on shore; and Mr. Agassiz and Major Coutinho
profited by the occasion the following morning to examine the geology of
the coast more carefully than they had formerly done. They found the
structure identical with that of the Amazonian Valley, except that the
formations were more worn down and disturbed. We arrived before Ceará at
two o’clock on Saturday, March 31st, expecting to go on shore at once;
but the sea ran high, the tide was unfavorable, and during the day not
even a “jangada,” those singular rafts that here take the place of
boats, ventured out to our steamer as she lay rocking in the surf. Ceará
has no harbor, and the sea drives in with fearful violence on the long
sand-beach fronting the town, making it impossible, at certain states of
the tide and in stormy weather, for any boat to land, unless it be one
of these jangadas (catamarans), over which the waves break without
swamping them. At about nine o’clock in the evening a custom-house boat
came out, and, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour and the rough
sea, we determined to go on shore, for we were told that in the morning
the tide would be unfavorable, and if the wind continued in the present
quarter it might be still more difficult, if not impossible, to land. It
was not without some anxiety that I stood waiting my turn to enter the
boat; for though at one moment it rose, on the swell of the sea, close
to the stair, in the twinkling of an eye it was a couple of yards away.
Some presence of mind and agility were needed in order to make the leap
just at the right instant; and I was glad to find myself in the boat and
not in the water, the chances being about even. As we rode in over the
breakers, the boatmen entertained us with so many stories of the
difficulty of landing, the frequent accidents, and especially of one
which had occurred a few days before when three Englishmen had been
drowned, that I began to think reaching the shore must be more perilous
than leaving the ship. As we approached the town the scene was not
without its picturesque charm. The moon, struggling through gray, watery
clouds, threw a fitful light over the long sand-beach, on which the
crested waves were driving furiously. A number of laden boats were
tossing in the surf, and the roar of the breakers mingled with the cries
of the black porters, as they waded breast high through the water,
unloading the cargoes and carrying their burdens to the shore on their
heads. We were landed much in the same way, the boatmen carrying us over
the surf. This is the ordinary mode of embarking or landing passengers;
it is but rarely, and at particular states of the tide, that it is
possible to disembark at the pier which has been thrown out from the
shore. Major Coutinho had written to a friend to engage lodgings for us,
and we found a house ready. I was glad to sink into my comfortable
hammock, to exchange the pitching and rolling of the steamer for its
gentle rocking, to be out of reach of the hungry waves, and yet to hear
their distant rush on the shore as I fell asleep.

The next morning was rainy, but in the afternoon it cleared, and toward
evening we took a long drive with our host, Dr. Felice. I like the
aspect of Ceará. I like its wide, well-paved, cleanly streets, which are
bright with color, for the substantial houses on either side are of many
hues. If it chance to be a Sunday or a festa day, every balcony is
filled with gayly-dressed girls, while groups of men sit smoking and
talking on the sidewalks before the doors. This town has not the
stagnant, inanimate look of many Brazilian towns. It tells of movement,
life, prosperity.[104] Beyond the city the streets stretch out into the
campos, bordered on its inland side by beautiful serras; the Serra
Grande and the Serra de Baturité. In front of the city stretches the
broad sand-beach, and the murmur of the surf comes up into the heart of
the town. It seems as if, so lying between sea and mountain, Ceará
should be a healthy place, and it is usually so reputed. But at this
moment, owing, it is thought, to the unusual continuance of the dry
season and the extraordinary violence of the rains, now that they have
begun, the town is very sickly. Yellow-fever is prevalent, and there
have been a good many deaths from it recently, though it is said not to
have assumed the character of an epidemic as yet. Still more fatal is
the malignant dysentery, which has been raging both in town and country
for the last two months.

We are trying to hasten the arrangements for our inland journey, but do
not find it very easy. Mr. Agassiz’s object in stopping here is to
satisfy himself by direct investigation of the former existence of
glaciers in the serras of this province, and, if possible, to find some
traces of the southern lateral moraine, marking the limit of the mass of
ice which he supposes to have filled the Amazonian basin in the glacial
period. In the Amazonian Valley itself he has seen that all the
geological phenomena are connected with the close of the glacial period,
with the melting of the ice and the immense freshets consequent upon its
disappearance. On leaving the Amazons, the next step in the
investigation was to seek the masses of loose materials left by the
glacier itself. On arriving here he at once made inquiries to this
effect, from a number of persons who have travelled a great deal in the
province, and are therefore familiar with its features. The most
valuable information he has obtained,—valuable from the fact, that the
precision with which it is given shows that it may be relied upon,—is
from Dr. Felice. His occupation as land-surveyor has led him to travel a
great deal in the region of the Serra Grande. He has made a valuable map
of this portion of the province, and he tells Mr. Agassiz that there is
a wall of loose materials, boulders, stones, &c., running from east to
west for a distance of some sixty leagues from the Rio Aracaty-Assù to
Bom Jesu, in the Serra Grande. From his account, this wall resembles
greatly the “Horsebacks” in Maine, those remarkable ridges accumulated
by the ancient glaciers, and running sometimes uninterruptedly for
thirty or forty miles. The horsebacks are, however, covered with soil
and turf, whereas Dr. Felice describes this wall as rough and bare. Mr.
Agassiz has no doubt that this accumulation or dike of loose materials,
the position and direction of which corresponds exactly with his
conjecture based upon the evidence obtained in the Amazonian Valley, is
a portion of the lateral moraine, marking the southeastern limit of the
great Amazonian glacier. Unhappily, it is impossible for him to visit it
himself, for even could he devote the time necessary for so long a
journey in the interior, we are told that at this season the state of
the roads makes it almost impossible. He must therefore leave the
identification of this colossal moraine to some younger and more
fortunate investigator, and content himself with a direct examination of
the next link in the chain of evidence, namely, the traces of local
glaciers in the serras in the more immediate neighborhood of Ceará. If
the basin of the Amazons was actually filled with ice, all the mountains
lying outside of its limits in the neighboring provinces must have had
their glaciers also. It is in search of these local glaciers that we
undertake our present journey, hoping to reach the Serra of Baturité.

_April 6th._—Pacatuba (at the foot of the Serra of Aratanha). After
endless delays and difficulties about horses, servants, and other
preparations for our journey, we succeeded in getting off on the
afternoon of the 3d. The mode of travelling in the interior as well as
the character of the people, makes it almost impossible to accomplish
any journey with promptness and punctuality. While the preparations for
our excursion were going on, neighbors and acquaintances would stroll in
to see how things were advancing; one would propose that we should
postpone our departure till the day after to-morrow, on account of some
trouble about the horses; another that we should wait a week or two for
more favorable weather. Evidently it did not occur to any one that it
could be of much importance whether we started to-day or to-morrow, or
next week or next month. The lotus-eaters in the “land in which it
seemed always afternoon” could not have been more happily indifferent to
the passage of time. Now this calm superiority to laws obeyed by the
rest of mankind, this ignoring of the great dictum “_tempus fugit_,” is
rather exasperating to a man who has only the fortnight intervening
between two steamers in which to accomplish his journey, and knows the
time to be all too short for the objects he has in view. These habits of
procrastination are much less marked in those parts of Brazil where
railroad and steam travel have been introduced; though it cannot be said
that promptness and despatch are anywhere familiar qualities in this
country. Our delays in this particular instance were in no way owing to
any want of interest in our plans; on the contrary, we met here, as
everywhere, the most cordial sympathy with the objects of the
expedition, and the President of the province, as well as other persons,
were ready to give every assistance in their power. But a stranger
cannot of course expect the habits of the people to be changed to suit
his convenience, and we did but share in the general slowness of
movement. However, we were at last on the way; our party consisting of
Major Coutinho, Senhor Pompeo, Government Engineer of the province, whom
the President had kindly detailed to accompany us, Mr. Agassiz, and
myself. We had a servant, also provided by the President, one of his
guard, and two men, with a couple of pack-mules for baggage and
provisions. We started so late in the day, that our first ride was but a
league or so out of the town; short as it was, however, we did not
escape several showers, always to be expected at this season. Yet the
ride was pleasant; a smell as of huckleberry meadows came from the low
growth of shrubs covering the fields for miles around, and the very
earth was fragrant from the rain. As we left the city, low clouds, full
of distant showers, hung over the serras, and gave them a sombre beauty,
more impressive, if less cheerful, than their sunshine look. At six
o’clock we reached Arancho, a village where we were to pass the night.
As we rode in at dusk, it seemed to me only a little cluster of low
mud-houses; but I found, by daylight, there were one or two buildings of
more pretentious character. We stopped at the end of the principal
street, before the venda (village inn). At the door, which opened across
the middle, allowing its lower half to serve as a sort of gate, stood
the host, little expecting guests on this dark, rainy night. He was a
fat old man, with a head as round as a bullet, covered with very short
white curly hair, and a face beaming with good nature, but reddened also
by many potations. He was dressed in white cotton drawers with a shirt
hanging loose over them; his feet were stockingless, but he had on a
pair of the wooden-soled slippers, down at heel, of which you hear the
“clack, clack” in every town and village during the rainy season. He
opened the gate and admitted us into a small room furnished with a
hammock, a sofa, and a few chairs, the mud walls adorned with some
coarse prints, of which the old gentleman seemed very proud. He said if
we could be satisfied with such accommodation as he had, the gentlemen
to sling their hammocks in the sitting-room with him, the Senhora to
sleep with his wife and the children in the only other room he had to
offer, he should be happy to receive us. I confess that the prospect was
not encouraging; but I was prepared to meet with inconveniences, knowing
that even a short journey into the interior involved discomforts, and
when the hostess presently entered and made me heartily welcome to a
corner of her apartment, I thanked her with such cordiality as I could
muster. She was many years younger than her husband, and still very
handsome, with an Oriental kind of beauty, rather enhanced by her dress.
She wore a red muslin wrapper, somewhat the worse for wear, but still
brilliant in color; and her long black hair hung loose and unbraided
over her shoulders. An hour or two later supper was announced. We had
brought the greater part of it with us from the city, but we invited all
the family to sup with us, according to the fashion of the country. The
old gentleman completed his toilet by adding to it a gaudy-flowered
cotton dressing-gown, and seating himself at the table, contemplated the
roast-chickens and claret with no little satisfaction. From the
appearance of things, such a meal must have been a rarity in his house.
The mud floor of the kitchen where we supped was sloppy, and its leaky
roof and broken walls were but dimly lighted by the coarse guttering
candles made from the Carnauba palm. I presently heard a loud gobbling
close by my side; and, looking down, saw by the half-light a black pig
feeding at a little table with the two children, assisted also by the
dog and the cat. Supper over, I proposed to go to the common sleeping
apartment, preferring to be in advance of my companions. It was a little
room, some ten feet square, behind the one where we had been received,
and without any window. This is not, however, so great an objection
here, where the roofs are so open that a great deal of air comes from
above. Once ensconced in my hammock I began to watch the arrival of my
room-mates with some curiosity. First entered a young girl and her
little sister, who stowed themselves away in one of the beds; then came
the servant-maid and hung herself up in her hammock in a corner; and
lastly arrived the landlady, who took possession of the other bed, and
completed the charms of the scene by lighting her pipe to have a quiet
smoke before she went to sleep. I cannot say the situation was favorable
to rest; the heavy showers which rattled on the tiles throughout the
night penetrated the leaky roof, and, however I changed my position in
the hammock, it rained into my face; fleas were abundant; the silence
was occasionally broken by the crying of the children, or the grunting
of the pig at the door, and for my part I was very glad when five
o’clock called us all to get up, our plan being to start at six and ride
three leagues before breakfast. However, on a journey of this kind, it
is one thing to intend going anywhere at a particular time and quite
another to accomplish it. When we met at six o’clock in readiness for
our journey, two of the horses were not to be found; they had strayed
away during the night. Though accidents of this kind are a constant
subject of complaint, it does not seem to occur to any one to secure the
horses for the night; it is indeed far easier to let them roam about and
provide for themselves. The servants were sent to look for them, and we
sat waiting, and losing the best hours of the morning, till, in their
own good time, men and beasts reappeared. We were at last on the road at
half past eight o’clock; but, unhappily, it was just during our two
hours of inaction that the rain, which had been pouring in torrents all
night, had ceased for a time. We had scarcely started when it began
again, and accompanied us for a great part of the way on our long three
leagues’ ride. We came now for the first time on the Carnauba palm
(Copernicia cerifera), so invaluable for its many useful properties. It
furnishes an admirable timber, strong and durable, from which the
rafters of all the houses in this region are made; it yields a wax
which, if the process of refining and bleaching it were understood,
would make an excellent candle, and which, as it is, is used for light
throughout the province; from its silky fibre very strong thread and
cordage are manufactured; the heart of the leaves, when cooked, makes an
excellent vegetable, resembling delicate cabbage; and, finally, it
provides a very nourishing fodder for cattle. It is a saying in the
province of Ceará, that where the Carnauba palm abounds a man has all he
needs for himself and his horse. The stem is tall, and the leaves so
arranged around the summit as to form a close spherical crown, entirely
unlike that of any other palm.[105]

If we had to lament the rain, we were fortunate in not having the sun on
our journey, for the forest is low and affords but little shade. The
road was in a terrible condition from the long-continued rains, and
though there are no rivers of any importance between the town and the
Serra of Monguba, to which we were bound, yet in several places the
little streams were swollen to a considerable depth; and, owing to the
broken condition of the bottom, full of holes and deep ruts, they were
by no means easy to ford. After a fatiguing ride of four hours, during
which we inquired, two or three times, how far we had still to go, and
always received the same answer, “uma legua,” that league never seeming
to diminish with our advance, we were delighted to find ourselves at the
little bridle-path which turned off from the main road and led us to the
fazenda of Senhor Franklin de Lima. The traveller is always welcome who
asks hospitality at a Brazilian country house, but Major Coutinho had
already stayed at this fazenda on previous journeys, and we shared the
welcome given to him as an old friend. The hospitality of our excellent
hosts repaid us for all the fatigues of our journey, and our luggage
being still on the road, their kindness supplied the defects of our
toilet, which was in a lamentable condition after splashing through
muddy water two or three feet deep. Mr. Agassiz, however, could not
spare time to rest; we had followed a morainic soil for a great part of
our journey, had passed many boulders on the road, and he was anxious to
examine the Serra of Monguba, on the slope of which Senhor Franklin has
his coffee plantation, and at the foot of which his house stands. He
was, therefore, either on foot or on horseback the greater part of this
day and the following one, examining the geological structure of the
mountain, and satisfying himself that, here too, all the valleys have
had their glaciers, and that these valleys have brought down from the
hillsides into the plains boulders, pebbles, and _débris_ of all sorts.
In this pleasant home, in the midst of the bright, intelligent circle
composing the family of Senhor Franklin, we passed two days. After
breakfast we dispersed to our various occupations, the gentlemen being
engaged in excursions in the neighborhood; the evening brought us
together again, and was enlivened with music, dancing, and games. The
Brazilians are fond of games, and play them with much wit and animation.
One of their favorite games is called “the market of saints”; it is very
amusing when there are two or three bright people to act the prominent
parts. One person performs the salesman, another the padre who comes to
purchase a saint for his chapel; the company enact the saints, covering
their faces with their handkerchiefs, and remaining as motionless as
possible. The salesman brings in the padre, and, taking him from one to
another in turn, describes all their extraordinary miraculous qualities,
their wonderful lives and pious deaths. After a few introductory remarks
on the subject of the purchase, the handkerchief is drawn off, and if
the saint keeps his countenance and remains immovable during all the
ridiculous things that are said about him, he comes off scot free; but
if he laughs he is subject to a forfeit. There are indeed few who stand
the test; for if the salesman has any tact in the game, he knows how to
seize upon any funny incident or characteristic quality connected with
the individual, and give it prominence. Perhaps the reader, knowing
something of our hunt for glaciers, may guess this saint, Major Coutinho
being salesman. “This, Senhor Padre, is rather a stout saint, but still
of most pious disposition, and, O meu Padre! a wonderful worker of
miracles; he can fill these valleys with ice, he covers the mountains
with snow in the hottest days, he brings the stones from the top of the
serra to the bottom, he finds animals in the bowels of the earth and
brings out their bones.” “Ah!” replies the padre, “a wonderful saint,
truly! such an one as I need for my chapel; let me look upon his face.”
Handkerchief withdrawn, and the saint in question of course loses his
forfeit. Yesterday, after breakfast, we left our pleasant friends and
came on to the little village of Pacatuba, a league farther inland, and
most picturesquely situated at the foot of the Serra of Aratanha. Here
we are fortunate in finding an empty “sobrada” (two-storied house), in
which we shall establish ourselves for the two or three days we mean to
spend in this neighborhood. We have had it swept out, have hung our
hammocks in the vacant rooms, which, with the exception of a straw sofa
and a few chairs, are innocent of furniture; and if we find it rather
forlorn within doors, we have at least beautiful views from all our

_April 7th._—Pacatuba. We have already ascertained that our exploration
must be confined to the serras in the midst of which we find ourselves;
for every one tells us that, in the present state of the roads, it would
be impossible to go to Baturité and return in the short time we have at
our disposal. However, Mr. Agassiz is not disappointed; for he says a
farther journey could only give him glacial phenomena on a larger scale,
which he finds here immediately about him in the greatest perfection. On
this very Serra of Aratanha, at the foot of which we happen to have
taken up our quarters, the glacial phenomena are as legible as in any of
the valleys of Maine, or in those of the mountains of Cumberland in
England. It had evidently a local glacier, formed by the meeting of two
arms, which descended from two depressions spreading right and left on
the upper part of the serra, and joining below in the main valley. A
large part of the medial moraine formed by the meeting of these two arms
can still be traced in the central valley. One of the lateral moraines
is perfectly preserved, the village road cutting through it; while the
village itself is built just within the terminal moraine, which is
thrown up in a long ridge in front of it. It is a curious fact that, in
the centre of the medial moraine, formed by a little mountain stream
making its way through the ridge of rocks and boulders, is a delicious
bathing pool, overgrown by orange-trees and palms. As Mr. Agassiz came
down from the serra yesterday, heated with his hunt after glaciers under
a tropical sun, he stopped to bathe in this pool. He said, as he enjoyed
its refreshing coolness, he could not but be struck with the contrast
between the origin of this basin and the vegetation which now surrounds
it; to say nothing of the odd coincidence that he, a naturalist of the
nineteenth century, should be bathing under the shade of palms and
orange-trees on the very spot where he sought and found the evidence of
a cold so intense that it heaped the mountains with ice.

_April 9th._—Yesterday, at seven o’clock in the morning, we left
Pacatuba for the house of Senhor da Costa, lying half-way up the serra,
at a height of about eight hundred feet above the level of the sea. The
path up the serra is wild and picturesque, lined with immense boulders,
and shaded with large trees; while here and there a little cascade comes
brawling down over the rocks. In this climate, a road so broken by
boulders is especially beautiful, on account of the luxuriance of the
vegetation. Exquisite vines, shrubs, and even trees spring up wherever
they can find the least soil in which to strike root; and many of these
isolated rocks are gardens in themselves. One immense boulder in the
path is split, and from its centre springs a palm all draperied in
vines. Of the native trees, the Genipapu (Genipa braziliensis), the
Imbauba (Cecropia), the Carnauba (Copernicia cerifera), the Catolé
(Attalea humilis), and the Paō d’Arco (Tecoma speciosa) are most
prominent. The latter is so named because the Indians make their bows
from its tough, elastic wood. Though not native to the soil, bananas,
cocoa-nut palms, orange-trees, as well as cotton and coffee shrubs, are
abundant. The cultivation of coffee, which thrives admirably on the
slopes of all the serras, is the great source of prosperity here; but,
at least in the sitios we have visited, it is difficult to judge of the
extent of the plantations on account of the irregular manner of
planting. The crops are, however, very large, and the coffee superior in
quality. I found the climb up the precipitous serra exceedingly
fatiguing. The people who live on the mountain come and go constantly,
even with their children, on horseback; but as our horses were from the
city, and unaccustomed to mountain paths, we had preferred ascending on
foot, especially as the rains had made the road more rough and broken
than usual. A mountain scramble in this country is very different from
the same thing in temperate climates. The least exertion induces
excessive perspiration; and if, when thus drenched to the skin, you stop
to rest, you are chilled by the slightest breeze. I was very glad when,
after about an hour’s climbing, we reached the sitio of Senhor da Costa,
on the slope of the serra. Donna Maria laughed at me for coming up on
foot, and said I should have mounted like a man, as she does, and
ascended the serra on horseback. Indeed, I think a lady who is obliged
to make a journey in the interior of Brazil should dress Bloomer-fashion
and mount _en cavalier_. A lady’s seat on horseback is too insecure for
dangerous mountain roads, or for fording streams; and her long skirt is
another inconvenience.

Nothing can be more picturesque than the situation of this sitio. It is
surrounded by magnificent masses of rock, which seem embedded in the
forest, as it were; and by its side a cascade comes leaping down through
the trees, so hidden by them that, though you hear the voice of the
water constantly, you only see its glimmer here and there among the
green foliage. The house itself stands on a fine specimen of moraine,
flanked on one side by a bank of red morainic soil, overtopped by
boulders. It is so built in among huge masses of rock that its walls
seem half natural. At the foot of the mountain spreads the Sertaō,
stretching level for the most part to the ocean, though broken here and
there by billowy hills rising isolated from its surface. Beyond it many
miles away may be seen the yellow lines of the sand-dunes on the shore,
and the white glitter of the sea. The Sertaō (desert) is beautifully
green now, and spreads out like a verdant prairie below. But in the dry
season it justifies its name and becomes a very desert indeed, being so
parched that all vegetation is destroyed. The drought is so great during
eight months of the year, that the country people living in the Sertaō
are often in danger of famine from the drying up of all the crops.[106]
After this long dry season the rains often set in with terrible
violence, and it is at this time that epidemics are developed, such as
prevail now. It rains day and night for weeks at a time, till everything
is penetrated with dampness; and when the hot sun comes out upon the
soaked and steaming earth, it is far more injurious than in the dry
season. One cannot wonder at the prevailing sickness, for the humidity
seems to permeate everything with subtle power. The walls, the floors,
the very furniture,—your hammock at night and your clothes in the
morning,—feel damp and have a sort of clammy chill; and the sun comes
out with such fitful gleams, that, intense as is its heat while it
lasts, nothing becomes thoroughly dried.

Toward nightfall we went to see the sunset from a boulder of enormous
size, which seems to have stopped inexplicably on the steep descent. It
juts out from the mountain-side, and commands even a more extensive view
than the house above. I could not help thinking, as we stood on the edge
of this immense mass of rock, that, as it seemed to have stopped for no
particular reason, it might start again at any minute, and bring one to
the bottom of the serra with unpleasant rapidity.

_April 10th._—Yesterday afternoon we returned to Pacatuba, descending
the serra much more rapidly and with far less fatigue than we had
ascended. We would gladly have availed ourselves longer of the pleasant
hospitality of our hosts, who very graciously urged us to stay; but time
is precious, and we are anxious not to miss the next steamer. Donna
Maria’s kindness followed us down the mountain, however, for scarcely
had we reached the house before an excellent dinner—stewed fowls, beef,
vegetables, etc.—arrived, borne on the heads of two negroes. When I saw
the load these men had brought so steadily down the same path over which
I had come rolling, pitching, tumbling, sliding,—any way, in short, but
walking,—I envied their dexterity, and longed to be as sure-footed as
these shoeless, half naked, ignorant blacks. To-day we leave Pacatuba
for the house of Senhor Franklin, on our way back to Ceará.

_April 12th._—On the 10th we returned to Monguba, where we passed that
day and the following night at the fazenda of our friends, the
Franklins. The next morning we had intended to start at six o’clock on
our way to the city. No sooner were the horses at the door, however, and
the pack-mules ready, than a pouring rain began. We waited for it to
pass, but it was followed by shower after shower, falling in solid
sheets. So the day wore on till twelve o’clock, when there was a lull,
with a prospect of fine weather, and we started. I could not help
feeling some anxiety, for I remembered the streams we had forded in
coming, and wondered what they would be after these torrents.
Fortunately, before we reached the first of them, we met two negroes,
who warned us that there was a great deal of water on the road. We hired
them to come on with us, and guide my horse. When we reached the spot it
really looked appalling. The road was inundated to a considerable
distance, and the water rushed across it with great violence, having in
many places a depth of four or five feet, and a strong current. If there
had been a sound bottom to rely upon, the wetting would have been
nothing; but the road, torn up by the rains, was full of holes and deep
gullies, so that the horses, coming unexpectedly on these inequalities,
would suddenly flounder up to their necks in water, and recover their
footing only by kicking and plunging. We crossed four such streams, one
man leading my horse while the gentlemen followed close behind, and the
second negro walking in front to see where it was possible to pass
without getting completely out of depth. These streams, not quite deep
enough to allow the horse to swim, and with such a broken bottom that he
is in constant danger of falling, are sometimes more difficult of
passage than a river. We met with only one accident, however, which, as
it did no harm, was rather ludicrous than otherwise. The negroes had
left us, saying there was no more deep water in the road, and when we
came presently to a shallow stream we entered it quite confidently. It
was treacherous, however, for just on its edge was a soft, adhesive
bog-mud. In entering, the horses stepped across this quagmire, but their
hind legs were instantly caught in it. Major Coutinho, who was riding at
my side, seized my bridle, and, spurring his own horse violently, both
the animals extricated themselves at once by a powerful effort. Our
servant, who followed behind, was not so fortunate; he was mounted on a
small mule, which seemed likely to be swallowed up bodily for a moment,
so suddenly did it disappear in the mire; the man fell off, and it was
some minutes before he and his animal regained the road, a mass of mud
and dripping with water. We reached Ceará at five in the afternoon,
having made a journey of five leagues. Every one tells us that the state
of the roads is most unusual, such continuous rains not having been
known for many years. The sickness in the city continues unabated, and a
young man who was attacked with yellow-fever in the next house before we
left has died in our absence. Everywhere on our journey we have heard
the same complaints of prevalent epidemics, and the authorities are
beginning to close the schools in the town on account of them. The
steamer is due in a day or two, and we are making our preparations for
departure. We should not bid good by to Ceará without acknowledging the
sympathy shown by the President of the Province, Senhor Homem de Mello,
in the objects of the expedition. Mr. Agassiz has received a collection
of palms and fishes, the directions for which he had given before
starting for the Serra, but the expenses of which are defrayed by the
President, who insists upon their being received as a contribution from
the province. Mr. Agassiz is also greatly indebted to Senhor Felice, at
whose house we have lodged, for efficient help in collecting, and to
Senhor Cicero de Lima for a collection of fishes and insects from the
interior. I conclude this chapter with a few passages from notes made by
Mr. Agassiz during his examination of the Serra of Aratanha and the site
of Pacatuba.

“I spent the rest of the day in a special examination of the right
lateral moraine, and part of the front moraine of the glacier of
Pacatuba; my object was especially to ascertain whether what appeared a
moraine at first might not, after all, be a spur of the serra,
decomposed in place. I ascended the ridge to its very origin, and there
crossed into an adjoining depression, immediately below the Sitio of
Captain Henriquez, where I found another glacier bottom of smaller
dimensions, the ice of which probably never reached the plain.
Everywhere in the ridges encircling these depressions the loose
materials and large boulders are so accumulated and embedded in clay or
sand that their morainic character is unmistakable. Occasionally, where
a ledge of the underlying rock crops out, in places where the drift has
been removed by denudation, the difference between the moraine and the
rock decomposed in place is recognized at once. It is equally easy to
distinguish the boulders which here and there have rolled down from the
mountain and stopped against the moraine. The three things are side by
side, and might at first be easily confounded; but a little familiarity
makes it easy to distinguish them. Where the lateral moraine turns
toward the front of the ancient glacier, near the point at which the
brook of Pacatuba cuts through the former, and a little to the west of
the brook, there are colossal boulders leaning against the moraine, from
the summit of which they have probably rolled down. Near the cemetery
the front moraine consists almost entirely of small quartz pebbles;
there are, however, a few larger blocks among them. The medial moraine
extends nearly through the centre of the village, while the left-hand
lateral moraine lies outside of the village, at its eastern end, and is
traversed by the road leading to Ceará. It is not impossible that
eastwards a third tributary of the serra may have reached the main
glacier of Pacatuba. I may say, that in the whole valley of Hasli there
are no accumulations of morainic materials more characteristic than
those I have found here,—not even about the Kirchet; neither are there
any remains of the kind more striking about the valleys of Mount Desert
in Maine, where the glacial phenomena are so remarkable, nor in the
valleys of Lough Fine, Lough Augh, and Lough Long in Scotland, where the
traces of ancient glaciers are so distinct. In none of these localities
are the glacial phenomena more legible than in the Serra of Aratanha. I
hope that before long some members of the Alpine Club, thoroughly
familiar with the glaciers of the Old World, not only in their present,
but also in their past condition, will come to these mountains of Ceará
and trace the outlines of their former glaciers more extensively than it
has been possible for me to do in this short journey. It would be an
easy excursion, since steamers from Liverpool and Bordeaux reach
Pernambuco in about ten days, arriving twice a month, while Brazilian
steamers make the trip from Pernambuco to Ceará in two days. The nearest
serra in which I have observed traces of ancient glaciers is reached
from Ceará in one day on horseback. The best season for such a journey
would be June and July, at the close of the rainy season, and before the
great droughts of the dry season have began.”


Footnote 104:

  The prosperous province of Ceará has found in Senator Pompeo a worthy
  exponent of its interests; not only does he represent the province at
  Rio de Janeiro, but, by the publication of careful statistics, has
  largely contributed to its progress.—L. A.

Footnote 105:

  For a very interesting treatise on this palm, and the various branches
  of industry it may be made to subserve, see “Notice sur le Palmier
  Carnauba,” par M. A. de Macedo, Paris, 1867, 8º.

Footnote 106:

  But for the existence of a shrub allied to our hawthorn, and known to
  botanists as Zizyphus Joazeiro, the cattle would suffer excessively
  during the drought. This shrub is one of the few plants common to this
  latitude which does not lose its foliage during the dry season, and,
  happily for the inhabitants, all the herbivorous domesticated animals
  delight to feed upon it.—L. A.

                              CHAPTER XV.


_May 29th._—We arrived in Rio more than a month ago, having left Ceará
on the 16th of April. There was nothing worth recording in our voyage
down the coast, except that at Pernambuco we found the country even more
overflowed by the recent rains than it had been at Ceará. Going to
breakfast with our friends, Mr. and Mrs. R——, only four or five miles
from the city, we passed through portions of the road where the water
was nearly level with the floor of the carriage; and temporary ferries
were established by negroes, who were plying rafts and canoes between
the shores for the benefit of foot-passengers. A mile or two beyond Mr.
R——’s house we were told that the road, though one of the most
frequented in the neighborhood of the city, had become quite impassable.
We saw many overflowed gardens and houses abandoned because the water
was already above the windows of the ground-floor.

We had a warm welcome back to the beautiful bay of Rio, on board the
“Susquehanna,” just then in the harbor. Captain Taylor sent his boat at
once to our steamer, and we were soon on his deck, received so cordially
by him and his officers, and by a party of American friends who were
making a visit to his ship, that it seemed like an anticipation of our
arrival at home. There is nothing so pleasant as an unexpected meeting
with one’s own fellow-citizens on coming into a foreign port, and this
was a delightful surprise to us.

We are again in our old quarters in the Rua Direita, and, except that
our fellow-travellers are all scattered, it would seem as if we had
stepped back a year. Since our return, Mr. Agassiz has been arranging
and despatching to the United States the numerous specimens which have
been sent in during our absence. Among them is the large and very
complete collection made for him by the Emperor last summer, when in
command of the army at the South. It contains fishes from several of the
southern fresh-water basins, and includes a great number of new species.
Taken in connection with the Amazonian collections and those from the
interior, it affords material for an extensive comparison of the faunæ
of the southern and northern fresh-waters in Brazil.

Our excursions since our return have been only in the neighborhood of
the city to Petropolis and the Dom Pedro Railroad. We are surprised, on
returning to this road while our Amazonian impressions are fresh in our
minds, to find that the vegetation, the richness of which amazed us when
we first arrived in Brazil, looks almost meagre in comparison to that
with which we have since been familiar. It is dwarfed, to our eye, by
the still more luxuriant growth of the north.

Yesterday was Mr. Agassiz’s birthday, again made very bright to us by
the cordial testimony of kind feeling and sympathy from his friends and
country people. In the evening we were pleasantly surprised by a
torchlight procession in his honor, formed by the German and Swiss
residents of Rio de Janeiro. The festivities concluded with a serenade
under our windows by the German club.

_June 4th._—When we were in Rio de Janeiro last year, Mr. Agassiz was so
much occupied with the plans of the expedition that he was unable to
visit the schools of the city, its charitable institutions, and the
like. Being unwilling to leave Brazil without knowing something of the
public works in its largest capital, we are now engaged in
“sight-seeing.” This morning we visited the Misericordia Hospital.
Perhaps it will give a better idea of this institution, and of the
influences under which it at present exists, to speak of it first as it
was formerly. Nearly forty years ago there was in Rio de Janeiro a
hospital called “De la Misericordia.” Its wards were low, its entries
were confined and close, its staircases steep and narrow. According to
the accounts of physicians who were medical students there in those
days, its internal organization was as sordid as its general aspect. The
floors were wet and dirty, the beds wretched, the linen soiled; and the
absence of a system of ventilation made itself the more felt on account
of the want of general cleanliness. The corpses awaited burial in a room
where the rats held high festival; and a physician, who has since
occupied a distinguished position in Rio de Janeiro, told us that when,
as a student, he went to seek there the materials for his anatomical
studies, he often found life stirring in this chamber of the dead, and
startled away these unseemly visitors. Such, in brief, was the
Misericordia Hospital at the time when Brazil secured her independence.
Let us see what it is now. On the same spot, though occupying a much
larger space, stands the present hospital. When completed, it will
consist of three parallel buildings, long in proportion to their
breadth, connected by cross corridors enclosing courts between them. The
central edifice, intended for male patients, has been long in use. The
front building, looking on the bay, is nearly completed, and is to be
devoted to the stores, to accommodations for hospital physicians,
nurses, &c. The rear building, not yet begun, will be for the use of
women and children, who now occupy the old hospital. Let us look first
at the central division. We enter a spacious hall tiled with marble. A
smaller hall, leading out of it, connects with one or two
reception-rooms, where visitors are received, and medicines given out
gratis to poor applicants. A broad staircase of dark wood brings us to
the wide corridors, on which the wards open, and which look out upon
green gardens enclosed between the buildings, where convalescents may be
seen strolling about, or resting in the shade. At the first ward we are
received by a Sister of Charity, who, in the absence of the Superior, is
to show us the establishment. A description of one ward will answer for
all, since they are identical. It is a long, lofty room, the beds in
rows on either side, facing outward, and having a broad, open space down
the centre. The beds are arranged two and two in pairs, each pair being
divided by a door or window. Between every two beds is a little niche in
the wall, with a shelf to draw out underneath. In the niche are one or
two pitchers or goblets holding the patient’s drink; on the shelf is his
mug, ready to his hand. To a height of some six or eight feet the wall
is wainscoted with blue-and-white porcelain tiles. They are easily
washed, do not contract dampness, and look very cool and fresh. The
floor is made of the dark Brazilian wood, partly inlaid, and waxed
carefully; not a stain is to be seen anywhere on its shining surface.
The bedding consists of a well-stuffed straw-mattress below, with a
thick hair-mattress above. The sheets and pillow-cases are spotless.
Indeed, everything in this fresh, well-aired, spacious room bespeaks an
exquisite order and neatness. The bath-rooms are in convenient relation
to the wards, furnished with large marble bath-tubs, and with hot and
cold water in abundance. From the public wards we pass into large
corridors, upon which open private apartments for the use of persons
who, not having convenient arrangements at home, or being strangers in
the city, prefer, in case of illness, to go to the hospital. The rent of
these chambers is exceedingly moderate;—for a room to one’s self, $1.50
a day; for a room shared with one other person, $1 a day; for a bed in a
larger room occupied by half a dozen, but withdrawn from the general
throng, 75 cents. These charges include medical attendance, nursing, and
food. From the wards devoted to ordinary diseases, fevers and the like,
we went to the surgical wards. It need not be said that here the same
neatness and care prevailed; the operating rooms, the surgery lined with
cases containing instruments, lint, bandages, &c. were all in faultless

From this building—looking, as we went, into the kitchen, where the
contents of the great shiny copper kettles smelt very invitingly—we
passed through a paved court to the old hospital, in which are the wards
for women and children. This gave us an opportunity of comparing, at
least in its general arrangement, the ancient establishment with the
modern one. The neatness and order prevailing throughout make even this
part of the hospital attractive and cheerful; but one feels at once the
difference between the high, airy rooms and open corridors of the new
building and the more confined quarters of the old one. In both parts of
the hospital the mingling of color impresses the stranger. Blacks and
whites lie side by side, and the proportion of negroes is considerable,
both among the men and women.

The charity of the Misericordia is a very comprehensive one; it includes
not only maladies susceptible of cure, but has also its ward for old and
infirm persons, who will never leave it except for their last home. The
day before our visit a very aged woman had been buried thence, who had
lived under this roof for seventeen years. There is also a provision for
children whose parents die in the hospital, and who have no natural
protector. They remain there, receive an elementary education, being
taught to read, write, and cipher; and are not turned into the world
until they are of age to marry or to enter into service. There is a
chapel connected with the hospital, and many of the wards are furnished
with an altar at one end, above which is placed a statue of the Virgin,
a crucifix, or a picture of some saint. I could not help asking myself
if regular religious services would not be a wise addition to all
charitable institutions of this kind, whether Protestant or Catholic. To
the respectable poor, their church is a great deal. Many a convalescent
would be glad to hear the Sunday hymn, to join in the prayer put up for
his recovery; and would think himself the better, body and soul, because
he had listened to a sermon. To be sure, in our country, where creeds
are so various, and almost every patient might have his own doctrinal
speciality, there might be some difficulties which do not exist where
there is a state religion, and one form of service is sure to suit all.
Still, many would be comforted and consoled, and would come without
asking whether the clergyman were of this or that denomination, if they
felt him to be genuine and truly devout.

I have presented the old hospital and the present one in direct
contrast, because the comparison gives a measure of the progress which,
in some directions at least, has taken place during the last thirty or
forty years in Rio de Janeiro. It is true, that all their institutions
have not advanced in proportion to their benevolent establishments;
charity, like hospitality, may be said to be a national virtue among the
Brazilians. They hold almsgiving a religious duty, and are more liberal
to their churches and to the public charities connected with them than
to their institutions of learning. Unhappily, a great deal of their
liberality of this kind is expended upon church festas, street
processions, saint days, and the like, more calculated to feed
superstition than to stimulate pure religious sentiment.

We should not leave the Misericordia without some allusion to the man to
whom it chiefly owes its present character. José Clemente Pereira would
have been gratefully remembered by the Brazilians as a statesman of
distinguished merit, who was intimately associated with more than one of
the most important events in their history, even had he no other claim
on their esteem. He was born in Portugal, and distinguished himself as a
young man in the Peninsular war. Though he was already twenty-eight
years of age when he left Europe, he seems to have been as true a lover
of Brazil as if born on her soil. His merit was soon recognized in his
adopted country, and he occupied, at different times, some of the
highest offices of the realm. The early part of his political career
fell upon the stormy times when Brazil was struggling for her national
existence as an independent Empire; but during the more tranquil close
of his life he seems to have been chiefly occupied in works of
benevolence, in founding charitable institutions, and even in personal
attendance upon the sick and suffering.

The name of this benevolent Brazilian is associated not only with the
Misericordia hospital, but also with the admirable asylum for the insane
at Botafogo, which bears the name of the present Emperor. A great part
of the funds for this establishment were obtained in an original way,
which shows that Pereira knew how to turn the weaknesses of his
countrymen to good account. The Brazilians are addicted to titles, and
the government offered distinctions of this kind to wealthy citizens who
would endow the insane asylum. They were to be either commendadores or
barons, the importance of the title being in proportion to the magnitude
of their donations. Large sums were actually obtained in this way, and
several of the titled men of Rio thus purchased their patents of
nobility. When I first arrived in Rio de Janeiro, mere chance led me to
visit this asylum. Entering as a stranger, I saw only the outer rooms,
listened to the evening service in the chapel for a few moments, and was
struck with the order and quiet which seemed to prevail. It certainly
never would have occurred to me that I was in an insane hospital. To-day
Mr. Agassiz and myself, accompanied by our friend Dr. Pacheco da Silva,
passed several hours there, and saw the whole establishment in detail.
The building faces upon Botafogo Bay, having the beach immediately
before it; on its right the picturesque gap, one side of which is made
by the Paō de Assucar, and on its left the beautiful valley running up
toward Corcovado. Thus, looking on the sea and surrounded by mountains,
it commands exquisite views on every side. The plan of the building, in
its general arrangement, is not unlike that of the Misericordia. It is a
handsome solid stone structure, rather long in proportion to its height,
and consists of two parallel buildings, connected by cross corridors.
These corridors enclose courts, planted with trees and flowers, and
making very pleasant gardens. The entrance hall is in the centre, and
has on either side the statues of Pinel and Esquirol, the two French
masters in the treatment of mental diseases. The statues have no merit
as works of art; but it was pleasant to see them there, as showing a
recognition of what these men have done for science and for humanity. A
broad, low staircase of dark wood leads up to the chapel. Here we looked
with interest at the ornaments on the altar, because they are the work
of the patients, who take great pleasure in making artificial flowers
and other decorations for the church. On the same floor with the chapel
is a large hall, where stands the statue of the youthful Emperor Dom
Pedro Segundo. Opposite to it is that of Pereira. It is worthy of note
that this statue was presented by the Emperor, and at his request placed
opposite his own. The face, quite in keeping with the history of the
man, is expressive both of great benevolence and remarkable decision.
Connected with this hall are several reception-halls, parlors, and
antechambers; indeed, too much room is assigned to mere state apartments
in an establishment where space must be precious. One of this suite of
rooms was devoted to the various fancy-work made by the
patients,—embroidery of all sorts, artificial flowers and the like.
Thence we passed to the wards. As in the Misericordia, the rooms are
very large and high, wainscoted with tiles, and opening upon wide
corridors, which look out into the enclosed gardens. Some of the
dormitories have fifteen or twenty beds, but many of the sleeping-rooms
are smaller, it being better, no doubt, to separate the patients at
night. We saw but little indication of suffering or distress among them.
There were one or two cases of religious melancholy, with the look of
fixed, absorbed sadness characteristic of that form of insanity. We were
met once or twice by the vacant stare, and heard the senseless chatter
and laugh always to be found in these saddest of all asylums for human
suffering. But, on the whole, an air of cheerfulness prevailed; with few
exceptions all the patients were occupied, the women with plain sewing
or embroidery, the men with carpentering, shoemaking, or tailoring,
making cigars for the use of the establishment, or picking over old
cordage. The Superior told us that occupation was found to be the most
efficient remedy, and that though work was not compulsory, with few
exceptions all the patients preferred to share in it. The whole service
of the house—washing, sweeping, waxing the floors, cleaning the chambers
and putting them in order—is performed by them. Sunday is found to be
the most difficult day, because much of the ordinary occupation is
suspended, and the patients become unruly in proportion as they are
unemployed. From these apartments, where all were busy and comparatively
quiet, we passed to a corridor enclosing a large court, where some of
the lunatics, too restless for employment, were walking about,
gesticulating and talking loudly. The corridor was lined on its inner
side with chambers devoted to the use of those whose violence made it
necessary to confine them. The doors and windows were grated, the rooms
empty of furniture, but well lighted, spacious, and airy; not at all
like cells, except in being so strongly secured. They were mostly
without occupants; but as we passed one of them a man rushed to the
door, and called out to us that he was not a prisoner because he was
mad, but that he had killed Lopez, and was now the rightful Emperor of
Brazil. This corridor led us to the bath-rooms, which are really on a
magnificent scale. A number of immense marble tubs are sunk in the tiled
floors. They are of different depths, adapted for standing, sitting, or
lying down, and have every variety of arrangement for douche, shower, or
sponge baths.

This hospital, like the Misericordia, is under the care of the Sisters
of Charity, and is a model of neatness and order. The Superior has a
face remarkable for its serenity, expressive at once of sweetness and
good sense. From her we learned some interesting facts respecting
insanity in this country. She says furious maniacs are rare, and that
violence generally yields readily to treatment. She also told us that
insanity is more common among the poor than among the better classes.
Though the asylum contains apartments for private patients, there are
seldom more than eight or ten persons of this description to occupy
them. This is not because they have any choice of establishments, for
there is no other insane hospital in Rio de Janeiro, though there are
one or two “Maisons de Santé” where insane persons are received. There
were more blacks among the patients than we had expected to see, the
general impression being that insanity is rare among the negroes. We
left this hospital impressed by its superiority. A country which has so
high a standard of excellence in its charities can hardly fail, sooner
or later, to bring its institutions of learning and its public works
generally up to the same level. Excellence in one department leads to
excellence in all.

From the hospital we continued our walk to the military school, some
quarter of a mile farther. It stands in the gap between the Paō de
Assucar and the opposite range of hills, and has the Botafogo Bay on one
side, the Praia Vermelha on the other. Here, as elsewhere in the public
schools of Rio de Janeiro, there is a progressive movement; but old and
theoretical methods still prevail to a great degree. The maps are poor;
there are no bas-reliefs, no large globes, few dissections or chemical
analyses, no philosophical experiments, and no library deserving the
name. The school, however, has been in efficient operation only six
years, and improvements in the building, as well as in the apparatus for
instruction, are made daily. So far as its domestic economy is
concerned, the appointments of the establishment are excellent; indeed,
one is rather inclined to criticise it as over-luxurious for boys
educated to be soldiers. The school-rooms and dormitories, as well as
the dining-room, where the tables were laid with a nice service of
crockery and glass, and also the kitchens, were clean and orderly. We
cannot but wonder that the streets of Rio de Janeiro should be dirtier
and more offensive than those of any other city we have visited, when we
see the scrupulous neatness characteristic of all its public
establishments. The observance of cleanliness in this respect shows that
the Brazilians recognize its importance, and it seems strange that they
should tolerate nuisances in their streets which make it almost
impossible to pass through many of them on foot.

_June 7th._—Yesterday we visited the Mint, the Academy of Fine Arts, and
a primary school for girls. Of the Mint it is scarcely fair to judge in
its present condition; a new building is nearly completed, and all
improvements in machinery are wisely deferred until the establishment is
removed. When this change takes place, much that is antiquated will be
improved, and its many deficiencies supplied.

There is little knowledge of, or interest in, art in Brazil. Pictures
are as rare as books in a Brazilian house; and though Rio de Janeiro has
an Academy of Fine Arts, including a school of design and sculpture, it
is still in too elementary a condition to warrant criticism. The only
interesting picture in the collection derives its attraction wholly from
the circumstances connected with it, not at all from any merit in the
execution. It is a likeness of a negro who, in a shipwreck off the
coast, saved a number of lives at the risk of his own. When he had
brought several passengers to the shore, he was told that two children
remained in the ship. He swam back once more and brought them safely to
the beach, but sank down himself exhausted, and was seized with
hemorrhage. A considerable sum was raised for him in the city of Rio,
and his picture was placed in the Academy to commemorate his heroism.

Of the public school for girls not much can be said. The education of
women is little regarded in Brazil, and the standard of instruction for
girls in the public schools is low. Even in the private schools, where
the children of the better class are sent, it is the complaint of all
teachers that they are taken away from school just at the time when
their minds begin to develop. The majority of girls in Brazil who go to
school at all are sent at about seven or eight years of age, and are
considered to have finished their education at thirteen or fourteen. The
next step in their life is marriage. Of course there are exceptions;
some parents wisely leave their children at school, or direct their
instruction at home, till they are seventeen or eighteen years of age,
and others send their girls abroad. But usually, with the exception of
one or two accomplishments, such as French or music, the education of
women is neglected, and this neglect affects the whole tone of society.
It does not change the general truth of this statement, that there are
Brazilian ladies who would be recognized in the best society as women of
the highest intelligence and culture. But they are the exceptions, as
they inevitably must be under the present system of instruction, and
they feel its influence upon their social position only the more

Indeed, many of the women I have known most intimately here have spoken
to me with deep regret of their limited, imprisoned existence. There is
not a Brazilian senhora, who has ever thought about the subject at all,
who is not aware that her life is one of repression and constraint. She
cannot go out of her house, except under certain conditions, without
awakening scandal. Her education leaves her wholly ignorant of the most
common topics of a wider interest, though perhaps with a tolerable
knowledge of French and music. The world of books is closed to her; for
there is little Portuguese literature into which she is allowed to look,
and that of other languages is still less at her command. She knows
little of the history of her own country, almost nothing of that of
others, and she is hardly aware that there is any religious faith except
the uniform one of Brazil; she has probably never heard of the
Reformation, nor does she dream that there is a sea of thought surging
in the world outside, constantly developing new phases of national and
individual life; indeed, of all but her own narrow domestic existence
she is profoundly ignorant.

On one occasion, when staying at a fazenda, I took up a volume which was
lying on the piano. A book is such a rare sight, in the rooms occupied
by the family, that I was curious to see its contents. As I stood
turning over the leaves (it proved to be a romance), the master of the
house came up, and remarked that the book was not suitable reading for
ladies, but that here (putting into my hand a small volume) was a work
adapted to the use of women and children, which he had provided for the
senhoras of his family. I opened it, and found it to be a sort of
textbook of morals, filled with commonplace sentiments, copybook
phrases, written in a tone of condescending indulgence for the feminine
intellect. Women being, after all, the mothers of men, and understood to
have some little influence on their education, I could hardly wonder,
after seeing this specimen of their intellectual food, that the wife and
daughters of our host were not greatly addicted to reading. Nothing
strikes a stranger more than the absence of books in Brazilian houses.
If the father is a professional man, he has his small library of
medicine or law, but books are never seen scattered about as if in
common use; they make no part of the daily life. I repeat, that there
are exceptions. I well remember finding in the sitting-room of a young
girl, by whose family we had been most cordially received, a
well-selected library of the best literary and historical works in
German and French; but this is the only instance of the kind we met with
during our year in Brazil. Even when the Brazilian women have received
the ordinary advantages of education, there is something in their
home-life so restricted, so shut out from natural contact with external
influences, that this in itself tends to cripple their development.
Their amusements are as meagre and scanty as their means of instruction.

In writing these things I but echo the thought of many intelligent
Brazilians, who lament a social evil which they do not well know how to
reform. If among our Brazilian friends there are some who, familiar with
the more progressive aspect of life in Rio de Janeiro, question the
accuracy of my statements, I can only say that they do not know the
condition of society in the northern cities and provinces. Among my own
sex, I have never seen such sad lives as became known to me there,—lives
deprived of healthy, invigorating happiness, and intolerably
monotonous,—a negative suffering, having its source, it is true, in the
absence of enjoyment rather than in the presence of positive evils, but
all the more to be deplored because so stagnant and inactive.

Behind all defects in methods of instruction, there lies a fault of
domestic education, to be lamented throughout Brazil. This is the
constant association with black servants, and, worse still, with negro
children, of whom there are usually a number in every house. Whether the
low and vicious habits of the negroes are the result of slavery or not,
they cannot be denied; and it is singular to see persons, otherwise
careful and conscientious about their children, allowing them to live in
the constant companionship of their blacks, waited upon by the older
ones, playing all day with the younger ones. It shows how blind we may
become, by custom, to the most palpable dangers. A stranger observes at
once the evil results of this contact with vulgarity and vice, though
often unnoticed by the parents. In the capital, some of these evils are
fast disappearing; indeed, those who remember Rio de Janeiro forty years
ago have witnessed, during that short period, a remarkable change for
the better in the state of society. Nor should it be forgotten that the
highest authority in the community is exerted in the cause of a liberal
culture for women. It is well known that the education of the Imperial
princesses has been not only superintended, but in a great measure
personally conducted, by their father.

_July 8th._—I was prevented yesterday from going to the Blind Asylum
with Mr. Agassiz, but I transcribe his notes upon this, as well as upon
the Marine Arsenal, which he also visited without me.

“The building is old and in a ruinous condition. I was not allowed to go
over it, everything being brought to the reception-room for my
inspection, though I told the director that I did not care about the
external arrangements, but simply wished to know by what means the
privations of the blind were alleviated in his establishment. The same
processes of routine prevail here as in other schools and colleges I
have seen in Rio. This, however, is not peculiar to Portuguese or
Brazilian habits of instruction. The old habit of overrating memory, and
neglecting the more active and productive faculties of the mind, still
prevails more or less in education everywhere. I learned little of the
general system pursued. The teachers were more anxious to show off the
ability of special pupils in reading, writing from dictation, and music,
than to explain their methods of instruction. Vocal and instrumental
music seemed the favorite occupation; but though it is very pathetic to
hear the blind deplore their misfortune and express their craving for
light in harmonious sounds, it does not, after all, give much
information as to the way in which their calamity is relieved. I should
add, that their musical performance is excellent, and does great credit
to their German professor. It struck me that very little use was made of
object-teaching, such as is so much in vogue for children in Germany.
There are not as many models in the whole establishment as would be
found in any nursery in certain parts of Germany. The maps also are very

“One of the most interesting of the public establishments at Rio de
Janeiro is the Marine Arsenal. From the Gulf of Mexico to Cape Horn
there is not to be found on the Atlantic coast another port where a
vessel of war, or even a merchant vessel of large tonnage, could undergo
important repairs. The machine-shops and saw-mills are well directed,
and are deficient in none of the improvements belonging to modern
establishments of the kind. The dock is large and constructed of
granite. A considerable number of large vessels have been built at this
shipyard during the last few years, and all its appointments have been
constantly improving under the direction of several successive ministers
of the navy. Such an establishment is, in fact, a necessity for Brazil;
possessing as she does eleven hundred leagues of coast, it is impossible
for her to depend upon other countries for her maritime supplies. The
Marine Arsenal sends out from its school and shipyard many able
engineers and clever artisans, who carry into ordinary branches of
industry the ability they have acquired in the public service. Indeed,
this establishment may be considered as a sort of school of industrial
arts, furnishing the country with good workmen in various departments of

This week Mr. Agassiz has concluded another course of six lectures given
at the College of Dom Pedro II.; the subject, “The Formation of the
Amazonian Valley, and its Productions.” It is worthy of remark, that the
appearance of ladies on such occasions no longer excites comment. There
were many more senhoras among the listeners than at the previous
lectures, when their presence was a novelty. A Brazilian audience is
very sympathetic; in this they resemble a European assembly more than
our own quiet, undemonstrative crowds. There is always a little stir, a
responsive thrill, when anything pleases them, and often a spoken word
of commendation or criticism.

_June 10th._—Theresopolis. Yesterday, accompanied by Mr. Glaziou,
Director of the Passeio Publico, and Dr. Nägeli, we started on an
excursion to the Organ Mountains, leaving Rio in the boat for Piedade,
and stopping on our way at the little island of Paquetá. This is one of
the prettiest islands of the harbor, abounding in palms, populous with
pleasant country-houses, and having a very picturesque shore, broken
into bays and inlets. We reached the little cluster of houses called
Piedade about five o’clock, and took the omnibus to the foot of the
serra. The hours of public conveyance on this road seem ingeniously
arranged to prevent the traveller from seeing its beauties. The greater
part of the four hours’ drive is made after nightfall; and the return
offers no compensation, the second journey taking place before daybreak.
We passed the night at the foot of the serra, and started at seven
o’clock the next morning to walk up the mountain. It is impossible to
describe the beauty of this walk, especially on such a day as we were
favored with, varying between sunshine and shade, and with a fresh
breeze which saved us any discomfort from the heat. The road winds
gently up the serra, turning sometimes with so sharp an angle that below
we could see all the ground we had travelled over. On one hand is the
mountain-side, clothed with a vegetation of surpassing beauty, bright
with crimson parasites, with the rich purple flowers of the Quaresma and
the delicate blue blossoms of the Utricularia, as fragile and as
graceful as the harebell. On the other hand, we looked down sometimes
into narrow gorges, clothed with magnificent forest, from which huge
masses of rock projected here and there; sometimes into wider valleys
opening out into the plain below, and giving a distant view of the
harbor and its archipelago of islands surrounded by mountains, the whole
scene glittering in the sunshine, or veiled by shadows, as the fitful
day showed it to us.

[Illustration: Garrafaō, among the Organ Mountains.]

The ascent may be easily accomplished on foot in three or four hours. We
had nothing to urge us forward, however, except a growing desire for
breakfast, appeased every now and then by an orange, of which we had a
good supply in the tin case for plants, and many a slow train of laden
mules passed us in their upward march, and left us far behind as we
loitered along, though not lazily. On the contrary, Mr. Agassiz and his
friends found plenty of occupation in botanizing and geologizing. They
stopped constantly to gather parasites, to study ferns and mosses, to
break boulders, to collect insects and the little land-shells found here
and there along the road. We saw one most beautiful insect, hardly
larger than a lady-bug, but of the most exquisite colors and gleaming
like a jewel on the leaf where it had alighted. In breaking the stones
along the roadside Mr. Agassiz found many evidences of erratics, several
of them being Diorite, entirely distinct from the rock in place. The
surfaces of the boulders were universally decomposed and covered with a
uniform crust, so that it was necessary to split them in order to
ascertain their true nature. From distance to distance along the road
were immense fragments of rock, sometimes twenty or thirty feet in
height. These huge masses were frequently seen hanging on the brink of
steep declivities, as if, having broken off from the heights above, and
rolled down, they had been prevented from advancing farther by some
obstacle, and had become gradually embedded in the soil. Many of these
boulders were clothed in soft, thick reindeer moss, so like the reindeer
moss of the Arctics that, if specifically distinct, the difference could
not be detected except by the most careful examination. It suggests the
question whether there are any representatives of the tropical flora
among the lichens and pines of the high north. As we advanced, the
character of the vegetation changed considerably, and we began to feel,
by the increasing freshness of the air, that we were getting into higher
regions. The near view became more beautiful as we approached the heart
of the mountains, coming under the shadow of their strange peaks, which
looked sharp and attenuated from a distance, but changed into wonderful
masses of bare rock, very grand in their effect, as we drew closer to
them. We reached the hotel at Theresopolis at about two o’clock. After
our long walk, the answer we received to our inquiry about breakfast at
the little grocery adjoining the inn was rather discouraging. What could
they give us on short notice? “Only four eggs and some sausage.”
However, the master of the hotel made his appearance, opened his house,
where, to judge from its closed doors and windows, the advent of guests
is rare, and comforted us with the information that breakfast “pode se
arranjar.” Indeed, from the dish of eggs which made its appearance soon
afterwards, we might have supposed that all the hens in the village had
been called upon to contribute, and we enjoyed a breakfast for which
mountain air and exercise had supplied the best sauce.

The village of Theresopolis is very prettily situated, lying in a dip
between the mountains and commanding a magnificent view of the peaks,
one of which stands out like a tall, narrow tower against the sky. Near
it is another sharp summit, on the extreme point of which a large
boulder is placed. It looks as if a touch would dislodge it; and yet for
how many a long year has it held its place there through storm and
sunshine! We looked up at this huge fragment of rock on its dizzy
height, and wondered whether it was erratic, or simply an effect of
decomposition on the spot,—a point impossible of decision at that
distance. If the latter, it seems strange that the weather should have
worn and excavated such a mass underneath, without destroying its upper
surface, thus detaching it from the mountain, till it stands, as now, in
bold relief, only supported by a single point of attachment on the
extreme summit. We spent the rest of the day in a walk to a very pretty
cascade which comes rushing down through the wood a mile or two from the

_June 11th._—We left the inn at half past seven this morning, to pass
the day again in rambling. Following the main road for a quarter of a
mile or so beyond the village, we presently turned to the left into a
narrow, shady pathway. It led us through the woods to the edge of a deep
basin sunk between the mountains, on the slopes of which were strewn
many immense boulders. A curious feature of the Organ Mountains which we
have observed repeatedly even in this short excursion is, that between
their strangely fantastic forms the country sinks down into well-defined
basins, which usually have no outlet. Following the brink of such a
basin for a couple of miles, and crossing an intervening ridge, we came
out upon a kind of plateau overhanging another depression of the same
character, and commanding a magnificent view of the chain, in the very
centre of which it seems to be, for the mountains rise tier upon tier
around it on every side. On this plateau stands the fazenda called St.
Louis, belonging to Mr. d’Escragnolle. The exquisite beauty of the site
and the hospitality of its owner have made this fazenda a favorite
resort for travellers. The grounds are laid out with much taste, and Mr.
d’Escragnolle’s success in raising many of the European fruits and
vegetables, as well as those of his own country, makes it the more to be
regretted that this beautiful region should be so little cultivated.
Pears, peaches, strawberries, thrive admirably, as also do green peas,
asparagus, artichokes, and cauliflowers. The climate strikes a happy
medium between the heat in the neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, which
brings these products to too rapid a development, drying them up before
they have time to mature, and the sharp cold of higher mountain regions.
But though at so short a distance from the capital, the transport is so
difficult and expensive that Mr. d’Escragnolle, instead of sending the
produce of his farm to the city market, as he would gladly do, feeds his
pigs with cauliflowers. We passed the rest of the day most delightfully
in this charming country place. Mr. Agassiz and Mr. Glaziou ascended one
of the near mountain summits, but did not gain so extensive a view as
they had hoped, on account of an intervening spur. They were able to
distinguish three parallel ridges, however, separated by intervening
depressions. Toward evening, while the mountains were still bright with
the purple glory of the sunset, though shadows were settling over the
valleys, we started on our return, bidding good by with great regret to
our kind host, who warmly pressed us to stay. The path we had followed
in the morning, without giving a thought to its irregularities, seemed
quite broken and difficult by night. The slopes along which it ran were
changed, in the dim light, to sudden precipices, and we picked our steps
with care between rocks and over fallen logs and rivulets. It was bright
starlight as we came out of the woods upon the high road. The village
lay below, its lights twinkling cheerily, and the peaks and towers
behind it drawn with strange distinctness against the night sky.

[Illustration: Organ Mountains.]

_June 12th._—Barreira. This morning at seven o’clock we were on our way
down the serra. Mr. Agassiz deplores the necessity which obliges him to
leave this region after so short an examination of its striking
features. A naturalist might pass months here, and find every day rich
in results. As we left the hotel the sun was just gilding the highest
summits, while white clouds rose softly from the valleys, and, floating
upward, broke into fleecy fragments against the mountain-sides. Having
the day before us, we descended as slowly as we had mounted the serra,
stopping almost at every step to gather plants, to examine rocks, to
wonder at the strange position of the immense boulders hanging often
just on the brow of some steep declivity. I wandered on beyond the
others and sat down to wait for them on the low stone wall, forming a
parapet on the edge of the road. Directly before me rose the bare, rocky
surface of one of the great peaks; a vapory white cloud hung midway upon
it; shadows floated over it. On the other side I looked down upon wooded
valleys and mountains in strange confusion, while far below, stretching
out to the sea, lay the billowy plain tossed into endless soft green
waves. The stillness made the scene more impressive, the silence being
only occasionally broken by the click of hoofs, as a train of mules came
cautiously down the flagged road. While I sat there a liteira passed me
slung between mules; a mode of travelling fast disappearing with the
improvements of the roads, but still in use for women and children in
certain parts of the country. We stopped to breakfast at a little venda
about half-way down the serra; here the boulders are most remarkable
from their great size and singular position. We reached the inn at the
bottom of the serra between two and three o’clock, and are now sitting
in the little piazza, while a drenching rain, which fortunately did not
begin till we were under shelter, swells the stream near by, and is fast
changing it to a rapid torrent. I will add here such observations
respecting the geological structure of this mountain range as Mr.
Agassiz has been able to make in our short excursion.

“The chain is formed by the sharp folding up of strata, sometimes quite
vertically, in other instances with a slope more or less steep, but
always rather sudden. To one standing on the hill to the east of
Theresopolis, the whole range presents itself in a perfect profile; the
axis, on either side of which dip the almost vertical beds of
metamorphic rocks composing the chain, occupies about the centre of the
range. To the north, though very steeply inclined, the beds are not so
vertical as in the southern prolongation of the range. The consequence
of this difference is the formation of more massive and less
disconnected summits on the north side; while on the south side, where
the strata are nearly or quite vertical, the harder sets of beds alone
have remained standing, the softer intervening beds having been
gradually disintegrated. By this process have been formed those strange
peaks which appear from a distance like a row of organ-pipes, and have
suggested the name by which the chain is known. They consist of vertical
beds isolated from the general mass in consequence of the disappearance
of contiguous strata. The aspect of these mountains from Rio is much the
same as from Theresopolis, only that from the two points of view—one
being to the northeast, the other to the southwest of the range—their
summits present themselves in the reverse order. When seen in complete
profile their slender appearance is most striking. Viewed from the side,
the broad surfaces of the strata, though equally steep, exhibit a
triangular form rather than that of vertical columns. It is strange that
the height of the Organ Mountain peaks, so conspicuous a feature in the
landscape of Rio de Janeiro, should not have been accurately measured.
The only precise indication I have been able to find is recorded by
Liais, who gives 7,000 feet as the maximum height observed by him.

“These abrupt peaks frequently surround closed basins, very symmetrical
in shape, but without any outlet. On account of this singular formation,
the glacial phenomena which abound in the Organ Mountains are of a
peculiar character. At first, I was at a loss to explain how loose
masses of rock, descending from the heights above, should be caught on
the edges of these basins, instead of rolling to the bottom. But their
position becomes quite natural when we remember that the ice must have
remained in these depressions long after it had disappeared, or nearly
disappeared, from the slopes above. Hindered from advancing, these huge
masses of rock have become gradually embedded in the soil, and are now
solidly fixed in positions which would be perfectly inexplicable, unless
we suppose the basin to have been formerly filled with something which
offered an obstacle to their farther descent. Moraines also abut upon
these depressions, coming to an abrupt close upon their margin. Morainic
soil—that is, masses of drift with all sorts of loose materials buried
in it—abounds everywhere in this region; but, on the whole, the glacial
phenomena are difficult to study, because the heavy growth of forest has
covered all inequalities of the soil, and, except where sections have
been made or ground has been cleared, the outlines are lost.”

This was our final excursion in Brazil. The next morning we returned to
the city; and the few remaining days were spent in preparations for
departure, and in bidding farewell to the friends who had made Rio de
Janeiro almost like a home to us. Among the pleasant incidents of this
last week, was a breakfast given by Mr. Ledgerwood, who was then
conducting the business of the American legation in the temporary
absence of our Minister, General Webb. This occasion, at which Mr.
Agassiz was invited to meet several members of the Brazilian
administration, gave him an opportunity of expressing his sense of their
uniform kindness and consideration in furthering to the utmost the
scientific objects which had brought him to Brazil. On the following day
(the 2d of July), we sailed for the United States, carrying with us to
our northern home a store of pleasant memories and vivid pictures to
enrich our life hereafter with tropical warmth and color.

                              CHAPTER XVI.


I cannot close this book, written for the most part by another hand,
without a few words as to my general impressions of Brazil. No one will
expect from me an essay on the social and political aspects of the whole
country, even had I remained there long enough to acquire the right of
judgment on these matters. I am so unaccustomed to dealing with them
that my opinions would be entitled to little weight. There is, however,
another point of view, more general, but perhaps more comprehensive
also, from which every intelligent man may form an estimate of the
character of a people which, if sincere, will be in the main sound and
just, without including an intimate knowledge of their institutions, or
the practical working of their laws. My scientific life has brought me
into relations with a world wholly unknown to me before; under
conditions more favorable than were possible for my predecessors in the
same region, I have studied this tropical nature, so rich, so grandiose,
so instructive; I have seen a great Empire founded in the midst of
unlimited material resources, and advancing to higher civilization under
the inspiration of a sovereign as enlightened as he is humane. I must
have been blind to everything except my science, had I not a word to say
of Brazil as a nation,—of her present condition and her future

There is much that is discouraging in the aspect of Brazil, even for
those who hope and believe as I do, that she has before her an honorable
and powerful career. There is much also that is very cheering, that
leads me to believe that her life as a nation will not belie her great
gifts as a country. Should her moral and intellectual endowments grow
into harmony with her wonderful natural beauty and wealth, the world
will not have seen a fairer land. At present there are several obstacles
to this progress; obstacles which act like a moral disease upon the
people. Slavery still exists among them. It is true that it is on the
wane; true that it has received a mortal blow; but the natural death of
slavery is a lingering illness, wasting and destroying the body it has
attacked. Next to this I would name, among the influences unfavorable to
progress, the character of the clergy. In saying this I disclaim any
reference to the national religion. It is of the character of the clergy
I speak, not of the church they represent. Whatever be the church
organization in a country where instruction is still so intimately
linked with a state religion as it is in Brazil, it is of infinite
importance that the clergy themselves should not only be men of high
moral character, but of studious, thoughtful lives. They are the
teachers of the people, and as long as they believe that the mind can be
fed with tawdry street processions, with lighted candles, and cheap
bouquets; and as long as the people accept this kind of instruction,
they will be debased and enfeebled by it. Shows of this kind are of
almost daily occurrence in all the large cities of Brazil. They
interfere with the ordinary occupations, and make working days the
exception rather than the rule. It must be remembered that in Brazil
there is no laborious, cultivated class of priests, such as have been an
honor to ecclesiastical literature in the Old World; there are no fine
institutions of learning connected with the Church. As a general thing,
the ignorance of the clergy is universal, their immorality patent, their
influence very extensive and deep-rooted. There are honorable
exceptions, but they are not numerous enough to elevate the class to
which they belong. But if their private life is open to blame, the
Brazilian priests are distinguished for their patriotism. At all times
they have occupied high public stations, serving in the Legislative
Assembly, in the Senate, and even nearer to the throne; yet their power
has never been exerted in favor of Ultramontane tendencies. Independent
religious thought seems, however, rare in Brazil. There may perhaps be
scepticism; but I think this is not likely to be extensively the case,
for the Brazilians are instinctively a believing people, tending rather
to superstition than to doubt. Oppression in matters of faith is
contrary to the spirit of their institutions. Protestant clergymen are
allowed to preach freely; but, as a general thing, Protestantism does
not attract the Southern nations, and it may be doubted whether its
advocates will have a very wide-spread success. However this may be,
every friend to Brazil must wish to see its present priesthood replaced
by a more vigorous, intelligent, and laborious clergy.

In order to form a just estimate of the present condition of education
in Brazil, and its future prospects, we must not consider it altogether
from our own stand-point. The truth is that all steady progress in
Brazil dates from her declaration of independence, and that is a very
recent fact in her history. Since she has passed from colonial to
national life her relations with other countries have enlarged,
antiquated prejudices have been effaced, and with a more intense
individual existence she has assumed also a more cosmopolitan breadth of
ideas. But a political revolution is more rapidly accomplished than the
remoulding of the nation which is its result,—its consequence rather
than its accompaniment. Even now, after half a century of independent
existence, intellectual progress in Brazil is manifested rather as a
tendency, a desire, so to speak, giving a progressive movement to
society, than as a positive fact. The intellectual life of a nation when
fully developed has its material existence in large and various
institutions of learning, scattered throughout the country. Except in a
very limited and local sense, this is not yet the case in Brazil.

I did not visit San Paolo, and I cannot therefore speak from personal
observation of the Faculty which stands highest in general estimation; I
can, however, testify to the sound learning and liberal culture of many
of its graduates whom it has been my good fortune to know, and whose
characters as gentlemen and as students bear testimony to the superior
instruction they have received at the hands of their Alma Mater. I was
told that the best schools, after those of San Paolo, were those of
Bahia and Pernambuco. I did not visit them, as my time was too short;
but I should think that the presence of the professional faculties
established in both these cities would tend to raise the character of
the lower grades of education. The regular faculties embrace only
medical and legal studies. The instruction in both is thorough, though
perhaps limited; at least I felt that, in the former, in which my own
studies have prepared me to judge, those accessory branches which, after
all, lie at the foundation of a superior medical education, are either
wanting or are taught very imperfectly. Neither zoölogy, comparative
anatomy, botany, physics, nor chemistry is allowed sufficient weight in
the medical schools. The education is one rather of books than of facts.
Indeed, as long as the prejudice against manual labor of all kinds
exists in Brazil, practical instruction will be deficient; as long as
students of nature think it unbecoming a gentleman to handle his own
specimens, to carry his own geological hammer, to make his own
scientific preparations, he will remain a mere dilettante in
investigation. He may be very familiar with recorded facts, but he will
make no original researches. On this account, and on account of their
personal indolence, field studies are foreign to Brazilian habits.
Surrounded as they are by a nature rich beyond comparison, their
naturalists are theoretical rather than practical. They know more of the
bibliography of foreign science than of the wonderful fauna and flora
with which they are surrounded.

Of the schools and colleges in Rio de Janeiro I have more right to judge
than of those above mentioned. Several of them are excellent. The Ecole
Centrale deserves a special notice. It corresponds to what we call a
scientific school, and nowhere in Brazil have I seen an educational
institution where improved methods of teaching were so highly
appreciated and so generally adopted. The courses of mathematics,
chemistry, physics, and the natural sciences are comprehensive and
thorough. And yet even in this institution I was struck with the
scantiness of means for practical illustration and experiment; its
professors do not yet seem to understand that it is impossible to teach
any of the physical sciences wholly or mainly from text-books. The
facilities granted to pupils in this school, and perhaps still more in
the military school, are very great. The instruction is entirely
gratuitous, and in the military school the students are not only fed and
clothed, etc.; they are even paid for their attendance, being considered
as belonging to the army from the time they enter the school.

The Dom Pedro Segundo College is the best school of that class I have
seen in Brazil. It may be compared to our New England high schools, and
fully deserves the reputation it enjoys.

Of the common schools I saw little. Of course, in a country where the
population is sparsely scattered over very extensive districts, it must
be difficult to gather the children in schools, outside of the large
cities. Where such schools have been organized the instruction is
gratuitous; but competent teachers are few, the education very limited,
and the means of instruction scanty. Reading, writing, and ciphering,
with the least possible smattering of geography, form the groundwork of
all these schools. The teachers labor under great difficulties, because
they have not the strong support of the community. There is little
general appreciation of the importance of education as the basis without
which all higher civilization is impossible. I have, however, noticed
throughout Brazil a disposition to give a practical education, a
training in some trade, to the poor children. Establishments of this
kind exist in almost all the larger cities. This is a good sign; it
shows that they attach a proper value to labor, at least for the lower
classes, and aim at raising a working population. In these schools
blacks and whites are, so to speak, industrially united. Indeed, there
is no antipathy of race to be overcome in Brazil, either among the
laboring people or in the higher walks of life. I was pleased to see
pupils, without distinction of race or color, mingling in the exercises.

It is surprising that, in a country so rich in mineral wealth, there
should exist no special Mining School, and that everything connected
with the working of the mines should be under the immediate supervision
of the Minister of Public Works, without the assistance of a special
office for the superintendence of mining operations. Nothing would more
speedily increase the value of the mineral lands of the whole country
than a regular geological survey, which has not yet been begun.[107]

The Imperial Library at Rio de Janeiro should not be omitted from an
enumeration of its educational establishments. It is very fairly
supplied with books in all departments of learning, and is conducted in
a very liberal spirit, suffering no limitation from religious or
political prejudice. In fact, tolerance and benevolence are common
characteristics of the institutions of learning in Brazil. The Imperial
Museum of Natural History in the Capital is antiquated; to any one
acquainted with Museums which are living and progressive, it is evident
that the collections it contains have been allowed to remain for years
in their present condition, without additions or improvements. The
mounted animals, mammalia and birds, are faded; and the fishes, with the
exception of a few beautifully stuffed specimens from the Amazons, give
no idea of the variety to be found in the Brazilian waters. A better
collection might be made any morning in the fish-market. The Museum
contains some very fine fossil remains from the valley of the San
Francisco and from Ceará, but no attempt has as yet been made to arrange

The only learned society deserving a special mention is the Historical
and Geographical Institute. Its Transactions are regularly published,
and form already a series of many volumes, full of valuable documents,
chiefly relative to the history of South America. The meetings are held
in the Imperial Palace of Rio, and are habitually presided over by his
Majesty the Emperor.

I cannot close what I have to say of instruction in Brazil without
adding that, in a country where only half the nation is educated, there
can be no complete intellectual progress. Where the difference of
education makes an intelligent sympathy between men and women almost
impossible, so that their relation is necessarily limited to that of the
domestic affections, never raised except in some very exceptional cases
to that of cultivated companionship, the development of the people as a
whole must remain imperfect and partial. I believe, however, that,
especially in this direction, a rapid reform may be expected. I have
heard so many intelligent Brazilians lament the want of suitable
instruction for women in their schools, that I think the standard of
education for girls will steadily be raised. Remembering the antecedents
of the Brazilians, their inherited notions as to what is becoming in the
privacy and restraint of a woman’s life, we are not justified, however
false these ideas may seem to us, in considering the present generation
as responsible for them; they are also too deeply rooted to be changed
in a day.

On several occasions I have alluded in terms of praise to the working of
the institutions of Brazil. Nothing can be more liberal than the
Constitution of the land; every guaranty is therein secured to the
freest assertion of all the natural rights of man. And yet there are
some features in the habits of the people, probably the results of an
antiquated social condition, which impede the progress of the nation. It
should not be forgotten that the white population of Brazil is chiefly
descended from the Portuguese, and that of all Europe Portugal is the
country which at the time of the discovery and settlement of Brazil, had
least been affected by the growth of our modern civilization. Indeed,
the great migrations which convulsed Europe in the Middle Ages, and the
Reformation, upon which the new social order chiefly rests, have
scarcely affected Portugal; so that Roman ways, Roman architecture, and
a degenerate Latin were still flourishing when her Transatlantic
colonies were founded; and, as in all colonies, the conditions of the
mother country were but slowly modified. No wonder, therefore, that the
older structures of Rio de Janeiro should recall, in the most surprising
manner, the architecture of ancient Rome, as disclosed by the
excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii, and that the social condition of
Brazil should remind us of the habits of a people among whom women
played so subordinate a part. It seems to me that even now the
administration of the provinces, as in the Roman civilization, is
calculated to enforce the law, rather than to develop the material
resources of the country. I have been surprised to find young lawyers
almost invariably at the head of the administration of the provinces,
where practical men, conversant with the interests of agriculture,
commerce, and the mechanical arts, would, in my opinion, have been
better adapted to the pressing duty of stimulating all pursuits
connected with the active life of a young and aspiring nation.

The exaggerated appreciation of political employment prevailing
everywhere is a misfortune. It throws into the shade all other
occupations, and loads the government with a crowd of paid officials who
uselessly encumber the public service and are a drain upon the public
funds. Every man who has received an education seeks a political career,
as at once the most aristocratic and the easiest way of gaining a
livelihood. It is but recently that gentlemen have begun to engage in
mercantile pursuits.

It seems to me, that, though the character and habits of the Brazilians
are not those of an agricultural people, Brazil is an essentially
agricultural country, and some occurrences in her recent history confirm
this view. Brazil had formerly a great variety of agricultural products,
but now the number of plants under culture is rather limited.
Agricultural operations are at present centred upon coffee, cotton,
sugar, tobacco, mandioca, some cereals, beans, and cocoa. Owing to her
climate and her geographical position, the vegetable zones of Brazil are
not so marked as those of other countries. It would not be difficult to
divide the whole Empire, with reference to its productions, into three
great regions. The first of these, stretching from the borders of Guiana
to Bahia, along the great rivers, is more especially characterized by
the wild products of the forest: Indian-rubber, cocoa, vanilla,
sarsaparilla, and an infinite variety of gums, resins, barks, and
textile fibres still unknown to commerce in Europe and the United
States. To these Brazil might add spices, the monopoly of which belongs
now to the Sunda Islands. The second region, extending from Bahia to
Santa Catarina, is that of coffee. The third, from Santa Catarina to Rio
Grande, and in the interior of the high plateaux, is that of the grains;
and, in connection with their culture, the raising of cattle. Rice,
which is easily grown throughout Brazil, and cotton, which yields
magnificent crops in all the provinces, bind together these three zones,
sugar and tobacco following in their train. An important step with
reference to agriculture, which has scarcely been thought of as yet, is
the cultivation of the heights of the Organ Mountains, as well as those
of the Serra do Mar and the Serra do Mantiqueira. On these high lands
might be raised all the products characteristic of the warmer portions
of the temperate zones, and Rio de Janeiro would receive daily from the
mountains in her immediate neighborhood all those vegetables and garden
fruits which she now procures in small quantities and at high prices
from the provinces bordering on the La Plata. The slopes of these Serras
might also be covered with plantations of cascarilla, and, as the
production of quinine must sooner or later be greatly diminished by the
devastation of the Cinchora-trees on the upper Amazonian tributaries, it
is the more important that their culture should be introduced upon the
largest scale on the heights above Rio. The attempts of Mr. Glaziou in
that direction deserve every encouragement.

The sugar-cane has long been the chief object of cultivation in Brazil,
and the production of sugar is still considerable; but within several
years the planting of sugar-cane has given way in many districts to that
of coffee. I have taken pains to ascertain the facts respecting the
culture of coffee during the last fifty years; the immense development
of this branch of industry and the rapidity of the movement, especially
in a country where labor is so scarce, is among the most striking
economical phenomena of our century. Thanks to their perseverance and to
the favorable conditions presented by the constitution of their soil,
the Brazilians have obtained a sort of monopoly of coffee. More than
half the coffee consumed in the world is of Brazilian growth. And yet
the coffee of Brazil has little reputation, and is even greatly
underrated. Why is this? Simply because a great deal of the best produce
of Brazilian plantations is sold under the name of Java or Mocha, or as
the coffee of Martinique or Bourbon. Martinique produces only six
hundred sacks of coffee annually; Guadaloupe, whose coffee is sold under
the name of the neighboring island, yields six thousand sacks, not
enough to provide the market of Rio de Janeiro for twenty-four hours,
and the island of Bourbon hardly more. A great part of the coffee which
is bought under these names, or under that of Java coffee, is Brazilian,
while the so-called Mocha coffee is often nothing but the small round
beans of the Brazilian plant found at the summits of the branches and
very carefully selected. If the fazendeiros, like the Java planters,
sold their crops under a special mark, the great purchasers would learn
with what merchandise they have to deal, and the agriculture of Brazil
would be greatly benefited. But there intervenes between the fazendeiro
and the exporter a class of merchants—half bankers, half brokers—known
as commissarios, who, by mixing different harvests, lower the standard
of the crop, thus relieving the producer of all responsibility and
depriving the product of its true characteristics.

If the provinces adjacent to Rio de Janeiro offer naturally the most
favorable soil for the culture of coffee, it must not be forgotten that
coffee is planted with advantage in the shade of the Amazonian forest,
and even yields two annual crops wherever pains are taken to plant it.
In the province of Ceará, where the coffee is of a superior quality, it
is not planted on the plains, or in the low grounds, or in the shadow of
the forest, as in the valley of the Amazons, but on the slopes of the
hills and on the mountain heights, to an elevation of from fifteen
hundred to two thousand feet and more above the level of the sea, in the
Serras of Aratanha and Baturité and in the Serra Grande. The channels
opened to these products should augment their importance, and should
give rise to numerous establishments in the valley of the Amazons.

The increased exportation of cotton from Brazil during the last few
years is a still more marked feature in its industrial history than the
large coffee crops. When, towards the close of the last century, cotton
began to assume in England an importance which has ever since been
increasing, Brazil naturally became one of the great providers of the
English market. But it soon lost this advantage, because our Southern
States acquired, with an extraordinary rapidity, an almost complete
monopoly of this product. Favored by exceptional circumstances, North
America succeeded, about the year 1846, in furnishing cotton at such low
rates that all competition became impossible, and the culture of cotton
was almost abandoned in other countries. Brazil, however, persisted. Her
annual production showed a slow but steady progress; even the cessation
of the slave-trade did not interrupt this advance. Indeed, it is a
striking fact, which may well be mentioned in this connection, that the
statistics of Brazilian agriculture have been steadily rising ever since
the abolition of the slave-trade. When the Rebellion broke out in our
Southern States, Brazil thus found herself prepared to give a
considerable impulse to the cultivation of a product as much sought for
as bread in time of famine. Spite of the want of population, which is an
obstacle to all industrial enterprises in Brazil, she found labor, and,
what was still more important, free labor, for this object. It seemed as
if it were a point of national honor to show what could be done.
Provinces like San Paolo, where a foot of ground had never before been
planted with cotton; others, as for instance Alagoas, Parahyba do Norte,
Ceará, where the cultivation of cotton had been abandoned, produced
extraordinary quantities,—so large, indeed, that two lines of steamers
were established, and have prospered, between Liverpool and the
above-mentioned ports, chiefly for the transport of this crop. It will
be remembered that during the whole of this time Brazil was in want of
laborers, that she received no foreign capital for this undertaking,
that she imported neither Coolies nor Chinese, that almost immediately
after the movement began her war with Paraguay broke out, and yet her
production of cotton has quadrupled and quintupled. This fact assumed
such importance in the estimate of industrial interests at the late
Paris Exposition, that an exceptional prize was awarded to Brazil, on
the ground that, in supplying the European market so largely with this
indispensable staple, she had rendered it independent of the former
monopoly of the United States. It is true that the same prize was also
granted to Algeria and to Egypt. But the Brazilian planter had not, like
the colonists of Africa, the stimulus of a large subsidy from
government; he could not, like the Viceroy of Egypt, seize 80,000 men in
a single district and transport them to his plantations; neither did he,
like the Egyptian fellah, abandon all other branches of agriculture in
order to devote himself exclusively to that of cotton. In fact, the
general interests of agriculture prospered in Brazil, in the midst of
this new enterprise.

I have insisted on these facts, which I think are little known, because
they seem to me to show a greater energy and vitality than is usually
supposed to exist in the productive forces of Brazil. To stimulate this
movement, the government has recently taken the initiatory steps in the
organization of an Agricultural School in the vicinity of Bahia, in
which all the modern improvements suggested by the progress of science
and invention, are to be tested in their application to the natural
products of the tropics.

The importance of the basin of the Amazons to Brazil, from an industrial
point of view, can hardly be overestimated. Its woods alone have an
almost priceless value. Nowhere in the world is there finer timber,
either for solid construction or for works of ornament; and yet it is
scarcely used even for the local buildings, and makes no part whatever
of the exports. It is strange that the development of this branch of
industry should not even have begun in Brazil, for the rivers which flow
past these magnificent forests seem meant to serve, first as a
water-power for the saw-mills which ought to be established along their
borders, and then as a means of transportation for the material so
provided. Setting aside the woods as timber, what shall I say of the
mass of fruits, resins, oils, coloring matters, textile fibres, which
they yield? When I stopped at Pará, on my way home to the United States,
an exhibition of Amazonian products, brought together in preparation for
the World’s Fair at Paris, was still open. Much as I had admired, during
my journey, the richness and variety of the materials native to the
soil, I was amazed when I saw them thus side by side. There I noticed,
among others, a collection of no less than one hundred and seventeen
different kinds of highly valuable woods, cut from a piece of land less
than half a mile square. Of these many were dark-colored, veined woods
susceptible of a high polish,—as beautiful as rosewood or ebony. There
was a great variety of vegetable oils, all remarkable for their
clearness and purity. There were a number of fabrics made from the
fibres of the palm, and an endless variety of fruits. An empire might
esteem itself rich in any one of the sources of industry which abound in
this valley, and yet the greater part of its vast growth rots on the
ground, and goes to form a little more river-mud or to stain the waters
on the shores of which its manifold products die and decompose. But what
surprised me most was to find that a great part of this region was
favorable to the raising of cattle. Fine sheep are fed on the grassy
plains and on the hills which stretch between Obydos and Almeyrim, and I
have rarely eaten better mutton than at Ereré, in the midst of these
serras. And yet the inhabitants of this fertile region suffer from
hunger. The insufficiency of food is evident; but it arises solely from
the inability of the people to avail themselves of the natural
productions of the soil. As an instance of this, I may mention that,
though living on the banks of rivers which abound in delicious fish,
they make large use of salt cod, imported from other countries!

While travelling upon the Amazons, I have often asked myself what would
be the best plan for developing the natural resources of that
incomparable region. No doubt the opening of the great river to the
commerce of all nations was a first step in the right direction; and
this measure in itself shows what extraordinary progress Brazil is
making, for it is hardly more than half a century, since, owing to the
narrow policy and jealous disposition of the Portuguese government, the
greatest traveller of modern times was forbidden to enter the valley of
the Amazons; while to-day a scientific errand of a similar character is
welcomed and fostered in every possible way by the government of a
nation now independent of Europe. But a free competition is a necessary
complement to the freedom already granted, and competition is scarcely
possible where monopolies are kept up. I hold, therefore, that all the
exceptional facilities granted by the Brazilian government to private
companies are detrimental to its best interests. There is, however,
another direct obstacle to progress which ought at once to be removed,
since the change could in no way injure the general welfare. The present
limitation of the provinces of Pará and of the Amazons is entirely
unnatural. The whole valley is cut in two transversely, so that its
lower half is of necessity a bar to the independent growth of the upper
half. Pará, being made the centre of everything, drains the whole
country without vitalizing the interior. The great river which should be
an international highway has become an inland stream. But suppose for a
moment that the Amazons, like our Mississippi, were made the boundary
between a succession of independent provinces on either side of it;
suppose that on the southern banks of the Amazons the province of Teffé
should extend from the borders of Peru to the banks of the Madeira, the
province of Santarem from the Madeira to the Xingu, and that of Pará be
reduced to the country east of the Xingu, including the Island of
Marajo; each of these separate provinces would then be at once bounded
and traversed by great streams, securing the double activity of
competition and the stimulus of internal conveniences. In like manner
should the lands on the northern banks of the Amazons form several
independent provinces; that of Monte Alégre, for instance, extending
from the Rio Trombetas to the sea; that of Manaos, from the Rio
Trombetas to the Rio Negro; and perhaps that of the Hyapura, enclosing
the present wilderness between the Rio Negro and the Solimoens. It will,
no doubt, be objected that such a change would involve an administrative
staff quite disproportionate to the present population; but the
government of such provinces, even with the few inhabitants they might
number, if organized upon the plan of the territorial governments of our
infant States, would only stimulate local energies, and develop local
resources, without interfering in the least with the central government.
Moreover, any one familiar with the working of the present system in the
valley of the Amazons must be aware that all the cities started during
the past century along the great river and its tributaries, far from
progressing, are going to ruin and decay; and this is unquestionably
owing to the centralization at Pará of all the real activity of the
whole country.

Without a much denser population, the best efforts of Brazil to increase
its prosperity must be slow and ineffective. No wonder, then, that,
immediately after the declaration of independence, Dom Pedro I.
attempted to attract German emigrants to his new empire. From that
period dates the Colony of San Leopoldo, near Porto Alégre, on the Rio
Grande do Sul. It was not, however, till the year 1850, when the
slave-trade was actually abolished, and it was no longer possible to
import labor from Africa, that these colonization schemes assumed a more
definite and settled character. In this attempt the planters and the
government were agreed, but with a different object. The plan of the
government, undertaken in perfect good faith, was to create a laboring
population, and a class of small landed proprietors. The planters, on
the contrary, accustomed to compulsory labor, thought only of recruiting
their slave ranks by substituting Europeans for Africans. This led to
terrible abuses; under pretence of advancing their passage-money, poor
emigrants, and especially the ignorant Portuguese from the Azores, were
virtually sold under a contract which they subsequently found it very
difficult to break. These abuses have thrown discredit upon the attempts
of the Brazilian government to colonize the interior, but the iniquities
practised under the name of emigration are now corrected. In fact, the
colonies established directly by the government, on public lands, have
never suffered wrong; on the contrary, the German settlements in Sta
Catherina, on the Rio Grande do Sul and on the San Francisco do Sul are
very prosperous. The best evidence of the improvement in the condition
of the colonists, and of the more liberal spirit of the nation towards
them, is the spontaneous formation in Rio de Janeiro of an international
society of emigration independent of all government influence,
consisting of Brazilians, Portuguese, Germans, Swiss, Americans, French,
&c. The objects of this society, of which Mr. Tavares Bastos is one of
the most influential members, are, first, to reform the constitution in
all which may place the foreigner at a disadvantage; second, to redress
the wrongs of the emigrants; third, to provide them with such assistance
and information as they may need on arriving. This society has been in
existence only two years, but has already rendered valuable services. It
is to be hoped that the government will persevere in the liberal course
it has entered upon, and, above all, put an end to the unnecessary legal
formalities by which the emigrant is prevented from taking immediate
possession of his new home. This is especially important in the region
of the Amazons, where the new-comer finds none of those facilities which
welcome the emigrant in the United States. I cannot too often repeat,
also, that all monopoly of transport in the Amazons should speedily be
abolished. As soon as the wild products of its shores are subjected to a
regular culture, even of a very imperfect kind, and are no longer
gathered at random,—as soon as organized labor, directed by an
intelligent activity, takes the place of the thoughtless and uncertain
efforts of the Indians, the variety and excellence of its staples will
be increased beyond all expectation. As it is, a little foresight would
prevent an immense deal of suffering in this fertile region, where food
abounds and people die of hunger. Accustomed to live upon fish, the
natives make little use either of milk or meat, and the fine pasturage
which might maintain herds of cattle is allowed to run to waste.
Careless of the inclemency of the weather when gathering the harvest of
the forest, they scarcely build a shelter against the heavy rains, allow
their wet clothes to dry upon their skin, and expose themselves to
constant alternations of heat and cold. Add to this, that they do not
hesitate to drink stagnant water, if it be nearer at hand than spring
water, and we have causes enough for the prevalence of intermittent
fever and malarious diseases, without attributing them to a climate
which is in the main salubrious, and far more moderate in temperature
than is generally supposed. The false notions generally current, even in
Brazil, in regard to the climate of the Amazons might have been removed
long ago, were the public officers of the northern provinces of the
Empire not interested in keeping up the delusion. The Amazonian
provinces are made stepping-stones to higher employments. The young
candidates who accept these posts claim a reward for the
disinterestedness they have shown in exposing themselves to disease, and
make the reputed fatality of the climate an excuse for leaving these
remote stations after a few months’ sojourn. The northern provinces of
Brazil need an administration less liable to change, and based upon
patient study of their local interests, and a faithful adherence to
them. It is impossible that the president who comes for six months, and
is daily longing for his return to the society and amusements of the
larger cities, should even initiate, far less complete, any systematic
improvements. Like every country struggling for recognition among the
self-reliant nations of the world, Brazil has to contend with the
prejudiced reports of a floating foreign population, indifferent to the
welfare of the land they temporarily inhabit, and whose appreciations
are mainly influenced by private interest. It is much to be regretted
that the government has not thought it worth while to take decided
measures to correct the erroneous impressions current abroad concerning
its administration, and that its diplomatic agents do so little to
circulate truthful and authoritative statements of their domestic
concerns. As far as I know, the recent World’s Fair at Paris was the
first occasion when an attempt was made to present a comprehensive
report of the resources of the Empire, and the prizes awarded to the
Brazilians testify to their success.

Imperfect as is this sketch, I trust I have been able to show, what I
deeply feel, that there are elements of a high progress in Brazil, that
it has institutions which are shaping the country to worthy ends, that
it has a nationality already active, showing its power at the present
moment in carrying on one of the most important wars ever undertaken in
South America. Neither is this struggle maintained by Brazil for selfish
ends; in her conflict with Paraguay she may truly be counted among the
standard-bearers of civilization. The facts which have come to my
knowledge respecting this war have convinced me that it originated in
honorable purposes, and, setting aside the selfish intrigues of
individuals, inevitably connected with such movements, is carried on
with disinterestedness. It deserves the sympathy of the civilized world,
for it strikes at a tyrannical organization, half clerical, half
military, which, calling itself a republic, disgraces the name it

                  *       *       *       *       *

Will my Brazilian friends who read this summary say that I have given
but grudging praise to their public institutions, accompanied by an
unkind criticism of their social condition? I hope not. I should do
myself great wrong did I give the impression that I part from Brazil
with any feeling but that of warm sympathy, a deep-rooted belief in her
future progress and prosperity, and sincere personal gratitude toward
her. I recognize in the Brazilians as a nation their susceptibility to
lofty impulses and emotions, their love of theoretical liberty, their
natural generosity, their aptness to learn, their ready eloquence; if
also I miss among them something of the stronger and more persistent
qualities of the Northern races, I do but recall a distinction which is
as ancient as the tropical and temperate zones themselves.


Footnote 107:

  I deeply regret that I could not visit the mining districts of Brazil.
  Especially would I have liked to examine for myself the Cascalho, in
  which the diamonds are found. From collections which I owe to the
  kindness of Dr. Vieira de Mattos in Rio de Janeiro, and Senhor Antonio
  de Lacerda in Bahia, I am prepared to find that the whole
  diamond-bearing formation is glacial drift. I do not mean the rocks in
  which the diamonds occur in their primary position, but the secondary
  agglomerations of loose materials from which they are washed.


                          I.—THE GULF STREAM.

As the results of the systematic investigation of the Gulf Stream upon a
plan laid out by Dr. A. D. Bache, and executed, under his direction, by
his most able assistants, have hardly yet been presented in a popular
form, a sketch of the whole may not be out of place here. This
investigation embraced not only surface-phenomena, but the whole
internal structure and movement of this wonderful current. It is well
known that the Gulf Stream has its origin in the equatorial current
which, starting from the Gulf of Guinea, flows for a time in a westerly
direction, till it approaches Cape St. Roque. This great projection of
the eastern coast of South America interrupts its onward progress, and
causes it to divide into two branches, one of which follows the coast of
Brazil, in a southerly direction, while the other continues its course
to the northwest, until it reaches the Caribbean Sea. After pouring into
that basin, the great stream turns to the east to enter the Atlantic
again off Cape Florida. The high temperature of the equatorial current
is owing to its origin in the tropical zone, its westward course being
determined by the rotation of the earth and by the trade-winds. On
issuing from the Gulf of Mexico the stream is encased between the island
of Cuba and the Bahamas on one side and the coast of Florida on the
other. Here it meets the Atlantic in a latitude where the ocean-waters
have no longer the high temperature of the tropics, whereas the stream
itself has acquired an increased warmth on the shoals of the Gulf. This
accounts for the great difference of temperature between the waters of
the stream and those of the ocean to the east of it; while the still
greater cold of the sea-water on its western side, between the Gulf
Stream and the continental shore, is explained by the great Arctic
current, pouring down from Baffin’s Bay, and skirting the shore of North
America as far as the Coast of Florida, until it is lost in that
latitude under the Gulf Stream. The object of Dr. Bache’s investigation
was to trace the mutual relations of these two great currents of warm
and cold water, flowing side by side in opposite directions, and to
discover the conditions which regulate their movements and keep them
within definite limits.

The investigation is even now by no means complete, though it has been
going on for many years. It has, however, been ascertained that, while
the ocean-bed deepens more or less rapidly as we recede from the shore,
forming a trough in which the Gulf Stream flows, this trough is limited
on its eastern side by a range of hills trending in the direction of the
current, outside of which is another depression or valley. Indeed, the
sea-bottom exhibits parallel ridges and depressions, running like the
shore of the continent itself, in a northeasterly direction. The water
presents differences of temperature, not only on the surface, but at
various depths below. These inequalities have been determined by a
succession of thermometric observations along several lines, crossing
the Gulf Stream from the shore to the ocean water on its eastern side,
at intervals of about a hundred miles. The observations have been made
first at the surface, and then at successively greater depths, varying
from ten to twenty, thirty, one hundred, two hundred, and even three and
four hundred fathoms. This survey has shown that, while the Gulf Stream
has a temperature higher than that of the waters on either side, it is
also alternately warmer and colder within itself, being made up as it
were of distinct streaks of water of different temperature. These
alternations continue to as great a depth as the observations have been
carried, and are found to extend even to the very bottom of the sea,
where this has been reached. The most surprising part of this result is
the abruptness of the change along the line where the two great currents
touch each other. So sharp is this division that the boundary of the
Arctic current is now technically designated as the “Cold wall” of the
Gulf Stream. Of course as the latter flows northward and eastward it
gradually widens, and its temperature is lowered; but even as far north
as Sandy Hook the difference between its temperature at the surface and
that of the surrounding waters is still marked.

Off Cape Florida the width of the Gulf Stream is not over forty miles;
off Charleston it is one hundred and fifty miles; while at Sandy Hook it
exceeds three hundred miles.

The inequality of the bottom may be appreciated by the soundings off
Charleston, where, from the shore to a distance of two hundred miles,
the following depth was successively measured: 10, 25, 100, 250, 300,
600, 350, 550, 450, 475, 450, and 400 fathoms.

The following table may give some idea of the temperature of the stream
in connection with its depth:—

 Off Sandy Hook, at successive distances from the coast, of

    100,    150,    200,    250,    300,    350,     and     400 miles,

 the temperature near the surface to a depth of thirty fathoms averages:

            65°,    66°,    64°,    81°,    80°,     and     75° Fahr.;

 at a depth of between forty and a hundred fathoms it averages:

    50°,    52°,    50°,    47°,    72°,    68°,     and     65° Fahr.;

 at a depth below three hundred fathoms it averages:

    37°,    39°,    40°,    37°,    55°,    57°,     and     55° Fahr.

The rapid rise of the temperature after the fourth column of figures
indicates the position of the Cold wall.

For further details see the United States Coast Survey Report for 1860,
page 165, and the accompanying maps,—which should be copied into all our
school atlases.


The motions of animals vary greatly with reference to the medium in
which they live. Our present knowledge renders it, however, necessary
that we should weigh these differences with reference to the structural
character of the organs of locomotion themselves, as well as to that of
the peculiar resistance of the element in which they move. When we speak
of the flight of Birds, of Insects, of Fishes, of Bats, &c., and
designate their locomotive organs indiscriminately as wings, it is
evident that the character of the motion and not the special structure
of the organs has determined our nomenclature. We are influenced by the
same consideration when we give the name of fins to the organs of all
animals which swim in the water, be they Whales, Turtles, Fishes,
Crustacea, or Mollusks. It requires but a superficial acquaintance with
the anatomy of the flying-fishes to perceive that their organs of flight
are built upon exactly the same pattern as the pectoral fins of most
fishes, and differ entirely from the wing of birds, as also from the
wing of bats, the latter being in all essentials a paw, identical with
the paw of ordinary quadrupeds, save the length of the fingers and the
absence of nails on the longest of them. No wonder, then, that the
flight of the flying-fishes should entirely differ from that of birds or

I have had frequent occasions to observe the flying-fishes attentively.
I am confident not only that they change the direction of their flight,
but that they raise or lower their line of movement repeatedly, without
returning to the water. I avoid the word falling designedly, for all the
acts of these fishes during their flight seem to me completely
voluntary. They raise themselves from the surface of the water by
rapidly repeated blows with the tail, and more than once have I seen
them descend again to the surface of the water in order to repeat this
movement; thus renewing the impulse and enabling themselves to continue
for a longer time their passage through the air. Their changes of
direction, either to the right and left or in rising and descending, are
not due to the beating of the wings, that is to say, of the great
pectoral fins, but simply to an inflexion of the whole surface, in one
or the other direction, by the contraction of the muscles controlling
the action of the fin-rays, their pressure against the air determining
the movement. The flying-fish is in fact a living shuttlecock, capable
of directing its own course by the bending of its large fins. It
probably maintains itself in the air until the necessity of breathing
compels it to return to the water. The motive of its flight seems to me
to be fear; for it is always in the immediate neighborhood and in front
of the vessel that they are seen to rise; or perhaps at a distance when
they are pursued by some large fish. Now that I have studied their
movements, I am better able to appreciate the peculiarities of their
structure, especially the inequality of the caudal fin. It is perfectly
clear that the greater length of the lower lobe of the caudal is
intended to facilitate the movements by which the whole body is thrown
out of water and carried through the air; while the amplitude of the
pectoral fins affords only a support during the passage through the
lighter medium. Nothing shows more plainly the freedom of their
movements than the fact that, when the surface of the sea is swelling
into billows, the flying-fishes may hug its inequalities very closely
and do not move in a regular curve, first ascending from and then
descending again to the level of the water. Nor do they appear to fall
into their natural element, as if the power that had impelled them was
exhausted; they seem rather to dive voluntarily into the water,
sometimes after a very short and sometimes after a rather protracted
flight, during which they may change their direction, as well as the
height at which they move.

The most common flying-fishes of the Atlantic belong to the genus
Exocetus, and are closely allied to our Billfish (Belone). J. Müller has
shown that they differ greatly from the Herrings, with which they were
formerly associated, and should form a distinct family, to which he has
given the name of Scomberesoces. The other flying-fishes belong to the
family of the Cottoids, of which our common Sculpins are the chief


_Resolved_, That the cordial thanks of this meeting are due to Professor
Agassiz for the highly interesting and instructive lectures which he has
delivered daily during our voyage, and which, though intended more
immediately to prepare his party for their proposed expedition, have
furnished to all of us a rich repast.

_Resolved_, That the Professor and his companions will carry with them
to their beneficent work the earnest prayers and good wishes of all with
whom they have been associated on board this ship, that health and
abundant success may be vouchsafed to them.

_Resolved_, That in this mission of science from one country convulsed
by war to another not entirely at peace, we behold the humanizing and
pacific influence of its aims and studies, and that we cannot but look
forward to a day when nations engaged in the common pursuits of science
and industry, and bound together by commerce and by enlightened views of
interest and of Christian duty, will refer all questions in dispute to
peaceful arbitrament rather than to one of violence and bloodshed.

_Resolved_, That in the facilities afforded by the government of the
United States to this scientific expedition, in the munificent
contribution of a single citizen of Boston towards its expenses, and in
the generous manner in which the owners of this ship have placed its
unsurpassed comforts and luxuries at the free use of Professor Agassiz
and his party, this meeting beholds a pledge of the profound and growing
interest of our entire people in the advancement of liberal and useful

_Resolved_, That we cannot approach the capital of Brazil for the
purpose of leaving this party, without expressing our admiration for the
personal and political character of him who presides over this vast
Empire, and who may well be held forth to all rulers as a model of
intelligence, of virtue, and devotion to the public weal.

_Resolved_, That we cannot close this part of our voyage without
tendering to Captain Bradbury, and his subordinate officers, our special
thanks, not only for the masterly manner with which their vessel is
handled, but for their unwearied devotion to the comfort of their

                    IV.—DOM PEDRO SEGUNDO RAILROAD.

The part taken by American engineers in this great undertaking induces
me to give here a short account of its history.

The decree conceding to one or more companies the entire or partial
construction of a railway which, commencing in the municipality of Rio
de Janeiro, should terminate in such points in the Provinces of Minas
and St. Paulo as should be most advantageous, was promulgated in 1852. A
company was organized with a capital of thirty-eight thousand Contos of
reis, or nineteen millions of dollars; the general plan being to
construct a trunk line from the city of Rio de Janeiro to the River
Parahyba, a distance of about 67 miles from the coast. A contract was
made with an English engineer, Mr. Edward Price, for the building of the
first section of this road, extending a distance of 38½ miles, from Rio
de Janeiro to Belem. For the construction of the second section, which
embraced the mountain barrier separating the valley of Parahyba from the
sea-coast, and in which the greatest difficulties were therefore to be
encountered, it was proposed by Senhor Christiano B. Ottoni, President
of the road, to employ American engineers, and if possible to engage the
services of men who had actually constructed railways across mountain
ranges in the United States. To this effect, Colonel C. F. M. Garnett
was engaged as chief engineer, and came to Brazil in 1856, accompanied
by Major A. Ellison, as his principal assistant. Colonel Garnett
remained in the country somewhat more than two years, during which time
the portion of the road known as the second section, and extending from
Belem to Parahyba, was laid out and its construction commenced, surveys
being also made of the branches up and down the river, constituting the
third and fourth sections. On Colonel Garnett’s departure, Major Ellison
remained as chief engineer, having his brother, Mr. Wm. S. Ellison,
associated with him in the direction of the road. In July, 1865, at
which time the road was actually completed as far as Barro de Pirahy,
the company being unable to raise funds for the continuation of the
work, it was assumed by the government, as a national undertaking, and
Major Ellison, resigning his position, was succeeded by Mr. Wm. S.
Ellison as chief engineer.

The difficulties of construction throughout the second section were
immense; indeed, there was an almost universal distrust of the
practicability of the work. Even after it was considerably advanced, it
would probably have been abandoned but for the energy of the President,
who shared the confidence of the engineers, and pushed forward the
enterprise almost single-handed, in spite of the incredulity of its
friends and the objections of its opponents. The sharpness of the
mountain spurs rendering it impossible in many cases to pass around
them, tunnels became necessary, and fifteen were actually made, varying
from 300 to more than 7,300 feet in length, forming, in the aggregate,
three miles of subterraneous line. Of those tunnels, three pass through
rock decomposed to such a degree that lining throughout was necessary,
while the rest are pierced, for the greater part, through solid rock,
though requiring the same precaution occasionally. The total length of
lining with masonry is 5,700 feet. In the course of this operation
constant danger and difficulty arose from the breaking in of the rock,
and in one instance the whole mountain spur through which the tunnel had
been driven parted from the main mass and, sliding down, obliterated the
work, so that it was necessary to begin the perforation again,
contending continually against the enormous pressure of the loose
superincumbent _débris_. Were this the fitting place, it would be
interesting to give the history of this enterprise more in detail;
especially that of the work connected with building the great tunnel and
the temporary track which was in use when I first passed over the road.
Suffice it to say, that all that portion of the road which is included
within the second section is a triumph of engineering, which excites the
admiration of the most competent judges, and is in the highest degree
creditable to those under whose direction it has been accomplished.


As my special object of study in the Amazons had reference to the
character and distribution of the fluviatile faunæ, I could not
undertake those more accurate investigations of the human races, based
upon minute measurements repeated a thousand-fold, which characterize
the latest researches of anthropologists. A thorough study of the
different nations and cross-breeds inhabiting the Amazonian Valley would
require years of observation and patient examination. I was forced to be
satisfied with such data as I could gather aside from my other labors,
and to limit myself in my study of the races to what I would call the
natural history method; viz. the comparison of individuals of different
kinds with one another, just as naturalists compare specimens of
different species. This was less difficult in a hot country, where the
uncultivated part of the population go half naked, and are frequently
seen entirely undressed. During a protracted residence in Manaos, Mr.
Hunnewell made a great many characteristic photographs of Indians and
Negroes, and half-breeds between both these races and the Whites. All
these portraits represent the individuals selected in three normal
positions, in full face, in perfect profile, and from behind. I hope
sooner or later to have an opportunity of publishing these
illustrations, as well as those of pure negroes made for me in Rio by
Messrs. Stahl and Wahnschaffe.

What struck me at first view, in seeing Indians and Negroes together,
was the marked difference in the relative proportions of the different
parts of the body. Like long-armed monkeys the Negroes are generally
slender, with long legs, long arms, and a comparatively short body,
while the Indians are short-legged, short-armed, and long-bodied, the
trunk being also rather heavy in build. To continue the comparison, I
may say that if the Negro by his bearing recalls the slender, active
Hylobates, the Indian is more like the slow, inactive, stout Orang. Of
course there are exceptions to this rule; short, thick-built Negroes are
occasionally to be seen, as well as tall, lean Indians; but, so far as
my observation goes, the essential difference between the Indian and
Negro races, taken as a whole, consists in the length and square build
of the trunk and the shortness of limbs in the Indian as compared with
the lean frame, short trunk, deep-cleft legs, and long arms of the

Another feature not less striking, though it does not affect the whole
figure so much, is the short neck and great width of the shoulders in
the Indian. This peculiarity is quite as marked in the female as in the
male, so that, when seen from behind, the Indian woman has a very
masculine air, extending indeed more or less to her whole bearing; for
even her features have rarely the feminine delicacy of higher womanhood.
In the Negro, on the contrary, the narrowness of chest and shoulder
characteristic of woman is almost as marked in the man; indeed, it may
well be said, that, while the Indian female is remarkable for her
masculine build, the Negro male is equally so for his feminine aspect.
Nevertheless, the difference between the sexes in the two races is not
equally marked. The female Indian resembles in every respect much more
the male than is the case with the Negroes; the females among the latter
having generally more delicate features than the males.

On following out the details concomitant with these general differences,
we find that they agree most strikingly. In a front view of an Indian
woman and a Negress the great difference is in the width between the
breasts of the former as compared with their close approximation in the
latter. In the Indian the interval between the two breasts is nearly
equal to the diameter of one of them; while in the Negro they stand in
almost immediate contact. But this is not all; the form of the breast
itself is very different in the two. The Indian woman has a conical
breast, firm and well supported, the point being turned so far sideways
that the breast seems to arise under the arm-pit, the nipple being
actually projected on the arm in a full-faced view of the chest. In the
negress the breast is more cylindrical, looser, and more flaccid, the
nipple being turned forward and downward, so that in a front view it is
projected on the chest. In the Indian the inguinal region is broad and
distinctly set off from the prominence of the abdomen, while in the
Negro it is a mere fold. As to the limbs, they are not only much longer
in proportion in the Negro than the Indian; their form and carriage
differs also. The legs of the Indians are remarkably straight, in the
Negro the knees are bent in, and the hip as well as knee-joint
habitually flexed. Similar differences in other parts of the body are
visible from behind; in the Indians the interval between the two
shoulders, the shoulder-blades being comparatively short in themselves,
is much greater than in any other race. In this respect the women do not
differ from the men, but share in a feature characteristic of the whole
race. This peculiarity is especially noticeable in a profile view of the
figure, in which the broad rounded shoulder marks the outline in the
upper part of the trunk and tapers gradually to a well-shaped arm,
terminating usually in a rather small hand; the little finger is
remarkably short. In the Negro, on the contrary, the shoulder-blades are
long and placed more closely together, the shoulder being rather slim
and narrow, and the hand disproportionately slender, though the fingers
are more extensively webbed than in any other race. In this respect
there is little difference between male and female, the build of the
male being more muscular, but hardly stouter; in both, a profile view
shows the back and breast projected forwards and backwards of the arm.
The proportions between the length and width of the trunk, as compared
with each other, and, measured from the shoulder to the base of the
trunk, hardly differ in the Indian and Negro; this renders the
difference in the relative length and strength of the arms and legs the
more apparent.

I need not allude to the difference of the hair; everybody knows the
heavy, straight black hair of the Indian, and the wrinkled, woolly hair
of the Negro. Nor is it necessary for me to recall the characteristic
features of the Whites in order to contrast them with what has been said
above of the Indians and Negroes.

Only a few words more concerning half-breeds are needed to show how
deeply seated are the primary differences between the pure races. Like
distinct species among animals, different races of men, when crossing,
bring forth half-breeds; and the half-breeds between these different
races differ greatly. The hybrid between White and Negro, called
Mulatto, is too well known to require further description. His features
are handsome, his complexion clear, and his character confiding, but
indolent. The hybrid between the Indian and Negro, known under the name
of Cafuzo, is quite different. His features have nothing of the delicacy
of the Mulatto; his complexion is dark; his hair long, wiry, and curly;
and his character exhibits a happy combination between the jolly
disposition of the Negro and the energetic, enduring powers of the
Indian. The hybrid between White and Indian, called Mammeluco in Brazil,
is pallid, effeminate, feeble, lazy, and rather obstinate; though it
seems as if the Indian influence had only gone so far as to obliterate
the higher characteristics of the White, without imparting its own
energies to the offspring. It is very remarkable how, in both
combinations, with Negroes as well as Whites, the Indian impresses his
mark more deeply upon his progeny than the other races, and how readily,
also, in further crossings, the pure Indian characteristics are
reclaimed and those of the other races thrown off. I have known the
offspring of an hybrid between Indian and Negro with an hybrid between
Indian and White resume almost completely the characteristics of the
pure Indian.


It is not possible for me to give here at length the narrative of the
separate journeys undertaken by my young companions. To do them any
justice, their reports should be illustrated by the accompanying maps,
geological sections, &c., which are more appropriate in a special
scientific account. I trust that I shall hereafter find resources for
publishing all these materials in a fitting manner; but, in the mean
while, I should do a wrong to my own feelings as well as to my
assistants, did I not add to this volume such a sketch of their separate
work as will show with how much energy, perseverance, and intelligence
they carried out the instructions I had given them. It will be
remembered by the reader that one object was kept constantly in view
throughout this expedition,—namely, that of ascertaining how the
fresh-water fishes are distributed throughout the great river-systems of
Brazil. All the independent journeys, of which short sketches are given
in this summary, were laid out with reference to this idea; the whole
expedition being, in fact, a unit so far as its purpose and general plan
were concerned. In this sense my own exploration, and those of all my
assistants, belong together, as parts of one connected scheme.

That detachment of the party which was conducted by Mr. Orestes St. John
left Rio de Janeiro on the 9th of June, 1865. This company consisted of
Messrs. St. John, Allen, Ward, and Sceva. The first two were to reach
the Atlantic coast by way of the Rio San Francisco and the Rio
Paranahyba; while Mr. Ward was to descend the Tocantins to the Amazons,
and Mr. Sceva to remain for some time in the fossiliferous region about
Lagoa Sancta for the purpose of collecting. As far as Juiz de Fora they
followed the road described in the foregoing narrative. Thence they
crossed the Serra do Mantiqueira to Barbacena, and kept on from that
place through Lagoa Dourada and Prados across the Rio Carandahy to the
divide separating the head-waters of the Rio Grande on the south from
those of the Rio Paraopeba on the north. They crossed the Paraopeba just
above the water gap of the Serras of Piedade and Itatiaiassu, traversing
the former Serra into the mountain valley in which the village of Morro
Velho is situated. They thus found themselves successively in the basins
of the Rio Parahyba, the Rio La Plata, and the Rio San Francisco; all
these great streams being fed by rivulets which arise in this vicinity.
On leaving the mountainous districts they continued their route through
alternate campos and wooded tracts to Gequitibá, passing through Saburá,
Santa Luzia, Lagoa Sancta, and Sette Lagoas.

At Lagoa Sancta, as had been previously agreed, Mr. Sceva left the
party, with the purpose of exploring the caves of that region in search
of fossil bones, and making skeletons of mammalia. He remained for some
time in this neighborhood, and brought away a number of specimens,
though he did not succeed in finding many fossils, the caves having been
already despoiled of their fossil remains by Dr. Lund, whose
indefatigable researches in this direction are so well known. Mr. Sceva,
however, made very valuable collections of other kinds, and I am
indebted to him for numerous carefully prepared specimens of Brazilian
mammalia, which now await mounting in the Museum. On leaving Lagoa
Sancta, Mr. Sceva returned to Rio de Janeiro, taking his collections
with him. He passed some days there, in order to repack and put in
safety his own specimens as well as those which had been sent back to
Rio by other members of the party. He then proceeded to Canta-Gallo, and
passed the remainder of the time in collecting and preparing specimens
from that part of the country, until he joined me subsequently at Rio
just before we returned to the United States. His contributions to our
stores were exceedingly valuable, both on account of the localities from
which they came and from the care with which they were put up.

Mr. Ward had already separated from his fellow-travellers at Barbacena,
on his way to the Tocantins, taking the route by Ouro-Preto and
Diamantina. And in order to keep together the adventures of the little
band who left Rio in company, I may give here a short sketch of his
journey, before completing the account of the route pursued by Messrs.
St. John and Allen. After leaving the valley of the Rio Parahyba and
crossing the Mantiqueira the party found itself in the water-basin of
the Rio Grande, one of the principal tributaries of the Rio Parana,
which, emptying into the Rio La Plata, reaches the ocean below Buenos
Ayres. Eastward of this basin, on the ocean-side of the great ridge
which bounds the valley of the Rio San Francisco, arise several large
rivers,—the Rio Doce, the Rio Mucury, and the Rio Jequitinhonha. It was
one of my most earnest desires to secure the means of comparing their
inhabitants with each other and with those of the great rivers flowing
north and east. As will be seen hereafter, Mr. Hartt, with the
assistance of Mr. Copeland, had undertaken to explore the lower course
of these rivers; but it was equally important that specimens should be
obtained from their head-waters. While, therefore, Mr. St. John and his
companion pursued their way across the region drained by the head-waters
of the Rio San Francisco, Mr. Ward crossed the mountains, passing from
one river-basin into another, in order to examine as many of the
tributaries of the Rio Doce and the Rio Jequitinhonha as possible. To
him I owe the materials necessary for a general comparison of the river
faunæ in these different basins. His journey was a laborious and a
lonely one. Separating from his companions at Barbacena he kept on by
Ouro-Preto and Santa Barbara into the basin of the Rio Doce, which he
followed nearly to the point where the Rio Antonio empties into it. This
part of the journey gave him an opportunity of making a collection not
only in the head-waters of the Rio Doce, but in one of its principal
tributaries also. Thence crossing the Serra das Esmeraldas Mr. Ward
entered the water-basin of the Rio Jequitinhonha, commonly called Rio
Belmonte on the maps, and after passing Diamantina explored several arms
of this great stream. The collections he made in this region are of
special interest with reference to those gathered by Messrs. Hartt and
Copeland on the lower course of the same rivers, and in many other
streams along the Atlantic coast between Bahia and Rio de Janeiro.
Having accomplished this part of his journey, Mr. Ward crossed the San
Francisco at Januaria, making a number of excursions in that vicinity;
then passing in a northwesterly direction over the ridges which separate
the valley of the San Francisco from that of the Tocantins, he followed
the whole course of this great stream to the Amazons. It was a daring
and adventurous journey to be accomplished with no other companionship
than that of the camarado who served him as guide, or the Indian boatmen
who rowed his canoe, and it was a day of rejoicing for our whole party
when we heard, in the month of January, 1866, of his safe arrival in
Pará, whence he embarked a few weeks later for the United States.

From Lagoa Sancta, where they parted from Mr. Sceva, Messrs. St. John
and Allen kept on to Januaria together, but at this point Mr. Allen,
whose health had been failing from the time he left Rio de Janeiro,
found himself unable to prosecute the journey farther, and he resolved
to strike across the country to Bahia, taking in charge the collections
they had brought together thus far. After a short rest at Januaria, he
made his way to Chique-Chique on the Rio San Francisco; and his separate
journal begins from the time he left this point, on his journey to
Bahia. It gives a very full account of the physical features of the
region through which he passed, of the geographical character of the
soil, and of the distribution of plants and animals, including many
original observations concerning the habits of birds, with a detailed
itinerary of the route through Jacobina, Espelto, and Caxoeira.
Prostrated by illness as he was, he has nevertheless furnished a report
the character of which shows how completely his interest in the work
overcame the lassitude of disease.

From Januaria Mr. St. John followed the San Francisco to the Villa do
Barra, where he made a short stay, and then resumed his journey by land
through the valley of the Rio Grande to the Villa da Santa Rita, thence
to Mocambo and across the table-land separating the basin of the Rio San
Francisco from that of the Rio Paranahyba. At Paranaguá he remained
several days, and made a considerable collection from this vicinity.
Thence he followed the valley of the Rio Gurugueia to Manga, one hundred
and twenty leagues from Paranaguá. At Manga he embarked on one of the
singular river-boats made of the leafstalks of the Buriti palm, and
descended the Paranahyba to the villa of San Gonçallo. Here he stayed
for some time to collect, and forwarded from this vicinity a
considerable number of specimens, chiefly reptiles, birds, and insects.
His next station was at Therezina, the capital of the province of
Piauhy, where he made one of the most interesting collections of the
whole journey from the waters of the Rio Poty. The Poty is a tributary
of the Paranahyba, into which it empties below Therezina. In examining
this collection, I was particularly struck with the general similarity
of the fishes contained in it to those of the Amazons. They exhibit
throughout the same kind of combination of genera and families, although
the species are entirely distinct. Thus, from a zoölogical point of
view, the basin of the Parahyba, though completely separated from it by
the ocean, would seem to belong to the Amazonian basin, as it
unquestionably does from a geological point of view. The character of
the drift deposits along the Rio Gurugueia and the Rio Paranahyba shows
this area to have been continuous with the basin in which the Amazonian
drift was deposited; and the similarity of their zoölogical features is
but another evidence, from an entirely different source, of the
extensive denudations which have isolated these regions from one another
by removing the tracts which formerly made them a unit.

From Therezina Mr. St. John proceeded to Caxias, and finally arrived in
Maranham, by the way of the Rio Itapicurú, on the 8th January, 1866;
having completed a journey of more than seven hundred leagues in seven
months, over a route the greater part of which had never been examined
from a zoölogical or geological point of view. His collections, though
necessarily limited by the difficulty of transport and the insufficient
provision of alcohol, were very valuable, and arrived at their
destination in good condition. Of his geological observations I have
said little; but it is from him I have obtained the data which have
enabled me to compare the basin of Piauhy with that of the Amazons. He
made careful geological surveys wherever he was able to do so, and has
recorded the result of his observations in a manner which shows that he
never lost sight of the general relations between the great structural
features of the country through which he passed. At Maranham, the
intermittent fever, under which Mr. St. John had been suffering during
the latter part of his journey, culminated in a severe illness, from
which he recovered under the care of Dr. Braga, who took him into his
own house, and did not allow him to leave his roof until he was restored
to health. From Maranham Mr. St. John joined me at Pará, where I had an
opportunity of comparing notes with him on the spot.

During the first two months of his stay in Rio de Janeiro, Mr. Hartt was
chiefly occupied with Mr. St. John in examining sections of the Dom
Pedro Railroad, of which he prepared a very clear and careful geological
survey, with ample illustrations. On the 19th of June, 1865, he left the
city to explore the coast between the Rio Parahyba do Sul and Bahia;
being accompanied by Mr. Edward Copeland, one of our volunteers, who
gave him very efficient assistance in collecting, during the whole time
they remained together. At Campos, on the Rio Parahyba, they obtained a
large number of fishes, beside other specimens. From that point they
went up the Rio Muriahy for some distance, and then, returning to
Campos, ascended the Rio Parahyba to San Fidelis, where they again added
largely to their collections. Taking mules at San Fidelis, they
traversed the forest northward to Bom-Jesu, on the Rio Itabapuana, and
then descended that river, stopping to collect at Porto da Limeira and
at the Barra. Thence they followed the coast to Victoria; and it was
their intention to have proceeded northward to the Rio Doce, but, for
want of mules and money (their supplies having given out), they were
obliged to make Nova Almeida, their farthest point. Thence they returned
by way of Victoria to Rio de Janeiro in a sailing-vessel. In the course
of this journey they obtained valuable collections both on the Rio
Itapemérim and at Guarapary. Mr. Hartt also made a careful study of the
geology of the coast, the result of which forms an interesting portion
of his report.

On their return to Rio, Mr. Hartt and Mr. Copeland were detained for
some time by the failure of a steamer. They occupied themselves in the
mean while in various work for the expedition, making excursions in the
vicinity, and collecting in the harbor of Rio. Disappointed in the
steamer, they started on board a sailing-vessel, and had a slow and
tedious voyage to San Matheos, collecting on their way wherever the
stopping of the vessel enabled them to do so. Neither did Mr. Hartt
neglect, on every such occasion, to examine the coast, and the phenomena
connected with its general rise, of which he obtained unquestionable
evidence. From San Matheos, where they made considerable collections,
they took conveyance to the Rio Doce, and ascended this river for ninety
miles to the first fall, Porto de Souza. Descending its course again to
Linhares, they explored the river and lake of Juparanaā, and then
returned to San Matheos; making large marine collections at Barra Secca,
half-way between the Rio Doce and San Matheos. Thence they proceeded to
the Rio Mucury, stopping a few days at its mouth to collect, and then
ascending the river to Santa Clara. Here Mr. Copeland remained, and
secured a fine collection of fishes; while Mr. Hartt crossed over the
river Peruhype to the Colonia Leopoldina. On his return he was detained
for some days by illness, but was soon able to resume his journey; and
he and Mr. Copeland then went on with Mr. Schïeber[108] to Philadelphia,
in the province of Minas Geraes, collecting on the way at the Rio Urucu,
and afterwards at Philadelphia. Along the coast, and indeed throughout
his whole journey, Mr. Hartt continued his geological observations,
which he carefully recorded. From Philadelphia he and his companion
proceeded by land to Calháo, on the Rio Arassuahy; making a detour from
Alahú to Alto dos Bois, in order to study the drift and the geological
structure of the elevated Chapadas. At Calháo they also made good
collections of fishes. Returning to Calháo from a visit to Minas Novas
and a study of its gold-mines, Mr. Hartt descended the Rio Jequitinhonha
three hundred and sixty miles to the sea. Mr. Copeland had preceded him
in order to make an excursion to Caravellas; and they met again at

At Cannavieiras they made good collections, and then ascended the Rio
Pardo to its first fall, fishing and geologizing along their route. They
visited also Belmonte, and then went southward to Porto Seguro, where
they stayed for several days, collecting corals and marine
invertebrates. Here, as at several other points along the coast, Mr.
Hartt made a careful examination of the stone-reefs. His researches on
these “recifes,” which constitute so remarkable a feature along the
Atlantic coast of Brazil, are exceedingly interesting; and I do not know
that any geologist has made a more careful and connected examination of
them. He believes them to be formed by the solidification of beach
ridges; the lower part of which being cemented by the lime dissolved
from the shells contained in them remains intact, while the upper
portion was carried off by storms; thus leaving a solid wall running
along the coast, broken through here and there, and divided from the
land by a narrow channel. He studied the coast reefs both at Santa Cruz
and at Porto Seguro, and ascertained their southward extension to the
Abrolhos. From Porto Seguro Messrs. Hartt and Copeland went northward to
Bahia, touching at several points along the coast, and thence returned
to Rio de Janeiro, whence we sailed together for the United States in
the month of July, 1866.


Footnote 108:

  This gentleman, who is thoroughly familiar with the whole country, was
  untiring in his attentions to Messrs. Hartt and Copeland, and gave
  them, so far as he could, every facility for their researches.

      Cambridge: Stereotyped and Printed by Welch, Bigelow, & Co.


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected typographical errors.
 2. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.