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Christianity; and, impelled by the most exalted feelings, endeavours to spread them more and more extensively in the remotest regions.”
As a specimen of description, we give the following ex.
“ In these seas the sun rises from the ocean with great splendour, and gilds the clouds accumulated in the horizon, which, in grand and various groups, seem to present to the eye of the spectator continents with high mountains and valleys, with volcanoes and seas, mythological and other strange creations of fancy. The lamp of day gradually rises in the transparent blue sky; the damp grey fogs subside; the sea is calın or gently rises and falls, with a surface smooth as a mirror, in a re. gular notion. At noon, a pale, faintly shining cloud rises, the herald of a sudden tempest, which at once disturbs the tranquillity of the sea. Thunder and lightning seem as if they would have split our planet; but a heavy rain, of a salt taste, pouring down in the midst of roaring whirlwinds, puts an end to the raging of the elements, and several semi. circular rainbows, extended over the ocean like gay triumphal arches, and inultiplied on the wrinkled surface of the water, announce the peaceful termination of the great natural pbenomenon. As soon as the air and sea bave recovered their repose and equilibrium, the sky again shows its transparent azure ; swaruis of Aying-tish rise sporting over the surface of the water, and the many-coloured natives of the ocean, among which is the shark, with his two inseparable companions (Gasterosteus Ductor and Echeneis Remora), come up from the bottom of the element, which is transparent to the depth of a hundred fathoms. Singularly formed Medusa, the bladder-shaped Physalis, with its blue pungent filaments, serpent-like streaks of Salpæ joined together, foai carelessly along; and many other little marine animals, of the most various kinds, pass slowly, the sport of the waves, by the motionless vessel. As the sun gradually sinks in the clouded horizon, the sea and sky assume a new dress, which is beyond description sublime and magnificent. The most brilliant red, yellow, violet, in infinite shades and contrast, are poured out in profusion over the azure of the firmament, and are reflected, in still gayer variety, from the surface of the water. The day departs amidst continued lighting in the dusky horizon, while the noon, in silent majesty, rises from the unbounded ocean into the cloudless upper regions. Variable winds cool the atmospbere; numerous falling stars, coming particularly from the south, slied a magic light; the dark blue firmament, reflected with the constellations ou the untroubled bosom of the water, represents the image of the whole starry hemispbere; and the ocean, agitated even by the faintest breeze of the night, is changed into a sea of waving fire.”
After a favourable passage of forty-two days, they arrived on the 14th of July in the bay of Rio de Janeiro, of which we have a vivid description. Having settled themselves in a small house in the suburbs of St. Anna, and met with a cordial reception from many of their own countrymen, as well as
VOL, I. PART I.
encouragement from the authorities, they proceed to arrange and digest their future plans of operation. The following extract will give some idea of the state of social enjoyment among the higher orders at Rio, and also of the climate and productions :
“ The hospitable residence of Mr. Von Langsdorff was a very agree. able place of resort in the evening for many Europeans residing at Rio de Janeiro. A spirit of cheerful and animated conversation prevailed, which was enhanced by the musical talents of the lady of the house, and the co-operation of Neukomm. So great a number of naturalists, or friends of natural history, had never yet been assembled here, as just at the time of our stay. The mutual conimunication of the observations and feelings which the luxuriance and the peculiarity of the vegetation inspired, became doubly attractive, through the charnis of the environs. Mr. Von Langsdorff inhabited a small country-house, on the declivity of the chain of hills which stretches froin the city towards the south-west, and enjoyed from hence, amidst the fragrant shrubs of Brazil, an enchanting prospect over the city and part of the bay. Nothing can be compared to the beauty of this re. treat, when the most sultry hours of the day are past, and gentle breezes, impregnated with balsamic perfumes from the neighbouring wooded mountains, cool the air. This enjoyment continues to increase as the night spreads over the land and the sea, which shines at a dis. tance, and the city, where the noise of business has subsided, is gradually lighted. He who has not personally experienced the enchantment of tranquil moonlight nights in these lappy latitudes, can never be inspired, even by the most faithful description, with those feelings which scenes of such wondrous beauty excite in the mind of the beholder. A delicate transparent mist hangs over the, country, the moon shives brightly amidst heavy and singularly grouped clouds, the outlines of the objects which are illuminated by it are clear and well defined, while a magic twilight seems to have removed from the eye those which are in shade. Scarce a breath of air is stirring, and the neigh. bouring mimosas, that have folded up their leaves to sleep, stand motionless beside the dark crowns of the manga, the jaca, and the etherial jambos* ; or sometimes a sudden wind arises, and the juiceless leaves of the acajúť rustle, the richly flowered grumijama and pitanga let drop a fragrant shower of snow-white blossoms; the crowns of the inajestic palnis wave slowly over the silent roof which they overshade, like a symbol of peace and tranquillity. Shrill cries of the cicada, the grasshopper, and tree-frog, made an incessant hum, and produce, by their monotony, a pleasing melancholy. A stream, gently murmuring, descends from the mountains; and the macuc ß, with its almost human
* Mangifera indica, Artocarpus integrifolia, and Eugenia lamhos, L. + Anacardium occidentale, L.
Two pretty kinds of myrtle, Myrtus Brasiliensis, Lam, and M. pedunculata, L.
Tinamus noctivagus, Perdix guyanensis.
voice, seems to call for help from a distance. Every quarter of an hour different balsamic odours fill the air, and other flowers alternately upfold their leaves to the night, and almost overpower the senses with their perfume: now it is the bowers of paullinias, or the neighbouring orange grove, then the thick tufts of the eupatoria, or the bunches of the flowers of the palms* suddenly bursting, which disclose their blos. soms, and thus maintain a constant succession of fragrance. While the silent vegetable world, illuminated by swarins of fire-fies (Elater phosphoreus noctilucus), as by a thousand moving stars, charms the night by its delicious effluvia, brilliant lightnings play incessantly on the horizon, and elevate the mind in joyful adnjiration of the stars, which, glowing in solemn silence in the firmament above the continent and ocean, fill the soul with a presentiment of still sublinier wonders. In the enjoyment of the peaceful and magic influence of such nights, the newly arrived European remembers with tender longings his native home, till the luxuriant scenery of the tropics has become to him a second country."
It must be admitted, however, that these advantages are not without a drawback from the insalubrity of the climate, requiring for the preservation of the health the caution and temperance of the natives, and the utmost self-denial and prudence on the part of Europeans. We must refer our readers to the work itself for a full and clear account of the commercial information which our travellers collected, and for a large mass of valuable statistical matter, which their connection with the higher powers placed within their reach; but which, from their nature, cannot be abridged. Among the various subjects which they examined, the local and indigenous diseases of the inhabitants of Rio were not the least interesting, and their inquiry into the state of the schools of medicine and surgery was attended with satisfactory results. Our limits prevent us from following them in the various excursions which they made in the environs of the town and bay; but we cannot help observing, that we are less surprised at the unhealthiness of the place, when we find that the vulture is the only scavenger, on whom devolves the duty of removing those putrid substances, which, under a tropical sun, contain the seeds of pestilence and death. The rapid progress of vegetation between the tropics, and the equally rapid decay to which they are subject, is noticed with effect :
" When we here attempt to sketch a picture of the interior of a tropical forest, we must not forget to point the attention of the reader to the relative situation of each individual plant, with regard to the
* We noticed in several palms, that the bunch of flowers, when arrived at perfection, suddenly bursts its covering, and fills the surrounding air with perfume. This is most frequently observed in the Macaraiba palm (Acrocomia sclerocurpa, nob.).
tendency to self-preservation. With such a fulness of life, and such a vigorous striving at development, even so rich and fertile a soil as this is not capable of furnishing the necessary nourishment in sufficient abundance; hence those gigantic trees are in a constant struggle for their own preservation, and impede each other's growth still more than the trees in our forests. Even the stems, which are grown to a considerable height, and require a large supply of nutriment, feel the influence of their more powerful neighbours, are suddenly arrested in their growth by being deprived of the requisite juices, and thus become in a short time subject to the general powers of nature, which lead them to a rapid dissolution. We thus see the noblest trees, after suffering an atrophy of some months' duration, eaten away by ants and other insects, seized with decay from the root to the summit, till, to the terror of the solitary inhabitants of the forest, they fall down with a tremendous crash. In general, it is remarked by the farmers, that stems which stand singly, among several others of a different kind, are more easily kept down by the latter. When at some future period a regular system of forest cultivation, which indeed has not yet been thought of in these thinly-peopled woods, shall be introduced, it will be found necessary not so much to promote the growth of the trees close together, as to take care that they stand at a sufficient distance from each other."
The great heat, the moisture of the air, and the swamps which abound in all the lower situations, produce a vast variety of insects and reptiles of a poisonous description; the swarms of musquitos, the termites, and a formidable little animal called carobatos, wage perpetual war against the peace and comfort of those who are yet unaccustomed to their attacks. As the primitive forests become cleared, these troublesome companions will be disposed of, and a gradual amelioration of the climate may be expected ; let the Brazilians, however, beware how they use the axe too freely;--where the sun exerts a vertical influence on a soil destitute of extensive tracks of wood, a pestilential swamp soon becomes converted into an arid desert. On the 8th of December, our naturalists commenced their expedition, and met with a dispiriting adventure on the threshold :
Scarcely had we turned into the broad high road of Santa Cruz, when some of our mules lay down, some dispersed among the houses and gardens, and others threw off their loads, and endeavoured to run away. The confusion increased when Mr. Dürming, the Prussian consul at Antwerp, who had arrived at Rio de Janeiro, and who then formed one of our party, was thrown from his mule, which took fright. Mr. Dürming's arm was so seriously hurt, that he was obliged to be taken back to the city. The animals always run wild in this manner at the commencement of a journey, till they have become used to their burdens, and to proceed in a regular train. Our countryman, Mr. Von Eschwege, who had already made many excursions in this
country, was the only one who did not regard it; but we, being novices, were filled with uneasiness and alarm. The latter increased when we perceived that one of the mules, whose load was also very valuable, did not make its appearance. It had run back into the city, with its cargo, where it would probably have soon found another master, if the Arieiro had not been so fortunate as to discover it at last in the harbour, already in the hands of strangers, and to bring it back to us. Fatigued by the troublesome search, and riding backwards and forwards, we were obliged, though scarcely a league from the city, to halt near the royal country-seat of S. Cristovão, in order to collect the scattered nules and drivers.”
Passing through the royal domain of Santa Cruz, the inconveniences of this mode of travelling became more and more apparent; and they soon found that they had encumbered themselves with too much baggage; they therefore sent back to Rio all which was not absolutely necessary, and proceeded along a good road to a barrier, established to prevent a contraband trade in gold-dust. The next morning, owing to the caprice and obstinacy of one of the mules, they were deprived of the use of their barometer tubes, by the destruction of the case in which they were contained; they had, however, fortunately sent some to St. Paulo by water, anticipating the probability of an accident. Further on, the mules got entangled in some clay pits, and were only extricated by incredible labour and exertion. After traversing silent and solitary woods, and crossing torrents, where they were often exposed to considerable danger, they entered at last the fertile valley to the south of Lorena; the face of the country was here changed, and exhibited extensive tracts of verdure. At Guaratingueta, notwithstanding it contains some thousand inhabitants, they were compelled to content themselves with a frugal meal on an armadillo, which they had shot by the way. At Pendamhongaba, and its neighbourhood, the inhabitants are many of them alllicted with the goitre.
“ Among the inhabitants of this place we observed an endemic swelling of the glands of the neck, in such a bigh degree as is perhaps no where to be found in Europe. Frequently the whole neck is covered with the great swelling, which gives a horrid appearance to these people, who are for the most part mulattoes, and have, independent of this, no very agreeable features. But, in this country, they seem to regard this swelling rather as a particular beauty than as a deformity; for we often saw the women adorn this enormous goitre with gold or silver ornaments, and, as it were, displaying it, while they sat before their house-doors with a tobacco-pipe in the hand, or a reel to wind cotton. Negroes, mulattoes, descendants of whites and Indians (mamelucos), which form the greater part of its population, are peculiarly subject to this disorder; among the whites, the women