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reached Açu: Oh! he exclaims, "the joy of again seeing a church of the sight of a regular village and civilized persons, if even these can be called civilized according to European ideas.?
From Natal to Açu there is not a single settlement which deserves the name of village, except the deserted Pai Paulo; it is a flat, uncovered, miserable country. Yet even here, were the popuslation numerous enough to render it needful, much might be -done toward rendering it more habitable. The acaju and the finangaba grow upon the sandiest and most sterile ground, both trees bear a delightful and wholesome food; cabbage trees also are found here, and a little care in scattering the seeds might in a few years make the traveller certain of finding food during inost part of the year. Açu is a small town, containing about 300 inhabitants, and built in a square upon the river of the same name, Mr. Koster calls it a great river, but at this time its bed was dry. Tlie houses are miserable buts, built of mud, and with the earth for the floor. When water is scarce this is a great discomfort, for the Brazilians are remarkably clean in their persons; and never complaini of any local disadvantage so much as of the want of a bathing-place. A league from the town is a lake called Piató, about 12 miles in length and four in breadth.
In the summer its sides become sufficiently dry to enable them to be cultivated, but the centre of it is invariably marshy and impassable. The fertility of its sides is very great, affording most plentifully rice, maize, sugar cane, melons, &c. and I saw some cotton trees planted very near to the edge. The lake is filled from the river in the rainy season, and as the lands around it are much higher tlran the lake itself, the waters which run down from them wash away all vestiges of cultivation, till these again subside, and the same operations are continued the following season. In such dreadfully severe years as that during which I travelled, the people of the district would be starved if this Take did not exist : it enabled the inhabitants of Açu, at the time I was there, to remain in their houses. The appearance of abundance, the bright green, the well fed horses and cattle, which we saw as we travelled along its banks, enlivened us all; there was a look of security, a seeming certainty of at least the necessaries of life, let what would happen, which we had not for a long time felt. The parched hills which surround the lake, its beautifully cultivated borders, and the dark and dangerous bogs which compose its centre and prevent the communication of the inhabitants of either bank, formed a very extraordinary scene. No water was to be seen, but the mud was too deep, and not of sufficient consistence for a man to be enabled to wade across; nor could a passage to the other side be effected by means of a raft, for a very trifling weight would make it sink.'-pp. 97, 98.
A few days more brought Mr. Koster to St. Luzia, a village trith about 300 inhabitants upon the river which divides the captaincies of Rio Grande and Seara. Here the traveller's passport was demanded with some incivility in the name of the commandant; he answered, that if the commandant had wished to see the passport, he would certainly have sent one of his officers to ask for it. The young mau rejoined, that he was the serjeant of the district. To this Mr. Koster made answer, that he could not know him in that capacity, because, instead of being in uniform, he was in the usual dress of shirt and drawers, and moreover his manner was such, that he was resolved not to shew it him. The reply was, that he must and should shew it; he accordingly went off, and the traveller and his party prepared their arms, to the amazement and amusement of some of the more peaceable inhabitants. The sequel and the justification of this resistance may best be related in the traveller's own words.
I soon saw him again, and he was coming towards us, with two of three other persons; I called to him to keep at a distance, telling him that Julio would fire if he did not. This he judged advisable to do; and as I thought it proper and prudent to advance as soon as possible, we left the place soon after one o'clock, with a broiling sun; therefore we then saw no more of the serjeant. The dry river, upon which this village stands, divides the captaincies of Rio Grande and Seara, consequently there was much reason for the commandant's demand of my passport; but it was necessary to preserve the high opinion generally entertained of the name of Inglez, Englishman, wherever the people possessed sufficient knowledge. to understand that the said Inglezes, were not bichos, or animals; and also to keep up my own importance with the persons about me. It would not have answered, to have thus given way to a man who was inclined to make me feel the consequence which he judged his place would allow himn to assume. If I had been invited to the commandant's house in a civil way, or if the serjeant liad come to me in his uniform, all would have gone well. These trifles, though apparently of no importance, weigh very heavily with persons who have made such small advances towards civilization ;, public opinion is every thing. If the idea of my being a bicho and a heretic had not been counter-balanced by that of rank and consequence, I might have hail the whole village upon me, and have been deserted by my own people into the bargain.'--pp. 103, 4.
There are salt marshes in this part of the country; in one which the traveller crossed, the mud, even in this dry season, was from twelve to eighteen inches deep at the crossing place, and where a horse had left his footsteps the salt had crystallized : it was surrounded by carnauba trees,--the palm which produces the vegetable
The others are described as being dry and hard at this time, dark coloured and producing no grass ; several sea-side plants' grew upon the skirts, and the water which oozed from them was quite salt. The Portugueze are now a scientific people, and there
is a liberal spirit in their government which gives reason to hope that the natural history of Brazil may be carefully investigated. Salt lakes and streams abound in the Chaco. Dobrizhoffer attempts to explain this by an odd hypothesis ; a shrub grows plentifully in that country which the Spaniards call la vidriera, probably because its ashes are used in making glass, and which the natives call by a name signifying sult, because they use the ashes for salting their meat and savouring their tobacco : he supposes that these shrubs and the caranday palm communicate a nitrifying principle to the rain which washes their leaves,--aqua pluvia er illarum foliis decedens per contractam ex iis salsuginem nitri videtur esse semen. Thus he argues from the fact that where these plants abound, uitre is always found,-overlooking the more natural conclusion that the plants themselves derive their saltness from the nitrous soil in which they grow. Is the caranday palm the same as the carnauba of Brazil ? Mr. Koster passed over, many salt marshes or plains covered with these palms, growing upon a bare dark soil, and forming with their tall naked stems a dismal scenery. The tree, however, is one of the most useful plants of the Sertam; the pith of its young stem atfords a nutritious fecula ; the fruit, when properly prepared, has the taste of maize, and is wholesome food. The cattle in severe seasons eat the dry leaves when they fall, and these leaves form a thatch which will last twenty years. Lastly, its wax is likely to form an article of commerce. Has Dobrizhoffer mistaken the small. light coloured scales in which this wax is found, for an incrustation of salt, judging only by its appearance ?
Upon coming once more in sight of the sea, Mr. Koster felt as if be were at home,--this was an Englishman's feeling. He now entered upon a country where comparative coinforts were to be found, and was entertained with magnificent hospitality at Aracati, by Senhor Joze Fideles Barrozo, a wealthy merchant and landed proprietor, to whom he had sent forward a letter from the
governor of Rio Grande. The keys of a house were delivered to him as he entered the town, and soon after he had taken possession of it and slyng his hammock, three black servants appeared, one bringing a large tray, with an excellent supper, wine, sweetmeats, &c.; a second carried a silver ewer and basin, and a fringed towel, and a third came to know, if there was any thing that he wished for which had not been provided? The town of Aracati contains about six hundred inhabitants, and is situated upon the Jaguaribe, about eight miles from its mouth., The river is wide, but the bar narrow and dangerous, and the sand is accumulating in the river. It is subject to great floods, which sometimes enter the houses, on which account they are built one story above the ground foor. From hence he sent back his English servant by sea to Pernambuco, the
man not being equal to the fatigue of such travelling; and hiring horses here, left his own to recover strength for the journey back. To Seara was thirty leagues, over a country wbich is for the greatest part flat; and consisting of sandy lands covered with brusha wood, some fine marshy grounds intervene, which in dry season yield the only crops, and the sea renders living comparatively easy in these parts. From Recife to Natal is a computed distance of 70 leagues, from Natal to Seara, 160. Considering the liberal manner in which miles as well as leagues are computed by those who are not licensed to deal in post-horses,' the journey will not have been less than a thousand miles.
The first settlement at Seara was made in 1608, as preparatory to forming an establishment at Maranham: the present town stands about three leagues to the southward of the old fort, the remans of which may still be seen. There is neither river nor harbour the beach is bad and the surf dangerous: but just at this point the reef which runs along the whole coast from Pernambuco is rather bigher than at the old site, and affords some little protection to ships at anchor. The Villa da Fortalaza do Seara comprizes a fort, a town-hall and prison, a custom-house, a treasury; a governor's palace, three churches, and from 1000 to 1200 inhabitants. There are no convents, and from the present state of public opinion in Brazil respecting such institutions, it is not likely that any will be founded there. The dwellings have only a ground floor, and the town, which is built upon heavy sand, is not paved, but there are brick foot-paths before some of the houses, as at Natal. The public buildings are small and low, whitewashed, neat, and well adapted for their respective purposes. The palace is the only house which has boarded foors; but the custom of flooring houses with wood renders them so perilously liable to destruction by fire, that it will probably one day be generally disused.
There are three Indian villages, containing each about three liun dred inhabitants, within two or three leagues of Seara. The'adjoining country was the scene of some of Vieyra's labours in reclaiming the savages; he and his brethren the Jesuits made the most persevering and virtuous efforts in behalf of this race of men, sparing no labours for their conversion, and contending at the same time for their liberty. They effected much, but the freedom of the reclaimed Indians was not finally established till the Jesuits were overthrown, and in consequence of their overthrow the Indians in many places have relapsed into barbarism, and in none have they made any progress towards a more civilized state. This is clearly proved by the Bishop of Para's Journal of his Visitations in 1784, 1787, and 1788; and the fault lies more in their teachers than in the people themselves. Yet it must be admitted that Mr. Koster's
representation of the Indians is by not means favourable, and that the opinions which he expresses are of the more weight, bécause, asi-bis feelings and principles are of the best kind, they lead him always to judge charitably, and to look forward with hope. Each village has its priest, its director, who is supposed to be a white man, and two juizes ordinarios, (who hold their office for one year,) one of whom is an Indian. The landholder who wants workmen, applies to the director, who agrees for the price, and commands one of the chief Indians to take the allotted number of men to the estate: the labourers receive their money themselves, and spend it as they please, but the bargain is usually below the regular price of labour, Infinitely ameliorated as their condition has been, this is still no very desirable state of existence ;—they are always regarded as children, and not always treated, as they were by the Jesuits, with paternal kindness. But when they escape they shew little capability of acting for themselves, and av evident tendency (as if instinctive) to return to a wandering and savage life ;-it does not arise from any feeling connected with the love of their ancestors, or a tradition of their free state; they do not appear to know that their ancestors had been slaves, much less would'any knowledge be preserved of their anterior state. The Indian who has escaped from controul scarcely ever plants for himself,--or if he does, he sells the growing crop for half its value, and removes to some other district; fishing and hunting are his favourite pursuits, and he is never stationary for any length of time, unless it be near a lake' or rivulet.
A few of them are said to retain in secret some of the old hea.' thenish customs, and to adore the maracá; but this does not lessen their implicit belief in all the superstitions which they have been taught--for what they are taught is an abject superstition,-a gross and palpable idolatry. All the Indians of Pernambuco speak Portugueze; this at least is an improved policy: there was a time when slaves of a different nation were taught the Tupi, or generab tongue, which many of them at this time cannot speak. If education bas hitherto done little in implanting good qualities, it has done much in eradicating evil ones. They were among the fiercest and most revengeful of the human race. they are now quiet and inoffensive, rarely committing murder, (in a country where murder is accounted venial, and generally obtains impunity; —if not applause,) and even those who are dishonest, confine themselves to pilfering. Their conversion has not cured them of drunkenness, for they will stills drink for nights and days without ceasing, and they are still vilely indifferent regarding the conduct of their wives and daughters ;'M this point they were not likely to be improved by their intercourse with the white men. The strangest, and worst part of their