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The Bequest of 

Colonel George Earl Church 










Primeil b» A. Strahaii, 
New -Street-Square, L«mloii. 











TOURING my residence in Brazil, I had no intention 
of publishing" any account of what I had seen and 
heard in that country. Some time after my return to 
England, I was encouraged to put together the inform- 
ation which I might be able to impart. The reader will 
be more disposed to excuse what defects he may find, 
when he is informed that I went out young, that I did not 
gather any knowledge of the country in a systematic 
manner with the idea of giving it to the public, and that 
the idiom of a foreign language is perhaps more familiar 
to me than that of my own. But among judicious 
readers the style of works of this description will be re- 
garded as of little importance. I have had the advantage 
of Mr Southey's advice and extensive library. I have 
to thank Dr. Traill for his aid in preparing the Ap- 
pendix ; though as he did not see the whole of it, if there 
are any errors they must be attributed to me, not to 
him. The drawings for the plates were executed by a 
near relative, from very rough sketches of my own, as- 


sisted by description. The outline of the map is taken 
from Mr. Arrowsmith's large map of South America; 
and the names and situations of some places are cor- 
rected, and others are inserted from my own knowledg-e. 
The plan of the harbour of Pernambuco was furnished 
to me by an English g-entleman resident at Recife, who is 
indefatigable in the search of whatever may contribute to 
the increase of knowledge. 



DEPARTURE from Liverpool. — Arrival at Pernambuco. — The Town and Harbour 
of Recife. — The Governor.— The Trade Page i 


Visit to the Governor. — The Climate. — First Ride into the Country. — Residence at a 
Village in the neighbourhood of Recife. — Ohnda. — Holy Thursday. — Good Friday. 
— Easter Sunday. — Profession of a Friar. — St. Peter's Day. — Visit to a Brazilian 
Family. — A Dance. — Another Visit to Olinda - - - - - -12 


The Government. — The Taxes. — The PubUc Institutions. — Criminals. — Prisons. — 
Mihtary Establishments. — The Island of Fernando de Noronha - - - 30 


Journey to Goiana — Journey from Goiana to Paraiba, and back to Goiana - - 42 


Journey from Goiana to Rio Grande. — The City of Natal. — The Governor - 56 


Continuation of the Journey. — From Natal to A9U - - - - - "73 


Continuation of the Journey. — From A9U to Aracati. — From Aracati to Seara. — 
Indians. — Tlie late Governor. — The Family of the Feitozas - - - 97 


Return. — From Seara to Natal. — Sertanejos. — Cattle. — Vegetable Wax. — From 
Natal to Recife ----__-_-- Page 1 29 


Voyage from Pernambuco to Maranham. — St. Luiz. — Trade. — Wild Indians. — The 
Governor, — Alcantara. — The Author sails from St. Luiz, and arrives in England 164 


The Author sets sail from Gravesend, and arrives at Pernambuco. — State of Recife. — 
Journey to Bom Jardim with a Capitam-mor, and return to Recife - - -186 


Residence at Jaguaribe. — Journey to Goiana. — Illness. — Return to Jaguaribe 

Page 2 1 1 
Journey to Uninha. — Continuation of my Residence at Jaguaribe. — Negro Brother- 
hood of Olinda. — Blessing the Sugar Works. — Mandingueiras and Valentoens 235 


Removal of the Author to Itamaraca. — The Island. — Conception and Pillar. — The 
Festival of Our Lady of the Rosary. — Journey to Goiana. — The Toque. — The 
Cowpox -..-....- ... 258 

Ants, Snakes, and other Reptiles. — River of Iguara^u. — Building a Jlouse. — Several 
Species of Timber Trees. — The Pinham, Mutamba, and Gameleira Trees. — The 
Whale 285 


Recruiting. — Images. — Animals. — Maracas. — Apollinario, Mandinga, and Poultry. 
Hieroglyphics. — Festival of Our Lady of Conception. — Fandangos. — The Fort. — 
A Christening. — The Intrude. — The Author leaves Brazil - - - - 305 

Agriculture. — Sugar Plantations _-. S36 

Agriculture. — Cotton - -- .......365 


The Free Population - Page 384 

Slavery -------- --- 402 


Impolicy of the Slave Ti-ade ----- --- 44J 


The Treaties of Friendship and Alliance, and of Comnaerce and Navigation between the 
Crowns of Great Britain and Portugal, signed at Rio de Janeiro on the 19th February 
1810 457 

Appendix ..-- - ---- ^-j^ 


Plan of the Port of Pernambuco 

A Jangada - 

Map of the Route 

Crossing a River 

A Sertanejo - . - 

Fishing Canoe ... 

A Lady going to visit . - - 

A Cotton-carrier 

A Sugar-Mill 

A Planter and his Wife on a Journey 

to face the References. 

page 3 

. 42 

- 53 

- 87 

- 175 

- 188 

- 194. 

- 336 
. 384 




A. The bridge of Boa Vista. 

B. The bridge of Recife. 

C. Fort Bom Jezus. 

D. Fort Picam. 

E. Fort Brum. 

F. Cross of Patram. 

G. Fort Buraco. 

H. The village of Arrombados. 
I. The church of St. Amaro. 
K. Jerusalem. 

a. Houses and gardens. 

b. The Carmelite convent. 

c. The church of Sacramento (parish). 

d. The Franciscan convent. 

e. The Treasury. 

f. The Palace. 

g. The cotton wharf (commonly called Forte 

h. The Madre de Deos convent, 
i. The church of Corpo Santo (parish). 
k. The Intendencia da Marinha (dock yar d) 

and King's wharf. 

To enter the port, coming in from sea, keep Fort Picam and Fort Brum 
in one, until you have the point of Olinda bearing N., then steer due N., 
until the cross of Patram is in one with the coco-nut trees on St. Amaro, 
then steer directly for the same cross of Patram, until you open the inner 
part of the reef above water, with Fort Picam to the southward, where you 
may come to anchor, or stand on to the southward into the harbour of 

To enter the channel for smaller vessels coming from sea, keep the same 
mark. Fort Picam and Fort Brum in one, until you are within a quarter 
of a mile of Fort Picam, then bring the two southern watch towers on Fort 
Brum in one, you clearing the northern extremity of the reef above water, 
and hauling short round the same, keep the reef close aboard until you are in 
the harbour of Mosqueiro. 





T F my health had not required a change of dimate, I should not 
-■- perhaps so soon have accomplished the wish I had often ex- 
pressed of leaving England for a short time. An immediate removal 
was judged expedient ; and as the ports of Spain and Portugal were 
either closed to British subjects, or at least not in a state to be 
visited by an invalid, I determined upon Brazil ; to which my friends 
agreed. — I fixed upon Pernambuco, because a gentleman, who had 
for many years been acquainted with my family, was about to embark 
for that place, and from the favourable reports of the people and 
climate which I had received from several persons. On the l2d No- 
vember 1809, I set sail from Liverpool in the ship Lucy. 

We had a very prosperous passage of thirty-five days, without any 
occurrence worthy of particular notice. 

I was agreeably awakened very early on the morning of the 7th 
December, with the news that we were in sight of land, and 
likely to get into harbour this day. We soon discovered two vessels, 
with all sail set, making for us ; these proved to- be two English 
merchant-ships, bound likewise to Pernambuco ; they had never 
before been at this port, and therefore wished to receive some in- 
formation respecting it ; they judged that, from the manner in 


which our vessel made for the land, her commander must be ac- 
quainted Avith it, which was the case, this being the second voyage 
of the Lucy to Pernambuco. 

The land is low, and consequently not to be seen at any con- 
siderable distance ; but as we approached it, we distinguished the 
hill upon which stands the city of Olinda, a little to the northward ; 
and some leagues to the southward, the Cape of St. Agostinho ; a 
nearer view discovered to us the town of St. Antonio do Recife, 
almost a-head with the shipping in front of it ; the dreary land 
between it and Olinda, which is one league distant, and coco * 
groves northward, as far as the eye can reach ; southward of the 
town are also seen great numbers of coco trees, woods, and scat- 
tered cottages. The situation of Olinda is the highest in the neigh- 
bourhood; and though not very high, is still not despicable. Its 
appearance from the sea is most delightful ; its white-washed 
churches and convents upon the tops and sides of the hill ; its 
gardens and trees, interspersed amongst the houses, afford a promise 
of great extent, and hold out expectations of great beauty. The 
sands, which extend one league to the southward of it, are relieved by 
two fortresses erected upon them, and by the ships in the lower 
harbour. Then follows the town of Recife, with the appearance 
of being built in the water, so low is the sand-bank upon which it 
has been raised ; the shipping immediately in front partly conceal 
it ; and the bold reef of rocks on the outside of these, with the 
surf dashing violently against and over it, give to them the ap- 
pearance of being ashore ; and as no outlet is seen, they seem to 
be hemmed in. The small tower or fort at the northern end of 
the reef, however, soon claims attention, and points out the en- 
trance. We approached the land rather to the southward of the 
town, and coasted, under very easy sail, at a short distance from the 

* I have made use of this spelling, from the word cocoa being applied in the English 
language uidiscriminately to that tree and to the cacao ; and as we most probably derived 
the word from the Portuguese language, it may perhaps not be considered improper to 
distinguish the two plants in this manner. 


reef, waiting tor a pilot. It was not yet noon, the sea was smooth, 
the sun was bright, and every thing looked pleasant. The buildings 
are all white-washed ; the sun shone upon them, and gave to them 
a glittering silvery appearance. 

Nothing this day created so much astonishment on board our ship, 
amongst those who had not been before upon this coast, as the 
Jangadas, sailing about in all directions. These are simply rafts of 
six logs, of a peculiar species of light timber, lashed or pinned toge- 
ther ; a large latine sail ; a paddle used as a rudder ; a sliding 
keel let down between the two centre logs ; a seat for the steersman, 
and a long forked pole, upon which is hung the vessel containing 
water, the provisions, &c. These rude floats have a most singular 
appearance at sea, no hull being apparent even when near them. 
They are usually managed by two men, and go closer to the wind 
than any description of vessel. 

A large row-boat at last made its appearance, doubling the end of 
the reef near the small fort, which was declared to be that which 
brings off the pilots. The j^atram-mor, harbour-master, in his naval 
uniform, likewise came on board. A large launch followed the 
pilot, manned chiefly by negroes, almost naked ; the colour of 
these men ; the state in which they were ; their noise and bustle, 
when certainly there was no occasion for it, and their awkwardness, 
were to me all new. This very first communication with the shore 
gave me an idea, for the moment, that the manners of the country at 
which I had arrived, were still more strange than they actually proved 
to be. These visitors were followed by others of a very different 
description ; two boats came alongside, manned by Englishmen, and 
conveying several English gentlemen. The former belonged to 
British ships loading in the harbour, and the latter were young men 
who had come out to Pernambuco to settle as merchants. 

The pilot placed himself near to the ship's windlass ; a Portugueze 
sailor was sent to take the helm, but still the vociferation was ex- 
treme ; the man seemed to think that, by speaking very loud, he 
would make the English seamen understand his language ; and what 
with his bawlijig to them and to his own people, and their noise, the 

B 2 


confusion was excessive ; however, we doubled the fort in safety, and 
came to anchor in the upper harbour. The reef is very perpendicular 
near to the bar ; and to one unacquainted with the port, there is every 
appearance of the vessel being about to drive upon it. I then accom- 
panied my fellow-passenger ; we left the ship and proceeded to the 
shore. Here was a new scene indeed. We had taken the letter-bag with 
us ; the crowd of well-dx'essed persons upon the quay was great; they 
saw the bag, and soon their anxiety for news overcame their politeness ; 
the letters were asked for, and at last we gave them up, and they were 
scrambled for, each man seeking his own. We had landed at the 
custom-house wharf upon a busy day, and the negroes too were all 
clamour and bustle. Their hideous noise when carrying any load, 
bawling out some ditty of their own language, or some distich of 
vulgar Portugueze rhyme ; the numerous questions asked by many 
persons who met us, and the very circumstance of seeing a popu- 
lation consisting chiefly of individuals of a dark colour, added to the 
sound of a new language, with which, although 1 was acquainted, still 
I had not since very early youth been in a country where it was gene- 
rally spoken ; all combined to perplex and to confuse. I was led 
along by those who were accustomed to these scenes, and we pro- 
ceeded to the house of one of the first merchants in the place. We 
were ushered up one pair of stairs into a room in which were several 
piles of piece-goods, a table covered with papers, and several chairs. 
There were four or five persons in the room besides the owner of the 
house. I delivered my letter of «itroduction to him, and was treated 
with the greatest civility. Our next visit was to a colonel, who is 
also a merchant, from whom I met with the same behaviour. 

As there are no inns or furnished lodgings at Recife, or at *01inda, 
an acquaintance of my fellow-passenger obtained some temporary 
rooms for us, and supplied us with what we wanted. We are there- 
fore at last quietly settled in our new habitation, if I may be allowed 
to call it quiet, whilst some twenty black women are under the win- 

* A house answering both these purposes has lately been established at Recife by an 
Irishman and his wife. 1815. 


dows bawling out, in almost all tones and keys of which the human 
voice is capable, — oranges, bananas, sweetmeats, and other commo- 
dities, for sale. 

The town of St. Antonio do Recife, commonly called Pernambuco, 
though the latter is properly the name of the captaincy, consists of 
three compartments, connected by two bridges. A narrow, long neck 
of sand stretches from the foot of the hill, upon which Olinda is situ- 
ated to the southward. The southern extremity of this bank ex- 
pands and forms the site of that part of the town particularly called 
Recife, as being immediately within the reef There is another 
sand-bank also of considerable extent, upon which has been built the 
second division, called St. Antonio, connected with that already men- 
tioned by means of a bridge. Yet a third division of the town 
remains to be mentioned, called Boa Vista, which stands upon the 
main land to the southward of the other two, and is joined to them 
also by a bridge. The recife, or reef of rocks already spoken of, runs 
in front of these sand-banks, and receives upor^ it the principal force 
of the sea, which, at the flow of the tide, rolls over it, but is much 
checked by it, and strikes the quays and buildings of the town with 
diminished strength. The greatest part of the extent of sand be- 
tween Olinda and the town which remains uncovered, is open to the 
sea, and the surf there is very violent. Ruildings have only been 
raised within the protection of the reef. The tide enters between 
the bridges, and encircles the middle compartment. On the land 
side there is a considerable expanse of water, having much the ap- 
pearance of a lake, which becomes narrower towards Olinda, and 
reaches to the very streets of that place, thus facilitating the com- 
munication between the two towns. The view from the houses that 
look on to these waters is very extensive and very beautiful ; their 
opposite banks are covered with trees and white-washed cottages, 
varied by small open spaces and lofty coco trees. 

The first division of the town is composed of brick houses of throe, 
four, and even five stories in height ; most of the streets are narrow, 
and some of the older houses in the minor streets are of only one 


story in height, and many of them consist only of the ground-floor. 
The streets of this part, with the exception of one, are paved. In 
the Square are the custom-house, in one corner, a long, low, and 
shabby building ; the sugar-inspection, which bears the appearance 
of a dwelling-house ; a large church, not finished ; a coflfee-house, 
in which the merchants assemble to transact their commercial affairs ; 
and dwelling-houses. There are two churches in use, one of which 
is built over the stone arch-way leading from the town to Olinda, at 
which a lieutenant's guard is stationed. The other church belongs 
to the priests of the Congrega^am da Madre de Deos. Near to the 
gate-way above-mentioned is a small fort, close to the water-side, 
which commands it. To the northward is the residence of the Port- 
Admiral, with the government timber-yards attached to it : these are 
small, and the work going on in them is very trifling. The cotton- 
market, warehouses, and presses, are also in this part of the town. * 

The bridge which leads to St. Antonio has an arch-way at either 
end, with a small chapel built upon each ; and at the northern arch 
is stationed a Serjeant's guard of six or eight men. The bridge is 
formed in part of stone arches, and in part of wood : it is quite flat, 
and lined with small shops, which render it so narrow that two car- 
riages cannot pass each other upon it. 

St. Antonio, or the middle town, is composed chiefly of large 
houses and broad streets ; and if these buildings had about them any 
beauty, there would exist here a certain degree of grandeur : but 
they are too lofty for their breadth, and the ground-floors are appro- 
priated to shops, warehouses, stables, and other purposes of a like 
nature. The shops are without windows, and the only light they 
have is admitted from the door. There exists as yet very little dis- 
tinction of trades ; thus all descriptions of manufactured goods are 
-sold by the same person. Some of the minor streets consist of low 

* It is perhaps not generally known, that the bags of cotton are compressed, by means 
of machinery, ijito a small compass, and fastened round with ropes, that the ships which 
convey them may contain a greater number. 


and shabby houses. Here are the Governor's palace, which was in 
other times the Jesuits' convent; the treasury; the town-hall and 
prison; the barracks, which are very bad; the Franciscan, Car- 
melite, and Penha convents, and several churches, the interiors of 
which are very handsomely ornamented, but very little plan has 
been preserved in the architecture of the buildings themselves. It 
comprises several squares, and has, to a certain degree, a gay and 
lively appearance. This is the principal division of the town. 

The bridge which connects St. Antonio with Boa Vista is con- 
structed entirely of wood, and has upon it no shops, but is likewise 
narrow. The principal street of Boa Vista, which was formerly a 
piece of ground overflowed at high water, is broad and handsome : 
the rest of this third division consists chiefly of small houses, and as 
there is plenty of room here, it extends to some distance in a strag- 
gling manner. Neither the streets of this part of the town nor of St. 
Antonio are paved. A long embankment has likewise been made, 
which connects the sand-bank and town of St. Antonio with the main 
land at AfFogados *, to the south and west of Boa Vista. The river 
Capibaribe, so famous in Pernambucan history, discharges its waters 
into the channel between St. Antonio and Boa Vista, after having 
run for some distance in a course nearly east and west. 

Some few of the windows of the houses are glazed, and have iron 
balconies : but the major part are without glass, and of these the 
balconies are enclosed by lattice-work ; and no females are to be seen, 
excepting the negro slaves, which gives a very sombre look to the 
streets. The Portugueze f , the Brazilian, and even the Mulatto 
women, in the middle ranks of life, do not move out of doors in the 
day-time ; they hear mass at the churches before day light, and do 
not again stir out, excepting in sedan chairs, or in the evening on 

* I did not discovei- any vestiges of the fort which stood here at the time of the 
Dutch war. 

f I shall use this word exclusively, when speaking of Europeans of this nation ; and 
{he word Brazilian, when speaking of white persons born in Brazil. 


foot, when occasionally a whole family will sally forth to take 
a walk. 

The upper harbour of Recife, called the Mosqueiro, as has been 
already said, is formed by the reef of rocks which runs parallel with 
the town at a very small distance. The lower harbour, for vessels 
of 400 tons and upwards, called the P090, is very dangerous, as it is 
open to the sea, and the beach opposite to it is very steep. The 
large Brazil ships, belonging to merchants of the place, lie here for 
months at a time, moored with four cables, two a-head and two 
a-stern. If precautions are not taken very speedily, the entrance to 
the harbour of Mosqueiro will be choaked up, owing to a breach in 
the reef, immediately within the small fort, which is called Picam. 
The port has two entrances, one of which is deeper than the other. 
The tide does not rise more than five and a half feet. The principal 
defence of the town consists in the forts Do Buraco* and Do Brum, 
both of which are built of stone, and are situated upon the sands 
opposite to the two entrances. Likewise there is the small fort of 
Bom Jezus, near to the arch-way and church of the same name ; and 
upon the south-east point of the sand-bank of St. Antonio stands the 
large stone fort of Cinco Pontas, so called from its pentagonal form. 
They are said to be all out of order. From what I have stated, it 
will be seen that the ground upon which the town has been built is 
most peculiarly circumstanced, and that the manner in which the 
harbour is formed is equally rare. 

The town is principally supplied with water, which is brought in 
canoes, either from Olinda, or from the river Capibaribe, above the 
influence of the tide ; it comes in bulk, and although the gi-eater 
part of the vessels are decked, still it is usually filthy, as too much 
care is not taken in their cleanliness. The wells that are sunk in 
the sand upon which the town stands only afford brackish water. 

The three compartments of the town, together, contain about 

* This is the name by which the fort is usually distinguished, but I rather think tliat 
it is not its proper appellation. 


25,000 inhabitants, or more, and it is increasing rapidly ; new 
houses are building wherever space can be found. The population 
consists of white persons, of mulatto and black free people, and of 
slaves also of several shades. 

The reef of rocks, of which I have before spoken, continues along 
the whole coast between Pernambuco and Maranham, and in some 
parts it runs at a very short distance from the shore ; and in this 
case is usually high, remaining uncovered at low water, as at 
Recife ; but in other places it recedes from the land, and is then 
generally concealed. It has numberless breaks in it, through which 
the communication with the sea is laid open. 

Recife is a thriving place, increasing daily in opulence and im- 
portance. The prosperity which it enjoys may be in some measure 
attributed to the character of itS Governor and Captain-General, 
Caetano Pinto de Miranda Montenegro, who has ruled the province 
for the last ten years with systematic steadiness and uniform pru- 
dence. He has made no unnecessary innovations, but he has 
allowed useful improvements to be introduced. He has not, with 
hurried enthusiastic zeal, which often defeats its end, pushed for- 
wards any novelty that struck him at the moment, but he has given 
his consent and countenance to any proposal backed by respectable 
persons. He has not interfered and intermeddled with those concerns in 
which governments have no business, but he has supported them when 
they have been once established. I here speak of commercial re- 
gulations and minor improvements in the chief town, and in the 
smaller settlements of the country. He is affable, and hears the 
complaint of a peasant or a rich merchant with the same patience ; 
he is just, seldom exercising the power which he possesses of punish- 
ing without appeal to the civil magistrate ; and when he does en- 
force it, the crime must be very glaring indeed. He acts upon a 
system, and from principle ; and if it is the fate of Brazil to be in 
the hands of a despotic government, happy, compared to its present 
state, would it in general be, if all its rulers resembled him. I love 



the place at which I so long resided, and I hope most shicerely that 
he may not be removed, but that he may continue to dispense 
to that extensive region, the blessings of a mild, forbearing admi- 

In political consequence, with reference to the Portuguese go- 
vernment, Pernambuco holds the third* rank amongst the pro- 
vinces of Brazil ; but in a commercial point of view, with reference 
to Great Britain, I know not whether it should not be named first, j- 
Its chief exports are cotton and sugar ; the former mostly comes to 
England, and may be accounted at 80,000 or 90,000 bags annually, 
averaging 1 60 pounds weight each bag. The latter is chiefly shipped 
to Lisbon. Hides, cocoa-nuts, ipecacuanha, and a few other drugs, 
are also occasionally sent from thence, but are exported in trifling 
quantities. These articles are exchanged for manufactured goods, 
earthenware, porter, and other articles of necessity among civi- 
lized people, and also of luxury to no very great amount. Two or 
three ships sail annually for Goa in the East Indies ; and the trade 
to the coast of Africa for slaves is considerable. Several vessels 
from the United States arrive at Recife annually, bringing flour, of 
which great quantities are now consumed ; furniture for dwelling- 
houses, and other kinds of lumber, and carrying away sugar, melasses, 
and rum. During the late war between the United States and 
England, which interrupted this trade, Recife was at first somewhat 
distressed for wheat-flour, but a supply arrived from Rio Grande do 
Sul, the most southern province of the kingdom of Brazil. J The 

* I am not quite certain whether it is the third or fourth. 

f I sailed from Pernambuco in the very last convoy of 1815, previous to the peace 
with the United States, which consisted of twenty-eight vessels, viz. two ships of war, two 
prizes to them, and t\venty-four merchant vessels, fourteen of which were from Pernam- 
buco, and the remaining ten from Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. 

:): An edict has lately been issued at Rio de Janeiro by the Regent, declaring himself 
the Prince Regent of the United Kingdoms of Portugal, Brazil, and the Two Algarves. 


quality is good *, and I rather think that some coasting-vessels will 
continue to supply the market with this article, notwithstanding the 
I'enewed communication with North America. 

* I saw, in the year 1814, a very fine root of wheat that had been raised in the Campina 
Grande of the province of Paraiba, about thirty leagues to the northward of Recife. 

c 2 






FRIAR. — ST. Peter's day. — visit to a brasilian family. — a dance. — 


THE numerous arrangements necessary on our arrival, prevented 
our making immediately the customary visit to the governor ; 
but on the following morning we proceeded to the palace, situated in 
a small square, with the guard-house on one side, at which is 
stationed a captain's guard. We were ushered up stairs, remained 
some time in an anti-chamber with several cadets, and were then 
desired to enter ; we passed the secretary's room, and were shown 
into a very spacious apartment, in which the governor waited to 
receive us. He is a large handsome man, with quite the manners 
of a gentleman ; we all sat down, and he asked several questions 
respecting affairs in Europe ; I had some English newspapers, which 
I left with him, and in about half an hour we retired. 

The first few days after my arrival were spent in delivering my 
letters of introduction. I soon became acquainted with all the 
English merchants, who live in a very respectable style, and have 
done much good in establishing some customs which the Portugueze 
have had the sense to follow, preserving at the same time those of 
their own, which are fitted to the country and the climate. 

As this was the summer season, great numbers of the inhabitants 
were out of town ; they remove to small cottages at Olinda, and upon 


the banks of the rivers, to enjoy a purer air, and the amusement and 
comfort of bathing, during the months most subject to hot, parching 
weather. The heat is, however, seldom very oppressive ; the sea- 
breeze, during the whole year, commences about nine o'clock in the 
morning, and continues until midnight. When exposed to it, even 
standing in the sun, the heat is so much alleviated by its influence, as 
to make the person so situated forget, for a moment, that in the shade 
he would be cooler. At the time this subsides the land-breeze rises, 
and continues until early in the morning, and the half hour in the 
forenoon which occasionally passes between the one and the other, is 
the most unpleasant period of the day. In the rainy season, just 
before the commencement of a heavy shower, the clouds are very 
dark, dense, and low ; the breeze is suspended for a short time ; there 
is then a sort of expectant stillness, and the weather is very sultry. 

One afternoon I rode out with several young men to a village in 
the neighbourhood, for the purpose of delivering a letter to one of 
the rich merchants. We passed through Boa Vista, and proceeded 
along a narrow sandy road, formed by frequent passing and repassing ; 
and along the sides of this are many of the summer residences of the 
wealthy inhabitants of the town, which are small, neat, white-washed 
cottages of one floor, with gardens in front and at the sides, planted 
with orange, lemon, pomegranate, and many other kinds of fruit- 
trees ; some few are inclosed partly by low walls, but for the most 
part they are protected by fences of timber. About half way we 
came out upon the banks of the Capibaribe ; the view is exceedingly 
pretty; houses, trees, and gardens on each side : the river bends just 
above, and appears lost among the trees ; the canoes going gently 
down with the tide, or more laboriously forcing their way up against 
it, formed altogether a delightful prospect. The river is here rather 
narrower than the Thames at Richmond. Along the sides of the 
road, at this spot, are several black women selling oranges, other kinds 
of fruits and cakes, and canoe-men with their long poles, unable to 
delay, bargaining with them for some of their commodities. This was 
the first time I had left the town, and I was truly pleased with these 


first looks of the country of which I had become an inhabitant. We 
again left the river, continuing along the road, still bordered by cot- 
tages of a better or worse appearance, until we reached a small village; 
through this we passed, and soon afterwards arrived at the end of our 
ride. The situation is very picturesque, upon the northern bank of 
the Capibaribe, and at the foot of a steep hill clothed with wood. 
On our arrival at the house, we entered immediately from the road 
into a hall with a brick floor, of which the doors and windows are 
very large, so as to leave the front very nearly open. We were 
received by the lady of the house, and her husband soon appear- 
ed; they were exceedingly civil, and ordered sweetmeats to be 
brought out. 

Our English flat saddles created as much surprise to the people of 
Pernambuco, as those of the Portugueze appeared strange to us. 
They are high before and behind, which obliges the rider to sit 
very upright, and the fashion is to be as stiflPas possible, and to hold 
quite perpendicularly a switch of most enormous length. The horses 
are taught a delightful amble, upon which some of them can be made 
to proceed with great speed. 

The river Capibaribe is navigable during the whole year as far as 
Apepucos, half a league beyond Monteiro, the village at which my 
new acquaintance was now residing. It overflows its banks in the 
rainy season, oftentimes with great rapidity. As the lands through 
which it runs in this part of the country are very low, the floods are 
somewhat dreaded, as they occasionally extend far and wide. The straw 
hovels upon its banks are often carried away, and the whole neigh- 
bourhood is laid under water : canoes have been known to ply be- 
tween this village and those of P090 da Panella and Caza Forte. 

A Portugueze friend, with whom I had been acquainted in England, 
having taken a house at the former of the two last-mentioned places, 
I agreed to share the expence of it with him, and we immediately 
removed to it, to pass the summer months. The village was quite full ; 
not a hut remained untenanted ; and, as occurs in England at watering- 
places, families, whose dwellings in town were spacious and handsome 


regardless of in convenience, came to reside here during the summer in 
very small cottages. The P090 da Panella contains a chapel, built by 
subscription, a row of houses running parallel with the river, several 
washerwomen's huts in front of them, and other dwellings scattered 
about in all directions. Here the ceremonious manners of the town 
are thrown aside, and exchanged for an equal degree of freedom. Our 
mornings were filled up, either in riding to the Recife or to some 
other part of the country, or in conversation at the houses of any of 
the families with whom we were acquainted ; and the afternoons and 
evenings with music, dancing, playing at forfeits, or in dining with 
some of the English merchants, a few of whom had also removed to 
this place and its neighbourhood. At many of the Portugueze houses 
I found the card-tables occupied at nine o'clock in the morning ; 
when one person rose another took his place ; and thus they were 
scarcely deserted, except during the heat of the day, when each man 
either returned to his own home to dine, or, as is much less frequent, 
was requested to remain and partake with the family. 

On the last day of this year I was invited to visit Olinda, that I might 
witness the festival of Our Lady of the Mountain. The city is, as I have 
already observed, situated upon a hill, very steep in front of the 
sea, and declining gradually on the land side. Its first appearance, 
on arriving upon the coast, is so beautiful, that the disappoint- 
ment experienced on entering it is great ; but still Olinda has many 
beauties, and the view from it is magnificent. The streets are paved, 
but are much out of repair ; many of the houses are small, low, and 
neglected, and the gardens very little cultivated ; indeed the place has 
been deserted for the Recife. However, one of the regiments of the 
line is stationed here *; it is the residence of the bishop, and the site 
of the ecclesiastical court, the seminary, which is a public college of 
education, and some convents and fine churches ; therefore, it is by no 
means desolate, though its general aspect bespeaks tranquillity, regu- 

* This has lately been removed to Recife, owing to a report of some plan of revolt 
amongst the negroes, which has since proved to be without foundation. 1815. 


larity, and a degree of neglect. The view to the southward takes in 
a lake of about three miles in length, of which the surface is covered 
with weeds and grass, and the opposite banks lined with thick woods 
and some cottages ; the Recife and the bay behind it, formed by the 
entrance of the tide, extending to Olinda, but concealed in places by 
low and thick mangroves are also to be seen. Olinda covers much 
ground, but contains only about 4000 inhabitants. At this time the 
whole city presented a scene of bustle and amusement. The church, 
particularly decorated on this occasion, stands upon the highest point ; 
the assemblage of persons was great ; the church was lighted up, and 
a few individuals of both sexes were kneeling promiscuously in the 
body of it, but the service was over. 

This is the season of cheerfulness and gaiety, and we were likewise 
to have our festival at the P090 da Panella. These festivals are always 
preceded by nine evenings of hymn-singing, and music, in honour of 
the Virgin, or the saint whose day is to be thus celebrated. On this 
occasion the performance for the novena, or nine evenings, consisted 
of a piano-forte played by a lady, the wife of a merchant, and a gui- 
tar, and some wind-instruments, played by several young men of 
respectability. The vocal music was also executed by the same per- 
sons, assisted by some female mulatto slaves belonging to the lady. 
I was somewhat surprised to hear the airs of country-dances and 
marches occasionally introduced. However, on the day of the 
festival, the performers were professional men, and in the evening fire- 
works were displayed. Every house in the village was crowded this 
day with people from all parts. My friend and I had several per- 
sons to dinner, but before we had half finished, some of tlieir friends 
appeared, and without ceremony came in and helped themselves ; 
soon all idea of regularity vanished, and things were scrambled for. 
In a short time both of us left our own house, and tried to gain ad- 
mittance to some other, but all were in the same confusion. We 
were invited to a dance in the evening, at which the Governor was 
present ; and although he is himself desirous of making every person 
feel at ease, still such is the dreadful idea of rank, for I know not 


vdiat else to call it, in this country, that the behaviour of every one 
was constrained, and the conversation carried on almost in a whisper. 

I lost no Festivals, and amongst others, went to that of St. 
Amavo, the healer of wounds, at whose chapel are sold bits of ribbon, 
as charms, which many individuals of the lower orders of people 
tie round their naked ancles or their wrists, and preserve until they 
wear out, and drop off. 

About the commencement of Lent, the villages in the neighbour- 
hood are almost entirely deserted by the white people, who return 
to town to see the processions customary at this season in Catholic 
countries. The rains also usually begin about the end of March. 
I did not leave the P090 de Panella until the very last, but in the 
end found the place dull, and followed the rest. 

On Holy Thursday, accompanied by two of my countrymen, I 
sallied forth at three o'clock, to see the churches, which are, on this 
occasion, lighted up, and highly ornamented. The whole town was 
in motion ; the females, too, both high and low, were this afternoon 
parading the streets on foot, contrary to their usual custom ; many of 
them were dressed in silks of different colours, and covered with 
gold chains and other trinkets, a general maister being made of all 
the finery that could be collected. The • blaze in some of the 
churches, from great numbers of wax tapers, was prodigious ; the 
object apparently aimed at was the production of the greatest quan- 
tity of light, as in some instances mirrors were fixed behind the 
tapers. The middle of the body of these churches is completely 
open ; there are no pews, no distinction of places ; the principal 
chapel is invariably at the opposite end from the chief entrance, 
recedes from the church, and is narrower ; this part is appropriated 
to the officiating priests, and is railed in from the body of the 
church. The females, as they enter, whether white or of colour, 
place themselves as near to the rails as they can, squatting down 
upon the floor of the large open space in the centre. The men stand 
along either side of the body of the church, a narrow slip being in 
most instances railed off lengthways ; or they remain near to the 



entrance, behind the women ; but every female, of whatever rank or 
colour, is first accommodated. 

On the following day. Good Friday, the decorations of the 
churches, the dress of the women, and even the manner of both 
sexes was changed ; all was dismal. In the morning I went with 
the same gentlemen to the church of the Sacramento, to witness a 
representation of our Saviour's descent from the Cross. We entered 
the church by a side door ; it was much crowded, and the difficulty 
ol getting in was considerable. An enormous curtain hung from the 
ceiling, excluding from the sight the whole of the principal chapel. 
An Italian Missionary Friar of the Penha convent, with a long- 
beard, and dressed in a thick dark brown cloth habit, was in the 
pulpit, and about to commence an extempore sermon. After an 
exordium of some length, adapted to the day, he cried out " Behold 
him ;" the curtain immediately dropped, and discovered an enormous 
Cross, with a full-sized wooden image of our Saviour, exceedingly 
well carved and painted, and around it a number of angels repre- 
sented by several young persons, all finely decked out, and each 
bearing a large pair of out-stretched wings, made of gauze ; a man, 
dressed in a bob wig, and a pea green robe, as St. John, and a female 
kneeling at the foot of the Cross, as the Magdalen ; whose character, 
as I was informed, seemingly that nothing might be wanting, was not 
the most pure. The friar continued, with much vehemence, and 
much action, his narrative of the crucifixion, and after some minutes, 
again cried out " Behold, they take him down ;" when four men, 
habited in imitation of Roman soldiers, stepped forwards. The 
countenances of these persons were in part concealed by black crape. 
Two of them ascended ladders placed on each side against the Cross, 
and one took down the board, bearing the letters I. N. R. I. Then 
was removed the crown of thorns, and a white cloth was put over, 
and pressed down upon the head ; which was soon taken off, and 
shown to the people, stained with the circular mark of the crown in 
blood : this done, the nails which transfix the hands, were by degrees 
knocked out, and this produced a violent beating of breasts among 


the female part of the congregation. A long white linen bandage 
was next passed under each arm-pit of the image; the nail which 
secured the feet was removed; the figure was let down very gently, 
and was carefully wrapped up in a white sheet. All this was done 
by word of command from the preacher. The sermon was then 
quickly brought to a conclusion, and we left the church. I was quite 
amazed; I had heard that something of this kind was to be done, 
but I had no idea of the extent to which the representation would 
be carried. 

On Saturday morning we were saluted with the bellowing of cattle, 
the grunting of pigs, and the cries of the negro slaves with baskets of 
fowls of several kinds for sale; these were to be devoured after the 
ensuing midnight, and many families, weary of their long abstinence, 
impatiently awaited the striking of the clocks, as a signal for the com- 
mencement of hostile operations, without mercy or scruple, upon 
turkies, pigs, &c. and all the rest of the miserable tribes which have 
been laid down as the lawful victims of our carnivorous nature. 

On Easter Sunday I was invited by a physician to dine with him, 
and to attend the christening of one of his grandchildren. At din- 
ner the party was small; the dishes were served up two at a time to 
the number of ten or twelve, of all of which I was obliged to taste. 
From the table we adjourned to the church about four o'clock, where 
several persons, likewise invited, waited for us; the ceremony was 
performed by a friar, and each guest held a wax taper, forming a 
semicircle towards the altar; from hence we returned to the old 
gentleman's house to supper. I met here, among others belonging 
to the same convent, the friar who preached the crucifixion sermon. 
The members of this convent are all Italians and Missionaries, but 
as no reinforcement has for a length of time come out from Europe, 
very few now remain. A long table was laid out, loaded with vic- 
tuals. Several ladies were present, notwithstanding which enormous 
quantities of wine were drank, until the whole company began to be 
riotous, but still the ladies did not move. At last no order was left 
among them, bottles and glasses were overturned and broken in the 

D 2 


vehement wishes expressed for the prosperity of the whole family of 
our host, both old and young ; when in the midst of this, I escaped 
about nine o'clock, accompanied by a Franciscan friar. We had a 
journey in contemplation for the next day, and thought it high time 
to get away. Parties of this kind are not frequent, and in a general 
way these people live in a very quiet manner. The old Doctor 
is a native of Lisbon, and a great friend to Englishmen; he was 
young at the time of the great earthquake, and says he shall never 
forget that he was in part cloathed from the necessaries sent out by 
the British government for the assistance of the Portugueze after that 
dreadful calamity. 

On the following afternoon, the friar, myself, and a servant, pro- 
ceeded to Iguarayu, a small town distant from Recife seven leagues, 
for the purpose of witnessing the entrance of a novice into the Order 
of St. Francis. We arrived about nine o'clock at night at the gates 
of the convent; the friar rang the bell three times, as the signal 
of the arrival of one of the Order; a lay brother came, and asked 
who it was that demanded admittance; he was answered, that 
it was brother Joseph from the convent of Recife accompanied by a 
friend; the porter shut the gat?s again, but soon returned, saying 
that the Guardian, the name given to the principal of a Franciscan 
convent, allowed us to enter. We were conducted up a flight of 
steps into a long corridore, at the end of which sat the Guardian, to 
whom we were introduced ; he directed us to the brother who had 
the management of the accommodations for visitors ; this man placed 
us under the especial care of Frei Luiz, who took us to his cell. Sup- 
per was served up, upon which the Guardian came in, helped us once 
round to wine and made many apologies for the badness of his cook, 
and also excuses for the want of ingredients at this distance from 
Recife. The convents of St. Francis are all built exactl_y upon the 
same plan ; in the form of a quadrangle, one side of which is appro- 
priated to the church, and the remaining three to cells and to other 
purposes ; the former are above, and to be entered from a gallery, 


which runs round the* whole building. The beds with which the 
friars supplied us were hard, but very acceptable after our ride. 

The ceremony to be performed on the ensuing morning collected 
great numbers of persons from all quarters, as it is now very rare. 
Formerly, of every family at least one member was a friar, but now 
this is not the custom; children are brought up to trade, to the army, 
to any thing rather than to a monastic life, which is fast losing its 
reputation. None of the convents are full, and some of them are 
nearly without inhabitants.* 

Early in the morning the church was lighted up, and about ten 
o'clock the family of the person about to take the vows arrived to 
occupy the seats prepared for them. Mass was then said, and a ser- 
mon preached; about eleven o'clock the novice, a young man of 
sixteen years of age, entered the principal chapel by a side door, walk- 
ing between two brothers, with a lai'ge cross in his. hands, and dressed 
in a long dark blue robe: there was then much chanting, after which 
he knelt down opposite to the Guardian, received the usual admoni- 
tions, was asked several questions relating to his belief in the doctrines 
of the church, and then made the separate vows, of defending his reli- 
gion, of celibacy, and others of minor importance. The Guardian 
then dressed him in the habit of the Order, made of very thick, rough, 
dark brown cloth, which before lay stretched upon the ground in 
front of the altar, covered with flowers ; this being done, the young 
man embraced all the brothers present, took leave of his relations, 
and left the church. Many of the friars were laughing during the 
ceremony, and were particularly amused at the Guardian accidentally 
saying, " Brother, don't be ashamed f;" owing to the young man be- 

* A Portugaeze gentleman once observed to me, that in France and other countries 
many clever men had written and spoken strongly, and for a considerable length of time 
against this way of life, and that they at last even effected their purpose with much diffi- 
culty; but, he added, in Pcrnambuco such is the conduct of the friars, that no writing 
and no speaking is necessary to bring them into disrepute. 

-|- " Innam, nao tenha vergon/ta." 


ing much abashed. A visitor who stood near to me in the gallery, 
from which there are windows into the church, said, in a low voice 
to be heard only by those immediately around him ; " See your chief 
himself thus advises him to put shame aside, which unfortunately you 
are all too much inclined to do;" at this the friars who were within 
hearing all laughed. Great part of the community and many other 
persons dined with the father of the young friar, and I among the 
rest ; there was much eating, much drinking, and much confusion. In 
the evening fireworks were displayed, which ended by a transparency, 
representing a novice receiving the benediction of his Guardian. 

It was determined that we should return to Recife this night, and 
that the journey was to be commenced as soon as the moon rose. 
The party consisted of five friars, several laymen besides myself all 
on horseback ; some palanquins with ladies, and a number of negroes 
to carry them. We sallied forth about midnight; the moon was 
bright, and the sky quite clear. The scene was very strange; the 
road made in places abrupt turns, so as to give to those who were 
rather in advance, on looking back, a view of the whole proces- 
sion, at times appearing and at times concealed among the trees; of 
this the friars formed an extraordinary part, in their robes tucked up 
round the waist, and tied with the long yellow cord of flagellation, and 
with their enormous white hats. At Olinda several persons remained, 
and the rest arrived at Recife about seven o'clock in the morning. 

On the 10th of May I had a sudden attack of fever, which 
was accompanied with delirium ; however, with the assistance of a 
medical man, the disorder subsided in the course of forty-eight hours, 
but it left me in a very weak state, from which I was some time in 
recovering. These fevers are well known in the country, but are not 
common, and in general are preceded for some days by ague. I can 
only account for this attack, from having suffered the window of my 
room, which had a western aspect, to remain open during the night, 
and the land breeze which rises about twelve o'clock is not ac- 
counted wholesome. A young Englishman insisted upon my remo- 
val to his house, that I might not remain in the hands of servants; 


he brought a palanquin for this purpose, and made me get into it. 
With him I remained until my health was completely re-established, 
and was treated by him with that sort of kindness which can only 
be expected from a very near relation. 

I dined with a friend on St. Peter's day, the 29th June, and in the 
evening I proposed walking to the church, dedicated to this saint. 
As usual, the blaze of light was great, the congregation nume- 
rous, and the whole affair very brilliant. After the service, we recog- 
nised a paity of ladies with whom we were acquainted, and one of 
them requested us to look for a young priest, her son ; on making 
enquiries, we were desired to walk up stairs into a large room over 
the vestry, in which were several priests, and a table covered with 
refreshments of many descriptions. The young man came to us, and 
was soon followed by others, who invited us to stay and partake, but 
we declined and went down to the party we had joined ; some of the 
priests accompanied us, and persuaded the ladies to ascend, and have 
a share of the good things ; we were also requested to return, which 
we did. There were great quantities of fruit, cakes, sweetmeats, and 
wine. We met with the most marked attention from these ministers 
of the Roman Catholic religion ; greater politeness could not have 
been shown to any person ; even many with whom we had not been 
acquainted before, offered us wine, and requested to be introduced to 
us. I mention the conduct of these men more particularly, as I think 
it showed a great degree of liberality, and a wish to conciliate, and 
more especially as there were likewise several laymen present of their 
own nation*. About ten o'clock we left the church, and taking one 
family of our party home, remained with them until a very late 

We were invited to pass the following Sunday with this family, 
which consisted of the father and mother, and a son and daughter ; 

* In speaking of the Priesthood, it must be always recollected, that the Secular and 
Regular Clergy are two totally different bodies of men, and as distinct in their utility, their 
knowledge, and their manners, as they are in their situation in life. 


they were all Brazilians, and though the young lady had never been 
from Pernambuco, her manners were easyi and her conversation 
lively and entertaining. Her complexion was not darker than 
that of the Portugueze in general, her eyes and hair black, and 
her features on the whole good ; her figure small, but well shaped. 
Though I have seen others handsomer, still this lady may be 
accounted a very fair sample of the white Brazilian females ; but 
it is among the women of colour that the finest persons are to be 
found, — more life and spirit, more activity of mind and body ; they 
are better fitted to the climate, and the mixed race seems to be its 
proper inhabitant. Their features too are often good, and even 
the colour, which in European climates is disagreeable, appears to 
appertain to that in which it more naturally exists ; but this bar to Eu- 
ropean ideas of beauty set aside, finer specimens of the human form 
cannot be found than among the mulatto females whom I have seen. 
We went to them to breakfast, which was of coffee and cakes. 
Backgammon and cards were then introduced until dinner time, at 
two o'clock. This consisted of great numbers of dishes, placed 
upon the table without any arrangement, and brought in without any 
regard to the regularity of courses. We were, as may be supposed, 
rather surprised at being complimented with pieces of meat from 
the plates of various persons at the table. I have often met with 
this custom, particularly amongst families in the interior, and this I 
now speak of had only resided in Recife a short time ; but many 
of the people of the town have other ideas on these matters. Two 
or three knives only were placed vipon the table, which obliged 
each person to cut all the meat upon his own plate into small pieces, 
and pass the knife to his next neighbour. There was, however, a 
plentiful supply of silver forks, and abundance of plates. Garlic 
formed one ingredient in almost every dish, and we had a great deal 
of wine during the dinner. The moment we finished, every one rose 
from the table, and removed into another apartment. At eight 
o'clock a large party assembled to tea, and we did not take our de- 
parture until a very late hour. On our arrival at home, my friend 


and I sat together to consider of the transactions of this day, which 
we had tlius passed entirely with a Brazihan family, and both agreed 
that we had been much amused, and that we had really felt 
much gratification, save the business at the dining table. The con- 
versation was trifling, but entertaining ; there was much wit and 
sport. The ladies of the house, joined by several others in the 
evening, talked a great deal, and would allow of no subject into 
which they could not enter. 

It will be observed from what I have described, and from what I 
still have to mention, that no rule can be laid down for the society of 
the place in question ; families of equal rank, and of equal wealth and 
importance, are often of manners totally different. The fact is, that 
society is undergoing a rapid change ; not that the people imitate 
European customs, though these have some effect, but as 
there is more wealth, more luxuries are required ; as there is more 
education, higher and more polished amusements are sought for ; 
as the mind becomes more enlarged, from intercourse with other 
nations, and from reading, many customs are seen in a different 
light ; so that, the same persons insensibly change, and in a few 
years ridicule and are disgusted with many of those very habits 
which, if they reflect for a moment, they will recollect were practised 
but a short time before by themselves. 

On St. Anne's day, the 29th July, two young Englishmen and 
myself proceeded by invitation to the house of one of the first per- 
sonages of Pernambuco ; a man in place, and a planter, possessing 
three sugar works in different parts of the country. About ten 
o'clock in the morning, we embarked in a canoe, and were poled 
and paddled across the bay, on the land side of the town. On our 
arrival upon the opposite shore, the tide was out, and the mud deep ; 
in fear and trembling for our silks, two of us clang to the backs of 
the canoe-men, who with some difficulty put us down safe on dry land j 
but the third, who was heavier, for some minutes debated whether 
to return home was not the better plan, however, he took courage, 
and was, likewise, safely conducted through this region of 

26 A DANCE. 

of peril. We then walked up to the house, which covers much 
ground, and of which the apartments are spacious, and all upon the 
first floor. The garden was laid out by this gentleman's father, in 
the old style of straight walks, and trees cut into shapes. A large 
party was already assembling, as this was the anniversary of the 
birth-day of our hostess ; but the females were all ushered into one 
room, and the men into another ; cards and backgammon, as usual, 
were the amusements, but there was little of ease and freedom of 
conversation. At dinner, the ladies all arranged themselves on one 
side, and the men opposite to them ; there were victuals of many kinds 
in great profusion, and much wine was drank. Some of the gentle- 
men who were intimately acquainted with the family, did not sit down 
at table, but assisted in attending upon the ladies. After dinner, the 
whole party adjourned into a large hall, and country dancing being 
proposed and agreed to, fiddlers were introduced, and a little after 
seven o'clock, about twenty couples commenced, and continued this 
amusement until past two o'clock. Here was the ceremony of the 
Jiast century in the morning, and in the evening the chearfulness of 
an English party of the present day. I never partook of one more 
pleasant ; the conversation, at times renewed, was always genteel, but 
unceremonious, and I met with several well-educated persons, whose 
acquaintance I enjoyed during the remainder of my stay at this 

The rains this season had been very slight, and scarcely ever pre- 
vented our rides into the country in the neighbourhood, to the 
distance of six or eight miles ; but we never reached beyond the 
summer dwellings of the inhabitants of Recife. The villages are 
at this time very dull, having people of colour and negroes as resi- 
dents almost exclusively. However, as I was fond of the country, 
I was tempted by the fineness of the weather, to remove entirely to 
a small cottage in the vicinity, where my time passed away 
pleasantly, though quietly, and in a manner very barren of 
events. There stands a hamlet not far distant from my new resi- 
dence, called Caza Forte, formerly the site of a sugar plantation, which 


has been suffered to decay, and now the chapel alone remains to 
point out the exact position. The dwelling-house of these works is 
said to have been defended by the Dutch against the Portugueze, who 
set fire to it, for the purpose of obliging their enemies to surrender. 
A large open piece of ground is pointed out as having been the situa- 
tion upon which these transactions took place. It is distant from 
Recife about five miles, and the river Capibaribe runs about three 
quarters of a mile beyond it. I met with few of the peasants 
who had any knowledge of the Pernambucan war against the Dutch, 
but I heard this spot more frequently spoken of than any other*. 
Perhaps if I had had more communication with the southern districts 
of Pernambuco, I should have discovered that the war was more 
vividly remembered there. 

1 had an offer of introduction to another Brazilian family, which I 
readily accepted, and on the 7th August, I was summoned by my 
friend to accompany him to Olinda. He had been invited, and 
liberty had been given to take a friend. We went in a canoe, and 
were completely wet through on the way ; but we walked about the 
streets of Olinda until we were again dry. The family consisted of 
an old lady, her two daughters, and a son, who is a priest, and one of 
the professors or masters of the seminary. Several persons of the 
same class were present, of easy and gentlemanlike manners ; 
some of them proposed dancing, and although they did not join in the 
amusement, still they were highly pleased to see others entertained in 
this manner. Our music was a piano forte, played by one of the 
professors, who good-humouredly continued until the dancers 
themselves begged him to desist. About midnight, we left these 
pleasant people, and returned to the beach ; the tide was out, and 
the canoe upon dry land ; we therefore determined to walk ; the 
sand was very heavy, the distance three miles, and after our evening's 

* I think that the Caza Forte and the Cazas deDona Anna Paes, of which an account 
is given in the History of Brazil, vol. ii. p, 124, distinguish the same place under 
different names. 

E 2 


amusement, this was hard work. I did not attempt this night to go 
beyond Recife to my cottage, but accepted of a mattress at my friend's 

Three or four families are in the practice of having weekly evening 
card parties, as was usual in Lisbon. I attended these occasionally, 
but in them there was no peculiarity of customs. 

The foregoing pages will, I think, suffice to point out the kind of 
society to be met \v'ith in Pernambuco, but this must be sought for, as 
the families in which it is to be found, are not" numerous. Of 
these, very few are in trade ; they are either Portugueze families, of 
which the chief is in office, or Brazilian planters who are wealthy, 
and prefer residing in Recife or Olinda ; or, as is frequently the case, 
a son or brother belonging to the secular priesthood, has imbibed 
more liberal notions, and has acquired a zest for rational society. 
As may naturally be supposed, the females of a family are always 
glad to be of more importance, to be treated with respect, to see, and 
to be seen. The merchants, generally speaking, for there do exist 
some exceptions, live very much alone ; they have been originally 
from Portugal, have made fortunes in trade, and have married in the 
country ; but most of them still continue to live as if they were not 
yet sufficiently wealthy, or at least cannot persuade themselves to alter 
their close and retired manner of living, and, excepting in the sum- 
mer months, when sitting upon the steps of their country residencies, 
their families are not to be seen. 

The gentleman, chiefly by whose kindness I had been introduced 
and enabled to partake of the pleasantest society of Pernambuco, 
was among the first British subjects, who availed themselves of the 
free communication between England and Brazil, and he even 
already observed a considerable change of manners in the higher 
class of people. The decrease in the price of all articles of dress ; 
the facility of obtaining at a low rate, earthenware, cutlery, and table 
linen ; in fact, the very spur given to the mind by this appearance 
of a new people among them ; the hope of a. better state of things, 
that their country was about to become of more importance ; re- 


newed in many persons, ideas which had long lain dormant ; made 
them wish to show, that they had money to expend, and that they 
knew how it should be expended.* 

It was the custom in Pernambuco, to uncover when passing a sen- 
tinel, or on meeting a guard of soldiers marching through the streets. 
Soon after the opening of the port to British shipping, three English 
gentlemen accidentally met a corporal's guard of four or five men, 
and as they passed each other, one of the latter took off the hat of 
one of the forftier, accompanying the action by an opprobrious ex- 
pression ; the Englishmen resented the insult, attacked and abso- 
lutely routed the guard. This dreadful mark of submission to mili- 
tary power was universally refused by every British subject, and has 
been very much discontinued even by the Portugueze. Another 
annoyance to these visitors was the usual respect paid to the Sacra- 
ment, carried with much pomp and ceremony to persons dangerously 
ill. It was expected, that every one by whom it chanced to pass, 
should kneel, and continue in that posture until it was out of sight ; 
here Englishmen, in some degree, conformed in proper deference to 
the religion of the country, but the necessity of this also is wearing 

* When the Englishmen, who first established themselves at Recife, had finished the 
stock of tea which they had brought with them, they enquired where more could be pur- 
c'hased, and were directed to an apothecary's shop. They went, and asked simply for tea, 
when the maai wished to know what kind of tea they meant ; he at last understood them, 
and said, "O, you want East-Indian tea," "C/ia da India," — thus considering it as he 
would any other drug. But at the time of which I am now speaking, great quantities a(fe 

f I once heard, that a person who had been in England, and had returned to Pernam- 
buco, observed, that the two things which surprised him the most in that country, were, 
that the people did not die, and that the children spoke Enghsh. He was asked liis reason 
for supposing that his first wonder was correct, to which he answered, that he never had 
seen the Sacrament taken to the sick. 






^ I ''HE captaincies-general, or provinces of the first rank, in Brazil, 
-^ of which Pernambuco is one, are governed by captains-general 
or governors, who are appointed for three years. At the end of this 
period the same person is continued or not, at the option of the su- 
preme government. They are, in fact, absolute in power, but before 
the person who has been nominated to one of these places can exer- 
cise any of its functions, he is under the necessity of presenting his 
credentials to the Senado da Camara, the chamber or municipality of 
the principal town. This is formed of persons of respectability in 
the place. The governor has the supreme and sole command of the 
military force. The civil and criminal causes are discussed before 
and determined by the Ouvidor and Juiz de Fora, the two chief judi- 
cial officers, whose duties are somewhat similar, but the former is the 
superior in rank. They are appointed for three years, and the term 
may be renewed*. It is in these departments of the government 

* A Juiz Conservador, Judge Conservator, of the British nation has been appointed for 
Pernambuco, but at the period of my departure from Recife, he was not arrived. Very 
soon after the commencement of a direct commercial intercourse with Great Britain, a 
vice-consul was appointed for Pernambuco, by the consul-general at Rio de Janiero ; this 
person was superseded by a consul sent out direct fi-oni England, who is subject to the 
consul-general of Brazil, but ibe place is disposed of by the government at home. 

TAXES. 31 

that the opportunities of amassing large fortunes are most numerous ; 
and certain it is that some individuals take advantage of them in a 
manner which renders justice but a name. The governor can deter- 
mine in a criminal cause without appeal, but, if he pleases, he refers 
it to the competent judge. The Procurador da Coroci, attorney- 
general, is an officer of considerable weight. The Intendente da 
Marinha, port admiral, is likewise consulted on matters of first im- 
portance; as are also the Escrivam da Fazenda Real, chief of the 
treasury, and the Jub da Alfandega, comptroller of the customs. 
These seven officers form the Junta, or council, which occasionally 
meets to arrange and decide upon the affairs of the captaincy to which 
they belong. 

The ecclesiastical government is scarcely connected with that above 
mentioned, and is administered by a bishop and a dean and chapter, 
with his vicar-general, &c. The governor cannot even appoint a 
chaplain to the island of Fernando de Noronha, one of the depen- 
dencies of Pernambuco, but acquaints the bishop that a priest is want- 
ed, who then nominates one for the place. 

The number of civil and military officers is enormous; inspectors 
innumerable — colonels without end, devoid of any objects to inspect 
— without any regiments to command ; judges to manage each trifling 
department, of which the duties might all be done by two or three 
persons; thus salaries are augmented; the people are oppressed, but 
the state is not benefited. 

Taxes are laid where they fall heavy upon the lower classes, and 
none are levied where they could well be borne. A tenth is raised 
in kind upon cattle, poultry, and agriculture, and even upon salt; 
this in former times appertained, as in other christian countries, to 
the clergy*. All the taxes are farmed to the highest bidders, and 

* Wlien Brazil was in its infancy, the clergy could not subsist upon their tythes, and 
therefore petitioned the government of Portugal to pay them a certain stipend, and 
receive the tenths for its own account; this was accepted, but now tliat the tenths have in- 

32 TAXES. 

this among the rest. They are parcelled ©ut in extensive districts, 
and are contracted for at a reasonable rate, but the contractors again 
dispose of their shares in small portions; these are again retailed 
to other persons, and as a profit is obtained by each transfer the 
people must be oppressed, that these men may satisfy those 
above them and enrich themselves. The system is in itself bad, 
but is rendered still heavier by this division of the spoil. The tenth 
of cattle, as I have already said, is levied in kind upon the estates in 
the interior of the country, and, besides this, a duty of 320 reis per 
arroba of 32 lbs. is paid upon the meat at the shambles, which amounts 
to about twenty-five per cent. Fish pays the tenth, and afterwards a 
fifteenth. Every transfer of immoveable property is subject to a duty 
of ten per cent, and moveables to five per cent. Besides these, there 
are many other taxes of minor importance. Rum, both for expor- 
tation and home consumption, pays a duty of 80 reis per Canada* ^ 
which is sometimes a fourth of its value, but may be reckoned as from 
fifteen to twenty per cent. Cotton pays the tenth, and is again taxed 
at the moment of exportation 600 reis per arroba of 32 lbs. or about 
lid. per lb. Nothing can be more injudicious, than this double duty 
upon the chief article of exportation from that country to Europe. 
The duties at the custom-house are fifteen per cent, upon imports, of 
which the valuation is left in some measure to the merchant to whom 
the property belongs. Here, I think, ten per cent, more might be 
raised without being felt. A tax is paid at Pernambuco for light- 
ing the streets of the Rio de Janeiro, whilst those of Recife remain 
in total darkness. 

creased in value twenty-fold, the government still pays to the vicars the same stipends. The 
clergy of the present day, bitterly complain of the agreement made by those to whom they 
have succeeded. 

* A great confusion exists in Brazil respecting measures. Every captaincy has its 
own, agreeing neither with those of its neighbours, nor with the measures of Portugal, 
though the same names are used invariably : thus a Canada and an alqueivc in Pernam- 
buco represent a much greater quantity than the same denominations in Portugal, and 
less than in some of the other provinces of Brazil. 


Now, although the expences of the provincial governments are 
wreat, and absorb a very considerable proportion of the receipts, 
owing to the number of officers employed in every department, 
still the salaries of each are, in most instances, much too small to 
afford a comfortable subsistence ; consequently peculation, bribery, 
and other crimes of the same description are to be looked for, and 
they become so frequent as to escape all punishment or even notice ; 
though there are some men whose character is without reproach. The 
governor of Pernambuco receives a salary of 4,000,000 i-eis, or about 
1000/. per annum. Can this be supposed to be sufficient for a man 
in his responsible situation, even in a country in which articles of 
food are cheap? His honour, however, is unimpeached; not 
one instance did I ever hear mentioned of improper conduct in 
him ; but the temptation and the opportunities of amassing money 
are very great, and few are the persons who can resist them. 

The only manufactory in Recife of any importance is that of gold 
and silver trinkets of every description, and of gold lace, but the 
quantities made of either are only sufficient for the demand of the 
place. The women employ themselves very generally in making 
thread lace and in embroidery, but the manufacture of these articles 
is not sufficiently extensive to allow of exportation. * 

The public institutions are not many, but, of those that exist, some 
are excellent. The seminary at Olinda for the education of young 
persons is well conducted, and many of its professors are persons of 
knowledge and of liberality. It is intended principally to prepare the 
students for the church as secular priests, and therefore all of them 
wear a black gown and a cap of a peculiar form, but it is not neces- 
sary that they should ultimately take orders. Free schools are also 
established in most of the small towns in the country, in some of 

* A patent has been obtained, and a manufactory established upon a large scale for 
making cordage from the outward rind of the coco-nut. Ropes of this description are, 
I believe, much used in the East Indies. 


which the Latin language is taught, but the major part are adapted 
only to give instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Neither 
in these nor in the seminary is any expence incurred by the pupils. 
The Lazarus Hospital is neglected, but patients are admitted ; the 
other establishments for the sick are very miserable. Strange it is, 
that fine churches should be built, whilst many individuals are suf- 
fered to perish from the want of a suitable building under which to 
shelter them. But the " best institution of which Pernambuco has 
to boast, in common with the mother country, is the Roda dos 
Engeitados. Infants of doubtful birth are received, taken care of, 
reared, and provided for. Every person knows what the wheel of a 
convent is, — a cylindrical box open on one side, which is fixed in the 
wall and turns upon a pivot; near to this is placed a bell, to be rung 
when any thing is put into the box, that the inhabitants of the con- 
vent may know when it should be turned. One of these wheels 
stands ready night and day to receive the child — the bell is rung and 
the box turns. Thus the lives of many are saved — thus numbers 
are spared from shame. Never let it be imagined that births of a 
secret nature will be more frequent, from the consideration that this 
institution exists, but it removes all motives for unnatural conduct in 
a mother, and it may sometimes produce reform of future conduct, 
by the facility afforded of concealing what has already passed. 

The friars are not numerous, though they are far too much 
so. These useless beings* amount to about one hundred and fifty 
in number at Olinda, Recife, Iguaracu, and Paraiba f . But there are 

* An old woman applied at the gates of a convent, late one evening, and told the porter, 
an old friar, who was quite blind, that she ^^'ished one of the brothers to go with her, 
for the purpose of confessing a sick person. Tlie old man, with perfect unconcern, gave 
lier to understand, that they were all out, adding, " but if you will go to the garden gate, 
and wait there, some of them will soon be creeping in." 

f The younger members of the Franciscan order enjoy very much the duty of going out 
to beg, as opportunities offer of amusing themselves. A guardian was chosen at Paraiba 
some years ago, who examined the chest in which the money belonging to the community 
was kept, and on finding a considerable sum in it, gave orders that no one should go out 


no nuns in the province, though of the estabhshments called Recolhi- 
nientos or ^ Retreats, three exist. These are directed by elderly 
females, who have not taken any vows, and who educate young per- 
sons of their own sex, and receive individuals whose conduct has been 
incorrect, but whose characters are not notorious, and who are placed 
here by their relations to prevent further shame. The number of 
churches, chapels, and niches in the streets for saints, is quite pre- 
posterous ; to these are attached a multitude of religious lay brother- 
hoods, of which the members are merchants, and other persons in 
trade, and even some are composed of mulatto and black free people. 
Some of these continually beg for a supply of wax, and other arti- 
cles to be consumed in honour of their patron. Almost every day 
in the year, passengers are importuned in the streets, and the inhabi- 
tants in their houses, by some of these people, and among others, 
by the lazy Franciscan friars. A Portugueze gentleman refused to 
give money for any of these purposes, but after each application, 
threw into a bag, placed apart for the purpose, a 5 reis coin, the 
smallest in use, and in value the third part of a penny. At the end 
of a twelvemonth, he counted his 5 reis pieces, and found that they 
amounted to 30,000 reis, about 8/. 6s. He then applied to the 
vicar of his parish, requesting him to name some distressed person 
to whom he should give the money. 

The Holy Office or Inquisition has never had an establishment in 
Brazil, but several priests resided in Pernambuco, employed as its 

to beg. He was a conscientious man, and said, that as they had ah-eady enough, the 
people must not be importuned for more, until what they possessed was finished. He kept 
the whole community within the walls of the convent for the term of two or three years, 
for which each guardian is appointed. On another occasion, the fiiars of a Franciscan 
convent chose for their guardian a young man, whose life had been very irregularly spent 
in any thing rather than the duties of his calling, under the idea, that during the con- 
tinuance of his guardianship, they would lead a merry life, — that very little attention would 
be paid to the rules and regulations of the Order; but they were mistaken, he changed his 
habits as soon as he found himself at their head; the gates were rigidly closed at the 
proper hour, and according to the old and vulgar proverb, of "Set a thief," &c. the 
duties of the convent were performed with much greater austerity than before. 

F 2 


familiars, and sometimes persons judged amenable to this most 
horrid tribunal, have been sent nnder confinement to Lisbon. How- 
ever, the ninth article of the Treaty of Friendship and Alliance, 
between the crowns of England and Portugal, signed at the Rio de 
Janeiro in 1810, has completely determined, that the power of the 
Inquisition shall not be recognised in Brazil. It will appear sur- 
prising to English persons, that in a place so large as Recife, there 
should be no printing press or bookseller. At the convent of the 
Madre de Deos, are sold almanacks, prints and histories of the Virgin 
and saints, and other productions of the same description, but of 
very limited size, printed at Lisbon. The post-office is conducted in 
a very irregular manner. The letters from England are usually de- 
livered at the house of the merchant to whom the ship which con- 
veyed them is consigned, or at the office of the British consul. 
There is no established means of forwarding letters to any part of the 
interior of the country, nor along the coast, so that the post-office 
merely receives the letter bags which are brought by the small 
vessels that trade with other ports along this coast, and sends the bags 
from Pernambuco by the same conveyances, and as there is not any 
regular delivery of letters, each person must inquire for his own at 
the office. When the commerce of Brazil was trifling, compared to 
its present state, a post-office managed in this manner was sufficient, 
but in consequence of the increased activity of the trade along the 
coast, and with Europe, some attention ought to be given to the 
subject, to facilitate communication. There is a theatre at Recife, 
in which are performed Portugueze farces, but the establishment is 
most wretchedly conducted. 

The Botanic Garden at Olinda is one of those institutions which 
have arisen from the removal of the Court to South America ; it is 
intended as a nursery for exotic plants, from whence they are to be dis- 
tributed to those persons who are willing and capable of rearing them. 
Thus the bread fruit tree has been introduced, the black pepper 
plant, the large Otaheitan cane, and several others. I much feai*, 
however, that the zeal shown at the commencement has somewhat 


cooled. A botanist has been appointed with an adeqnate salary. 
He is a Frenchman, who had resided at Cayenne, and with this 
choice many persons were much dissatisfied, as it was thought, and 
with good reason, that a Portugueze subject might have been found, 
quite capable of taking the management of the garden. 

The sight, of all others, the most offensive to an Englishman, is 
that of the criminals, who perform the menial offices of the palace, 
the barracks, the prisons, and other public buildings. They are 
chained in couples, and each couple is followed by a soldier, armed 
with a bayonet. They are allowed to stop at tlie shops, to obtain 
any trifle which they may wish to purchase, and it is disgusting 
to see with what iniconcern the fellows bear this most disgraceful 
situation, laughing and talking as they go along to each other, to 
their acquaintance whom they may chance to meet, and to the 
soldier who follows them as a guard *. The prisons are in a very 
bad state, little attention being paid to the situation of their 
inhabitants. Executions are rare at Pernambuco ; the more 
usual punishment inflicted, even for crimes of the first magnitude, is 
transportation to the coast of Africa. White persons must be re- 

* An anecdote was related to me of one of these couples, which occurred some years 
ago, under a former Governor, A solitary passenger, between Olinda and Recife, wit- 
nesssed part of the following scene, and the remainder was described by one of the actors 
in it. A couple of criminals, of which one was a white man, and the other a negro, 
accompanied by their guard, were walking over the sands, to reach a ford, and cross the 
river at its narrowest part. Three horsemen, one of whom led a fourth horse, saddled and 
bridled, rode up, and one of them knocked the soldier down, whilst the white man of the 
chained couple urged his companion to go with him to the led horse, and mount up behind 
him : this the black man refused to do, when one of the horsemen, who seemed to direct 
the others, called out, "Cut the fellow's leg off." The criminals are secured to each other 
by the ancle. The negro now agreed, and both mounted the horse, and the whole party 
galloped away, first binding the soldier hand and foot. They passed through Olinda at 
fiill speed, and when they had arrived at some distance, a large file was made use of, and the 
negro was set down with all the chains and bolts. The party then proceeded, and were 
never afterwards heard of It was imagined, that the man who made his escape in tliis 
manner, was the relation of a rich person in the interior, who had either committed 
some crime, or had been thus unjustly punished. 


moved for trial to Bahia, for crimes of which the punishment is 
death. Even to pass sentence of death upon a man of colour, or a 
negro, several judicial officers m^ist be present. There does not exist 
here a regular police ; when an arrest is to be eifected in Recife or 
its neighbourhood, two officers of justice are accompanied by soldiers, 
from one or other of the regiments of the line, for this purpose. A 
ronda or patrole, consisting of soldiers, parades the streets during the 
night, at stated periods, but it is not of much service to the town. 
Recife and its vicinity were formerly in a very tranquil state, owing 
to the exertions of one individual ; he was a sergeant in the 
regiment of Recife, a courageous man, whose activity of mind and 
body had had no field upon which to act, until he was employed in 
the arduous task of apprehending criminals, and at last he received 
special orders from the governor for patroling the streets of Recife, 
Olinda, and the villages around them ; he and his followers were 
much dreaded, but at his death no one stepped into his place. * 

The military establishment is much neglected. The regular troops 
consist of two regiments of infantry, which ought to form together a 
body of 2,500 men, but they seldom collect more effective than 600 ; 
so that sufficient numbers can scarcely he mustered to do the 
duty* of the town of Recife, of Olinda, and the forts. Their pay is 
less than 2|f/. per day, and a portion of the flour of the mandioc 
weekly, and their cloathing is afforded to them very irregularly. 
From their miserable pay, rather more than one farthing per day is 
held back for a religious purpose. Recruits are made of some of 
the worst individuals in the province ; this mode of recruiting, and 
their most wretched pay, account completely for the depreciated 

* Lately, a cadet has come forwards, and has taken the direction of these matters ; he 
has apprehended several persons of infamous character, but of determined courage; he 
has done much good, risking his life under circumstances of great danger, and even 
to extreme rashness has he been carried by his zeal. This young man well deserves promo- 
tion. That thus the police should fall into the hands of inferior oflScers, shows the 
irregular footing upon which it stands. — 1814. 


character of the soldiers of the line*. They are formed chiefly of 
Brazilians, and people of colour. Besides these regiments, the 
militia of the town sometimes do duty without pay, and these make 
but a sorry shew. The militia regiments, commanded by mulatto 
and black officers, and formed entirely of men of these casts, are 
very superior in appearance ; but these I shall have again an oppor- 
tunity of mentioning. 

There is one political arrangement of this province which, above 
all others, cries aloud for alteration ; it is a glaring, self-evident evil, 
it is a disgrace upon the government which suffers its existence. I 
speak of the small island of Fernando de Noronha. To this spot are 
transported, for a number of years or for life, a great number of male 
criminals. No females are permitted to visit the island. The gar- 
rison, consisting of about 120 men, is relieved yearly. It is a very 
difficult matter to obtain a priest to serve for a twelvemonth, as chap- 
lain in the island. When the bishop is applied to by the governor, 
for a person of this calling, he sends some of his ecclesiastical offi- 
cers in search of one ; the persons of the profession, who are liable 
to be sent, conceal themselves, and the matter usually concludes by 
a young priest being literally pressed into the service. The vessel 
employed between Recife and the island, visits it twice during the 
same period, and carries provisions, cloathing, and other articles to 
the miserable beings, who are compelled to remain there, and for the 
troops. I have conversed with persons who have resided upon it, 
and the accounts I have heard of the enormities committed there, 
are most horrible ; crimes, punished capitally or severely in civilized 
states, or which at least are held in general abhorrence, are here 
practised, talked of, publicly acknowledged, without shame, and 
without remorse. Strange it is, that the dreadful state of this place 

* The arrival of another colonel to the regiment of Recife, and the increase of activity 
in the officers, has altered its appearance much for the better. The regiment of 
Olinda or of artillery, has been also much improved by the attention of its colonel, and the 
entrance into it of several well-educated Brazilian officers of the first families. 


should have so long escaped the notice of the supreme Government 
of Brazil. But the evil ends not here ; the individuals who return 
to Pernambuco, cannot shake off the remembrance of crimes which 
have become familiar to them. The powers, likewise, conceded to 
the commandant, whose will is absolute, have oftentimes proved too 
great for due performance ; punishment seldom follows. The most 
wanton tyranny may be practised almost without feai* of retribution. 
The climate of the island is good, and the small portion of it 
admitting of cultivation, I have understood, from competent autho- 
rity, to be of extraordinary fertility. It does not, however, afford 
any shelter for shipping. 

The supineness of the ancient system upon which Brazil was ruled, 
is still too apparent throughout ; but the removal of the Sovereign lo 
that country has roused many persons who had been long influenced by 
habits of indolence, and has increased the activity of others who have 
impatiently awaited a field for its display. The Brazilians feel of more 
importance, their native soil now gives law to the mother country ; 
their spirit, long kept under severe subjection to ancient colonial 
rules and regulations, has now had some opportunities of showing 
itself, — has proved, that though of long suffering, and patient of en- 
durance, it does exist, and that if its possessors are not treated as 
men instead of children, it will break forth, and rend asunder those 
shackles to which they have forbearingly submitted. I hope, how- 
ever, most sincerely, that the supreme Government may see the ne- 
cessity of reformation, and that the people will not expect too much, 
but consider that many hardships are preferable to a generation of 
bloodshed, confusion, and misery. 

Freedom of communication with other nations has already been of 
service to the country, and the benefits which it imparts are daily 
augmenting. This shoot from our European continent will ultimately 
increase, and a plant will spring up, infinitely more important than 
the branch from which it proceeded ; and though the season of this 
maturity is far distant, yet the rapidity of its advance or tardi- 


ness of its growth greatly depends upon the fostering care or in- 
different negligence of its rulers. Still, whatever the conduct of these 
may be, its extent, its fertility, and other numerous advantages must, 
in the course of time, give to it, that rank which it has a right to 
claim among the great nations of the world. 





I HAD much desired to perform some considerable journey into the 
less populous and less cultivated part of the country. The chief 
engineer officer of Pernambuco had intended to visit all the fortresses 
within his extensive district, and had kindly promised to permit me 
to accompany him, but unfortunately his projected journey was 
delayed from some cause connected with his place, until the follow- 
ing season. As I did not know how soon I might be under the ne- 
cessity of returning to England, I could not postpone my views for 
this length of time, and therefore made enquiries among my friends 
and acquaintance, and discovered that the brother of a gentleman 
resident at Goiana, was about to set off" for that place, and would, 
probably, from thence proceed further into the country, with some 
object in view connected with trade. It was my intention to ad- 
vance as far as Seara. I applied to the governor for a passport, which 
was immediately granted without any difficulty. 

On the afternoon of the 19th October, 1810, some of my English 
friends accompanied me to my cottage at the Cruz das Almas, that 
they might be present at my departure, in the course of the ensuing 
night. Senhor Feliz, my companion, arrived in the evening, bring- 
ing with him his black guide, a freeman. Prepai'ations were made 
for proceeding upon our journey, and about one o'clock, as the moon 
rose, we sallied forth. Senhor Feliz, myself, and my English 
servant John on horseback, armed with swords and pistols ; the black 



guide also on horseback, without saddle or bridle, carrying a blunder- 
buss, and driving on before him a baggage-horse, with a little mulatto 
boy mounted between the panniers. My English friends cheered us as 
we left the Cruz, and remained in my quarters, the command of which 
I had given up to one of them during my absence. That part of the 
road which we traversed by moon-light I had already passed over a 
short time before, and subsequently from frequent travelling, my ac- 
quaintance with it was such, that I might have become a guide 
upon it. 

We rode along a sandy path for three quarters of a league, until 
we began to ascend a steep hill, of which the sides and the flat sum- 
mit are covered with large trees, and thick brushwood growing be- 
neath them. The hamlet of Beberibe stands at the foot of the cor- 
responding declivity; to this place several families resort in the 
summer, and a small rivulet runs through it, of which the water is 
most beautifully clear. Half a league beyond Beberibe we crossed 
another rivulet, and immediately afterwards commenced our ascent 
of the hill of Quebracu, which is in most parts very steep and very 
narrow, being inclosed on one side by a precipice, and on the other 
by sloping ground covered with wood. This ridge of hill is quite 
flat along the top, and the path continues for half a league, between 
lofty trees and impenetrable brushwood. We descended into the 
long and narrow valley of Merueira, through which a rivulet 
runs, of which the water never fails. The hills on each side are 
thickly cloathed with wood, and in the valley are scattered several 
cottages, banana gardens, and mandioc lands, with a large inclosed 
piece of ground in which cattle graze. The ascent, on the opposite 
side of this beautiful vale, is very steep; the path along the summit 
of the ridge is similar to that over which we had travelled; we 
soon again descended, and on our arrival at the bottom, entered 
the long, straggling village of Paratibe, with mandioc lands and 
plaintain and tobacco gardens intermixed with the houses. The in- 
habitants are mostly labouring free persons, white, mulatto, and black. 
The houses are built on each side of the road at intervals, for the dis- 

G 2 


tance of one mile. A rivulet runs through it, which in the rainy 
season often overflows its banks to a considerable distance on each 
side. Beyond this village the road is comparatively flat, but is still 
diversified by unequal small elevations; several sugar-works are seen, 
and great numbers of small cottages; the passing of the country 
people with loaded horses, carrying cotton, hides, and other articles, 
the produce of the country, and returning with many kinds of wares, 
salt meat and fish from Recife, may almost be called continual. 

The town of Iguarayu, which we now entered, has been already 
mentioned in a former chapter; it is one of the oldest settlements 
upon this part of the coast, and stands at the distance of two leagues 
from the sea upon the banks of a creek. The woods, that border the 
paths or roads, are in parts so thick and close as to be impassable even 
to a man on foot, unless he carries in his hand a bill-hook or hatchet 
to assist in breaking through the numberless obstacles which oppose 
his progress. Of these the most formidable is the cijw, a plant con- 
sisting of long and flexible shoots which twist themselves around the 
trees, and as some of the sprouts, which have not yet fixed upon 
any branch, are moved to and fro by the wind, they catch upon a 
neighbouring tree, and as the operation continues for many years 
undisturbed, a kind of net-work is made of irregular form, but diffi- 
cult to pass through. Of this plant there are several varieties ; that 
which bears the name of cijw cururu is in the highest estimation, 
from its superior size and strength, and likewise from its great 
flexibility. Several kinds of cipo are used as cordage in making 
fences, and for many other purposes. 

Iguaragu is partly situated upon a hill and partly in the plain below, 
where a rivulet runs, and a stone bridge has been built, as the tide 
reaches this spot, and would render the communication difficult*. 
The place plainly denotes that it has enjoyed greater prosperity 

* The lower part of the town is the site of the siege, which, in its infancy, tlie settle- 
ment sustained against the savages, as is " related by Hans Stade, the first traveller who 
wrote any account of Brazil." — History of Brazil, Vol. I. p. i6. 


than it at present lias to boast of; many of the houses are of two 
stories, but they are neglected, and some of the small cottages 
are in decay and ruin. The streets are paved, but are much out of 
repair, and grass grows in many of them. It contains several churches, 
one convent, and a recolhimento or retreat for females, a town hall, 
and prison. Its affluence proceeded formerly from the weekly cattle 
fair, which was held upon a plain in the vicinity, but this has now 
for some years past been removed to the neighbourhood of Goiana. 
Iguarafu has many white inhabitants, several shops, a good surgeon, 
who was educated in Lisbon, and it is the resort of the plantations, to 
the distance of several leagues, for the embarkation of their sugar 
chests, and for the purchase of some articles of necessity. The town 
contains about eight hundred inhabitants reckoning the scattered cot- 
tages in the outskirts. The view from the tower of the principal 
church is said to be extensive and grand. The only regular inn 
of which the country has to boast is established here, for the 
convenience of passengers between Recife and Goiana, and at this we 
intended to have stopped had not the early hour at which we reached 
it, tempted us to push forwards before the sun became more power- 

The road continues flat and sandy, and two leagues beyond Igua- 
ragu we entered the village of Pasmado, which is built in the form 
of a square; it consists of a church and a number of cottages, most of 
them of mean appearance, containing from 300 to 400 inhabitants. 
We proceeded through it, crossed the most considerable stream we 

* I had frequent opportunities afterwards of resting at this inn; on one of these, 
I happened to ask for salt, which is not usually placed upon the table; the master of the 
liouse, in the customary familiar manner of the country, expressed his surprise, at the 
additional quantity of salt wliich I wished for, but it was brought to me, and nothing fur- 
ther was said. This occurred in the morning, soon after our arrival at tlie place ; at din- 
ner, to our dismay, the soup and almost all the other dishes were so plentifully supphed 
with the unfortunate ingredient, as to be scarcely eatable. We complained of this to the 
master, who answered, " Why, I thought you liked salt." " Cuidei ^tte eram amigos 
de sal." 


had yet seen this day, called Araripe, and entered the inclosed 
field attached to the engenlio, or sugar-works, of Araripe de Baixo, 
belonging to a Portugueze. We expected to have obtained a dinner 
from this good man, but after considerable delay, to the great dis- 
comfort of our stomachs, we understood from our host, that his in- 
tended hospitality would not be in readiness, until the day would 
have been too much broken into by the additional delay ; therefore 
we again mounted our horses about two o'clock, with a broiling sun, 
ascended another steep hill, passed several sugar-works and cottages, 
and crossed several rivulets, traversing a most delightful country. 
We rode thi'ough the hamlets of Bii and Fontainhas, at the former 
of which there is a chapel. From the latter the road is chiefly over 
a sandy plain, almost without wood, until the cngenho of Bujiri is 
discovered with its field of grass and woods around. Immediately 
beyond it is to be forded the river of Goiana, influenced by the tide 
as far as this spot. The wooden bridge which formerly existed was 
now fast decaying and dangerous for horses; we gave ours to the 
guide, who led them through the water, riding upon his own, whilst 
we found our way across some loose beams. This operation did 
not delay us long; we received our steeds from the guide, with 
their saddles wet and themselves all dripping, and in a few minutes 
more entered the town of Goiana, between four and five o'clock 
in the afternoon. The distance from Eecife to Goiana is fifteen 

The road we had travelled over is the highway from the Ser- 
tam *, by which the cattle descend from the estates upon the river 
A9U, and from the plains of this portion of the interior to the mar- 
kets of Recife; therefore the continued passing of large droves of 
cattle has beat down the underwood and made a broad sandy road; 
the large trees still remain, if it has so happened that any grew upon 
the track; these, if of any size, brave the crowd of animals, and 

* Is this word abbreviated fi-om Desertam, used as an augmentative (according to the 
Portugueze custom) for Dcsaio? 


will remain either until they decay from age and fall, or till regular 
roads begin to be constructed in Brazil. Thus, if the ground is flat, 
the road is not bad ; but upon the sides of hills, instead of being car- 
ried round the steepest ascents, the track has been made straight up 
and down or nearly so, and the winter torrents form deep caverns 
and ravines, the sides of which sometimes fall in and make the roads 
very dangerous ; so that, unless well acquainted with a hill, it is by 
no means safe to ascend or descend by night, as one or two days of 
the usual rain of Brazil may have made a great difference, and 
have rendered the road impassable. In the course of this day we saw 
four or five large and rudely constructed crosses erected by the road 
side, pointing out the situations upon which murder had been com- 

I was received most kindly by Senhor Joaquim, whom I had before 
had the pleasure of meeting at Recife, and he was not a man to be 
long in becoming acquainted with. We sat down to dinner about 
five o'clock, when his lady and two little girls, his daughters, made 
their appearance. We had dishes cooked in Portugueze, Brazilian, 
and English style. 

The town of Goiana, one of the largest and most flourishing in the 
captaincy of Pernambuco, is situated upon the banks of a river of the 
same name, which at this spot bends so considerably, that the town 
is almost surrounded by it. The dwellings, with one or two excep- 
tions, have only the ground-floor; the streets are not paved, but are 
broad, and of these the principal one is of sufficient breadth to 
admit of a large church at one extremity, and the continuation of 
a street of considerable width on each side of the church. The 
town contains a Carmelite convent, and several other places of wor- 
ship. The inhabitants are in number between four and five thousand, 
and it is an increasing place. Several shops are established here, 
and the commerce with the interior is considerable. In the streets 
are always to be seen numbers of the tnattctos*, countrymen, either 

* Matiitos, woodmen, inhabitants of the mato. 


selling produce or purchasing manufactured goods and other articles 
of consumption. In the vicinity are many fine sugar plantations. 
I suppose that some of the best lands in the province are in this 
neighbourhood. The proprietors of these occasionally reside in 
the town, and as daily intercourse often creates rivalry among 
wealthy families, this necessarily' increases expenditure, and the 
town is in consequence much benefited by the augmented consump- 
tion of luxuries. The planters have the advantage of water carriage 
from hence to Recife for their sugar-chests, as this river is one of the 
largest for many leagues to the north or to the south, and is influenced 
by the tide even to a short distance above the town. Goiana stands 
four leagues distant from the sea in a direct line, but by the river 
it is reckoned to be seven. Above the town in the rainy season the 
river overflows its banks to a great extent. 

Goiana and its extensive district is subject in military affairs to the 
governor of Pernambuco, but its civil concerns are directed by a Juiz 
de For a, a judicial officer appointed by the supreme government for 
the term of three years, who resides in the town, and from his deci- 
sions appeal may be made to the Ouvidor of Paraiba. 

We dined on one occasion with the proprietor of the Musumbu 
estate; this gentleman and a few others, besides ourselves, dined in 
one apartment, whilst the ladies, of whom we were not permitted 
even to have a transient view, were in another adjoining. Two young 
men, sons of the proprietor, assisted their father's slaves in waiting 
upon us at dinner, and did not sit down themselves until we rose 
from table. The owner of the place is a Portugueze — it is among 
this portion of the population, who have left their own country to 
accumulate fortunes in Brazil, that the introduction of improvement 
is almost impossible. Many Brazilians likewise, even of the higher 
class, follow the Moorish customs of subjection and seclusion, but 
these soon see the preference which ought to be given to more civi- 
lized manners and easily enter into more polished habits, if they have 
any communication with the towns. 


On the 24th of October, I delivered a letter of introduction which 
I had obtained at Recife, to the Dr. Manuel Arruda da Camara. This 
interesting person then lay at Goiana very ill of dropsy, brought on 
by residing in aguish districts. He was an enterprising man, and had 
always been an enthusiast in botany. His superior abilities would have 
caused him to be caressed by a provident Governmentjwhen one of this 
description is establishing itself in an uncultivated but improving 
country. He shewed me some of his drawings, which I thought well 
executed. I never again had an opportunity of seeing him ; for when 
I returned from Seara, I had not time to enquire and seek for him, and 
he died before my second voyage to Pernambuco. He was forming a 
Flora Pernambucana, which he did not live to complete. 

Senhor Joaquim had business at Paraiba, which he intended to have 
sent his brother Feliz to transact ; but as I offered to accompany 
him, he thought it would be pleasant to go with me, and show the 
lions of that city. We sent off his black guide and my servant with 
a loaded horse before us, and followed the next day with his black 
boy. We crossed the Cmnpinas de Coiana Grande about sunrise, 
and passed the sugar plantation of that name, belonging to Senhor 
Giram, standing at the foot of the hill, which carries you to the Dous 
Rios. The road I afterwards followed to Rio Grande, is through 
Dous Rios, but the road to Paraiba strikes off just before you reach 
it, to the right. The road between Goiana and Paraiba presents 
nothing particularly interesting, — the hills are steep but not high, 
and woods, plantations, and cottages are, as usual, the objects to be 
seen. The distance is thirteen leagues. We entered the city of 
Paraiba at twelve o'clock, and rode to the house of the colonel 
Mattias da Gama, a man of property, and a colonel of militia. He 
was an acquaintance of Senhor Joaquim, and was about to leave the 
place for one of his sugar plantations, which he did, giving us entire 
possession of his house, and a servant to attend upon us. 

The city of Paraiba, (for much smaller places even than this bear 
the rank of city in these yet thinly peopled regions) contains from 
two to three thousand inhabitants, including the lower town. It 


bears strong marks of having been a place of more importance than 
it is now, and though some improvements were going on, they 
were conducted entirely through the means which Government sup- 
plied for them, or rather, the Governor wished to leave some memo- 
rial of his administration of the province. The principal street is 
broad, and paved with large stones, but is somewhat out of repair. 
The houses are mostly of one story, with the ground floors as 
shops, and a few of them have glass windows ; an improvement which 
has been only lately introduced into Recife. The Jesuit's con- 
vent is employed as the governor's palace, and the Ouvidors office 
and residence also ; the church of the convent stands in the centre, 
and these are the two wings. The convents of the Franciscan, Car- 
melite, and Benedictine Orders are very large buildings, and are 
almost uninhabited ; the first contains four or five friars, the second 
two, and the third only one. Besides these, the city has to boast of six 
churches. The public fountains at Paraiba are the only works of 
the kind I met with any where on the part of the coast which I 
visited. One was built, I believe, by Amaro Joaquim, the former 
governor, — it is handsome, and has several spouts; the other, 
which was only then building, is much larger, and the superintend- 
ance of the workmen was the chief amusement of the governor. 

We waited upon this gentleman the day after our arrival ; my 
companion had been acquainted with him in Lisbon, when he was 
an ensign. His parents were respectable people in one of the 
northern provinces of Portugal ; he was placed at some seminary for 
the purpose of being educated for the church, but he escaped from 
thence, and enlisted as a private soldier in Lisbon. One of the 
officers of the regiment in which he was enrolled, soon found out that 
he was a man of education, — having learnt his story, he was made a 
cadet, as being of good family. He came over in the same ship with 
the Princess of Brazil, a captain of infantry ; married one of the 
maids of honour on their arrival at Rio de Janeiro, and in about 
eighteen months, had advanced from a captaincy to the government of 
Paraiba, and a commandery of the Order of Christ. We next crossed 


to the other whig of the building, and paid a visit to the Ouvidor, a 
very affable and good-humoured old gentleman. His chaplain, a jolly 
little friar, and an old acquaintance of Senhor Joaquim, made his ap- 
pearance, and was afterwards very civil to us during our stay. The 
prospect from the windows presents Brazil scenery of the best kind ; 
extensive and evergreen woods, bounded by a range of hills, and 
watered by several branches of the river, with here and there a white 
washed cottage, placed upon their banks, and these, though they were 
situated on higher spots of land, were still half concealed by the lofty 
trees. The cultivated specks were so small, as to be scarcely perceptible. 

The lower town consists of small houses, and is situated upon the 
borders of a spacious basin or lake, formed by the junction of three 
rivers, which from hence discharge their waters into the sea, by one 
considerable stream. The banks of the basin are covered with man- 
groves, as in all the salt water rivers of this country ; and they are so 
close and thick, that there seems to be no outlet. I did not follow 
the river down to the sea, but I understand that there are in it some 
fine islands, with good land, quite uncultivated*. Paraiba was the 
scene of much fighting during the Dutch war, and I now regret not 
having proceeded down the river, to the famous Fort of Cabedello. 
This war was conducted upon a small scale, but the deeds which 
were performed by the brave defenders of their country, may rank 
with those which any other people have displayed in a cause of equal 
import to the actors. 

The trade of Paraiba is inconsiderable, though the river admits of 
vessels of 150 tons upon the bar ; and when in the basin, opposite to 
the lower town, a rope yarn would keep them still, as no harm could 
reach them. It contains a regular custom-house, which is seldom 
opened. Paraiba lies out of the road from the Sertam f to Recife, 

* A person with whom I was afterwards acquainted, has since cleared one of these 
islands, and has formed some salt-works upon it. 

f The word Sertam is used rather indefinitely, as it does not only mean the interior of 
the country, but Ukewise a great part of the coast, of which the population is yet scanty, 

H 2 


that is, out of the direct way from the towns upon the coast further 
north. The inhabitants of the Sertam of the interior, will make for 
Recife rather than Paraiba, as the more extensive market for their pro- 
duce. The port of Recife admits of larger vessels, and has more con- 
veniences for the landing and shipment of goods, consequently it ob- 
tains the preference. The houses of this place, which may be reckoned 
handsome from a general comparison of the country, have been built 
by the great landholders in the neighbourhood, as a residence during 
the depth of the winter, or rainy season. The lands of the captain- 
cy are, generally speaking, rich and fertile, but so great a pre- 
ference is given to plantations nearer to Recife, that those of Paraiba 
are to be purchased at a much less price. The sugar of this province 
is reckoned equal to that of any part of Brazil. 

I soon saw what was to be seen, and we had no society ; time, 
however, did not appear to hang heavy, for Senhor Joaquim was a 
man of inexhaustible good humour and hilarity. We lived by 
magic, as the colonel had ordered his servant to supply every thing 
for us. 

The late governor, Amaro Joaquim, brought the captaincy into 
great order, by his necessary severity. A custom prevailed, of per- 
sons walking about the town at night in large cloaks, and crape over 
their faces ; thus concealed, to carry on their irregular practices. 
The governor, not being able to discover who these persons were, gave 
orders one night for the patrole to take into custody all who were so 
dressed ; this was done, and some of the principal inhabitants were 
found the next morning in the guard-house. A man of the name of 
Nogueira, the son of a black or mulatto woman, and of one of the first 
men in the captaincy, had made himself much dreaded by his outrageous 
proceedings ; he had carried froiu their parents' houses, the daughters 
of some persons of respectability in the captaincy, murdering the 

receives this general name. Thus, the whole of the country between Rio Grande and 
Pernaiba is called Sertam. Pernaiba is a small province, situated between Seara and 


friends and relatives who opposed his entrance. The man was at last 
taken ; Amaro Joaquim would have had him executed, but he found 
this was not to be done, from the interest which the family made for 
him, and therefore ordered him to be flogged. Nogueira said, that 
being hal^ ajidalgo, a nobleman, this mode of punishment could not be 
practised upon him. The governor then ordered that he should be 
flogged upon only one side of his body, that his Jida/go side might not 
suffer, desiring Nogueira to say which was his Jidalgo side. He was 
accordingly punished in this manner, and after remaining some time 
in prison, was sent to Angola for life. The city of Paraiba 
still enjoyed the good effects of Amaro Joaquim's strict government. 

I was acquainted with him at Pernambuco, before I set off on this 
journey ; his appearance and his conversation both bespoke a man of 
superior abilities. When I saw him in Recife, he was on his way to 
Piauhi, of which captaincy he had been appointed governor. He 
died on board a coasting vessel, on the passage to Piauhi, of a 

Senhoi Joaquim wished to return by the sea shore to Goiana, a 
distance of twenty-two leagues. We set off at the time the tide was 
flowing, and proceeded along the beach, until about eleven o'clock 
we reached the house of a Capitam-mor, quite a first rate man in this 
part of the world. It was a mud cottage, as bad or worse than that 
of any labourer in England, situated upon the burning sands, with a 
pool of salt water before the door, which is never quite dry, conse- 
quently, breeds insects of all kinds. We crossed two ferries in the 
course of the morning; the conveyances are small J angadas* ; the 
saddle is placed upon it, and the horse swims by the side, whilst the 
rider stands upon the raft, and holds the reins. The ferryman either 
paddles across the stream, or poles, if it be not too deep. About 
three o'clock, we found that we had entered upon a considerable 

* The rafts employed upon small rivers are of a construction similar to those already 
tlescribed on a former occasion, save that still less workmanship is bestowed upon them. 


track of sand, inclosed by perpendicular rocks, against which the 
water mark was at some height, however, the tide was already on 
the ebb ; we made our guide mount the horse, which until now he had 
driven before him, and keep pace with us, whilst we quickened ours. 
The tide was still very near to the rocks, and we found that the 
water still reached one which projected further than the rest, therefore 
as we were yet hemmed in, we left our horses, and climbed up 
this rock. The guide, in the mean time, drove the loose horses into 
the water, they fortunately leaned to the right, passed out far 
enough to see the land on the other side of the rock, and made for it. 
I was getting over the rock, missed my footing, and fell up to my 
arms into a hole between two pieces of it ; however, I succeeded in 
raising myself, and leaped from it on to the sand on the other side, 
just at the return of a wave, by which means I had an unintentional 
cold bath up to my waist. We might certainly have waited to have 
allowed the tide to retreat, but were afraid of being benighted, which 
after all our exertions, did happen to us. The country, on the other 
side of the projecting rock, is low, and sandy uncultivated land. At 
dusk, we arrived upon the banks of a broad stream, so that by 
the light which then remained, we could not see the other side ; after 
several calls, the ferryman did not make his appearance, and the 
night closed in. I advised sleeping under the tree which then shel- 
tered us ; to this my companion would not consent, but asked the 
distance to Abia, the nearest sugar plantation ; the guide answered 
three leagues, — we must either sleep where we were, or go to Abia. 
We had already advanced sixteen leagues, and Senhor Joaquim's 
horse, a fine highly fed animal, began to give way. The guide 
led, and we followed, through a narrow path, very little fre- 
quented, as the bushes oftentimes nearly took off our hats, and were 
continually brushing against us the whole way. On our arrival at 
Abia, the house was quite deserted, as the steward was from home, 
and we did not like to enter a cottage which stood near to the prin- 
cipal house, when we found that the party in it was larger than our 
own, and not likely to be of the best kind. We had now another 


half league to go to Senhor Leonardo's, a friend of my fellow- 

He gave us a good supper, and hammocks, took good care of our 
horses, and in the morning we set forth for Goiana, seven leagues. 
We passed through Alhandra, an Indian village, containing about six 
hundred inhabitants. This village is not so regularly built as many 
of the others which I have seen ; instead of a square, with houses 
on each side, it is built in streets, and though the square is 
preserved, still it is not the principal feature of the place. The 
Indians of Alhandra, from their vicinity to Goiana, which is distant 
about three leagues, are not so pure as those further from a large 
town ; they have admitted among them some mamalucos and 

Great part of this extent of coast was uninhabited, but wherever 
the land was low, and the surf not violent, there we found a few 
cottages ; the banks of the rivers were also not entirely destitute of 
inhabitants. The two streams which we first crossed might be about 
eighty or one hundred yards in breadth ; they are deep, but do 
not proceed far into the country. When the action of the tide ceases, 
all these lesser streams, become insignificant, and most of them 
quite dry. The great river which we were to have crossed is the 
Goiana ; it spreads very widely when the tide enters, but is easily 
passed at the ebb, and the channel becomes much contracted, and 
very shallow during the spring tides. It is judged to be about a league 
in breadth, at its mouth, and is much deeper immediately within 
the bar than upon it. 





I HAD entertained hopes of being accompanied by Senhor Joaquim, 
at least as far as Rio Grande, but he changed his mind, and I 
began to make the necessary arrangements for going alone. I pur- 
chased three more horses, and hired a guide for the Sertam, who was 
a white man of the country, and two Indian lads of about sixteen years 
of age. On the 3d November, I again set forth, accompanied by my 
English John, Francisco the guide, Julio, and the other boy, his 
companion. We only reached Dous Rios the same evening, which is 
two leagues distant from Goiana ; we had left that place late in the day, 
and got on very slowly, as the two loads upon the horses were not 
well divided and arranged. I now found, on stopping for the night, 
that I had not provided as many things as were necessary ; that I 
wanted an additional piece of baize to cover myself at night, that we 
ought to have brought more kitchen apparatus, and that knives and 
forks were to be had very rarely. I had with me a trunk with my 
cloaths, on one side of the pack-saddle, and a case, with some bottles 
of rum and wine, on the other side, and my hammock in the middle ; 
these made one load. The other horse cax-ried in the malas, a kind 
of trunk, on the one side, our provisions, and on the other, the 
cloaths of my people, additional ropes, and other tackle. I was far 
from being well supplied, but afterwards provided myself with more 
things as I went on, learning by experience. The hammocks are all 



made of cotton, and are of several sizes and colours, and of various 
workmanship. Those in use among the lower orders, are made of 
cotton cloth, of the manufacture of the country ; others are composed 
of net-work, from which all the several kinds derive the general 
name of Rede, a net ; others, again, are knit or woven in long straight 
threads, knotted across at intervals : these are usually dyed of two 
or three colours, and are to be found in the houses of wealthy persons. 
This species of bed has been adopted from the Indians, and nothing 
more convenient and better adapted to the climate, could possibly 
be imagined ; it can be wrapped up into a very small compass, and, 
with the addition of a piece of baize as a coverlid, is usually of suf- 
ficient warmth. 

I could not discover that there was any stream at this place, though 
it bears the name of Dous Rios, or the two rivers. It is a large open 
piece of land, with cottages upon the skirts, and 9,ttached to each is a 
pen for cattle. The great weekly fair for cattle from the Sertam, for 
the Pernambuco market, is held here. 

From Dous Rios, we advanced the following day to the sugar plan- 
tation of Espirito Santo, situated upon the banks of the river Paraiba, 
which becomes dry in the summer, at a short distance above this 
estate. I had letters to the owner of it, who is a member of the 
Cavalcante family, and the Capitam-mor of the captaincy of Paraiba. 
I was received by him in a very friendly manner. The house is in. 
the usual style of the country, having only the ground-floor, and no 
ceiling, the tiles and rafters being in full view. Supper of dried meat, 
and the flour of the mandioc made into paste, and called piram, was 
placed before me ; also, some hard biscuits, and red wine. I was 
not then sufficiently a Brazilian to eat piram, and took the bis- 
cuits with the meat in preference, which much astonished my host. 
Sweetmeats were afterwards brought in, which are always good in 
the houses of persons of his rank in life ; the opulent people in 
Brazil taking as much pride in their doces, as an English citizen in 
his table or his wines. The cloth was laid at one end of a long table, 
and I sat down by myself, whilst the Capitam-mor placed himself 


upon the table, near to the other end, and talked to me ; and some 
of the chief persons of his establishment stood around, to see the 
strange animal called an Englishman. We adjourned from the sup- 
per-room into another spacious apartment, and each of us took a 
hammock, of which there were several in the room, and swung and 
talked until we were half asleep. One of his men supposed, that as 
I spoke Portugueze, either I must be an Englishman who did not 
speak English, or that any Portugueze, on going to England, would 
immediately speak the language of that country, as I did Portu- 
gueze. The Capitam-mor seldom leaves his estate to go to Recife, 
or even to Paraiba, and lives in the usual style of the Brazilian 
gentry, in a kind of feudal state. He had several young men about 
him, some of whom were employed by him ; neither his wife, nor 
any of his children appeared. The principal apartments of this 
house are two spacious rooms, having a great number of doors 
and windows ; in one, were several hammocks and a sofa ; and in the 
other, the long table upon which I supped ; there were a few chairs in 
each of them ; the floors were of brick, and the shutters and doors 
were unpainted. The owner of this mansion wore a shirt and a pair 
of drawers, a long bed-gown, called a chcanbre, and a pair of slippers. 
This is the usual dress of those persons who have no work to perform. 
When a Brazilian takes to wearing one of these long gowns, he 
begins to think himself a gentleman, and entitled, consequently, to 
much respect. 

The next day we advanced about seven leagues, and, for the first 
time, I slept in the open air. We intended to have taken up our 
lodging for the night at a neighbouring hamlet, but the huts were so 
small and misei-able, being constructed of the leaves of palm trees, 
that I preferred the open air. We made for the rivulet which 
runs at a little distance from these habitations ; the horses were im- 
mediately unloaded, and their pack-saddles taken otF, that they might 
roll in comfort. The next thing to be done, was to get fire-wood, — 
in most parts of the country it is very plentiful, and as we were upon 
the skirts of a thick wood, there was here no want of it. A light 


was struck, and two fires made; we got an additional pan from 
one of the neighbouring huts, and our dried meat was cooked. The 
meat is dried in the old Indian manner, by laying it upon a platform 
of twio-s, raised about eighteen inches from the ground, and making 
a fire underneath. We discovered that not far off, a field or piece 
of land, rather more cleared of wood than the rest, was rented by a 
cottager, who would allow our horses to be put into it for a vintefii, 
about five farthings each, for the night, which the guide thought I 
should consider dear, and therefore told me, it was the usual price. 
As may be supposed, I made no great difficulties on this score, 
and the horses were taken to the place by Julio, and his companion. 
I now thought myself settled for the night, and therefore ate my 
supper, sitting in my hammock, which was slung between two trees, 
with the plate upon one of the trunks ; having finished, I took my 
segar, and sat down close to the fire ; the guide lighted his pipe, and 
placed himself on the opposite side, that we might have a talk about 
our proceedings for the morrow. I returned to my hammock about 
ten o'clock, but found the air very sharp, and consequently laid down 
under the lee of the fire, upon a hide, of which we had two for cover- 
ing the loads in case of rain. 

This was to me a new scene, — when I thought of the complete 
change of habits which this kind of life required, and how entirely 
different it was from any thing in England, I may almost say in 
Europe, — when I looked round, and saw our several fires, for the 
cold air had, by this time, obliged each person to have his own ; the 
men all asleep, our pack-saddles, trunks, and other parts of our bag- 
gage scattered about, as it was taken from the horses, — when I heard 
the running of the water, and the rustling of the trees; and, when I 
considered, that I was entering among a people with whose habits I 
was little acquainted, whose feelings towards my countrymen I was 
ignorant of, — I felt a kind of damp ; but this was soon removed, by 
thinking of the pleasure of return, and of the accomplishment of 
what I was deemed incapable of performing. I was cheered by my 
recoUection of the knowledge I had of the language, and by the de- 

I 2 


termination I felt within me of conforming to the customs of the 
people, — of submitting to iheir prejudices. I was not old enough to 
have contracted any habits, too deep to be laid aside when necessary. 
These thoughts were interrupted by the cry of "Jezus," which was 
repeated every half minute in a dismal voice ; I called to the guide, 
supposing it to proceed from some person in distress ; he waked, and I 
told him what had made me call to him, — he said, it was only 
some person helping another "o bem juorrer," that is, that some dying 
person, which I found was the usual custom, had a friend to repeat 
the word " Jezus," until the sufferer expired, that it might not be for- 
gotten, and, perhaps, to keep the devil off. 

I dined the following day at the village of Mamanguape, situated 
upon the banks of a dry river ; it is a thriving place. These more 
modern villages have been built in one long street upon the road, the 
older ones in a square. It had then about three hundred inhabitants ; 
but I have since heard, that the number is more than doubled, and 
that new houses are building. The river can scarcely be reckoned of 
any advantage to the village, but the place forms a convenient break 
between Goiana and Rio Grande for the travelling pedlars, a use- 
ful, industrious, and, generally, honest set of men, as their resting- 
place and head-quarters ; from hence they make daily excursions to 
the plantations, at a little distance, and return here to sleep. I passed 
the night in the out-houses of some sugar-works ; my guide was much 
astonished at my not asking for lodgings at the caza-grande, or 
owner's house ; but I preferred these kind of quarters to better ones, 
where I might run the risk of being obliged to remain half the night 
awake, for the purpose of giving news. The hospitality, however, 
of the planters, is very great ; and no recommendation is necessary, 
though I had provided myself with a few letters. 

The next day we proceeded to Cunhau, the sugar-plantation of 
the Colonel Andre d' Albuquerque do Maranham, the chief of the 
Maranham branch of this numerous and distinguished family 
of the Albuquerques. He is a man of immense landed property. 
The plantation of Cunhad extends along the road fourteen leagues, 


and the owner has since purchased another large estate adjoining; 
his lands likewise in the Sertam for breeding cattle are supposed not 
to be less than thirty to forty leagues in extent — of those kind of 
leagues that sometimes take a man three or four hours to get 
over one. 

I had letters to him from some of his relations and friends at 
Pernambuco; he was sitting at his door, with his chaplain and seve- 
ral of his stewards and other persons employed by him, to have all 
the benefit of the fresh air. He is a man of about thirty years 
of age, handsome, and rather above the middle size, with gen- 
teel manners, rather courtly, as the Brazilians of education gene- 
rally are. He lives quite in feudal state; his negroes and other 
dependants are numerous. He commands the regiment of militia 
cavalry of Rio Grande, and has them in good order, considering 
the state of the country. He came forwards on my dismounting, 
and I gave him the letters, which he put by to read at leisure, and 
then desiring me to sit down, asked me several questions of my wishes, 
intentions, &c. He took me to his guests' apartments at a little dis- 
tance from his own residence, where I found a good bed ; hot water 
was brought to me in a large brass basin, and every necessary was 
supplied in a magnificent style — the towels were all fringed, &c. 
When I had dressed myself, I expected to be called to supper, but, 
to my amazement, I waited until near one o'clock, when a servant 
came to summon me. I found in the dining-room a long table laid 
out and covered with meat of several kinds, and in quantity suflicient 
for twenty persons ; to this feast the colonel, his chaplain, another 
person, and myself sat down ; when I had tasted until I was quite 
tired, to my utter dismay another course came on, equally profuse of 
fowls, pastry, &c. &c. and when this was removed, I had yet a third 
to go through of at least ten different kinds of sweetmeats. The 
supper could not have been better cooked or handsomer, if it had 
been prepared at Recife, and even an English epicure might have 
found much to please his palate. I was not able to retire to rest 
until near three o'clock; my bed was most excellent, and I enjoyed 


it still more from not expecting to find one. In the morning, the 
colonel would not allow me to leave his house, until I had break- 
fasted ; tea, coffee, and cakes were brought in, all of which were 
very good. He then took me to see his horses, and pressed me 
much to leave my own, and take one of his for my joui'ney, that 
mine might be in good condition on my return, and he also urged 
me to leave my pack-horses, and take some of his; but as mine were 
still all in working order, I declined accepting his offer. These cir- 
cumstances are mentioned to show the frankness with which strangers 
are treated. I could not get away before ten o'clock, and therefore 
only advanced two leagues to dinner; I stopped by the side of a 
rivulet under some trees, upon a most beautiful spot. 

At a short distance from the estate of Cunhafi, is a hamlet of 
the same name through which I passed in my way to the colonel's 
plantation. This hamlet, or the estate itself, was the scene of a mas- 
sacre, which was committed by the Pitagoares and Tapuyas from the 
Potengi in the year 1645. A battle was fought by Camaram, the 
Indian chieftain, to whose prowess the Portugueze are so much in- 
debted, against the Dutch, in the following year, between Cunhaii 
and Fort Keulen which stands at the mouth of the Potengi. * 

The captaincy of Rio Grande commences some leagues to the 
southward of Cunhau, at a place called Os Marcos — a deep dell in- 
habited by runaway negroes and criminals; the paths of the dell are 
intricate, and when once a man has taken up his residence here, it is 
impossible to dislodge him. 

This season the crop of cotton had failed; it was one of those 
years in which a great want of rain was felt. The colonel of Cunhaii 
had, for the first time, planted a piece of land, from which he expected 
to have gathered 10,000 arrobas, but in the end only gathered about 
100 ; and he told me that he should keep to his sugar henceforwards. 
He is lenient to his slaves; they looked fat and well, and he has 

History of Brazil, Vol. II. p. 104 and 155. 


the character of not making as much of his plantation as he might, 
which is one proof of his kindness to them. The estate of Cun- 
Md is one of the largest, if not quite the most extensive, in these 
parts. There are upon it about 150 negroes, and the lands belong- 
ing to it would employ four or five times the number, but the colonel 
pays more attention to cattle, by which his father increased his for- 
tune very largely. 

As usual, on our arrival by the side of the rivulet the horses were 
unloaded, and my hammock was slung for me. I laid down in 
my cloaths, but soon I started up, finding myself uneasy. The 
guide saw me, and called out, " O sir, you are covered with cara- 
patosy I then perceived them, and felt still more their bites. In- 
stantly throwing off part of my cloaths, but with the remainder upon 
me I ran into the water, and there began to take them off. The cara- 
pato or tick, is a small, flat insect, of a dark brown colour ; about the 
size of four pins' heads placed together, it fastens upon the skin, and 
will in time eat its way into it. It is dangerous to pull it out 
quickly, when already fixed, for if the head remains, inflammation is 
not unfrequently the consequence. The point of a heated fork or pen- 
knife applied to the insect, when it is too far advanced into the skin 
to be taken out with the hand, will succeed in loosening it. There 
is another species of tick of much larger size, and of a lead colour ; 
this is principally troublesome to horses and horned cattle, that are 
allowed to run loose in lands which have been only partially cleared. I 
have, in some instances, seen horses that have had such vast numbers 
upon them, as to have been weakened by the loss of blood which they 
have occasioned. The insects of this species of carajjato * fasten them- 
selves to the skin, but do not force their way into it. The hammock 
had fallen to the ground accidentally when taken from the trunk to 

* The castor tree is known in Brazil under the sajne name; indeed, there is much simi- 
larity between the seed of this plant, from which the oil is extracted, and tlio larger kind 


be slung, and had thus picked up these unpleasant visitors. I had 
some trouble in getting them all off, but was successful, as I had at- 
tacked the enemy in time. 

We set off again about two o'clock; I had intended to have ridden 
until sunset, and then to have put up near to some cottage, but a 
young man overtook us, and we entered into conversation. He lived 
at Papari, a village about half a league out of the I'oad, and he pressed 
me so much to accompany him to sleep at his place, that I agreed. 
Papari is a deep and narrow valley, a most delightful situation. The 
whole of the valley is cultivated, and principally this year, the lands 
were in great request, as the rains had failed, and the high sandy 
lands had proved barren. For, whilst every other part of the coun- 
try appeared dry and burnt up, this spot was in full verdure — it 
appeared to laugh at all around it, aware of its own superiority. 
The inhabitants seemed by their countenances to partake of the joy- 
ful looks of the land they lived in. Papari yet enjoys another ad- 
vantage; though it is at the distance of three or four leagues from 
the sea, a salt water lake reaches it, so that its inhabitants have the 
fish brought to their own doors. The tide enters the lake, which 
is never dry, for although the fresh springs which run into it might 
fail, still it would always preserve a certain portion of water fi-om the 
sea. The fishermen come up upon their small river Jangadas, which 
do not require more than twelve inches of water. Papari is about 
five leagues from Cunhafi. Senhor Dionisio introduced me to his 
lady; he is a native of Portugal, and she a Brazilian. They possessed 
a small piece of land in the valley, and appeared to be comfortably 
situated. Papari may contain about three hundred inhabitants very 
much scattered. In the course of this year, I afterwards heard, that 
many persons flocked to it from other parts, owing to the absolute 
want of provisions. I went down to the edge of the lake to see the 
fishermen arrive, the people of the valley had all assembled to receive 
them ; it was quite a Billingsgate in miniature — save that the Por- 
tugueze language does not admit of swearing. 

ST. JOZE. 65 

We dined in Brazilian style, upon a table raised about six inches 
from the ground, around which we sat or rather laid down upon mats ; 
we had no forks, and the knives, of which there were two or three, 
were intended merely to sever the larger pieces of meat — the fingers 
were to do the rest. I remained at Papari during one entire day, 
that my horses might have some respite, that I might purchase ano- 
ther from Senhor Dionisio, and on poor Julio's account, whose feet 
had begun to crack from the dryness of the sands. 

Distant from Papari, from three to four leagues, is the Indian vil- 
lage of St. Joze, built in the form of a square ; this place might con- 
tain about two hundred inhabitants, but it had evidently the ap- 
pearance of falling to decay ; the grass in the centre of the square 
was high, the church neglected, and the whole aspect dull. St. Joze 
stands upon a dry sandy soil, and the severity of the season might 
have contributed to its dismal look. This day we experienced the 
utter impossibility of trusting to the accounts we received of dis- 
tances, and my guide had no very clever head for recollecting them, 
although he, like most of these people, possessed a kind of instinct 
with respect to the paths we were to follow. We were told that 
Natal was distant from St. Joze three or four leagues, and therefore 
expected to arrive at that place by dusk, but about five o'clock we 
entered upon the dismal sand hills, over which lies the road to the 
city; the whole country is uninhabited, and I may say uninhabitable, 
between Natal and St. Joze, consequently we had very faint hopes of 
meeting any one to give us information of the distance; but the guide 
said he supposed we could not be nearer to it than from two to 
three leagues, from the recollection he had of these hills, which 
when once passed over cannot be entirely forgotten. When it was 
nearly dark, and when our horses were almost giving way, we saw two 
boys on horseback, coming towards us : we asked them the distance, 
they answered " two leagues, and all deep sand," adding, that 
they belonged to a party, which had come to make far'mha, 
upon a spot of land, half a league distant from where we were, 
upon which mandioc was cultivated. They said, that to go on to 


Rio Grande the same night was madness, that they were going 
a short way to water their horses, and that on their return, they would 
guide us to their party. I agreed to wait for them. When they 
arrived, they struck soon from the road, down the side of one of the 
hills, — it was now dark ; we followed, entered some high and thick 
brushwood, and a considerable way into it, found the persons to 
whom the boys told us they belonged. The implements for making 
the farmha were placed under a shed, which was thatched with the 
leaves of the macaiba, and other palm trees. These persons had fixed 
upon this spot, as there was a spring of brackish water hard by, which 
was, however, only to be reached by descending a precipice ; the 
pitcher was fastened to a cord, and drawn up, and the person who 
descended to fill it, ascended the precipice by means of the brush- 
wood which grows upon the side. I did not much like the party, 
therefore we took up our lodgings at some little distance from them, 
and none of us settled regularly for the night. I now much regretted 
not having a dog with me. Our horses passed a wretched night, 
feeding upon the leaves of the shrubs around us. 

The next morning we continued our journey over the sand hills to 
Natal, travelling at about two miles within the hour. The dis- 
tance from' Goiana to Natal is fifty-five leagues. The sand 
hills are perpetually changing their situations and forms ; the high 
winds blow the sand in clouds, which renders it dangerous to travellers; 
it is white, and very fine, so that our horses sunk up to the knees at 
every step, — painful to a very great degree, when the sun has had 
full power upon it. Poor Julio had mounted upon the haunches of 
one of the loaded horses, and occasioned our travelling still slower. 
All was desolate and dreary ; for the great lightness of the sand 
almost prevented vegetation, though some of the creeping sea-side 
plants had succeeded here and there in establishing a footing. 

The track of country between Goiana and Espirito Santo, and 
indeed even to Cunhau, keeping at no great distance from the coast, 
is appropriated for the most part to sugar-plantations ; but many of 
the Senhores deEngenho, sugar-planters, also employ part of their time 
in raising cotton. The general feature is of an uncultivated country. 

LANDS. 67 

though a great quantity of land is yearly employed. The 
system of agriculture is so slovenly, or rather, as there is no 
necessity foi- husbandry of land, from the immensity of the 
country, and the smallness of its population, lands are employed 
one year, and the next the brushwood is allowed to grow up, 
giving thus to every piece of ground that is not absolutely in use 
that year, the look of one totally untouched, until a person is ac- 
quainted, in some measure, from practice, with the appearance of the 
several kinds of land. He will then perceive the difference between 
brushwood that will not grow because the land is of a barren kind, 
and that which is left to rise, that the land may rest for another crop. 
From this manner of cultivating their lands, a plantation requires 
three or four times more ground than would otherwise be necessary. 
I passed through several deep woods, and ascended some steep hills, 
but I saw nothing which deserved the name of mountain ; I crossed some 
flat sandy plains, upon which the acaju, mangaba, and several species 
of palm or cabbage trees grow ; these are merely fit to turn cattle 
upon in winter, and will only be brought into cultivation when 
lands begin to be scarce in Brazil. Varseas, or low marshy lands, 
adapted to the sugar cane, I also frequently saw. The cercados, or 
fenced pieces of ground, attached to each sugar plantation, upon 
which are fed the cattle kept for the work of it, are the only spots 
which bear the look of fields ; and even in these, the brushwood is 
not always sufficiently cleared away, unless the proprietor is wealthy 
and has an abundance of persons upon his estate ; otherwise, such is 
the fertility of the soil, that without great care, the cercado will 
in time become a wood. There are several hamlets upon 
the road, consisting of three and four cottages, and these are 
built of slight timber, and the leaves of the cabbage trees ; others 
have mud walls, and are covered with these leaves ; and now 
and then, a house built of mud, with a tiled roof, is to be seen,— 
this bespeaks a man above the common run of people. I crossed se- 
veral rivulets, which were much reduced by the drought ; but I did 
not see any great streams. The Paraiba was dry where I passed 

K 2 


it, as also was the river near Mamanguape. A rivulet, that runs into 
the lake at Papari, was the only stream which appeared still to possess 
its usual strength. The road from Goiana to Mamanguape is the 
great Sertam track, and is similar to that between Recife and Goiana, 
excepting that the plains of the part of the country I had just now tra- 
versed, are more extensive, and the roads over these are dangerous, 
as they are only marked by the short and ill-grown grass being worn 
away upon the path ; but as the cattle extend more upon a plain, and 
cannot be kept so close, from the greater extent of ground over 
which they pass, each part receives fewer footsteps, and the grass 
not unfrequently resists their passing, and vegetation still continues ; 
consequently, in an imperfect light, an experienced guide is ne- 
cessary, as on these plains no huts are ever to be met with, being, 
for the most part, destitute of water. These, the Brazilians call 
taboleiros, distinguishing them by this name, from canqnnas ; upon 
the latter, the soil is closer, and they afford good grass. Beyond 
Mamanguape, the road is sometimes a mere path, with breadth suf- 
ficient only for two loaded horses to pass, and, in some places, it has 
not even the necessary width for this purpose. The valley of Papari 
I have already mentioned, as being much superior to the rest of the 
country. The trees in Brazil are mostly evergreens, and the drought 
must be great indeed to make them lose their leaves ; but the green 
of the leaves of a parched plant, though still a green, is very dif- 
ferent from the bright joyful colour of one that is in full health. 
This produced the striking difference between that valley and the 
burnt lands above it, — besides, the misfortunes of other parts made 
its good luck more apparent. 

I arrived about eleven o'clock in the morning at the city of Natal, 
situated upon the banks of the Rio Grande, or Potengi. A foreigner, 
who might chance to land first at this place, on his arrival upon the 
coast of Brazil, would form a very poor opinion of the state of the 
population of the country ; for, if places like this are called cities, 
what must the towns and villages be ; but such a judgment would 
not prove correct, for many villages, even of Brazil, surpass this city ; 


the rank must have been given to it, not from what it was or is, but 
from the expectation of what it might be at some future period. 
The settlement upon rising ground, rather removed from the river, 
is properly the city, as the parish church is there ; it consists of a 
square, with houses on each side, having only the ground floor ; the 
churches, of which there are three, the palace, town-hall, and 
prison. Thi'ee streets lead from it, which have also a few houses on 
each side. No part of the city is paved, although the sand is 
deep ; on this account, indeed, a few of the inhabitants have raised 
a foot path of bricks before their own houses. The place may con- 
tain from six to seven hundred persons. 

I rode immediately to the palace, as I had letters of introduction 
to the governor, from several of his friends at Pernambuco. He re- 
ceived me in the most cordial manner. He asked me for my pass- 
port, which I produced ; it was scarcely opened, and he immediately 
returned it, saying, that he only did this, that all necessary form 
might be complied with. He said, that I should stay with him, and he 
would provide a house for my people. At one o'clock we dined, and 
one of his aide-de-camps was with us. In the afternoon, we walked 
down to the lower town. It is situated upon the banks of the river ; 
the houses stand along the southern bank, and there is only the usual 
width of a street between them and the river. This place may con- 
tain from two to three hundred inhabitants, and here live the men of 
trade of Rio Grande. The bar of the Potengi is very narrow, but is 
sufficiently deep to admit vessels of 150 tons. The northern bank 
projects considerably, and for this reason, it is necessary that a ship 
should make for it from the southward. The entrance to the reef of 
rocks, which lies at some distance from the shore, also requires to 
be known, so that altogether the port is a difficult one. The river 
is very safe, when once within the bar ; the water is deep, and quite 
still, and two vessels might swing in its breadth ; but it soon becomes 
shallow, and in the course of a few miles is greatly dimi- 
nished. I should imagine, that six or seven vessels might swing 
altogether in the harbour. The bars of rivers that are formed, as in 


this case, of sand, are, however, not to be trusted to, without good 
pilots, as they soon change their depth, and even their situation. 
When the tide enters, the northern bank is overflowed about one 
mile from the mouth of the harbour, and spreads over a considerable 
extent of ground, which, even during the ebb, is always wet and 
muddy, but never becomes sufficiently deep to prevent passing. The 
governor was raising a road over this piece of land, and the work 
was then nearly half finished. The new road would be about one 
mile in length. The captaincy of Rio Grande is subject to the 
governor of Pernambuco, and those of Paraiba and Seara were for- 
merly in the same situation, but have of late years been formed into 
independent provincial governments. 

The governor, Francisco de Paula Cavalcante de Albuquerque, is a 
native of Pernambuco, and a younger brother of the chief of the 
Cavalcante branch of the Albuquerques. His father, a Brazilian 
also, was first an ensign in the Recife regiment of the line; he after- 
wards established himself upon a sugar-plantation, and made a for- 
tune. The old man died, and left to each of his sons considerable 
property; two remained upon their estates, and still live upon them; 
this third son entered the Olinda regiment, and was much beloved 
by the men. The regiment had then only one company, of which 
he became the commander, and large sums of money taken from his 
own purse, were expended by him for their good equipment. He went 
to Lisbon on some business relating to his company, and whilst he was 
there a denuncia, a private accusation, was given by some enemy to 
the family — that the brothers were forming a conspiracy against the 
government. He was obliged to leave Lisbon, afraid of being put under 
an arrest, and fled to England, where his reception was such, that he 
has ever wished for opportunities of shewing kindness to persons of 
that nation. His brothers suffered much in person and in property, 
but matters were at last cleared up, as the accusation was proved to be 
false. Francisco was immediately promoted to a majority, and soon 
afterwards sent to govern Rio Grande. He is a man of talent, and of 
proper feelings in regard of his duties, — enthusiastic in wishing 


to better the condition of the people over whom he was placed. I 
am grieved to say, that he has been removed to the insignificant 
government of St. Michael's, one of the Azores or Western Islands. 

Wlien he was appointed to Rio Grande, there was scarcely a well 
dressed person in it, but he had succeeded in persuading one family 
to send for English manufactured goods to Recife — when once these 
were introduced they made their way — one would not be outdone 
by another, and, in the course of two years, they had become general. 
We visited the church in the evening — all the ladies were hand- 
somely dressed in silks of various colours, and black veils thrown 
over the head and face. A twelvemonth previous to this period, 
these same persons would have gone to church in petticoats of Lisbon 
printed cottons, and square pieces of thick cloth over their heads, 
without stockings, and their shoes down at the heels. 

The military establishment consists of one hundred and fourteen 
men — one company — which were in much better order than those 
of Pernambuco, or Paraiba. The captaincy of Rio Grande enjoyed 
perfect quietude from robberies through his exertions. The gover- 
nor promoted the building of a large house, which was going on 
very fast, and for which he had subscribed largely; the rent of it was 
to be appropriated to the support of the widows of the soldiers of 
the captaincy. This work has, I am afraid, been laid aside since his 
removal. The situation of the prisoners was very miserable ; he 
wished to better it, and requested that the principal persons of the 
place would take it in turn weekly to carry a bag round to all the 
inhabitants, that each might give some trifle to assist in their support; 
for some time this went on well, but after a few weeks it was neg- 
lected. He, therefore, took the bag himself, and, accompanied by 
one of his aides-de-camps, called at every house. He said, that this 
was the most comfortable week the prisoners had ever passed since 
their confinement, as more was given by each person than was 
usual, and the excellent arrangement was again taken up with ar- 
dour, by the same persons who had neglected it. 

A British vessel was wrecked near Natal, and I have always 


understood that the proprietors were perfectly satisfied that every 
exertion possible had been made use of to save the property. 

The drought of this year had caused a scarcity of the flour of the 
mandioc — the bread of Brazil — and the price was so high at Recife, 
Goiana, &c. that those persons of Rio Grande who possessed it, began 
to ship it off for other places ; this the governor prohibited ; he ordered 
it to be sold in the market-place, at a price equal to the gain the 
owners would have had by sending it away, and if all was not bought 
he took it himself, again giving it out when necessary at the same 
price. These anecdotes of him I had partly from himself, but prin- 
cipally from persons of the place, to whom I was introduced. When 
he left the city, on his appointment to St. Michael's, the people fol- 
lowed him to some distance, praying for his prosperity. 




^ I ^HE governor did all in his power to dissuade me from proceed- 
-*- ing further, the drought being so great as to render it not 
quite prudent ; but as I had come so far, I was resolved, at any rate, 
to make the attempt. If I had been certain of being able to under- 
take the journey at a future period, it would have been better to have 
returned, and to have waited until a more favourable season ; but I 
am rejoiced that I went at that time, as, otherwise, I should most 
probably have been under the necessity of foregoing my plan alto- 
gether. Some of the disagreeable circumstances which I met with, 
certainly proceeded from the rigour of the season. 

I received from the governor a letter of introduction to Aracati. 
He also insisted upon my leaving my own horse, that he might be 
in good condition when I returned. I was to sleep at a place from 
which Rio Grande is supplied with, farinha during the drought; but, 
in usual years, it is too wet to be cultivated, unless it was drained, 
and of this operation scarcely any notions are entertained. At 
Natal, I purchased another horse. I crossed the river in a canoe, and 
the horses and men upon jangadas ; we were landed upon the new 
raised road, and immediately beyond it overtook some persons who 
were going to the Lagoa Seca, or dry lake above-mentioned, where I 
was to purchase maize and farinha, for crossing the tract of country 
through which runs the river Seara-meirim. We left the usual road, 
and turned down a narrow path, which leads to this lake; it was 



overhung with trees. I struck my head against a branch of one of 
these, and found that I had disturbed a large family which had taken 
up its residence upon it ; my shoulders were quickly covered with 
small red ants, and I did not get rid of them without feeling some of 
their bites. We arrived at the dry lake about six o'clock in the 
evening, and put up at one of the cottages. In the course of the 
following morning, I made known my principal errand, and that I 
likewise wished to purchase another horse. The people who were 
residing here, had removed from high lands which had on this season 
proved barren ; they had erected small huts, some of which had not 
been finished, and the family, therefore, lived in public; these huts had 
only a roof to shelter their inhabitants, who expected that the first 
heavy rain would drive them back to their usual habitations, as these 
lands, after violent rains, are laid under water. Each man possessed 
his small field of mandioc and maize. I left John's horse here in 
charo-e of one of these men, as it began to give way, and I proceeded 
with four loaded horses ; two as before, and one of farinha, and 
another of maize. 1 had provided myself at Rio Grande with leathern 
bags, for carrying water, and several other necessary things which I 
had not been instructed to bring, but which experience had taught 
me the necessity of possessing. 

We remained at this place during one entire day, and the next 
morning set off, intending to sleep at a hamlet, called Pai Paulo. 
We rested at mid-day near to a well, and in the afternoon proceeded. 
Wells are generally formed in these parts by digging a hole in the 
ground, to the depth of two or three feet, until the water appears ; 
if a person in the neighbourhood of one of them, who takes water 
from it, should be nice about these matters, a fence is made round it, 
but if not, as is oftener the case, the well remains open, and the cattle 
come down to drink at it. These pits or wells are called cafi?nbas. 
The grass was much burnt up, but still there was plenty of it. In 
the afternoon we passed over some stony ground, — it was the first I 
had met with, and it was very painful to the horses which had come 
from the sandy soil of Pernambuco; but we soon entered upon along 


though narrow plain, bounded by brushwood, over which the road was 
clear, and the grass burnt up entirely on each side. We overtook a 
white man on foot, with twelve loaded horses, and a very small poney 
which carried a saddle ; the loads were all alike, each horse carrying 
two skins or bags of some kind of provisions. I was much surprised 
at the circumstance of this man having the management of so many 
horses, because generally, the number of men is nearly equal to that 
of the beasts. I observed that his horses began to spread upon the 
plain, and seemed inclined to take to the brushwood; I called to my 
guide to ride to the right, whilst I did the same to the left, and go in 
quickly between them and the wood, to prevent the animals from 
separating. The man thanked me, which brought on further con- 
versation ; he asked the guide where we intended to sleep, and was 
answered, " at Pai Paulo." The wells at Pai Paulo, he told us, were 
all dried up, and the inhabitants had deserted their houses. What 
was to be done : he said, that he intended to remain upon a plain 
two leagues distant from where we then were, that no water was to 
be had there, but that for our party and himself, his slave would bring 
a sufficient quantity, who had remained behind to fill a skin at a well 
which we had passed. There was no alternative ; to remain here 
was impossible, for there was no grass. Therefore I ordered Julio and 
his companion to let our horses and those of our new friend remain 
together, and to look to them equally. The slave soon joined us 
with the water, gave the skin to my guide, and went on to assist 
Julio, whilst I advanced very slowly, that I might have some more 
conversation with the owner of the comboio, or convoy, which we had 
thus joined. He was the son of a man of property, who resided 
upon the banks of the A^u, and possessed several cattle estates in 
those parts ; the old man was a colonel of militia, and he with whom 
I conversed, was the major of the same regiment. The drought had 
been so severe with them, that they feared a famine, and he had been 
sent down to the coast to purchase/anW/« for the family, which the 
skins contained, with the exception of one load consisting of maize 
for his horses. After he had purchased his fatinha he heard of the 

L 2 


prohibition of the governor respecting it, and understood that a guard 
of soldiers was to be sent down to the lake to take it from him ; he had, 
therefore, stolen a march, and that nothing might be suspected, he 
had left all his people, excepting this one slave, and had even left his 
cloaths. His saddle horse carried a heavy load, and he set off a day 
before he had intended ; the animal upon which he had placed his 
saddlewas a colt and too young to bear any further weight. Thus was 
this major, in true Brazilian campaigning style, in his shirt and 
drawers, his alpargatas or sandals, upon his feet, his musquet upon 
his shoulder, his sword by his side, hanging from a belt over one 
shoulder, and his long knife in his girdle. He was a stout, handsome 
man, about forty years of age, and where his skin was not exposed, 
it was as white as that of a European, but his face, neck, and legs 
were of a dark brown colour. This man, who at other times enjoyed 
all the comforts that his country affords, who was respected for his 
rank and wealth, was obliged to make this journey absolutely to save 
the lives of his family. True it is, that he is not to be considered as 
we should persons of his situation in Europe ; like most of these 
people, he had been from his infancy daily accustomed to what men 
in a more civilised state would account very great hardships. 

The alpargatas are pieces of leather, of a size rather larger than 
the soles of the feet of the person for whom they are intended. 
Two loops are fastened in front of each, through which two of the 
toes are placed ; there is a ring of leather round each ancle, through 
which are drawn and tied two thongs, which proceed from each side 
of the hinder part. These are the shoes of the Brazilians, who live 
removed from great and improving towns. Julio was now provided 
with a pair of them, else I hardly know how he could have 

We halted at the place appointed, upon an immense plain ; the 
grass was all gone, and even the hardy trees, the acaju and mangaba, 
seemed to feel the want of water, for their leaves had begun to fall. 
The two parties took up their stations under separate clumps of 
trees ; but upon these plains, the trees scarcely ever grow sufficiently 




near to each other, to enable the traveller to hang his hammock 
between two of them. The poor horses were taken to a dell at some 
distance, to try to pick up what they could find, that had escaped the 
di'ought and the traveller. Our allowance of water was not large, 
and therefore we were afraid of eating much salt meat ; we did not 
pass the night comfortably, for the wind rose, and scattered our fires, 
nor did we sleep much, and at four o'clock the horses were fetched 
to give to each of them a feed of maize. One of them refused to eat 
his portion. 

The following morning we advanced to Pai Paulo, three leagues 
further, still crossing the same plain, at the extremity of which we 
first approached the Seara-meirim, and on the opposite side from that 
on which we were, stands the village of Pai Paulo, upon rising ground. 
This was, without exception, the most desolate place I ever beheld ; 
the roofs of some of the cottages were falling in, the walls of others 
had fallen, but the roofs remained. The course of the river was 
only marked by the depth of its bed, for the soil around was a loose 
sand, destitute of any covering, and nothing differing from that in the 
channel of the river. The trees had mostly lost their leaves. I had 
now entered upon the Sertam, and surely it deserves the name. We 
passed Pai Paulo, and about noon reached an open well of brackish 
water, dug in the bed of the river ; our Pernambuco horses at first re- 
fused to drink, but the dirt was cleared away, as much as possible, for 
them, and the water left to settle ; however, even then, they did 
little more than taste it. Here we were to rest, and to give our horses 
some maize, for there was no grass. The same horse again refused 
his feed ; the guide said that he supposed he was not accustomed to 
it, and therefore must be taught to like it, otherwise he could not pos- 
sibly get over this barren track of country. The first operation was 
to soak the maize in water, until it softened, — then the guide forced 
some of it down the animal's throat, closing forcibly its mouth. 
Whether this had the effect, or hunger, I know not ; but at night he 
performed his part pretty well, taking rather more time than the 
others to finish his feed. I drank a small portion of the water, 



mixing it with lemon juice and sugar, which I had with me. We 
carried some of this water on with us, for at night we should find 
none. The country presented the same appearance ; we crossed the 
Seara-meirim several times, which in some parts had large rocks in 
the centre of the bed. At night I was not much inclined to eat, but 
I made up by smoking. We found a sheltered place behind part of 
the bank of the river, and slung our hammocks upon sloping ground, 
as the wind rises about eleven or twelve o'clock in these parts, and 
renders shelter very requisite ; it sometimes blows hard : it is a dry 
wind, but healthy. 

The following day, we proceeded again in the same manner. I 
had by this time fully entered into the custom of smoking early, and 
as we could never get any thing cooked until twelve o'clock, I found 
that this prevented any unpleasant sense of hunger. My people 
could not have any thing to eat early, as it would have caused 
delay, therefore it would not have been proper for me to show a bad 
example. I had become very intimate with my friend the major — 
he learnt from me that we had horses, and cows, and dogs in Eng- 
land, and he liked me the better for this ; at first, he wondered how 
it happened that I could ride ; he thought I must be an apt scholar 
to have learnt since I had gone over to Brazil. He was also much 
surprized to hear that we had churches in England, which he had 
never understood before. He said he should not believe hencefor- 
wards that the English were Pagoens, heathens. I told him that one 
chief point upon which our religion differed from his, was in ours 
not enjoining us to confess; he thought confession a great annoy- 
ance, but he could not doubt its propriety. 

We reached another dirty pool or well of water in the river, which 
we had again crossed several times. Our resting-place at mid-day 
afforded no shelter, excepting what could be obtained from one small 
shrub, which was in full leaf. The leaves or branches of it reached 
to the ground. I lay down upon the sand, and pushed my head in 
among them, covering the rest of my body with a hide; this was a 
hot birth, but better than to be completely exposed to the sun. I 


was astonished at the appearance of" this shrub. There are two 
kinds of trees in certain parts of the Sertam, which are called Pereiro 
and Yco; both seem to flourish most when the seasons are the driest, 
and both are particularly dangerous to horses ; that is, as they do no 
mischief to the wild cattle or wild horses, they may be supposed not to 
possess any pernicious qualities if the animals which eat their leaves 
are not overheated and fatigued; the latter of these plants kills the tra- 
vellers' beasts, and the former has the effect of appearing to pro- 
duce intoxication, and sometimes also proves fatal. The major said, 
that this part of the country abounded in these trees, and consequently 
our horses were tied to those around us, and to each was given a feed 
of maize. The plant, of which I have spoken above, was very beau- 
tiful, the green of its leaves was bright and healthy, and I afterwards 
saw many more of them upon this travesia or crossing. I particu- 
larly observed them on this track of country, as other plants had lost 
all appearance of life. 

We were less unpleasantly situated at night, as the water though 
brackish was comparatively clear. 

The following day we had still the same country and river to 
cross. The consciousness of having advunced upon our journey alone 
caused the knowledge of a change of situation, so exactly similar was 
the face of the country. At mid-day we had again no shelter from 
the sun. The water was little different from that of the preceding 
day. I laid down under the shady side of a rock, which afforded 
sufficient shelter until the sun began to decline, and throw its rays 
into the quarter under which I had taken up my station. We had 
often seen cattle about the pools or wells — on this occasion, one 
miserable cow came down to drink; the major happened to be near 
the pool at the time. He looked at the mark she bore, and knew it 
to be that of the cattle upon his own estates. " How can this ani- 
mal," he exclaimed, " have strayed so far from its own home?" 
The want of water had made it stray at least one hundred leagues. 
This day we overtook a party of Sertanejos, as the inhabitants of 
the Sertam are called, likewise going our way. They were at the 


mid-day resting-place, and one of their horses was, at the time of our 
coming up, tottering from having eaten of the Yco ; they were try- 
ing to give it maize, in the hope of recovering it, as this is said to 
have the effect, if it is taken soon after ; but at the time we left 
them, the animal, when he fell, was with difficulty raised, and the 
major said that he thought him too far gone. I never heard whether 
these persons returned, or still advanced after this misfortune. I ob- 
served in the afternoon several heaps of rocks in the bed of the river, 
which must form beautiful falls of water when the stream is rapid. 

Towards evening my guide began to try me. I found that there 
had been some conversation between him and the two Indians re- 
specting the journey, and now he sounded me about returning. I 
told him I had perfectly determined to go on, and that I would 
most cei'tainly shoot the man who attempted to go back, and that 
even if he then escaped me, I would follow him until I overtook him. 
He had not said that he would return, but had hinted at the danger 
of the undertaking at this season, and that the two lads were afraid 
of proceeding, but I knew him to be the mover. At night he could 
not have found his way back, as the only mark of a road that was to 
be perceived, proceeded from the sand being more worn away, and 
the banks of the river being broken down at the proper crossings. 
In fact, the marks were such, that even in the day-time, a man accus- 
tomed to this description of road could alone find it out — therefore 
I was certain that desertion could only take place in the day-time, 
which was almost impossible, as I always rode in the rear of the 
whole party. The guide had no fire-arms of his own ; besides he 
never would have made any attempt to murder me, as he knew how 
little I slept, and that my pistols were always with me in my ham- 
mock, besides any thing of this sort could only have been done in con- 
cert with Julio, who, in the sequel, proved worthy of the greatest confi- 
dence. I found more necessity to be on my guard in returning, when 
John was no longer with me; however, although this man had suf- 
ficient courage he had no watchfulness. The summary manner in 
which I threatened to treat the guide, can only be justified by the 


necessity of the case, for had he returned, the two Indians would most 
probably likewise have deserted me. If a man suffers himself to be 
trifled with, he cannot possibly succeed under circumstances such as 
these ; however, I made the threat under the conviction of that being 

We carried water from the resting-place at mid-day, and, as usual, 
fixed our quarters at night upon the banks of the river. 

The next day we advanced again exactly in the same manner, but 
at noon, to our dismay, there was no water ; the pool had dried up, but 
we rested the horses for a short time, notwithstanding this dreadful 
disappointment. My thirst was great, for I had not drank the night 
before. We had still some lemons left, which were distributed, and 
these afibrded much relief. In the afternoon the major told me to 
follow his example, and put a pebble into my mouth, which was 
the usual resource of the Sertanejos on these occasions. I did so, 
and certainly found that it produced considerable moisture. This 
was a dismal day, and we knew not whether we should be able to reach 
a well before some of our horses failed. One of those belonging to the 
major, already ran loose among the others, as he was weak, and his 
load had been changed to the horse which had carried the maize, the 
remainder of this being distributed in small portions, that it might be 
carried by the rest. My horses bore it very well, as those which had 
been loaded with provisions were, of course, in part relieved, and the 
largest load, that of my trunk and case of bottles, was carried by 
each of them in turn, that the hard work might be equally divided. 
This day we passed some deserted cottages. Our night was very 
miserable, for some of the horses refused to finish their feeds of maize; 
the danger of their failing prevented our thinking so much of our 
own inconvenience — my spirits were kept up by the necessity I felt 
of keeping up those of others^. John was not quite well, and this 
made me uneasy, as it was as much as we could do to carry our- 
selves ; indeed, had any of the party fallen sick, I know not how we 
should have proceeded. 

The next morning, about nine o'clock, we reached a well to our 



great joy, but, fortunately for us, the water was so bad, that we could 
not drink much ; it was as usual dirty and brackish, but of the first 
draught I shall never forget the delight; — when I tried a second, I 
could not take it, the taste was so very nauseous. On looking round, 
we saw some goats, Julio went towards them, and then discovered 
some fowls, proceeded a little farther and found an inhabited cottage. 
He came and gave us the joyful intelligence; we determined to re- 
main here to rest, if the people could give us any hopes of food fo 
our horses. I found an elderly woman and her two daughters in the 
hut; the father was not at home. The old woman seemed quite 
astonished to hear that we had crossed the Seara-]\Ieirim ; she said, 
she did not know how soon she and her family might be obliged to 
leave their cottage, as many others had done. She directed the major 
and my people to a dell at some distance, where dry grass and 
leaves might perhaps still be picked up; she said, that it was the 
last place which could have any, for travellers did not in general 
know of it, and she and her husband made a point of not discover- 
ing it. But I paved the way,by making her a present of some farmha, 
throwing maize to the fowls, and by pouring in an immense number 
of niinhas Senhoras. I had purchased a kid and a fowl, and laid down 
the money immediately. Persons circumstanced as these were, are 
sometimes robbed in a most unpardonable manner by travellers, who 
take advantage of their houses, eat their poultry, and leave them 
without paying; but considering the entire non-existence of law in 
these regions, I am only surprized that greater enormities are not 
committed; however, every man feels it to be his own case, if he has 
a house and family; he is aware that on going from home, those he 
may leave are in the same helpless state. These persons and their 
property were at the mercy of any travellers; if they had been 
murdered, and the cottage from being deserted began to fall, it would 
have been supposed that its inhabitants, like many others, had de- 
camped, and no enquiry would be made about the direction they 
had taken, such is the rambling disposition of the people in general, 
and the state of this part of the country, at the period of which I 



speak. They have nothing to make them remain upon one spot, 
neither comfort nor security. 

In the afternoon we advanced as usual, and passed some deserted 
cottages, but towards the close of the day arrived at some that were 
inhabited, and at dusk put up near to two or three that stood toge- 
ther, after having crossed the Seara-Meirim for the last and forty- 
second time. This river takes its sources from the mountains to the 
northward, in the same direction as those of the river Ayu, of which 
I shall have occasion to speak. The Seara-Meirim falls into the 
Potengi, and perhaps some branches of it bend their course as far as 
the Paraiba. The face of the country presents one continued flat, 
from Pai Paulo to the place at which we left the river ; the soil is a loose 
sand, which is sometimes, though rarely, intermixed with black earth. 
The trees are thinly scattered, and, at the time that I travelled, were 
without leaves. The river winds like the coils of a serpent, to have fol- 
lowed them would have been endless; it sometimes fills after heavy 
rain, in the course of a very short time, the water coming down in a 
torrent, delayed only by the inequality of the depth of the channel, 
and the walls with which the rocks in some parts oppose its progress. 
The sand in the bed of the river is little different from that of which 
the banks are composed, being however on the whole thicker, and 
approaching nearer to gravel. The water which oozes from it, on 
digging into the sand, is in all parts brackish, and in some places is 
too salt for any use to be made of it. This is not, however, peculiar 
to the Seara-Meirim, for I found that all the beds of the rivers which 
become dry in the summer contained more or less saltj at best, the 
water taken from them was never quite sweet. 

The place at which we had arrived is reckoned to be distant forty 
leagues from Natal; the league of the Sertam is never less than 
four miles, and is often much more ; there are legoas grandes, legoas 
pequenas, and legoas de nada, or nothing leagues, which I have found 
quite long enough, notwithstanding their encouraging name. Pai 
Paulo may be about eight or ten leagues from Natal, which makes 
the travesia or barren-crossing, thirty or thirty-two leagues. We ad- 

M 2 


vanced at about three miles within the hour or rather more, and 
travelled from half-past five to ten in the morning, and in the after- 
noon from two, or half-past two, to six o'clock. 

We had now reached again the habitations of man ; there was still 
the same burnt-up appearance, but the'wells were taken care of, the 
water was better, and grass, although it was dry, was still to be had. I 
intended to accompany the Major, part of the way to his home, or the 
whole, but it was necessary that I should be guided by circumstances, 
—by the accounts we heard of the state of the country;— we ad- 
vanced in our usual manner, resting more at mid-day, traversing 
a dead flat, and passing two or three Fazendas, or cattle estates, each 
day, of which the live stock was looking very miserable, and the peo- 
ple half starved. 

After being with the Major four days, since we had left the Seara- 
Meirim, I saw that it would not be prudent to pi'oceed farther; the 
accounts from the interior were bad, and we arrived at one estate, 
of which the cattle were all dying, and the people intending, if there 
was no rain very soon, to leave their houses. I now judged myself to 
be distant from the coast not less than two hundred miles. We had 
advanced northward and westward, and were therefore not far to the 
southward of Ayu, but were to the westward of it. I now resolved 
to make for it, for my horses might fail, and all the country was in so 
bad a state, that we might not have found others in a proper con- 
dition to go on with us; in fact, as I was not acting from orders, but 
merely for my own amusement, and as the guide was afraid of pro- 
ceeding, I did not think I was authorized in persevering; if I had 
had orders for the purpose, the case would have been altered, and 
I must have run all hazards. Here, also, desertion was easier in 
the night, as the country was comparatively inhabited towards Acu 
— the difficulty was in advancing, and not in retreating. 

Each cattle estate has a tolerably decent house, in which the owner 
or herdsman resides, and usually a few smaller habitations are scat- 
tered about upon the plain around it. The pens stand near to the 


principal house, and enable the travellers to distinguish immediately, 
although at some distance, the site of a Fazenda. 

I heard of a strange custom existing in these parts of the country 
that are so thinly inhabited, which arises from this state of things. 
Certain priests obtain a licence from the bishop (of Pernambuco,) 
and travel through these regions with a small altar constructed fot 
the purpose ; of a size to be placed upon one side of a pack-saddle, 
and they have with them all their apparatus for saying mass. Thus 
with a horse conveying the necessary paraphernalia, and a boy to 
drive it, who likewise assists in saying mass, and another horse on 
which the priest himself rides, and carries his own small portmanteau, 
these men make in the course of the year between 150 and 200/. — 
a large income in Brazil, but hardly earned, if the inconveniences 
and privations which they must undergo to obtain it are taken into 
consideration. They stop and erect the altar wherever a sufficient 
number of persons who are willing to pay fpr the mass is collected. 
This will sometimes be said for three or four shillings, but at other 
times, if a rich man takes a fancy to a priest, or has a fit of extrerne 
devotion upon him, he will give eight or ten mil reis, two or three 
pounds, and it does happen, that one hundred mil reis are received for 
saying a mass, but this is very rare; — at times an ox or an horse, or 
two or three, are given. These men have their use in the world; 
if this custom did not exist, all form of worship would be completely 
out of the reach of the inhabitants of many districts, or at any rate 
they would not be able to attend more than once or twice in the 
course of the year, for it must be remembered that there is no church 
within twenty or thirty leagues of some parts ; besides, where there is 
no law, nor real, rational religion, any thing is better than nothing. 
They christen and marry, and thus preserve these necessary forms of 
religion, and prevent a total forgetfuhiess of the established rules of 
civilised society; a sufficient link is kept up to make any of these 
people, if they removed into more populous districts, conform to 
received ideas. 


I left the Major* to pursue his journey homewards, whilst I re- 
treated, or rather advanced, in a contrary direction, but a retreat it 
was from this inhospitable region. We found no change during that 
day, and if we had not met with a good natured herdsman, should 
have fared very badly for want of water, unless we had seen some other 
person equally well disposed. I asked him the way to the nearest 
estate, which he told me, and then I made enquiries about water, 
to which he answered, that unless I was acquainted with the place, 
I should not find the well, and this part of our conversation ended 
by his turning back to show it to me, regardless of thus increasing 
his journey four or five miles. I asked him when we arrived at the 
well to stay and dine with me, for although I had no great dainties 
to offer, still he carried only what provision his boroacas contained. 
These are small leathern bags, one of which hangs on each side of the 
saddle. He would not, however, dismount, and immediately turned 
his horse and went his way. My guide had remained behind, as his 
horse was rather lame, and now he joined us. We passed over some 
stony ground, and the well itself was situated among rocks, between 
two of which the horses passed and descended to it. 

I may give some description of my friend, who turned back to shew 
me the well, and this may be taken as the usual appearance of a tra- 

• Between two and three years after this journcj', I heard again of my friend the 
Major. I became acquainted with a man who resided at the foot of the Scrra do Teixeira, 
which is beyond the estates of the major's father. The old colonel was killed by a bull before 
his own door. The animal had been driven into a small inclosure, and became mad from 
feehng himself confined. It was necessary to bring him to the ground, which is done in a 
peculiar manner, by running a short iron prong into a certain part of the thigh. The 
herdsmen were afraid, and wished to let the beast have time to cool and become less 
violent; the old man, who was between seventy and eighty years of age, told them, that if 
they were afraid, he would attack him, and immediately entered the inclosure; but before 
he could prepare to receive the bull, and was still leaning against the palings, the animal 
ran at him, and fixed his horns through the old man's body, with sufficient force to run 
them into the palings, and in such a manner that before he could extricate himself^ one of 
the herdsmen ran a long knife into his head, between the horns, and brought him to the 
ground; but the old man lost his Ufe. 

,^ r^^^^r) 


veiling Sertanejo. He rode a small horse with a long tail and mane ; 
his saddle was rather raised before and behind ; his stirrups were of 
rusty iron, and his bit was of the same ; the reins were two very 
narrow thongs. His dress consisted of long pantaloons or leggings, 
of tanned but undressed leather, of a rusty brown colour, which were 
tied tight round his waist, and under these are worn a pair of cotton 
drawers or trowsers, as the seat is left unprotected by the leather. 
He had a tanned goat skin over his breast, which was tied behind by four 
strings, and a jacket also made of leather, which is generally thrown 
over one shoulder ; his hat was of the same, with a very shallow 
crown, and small brim ; he had slip-shod slippers of the same colour, 
and iron spurs upon his naked heels, — the straps which go under the 
feet prevent the risk of losing the slippers. A long whip of twisted 
thongs hung from his right wrist ; he had a sword by his side, hang- 
ing from a belt over one shoulder ; his knife was in his girdle, and 
his short dirty pipe in his mouth. Fastened to his saddle behind, 
was a piece of red baize, rolled up in the form of a great coat, and 
this usually contains a hammock and a change of linen, — a shirt, and 
drawers, and perhaps a pair of nankeen pantaloons ; his boroacas 
hung also on each side of the back of his saddle, and these generally 
contain farinha and dried meat on one side, and on the other, a flint 
and steel, (dried leaves serve as tinder) tobacco, and a spare pipe. 
To this equipment is sometimes added, a large pistol, thrust partly 
under the left thigh, and thus secured. The usual pace of the Ser- 
tanejo's horse is a walk, approaching to a short trot ; so that the 
horses of these people often have acquired the habit of dragging their 
hind legs, and throwing up the dust. The usual colour of the Ser- 
tanejos is a dark brown ; for even those who are born white, soon 
become as completely tanned as the dress which they wear, from ex- 
posure to the sun. The annexed print will give some idea of the 
Sertanejo, as he is daily seen in Recife. The colour of the leather, 
as it is represented in the print, is brighter than that of the dresses 
which are usually to be met with, which is owing to the drawing 
having been made from a dress that had not been much used. 

88 ST. LUZIA. 

At one of the estates I heard an anecdote, which is illustrative of 
the neglect or the impossibility, on all occasions, of conforming to 
religious duties. A priest, on passing, was requested by the wife of 
the owner of the place to stay, for the purpose of baptizing her son ; 
he consented to this, but after waiting some time, said, that he 
wished to proceed upon his journey, and therefore desired that the 
child might be brought to him ; the woman answered, " Pray, wait a 
short time longer, as the boy has taken the horses to water, and will 
soon return." The priest was surprised, but was still more astonished, 
when he was required to christen a fellow of thirteen or fourteen 
years of age. 

The next day we still proceeded over the same sort of ground, in 
parts stony, and where stony, it was rather hilly ; but not sufficiently 
so to form a decided ridge of hills. John was, at night, taken sud- 
denly ill ; he had drank too much water, and would not mix any 
spirit with it, neither would he smoke. I considered smoking as 
almost absolutely necessary for the preservation of health on these 
occasions ; it is generally practised among the people of the country, 
and indeed many of the women are as fond of it as their husbands. 
Towards the morning, the man recovered. 

The following day we reached, at ten o'clock, the estate of St. 
Luzia ; it is situated upon a wide plain, similar to those upon which 
we had been travelling for many days. This is a campina, and not a 
taboleir-o. There were no trees upon it, excepting a few near to 
the well. The sight of this place raised our spirits, for there was no 
want of water, nor of grass, though it was completely dry. The lots, 
lotes, of mares came down to drink, all in fine condition, followed 
and protected by the master horse of each lot ; the cattle, the sheep, 
and every other living thing, seemed to enjoy and to be conscious of 
the abundance of which they were reaping the advantage. We un- 
loaded near to the well under the trees. The house of the chief 
herdsman stood before us, distant about one hundred yards, upon 
rather higher ground ; it was a low white washed cottage, with the 
stables, pens, &c. on each side. About twelve o'clock, I saw some 

ST. LUZIA. 89 

men employed in milking the goats; I sent Julio with a half-gourd for 
some milk, desiring him to offer payment ; the guide cautioned me 
not, but still I ordered Julio to present the money. The milk came, 
but the money was not taken, and soon afterwards, three of the men, 
came down towards us ; I thanked them for the milk ; and they ad- 
dressed me saying, that they wished to know if I had intended to in- 
sult them, by offering payment, as such things were not customary in 
their country: — the guide had told me I should affront them, and 
therefore I had brought this upon myself; but I put them into good 
humoiu' by answering that they would pardon my mistake, when I told 
them, that 1 belonged to a country, in which we were obliged to pur- 
chase the sand with which we scoured our houses. They then said, 
that the boy, on going for the milk, had mentioned that there was an 
Englishman in company, whom they wished much to see, as it was a 
bicJio, an animal, they had never seen. I said that he was gone with 
the horses, and would soon return. I meant John, — however the 
guide soon told them that I was an Englishman. Their countenances 
shewed much disappointment, when they were persuaded that this 
was true ; they had expected to see some strange beast. John soon 
came, and he certainly was a curiosity, for he did not speak Portu- 
gueze ; and when any thing went wrong, he swore away in English, 
at which they were all astonishment: they said, " He speaks the negro 
language*." They sat upon the ground near to my hammock, and 
asked me of the news from Pernambuco, for they cared about nothing 
more distant. I was acquainted at Recife with the owner of the place, 
which I made them confident was the case, by describing his house and 
garden, and they asked me after him, &c. The conversation concluded 
by an offer of horses to proceed, and, on their return to the house, a 
present of dried meat was sent. Thus I was in the end a gainer, by 
offering to pay for the milk ; but I was more careful ever after. 

From St. Luzia, we proceeded across the plain, expecting to reach a 

Falla a lingua de negro." 



lake, of which the guide had some reeollection ; but when the night 
had already closed in, we were still upon the same endless plain, 
over which the track was only marked by the sand upon it being 
more worn away, consequently, it might easily be lost at night. 
The lake at which we had entertained hopes of arriving, never be- 
comes entirely dry in the summer ; but there was only one place at 
which it could be crossed, therefore it would be dangerous to reach its 
borders in the dark. The plain presented no tempting lodging ; 
there were several rocks upon it of different sizes, but no trees, and 
the wind blew hard. The guide dismounted, to feel if there was any 
of the long dry grass where we were ; on not finding any, he walked 
to the left of the road, but was not succesful ; he then tried to the 
right, and found some. We only discovered his situation by the 
sound of his voice ; he called, and we answered, several times, until 
at last we joined him ; he had also discovered a large rock, under 
the lee of which we unloaded, and then lighted our fire, and 
fettered the horses to feed. We soon found, that to cook any victuals 
was impossible, for the wind scattered our fire, which was only formed 
of the branches of the small shrubs and briars that grow upon these 
plains. Water we had by accident, as the guide had brought a small 
skin of it, in case he should be thirsty during the afternoon, for we had 
made ourselves quite certain of reaching the lake by night. I slept 
upon two of our packages, under the lee of the rock, and the whole 
party did the same, sharing, as equally as possible, our scanty means 
of accommodation. This afternoon I had seen many rocks of re- 
markable forms ; one, particularly, struck me as extraordinary : it 
was placed upon another, of much smaller dimensions, and the rest- 
ing-point was so small, as to render its removal apparently easy ; but, 
on trial, it had not the slightest motion. The discomfort of this night 
was great, caused chiefly by the violence of the wind ; we had, at last, 
no fire, — all was dark around us, and we could scarcely make ourselves 
heard. The horses seemed to feel as much as we did, the unsheltered 
situation ; they were near to us during the whole of the night. 

On continuing our journey the following morning, we discovered 


that we had halted within half a league of the lake. The water was 
all gone ; but the ground was boggy, and not to be crossed, excepting 
at the place over which is the usual path. It extends to the right and 
left to a considerable distance, but is not broad. If the mud was 
cleared away, it might, perhaps, afford an inexhaustible source of 
water to the neighbourhood ; but Brazil is not in a state for such 
works ; hands, in these parts, are not yet sufficiently numerous. In 
the afternoon, we crossed some stony hills, and passed by two faz^n- 
das. This day, I observed, at some distance, a high hill, of a circular 
form, standing quite alone, and unconnected with any other high 
ground. Its sides appeared to be too steep for horses to ascend ; and 
I much regret not being so situated as to be enabled to delay, for the 
purpose of taking a nearer and more exact view of it. The guide was 
surprised at my curiosity about it, and told me that horses could not 
go up its sides, that there were snakes upon it, &c.. All this might be 
true ; but it was evidently said, to prevent any intention I might have 
had of delaying to see it more correctly. The plain appeared in many 
parts, as if the sea had at some time covered it ; — the dead flat, the 
sand in places mixed with particles of a substance which looked like 
broken shells, and the rocks worn away in such parts, as, from their 
situation, could not have been acted upon by rain. We slept this 
night at an estate, where there were several houses forming a hamlet, 
having passed through a considerable quantity of wooded land. 

The next morning we again proceeded over some lands that were 
covered with wood ; and, near twelve o'clock, reached the town of 
A9U. Oh, the joy of again seeing a church ! of the sight of a regular 
village, and civilized pei'sons ; if even these can be called civilized, 
according to European ideas. 

The country I passed over from Natal, never can, in any state of 
civilization, or from any increase of population, be rendered a fertile 
track ; but it might be, without doubt, much improved, if proper 
wells were sunk, reservoirs made for rain water, and trees planted ; 
much might be done. The plains I crossed are of three kinds ; those 
ofwhich the soil is a loose sand, producing the acaju, the mangaba 

N 2 


and several kinds of palm or cabbage trees; upon them the grass is 
short, and of a kind which is not reckoned nourishing ; in these situ- 
ations are likewise produced several creeping plants, similar to those 
growing upon the common lands, near the sea-shore, in England, and 
the trees are thinly scattered. The fruit of the acaju or cashew tree, 
and of the mangaba *, are most delightful, and are doubly acceptable 
in crossing the sands upon which they are to be met with. The 
former has been often described; the latter is a small round fruit, and 
is not unlike a crab-apple in appearance, but it is sweet, and is unfit 
to be eaten until it drops from the tree ; the pulp is fibrous but soft, 
and three seeds or kernels are contained in it, of which the taste 
approaches that of almonds. The palm or cabbage trees* also afford 
fruits, which are eaten when other food fails ; but these are insipid. 

These plains are the taboleiros, of which there exists also another 
kind, which are covered with brushwood, of stinted height, from the 
nature of the soil, but it is close and higher than a man on horseback. 
The road lies, in many places, through it; but as it does not afford any 
shade, and prevents the wind from alleviating the intenseness of the 
heat ; it is here that the power of the sun is fully felt. This 
brushwood is, however, not too thick to prevent cattle from breaking 
their way through it, and feeding among it. The third description of 
plains are those of a better kind of soil, which produce good nourish- 
ing grass, but upon these no trees grow ; small shrubs and briars 
alone are to be seen, and often-times not even these. They are, in 
parts, stony, and have rising ground upon them, which is not suf- 
ficiently high to deserve the name of a ridge of hills ; but is enough to 
break the ocean-like flatness and immensity which these plains some- 
times present to the traveller; after proceeding for hours, the same dis- 
tance still seems to remain for him to traverse. These are the ccwipinas. 
I passed over some spots covered with high trees, which in our own 
country would be called woods of considerable extent ; but in Brazil, 
they could not be accounted of sufficient magnitude to compose a dis- 

Vide Appendix. 


tinguishing feature in the naked regions which I traversed. The 
impression which a recollection of this portion of land left upon my 
mind, is of a flat uncovered country. 

I heard very little of beasts of prey ; they had removed to better 
districts, I suppose ; nor were we much troubled with snakes. But 
my people never failed, in taking up our quarters, to look well around, 
which proves their frequent appearance, else this cautious behaviour 
would not have become habitual with them. I merely say, that they 
are not plentiful in this barren part ; for elsewhere, near lakes and 
large pools of water, in fertile districts, the rattle of the snake, of 
which this is the distinguishing mark, is often heard. We saw a 
small kind of rabbit, near rocky ground, which is called moco. The 
carapato or tick, and the chigua had entirely disappeared, since we 
left the dry lake, near Natal. The chigua has been so often described, 
that a minute account of it in this place is unnecessary ; it is a very 
small insect, which lodges itself principally under the nails of the 
feet. In the country, bordering upon the sea, it is to be found 
most abundantly in sandy districts ; and yet, although the plains of 
the Sertam appear to be formed of the same kind of sand, the insect 
is not to be met with in the whole track of country between Natal 
and Aracati. 

We arrived at Afu on the 1st December, having travelled about 
340 miles in 19 days. The continual anxiety in which I was kept, 
prevented me from keeping any regular journal of my proceedings. 
From Acu to Aracati, I have preserved the names of the places 
through which I passed. The country is more inhabited, and I was 
nearer to the coast ; I travelled also with more ease ; but, between 
Natal and A^u, excepting the deserted Pai Paulo, I did not pass 
any settlement which deserved even the name of village ; single 
cottages, much separated from each other, and often uninhabited, 
contained the whole population of this district. It is a miserable, 
desolate country. 

The town of A9U is built in a square, and consists of about 
three hundred inhabitants ; it has two churches, and a town-hall 


and prison, at that time building ; the governor was the promoter of 
the work. The place stands upon the great river of A9U, where 
it runs in two channels for a short distance ; it is situated upon 
the northern bank of the smaller branch. There is an island of sand 
between the two branches, and the distance from whence the river is 
divided to where it is again united, is about two or perhaps three 
miles. We crossed their dry beds, and entered the square, which is 
not paved, and the sand is deep. Many of the inhabitants were at 
their doors, for all travellers are objects of curiosity, and our appear- 
ance increased it. I rode upon an English saddle, and this particu- 
larly attracted the notice of an equestrian people. The houses have 
only the ground floor ; some of them are plastered, and white-washed, 
but the mud of which others are composed, remains in its natural 
colour, both within and without, and the floors also are of earth ; so 
that in spite of the greatest care, when water is scarce, their inhabi- 
tants cannot keep themselves clean. Though the lower class of Bra^- 
zilians, of all casts, have many dirty customs, allied to those of savage 
life, still they are remarkably clean in their persons ; one of the 
greatest inconveniences of a situation, when a Brazilian complains 
of the place he happens to reside in, is the want of a river or pool of 
water in the neighbourhood, for the purpose of bathing. 

We enquired for the house of a man of colour, a saddler by trade, 
with whom my guide was acquainted. This person, like many others, 
had come to his door to see the travellers ; he soon recognised his 
friend, and came forwards to speak to him. He procured a house 
for us during our stay ; it was a small place, upon which neither 
plaster nor white wash had been bestowed, with two rooms, one open- 
ing to the square, and the other to the river. When we were a little 
settled, and I had dressed myself, I sallied forth to visit the vicar, 
who resided in the best, or rather least miserable looking habitation 
in the town ; it was about the size of the cottages of labourers, or 
small farmers in England, but not nearly so comfortable, though 
the floors were bricked. It is true, that this climate does not demand, 
as much as those of bleaker regions, that necessary of an English 


dwelling, of English growth, that undefinable something, called 
comfort. I told him, I had called upon him, as the first person of 
the neighbourhood, and that I should always be happy in my pro- 
ceedings to have the prayers and good wishes of his order, and par- 
ticularly his, as the governor had spoken so very highly of him. 
Some further conversation passed between us ; but I did not stay 
long, for I was much tired. I made arrangements for sen'ding my 
horses towards Piato, where grass was to be had, and the green stalks 
of maize, sugar cane, and other plants ; but the guide recommended 
that we should not stay here longer than was necessary. He said, 
that whilst the horses continued on their journey, they would bear 
up very well ; but if they were suffered to rest, they would become 
stiff, lose flesh, and be rendered entirely unfit for service, for a con- 
siderable time. 1 did not then quite believe him, but as there was 
no object in staying, I desired Julio to return with them to A9U the 
next day at two o'clock, that we and they might have, at any rate, a 
rest of twenty-four hours. I afterwards learnt, by experience, that 
the guide was quite right regarding the horses ; that regular work is 
better than a rest of more than one whole day. 

Our friend, the saddler, among other stories, mentioned having 
passed over the same ground which we had traversed from St. Luzia, 
only a short time before us. He was in company with another man 
and a boy, and had also a dog with him ; they had put up for the 
night under shelter of one of the rocks, in the vicinity of the lake of 
which I have spoken. His companion had taken the horses to some 
little distance to graze ; the boy and the dog remained with him ; he 
had made a fire, and was in the act of preparing some dried meat to 
be cooked, when the boy called out "where is the dog," — the man 
answered " here he is, why what is the matter ?" the boy said, " what 
eyes, then, are those?" pointing, at the same time, to the corner of 
the rock ; the man looked, and saw the eyes, for nothing else was to 
be seen ; he called to the dog, took up his fowling-piece, and fired, 
whilst the dog started up, and darted towards the spot. A jaguar 
rushed out, and made off; it had been partly concealed under the 


rock, which, with the dazzle of the fire had prevented its body from 
being seen ; it had crouched, and was ready for a spring, when every 
thing was quiet, and unprepared. 

I learnt, that there are some extensive salt-works at the mouth of 
the A9U, and that small craft come from different parts of the coast 
occasionally, to carry away the overplus, 

I took an additional guide here, as the man I had brought with me 
from Goiana was not acquainted with the remainder of the road ; but 
I kept him with me, for although he was not a person I liked, still he 
was master of his employment; he managed the horses well, for they 
had, through his attention and knowledge of this business, all arrived 
here without sore backs, which I found, from the surprise expressed 
by all those who saw them, was not a usual piece of good fortune, or 
good management. He was, however, a great bully, when we quar- 
tered ourselves in the houses of poor people, with whom he found he 
could so act with impunity : he was also continually reporting, that I 
was a great personage, that he might increase his own importance. 
Of this I said nothing ; but on our return, whilst I was unwell, he 
gave himself out as the chief of the party, which I once caught him 
in the act of doing ; I disconcerted him, by threatening to turn him 
out of my service ; and when I recovered, he took care to draw in, and 
be more careful who overheard him. The additional man I took 
with me, was a dark-coloured mulatto, young and stout ; his father 
lived at A9U, and this son had a fair character. He brought with 
him a beautiful dog, which I afterwards possessed. 

The next day, Julio came with the horses ; and between three and 
four o'clock in the afternoon, we left Ayu. 






OUR way was through woodlands for about one league, when we 
came out upon the borders of the lake Piato; we proceeded 
along them for another half league, and unloaded near to the 
caza de palha, or straw cottage, of the commandant of the district. 
Plato is a lake of three leagues in length, and about one league 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 im- 
passable. The fertility of its sides is very great, affijrding 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 than 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 con- 
tinued the following season. In such dreadfully severe years as that 
during which I travelled, the people of the district would be starved 
if this lake did not exist; it enabled the inhabitants of A9U, 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 p,s 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 bor- 
ders, 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. 

We unloaded under a small tree on rising ground, with the lake 
on our right ; between us and the house of the commandant, there was 
a deep ravine, down which, in the rainy season, the waters rush from 
the hills. This ravine was under cultivation and was inclosed, a nar- 
row path only being left to cross from where we had stationed our- 
selves to the hut on the opposite hill, which was entirely composed 
of wood and the leaves of the Carnauba and other kinds of cabbage 
trees. This was only a temporary habitation for the summer months, 
the usual residence of the owner being at Acu. He had a large 
family, who were all very shy, indeed the females I scarcely saw, 
though they sometimes did peep at the Englishmen, not knowing 
until now, that these were truly and bona fide nothing but men. 

I was this afternoon surprised at a feat of dexterity of one of the 
commandant's sons, a boy of a,bout fourteen years of age. I had 
often heard of the manner of catching the wild cattle in the Sertam ; 
the person employed for the purpose pursues on horseback, with a 
long pole, having a goad at one end, the animal which he is desirous 
of bringing to the ground, until he overtakes it — he then pierces its 
side between the ribs and the hip-bone, which, if it is done at the 
moment the beast raises its hind feet from the ground, throws it 
with such violence, as sometimes to make it roll over. Some oxen 
had often ti'espassed upon the commandant's maize; one of the boys 
could no longer bear this quietly, he therefore mounted one of his 
father's horses, of which there were several very fine ones, took one 
of the long poles and set off without a saddle, and in his shirt and 
drawers, to attack the animals. He drove them out of the maize, 
reached one of them with the goad at the right moment and 
threw it down, but before he could turn his horse, another had 
attacked him, running his horns into the fleshy part of one of the 
horse's thighs. The boy had taken the precaution of putting a bridle 


on to his horse, Otherwise, if he had mounted with a halter only, he 
would most probably have suffered much more. One of his bro- 
thers came to his assistance, and drove the oxen quite aWay. The 
facility with which the beast was thrown, proved that practice and 
quickness were more requisite than strength in this operation. 

Towards the evening a shower of rain came on, being the fii'st 
we had had since we left Goiana, and indeed this was the only rain 
which fell during my journey between Goiana and Seara. However 
there is not usually much wet weather at this season of the year; the 
distress occasioned by the want of it, arose from the failure of the 
accustomed rains in the preceding winter. We removed to the hut 
across the ravine, leaving the greatest part of our baggage under the 
tree, but the shower did not continue long. The hut was too small 
to admit of our taking up our lodging for the night in it, and in case 
of rain the tree was too far from the hut to reach it in time to pre- 
vent being wet, for which reason I determined to sleep in the ravine 
close to the fence, at the foot of the hill upon which the hut stood. 
I made a bed for myself upon two packages, to windward of the fire 
which we had kindled, but multitudes of mosquitos rose about mid- 
night, which obliged me to remove and lie down upon a hide to 
leeward; the fire was mostly composed of the dried ordure of cattle, 
the smoke from which is so thick and pungent as to prevent entirely 
any annoyance from these troublesome insects, but the remedy is bad 
enough, as it is almost impossible to open your eyes or to speak. The 
misery of being exposed to the myriads of mosquitos which hovered 
around us this night, made us chuse the smoke as the more endurable 
evil. Notwithstanding these inconveniences we had some amusement 
at the distress of him whose fire was allowed to burn low; none of us 
slept much, for attention to the fires obliged every one to be on the 
alert. Towards morning the smoke was scarcely sufficient to pro- 
tect us from these tormenting insects. I now learnt that near to 
any lake or pool of water, the highest ground is always to be fixed 
upon for a night station ; even the commandant upon the hill had 
fires to windward of the house during the whole of the night. 
o 2 


Early in the morning we continued our journey for some distance 
along the banks of the lake, and then entered upon some open 
land, which was now quite dry ; we slept under a clump of trees, 
distant about twenty miles from Piato. The cattle we saw this day, 
were in good condition, plainly showing, that the country enjoyed a 
plentiful supply of water. 

The road of the next day led us through woodlands, and over loose 
stony ground ; but the woods of this part of the country are not large 
and luxuriant ; they have not the grandeur of the forests of Pernam- 
buco, nor is the brushwood which grows under them so close and 
thick. We passed through some estates, of which the live stock 
seemed in good condition ; and saw this day a whole drove or lot [lote) 
of cream-coloured mares. I asked for water to drink at one of the 
houses ; some was brought to me by a pretty white girl, who was ap- 
parently about seventeen years of age; she talked a great deal, and in a 
lively manner, so as to show that she had inhabited more civilized 
regions. There were in the house two children of colour, which she told 
me were her's ; she was the daughter of a man of small property, who 
had married her contrary to her wishes, to a wealthy mulatto man. 
She gave a message to the guide to deliver to her husband, who was 
superintending the felling of some timber by the road side, along 
which we were to pass ; we met with him, he was of dark com- 
plexion, and about forty years of age. I learnt her story from the 
A9U guide ; he said, it had made some noise in these parts at the 
time. In the afternoon we passed over a salt marsh, surrounded by 
great numbers of carnafiba trees. We bordered the marsh, looking 
for a ci-ossing and entered it, where we found the footsteps of others 
who had recently passed ; the mud was from twelve to eighteen 
inches deep where we crossed ; but it was in some parts impassable. 
The salt had coagulated wherever the footstep of a horse had formed 
an opening in the mud, and had collected a small quantity of water. 
The breadth of the marsh might be about two hundred yards in the 
centre, and its length about one league. After leaving the marsh, 
we reached the taboleiro, upon which we were to sleep. Towards 



evening, the wind was high. I was riding as if I had been seated upon 
a side-saddle, with both my legs on the same side of the horse, and 
with my umbrella over my head to shade me from the heat of the 
sun ; a sudden gust of wind took me and my umbrella, and landed 
us in the sand, to the no small entertainment of my companions. If 
the horse had gone off, I should have been awkwardly situated ; but 
he had travelled too many leagues to be frightened at trifles such 
as these. 

We continued travelling for two days over the same kind of 
ground ; plains with trees thinly scattered, and spots of wooded land. 
We likewise crossed two salt marshes ; but upon these there was no 
mud. The water which oozes from the land, on digging into it, is 
however, salt ; but the soil was dry and hard. Mimoza, the dog 
belonging to my new guide, afforded us considerable amusement. 
She generally made her way through the wood at a little distance 
from the road, now and then returning to the path. She was very 
expert in discovering the tatu bola, or rolling tatu, a small species of 
armadillo; this animal is protected by its bony shell; on being touched, 
it rolls itself up in the manner of the hedge-hog. As soon as the 
dog saw one of these, she touched it with her nose, and barked, con- 
tinuing the same operation as often as the armadillo attempted to 
move, until her master answered the well-known signal. Several 
were caught in this manner. The flesh is as fine as that of a young 
pig. The tatu verdadeiro, or legitimate armadillo, which is much 
larger, does not roll itself up, and Mimoza sometimes pursued it to 
its hole, and stood at the mouth of it, until she had her master's per- 
mission to come away. There exists a third species of armadillo, 
called the tatu peba, which is said to feed upon human flesh. 

On the 7th December, we arrived at ten o'clock in the morning at 
the village of St. Luzia, containing from two to three hundred in- 
habitants. It is built in a square, and has one church ; the houses 
are small and low. Here I was able to replenish my spirit bottles, 
and to purchase a supply of rapadiiras. These are cakes of brown 
sugar or treacle, boiled to a sufficient consistency to harden, by which 


means it is more portable, and much less liable to be wasted in its 

Tlie day before we reached St. Luzia, our resting place at mid- 
day was under some trees, and not far from a cottage. I observed 
the skin of a jaguar, the on^a pintada, in the language of the country, 
stretched upon several pieces of wood ; it had the appearance of 
being quite fresh. I had afterwards some conversation with the cot- 
tager, and he told me, that he had killed the animal to which the 
skin had belonged, with the assistance of three dogs, only the 
day before. It had committed great destruction, particularly 
among the sheep ; but had escaped for a length of time, from never 
appearing at the same place twice successively. The preceding day 
this man had gone out with his three dogs, as was occasionally his 
practice; his musket was loaded, but.he was without any farther supply 
of ammunition, and he had his long knife in his girdle. One of the 
dogs got scent of the jaguar, and followed it up to the den ; the beast 
was within, the dogs attacked it ; one of them was killed, and 
another much maimed, which we saw, and even the third was hurt. 
The man fired as soon as the jaguar came out, and wounded it ; and 
when he saw that it was considerably disabled, he ran in upon the 
animal with his knife, and killed it ; in doing which, one of his arms 
was much lacerated, and this was bound up at the time I conversed 
with him. He asked for some powder, saying that there was still another 
jaguar in the neighbourhood. The skins are much valued in Brazil 
for saddle-cloths ; and from the make of the saddles used in that 
country, a cloth of some sort, or a skin is required for each. I have 
the skin of a jaguar in my possession, which measures five feet and 
three inches. The on^a vertnelha, felis concolor^ and the on^a preta^ 
felis discolor, are also to be met with ; but the jaguar is more com- 
mon, and more dreaded than either of these. 

The same day we passed over the dry bed of the Panema; 
it was the third river we had crossed since our departure from Ayu, 
and all were in the same state. 

St. Luzia stands upon the northern bank of a dry river, in a sandy 

ST. LUZIA. 103 

loose soil. We took up our mid-day station under the roof of a 
miserable hut ; the ashes of an extinguished fire in its centre, and a 
bench of twisted twigs, alone denoted that it had served as a dwel- 
ling. Several of the inhabitants of the village soon came to us to 
enquire for news from Pernambuco ; and among others, a young man, 
whose accent discovered him to be a native of some of the northern 
provinces of Portugal, and whose manner displayed the idea which 
he entertained of his own importance ; he said, that he had orders 
from the commandant to demand my passport, to which I answered, 
that if the commandant had wished to see the passport, he would cer- 
tainly have sent one of his officers to ask for it ; the young man re- 
joined, that he was the sergeant of the district. I said that I did not 
doubt the truth of what he said, but that I could not know him in 
that capacity, because, instead of being in uniform, he had appeared 
in the usual dress of shirt and drawers ; and I added, that his manner 
was such, that I had quite resolved not to show it to him at all. He 
said, I must and should show it ; I turned to Julio, and asked him, if he 
lieard what the man said ; Julio answered, " Yes, sir, never mind."* 
The sergeant went off, and we prepared our arms, much to the amaze- 
ment and amusement of some of the more peaceable inhabitants. 
I soon saw him again, and he was coming towards us, with two or 
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 j 
therefore we then saw no more of the sergeant. 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 

' Deixa esiar meu anio." 


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 him to assume. If I had been invited to the commandant's 
house in a civil way, or if the sergeant had come to me in his uni- 
form, 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 bicko and a heretic had not been 
counter-balanced by that of rank and consequence, I might have 
had the whole village upon me, and have been deserted by my own 
people into the bargain. 

The general features of the captaincy of Rio Grande, may be laid 
down as displaying tolerable fertility to the southward of Natal, and 
as having a barren aspect to the northward of it, excepting the banks 
and immediate neighbourhood of the Potengi. 

We passed through the estate of Ilha, distant from St. Luzia one 
league and a half, and proceeded, after taking water, four leagues 
beyond it, to an uninhabited and unfinished house. The owner had 
commenced building during the rains of the former year, and had 
gone on with the work until the spring of water, near to the place, 
failed. The house was tiled and spacious ; but the wood work only 
of the walls was erected. It had been the intention of this person to 
establish afazenda here ; but the failure of the spring of water would, 
probably, deter him from his purpose. The country from Ilha to 
Tibou, where we halted at noon on the following day, a distance of 
ten leagues, was now without water. Two parties of travellers, 
besides our own, had taken up their night's lodging at this unfinished 
house. The several fires, the groupes around them, some cooking, 
some eating, and others asleep ; the pack-saddles and trunks strewed 
about, as they had been taken from the horses' backs, formed a scene 
worthy of a painter ; all was darkness around, and the wind blew 
fresh, for the house had no walls, and no obstruction to oppose its 

TIBOU. 105 

entrance, save the upright posts which supported the roof. The hght 
of" the fires sometimes flashed upon one or other of the countenances 
of the travellers, and on these occasions alone could I discover their 
colour and consequently, in some degree, their rank. I might be in 
the company of slaves or of white men, for both would have taken up 
their night's station in the same manner. An old man of colour 
addressed me, asking if I was the Englishman who had rested at noon 
at St. Luzia; on my answering in the affirmative, he said that he was 
at the commandant's at the time, and that there were several debates 
about the mode of proceeding respecting me and mine — that my 
determination not to give up my passport had caused some demur, and 
that among other suppositions of who I might be, one wiseacre 
said, there was no knowing whether I was not one of Bonaparte's 
ministers, and what might be my diabolical plans. Indeed I was often 
amused with the strange ideas which the country people entertained 
of distant nations, of which they had heard the names, and perhaps 
some further particulars; these were altered in such a manner by 
their misapprehension, that it was oftentimes difficult to discover 
what the real circumstances were which had been related to them. 

We traversed another salt marsh this afternoon. The marsh I 
have mentioned as having crossed on the 4th of this month, was the 
only one of that description which I met with. The others I have 
spoken of, and those which I shall have occasion to mention, are dry, 
and the soil upon them in summer is hard, it is dark coloured and 
produces no grass, but upon the skirts of the marshes are seen several 
sea-side plants, and the water that oozes from them is quite salt. 

Our road the next morning lay through brushwood for three 
leagues over heavy sand, and three leagues over a salt marsh. Neai; 
mid-day we passed a cottage, in which resided the herdsman of a 
fazenda and immediately beyond, ascended a hill of heavy sand called 
Tibou, from which we again saw the sea. I scarcely can describe the 
sensations which were occasioned by this sight ; I felt as if I was at 
home, as if free to act as I pleased. The spring of water near to the 
cottage was dried up, but there was one on the opposite side of the 


106 AREIAS. 

sand-hill, which still afforded a small supply; we now took up our 
mid-day station under a miserable hut, erected at the summit of the 
hill, by the inhabitants of the cottage, for the purpose of curing their 
fish; they had fixed upon this spot from its height and consequent 
exposure to the wind. The descent to the sea-shore is steep, but not 
dangerous, as the depth of the sand prevents any apprehension of a 
horse falling and rolling down. The great length of the journies of 
the two last days, had almost knocked up the horse upon which my 
Goiana guide rode ; I saw that the man was not inclined to walk 
for the purpose of easing the animal, and therefoi'e wishing to see 
what could be done by example, I dismounted and took off the greatest 
part of my cloaths, removed the bit from my horse's mouth, tied 
the bridle round his neck, and tui-ned him loose among the others ; 
this had the desired effect, and John also was then ashamed to be 
the only person on horseback. 

We advanced very quickly over the wet sands, passed two fisher- 
men's huts distant from Tibou two leagues; and one league further 
turned up from the shore by a steep, sandy path, which took us to the 
hamlet of Areias, composed of one respectable looking dwelling and 
five or six straw huts. The lands we passed this afternoon, bordering 
the shore, are low and sandy, without trees and without cultivation. 
In seasons less severe than this there is a small spring of water, not far 
from the fishermen's huts which we had passed, but now it was entirely 
dried up; they stand near to a small piece of ground, of which the soil 
is less sandy than that in the neighbourhood, and a crop of water 
melons is usually obtained from it, which had however completely 
failed this year. On our arrival at Areias I made for the principal 
house, and asked for a night's lodging. The front room was offered to 
me, upon which our horses were unloaded, and our baggage put into 
it. I was surprised to see no elderly or middle aged person belonging 
to this house; there were three or four boys only, of whom the oldest 
was about sixteen years of age, and he appeared to direct the concerns 
of the establishment. He had a piece of inclosed ground near to the 
house, into which he allowed our horses to be turned, and this arrange- 

A GHOST. 107 

ment being made, I had then time to look round, and see my quarters. 
Not a tree or shrub was to be seen in the neighbourhood, but there 
were immense sand-hills on one side, and on the other the sea. The 
convenience of the spot for fishing could alone have made these people 
fix upon it for a residence. I sent out to purchase a fowl; one was 
brought, for which I paid 640 reis, about 3s. 6d. Julio told me that he 
had seen some goats and kids, upon which I sent him to purchase 
one of the latter; he returned with a large one, for which the owner 
asked 80 reis, less than 6d. I thought I was in duty bound to eat 
my fowl, but the kid was much finer of its kind. A boy passed in 
the evening with a large turtle, which he begged the guide to exchange 
for about one pound of the kid ; the meat was given to him, but 
his turtle would have been of no use to us. 

Julio, when he went to purchase the kid, had heard a long story 
about a ghost, which made its appearance in the house at which we 
had stationed ourselves. The persons from whom he heard it, had 
advised him to make me acquainted with the circumstance, that I 
might move to some other place for the night. I began to suspect 
some trick, and told my people my idea of the sort of ghost we were 
likely to meet with; I found that this cheered them, as by them sha- 
dows were more dreaded than flesh and blood. We slung our ham- 
mocks in different directions in the large room, and each took his 
ai'ms, and settled for the night; — a sudden panic seized my additional 
guide, and he was sneaking out of the room ; but I stopped him, and 
said, that I would send him back to his own country if he went out ; 
the business was however settled by taking the key from the door. 
The story ran thus, the master and mistress of the house had been 
murdered by two of their slaves, and it was said that their ghosts 
occasionally took a walk in this room ; nay, it was even reported that 
the old gentleman used his gold headed cane, and woke with it 
those who slept in the house. We had not, however, the honour 
of his company, and in the morning had much laughter, at the 
fellow who had been so dreadfully frightened. 

The country through which we proceeded on the morrow, pre- 
p 2 


sented a more cheering appearance. We reached, at a short dis* 
tance from Areias, some inclosed and cultivated lands, then passed 
over a salt-marsh and arrived at Cajuaes, distant from Areias two 
leagues. The place receives its name from the great number of 
acaju trees, and consists of six or seven huts. Here we dined, find- 
ing good water and abundance of maize-stalks for our horses. There 
was some appearance of comfort and enjoyment of life, at least 
comparatively speaking. Beyond Cajuaes three leagues we slept 
near to a hut, after travelling through some more cultivated ground. 
I was asked, by some persons at Cajuaes, at what place I had slept the 
preceding night; I answered at Areias, they then enquired in what 
house at Areias, as at that village there was none into which tra- 
vellers could be received. I replied, that on the contrary, there was 
the great house, which I had found vei-y comfortable; they were per- 
fectly astonished at my sleeping in this haunted place, and for some 
time imagined that I was joking. Afterwards, on other occasions, I 
heard of the same story, which appeared to have taken deep root 
in the faith of all those who spoke of it. 

The next day we reached Aracati, distant seven leagues from where 
we had slept, about five o'clock in the afternoon. Great part of this 
day's journey was through salt marshes or plains covered with the 
Carnauba; the tall naked stems of the palms, crowned with branches 
like the coco tree at the summit, which rustle with the least breath 
of air, and the bare and dark coloured soil upon which no grass 
grows and rarely any shrub, give a dismal look to these plains. 
The computed distance from A9a to Aracati is forty-five leagues. 
When I approached Aracati, I sent my Goiana guide forwards with 
the letter which I had received from the governor of Rio Grande to 
Senhor Joze Fideles Barrozo, a wealthy merchant and landed pro- 
prietor. On my arrival, I found that the guide had delivered the 
letter, and that Senhor Barrozo had given to him the keys of an un- 
occupied house, which I was to inhabit during my stay. 

The town of Aracati consists chiefly of one long street, with several 
others of minor importance branching from it to the southward; it 


stands upon the southern bank of the river Jaguaribe, which is so far 
influenced by the tide. At the ebb, the stream is fordable, and as it 
spreads considerably from the main channel, some parts remain quite 
dry at low water. The houses of Aracati, unlike those of any of 
the other small places which I visited, have one story above the 
ground floor ; I enquired the reason of this, and was told, that the 
floods of the river were sometimes so great, as to render necessary a 
retreat to the upper part of the houses. The town contains three 
churches, and a town-hall and prison, but no monasteries ; this cap- 
taincy does not contain any such pest. The inhabitants are in num- 
ber about six hundred. 

The house I was to occupy, consisted of two good sized rooms, 
with large closets or small bed-chambers leading from each, called 
alcovas, and a kitchen, these were all above ; and underneath there 
was a sort of warehouse. To the back we had an oblong yard, in- 
closed by a brick wall, with a gate at the farther end, by which our 
horses entered ; and here they remained until better arrangements 
could be made for them. I slung my hammock in the front room, 
and desired that some fowls should be purchased, as stock, whilst we 
remained here. One was preparing for me, when three black 
servants appeared from Senhor Barrozo ; the first brought a large 
tray with a plentiful and (excellently cooked supper, wine, sweet- 
meats, &c. — a second carried a silver ewer and basin, and a fringed 
towel, and a third came to know if there was any thing which I par- 
ticularly wished for, besides what had been prepared ; this man took 
back my answer, and the other two remained to attend, until I had 
supped. I learnt from the guide afterwards, that another tray had 
been sent for my people. I supposed that Senhor Barrozo had 
thought proper to treat me in this manner on the day of my arrival, 
from an idea that I could not have arranged any means of cooking, 
&c. until the next day ; but in the morning coffee and cakes were 
brought to me, and the same major-domo came to know if all was 
to my liking. Whilst I remained at Aracati, Senhor Barrozo pro- 
vided every thing for me and for my people, in the same handsome 


manner. This treatment is usual where persons are well recom- 
mended ; it is noble, and shows the state of manners among the 
higher orders. 

In the morning I received a visit from Senhor Barrozo, whose man- 
ners were ceremonious and courtly. On my mentioning the inconve- 
nience to which I was putting him by my stay, he said, that he could 
not alter in any way his mode of ti'eating me, because, if he did, he 
should not do his duty to the governor of Rio Grande, to whom he 
owed many obligations, and, consequently, took every opportunity of 
showing his gratitude by all the means in his power. The reason which 
he thus gave for his civility, completely set at rest any thing I could 
have said to prevent its continuance. He ordered all my horses to 
be taken to an island in the river, upon which there was plenty of 
grass. I had resolved to send ,Tohn back to Pernambuco by sea, and 
spoke to Senhor Barrozo upon the subject, when he immediately said, 
that one of his smacks was going, in which my servant might have a 
birth. John was out of health, and not adapted to the kind of life 
which we had been leading, and should be yet under the necessity 
of continuing. This day I remained at home, employing the greatest 
part of it in sleeping ; and in the evening returned Senhor Bar- 
rozo's visit. A white man, with whom my Goiana guide was 
acquainted, called upon me, and we arranged an expedition in a 
canoe, for the next day, to go down the river to its mouth. 

My guide's friend came as he had appointed, and his canoe was 
waiting for us. His two negroes poled where the water was shallow, 
and paddled us along where it became deep. We passed several beau- 
tiful islands, some of which had cattle upon them; and others, of which 
the land was too low to produce grass; the latter were entirely covered 
with mangroves, which grow likewise on the borders of the river, the 
shores being clear of them only where settlements are formed, and 
the proprietors have extirpated them. The river is, in parts, about half ' 
a mile in breadth, and in some places, where there are islands, it is 
broader, if taken from the outermost sides of the two branches which 
it, in these situations, forms. The town is distant from the bar about 


eight miles. We boarded Senhor Barrozo's smack, took the long 
boat belonging to it, and proceeded to the bar, which is narrow and 
dangerous, owing to the sand banks on each side ; upon these the 
surf is very violent. The sand is so loose at the mouth of the river, 
that the masters of the coasting vessels are obliged to use every pre- 
caution possible each voyage, as if they were entering a harbour with 
which they are unacquainted. The river widens immediately within 
the bar, and forms rather a spacious bay. Even if no other obstacle 
presented itself, the port cannot, from the uncertainty of the depth 
of its entrance, ever become of any importance. Coasters alone can 
enter, and I understand that the sand in the river also accumulates; 
the sand banks project from each side in some places so much as 
to render the navigation, even for a boat, somewhat difficult from a 
short distance above the bay *. On our return, we dined at an estate 
upon the banks of the river, of which the owner was an acquaintance 
of the man who had proposed this party. Opposite to the dwelling- 
house of this estate stands an island, which produces abundance of 
grass; but there is no fresh water upon it; this obliges the cattle that 
feed there, regularly to pass over to the main land every day to drink, 
and return to the island, which they are so much accustomed to do, 
that no herdsman is necessary to compel them. We saw them swim 
across, and all passed close to the house in their way to the pool. 
The owner said, that the calves invariably took that side of their 
mothers to which the tide was running, to prevent being carried 
away by the force of the stream : and indeed I observed, that all the 
calves took the same side. 

In the evening arrangements were made for the hire of two horses 
to carry me and one of my people to Seara, leaving my own beasts 
to rest for the journey back to Pernambuco. I again called upon 
Senhor Barrozo, to make known to him my plan, and he then gave 

* I heard in the beginning of the year 1815, that the bar had been completely choaked 
up during a violent gale of wind from the sea, whilst two coasters were in the river, taking 
in cargoes for Pernambuco. 


me a letter to a gentleman with whom he was acquainted at Seara. 
A guide for the journey was also procured. 

The horses were ready, and in the morning I set forth, accom- 
panied by my Goiana guide, and the man whom I had hired for this 
additional journey ; he rode a horse with which he had been charged 
to take to Seara. He was an old man, half mad, and very amusing. 
We hailed the ferryman to take us across the river before day- 
break ; but as he did not answer, we took possession of a large canoe 
which lay empty, and was tied to a post ; we got into it, and the 
Goiana guide paddled us very dexterously to the middle of the river, 
where the canoe grounded ; it had struck upon a sand bank, owing to 
the man being unacquainted with the navigation of the stream. We 
were obliged to undress, and get into the water to push the canoe off, 
which we succeeded in doing, and reached the opposite side in safety. 
The horses crossed over, tied to the sides of the canoe, swimming or 
taking the ground according to the depth of the water. 

The distance between Aracati and the Villa da Fortaleza do Seara 
Ch^ande, is thirty leagues, principally consisting of sandy lands covered 
with brushwood ; in a few places, the wood is loftier and thicker, but 
of this there is not much. We passed also some fine varseas, or low 
marshy grounds, which were now sufficiently dry for cultivation ; and 
indeed the only land from which any crop could be expected in this 
particularly severe dry season. The country is, generally speaking, 
flat, and in some parts the path led us near to the sea shore, but was 
never upon it. We saw several cottages, and three or four hamlets; 
the facility of obtaining fish from the sea, has rendered living com- 
paratively easy in these parts. We passed through an Indian village, 
and the town of St. Joze, each built in a square, and each containing 
about three hundred inhabitants. I understood that the governors 
of Seara are obliged to take possession of their office at St. Joze. We 
made the journey in four days, arriving at the Villa da Fortaleza on 
the 16th December, and might have entered it at noon on the fourth 
day, but I preferred waiting until the evening. I performed the 
journey from Natal to Seara, a distance of one hundred and sixty 


leagues, according to the vague computation of the country, in thirty- 
four days. The morning after my arrival I sent back to Aracati the 
men and horses which I had brought with me. 

The town of the fortress of Seara is built upon heavy sand, in the 
form of a square, with four streets leading from it, and it has an addi- 
tional long street on the north side of the square, which runs in a paral- 
lel direction, but is unconnected with it. The dwellings have only a 
ground floor, and the streets are not paved; but some of the houses 
have foot paths of brick in front. It contains three churches, the 
governor's palace, the town-hall and prison, a custom-house, and 
the treasury. The number of inhabitants I judge to be from one 
thousand to twelve hundred. The fort, from which the place derives 
its name, stands upon a sand-hill close to the town, and consists of a 
sand or earth rampart towards the sea, and of stakes driven into the 
ground on the land side ; it contained four or five pieces of cannon of 
several sizes, which were pointed various ways ; and I observed that 
the gun of heaviest metal was mounted on the land side. Those which 
pointed to the sea were not of sufficient calibre to have reached a vessel 
in the usual anchorage ground. The powder magazine is situated 
upon another part of the sand-hill, in full view of the harbour. There 
is not much to invite the preference given to this spot ; it has no 
river, nor any harbour, and the beach is bad to land upon ; the 
breakers are violent, and the recife or reef of rocks affords very little 
protection to vessels riding at anchor upon the coast. The settle- 
ment was formerly situated three leagues to the northward, upon a 
narrow creek, where there exists now only the remains of an old fort. 
The beach is steep, which renders the surf dangerous for a boat to 
pass through in making for the shore. A vessel unloaded during 
my stay there, and part of her cargo consisted of the flour of the 
mandioc in small bags ; tire long boat approached as near to the 
shore as it could without striking, and the bags were landed on men's 
lieads ; the persons employed to bring them ashore passed through 
the surf with them ; but if they were caught by a wave the flouv was 
wetted and injured, and indeed few reached the shore perfectly dry. 


The anchorage ground is bad and exposed ; the winds are always 
from the southward and eastward ; and if they were very variable a 
vessel could scarcely ride upon the coast. The reef of rocks forms a 
complete ridge, at a considerable distance from the shore, and is to 
be seen at low water. Upon this part of the coast the reef runs 
lower than towards Pernambuco, which has obliged the people of 
Seara to take advantage of the rocks being rather higher here, and 
affording some little protection to ships at anchor. The spot seems to 
have been preferred owing to this advantage, trifling as it is, though the 
rocks are much inferior to those which form the bold reef of Pernam- 
buco. The ridge runs parallel with the shore for about one quarter of a 
mile, with two openings, one above and the other below the town. 
A small vessel may come to anchor between it and the shore ; but a 
large ship can only bring up either to the northward or to the south- 
ward of the town, in one of the openings of the ridge or on the out- 
side of it. The opening to the northward is to be preferred. A 
vessel coming from the northward should make the point of 
Mocoripe, which lies one league to the southward of the town, and 
upon it stands a small fort ; this being done, she will then be able to 
,make the anchorage ground. On the appearance of a ship the fort 
of the town will have a white flag flying upon a liigh flag-staff". To 
the northward of the town, between the reef and the shore, there is a 
rock called Pedra da Velha, or the Old Woman's Rock, which is to 
be seen even at high water by the breakers upon it. When a vessel 
leaves the port she may either pass between this rock and the shore, 
giving a birth to a shoal about one hundred yards to the northward, 
or she may run between the rock and the principal ridge or reef 

The public buildings are small and low, but are neat and white- 
washed, and adapted to the purposes for which they are intended. 
Notwithstanding the disadvantage to the general appearance, im- 
parted by the wretched soil upon which the town has been erected, 
I could not avoid thinking that its look was that of a thriving place ; 
but I believe that this can scarcely be said to be the real state of the 
town. The difficulty of land carriage, particularly in such a country, 


the want of a good harbour, and the dreadful droughts, prevent any 
sanguine hope of its rise to opulence. The commerce of Seara is 
very limited and is not likely to increase ; the long credits which 
it is necessary for the trader to give, preclude the hope of quick 
returns, to which British merchants are accustomed. 

I rode immediately on my arrival to the house of Senhor Marcos 
Antonio Brifio, the chief of the Treasury and of the Naval depart- 
ment, with several other titles which are not transfer rable into our 
language ; to this gentleman I had a letter of introduction from 
Senhor Barrozo. I found several persons assembled at his house to 
drink tea and play at cards. Senhor Marcos is an intelligent and 
well-informed man, who has seen good society in Lisbon, and had 
held a high situation at Maranham before he was appointed to 
Seara. I was introduced to Senhor Louren90, a merchant, who had 
connections in trade with England ; he recognized my name, for he 
had been acquainted with near relations of mine in Lisbon. I was 
invited to stay with him and received from him every civility. 

The morning after my arrival I visited the governor, Luiz Barba 
Alardo de Menezes *, and was received by him with much affability ; 
he said, that he wished he had more opportunities of shewing the 
regard which he entertained for my countrymen, and that some of 
them would come and settle in his captaincy. He built, during his 
administration of the province, the centre of the palace, and employed 
Indian workmen, paying them half the usual price of labour. He 
was in the habit of speaking of the property of individuals residing 
within the province as if it was his own, saying, his ships, his cotton, 
&c. I happened to be at Seara on the Queen of Portugal's birth- 
day ; the company of regular troops, consisting of one hundred and 
fourteen men, was reviewed ; they looked respectable, and were in 
tolerable order. In the chief apartment of the palace stood a full 
length picture of the Prince Regent of Brazil, which was placed 

Tliis person has since been removed to a province of more importance. 
Q 2 


against the wall, and was raised about three feet from the ground. 
Three or four steps ascended from the floor to the foot of the picture ; 
upon the lowest of these the governor stood in full uniform, and 
each person passed before him and bowed, that thus the state of the 
Sovereign Court might be kept up. I dined with the governor this 
day, at whose table were assembled all the military and civil officers, 
and two or three merchants ; he placed me at his right hand, as a 
stranger, thus shewing the estimation in which Englishmen are held. 
About thirty persons were present at the table, of which more than 
half wore uniforms; indeed the whole display was much more bril- 
liant than I had expected ; every thing was good and handsome. 

I had opportunities of seeing the Indian villages of Aronxas and 
Masangana, and there is a third in this neighbourhood, of which I 
have forgotten the name ; each is distant from Seara between two 
and three leagues, in different directions ; they are built in the form 
of a square, and each contains about three hundred inhabitants. One 
of my usual companions on these occasions was acquainted with the 
vicar of Aronxas, and we therefore made him a visit. He resided in 
a building which had formerly belonged to the Jesuits ; it is attached 
to the church, and has balconies from the principal corridor, which 
look into it. 

The Indians of these villages, and indeed of all those which I 
passed through, are Christians ; though it is said that some few of 
them follow in secret their own heathenish rites, paying adoration to 
the maracd, and practising all the customs of their religion, if I may 
use this word, of which so exact a description is given in Mr. 
Southey's History of Brazil. When the Roman Catholic religion 
does take root in them, it of necessity degenerates into the most 
abject superstition. An adherence to superstitious rites, whether of 
Roman Catholic ordination or prescribed by their own undefined 
faith, appears to be the only part of their character in which they 
shew any constancy. Each village has its priest, who is oftentimes 
a vicar, and resident for life upon the spot. A director is also 
attached to each village, who is supposed to be a white man j he has 


great power over the persons within his jurisdiction. If a proprietor 
of land is in want of workmen he appHes to the director, who agrees 
for the price at which the daily labour is to be paid, and he com- 
mands one of his chief Indians to take so many men and proceed 
with them to the estate for which they are hired. The labourers 
receive the money themselves, and expend it as they please ; but the 
bargains thus made are usually below the regular price of labour. 
Each village has two Juizes Ordinarios or Mayors, who act for one 
year. One Jiiiz is a white man, and the other an Indian ; but it may 
easily be supposed that the former has, in fact, the management. 
These Juizes have the power of putting suspicious persons into con- 
finement, and of punishing for small crimes ; those of more im- 
portance wait for the Correi^am, or circuit of the Ouvidor of the cap- 
taincy. Each village contains a town-hall and prison. The adminis- 
tration of justice in the Sertam is generally spoken of as most 
wretchedly bad ; every crime obtains impunity by the payment of a 
sum of money. An innocent person is sometimes punished through 
the interest of a great man, whom he may have offended, and the 
murderer escapes who has the good fortune to be under the protec- 
tion of a powerful patron. This proceeds still more from the feudal 
state of the country than from the corruption of the magistrates, who 
might often be inclined to do their duty, and yet be aware that their 
exertions would be of no avail, and would possibly prove fatal to 
themselves. The Indians have likewise their Capitaens-mores, and this 
title is conferred for life ; it gives the holder some power over his 
fellows, but as it is among them, unaccompanied by the possession 
of property, the Indian Cajntaens-mores are much ridiculed by the 
whites ; and indeed the half naked officer with his gold-headed cane 
is a personage who would excite laughter from the most rigid 

The Indians are in general a quiet and inoffensive people, they have 
not much fidelity, but although they desert they will not injure those 
whom they have served. Their lives are certainly not passed in a 
pleasant manner under the eye of a director, by whom they are im- 


periously treated, consequently it is not surprising that they should 
do all in their power to leave their villages and be free from an im- 
mediate superior; but even when they have escaped from the irksome 
dominion of the director they never settle in one place. The In- 
dian scarcely ever plants for himself, or if he does, rarely waits the 
crop ; he sells his maize or mandioc for half its value, before it is 
fit to be gathered, and removes to some other district. His favourite 
pursuits are fishing and hunting ; a lake or rivulet will alone 
induce him to be stationary for any length of time. He has a sort 
of independent feeling, which makes him spurn at any thing like a 
wish to deprive him of his own free agency ; to the director he sub- 
mits, because it is out of his power to resist. An Indian can never 
be persuaded to address the master to whom he may have hired 
himself, by the term of Senhor, though it is made use of by the whites 
in speaking to each other, and by all other free people in the 
country ; but the negroes also use it in speaking to their masters, 
therefore the Indian will not ; he addresses his temporary master by 
the term o^amo or patram, protector or patron. The reluctance to use 
the term of Senhor may perhaps have commenced with the immediate 
descendants of those who were in slavery, and thus the objection may 
have become traditionary. They may refuse to give by courtesy 
what was once required from them by law. However, if it began in 
this manner, it is not now continued for the same reason, as none of 
those with whom I conversed, and they were very many, appeared to 
know that their ancestors had been obliged to work as slaves. 

The instances of murder committed by Indians are rare. They are 
pilferers rather than thieves. When they can, they eat immoderately ; 
but if it is necessary they can live upon a very trifling quantity of 
food, to which their idleness often reduces them. They are much 
addicted to liquor, and will dance in a ring, singing some of the 
monotonous ditties of their own language, and drink for nights and 
days without ceasing. Their dances are not indecent, as those of 
Africa. The mulattos consider themselves superior to the Indians, 
and even the Creole blacks look down upon them ; " he is as paltry 


as \in Indian*," is a common expression among the lower orders in 
Brazil. They are vilely indifferent regarding the conduct of their wives 
and daughters ; lying and other vices attached to savage life belong to 
them. Affection seems to have little hold upon them ; they appear 
to be less anxious for the life and welfare of their children than any 
other cast of men who inhabit that country. The women however 
do not, among these semi-barbarians, perform the principal drudgery; 
if the husband is at home he fetches water fi'om the rivulet and 
fuel from the wood ; he builds the hut whilst his wife takes shelter 
in some neighbour's shed. But if they travel she has her young 
children to carry, the pots, the baskets, and the excavated gourds, 
whilst the husband takes his wallet of goat-skin and his hammock 
rolled up upon his back, his fishing net and his arms, and walks in 
the rear. The children are washed on the day of their birth in the 
nearest brook or pool of water. Both the men and the women are 
cleanly in many of their habits, and particularly in those relating to 
their persons ; but in some other matters their customs are ex- 
tremely disgusting ; the same knife is used for all purposes, and with 
little preparatory cleaning is employed in services of descriptions 
widely opposite. They do not reject any kind of food, and devour it 
almost without being cooked ; rats and other small vermin, snakes 
and alligators are all accepted. 

The instinct, for I know not what else to call it, which the Indians 
possess above other men, in finding their way across a wood to a 
certain spot on the opposite side without path or apparent mark, is 
most surprising ; they trace footsteps over the dry leaves which lie 
scattered under the trees. The letter-carriers, from one province to 
another, are mostly Indians, for from habit they endure great fatigue, 
and will walk day after day, with little rest, for months together. I 
have met them with their wallets made of goat-skin upon their 

^Mofino emtio caboclo." 


shoulders, walking at a regular pace, which is not altered by roufgh 
or smooth. Though a horse may outstrip one of these men for the 
first few days, still if the journey continues long, the Indian will, in 
the end, arrive before him. If a criminal has eluded the diligence of 
the police officers, Indians are sent in pursuit of him, as a last re- 
source. It is well known that they will not take him alive ; each 
man who sees the offender fires, for they do not wish to have any 
contention. Nor is it possible for the magistrate to fix upon the 
individual of the party who shot the criminal ; for if any of them are 
asked who killed him, the answer invariably is "os homems" the men. 
It is usually said, that a party of Indians will fight tolerably well ; 
but that two or three will take to their heels at the first alarm. 
Some of them however are resolute, and sufficiently courageous ; 
but the general character is usually supposed to be cowardly, incon- 
stant, devoid of acute feelings, as forgetful of favours as of injuries, 
obstinate in trifles, regardless of matters of importance. The cha- 
racter of the negro is more decided ; it is worse, but it is also better. 
From the black race the worst of men may be formed ; but they 
are capable likewise of great and good actions. The Indian 
seems to be without energy or exertion ;. devoid of great good or 
great evil. Much may at the same time be said in their favour ; 
they have been unjustly dealt with, they have been trampled upon, 
and afterwards treated as children ; they have been always subjected 
to those who consider themselves their superiors, and this desire to 
govern them has even been carried to the direction, of their domestic 
arrangements. But no, — if they are a race of acute beings, capable 
of energy, of being deeply interested upon any subject, they would 
do more than they have done. The priesthood is open to them ; 
but they do not take advantage of it*. I never saw an Indian me- 
chanic in any of the towns ; there is no instance of a wealthy Indian ; 

* I heard, from good authority, that there are two instances of Indians having been 
ordained as secular priests, and that both these individuals died from excessive drinking. 


rich mulattos and negroes are by no means rare. I have had many 
dealings with them as guides and carriers, and subsequently as 
labourers, and have no reason to complain, for I was never in- 
jured by any of them ; but neither did I receive any particular 
good service, excepting in the instance of Julio. For guides and 
carriers they are well adapted, as their usual habits lead them to the 
rambling life which these employments encourage. As labourers, I 
found that they had usually a great inclination to over-reach ; but 
their schemes were badly made, and consequently easily discovered. 
I never could depend upon them for any length of time, and to advance 
money or cloathing to them is a certain loss. If I had any labour 
which was to be performed by a given time, the overseer would 
always reckon upon his mulatto and negro free people ; but did not 
mention in the list of persons who were to work, any of the Indians 
whom I was then employing ; and on my speaking of them, he an- 
swered " An Indian is only to be mentioned for the present day*," 
meaning that no reliance is to be placed upon them. 

Like most of the aboriginal inhabitants of the western hemisphere, 
these people are of a copper colour. They are short, and stoutly 
made ; but their limbs, though large, have not the appearance of 
possessing great strength, they have no shew of muscle. The face is 
disproportionately broad, the nose flat, the mouth wide, the eyes deep 
and small, the hair black, coarse, and lank ; none of the men have 
whiskers, and their beards are not thick. The women, when they are 
young, have by no means an unpleasant appearance ; but they soon 
fall off, and become ugly; their figures are seldom well shaped. De- 
formity is rare among the Indians; I do not recollect to have seen 
an individual of this race who had been born defective ; and the 
well-informed persons with whom I conversed were of opinion, that 
the Indians are more fortunate in this respect than any other race with 
whom they were acquainted. All the Indians of Pernambuco speak 

Caboclo he so pata Jioje. 


Portugueze, but few of them pronounce it well ; there is always a cer- 
tain twang which discovers the speaker to be an Indian, although the 
voice was heard without the person being seen ; many of them how- 
ever do not understand any other language. The Indians seldom 
if ever speak Portugueze so Avell as the generality of the creole 

It must be perfectly understood, that although there may be some 
unfair dealings occasionally of the director towards the Indian, still 
this race cannot be enslaved ; the Indian cannot be made to work for 
any person against his inclination, he cannot be bought and sold. 
An Indian will sometimes make over his child, when very young, to 
a rich person to be taught some trade, or to be brought up as a 
household servant, but as soon as the child is of an age to provide for 
itself, it cannot be prevented from so doing; it may leave the person 
under whose care it has been placed if it be so inclined. 

Two Indians presented themselves at the gate of the Carmelite con- 
vent of Goiana, and requested and were permitted to see the prior. 
They put into his hands a purse containing several gold coins, say- 
ing that they had found it near Dous Rios ; they begged that he 
would order a number of masses to be said in their behalf, which were 
to be paid for from the contents of the purse. The prior, admiring 
their honesty, asked one of them to remain with him as his servant, 
to which the man agreed. The friar was in the habit of going into 
the country to a friend's house to shoot. On one occasion, after the 
Indian had served him for some time, he left the convent and took 
him on one of these expeditions, but when they were about half way, 
the friar discovered that he had forgotten his powder-horn ; he gave 
the key of his trunk to the Indian and desired him to fetch the 
powder whilst he proceeded. In vain he waited at his friend's 
house for his servant, and on his return to the convent in the even- 
ing he heard that he was not there. He went immediately to his 
cell, supposing that he had been robbed of all his money, and what- 
ever else the fellow could carry of; but to his joy he discovered on 
examination, that the man had only taken the powder-horn, two silver 


coins of about 4s. value each, an old clerical gown, and a pair of 
worn out nankeen pantaloons. This story I had from an intimate 
friend of the prior. 

One of the days of my stay at Seara we passed upon the borders of 
a lake, which is between two and three leagues distant from the town, 
for the purpose of shooting. This lake was nearly dry. The general 
feature of the country about Seara is arid; the captaincy produces 
no sugar, but the lands are adapted for cotton, of which however the 
crop this year was very trifling. So excessive had the drought become, 
that a famine was feared, and great distress would have been experi- 
enced if a vessel had not arrived from the southward laden with 
the flour of the mandioc. The usual price of it was 640 reis per 
alqueire, but the cargo of this vessel was sold at 6400 reis per alqueire; 
a fact which proves the scarcity to have been very great. Formerly 
considerable quantities of beef were salted and dried here, and were 
exported to the other captaincies, but from the mortality among the 
cattle, caused by the frequent dry seasons, this trade has been unavoid- 
ably given up entirely, and the whole country is now supplied from 
the Rio Grande do Sul, the southern boundary of the Portugueze 
dominions. But the meat which arrives at Pernambuco from the 
Rio Grande do Sul, still preserves its name of Seara meat, came do 
Seard. The country to the northward and eastward I understood to 
be much superior to that in the neighbourhood of Seara. The cap- 
taincy of Piauhi, which lies in that direction, is accounted fertile, and 
is not subject to droughts. 

Many were the praises which I heard of the late governor of Seara, 
Joam Carlos, who was appointed to this province before he had 
arrived at the age of twenty years, and who was at the time I visited 
Seara captain-general of Mato Grosso. His administration of jus- 
tice was in general summary, but on one occasion he waved his usual 
severity; he was informed, whilst playing at cards at the house of 
Senhor Marcos, which is near to the palace, that a soldier was 
robbing his garden. He answered, " Poor fellow, great must be his 
hunger when he runs the risk of entering his governor's garden — 

B 2 


don't molest him." Some persons were in the practice of taking 
doors off their hinges, and other tricks of the same sort, during the 
night; the governor had in vain attempted to discover who they 
were, and he resolved at last to wrap himself up in his cloak and 
to apprehend some of them, if possible, with his own hands. A young 
man, with whom I was acquainted, had met the governor on one of 
these nights, he demanded his name and, on discovering who it was, 
admonished him to be at home at an earlier hour on the following 

The family of the Feitozas still exists in the interior of this cap- 
taincy and that of Piauhi, in possession of extensive estates, which are 
covered with immense droves of cattle. In the time of Joam Carlos, the 
chiefs had risen to such power, and were supposed to be so completely 
out of the reach of punishment, that they entirely refused obedience 
to the laws, both civil and criminal, such as they are. They revenged 
their own wrongs ; persons obnoxious to them were publicly mur- 
dered in the villages of the interior ; the poor man who refused obe- 
dience to their commands was devoted to destruction, and the rich 
man, who was not of their clan, was obliged silently to acquiesce in 
deeds of which he did not approve. The Feitozas are descendants 
of Europeans, but many of the branches are of mixed blood, and per- 
haps few are free from some tinge of tlie original inhabitants of Bra- 
zil. The chief of the family was a colonel of militia, and could at a 
short notice call together about one hundred men, which is equal to 
ten or twenty times the number in a well-peopled country. De- 
serters were well received by him, and murderers who had committed 
this crime in the revenge of injuries ; the thief was not accepted, and 
much less the man who for the sake of pillage had taken the life of 

Joam Carlos had received from Lisbon secret instructions to secure 
the person of this chief of the Feitozas. His first step was to inform 
the colonel, that he intended on a certain day to visit him at his vil- 
lage, for the purpose of reviewing his regiment. The village is not 
many leagues from the coast, but is distant considerably from Seara. 


Feitoza answered, that he should be ready to receive His Excellency 
on the appointed day. The time came and Joam Carlos set out, ac- 
companied by ten or twelve persons; the colonel greeted him most 
courteously, and had assembled all his men to make the greatest pos- 
sible shew. After the review, the colonel dismissed them, fatigued 
with the day's exercise, for many of them had travelled several 
leagues. He retired with the governor to his house, accompanied 
by a few of his near relations. At the time all the party was pre- 
paring to settle for the night, Joam Carlos, having arranged every 
thing with his own people, rose and presented a pistol to the breast 
of the chief, his followers doing the same to the colonel's relations 
and servants, who were unable to make any resistance, as they were 
unprepared, and not so numerous as the governor's men. Joam 
Carlos told Feitoza, that if he spoke or made the least noise he should 
immediately fire, though he well knew that his own destruction would 
be certain. He conducted him to the back door, and ordered him 
and all the persons present to mount the horses which had been pre- 
pared for them. They made for the sea-shore, and arrived there 
very early in the morning; jangadas were in waiting to take them on 
board a smack, which was lying off and on near to the coast. The 
alarm was given soon after their departure from Feitoza's village, and 
as the governor reached the smack, he saw the colonel's adherents 
upon the beach, embarking m jangadas to try to overtake them, but 
it was too late ; the smack left the land, and the next day made for 
the shore, landed the governor, and then proceeded on her voyage. 
Feitoza was supposed to be in the prison of the Limoeiro at Lisbon 
when the French entered Portugal, and either died about that time 
or was released by them*. His followers still look forwards to his 

* Another member of this family was also to be apprehended, but the governor could 
not fix upon any means by which the arrest was to be accomplished. A man of well- 
known intrepidity and of some power was sent for by the governor, to consult with him 
upon the subject. Tliis person offered to go alone, and acquaint the Feitoza with the 
orders that had been issued against him, and in fact to try to take him into custody. He 


return. The loss of their chiefs broke the power and union of the 
clan, and they have had disputes among themselves. Brazil is like- 
wise undergoing a change of manners, and emerging rapidly from 

A young man of Seara had been, a short time before my arrival, to 
the distance of thirty leagues into the interior, accompanied by two 
constables, to serve a writ upon a man of some property for a debt; 
they rode good horses, that they might perform their errand before he 
could have any knowledge that they were going, and might attempt, 
in consequence, any thing against their lives. It is a dangerous 
service to go into the interior to recover debts. The Portugueze 
law does not allow of arrest for debt, but by serving a writ any pro- 
perty which was sent down to the town to be shipped might be seized. 

I was received at Seara most hospitably ; the name of Englishman 
was a recommendation. In the morning I generally remained at 
home, and in the afternoon rode out with three or four of the young 
men of the place, who were much superior to any I had expected 
to find here, and in the evening a large party usually assembled at 
the house of Senhor Marcos; his company and that of his wife and 
daughter would have been very pleasant anywhere, but was particularly 
so in these uncivilized regions. Parties were likewise occasionally 

set off, but Feitozawas apprized of his coming and of his errand, and, immediately leaving 
his estate, proceeded to Bahia, where he embarked for Lisbon, arriving in due time at 
that place. The person who set oiF to arrest him followed him from place to place, 
arrived at Bahia, and embarked for and landed at Lisbon. He enquired for Feitoza, 
heard that he had spoken to the secretary of state, and had again embarked on his return 
homewards, but that the ship was delayed by contrary wuids. He likewise went to the 
secretary, and shewed the orders which he had received for the arrest of Feitoza, making 
known the particidar crimes which had made his apprehension requisite. Feitoza was 
taken into custody and put into the Limoeiro prison, where his persecutor or prosecutor 
went to visit him, saying as he approached, — " Well, did not I say so," — " Entam eu 
que disse" alluding to his determination of apprehending him. He returned to Brazil and 
gave an account of his mission to the governor, from whom he had received his orders. 
This man was well known in the province of Seara, and the truth of the story is vouched for 
by many respectable persons with whom I conversed. This Feitoza has not been heard of. 


given at the palace, and at both these places, after tea and coffee, 
cards and conversation made the evenings pass very quickly. The 
palace was the only dwelling in the town which had boarded floors ; it 
appeared at first rather strange to be received by one of the principal 
officers of the province, in a room with a brick floor and plain white 
washed walls, as occurred at the house of Senhor Marcos. 

This gentleman had delivered to me a crimson coloured satin bag, 
containing government papers, and directed to the Prince Regent of 
Portugal and Brazil, and he gave me directions to put it into the 
hands of the post-master at Pernambuco. I obtained, from being 
the bearer, the power of requiring horses from the several command- 
ants upon the road. To him it was convenient, as with me its 
chance of safety was greater than if it had been forwarded by a 
single man on foot, which is the usual mode of conveyance. The 
men employed for this purpose are trust-worthy, but must of course 
sometimes meet with accidents. 

I had in my journey from Goiana to Seara seen Pernambuco, and 
the adjoining provinces to the northward, in almost their worst state 
— that of one whole season without rain ; but extreme wretchedness 
is produced by two successive years of drought; in such a case, on the 
second year, the peasants die by the road side; entire families are swept 
away, entire districts are depopulated. The country was in this dread- 
ful state in 1791, 2, 3, for these three years passed without any con- 
siderable fall of rain. In 1810, food was still to be purchased, though 
at exorbitant prices, and in the following year the rains came down in 
abundance, and removed the dread of famine. I had, I say, seen the 
provinces through which I passed upon the brink of extreme want, 
owing to the failure of the rains ; I had myself experienced incon- 
venience from this cause, and in one instance considerable distress 
from it; now in returning, the whole country was changed, the rains 
had commenced, and I was made to feel that great discomfort is 
caused by each extreme ; but the sensations which the apprehension 
of a want of water produces are much more painful than the dis- 


agreeable effects of an immoderate quantity of it — heavy rains and 
flooded lands. 

I was obliged to stay at Seara longer than I had at first intended, 
owing to an accident which I met with in bathing; this confined me 
to my bed for some days. As soon as I was allowed to move I 
made preparations for my return; I purchased four horses, one to 
carry my trunk and a small barrel of biscuit, a second for farinha, 
a third for maize, and the fourth for myself Senhor Louren9o sent 
for three trusty Indians from one of the villages for the purpose of 
accompanying me, and on the 8tli January, 1811, I commenced my 
return to Pernambuco. 





I LEFT Seara at day-break with three Indians, and three loaded 
horses, and one of the young men with whom I had formed an 
acquaintance accompanied me to a short distance from the town. I 
deviated on my return to Aracati, in some measure, from the road by 
which I had travelled to Seara. The first day passed without any 
circumstance worthy of being mentioned, and I was chiefly occupied 
in finding out what sort of beings my Indians were, for I had had very 
little conversation with them before we set off. In the afternoon of 
the second day, having asked one of the Indians 'if the road was intri- 
cate to our next resting-place, and being answered, that there was 
no turning by which I could lose the right path, I left the loaded 
horses and rode on, being tired of following them at a foot's pace; — 
this I had often done on other occasions. About five o'clock I put 
up at a cottage in which were two boys, whose appearance was very 
wretched, but they seemed glad to say that they would let me have a 
night's lodging. On enquiry, they told me that their parents were 
gone to some distance to make paste from the stem of the Carna^iba, 
for that their usual food, the flour of the mandioc, was no longer to 
be had at any price in that neighbourhood. I was shown some of 
this paste, which was of a dark brown colour *, and of the consistence 

* Arruda says it is white, vide Appendix, therefoi'e some other ingredient may hare 
been mixed with that which I saw. 


of dough that has not been sufficiently kneaded; it was bitter and 
nauseous to the taste. On this substance these miserable people 
were under the necessity of subsisting, adding to it occasionally dried 
fish or meat. My party arrived about an hour after me, and late in 
the evening, the younger boy began to beg; inconsiderately I gave 
him money, but shortly he returned, saying his elder brother 
desired him to tell me, that it would be of no use to them, as no- 
thing could be purchased with it. Then I understood their mean- 
ing in begging at this moment, — my men were going to supper, — 
the children were of course desired to sit down with them. Here Feli- 
ciano, one of the Indians, sewed two hides loosely round the two bags 
of farinha, saying, that if we proceeded without disguising what they 
contained, we should at some hamlet upon the road be obliged to 
satisfy the people, who would })robably beg part of it from us. He 
had not known, before he enquired from these children, that this part 
of the country was in such a dreadful state of want. The inhabi- 
tants had eaten up their own scanty crop, and some of them had 
even been tempted by the exorbitant price, to carry their stock to 
Seara for sale. They had not heard of the supply which had arrived 
at that place from the southward. We reached Aracati on the 
fifth day. 

I remained two days at Aracati, that the horses might be brought 
from the island upon which they had been put out to grass. I ex- 
perienced fully now what the guide had before told me respecting 
the horses. They had all lost flesh, and were apparently less fit for 
work than when I first arrived at Aracati, though doubtless the relief 
from daily work for so long a period must have rendered them better 
able to renew it again now. The Spanish discoverers in South 
America, who understood the business into which they had entered, 
strongly inculcated to their people the necessity of the steady and 
regular continuance of their journies, unless a pause could have been 
made for some length of time *. I bought a large dog at Aracati, 

* Cabe9a de Vaca is particularly mentioned. — History of Brazil, vol. i. p. 1 09. 


which had been trained to keep watch over the baggage of tra- 

A man presented himself here, requesting to be allowed to go 
with me to Pernambuco. He described himself as a Portugueze 
sailor, a European by birth, and as having belonged to the Portugueze 
sloop of war, called the Andorinha, which was wrecked upon the 
coast between Para and Maranham. He had travelled from the spot 
at which he had landed to this place without any assistance from 
government. No provision had been made by any of the men in 
power for the subsistence of the persons who escaped. I consented 
to his joining me ; he behaved well, and I never afterwards had any 
cause to doubt the truth of his story. 

I had now a great increase in my number of men and horses, but 
was advised to take the men all forwards with me, as the rains 
might commence and the rivers fill, in which case the more people 
I had to assist in crossing them, with less danger would it be ac- 
complished. The additional number of horses enabled me to divide 
the weight into smaller loads, and to have two or three beasts vmen- 
cumbered, for the purpose of relieving the others if necessary. The 
party now consisted of nine persons and eleven horses. 

Senhor Barrozo's kindness was still continued towards me, and I 
hope I shall never cease to feel grateful for it. 

I was advised to get on to the sea-shore as soon as possible on leav- 
ing Aracati, this being the better road; consequently I slept the 
first night, distant three leagues from that place, at Alagoa do Mato 
— a small lake which was now nearly dried up. The following morn- 
ing we travelled over the sands, passed a small village near to the 
shore called Retiro, and slept at Cajuaes, a place we were acquainted 
with; and from hence to St. Luzia we followed the same route as in 
going to Seara. From Cajuaes we passed through Areias, famous for the 
ghost story, and rested at Tibou, proceeding in the afternoon with the 
intention of sleeping at the unfinished house on the road to Ilha; 
but the night was closing in upon us when we were still two leagues 
short of it, and for this reason it was thought adviseable to stop and 

s 2 


pass the night among the brushwood. We had had several showers 
of rain, occasionally for some days past, and although they were 
slight, the grass had begun to spring up in some places. The rapidity 
of vegetation in Brazil is truly astonishing. Rain in the evening 
upon good soil will by sun-rise have given a greenish tinge to the 
earth, which is increased, if the rain continues, on the second day to 
sprovits of grass of an inch in length, and these on the third day are 
sufficiently long to be picked up by the half starved cattle. 

The brushwood among which we had determined to pass the night 
was low and not close, so that only two shrubs were found to be near 
enough to each other and of sufficient strength to support a ham- 
mock ; between these mine was hung, whilst the people took up their 
quarters upon the packages as to them seemed best. Between one 
and two o'clock in the morning the rain commenced, at first, with 
some moderation; the guide fastened two cords from shrub to shrub 
above my hammock, and laid some hides upon them as a covering for 
me, but soon the rain increased, and the whole party crowded under 
the hides. I got up, and all of us stood together in some degree 
sheltered, until the hides fell down owing to their being quite soaked. 
Our fires were of course completely extinguished. I reminded my 
people of the necessity of keeping the locks of our fire-arms dry; 
indeed those persons of the party who knew the Sertam must be 
even more aware than myself of the numbers of Jaguars which are to 
be met with upon these travessias. I had not spoken many minutes 
before Feliciano said that he heard the growl of one of these animals 
— he was right, for a lot of mares galloped across the path not far 
from us, and shortly after the growl was distinctly heard ; either the 
same or many of these beasts were near to us during the remainder 
of the night, as we heard the growl in several directions. We stood 
with our backs to each other and by no means free from the chance 
of being attacked, though the Indians from time to time set up a sort 
of song or howl, (such as is practised by the Sertanejos when guiding 
large droves of half tamed cattle) with the intent of frightening tlie 
Jaguars. Towards day -break the deluge somewhat abated, but still 


the rain was hard and it did not cease. In the morning there was 
much difficulty in finding the horses, as the Jaguars had frightened 
and scattered them ; indeed we much doubted that they would all be 
alive, but I suppose the wild cattle were preferred as being in better 
condition. The loads were arranged and we proceeded to Ilha, dis- 
tant six leagues, arriving there about two o'clock in the afternoon, 
after having sustained twelve hours of continued rain. The owner 
of the estate of Ilha sent a message to say that he wished me to re- 
move from the out-house, in which I had settled myself for the re- 
mainder of the day and ensuing night, to his residence; I accepted 
his offer. It was a low, mud cottage covered with tiles, which had 
been made from the clay that is to be found upon the skirts of the salt 
marsh near to which his house stood. He gave us plenty of milk 
and dried meat; there was a scarcity of farinha, but a plentiful year 
was expected. Immediately on my entrance into his house he offered 
me his hammock, in which he had been sitting, but mine was soon 
slung and we sat, talked, and smoked for a considerable time. The 
mosquitos were very troublesome, indeed from this day we were 
scarcely ever without them at night, and they annoyed us more or 
less, according to the state of the wind and the quantity of rain 
which had fallen during the day. The inconvenience occasioned by 
these insects is inconceivable, until it has been experienced. 

The next day we advanced to the village of St. Luzia, and rested 
at noon there in an unfinished cottage. Soon after we had unloaded 
our horses and I had lain myself down in my hammock intending to 
sleep, the guide told me that a number of people appeared to be 
assembling near to us, and that I ought to recollect the quarrel which 
we had had here in going. I got up and asked for my trunk, opened 
it with as little apparent design as possible, turned over several things 
in it, and taking out the Red Bag, placed it upon a large log of tim- 
ber near to me, and then I continued to search in the trunk, as if for 
something I could not immediately find. When I looked up again, 
in a few minutes, all the persons who had assembled were gone — 
either the important consequences attending this bag were known, — 


that of having the power of making a requisition of horses, or some 
other idea of my situation in life was given by tiie sight of this 
magical bag. The river near St. Luzia had not yet filled. We pro- 
ceeded in the afternoon and reached the banks of the river Panema, 
a narrow but now a rapid stream. One of the men went in to try if 
it was fordable, but before he was half way across he found that it 
would be impossible to pass, as the rapidity and depth would effectu- 
ally prevent any attempt to carry the packages over upon the heads 
of the Indians. I desired the people to remain where they were, 
whilst I turned back with the Goiana guide to look for some habit- 
ation, because, owing to the commencement of the rains, sleeping in 
the open air would have been highly imprudent. 

We made for a house, which was situated among the Carna'iba 
trees, at some distance from the road, and as the owner of it said that 
he could accommodate us, and that there was abundance of grass for 
our horses, the guide returned to bring the party to this place, which 
was called St. Anna. In the course of the night I had an attack of 
ague, which would have delayed me at St. Anna even if the height 
of the waters had not prevented me from proceeding. However I 
became more unwell, and perhaps I imagined myself to be worse 
than I really was, but I began to wish to arrive at A9U, as, by so do- 
ing, I should be advancing upon my journey, and at the same time 
I should obtain the advantage of being near to some priest, to 
whom I could impart any message which I might have to send to my 
friends. Although I was not in immediate danger, I was aware of 
the sudden changes to which aguish disorders are liable. As soon as 
the waters began to subside I determined to remove, but as I could 
not mount on horseback, it would be necessary that I should be car- 
ried in a hammock; however the difficulty consisted in procuring a 
sufficient number of men. By waiting another day six persons were 
obtained from the cottages in the vicinity, some of which were dis- 
tant more than a league. On the fifth day from that of my arrival 
here, we set off, crossed the river, which was barely fordable, and en- 
tered upon the flooded lands. The waters covered the whole face of 


the country, though they were now subsiding a little. The depth 
was in parts up to the waist, but was in general less than knee-deep. 
The men knew the way from practice, but even the guide whom I had 
hired at A9U could not have found itwithout the assistance of those who 
carried, me. At noon the hammock with me in it was hung between 
two trees, resting the two ends of the pole by which the men car- 
ried it upon two forked branches; and hides were placed over 
this pole to shade me from the sun, as the trees had not recovered 
from the drought and were yet without leaves. The men slung their 
hammocks also, the packages were supported upon the branches of 
trees, and the horses stood in the water and eat their maize out of 
bags which were tied round their noses. The water was shallow 
here, as this spot was rather higher than the lands around ; and in 
one place the ground was beginning to make its appearance. At 
dusk we reached Chafaris, sifazenda, situated upon dry land, and here 
we put up under an unfinished house. The horse upon which my 
trunk and case of bottles had travelled, had fallen down, and to add 
to my discomfort, my cloaths were completely wetted, and even the 
red bag did not entirely escape. 

I passed a wretched night, from the ague and from over fatigue. 
The following morning I had some conversation with the owner of 
the place, and purchased two of his horses. At noon I sent off the 
eomboio, under the care of Feliciano, who was desired to reach Piato 
the following night. I remained with the Goiana guide and Julio, 
who had been promoted to John's place of groom. With con- 
siderable difficulty the packages were carried across the river, which 
runs just below this estate ; the stream was at present rapid, and the 
stony bed in which it runs increased the difficulty. When I passed 
on the morning following, the depth and rapidity of the current were 
considerably diminished, for no rain had fallen during the night. I 
had mounted the two persons who accompanied me upon the two 
horses which had been purchased the day before, and I rode a led horse 
which was quite fresh ; resolving to arrive at Piato, distant ten 
leagues, in one day j this I accomplished, resting only a short time 

136 THE AGUE. 

at noon. I was very unfit for so much exertion, but the necessity of 
the case did not allow me any alternative, and I was determined to 
ride until absolute exhaustion forced me to give way. 

We overtook my people, and all of us rested at the same place. Feli- 
ciano shot an antelope, upon which we dined. It was seldom if ever 
absolutely necessary to depend upon our guns for subsistence, though 
the provision thus obtained was by no means unacceptable, as it 
varied our diet. We could generally either purchase a considerable 
supply of dried meat, or as occasionally occurred, it was afforded us 
gratuitously. Sheep were sometimes to be bought, and at others, 
fowls might be obtained on enquiring at the cottages ; but although 
numbers of the latter were to be seen about the huts, and a high 
price offered, still the owners frequently refused to part with them. 
The women, naturally enough, had the management of this depart- 
ment of household arrangement, and after much bargaining, the house- 
wife would often at last declare, that all of them were such favourites, 
that she and her children could not resolve to have any of them killed. 
This behaviour became so frequent, that at last when either the guide 
or myself rode up to a cottage to purchase a fowl, it was quite decisive 
with us, if the husband called to his wife, saying that she would settle 
the matter. Unless we had time to spare for talking, we generally 
went our way. 

My friend the commandant was still residing at Piato ; I felt as if 
I was returning home ; my spirits were low, and any trifle relieved 
them. This night I was still very unwell, my thirst was great, and 
nothing satisfied and allayed it so much as water-melons, of which 
there was here a superabundance. I ate several of them. The 
guide said I should kill myself; but I thought otherwise, for I liked 
the fruit. In the morning I awoke quite a changed person, and the 
ague returned no more. The guide often said afterwards that he 
never had known until the present occasion, that water-melons might 
be taken as a cure for the ague. He was quite certain that they had 
performed the cure, and that they would have the same effect upon 
all persons in the same disease. Such are the changes to which this 


Strange complaint is subject ; often thus suddenly leaving the patient» 
but as frequently or more so, ending in fever and delirium ; however 
it seldom proves fatal. 

On the morrow we left Piato, with the addition to our party of a 
small tame sheep, and a tame tatu-bola, or armadillo, both having been 
given to me by the commandant. The former kept pace with the 
horses for many days, and it never gave us any trouble, until the long 
continuance of the journey wearied it out, and then I was obliged to 
make room for it in one of the panniers ; in this manner it travelled 
for a day or two at a time. The armadillo was conveyed in a small 
bag, and only on one occasion gave us any trouble ; when we released 
it at our resting-places, it usually remained among the packages, 
either feeding or rolled up. It was with some difficulty that Mimoza 
was prevented from annoying it ; but latterly she and the armadillo 
were very good friends. At A9U I changed one of my horses for 
another that was in better condition, and gave about the value of a 
guinea to boot. 

Our friends, the saddler and the owner of the house which we had 
inhabited in going, received us very cordially, and offered to assist us in 
crossing the river, which was full ; but they advised me to wait for a 
decrease of the depth and rapidity of the stream ; however I was 
anxious to advance, and my people made no objection. Here I dis- 
charged the young man whom I had taken from hence as a guide to 
Aracati. We crossed the smaller branch of the river, with the water 
reaching to the flaps of the saddles. When we arrived at the second 
and principal branch, it was discovered that eLjangada would be ne- 
cessary to convey the baggage across. Several of the inhabitants of 
the place had followed us, judging that this would be the case, and they 
were willing to be of service to us in expectation of being compensated 
for their trouble. A few logs of timber were soon procui'ed ; some of 
them had been brought down by the stream, and were now upon the 
banks, and others were conveyed from the town; the cords with which 
the packages were fastened to the pack-saddles were made use of to tie 
the logs together, for the purpose of forming the raft. The father of 

138 THE DOG. 

the young man who had been with me to Aracati accompanied us to 
the river side to assist, and had brought Mimoza with him. I re- 
quested him to secure her, otherwise I thought she would follow me ; 
he did so, and sent her back to the town by a boy. When the raft 
was prepared, the saddles and all the packages were placed upon it, 
and I sat down among them. Four men laid hold of each side of 
the raft, and shoved off from the shore, and when they lost their 
footing, each man kept hold of the raft with one hand, swimming 
with the other ; but notwithstanding their exertions, the stream car- 
ried us down about fifty yards before we reached the other side, 
which however was gained in safety. The Indians were already 
there with the horses. The river of A9U is from two to three 
hundred yards in breadth ; it was now deep and dangerous, and from 
the violence of the current, a guide is requisite, that advantage may 
be taken of the shallowest parts. The Sertanejos have a curious 
contrivance for crossing rivers, which is formed of three pieces of 
wood, and upon this they paddle themselves to the opposite side. I 
heard it often spoken of by the name of cavalete; but as I 
did not see any of them, I cannot pretend to give an exact de- 
scription *. 

The men soon left us to arrange the loads, which we were doing 
with all possible expedition, when on turning round, I saw Mimoza 
running vip to me, half crouched and half afraid. I had often wished 
to purchase this animal, but nothing would induce her master to part 
with her ; he said that he had had her from a whelp, and added, that 
if he put the pot upon the fire, and then went out with her, he was 
sure to return by the time it boiled, bringing something with which 
to fill it. He did not mean that this was literally the case ; but thus 
quaintly he wished to impress the idea of her great expertness in 

* There is a print in Barlaeus which represents the Portugneze crossing the river 
St. Francisco upon rafts or logs of timber ; these must, I think, have been similar to those 
>hich are at present used in the Sertam. 

THE EMA. 139 

hunting. She followed us, as she found that she was well received. 
We advanced, and halted at St. Ursula, a,fazenda, distant from A9U 
one league and a half, and here we slept. The roads lay through 
woods, which were thick and close. From hence to the Seara-meirim, 
the country was new to me, as I deviated from the road by which I 
had arrived at A9U, on my way northwards. I now took the short- 
est road to Natal, but had frequently to cross this winding river. 

Whilst I was at dinner, Mimoza was near to me, watching for her 
share, when suddenly she crept under the bench upon which I sat ; 
I soon saw what had caused this movement, for the old man, the 
father of her owner, was coming towards us ; he said that he came 
for his son's dog. I persuaded him to sell her, and when he was 
going his way, Mimoza ran out from under the bench and fawned 
upon him. I told him to go on, and invite her to follow him ; but 
upon this she immediately returned growling to her old station under 
the bench. She had been better treated and better fed with me 
than when she was with her master. I always fed her myself, and 
had several times prevented him from beating her. 

The next day we passed through the fazendas of Passagem and 
Barra ; the road was over loose stony ground and we crossed one dry 
marsh. In the afternoon we travelled from S. Ben to to Anjicos, 
which obliged us to pass over some higher ground, which was very 
stony and painful to our horses. We crossed a small shallow stream 
several times. 

Our next day's march carried us across more stony ground. The 
persons to whom we spoke, said that there had been no rain, and 
indeed this was evident. There was no grass, and the country was 
yet parched and dreary. The horses had no water at noon, for the 
well was small, and the spring which supplied it insufficient for 
so great a number of beasts. I was thirsty in the afternoon, and 
therefore left the comboio to follow at its usual pace, and rode on 
accompanied by Julio ; the two dogs likewise would come with us. 
We entered upon a plain, and now for the second time I saw an 
enia, a species of ostrich. Notwithstanding my attempts to pre-- 

T 2 


vent them, the dogs set off after it, and much against my inch- 
nation I was obliged to wait until their return. The bird ran from 
them with great velocity, flapping its wings, but never leaving 
the ground. Tlie emas outstrip the fleetest horses. The colour 
of the one which we saw was a dark grey ; its height, includ- 
ing the neck, which was very long, was about that of a man on 
horseback, and it had that appearance at first sight, when at some 
distance. The Sertanejos say, that when pursued the ema spurs itself 
to run the faster ; that the spurs or pointed bones are placed in 
the inside of the wings, and that as these are flapped, the bones 
strike the sides and wound them. I have heard many people say, 
that when an ejna is caught after a hard chace, the sides are found to 
be bloody. It is possible that this effect may be produced by some 
cause similar to that by which a pig cuts its own throat in swim- 
ming. The eggs of the ejjia are large, and although the food which 
they afford is coarse, it is not unpalatable. The feathers are much 
esteemed. When the dogs returned we continued our journey ; the 
road led us between high rocks, and after proceeding along it for some 
time, the dogs suddenly struck from the path, and went up the side 
of a flat rock, which sloped down towards the road, but was suf- 
ficiently low to allow of a horse ascending it. Our horses stopped and 
snuffed up the air. Julio cried out at the same time "water, water," and 
spurred his horse to follow the dogs, and I did the same. Julio was quite 
correct in what he had supposed, from the direction which the dogs 
immediately took, and from the stopping of the horses. There was a 
long and narrow but deep cleft in the rock, which was nearly full of 
water, clear and cold. The sides of the cleft slanted inwards, and 
the water was below the sui'face, so that the dogs were running 
round and howling, without being able to reach it ; the horses too, 
as soon as we dismounted, and they saw the water, began to paw, and 
attempted to press forwards to drink. We had brought no vessel 
with which to take up any of it, and were under the necessity of using 
our hats to satisfy the horses and dogs. The rest of the party came 
up after some time ; Feliciano was acquainted with the spot, but if 


the dogs and horses had not pointed it out to Julio, he and I should 
have missed it. We were delayed considerably in giving water 
enough to all the horses, as we had no large vessel in which to take 
it up. I heard from Feliciano, and subsequently from other persons, 
that these clefts in the rocks are common ; but that they are known 
to few, and those principally of his rank and occupation in life, and 
that this knowledge enabled them to find plenty of water when 
others were in great distress. He said, " we never refuse to give 
information, but we say as little about it as possible." I travelled 
until ten o'clock at night, wishing to reach some fazenda, and not to 
remain in the open air, as there were several heavy clouds flying 
about, from the look of which w^e well knew that if the wind abated, 
rain would come on. We reached a fazenda, and applied for a 
night's lodging, which was granted ; but upon a survey of the inte- 
rior of the house, I preferred the open air with all its disadvantages. 
The place was full of persons who had assembled from the neigh- 
bouring estates, in expectation of rain, as they had come to assist in 
collecting cattle. The fellows were eating dried meat, and had by 
some means obtained a quantity of I'um. I took up my station at a 
distance from the house, and we scarcely laid down during the night, 
from the fear of rain, and in some measure that we might be pre- 
pared to prevent any of our horses being stolen, as a piece of sport, 
by the people in the house. 

The next day we crossed over a plain which was partly without 
trees and in part covered with brushwood; in going over this last 
portion I had pushed on with Julio, leaving the comboio to follow us. 
We had nearly lost our way at the division of several paths ; even 
Julio's knowledge was insufficient, and had we not met some travel- 
lers and enquired of them, I know not how far from the baggage we 
might have been at night. 

On the following morning we advanced again, took water in skins 
near to some cottages, and at noon stationed ourselves in the bed of a 
rivulet, where there was good grass, but no water. As the bed was 
lower than the neighbouring land the very first shower had made the 


grass spring up, though there had not been rain sufficient to excite 
vegetation upon its banks. Here the armadillo strayed into some 
brushwood; Feliciano followed it by the marks of its footsteps over 
the grass and dry leaves, and brought it back. I am quite confident 
that he did not see which way it went, and to a person unused to 
tracing footsteps there appeared to be none. If it had passed over 
sand, there would not have been any thing extraordinary in discover- 
ing the way which the animal had taken, but upon grass and dry 
leaves so small an animal could make but a most trifling impression. 
I mentioned at this place accidentally that the skins had spoiled the 
water, for it tasted of the grease with which they had been rubbed. 
Feliciano heard me, and took up a small skin that lay empty, which 
was old and therefore not greasy, and said, " 111 try to find some for 
you that is better;" and away he went. In about an hour he returned 
with the skin full of excellent water. He had recollected a cleft in 
a rock at some distance, and had gone to see if any yet remained 
in it. 

We slept at ufazenda, and the next day proceeded in the expect- 
ation of reaching the Seara-raeirim, wliich we did. This track of 
country had not recovered from the drought, but the trees were 
beginning to be cloathed, and the grass under them was in most 
parts of sufficient length to affi^rd subsistence to our horses. Water 
was still scarce and bad, but the rain had made it less brackish and 
more plentiful. We passed over the travessia with all possible haste, 
as the floods were expected shortly, and sometimes the water comes 
down, as I have before stated, with great rapidity. There is some 
danger in being caught by the water upon any of the peninsulas 
or islands which are formed by its bends, for to be under the neces- 
sity of crossing over a stream which runs with much violence, per- 
haps ten times or more successively, would be too much for almost 
any horse to bear, and particularly for those which were already 
fatigued by a long journey. We left the Seara-meirim in four days, 
passed Pai Paulo, and early on the fifth day arrived again at the dry 
lake. The people of this place were upon the point of decamping, 


as tlie rains were expected or rather had already commenced. We 
now met several parties of travellers, who had taken advantage of 
the first rains to pass over this track of country, and who were 
hastening before the floods came down the river. 

January is not properly speaking the rainy season. The rains at 
the commencement of the year are called the pn'we?ras aguas or the 
first waters, and continue for about a fortnight or three weeks, after 
which the weather generally becomes again settled until May or 
June, and from this time until the end of August the rains are 
usually pretty constant. From August or September until the open- 
ing of the year there is not usually any rain. The dry weather can 
be depended upon with more certainty from September until January, 
than from February until May; likewise the wet weather can be 
looked for with more certainty from June until August than in 
January. There are very few days during the whole course of the 
year of incessant rain. What I have said regarding the seasons must 
however be taken with some latitude, as in all climates they are sub- 
ject to variation. 

The horse I left at the dry lake was faithfully delivered to me, and 
I continued my journey on the following day to Natal. The gover- 
nor received me with the same cordiality as before. 

I had now left the Sertam, and though it treated me rather roughly, 
still I have always wished I could have seen more of it. There is a 
certain pleasure which I cannot describe in crossing new countries, 
and that portion of territory over which 1 had travelled was new to an 
Englishman. From the sensations which I experienced I can well 
imagine what those are, which travellers in unexplored countries 
must feel at every step — at every novelty which comes under their 
view. There is yet much ground upon the continent of South 
America to be traversed, and I most heartily wish that it had been 
my fate to be the civilized individual first doomed to cross from 
Pernambuco to Lima. 

I have perhaps hardly said sufficient to give a correct idea of the 
inhabitants of the fazendas or cattle estates. Unlike the Peons of the 


country in the vicinity of the river Plata, the Sertanejo has about him 
his wife and family, and lives in comparative comfort. The cottages 
are small and are built of mud, but afford quite sufficient shelter in so 
fine a climate; they are covered with tiles where these are to be had, 
or, as is more general, with the leaves of the Carnauba. Hammocks 
usually supply the place of beds and are by far more comfortable, 
and these are likewise frequently used as chairs. Most of the better 
sort of cottages contain a table, but the usual practice is for the family 
to squat down upon a mat in a circle, with the bowls, dishes, or gourds 
in the centre, thus to eat their meals upon the floor. Knives and 
forks are not much known, and are not at all made use of by the 
lower orders. It is the custom in every house, from the highest to the 
lowest, as in former times, and indeed the same practice prevails in 
all the parts of the country which I visited, for a silver basin, or 
one of earthenware, or a ciiia, and a fringed cambric towel, or 
one that is made of the coarse cotton cloth of the country, to be 
handed round, that all those who are going to sit down to eat may 
wash their hands ; and the same ceremony, or rather necessary piece of 
cleanliness, takes place again after the meal is finished. Of the gourds 
great use is made in domestic arrangements; they are cut in two and 
the pulp is scooped out, then the rind is dried and these rude vessels 
serve almost every purpose of earthenware — water is carried in them, 
&c. and they are likewise used as measures. They vary from six inches 
in circumference to about three feet, and are usually rather of an oval 
shape. The gourd when whole is called cabafa, and the half of the 
rind is called cuia. It is a creeping plant, and grows spontaneously 
in many parts, but in others the people plant it among the mandioc. 

The conversation of the Sertanejos usually turns upon the state of 
their cattle or of women, and occasionally, accounts of adventures which 
took place at Recife or at some other town. The merits or demerits 
of the priests with whom they may happen to be acquainted are like- 
wise discussed, and their irregvdar practices are made a subject of 
ridicule. The dress of the men has already been described, but 
when they are at home a shirt and drawers alone remain. The 


women have a more slovenly look, as their only dress is a shift and 
petticoat, no stockings, and oftentimes no shoes ; but when they leave 
home, which is very seldom, an addition is made of a large piece of 
coarse white cloth, either of their own or of European manufacture, 
and this is thrown over the head and shoulders ; a pair of shoes is 
likewise then put on. They are good horsewomen, and the high Portu- 
gueze saddle serves the purpose of a side-saddle very completely. 
I never saw any Brazilian woman riding, as is the case occasionally 
in Portugal, in the manner that men do. Their employment con- 
sists in household arrangements entirely, for the men even milk the 
cows and goats: the women spin and work with the needle. No 
females of free birth are ever seen employed in any kind of labour in 
the open air, excepting in that of occasionally fetching wood or water, 
if the men are not at home. The children generally run about naked 
until a certain age, but this is often seen even in Recife; to the age 
of six or seven years, boys are allowed to run about without any 
cloathing. Formerly, I mean before the commencement of a direct 
trade with England, both sexes dressed in the coarse cotton cloth 
which is made in the country ; the petticoats of this cloth were some- 
times tinged with a red dye, which was obtained from the bark of the 
coipuna tree, a native of their woods ; and even now this dye is used 
for tinging fishing-nets, as it is said that those which have under- 
gone this process last the longer. 

In those times, a dress of the common printed cotton of English or 
of Portugueze manufacture cost from eight to twelve 7?iil reis, from 
two to three guineas, owing to the monopoly of the trade, by which 
the merchants of Recife put what price they pleased upon their com- 
modities ; other things were in proportion. Owing to the enormous 
prices, European articles of dress could of course only be possessed 
by the rich people. However, since the opening of the ports to 
foreign trade, English goods are finding their way all over the coun- 
try, and the hawkers are now a numerous body of men. The women 
seldom appear, and when they are seen do not take any part in the con- 
versation, unless it be some one good wife who rules the roast; if they 



are present at all when the men are talking, they stand or squat down 
upon the gi'ound, in the door-way leading to the interior of the house, 
and merely listen. The morals of the men are by no means strict, 
and when this is the case, it must give an unfavourable bias, in some 
degree, to those of the women; but the Sertanejo is very jealous, and 
more murders are committed, and more quarrels entered into on 
this score, by tenfold, than on any other. These people are revenge- 
ful; an offence is seldom pardoned, and in default of law, of which 
there is scarcely any, each man takes it into his own hands. This 
is without any sort of doubt a dreadful state of society, and I do not 
by any means pretend to speak in its justification ; but if the causes 
of most of the murders committed and beatings given are enquired 
into, I have usually found that the receiver had only obtained what 
he deserved. Robbery in the Sertam is scarcely known ; the land is 
in favourable years too plentiful to afford temptation, and in seasons 
of distress for food, every man is for the most part equally in want. 
Subsistence is to be obtained in an easier manner than by stealing 
in so abundant a country, and where both parties are equally brave 
and resolute; but besides these reasons, I think the Sertanejos are a 
good race of people. They are tractable and might easily be instructed, 
excepting in religious matters; in these they are fast rivetted; and such 
was their idea of an Englishman and a heretic, that it was on some 
occasions difficult to make them believe that I, who had the figure of 
a human being, could possibly belong to that non-descript race. They 
are extremely ignorant, few of them possessing even the commonest 
rudiments of knowledge. Their religion is confined to the observance 
of certain forms and ceremonies, and to the frequent repetition of a few 
prayers, faith in charms, relics, and other things of the same order. 
The Sertanejos are courageous, generous, sincere, and hospitable: 
if a favour is begged, they know not how to deny it ; but if you trade 
with them either for cattle, or aught else, the character changes, and 
then they wish to outwit you, conceiving success to be a piece of 
cleverness of which they may boast. 

The following anecdote is characteristic. A Sertanejo came down 


from the interior with a large drove of cattle, which had been en- 
trusted to him to sell ; he obtained a purchaser, who was to pay him 
at the close of two or three months. The Sertanejo waited to re- 
ceive the money, as his home was too far distant to return for this 
purpose. Before the expiration of the term, the purchaser of the 
cattle found some means of having him imprisoned ; he went to him 
when he was in confinement, and pretending to be extremely sorry for 
his misfortune, hinted, that if he would allow him to appropriate part of 
the debt to the purpose, he would try to obtain his release ; to this 
he Sertanejo agreed, and consequently soon obtained his freedom. 
He heard soon afterwards how the whole of the business had been 
managed by the purchaser of the cattle, to avoid paying for what he 
had bought, and he could not obtain any part of the money. Having 
advised his employers in the Sertam of these circumstances, he re- 
ceived for answer, that the loss of the money was of little conse- 
quence, but that he must either assassinate the man who had injured 
him, or not return home ; because he should himself suffer if the 
insult remained unrevenged. The Sertanejo immediately made pre- 
parations for returning ; he had always feigned great thankfulness 
towards his debtor for obtaining his release, and a total ignorance of 
his unjustifiable conduct. On the day of his departure, he rode to 
the house of the man whom he had determined to destroy, and dis- 
mounted, whilst one of his two companions held his horse ; he saw 
the owner of the house, and as he gave him the usual parting em- 
brace, ran his long knife into his side ; he then quickly leapt on to his 
horse, and the three persons rode off. None dared to molest them, 
for they were well armed, and although this occurred in a large town, 
they soon joined a considerable number of their countrymen who 
waited for them in the outskirts, and proceeded to their own country, 
without any attempt being made to apprehend them. These cir- 
cumstances took place several years ago ; but the relatives of the 
man who was killed still bear in mind his death, and a determination 
of revenging it upon him who committed it, if he was again to place 
u 2 


himself within their reach. Many persons can vouch for the truth of 
the story. 

The colour of the Sertanejos varies from white, of which there are 
necessarily few, to a dark brown ; the shades of which are almost 
as various as there are persons : two of exactly the same tint are 
scarcely to be met with. Children of the same parents rarely if ever 
are of the same shade; some difference is almost always perceivable, 
and this is, in many instances, so glaring, as to lead at first to doubts 
of the authenticity ; but it is too general to be aught but what is 
right. The offspring of white and black persons leans, in most in- 
stances, more to one colour than to the other, when perhaps a second 
child will take a contrary tinge*. These remarks do not only 
hold good in the Sertam, but are applicable to all the country which 
I had opportunities of seeing. The Sertanejo, if colour is set 
aside, is certainly handsome ; and the women, whilst young, have 
well-shaped forms, and many of them good features ; indeed I have 
seen some of the white persons who would be admired in any 
country. Their constant exposure to the sun, and its great power at 
a distance from the sea, darkens the complexion more than if the 
same persona had resided upon the coast; but this gives them a 
decided dark colour, which has the appearance of durability, and is 
much preferable to a sallow sickly look, though of a lighter tint. .^ 

The persons who reside upon and have the care of the cattle estates, 
are called Vaqueiros, which simply means cowherds. They have a 
share of the calves and foals that are reared upon the land, but of the 
lambs, pigs, goats, &c. no account is given to the owner ; and from 
the quantity of cattle, numbers are reckoned very loosely ; it is there- 
fore a comfortable and lucrative place, but the duties attending it are 
heavy, require considerable courage, and great bodily strength and 

* A mulatto woman once said to me, "The children of mulattos are like whelps, they 
are of all colours. " Filho de mulatto, he comojllho de cacliono, Imvi sake h-anco, mitroj)ardo e 
oufro Jiegro." 


activity. Some of the owners live upon their estates ; but the major 
part of those through which I passed, were possessed by men of large 
property, who resided in the towns upon the coast, or who were at the 
same time sugar-planters. 

The interior of Pernambuco, Rio Grande, Paraiba, and Seara, con- 
tains, properly speaking, no wild cattle*. Twice every year the 
herdsmen from several estates assemble for the purpose of collecting 
the cattle. The cows are driven from all quarters into the area in 
front of the house, and here, surrounded by several horsemen, are 
put into spacious pens. This being done, the men dismount, and 
now their object is, if any of the cows are inclined to be unruly, 
which is often the case, to noose them by the horns so as to secure 
them ; or another mode is adopted, which is by noosing one of the 
hind-legs, and carrying the cord quite round the animal, so as to 
throw it down. The calves are then caught, and this is done without 
much difficulty ; they are marked on the right haunch with a red-hot 
iron, which is made of the shape that has been fixed upon by the 
owner as his peculiar mark. When the oxen are to be collected 
for a market, the service is more dangerous, and frequently the rider 
is under the necessity of throwing the animal to the ground with his 
long pole, as I have in another place mentioned. On the man's ap- 
proach, the ox runs off into the nearest wood, and the man follows, 
as closely as he possibly can, that he may take advantage of the open- 
ing of the branches which is made by the beast, as these shortly close 
again, resuming their former situation. At times the ox passes 
under a low and thick branch of a large tree, then the man likewise 
passes under the branch, and that he may do this, he leans to the right 
side so completely, as to enable him to lay hold of the girth of his 

* Dr. Manoel Arruda da Camara says, that before the dreadful drought of 1793, 
it was considered to be one of the duties of the herdsmen to destroy the wild cattle, that 
that which was already half tamed, might not be induced to mix with it, and by this means 
become wild ; and he adds, that this is still the case in the Sertoens of Piauhi. He pub- 
lished his pamphlets in 1 8 1 o. 


saddle with his left hand, and at the same time his left heel catches 
the flap of the saddle ; thus with the pole in his right hand, almost 
trailing upon the ground, he follows Avithout slackening his pace, 
and being clear of this obstacle, again resumes his seat. If he can 
overtake the ox, he runs his goad into its side, and if this is dexte- 
rously done, he throws it. Then he dismounts, and ties the animal's 
legs together, or places one fore-leg over one of the horns, which 
secures it most effectually. Many blows are received by these men, 
but it is seldom that deaths are occasioned. 

In crossing the Seara-meirim, I mentioned an instance of a cow 
liaving strayed to an immense distance from its native pasture. This 
propensity to ramble is common among horned cattle, even without 
its proceeding from the scarcity of grass or water. Often at the time 
of collecting the cattle, those persons who have been to a considerable 
distance to assist others, drive back a number of beasts with their 
own mark ; the estate to which they belonged being distant twenty 
leagues or more. Wlien a traveller is in distress for water, he 
cannot do better than to follow the first cattle-path, as these usually 
lead to the nearest pool of water, in a direct line. The paths are 
easily distinguished, being very narrow, and the wood uniting above, 
leaving open below only a shady walk, of the height of the animals 
which made it. 

Each lot of mares with its master horse is driven into the pens ; 
this consists of from fifteen to twenty in number. The foals are like- 
wise marked in the same manner as the calves. It is worthy of 
remark, and the circumstance was often repeated to me, that the 
horse of the lot drives from it not only the colts but the fillies also, 
as soon as they are full grown. The fact was only qualified in two or 
three instances, when told to me, by the person who related it adding, 
that if the horse did not do so, he was taken from the lot, and broken 
for the pack-saddle, being considered of a bad breed. When a horse 
is to be tamed for any purpose whatsoever, he is noosed, after being 
put into a pen, and is tied to a stake ; on the following day, or per- 
haps the same afternoon, if he appears at all tractable, a small low 


saddle is placed upon him, and a man then mounts with a double 
halter. The animal runs off with him, which the man, far from 
attempting to prevent, rather urges him to do ; though in general 
the whip and spur are not made use of, unless he is obstinate and 
refuses to go forwards. Horses of good breeds are said to be those 
most easily tamed. The horse runs until he becomes weary, and is 
then brought back quietly by its rider ; and perhaps they do not 
reach the rider's home until the following day. The man must not 
dismount until he has retui*ned to the spot from whence he started, 
as he would probably experience great difficulty when he wished 
again to proceed, from the restiveness of the horse. The same ope- 
ration is continued as long as the animal is not supposed to be 
effectually broken in, and safe to mount. It happens on some occa- 
sions, that by plunging, the horse gets rid of both man and saddle, 
and is not again seen for a length of time ; however, unless the girths 
give way, he has little chance of throwing his rider, for the Sertanejos 
are most excellent horsemen. 

The horses are small, and some of them are finely shaped, though 
little attention is paid to the improvement of the breed. Great 
stress is laid upon the colour, in the choice of these animals ; some 
colours being accounted more demonstrative of strength than others. 
Thus a cream-coloured horse, with a tail and mane of the same 
colour, is rejected for the pack-saddle, or for any kind of 
severe labour ; and if horses of this description are sold for these 
purposes, the price is lower than that of an animal of an equally pro- 
mising appearance in form and size, of any other tinge : they are 
much esteemed if well shaped, as saddle-horses, for short distances. 
A cream-coloured horse, with a black tail and mane, is reckoned 
strong. The horses that have one fore-leg white, and the other of 
the colour of the body, are supposed to be liable to stumble. The 
usual colours are bay and grey ; but chesnut, black, and cream- 
colour are less common ; those most esteemed for work are dark bays, 
with black tails and manes, and greys dotted with small bay spots. 
Stallions are broken in both for the saddle and for carrying loads in 


the neighbourhood of the towns ; but the Sertanejos, both from 
necessity and from their knowledge of their superior ability to per- 
form hard labour, make use of geldings. It is not always safe to ride 
a high-spirited horse in the Sertam, because when he begins to neigh, 
instances have occurred of some master horse coming to give him 
battle, and as both are equally desii-ous of fighting, the rider may 
perhaps find himself under the necessity of placing himself at a 
distance from the combatants. However, if he should chance to 
have a good stick in his hand, and can prevent his own horse from 
rearing as the wild horse approaches, he may come off in safety. 

Sheep are kept upon every estate for their flesh, when that of a 
more esteemed kind fails ; that is, either when the oxen are in a 
meagre state, owing to a long continuance of dry v/eather ; or that 
the herdsman is too much occupied at home, or too lazy to go out 
and kill one. The mutton is never well-tasted, and though it is true 
that in the Sertam no cave whatever is taken in rearing or feeding 
the sheep, still I do not think that this kind of meat is to be brought 
to any great perfection*. The lambs are covered with fine 
wool, and this continues until they are one year and a half or two 
years old ; but after this age, it begins to drop, and is replaced by a 
species of hair. Although the wool should remain longer in some 
instances, it appeared to me that it was coarse and short f. A wound 

* When I resided at Jaguaribe, and upon the island of Itamaraca, in the years 1 8 1 3 
and 1 8 1 4, I took some pains in this matter ; but the meat was not good, and though all 
kinds of flesh in Brazil have less flavour than that of the same species of animal in Eng- 
land, still I think that the mutton of Brazil is more unequal to the mutton of England, 
than is the case respecting the beef of the two countries. 

f Lieutenant-Colonel Joam da Silva Feijo, in a pamphlet published at Rio de 
Janeiro in 1 8 1 1 , on the sheep of the province of Seara, says, " That the sheep of that part 
of the country bear wool which has all the marks of being of a superior quality; that it is 
in general soft, shining, well curled, of a good length, and strong." He again says, " That 
the governor," the same of whom I have spoken, " sent a small quantity of it to England, 
which was much admired and esteemed." I did not certainly remark particularly the 
sheep of Seara, and his opinion must of course be taken in preference to mine, as this 
gentleman is the naturalist of the same province; however, I bought several as ibod, and 


upon the body of this animal is more difficult to heal than upon that of 
any other, and the flesh of it is of all others the most rapid in its 
advances to putrefaction. 

The division of property in the Sertam is very undeterminate, and 
this may be imagined, when I say, that the common mode of defining 
the size of ixfazenda, is by computing it at so many leagues ; or, as in 
some cases, by so many hundreds of calves yearly, without any refer- 
ence to the quantity of land. Few persons take the trouble of 
making themselves aquainted with the exact extent of their own pro- 
perty, and perhaps could not discover it if they made the attempt. 

The climate is good ; indeed the inland flat country is much more 
healthy than that immediately bordering the coast. I can hardly 
name any disorders that appear to be peculiar to it ; but several are 
known. Agues are not common, but they exist. Dropsy also they 
are acquainted with. Ulcers in the legs are common, but less so than 
upon the coast. Ruptures frequently occur. The small-pox* makes 
dreadful ravages, and the measles are much dreaded. When the vene- 
real disease has once settled, the sufferer seldom gets rid of it entirely ; 
applications of herbs are used, but as these people are unacquainted 
with or unable to follow its proper mode of treatment, some of the pa- 
tients are crippled, and the major part of them never again enjoy good 
health. The yaws also is to be met with ; but I had afterwards 
more opportunities of seeing this complaint, and will therefore not 
now give any account of it. Instances of consumption occur. The 
hooping-cough did not appear to be known in any part of the 
country which I visited ; I made many inquiries respecting it, but 
could not obtain any information upon the subject. I slept many 
times in the open air, and never felt any bad effects from so doing. 
The dew is trifling, and a high wind is usual in the night. The sun 

their skins were invariably covered in the manner which I have above described. Wlien 
I resided at Jaguaribe and Itamaraca, I possessed a considerable number of sheep, and 
of these I can speak positively. 

* Vaccination is finding its way among them in spite of prejudice. — 1815. 


is powerful, and is of course particularly felt in travelling over sandy 
loose soil ; but it did not seem to do any mischief I never suf- 
fered from head-ache, and excepting the attack of the ague, which is 
accounted for from the heavy rain which we experienced, I never en- 
joyed better health. 

The food of the inhabitants of the Sertam consists chiefly of meat, 
of which they make three meals ; and to this is added the flour of 
the mandioc stirred up into paste, or rice sometimes supplies its 
place. The bean, which is commonly called in England the French 
bean, is a favourite food ; it is suffered to run to seed, and is only 
plucked up when quite dry and hard. I have often been surprised to 
see of how little service maize is to them as food, but yet it is occa- 
sionally used. In default of these, the paste of the carnauba is made ; 
and I have seen meat eaten with curds. Of green vegetables they 
know nothing, and they laugh at the idea of eating any kind of sallad. 
The wild fruits are numerous, and to be obtained in any quantities, 
but few species are cultivated ; among the latter are the water- 
melon and the plantain. The cheese of the Sertam, when it is fresh, 
is excellent ; but after four or five weeks, it becomes hard and tough. 
Some few persons make butter, by shaking the milk in a common 
black bottle, but this must of course be experimental, and not general. 
In the towns even of the Sertam, rancid Irish butter is the only kind 
which is to be obtained. Wherever the lands admit of it, these 
people plant mandioc, rice, &c. but much, I may say the greater part 
of the vegetable portion of their food, is brought either from more 
fertile districts near to the coast, or from the settlements still further 
back, — the vallies and skirts of the Cariris, Serra do Teixeira, and 
other inland mountains. 

The trade of the Sertam consists in receiving small quantities of 
European manufactured goods*; the cotton cloth of the country, of 
which they make some among themselves ; a small portion of Euro- 

<rhis branch of trade increases most rapidly. — 1 8 1 5. 



pean white earthenware, and considerable quantities of the dark 
brown ware of the country, which is made for the most part by the 
Indians who live in the districts that contain the proper kind of 
clay; rum in small casks; butter, tobacco, snuff, sugar or treacle 
made up in cakes, spurs, bits for bridles, and other gear for their 
horses, excepting the saddles, of which the greater part are made in 
their own districts ; gold and silver ornaments also find a market to 
a certain amount. The pedlars travel about from village to village, 
and from one estate to another, bartering their commodities for cattle 
of all kinds, cheese, and hides of horned cattle. A colt of from two to 
three years, sells for about one gviinea ; a horse broken in for the 
pack-saddle, for two or three guineas ; a horse broken in for mount- 
ing, from five to six guineas. A bullock of two years, ten shillings ; 
a full grown ox, one guinea and a half; a cow varies much, accord- 
ing to the quantity of milk, from one guinea to five guineas. A 
sheep, from two to three shillings ; a goat for slaughter is worth even 
less, but a good milch goat is valued at one guinea, and sometimes 
higher. Children are frequently suckled by goats, which increases 
the value of these animals. The goat that has been so employed 
always obtains the name of cotnadre, the term which is made use of 
between the mother and godmother of a child ; and so general is this, 
that she-goats are frequently called comadres, without having had the 
honour of suckling a young master or mistress. Dogs are sometimes 
valued at from one to two guineas, and even higher, if they are good 
sporting, or good house and baggage-dogs. A fowl is as dear as a 
sheep or goat ; and in one instance, as has been related, I paid four 
times the money for one of these birds that I had given for a kid. 
The hawkers seldom obtain money in exchange for their wares ; they 
take whatever is offered, and hire people to assist in conveying the 
cattle or produce to a market, where they are exchanged for goods, 
and then the owner again returns. A twelvemonth is sometimes passed 
in turning over the property once ; but the profits are usually enor- 
mous ; two or three hundred ^jer cent. 

During my stay at Natal, the governor shewed me a species of 
X 2 


wax which is produced from the leaves of the camafiba, a tree I have 
frequently mentioned. A quantity of this wax was sent by him to 
Rio de Janeiro ; it is mentioned in one of Dr. Arruda's publications, 
and a sample of it found its way to England, and has been taken 
notice of by the Royal Society*. The governor, in one of his journies 
through his province, passed the night, as often happened, in a 
peasant's cottage. A wax candle was lighted and placed before him, 
which was rudely made, but afforded a good light ; he was somewhat 
surprised at this, because oil is generally used ; on making enquiry, 
he found out that the wax dropped from the leaves which covered the 
cottage, during the heat of the day; — T suppose the cottage had been 
newly built, or that a fresh covering of leaves had been put on to it. 
He afterwards made the experiment himself, tried some of the 
candles, and became confident of the importance of the vegetable 
wax. The governor also gave me a piece of iron ore, which was the 
produce of the captaincy of Rio Grande. He told me that he enter- 
tained little doubt of the existence of considerable quantities of this 
metal in this part of the country, and that the Government would be 
well recompensed for their trouble, if proper persons were appointed 
for the purpose of making discoveries on this subject. I saw some 
cloth which he had ordered to be woven from the thread of the 
crauatd-[. Its texture was not unlike that of the coarse linen which 
is used for sheeting ; it is very strong. I have some of the thread 
in my possession. 

As soon as I had arranged that I should leave Natal in the morn- 
ing of the 6th February, the governor told me that he intended set- 
ting off on business relating to his province at the same time. We 
took leave of each other at night, and in the morning when I rose, I 
found myself in possession of the house, as he had set out at four 
o'clock. We did not get away until about seven, owing to the 

* Vide Appendix for a further account of this wax. 
+ Vide Appendix for a further account of this plant. 

CUNHAU. 157 

number of horses' loads, and other matters which it was necessary to 
arrange. I felt quite at home at Natal, though I was yet distant from 
Recife seventy leagues ; but the country is well watered, well wooded, 
and comparatively well peopled. 

I passed again through St. Joze, the Indian village, but did not 
turn off from the road towards Papari. I slept at a hamlet, and in 
the morning proceeded to CunhaTi. About ten o'clock we were 
under the necessity of turning loose, and leaving behind upon one of 
the plains, a horse which I had purchased at Chafaris; he was com- 
pletely fagged, and could not proceed farther. The colonel of Cun- 
hau was not at home, but his steward wished me to make use of his 
master's house; however, I merely mentioned having left a horse at 
some distance upon the lands of the plantation, and the guide drew 
for his government the mark which it had upon the haunch. I 
have often observed the quickness of these people in recognising 
a mark which they have once seen, and the accuracy with which 
they will draw it after having only taken seemingly a casual glance, 
and perhaps after a period of some weeks has elapsed since they had 
had even this*. We then rode on half a league to the hamlet. The 
commandant of this place introduced himself to me, and was ex- 
tremely civil ; he put my horse into his stable and wished me to stay 
until the following morning, but I preferred advancing, and slept the 
same night at another hamlet two leagues beyond. This day we 
passed several rivulets which were all much swoln, but none of them 
were sufficiently full to prevent the continuance of our journey. There 
had already been some rain, and the face of the country bore a more 
pleasing appearance. Two letter-carriers passed through the place in 
the evening, and I wrote by them to a friend at Pernambuco, that 
the cottage at the Cruz das Almas might be ready for me on my arrival. 

* In the year 1813, I was une evening in company, when I heard a gentleman request 
one of the party to ask the Englishmen who were present, if any of them had ever left a horse 
upon his plantation. I turned round and recognised the colonel of Cunhau. Tlie horse 
was sent to me about a month afterwards. 


The next day we passed some sugar plantations and over some 
hills; the country was most beautiful, for every thing looked green 
and healthy. I crossed a considerable rivulet at the foot of a hill, 
and, ascending on the opposite side, put up at a single cottage, 
which was inhabited by white people; an old man, a widower, with 
a fine family of handsome sons and daughters. Their cottage had 
not room for us all, and therefore we intended to sleep in the open 
air altogether, but the old man insisted upon my going to sleep in 
the house, and I was not sorry for this, being rather afraid of a 
return of the ague. Nearly at sun-set, or at the close of the day, 
which in that country are almost about the same time, the tame 
sheep was missing ; great search was made for it, but to no pur- 
pose. The old man ordered two of his sons to set out, and not to 
return until every enquiry had been made in the neighbourhood. I 
did all in my power to prevent giving this trouble, but he persisted, 
saying, " No, you are under my roof, and this unfortunate circum- 
stance may lead you to have an unfavourable opinion of me." Long 
after dark the young men returned with the sheep and a mulatto 
man in custody. I wished the man to be released, but they said 
that this could not be, for he was a runaway slave, who had com- 
mitted many depredations, and for whose apprehension a consider- 
able reward was offered by his master. They had followed the foot- 
steps of the sheep upon a sandy path as long as the day-light lasted, 
and then had taken a direction, which they thought might lead to 
some mocambos, or huts of the wood, made by runaway slaves. After 
they had proceeded a little way, the bleating of the sheep was heard, 
upon which they prepared themselves and came suddenly upon this 
fellow and a woman who were in a hut ; the woman escaped, which 
they regretted, as she was likewise most probably a runaway slave. 
The man was taken into the house, and was tied fast upon a long 
bench with his face downwards, and the cord was passed round his 
arms and legs several times; this was done in the room which I was 
to inhabit for the night. The whole of the family retired to rest, 
and left us together ; I had my knife with me, but naturally soon 


fell asleep. In the morning the bench and the cords remained, but 
the man was gone ; he had crept through a small window at the op- 
posite end of the room. The young men of the house were sadly 
vexed, but I told them it was their own fault, for some of them should 
have kept watch, as they could not suppose that I should remain 
awake, who had come in fatigued from travelling. We were now 
afraid that he might have taken one of our horses for his more con- 
venient escape, but this was not the case. 

Our journey took us again through the village of Mamanguape ; 
and a little distance beyond it, I left the road, accompanied by the 
guide, and went to the principal house of a sugar plantation, where 
we asked for a night's lodging. I was told that the master was not 
at home, and great doubts seemed to be entertained of taking us in. 
Whilst we were talking at the door, a young man of dark colour came 
up, mounted a horse which was standing there without a saddle, and 
rode off, seemingly avoiding to observe that there were any stran- 
gers present. One of the black women said, " Why did not you 
speak to him, for he is one of our young masters." I now enquired 
and discovered that the owner of the place and his family were mu- 
lattos. This was the only instance of incivility I met with, and the 
only occasion on which a night's lodging was denied to me during 
the whole course of my stay in Brazil. We lodged this night under 
a tree, distant about one hundred yards from the enge.nho, near to a 
neat and comfortable looking cottage, of which the owner was an 
elderly woman ; she was civil to us, and expressed her sorrow at the 
treatment which we had received. There had been very little rain 
here, for the grass in the field of the plantation had still a parched 
look, and the cattle were in bad condition. 

Towards the evening of the following day we reached a hamlet, and 
at one of the cottages I obtained permission to pass the night. There 
was a pent-house standing out from the front ; these are usual even 
for dwellings of wealthy persons. Under it I slung my hammock, 
but was surprised to find, that though the house was inhabited, still 


the door was shut, and that the person within spoke to us, but did not 
open it. This I thought strange, and began to suppose that he might 
be afflicted with some contagious disorder and had been forsaken by his 
friends, or rather, that his family had been advised to remove to some 
neighbouring cottage. But the guide explained, saying that the 
man had been bitten by a snake, and that the bite of this species only 
became fatal if the man who had received it saw any female animal, 
and particularly a woman, for thirty days after the misfortune. As the 
lower orders imagine that all snakes are poisonous, it is not surprising 
that many remedies or charms should be quoted as efficacious. It is 
well known that many of those reptiles are innoxious, but as this is 
not believed by the people in general, it is naturally to be supposed 
that any cause rather than the true one is ascribed on a recovery 
from a bite. 

On the morrow we left these good people in expectation of their 
friend's restoration to health at the allotted period, and proceeded to 
dine on the banks of the river Paraiba, at a spot which was not far 
distant from the plantation of Espirito Santo, where we had slept 
on our way northwards. The river was still as dry as it had been 
during the drought, that is, the pools or hollows in the bed of it had 
water in them, but they did not contain a sufficient quantity to over- 
flow, unite, and form a stream. We arrived upon the banks about 
ten o'clock, and heard from several persons of a report which had 
been spread, that the river was filling fast. About twelve o'clock 
the water made its appearance, and before we left it the river was 
three feet deep. We afterwards heard that the stream was not ford- 
able at five o'clock of the same afternoon, and that it continued to 
run with great rapidity for some days. I went round to Espirito 
Santo and spoke to the capitam-mor, but did not dismount, as I was 
more and more anxious to end my journey. We slept at a single 
cottage about two leagues beyond, and on the following morning 
again set forth. About noon, for I had pushed on without resting 
until this hour, we were descending a long and steep hill, when a 


violent shower of rain came on, which soon caused a torrent to run 
with much noise and velocity thi'ough the gulhes in the road. The 
clay of which the hill was composed was rendered excessively slip- 
pery, and far from proceeding more quickly, the horses became more 
cautious ; and on these occasions it is needless to attempt to urge 
them forwards faster than they themselves are willing to go ; they are 
aware of the danger of a false step, and nothing the rider can do will 
make an old roadster alter his usual manner of proceeding. At the 
foot of the hill stood a venda or liquor shop, at which travellers were 
in the habit of putting up. Most of the hamlets contain one of these 
places, and we had met with them much more frequently since we 
had entered upon the great cattle road. Wet as we were, through 
and through, it would have been impossible to go on further this day, 
therefore we were thankful in having a house so near ; indeed, the 
rain continued during the greatest part of the afternoon. We had 
descended into a narrow and beautiful valley, much of which was 
covered with flourishing plantations of sugar cane, looking very green 
and luxuriant. This was not the first night that I had seen the beau- 
tiful luminous insect, elater noctilucus, which is called by the Por- 
tugueze cacafogo. It is to be met with chiefly in well wooded lands, 
and emits at intervals a strong but short lived light. 

After leaving this place the next morning, we discovered that we 
had lost some trifles belonging to our baggage. I sent the guide and 
another man back to seek for them ; but they returned unsuccessful. 
We had, it is true, seldom taken up our lodgings in public houses, 
but perhaps if we had done so oftener, I should have had more 
reason to complain ; however as it is, this was the only occasion 
upon which I lost any part of my baggage, with a suspicion of theft 
attached to its disappearing. 

We rested at mid-day near Dous Rios, and in the afternoon passed 
through that place, arriving at Goiana about sunset. It will be 
remembered that I purchased some of my horses at Goiana ; now on 
my return, two of the same animals were stiU with me, and this alone 


proves that they were of the best kind. Wlien we were distant from 
Goiana about one league, one of them made towards a narrow path 
to the right of the road, and was prevented by liis driver from turn- 
ing up into it, but immediately after passing it, he began to flag, and 
in a few minutes I was under the necessity of having him released 
from his load, and of desiring one of the men to lead him, otherwise 
he would have turned back. He had from this time the appearance 
of being quite fatigued. I can only account for the circumstance by 
supposing that the path led to his former master's residence, and that 
the animal had proceeded thus far in expectation of ending his 
journey here. 

I was received by my friends at Goiana in their usual friendly man- 
ner ; but I found that the town was in a dreadful state from the scarcity 
of provisions. One person was said to have died of hunger, and I was 
told by an inhabitant that several respectable women had been at 
his house to beg for farinha, offering to pawn their gold ornaments 
for it. 

On the morning of the 15th February, I left Goiana, and assisted 
my people in crossing the river. As soon as they were all safe on 
the Recife side of it, I pushed on accompanied by Julio and Feli- 
ciano, all three of us being mounted upon our best horses. We 
rested during the heat of the day at Iguarafu. My horse recognized 
the place, for as he entered the town, he quickened his pace, and 
without being guided, went up to the door of the inn, from whence 
he refused to stir again until I dismounted. We arrived a little after 
sunset at the Ci'uz das Almas. John was prepared for me, but did 
not expect me for one or two days. 

The following morning I rode to Recife, and was received by my 
friends as one who had been somewhat despaired of; and even my 
particular friend to whom I had written, did not expect me so soon. 
When I returned home in the evening, the rest of the party had 
arrived ; and Feliciano and his two companions set off two days 


afterwards on their return to Seara*. Julio likewise left me, with 
which I was much displeased, f 

• In the year 1 8 1 2, I met Feliciano and one of the otliers, who was his brother-in-law, 
in one of the streets of Recife. They recollected nie, and I was stopped by both of them 
getting hold of my coat on each side. They asked me if I was going again to travel, for if 
I was, they said that they were unemployed, and would go with me. Tiieir attack had so 
much the appearance of being more in violence than in the gladness of old friendship, that 
one or two of my acquaintance who chanced to pass at the time, stopped and enquired 
what was the matter, supposing that I had got into some scrape. These fellows hterally 
held me fast, until I had answered all their questions. Their fidelity seems to militate 
from the general unfavourable character which I have given of the Indians ; but unfortu- 
nately, individual instances prove very little. 

f I had imagined that he did not intend to return again into my service ; but on my 
second voyage to Pernambuco, I found him at the house of one of my friends, employed 
as a household servant, and I heard that he had come down to Recife two days after I had 
left the place, for the purpose of remaining with me ; but as I was gone, he had entered into 
the service in which I found him. Julio was an exception to almost all the bad qualities of 
the Indians ; and if I was again to travel in that country, I should use every endeavour to 
have him in company. He belonged to Alhandra. 

Y 2 






EIGHT days after my return from Seara, arrived a vessel from 
England, bringing letters which obliged me to leave Pernam- 
buco and proceed to Maranham. As a cargo could not be obtained 
for the brig at the former place, the consignee determined to send her 
to Maranham, and being myself desirous of taking advantage of the 
first opportunity, I prepared for the voyage, and sailed in the course 
of forty-eight hours. 

We w^eighed anchor on the 25th February, and had a prosperous 
passage of seven days. We were in sight of the land nearly the whole 
time, and occasionally, as the brig was small, and the master wished 
if possible to become acquainted with the points of land, we were 
very near to it. The Portugueze ships seldom come up this coast 
without a pilot, nor is it prudent to do otherwise ; but we could not 
obtain one without delay, to which the master objected. He had 
scarcely ever before been out of the British seas ; but their school is 
good, and now he found his way to Maranham with as much dex- 
terity as an experienced pilot. This coast is generally known to be 
dangerous ; and the land has for the most part a dreary and dismal 
look, particularly after passing Rio Grande. We entered the bay of 
St. Marcos with the lead going, took the channel to the eastward of 
the baixo do meio or middle bank, passed the Fort of St. Marcos, and 


came to <an anchor opposite and very near to the sand banks at the 
mouth of the harbour of St. Luiz. As no pilot came off to us, the 
master and myself got into the boat, intending to fetch one ; but on 
coming opposite to the Fort of St. Francisco, a gun without shot was 
fired, and the sentinel beckoned us back to the ship. We pulled for 
the fort, and when we approached it, an enormous speaking trumpet 
was produced, and through it we received orders not to proceed to 
the city. However we landed at the fort, and I told the officer that 
the master was particularly desirous of having a pilot, as he was 
unacquainted with the bay or port ; but it is well known that they 
contain many sand banks. We were answered that the pilot would 
come in due time ; and finding remonstrance of no avail, returned to 
the ship. When the pilot arrived, he was accompanied by a soldier 
and a custom-house officer. It was with some difficulty that I could 
persuade the master to allow the former to corne into the vessel. 
Sailors and soldiers never very well agree, and the blunt Englishman 
said that he had no idea of his ship being taken from him by a fellow 
in a party-coloured jacket. This was a new regulation. Indeed in 
most of those regarding the port of Maranham, I could not avoid 
recollecting the old proverb of " much cry, &c." As the brig came 
up the harbour, we received the health and custom-house visit. It 
was composed of several well-dressed men, some of whom wore 
cocked hats and swords ; and all of them ate much bread and cheese, 
and drank quantities of porter. The administrador of the customs 
was among them, and was dressed in the uniform of a cavalry officer. 
I scarcely ever saw so much astonishment pictured in the countenance 
of any man as in that of the master of the brig. He had been accus- 
toihed to enter our own ports, where so much business is done in so 
quiet a manner ; and he now said to me in half joke, half earnest, 
" Why it is not only one, but they are coming in shoals to take the 
ship fi-om me." After all these personages, and all the trouble they 
had given us, I was still obliged to pass the night on board, because 
the guardamor, the officer especially appointed to prevent smug- 
gling, had not made his visit. Fortunately, I found means of having 

166 ST. LUIZ. 

the letters conveyed on shore, otherwise the vessel would have 
arrived four and twenty hours before the merchant to whom she was 
consigned, could have obtained any information regarding her. To 
render the night still more agreeable, some heavy rain fell ; the deck 
was leaky, and about midnight I was obliged to rise and look for a 
dry corner. 

The city of St. Luiz, situated upon the island of Maranham, and 
the metropolis of the estado, or state of Maranham, is the residence 
of a captain-general and the see of a bishop. It is built upon very 
unequal ground, commencing from the water's edge, and extending 
to the distance of about one mile and a half in a N.E. direction. The 
space which it covers, ought to contain many more inhabitants than 
is actually the case ; but the city is built in a straggling manner, and 
it comprises some broad streets and squares. This gives to it an airy 
appearance, which is particularly pleasant in so warm a climate. Its 
situation upon the western part of the island, and upon one side of a 
creek, almost excludes it from the sea breeze, by which means the 
place is rendered less healthy than if it was more exposed. The 
population may be computed at about 12,000 persons or more, in- 
cluding negroes, of which the proportion is great, being much more 
considerable than at Pernambuco. The streets are mostly paved, but 
are out of repair. The houses are many of them neat and pretty, 
and of one story in height ; the lower part of them is appropriated to 
the servants, to shops without windows, to warehouses, and other pur- 
poses, as at Pernambuco. The family lives upon the upper story, and 
the windows of this reach down to the floor, and are ornamented with 
iron balconies. The churches are numerous, and there are likewise 
Franciscan, Carmelite, and other convents. The places of worship 
are gaudily decorated in the inside ; but no plan of architecture is 
aimed at in the formation of the buildings themselves, with the ex- 
ception of the convents, which preserve the regular features apper- 
taining to such edifices. The governor's palace stands upon rising 
ground, not far from the water side, with the front towards the town. 
It is a long uniform stone building of one story in height ; the prin- 


cipal entrance is wide, but without a portico. The western end joins 
the town-hall and prison, which appear to be part of the same edi- 
fice ; and the oblong piece of ground in its front, covered with grass, 
gives to it on the whole a handsome and striking appearance. One 
end of this is open to the harbour and to a fort in the hollow, close 
to the water ; the other extremity is nearly closed by the cathedral. 
One side is almost taken up with the palace and other public build- 
ings, and the opposite space is occupied by dwelling-houses and 
streets leading down into other parts of the city. The ground upon 
which the whole place stands, is composed of a soft red stone ; so 
that the smaller streets leading from the town into the country, some 
of which are not paved, are full of gullies, through which the water 
runs in the rainy season. These streets are formed of houses consist- 
ing only of the ground floor, and having thatched roofs ; the windows 
are without glass, and the dwellings have a most mean and shabby 
appearance. The city contains a custom-house and treasury ; the 
former is small, but was quite large enough for the business of the 
place, until lately. 

The harbour is formed by a creek in the island, and is to be en- 
tered from the bay of St. Marcos. The channel is of sufficient depth 
for common sized merchant ships ; but is very narrow, and not to 
be entered without a pilot. Opposite to the town the water is 
shallow at the ebb. It is worthy of remark, that the tide rises gra- 
dually more and more along the coast of Brazil, from south to north. 
Thus at Rio de Janeiro the rise is said to be trifling ; at Pernambuco 
it is from five to six feet ; at Itamaraca eight feet ; and at Maranham, 
it is eighteen feet. The forts of Maranham are all of them said to be 
in bad order. I heard one person observe, half in earnest, that he did 
not suppose each fort contained more than four guns which were in 
a fit state to be fired. I did not see that of St. Marcos, which 
is situated at the entrance of the bay ; but it is reported to be 
in the same state as the others. Those I saw are small, and built 
of stone. The soldiers were well dressed and well fed, and they 
looked respectable. The barracks are new and large comparatively 


speaking, and have been built in an airy situation, in the outskirts of 
the city. The garrison consists of one regiment of regular infantry 
of about one thousand men when complete ; but these are much 
divided, being stationed in several forts. Recruits are formed of the 
lower orders of white persons, and of the people of colour. The men 
were never exercised with the artillery, and were merely accustomed 
to the common routine of mounting guard, though a few detach- 
ments have on some occasions been sent on to the main land at the 
back of the island, to assist the planters against the wild Indians. 

The island of Maranham forms the S.E. side of the bay of St.Marcos, 
consequently this bay is to the westward of it. To the eastward of the 
island is the bay of St. Joze. From some similarity between the point 
of Itacolomi, by which vessels are in part guided when about to enter 
the bay of St. Marcos, and another point of land upon the small ir^and 
of St. Anna, which is at the entrance of" the bay of St. Joze, instances 
have occurred of vessels mistaking the latter for the former, and en- 
tering the bay of St. Joze. This error causes great danger and inconve- 
nience, because owing to the prevalence of easterly winds, it is next 
to impossible for a vessel to beat her way out of it. It is therefore 
necessary that she should go through the narrow channel between 
the main land and the island of Maranham, a passage of considerable 
difficulty*. The bay of St. Marcos is spotted with several beautiful 

* The information which is contained in this note I had from Captain Juan Roman 
Trivino, of the Spanish ship St. Joze, of 300 tons burthen. He received orders to pro- 
ceed flora Rio de Janeiro to Maranham, for the purpose of loading cotton, in the com- 
mencement of the year 1815. He arrived off the settlement of Seara, and sent on shore 
for a pilot to take him to St. Luiz ; he was informed that none resided at Seara, but that 
he would find one at Jeriquaquara, a high hill between Seara and Parnaiba. On arriving 
near to this place, he discovered an Indian in a canoe fishing, who came on board, and 
offered to pilot him to St. Luiz. This was agreed to, and they proceeded ; but from mis- 
taking the two points of land in the manner mentioned above, the Indian took the vessel 
into the bay of St. Joze, on the 15th March. They kept the lead going, even before they 
discovered the error into which they had been led, as is the custom with all vessels bound 
to St. Luiz. The ship was brought to an anchor off the village of St. Joze, which is 
situated upon the N.E. point of the island of Maranham, in eleven fathoms water. Whilst 


islands, and is of sufficient extent to admit of considerable grandeur. 
The width from St. Luiz to the opposite shore is between four and 
five leagues; its length is much greater; towards the south end there 
are several sand banks, and the water is shallower. It receives here 
the waters of a river, along the banks of which are situated several 
cattle estates, but the river Itapicuru, which runs into the narrow 
channel between the main land and the island, enjoys the greatest 
share of cultivation ; its banks are extremely fertile, and upon them 
have been established the principal plantations of cotton and rice, 
which are the two chief and almost only articles of commerce from 
the city of St. Luiz. The island is in itself very little cultivated. 
There is no considerable plantation upon it. A few of the rich mer- 
chants residing in the city have country houses distant from it about 
one league, but the remainder of the lands are left untouched, owing, 
as is said, to the unfitness of the soil for the purposes of agriculture*. 

they continued in the mid-channel of the bay, they found from eighteen to twenty fathoms. 
The depth of water regularly decreases from the centre of the bay towards the land on each 
side; but it contains no insulated sand banks. The ship was at anchor off the village of St. 
Joze two days; they then proceeded through the channel, which is inclosed on either side 
by mangroves, and is so narrow in some parts that the yards at times brushed against the 
branches. The wind was fair, and they sailed through without being obliged to tow or 
warp the ship. The depth of water varied from five to two and a half fathoms ; the bottom 
was of mud. About halfway through the channel, the tide from the bay of St. Joze and that 
from the bay of St. Marcos meet. This takes place nearly but not quite opposite to the 
mouth of the river Itapicuru. They were two days in sailing fl-om ihe anchorage ground 
at St. .Toze to the island of Taua, which is situated near to the S. W. corner of the island 
of Maranham. Here the ship came to an anchor in nine fathoms water, with a sandy 
bottom ; the captain sent to St. Luiz for another pilot, as the man who had brought 
them thus far was not acquainted with the remainder of the navigation. The island of 
Taua is rocky, and uninhabited, and is covered with palm trees. The village of St. Joze 
appeared to Captain Trivino to be of considerable size, but, with the exception of two or 
three, the houses wei-e built of slight timber and of the leaves of different species of palm 
trees. Its inhabitants were mostly fishermen. He mentioned that he saw a shoemaker at 
work there. Captain Trivino understood fi-oni liis pilot that the river Itapicuru is at its 
mouth 1 20 yards wide, and that its depth is one fathom and a half. 

* Joam IV. sent over one Bartholomew Barreiros de Ataide with three miners, one a 
Venetian and the other two French, to search for gold and silver. After two years' search 
up the Amazons they returned to Maranham, and offered to supply the people with iron 
at a cruzado, about 2s. 4d.,j7CT- quintal, 128 lbs. weight, if the state would engage to take 


There is a horse-path through the island to a house which stands 
immediately opposite to the mouth of the river Itapicuru ; at this is 
stationed a canoe, for the purpose of conveying people from one 
shore to the other. Another horse-path also leads to the village and 
chapel of St. Joze. 

The importance of the province has increased very rapidly. Pre- 
vious to the last sixty years no cotton was exported, and I heard that 
when the first parcel was about to be shipped, a petition was made by 
several of the inhabitants to the Camara or municipality, requesting 
that the exportation might not be permitted, for otherwise they feared 
that there would be a want of the article for the consumption of the 
country ; this of course was not attended to, and now the number of 
bags exported annually is between forty and fifty thousand, aver- 
aging about ISOlbs. weight each*. The quantity of rice grown 

all that they should produce at that price. The people were afraid to enter into any such 
contract. The island was so rich in this ore that foreign cosmographers called it the ilha 
doferro in their maps, and all who came there with any knowledge of the subject said 
that it was ore of the best quality. A thing of great importance to Portugal, which 
bought all its iron, and yet this discovery was neglected. — From a Memoir of Manoel 
Guedes Aranha, Procurador from Maranham, 1685, in the 6lh Vol. Pinhciro Collection 
of MSS. in the possession of Mr. Southey. 

A royal manufactory of iron has been established in the captaincy of St. Paulo, called 
" The Royal Fabric of S. Joam de Ypanema." I obtained a knowledge of th* fact from 
two letters in Nos. 45 and 56 of the Imestigador Portugtiez, a periodical publication pub- 
lished in London. I am sorry to say, that the two letters to which I allude have arisen 
from some differences existing among the directors of the Fabric. 

* I have just in time received the following statement of the exportation of cotton from 
Maranham, fi'om the year 1809 to 1815 : 

1 809. To Great Britain in 

51 - - - 
29- - - 


- 55.835 

- 21,006 

1 810. To Great Britain - 

37- - - 
19- - - 

- 40,684 

- 11.793 

181 1. To Great Britain - 
To other parts - - 


19- - - 

- 48,705 

- 6,053 

1 8 1 2. To Great Britain - 
To other parts - - 

29- - - 
29- - - 

- 35.767 

- 4.803 

18 13. To Great Britain - 
To other parts - - 

35- - - 
27- - - 

- 50.072 

- 10,101 

ST. LUIZ. 171 

there is likewise great * ; but the sugar which is required for the con- 
sumption of the province is brought from the ports to the south- 
ward. Some sugar cane has lately been planted, but hitherto 
melasses only have been made. I heard many persons say, that 
the lands are not adapted to the growth of the sugar cane f. The 
cotton and rice are brought to St. Luiz in barks of about 25 or 
30 tons burthen. These come down the rivers with the stream 
from the plantations; their return is not however so easy, as they are 
obliged to be rowed or warped, but being then empty, or nearly so, 
the difficulty is not very great. 

Considerable quantities of manufactured goods have been sent out 
from Great Britain since the opening of the trade, as has been done 
to the other principal ports upon the coast; but a ready sale has not 
been found for them here to any great amount. The province of 
Maranham will not bear comparison with that of Pernambuco. It 
is still in an infant state; there still exist wild Indians, and the 
plantations upon the main land are still in danger from their attacks. 
The proportion of free persons is much smaller ; the slaves very 
much preponderate, but this class can of necessity use but little of 
what is in any degree expensive, of what in such a climate is mere 
luxury. There exists at St. Luiz a great inequality of ranks ; the 
chief riches of the place are in the hands of a few men who possess 
landed property to a great extent, numerous gangs of slaves, and are 
also merchants. The wealth of these persons and the characters of 
some of the individuals who enjoy it, have raised them to great 
weight and consequence, and indeed one governor knows to his cost 

Vessels. Bags. 

1 8 14. To Great Britain - 22 - - - - 31,205 
To other parts - - 34 - - - - 14,436 

1815. To Great Britain - 32 - - - - 28,539 
To other parts - - 49- - - -22,216 

* A person of the name of Belfort first planted rice at Maranham, and some of his 
descendants now reside there in opulence. 

f " There were five sugar works or engines, as they are called, at Itapicuru, which 
compoimded for 5000 arrobas of their produce. On the island there were six engines 
in full employ, 1641." — History of Brazil, Vol.11, p. 9. 

z 2 


that without their concurrence it was useless to attempt the intro- 
duction of the innovations proposed, and impossible to trample long 
upon the rest of the community. But the great inequality of rank 
bespeaks the advancement of this place to have been less rapid than 
that of other settlements further south, where the society is more 
amalgamated, and property more divided. As a port of trade with 
Europe, St. Luiz may be accounted the fourth establishment upon 
the coast of Brazil in point of importance, giving precedence to Rio 
de Janeiro, Bahia, and Pernambuco. 

The wild Indians have occasionally crossed from the main land 
to the island, and have committed depredations upon the houses 
and gardens in the neighbourhood of St. Luiz. Some of these peo- 
ple have been at different times made prisoners and brought to the 
town, where very little pains, I fear, have been taken to conciliate 
them. I did not see any of them, but they were represented to me 
as most frightful beings ; their features are excessively ugly, and their 
hair is black and preposterously long, both before and behind. Thqy 
are of a dark copper colour, darker than Indians that have been 
domesticated. The last individuals taken, to the number of four or 
five, were brought into the town quite naked, were put into close 
confinement, and I was informed that there they died. I could not find 
out that any attempt had been made to send them back as mediators, 
or that any plan of conciliation had been entered into ; and on mention- 
ing something of this kind, I was in more than one instance told that 
it would be of no use, that rigour was the only method. I do not 
think that this is the general opinion regarding them, but I much ap- 
prehend that, but faint hopes can be entertained of any zeal being 
shown for their civilization. There are now no enthusiastic mis- 
sionaries ; the Jesuits no longer exist in that country, and the other 
orders of friars have become lazy and worse than useless. However 
the Indians cannot be enslaved ; therefore, at least, they are not hunted 
down like wild cattle, as formerly was the practice. The name which 
is given generally both here and at Pernambuco to all wild Indians 
is Tapuya ; and that of Cahoclo is applied to those who have been 


Having thus given an outline of the place at which I had arrived, 
I may now leave my quarters on board the brig and be allowed to 
land, which I accomplished on the morning subsequent to that of our 
entrance into' the harbour. I was received upon the quay by my 
friend, a young Portugueze with whom I had been intimate in Eng- 
land and at Pernambuco. He told me it was necessary to go to 
the palace, for the purpose of presenting my passport, as the regula- 
tions of the port had for some time been most strictly followed, and 
several indeed had been lately added. I then, for the first time, recol- 
lected that I had no passport, having forgotten to obtain one, owing to 
the haste with which I left Pernambuco. This produced a demur, as 
my friend was afraid that I should be imprisoned, the governor not 
being friendly to Englishmen ; however I determined to call myself 
the supercargo of the briii;. We proceeded to the palace, the en- 
trance to which was guarded by two sentinels, and we passed several 
others in going up the stairs into the antichamber, where we were 
received by a gentlemanlike officer, who heard what I had to say, 
asked no questions, and soon dismissed us. I thought I had seen the 
great man himself, but was undeceived, and heard that he seldom 
honoured any one with an audience. The officer to whom we had 
spoken was the lieutenant-colonel of the regiment of regular infantry. 
The guard at the palace consisted of one company; the muskets were 
piled in front of the chief entrance and appeared to be in good order. 

I soon discovered that St. Luiz was ruled with most despotic sway ; 
the people were afraid of speaking, as no man knew how soon it 
might be his fate to be arrested, from some trifling expression which 
he might allow to escape him. I'he governor was so tenacious of 
the honours due to his situation, that he required every person who 
crossed the area in front of the palace to remain uncovered until he 
had entirely passed the whole building. Not that the governor was 
himself always in view, but this adoration was thought necessary even 
to the building within which he dwelt. The distinction, until then 
reserved, by the Romish church for its highest dignitaries, was how- 
ever not thought by His Excellency too exalted for himself; the bells 
of the cathedral rang every time he went out in his carriage. Per- 


sons, even of the first rank in the place, were to stop, if in their car- 
riages or on horseback, when they met him, and were to allow him 
to pass before they were again to move foi'wards. 

I was introduced to several of the first merchants and planters, and 
particularly to the Colonels Joze Gon9alvez da Silva and Simplicio 
Dias da Silva; the latter is the sub-governor of Parnaiba, a small 
port situated about three degrees to the eastward of St. Luiz. They 
are both of them men of great wealth and of independent spirit. The 
former is an elderly man who has made a large fortune in trade, and 
latterly has increased it in planting cotton. He possesses between 
1000 and 1500 slaves. On one occasion the mulatto driver of his car- 
riage, though ordered by bis master to stop, that the governor might 
pass, refused so to do. The following day an officer came to the old 
gentleman's house with orders to arrest the man. The colonel sent for 
him and said, " Go, and I'll take care of you," adding to the officer, 
" tell His Excellency I have still several other drivers." To the 
surprise of every person about the prison, two servants made their 
appearance in the evening with a tray, covered with a cloth which 
was handsomely embroidered, and filled with the best kinds of vic- 
tuals; sweetmeats, &c. were not forgotten. All this was for the 
driver, and was repeated three times every day until the man re- 
ceived an order for his release. 

The Colonel Simplicio had been sent for by the governor to 
St. Luiz. Had it not been for the circumstances in which he was 
placed, I should have gone down to his residence at Parnaiba; he 
has there a most noble establishment, part of which consists of a 
band of musicians, who are his own slaves ; some of them have been 
instructed at Lisbon and at Rio de Janeiro. It is through such men 
as these that improvements are to be expected. I likewise became 
acquainted with a gentleman who had been imprisoned for a trifling 
breach of some new port regulation. Any of his friends were allowed 
free ingress to see him, and I passed some pleasant evenings with 
him and other persons who were in the habit of assembling there; 
he was allowed two small rooms in the prison, and was confined in 
this manner for several months. The Ouvidor of the province was 


also suspended from exercising the functions of his office, was removed 
from St. Luiz, and imprisoned. in one of the forts. The Jtdz de Fora, 
the second judicial officer, performed for the time the duties of the 
situation ; he was a Brazihan, and a man of independent character, 
who spoke and acted freely, notwithstanding the ostensible place he 
held, and the danger of it under such a government. The master 
of an English merchant ship, I was told, had been arrested for some 
breach of port regulation, and was confined in a miserable dungeon 
for three days. I heard many more stories of the same nature ; but 
these will, I think, suffice to shew the state.of the city of St. Luiz at 
the time and just before I visited that place. 

The governor was a very young man, and a member of one of the 
first noble families of Portugal*. There are few situations in which 
it is so greatly in a man's power to be much beloved or much dis- 
liked as that of governor of a province in Brazil ; in which a man 
may be either the benefactor or the scourge of the people over whom 
he is sent to rule. 

My friend's residence, in which I staid during my visit to JMaran- 
ham, was situated by the water side, and almost within hail of the 
ships at anchor in the harbour. I was amused sometimes at the 
rapidity with which the fishermen paddled their canoes ; these are 
long and of just width sufficient to allow of two men sitting 
abreast. I have seen in one of them as many as sixteen men 
in two rows, with each a paddle, which they move with quickness and 
great regularity. The last men upon the bench steer the canoe when 
necessaiy, placing the paddle so as to answer the pm-pose of a rudder; 
one or other of the two men steering, according to the direction 
which the vessel is to take. These fellows are mostly dark- 
coloured mulattos and blacks, and are entirely naked excepting the 
hats which they wear upon their heads; but when they come on 
shore, they partially cloath themselves. The print will give some 
idea of the strange appearance which they make. The nakedness of 

* He has been removed, was ordered to Lisbon, and ultimately, on his return to Rio 
de Janeiro, was refused admittance, for a short time, to the Prince Regent. 


the negro slaves is also not sufficiently concealed ; neither males nor 
females have any covering from the waist upwards, excepting on 
Sundays and holidays. Though the climate may not require any 
more cloathing, decency certainly does. I speak here of slaves who 
are at work in the streets, for the household servants are at least 
tolerably covered, and some of them are neatly and even gaudily 
dressed. At Pernambuco, the slaves are always decently cloathed. 
The criminals who are to be seen chained together, as at Pernam- 
buco, are here more numerous ; and in walking the streets, the clank- 
ing of the chains is continually striking the ear, reminding every man 
of the state of the government under which he resides. Such is the 
power of a governor, that a respectable person might be sentenced 
to this dreadful punishment, at least until redress could be obtained 
from the seat of the supreme government at Rio de Janeiro, a period 
of four months or more intervening. 

I brought with me the horse which had carried me as far as Rio 
Grande on my journey to Seara, and took several rides in the neigh- 
bourhood of the city, with an English gentleman who was residing 
there. The roads are extremely bad, even in the immediate vicinity 
of St. Luiz, and our usual practice was to ride several times round 
the open piece of ground upon which the barracks stand. Maran- 
ham is again in this respect far behind the place I had lately left ; 
the number of country houses is small ; the paths are few, and no care 
is taken of them. Notwithstanding this, several persons have car- 
riages, which are of a form similar to those used in Lisbon, and 
not unlike the cabriolets drawn by a pair of horses, which are to be 
seen in France and Flanders. The horses that may be purchased at 
St. Luiz are small, and few of them are well formed. Grass is 
scarce, and the inducements to take exercise on horseback are so few, 
that the number of these animals upon the island is not con- 
siderable ; this too may be one cause why fine horses are not to be 
met with there ; for if a ready sale was found for the beasts of this 
description, some would, doubtless, be carried from Piauhi to Maran- 
ham, which might be done with almost as little difficulty as is expe- 

BOOKS. 17*7 

rienced in conveying many of them from the interior of Pernam- 
buco to Recife. 

An English gentleman with whom I was acquainted, arrived 
at Maranham, a short time after the opening of the trade to 
British shipping ; he was riding in the vicinity of the city one 
afternoon, when he was accosted by an old woman, who said 
that she had heard of the arrival of an Englishman, and wished to 
know if it was true, as she was going to St. Luiz, and much de- 
sired to see this hicho or animal. After some further conversation 
upon the subject, he told her that the bicho she was speaking to, was 
the Englishman himself Of the truth of this, some difficulty was 
found in persuading her ; but when she was confident that it was so, 
she cried out, "Ji tam honito" O, how handsome. She expected to 
have been shown some horridly ugly beast, which it was dangerous to 
approach, and was consequently agreeably surprised to find that she 
was mistaken, and to see flesh and blood in human form, handsomely 
put together. 

I nearly lost a number of books which I had brought with me ; the 
box containing them was carried to the custom-house; they were 
taken out, and I was desired to translate each title-page, which I did. 
Though the works were chiefly historical, still I found that the officer 
who looked over them, was not inclined to let me have them, and a 
hint was given to me by one of my acquaintance, that they might be 
considered as irrecoverable; however I made immediately a petition 
to the governor, to be allowed to send them on board again ; this was 
granted, and thus I regained possession. If I had delayed, I am 
almost certain that I should not have seen them again. Such 
are the difficulties which are experienced with books in the parts 
of Brazil which I visited, that the only resource which remains is 
that of smuggling them into the country*. I hope, however, that 

* It is not perhaps generally known, that there are published in London three or four 
Portugueze periodical works. One of them is prohibited in Brazil, and I have heard it 
said, that all of them arc so situated ; but they are principally ijitcndcd for Brazilian reader.s, 

A A 


the enlightened minister who is now at the head of affairs, at Rio de 
Janeiro, will put an end to this dreadful bar to improvement. 

I brought a letter from one of my acquaintance at Pernambuco to a 
gentleman who resided at Alcantara, a town on the opposite side of the 
bay of St.Marcos. My friend at St.Luiz, another young Portugueze, and 
myself, accompanied by two servants, agreed to hire a vessel and go 
over, for the purpose of making him a visit, and of seeing the place. 
We hired a small bark, and set sail one morning early, with a fair but 
light wind. The beauties of the bay are only to be seen in crossing 
it ; the number of islands diversify the view every five minutes, from 
the discovery of some hidden point, or from a change in the form of 
the land, owing to the progress of the boat. The entrance into the 
harbour of Alcantara, the town itself, and the size of the vessel in 
which we were, reminded me much of the models of these realities. 
The place, the port, and our boat were all small, and of proportionate 
dimensions, having much the appearance of play-things. It was not 
like a small vessel entering a large harbour ; for in our case, as there 
was but little water upon the bar, as much pilotage was necessaiy as 
with a large ship in coming to anchor at St. Luiz. We were about 
five hours in reaching the end of our voyage. The boatmen obtained 
for us a small cottage, near to the beach ; we intended to be inde- 
pendent, and have our victuals cooked by our own servants ; but soon 
after we were settled in our new habitation, the gentleman intro- 
duced himself to whom we were furnished with a letter. He said 
that he had heard of our arrival, and he insisted upon our removal to 
his house. 

The town is built upon a semi-circular hill, and at first sight from 
the port is very pretty ; but it falls short of its promise on a nearer 

and they find their way all over the country, notwithstanding the prohibition. I have seen 
them in the hands of civil, military, and ecclesiastical officers, and Imve heard them pub- 
licly spoken of by them. It is said that the Regent reads them, and is occasionally pleased 
with their invectives against some of the men in power. 


examination. The houses are many of them of one story in height, 
and are built of stone ; but the major pait have only the ground floor. 
It extends back to some distance in a straggling manner, with 
gardens, and large spaces between each house ; and many of the 
habitations in that situation are thatched, and some of them are out 
of repair. As the hill which rises from the water side is not high, 
and the land beyond rather declines in a contrary direction, the 
meaner part of the town is not seen at the first view. Alcantara is 
however a thriving place, and its importance increases rapidly as the 
lands in the neighbourhood are in request for cotton plantations. 
A handsome stone quay was building upon the inside of a neck of 
land, round which the harbour extends for small craft. The place 
contains a town-hall and prison, and several churches. 

The evening we passed with our new friend and his partner, both of 
whom were pleasant men. The latter took us to a neighbouring church, 
to hear a famous preacher, and to see all the fashion and beauty of the 
place. It was much crowded, and therefore we saw little or nothing of 
the congregation ; but the preacher, a large handsome Franciscan friar, 
with a fine toned and clear voice, delivered a very florid discourse, 
with much energy and animation. This man and one other were the 
only persons of those I heard preach in Brazil, who deviated from 
the common praises usually given to the Virgin and to the Saints. 
It was a good practical sermon, inculcating moral duties ; but by way 
of conformity to established custom, he now and then mentioned 
the worthy in whose honour the festival was given*. The next 
day was agreeably passed in conversation ; and in the evening two 
guitars were introduced, and some of the young men of the place 
came in, and added to the amusement of the party ; they sang and 
played, and there was much sport. There was no ceremony ; but 

* About twelve months afterwards, I had an opportunity of being personally known to 
this man, and found him to be very superior to any individual of his or any other order 
of friars with whom I have been acquainted. 

A A 2 


the behaviour of these people was gentlemanly, and their conver- 
sation entertaining. 

I heard here of a certaiil estate, of which the slaves were numerous, 
but they had become rebellious ; more than one steward had been 
killed by them, and for some time they remained without any person 
to direct them, but still they did not leave the place. When things 
had gone on in this manner for some time, a native of Portugal pre- 
sented himself to the proprietor of the estate, and offered to take 
charge of it if he would allow him a salary of one conto of reis, about 
250/. annually (which is an enormous stipend) ; and if he would sign 
an agreement by which he should not become responsible for any 
slaves who might be killed in reducing the remainder to obedience. 
To all this no objection was made ; and the man set off, accompanied 
by two other persons, his friends, and a guide, all of them being well 
provided with fire arms and ammunition. They arrived upon the 
scene of action one evening, and finding the door of the principal 
house open, took up their lodgings In it. In the morning, several of 
the negroes, on discovering the intentions of the persons who were 
in possession of the house, assembled in the area in front of it, but at 
some little distance. The new steward soon came to the door un- 
armed, not permitting his companions to appear, and called to one of 
the ring-leaders by name, as if nothing was amiss. The man 
answered and came out of the group, but said that he would not ap- 
proach any nearer than the spot to which he had advanced. The 
steward made no reply, but quickly took a loaded musket, which 
stood immediately within the door, fired, and brought the man to the 
ground, and without delay, called to another of the slaves also by 
name. No answer being given, his companions came forwards, and 
all of them fired in among the slaves. Such was the effect of this 
summary manner of proceeding, that in two or three days all was 
quiet, and went on smoothly as had formerly been the case ; a few 
only of the slaves absconding. 

On our return from Alcantara we had a disagreeable passage, as the 
wind blew hard and some heavy rain fell, which made us apprehensive 


of not being able to fetch the harbour of St. Luiz. Our vessel had 
no cabin, but she was decked, and therefore as a matter of necessity 
we crept into the hold, in which we could not stand upright, and the 
bilge water occasionally reached our feet; but this produced much 
laughter, and we ultimately arrived in safety. Not far from the mouth 
of the port of Alcantara stands an island of three miles in length 
and about one in breadth, called the Ilha do Livramento; it is in- 
habited by one man and woman, who have under their care a chapel 
dedicated to Our Lady of Deliverance, which is visited by the in- 
habitants of the neighbouring shores, once every year for the purpose 
of celebrating by a festival this Invocation of the Virgin. My de- 
parture from Maranham sooner than I had purposed at first, prevent- 
ed the fulfilment of my intention of landing and spending a day 
upon this spot. I know not what idea I might have formed of the 
island if I had more narrowly examined it, but the view I had of it 
at a distance was extremely beautiful. From what I heard of it, I 
think, that if any one was about to settle at Maranham, here it is that 
he should try to fix his residence. 

I was introduced by my friend to a respectable family of St. Luiz. 
We made them a visit one evening without invitation as is the cus- 
tom, and were ushered into a tolerably sized room, furnished with a 
large bed, and three handsomely worked hammocks, which were 
slung across in different directions; there were likewise in the apart- 
ment a chest of drawers and several chairs. The mistress of the 
house, an elderly lady, was seated in a hammock, and a female 
visitor in another, but her two daughters and some male relations 
sat upon chairs. The company, which consisted of two or three 
men besides ourselves, formed a semicircle towards the hammocks. 
There was much ceremony, and the conversation was carried on 
chiefly by the men, and an occasional remark was made by one or 
other of the old ladies. An answer was given by the dauohters to 
a question asked, but no more, and some of the subjects touched 
upon would not have been tolerated in mixed society in England. 
A part of the formality might perhaps have worn oflf on further ac- 


quaintance. The education however of women is not attended to, 
which of necessity curtails the possibility of their entering into con- 
versation upon many subjects, even if so to do was accounted pro- 
per. Still the ladies of St. Luiz cannot be said to be generally thus 
reserved, for gaming among both sexes is much practised, and is 
carried to great excess. A young lady in one instance, when going 
out with her mother to some evening company, passed through the 
apartment in which her father was at play with several of his acquain- 
tance. He spoke to his daughter, asking her to take a card, which 
she did. She went on playing until she had lost three hundred 
mil reis, about 80/., and then said she had no more money. A fresh 
supply was afforded to her, and she accompanied her mother to their 
party, where most probably play was likewise the entertainment of 
the evening. Dancing is an amusement much too violent for the 
climate, and is only resorted to on some grand occasion. The love 
of gaming may be easily accounted for where there is little or no 
taste for reading, and great sums of money are amassed without any 
means of expending them. Living is cheap ; a fine house, a carriage, 
and a number of servants may be had for a small sum. The open- 
ing of the trade has however given to these people a new turn of 
expenditure, in the facility of obtaining articles of dress and furni- 

Two English merchants only were established at St. Luiz; the 
commercial transactions of British houses of trade were entrusted 
chiefly to Portugueze merchants of the place *. Many of these were 
accustomed to little ceremony, and walked the streets in short jac- 
kets, some of them were without neckcloths and a few without stock- 
ings; but others dress according to the manner of persons in Europe. 
It was with much difficulty that I could persuade the generality of 
those with whom I conversed that I had no business to transact; they 
could not comprehend the motive by which a man could be actuated 

* A British consul has since been appointed to Maranham. 


who was putting himself, by travelHng, to certain inconveniences 
for the sake of amusement; indeed many persons would not 
be convinced, and thought that in so saying I had some sinister 

I had not many opportunities of gaining information respecting 
the interior, but still I will mention what I heard. The banks of the 
river Itapicuru, of which I have already spoken, though they are much 
cultivated compared to what they were a few years ago, are yet very 
wild, and there is space incalculable for new colonists. The cap- 
taincy of Piauhi and the interior of the State of Maranham abound in 
cattle, and these parts of the country are not subject to droughts. 
The town of Aldeas Altas*, which is situated in the latter, and the 
city of Oeiras in the former and further inland, are said to be flourish- 
ing places. Great numbers of cattle are annually driven from these 
quarters of the Sertam to Bahia and Pernambucp. The proprietors 
of the estates which are situated in districts so far removed from the 
seat of government are at times unruly, and a party of soldiers, which 
was sent up to arrest one of these men, some time before I arrived 
at St. Luiz, returned without effecting its purpose. 

Among other anecdotes, I heard of a mulatto slave who ran away 
from his master, and in the course of years had become a wealthy 
man, by the purchase of lands which were overrun with cattle. He 
had, on one occasion, collected in pens great numbers of oxen which 
he was arranging with his herdsmen to dispatch to different parts 
for sale, when a stranger who came quite alone made his appear- 
ance, and rode up and spoke to him, saying that he wished to have 
some private conversation with him. After a little time they retired 
together, and when they were alone the owner of the estate said, 
" I thank you for not mentioning the connection between us, whilst 
my people were present." It was his master, who had fallen into dis- 

* An mividor has been a})pointcd to Aklcas Altas, and Piauhi has been raised to tlie 
rank of an independent provincial government. These are improvements wliich shew 
that regular government is gaining ground. 


tressed circumstances, and had now made this visit in hopes of obtain- 
ing some trifle from him. He said that he should be grateful for any 
thing his slave chose to give to him. To reclaim him, he well knew, 
was out of the question — he was in the man's power, who might 
order him to be assassinated immediately. The slave gave his mas- 
ter several hundred oxen, and directed some of his men to accom- 
pany him with them to a market, giving out among his herdsmen 
that he had thus paid a debt of old standing for which he had only 
now been called upon. A man who could act in this manner well 
deserved the freedom which he had resolved to obtain. 

As it was my intention to pass the ensuing summer in England, and 
no ships arrived from thence, I was afraid of being delayed some months 
for a conveyance, therefore I thought it better to take my passage in 
one of the ships which were about to sail. I preferred the Brutus, 
as I was intimate with the supercargo, a young Portugueze. We set 
sail from St. Luiz on the 8th of April, in company of another British 
ship ; but we were soon out of sight of each other, owing to one ves- 
sel holding a better wind. On the 18th we reached variable winds, 
in lat. 22° N. Ion. 50° W. It is not usual to find them so far to 
the southwards, therefore we might consider ourselves remarkably 
fortunate. We passed our time pleasantly, as the weather was fine 
and the wind favourable. On the 7th of May, the wind freshened, 
but we had a good ship and plenty of sea-room. A wave struck the 
stern and entered the cabin on the 8th in the morning, setting every 
thing afloat; this occurred soon after we had risen. On the 9th we 
discovered two vessels at a great distance a-head and rather to wind- 
ward, both of them were laying to, but soon each appeared to stand 
on different tacks. One proved to be an English brig loaded with 
timber; she was water-logged and about to sink, and the latter was 
an American ship, which had lain to, and was in the act of assisting 
the people in leaving her. If the brig had not been loaded with tim- 
ber she must have gone down long before. As the American ship 
was bound to her own country, we took the crew on board the 
Brutus, nine persons ; they were in most woeful plight ; some lame, 


others nearly naked, and all of them half starved with cold and hunger. 
The vessel had sprung a leak, which increased so rapidly, as to 
oblige them to retreat from the deck into the foretop, where they 
had been for three days and two nights, almost destitute of 

We arrived safe off Falmouth on the 20th of May. Here the 
supercargo and myself landed, and proceeded to London. 






AT the commencement of the winter my friends again recom- 
mended a return to a more temperate climate than that of 
England ; and therefore understanding that the Portugueze ship 
Serra.Pequeno was upon the point of sailing, I took uiy passage in 
her. She was lying at Gravesend, and on the 4th October, 1811, 
I embarked again for Pernambuco. 

Contrary winds detained the ship at Portsmouth for about six 
weeks. On the 20th November, the wind came round to the north- 
ward and eastward, and the signal guns from the ships of war, ap- 
pointed as convoys, awakened us. All was bustle and confusion atCowes, 
where great numbers of persons, belonging to the ships, who were 
circumstanced as we were, had stationed themselves. In a few hours 
the vessels were under weigh, and before the night closed in, all of 
them had cleared the Needles. The Serra Pequeno and other 
Portugueze ships had taken instructions from a frigate, which 
was bound to the Mediterranean, intending to keep company with 
her as far as her destination and their's obliged them to follow the 
same course ; but in the morning we discovered that we were with 
another frigate, which was bound to Lisbon. We soon left her, and 
were accompanied by other two Portugueze ships. On the night of 
the 22d, we fell in with the Kangaroo sloop of war, which was bound 
to the coast of Africa, with a few vessels under convoy. On the 


24th we parted from this convoy, and on the 26th proceeded with 
only one Portugueze ship. Our passage was most prosperous ; we 
had no boisterous weather, and few calms. On the 3d December, 
we fell in with the Arethusa frigate, when in sight of the Canary 
islands. The captain of the Serra was obliged to take the papers of 
his ship on board the frigate. The regulations regarding the slave 
trade, which is carried on by the Portugueze, perhaps occasioned 
more enquiry than would otherwise have been deemed necessary. 
We crossed the line on the 22d. In the evening of the 26th we 
stood for the land, supposing that we had reached the latitude of our 
port, but that we were much to the eastward of it ; however, we 
made the land about two o'clock in the morning, which was sooner 
by several hours than the officers of the ship imagined we should. 
This frequently occurs on board of those vessels which do not carry 
chronometers ; the calculation of longitude without their assistance 
being of course rendered extremely liable to error. At day-break, it 
was discovered that we were somewhat to the northward of Olinda. 
We entered the port about nine o'clock, and came to anchor in the 
lower harbour called the P090. 

The Serra Pequeno is one of the heavy deep-waisted Brazil ships, 
requiring a great number of hands to manage her. The business of 
the ship was carried on in a manner similar in almost all points to 
that which is practised on board of British merchant vessels ; there 
was however less cleanliness observed, and more noise was made. 
The second officer, who is called in the British merchant service 
the mate, bears in Portugueze vessels that of pilot ; and the 
regulations of their marine confine him to the navigation of the ship, 
giving up to an inferior officer the duty of attending to the discharg- 
ing or stowage of the hold when loading or unloading, and all other 
minutiae of the affairs either at sea or in a harbour. 

I was received on shore by all those persons with whom I had 
before had the pleasure of being acquainted, with the same friend- 
liness which I always experienced at Pernambuco. Several 
English gentlemen offered me an apartment in their houses, until I 

B B 2 


obtained one of my own. I accepted the offer which was made to 
me by him through whose great kindness my health had been so 
much benefited, after the severe attack of fever which I had suffered 
in the preceding year. The first few weeks were passed in visits to 
my friends and acquaintance, with some of whom I occasionally staid 
a few days in the neighbourhood of the town, which was now much 
deserted, accoi'dingto the usual custom, at this season of the year. 

I perceived a considerable difference in the appearance of Recife 
and of its inhabitants, although I had been absent from the place for 
so short a period. Several houses had been altered ; the heavy 
sombre lattice work had given place, in many instances, to glass 
windows and iron balconies. Some few families had arrived here 
from Lisbon, and three from England ; the ladies of the former had 
shown the example of walking to mass in broad day-light ; and those of 
the latter were in the habit of going out to walk towards the close of 
the day, for amusement. These improvements being once introduced 
and practised by a few persons, were soon adopted by some, who had 
been afraid to be the first, and by others who found that they were 
pleasant. Formal silks and satins too were becoming a less usual 
dress on high days and holidays, and were now much superseded by 
white and coloured muslins, and other cotton manufactures. The 
men, likewise, who had in former times daily appeared in full dress 
suits of black, gold buckles, and cocked hats, had now, in many 
instances, exchanged these for nankeen pantaloons, half boots, and 
round hats. Even the high and heavy saddle was now less in use, 
and that of more modern form was all the fashion. The sedan 
chairs, in which the ladies often go to church, and to pay visits to 
their friends, had now put on a much smarter appearance, and the 
men who carried them were dressed more dashingly. These cannot 
fail to attract the attention of strangers, in their gay cloaths, their 
helmets and feathers, and their naked legs. The annexed print re- 
presents one of these equipages. 

The country residences which had been lately built, were also 
numerous; lands in the vicinity of Recife had risen in price; the 







s ^ 



trade of brick-making was becoming lucrative ; work-people were in 
request ; and besides many other spots of land, the track between the 
villages of P090 da Panella and Monteiro, in extent about one mile, 
which in 1810 was covered with brushwood, had now been cleared; 
houses were building and gardens forming upon it. The great 
church of Corpo Santo, situated in that part of the town which is 
properly called Recife, was now finished, and various improvements 
were meditated*. The time of advancement was come, and men, 
who had for many years gone on without making any change either 
in the interior or exterior of their houses, were now painting and 
glazing on the outside, and new furnishing within ; modernizing 
themselves, their families, and their dwellings. 

This spirit of alteration produced, in one case, rather ludicrous con- 
sequences. There was a lady of considerable dimensions, who had 
entered into this love of innovation, and carried it to a vast extent. 
She was almost equal in circumference and height, but notwithstand- 
ing this unfortunate circumstance, personal embellishments were not 
to be despised ; she wished to dress in English fashion, and was 
herself decidedly of opinion that she had succeeded. Upon her 
head she wore a very small gypsey hat tied under the chin. Stays 
have only lately been introduced, but this improvement she had not 
yet adopted ; still her gown was to be in English fashion too, and 
therefore was cut and slashed away, so as to leave most unmercifully 
in view several beauties which otherwise would have remained con- 
cealed. This gown was of muslin, and was worked down the middle 
and round the bottom in several colours ; her shoes were as small as 

* Before I came away in 18 15, a considerable portion of the sand (which was covered 
by the tide at high water) between St. Antonio and Boa Vista, had been raised, and houses 
had been buih upon it. The principal street of St. Antonio has been paved. The bridge 
of Boa Vista has been rebuilt of timber ; and that between St. Antonio and Recife was 
about to undergo considerable repair. The hospitals, likewise, were to be improved ; and 
as I have heard since my arrival in England, of the appointment of a mosi worthy man 
to the direction of one of them, I trust that this intention has been acted upon. 


could be allowed; but the unfortunate redundance of size also reached 
the ancles and the feet, and thus rendering compression necessary ; 
the superabundance which nature had lavishly bestowed, projected 
and hung down over each side of the shoes. 

I became acquainted and somewhat intimate with the Capitam-mor 
of a neighbouring district, from frequently meeting him, in my 
evening visits to a Brazilian family. He was about to make the cir- 
cuit of his district in the course of a few weeks, and invited one of 
my friends and myself to accompany him in this review or visit to 
his officers, to which we readily agreed. It was arranged that he 
should make us acquainted in due time with the day which he might 
appoint for setting out, that we might meet him at his sugar-plant- 
ation, from whence we were to proceed with him and his suite further 
into the country. 

The Capitaens-mores, captains-major, are officers of considerable 
power. They have civil as well as military duties to perform, and 
ought to be appointed from among the planters of most wealth and 
individual weight in the several Termos, boundaries or districts j but 
the interest of family or of relations about the Court, have occasioned 
deviations from this rule ; and persons very unfit for these situations, 
have been sometimes nominated to them. The whole aspect of the 
government in Brazil is military. All men between the ages of 
sixteen and sixty, must be enrolled either as soldiers of the line, as 
militia-men, or as belonging to the body of Ordenan^as. Of the 
regvdar soldiers, I have already spoken in another place. Of 
the second class, each township has a regiment, of which the indi- 
viduals, with the exception of the major and adjutant, and in some 
cases the colonel, do not receive any pay. But they are considered 
as embodied men, and as such are called out upon some few occasions, 
in the course of the year, to assemble in uniform, and otherwise 
accoutred. The expence which must be incurred in this respect, of 
necessity, precludes the possibility of many persons becoming 
members of this class, even if the Government was desirous of in- 
creasing the number of militia regiments. The soldiers of these are 


subject to their captains, to the colonel, and to the governor of the 
province. The colonels are either rich planters, or the major or 
lieutenant-colonel of a regiment of the line is thus promoted to the 
command of one of these ; in this case, and in this case only, he 
receives pay. I am inclined to think that he ought to possess 
some property in the district, and that any deviation from this rule is 
an abuse; but I am not certain that the law so ordains. The majors 
and the adjutants are likewise occasionally promoted from the line ; 
but whether they are regularly military men or planters, they receive 
pay, as their trouble in distributing orders, and in other arrange- 
ments connected with the i-egiment is considerable. 

The third class, that of the 0?-rZewawf as, consisting of by far the largest 
portion of the white persons and of free mulatto men of all shades, 
have for their immediate chiefs the Cajntacm-mores, who serve 
without pay, and all the persons who are connected with the Orde- 
11(171 fas, are obliged likewise to afford their services gratuitously. 
Each district contains one Capitam-mor, who is invariably a person 
possessing property in the part of the country to which he is ap- 
pointed. He is assisted by a major, captains, and alferes, who are 
lieutenants or ensigns, and by sergeants and corporals. The duties 
of the Capitam-mor are to see that every individual under his com- 
mand has in his possession some species of arms; either a firelock, a 
sword, or a pike. He distributes the governor's orders through his 
district, and can oblige any of his men to take these orders to the 
nearest captain, who sends another peasant forwards to the next 
captain, and so forth, all which is done without any pay. A Cajntani- 
mor can also imprison for twenty-four hours, and send under arrest 
for trial a person who is accused of having committed any crime, to the 
civil magistrate of the town to which his district is immediately attached. 
Now, the abuses of this office of Capitcun-mor are very many, and 
the lower orders of free persons are much oppressed by these great 
men, and by their subalterns, down to the corporals. The peasants 
are often sent upon errands which have no relation to public business ; 
for leagues and leagues these poor fellows are made to travel, for the 


purpose of carrying some private letter of the chief, of his captains, 
or of his lieutenants, without any remuneration. Indeed, many of 
these men in place, seldom think of employing their slaves on these 
occasions, or of paying the free persons so employed. This I have 
witnessed times out of number ; and have heard the peasants in all 
parts of the country complain : it is a most heavy grievance. 
Nothing so much vexes a peasant as the consciousness of losing his 
time and trouble in a service which is not required by his Sovereign. 
Persons are sometimes confined in the stocks for days together, on 
some trifling plea, and are at last released without being sent to the 
civil magistrate, or even admitted to a hearing. However, 
I am happy to say, that I am acquainted with some men, whose con- 
duct is widely different from what I have above stated ; but the 
power given to an individual is too great, and the probability of being 
called to an account for its abuse too remote, to insure the exercise of 
it in a proper manner. 

The free mulattos and free negroes whose names are upon the 
rolls, either of the militia regiments which are commanded by white 
officers, or by those of their own class and colour, are not, properly 
speaking, subject to the Capitaens-7nores. These officers and the 
colonels of militia are appointed by the supreme government, and the 
subaltern officers are nominated by the governor of each province. 

The above explanation of the state of internal government I 
thought necessary, that the reader might understand the grounds 
upon which I was about to undertake the journey, of which some 
account will immediately be given. 

On the 28th January, 1812, the Capitam-mor sent one of his 
servants to summon us to his plantation, and to be our guide. Early 
on the morning following, my friend, myself, our own two servants, 
and the boy who had been sent to us by the Capitam-mor, set forth 
on horseback in high spirits ; my friend and I expecting to see some- 
thing new and strange. I had before, as has been already related, 
travelled into the less populous parts of the country ; but I had had 
very little communication with the planters. On that occasion, I pro- 


ceeded too rapidly to obtain as much knowledge of their manners and 
customs as I wished. 

We proceeded to Olinda, and passed through its wretchedly paved 
streets, with much care ; and when we were descending the hill, upon 
which it stands on the land side, there was laid open to us a con- 
siderable extent of marshy ground, which was partly covered with 
mandioc, planted upon raised beds or hillocks, which were made of a 
circular form, that the water might not reach the roots of the plants ; 
the remainder of the land was still undrained and unproductive. 
The darkness of the green of the plants which grow upon marshy 
ground immediately points out the lands that are in this state. The 
country which was to be seen in the distance was covered with wood. 
We crossed a rivulet, communicating with the marshy land on 
each side of the road, and passed on over some rising ground, and 
by several scattered cottages, until we reached, distant from Olinda 
one league, the low lands surrounding the hill which forms the site 
of the sugar plantation of Fragozo. From hence the lands are low 
and damp, almost without any rising ground, to the sugar plantation 
of Paulistas. The beautiful spots upon this track of country are 
numerous ; cottages are oftentimes to be met with, half concealed 
among the trees and brushwood ; they are built of mud, and are 
covered with the leaves of coco-trees. They have usually a pro- 
jecting pent-house with a small area in front, which is clear of weeds ; 
under this pent-house is slung the hammock, with its dark-coloured 
owner, idly swinging backwards and forwards, who raises his head as 
he hears the horses' footsteps ; the dog is basking in the sun, or lying 
under the shade, or running out to annoy the traveller; and the 
fishing baskets and the gourds hang as chance directs upon the pro- 
truding stems of the coco-leaves, which cover the lowly hut. Some 
times the sight of these rude dwellings is enlivened by the figure of a 
female, who runs off, and conceals herself, as the passenger upon the 
road looks down the narrow path which leads to the cottage. The 
road itself was likewise narrow, (for this was not the great cattle 
track) and all view of the country was generally shut out, by the 


wood on each side, against which the legs of the horseman are often 
brushing, and into which he is obliged to force his horse, if he should 
chance to meet a carrier, with his panniers or his cotton bags on 
either side of his beast, or one of the carts which are employed upon 
the plantations. The print represents one of the cotton-carriers. In 
the fore ground is described the species of palm tree called Tucum*j 
and immediately behind it is the Mamoeiro, which produces its fruit 
upon the stem ; the fruit is large, and the pulp of it is soft, having much 
resemblance in consistence and in taste to a melon that is too ripe ; 
the appearance of the fruit has some similarity likewise to a small 
round melon. 

To those who are unaccustomed to a country that is literally 
covered with woods, which prevent an extensive view of the sur- 
rounding objects, and the free circulation of air, the delightful sen- 
sations which are produced by a fine green field, opening all at once 
to the sight, and swept by a refreshing breeze, cannot possibly be felt. 
The plantation of Paulistas is so situated. The buildings were 
numerous, but most of them were low, and somewhat out of repair. 
These are the dwelling-house of the owner, which is spacious, and has 
one story above the ground floor ; the chapel, with its large wooden 
cross erected upon the centre of the gable end ; the mill, a square 
building without walls, its roof being supported upon brick pillars ; 
the long row of negro huts, the steward's residence, and several 
others of minor importance. These edifices are all of them scattered 
upon a large field, which is occupied by a considerable number of 
tame cattle ; this is skirted by a dike which runs in front, but some- 
what at a distance from the dwelling-house of the owner, and through 
it runs the water which turns the mill. On the opposite side of the 
field is the chaplain's cottage, with its adjoining lesser row of negro 
huts, its plantain garden, and its wide spreading mango trees behind 
it. Beyond the principal house, are low and extensive cane and 

Vide Appendix. 

'm ^ 


meadow lands, which are skirted on one side by the buildings of 
another small plantation, and bordered at a great distance by woods, 
which are situated upon the sides and summit of rising ground. 

This valuable and beautiful plantation was in the possession of a 
near relation of our Capitam-mor, We were acquainted with the 
son of the owner, who was chaplain to the estate, and had invited us 
to make his residence our resting-place ; this we did. He was pre- 
pared to receive us, and after having breakfasted, we proceeded to 
pay a visit to the old gentleman at the Great House, as the dwellings 
of the owners of plantations are called. He was unwell, and could 
not be seen ; but we were received by his wife and two daughters. 
They made many enquiries about England, and conversed upon other 
subjects which they supposed we might be acquainted with. This 
estate was not much worked ; the slaves led a most easy life, and the 
Great House was full of young children. Of these urchins several 
came in and out of the room, they were quite naked, and played with 
each other, and with some large dogs which were lying at full length 
upon the floor. These ebon cupids were plainly great favourites, 
and seemed to employ the greater part of the thoughts of the good 
ladies, the youngest of whom was on the wrong side of fifty; and even 
the priest laughed at their gambols. These excellent women and 
the good priest possess a considerable number of slaves, who are 
their exclusive property. It is their intention eventually to eman- 
cipate all of them, and that they may be prepared for the change, 
several of the men have been brought up as mechanics of different 
descriptions ; and the women have been taught needle-work, em- 
broidery, and all branches of culinary knowledge. Thus, by the 
death of four individuals, who are now approaching to old age, will 
be set free about sixty persons, men, women, and children. As these 
people have been made acquainted with the intentions of their 
owners respecting them, it is not surprising that the behaviour 
of many of them should be overbearing. To some, the deeds of 
manumission have been already passed conditionally, obliging them 
to serve as slaves until the death of the individual to whom they are 

cc 2 

196 AGUIAR. 

subject. These papers cannot be revoked, and yet no ingratitude was 
feared; but among so considerable a number of persons, some instances 
of it cannot, I fear, fail to be experienced. The owners said that all 
their own immediate relations are rich, and not at all in need of 
assistance ; and that therefore independent of other reasons con- 
nected generally with the system of slavery, these their children had 
no right to work for any one else. Of the slaves in question, only a 
few are Africans, the major part being mulattos and creole negroes. 

We returned to the cottage of the priest to dinner, and in the 
afternoon proceeded to the sugar plantation of Aguiar, belonging to 
the Capitam-mor, v/hich is distant from Paulistas five leagues, where 
we arrived about ten o'clock at night, much fatigued. Immediately 
beyond Paulistas is the narrow but rapid stream of Paratibi, which 
near to its mouth changes this name for that of Doce. In the rainy 
season it overflows its banks, and becomes unfordable. The width of 
it, when it is in the usual state, near to Paulistas, is not above twenty 
yards. In its course to the sea, it runs through much marshy ground. 
We passed by four sugar-mills this afternoon ; that which bears the 
name of Utringa de baivo, is situated in an amphitheatre, being sur- 
rounded by high hills, covered with large trees. These woods have 
not been much disturbed, and therefore give refuge to enormous 
quantities of game, among which the porco do mato, or pig of the 
woods, is common. I never saw this animal, and theretbre cannot 
pretend to describe it ; but I have often heard it spoken of, as being 
extremely destructive to mandioc, and that its flesh is good. This 
animal is not large, and is not unlike the common hog*. Many cri- 

* Bolingbroke says, that instances are frequent of some of the European swuie escaping 
into the woods, where they hve wild; and he add*, that their increase has been immense. 
In another place he speaks of a species of this animal, which is peculiar to tropical 
America, and is called the warrec which he says is about the size of an European hog, 
and much like it in shape. The porco do mato is not the sii& tajassu, which is, I imagine, 
what Bolingbroke calls the picarcc hog. — Voyage to the Demerary, &c. by Henry 
Bohngbroke, in Phillips' Collection of Modern Voyages, vol. x. p. 57 and 129. 

The taja9U is to be met with at Maranham, but is not known at Pernambuco. 


minals and runaway negroes are harboured in these woods. The 
inhabitants of Utinga seem to be shut out from all the rest of the 
world, as the path which leads from it is not immediately dis- 
tinguished. The last three leagues, which we traversed in the dark, 
were covered with almost unbroken woods ; the path through them 
is narrow, and the branches of the trees cross it in all directions ; 
our guide rode in front, and many times did his head come in con- 
tact with them. 

The dwelling of the Capitam-mor is a large building of one story 
above the gi'ound floor : the lower part of which forms the warehouse 
for the sugar and other articles which the estate produces. We 
ascended a wooden staircase, erected on the outside of the building, 
entered a small anti-chamber, and were received by our host and one 
of his sons, who conducted us into a spacious apartment beyond. 
A long table, and one of rather less dimensions, a couple of benches, 
and a few broken and uupainted chairs formed the whole furniture of 
these rooms. Four or five black boys, who were of a size too far ad- 
vanced to wear the bow and arrow, but who were quite as little en- 
cumbered with dress as if they still might wield these dangerous 
weapons in the character of cupids, stood all astonishment to view 
the strange beings that had just arrived ; and at all the doors were 
women's heads peeping to see whom we might be. The supper con- 
sisted as is usual of great quantities of meat, placed upon the table 
without arrangement. 

At five o'clock in the morning, the capitam-mor, my friend, myself, 
and three servants proceeded to the distance of three leagues without 
any addition to our party; but we were soon joined by the adjutant 
of the district and several other officers, in uniforms of dark blue 
with yellow facings most monstrously broad — the gay cuffs reaching 
half way up to the elbows ; they wore round hats with short feathers, 
straight swords of most prodigious length, and very loose nankeen 
pantaloons and boots; the former were thrust within the latter, which 
caused the higher part of the pantaloons to appear to be of preposterous 
width. We dismounted at a sugar plantation, being the third we had 


passed through this morning ; here we were invited to stay to break- 
fast, but this we could not do, and were therefore regaled with pine- 
apples and oranges. The owner of this place had taken great pains 
with his garden, and had reared several fruits which require much 
care; but it is strange that, although there are many which may be 
raised with very little trouble, still upon far the greater number 
of plantations even oranges are not to be found. The ant is, I well 
know, a great persecutor of this tree, but when care is taken in this 
respect, and a little water is afforded during the dry months for two 
or three years, none else is necessary. Upon the same plantation 
have been practised the most monstrous cruelties; the conduct of 
the owner towards his slaves is often spoken of with abhorrence, 
but yet he is visited and treated with the same respect which is paid 
to an individual of unblemished character. It is however almost the 
only instance of which I heard of systematic, continued, wanton 
enormity; but it has here occurred and has passed unpunished, and 
this one is sufficient, even if none other existed, to stamp the slave 
system as an abomination which ought to be rooted out. The estate 
was inherited by the person in question, with sixty good slaves upon 
it; fifteen years have elapsed since that time to the period of which I 
speak, and there were then remaining only four or five individuals 
who were able to work. Some have fled and have escaped, others 
have died, God knows how, and others again have committed suicide 
in sight of their master's residence. 

We arrived at mid-day at Santa Cruz, and had now reached the 
cotton country. The track through which we had passed was for 
the most part well watered and well wooded ; the marshy lands being 
less frequently interspersed than upon the journey of the preceding 
day. The sugar plantations were numerous; we saw eight of them 
this morning. The ground was often uneven, and we crossed one 
rather steep hill. The lands upon which we had now arrived and 
those to which we were advancing are altogether higher, and the grass 
upon them was now much burnt up, the " first waters" not having 
yet fallen. The soil in these parts retains less moisture than that 



of the country which we had left, and soon becomes too hard to be 
worked. The party was now much increased, and in the afternoon 
we proceeded to Pindoba, a cotton plantation of considerable extent; 
the owner of it is wealthy and possesses many slaves. He received 
us in his dressing-gown, under which he wore a shirt, drawers, and a 
pair of stockings. After the first greetings were over, he brought out 
a small bottle of liqueur made in the country, to which he himself 
helped his guests, one solitary glass, which was filled, and then emp- 
tied by each person, being made use of by the whole party. After 
supper a guitar player belonging to the house entertained us until a 
late hour, whilst our host sat upon a table smoking from a pipe of 
fully six feet in length. Several hammocks were slung in two large 
apartments, and each person either talked or went to sleep, or occa- 
sionally did one and the other, no form or ceremony being observed. 
The peasants began to assemble early on the following morning, 
as three companies of the Ordcnaiifas were to be reviewed. These 
were the first which were to undergo inspection, as the cajntam-mor 
purposed visiting again the places through which we had passed on 
his return, and intended then to perform this duty. The men wore 
their usual dress of shirt and drawers, and perhaps a nankeen jacket 
and pantaloons were added, and most of them had muskets. The 
capitam-mor came forth this day in his scarlet uniform, and sat him- 
self down near to a table. The captain of the company which was 
about to be reviewed stood near to him with the muster-roll. The 
names of the privates were called over by the captain, and as each 
name was repeated by the sergeant, who stood at the door-way, the 
individual to whom it belonged came in and presented arms to the 
capitam-mor, then turned about and retired. It was truly ridiculous, 
but at the same time painful, to see the fright which the countenances 
of some of the poor fellows expressed, and their excessive awkwardness 
when they came to present themselves; whilst others displayed evi- 
dent self-sufficiency; these were well-dressed and performed every 
manoeuvre with as much neatness and promptitude as they were 
capable of, expressive of superior knowledge and in hopes of admir- 


ation. There were of course many absentees, and for the non-appear- 
ance of these some reason was given by one of the officers of the com- 
pany to which the man belonged, or by a neighbour. The excuses 
were usually received as all-sufficient, without any further enquiry be- 
ing made. However the absence of one of the captains was not thus 
quietly acquiesced in, and therefore an officer was dispatched to his 
house to bring him to Pindoba under an arrest. Whether this pro- 
ceeded from some private pique, or from zeal for the public service, 
I do not pretend to determine, but he soon arrived in custody. He 
was put into one of the apartments of the house which we were 
inhabiting, and a sergeant was stationed at the door as a sentinel. 
The cajyitam-mor soon however relented, upon which he was released 
and allowed to return home. 

At dinner the great man took the head of the table, and the owner 
of the house stood by and waited upon him. Every thing was served 
up in enormous quantities, for the party was large and this is the 
custom ; there was no sort of regularity observed ; every man helped 
himself to the dish which pleased him best, and this was oftentimes 
done, with the knife which the person had been making use of upon 
his own plate, and by reaching across two or three of his neighbours 
for the purpose. A nice bit was not safe even upon one's own plate, 
being occasionally snatched up, and another less dainty given in re- 
turn. Much wine was drank during dinner, and the glasses were 
used in common. We soon rose from table, and the party, generally 
speaking, took the accustomed sesta or nap after dinner which is 
usual in warm climates. My friend and I walked out in the after- 
noon, but there was nothing to tempt us to go far, for the neighbour- 
hood possessed no natural beauty and the dry weather had burnt up 
the grass, and had made the face of the country extremely dreary. 

Early on the morrow about forty persons sallied forth for the vil- 
lage of Bom Jardim. It is distant from Pindoba one league and a 
half. We arrived there at seven o'clock. This village is built in the 
form of a square; the houses are low, but the church is large and 
handsome. Like the huts of A^u and of some other places, those of 
Bom Jardim are not white-washed, and therefore the mud of which 


they are composed remains in its original colour. The place con- 
tains about 500 inhabitants. We ascended a steep hill to arrive at 
it, and on the opposite side still another of equal height is to be sur- 
mounted in proceeding farther inland. The village is situated upon 
a break of the hill. The soil is chiefly composed of red earth, ap- 
proaching in places to a bright scarlet, with veins of yellow running 
through it; this is the description of soil, which is said to be the best 
adapted to the growth of cotton. Bom Jardim is a great rendezvous 
for the hawkers who are proceeding to the Sertam, and for others 
who merely advance thus far. It is distant from Recife twenty 
good leagues, in a N. E. direction. 

My friend and I walked out and descended the hill by a path 
which led us to the bed of the river, for there was now no water in 
it. Great want of water is often experienced at Bom Jardim, but I 
think that if wells of sufficient depth were dug, a supply might be 
obtained*. On our return to the village, we discovered that Mass 
was about to be said, and therefore we accompanied some of our 
party to the church. It was crowded ; indeed it is a remark which I 
was frequently led to make, that on Sundays and Holidays when the 
peasantry assemble at the church doors, their numbers must astonish 
those persons who merely pass through the country without opportuni- 
ties being afforded to them of a more minute examination. The cot- 
tages upon the road side do not promise so numerous a population as 
is on these occasions to be seen ; but from the thickness of the woods 
and the lowness of the huts, even when a view of the country is by 
any accident to be obtained from a high hill, the dwellings of the 
lower orders of people are not to be perceived; they are scattered all 
over the country; and narrow paths which appear impassable or 
nearly so, and are scarcely to be observed, often lead to four or 
five huts, situated in the centre of a wood or upon some low ground, 
adapted to the cultivation of mandioc and maize. 

* Directions were given by the capitam-moi; that a resen'oir for rain water should be 
formed ; and these have been carried into effect. 1 8 1 5, 


One company was reviewed at Bom Jardim, and from hence a 
captain was deputed to continue the i-eview further into the coun- 
try. We rode this afternoon one league to the house of Captain 
Anselmo, being so far upon our return. On our way to this place 
we saw the woods on one side of the road on fire. In the dry sea- 
son the grass and brushwood become so completely parched, that the 
least spark sets a whole track of country in a blaze. I mean that the 
fire will sometimes run on for a league, and even more. It will occa- 
sionally blaze forth most violently, and catching the branches of the 
large trees, the flames will at intervals flash above their summit; — 
it will then subside, but continue smothered in the hollow of some 
aged tree, or in a heap of leaves which still retain some moisture ; 
but a breath of air spreads it abroad, and it again runs on with vio- 
lence. The peasants almost invariably smoke as they go along, and 
oftentimes they ask for a lighted piece of wood at a cottage which 
they may chance to pass. It is astonishing to see with what uncon- 
cern they will hurl this from them still unextinguished, knowing, as 
they do full well, the consequences which frequently have ensued. 
The act of setting fire to a wood is subject to punishment by law, 
if intention or even carelessness can be proved. The crop of canes 
of some estates have, in many instances, been injured by these 

Captain Anselmo resides upon a cotton plantation which is his own 
property, and is cultivated by about forty negroes. The house is situ- 
ated upon the shelf of a steep hill, with a beautiful plain below, upon 
which trees are thickly scattered. At the foot of the hill is a large fish- 
pond, through which a rivulet runs in the rainy season. The owner 
has lately inclosed a piece of land, and was making a garden upon 
the borders of the pond. The dwelling-house was new and had a 
second floor; it was very clean and well furnished. This was the 
most pleasantly situated and the best arranged mansion which we 
visited during this journey; the huts for the slaves were well built 
and looked comfortable. Here we were entertained with such music 
as has as yet found its way into these parts of the country. Three 


negroes with bagpipes attempted to play a few tunes whilst we were 
at dinner, but they seemed to play in different keys from each other, 
and sometimes each appeared to have struck up a tune of his own 
composing. I think I never heard so bad an attempt at producing 
harmonious sounds as the charameleiros made. The possession of 
a band of these bespeaks a certain degree of superiority, conse- 
quently the planters pride themselves upon their musicians. 

Our party could not let pass this opportunity of being together 
without practising the amusement of the intrudo'^, although the usual 
time of its celebration was yet distant one week. On the day sub- 
sequent to that of our arrival, dinner was scarcely over before the 
farinha, the bananas, the rice, and other dainties upon the table, were 
hurled at each other's heads; soon the smart uniform coats were 
taken off, and in his shirt sleeves each man began this civil war with 
heart and soul. Every thing was borne with perfect good humour, 
and at last, fatigued and bedaubed, all of us retired to the ham- 
mocks which had been provided for the party. But as our evil 
stars would have it, a brave captain closed quietly all the shutters 
(as the moon was shining very bright into the room) and then he 
placed himself near to an enormous jar of water, which stood in one 
corner of the apartment, and with a small pitcher in his hand soon 
dealt around him its contents, awakening us with repeated showers, 
and obliging us to take shelter under the chairs and tables. This, 
and other jokes allied to it, continued until the break of day, when 
we prepared for a continuation of our journey. One company was 
reviewed here. 

We proceeded to the house of Captain Paulo Travasso, distant one 
league. As was our usual custom, my friend and I walked out soon 

* The Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday are properly the days of the 
intnido, but the sport is, as in the case in question, often commenced a week before the 
.appointed time. Water and hair powder are the ingredients which are established to be 
hurled at each other, but frequently no medium is preserved, and every thing is taken up 
heedlessly and thrown about by all parties, whether it be clean or dirty, whether it may 
do mischief or is harmless. 

D D 2 


after our arrival, and in returning, instead of pursuing the path, 
which was rather circuitous, we attempted to climb up a bank, that 
we might the sooner reach the house ; my friend was before me, and 
as he scrambled up it, his foot slipped, which caused him to catch at 
the stump of a small plant, that grew upon the side of the bank. 
He gave up his idea of going by that way to the house, and returned 
to me, bringing with him the plant, with its root and the earth about 
it. On going to throw it away, he perceived upon his hand the glitter 
of a substance which made us return to the spot. We gathered some 
more of the earth, and this gentleman, who had long resided upon 
the coast of Africa, judged the substance which was mixed with it to 
be gold dust. 

At this place the intrudo was continued more violently than before ; 
for even the blackened pots and pans from the kitchen were intro- 
duced to besmear each other's faces. We obtained here a view of 
the females belonging to the house ; but every where else, they had 
been too rigorously guarded, or were naturally too reserved to enable 
us to see them. Some excuse was made by the young men who 
were acquainted with the family, to draw them into the sport ; and 
the ladies and their slaves were nothing loath to see and to partici- 
pate in what was going forwards. A circumstance occurred which 
created much laughter, and which is but too characteristic. One man 
whom we met at this place, had all along begged of those who were 
engaged in the sport, that they would not wet him, because he was 
unwell ; however it was seen that he did not observe towards others 
that forbearance which he entreated from them towards himself. 
One of our party seeing this, attacked him with a large silver ladle 
filled with water ; the man ran out of the house, and the other fol- 
lowed ; but when they were at some distance from it, he turned upon 
his pursuer, and drawing his knife, stood at some distance, threaten- 
ing to stab him if he advanced. The other, striking his left side at 
the place in which knives ai-e usually carried, likewise threatened 
him, and without delay advanced towards him, having picked up a 
thick stick as he approached. But his adversary did not like the 


thoughts of a close combat, and soon set off at full speed, with his 
knife in his hand. In this manner, he entered the back door of the 
house, whilst he of the silver ladle took the front door. They met 
in the apartment from which they had started, when the latter 
opened his waistcoat and shewed that he had not a knife ; thus 
proving before the whole party, that he of the knife had run away 
from one who was unarmed. This was quite sufficient ; the women 
made a general attack upon him : he went to the stable, mounted his 
horse, and set forth ; but his misfortunes had not yet ended, for the 
path by which he must retreat lay under two of the windows of 
the house, and as he passed, two large tubs of water drenched him 
and his steed, which immediately quickened its pace, amidst the 
hooting of every one present. 

We continued our journey in the afternoon to a sugar plantation, 
the property of Captain Joam Soares, where we remained until the 
following day. Some of us were tired of the intrudo, and therefore 
sought shelter in the mill and adjoining out-houses, when we saw the 
sport again commencing ; but we were about to be attacked, when we 
gained the roofs of one of the buildings, and from hence could not 
be dislodged. 

I had frequently seen the saboeiro or soap tree, which is to be 
chiefly found in these districts. It is a large shrub, which puts forth 
numerous branches in every direction, so that when it is in full leaf, it 
has somewhat the appearance of trees that have been clipped, (as 
was formerly practised in gardens,) which is increased by the leaves 
being small and growing very close to each other. The receptacle 
of the seed is about the size of a small plum ; when this is put into 
water, and rubbed with some violence, it produces the same effect as 
that which is caused by soap in w^ater, and it has the same properly 
of cleansing*. The 7900 do alho or garlic tree, is to be met with in 

* The account which Labat gives of I'arhre a Savonettes does not agree in all points 
with mine; the difference may arise from various circumstances to which some clew might 
have been discovered, if attention had been paid to the subject upon the spot. He says 
that the leaves are three inches in length, and " cet arbre est un deplus gros, des plus grands 
et des metUeurs qui croissent aux isles." — Nouveau Voyage, Sfc, Tom. vii. p. 383. 


great abundance in these districts. The name is derived from the 
simihtude of the smell of the leaves and the wood of this plant to 
garlic. The tree abounds so greatly, and, I suppose, reminded the first 
settlers so much of one of their favourite European culinary ingre- 
dients, that it has given name to a town, and to a whole district. 

About five o'clock in the afternoon we proceeded to Limoeiro, a 
large and thriving village*. It is composed of one street of about 
thi-ee quarters of a mile in length, which is closed at one end by the 
church and vicarage : this building belonged formerly to the Jesuits. 
The trade of Limoeiro with the interior is considerable, and particu- 
larly on the day of the market, which is held weekly, the bustle is 
excessive. These days seldom pass without some murders being 
committed, or at least many wounds and blows being given ; but the 
markets of Nazareth or Lagoa d' Anta are those which are particularly 
famed for the disturbances that usually take place there. These 
became so considerable at one time, that the governor found it neces- 
sary to issue orders for a patrole to keep the peace on market days. 

Limoeiro contains about six hundred inhabitants, and is increasing 
daily. It stands upon the banks of the river Capibaribe, which was 
at this time quite dry. The distance from Recife is fourteen good 
leagues. We were entertained by the vicar, who has taken very little 
pains to have a decent residence, and cannot fail to be somewhat 
indifferent about his own life, for every step to which we advanced 
as we ascended to the apartments above, promised to be the last that 
would hold us. The floors of the rooms into which we were ushered, 
seemed to be laid out as traps to ensnare those who might not tread 
cautiously ; some of the boards were broken, and large holes re- 
mained ; others were loose, and it was dangerous to pass over them ; 

Du Tertre says, that it grows en abondance le long de la mer, dans les lieux les plus sees 
et les phis arides. — Histoire des Antilles, S^c. Tom. ii. p. 165. I have only heard of the 
Saboeiro at some distance from the coast. 

* Limoeiro was raised to a townsliip by an Alvara issued from Rio de Janeiro on the 
27th July, 1811 ; but this was not then known. It has now a mayor, municipality, and 


and besides the several perils of this mansion, substances which are 
not pleasant to the nose might unwarily be trampled upon. Never 
did I see so miserable a dwelling, whose inhabitant might with so 
much ease have bettered the state in which we found it. However, 
I ought not to complain, for to counterbalance all this, we had a tea- 
pot, sugar basin, and other parts of the equipage of silver. 

The Capitam-mor had still several posts to visit, which would delay 
him for a considerable time ; therefore as my friend was anxious to 
return to Recife, we left our party, with much regret, and were ac- 
companied in the morning by the adjutant, who was about to return 
home. I had been greatly amused, and wished to have seen the 
conclusion of the affair. At Limoeiro, several companies were to be 
reviewed, and from thence the Capitam-mor proceeded to Pao do 
Alho* and Nazareth, or Lagoa d'Antaf, two large villages of con- 
siderable importance. Both of them are within a, few leagues of the 
place from which we separated from our companions. We returned 
to Santa Cruz, passed through that village, and were entertained at 
the house of tlie adjutant. We reached Aguiar in the afternoon, 
being received at that place by one of the Cajntam-mor s sons, a 
young man of eighteen years of age ; and we also saw the Capitam- 
mor^ interesting wife, who is likewise his niece ; she was about fifteen 
years of age, he being about forty-six. We slept there, and stopped 
at Paulistas on the following day at noon, from whence we proceeded 
to Recife on the evening of the 6th February. 

I heard one of the sugar planters bitterly complaining of his 
poverty, and that his want of hands to work his mill obliged him to 

* This place was erected a townsliip by the same Alvara, which was issued respecting 
Limoeiro ; and by the same, the villages of Cape St. Augustin and of St. Antam were 
likewise raised to the rank of towns ; a sure sign is this of the increase of population. 

f This village is as much or more generally known by the name of Lagoa d'Anta, as by 
that of Nazareth ; but the latter is the name which it bears in law. The former name, 
which means the Lake of the Anta, seems to denote that that animal was known in this part 
of the country ; but in the present day, I could not meet with any of the peasants who 
knew what the word Anta was intended to signify. 


give up the cultivation of much of the best land of his estate. Soon 
after he had uttered these complaints, the conversation turned upon 
saddle-horses and their trappings ; and he then told us that he had 
lately purchased a new saddle and bridle, which he wished us to see. 
These new ti-appings were most superb affairs ; the saddle was made 
of morocco leather and green velvet, and silver headed nails and plates 
of the same metal were profusely scattered and placed upon all parts 
of this and of the bridle. He told us that the whole had cost him 
four hundred mil reis, about 1 10/. This sum of money would have 
purchased four slaves. But the matter did not end here, for he open- 
ed a drawer in which were strewed several broken silver spoons, spurs, 
&c. and he said that he was collecting a sufficient quantity of this 
metal for the purpose of having his groom's horse ornamented in 
the same manner as his own. 

The free persons of colour who inhabit the track of country through 
which we passed are more numerous than I had previously imagined. 
The companies of Ordenan9as vary much in strength ; some consist 
of one hundred and fifty men and more, and others of not above fifty. 
The peasantry of the Mata, that is, of the country which lies between 
the plentiful well-watered districts of the coast and the Sertoens, have 
not a general good character. The miserable life which they, oftener 
than others, are obliged to lead from the want of water and of provi- 
sions, seems to have an unfavourable effect upon them ; they are 
represented as being more vindictive and more quarrelsome, and less 
hospitable than their neighbours. To say that a man is a jnatuto da 
mata, a woodman of the wood, is no recommendation to him. 

During this journey I heard the following story ; and as I was ac- 
quainted with the person to whom the circumstances occurred, I can 
vouch for its veracity. A Brazilian who had been wealthy, but who 
had, through many imprudencies, and from many deeds which 
deserve a much severer name, reduced himself to a state of compa- 
rative poverty, resided in this part of the country at the time I tra- 
velled through it. He was a man of loose morals and savage dispo- 


sition, but of most pleasant manners. He had in one particular 
instance, which pre-eminently stamped his character, behaved in a 
most shameful manner to a lady to whom he professed himself to be 
attached. He had possessed many slaves ; but at the time the follow- 
ing occurrences took place three or four only remained, and of these 
one alone was in health. Apprehensive of being assassinated by 
some of the persons whom he had injured and insulted, he usually 
kept the doors and windows of his residence well secured, excepting 
one entrance which was likewise closed at dusk. One evening, three 
men knocked at the door, and asked leave to pass the night in some 
of the out-houses of the plantation ; the owner answered from 
within, but did not open the door, saying that they might sleep in the 
mill. About an hour afterwards there was another knock, and a 
person requested that some fruit might be sold to him. The owner 
fetched some, and inconsiderately opened the door to give it to the 
man ; but when he looked out, all the three were there, and as he 
reached the fruit to one of them, a second fired, and the greatest part 
of the shot entered the abdomen. The known courage of the 
wounded man made these fellows hesitate in approaching him im- 
mediately, by which means he had time to reach his sword, which 
stood near to where he was, and he was enabled to close and bolt 
the door. This being done, he reached his bed with great difficulty, 
expecting that every minute would be his last. The men tried 
to gain admittance through some of the doors or windows ; but 
not succeeding in this, they rode off. As soon as the slave who 
was in health heard the report of the gun, and saw his master 
wounded, he left the house, recollecting (which is somewhat sur- 
prising) to lock the door ; he made all haste to a neighbouring 
plantation, distant one league. The owner of the place to which 
the slave had fled, ordered a hammock to be prepared, and set off 
with sixteen negi'oes ; he was accompanied by his chaplain, who 
brought with him a candle, and all the other necessary appendages to 
the bed-side of a dying Catholic. They arrived, and found the 
wounded man in a state which led them to suppose that he could 


not live many hours ; but he was confessed, and anointed with 
the holy oil, and thus prepared for the worst. Then they put him 
into the hammock, and his neighbour had him conveyed to his 
residence. The person who related this story to me, did not fail 
to add, that a lighted candle was carried in a lantern, that the 
wounded man should not run the risk of dying without having the 
light in his hand, as is the custom. A surgeon was sent for to 
Iguarayu, which is distant several leagues, and he succeeded in ex- 
tracting almost all the shot. Notwithstanding the delay, and other 
imfavourable circumstances, I saw this man in good health in 1813. 
Whilst he still remained in a dangerous state at the house of his 
friend, a Sertanejo Indian, well armed, passed through the place, and 
asked one of the negroes if he was still alive. It was generally 
said that he must remove to some far distant part of the country, 
otherwise he might daily expect another attack, and particularly as 
his enemies were Sertanejos. The men who had attempted to 
murder him viere dressed after the manner of these people, and 
were seen on the following day travelling towards the interior. 
They mentioned at some of the cottages at which they stopped, that 
they believed they had prevented one man from eating any more joiram, 
which is equal to an European using in the same manner the word 
bread. The person whom they had attacked could not be sure of 
the quarter from whence the blow proceeded ; for many were those 
from which he might have expected it. In Brazil, injured persons 
or their relatives must either allow their own wrongs and those of 
their families to go unpunished, or they must themselves undertake 
the chastisement of him who has committed the crime. The evil 
proceeds, immediately, from the vastness of the country, and from the 
want of attention in the government to counteract this disadvantage. 





AFTER the journey to Bom Jardim, I did not again leave Recife 
for any length of time, until I entered with a friend into a 
scheme of farming. It had been greatly my wish to remove from the 
town into the country, from preference, rather than from any 
other cause. 

In the beginning of April, 1812, we rented the sugar-plantation 
of Jaguaribe, distant from Recife four leagues, in a northward direc- 
tion, and about one league from the coast ; it had upon it several 
slaves, oxen, machinery, and implements, which enabled the new 
tenant to enter it immediately. A few days after these matters were 
arranged, I accompanied the owner to the plantation for the purpose 
of meeting the person who was about to leave it, being the second 
visit which I had made to my intended place of residence. Having 
agreed with this man, the owner and myself retux-ned to sleep at the 
dwelling of one of his brothers, which was situated about a mile 
and a half f^'om the coast; this person had purchased some lands, which 
he was now clearing, and upon which he was erecting several build- 
ings. He and his family inhabited a barn, and we were to sleep in 
his new house, of which the roof and the wood-work of the walls 
were alone erected. The rainy season had commenced, and this 
unfinished dwelling was almost surrounded by pools of stagnant 
water, inhabited by enormous toads, whose loud and hoarse ci'oaking 
continued during the whole of the night, without intermission. The 

E E 2 


trunks of the trees which had been cut down a short time before, 
were lying as they had fallen in all directions. In the morning I set 
off alone, on my return to Recife ; I made for the sea-shore, and soon 
reached the river Doce, a narrow stream, which after a course of four 
or five leagues here discharges its waters into the sea. The tide 
enters it, and again recedes with considerable rapidity ; at such times 
it is not fordable, but at the ebb the remaining waters are very trifling, 
and some parts of the channel are left quite dry. It is necessary to 
pass quickly over, as the sand of which its bed is composed is very 
fine, and although not altogether what is called quicksand, still to 
delay in one spot is not quite safe. When the tide is out the water 
of the river is quite sweet, which has obtained for it the name of 

It was upon the borders of this river that the Portugueze and 
the Dutch were first opposed to each other in that part of Brazil*; 
here commenced that memorable struggle upon which the Pernam- 
bucans, with so much reason, pride themselves. The beginning was 
not propitious, and did not augur well of the result, but time 
proved the people to be worthy of the beautiful country which they 
inhabit. The river Tapado, upon the banks of which the Portu- 
gueze commander afterwards attempted to i-ally his men *, lies be- 
tween the Doce and Olinda. It is a rivulet or dyke (for it resembles 
more the latter than the former) without any outlet to the sea, but 
it is only separated from it by the sands, which are here about twenty 
yards across. When the rains have been violent the additional 
waters of the Tapado are discharged over the sands, and sometimes 
at spring tides, when the wind blows fresh, a few waves will reach 
over them and fall into the dyke ; this being the only manner in 
which they can communicate with each other. At the Doce like- 
wise landed Pedro Jaques de Magalhaens, the general, and Brito 
Freire (now known as an historian), the admiral of the fleet which 

* History of Brazil, Vol. i. p. 467 and 468. 


assisted the patriots of Pernambuco in the completion of their long- 
desired and hardly-earned object, — the re-conquest of Recife and 
consequent expulsion of the Dutch.* 

But to return, — I arrived upon the banks of the Doce, and asked 
at a cottage, which was not far distant, if the river was fordable, and 
being answered in the affirmative, I rode up to its banks and 
attempted to make my horse enter it, which he refused to do. I 
made a second and a third trial, when he plunged in swimming ; it 
was with much difficulty that he gained the outermost point of the 
sand-bank on the opposite side. He had passed a bad night and 
was not in a proper state to perform this task, nor should I have at- 
tempted it if I had known the depth, but I imagined that the 
tide had svifficiently retreated. My clothes were dry before I arrived 
at home, but I long felt the consequences of crossing the Doce. 

About the middle of May I removed to Jaguaribe. The road to it 
is through the plantation of Paulistas, from whence, after crossing the 
Paratibi, a narrow path leads to the left through a deep wood for 
nearly one league. A steep hill is to be surmounted, and its corre- 
sponding declivity carefully descended. The wood continues to a 
break in the hill, on the side nearest to Jaguaribe. On reaching 
this spot there was a view before me, which would in most situ- 
ations be accounted very beautiful, but in this delightful country 
so many fine prospects are continually presenting themselves, that I 
opened upon this with few feelings of pleasure at the sight. I can- 
not avoid owning that the advantages of the place as a plantation 
occupied my mind more deeply than its beauties. Immediately be- 
fore me was a cottage and a row of negro huts, surrounded by 
banana-trees, standing upon a shelf of the hill. Beyond these to 
the left was the narrow, but far-extending valley, upon whose nearest 
border were situated the buildings of Jaguaribe upon an open field, 
with the hills behind, and in front was the rivulet. To the right was 

* History of Brazil, Vol. ii. p. 2.37. 


a deep dell, with an expanse of country not thickly covered with 
wood ; and rather in advance, but also to the right, were numerous 
deep-coloured mangroves, which pointed out that a stream of con- 
siderable size ran down among them. On the other side of the 
nearest of these mangroves, and yet not very far, was the high peak 
of St. Bento, with the mandioc, and maize lands, and wood upon its 
side, and the path winding up through them, which is at times con- 
cealed, and at times in view ; — but the buildings are not to be seen, 
though the tolling of the chapel-bell may be often heard, from the 
spot upon which I was standing. 

I was under the necessity of taking up my abode in the vestry of 
the chapel, as the Great House was still occupied. The negroes were 
already at work for us, and under the direction of a proper feitor or 
manager. The whole neighbourhood was astonished at the place I 
had determined to inhabit, until some other dwelling presented it- 
self. I was certainly not comfortably situated, for the vestry con- 
sisted of only one apartment, with a door-way to the field and 
another into the church, the latter being without a door; the 
church was unfinished, and was the resort of bats and owls; however 
it was principally my unconcern respecting ghosts which my neigh- 
bours were surprised at. A negro boy and myself remained at night 
to encounteF*these, if any should appear, and to receive our constant 
visitors the bats. My companion rolled himself up upon the ground 
in a piece of baize and a mat, and thus cased, was quite safe. I 
slept in a hammock, and oftentimes these unwelcome guests alighted 
upon it, as if they had come for the chance of a toe or a finger 
making its appearance, upon which they might fix. This way of liv- 
ing did not last long, nor did I wish that it should. 

The house of which I have spoken as being situated upon a shelf 
of the hill, and as looking down upon the valley, was soon without 
an inhabitant, and therefore to this I removed. It was large, but 
the floors of the rooms were without bricks, and the interior walls 
had not been white-washed for ages, and some of them had never 
undergone the operation. I received visits and presents, as is cus- 


lomary, from my immediate neighbours, — the white persons and 
those of colour who aspire to gentility ; and indeed many individuals 
of the lower class did not neglect to come and offer their services to 
the new-comer, whose character and disposition towards them, they 
judged that it was necessary to become acquainted with. In many 
instances, the wives of the latter description of visitors came also and 
brought sweetmeats, fruit, or flowers. I received them all, sitting in 
my hammock ; the men sat round on chairs, but the women generally 
squatted down upon the floor, though it was formed of earth. I talked 
to them of my intentions, and of my wish to conciliate, and I heard 
much of bickerings and squabbles among those of their own rank, 
and of feuds between their superiors, the same stories being related 
to me in many different ways. They were much surprised that I 
should wear so much cloaths, saying, that I ought to do as they did 
and be unencumbered; and their advice I soon followed. I was 
much amused, and for some days these visits took up the largest 
portion of my time. 

The lands around me to the North, belonged to the Benedictine 
friars ; and to the East to an old lady ; those of the latter were much 
neglected, but those which were possessed by the former were in high 
order. To the South, beyond the wood through which I passed in 
coming to Jaguaribe, are the lands of Paulistas ; and to the West 
and North West are some excellent cane lands, belonging to a re- 
ligious lay brotherhood of free negroes of Oiinda, which were tenanted 
by and subdivided among a great number of persons of low rank, 
whites, mulattos, and blacks. 

The work went on regularly, and I had soon very little in which to 
employ my time, excepting in those things by which 1 might think 
proper to amuse myself 

In the beginning of June, it was necessary that I should visit 
Goiana; however I took a circuitous route for the purpose of seeing 
something new. I was accompanied by an old free man of colour and 
by ]\lanoel, a faithful African. We slept the first night at Aguiar. the 
estate of the capitcmi-morwkhwhom I had travelled toBom Jardim ; and 


on the following morning proceeded through several sugar plantations. 
We rested at mid-day at Purgatorio, a small cotton and mandioc 
plantation, but we could not purchase any thing of which to make a 
dinner, and therefore, as was usual on such occasions, we smoked in 
place of eating. When the sun had declined a little we again set 
forth. A few of the sugar plantations through which we passed in 
the afternoon were in a decayed state. We stopped at a cottage, and 
begged the owner to sell us a fowl but she refused ; — we had not 
eaten any thing this day. I was loath so to do, but I could not avoid 
saying that she must sell one, that I did not mind the price, but that 
hunger would not allow me to let her do as she pleased in this case. 
She fixed upon one, and made me pay exorbitantly for it. We 
parted in the end very good friends; she offered me some herbs with 
which to cook the bird, and after this reconciliation we again ad- 
vanced. By going to Purgatorio we had left the usual direct road — 
cross roads even in England are not good, so what must they be in 
Brazil? In one part we were obliged to lean down upon our horses' 
necks, and to proceed in this manner for some distance, with the 
branches of the trees completely closed above. The plantation of 
Mundo Novo, or the new world, which we reached late in the after- 
noon, was in ruins ; trees grew in the chapel, and the brushwood in 
front of the dwelling-house rose higher than its roof I slept at a 
cottage hard by, which was inhabited by an elderly man and a num- 
ber of children, large and small. The ill-fated fowl, and another 
which we had also obtained by the way, were dressed by the daugh- 
ters of our host. Soon the cooking was effected, and I commenced 
operations, literally with tooth and nail, upon one of the birds, for 
there were no knives, forks, or spoons to be had; however I did re- 
ceive some assistance from my own faca dc j)07ita, a pointed knife or 
dirk, which, though prohibited by law, is worn by all ranks of persons. 
At night, my hammock was slung under the pent-house ; at a late 
hour a shower of rain came on ; our host had a vast herd of goats ; 
these crowded in from the rain, and soon I was obliged, in self-defence, 
to rise, as I discovered that they had very little respect for me ; — my 

THE AGUE. 217 

head and some of their's having come in contact, made me look out 
for better quarters ; and these I found upon a high table, where I 
remained until the visitors again ventured forth. We proceeded on 
the morrow, and reached Goiana by the low marshy lands of Catu. 
The river was scarcely fordable ; but we crossed, and on the opposite 
side the loose mud in the road reached above the horses' knees and 
continued along it for more than one hundred yards ; we entered it, 
and the horses gently waded through ; but mine unfortunately felt 
that his tail was not quite easy in the mud, and therefore began to 
move it to and fro on either side ; and as it was long, (m\ich too long 
on this occasion) it struck me at every jerk. My dress was a light- 
coloured nankeen jacket and trowsers, and I came forth, without 
exaggeration, one cake of mud from head to foot. 

I rode to the residence of a person with whom I had been long 
acquainted ; he had taken up his quarters at a new mandioc 
plantation which had been lately established in the outskirts of 
Goiana ; my friend had removed to this place to superintend some of 
the workmen. I stayed only two days at Goiana, for I soon accom- 
plished the object of my journey, which was to obtain twenty Indian 
labourers from Alhandra. My return to Jaguaribe was by the usual 

The day after my arrival at my new home, I rode to Recife, and 
had on the following day an attack of ague. I had exposed myself 
lately too much to the sun, and had been several times wet through. 
The disorder left me in a fortnight ; my horses were sent for, — they 
came, and I set off for Jaguaribe ; but in mid- way, I was drenched 
with rain, and reaching that place much tired, went to sleep unin- 
tentionally in my hammock, without changing ray cloaths. In the 
morning I felt that the ague was returning, and therefore ordered 
my horse and rode out to try to shake off the attack, which the 
peasants say it is possible to do. However, whilst I was talking 
with a neighbour, on horseback at his door, the ague came on, and I 
was unable to return to my own dwelling. 

The next day the Indians from Alhandra arrived ; they had im- 

F F 


bibed strange notions of the riches of an Englishman ; and their cap- 
tain told me, that they knew I was very rich, and could aiFord to give 
higher wages than anyone else. I tried to undeceive them in this 
respect, but all to no purpose. I offered the usual rate of labour in 
the country ; but their characteristic obstinacy had entered into 
them, and they preferred returning as they came to any abatement of 
their first demand ; although this was 25 ^^er cent, higher than any 
person had ever been known to give for daily labour. They dined, 
placed their wallets upon their shoulders, and went their way. One 
of my people said, as they disappeared, ascending the hill, beyond 
the field, " They had rather work for any one else for half the 
money, than lower in their demands to you." 

I was removed from this neighbour's house, after a few days, in 
a hammock; but finding that the disorder increased, I sent for the 
manager, an old man of colour, whose wife attended upon me. By 
my desire, he collected a sufficient number of bearers, as it was my 
wish to be carried to Recife. About five o'clock in the afternoon 
we set off; there were sixteen men to bear the hammock by turns, 
and the manager was likewise in company ; of these persons only two 
were slaves. After we had passed the wood and liad arrived upon a 
good road, the bearers proceeded at a long walk approaching to a run. 
Their wild chorus, which they sung as they went along, — their mis- 
chief in throwing stones at the dogs by the road side, and in abuse, 
half joking, half wishing for an opportunity of quarrelling, confident 
in their numbers, and that as they were in the service of a white man 
he would bring them out of any scrape ; — was very strange, and had 
I been less unwell, this journey would have much amused me. As 
we passed through Olinda, a woman asked my men if they carried a 
dead body (for it is in this manner that they are brought from a dis- 
tance for interment). One of the bearers answered, " No, it is the 
devil* :" and then turning to me, said, " Is it not so, my master f ?" 
I said, " Yes," and the good woman walked away, saying, " Ave- 

* " Senhora na?ii, he o Diabo." f " Qtte diz, men amo ?" 


Maria, the Lord forbid *." The wind was high and some rain fell, 
as we crossed the Olinda sands ; we arrived at Recife between nine 
and ten o'clock. The bearers stopped before we approached the 
gate way at the entrance of the town, that each man might, in some 
way or other, conceal his long, unlawful knife; without one of these 
weapons no peasant or great man leaves his home, notwithstanding 
the prohibition. 

I became gradually worse, until my recovery was not expected ; 
but the kind, attentive hand of another Englishman here again was 
stretched forth. My former,friend had left the country, but another 
supplied his place, and from him I received every brotherly kind- 
ness. I cannot forbear mentioning the following circumstances re- 
lating to my illness. I went on board an English merchant ship, 
some weeks after my recovery, and on passing a cask which was 
lying upon the deck, I struck it intentionally, but without any par- 
ticular object. The master, who was an old gentleman with whom 
I had come from England, and who had been long acquainted with 
me, said, " Yes, you would not have it." I asked him what he 
meant, to which he replied, " It was for you, but you gave us the 
slip this time." I did not yet understand him, so he then continued, 
" Why, do you think I would have let you remain among these fel- 
lows here, who would not have given you christian burial? I intended 
to have taken you home in that puncheon of rum." I was told 
by one of my medical attendants when I was recovering, that 
some old maiden ladies, who lived near to where I resided, had fre- 
quently pressed him, whilst I was in a dangerous state, to have the 
Sacrament brought to me, for they were much grieved that I should 
die without any chance of salvation. An English merchant of Recife 
asked my particular friend when the funeral was to take place; and 
one of the medical men wrote a note to the same person late one 
night, enquiring whether his attendance on the following morning 
had been rendered unnecessary. 

* " Avc-Maria, Nosso Senhor nos livre.' 
F F 2 


As soon as I was well enough to remove, I took a small cot- 
tage at the village of Monteiro, that I might have the advantage of 
better air than that of Recife, and yet not be too far distant from 
medical advice. Here I passed my time very pleasantly in daily 
intercourse with a most worthy Irish family, of whom I shall always 
preserve recollections of gratitude for the kindness which I received 
at that time and on other occasions. On the night of my arrival at 
Monteiro, one of my pack-horses was stolen, but the animal was recog- 
nised some weeks afterwards by a boy who was in my service; the 
man into whose hands he had fallen happened to pass through the 
village, and thus I recovered the horse. It is astonishing to what a 
great extent horse-stealing has been carried, in a country which 
abounds so much with these animals. It is almost the only species 
of robbery, for the practising of which regular gangs of men have 
been discovered to have been formed; but these fellows will some- 
times also chance to lay hold of a stray ox or cow. * 

* These practices were, or rather are, at present, carried on in one part of the coimti-y 
witli which I am well acquainted. The persons who commit the crimes are white men 
and of high birth. Among them was a priest. The magistrate of the district in ques- 
tion was applied to by a man who had lost a cow, mentioning that he more than suspected 
where she was, and at the same time naming the place. A tropa, a troop or party, of orde- 
nenfa soldiers was collected, and these men were dispatched to search the house, which had 
been pointed out, under the command of a corporal of well-known courage. They arrived 
there and knocked; the door was opened by the owner, who was the priest connected with 
the gang; he said that he could not allow his house to be entered without an order from 
the ecclesiastical court. This answer was conveyed to the magistrate who had signed the 
order, the soldiers remaining round about tlie house. A second order arrived, and the 
bearer brought with him a couple of hatchets, thus expressively pointing out to the cor- 
poral what he was to do. Forthwith preparations were made for breaking open the 
door, when the priest said, that he would allow the corporal to enter alone ; the man fear- 
lessly went in, but as soon as the door was again closed the priest seized upon him, and 
some of his negroes who were in another apartment sprang forwards to assist their mas- 
ter ; but the corporal disengaged himself, and standing upon the defensive called to his 
men, who soon broke into the house. Search was made, and the carcase and hide of the 
cow were found, and were with the negroes taken publicly to the nearest town. The mark 
of the red hot iron upon the haunch had been burnt out of the hide, that discovery might 
be rendered less easy. The priest was punished by suspension from saying mass for a 
few months. I was subsequently acquainted with him ; he was received by many persons 


I was most anxious to return to Jaguaribe, and about the middle 
of October was making preparations for the purpose ; when the 
manager arrived from the plantation, with the intelligence that one 
of his assistants had been attacked two nights before, and nearly 
killed, by some persons who had been commissioned to perform this 
deed in revenge of some real or imagined injury which the man had 
committed. This determined my proceedings ; the following morning 
I set off with the manager and a servant, to see the wounded man. I 
found him at his father's house, in most woeful plight ; his face was 
dreadfully lacerated, and his body much bruised ; the work had been 
done by bludgeons, and evidently in fear, else the task would have 
been performed less clumsily and more effectually. I never could 
discover by whom the murder was intended, nor the persons who 
attempted it ; they were dressed in leather, like unto Sertanejos ; but 
the sufferer imagined that this costume was made use of as a disguise. 
Two men sprang out upon him, in a narrow lane which had high 
banks on each side ; he defended himself for some time with his 
sword, but they overpowered him at last, and his weapon was the 
only part of his property which they carried off. I removed alto- 
gether from JNIonteiro in a few days ; my presence had long been 
necessary at Jaguaribe, for the mill was at work, and as frequently 
happens in every country, some of the persons who were employed 
had not remained empty handed. 

The poor fellow who had been waylaid, soon returned to the plan- 
tation ; he told me that every night large stones were thrown violently 
against his door, between the hours of one and four in the morning. 
I called the manager the following evening, and both of us being 
armed, we took our station near to the gate which leads into the field, 
one being on each side, behind the high bank. We could hear the 

as if nothing had been amiss ; but he was not received as heretofore, for the individuals of 
his owTi profession would not, generally speaking, associate with him. Tlie circumstance 
had not however so completely prevented his re-entrance into decent society, as such a 
crime would have done in many others countries, or so much as would have occurred at 
Pernambuco, if he had been a layman. 


footsteps of any person long before \e could approach us, as the 
splashing in the rivulet which runs beyond the gate, would give us 
timely notice. The musquitos gave us much employment ; however 
we remained at our post vmtil half an hour before day break, without 
seeing any thing ; but the practice was discontinued. Two men had 
arrived early in the night to offer themselves as labourers ; they were 
awake when we returned, had made a good fire upon the ground in 
the mill (a spacious roof supported upon brick pillars) and were 
sitting round it upon their heels ; we joined them, and here I heard 
their stories of their own prowess, of charms, and miracles, and other 
conversation of the same n&ture, each of them telling something 
strange which he had seen or heard.* 

Much time had been lost, and the cane ought to have been 
planted for the crop of the following year ; the negroes in my pos- 
session could not perform what ought to be done in proper time, and 
therefore I collected free labourers for the purpose ; and in a short 
period between thirty and forty men, some of whom brought their 
families, removed on to the lands of the plantation ; and most of 
them erected hovels of palm-leaves, in which they dwelt ; but a few of 
them were accommodated with huts of mud. There were Indians, 
mulattos, free negroes, and slaves working together ; a motley crew. 

I had now taken up my abode at the house which was usually in- 
habited by the owner or tenant ; this was a low, but long mud cot- 

* A free negro, with whom I had been acquainted whilst I resided at this place, and 
wlio came to see mc when I removed to Itamaraca, told me, with much horror pictured in his 
countenance, of the fate of a man who had worked for me. He said that this person occa- 
sionally became a lobos liomevu a wolf man. I asked him to explain, when he said that the 
man was at times transformed into an animal of the size of a calf, with the figure of a dog ; 
that he left his home at midnight in this metamorphosed state, and ran about with the vio- 
lence of a mad dog, and that he attacked any one whom he might chance to meet. The 
black man was perfectly persuaded of the correctness of his own statement, when he related 
having, with his brother-in-law and his sister, met this uncommon beast, near to their own 
cottages. I suppose it was some large dog which prowled about to satisfy his hunger in 
the neighbourhood of these habitations ; but no, the man was persuaded that it was poor 


tage, covered with tiles, and white-washed within and without ; it 
had bricked floors, but no ceihng. There were two apartments of 
tolerable dimensions, several small rooms, and a kitchen. The chief 
entrance was from a sort of square, formed by the several buildings 
belonging to the estate. In front was the chapel ; to the left was a 
large dwelling-house unfinished, and the negro huts, a long row of 
small habitations, having much the appearance of alms-houses, with- 
out the neatness of places of this description in England ; to the 
right was the mill worked by water, and the warehouse or barn in 
which the sugar undergoes the process of claying ; and to the view of 
these buildings may be added the pens for the cattle, the carts, heaps 
of timber, and a small pond through which the water runs to the mill. 
At the back of the house was the large open field, the mill dam 
beyond, and cottages, mandioc lands and trees along the valley, bor- 
dered on each side by steep hills covered with thick woods. 

Oftentimes I have sat at night upon the threshhold of the door, 
after all my people had retired to their habitations ; they have sup- 
posed that I was asleep ; then I have heard the whisperings in the 
negro huts, and have observed some one leave his house, and steal 
away to visit an acquaintancp, residing at some distance,; or there has 
been some feast or merry-making, thus late at night, thus concealed. 
Neighbouring negroes have been invited, and have crept in during 
the evening imperceived. It is on these occasions that plans for 
deceiving the master are contrived; in these sweet unpermitted 
meetings, the schemes are formed. Then the slave owner who is 
aware of such secret practices, and reflects, must feel of how little 
avail are all his regulations, all his good management. Restraint 
creates the wish to act contrary to given rules. The slave has a 
natural bias to deceive him who holds him in subjection. A man 
may love the master whom he may at pleasure leave ; but to be tied 
down, and as a duty enjoined to esteem, fails not in most instances 
to rouse contrary feelings, to awaken a sense of pleasure rather than 
of pain, in counteracting the wishes, and in rendering nugatory the 
determinations of him who commands. 


At other times far different ideas from these have occupied my mind; 
I have thought of the strange life I was leading ; a remembrance of 
feudal times in Europe has crossed me, and I could not forbear com- 
paring with them the present state of the interior of Brazil. The great 
power of the planter, not only over his slaves, but his authority over 
the free persons of lower rank ; the respect which is required by these 
Barons from the free inhabitants of their lands* ; the assistance which 
they expect from their tenants in case of insult from a neighbour- 
ing equal ; the dependance of the peasants, and their wish to be 
under the peculiar protection of a person of wealth who is capable of 
relieving them from any oppression, and of speaking in their behalf 
to the governor, or to the chief judge ; all these circumstances com- 
bined, tend to render the similarity very great. I even felt the power 
which had unintentionally fallen into my hands. I had collected a 
considerable number of free workmen, and the estate was respected 
for miles round. Many of these fellows would have committed 
almost any crime under the impression that my protection would 
screen them ; and if I had not turned some away, and threatened 
others that I would aid the law rather than evade it, should their 

* On Saturdays only, throughout the country, axe cattle slaughtered; and thus weekly 
many persons of each neighbourhood assemble, as much to converse and hear the news as 
to purchase their portion of meat. On one of these occasions, a young man of colour was 
stooping to arrange upon the end of his walking stick the meat which he had bought, at 
the moment that a person of considerable power was riding up. The man of importance, 
when he came near to the young mulatto, struck him wrth a long cane with which he rode, 
saying " why don't you take off your liat when a white man appears." The blow was 
felt severely, and still more severely answered. The man of colour drew his knife, and 
quickly turning round, ran it hiU deep into the groin of him by whom he had been in- 
sulted; and then with the bloody knife in his hand, he ran off, vowing destruction upon 
any one who touched him. The rich man had only time before he died, to direct that the 
murderer should not be pursued, owning that his own impetuous tyranny had deservedly 
produced this catastrophe. The young man returned in a few weeks to his former home, 
and was not molested by the relatives of him whom he had murdered, nor did the law take 
cognizance of the deed. 


proceedings be irregular, I know not what evil deeds might not have 
followed. * 

Whilst I was unwell at Recife and Monteiro, the manager and his 
wife had taken possession of the house ; and here they remained for 
some time after my return. Thus, I lived literally among these 
people ; I had indeed my meals alone, but generally two or three of 
the persons employed upon the plantation Avere in the room, whilst I 
breakfasted or dined, and they stood or sat talking to me. Any one 
reached me a plate or ought else for which I asked, if he happened to 
be near to what I wanted. The manager and his wife told me many 

* The following anecdote exemplifies the feudal state of the planters a few years ago. 
It was related to me by a gentleman upon whose veracity I have every reason to rely. 
Some fifteen years ago, the governor of Pernambuco sent for a sergeant of the only regi- 
ment of the line which existed at that time, whose courage was well known and much 
dreaded. He received ordeis from the governor to proceed with all expedition possible 
to the sugar-plantation of Monjope, distant from Recife four leagues, for the purpose of 
taking the owner of that place into custody; or if he found that his apprehension alive was 
impi'acticable, he was then to bring his head to the governor. The sergeant was desired 
to pick out as many soldiers as he thought fit to accompany him ; but he said that he should 
go alone, and consequently the following morning he set forth. On his arrival at 
Monjope, he was received by the owner of the plantation, who v.'as a colonel of militia, or 
a capitam-mor. Being seated, he quietly made his errand known, shewing to the great 
man the order for his apprehension, and mentioning the additional instructions in case of 
disobedience. The colonel left the room, but soon returned with a bag containing about the 
value of I ooZ. in gold coins, and presenting this to the sergeant, told him to return and tell the 
governor that he would visit him as soon as possible, and explain to him the circum- 
stances which had given rise to this mission. The sergeant took the money, and set out on 
his return ; and by the way bought a sheep, killed it, and then cutting off its head, put this 
into a bag. On arriving at the palace, he placed his bloody burthen upon the ground, and 
pointing to it, said to the governor, "I have executed your commands ; he would not come, 
and therefore I have brought his head." The governor, all amazement, answered, " and 
have you really killed the colonel of Monjope?" The sergeant replied, "I have only 
acted according to the orders which I received." The following morning, what was the 
astonishment of the governor, to hear that the colonel of Monjope was in waiting, and 
wished to see him. He gave him an audience, matters were explained, and they parted 
good friends. The sergeant was sent for after the departuie of the colonel, and on being 
questioned, told the whole story, and shewed the bag of money. The governor was dis- 
pleased, but at the same time ashamed of the rash orders which he had given. The ser- . 
geant was however too useful a man to be in disgrace. 


strange tales ; he was a man of feudal stamp, honest and faithfid in 
every respect, from personal regard to the man whom he served, but 
not in general to the world ; not from a principle of right and wrong. 
This is very frequently the case among these people. He was how- 
ever of the right sort for what I wanted ; and if I was again to travel 
there, I should seek him out. 

I had become somewhat intimate in several families of the neigh- 
bourhood ; but was the most amused with my acquaintance in those 
of secondary rank, where there is less ceremony than among persons 
of the first class. In the former, the females often appear, when the 
visitor is a neighbour, has concerns with the master of the house, and 
becomes intimate with him. 

The Festival of St. Bento was to be celebrated about the close of 
the year in the adjoining plantation, belonging to the monks of whom 
he is the patron saint. The convent is at Olinda, and there the abbot 
resides ; the fraternity is rich, possessing much landed property. 
Upon the estate adjoining to Jaguaribe, mandioc, maize, rice, and 
other articles of food are cultivated, with which the convent is sup- 
plied. The slaves upon it are in number about one hundred, of all 
ages ; and the last African died whilst I resided in that part of the 
country. The festival, at which I intended to be present, was to our 
Lady of the Rosary, the patroness of negroes. The expence which 
was to be incurred was subscribed for by the slaves of the estate, and 
the festival was entirely managed by them. Three friars attended to 
officiate at the altar ; but the lights, the fire-works, and all other neces- 
sary articles were provided for by a committee of the slaves. The 
manager of the estate was a mulatto slave, who made me a visit upon 
my arrival at Jaguaribe, and on the occasion of the festival came to 
invite me to the novena and to the festa, (the nine previous evenings 
and the festival) ; or rather he came to request that I would not fail 
to go, as he feared that my people and his might quarrel. I went 
with a large party of men and women ; we ascended the hill, and on 
our arrival at its summit, I was invited by one of the black women to 
enter her cottage, the same invitation being made to several other 


persons of our party. The chapel is placed quite upon the highest 
point of the hill ; and the house in which the friars dwell, when they 
come to the estate, and the row of negro huts form a semi-circle 
about it, thus in part inclosing the chapel. These habitations look 
down upon the broad river of Maria Farinha, winding below among 
the mangroves, and there are several creeks on the opposite side, 
which look like so many branches. 

The crowd which had assembled was considerable, and was not a 
little increased by my free workmen ; some of whom were unmarried 
men, unencumbered, and ready for any mischief. I was armed with 
a long pike and the large knife of the country ; and had brought 
three of my slaves, accoutred much in the same manner, — three 
resolute Africans, upon whom I could depend, and whose business it 
was closely to watch tlieir master. Before the commencement of 
the prayers and singing in the chapel, the black people extended 
several mats upon the ground in the open air ; and our party sat 
down upon them to converse and to eat cakes and sweetmeats, of 
which many kinds were exposed for sale in great abundance. All 
went on quietly for three nights, for the mulatto manager forbad 
the sale of rum ; but on the fourth night some liquor unfortunately 
found its way up the hill, and Nicolau, the manager, came in haste 
to inform me that a few of my Indians were earnestly bent on quar- 
relling with a party of his people. I rose from the mat upon which I 
had been seated, and followed by my body guard, accompanied him 
back to the spot, where I soon saw that a fight had commenced ; 
persuasion was of no avail, and therefore my negroes made use of the 
but ends of their pikes, and brought an Indian to the ground, who was 
deliveredover to Simam,one of my fellows ; and I desired the two slaves 
who remained to assist the St. Ben to negroes. I thus proved, that I would 
not uphold my own people if they acted irregularly ; and the matter 
fortunately ended with only some trifling bruises, and one broken 
head. The Indian was conveyed home by Simam, who returned to 
tell me that he had placed the man in the stocks, with the intent of 
sobering him. No more quarrels were entered into ; for this affair 

G G 2 


quite sickened all those who might have been so inclined. In the 
morning the Indian was set at liberty, and he quietly went off to his 
work, not being much the worse. 

I had great pleasure in witnessing the most excellent arrangements 
of this plantation ; the negroes are as happy as persons in a state of 
slavery can be ; but although the tasks are, comparatively speaking, 
easy, and corporal punishments are only resorted to for children, still 
the great object at which they aim is to be free, and to purchase the 
freedom of their children*. One man, who was a fisherman by trade, 
had obtained the manumission of his wife, though he was still a slave 
himself, with the intent that if she should still have any more 
children, they might be free ; and he purposed afterwards purchasing 
his own freedom, and that of his young ones. Several instances of 
the same behaviour are frequently occurring upon the estates be- 
longing to these and other friars. Thus every one wishes to be a 
free agent ; and it is this feeling alone which makes a St. Bento 
negro do all in his power to be able to act for himself; for very pro- 
bably he may be obliged to labour with more diligence to obtain his 
living as a free man than as a slave. The emancipated negro often- 
times becomes an excellent member of society, for he contracts habits 
of industry, in which he continues ; but again, if he has been hardly 
treated by a rigorous master, he becomes disgusted with, and indif- 
ferent to life, is rendered callous to shame, and drags on an idle, 
miserable existence. 

Another festival was totakeplace at one of the chapels upon the coast, 
which is dedicated to our Lady of the Conception. This was distant 
one league and a half from Jaguaribe ; however we formed a party 
and mounted our horses one moonlight evening ; the females riding 
behind their husbands and relations, with a sheet or counterpane 
thrown over the horse's haunches, upon which they sat. We came 

* Slaves are permitted to purchase their own freedom, on tendering to the master the 
sum of money which he originally gave for them. But I shall presently speak more at 
large of this law and of slavery, as it exists in Brazil. 


out upon the sea-shore at the church of our Lady of the O, (of which 
I shall presently speak) not far from the Fort of Pao Amarello, and 
from thence proceeded along the sands to the place of our destination. 
I was introduced to the family of an old Portugueze who resided here ; 
his son had just taken orders as a secular priest, and was to say his 
first mass on the day of the festival. There were puppet-shows, 
tumblers, and all their attendants in great abundance; fireworks and 
bonfires, noise, bustle, and no lack of quarrelling. Within the chapel 
there was a display of wax tapers, praying, singing, and music, as 
is usual. 

The assemblage of persons was very considerable; indeed wherever 
the surf is not violent the sea-shore is well-peopled, along the whole 
extent of coast between Olinda and the bar of the river Goiana; in many 
parts the low straw huts are united, or nearly so, in long rows for 
half a mile together. White-washed cottages with tiled roofs are 
frequently interspersed ; churches and chapels have been built, and 
few intervals of much extent remain unpeopled. The lands are 
planted with the coco-trees, which is the most profitable plant of Bra- 
zil* ; the coco-tree appears to be adapted to the sandy soil of the 
coast, upon which only very few others will vegetate; here it flourishes 
and seems to derive nourishment from its vicinity to the sea, but when 
it is situated in rich land the coco-tree droops, and even upon the sandy 
plains of the interior, it does not bear its fruit with the same lux- 
uriance, or reach that height, which it attains when exposed to the 
sea breeze. These coco groves through which the eye can reach for 
miles, with the hovels composed entirely of the leaves of these trees 
spread among them, form in some parts very picturesque views ; and 
if, as frequently occurs, the cottage is situated upon the border of a 
wood, just where the cocos end, and the dark green foliage of the 
forest trees is seen behind, then the view is even romantic; and if 
the wind is high, the rustling of the coco-trees, and the dashing 
of the waves, increases much the wildness of the scene. 

* Vide Appendix for a farther account of the coco-tree. 


However to return. As soon as the church service was ended we 
mounted our horses, and rode back to Our Lady of the O. We 
ahghted at a cottage which stood near to the church, the inhabi- 
tants of which were acquainted with some of our party ; the moon was 
bright and the breeze moderate. We sat down upon mats before 
the door, and were regaled with quantities of young coco nuts, a most 
dehghtful fruit when they are in this state. Some of us walked down 
towards the beach; the tide was out, and I observed several large 
blocks of hewn stone, partly buried in the sand below high water 
mark. I enquired what had caused them to be there, and was an- 
swered, that a church had formerly stood upon that spot ; and I heard 
then, and afterwards often saw, that the sea was making considerable 
encroachments along the coast, to the distance of half a league or 
more each way. The new church of Our Lady of the O. was now 
building, at the distance of about three hundred yards from the 
shore. Strange tales are told of the miraculous deeds of this lady. 
When the church was about to be rebuilt, many of the landholders 
of the neighbourhood were desirous of having the edifice upon their 
ground ; this proceeded from a religious feeling. Lots were drawn 
to determine upon the site of the new church, and although mani- 
festly inconvenient, from many causes, it has been erected upon the 
spot where it now stands, because the same lot was drawn three 
times. A very great objection, and one which in common cases 
would have been insurmountable, is that this is the lowest piece of 
land in the neighbourhood, and is opposite to the place upon which 
the sea is making the most rapid advances. Water too, for mixing 
the lime and sand, must have been conveyed from a considerable 
distance; but a spring of it gushed forth at the moment that one of 
the labourers was making preparations for the commencement of his 
work, and since the capella-mor, or principal chapel, has been built, 
all kinds of diseases are said to be cured. The fame of this most 
powerful lady has reached far and wide, and from the interior to the 
distance of 150 leagues, persons who were afflicted with disorders which 
had been considered incurable by human means, have come down 


to make their offerings to this avaritious personage, whose powerful 
intercession is not to be obtained unless she is in return well paid 
for her trouble. * 

As the road from the Sertam to the sea-shore was by Jaguaribe, 
I saw many of the travellers; I conversed with many wealthy per- 
sons, whose sole errand was to offer part of their possessions, upon 
condition of relief from the malady under which they suffered. The 
patrimony of this church is now considerable, from the numerous 
donations which have been made; some of these have been advanced 
on credit, the donors being fully confident of repayment in the man- 
ner which they desire; others have been made, owing to the persons 
who gave them having been really cured; — faith has done what 
medicine could not do. Such has been the reliance upon the efficacy of 
the prayers which were offered up, and upon the power of the Lady, 
that the probability of disappointment has never occurred to them ; 
and when the disorder proceeds more from the imagination than 
from the body, I should suppose tfiat a cure may be effected, much 
in the same manner that in other countries cures are said to be per- 
formed by medicinal waters ; of which, although the qualities may be 
very excellent, yet the name may surpass the reality, in bringing 
about the desired end. The miracles of Our Lady of the O. are 
performed in three ways — by prayer from the patient, — by drinking 
the water of the spring or by application of some of it to the part 
affected — and by eating or outwardly applying, a small quantity of 
the salt which oozes from the wall against which the High Altar 
stands t' A village has risen up around the church, composed of 

* An old Portugueze, whose faith in the intercession of saints could not be very 
strong, being asked for alms to assist in the decoration of an image, refused to give any 
thing, and added, " The saints are in a much better situation than I am ; they don't want 
any assistance from me." 

f I insert the following passage from No. 3 2d. of Dr. Thomson's Annals of Philosophy, 
p. 138. It is given for the purpose of acquainting the supporters of our Lady of the O, 
that salt oozes from walls in an heretical, as well as in a Cathohc country : 

" The formation of nitre upon calcareous stones in certain situations has been long 
known, and advantage has been taken' of it to procure that important salt in great quanti- 


huts for the sick, who have journeyed far from other districts. The 
business has completely succeeded, the money which was required 
for rebuilding the church has been obtained, and when I came away 
the concern was going on prosperously. I heard the remark made 
by some firm believers, that such was the sinfulness of the inhabitants 
of the vicinity, that the Lady had scarcely vouchsafed to perform 
any cures upon them. The wonderful stories of cures were always of 
persons who lived in remote districts ; but I did meet with a few 
cases in which fancied illness from lowness of spirits was removed. 
The general credulity of the lower orders of people, and even of 
many individuals of the higher ranks, is beyond all belief; no per- 
suasion, no reasoning is of any service ; even a doubt of the truth of 
every story which is told is not admitted*. 

From hence we proceeded to pay another visit. The owner 
of this cottage had no cocos to offer, but he would have 
dressed some fish, and he gave us some wild fruits. The sail 
of a jangada was extended for us, and we laid down for some 
time to converse. At a late hour we set off homewards, and 

ties ; though no satisfactory theory of the formation of the sah itself has yet been offered to 
the public. The present paper contains a set of observations on the appearance of an 
efflorescence of salt-petre on the walls of the Ashmole laboratory at Oxford, a large ground 
room, sunk below the area of the street. The walls are built of Oxford lime-stone, a gra- 
nular floetz Urae-stone, containing many fragments of shells, of vegetable bodies, and com- 
posed of 96 carbonate of lime, and 4 of ochrey sand. The salt formed was nearly pure, 
though it contained traces of lime and of sulphuric and muriatic acids. What was formed 
in winter contained most lime. The formation of this salt was most rapid in frosty 
weather ; it formed slowly, and the quantity even diminished in moist weather after it had 
been deposited. Exclusion from the air did not preclude the deposition of the salt, though 
it diminished it considerably.^' p. 70. — The paper, of which the above is an analysis, is by 
John Kidd, M.D. professor of chemistry in Oxford. 

* Some time ago a wooden figure was brought up out of the sea in a fisherman's 
net ; it was deposited in a place of safety, and was on inspection, by some person who was 
judged competent to decide upon the subject, declared to be an image of St. Luke ; it was 
removed to a church, and has taken its place as a representative of that saint. Now, \ 
have heard it whispered, that this said St, Luke is no more than the figure-head of some 
unfortunate vessel which bad been cast away, or that the figure had been broken off by a 
violent wave. 


from carelessness lost our way; we wandered through the paths 
of the woods of Mamanguape, until we judged (rightly, as it hap- 
pened) that we were in the road which would lead us to Jagua- 
ribe. There was much merriment notwithstanding the disaster, for 
we knew that day-light would end our difficulties, and it was now 
past two o'clock. 

The mill was continually at work; I usually took the first 
watch, and superintending the business until midnight ; several of 
my neighbours and their families came to amuse themselves in con- 
versation, and others came for the purpose of eating sugar-cane, of 
which every one who has tasted must be fond. 

About this time a female slave died in child-bed who was generally 
regretted. She was a good servant, and an excellent wife and mother. 
The grief of her husband bore much the appearance of insanity; 
he would not eat until the following day, and then he only tasted 
food from the persuasion of one of his children. Until the time of 
my departure from Pernambuco, he had not recovered his former 
spirits, and he never spoke of his wife without tears in his eyes. 
Even some of the other slaves were, for a few days after her death, 
unsettled; the rude instruments, upon which they were in the habit 
of playing in the evening at their doors, were laid aside; — all mer- 
riment was discontinued for some time. 

I was requested about this period to be bride's-man at the mar- 
riage of a mulatto couple. I agreed, and on the day appointed, set 
forth for Paratibi, accompanied by a free servant and a slave on 
horseback. I arrived about ten o'clock, and found a large party of 
people of colour assembled ; the priest soon arrived, and he too was 
of the same cast. Breakfast of meat and piram (a paste made of 
farinha) was placed upon the table ; some part of the company sat 
down and ate, others stood, doing the same, and others again, as if 
they were afraid of losing a minute's conversation, continued to 
talk loudly, and without ceasing. I have witnessed few such scenes 
of confusion. At last we proceeded to the church, to which I begged 
to be permitted to ride, for the distance was considerable, and I 

234 <^OCK MASS. 

Avas somewhat lame from an accident ; as soon as the ceremony 
was over, we returned to the house. The bride was of a dark 
brown colour, for her father was a negro, and her mother of mixed 
blood ; she was dressed in a rose-coloured silk gown, and a black 
veil was thrown over her head and shoulders ; she wore white shoes 
and white stockings with open clocks. The bridegroom was also of 
dark colour ; he wore a coat of brown cloth, a waistcoat of bro- 
caded silk, and nankeen pantaloons ; he had on shoes with large 
buckles, and a cocked hat. Both of these persons were young, 
and they seemed to be dreadfully hampered with the increased 
stock of apparel which they carried. The scene at dinner was a 
counterpart of the breakfast affair, with the addition of more noise 
and more confusion, which were caused by a larger assemblage 
of people, and more plentiful draughts of wine and rum. I escaped 
as soon as possible ; but would not on any account have missed being 
present at this day's work. 

On the night of Christmas eve, I did not go to bed ; for we were 
to hear the Missa do Gallo, or cock mass, as is customary. The 
priest arrived, and the night was spent merrily. This person did not 
at that time come regularly as a chaplain, but he was so engaged 






A BOUT the middle of January, 1813, 1 went to stay for some days 
■^^^ at the cottage of an acquaintance, who resided upon the plain 
of Barbalho, for the purpose of purchasing a few horses. This place 
is near to the village of Monteiro ; but it is on the opposite side of 
the river, Barbalho is a plain of some extent, upon which cattle are 
turned out to feed ; the soil of it is a stiff dark-coloured clay, and the 
grass which grows upon it is of a coarse species ; this becomes quite 
dry during the summer months, and when in this state it is set on 
fire, that the tender shoots which again spring up may serve as food 
for the animals that are to graze upon it. The fire will run along 
the ground, urged by a fresh breeze ; it will sometimes contract, and 
at others spread each way, presenting to the beholders a fiery wall. 
The sight is grand ; it is upon a large scale, which gives to it a ter- 
rific appearance. The inhabitants of the skirts of this plain carefully 
preserve a circle around their houses and gardens, clear of veo-eta- 
tion ; apprehensive of some inconsiderate traveller who may chance 
to light his pipe as he goes along, and throw away unextinguished the 
fire-stick of which he has made use. 

The person with whom I was staying persuaded me to ride with 
him to the sugar plantation of Uninha, which is distant six leagues 
to the southward of Barbalho ; he described the place as being very 
H H 2 



beautiful, and I consented. This was the only opportunity which 
conveniently offered itself of seeing the country in this direction ; 
but I much regret not having made greater exertions to visit the 
southern districts of Pernambuco. We passed through the hamlet 
and by the parish church of the Varzea. A considerable extent of 
country is known under this name, containing some of the finest 
cane lands of the province, which are owned by men of wealth, who 
know the value of what they possess, and consequently the planta- 
tions are in a flourishing condition. The Varzea is famous in Per- 
nambucan history, as the site of a great deal of fighting. Cama- 
ragibe, which is in the vicinity, or rather a part of the Varzea, and 
is spoken of by the historian of that country, is now a flourishing- 
sugar plantation.* 

We reached the sugar plantation of Camasari, belonging to the Car- 
melite friars ; it is in high order, that is, the slaves and cattle are in 
good condition, and every thing upon it appeared chearful ; but it does 
not yield so much produce as it might, if the strength of the labourers 
was pushed to the utmost. I looked into the mill, which is turned 
by water, and saw some handsome mulatto girls feeding the mill with 
cane ; they were dressed in petticoats of printed cotton, and smocks 
of cambric muslin, and they wore upon their necks and in their ears 
gold ornaments ; they were singing in parts very tolerably. The 
difference between the plantations which belong to convents, and 
those which are possessed by individuals who reside upon them, and 
have a direct interest in every trifling increase or decrease of the 
gains, is very striking. The estates of friars are worked almost ex- 
clusively by negroes who have been born upon them ; every thing 

» I am not certain of the situation of the Monte das Tabocas, where one of the chief 
battles was fought between the Portugueze and the Dutch in 1645. — History of Brazil, 
vol. ii. p. 108. There is now a plantation called Tabocas, which is owned by one of the 
chiefs of the Cavalcante family ; but as I was acquainted with him and several other per- 
sons of the same description, I think the circumstance would have been mentioned, if this 
had been the place. 

UNINHA. 237 

goes on easily and regularly. If much is made, the better satisfied 
is the chief for the time being ; but if, on the contrary, little is ob- 
tained, still the affairs of the community go on. We proceeded, and 
at some distance beyond, descended from a high hill into a narrow 
valley, which was completely embosomed by the eminences around, 
and so enclosed that we appeared to intrude upon its inhabitants 
in crossing this spot of their retirement. The grass upon the hills 
was dry; but all below was yet in full health. 

At length we arrived at the plantation of Uninha, which is situ- 
ated upon an extensive field, composed of uneven ground and watered 
by several springs. The mill is turned by oxen, which is a late im- 
provement; horses being usually employed where water cannot be 
obtained. We dined with the owner, and he returned with us to Bar- 
balho in the afternoon. I was much delighted with the day's amuse- 
ment. This was the most beautiful part of the country which I visited^ 
taken as a whole. The hills and the vallies are not high or exten- 
sive, but they are decidedly marked. Here cultivation formed a con- 
siderable feature in the country, the cane lands were extensive, and 
the mills for its manufacture into sugar numerous. 

On my return from Uninha, I wished still to remain at Barbalho 
for a few days, and therefore the owner of the cottage at which I was 
staying went on to Jaguaribe, to remain there until I could join him. 
I staid with Manoel and Simam. One morning Manoel had gone to 
cut a bundle of grass, and on his return met with an old acquain- 
tance, a Creole negro ; they quarrelled by the way, and as they came 
near to where I was residing the matter became serious, and blows 
were given and received, both of the men being armed with long 
poles. Simam saw this, took up a drawn sword which was lying upon 
a chair, and ran out to assist his comrade. I went out to put a stop 
to the business, and discovered that Simam had cut an enormous 
gash in the fellow's head; the man was brought into the cottage and 
his wound was dressed. An acquaintance of mine happened now to 
come in, and he took charge of the negro, and carried him home to 
his master. The negro was taking a load of grass for the governor's 


horses, who was residing at Monteiro, which is within half a mile of 
the site of these transactions. Notice would have been taken of the 
affair immediately, owing to the circumstance of the negro being em- 
employed for the governor, if His Excellency had not been informed 
that the offending negroes (for such I consider mine to have been) 
belonged to an Englishman, upon which no more enquiry was made; 
and as it was discovered that the master had nothing to do with the 
affray, no cognizance was taken of the matter by the military power. 
If the owner of the wounded slave had chosen so to do, he might 
have put me to much expence and trouble, for he might have ac- 
cused my negroes of assaulting his; but the law of itself seldom does 
any thing. Even in cases of murder the prosecutor, or accuser as he 
is called, has it at his option to bring the trial forwards or not; if he 
can be bribed or otherwise persuaded to give up the accusation, the 
matter drops to the ground. Thus the spirit of law is changed, 
from the principle of bringing an offender to justice for the general 
good of society, to that of prosecuting in revenge for the crime 
which he has committed against an individual. 

Soon after my return to Jaguaribe, I was one evening surprised 
at the arrival of a white man, who was habited in uniform of blue 
and red, and accompanied by a great number of loaded horses, and 
of men, who were dressed in leather after the manner of the Sertani; 
he delivered to me a letter, which I discovered not to be for me, but 
for an Englishman who was occasionally with me; however, I of 
course requested him to stay, and gave directions for the accom- 
modation of his followers. He was a commandant from the interior, 
distant 130 leagues, in the back settlements of the province of Pa- 
raiba, at the foot of the Serra do Teixiera. He had put on board 
of jangadas at Paraiba a considerable quantity of cotton, which he 
had brought down from his estate, and he was now travelling to 
Recife for the purpose of receiving it, and of purchasing necessaries 
or rather luxuries for his family ; to which he appeared to be ex- 
tremely attached. We soon became intimate, and when he proceed- 
ed to Recife at the close of a few days, he left some of his men and 


horses at Jagiiaribe. It is among the inhabitants of places so remote 
as the district from which he came, that clanship more particularly ex- 
ists; he had with him ten persons, most of whom were his compadres, 
that is, the commandant was sponsor to one of the children of each. 
This relationship is accounted very sacred in Brazil, and I believe in 
all Roman Catholic countries; it is a bond of brotherhood, which per- 
mits the poor man to speak to his superior with a kind of endearing 
familiarity, and unites them in links of union, of which the non-ob- 
servance would be sacrilegious. The commandant made me several 
visits from Recife, and after a delay of two months, he set off on his 
retui-n homewards. He was a man of most determined spirit, whose 
name is respected all over the part of the country which he in- 
habits; and this respect was produced by his wealth and individual 
character, which brooks no insult ; and yet there was a natural good- 
ness in his nature, which broke forth very strongly when he shewed 
me the letters which he had received from his children, each of them, 
even to the youngest, having written to him. He had lately lost 
his wife; his manner of speaking of her was most affectionate. He 
told me, that he had some intention of taking orders as a secular 

Soon after the commandant left me the following occurrence took 
place hard by, which is characteristic of the state of the country, and 
similar to what frequently happens; although this of which I am about 
to speak, might have been avoided, if the actors in it had been a little 
older, and a little less hot-headed. A young man who resided in 
this neighbourhood had been lately appointed to hold a military 
situation in the district, of which he was proud, and owing to which he 
had assumed an additional degree of personal importance. He pos- 
sessed a high-spirited horse, and would sometimes turn him loose, 
although he had no fenced field into which he could put him. The 
animal soon found out the cane land of an adjoining estate, and 
destroyed, considerably, the young plants ; from hence he would 
open the gate of the field, (which from the manner that the gates 


of plantations are usually made, it was very easy for him to do) and 
would come and offer battle to some of the hard worked horses. 
This was often repeated, notwithstanding that the animal had been 
caught each time, and sent home with a request that this might not 
again occur. However, at last one of the beasts of the estate was 
lamed by the horse, and rendered unfit for service, at least for some 
time. The owner was much vexed, and as one of his slaves was 
about to carry a message to some distance, he told him to ride 
the officer's horse. He went, — and the owner was informed of this ; 
he way-laid the slave, and took the horse from him. The planter 
heard the next day, that the officer had expressed to many persons 
a wish to meet him, however no notice was taken of this. As he 
rode on the following morning to see his workmen, he saw the cap- 
tain in the path on horseback talking to a mulatto man. The planter 
spoke to him, saying that he wished to pass, which he could not do 
unless he moved, and mentioning at the same time that he was in- 
formed of his wish to see him. The captain spurred his horse 
towards his adversary, attempting at the same moment to draw his 
sword ; but this he did not do with ease, from some entanglement of 
the belt. The other man drew his, which was inclosed in a walking- 
stick, and rode up to him, putting the point close to his breast, 
thus shewing him how easily he might by this unforeseen advantage 
have taken his life. The mulatto man had now recovered from his 
astonishment, and ran in between the horses, striking them and 
driving them asunder. They still remained for some minutes in 
high words ; but the captain had not, as was afterwards well known, 
supposed that the other was armed, and therefore his ardour for the 
combat had now cooled considerably. 

The Indians who were in my service, occasionally requested leave 
to dance in front of my dwelling ; I usually complied, and was often 
much amused. A large fire was made, that we might the better see 
what was going on ; and that the evening might be rendered more 
entertaining, I frequently invited some of my neighbours. The dance 

DANCES. 241 

commenced by two men stepping forwards, and walking round and 
round, taking a circuit of a few yards ; one of them singing, or rather 
reciting in a low voice some ditty of his own language, and the other 
playing upon a shrill pipe ; and as they went on, at intervals they 
gave a hop or a skip ; soon, a woman joined them, and walked after 
them, and then another man came forwards, and so forth, until a large 
ring was formed and the pace was quickened. It was always expected 
that some liquor should be prepared for them, and each of these per- 
sons, as they felt inclined to take any of it, stepped out of the ring, and 
returned again as soon as they had drank. They continued dancing 
as long as any rum was produced, the women as well as the men 
relishing this, their means of inspiration ; for as the quantities were 
increased, some new song was introduced, the tones became louder, 
and their articulation more rapid. 

The free people of colour too would sometimes dance ; but they 
only asked permission of me, and held their merry-making at the 
door of one of their own huts. Their dances were like those of the 
African negroes. A ring was formed ; the guitar player sat down in 
a corner, and began a simple tune, which was accompanied by 
some favourite song, of which the burthen was often repeated, and 
frequently some of the verses were extempore, and contained inde- 
cent allusions. One man stepped out into the centre of the ring, 
and danced for some minutes, making use of lascivious attitudes, 
until he singled out a woman, who then came forwards, and took her 
turn in movements not less indecent, and thus the amusement con- 
tinued sometimes until day-break. The slaves would also request to 
be permitted to dance ; their musical instruments are extremely 
rude : one of them is a sort of drum, which is formed of a sheep 
skin, stretched over a piece of the hollowed trunk of a tree ; and 
another is a large bow with one string, having half of a coco-nut shell 
or of a small gourd strung upon it. This is placed against the 
abdomen, and the string is struck with the finger, or with a small bit of 
wood. When two holidays followed each other uninterruptedly, the 
slaves would continue their noise until day-break, 

I I 


I have now to enter upon an affair which gave me much trouble. 
The lands belonging to the negro brotherhood of Olinda were very 
conveniently situated for Jaguaribe, and for another plantation not 
far distant, which was owned by an old man of colour, who har- 
boured around him a numerous clan of relations and dependants. 
It was arranged that we should rent these lands equally ; but to pre- 
vent competition, one of us only was to apply for them, and then they 
were to be divided. The owner of the plantation in question 
was to make the application, and I rested satisfied ; but I was sur- 
prised to discover, that I run much risk of remaining without any 
part of them ; therefore I began to make arrangements for ob- 
taining them for myself Whilst the matter was yet in doubt, 
a person who was under the protection of the rival plan- 
tation, sent a number of negroes to work upon some land which 
lay very near to Jaguaribe. I sent a message to the owner of these 
men, purporting that the land was tenanted by a person of my ac- 
quaintance, who yearly rented it from the brotherhood, and there- 
fore I requested him to direct that his slaves should retire. This he 
refused to do ; consequently I collected a number of my free work- 
men, and rode towards the spot in question ; the matter had become 
serious, and as he was aware that if a scuffle ensued, he might lose 
the service of a slave, whilst I who was accompanied by free men, 
would not sustain any loss, he gave the desired directions, and I 
returned home. 

I gained my object of renting the lands through the interest of 
some persons who were intimately acquainted with the principal 
officers of the brotherhood. I attended at the council table of these 
black directors, and heard the arguments for and against the policy 
of placing the whole of the property in the hands of one person j 
however the matter was decided as soon as one of them rose up, and 
reminded the rest that the community was in debt, and that the new 
tenant was prepared with one year's rent in advance. All objec- 
tion was silenced by this speech, and the papers were signed without 
any farther remark. • The black gentlemen came down to Jaguaribe 


to put me in possession of the lands. I had invited several of my 
friends on this occasion, and blacks and whites all sat down and ate 
together ; the health of our Lady of the Rosary was drank first ; then 
that of the chief of the brotherhood and of the new tenant. These 
fellows amused us much ; for their politeness to each other, and to 
the white persons who were present sat awkwardly upon them ; but 
was displayed to shew the importance which they imagined them- 
selves to possess. The Juiz or chief of the brotherhood was a shoe- 
maker at Olinda, and the rest were of the same rank in life, more 
or less. 

Possession was given to me, and every thing unpleasant seemed to 
have subsided ; when one night late, a mulatto man who resided at 
Jaguaribe, knocked at my door, and told me that he had just arrived from 
a visit to a neighbouring cottage, and that on the way,threemen had come 
out upon him, and had commanded him to stop ; but on seeing him 
alone, they had retreated. I had had some intimation of what I was 
to expect, and immediately supposed by whom these persons must 
have been sent, and for whom the blow was intended. I called two 
Indians and my faithful slave Manoel, and accompanied by these, 
and the mulatto man who had given me the information, I set off 
towards the spot. They were gone, — but we pursued ; however, 
before we reached the nearest plantation, we heard the heavy gate of 
its field shut to ; therefore it was useless to proceed farther, for the 
persons, whosoever they were, had reached a place of safety. 
Upon this path resided the families of the neighbourhood with whom 
I was the most intimate, and it was well known that I sometimes 
returned home at a late hour. This was a turbulent district in which 
I had fixed my residence. Some of the owners of the plantations 
around were perpetually squabbling, and I had been led into the 
same way of proceeding ; indeed, if I had not done so, I should 
have been trampled upon. The slaves of Paulistas and of Timbo 
were constantly at war ; and the owners of the plantations of Timbo 
and Jenipapeiro were likewise with law-suits always pending, and 
their dependants never easy. Some districts are in a quieter state 
I I 2 


than others, but very few are totally without disturbance ; and there 
are few plantations in any part of the province about the bounda- 
ries of the lands of which more than one law-suit has not been 
entered into.* 

* At the distnnce of twenty leagues or more from Recife, there resided formerly the 
Padre Pedro, upon the sugar plantation of Agua Azul, or the blue water. He had ob- 
tained a grant from the Crown, of the surrounding lands, of one square league in extent, 
and had fixed his dwelhng upon a high hill, the summit of which was only to be reached 
by a serpentine road which he had made with great labour. The sugar works were like- 
wise upon the hill, and the field around the eminence was inclosed by a deep and broad 
ditch, and a thick hedge on the outside. The situation was remote, and the adjoining 
country was in a very wild state ; the woods were extensive, and almost impenetrable. 
The disposition of the priest \vas as wild as the country in which he delighted to reside. 
All deserters from the regiments of the line, and all persons who had committed crimes 
in supporting the insulted honour of their families, in quarrels and provocations exciting 
momentary violence of passion, wei-e received by him ; but he did not afford protection to 
the thief. The fellows who were harboured by him inhnbif.ed the woods around the field, 
and some of them ^ad erected their huts upon the sides of the hill, thus forming a line of 
communication ; so that with a whistle or a conch, soon were assembled at his door forty 
or fifty men, who were prepared to perform any service of whatever description he might 
name; because they well knew that if tliey were bereft of his protection, his aid would be 
given in the law's support. To injm-e the priest or any of his satellites, was followed by 
destruction to the offending person. He was, however, in the habit of sending many pre- 
sents to the chief persons in office, that no notice might be taken of his proceedings ; for 
although the government might not be able to destroy his feudal independence, still it 
might have shaken his pow er. The priest was once sent for by a late governor of the pro- 
vince; he obeyefl, and brought with him a considerable number of his determined followers j 
he dismounted, and ascended the steps of the palace, leaving directions to his people, who 
remained below, that no person should be permitted to enter after him. The governor 
complained to him of his avowed practice of harbouring deserters ; to wliich the priest 
replied, that he thought his Excellency was aware of the inutility of speaking to him upon 
that subject ; and having said this he immediately left the room, mounted his horse, and 
proceeded homewards without molestation. 

Another anecdote of this strange man was communicated to me by a person -who had 
witnessed the transaction. Two officers of justice or baiUffs, arrived at Agua Azul, and 
served a writ for debt upon him ; the priest received them with great calmness, but shortly 
afterwards he ordered some of his people to take these two men and harness them in the 
mill (which was then at work) in the places of two of the horses, (eight of these are em- 
ployed at the same time). He then ordered that the works should go on, and that a 
negro boy should sit above and make these unfortunate fellows assist in its movement ; there 
they remained for some minutes, imtil half dead with fatigue and fear, he turned them. 


I was often reminded by man}^ of my new acquaintances, that every 
plantation ought to have a chaplain ; and I was told, that without a 
doubt all those persons who attended to hear mass, woidd contribute 
towards the payment of the priest, as is customary. I spoke to a 
young man of this profession for the purpose, and he attended every 
Sunday and holiday ; but when he was dismissed, at the time I was 
preparing to leave the place, I was left to pay him entirely myself; 
every one was poor and unable to assist when the day of payment 
came. This was only what I expected ; but I thought it was right 
to follow the usual custom of having Mass said regularly, on account 
of the slaves. 

In April I arranged with the tenant of the lands which lie to the 
eastward of Jaguaribe, and are called Maranguape, to allow me to 
turn loose upon them all my cattle during the rainy season ; for the 
field of the plantation was not sufficiently large to. support so great a 
nimiber of animals, during the whole year, as the work which was 
performed upon it required. The lands upon which I intended the 
cattle to remain are about one league in length, and of about half the 
breadth. Part of them are under water in the rainy season, and in 
other places they were covered with woods ; but these were, for the 
most part to be entered even on horseback, owing to the cattle 
feeding in them, and beating down the brushwood. It was astonish- 
ing to see in how short a period the cattle which had been ac- 
customed to labour, became wild and comparatively fierce. I was in 
the habit of going occasionally with another person, both of us being 
on horseback, to collect the animals for the purpose of seeing that 
none were missing ; we had many hard chaces after them, and got 

loose, and told them to relate to their employer the manner in which they had been 
treated, threatening to do the same to him, if he could obtain possession of his person. 
The priest had a considerable number of blood hounds, which were usually uncliained, 
•and were lying about the house; thus rendering dangerous an approach to his dwelling. 
The animals were well trained, for a call from their master was sufficient to make them he 
still, and allow of the advance of a stranger. This person died only a few years ago ; 
but as 1 have already elsewhere said, the time for such characters in Brazil is fast going by. 

246 JULIO. 

many blows from the branches of the trees, &c. One of the oxen 
was in the habit of invariably going into a bog when we appeared, and 
after having proceeded to a certain distance, he would turn round and 
look at us with apparent unconcern, and as if he was conscious that 
we could not reach him. This circumstance makes m^ recollect 
another, which occurred with one of my pack-horses. The animal 
escaped from Jaguaribe, and was not for a long time heard of; but at 
last, I enquired of an old black man, who said that he saw him every 
day. The horse fed upon some lands which produced excellent grass, 
but the only water in the neighbourhood was to be obtained from a 
well or hole, of which the entrance was narrow, and the water con- 
siderably below the surface. The negro said, that one day he found 
the horse near to the well, but unable to reach the water ; he gave 
him some, out of a half gourd, which the old man carried with him, 
for the piu'pose of throwing water over his own head, in default of a 
better bath. The following day the horse was there, and this con- 
tinued for weeks ; but although he had attempted to put his hand 
upon his neck, the horse never allowed him to seize his mane. He 
was caught at last by two men, mounted on very swift-going horses, 
whom I sent for the purpose. 

A short time after the cattle had been at Maranguape, I agreed 
with an Indian to go and stay there, for the purpose of taking care 
of them. This man was in my debt for cloathing, and for a gold 
chain which he had given to his wife. He came to me a few days 
after his removal, asking leave to go to his former place of residence, 
which was at some distance, and to take his family with him. I un- 
derstood what this meant; he would never have returned, and 
therefore I answered that he might go if he thought proper, but 
must leave some pledge for the payment of the debt. This he 
promised to do. Julio, who had been with me on my journey to 
Seara, was again in my service. He now displeased me exceedingly, 
for he too, led astray by this fellow, wished to leave me ; Julio had 
been accused of some petty thefts, with which I now taxed him ; he 
denied having committed them, and that he was innocent I verily be-r 



lieve. However I did not think so then, consequently this circum- 
stance, and his wish to leave me with a man whom I knew to be 
very unprincipled, for I had lately had information respecting him 
from other quarters ; and above all, the suspicion that they had come 
at an hour when few persons were about me, under the impression 
that, being alone, I should be induced to accede to their demands, 
caused us to part on bad terms. They went their way towards Ma- 
ranguape, and I had some hopes that all would have continued quiet. 
However in the afternoon, about half an hour before the close of 
day, the manager came to tell me that Francisco Joze, the Indian 
who was in my debt, had passed through the field, accompanied by 
his wife, Julio, and a number of other Indians. Thus he had de- 
termined to go in defiance of any right which I might have to his 
services, or to demand payment of what he owed me, and in breach 
of promise given to me only a few hours before. Several other labour- 
ers were also indebted to me, and if this man was, without remark, 
permitted to make his own terms, T knew not who might chuse to 
do likewise. 

My horse was brought out; I beckoned to Manoel, my constant 
companion, and calling to some freemen, who had returned from 
their work, and were now talking together in a groupe; I said, "who 
follows me?" A black carpenter, a white brickmaker, a mulatto 
carrier, and a labourer of the same cast, and likewise another slave, 
stepped forwards. Thus accompanied by six able men, including 
Manoel, who were all on foot, I set off on horseback at a round pace, 
knowing that in ascending the hill, they would pass me. The hill 
being surmounted, I again pushed on, and when I arrived at the 
short, but steep declivity which overlooks the plantation of Inhaman, 
I saw three men below, and heard the shrill Indian pipe. I looked 
back and saw that the carpenter and brickmaker had alone kept pace 
with me, and I know not how they were able so to do. I cried out, 
" Yonder are some of the party." At the same moment, Monte, 
the brickmaker, fairly leapt down the steep declivity, and passed my 
horse J we descended upon the men, but were disappointed in dis- 


covering that although they were Indians, they were not those which 
we sought. Now we waited for the remainder of our party, who soon 
came up, and we returned quietly by another path towards home. 
On our arrival at the gate of Jaguaribe, I was informed that the 
party liad quartered itself in a corner of the fleld, in and about the 
hut of another Indian j to this place we now directed our steps. 
Francisco Joze himself came out to speak to me, and soon several 
others placed themselves near to him. I sat on horseback, holding a 
parley, my men being on the other side of me, until Antonio, the 
mulatto carrier, (he who had been way-laid a long time before) came 
round and leaned against the horse's neck, placing himself between 
me and the Indian. I afterwards found out, that he had observed that 
Francisco Joze held a drawn knife, and Antonio judged that this was 
intended against me or my horse, for the Indian well knew that if he 
wounded me it would probably enable him to escape. Several persons 
belonging to the plantation had now joined us, and the matter ended by 
the Indian allowing himself to be taken without resistance, and to be 
put into the stocks; a party of mulattos, or of Creole negroes, 
would not have submitted thus quietly. Late at night he paid the 
debt, was released, and I saw no more of him for a considerable 

I was now dismissing all those workmen who were not in debt to 
lyie, and at last only a few persons remained, whose services I re- 
quired, and upon whose character I could depend. It was very sel- 
dom that I visited Recife, but when there was a necessity for so 
doing, I took advantage of moon-light nights in preference to tra- 
velling in the day-time, and was on these occasions accompanied by 
Manoel. The wood of Merrueira, through which we usually passed, 
is famous for the numerous stories of ghosts that wander, and of 
murders that have been committed in it. One night when the 
moon was not at a sufficient height to afford a tolerably clear view 
of the objects around, we were passing through this wood. I saw a 
figure before me in the middle of the path, which bore the appear- 
ance of a man standing still. I slackened my pace and called out, 

MANOEL. 249 

as is customary, " Who comes there ;" but before I could possibly have 
received an answer, Manoel brushed past me, saying, " Let me see;" 
however I desired him to be quiet, as no harm might be intended. 
On a nearer approach, we discovered that an old stump of a tree had 
caused this alarm. On another occasion I sent this same slave from 
Recife to Jaguaribe, on foot, early in the morning, telling him that 
I intended to follow him, leaving Recife about eight o'clock in the 
evening. I was to be accompanied by Zacharias, another slave, whose 
courage was somewhat doubtful. Manoel arrived at Jaguaribe and 
immediately prepared one of the pack-horses, saying to the manager 
that he was going to meet his master who was on the road alone, 
for he said, " Zacharias is nobody*." The manager could not per- 
suade him to give up his intention, and therefore as he knew that 
the slave was much tired with his walk, he came himself. I mention 
these anecdotes for the purpose of shewing the kind of man, who 
usually followed me wherever I went. 

Several months now succeeded each other without any disquietude. 
I had another attack of ague during the rainy season, which was how- 
ever much less violent than that of the preceding year. I likewise 
met with an accident which had nearly proved fatal, occasioned by 
a blow from the fore feet of a high fed horse ; he reared and 
struck me, but this was done more in playfulness than with the in- 
tent to do mischief 

I had had some intention of leaving Jaguaribe, owing to the turbu- 
lence of the neighbourhood, to my ill-health, and to some disagree- 
able occurrences which had taken place between my landlord and 
myself However, as this would have been very inconvenient, I 
resolved to stay, notwithstanding all these and other disadvantages. 
Preparations were made in the month of August for setting the 
mill to work; the cane had not attained this year its accustomed 
growth, in most parts of the country, and that which I possessed was 
particularly stinted in size, for I had not commenced planting until 

" Zacharias nam he ningucm." 
K K 


it was almost too late. Every thing being ready towards the end of 
the month, I sent for a priest to bless the works. Unless this cere- 
mony is performed, every person who is to be employed about the 
mill, both freeman and slave, would be afraid to proceed to his des- 
tined labour, and if any accident happened it would be ascribed to 
the wrath of heaven, for this breach of religious observance. The 
priest arrived and said mass, after which we breakfasted and then pro- 
ceeded to the mill. The manager and several other freemen and the 
negroes stood around the works; a quantity of cane was placed ready 
to be thrust in between the rollers, and the four negroes whose part 
it was to feed the mill stood at their posts. Two lighted candles were 
placed close to the rollers, upon the platform which sustains the 
cane, and a small image of our Saviour upon the cross stood between 
them; the priest took liis breviary and read several prayers, and at 
stated places, with a small bunch of weeds prepared for the occasion, 
which he dipped in a jug of holy water, he sprinkled the mill and 
the persons present. Some of the negroes sprang forwards to receive 
a good quantum of this sanctified water; and then the master of the 
sugar boiling-house led the way to the portion of the works of which 
he had the direction; and here there was another sprinkling. When 
we returned to the part of the mill in which the rollers stood, the 
priest took a large cane, and I did the same; then the signal being 
given the flood-gate vi^as opened and the works were soon in motion, 
and according to rule the two canes \vhich the priest and I held in 
our hands were the first to be ground. I had heard much of this 
ceremony from persons of the country, and I cannot avoid saying, 
that although something of the ridiculous may by many persons be 
attached to it, still I could not help feeling much respect for it. The 
excitement of devout feelings among the slaves, even of those feel- 
ings which are produced by the Roman Catholic religion, cannot 
fail to be serviceable, and if men are to exist as slaves this is doubt- 
less the religion which is the best adapted to persons in a state of 
subjection. Slavery and superstition are however two evils which 


when combined, are surely sufficient to cause the misery of any 

The carts, the oxen, and their drivers had not received the priest's 
benediction; they arrived some time afterwards, bringing loads of 
canes, and the carts were ornamented with the longest that could 
be picked out placed as flag staffs, and bearing upon them hand- 
kerchiefs and ribbons. Each cart in succession stood before the 
door of the dwelling-house, and the priest complied with the wishes 
of the drivers. 

There was a tall, thin mulatto man of about fifty-five years of age, 
of the name of Vicente, who lived near to Jaguaribe; he was in 
the habit, when he saw me about my own place, of stopping, that 
we might have some conversation. I liked much to hear his stories. 
He said, that now the country was becoming quieter, — that dis- 
turbances were less frequent than formerly. That there were now 
no Valentoens, valiant ones, nor any contas verdes, green beads*. He 
explained to me the precise meaning of the former, and the species of 
beads which were intended to be described by the latter. These 
Valentoens were men of all casts, whose whole business consisted in 
seeking opportunities of quarrelling ; they attended all festivals and 
fairs, and their desire was to become so famous for courage as to ren- 
der the knowledge of their presence on these occasions sufficient to 

* Labat, in speaking of the Indians of Guyana, says, " Leurs plus grandes richesses consistent 
dans les colliers de pierres vertes qui leur viennent de la riviere des Amazones. C'est un limon 
qiConpeche dans lefond de quelqnes endroits de ce grand Jleiive." He continues his description 
of them, and then says, " ces pierres sont speci/iques pour guerir V epilepsie mi le mal caduc, 
ou du moinspour en oter et suspendre tous les accidens tout autant de terns qu'oii les porte sur 
soi, €t qu'elles touchent la peau." — Voyage du Chevalier des Marchais en Guinee, isles 
voisines et a Cayenne, torn. iv. p. 6^^ and 66. 

The lower orders in Brazil make use of an iron ring round the wrist for this purpose. 

I was informed that the Contas Verdes came from Africa, but some may have found their 
way from the Orcllana, and Ijecn put into requisition by the Mandingueiros. 

I refer the reader to the History of Brdzil, vol. i. p. 607, for a farther account of the 
green stones of the Amazons. 

K K 2 


keep in awe any other individuals who might wish to create disturb- 
ances, considering themselves privileged to revenge their own and 
their friends' injuries; but they would not allow of any quarrel in 
which they were not concerned. Two roads cross each other at about 
the distance of one league from Jaguaribe, and at this spot, Vicente 
told me, that some of these men often stood, obliging all passers-by 
either to fight them or to dismount, take off their hats, and lead their 
horses whilst they were in their sight. These men wore round their 
necks strings of green beads, which had either come from the coast of 
Africa, bearing the wonderful property of conveying in safety their 
possessors through all descriptions of perils, or were charmed by 
Mandingueiros, African sorcerers, who had been brought over to 
Brazil as slaves, and in secret continued the prohibited practice of 
imparting this virtue to them. The men were accompanied by dogs 
of extraordinary size and activity, and possessing courage equal to 
that of their masters. These animals had been taught to drink rum, 
which they would do at their owner's command, giving to all be- 
holders an opinion of some supernatural qualities having been be- 
stowed upon them. Vicente had been acquainted with some of these 
men, and was firmly persuaded of the virtues of the green beads, and 
that the dogs imbibed from their masters certain qualities, which 
made them superior to all the rest of their species. The expres- 
sion of the man's countenance changed entirely when he commenced 
the relation of these stories ; it was at all times harsh ; but now there 
was imparted to it a considerable degree of unpleasant wildness. 
When I expressed my doubts of the efficacy of the beads against a 
musket ball well-directed, his anger rose, but there was pity mingled 
with it, for one who had not seen those times of wonder. He seemed 
to be glad that they were over, and that all was now quiet ; but yet 
he cherished a sort of regard for men whose lives had been passed in 
deeds of danger ; for notwithstanding the charms, such he considered 
them to be, as the death of these men was generally violent, owing, 
as Vicente said, to some unfortunate removal of the beads from the 


person of him whose destined hour was arrived. It was not, how- 
ever, from tliis person alone that I heard accounts of the Valcntoens.* 
There was an old creole negro residing in the neighbourhood of 
Jaguaribe, whose disposition led him to explore all the woods for 
miles around in search of game ; he preferred this manner of obtain- 
ing subsistence to that of daily labour with the hoe or bill hook» 
He was acquainted with the situations in which the best timber was 
to be found ; and could, in many instances, name the exact spot 
upon which some particular tree stood, which was required for any 
given purpose. This man often came to Jaguaribe, and on these 
occasions I usually called him into the house to hear his stories, 
whilst I sat in my hammock smoking. He was fond of tales of 
ghosts and Mandingueiros. The latter are famous, among other feats, 
for handling poisonous snakes, and can, according to his account 
and that of many other persons, by peculiar noises or tunes, call 
these reptiles from their holes, and make them assemble around 
them. These sorcerers profess to render innoxious the bites of 
snakes, to persons who submit to their charms and ceremonies. 
One of the modes which is adopted for this purpose, is that of al- 
lowing a tame snake to crawl over the head, face, and shoulders of 

* A man of large property being much provoked at some outrage which had been com- 
mitted by one of these J'aletitoens, (who was a white man,) had said at his own home, that 
when he met the man he would horsewhip him. This was repeated to the outlaw, and 
shortly afterwards they met accidentally in one of the narrow-paths in the neighbour- 
hood. The Valentam was well-armed with musket, sword, and knife; he requested the 
gentleman to stop, as he had something to say to him. The outlaw asked him for 
a pinch of snuff, and then offered his own box, from which a pinch was in like 
manner taken. He then mentioned the injurious words which had been repeated to him. 
The unfortunate offender directly imagined what would follow, and therefore set spurs to 
his horse, but the road was without any bend for some distance ; the Valentam knelt down 
upon one knee, and fired with the effect which he wished for. He qiiietly walked on 
along the same road, telling the whole story of his meeting, at the first village through 
which he passed. This man was at last taken, tried, and hanged at Bahia, through the 
very great exertions of the brother of the person whom he had murdered. He could not 
be executed at Pernambuco because he was a white man. The transaction occurred at 
a short distance from Jaguaribe, about fifteen years ago. 

254 SNAKES. 

the person who is to be curado de cobras, cured of snakes, as they 
term it. The owner of the snake repeats a number of words during 
the operation, of which the meaning, if they contain any, is only 
known to the initiated. The rattle-snake is said to be, above all 
other species, the most susceptible of attention to the tunes of the 
Mandbigiieiros. The above accounts I should not have related upon 
the authority of one or two persons. I have heard them repeated by 
several individuals, and even some men of education have spoken of 
the reputed efficacy of the tame snakes of the Mandingueiros, as if 
they were somewhat staggered in their disbelief of it ; the reputa- 
tion of the contas verdes is firmly established in the faith of those 
persons of the lower ranks who have heard of them. These men 
certainly do play strange tricks very dexterously. 

I had not been so much inconvenienced by snakes as I had 
imagined I should; I had seen several different kinds in going- 
through the woods, and particularly in that which leads from Jagua- 
ribe to Paulistas. The path through it is not much frequented, and 
therefore the snakes have become bolder, crossing the road or running 
up a bank as I passed along. One afternoon I had a visit with which 
I could have well dispensed. I happened to look up whilst sitting in 
my hammock, and saw one of these reptiles, lying quite still upon the 
top of the wall of the room, in the opening which is formed by the 
supporters of the roof that rest upon it. I seized a pike and ran it 
into the snake, thus rivetting it to one of the beams of the roof, 
whilst I called to some person to assist me in killing it ; but its 
writhing was so violent, that it soon liberated itself, and fell from the 
wall on the outside, where several persons waited for it. The people 
who were present did not know whether it was of the caninana or papa 
ovo (egg eater) species, as these are much like to each other. The 
former is accounted venomous, and the latter is by many persons sup- 
posed to be harmless. Both are of a grey colour above, and yellow 
underneath. The snake which we killed was about four feet in 

The caninana is likewise sometimes called the flying-snake, as it 

SNAKES. 255 

has the power of springing to a considerable distance. It usually 
lies entwining the branch of a tree, and from thence darts dovm upon 
those who may molest it. The cob7'a d'agtca, or water snake, was 
often to be seen in the rivulet which runs just below the dwelling- 
house of Jaguaribe; it is sometimes eight or ten feet in length, and 
of the thickness of a man's arm. The colour of the back is a bright 
black, and the belly is of a pale yellow. The lower ranks of people 
say that it is poisonous ; but I have heard this contradicted. The 
jararaca snake is from six to nine feet in length ; the back is of 
a dusky yellow, and the belly is white ; the point of the tail is black, 
the mouth is red, and it has two black and white streaks upon the 
throat. The furucucu snake is of nearly the same size as the jaramca; 
it is black and yellow. This reptile is attracted by fire, and on this 
account would be more dangerous to travellers than any other 
description of snake, if its attention was not so totally directed to 
the fire, as to give time and opportunity of killing it. It has, as I 
was informed by many persons of credibility, been known to spring 
off the ground at a person carrying a flambeau. The furiicncu and 
the jararaca are known to be poisonous. The ci/jjo snake is so called 
from its likeness to the thin and flexible shoots of the plants which 
bear this name. It is said to be poisonous. 

Charms are often supposed to destroy the venom of snakes, and to 
produce, consequently, the recovery of the person who has been 
bitten by one of these reptiles. Oil is sometimes used as a remedy, 
being given in considerable quantities, which are increased or di- 
minished according to the quality of the oil. Rum is likewise ad- 
ministered so as to produce intoxication. I have also seen a small 
plant, which is known under the name of herva cobreira ; wherever 
I have seen it, the plant has been carefully preserved in a pot. 
This would denote that it is not indigenous to the part of the 
country in which I was ; and indeed I was told that it had been 
brought from Africa. I never saw its flower ; the leaves of it are 
small and heart-shaped ; the stem is of four or five inches in length, 
and of a deep red colour, which becomes greenish towards the points 


of the branches : these are long, crooked, and spread horizontally. 
The leaves and the softer branches are bruised, and are applied to 
the wound, and the juice which is extracted from them, when mixed 
with rum or water, is drank by the patient. I do not vouch for its 
success ; but its name must, I should imagine, have been acquired 
by its reputation.* 

The mill was yet at work in September, when the owner of the 
place applied to me to leave it, as it was convenient to him to come 
down from another plantation of which he was the owner, and reside 
at Jaguaribe, from its vicinity to Recife. I agreed to this, but did 
not wish that he should I'emove until I was about to leave Jaguaribe. 
However, one morning, a young man who was related to and em- 
ployed by him, came to my house, and told me, that by order from 
his kinsman he had (accompanied by a gang of negroes) taken pos- 
session during the night of the cottage, which was situated upon the 
shelf of the hill. I expressed my surprise at this conduct, and said a 
good deal upon the subject. He, of course, returned for answer, that 
he had only acted according to the orders whidi he had received. 

* Labat speaks of a tree, of which the fruit is a perfect cure for the bite of the most 
dangerous snakes. He says that it comes from the isthmus of Darien ; that the buccaniers 
were informed of its virtue by the Indians who accompanied them in their expeditions 
across the isthmus. He does not give the name of the tree ; but says " sans nous em- 
harasser du nom de Varh-e ?ious nous confe/ifons d'appeller son fruit noix de serpent." In his 
time there were three of these trees at Martmiquc, which were of the size of apricot trees 
in France. He says that he witnessed the success of the fruit. The account of the plant 
and its virtues is too long to be inserted here. It is to be found in the Nouveau Voyage aiix 
isles de I'Amerique, torn. iii. p. 234 to 238. 

In the same work, I find the following manner of cure from the bite of a snake, which 
will not however be very generally adopted. " Cei/x qui ont assez de courage mc de charite 
pour s'exposer a faire cette cure se gargarisenf bien la bouche avec de I'eau-de-vie ,- et apres 
avoir scarifie la place, ils la succent de toute lew force. Us rejettent de terns en terns ce qu'ils 
ont da?is la bouche, et se la nettoyent et gargarise7it a chaquefois, observant de prcsser fortevient 
avec les deicx mains les environs de la pat-tie blessee. On a vii de trcs bons effcts de cette cure, 
mais elle est tres-dangeraisc pour celui qui la fait ; car s'il a la moindre ccorchure dans la 
bouche, ou qu'il avale tant soit pen de ce qn'il retire, il pout s'attendrc a mourir en pen de momcns, 
sans que toute la medecine lepuisse sauver." tom. i. p. 167. 


The principal objection which I had to this premature removal arose 
from the general turbulent character of the slaves of this man, and 
from the frequency of quarrels between the dependants of those per- 
sons whose dwellings were so near to each other as ours had now 

Several extremely disagreeable occurrences took place, as I had 
feared would be the case, before I could conveniently I'emove ; but 
as these proceeded more particularly from the peculiarity of our 
situation I do not think that a minute account of them would be 
interesting. These anecdotes could not be given in illustration of 
the general state of manners in the country. Suffice it to say, that I 
made a visit to the owner of the plantation of Amparo, in the island 
of Itamaraca, upon whose lands I agreed to plant sugar-canes, and 
to share with him their produce, as is a usual practice upon sugar 

In the beginning of November, 1813, I sent my manager to pre- 
pare a residence for me, at the town of Conception in the island ; and 
I removed to that place in the course of the following month. 






A FEW days after I had sent the remainder of my people to Ita- 
maraca, I gave up Jaguaribe to its owner, and rode to Recife, 
where I remained for some days. 

I had been introduced several months before to the vicar of 
Itamaraca ; and at the time that I crossed over to the island to agree 
with the owner of Amparo about my removal, I made a visit to this 
priest, and was received by him with the greatest cordiality. As the 
plantation of Amparo had no cottage unoccupied at that time, or 
indeed that was fit to be inhabited, I requested the vicar to obtain for 
me a house in the town, as it is called, of our Lady of the Concep- 
tion, in which stands the parochial church of this extensive vicarage. 
He returned for answer, that excepting his own residence, of which 
he was willing to give up to me a portion, and the prison, no dwellings 
could be met with. However, he desired that I would send a person 
to speak to him ; this I did, and on the man's return, the offer of the 
prison was accepted. 

As I had written to mention the day upon which it was my inten- 
tion to arrive there, I was received by one of my people upon the 
shore of the main land ; and the canoe which plies for the purpose of 
carrying passengers across, was ready to take me. The saddles were 
removed from the horses' backs, we entered the canoe, and shoved 
off from the shore, the horses swimming by the side of it. The pas- 


sage across, is, at this its narrowest part, about half a mile. On land- 
ing upon the island, we saddled the horses, and rode for about one 
quarter of a niile along a sandy path, which is bordered to the left 
by the water of the channel that runs between the island and the 
main, and on the right by coco-trees, until we reached a narrow 
creek, which is not fordable at high water and in this state we now 
found it. I left the horses to the care of Manoel, until they could be 
passed conveniently, whilst I followed the man who had come to 
receive me. We proceeded over the bridge which was constructed 
of loose beams, and scarcely safe even for foot passengers ; imme- 
diately beyond it we passed by several cottages with mango trees 
before them, and then ascended the steep hill, upon the summit of 
which stands the town, built in the form of a square. We entered it 
at one corner, and near to my new habitation, which was a large stone 
building, much dilapidated, with one story above the ground floor. 
In the prosperous days of this settlement, when its rank in the pro- 
vince was considerable, this edifice was raised as a town-hall above, 
and prison underneath ; but now that the decay of the place had 
rendered it unworthy of its former distinction, the building was no 
longer kept in repair, and was now almost in ruins. 

The island of Itamaraca, which is in length about three leagues, 
and in breadth about two, is situated at the distance of eight 
leagues to the northward of Recife, and is entirely separated from the 
main land by a channel of unequal width, varying from one league 
to half a mile. The island does not contain any stream of 
water, but in the neighbourhood of the town water gushes from the 
hill wherever it is dug for. That which is obtained from the springs 
in the neighbourhood of Pillar, is not however good. Itamaraca is, 
perhaps, the most populous part of the province of Pernambuco, 
taken as a whole, the immediate vicinity of Recife excepted. It 
contains three sugar mills, which are well stocked with negroes ; and 
many free persons likewise reside upon the lands belonging to 

L L 2 


them*. Besides the lands attached to these works, there are other 
considerable tracks which are subdivided among and owned by a 
great number of persons of small property. The shores of the island 
are planted with coco-trees, among which are thickly scattered the 
straw cottages of fishermen ; and oftentimes are to be seen respec- 
table white-washed dwellings, which are possessed by persons whose 
way of life is frugal, and yet easy. The salt-works upon the island 
are likewise one great source of its wealth ; these are formed upon the 
sands which are overflowed by the tide at high water. 

The long village of Pillar,situated upon the eastern side of the island, 
is at the present day the principal settlement, although that which is 
called the town of Conception, where I now resided, standing upon the 
S.E. side of the island, claims seniority, but its better times are gone 
by ; its situation was considered inconvenient, others are at present pre- 
ferred ; and if the parish church did not stand here, and I'ender 
necessary the presence of the vicar, the place would shortly be de- 
serted. It has now a desolate neglected appearance, an unpleasant 
stillness, producing sensations of a very different description from 
those which are excited by the quietude of a place that has never 
witnessed busier scenes. Its site is the summit of the S.E. point 
of a high hill, which rises almost immediately from the water's edge. 
The square, in which are situated the parish-church, — my new resi- 
dence, — the vicarage, a low, long, white- washed building, — and about 
fifteen cottages, is very spacious ; but large pieces of ground now remain 
unoccupied ; the houses which stood upon them have been removed, 
or have been allowed to decay and fall, giving room to banana and 
tobacco gardens. The centre of the square was covered with brush- 
wood, and a narrow path went along the four sides of it immediately in 
front of the houses, which afforded to the inhabitants the means of 
communicating with each other. There is one street branching from 
it and leading down towards the creek, over which I passed on my 

* In the year 1630, the island contained three and twenty sugar works. — History of 
Brazil, vol. i. p. 476. 


arrival; it is formed of small low huts, and is closed at the end farthest 
from the square, by a church, which is dedicated to our Lady of the 
Rosary, the pati-oness of negroes. 

The harbour is good, and the entrance to it is commanded by an 
old fort, which is much out of repair ; the garrison is scanty, and 
without discipline. On one occasion I took a canoe, and went down 
to the bar. I wished to sound, but my canoe-man begged that I 
would not, as it might bring him into trouble ; and indeed we were in 
sight of the fort, and the commandant is jealous, being an elderly 
man and an advocate for the old system of exclusion. The entrance 
to the port is formed by an opening in the recife or reef of rocks 
which runs along the whole of this part of the coast. This opening 
is of considerable width, and its depth will admit of large vessels ; 
but I could not obtain exact information upon the subject. From 
the main land on one side, and from the island on the other, two long 
sand banks jut out on each side of the channel, which separates 
Itamaraca from the continent. These banks are dry at low water, and 
at neap tides are not completely covered. They shoot out so far that 
they nearly reach to the reef The bar is easily discovered from the 
sea, as it is immediately opposite to the channel or river into which it 
leads, and as there are breakers to the northward and southward, but 
none are to be seen at the place which is to be entered. Having 
entered the bar, some small breakers will be seen a-head, or rather 
towards the south side of the channel, unless the tide is out, and then 
the water is quite still. These breakers are farther in than the outer- 
most point of the south sand-bank. They are formed by some rocks 
which lie at a considerable depth below the water's edge. I tried to 
reach them with a pole of two fathoms in length, at low water during 
spring tides, but did not succeed ; and my canoe-man said that he 
doubted whether another fathom and a half would touch them. The 
passage for large vessels is between these rocks and the north sand- 
bank, for the passage between them and the south bank only admits 
of small craft. I could not learn that there were any other rocks or 
banks than these which I have mentioned. The anchorage ground is 


opposite to the fort, and on the outside of it; but opposite to the 
town of Conception, which is farther in than the fort, there is con- 
siderable depth of water. Some parts of the ground are rocky, but 
others afford safe riding. 

The magnificent prospect which may be enjoyed from the clumsy 
wooden balcony of the town-hall, compensates in some degree for the 
dismal state of the place in which it stands. In front is an extensive 
view of the sea, which is always enlivened by numerous jangadas and 
canoes sailing to and fro, and occasionally by the large craft that trade 
between Maranham and Recife, and by ships arriving from Eui'ope 
or returning thither, To the right is the broad channel immediately 
below, and the bay which it forms on the opposite side, with the 
picturesque village of Camboa upon its shores, and the pointed hill 
of the Engenho Novo, covered with wood, rising behind it ; but as 
this hill does not extend far, and rather rises in the form of a cone, 
the river Iguara^u runs along the plain, and is now and then dis- 
covered, but oftentimes concealed, by the dark green mangroves; 
these however sufficiently point out its course, and lead the eye to 
the white specks which beautifully mark the site of the higher build- 
ino-s of the town of Iguarayu, peeping out among the vast expanse of 
wood of a lighter green, which reaches as far as the eye can compass. 
To the left is a narrow and deep dell, bounded on the opposite side 
by a ridge of rising ground of equal height with that upon which 
the town is situated. Behind is the flat plain, which runs along the 
hill to the distance of one league; it is in places much contracted and 
in others spreads widely. 

The town of Conception was formerly fortified ; the three sides 
upon which it is enclosed by the steep declivity to be ascended in 
reaching it, have been rendered still more precipitate, even than they 
would naturally have been, as they are cut perpendicularly to the 
height of twelve feet, presenting a wall of earth to those who ascend 
the hill, and as the soil is a stiff clay, and the passing and re- 
passing not considerable, the paths which have been formed through 
the wall are still exceedingly steep. On the fourth side, entrenchments 


were made across the plain upon the summit of the hill ; these were 
shewn to me ; for it was necessary that they should be pointed out, 
as they were almost concealed by the brushwood ; and even large trees 
which were growing in them. Upon one spot, on the quarter nearest 
to the sea, and now the site of a cottage, is still plainly to be dis- 
covered the situation of a fort, and a short time ago a gun, which 
appeared to be of six pounds calibre, was dug up. 

The distinctions attending the rank of a town were removed some 
years past from hence to Goiana, and the only mark which Concep- 
tion still possesses of its former importance, is the obligation by 
which the magistrates of Goiana are bound to attend the yearly fes- 
tival to the Virgin at the parish church. 

Itamaraca is one of the oldest settlements of the Portugueze upon 
the coast of Brazil. It was given to Pero Lopes de Souza, who took 
possession of it in 1531. * The Dutch made an attack upon it in 
1630, and although they did not succeed in taking Conception, they 
built a fort which they called Fort Orange*, and this is the fortress 
which now exists upon the island. However, in 1633, the Dutch 
" dispatched such a force as rendered resistance hopeless ; the 
town of Conception was yielded to them, and with it the whole 
island*." In 1637, the Dutch deliberated, " whether the seat of 
government should be removed to the island *." This did not take 
place; the opinion of those who proposed the plan being over-ruled, 
but I cannot avoid thinking that it possesses many advantages of 
which Recife cannot boast. The port of Itamaraca may not admit of 
vessels of so much burthen as the P090 harbour of Recife, but the 
former is much more safe even than the Mosqueiro port. If Brazil 
was to be at war with any naval power, Recife might be destroyed 
with ease, whereas if a town had been erected upon the main land, 
opposite to the island, or upon the inside of the island, it could not 
be molested by shipping, for it would be necessary that a vessel should 
enter the channel before she could bring her guns to bear. Besides 

* History of Brazil, vol. i. p. 36. 476. 489. 540. 


this advantage, Itamaraca and the neighbouring shores of the main 
land, enjoy those of wood and water in abundance, in the latter of 
which Recife is particularly deficient. In 1645, Joam Fernandes 
Vieira, the principal hero of the Pernambucan war, attacked the 
island, but did not succeed in dislodging the Dutch*. The Portu- 
gueze again attempted to regain possession of it in 1646; they cross- 
ed over at a place called Os Marcos *, which is now a coco-tree plan- 
tation, and a large house is built upon it; the property belongs to a 
Portugueze cattle-dealer who resides chiefly at Iguara9u. Opposite 
to Os Marcos is the shallowest part of the channel. The Portu- 
gueze did not gain their point entirely, " but the Dutch abandoned 
all their other posts to retire into the fort *, which was not surren- 
dered to the Portugueze until the expulsion of the Dutch in 1654.* 

I happened to arrive at Conception upon the day of the festival, 
the 8th of December, however as I had many matters to arrange, I 
did not see the ceremony in the church, but was invited to dine with 
the vicar. I went at two o'clock, and found a large party assembled, 
to which I was happy in being introduced, as it consisted of seve- 
ral priests who are the men of most information in the country, and of 
some of the first laymen of the island. The dinner was excellent 
and elegant, and the behaviour of the persons present was gentlemanly. 
I was placed at the head of the table, as being a stranger ; and a friend 
of the vicar took the opposite end of it, whilst he himself sat on one 
side of me. I never met a pleasanter dinner-party, there was much 
rational conversation and much mirth, but no noise and confusion. 
The company continued together until a late hour, and indeed the 
major part of the priests were staying in the house. 

The parish of Itamaraca has now for some years enjoyed the bless- 
ings which proceeded from the appointment of the present vicar, 
Pedro de Souza Tenorio. His merit was discovered by the gover- 
nor, whom he served as chaplain, and by whose application to the 
Prince Regent was obtained for him his present situation. The zeal 

History of Brazil, vol. ii. p. 143. 176, 177. 241 


of the vicar, for the improvement of the districts over which he has 
controul is unremitted ; he takes pains to explain to the planters 
the utility of the introduction of new modes of agriculture, new ma- 
chinery for their sugar-mills, and many alterations of the same descrip- 
tion which are known to be practised with success in the colonies of 
other nations ; but it is not every novelty which meets with his ap- 
probation. It is no easy task to loosen the deep-rooted prejudices of 
many of the planters. He is affable to the lower ranks of people, 
and I have had many opportunities of hearing persuasion and entreaty 
made use of to many of his parishioners, that they would re- 
form their habits, if any impropriety of behaviour in the person to 
whom he was speaking had come to his knowledge. His occasional 
extempore discourses on subjects of morality when seated within the 
railings of the principal chapel, delivered in a distinct and deep- 
toned voice, by a man of commanding person, habited in the black 
gown which is usually worn by men of his profession, were very im- 
pressive. He has exerted himself greatly to increase the civiliz- 
ation of the higher orders of people in his parish; to prevent feuds 
among them; — to persuade them to give up those notions of the 
connection between the patron and the dependant, which are yet too 
general; he urges them to educate their children, to have their 
dwellings in a state of neatness, to dress well themselves, their wives, 
and their children. He is a good man ; one who reflects upon his 
duties, and who studies to perform them in the best manner possible. 
He has had the necessity of displaying likewise the intrepidity of his 
character; his firmness as a priest, his courage as a man, and he has 
not been found wanting. He is a native of Pernambuco, and has 
not degenerated from the high character of his provincial country- 
men; he was educated at the university of Coimbra in Portugal. 

From the state of society and government in Brazil, the indivi- 
dual character of the person who holds any office of importance 
makes a most wonderful difference, and indeed in some districts a 
man of an active mind with some wealth, but without any appoint- 
ment, has more weight than a person of a contrary disposition, 

M M 


although the situation of the latter might give him great power, if 
he thought proper to exert himself 

I passed some portion of each day with the vicar and his party ; 
the conversation never flagged, and I often thought how very supe- 
rior the persons were with whom I associated, to any that my friends 
in England could suppose a country residence in Brazil to afford. 
I was myself agreably surprised at the change which I had made 
from Jaguaribe. 

Among the visitors at the vicarage was Joam Ribeii'o Pessoa de 
Mello Montenegro, professor of drawing to the seminary of Olinda, 
and the friend and disciple of Dr. Manoel Arruda da Camara. This 
priest, during his stay at Itamaraca, crossed over to the main- 
land to say mass at the village of Camboa every Sunday and holi- 
day. I accompanied him on one of these occasions, and we were 
paddled over in a canoe. We entered the cottage of a man of colour, 
the chief person of the place; a hammock was hanging in the room, 
and into this my companion thi-ew himself, and three or four children 
of the house quickly came to him, one or two of whom he took into 
the hammock to play with. The females made their appearance to 
greet him upon his arrival ; he was a favourite seemingly with all par- 
ties, great and small. Indeed I never met with any one who pos- 
sessed more pleasing manners. He is generally beloved wherever 
he is known, but by the lower orders of people more especially, he 
is quite adored. I was long acquainted with him, both before and 
after the time of which I speak, and I never heard him make use of 
a harsh word to any one ; his manner and his tones of voice always 
indicated that goodness in him greatly predominated. A free mu- 
latto man, of the name of Bertolomeu, once said to me in speaking 
of this priest, " If he sees a child fall, he runs and picks it up and 
cleans its face, and this he does not do, because any one is in 
sight to see him act in this manner, but because his heart so inclines 
him*." It is much to be lamented that his exertions have not been 

Porque seu coracam ussim manda." 

CAMBOA. 267 

directed to obtaining a situation in which his excellent qualities 
might have a wider field for display ; but he is satisfied with what 
has been given to him. 

I was much surprised at the manner in which even the people of 
colour dress themselves to go to mass in all the villages ; if the family 
is in a respectable way of life, the younger females wear on these occa^ 
sions gowns of printed cottons, English straw bonnets, stockings also of 
foreign manufacture, and neat shoes which are made by workmen of 
the country. The young men appear in nankeen pantaloons, and jac- 
kets of printed cottons, shirts of cambric muslin, hats of English 
make, stockings and shoes. Indeed, of late years, since articles of 
dress have been cheap, and have come into general use, — since a 
subject of emulation has arisen, and the means of shewing it has 
been afforded, every hamlet sends forth its rival belles and beaux. 

I was disappointed with a near view of Camboa ; but the country 
behind it is picturesque, being formed of uneven ground, which is for 
the most part covered with wood ; and cottages and mandioc lands 
are interspersed. The village consists of one street, composed of 
small dwellings. The inhabitants are mostly related to each other, 
and the free persons are of mixed blood. The clan is large, but there 
does not reside here any wealthy white man ; they are a quiet, inoffen- 
sive people. The old man at whose house we staid whilst the neigh- 
bours assembled to hear mass, was respected by all the rest ; he had 
the management of all their weighty concerns, as being the richest 
person of the place, though even his property was small; and as he 
was connected in natural or religious relationship with the major 
part of the inhabitants. When the priest and I went into the house, 
we found a large party sitting round a table and playing at cards, 
which these persons continued to do until the church-bell rang, and 
the priest went out to prepare for saying mass. The majority of 
the people of all classes, excepting Indians, have a great propensity 
to gaming. 

There lived at this village formerly a poor man who died of con- 
sumption, dragging on for some time a miserable existence. The 

M M 2 

268 AMPARO. 

opinion is general in Pernambuco and othei* parts which 1 visited, 
that consumption is contagious ; and from this notion, any person so 
afflicted is immediately separated from the rest of the family. A 
hovel is erected at a distance from any habitation, and the miserable 
patient is removed to it, and is shunned by every one, even receiving 
his food without the bearer approaching the hovel. I can conceive 
no situation more wretched than this, — to be in a weak and helpless 
state, and to be forsaken, — to be doomed to solitude, and to have, 
perhaps for years, no thoughts but those of death ; nothing to relieve 
the mind, and to divert the attention. I know not, however, whether 
the opinion of contagion respecting this disorder is totally founded on 
prejudice, or whether there is some truth in it ; for I have heard from 
persons who are not liable to hasty decisions, many stories which 
seem to indicate that there is some reason for the precautions which 
are taken. They are, doubtless, carried too far; they are insisted 
upon to a savage excess, which fails not to bring to the recol- 
lection the custom of some tribes of Indians, who forsake their ;iged, 
their infirm, and their dying kinsmen. 

I frequently visited the plantation of Amparo, which is conducted 
in the manner which I had attempted at Jaguaribe ; but here it was 
performed with more system. The owner of this place employed 
constantly gi-eat numbers of free workmen, of all casts ; but the 
Indians formed the principal part of them, and as their master, I 
suppose, finds it impossible to keep them under due controul, (for the 
wish to do so he must of course have,) the disturbances which are 
raised upon the estate, and which are entered into at other places by 
his men are very numerous^'. But this person would have done 
much service to the country in general, if he had managed to keep 
them in due order, for in that case he would have proved the pos- 

* One of these Indians was selling crabs at Pasmado, when a purchaser began to pick 
out those which he preferred ; but the Indian stopped him, saying, " Don't begin to pick 
my crabs, for I belong to Amparo." Thus even the crabs which were caught by the de- 
pendants of this great man were to be respected. 

PILLAR. 269 

sibility of the introduction of free men as daily labourers, without 
the opinion of their unruliness being unavoidable, having been 
adopted by great numbers of the planters. The state of Amparo is 
often mentioned as an objection to hired labourers, from the want of 
reflecting that in the instance in question, the evil proceeds not from 
the plan itself, but from its execution. It is too true that the 
lower orders of people are unruly, and upon slight provocations, 
murders have been committed ; but does not this proceed from the 
propensity which the higher ranks shew to protect those who reside 
upon their lands ? Thus they display their influence with men in 
office, when they plead for the pardon of a criminal, and feel a con- 
siderable degree of gratification, — of self-importance in the idea that 
an individual should have been preserved from punishment by their 
means, even though he had only been treated according to his 
deserts if he had not been screened. Where government exists 
in a state similar to that of Brazil, wealth will meet with few 
obstacles in the accomplishment of its purposes, whatever these 
may be.* 

In the month of January, 1814, the vicar summoned me to accom- 
pany him to Pillar, to which I agreed with much pleasure. The 
master of the grammar school, Ignacio de Almeida Fortuna, who is 
likewise a priest, was of the party ; he is a man of considerable 
talent and information. His advantages have been very few, for he 
has resided almost entirely upon this island ; and yet his knowledge is 
far from being limited, and his love of it is unbounded. We crossed 
the narrow creek which has been already mentioned, and proceeded 
along a path under the shade of the coco-trees, until we made for the 

* The dependants do not always shew the respect which, seemingly, they ought to 
render to their patron. One of the Indians of Amparo (not he cf the crabs) met his 
master, the owner of the place, in the field near to the dwelling-house. The Indian took 
off his own hat to speak to his master, but the same was not done by his superior ; how- 
ever the fellow quickly performed this for him, saying " When you speak to people take 
off your hat." — " Q;uando sej'alla a gentc tira se o chapeo." The master took this quietly 
and when the conversation ended, his hat was returned. 


sands. The sea has made great encroachments for about two miles 
in this part of the island ; we passed the mouths of two natural dikes, 
into which the tide enters with great rapidity, and is discharged again 
with increased velocity. After a ride of an hour and a quarter, we 
reached Pillar, which is distant from Conception, two leagues. This 
village is composed of several irregular streets, formed of small houses 
of various descriptions ; they are constructed of brick, of mud, and of 
the coco-leaves. It is a place of some trade, and is likewise fre- 
quented by the small craft, which sail between Recife and Goiana. 
The inhabitants support themselves by their fisheries, by the hire of 
their Jangadas and canoes, and lately, by the preparation of the out- 
ward husk of the coco-nut* for the manufactory of cordage, which has 
been recently established in the vicinity of Recife. The fishery of 
Pillar is of considerable importance. The largest portion of the fish 
which is caught upon this and the adjacent coast, is obtained by 
means of pens, that are generally constructed near to low water mark. 
Two spaces of greater or less magnitude are marked off, and stakes 
are driven into the sand at given distances in quadrangular form ; to 
these stakes ai*e fastened large mats {esteiras) of basket-work made of 
thick twigs. An aperture, constructed in a similar manner to that of 
a trap for catching mice, is left in the inclosure farthest from the 
shore, opening into the second or smaller inclosure, which has like- 
wise an entrance on the land side, from which runs a fence of basket- 
work to high water mark. Thus the fish that come in contact with 
this fence naturally continue along it, in expectation of finding an 
opening by which to escape, until they imintentionally enter the pen. 
The Jangadas also go out to sea, and fish with the hook and line, 
and many kinds of nets are used. Yet there is at times a great 
scarcity of fish, which is rendered by the ordinances of the Romish 
church an absolute necessary of life. I was introduced at Pillar 
to a Portugueze gentleman of great respectability, from whom I 

Vide Appendix. 


received in the sequel much civility ; the vicar also made me ac- 
quainted with a gentlemanly Brazilian priest, who was a young and 
well-educated man. The former of these persons had been the 
Juiz Ordinario or Mayor of Pillar, in the year 1812. He had seen 
how dreadfully the want of due attention to the duties of this office 
had been felt on former years, and now he was determined to act in 
the manner which his situation required. He said, that in building 
great cities, the first public edifice which was or ought to be raised, 
was the prison ; and therefore as Pillar was becoming daily of more 
importance, it was fit that it should have this requisite edifice. He 
ordered a number of trees to be cut down, and in a few days a roof 
was built of small but adequate dimensions, and supported by some of 
of these trees; the remainder of the timber was to form the walls of the 
building after the manner of a stockade. A rude door was likewise 
made, and a pair of stocks was put into the place. " Now," he said, 
" Pillar will thrive." He apprehended some unruly fellows with his 
own hands ; he is a large and powerful man, and the requisite though 
dangerous task of arresting the men who created disturbances was 
performed by him with apparent unconcern, and as if he was occu- 
pied in any common occurrence of his life. Notwithstanding the 
acknowledged benefit which was produced by the administration of 
this man, such is the state of government, that interest was made to 
prevent his re-appointment to the office on the following year ; and 
this influence was successful. He was too upright a man to be liked 
by those who wished to have upon their estates a number of turbu- 
lent dependants. 

The inhabitants of the island had entered into a subscription for 
building a bridge over the creek near to the town ; this work was 
undertaken through the zeal of the priests who resided in Itamaraca, 
and was about to be executed under the direction of the master of 
the grammar-school. 

I was much surprised in the beginning of the month of February, 
at the arrival of a mulatto slave, who had absconded in November ; 
he came alone, and without the customary note from some person of 
my acquaintance, requesting him to be forgiven. He ascended the 


steps of the place in which I resided, with perfect unconcern, and with 
his knife in view and a stick in his hand, begged to be pardoned. 
I desired that some food should be given to him, and he remained in 
the kitchen during the night. However, I could not help suspecting 
some evil intentions, for I knew he had been staying upon the estate 
of a man who bore me no good will. He went off, by my order, in 
the morning, to assist three free labourers in the work of cutting up 
some trees that had been felled. I followed him to the ground about 
ten o'clock, as was my usual custom. I .called him to me, under the 
pretence of wishing to have the curb chain of my bridle loosened ; 
he came, and then I put one hand upon his head, and with the other 
drew a pistol, at the same time desiring him to throw down his hatchet 
and his knife, which he did. Then I called to two of the freemen, 
that they might secure him. The mulatto's hands were tied behind 
his back, and I followed him and his conductors to Amparo, from 
whence I wrote to my new friend at Pillar, forwarding the slave to 
that village. He was there placed in the stocks, until I could dispose 
of him, which I immediately entered into measures for effecting. 
I never saw him again. He was a bad fellow, and had twice at- 
tempted the life of the persons under whose orders he was placed. 
He had run away in November from having drawn his knife, and 
having threatened to stab the manager with it. 

There is another road to Pillar, besides that by which the vicar 
had taken me ; it is through a place called Engenho Velho (the old 
mill). Sugar works were formerly established here ; but the lands 
are poor, and the large red ants upon them are so numerous, as to 
render their cultivation almost impossible ; so much so, that scarcely 
any persons reside upon them. Many individuals of the lower classes, 
first obtaining leave from the proprietor, have attempted to rear crops 
of mandioc and maize upon them ; but their exertions have seldom 
enabled any one to prevent the plantations from being destroyed by 
the ants. Huts are to be seen, out of which the inhabitants have 
been driven by these tormentors ; the shelter which the roofs afford 
is convenient to the ants, and under them they like to form the chief 


entrances to their cities. I never saw any other situation in which 
this pest of Pernambuco* had so completely taken possession of the 
land. The hillocks under which they had formed their nests were 
innumerable ; some of these were four feet in height, and ten or 
twelve in cii'cumference ; others were of less dimensions, and some of 
them might be larger. 

Some ruins of the mill are still to be seen at Engenho Velho, and 
there is a pond near to them of considerable depth, of which tradi- 
tion says, that great riches lie concealed at the bottom. I also heard 
of an old African negro, who has been manumitted, and now prac- 
tised the arts of a Mandingueiro, in this neighbourhood. Among the 
lower orders of people I have heard his powers discussed. It is said, 
that he can cause the death of any one who is pointed out to him ; 
the unfortunate person will linger for a long time, but his destruction 
is inevitable. This old man is likewise a fortune-teller, and is applied 
to in cases of unrequited love. 

In March took place the yearly festival of our Lady of the Rosary, 
which was directed by negroes ; and at this period is chosen the King 
of the Congo nation, if the person who holds this situation has died 
in the course of the year, has from any cause resigned, or has been 
displaced by his subjects. The Congo negroes are permitted to elect 
a king and queen from among the individuals of their own nation ; the 
personages who are fixed upon may either actually be slaves, or they 
may be manumitted negroes. These sovereigns exercise a species of 
mock jurisdiction over their subjects which is much laughed at by the 
whites ; but their chief power and superiority over their countrymen is 
shown on the day of the festival. The negroes of their nation, however, 

* I do not know whether I might not ahnost say of Brazil: Regarding Itamaraca, there 
exists the following adage, " Wliat is it that persecutes thee island ?" The answer is 
" The being an island, the ants and Guedes." " Qiie tepersegue illia ? Ilha,formiga, Gucdcs." 
Or in other words, the inconvenience occasioned by being obliged to cross tlie channel from 
the main land; the ants, which sufficiently explain for themselves ; and Guedes ; — these were 
a family of unquiet spirits who resided in the island, and kept it in perpetual turbulence 
from their quaiTels. The remains still exist ; but now they are good and peaceable subjects, 

N N 


pay much respect to them. The man who had acted as their king in 
Itamaraca (for each district has its king) for several years, was about 
to resign from old age, and a new chief was to be chosen ; he who 
had been fixed upon for this purpose was an old man and a slave, 
belonging to the plantation of Amparo. The former queen would 
not resign, but still continued at her post. The old negro who was 
this day to be crowned, came early in the morning to pay his respects 
to the vicar, who said to him in a jocular manner, "Well, sir, so to-day 
I am to wait upon you, and to be your chaplain." About eleven 
o'clock I proceeded to the church with the vicar. We were standing 
at the door, when there appeared a number of male and female 
negroes, habited in cotton dresses of colours and of white, with flags 
flying and drums beating ; and as they approached we discovered 
among them the king and queen, and the secretary of state. Each of 
the former wore upon their heads a crown, which was partly covered 
with gilt paper, and painted of various colours. The king was dressed 
in an old fashioned suit of divers tints, green, red, and yellow ; coat, 
waistcoat, and breeches ; his sceptre was in his hand, which was of 
wood, and finely gilt. The queen was in a blue silk gown, also of 
ancient make ; and the wretched secretary had to boast of as many 
colours as his master, but his dress had evident appearances of each 
portion having been borrowed fx'om a different quarter, for some parts 
were too tight and others too wide for him. 

The expence of the church service was to be provided for by 
the negroes ; and there stood in the body of the church a small table, 
at which sat the treasurer of this black fraternity, {irmandade) and 
some other officers, and upon it stood a box to receive the money. 
This was produced but slowly, much too slowly for the appetite of 
the vicar, who had not breakfasted, though it was now nearly mid- 
day, for he and his assistant priests were to chaunt high Mass. There- 
fore he approached the table, and began to expostulate with these 
directors, declaring that he would not go to the altar until every 
expence was paid. I was much amused to see him surrounded 
by the blacks, and abusing them for their want of punctuality 

MANOEL. 275 

in their contributions. There was soon an uproar in the church 
among the negroes ; the vicar had blamed some of them, and now 
when he left them to themselves, they called each other to an ac- 
count, and the consequences were, that many high and angry words 
passed between them in the church. It was a most entertaining 
scene to me and a few other persons, who stood by and heard what 
was going on. However, ' at last Their Majesties knelt down at the 
railing of the principal chapel, and the service commenced. As soon 
as this was over, the new king was to be installed; but as the vicar 
was hungry, he dispatched the matter without much ceremony ; he 
asked for the crown, then went to the church-door, — the new sove- 
reign presented himself, and was requested or rather desired to kneel 
down ; the insignia were given to him, and the vicar then said, 
" Now, sir king, go about thy business."* 

As the king belonged to Amparo, the eating, drinking, and dancing 
were to be at that place; consequently, in a short time our town remained 
quitequiet,and I little thought that I should so soon be disturbed. About 
four o'clock in the afternoon, Francisco, one of my negroes, came 
running from Amparo, and he said that the people at that place were 
killing Manoel, who was fighting against a number of persons, by 
whom he had been attacked. I mounted my horse, and proceeded 
to the plantation with all possible haste. I found Manoel tied to the 
middle of a long cord, of each end of which one man had hold, and 
these pei'sons were standing in opposite directions for the purpose of 
keeping the negro at a distance from any one. His face was covered 
with blood, and his cloaths were much torn. I rode up to him, and 
spoke to him ; he turned round, as if to strike me ; but when he dis- 
covered who it was, he cried out, " It is my master, and now I care 
for no one ;" and then he again proceeded in his abuse tov.ards those 
who had maltreated him. Francisco soon arrived, and I sent Manoel 
home with him. The overseer of the plantation (for the owner was 

Agora Setihor Rei, vai te embora.' 

N N 2 

276 LAW-SUIT. 

not at home) chose to take umbrage at some of my people who now 
arrived, because they were armed. I told him that they were per- 
fectly right in coming prepared for the worst, but that I felt quite 
confident that not one person present would think of insulting me or 
any other white man ; and therefore I sent my people away ; he said 
that I judged correctly of his feelings, and some others stepped 
forwards to confirm the words of the overseer. The negro who had 
acted improperly, had been provoked so to do by the behaviour of 
some of the free persons towards him ; but the affair would not have 
occurred, if the overseer had done his duty, or if any man of weight 
and importance had been present. 

About this time I agreed to take a cottage with a small piece of 
land attached to it, in the neighbourhood of Conception. It was 
situated upon a shelf of the hill, immediately below the town, and 
opposite to the village of Camboa. The break in the hill had only 
space sufficient to admit of the cottage in breadth, so that on either 
side it must be reached by an ascent or descent. The view from it 
differed little from that which was to be obtained from the town-hall ; 
save that now to the left, the town and the church were to be seen 
half concealed among the banana plants and trees. All the 
lands in this neighbourhood were subdivided among persons of several 
casts. That which immediately joined mine on two sides belonged 
to the vicar, and on the third side it was inclosed by the channel, 
whilst on the fourth, a numerous family of free negroes possessed a 
small spot covered with coco-trees. These latter people had been 
much impoverished by the obstinacy of the chief of the family, now 
deceased, in maintaining a law-suit for many years, about the bounda- 
ries of his plot of land. As soon as I took possession, one of his 
sons wished to commence law proceedings with me, in spite of several 
awards which had been given against his father. I began to make a 
fence around the piece of land which I had taken, and he immediately 
did all in his power to prevent me from accomplishing my object ; 
however, as he saw that whatever he said was of no avail, he set off 
to Goiana to seek redress by law. This I discovered accidentally in 


the evening. In the morning at four o'clock I mounted on horse- 
back, and followed him to Goiana, accompanied by Fideles, a Creole 
negro, in the place of Manoel who was disabled for some time by 
the occurrence which has been related. 

I proceeded through the plantation of Amparo, and reached the 
spot at which passengers embark in the canoe that plies between 
the island and the main land. The tide was out, and we entered 
among the mangroves, through which a path has been made in the 
mud ; it is dangerous to allow the horse to step out of this, as the 
slime is deep on either side. We stood at the water's edge, just be- 
yond the mangroves, and hailed the ferryman, until he shoved off and 
came towards the island. Tlie mosquitos persecuted us unmercifully, 
during this delay, and it was with difficulty we prevented our horseis 
from treading out of the path. The channel is here much broader 
than near to Conception ; but there is a bank near to the centre of 
it, upon which, when the tide is out, the horses regain theii* 
footing ; but still the passage is distressing to the beasts ; however we 
reached the opposite bank in safety*. Here stands the village of 
Itapisuma, which consists of a long street, situated near to the water's 
edge, and running parallel with the channel ; it is composed of small 
low houses. A narrow path took us to the village of Pasmado, a 
distance of two leagues, where we entered the great cattle road ; we 
crossed the river of Araripe, passed through the village of Bu, and 
about mid-day stopped at the hamlet of Fontainhas. Here I put up 
at a cottage, and on enquiry found that there was some dried meat 
to be sold at a neighbouring hut; some of this was purchased, and 
was cooked for me by the good woman of the cottage. 

The people of Pasmado are famous for their proficiency in the 
working of iron. The knives which are made at that place are in 
great request all over the country, and although these are a pro- 

* In 1 646, after the Portugueze had taken possession of the guard-sliip at Os Marcos, 
they proceeded to that which was stationed at Itapisuma or Tapissuma, and this was burnt 
by the Dutch. — History of Brazil, vol. ii. p. 177. 


hibited article, as I have before mentioned, still they are made pub- 
licly at Pasmado, and indeed at many other places in the country. 

Whilst I was at Fontainhas, three armed men came to the door 
with a fourth person whom they had taken into custody, under a 
suspicion of his being a horse-stealer. It was proved that he had 
been seen in company with a man of this description, but he made 
it appear that he had been hired by him to assist in conducting some 
horses, without his having any knowledge of their being obtained irre- 
gularly, and therefore they set him at liberty. During the whole of 
my stay in Pernambuco, I only heard of two or three instances of 
houses being broken open, and scarcely of any murders that were 
not occasioned by quarrels, or had been committed in revenge; but 
cattle-stealing is common. I was in the constant habit of hear- 
ing of thefts of this description *. In the afternoon I reached Goiana, 

* A man of colour with whom I was acquainted possessed several tame oxen, some of 
which with a cart he used to hire to the planters by the day, and one or other of his sons 
attended to drive them. Two of these animals were stolen, and a suspicion falling upon 
a man of reputed respectability in the country, who had rented a sugar plantation not 
far distant, one of the sons of the owner of the oxen determined to try to ascertain the 
fact. He dressed himself in leather, as a disguise, and rode to the dwelling of the per- 
son in question, where he arrived at dusk. The master of the house was not at home, but 
he spoke to the housekeeper, saying, that he had just arrived from the Sertam with 
cattle on sale, whicli would reach the neighbourhood on the following morning ; he request- 
ed to know if she thought her master would purchase his drove. She answered in the 
affirmative, but said that he had better stay all night, for the purpose of seeing the in- 
tended purchaser, who would arrive on the next day. The false Scrtanejo told her not 
to be uneasy about his accommodation, as he would sleep in the mill, to which he rode, 
and there he remained very quietly during the early part of the night. When all was 
still he began to search for the hides or horns of his oxen. Tlie former would be recognised 
by the private mark, which was made (as is usual) with a red-hot iron upon the right haunch, 
and the latter he would know from the peculiar bore of their tips (by which they are in 
part harnessed to the cart) for he had bored them himself, and was in the constant habit 
of driving these oxen ; besides, tame oxen are so seldom killed, that if he found any horns 
which were bored, he might presume that they were those of his beasts. He had given 
up his sesrch, and almost all hope of finding what he sought, when, as he lay in his ham- 
mock, he happened to cast his eyes upwards, and saw two fresh outstretched hides hang- 
ing to the higher wood-work of the mill. He scrambled up the timbers with a lighted 
piece of wood in one hand; and moving this to and fro near to the hides, that it might, 


and on the following day presented my papers to the Juiz de Fora. 
As soon as I had accomplished the end for which I came, I returned 
to Itamaraca. Whilst I was at Goiana, an English merchant vessel, 
called the Elizabeth, had been on shore upon the south sand-bank 
of the harbour of Itamaraca. She had been chased by an English 
ship of war, under the supposition that she was an American, and 
the merchant vessel was also acting under the same idea regarding 
the pursuer. The master made for the harbour of Itamaraca and ran 
the vessel ashore ; and the mistake under which both of them had 
been acting was not cleared up until the ship of war sent a boat on 
board. She floated at the height of the tide, and proceeded to Re- 
cife without much damage. Many of the people of Itamaraca put 
off in i\\e\x jangadas, for the purpose of rendering every assistance in 
their power, and were very indignant at the crew refusing to admit 
any of them on board. This, I suppose, proceeded from the fear of 
being plundered, and of salvage being claimed, as occurs frequently 
upon the coast of Ireland in cases of distress. But far from any mis- 
chief being intended, I am confident that a mere trifle (a few gallons 
of rum for instance) would have satisfied those who went to offer to 

After my removal in April to the Toque, for so my new dwelling- 
was called, I led a life of quietude ; and to one who has not known 
other countries, and does not feel that a residence in Brazil is a 
species of banishment, it would be a life of great happiness. I 
went out young, and therefore had few unpleasant feelings of 
this kind to conquer, but when I reflect upon the line of life in 
which I had taken my station I am happy that I was removed. The 

give a better light, he discovered that they bore his father's mark. He lost no 
time in cutting from both of them the pieces which contained the mark, and carefully 
preserving these he mounted his horse about two o'clock in the morning and rode home. 
He kept the bits of leather as trophies, and shewed them in proof of his former assertions 
respecting the person who had stolen the oxen, but neither did he obtain, nor did he ex- 
pect to obtain any redress. These transactions occurred in 1 8 1 1 , and within five leagues 
of Recife. 


climate, in particular, fascinates every one ; the heat is scarcely ever 
disagreeable, and the power of the sun is rendered less perceptible 
by the freshness of the sea breeze ; the coolness of the night too re- 
moves all lassitude, if any should have been felt. I have often sat 
at my door when the moon has been so clear as to render reading by 
her light, though somewhat irksome, still not difficult. When the 
night has been dark, I have watched the lights which were to be seen 
upon the sand-banks, that proceed from the land on each side of the 
entrance of the harbour; they were frequented at low water by num- 
bers of persons in search of shell-fish. The appearance was singular, 
for the lights seemed to float upon the water. 

The house in which I now dwelt was a long low building, situated, 
as I have before observed, upon a narrow break in a steep hill; it was 
constructed of timber and mud, and the eaves of the cottage were 
on one side about five feet from the ground, and on the other they 
were only three feet. The door and window were in the gable-end, 
and fronted the sea. The principal apartment was furnished with a 
few chairs, and a table, a trunk containing my books, and also a large 
chest, in which were deposited the farinha and the beans for the 
weekly consumption of the establishment; in one corner likewise 
stood a large jar of water, and upon a peg immediately above the 
jar was hung the usual ladle of the country ; — this is formed of the half 
of the inner shell of a coco-nut, and has a long wooden handle fixed to 
it; some rich persons make use of silver cocos, as these ladles are 
called. The room which I have attempted to describe, two cabins 
or very small bed-chambers, and a kitchen included the whole build- 
ing. At one side were erected a stable and two apartments, which 
remained unfinished when I came away. Behind the cottage was the 
shed which covered the apparatus for making the farinha; and yet 
farther back, in the same direction, the negroes had formed their 
huts of mud and coco leaves. I was now still nearer to the channel, 
and so immediately above it as to see every canoe or raft which passed 
to and fro. The land about the house was covered with brushwood 
and tall coco-trees, and there were likewise a few Acaju trees. How- 


ever the small wood was soon cleared away, and the view on every 
side remained unobstructed. 

The first business of the morning was to see that the people went 
out to work at the proper time ; then the stable and other matters of 
the same kind were to be attended to; for in every thing which is to 
be done by slaves the master or his deputy must keep his eye as 
much upon what is going forwards as possible. After this I break- 
fasted, and then either read or wrote, or mounted my horse and rode 
to the spot upon which my people were at work. I dined about 
two o'clock, and afterwards sat in my hammock smoking ; any of the 
secondary people, or of those in the lower ranks of life, would some- 
times about thre? or four o'clock come to speak to me upon busi- 
ness, or to ask or communicate news, and so forth. Soon after 
four o'clock, I usually rode out again to see the work, and returned 
about five or half past. The remainder of the day-light was often 
expended in reading, and at times the vicar or some one else would 
come and sit with me until seven o'clock. Sun-s^et in retired situ- 
ations usually produces melancholy feelings, and not less unplea- 
sant was this period under the circumstances in which 1 was placed. 
The negroes were coming home straggling from their work, fatigued 
and dirty ; the church-bell tolled dismally at intervals, that all Catho- 
lics should count their beads; the sea looked black, and the foliage 
of the trees became rapidly darker and darker as the sun sank 
behind the hills. There is scarcely any twilight in those regions; 
the light is in a few minutes changed into darkness, unless the moon 
has risen. Her light is not afforded gradually, but her power is 
perceived very shortly after the setting of the sun. In the even- 
ing I sat and smoked in the open air, and if it was at the time of 
spring tides, I had a fire made to windward, on account of the mos- 
quitos, and of a very diminutive species of black fly, which is called 
maroim, and of which the bite is as painful as that of the mosquito ; 
this last species of insect is there called morisoca. The maroim is 
usually to be seen near to mangroves. If these tormentors were toQ 

o o 


troublesome to be endured, or if I was so inclined, I would close 
my door and window, and read or write until ten or eleven o'clock, 
and then go to bed; but frequently I would lie down in my ham- 
mock, and rest in it unintentionally during the greater part of the 

My time passed less pleasantly during the months of June and 
July, owing to the rain, and to the removal of the vicar to Recife 
during that period. 

Through his persuasion, and from the gradual general disposition 
of the feelings of the people in favour of the measure, two boys, 
resident at Conception, were sent to Recife for the purpose of being 
inoculated with the cow-pox ; as soon as they returned, the surgeon 
of Iguara9u, a young man of considerable merit who had been edu- 
cated at Lisbon, came over to the island to inoculate any persons who 
might be inclined to undergo the operation. Among the children 
it was almost general. Their parents and friends were told that the 
disorder was not infectious, and consequently no precautions were 
taken in sepai'ating those who were under its influence from the other 
inmates of the same cottage. Soon afterwards an elderly woman, the 
attendant of a child who had been inoculated, fell sick and died, 
and other persons were likewise afflicted with the same disorder. 
The infection spread, and ten or twelve persons died of it in the 
island. The evil indeed was only stopped by the inoculation of 
great numbers of the inhabitants. It was observed that none of the 
individuals who had been inoculated had been in danger, and there- 
fore it was soon seen that the wisest plan was to undergo the oper- 
ation. A few however were so much alarmed at the fate of some of 
their acquaintances, that they lived for many days in the woods, 
scarcely visiting any habitation of man in the dread of infection. It 
was proved that the small-pox did not exist at that time upon the 
island, for every enquii*y was made, — much pains were taken by 
many persons of zeal and activity to certify that this was the case ; 
and indeed when that dreadful malady appears in any neighbour- 


hood the whole country round is alarmed, and every precaution is 
taken to prevent communication. Now, it was generally said that 
either the boys who had been sent to Recife were inoculated with the 
small-pox instead of the cow-pox, or that the cow-pox degenerated 
and became an infectious disease. The boys received the matter 
from a newly-imported negro, who had, it is true, been inoculated 
with the cow-pox, but he might have had the small-pox upon him at 
the time, though it had not made its appearance. It is from the 
newly arrived Africans, that the small-pox is often spread abroad, 
after the country has had a long respite from this much dreaded dis- 
order. One man who resided near to Conception caught the disease 
and died ; he had only sat for a short time in an outward room of a 
house in the interior of which some children were confined who had 
been inoculated. 

The unfortunate result of this trial of the new disorder rivetted 
many persons in their prejudices against it ; and others who had stre- 
nuously recommended its adoption began to stagger, and to fear that 
they had been deceived; howevei*, as none of those who were inocu- 
lated had been in danger, the people did not appear to have taken a 
thorough dislike to it. To me this was a most anxious time ; my 
establishment of slaves and free people consisted of twenty-five per- 
sons, of whom scarcely any had had the small-pox. They were too 
many to inoculate at once, and therefore I cut off all communication 
with my neighbours. This was done without much difficulty; Ma- 
noel was armed, and was ready to prevent any one from approaching 
the place, and this I could do without injustice, for the path led only 
to the house. I had several fierce dogs, which were all let loose on 
this occasion, notice being given to the neighbourhood of such a 
measure having been adopted. 

Considerable zeal has been shewn by the supreme government of 
Brazil in the introduction of the cow-pox into the country. An 
establishment has been formed at Recife, consisting of a physician 
and two surgeons for the inoculation, free of expence, of all per- 

o o 2 


sons who apply for this purpose. The inoculation is expressly 
confined to the matter of the cow-pox. The establishment has not 
however, yet fixed upon any settled plan for having a constant 
supply of the matter, and' therefore the medical men belonging 
to it are often obliged to remain inactive for several weeks at a 






T HAVE said that the lands of the Engenho Velho were much in- 
•^ fested by the red ants ; but indeed scarcely any part of the island 
of Itamaraca is free from these most noxious insects. They are of a 
dusky red colour, and vary from one quarter of an inch to one inch in 
length. Their bite is painful, and they will sometimes fix them- 
selves so firmly with their antennas, as to leave the points of them in 
the wound which they have made. Their food is entirely veget- 
able. I found them extremely troublesome during the continuance 
of the rains. They would often make their way between the bricks 
of the floor of my house, and pick up any particles of flour or any 
grains of maize which might chance to be strewed upon it. On one 
occasion, two large bags of maize of equal size were placed in the 
room at night ; but in the morning one of them was considerably 
lower than the other; for this I could not account until, on a nearer 
examination, I saw one of the red ants coming out of a small hole 
which there was at one side of the bag, with its load upon its back, 
and soon another followed, and so forth. I now accidentally put my 
hand upon the bag, and it fell still lower ; so that an arch must have 
been formed within, either by a very singular chance, or by the ma- 
nagement of these most extraordinary insects. 

Upon another evening, they made their appearance in such great 

286 RED ANTS. 

numbers as to darken the floor of the corner of the room from which 
they proceeded. I sent for some dried leaves of the coco-tree, and 
only got rid of the enemy by making in the house a bonfire upon 
the spot of which they had taken possession. I had some pomegra- 
nate trees at the back of the cottage, which I was preserving with 
great care ; and I had one evening particularly admired the beauty 
of one of these plants, which was covered with red blossoms. In the 
morning the flowers were still upon the tree, but scarcely any leaves 
remained ; these were upon the ground, and some of the destroyers 
were cutting off" the few which still were left, whilst their companions 
were occupied below in conveying away the spoil. I could not 
avoid watching them for some minutes, and admiring their ingenuity 
and systematic manner of going to work ; but soon I vowed vengeance 
upon these enemies, and immediately commenced operations. There 
was a steep bank a little below the cottage, which had every appear- 
ance of harbouring these insects, for the red earth which lies at some 
distance below the surface of the ground, was thrown up all around 
it. I placed four negroes below the bank, to cut it away perpen- 
dicularly. They had not worked long before the war commenced, 
fora war it was when some of the nests were laid open. The ants 
came out in great numbers, but torches of dried coco leaves were 
ready and a large fire, and with these weapons we had much the ad- 
vantage of them. The bank contained a vast number of circular 
holes of about six inches diametei, which were placed at unequal dis- 
tances from each other, and many of them were without subterra- 
neous communications from one to the other. Every one had a 
passage to the surface of the ground, and some of them had more 
than one leading upwards. These nests or holes contained a sub- 
stance of a grey colour, which bore the appearance of thick cobwebs 
pressed closely together ; and on being squeezed in the hand it had 
a liquid feel, that is, the skin was moistened by it. When put into 
water it swam upon the top. We had placed a large brass basin 
upon the fire, and filled it with water for the purpose of putting 
this substance into it. In some of the circular holes there were no 

RED ANTS. 287 

ants, but others were crowded with them. Great numbers were 
destroyed ; and the cottage and its neighbourhood enjoyed for a short . 
time some respite, but another horde from a different quarter dis- 
covered that the place was untenanted, and we were again per- 

There is another method of destroying the ants, which has only of 
late years been introduced ; but this is more particularly adapted to 
their destruction when they are undermining a building. A mixture 
of brimstone, and of any other substances which create a con- 
siderable degree of smoke, is burnt at the entrance of the ant-hill, a 
hole being in the first place dug around it, that the combustible 
matter may be laid rather lower than the surface of the ground im- 
mediately surrounding. Then a large pair of bellows is made use of 
to blow the smoke down the aperture ; now it is necessary to ob- 
serve, that all the crevices by which the smoke is again ejected, 
should be stopped up. If the operation is conducted with due at- 
tention it has been found successful. It is likewise a means of 
discovering the several communications of the same ant-hill, and 
thus being able with less uncertainty to judge of the situation of the 
chief pot {panella) or nest. 

The red ant is particularly destructive to the mandioc plant, and in 
many parts it is almost impossible to preserve the plantations of it 
from them*. I recollect having planted a considerable quantity of 
it in some low marshy ground, upon hillocks, and the land was so 
moist that water remained in the furrows round the bottom of each 
hillock, after the manner of dykes. On this account, I thought it 

* It has obtained the name oiformiga de rofa. The word rofa means literally a piece 
of land that has been planted, of which the native wood has been cut down and cleared 
away. But at the present day, in Pernambuco, the word rofa is applied to the mandioc 
plant exclusively ; thus a peasant will say " hum bom rofado de rofa," a good field of man- 
dioc. The word rofado is used in speaking of any kind of field ; as for instance, a fine 
rofado for cotton, — a fine rofado for cane, &c. 


superfluous to desire that any precautions should be taken against 
the ants ; however, I rode one afternoon to see the field, and was 
surprised to find that the plants upon some of the hillocks were 
deprived of their leaves. I knew by whom this must have been 
done, but could not for some minutes discover how the insects had 
been able to reach the mandioc. I soon saw an ant-track and a few 
of the ants going along it ; I followed the track, and observed that 
they had formed a bridge of leaves across one of the farrows, upon 
which they were going over. Some of them crossed to and from the 
hillock, as I stood watching them. 

There were several other species of ants of less bulk, which were 
occasionally seen. The small red ant and the small black ant, both of 
which feed on animal substances, would sometimes crowd around a fly, 
a spider, a small lizard, or any other small animal or insect which might 
lie dead upon the floor ; and by degrees, a number sufficient to move 
their prey would assemble, and they would convey it slowly along, 
even up a white-washed wall, if the load was not heavier than usual. 
It was a most impleasant sight to watch these insects clinging to their 
bui'then on all sides of it, and so closely packed as to appear to be 
one shapeless mass of moving substance. All species of ants have a 
disagi'eeable smell ; but the carnivorous small red ant is that which is 
the most offensive. There is also another kind of small black ant ; 
it makes its nest in trees, and not near to and among the timbers of 
houses. Though the size of this ant is very diminutive, being smaller 
than any other species, it is a dreadful enemy to the lai-ge red ant, ow- 
ing to the numbers and determined courage of the black ant. These 
small insects are sought after, and encouraged to build upon orange 
and other fruit trees, which are liable to destruction from the large 
red ant ; and they effectually defend their appointed posts from the 
dreaded invaders, if time has been given for their numbers to be 
equal to the task. I have sometimes seen the entrance to the nest of 
the red ants surrounded by the dead of both parties ; but notwith- 
standing that the number of black ants which are engaged is always 

ANTS. 28^ 

much greater than that of the red ant, still I observed that the slain 
of the latter always out-numbered the former.* 

The house in which I resided at Jaguaribe, had been in former 
times a barn in which the sugar was put into chests for ex- 
portation ; and I had heard from the neighbours that the ants about it 
were numerous ; and particularly a small black ant called the formiga 
doudoy or foolish ant, owing to its not appearing to have any track, 
but to wander about the spot upon which the horde has appeared, 
running fast to and fro, and irregularly. These are distinguished 
from the black ant of the orange trees by this name of douda. One 
evening I had been asleep in my hammock, and was not a little sur- 
prised on waking, to see that part of the wall opposite to me, which 
was white-washed, appeared to be covered with a piece of black 
cloth ; I got up, and approached it with the lamp in my hand. I soon 
saw what it was, and could not help shuddering, for the sight, I may 
say, was horrible ; myriads of these ants were marching along 
the wall, and their numbers were rapidly increasing. I had scarcely 
recovered from the first surprise, when on looking round, I saw that 
the other side of the room was in the same state ; I left the place 
quickly, and calling to some of the negroes, desired them to bring 
coco and palm-leaves in abundance; this was done, andoperations being 
actively set on foot against them by applying lighted leaves to the walls, 
we soon got rid of the major part of the ants ; however many of them 
escaped by retreating into the numerous cracks in the walls. The 
next morning the walls were again white-washed, and as many of the 
crevices filled up as possible. On another occasion, I was awakened in 
bed in the middle of the night, by a sensation in my feet as if they had 
been pricked gently by many pins. I jumped up, and as there was a light 
in the room, I soon perceived what had caused the uneasy sensations ; 
several of these black ants were running about my legs, and upon the 

* In the Nouvelle Relation de la France Equinoxiale, by Pierre Barrere, I find that the 
great red ant is as troublesome in the neighbourhood of Cayenne as in the part of 
South America which I visited, p. 60. 

P P 


bed and floor they were every moment becoming more and more nu- 
merous. I escaped, and as soon as the bed cloaths were removed the 
scene of burning the host of enemies was re-acted. 

There yet exists another description of ants, called the tioca ; these 
are black, and on the whole are even larger than the destructive red 
ant ; but I never saw the tioca in great numbers ; and when I have 
observed them, it has been near to where sugar is kept, running to 
and fro without any settled path and seemingly without any plan of 
operations. Their bite is still more painful than that of the red 

The ants were not my only persecutors at Itamaraca, for these were 
assisted by the copini, [termes arboruni), who build their enormous 
nests, called in Brazil panellas (pots) among the rafters of houses, 
which they destroy in the course of time ; and likewise they form 
their settlements upon trees. They oftentimes made their covered 
ways along the white-washed walls of my house, or up the door posts; 
but I took every precaution against them, which was more particularly 
necessary in this instance, as my dwelling was not built of the best kinds 
of timber. I was advised to besmear the places in which they persisted 
in attempting to build with treacle, and I found that this was successful 
in making them alter their proceedings. It is well known in that 
country by all those persons who have paid any attention to the sub- 
ject, that there are certain kinds of timber which are more liable to 
be attacked by these insects than others. However, a person who 
was about to build a house, chose to think that the distinction which 
the carpenters made in the several kinds of timber which they recom- 
mended him to obtain, either proceeded from some sinister views in 
the men, or from prejudices which they had imbibed. Therefore, 
contrary to the advice of his workmen and of his friends, he pur- 
chased any kinds of timber which were presented to him for sale, not 
attending to the quality but to the price. The house was built, and he 
had already either removed to it or was upon the point of so doing, 
when it was discovered that the copim had attacked some of the prin- 
cipal timbers ; and at last it was judged expedient to pull down a 


considerable part of the building, without which the whole would 
have fallen a sacrifice to the insects. A solution of the substance 
of which the nest of the copim is formed, is used as an injection by 
the peasants in aguish disorders. * 

I have not yet mentioned all the persecutors ; for besides those 
which have been here named, and the famous chiguas, of which I 
have elsewhere spoken, there are the moribondos, a black insect, 
resembling somewhat the large red and the tioca ant in shape ; the 
moribondo is supplied with wings, and has a most painful sting in the 
tail. It forms its nest upon the trunks and branches of trees ; and in 
clearing lands, the negroes always proceed with much care, that 
they may not be taken unawares by these insects ; for on a nest being 
disturbed, they fly out in great numbers ; notwithstanding every pre- 
caution, this will occasionally happen ; and I have known a negro to 
be unable to work for several days after he has been stung by them. 
The parts which are affected swell and become inflamed, and the sufferer 
experiences for a day or two the alternate sensations of violent cold 
and burning heat, similar to the symptoms of aguish disorders. When 
the negroes discover the nest without disturbing its inhabitants, 
dried palm leaves are lighted, and the nest is destroyed by fire. The 
insects are not often all killed, but those which escape appear to 
be stupified by the fire and smoke, and do not leave the nest. 
I have handled them when they have been in this state, for 
they become harmless ; however, after a short time, their ao- 

* Labat says, "Crf insecte engraisse les volailles." I know that fowls are fond of the 
insect ; but the peasants of Pernambuco prevent the pouhry from eating it, because they 
say that such food gives a bad taste to the flesh ; this is, I think, by no means improbable, 
for the copim has a most disagreeable smell. This author afterwards continues the 
same subject, saying, "11^ a deux swtes de bois qui iic sont pas de leur gout ; V acajou et le 
bois amer. Cela vient de ce que le sue et le bois de ces deux arbres est extrememe7it amer" — 
Nouveau Voyage, tom. ii. p. 389 and 392. 

I do not know what tree he means by the bois amer, which in another place he calls Sima- 
rouha. I well know that the red ant will not molest the leaves of the acaju tree; but the 
same occurs with regard to many other plants. Tlie leaves of the acaju are certainly 
extremely bitter. 

p p 2 

^92 SNAKES. 

tivity returns. There are three species of moribondo; the black, 
of which I have treated ; the white, which are so called, although 
they are only partially white ; and the moribondo formiga, which are 
distinguished from the black moribondo, in bearing a still greater re- 
semblance to the large black ant. 

The bats also failed not here to annoy me, for they persecuted my 
horses. They fasten upon the ears of the beasts, or upon their 
backs, if there is any spot from which the skin has been rubbed. 
I have in travelling sometimes been made particularly uneasy at 
their attacks upon the horses ; for unless we had some animals above 
the requisite complement, it was necessary to load them with the 
wound open. The skin of an owl is often hung up in a stable for 
the purpose of scaring the bats. 

In laying open the ant-hill which I have above-mentioned, we 
discovered a couple of the cobras de duas cabe^as, or two-headed 
snakes or worms ; each of them was rolled up in one of the nests. 
These snakes are about eighteen inches in length, and about the 
thickness of the little finger of a child of four or five years of age. 
Both extremities of the snake appear to be exactly similar to each 
other ; and when the reptile is touched, both of these are raised, and 
form a circle or hoop to strike that which has molested it. They 
appear to be perfectly blind, for they never alter their course to avoid 
any object until they come in contact with it, and then without 
turning about they crawl away in an opposite direction. The colour is 
grey inclining to white, and they are said to be venomous. This 
species of snake is often found in ant-hills, and I have likewise killed 
them in my house ; they frequent dung-hills and places in which 
vegetable matter has been allowed to remain for a length of time un- 

The island of Itamaraca is said to be less infested with snakes than 
the main land, and perhaps this opinion is founded on experience ; 
but some of those which are generally accounted venomous cer- 
tainly exist upon it. A rattle-snake was killed at Amparo two years 
previous to the period of which I am speaking. A horse died one 


night in my neighbourhood, and his death was attributed to the bite 
of a snake ; there was a wound upon him, and his body was much 
swoln. Manoel killed a cobra de veado, or antelope snake {Boa 
Constrictor) which he brought home to shew me. It was a young 
one, of seven feet in length, and about the thickness of a man's arm. 
The name which it bears of antelope snake proceeds from the 
destruction which it causes among these animals. The full-grown 
snake of this species lies in wait for the antelope and other animals 
of the same size ; it entwines its tail around a tree, and patiently ex- 
pects that its prey will pass within its reach ; when this occurs, it 
encircles the unfortunate animal with its enormous body, thus se- 
curing it. I never could discover, after much enquiry, that it had 
ever been found in a torpid state, digesting its food. Men have 
sometimes been caught by them ; but if the person so situated can 
draw his knife, his escape is very possible, though he will probably 
receive several wounds. The opinion is general in the country that 
the person who receives the bite of one of these snakes, has nothing 
farther to fear from that of any other snake of whatever description. 

One of the negroes whom I had hired with the plantation of 
Jaguaribe, had one leg much thicker than the other. This was 
occasioned, as he told me, by the bite of a rattle-snake ; he said, that 
he had been cured from the bites of snakes by a Curador de cobras or 
Mandingueiro, and had therefore not died ; but that " as the moon 
was strong*," he had not escaped receiving some injury from the 
bite. He had frequently violent pains in his limbs, at the full and 
change of the moon particularly, and sometimes the wound opened, 
and remained in this state for weeks together ; but if he was careful 
in not exposing it to the early dews of the morning, it would again 
heal without any medicinal applications being made use of. 

The niost beautiful reptile which I saw was the cobra de coral, or 
coral snake or worm. It is about two feet in length, and of the thick- 

" Como a Itui era forte.' 

294 VERMIN. 

ness of a man's thumb ; it is marked with black, white and red stripes 
transversally. The general opinion is that it is venomous. * 

But the snakes do not cause so much annoyance as the smaller 
species of vermin which I am about to mention ; because the former 
seldom enter the houses, nor are they veiy frequently to be seen in 
the paths or roads. But the aranha caranguejeira, or crab-spider, 
{aranea avicularia) ; the lacraia or scorpion, and the jnolho de cobra, 
or snake louse, {scolopendra morsitans), are to be met with in the 
houses and in all situations. They should be carefully avoided, for 
their bites are painful, and are said to cause inflammation. An in- 
stinctive recollection of the chance of meeting with these or other 
vermin of less importance became so habitual with me (and indeed is 
so with most persons) that when I was about to begin to read, I 
closed the book in the first place violently so as to crush any thing 
that might have crept in between the leaves ; when my hat, or boots, 
or cloaths were put on, some precaution was taken, as a thing of 
course ; this was not done from a direct idea of the likelihood of 
finding any thing unpleasant in that immediate instance ; but the pre- 
caution was entered into from habit, unconsciously. I was one day 
bit by a lacraia ; I had mounted my horse, and had taken my um- 
brella in my hand for the purpose of shading me from the sun when 
I had advanced farther upon my ride ; when I was in the act of open- 
ing it, I felt suddenly a violent pain upon the fleshy part of the inside 

* I have seen Piso's account of the snakes of Brazil; and although the description which 
I have given of those which I saw, and of which I heard, differs somewhat from his, I have 
allowed mine to remain as it originally stood. Piso mentions the root of the jurepeba plant 
as being efficacious in curing the bites of snakes. Is this the jwubeha?. If so, it is sur- 
prising that it should not now be used for this purpose. The junibeba is to be found in 
almost all situations ; a small shrub which yields a fruit resembling the potatoe apple. A 
decoction of the root is taken frequently at the present day for coughs and colds. 

Piso hkewise speaks of the caatia, or caiatia, or caacica plant, which he says, has de- 
servedly obtained the name of the hcrva de cobras ,- his description of it at p. 102, agrees in 
some respects with that of the hei-va cobreira, of which I have spoken at chapter 1 2 ; but it 
can scarcely be the same, for mine would have been more plentiful if it had been indi- 


of one of my hands ; on looking down I soon saw what it was that had 
bitten me, upon which I turned back, and rode liome. I appHed the 
juice of lemons to the part, and in about half an hour, not finding any 
particularly disagreeable sensations, again mounted my horse. The 
only effect which I experienced from the bite was a numbness in my 
hand for the remainder of the day, and a redness about the point 
which was immediately affected ; but on the following day the former 
was removed, and the latter did not last long. Labat mentions an in- 
stance in which the bite of a scorpion caused as little inconvenience 
as that which I have related. When I mentioned to some of my 
neighbours the slight consequences of the bite, they ascribed it to the 
state of the moon. 

In the month of September, I went up the river in a canoe to Igua- 
ra9U. The distance from my residence was two leagues. The river 
or creek has two mouths, which are situated in the bay of the village 
of Camboa, which is immediately opposite to Conception. In the 
river there are several islands which are covered with mangroves, and 
are too low to be cultivated ; the banks of the river are likewise lined 
with the same description of plant, excepting at one point to the 
left in going up, where the bank is high and perpendicular, and 
projects considerably. At this place the forest trees come down to 
the edge of the bank. Near to the town of Iguarayu the mangroves 
have been destroyed, and perhaps upon some particular spots they 
did not originally grow. When the tide is out, the quantity of 
water which remains in the river is trifling, and in some parts it is 
nearly dry; indeed, were it not for two places of inconsiderable 
breadth, where the water is always deep, a man on foot might walk 
along its bed from about one mile above Camboa to the town. I 
came down from Iguarayu one day at the ebb of the tide in a small 
canoe, which held one man besides myself; it was with difficulty that 
he could find a channel in which there was sufficient water to float 
our vessel. It was to Conception that the Portugueze came down 
from Iguarayu for provisions, during the siege of the latter place by 
the savages in 1548, as is related by Hans Stade. I also observed 


one of the spots at which the savages attempted to sink the boat 
as it returned, by means of letting a large tree fall upon it *. The 
town of Iguara9u was plundered, and the inhabitants slaughtered by 
the Dutch in 1632, under the direction of the dreadful mulatto 
Calabar. * 

The mangroves entirely destroy the beauty which it is natural to 
suppose that the rivers of the country of which I am treating would 
possess. Until they are destroyed a dull sameness presents itself, 
for the eye cannot penetrate beyond them. Upon the banks of the 
Capibaribe they have given place to houses and gardens, and the 
alteration is most pleasing; upon the banks of the Maria Farinha, 
the mangroves are beginning to give way to cultivation at the set- 
tlements {sifios) of Jardim and Olaria ; but the Iguarafu is without 
any break, and the Goiana is, I understand, in the same state. There 
are plantations along these rivers, but the owners content themselves 
with merely cutting a path through the mangroves down to the water's 
«dge, so that to a stranger who goes up the rivers the country ap- 
pears to be uninhabited, until he passes some of these small open- 
ings, at which a canoe or ajangada is moored; but the openings are 
very narrow, and are only to be seen on coming immediately oppo- 
site to them. The mangroves grow as far down as low water-mark, 
and when the tide is out their entangled roots and sprouts, and their 
stems covered with oysters and besmeared with mud, are left un- 
covered ; but at the height of the tide these are concealed, and the 
water reaches up to the branches of the trees, so that those which 
bend downwards are partly wetted, presenting to the beholder the 
view of a forest growing in the water. This species of mangrove 
sometimes attains the diameter of fifteen or eighteen inches, and the 
height of twenty-five or thirty feet. There are two species with 
which I am acquainted, the mangue verrnelho or red mangrove, of 
which I have been speaking, and the mangue bravo or wild mangrove. 

* History of Brazil, vol. i. p. 47, and 485. 


The bark of the former is used for tanning, and the timber is much 
esteemed for beams and rafters in building, but it cannot be used as 
posts, for under ground it decays very quickly ; nor as railings, for it 
does not bear exposure to the weather. A considerable trade is car- 
ried on from Itamaraca, and from some other parts to Recife, in the 
wood of these plants, which is used as fuel. The tree grows again 
as often as it is cut down if the root is not injured, and with such ra- 
pidity that the supply of the wood will, for a length of time — I mean 
unless the destruction of the plant becomes more extensive than it is 
at present — be fully adequate to the demand for it. The fish forsake 
those parts to which the trees are brought to be cut up for firewood. 
This may be judged to proceed from the properties of the bark. In 
a fish-pen, {curat de peixe) near to my place no fish was caught after 
the fuel-cutters had established themselves at the bridge hard by; 
of this I heard much, as there was some squabbling upon the sub- 
ject. The ashes of the mangrove plants are used as teynper in the 
sugar boiling houses.* 

* Labat in his Notiveau Voyage aitx isles dc V Amerique gives an elaborate account of 
the mangrove plants. He speaks of three species, and treats in the first place of the mangle 
noir ou palettnier. To this tree he applies precisely what I should say of the mangue ver- 
melho or red mangrove, with respect to its manner of growing, and to the description of 
the plant altogether, excepting in regard of the bark which he states in the mangle noir^ 
to he fort brune, whereas the red mangrove derives its name from the red colour of the 
inside of the bark. He says that it is used for tanning, and "on prut se scrvir du troiic de 
cet arbre potir les ouvrages on Von a besoin d'un bois qui resiste a I'eau." torn. ii. p. 195; and 
197. I suppose he concluded that this would be so as the wood grew in the water- 
Now the mangues with which I am acquainted soon rot, even in salt water when used as 
stakes ; for although the trees are propagated by means of shoot?, if a part of the stem of 
«ne of them is put into the ground it does not take root, and indeed soon rots in any situ- 
ation. The pens for catching fish arc made of posts which are obtained from the forest, and 
these are scarce and dear. Would not the mangrove be used, if it was sufficiently durable? 

He speaks afterwards of the 7nangle rouge, and this from his description appears to me to 
be what the Pernambucans call the mangue bravo ; this does not grow in salt water, but in 
the vicinity of it. It is a large tree of irregular make, the branches being much twisted 
and fiiU of knots. 

Bolingbroke in his voyage to the Demerary describes the red mangrove as I have seen 
it, but he says that the bark is grey. In the Third Report of the Directors of the African 
Institution, p. 8, I find that some notion was entertained in 1809, of introducing the man- 
grove bark into this country for tanning. 



As I did not, in 1814, suppose that on the following year I should 
be recalled, I began to make some addition to my cottage, for it was 
too small for me ; and besides it was old, and was constructed of bad 
timber, which caused it to be much infested by the ants and the 
copim. I had a considerable quantity of timber of excellent quality 
at Jaguaribe, which had been prepared by me for building there, and 
therefore I determined to send for it. Permission was also obtained 
from the owner of the Engenho Novo, to cut down some trees in his 
woods, for which he ultimately refused to be paid. The woods of 
his plantation came down nearly to the water's edge near to Camboa, 
and were consequently very conveniently situated for my purpose. 
The building was to be constructed of wood and mud, — that is, of 
thick posts supporting the roof and smaller posts at fixed distances 
between the principal ones, and the openings between each of them 
were to be filled up with mud. I could not help regretting that such 
beautiful woods as those which were used should be employed in pur- 
poses so much beneath their worth. The paoferro or iron wood, which 
is also called the corafatn de negro or the negro's heart*, was the most 
valuable of those which I employed. The outward coat of the wood 
of this tree is not particularly hard, but the heart destroys many 
hatchets. I have seen some of this timber taken out of tlie ground 
after standing for many years as a supporter to the roof of a house ; 
and though the outward coat was crumbling into dust, the black heart 
seemed to be literally of iron, or to have increased rather than deT 
creased in hardness f. This wood admits of considerable polish ; 
but the black wood, which is most esteemed for furniture, is the 
jacaranda ; this is also hard, but is much more penetrable than the 

* I once asked an African negro the name of this tree, and he answered corafam de 
homem or man's heart ; thus he did not chuse to use the name of negro's heart. The man 
knew the usual name perfectly well. 

\ The iron wood is mentioned by Bolingbroke in his voyage to the Demerary ; and the 
bois defer, by Labat, in the Voyage du Chevalier des Marchais a Cayenne, ^c. he says, "Ze 
lois defer se trouve par-tmit en qjtayitite." torn. iii. p. 240. 

PAO D'ARCO. 299 

paoferro, and the polish to which it may be brought is more com- 
plete. * 

The poo cCarco is another valuable wood, and is so called, I 
imagine, from the use which the Indians made of it for their bows ; it 
is much used in building, and is accounted almost as durable as the 
paoferro. It admits of being cleft into splinters, which are flexible 
without breaking. The pao (Tarco has the property of retaining fire 
for a long time without being stirred, and of yielding a bright light 
if the log be occasionally touched. The peasantry take advantage of 
this, and cleave the logs into several narrow splinters, of which they 
form a bunch ; this being lighted, serves them as a flambeau. For- 
merly, likewise, when every thing was in a ruder state even than 
it is now in Brazil, the sugar-works were lighted with logs of pao 
d'arco instead of oil ; indeed I have heard that some of the mills 
in the back settlements still continue this practice. The ashes 
of this tree are used as temper in the boiling houses of the 
mills. The number of fine species of timber in Brazil is very great, 
but I am myself acquainted only with a few of them, f 

* MarcgrafF also speaks of a species oijacaranda, which is a white wood. 

f I shall give the names of those with which I am acquainted : paroba, jacaranduba, 
guabiraba, araroba, cicopira, embiriba, sapiwaia, aroeira do Sei-tam. This last is only found 
in parts far removed from the coast, and is accounted of equal value with the pao Jbnv. 

Labat, in speaking of the kinds of wood which are fit for building, says, ",7e tie croi pas 
devoir renvoycr a un autre endroit la remarqiw que j'ai Jaite sur tons Ics bois qiCon met en terre 
qui est, que pour peu qu'ils soient bons ce n' est pas la partie qui est en terre qui sepomrit 7ii celle 
qui est dehors, mais seidement re qui est au ras de teiTe." This I have found to be true to a 
certain extent; but there are some species of timber which rot very quickly underground, 
though the part which he terms an ras de terre is certainly that which decays the most 
speedily. He continues "Pour evita- cet inconvenient, ilfaut briiler la partie qui doitetre en 
tetre et quelques pouces au dessus, c'est-d-dire la secher aufeu ou dans les cendres rouges, sans la 
reduire en c/iarbon, afin que la seve ou rhumidite qui s'y pourroit encore trouver, soit entiere- 
inent dessechee, que les pores se renfeimant, les parties se raproclient les unes des autres, le bois 
devient ph/s compact et par consequent plus propre d resister a rhumidite." — Nouveau Voyage, 
torn ii. p. 386. 

This is done in Pernambuco, and is found to be of great service; but it is only practised' 
with those woods which are known not to be naturally durable under ground. 

Q Q 2 


The louro is a large tree, and of it there are three species, all of 
which are used principally for the beams of houses, for the timber of 
them rots quickly under ground or if it be exposed to the weather. The 
most esteemed timber for doors, window-shutters, floors of houses, &c. 
is the ^^ao amareUo or yellow wood. This is a large tree, and the 
name which it has obtained, continues to be sufficiently appropriate 
for the first six months after it has been cut down ; but the yellow 
colour is after this, period lost, and the wood becomes of a dirty 
brown. The canoes are almost exclusively made of the j)ao amarello. 
The pao santo or holy-wood is scarce, and is much sought after for 
certain purposes, as it is not liable to split, bend, or break ; it is par- 
ticularly required for the teeth of the sugar-rollers. The wood is 
beautifully veined with yellow and brown, but becomes after some 
time of a dusky brown colour. There is likewise a tree which is 
called cedro, but whether it is the cedar or not I cannot determine; 
the wood is hard, and is much esteemed for building.* 

I cut down all the mangroves which grew along the borders of my 
piece of land, and likewise some other kinds of trees which grew just 
beyond the reach of the salt-water; among these was the ca^oeira, a small 
irregular tree, of which the wood is soft, and not even fit for timber; 
the only use to which the plant is put, is, that as the leaves have an 
aromatic smell, they are used in curing fish, to which they impart a 
slight portion of their odour ; they are placed upon the girau or 
houcan, and the fish is laid upon them ; fish is likewise packed in the 

" Labat says, '•'■Uarln-e que nous appellons acajou aux isles du Vent, est le meme que celui 
que les Espagnols appellent cedre dans la Terre-ferme et dans les grandes isles. Je ne scai qui 
a j)lus de raison ; car je riai jamais vu les cedres du Liban, que selon les relations que j' en ai lie 
ne ressemblent point du tout au cedre Espagnol." He says likewise, " Ce qu'il ncfautpas con- 
Jondre avec F acajou a fruit dontj'aiparle dans un autre endroit." — Nouveau Voyage, torn. viii. 
p. 208 and 212. 

He speaks in vol. ii. p. 94, of two large Indian canoes made of bois d' acajou or cedre. I 
am inclined to think that the acajou of the islands and the cedre of the Spaniards is the piao 
amarello of Pernambuco. 

PINHAM. 301 

leaves of the oroeira when about to be sent to a distance*. The 
tree only grows in situations near to the sea. Good fences might be 
made of it for the stakes take root ; I used some of the trees for this 
purpose. The molungo and the pinham have likewise this last pro- 
perty ; and as the former is supplied with strong sharp thorns, this 
advantage renders it prefei'able to the aroeira. The molungo grows 
spontaneously in moist situations, but the stakes take root even if the 
soil is dry, unless no rain falls for some time after it has been planted. 
Great numbers of the molungo grew near to my house, just below a 
spring of water which oozed from the side of the hill. The cow-itch 
was also found here in abundance ; it is called by the peasants 

The pinham requires less rain and grows quicker than the molungo, 
but it is without thorns, and the plant is not nearly so large. The 
seed of the pinham is used as an emetic by the peasants, and is 
violent in its operation, a very small quantity being sufficient even 
for an adult. The fruit incloses three seeds, and is about the size 
of the common hazel-nut. During the third attack of ague which 
I had whilst I was at Jaguaribe, I placed myself under the direction of 
an old mulatto woman, than whom I never saw any one more like a 
witch ; and indeed poor old Antonia had the reputation of being 
somewhat of a mandingueira. However she gave me a dose of 
pinham, which, I think, consisted of four seeds, but they were picked 
out from a heap of others for their superior size. The dose acted 
most violently and effectually produced vomiting, and although exces- 
sive weakness followed the disorder was removed. I begged her to 
give me a quantity equal to what she had administered, that I might 
take it to Recife; this I shewed to a practitioner, who answered that 
he should have imagined that such a dose would have killed any one ; 
but the old reputed sorceress knew full well, that a dangerous disease 

* Piso says, that its small clustering red fruit has the property of curing meat owing to 
its acidity and astringency. 


requires to be severely attacked *. After the ague left me, my nurse 
would not be satisfied until she applied the bark of the mutamba 
ti*ee to my stomach; or rather the application was made just below 
the ribs, which she said was to prevent dureza; this she described as 
a hardness immediately under the lower rib of each side, which some- 
times was produced by the ague, and which, if precautions were not 
taken in time ended in dropsy. I did not suffer her to continue the 
mutamba for many days, for I found that I was well, and wanted no more 
nostrums. The mutamba is a small tree, having a straight stem ; it 
grows to the height of eighteen or twenty feet, and to the diameter 

* The indefatigable and all-observant, although unfeeling and brutal Labat, has also 
mentioned the pinham, under the name of medicinier ou pignons cUInde, and he gives a print 
of it. His account of the plant is elaborate, and he speaks of three kinds. Of that of 
which I have treated, he says, " Sa Jlew dcwriende beau. EIL tie vient jamais seule, 
mats en bouquets composez de phisieurs Jleurons d'lin blanc sale tirant sur le verd. Ckaque 
Jleuron est compose de cinqfeuilles en maniere d'etoile, qui font comme un cid de lampe arrondi 
avec un col plus resseire et temine par Vextremite desfeililles qui se renveisent en dehors. Le 
fond dufeuron est garni et comme renferme entre cinq petites feuilles. C'est du centre de ces 
ferns que Fori voit sortir le fruit ; ordinairement il est de la grossciir d'une noix commune d' Eu- 
rope." He says again (after speaking of its purgative quality, which it likewise possesses 
with that of provoking vomiting) alluding to the separation of each seed into two parts, 
"Lorsqu'elle est recente, elle separtage naturellement en deux parties, entre lesquelles on trouve 
une petite pellicule a qui on attribiie U7ie qualite de jnvrger plus violemment qu'a tout le reste de 
la noix." My old woman said, that the pin/iam should not be given, unless the person who 
prepared it was well acquainted with it, because a certain part of the seed was dangerous ; 
but she would not shew me where the dangerous substance was to be found. Labat con- 
tinues, saying that four or five of the seeds are a proper dose as a pm-ge, " tnais quand cm 
en prend une phis grande quantite, on s' expose a des vomissemens aniels et a. des evaaiations 
trop grandes." He mentions a fact which is curious. In speaking of Europeans having 
oftentimes eaten of this nut without being acquainted with its properties, he says, " une regie 
generale qiCilfaut observer a Fcgard des fruits qti'mi ne connoit point est de liy point toucher a, 
moins qu'on ne voye q'ils ont etc bequetczpar les oiscaux." — Nouveau Voyage, tom. iii. p. 300, 
301, and 302. 

In Piso, p. 83, an account will be found of the Munduy-giMcu, Lusitanis Pinhoes do Bra- 
sil, ejusque usu iti medicina. 

I have perhaps quoted too copiously in writing an account of those plants which Labat 
has described, but I must liave followed so nearly what he has said, that my description might 
have been supposed to have had his for its basis. Perhaps these plants need not have been 
described at all, but to some readers a confirmation of what other travellers have said may 
afford satisfaction. 


of twelve or eighteen inches. The bark is easily torn off, and is 
extremely glutinons. 

The Gameldra preta (black,) so called from the dark colour of its 
bark, is a large tree which grows in low marshy grounds; the stem 
contains a white juice, which is much sought for as a medicine in all 
eruptive complaints and in dropsy; it is likewise given inwardly. The 
juice is obtained by making an incision in the stem, and leaving a vessel 
into which the liquid may drop. There is another species of the same 
tree, which is distinguished by the name of white gameleira, and this 
is useless, 

I was obliged in September to forsake my house for three days from 
a most unexpected cause. A whale was stranded upon one of the sand- 
banks at the mouth of the harbour ; this being the third time that the 
inhabitants of Itamaraca had been favoured with visitors of this descrip- 
tion. Jangadas were sent out to it* and when the tide came in, it floated, 
and was towed into the harbour, where the persons who were employed 
in the business landed it, as near as they could at high water mark, in 
front of and distant from my house about three hundred yards. 
Many of my neighbours were occupied in making oil ; for any one 
who pleased was at liberty to take as much of the blubber as he could 
make use of; and one man fairly got into the whale, and ladled out 
the fat which was melted by the heat of the sun. When the people 
left the carcase, either at mid-day or at night, it was attacked by 
numerous flights of iirubus, and was literally covered by them. The 
trees round about the spotwei'e occupiedby these enormous birds, which 
were waiting for an opportunity of satisfying their boundless appetites. 
The urnbu is nearly twice the size of the common crow of England ; 
it is quite black, excepting at the point of the beak, which is white, 
as I have been told, but this I did not observe. Wherever there happens 
to be the carcase of an animal, these birds assemble shortly after the 
death of the beast, and they seem to arrive in greater or less numbers 
according to the size of the carcase. The peasants tell many stories 
about the king of the unibus, who has a tuft of red feathers upon his 
head, but I never heard any coherent account of this sovereign. 

304 A WHALE. 

The stench proceeding from the whale became in a few days so 
intolerable as to render a removal necessary, and therefore I applied 
to an old Creole black, a carpenter, to allow me to reside in his cot- 
tage, which was neat and clean. To this he agreed ; whilst he went 
to live with some of his friends. 






TN the months of August and September, I was fully employed in 
■*■ planting cane. I hired a number of free labourers, and was under 
the necessity in a great measure of attending to the work myself Of 
this I shall take another opportunity of speaking. 

About this time were issued orders from the governor for recruit- 
ing the regiments of the line. The men who are required are pressed 
into the service. The orders were forwarded to the Cajntaens-jnores, 
who again distributed them to the captains. The directions were on 
this occasion, and indeed always are, that men of bad character be- 
tween the ages of sixteen and sixty shall be apprehended, and sent 
to Recife for enlistment ; and that every family containing two or 
more unmarried sons shall give one for the service of the country. 
But it is on these occasions that tyranny has its full sway, that caprice 
and pique have their full vent; that the most shameflil partiality pre- 
vails, that the most intolerable oppression is experienced; in fact now 
it is, that the whole country is seen in arms against itself, and that 
every means of entrapping each other are used by the nearest neigh- 
bours. It is one of those impolitic arrangements which are some- 
times practised by governments without perceiving their pernicious 
effects, and by which, as in the present case, the bad qualities of man-r 

R R 


kind are drawn forth, instead of every thing being done for their cor- 
rection. Revenge, violence, deceit, and breach of trust are excited, 
and instead of suppression, they meet with encouragement. 

The mildness of the provincial government of Pernambuco, under 
the present Captain-general, is in none of its proceedings more ap- 
parent than in this. Although this nobleman has for so many years 
held the situationof chief of the province, now for the first time were 
issued the orders for recruiting; but not until they had become abso- 
lutely necessary from the state of the regiments. And even now, 
the directions of the governor to the officers who were to execute his 
commands were dictated in the spirit of gentleness ; — if this word 
may be used when despotism sends forth- such mandates as these. 
The official letter recommended impartiality, and threatened punish- 
ment, in case wounds were inflicted without the most evident neces- 
sity. But many were the instances of injustice which were com- 
mitted, and could not reach his knowledge. Petitions were some- 
times made to the governor, in particular instances of injustice, but 
these were often of no avail, for the custom is, that the recruits should 
be returned as being fit for service as soon as possible after their 
arrival at Recife, and their names placed upon the rolls, from which 
none can be removed without an order from the sovereign, although 
the provincial governor should be aware of the true state of the 

A young man of respectability was carried before a certain capitam- 
mor, and the alternative was proposed to him either to marry a young 
woman, whom he had never seen, but who happened to be a bur- 
then to those persons under whose care she was placed, or to be- 
come a soldier; — he of course preferred the latter, was sent to 
Recife and was obliged to enlist. I heard of many instances of 
young men being pressed into the service, upon whose exertions de- 
pended the support of their parents; and of others whose lives were 
spent in idleness, but to whom the protection of the captain was ex- 
tended; and some of these were unlawfully employed in apprehending 
others. I was in the daily habit of seeing a young man who led an 


idle life and who had no duties to perform, lying in wait for some of 
his former companions, that he might give notice to the captain of 
the place of their concealment. 

For some weeks the whole countxy appeared to be afflicted with a 
civil war ; parties of armed men were to be seen in all directions, 
in search of those who had concealed themselves. An individual 
who was not well known could not stir from his home without a pass 
from the captain of the district in which he resided, stating him 
to be a married man, or naming some other cause of exemption. 
Nor is a man who is liable to be pressed, safe in his own house, for 
the tropa or troop would surround the cottage in which any of these 
persons were suspected to have taken refuge, and they would demand 
admittance ; and if this was denied, no scruple would be enter- 
tained of breaking down the door, and entering by force ; this oc- 
curred to my knowledge in many cases, in several parts of the 
country. Married men ought to be exclusively employed in the 
apprehension of those who are liable to be pressed. Militia-men are 
free from acting as oppressors and from being hunted down ; unless 
the governor applies to the colonels of the regiment to which they 
belong. It is among the Ordeyian^as that the recruiting of which I 
am treating is carried on. Negroes and Indians are excluded from 
the regiments of the line ; the former on the score of colour, and 
the latter from their cast ; white men and mulattos of all shades 
being alone admitted. The great repugnance which is generally 
felt towards the service is occasioned by the smallness of the pay, and 
by the want of proper cloathing, whilst the almost incessant duty pre- 
cludes any hope of working at a trade, or of pursuing any employ- 
ment that is not connected with the life of a soldier. Several elderly 
persons told me, that in former times the service was arranged in 
a manner totally different ; that then no difficulty was found in 
obtaining the number of men required, but rather, that interest was 
made for the situation of a soldier of the line. Each of the forts upon 
the coast was garrisoned from the inhabitants of the neighbourhood 
to a certain number ; these enlisted as soldiers of the line, were em- 
R R 2 


bodied, and performed the duty of the forts, receiving the usual pay ; 
but they were not liable to removal to any other post ; and from 
their numbers the duty was easy, by which means they were enabled 
to have around them their wives and families, and to follow any 
trade to which they might have been brought up. Thus these men 
had something for which to fight, if the service required that they 
should act against any enemy of the State ; they had homes to de- 
fend, they had comforts of which they might be deprived, they had 
ties which produced local attachments ; but the regiments of the 
present day are filled up with vagabonds and unmarried men, who 
could not be expected to fight with the same ardour as those who had 
to provide for the safety of their families ; and these unsettled men 
might perhaps follow him who gave the highest wages. 

The soldier of South America ought to be a being of far different 
stamp from the professed soldier of Europe. Any war which it 
might be necessary for Brazil to wage against a foreign invader 
should (indeed must) be carried on with a direct view to the peculiar 
advantages of the country ; it would be a guerilla war, a war under 
the cover of woods and hills. Therefore, although it may be as well 
to have a few disciplined soldiers who may be preserved, for the pur- 
pose of forming the basis of a large force, if circumstances should 
require it, still it is not by discipline that success will be ensured ; it 
is through the affection which the soldiers feel for their government 
and for their country, that the result will be propitious or the con- 
trary. But the limited population will not allow of considerable 
numbers of men (comparatively speaking) being cooped up uselessly 
in forts, without being of any service to the State, whilst the lands are 
covered with woods, and indeed whilst every branch of industry is 
requiring additional hands. Besides if you train a large force to 
military service, who by being so taught become superior to their 
countrymen, and yet form it of the worst of men ; if you bring them 
up without any affection to the government, and without any hold 
upon the rest of the inhabitants, excepting that of being able to injure 
them ; the likelihood is, that when you require their aid, they will be 


found wanting, and perhaps for higher pay may act against those 
whom they were expected to defend. If the soldier and the peasant 
can be combined usefully in the same person, it is in Brazil that such 
a system should be followed. 

The foundation of a church which was commenced at the expence 
of the pes de castello, as the fixed soldiers were called, are to be seen 
near to the town of Conception. The building was given up when 
the order arrived from the supreme government then at Lisbon, di- 
recting this change of system. 

During the recruiting I went to Recife, and in going along by the 
sea shore, saw at several cottages parties of armed men, who were 
waiting to see if they could entrap any one who might be liable to 
be pressed. At the ferry of Maria Farinha there was a large company, 
which was stationed there. I liappened to be obliged to wait during a 
shower of rain at a cottage in which some of these fellows were watch- 
ing for their prey. They were talking in high glee of the stratagems 
which they had made use of to entrap several recruits, and of the blows 
which they had been obliged to give to make some of them surrender. 
The men who were stationed here received no pay, and yet they were 
poor. They would probably have been quietly at their work at home, 
without the thoughts of violence or barbarity which they now 
entertained, if the perverse institutions of their country did not 
bring them forward and teach them to be ruffians, at first law- 
fully ; but bad habits are not easily conquered, and the chance is, or 
rather there is a certainty, that most of those who had been so em- 
ployed were rendered worse subjects than they had been before. 
The track of coast between the main land opposite to Conception 
and the Rio Doce is within one district, and it was upon this part of 
the road that the chief disturbance seemed to be going on. The 
capitani-mor had taken it for granted that no one would give his 
children for the service, and therefore had, without asking, im- 
mediately commenced operations of violence, taking the people 
unawares, that as many recruits as possible might be obtained, and 
his zeal in the service made manifest. From the Doce to Olinda, the 


coast is in the district of Olinda, and here all was quiet ; the capitam- 
mor had followed the orders of the governor strictly, and things were 
as regularly conducted as the system would allow. These facts are 
mentioned to shew, that the performance even of the orders of the 
provincial governor who resides within a few leagues, depends upon 
the individual character of the person to whom they are forwarded. 
God grant that I may soon see such a system altered, — that the eyes 
of those who have the power of effecting this alteration may be 
opened, for their own good as well as for that of the people over whom 
they rule. 

The river Maria Farinha is that which rims up to Jaguaribe; 
its mouth is wide, and the bar will admit of craft of some size ; but 
the port cannot be considered as being worthy of attention. The 
horses swim across, but the passage is distressing to them, for the tide 
runs rapidly. In my way to Recife along the beach, I passed the fort 
of Pao Amarello, distant from that place four leagues. It is small 
and built of stone. The garrison is little more than nominal, but it 
affords a comfortable residence for a captain of the Olinda regiment. 
The port opposite to which the fort is situated, is nothing more than 
a slight curve which the coast makes at this spot, by which vessels at 
anchor can scarcely be said to receive any shelter ; but the landing- 
place is good. Wardenburg, the coip.mander of the Dutch forces 
which invaded Pernambuco in 1630, landed at Pao Amarello.* 

I was in the habit of conversing with several of the people of 
colovir who resided in my neighbourhood. One man particularly 
amused me much ; he was a short and stout creole black, and a shoe- 
maker by trade. I was greatly entertained with his pompous 
manner, exalting in terms of extravagant praise the advantages which 
Itamaraca enjoyed, and the excellencies of Conception which was 
his native spot, in particular. He lamented much the removal of 
the mayor and chamber to Goiana, giving me to understand that 
undue influence had been employed ; forgetful of the insignificance 

* History of Brazil, vol. i. p. 466. 

IMAGES. 311 

of one place and the importance of the other. He also told me with 
much vehemence of voice and action, that the late vicar had wished 
to remove the image of our Lady of Conception from the parish 
church to Pillar ; but that the inhabitants assembled, and prevented 
the accom^plishment of the plan. "No," he said, "if that image was to 
leave us, we should consider ourselves unprotected, and then indeed 
would our town be utterly destroyed." The vicar of whom the man 
spoke, might have gone to reside at Pillar if he pleased, but he too 
had his prejudices in favour of the image, and did not like to say 
Mass before any other in his own parish. Thus images cease to be 
regarded as the representations of those to whom prayer is to be 
addressed ; a value is placed upon the wood itself, and religion dege- 
nerates into unveiled idolatry. * 

Another instance of the same description of feeling occurred at 
Pillar. Our Lady under that invocation was represented by a small 
image, which from age had become very dirty. A priest who used to 
officiate at the chapel of the village in question, preferred purchasing 
a larger image in the place of directing that the old one should be 
painted afresh ; he did so, and quietly removing the old image to a 
house in the neighbourhood, placed the new Lady upon the altar in 
its stead; but lo! many of the inhabitants would not hear mass 
when they perceived the change that had been made ; however the 
priest went through the service, and then returned to his own resi- 
dence, which was at some distance. The people discovered that the 
image still remained in their neighbourhood, and presently the house 

* The following story was current at Conception, and I knew all the persons of whom it 
was related. A young man was intimate in a family of a rank inferior to his own, and he 
frequently made presents to several individuals of it, which was generally thought strange, 
as it did not contain any young female. Therefore to account for this predilection, it was 
reported, that the good old woman to whom he was so kind, possessed a small image of St. 
Antonio, which was concealed in a- bit of old cloth; and it had several scraps of ribbons 
and I know not what else, tied to its neck, legs and arms ; and with this she was said 
to perform certain mysterious riles, which secured the continuance of the young man's 
affection towards herself and family. 

312 IMAGES. 

in which it was concealed became known. The owner sent for the 
priest, being afraid that some disagreeable consequences to himself 
might ensue. The priest came, and without ceremony wrapped up Our 
Lady in a handkerchief, and rode off with her to his own house, 
from whence she was transferred to one of the side altars of the parish 
church. Even at the time of which I am treating, some of the in- 
habitants came to say their prayers before this image, unmindful of 
the inconvenience of the distance. * 

The sexton of the parish church, who was a mulatto man, had much 
peculiarity of character. He had a great deal of penetration, but was 
extremely cautious in what he said; and when questions were asked 
relating to any affair in which he thought he might become impli- 
cated; he usually answered — " where white men are concerned, ne- 
groes must be silent f." This fellow was once holding a candle in the 
hand of a dying person, and repeating the word " Jesus," as is cus- 
tomary; the patient began to move restlessly, but Gonsalo quietly 
went on with his dismal work, and added with perfect unconcern 
— " Come die, and have done with your nonsense." | 

The Creole negro of whom I have above spoken, was fond of 
shooting the larger kinds of game, such as antelopes, which are called 
in the country veados, and pacas [cavia paca). This was done in the 
following manner. A platform of thick twigs was made among the 
branches of a tree, at the height of several feet from the ground, near 
to some one of those plants upon whose leaves or fruit these animals 
feed. At night two men placed themselves upon this platform, and 
when the footsteps of the animal were heard, one of the men 

* When I resided at Jaguaribe, I was once standing by and hearing the conversation 
of a man and woman, who were laughing and joking upon several subjects ; but I was more 
particularly amused when the man answered to something that had been mentioned, say- 
ing, " I will ask Our Lady of the Conception." The woman replied, " But she will not 
grant what you ask ;" he then said, " Well, I will then apply to Our Lady of the O." — 
Thus entirely forgetting that the same person is intended under another name. 

•)■ " Em negocio de hi-atico, negro tiam se mete," 

■^ " Morra e deixe de bohagems." 


would light a small taper prepared for the occasion, and the other, 
with his gun ready, looked round for the game. The animal was 
allowed to come as near as it seemed inclined to do unmolested, and 
was then fired at. The men immediately descended, and oftentimes 
did not attempt to find their prey vmtil the morning; returning to the 
spot for the purpose. This is the usual manner of obtaining these 
animals. The tatu vcrdadeiro or legitimate armadillo, was also 
sometimes caught by him. I requested him to obtain for me a 
tamandud, which is a small species of ant-eater; he brought me one of 
which the body was about six inches in length, and the tail about twelve; 
and the hair of its skin was extremely soft; the animal was clinging 
closely to the bough of a tree, and its tail also was entwining 
the branch. My black friend, the shoemaker, told me that he had 
been ordered to eat the flesh of the tamandud after having had an 
eruptive complaint, and that it was very beneficial for persons who 
were recovering from the hohas or yaws. He said that it had " a taste 
which was like unto the smell of the ants." The sloth was to be 
seen here occasionally ; also the cotia [cavia caudatd). The porco da 
India, the guinea-pig, I have only seen in a tame state. At Jagua- 
ribe, the capivara {cavia capybara) was often seen among the man- 
groves; the Indians sometimes eat it, but few of the negroes will. 
There is also another mangrove animal, which is called in that coun- 
try guachinim; it feeds on crabs, and from what I could hear, has 
much resemblance to a cat, but the tail is much longer; however I 
never saw it. Neither did I see the lontra or sea-otter, but the skins 
of this animal are much valued for saddle cloths, bearing a higher 
price even than the skin of the jaguar. 

I heard accidentally, in conversing with persons of the lower 
ranks in life, of an instance in which the Indians continued their 
heathenish customs. A family resided at a plantation in this neigh- 
bourhood, which had much intimacy with many Indians, but none 
of the members of it were of that cast. When the heads of the 
families were from home, the young females were in the habit of 
meeting to amuse themselves. On one of these occasions, an Indian 

s s 


girl carried one of her companions into the hut in which she and her 
parents dwelt, and on this playmate questioning her, from girlish 
curiosity, about several gourds which were hanging up in the room, 
she appeared much alarmed and said, " You must not look that way, 
those are maraccis, which my father and mother generally put into 
their chest, but they have to-day forgotten them." Notwithstanding 
her entreaties to the contrary, her companion took hold of one of the 
gourds, and moving it quickly discovered that there were pebbles 
within; they had handles to them, and tufts of hair upon the top, 
and they were cut and carved in divers unusual forms. Here this 
matter ended, but soon afterwards several of the mulatto women 
agreed to watch the Indians, for they knew that they often danced 
in their huts with closed doors; this was an uncommon practice and 
inconvenient too, for the open air is much pleasanter. They had soon 
an opportunity of witnessing one of these meetings. The huts are 
constructed of coco-leaves, and through these they managed to obtain 
a view of what was going forwards. There was a large earthen pot 
in the centre ; and round this, both men and women were dancing. 
A pipe was handed occasionally from one to the othei*. Soon after- 
wards, one of the Indian girls told one of her companions of a dif- 
ferent cast from her own, as a great secret, that she had been sent 
to sleep at a neighbour's hut a few nights before, because her father 
and mother were going to drink jurema. This beverage is obtained 
from a common herb; but I never could persuade any of the 
Indians to point it out to me ; though when they positively asserted 
that they were unacquainted with it, their countenances belied their 

I had a visit in October from a strange old man, whose age 
was generally supposed to border upon ninety years. He was a 
Creole black, and had been a slave upon the plantation of Santos 
Cosmo e Damiam in the Varzea to the southward of Recife ; he 
had settled at Iguara^u, after he obtained his manumission, having 
married when he was about seventy years of age, a young woman of 
his own colour ; and he was now surrounded by a young family. This 


man did not reckon his age by years, but by the governors; and as 
each of these, with few exceptions, remained at the bead of the pro- 
vince only three years, something near the truth could be collected. 
This mode of computation is very common. I have often, on ask- 
ing the age of any person, received for answer, that the individual 
concerning whom the enquiry was made, had been born in the first, 
second, or third year of such a governor. The dreadful famine of 
1793 is also an era from which the peasants date many circum- 

Old Apollinario was staying at Conception with a friend, and I re- 
quested him to come down to my place every evening for the pur- 
pose of teaching some of the young persons their prayers, a task of 
which I knew him to be fond, as he considered this to be a 
meritorious action ; one by which he would have still further ser- 
vices to plead in his favour with the Virgin and St. Peter, as he him- 
self told me. When he came to give his report to me of the progress 
of each negro, I liked much to keep him, that I might converse with 
him. He often spoke of the Jesuits, under the name of the Padres 
da Companhia ; he was fond of them, but he added, " I must not 
speak well of them, for our prince does not like them ; and yet they 
did a great deal of good too." He said that they were true and saint- 
like padres, very different to those of the present day. He was much 
surprised at my knowing any thing about them; he said, " You 
were not alive at the time they were here, and even if you had been 
alive, you could not have been in Pernambuco; therefore how is it 
that you know of their existence at the time of which I speak." I 
never could make him perfectly comprehend how I obtained my 
knowledge of them. But he was not the only person whose compre- 
hension, thus taken by surprise, could not contain the new ideas 
which were imparted, by the knowledge of the existence of books 
spread all over the world, and of men who wrote for the instruction 
of others. Some of these people with whom I conversed were much 
puzzled, when I spoke of the variety of languages and countries in 
the world ; " then," they would say, " how is it that people under- 
s s 2 


stand each other? To this I answered, that these languages were to 
be acquired by study. " Yes, I understand you," they would re- 
join " you are all much cleverer than we are here * ; we could not 
learn any language but our own." These people were invariably 
humble, and always ready to receive instruction. 

The peasantry of the sugar plantation districts near to the coast, 
and the fishermen are of characters nearly similar, but the former are 
more favourably spoken of than the latter, and I cannot avoid saying, 
that I should prefer as a servant a man who had been brought up as 
a planter of mandioc, to one whose life had been passed upon a jan- 
gada. Tliese people are said to be less courageous, less sincere, and 
less hospitable than the Sertanejos; but they are likewise less vin- 
dictive, more obedient, more easily guided, and more religious ; and 
though their knowledge is vei-y confined, still their frequent commu- 
nication with Recife and other towns renders them, of course, less 
unacquainted with what passes in the world, than the inhabitants of 
the interior. The free schools which are established in many places 
are of much service, and although reading for amusement is totally be- 
yond the comprehension even of many persons of the secondary rank, 
still the acquirement of the rudiments of knowledge prepare them 
for improvement, when books begin to make their way. Some of 
my neighbours, both at Itamaraca and at Jaguaribe, chanced at times 
to come in whilst I was reading, and would be curious to know how 
it was that I could find amusement in being so employed. I remem- 
ber one man saying to me, " You are not a priest, and therefore why 
do you read; is that a breviary in which you are reading?" On ano- 
ther occasion, I was told that I had got the character among the 
people of colour in the neighbourhood of being very holy f, for that 
I was always reading. A person who can read, write, and keep ac- 
counts has attained the height of perfection, and is much respected; 

* " ^ stta gmte he mais sahida que a nossa," 
\ " Dizem, que Vm. he muilo sa?ito," 


or rather ot" late years, one who does not know how to do these things 
is looked down upon. The women particularly, pride themselves 
upon the superiority which they enjoy by this means ; by which 
they are brought to an equality with their husbands. In the above 
general character ot" the free people, I do not include the planters of 
large property, for their acquirements are oftentimes considerable ; 
and the Indians too are quite separate, owing to their degraded state ; 
however, I include the white persons of small property ; it is sur- 
prising, though extremely pleasing, to see how little difference is 
made between a white man, a mulatto, and a creole negro, if all are 
equally poor and if all have been born free. I say surprising, be- 
cause in the English, French, and Dutch colonies, the distinction is 
so decidedly marked ; and among the Spaniards, lines are even struck 
between the several shades of colour. 

I recollect Apollinario telling me of his distress on one occasion, 
when he resided in the Varzea. He met the vicar of that parish on 
horseback with the sacrament, which he had been taking to some 
sick person. The rain poured in torrents, and the mud in the road 
was halfway up to the knees ; but yet it was necessary to pay the 
usual respect, consequently the old creole went down upon one knee, 
and as the priest passed, he cried out, " Pardon me, Sir vicar, for this 
one knee, but if I was to put both to the ground, I could not again 
rise." He told me this with perfect gravity, and I perceived that he 
thought this circumstance would be recorded against him as one of 
his heaviest sins. 

One day the old man came to me with a face of dismay, to shew 
me a ball of leaves tied up with cypo, which he had found under a 
couple of boards, upon which he slept in an out-house ; for he had 
removed from the house of his friend in the town to my place. 
The ball of leaves was about the size of an apple. I could not 
imagine what had caused his alarm, until he said that it was nian- 
dinga, which had been set for the purpose of killing him ; and he 
bittei'ly bewailed his fate, that at his age any one should wish to 
hasten his death, and to cari*y him from this world before our Lady 

318 TliE TIMBU. 

thought fit to send for him. I knew that two of the black women 
were at variance ; and suspicion fell upon one of them who was ac- 
quainted with the old mandingueiro of Engenho Velho, therefore she 
was sent for. I judged that the mandinga was not set for Apolli- 
nario, but for the negress whose business it was to sweep the out- 
house. I threatened to confine the suspected woman at Pillar, and 
then to send her to Para, unless she discovered the whole affair; 
this she did, after she heard me tell the manager to prepare to take 
her to Pillar. She said that the mandinga was placed there to make 
one of the negroes dislike her fellow slave and prefer her to the 
other. The ball of mandinga was formed of five or six kinds of 
leaves of trees, among which was the pomegranate leaf; there were 
likewise two or three bits of rag, earth of a peculiar kind, ashes 
which were of the bones of some animal ; and there might be other 
ingredients besides, but these were what I could recognise. The 
woman either could not from ignorance, or would not, give any in- 
formation respecting the several things of which the ball was com- 
posed. I made this serious matter of the mandinga, from knowing 
the faith which not only many of the negroes have in it, but also 
some of the mulatto people ; however I explained to every one that 
I was angry with her from the bad intention of the scheme, and not 
from any belief that it would have any effect. There is another 
name for this kind of charm ; it is feitifo, and the initiated are called 
feitifeiros ; of these there was one formerly at the plantation of St. 
Joam, upon the island, who became so much dreaded that his master 
sold him to be sent to Maranham. 

Old Apollinario was useful to me in taking care of my poultry. 
I had great quantities of the common fowl, and as I had cleared the 
land to a considerable distance around the house, the fowls had a 
good range without being molested by the foxes. I had ducks, 
turkeys, and pigeons ; the young of these last were frequently de- 
stroyed by the timbu ; this animal is about the size of a small cat, and 
has a long tail, which is scaly and whitish ; the colour of the body is 
dark brown, with two white stripes from the nose to the tail down 

BEES. 319 

the back ; the head is long, and the snout is pointed ; it has an ab- 
dominal pouch, which is large. When pursued, it soon surrenders, 
by coiling itself up in its tail. I give the description as I received it, 
for although we watched oftentimes for the purpose of catching one 
of these animals, we were not successful. I had some geese at 
Jaguaribe and at Itamaraca, but from what cause I know not, the 
young ones were scarcely ever reared. Many other persons had 
found equal difficulty in this respect with myself. Guinea-fowls are 
esteemed, but give much trouble, for their unaccommodating dispo- 
sition renders it necessary to keep them separate from all other kinds 
of fowl. There is only one pair of peacocks in Pernambuco ; they 
are in the garden of the widow of a merchant, in the neighbourhood 
of Recife. Snipes and wild ducks are to be found in low marshy 
grounds ; and upon the island at certain times of the year there were 
great numbers of wild doves. The bees which I have seen at some 
of the farm-houses are preserved in a part of the trunk of the tree 
in which they had originally been found ; the tree is cut down, and 
the portion containing the nest is brought hom.e. The bees are 
black, and much smaller than those of Europe, nor is their bite 
nearly so painful ; the log of wood in which they are preserved is 
sawed or cut in some particular manner, which I cannot exactly 
describe, by which means the honey can be taken out. The honey 
is always liquid. It is used as a medicine rather than as food, for 
the small quantities of it which are to be obtained, render the demand 
of it for the medical men fully equal to the supply.* 

In the month of November there arrived a priest upon a visit to 
the vicar, whose exertions are incessant on every subject which 
relates to the improvement of his country. He had now been 

* Labat, in the Voi/age du Chevalier des Mai-chais, a Cayenne, S^c. vol. iii. p. 253, gives an 
account of the bees which coi-responds in some respects with mine. He says, " EUesn^ont 
point d'aiguillon, oil il est si foible qiCil tie peut entamer t'epiderme aiissi satis preparation et 
sans a-aitite on les prend a I'leincs mains satis cti ressetitir autre incommodite quuti leger cha- 
touillement." — I do not think those of Pernambuco would be found to be quite so harmless. 


staying with a friend in the province of Paraiba, and had made a 
drawing of a stone upon which were carved a great number of un- 
known characters and several figures, one of which had the appear- 
ance of being intended to represent a woman. The stone or rock is 
large, and stands in the middle of the bed of a river, which is quite dry 
in the summer. When the inhabitants of the neighbourhood saw him 
at work in taking this drawing, they said, that there were several 
others in different parts of the vicinity, and they gave him the names 
of the places. It was his intention to return again the following 
year, and seek them out. I should have brought with me a copy of 
this curious drawing, if my departure from Pernambuco had not been 
hastened from unavoidable circumstances. 

I was invited about this period to attend the funeral of a young 
married woman of respectable family. I went about five o'clock to 
the house of the vicar, that I might go with him and three other 
priests. From hence we adjourned at dusk to the church, whei'e the 
priests, all of whom were already in their black gowns, put on over 
these the short lace rochet, and the vicar took in his hands a large 
silver cross. We walked to the house in which the body was laid ; 
this was habited in the coarse brown cloth of the Franciscan order, 
for the deceased had belonged to the lay sisterhood of the Third 
Order of St. Francis ; the face was uncovered, and the body was laid 
upon a bier, the room being lighted with many torches. The habits 
in which the bodies of the deceased lay brothers and sisters of the 
Third Order are dressed, are obtained from the convents of St. 
Francis, and are said to be the habits of deceased friars ; but pro- 
bably the worn-out dresses of those who still live are likewise sold, 
and thus arises a considerable source of revenue to the convent. 
There were assembled in the room several of her male relations 
and others who had been invited. After a good deal of chaunting, a 
wax taper was given to each person present, and these being lighted, 
we proceeded to the church which was hard by, walking in pairs ; 
the bier followed, carried by four persons, and there was chaunting as 
we went along. In the middle of the body of the church, a scaffold- 


ing was erected of about four feet from the ground, and upon this the 
bier was placed, the attendants standing round whilst the priests 
chaunted. The body was soon put into the grave which was in the 
church, and there was lime in it. The friends of persons deceased 
aim at having as many priests at the funeral as they can collect and 
afford to pay ; though on the occasion of which I speak, the priests 
served without any remuneration, for the young woman was the near 
relative of a priest with whom the others were intimate. Likewise 
all the neighbours who are of an equal rank with the deceased, are 
invited to attend, that the ceremony may be as splendid as possible. 
Notwithstanding the manifest inconvenience, and the mischief which 
the unwholesomeness of the custom might, and perhaps does cause, 
all bodies are buried within the churches. Indeed the prejudice 
against being buried in the open air is so great, that even the 
priests would not dare to alter this mode of proceeding, supposing 
that they wished so to do. 

Towards the end of the same month (November) it is customary 
for the vicar to determine upon those persons who are to sustain the 
expences of the nine evenings previous to the festival of Our Lady 
of Conception, — that is to supply the bon-fires, gunpowder, oil, &c. 
Each evening is provided for on all these occasions, by one or more 
persons of the immediate neighbourhood, and a greater or less 
expence is incurred, according to the means and the inclination of 
the individuals who have been named. It was my general practice to 
accompany the vicar to church on Sundays and holidays, returning 
with him to his house to breakfast. I was in the church when he 
read over the list of the names of those who were to provide for the 
nine evenings, and was somewhat surprised to hear my own in con- 
unction with that of a neighbour, for the ninth night. I had how- 
ever, some suspicion that this would be the case, for I had heard some 
whisperings upon the subject among the secondary people ; the cus- 
tom is, thus to keep the individuals who are to be concerned ignorant 
of what is intended. We began on the following morning to make 
preparations for the occasion, and sent to Recife for the colours of 

T T 


several ships, some gunpowder, fire-works, and a few of the musicians 
of the band of the Olinda regiment, applying through a friend for 
the consent of their colonel. We likewise sent for Nicolau, a creole 
black, and a tailor by trade ; but whose merry tongue and feet made 
him like dancing and singing better than the needle : and we agreed 
with him to bring over from the village of Pasmado, a set o^ fandango 
performers. The colours were raised upon long staffs, very early 
in the morning of our day, in two rows along the area of the town ; 
and as the sun rose, several guns were fired, — of those which are 
usually made use of at festivals ; they are composed of a small and 
short iron tube, which has a touch-hole of disproportionate dimen- 
sions ; they are placed upright upon the ground, and the match is 
then applied. In the course of the day the band played, and in the 
evening were kindled about twenty bon-fires in the square of the 
village. The houses were illuminated with lamps, which were made 
of the half of the rind of an orange, each containing a small quan- 
tity of oil and cotton. There were likewise great numbers of lai'ge 
crosses, lighted up in the same manner in several parts of the square. 
The church was crowded, and the noise of tlie people was great ; the 
gvms were fired at intervals ; the musicians of the festival, with 
violins and violoncellos played within the church, and the Olinda 
men on the outside ; and rockets were let off occasionally ; indeed the 
confusion was extreme. Some of the numerous horses which stood 
in all quarters, tied to railings or to door posts or held by little 
children, whilst their masters were amusing themselves, took fright 
and broke loose adding not a little to the noise and bustle. All the 
affairs in and about the church ended at so late an hour, that the 
fandangos were deferred until the following evening. Tlie band had 
been playing close to the door of the vicar's residence, which was 
much crowded with several of the first families of the island ; and in 
the front of the house a great concourse of people was assembled. 
At the moment that the music ceased, an improvisatori or glozador, as 
these persons are there called, set up his voice, and delivered a few 
verses in praise of the vicar ; he then praised Our Lady in a strange 


style, giving her every fine epithet whether appropriate or not, 
which came to his recollection. Then he rung changes upon every 
body he could think of, and I heard the name of Henrique da Costa, 
to which mine was metamorphosed, thrown in every now and then 
among the rest. I was praised for my superior piety, in giving so 
splendid a night in honour of Our Lady. On the following morning 
every arrangement was made for the fandangos. A spacious plat- 
form was erected, in the middle of the area of the town, and in front 
of the vicar's dwelling, raised about three feet from the ground. In 
the evening four bonfires were lighted, two being on each side of the 
stage, and soon afterwards the performers made their appearance. 
The story which forms the basis of this amusement is invariably the 
same ; the parts however, are not written, and are to be supplied by 
the actors ; but these, from practice, know more or less what they 
are to sa3^ The scene is a ship at sea, which, during part of the 
time is sailing regularly and gently along ; but in the latter part of 
the voyage she is in distress. The cause of the badness of the 
weather remains for a long time unknown ; but at last the persons 
who are on board discover that it has arisen from the devil, who is 
in the ship, under the disguise of the mizen-topmast-man. The 
persons represented, are 

The Captain, The Pilot or Mate, 

The Master, The Boatswain, 

The Chaplain, 

The Ra^am, or distributor of the rations, 7 rp ■, 

The Vasoura, or sweeper of the decks, j 

The Gageiro da Gata, or mizen-topmast-man, alias the Devil. 

Twelve men and boys, who are dancers and singers, stand on the 
stage, six of them being on each side of it ; and the leader of the 
chorus sits at the back of the stage with a guitar, with which he keeps 
the time, and this person is sometimes assisted by a second guitar 
player. A ship is made for the occasion ; and when the performers 
stepped on to the platform, the vessel appeared at a distance under 
full sail, coming towards us upon wheels, which were concealed. As 

T T 2 


soon as the sliip arrived near to the stage it stopped, and the per- 
formance commenced. The men and boys who were to sing and 
to dance, were dressed in white jackets and trowsers ; they had rib- 
bons tied round their ancles and arms, and upon their heads they 
wore long paper caps, painted of various colours. The guitar player 
commenced with one of the favovnite airs of the country, and the 
chorus followed him, dancing at the same time. The number of 
voices being considerable, and the evening extremely calm, the open 
air was rather advantageous than the contrary. The scene was 
striking, for the bon-fires threw sufficient light to allow of our seeing 
the persons of the performers distinctly ; but all beyond was dark, 
and they seemed to be inclosed by a spacious dome ; the crowd of 
persons who were near to the stage was great, and as the fires were 
stirred and the flame became brighter, more persons were seen be- 
yond on every side ; and at intervals the horses which were standing 
still farther off, waiting for their masters. 

When the chorus retired, the captain and other superior officers 
came forwards, and a long and serious conversation ensued upon the 
state of the ship and the weather. These actors were dressed in old 
uniforms of the irregular troops of the country. They were suc- 
ceeded by the boatswain and the two clowns ; the former gave his 
orders, to which the two latter made so many objections that the 
officer was provoked to strike one of them, and much coarse wit 
passed between the three. Soon afterwards came the chaplain in his 
gown, and his breviary in his hand ; and he was as much the butt of 
the clowns, as they were of the rest of the performers. The most 
scurrilous language was used by them to him ; he was abused, and 
was taxed with almost every irregularity possible. The jokes became 
at last so very indecent, as to make the vicar order his doors to be 
shut. The dancers came on at each change of scene, if I may so say. 
I went home soon after the vicar's doors were closed, and did not see 
the conclusion ; but the matter ended by throwing the devil over- 
board, and reaching the port in safety. The performers do not ex- 
pect payment, but rather consider themselves complimented in being 

THE FORT. 325 

sent for. They were tradesmen of several descriptions residing at 
Pasmado, and they attend on these occasions to act the fcmdcmgos, if 
requested so to do ; but if not, many of them would most probably go 
to enjoy any other sport which the festival might afford. We paid 
their expences, and gave them their food during their stay ; they 
were accompanied by their families, which were all treated in the 
same manner, to the number of about forty persons. 

I here take the opportunity of mentioning another common amuse- 
ment at festivals, which is known under the name of comedias ; but 
this I did not chance to see. A stage of the same kind is erected, 
and regular farces are performed ; but I believe that women do not 
ever appear upon these stages, though they do upon the stage of the 
theatre at Recife. 

I slept one night at Pillar, and in the morning following accom- 
panied the chaplain to the fort, who was going to say Mass at his 
chapel, as it was a holiday. The fort is situated upon a projecting 
sand-bank, and was formerly quite surrounded by water ; but the 
channel for small craft which ran between the fort and the island, is 
now nearly closed by the accumulation of sand at its mouth*. 
When we dismounted at the gate, our horses were taken into the fort, 
and were put into the commandant's stable. The sentinel desired 
me to take off my spurs, and we then passed through the gate, and 
along the covered way until we entered the area in the centre, with 
the chapel and other buildings along two sides of it. The com- 
mandant is a captain of the Olinda regiment, an elderly and most 
formal man, full of etiquette ; and all the other officers are of the same 
standing. I was introduced to the chief, and we then proceeded to 
the chapel. Forgetful of necessary forms, I had placed myself next 
to the wall on the right hand side of the chapel ; but the com- 
mandant would not give up his right, and therefore reminded me to 
move, that he might take that place. As soon as the Mass was 

* I have seen a print in Barloeus representing this channel as still being open, and the 
fort sitviated upon an island which it almost entirely covers. 


ended we took our leave. Some idea of the state of the works may 
be formed from the following anecdote. A former chaplain was 
dismissed from his situation owing to the non-observance on his 
part of established regulations. The gate was opened for his admis- 
sion, and that of any other person who might wish to hear Mass on 
Sundays and holidays ; but on one occasion, he unfortunately espied 
the commandant standing in the area of the fort, through a breach 
in the walls, upon which, instead of going round to the gate, he 
rode unceremoniously through the breach in his anxiety to greet 
the commandant, who was much disconcerted at the occurrence. At 
the time I was there, the garrison consisted of militia-men ; and an 
idea of the discipline of these may be formed from the following cir- 
cumstance, which took place only a short time before my visit to 
the fort. The adjutant, who was between seventy and eighty years 
of age, threatened to strike or gently touched with his cane one of 
the men who had refused to hear Mass ; the fellow way-laid the old 
officer one evening, and gave him several blows of which he died. 
The soldier absconded, and was not again heard of The guns were 
,in a very bad state, and the usual supply of powder was merely suf- 
ficient for the salutes on days of gala ; there were indeed some heaps 
of balls, upon which the rust surpassed the quantity of sound iron. 

In the course of this year some of my friends from Recife came to 
see me ; I had been often at Amparo, and at the houses of several 
other planters ; but I do not particularly mention any of these visits, 
for they did not discover any thing new. I went to Recife three or 
four times. After the commencement of the rains in 1815, I left 
Itamaraca with Manoel about four o'clock one afternoon, having 
been detained thus late by unforeseen occurrences. The weather 
was fine, and as the moon would rise early, I thought that the even- 
ing would be pleasant ; but when we were about three leagues from 
the island, the rain began to pour, and when we reached the planta- 
tion of Inhaman, which is half a league farther, we were completely 
wet through. Immediately beyond this place, the road is on one 
side bordered by a steep hill, from which the water ran down in such 


great quantities, that the horses were nearly up to their knees in it ; 
however we gained the great cattle track, and stopped at a liquor 
shop by the road-side. I bought a considerable quantity of rum, 
which I threw over my head and shoulders and into my boots, and 
Manoel did the same ; each of us likewise drank a good dose of it. 
This practice is vei-y general ; I had for some time followed it, and al- 
though I had been much exposed to the rain in the course of the 
preceding year, had not suffered from it, not having experienced 
another attack of ague; but perhaps this is not attributable to pre- 
caution, but to being seasoned to the climate. 

^Vlien we arrived at the village of Paratibi, night had nearly closed 
in. I met with Antonio, (the man who was way-laid when I resided 
at Jaguaribe) and he wished me to stay at his cottage, but I preferred 
going on, now that we were completely wet through. As we were 
ascending fhe hill beyond Paratibi, I v/as in hopes of a fine night, 
for the moon was clear, but she did not afford us light for many 
minutes. In the valley of Merueira the rain again came on, with v'wiS, 
lightning ; and in going through the wood beyond the valley, the dark- 
ness was so great, as to prevent me from seeing Manoel's horse, ex- 
cepting now and then during the flashes of lightning; although the 
animal upon which he rode was of a grey colour, approaching to white, 
and mine was sometimes touching his, for he rode in front. When we 
arrived near to the hill which descends on the side nearest to Recife, 
I reminded him to keep to the left, for the precipice is dangerous on 
the right hand side ; but he did not understand me or his horse was 
restive, and was going too much to the right, when he slipped and 
fell on one side within a few yards of the place which he vi^as to 
avoid. I dismounted to assist Manoel, but only saw his situation by 
the flashes of lightning. I asked him after himself, his horse, and 
his pistol, and to each question received for answer that all was well. 
I then said to him "Where is the road ;" for I had turned round in 
different ways so frequently in assisting him, that I had no notion of 
the direction which we ought to take to find the road ; and indeed 
at one moment I had formed the idea of remaining where we were 


until the break of day. But on again asking Manoel if he was cer- 
tain respecting the right direction, his answer was in an angry voice, 
for he was wet and bruised, " I see the road, don't be afraid Sir." 
He led, and I followed him, each leading his horse ; we descended 
side-ways, for the ground was too slippery owing to the rain to allow 
us to advance in any other manner. My horse struck me with his 
head several times, and he too every now and then narrowly escaped 
falling. The width of the road is about six feet ; there is on one 
side a precipice of great height, which has been formed by the tor- 
rents in the rainy season ; these have caused the ground to fall in, and 
have now worn it quite away ; on the other side, the declivity is 
less perpendicular, but it is covered with the short stumps of trees, 
among which there is no possibility of treading safely without a suf- 
ficient light. We reached the bottom without accident, and when we 
entered the village of Beberibi, the i-ain nearly ceased, and the night 
likewise was clearer, but the moon had set. We crossed the hill 
beyond Beberibi very slowly, and arrived at Agua Fria, the residence 
of one of my friends distant from Recife two leagues, between one 
and two o'clock in the morning. If the weather had been fine, we 
should have arrived between eight and nine o'clock in the evening 
preceding. The instinct (if I may so call it) which is possessed by 
the Indians, by a great number of the negroes, and indeed by many 
individuals of mixed casts in finding out the right roads, often sur- 
prised me, but never more than on this occasion. I could not see 
any thing, but Manoel certainly did feel that he Avas quite sure of 
being in the right path, else he would not have spoken so positively ; 
he had a considerable stock of courage ; but was always cool and 

At Agua Fria I passed some of the pleasantest hours of my resi- 
dence in Brazil. The owner of the place is an English gentleman, to 
whom I owe many obligations ; we were on most intimate terms, 
indeed I felt as much at home at Agua Fria as at Itamaraca. The 
spot was in the rudest state when he took possession of it ; but al- 
though the soil was not propitious, the sitio (settlement) was 


advancing ; he had built a good house, and was erecting out-houses, 
making fences, and planting useful and ornamental trees. The 
place had been infested by red ants, but with much labour 
they had been destroyed, by digging into the ground for the nests. 
Behind the house there was a lake of considerable extent, which had 
been formed by the course of a rivulet having been stopped through the 
accumulation of loose white sand in the part which is now the road ; 
so that the road is higher than the lake on one side, and the land 
along which the river formerly ran on the other side. When the 
waters rise in the winter the lake overflows and runs across the road, 
but during the greatest part of the year the road is dry, or nearly so. 
If the lake was drained, the settlement of Agua Fria would be worth 
ten times its present value, for the boundaries of it are the channel 
of the rivulet. This lake is covered over with reeds, rushes and 
coarse grass, and the roots of these plants have formed a thick coat- 
ing over the water, which would not support the weight of a man, 
but much labour is required to cut through it. 

There were numbers ofjacares or alligators * in this lake, which 
rendered it dangerous to work in cutting away the rushes, which it 
was necessary to do, for the purpose of forming an open space in 
which the horses could be watered and washed, and indeed the grass 
was eaten by them when other kinds failed in the dry season. I may 
here mention some others of the lizard tribe. The camaleam (lacerta 
Iguana) is often to be met with ; also the tijuapi, which is, I believe, 
the lacerta teguixin ; this is very common. There is likewise the ca- 
lango, which is smaller than the other two ; these three species are 
all of them eaten by the lower orders of people. The vibra and the 

* I have been much blamed by one of my friends for not having eaten of the flesh of the 
jacare ; and indeed I felt a little ashamed of my squeamishness, when I was shown by the 
same friend, a passage in a French writer, whose name I forget, in which he speaks favour- 
ably of this flesh. However, if the advocate for experimental eating had seen an alligator 
cut into sUces, he would, I think, have turned from the sight as quickly as I chd. The In- 
dians eat these creatures, but the negroes will not, no not even the gabam negroes who are 
said to be cannibals. 


lagartixa are two small species of lizard, which are continually to be 
seen in all situations ; in and upon the houses, in the gardens and 
in the woods; they do good rather than harm, for they eat flies, spiders, 
&c. and they are to my eyes very pretty creatures ; their activity, and 
at the same time their tameness, made me fond of them. 

In my rides to Recife through the Merueira wood I always heard 
the hoarse croaking of the sajyo cururu [rana ventricosa), and also of 
the saj)o boi or ox-toad, both of which made a most disagreeable and 
dismal noise; they were particularly active on the rainy night which 
I have above described. The constant noise which the crickets make 
as soon as the sun sets, fails not to annoy those persons who have re- 
cently arrived in the country ; and I recollect that on the first even- 
ing which I spent in the country on my arrival at Pernambuco, I 
stopped several times when conversing, as if waiting to let the noise 
cease before I proceeded ; but this wore off (as it does with every one), 
and latterly I did not hear the noise even when it was spoken of in 
my presence. However if one of them gets into a house, there is no 
resting until it be dislodged, owing to the shrillness of its whistle. 
The body of the insect is about one inch or one inch and a half in 
length, and the legs are long; the whole of the insect is green. There 
is another species which is distinguished by the name oigiyllo branco, 
or the white cricket ; it has likewise a sharp whistle ; may not this be 
the same insect as the former, in a different state? There is likewise 
the gryllo de feijam or bean cricket, which is so called from the de- 
struction which it makes in the plantations of the French bean ; it 
is of a dusky brown colour, approaching to black. 

I was invited in January 1815 to attend a christening at the sugar 
plantation of Macaxeira, which is the largest and the most valu- 
able in every respect of the three in the island. The vicar, another 
priest, a captain of the ordenan^as, and myself, set off early on the 
morning of the day appointed. We rode through the plantation of 
St. Joam, and spoke to the owner, who was preparing to follow us 
with all his family. He is a Portugueze who has accumulated a 
large fortune in Brazil, and has married one of the daughters of the 


owner of the place to which we were going. This person and his 
immediate relatives will in the course of a short time probably pos- 
sess one half of the island of Itamaraca. We were received at Ma- 
caxeira by the father and uncles of the child ; and afterwards the 
grandmother, who is a widow lady and the owner of the estate,made her 
appearance, and by degrees we saw the younger ladies of many of the 
neighbouring families. As soon as the christening was over, the 
day was devoted to eating and drinking and playing at cards. When 
the men had left the table after dinner, the cloth was again laid, and 
the ladies sat down to dine; but one of the priests declared that this 
separation was barbarous, and seating himself again, was followed by 
several other men, and thus they dined a second time. The evening 
ended rather boisterously, but good humouredly; the wine was pour- 
ed out into tumblers, and these being as frequently emptied as if they 
had been smaller, only a few of the guests returned home the same 
night; but those who remained crept off early and quietly on the 
following morning. 

I accompanied the. vicar to Pillar to pass the intrudo at that place. 
We set off on the Saturday afternoon, and on our arrival found that 
the whole clan from Macaxeira and St. Joam had taken up their quar- 
ters close to the house which we were to inhabit. In the evening a 
tight rope dancer was to exhibit in the open air, and at the appointed 
hour he took his station, and went through several of the common 
feats of activity with considerable neatness. He was paid in a sin- 
gular manner. Before he began to dance, the clown cried out, " Here 
goes to the health of the vicar," then, after the performer had danced 
for a few minutes, he stopped, and the clown came to our party, -and 
with many jokes and much pretended ignorance of the vicar's person, 
he found him out and asked for a donation, as is the custom ; this 
being acceded to, and the vicar having given what he thought pro- 
per, the clown returned to the rope-dancer, upon which a shout was 
set up by those who were round about him, which was intended as 
an acknowledgment for his generosity. Then the clown mentioned 
the name of some other person, and so forth. After the dancer had 
u u 2 


exhibited to the health of several persons, a slack rope was hung 
between two coco trees and at a great height from the ground : to 
this the man removed, where he continued dancing until a late 
hour to the health of every one whose name his clown could 
think of. 

On the following day, after the service of the church was over, the 
intrudo jokes and tricks began, and before the conclusion of the sport 
in the evening, each person had been obliged to change his cloaths 
several times. The ladies joined with heart and soul, and particu- 
larly the good old lady of Macaxeira, who was wet through and 
through, and yet carried on the war. The priests were as riotous as 
the rest, but their superiority of manner even here was perceivable; 
their jokes were well timed, and were not accompanied by any bru- 
tality of behaviour; there was a seeming deference in their manner, 
when they were drenching the person upon whom they made an 
attack, and they took care that what they threw was clean, which 
with others did not always happen. 

On Monday morning every one rose fresh for action, and to work 
we went until three o'clock in the afternoon, scarcely affording time 
for eating. We then adjourned to the sea-shore, for the purpose of 
witnessing the christening of the king of the Moors. On this day 
all the Jangadas and canoes were put in requisition ; the owners of 
them and others of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood were divided 
into two parties, Christians and Moors. A stage was erected at low 
water mark upon high poles, and this was intended to represent a 
Moorish fortress; the affair was so timed that the tide should be at the 
height at the commencement of the sport, by which means the stagewas 
surrounded by the water. Upon the sea-shore were two high thrones, 
with canopies made of counterpanes, &c. these were at the distance 
of about three hundred yards from each other, and were placed im- 
mediately above high water mark. The Christian king sat upon one of 
them, and the Moorish king upon the other, both of them being habited 
in fine flowing robes. The affair began by the former dispatching 
one of his officers on horseback to the latter, requiring him to under- 


go the ceremony of baptism, which he refused to do. Several other 
couriers passed from each side, all of whom were on horseback, and 
fantastically dressed in loose garments. War being declared the 
numerous jangadas and canoes of each party were soon in motion, 
making towards the fortress in the water ; some were going to assist, 
in protecting it, and others to obtain possession of it. The persons 
who were in the fort were now seen preparing for its defence ; there 
was much firing, and at last, after many struggles on both sides, it was 
taken by the Christians. The Moorish vessels however escaped and 
landed their crews, the opposite party doing the same. The armies 
met on shore and fought hand to hand for a considerable time, but 
in the end the Moorish king was taken prisoner, hurled from his 
throne, and forcibly baptised. The whole affair was very gay, for 
the sands were crowded with people who were all in their best cloaths, 
finery of many kinds being displayed — silks, satins, muslins, and 
printed cottons; ornaments of gold and of precious stones; bonnets 
of straw, and of silks, and ribbons of all colours in great quantities ; 
shoes, white, black, and of various tints ; then there were coats 
that had not for many a day seen the light; cotton and cloth jackets 
made for the occasion, embroidered waistcoats, and others more 
general of less costly materials; pantaloons of nankeen and of various 
other light materials ; cocked hats, a few of beaver and of straw, and 
round ones many; half boots, and shoes and buckles. 

There appeared at Pillar one of the Valentoens, vA\o had often 
created great disturbances in many parts, and although his appre- 
hension was much desired, he trod the soil of Pillar with great con- 
fidence, as if he was aware that his person was secure owing to his 
great reputation for intrepidity; but his safety proceeded from my 
friend of the stockade prison not being the chief magistrate of the 
place for the year. On the morrow all parties were preparing to re- 
turn home; we saw the ladies set off" on horseback, and according 
to a strange custom, a number of metal pans were collected, and as 
they went away from the door the persons who remained beat the 


pans against each other, so as to make a gingling noise. This is 
practised as a joke, and on this occasion, as is usual, created much 

Shortly after this period I received advices from England, which 
rendered necessary my return home. I gave up my plan of residing 
in Brazil with reluctance ; but I am now much rejoiced that it so 
happened. Yet at that time it required some resolution to leave the 
people, the place, and the things in which I had taken deep in- 
terest, — my negroes and free people, — my horses and my dogs, and 
even my cats and fowls; — the house and the garden which I had 
been improving and forming, — and the fields which I had cleared, 
and was cultivating. All this, believe me, cost much pain in leav- 
ing ; but thanks to those who desired that it should be so. I should 
have soon become a Brazil planter ; the state in which a man who 
rules over slaves is placed, is not likely to make him a better crea- 
ture than he would under other circumstances have been. I should 
perhaps shortly have been totally unfit to become a member of any 
other society ; my inclinations led me to like the life which 1 was 
leading : — I was young, and was independent and had power. Al- 
though I am fully aware of the evils which attend a feudal state of 
society, I liked to have dependants. I might have become so arbi- 
trary, so much a lover of a half savage life ; I might have contracted 
so great a relish for rambling, have become so unsettled, as to have 
been dissatisfied with what is rational and to be desired in this 
world. Until lately I cherished the hope of being able to return to 
that country, with the means of ci'ossing the continent of South 
America ; but I have now given this up from unavoidable circum- 
stances, and even my wishes have taken another bias ; but God only 
knows whether it may not yet be my fate to enter into the scheme ; 
accident, and inclinations over which I have no controul, may so 
direct. England is my country, but my native soil is Portugal ; I be- 
long to both, and whether in the company of Englishmen, of Portu- 
gueze, or of Brazilians, I feel equally among my countrymen. My 


constant and fervent prayers are offered up for their prosperity, and 
for a continuance of that friendship which has borne the test of so 
many years. Fresh causes have lately occurred for rivetting the links 
which bind the two united nations ; their people have fought to- 
gether, and neither have been found wanting. 




AGRICULTURE in Brazil* had not for many years, until very 
lately, received any improvement ; and even now it is only 
slowly and with much difficulty that innovations are made. It is 
quite hopeless to expect a rapid change of system among men who 
had not even heard that there existed other agriculturists besides 
themselves ; who were astonished to learn that Brazil was not the 
only country in which sugar was made ; who know not, or at least did 
not know until very lately, that there was any other nation than their 
own ; who imagined that Portugal had possession of every thing 
worth having in this world ; in fact, whose ignorance was extreme. 
Most of the planters of the inland country, and even most of those near 
to the coast who reside entirely upon their estates, were, and many 
still are, in this state. They continue year after year the system 
which was followed by their fathers, without any wish to improve, 
and indeed without the knowledge that any improvement could be 
made. But the freedom of commercial intercourse with other 
nations has here, as in every thing else, had its effect, and the 
benefits which are derived from this policy are increasing most 

* In making use of the word Brazil, it must be understood that I mean to denote thai 
portion of the country which I have had opportunities of seeing. The agriculture of the 
provinces of Rio de Janeiro and Bahia is doubtless in a more forward state than that of 
Pernambuco and the line of coast to Maranham. 


rapidly. One of these is to be perceived in the wish which many of 
the'"'^lanters display to obtain information respecting the manage- 
ment of the British and French plantations in the Columbian 
islands. The persons who thus in enriching themselves, are like- 
wise doing the greatest good to their country, are the proprietors of 
sugar-mills, who reside in Kecife altogether or who make frequent 
visits to it ; these men enter into company, hear what is going on in 
the world, read the few books which are to be obtained, and soon 
assent to new ideas. Many of the merchants now possess this kind 
of property, which has fallen into their hands, either in payment of 
debts or by purchase ; and these men have no prejudices to conquer 
respecting any particular plan of operations. Some of the improve- 
ments which are proposed are of such self-evident utility, as to carry 
with them conviction as soon as they are mentioned. 


The lands in Brazil are never grubbed up*, either for planting the 
sugar-cane, or for any other agricultural purposes. The inconve- 

* I insert hero a description of a machine for rooting up the stumps of trees, by 
Cit. Saint Victor, member of the Society of Agriculture, for tlie department of the Seine. 

" It consists of a bar of forged iron, about two feet eight inches long, one inch thick 
towards the handle, and of two inches towards the breech or platform. The platform, 
which is circular, is fourteen inches in diameter. This platform serves as the base of the 
chamber or furnace of the mine, which is three inches in diameter, and three inches eight 
hues in the length of its bore. The stopper or tampion, which serves as a plug to the 
mine, is of the same diameter, to enter within after a slight paper or wadding. It is at- 
tached by a chain to the gun or mortar, which last is eight inches in diameter. About two 
inches above is added a small touch-hole and pan. The hole is directed in an angle of 
forty-five degrees, and is primed with powder to communicate with the charge with which 
the chamber is filled up to the stopper. This engine may be cast even with more facility 
in brass or bronze, and in this case it must be a little thicker in all its dimensions, in order 
to afford a resistance equal to that of the forged iron. 

"use of the machine. 
" When the machine is charged with powder, a small excavation is made with a pick-axe, 
in the centre of the stump. The machine is then placed in it, so that the plug im- 
mediately touches the wood. Care must be taken to fill all the vacancies, either with 

X X 


niences of this custom are perceivable more particularly in high 
lands ; because all of these that are of any value are naturally covered 
with thick woods. The cane is planted among the numerous stumps 
of trees, by which means much ground is lost, and as the sprouts 
from these stumps almost immediately spring forth, (such is the 
rapidity of vegetation,) the cleanings are rendered very laborious. 
These shoots require to be cut down, sometimes even before the cane 
has forced its way to the surface of the ground. The labour like- 
wise is great every time a piece of land is to be put under cul- 
tivation, for the wood must be cut down afresh ; and although it 
cannot have reached the same size which the original timber had at- 
tained, still, as several years are allowed to pass between each period 
at which the ground is planted, the trees are generally of con- 
siderable thickness*. The wood is suffered to remain upon the land 
until the leaves become dry ; then it is set on fire, and these are 
destroyed with the brushwood and the smaller branches of the trees. 
Heaps are now made of the remaining timber, which is likewise 
burnt. This process is universally practised in preparing land for 
the cultivation of any plant. I have often heard the method much 
censured as being injurious in the main to the soil, though the crop 
immediately succeeding the operation may be rendered more luxu- 
riant by it. I have observed that the canes which grew upon the 

stones or pieces of iron or v.rood, more especially beneath the platfoi-m of the machine, in 
order that the explosion of the powder may have its full effect on the stump, of which, if 
necessary, the principal roots should first be cut if any appear on the surface of the ground 
near the stump that is to be eradicated. 

« When the machine is firmly fixed in its place, the priming is put into the pan, a slow 
match applied, the length of which is sufficient to allow time to retire to a proper distance 
from the explosion." — Journal of Natural Philosophy, &c. by W. Nicholson, vol. iv. 
p. 243 to 245. 

In Pernambuco the only means of rooting up the stumps which is known, is that of dig- 
ging deep trenches round about them. 

* Labat says, that in clearing lands, it is not necessai-y to take up the stumps of the trees, 
unless they are those dcs hois mols dont les soudies poussent des rejettons ; now in Brazil, 
almost all the trees that have been cut down put forth shoots. 


Spots where the heaps of timber and large branches of trees had been 
burnt, were of a darker and richer green than those around them, 
and that they hkewise over-topped them. After the plant-canes or 
those of the first year's growth are taken from the lands, the field- 
trash, that is the dried leaves and stems of the canes which remain 
upon the ground, are set fire to, with the idea that the ratoons, that 
is the sprouts from the old roots of the canes, spring forth with 
more luxuriance, and attain a greater size by means of this practice*. 
The ratoons of the first year are called in Brazil socas ; those of the 
second year, resocas; those of the third year, terceir as socas, and so forth. 
Aiter the roots are left unencumbered by burning the field-trash, the 
mould is raised round about them ; indeed if this was neglected, 
many of these roots would remain too much exposed to the heat of 
the sun, and would not continue to vegetate. Some lands will con- 
tinue to give ratoons for five or even seven years ; but an average 
may be made at one crop of good ratoons fit for grinding, another of 
inferior ratooons for planting or for making molasses to be used in 
the still-house, and a third which affords but a trifling profit, in 
return for the trouble which the cleanings give, f 

I have above spoken more particularly of high lands ; the low and 

* It has been discontinued of late years by some pei'sons, and I have heard it said, that 
the ratoon canes do not grow so well ; but that the land requires to be laid down for a 
much shorter period. 

f Labat says, " Les terres neuves grasses et fortes fournissent ahondamment de la nourriturc 
aur smiches, et les entretiennent pendant quinze et imigt ans et plus, satis qiCon s'appcrfoive 
d'aiicune diminidion, ni datis I'abondance, ni da?is la bonte, fii dans la grandeur, 7ii dans la 
grosseur, des rejettons" and he even says that the stumps ^'conduisent plutot leurs rejetfons d 
wie parfaite maturite, ponrrnis qdon ait soin de rechausser les souches," &c. — Nouveau 
Voyage &c. torn. iii. p. 368. 

I had previously read the following passage in • another work, " Dans les plantations 
situees au Lord du Demerari on fait trente recoltes successives de sucre sans transplanter les 
Cannes, ^c. — Voyage a la Guiane &c." p. 222. 

As this work is of doubtful reputation, I should not have cited any statement which was 
made in it unless I was myself aware of its correctness, or unless the fact was mentioned 
by other writers ; but when Labat speaks of the same thing, there must be some foundation 
for the statement. 

X X 2 

340 SOIL. 


marshy grounds, called in Brazil varzeas, are however those which are 
the best adapted to the cane, and indeed upon the plantations that do 
not possess some portion of this description of soil, the crops are very 
unequal, and sometimes almost entirely fail, according to the greater 
or less quantity of rain which may chance to fall in the course of the 
year. The varzeas are usually covered with short and close brushwood, 
and as these admit, from their rank nature, of frequent cultivation, 
they soon become easy to work. The soil of these, when it is new, 
receives the name of jnlul ; it trembles under the pressure of the feet, 
and easily admits of a pointed stick being thrust into it ; and though 
dry to appearance, it requires draining. The mafape marie is often 
to be met with in all situations ; it is of a greenish white colour, and 
if at all wet, it sticks very much to the hoe ; it becomes soon dry at 
the surface, but the canes which have been planted upon it seldom 
fail to revive after rain, even though a want of it should have been 
much felt. The white marie, barro branco, is less frequently found ; it 
is accounted extremely productive. This clay is used in making bricks 
and coarse earthen ware, and also for claying the sugar. Red earth 
IS occasionally met with upon the sides of hills near to the coast ; but 
this description of soil belongs properly to the cotton districts. 
Black mould is common ; and likewise a loose and brownish soil, in 
which a less or greater proportion of sand is intermixed. It is, I be- 
lieve, generally acknowledged that no land can be too rich for the 
growth of the sugar cane. One disadvantage, however, attends soil 
that is low and quite new, which is, that the canes run up to a great 
height without sufficient thickness, and are thus often lodged before 
the season for cutting them arrives. I have seen rice planted upon 
lands of this kind on the first year, to decrease their rankness and 
render them better adapted to the cane on the succeeding season.* 

* Labat says, " Toutes les terres, en im mot qui sont neiives, c'est-d-dire qui n'ont Jamais 
eti plantees, ni semees, dans lesquelles ou met des Cannes amsi-tot qiion a abbatti les arbres qui les 
couvroient, portent des Cannes trcs grosses et en quantite, remplis de beaucoup de sue, mais gras, 
crud, pat sucre, trcs difficile a cuire ct a purijia: Je me suis trouvc quclquefois dans ces cir- 

SOIL. 341 

Some attempts have been made to plant cane upon the lands which 
reach down to the edge of the mangroves, and in a few instances 

Constances et particulicrement a. la GuadaToupc, ou ay ant fait defricher une terre neuve, aphis 
d'une lieile du bord de la mer, et Vayant planfee en canncs c'etoit quelqiic chose de surprenayit 
de voir le nomhrc, la grosscur et la hauteur de ces Cannes, lorsqu'elles ti'avoiefit encore que six 
mots ; cependant jc lesjls coupcr a cet age, et apres que feus retire ce dont j'avois besoin pour 
planter, jejisfaire de V eau-de-vie du reste, et jejis mcttre Icfeu au terrain pour consumer les 
pailles, dont la pourriture n'otiroit servi qiid atigmenter la graisse de la terre. Quatoize niois 
apres cette coupe, jeJis employer eii suae blanc les rrjettons qui etoient a-iis, dont la bonte re- 
pondit parfaitement a la beaute, qui ne pouvoit etre plus grande." — Nouveau Voyage &c. 
torn. iii. p. 339. 

His account of this affair still continues, but I have transcribed the more imixirtant part 

The master of the grammar school at Itamaraca, told me that he acted in the same man- 
ner with respect to a quantity of cane which he once planted upon a piece of land that 
was afterwards cultivated by me ; he was satisfied that this was the better plan, when the 
land is in the state which Labat describes ; but the people in general thought that he was 
mad, unl il crop time came, and then they changed their opinion. 

In another work Labat says, " le terrain nouvellement defriche, etant naturellement gras et 
humidc, et sa situation le rendant encore aqueux, les Cannes qiCilproduit, sont a la ve rite grosses, 
grarides, plcines de suc; mais ce sue est g)-as et aqueiuc ,- il est par consequent j^lus long a cuire, 
plus difficile a purifier , de smte qiiilfaudra abbatreet mettre au moulinplus de Cannes, purijter 
et cuire 2>lus de jus ou de suc pour faire une barriquc de sucre, qu'il n' enfant a la Martinique 
pour en fa ire quatre." — Voyage du Chevalier des Marchais a Cayenne, &c. tom. iii, 204. 
In the httle experience which I had, I was surprised to find an increase or decrease in the 
quantity of the product of the same number of cart loads of cane from different quarters of 
the plantation ; but my mind was theo too much occupied to allow me to look for the cause 
of this. 

At the time that Labat wrote his account of the French portion of the Columbian islands, 
(from 1693 to 1705) they were in a state which resembled much that of Brazil in the pre- 
sent day; that is, the colonists were forming establishments and clearing lands ; agriculture 
was in a cude state, and as sugar colonies were then, comparatively speaking, new thino-s, 
improvements were daily striking the thinking men who went out to those places ; for it was 
a subject to which intellect was at that time turned. The system in the Columbian islands 
has now been much benefited, by the advanced state of the mother countries which possess 
them; and the communication between the islands belonging to the several powers which 
rule them, has led them to adopt and to profit by each other's inventions and ideas. But 
Brazil has been left to its own resources ; no interest has been taken in its conceals from 
without, nor has any regard been paid to the mental advancement of the people belonging 
to it, so that it cannot be wondered at that the country should have made very little progress. 
However the similarity of the state of the French islands in the time of Labat, to that of 
Brazil at the present day, and liis powers of observation, induce me to think that some of 


pieces of land, heretofore covered by the salt water at the flow of the 
tide, have been laid dry by means of draining for the same purpose; 
but the desired success has not attended the plan, for the canes have 
been found to be unfit for making sugar; the syrup does not coagu- 
late, or at least does not attain that consistence which is requisite, and 
therefore it can only be used for the distilleries. * 

The general mode of preparing the land for the cane is by holing 
it with hoes. The negroes stand in a row, and each man strikes his 
hoe into the ground immediately before him, and forms a trench 
of five or six inches in depth; he then falls back, the whole row 
doing the same, and they continue this operation from one side of the 
cleared land to the other, or from the top of a hill to the bottom. 
The earth which is thrown out of the trench remains on the lower 
side of it. In the British colonies this work is done in a manner 
nearly similar, but more systematically f- The lands in Brazil are 
not measured, and every thing is done by the eye. The quantity 
• of cane which a piece of land will require for planting is estimated 
by so many cart loads; and nothing can be more vague than this 
mode of computation, for the load which a cart can carry depends 
upon the condition of the oxen, upon the nature of the road, and upon 
the length of the cane. Such is the awkward make of these vehicles 
that much nicety is necessary in packing them, and if two canes will 

his remarks may be useful in the latter country, although they may be out of date in the 
places of which he wrote. Thus much I say, as a reason for making frequent notes from 

* Labat speaks of seeing canes planted down to the water's edge at Guadaloupe ; he 
says that he tasted tl;e juice of some of them, and found it to be rather brackish; " (Toil il 
etoit aise de cotichirc que le sucre brut qiion enferoit, pomruif ctre beau, comme il Vetoit en effet 
en tout le quartier dii grand cul-de-sac, mais qu'il seroit dijjicile de reussir en sucre blanc, covmc 
il est arrive." — Nouveau Voyage, &c. torn. iii. p. 7 1 ■ 

f Besides the usual mode of hoUng, Mr. Edwards mentions the following method ; 
" the planter instead of stocking up his ratoons, and holing and planting the land 
anew, suffers the stoles to continue in the ground and contents himself, as his cane fields 
become thin and impoverished, by supplying the vacant spaces with fresh plants." — History 
of the West Indies, voLii. p. 207. 


about fit into a cart lengthways, much more will be conveyed than 
if the canes are longer and they double over each other. 

The plough is sometimes used in low lands, upon which draining 
has not been found necessary ; but such is the clumsy construction 
of the machine of which they make use, that six oxen are yoked to 
it*. Upon high lands the stumps of the trees almost preclude the 
possibility of thus relieving the labourers. 

The trenches being prepared, the cuttings are laid longitudinally 
in the bottom of them, and are covered with the greatest part of the 
mould which had been taken out of the trench. The shoots begin 
to rise above the surface of the ground in the course of twelve or 
fourteen days. The canes undergo three cleanings from the weeds and 
the sprouts proceeding from the stumps of the trees; and when the 
land is poor, and produces a greater quantity of the former and con- 
tains fewer of the latter, the canes require to be cleaned a fourth time. 
The cuttings are usually from twelve to eighteen inches in length, 
but it is judged that the shorter they are, the better. If they are 
short, and one piece of cane rots, the space which remains vacant is 
not so large as when the cuttings are long, and they by any accident 
fail. The canes which are used for planting are generally ratoons, 
if any exist upon the plantation, but if there are none of these, the 
inferior plant canes supply their places. It is accounted more eco- 
nomical to make use of the ratoons for this purpose, and many per- 
sons say that they are less liable to rot than the plant canes. In 
the British sugar islands the cuttings for planting " are commonly 
the tops of the canes which have been ground for sugar f ." But in 
Brazil the tops of the canes are all thrown to the cattle, for there is 
usually a want of grass during the season that the mills are at 

* A plough drawn by two oxen, constructed after a model which was brought from 
Cayenne, has been introduced in one or two instances. 

f The passages in this chapter which are marked as being quotations, are taken from 
Edwards' History of the West Indies. I mention this, once for all, to save room and 


work*. In the British colonies, the canes are at first covered with only 
a small portion of mould; and yet they are as long in forcing their 
way to the surface as in Brazil, though in the latter a more con 
siderable quantity of earth is laid upon them. I suppose that the 
superior fatness of the Brazilian soil accounts for this. Upon rich 
soils the cuttings are laid at a greater distance, and the trenches are 
dug farther from each other, than upon those which have under- 
gone more frequent cultivation, or which are known to possess less 
power from their natural composition. The canes which are planted 
upon the former throw out great numbers of sprouts, which spread 
each way ; and although when they are young the land may appear 
to promise but a scanty crop, they soon close, and no opening is to 
be seen. It is often judged proper to thin the canes, by removing 
some of the suckers at the time that the last cleaning is given, and 
some persons recommend that a portion of the dry leaves should also 
be stripped off at the same period, but on other plantations this is not 

The proper season for planting is from the middle of July to the 
middle of September, upon high lands, and from September to the 
middle of November in low lands. Occasionally the great moisture 
of the soil induces the planter to continue his work until the be- 
ginning of December, if his people are sufficiently numerous to an- 
swer all the necessary purposes. The first of the canes are ready to 
be cut for the mill in September of the following year, and the crop 
is finished usually in January or February. In the British sugar 

* The author of the Nouveau Voyage Sfc. torn. in. p. 218. mentions having covered 
the claying house belonging to a mill, the property of his Order, with the tops of the 
sugar cane. I never saw this practised in Brazil, and indeed Labat says, that they were 
not commonly put to this purpose in the parts of which he writes. He says, that a species 
of reed was usually employed. In Brazil there is a kind of grass which answers the purpose, 
and is durable ; and this quality, Labat says, that the cane tops possess ; however in Brazil 
the leaves of the coco and of other palms are generally used. 

Although it was the general custom to employ the cane tops for planting, Labat objects 
to them from his own authority, upon the score of these not possessing sufficient strength 
to yield good canes. The same opinion is general in Pernambuco. 


islands the canes are planted from August to November and are 
"ripe for the mill in the beginning of the second year." Thus this 
plant in Brazil requires from thirteen to fifteen months to attain its 
proper state for the mill ; and in the Columbian islands it remains 
standing sixteen or seventeen months. * 

I did not discover, nor hear it mentioned, that the cane is liable 
to destruction from the blast, which is spoken of by Mr. Edwards, as 
doing much injuiy to the plantations in the British colonies. The 
cane is subject certainly to several pests, but they are of a nature 
which may be remedied. The rats destroy great quantities f, and 
the fox is no less fond of it ; and when he gets among it he makes 
dreadful havock, for he is only satisfied by cutting down great num- 
bers of canes, taking only a small portion of each. There is also a 
strange custom among the lower orders of people ; they scruple not 
in passing a field, to cut down and make a bundle of ten or a dozen 
canes, from which they suck the juice as they go along, or preserve 
some of them to carry home. The devastation which is committed 
in this manner is incalculable, in the fields that border upon much 

* Labat lays great stress upon the ripeness of the canes. " II faut done observer avant 
que de couper les Cannes quel est leur degre de perfection et de maturite plutot que leur age," S;c. — 
Nouveau Voyage, &c. torn. iii. p. 353. 

But when a plantation has a large crop, it is absolutely impossible to attend so par- 
ticularly to the ripeness as he inculcates ; some of the cane must be ground unripe, and 
other parts of the field cannot be cut until after the proper time. 

f The French friar complains of the rats, and says that there was in his time a chasseur 
de rats upon every estate. He says that he made his chasseur bring the rats that were 
caught to him ; and he desired to have the whole rat, for if the heads or tails only came, 
the bodies were eaten by the negroes, which he wished to prevent, as he thought that this 
food brought on consumption. I know that the negroes in Brazil eat every rat which they 
can catch, and I do not see why they should not be well tasted and wholesome food, for they 
feed on sugar-cane and mandioc. I cannot refrain from transcribing the following state- 
ment: '■'■II y a des hahitans qui se contentent que le preneur de rats leur en apporte les queues 
ou les tetes. C'est une mauvaise viethode, puree que lespreneurs voisins s'accordent ensemble et 
portent les queues d'un cote et les tetes d' autre, qfin de profiter de la rrcompense que les maiires 
donnent, sans se mettre beaucoup en peine de teiidre les attraj'es." — Nouveau Voyage, &c. 
torn. iii. p. 358. 

Y Y 


frequented paths. It is a custom ; and many persons think that the 
owner has scarcely a right to prevent these attacks upon his pro- 

The planters of Brazil have not yet arrived at the period (which is 
not however far distant) of being under the necessity of manuring 
their lands. I heard of very few instances in which this is the prac- 
tice. The cane-trash, that is, the rind of the cane from which the 
juice has been extracted, is thus entirely lost, with the exception of 
the small part of it which is eaten by the cattle. The manure of 
cattle is likewise of no use. Lands are not yet of sufficient value to 
oblige each planter to confine himself to certain pieces of ground for 
certain purposes, with any sort of regularity. The population of the 
country is yet too scanty to make every man husband what he pos- 
sesses, or to oblige him to draw in and give room for others, as, 
imperceptibly, these others require that he should do so. For the 
present, the planter finds that it is more convenient to change from 
one piece of land to another, as each becomes unfit to be cultivated ; 
he allows the wood to grow up again as soon as the ratoons no longer 
spring forth and yield him a sufficient profit to compensate for the 
trouble of cleaning them. 

The Otaheitan or the Bourbon cane has been brought from 
Cayenne to Pernambuco, since the Portugueze obtained possession 
of that settlement. I believe the two species of cane are much alike, 
and I have not been able to discover which of them it is. Its advan- 
tages are so apparent, that after one trial on each estate, it has super- 
seded the small cane which was in general use. The Cayenne cane, as 
it is called in Pernambuco, is of a much larger size than the common 
cane ; it branches so very greatly, that the labour in planting a piece 
of land is much decreased, and the returns from it are at the same 
time much more considerable. It is not planted in trenches, but 
holes are dug at equal distances from each other, in which the cut- 
tings are laid. Tiiis cane bears the dry weather better than the 
small cane ; and when the leaves of the latter begin to turn brown, 
those of the former still preserve their natural colour. A planter in 

THE MILL. 347 

the Varzea told me that he had obtained four crops from one piece of 
land in three years, and that the soil in question had been considered 
by him as nearly worn out, before he planted the Cayenne cane upon 
it. Its rind is likewise so hard that the fox cannot make any impres- 
sion upon it. The business of the boiling-houses is in general so 
slovenly performed, that I could not obtain any exact information 
respecting the returns in the manufacturing of it ; but most persons 
were of opinion that here too some advantage was to be per- 


A sugar-plantation is doubtless one of the most difficult species of 
property to manage in a proper manner. The numerous persons 
employed upon it, their divers avocations, and the continual change 
of occupation, give to the owner or his manager constant motives for 
exertion, innumerable opportunities of displaying his activity. A 
plantation ought to possess within itself all the tradesmen which are 
required for the proper furtherance of its concerns ; a carpenter, a 
blacksmith, a mason, a potter, and others which it is needless to 
name in this place. It is a manufactory as well as a farm, and both 
these miited must act in unison with each other, and with the seasons 
of the yeai-. 

The mill ought, properly, to commence grinding the cane in Sep- 
tember, but few of them begin until the middle of October ; for the 
planting scarcely allows that they should set to work before the latter 
period. This is the time of merriment and of willing exertion, and 
for some weeks the negroes are all life and spirit ; but the continuance 
of constant work for the whole of the day and part of the night at 
last fatigues them, and they become heavy and fall asleep wherever 
they chance to lay their heads. * 

* '■^ Domiinhoco covio negro de Engenho" — as sleepy as the negro of a sugar-mill, is a 
common proverb. 

Y Y 2 

348 THE MILL. 

The mills for grinding the canes are formed of three upright 
rollers, which are made of solid timber, entirely cased or rather 
hooped in iron, and the hoops are driven on to the wood before they 
become quite cool *. The improvement of the " circular piece of 
frame-work called in Jamaica the dumb-returner" has not been in- 
troduced. Two men and two women are employed in feeding the 
mill with cane ; a bundle of it is thrust in between the middle roller 
and one of the side rollers, and being received by one of the women, 
she passes it to the man who stands close to her, for the purpose of 
being by him thrust between the other side roller and that of the 
centre. This operation is continued five or six times until the 
juice has been extracted. There appears to be some mismanage- 
ment in this part of the work ; for in the British colonies a second 
compression " squeezes them completely dry, and sometimes even 
reduces them to powder ;" and the same occurred in Labat's time in 
the French islands. The dumb-returner tends very greatly to prevent 
accidents, which occasionally occur in Brazil through the carelessness 
or drowsiness of the slaves. The negroes who thrust the cane in 
between the rollers have sometimes allowed their hands to go too 
far, and one or both of them having been caught, in some instances, 
before assistance could be given, the whole limb and even the body 
has been crushed to pieces. In the mills belonging to owners who 
pay attention to the safety of their negroes, and whose wish it is to 
have every thing in proper order, a bar of iron and a hammer are 
placed close to the rollers upon the table [tneza) which supports the 
cane. The bar is intended to be violently inserted between the 
rollers in case of accident, so as to open them, and thus set at liberty 
the unfortunate negro. In some instances I have seen lying by the 
side of the bar and hammer, a well-tempered hatchet, for the purpose 

* In a few instances the " upright iron plated rollers" used in the Columbian islands 
have been erected. These have been sent from England, and are much approved of, par- 
ticularly for mills that have the advantage of being turned by water. 

THE MILL. 349 

of severing the limb from the body, if judged necessary*. On these 
unfortunate occasions the screams of the negro have the effect of 
urging the horses which draw the mill, to run with increased velo- 
city. I am acquainted with two or three individuals who now work 
their mills with oxen ; and they gave as the principal reason for this 
change, the decrease of danger to the negroes who feed the mill ; 
because such is the slowness of these animals, that an accident of the 
above description can scarcely happen, and indeed they are stopped 
rather than urged to proceed by noise. Some of the mills are turned 
by water, but many more would admit of this improvement than 
take advantage of it. Most of the mills are worked by horses. There 
are no windmills in Pernambuco or in the other provinces which I 
visited f. The expence which is incurred in making dams and in 
other alterations, is doubtless considerable, and few persons can afford 
to lay out the money which these works require ; but the conve- 
niences of working by means of water are various ; the number of 
animals required upon a plantation is reduced to less than one half; 
less pasture land is necessary, and fewer persons need to be em- 
ployed. The animals likewise which are thus rendered superfluous 
are those which are of the most cost, the most liable to disease, and 
the most difficult to feed. Great care and attention is requisite in 
preserving the horses, or rather the mares (for these are mostly em- 
ployed in this description of work) in a condition to go through with 

* Labat says, speaking of the same dreadful kind of accident, "C? qui pourroit arrive)- 
si la largeur ties etablis ni les en empichoit" he also mentions the necessity of having "swr 
le bout de la fable une serpe sans bee Men affilee, pour s^en servir au besoin." — Nouveau 
Voyage, &c. tom. iii. p. 406 and 407. 

t The author of the Nojiveau Voyage, 8fC. says, the Portugueze, when they first esta- 
blished themselves in Brazil, and indeed even at the present time, (1696) in some places 
make use of mills for grinding the sugar cane similar to those of Normandy, "pmirbriser 
les pommes a /aire le cidre, et dent on se sert aiix puis ou il y a des oliviers, pour ecraser les 
olives." — tom iii. p. 428. 

I never heard of any description of mill being employed at the present day, excepting 
that wliich is in general use. 


the crop ; and quantities of cane are cut up and given to them, as 
well as molasses. Oxen are usually employed in drawing the carts, 
and it is seldom thought necessary to afford any expensive food to 
these animals. They pick up as much as they please of the cane- 
trash which is thrown out of the mill, and the cane tops are likewise 
given to them. 


In the boiling-house the manufactory of sugar in Brazil requires 
great alteration. The work is done in a slovenly manner, very little 
attention being paid to the minutiae of the business. The ovens 
over which the boilers are placed, are rudely made, and they answer 
the purpose for which they are intended in an imperfect manner ; 
enormous quantities of fuel are consumed, and the negroes who attend 
to the ovens are soon worn out. The juice runs from the cane as 
it is squeezed between the rollers, into a wooden trough below, and 
is from thence conveyed into a cistern made of the same material, 
standing in the boiling house. It is received from this cistern into 
the great caldron, as it is called, which is a large iron or copper 
vessel. The caldron has previously been heated, and when nearly 
full, the temper is thrown into it, and the liquor is suffered to boil. 
It is now scummed with considerable labour. The work of scum- 
ming is usually performed by free persons, which is owing to two 
causes ; it demands considerable skill, to which slaves seldom attain ; 
and the exertion which it requires induces the planter to pay a free 
man rather than injure one of his own people. 

From this first caldron or clarifier, if I may so call it, the liquor is 
ladled out into a long trough or cistern, which is generally made of 
the trunk of one tree ; and in this it remains until it becomes tepid*. 
The labour which the operation of ladling requires is excessive, the 

* In the French islands the Hquor was passed through a cloth when conveyed from 
the first cauldron into the second: of the trough I find no mention. — Nouveau Voyage, 
&c. torn. iv. p. 24. 


heat and smoke of a boiling-house in a tropical climate increasing 
greatly the violence of" the exertion. From this trough wliich holds 
the whole of the contents of the great caldron, the liquor when suf- 
ficiently cool is suffered to run into the first copper, and from this it 
is removed into a second and a third copper, and some boiling-houses 
contain a fourth. From this it is ladled into large jars, called/ormas, 
when the master of the boiling-house judges from the touch that the 
syrup has arrived at a proper consistence. The jars are afterwards 
taken into the adjoining building, in which the sugar is to undergo 
the process of claying. The sugar, after being clayed, is invariably 
dried in the sun*. The management of the boiling-houses in the 
British sugar islands is arranged in such a manner as to render the 
labour much less violent, and much greater nicety has been intro- 
duced in the preparation of the juice. 

The boilers are fixed at a considerable height over the large ovens 
within which the fire is made. Each boiling-house has two ovens, 
one for heating the caldron and the other for the three or four cop- 
pers. The mouths of these are about half as broad as the ovens 
themselves. Enormous rolls of timber and the branches of trees are 
prepared for the purpose of supplying these ovens with fuel. The 
negroes sometimes find it almost impossible to approach them, ow- 
ing to the excessive heat which they throw outf. The manner of 
conducting the manufacture of sugar was, from what I can collect, 
very similar on the whole, in the Columbian islands about the begin- 
ing of the last century, to that which is practised at present in the 
parts of Brazil which I visited. 

* In the Voyage du Chevalier ties Marchais a Cayenne, ^c. I find that " le sucre skJie au 
soleil est toiijowsplus susceptible d'humidite, que celui qui a ete Men seche dans une bonne etuve." 
torn. iii. p. 205. 

In the fourth volume of the Nouveau Voyage, p. 106 to 1 10, is a description of an oven 
for drying clayed sugars ; this would be interesting to Brazilian readers, but it is too 
long to excuse insertion before a British pul)lic. 

f The long improved ovens, such as are used in the Columbians islands, are beginning 
to be introduced. 


The temper which is usually made use of is the ashes of wood cal- 
cinated, of which there are certain species preferred for this pur- 
pose*. Lime is commonly used in the Columbian islands, and 

* The following method of preparing the temper will be useful in the country of which 
I am treating, and therefore I think I may be permitted to insert it, although it is long. 
" Le barril a lessive et ant pose sur la sellette ou sur tin trepied, on en bottche le trouavec une 
quantite de paille longue et cntiere, apres quoi ony met une cmiche composee <les hcrbes suivantes, 
apres les avoir hroyecs entre ses mains, et api-es les avoir hackees. 

' " Herbes a ble ; c'cst une herbe qui croit par toujjes comme le hie qui est leve depuis dcruc ou 
trois mois, et a qui clle ressemblc bcaiwoup. On arrache la touffe entierc avec sa racine qui est 

fort petite. 

" La secotide se nomme herbe a pique. Cette plantc a tme tige droite de la grosseur d'un 
tuyau deplume d'oye et de la haideur de quinze a dix-huit pouces. Hon extremite pmie unefeilille 
comme celle de Vozeillepour la coulmr et pour la consist ance, mais qui ressemble entierement au 

fer d^une pique. 

" La troisieme est la mal-nommce. C'cst une petite herbe deliee,Jine et frizee a pen pres 
comme les cheveux des negres. 

" On met ccs trois sortes d' herbes par jiortion egale, avec quelques feiiilles et qtielques mor- 
ceaux de liatine briilante. Cette lianne est une espece de licrre, dont lafeiiille est plus tendre, 

plus mince ct les bois plus spongieux que le lierre d' Europe. On ecrase u?i pen le bois et les 

feiiilles, avant que de les mettre dans le barril. C'est avec ces quatre sortes d" herbes qiion gar- 
nit lefond du barril jusqu' a trois pouces de hauteur -, on les couvre d'un lit de cendre de pqreille 
epaisseur, et Von choisit la cendre faife du meilleur bois qtion ait bnile, comme sont le chataig- 
jiier, le bois rouge, le bois cai-aibe, le raisinier, Voranger ou autres bois durs, dmit les ce?idres et 
les charbons sont remplis de beaucoup de sel. Ou met sur cette cmiche de cendre une couche de cha-ux 
vive de meme epaisseur, et sur celle-ci une autre couche des .memes her-bco, ausquellcs on ajoute une 
ou deux Cannes d'inde ou de seguine bdtarde, amorties aufeu, et coupeespar ruelles de V epaisseur 
d'un ecu. Cette plante vient sur le bord des eaux marecageuses, sa tige est ronde d'unpouce ou 
environ de diametre ; sapeau est fort mince et fort verte ; le dedans est blanc, assez compacte, 
et rempli d' une liqueur extremement mcndicante, qui fait une vilaine tache, et ineffa^able sur le 
linge et sur les etoffes oil elle tombe. Safeiiille est tmit-afait semblable pour la figure a celle de 
laporee ou bette, mais elle est plus verte et phcs lisse, et sesfbres ne se distinguent pi-esque pas ,- 
on ne les met point dans la lessive. Toutes ces herbes sont extremement corrosives et mmdicantes. 
On remplit ainsi le barril de cendre, de chaux, et d' herbes, par Utsjusqu'd ce qu'il soit plein, et on 
le termine par une couche des memes herbes bien broyees et hachees. Qiiand on se sert des 
cendres qui viennent de sortir des fotirneaux, et qui sont encore toutes bnilantes, on rem-plit 
le barril avec de I'eau froide ,- mais Imsque les cendres sont froides, on fait boiiiller I'eau 
avant que de la mettr-e dans le barril. On met un pot ou un autre vaisseau soi/s le trou 
qui est houche de paille, pour recevoir I'eau qui en degoute, que I'on remet darts le barril, 
et que I'on fait passer sur le marc qu'il contient, jusqu'h ce que cette lessive devienne si 

forte que la mettant sur la langiie avec le bout du doigt, on ne picisse pas I'y scntffrir, et 
qiHeUejaunisse le doigt, comme ii c'etoit de Veau forte." — Nouveau Voyage, torn. iv. p. 3 3 to 3 5. 


few planters of Pernambuco have lately introduced this alkali into 
their boiling houses, but there exists a general prejudice against lime, 
under the idea that the sugar with which it has been made is un- 
wholesome ; and this has prevented many persons from adopting it. 
No difficulty would be found in introducing it, among the planters 
them selves, because the ease with which it is obtained, would soon urge 
them to give it a fair trial. Some plantations sell a great portion of 
their sugar and rum upon the spot, and several of the lesser ones grind 
all their canes for the purpose of making melasses, which they dis- 
til themselves, or sell to the distillers of small capital, who are very 
numerous ; therefore to the owners of these plantations in particular, 
the opinion of the people of the country is of considerable moment. 

The planters of Brazil invariably follow the system of claying their 
sugars, but the process is too generally known to require any account 
of it in this place. 


The Brazil planters are more backward in the management of their 
still-houses than in any other department of their business. The 
stills are earthen jars with small necks, and likewise small at the bot- 
tom, widening upwards considerably, but again straightening on ap- 
proaching the neck. The foundation of a circular oven is formed, 
and two of these jars are placed within it, one on each side of it, in 
a slanting position, with the bottom within the oven and the neck on 
the outside, and being thus secured the walls of the oven are built 
up against them, and the top is closed in. These stills have round 
caps, carajjufas, which fit on to the mouths of the jars, and are ren- 
dered perfectly tight by a coat of clay being daubed round the edges, 
after the zcash has been put into the still and the fire has been lighted 
underneath. These caps have on one side a pipe of six inches in 
length attached to each of them, and into this is inserted the end of 
a brass tube of fovu* feet in length. This tube is placed in a broad 
and deep earthen pot or jar containing cold water, and the opposite 
end of it reaches beyond the pot. The tube is fixed with a suffi- 

354r THE WASH. 

cient slant to allow of the liquor running freely through it. The 
liquor which is obtained from the first distillation is usually sold, with- 
out undergoing any further process. A second distillation is only 
practised in preparing a small quantity for the use of the planter's 

The 'wash ripens for distillation in earthen jars similar to those 
which are used for claying sugar, but they are closed at the bottom 
instead of being perforated, as must necessarily occur with the latter. 
No exact rules are followed in the quantities of each ingredient for 
making the wash, because the distillers, who are usually freemen, differ 
much in the proportions of each ingredient. Until lately, only a 
small number of the planters had any apparatus for distilling, for it 
was their practice to sell all the melasses which were produced to 
the small distillers. Many of the persons in the lower ranks of life 
possess one or two of these rude stills, by which they derive a small 
profit without much trouble; fuel is to be had for the pains of 
fetching it, and scarcely any man is without a horse. The women 
often attend to the still whilst the men are otherwise employed. 
However, since the opening of the ports of Brazil to foreign trade, a 
considerable quantity of rum has been exported to North America, 
and likewise the demand of it for Lisbon has been greater than it 
was formerly ; the price has consequently risen, and has induced many 
of the planters to distil their own melasses. But although this plan 
has been adopted, the stills are so totally inadequate to the distilla- 
tion of large quantities of rum, that few persons erect a sufficient 
number of them to consume the whole of the melasses with which 
the sugar furnishes them. * 

* A few of the more wealthy planters have sent for large stills from England, and have, 
of course, found their infinite superiority over those in common use. 

Even in the time of Labat, his countrymen were much before the Pernambucan planters 
respecting the arrangement of the still-houses. They had copper stills. 

LANDS. 355 

A SUGAR plantation of Pernambuco or Paraiba does not require 
the enormous capital which is necessary in purchasing and establish- 
ing an estate of the same description in the Columbian islands ; but 
a certain degree of capital is requisite, otherwise continual distress 
will be the consequence of entering into such a concern. The in- 
stances of persons having purchased sugar plantations without any ad-^ 
vance of money are however by no means rare, and even the slaves, 
or at least the major part of them, have sometimes been obtained on 
long credit at exorbitant prices. This plan was of more frequent 
occurrence at the time that the exclusive trading company existed at 
Pernambuco ; its directors found that it was for the interest of those 
concerned to advance every thing which the agriculturist required, 
receiving in payment a certain portion of his produce yearly. Al- 
though the company has for many years been abolished, its accounts 
have not yet been wound up, and it is astonishing to learn 
how considerable a number of plantations are yet indebted to it. 
The reputed owners of many of those which are so circumstanced 
have oftentimes given to their predecessors only half the purchase- 
money; paying interest to the accountant of the company for the 
other half If they can raise a sufficient sum of money for the pur- 
pose, they may strike off the principal of the debt, but if this is not 
practicable, they remain in perfect confidence that they will never be 
molested for it, provided the interest is paid. 

There are a few Diorgados or entailed estates in Pernambuco, and 
I believe in Paraiba likewise; and I have heard that in Bahia there 
are a great many. There are also capellados or chapel lands ; these 
estates cannot be sold, and from this cause are sometimes suffered to 
decay, or at any rate they yield much less profit to the State than 
they would under other circumstances. The capellado is formed in 
this manner: the owner bequeaths a certain part of the produce 
or rent of the estate to some particular church, for the purpose of 
having masses said for his own soul, or for pious uses of a less selfish 
z z 2 


nature. On this account the estate cannot, according to law, be sold, 
so that if the next heir is not rich enough to work the mill him- 
self, he lets it to some one who possesses a sufficient number of negroes. 
The portion which is due to the favoured church being paid, the 
owner then remains with the residue of the rent as his share of the 
profit. Now, lands even with buildings upon them, are let at so low 
a rate, that after the church is paid, and the tenant has deducted 
what he has expended in repairing the edifices of the plantation, but 
a poor pittance remains for the owner. The engenho of Catu near 
to Goiana is placed in these circumstances ; the owner lives in the 
neighbourhood of the Great House or principal residence, and the 
only advantage which he derives from the possession of this most ex- 
cellent and extensive estate, is that of residing rent free upon one 
corner of it and now and then receiving a trifling sum of money. 
Whereas if it could be sold, he would immediately receive a sufficient 
sum to place him in easy circumstances ; and the estate would undergo 
improvement, for the occupier would then have a direct interest in 
its advancement. I might mention several other plantations which 
are situated in a like manner. 

The property of sugar planters, which is directly applied to the 
improvement, or to the usual work of their plantations, is not subject 
to be seized for debt; this privilege was granted for the encourage- 
ment of the formation of such establishments, but it may have a 
contrary effect. The planter is allowed many means of evading the 
demands of his creditors, and every thing is permitted to act in his 
favour. But thus it is that the government legislates; the revenue is 
thought of, instead of equity being regarded as the primary con- 
sideration. Nor does the plan act in the manner which the esta- 
blishers of it imagine that it will, for the estates which are labour- 
ing under the disadvantage of being held by men who require such a 
law as this to enable them to keep possession of the property would 
doubtless, nine times out of ten, yield a greater profit if they passed 
into other hands; they could not be in woi'se, and they might iall into 
better. The government need not fear that good estates will, in the 


present state of Brazil, remain long untenanted. Besides, the rulers of 
that kingdom may be very sure that the merchants will be more 
careful how they lend their money ; and this may sometimes prevent 
an honest man from obtaining what he requires for the due advance- 
ment of his labours. * 

Most of the plantations of the first class are however in the hands 
of wealthy persons, and this is becoming more and more the case 
every day. The estates which may be said to constitute this class 
are those which are situated near to the sea coast, that is, from two to 
sixteen miles from it ; which possess a considerable portion of low 
land adapted to the planting of the sugar-cane, — another of virgin 
wood, — good pasture land, (for nature must do every thing) and the 
possibility of being worked by water. The rains are more regular 
near to the coast than at a distance from it, and the facility of con- 
veying the produce of the estate down some of the small streams or 
creeks to a market, are the particular advantages which are derived 

* The alvara was passed the 2 1 st January, 1 809. One to the same effect had been passed 
on the 22(1 September, 1758, for the captaincy of Rio de Janeiro ; this was extended to other 
captaincies, at first as a temporary law, but it was afterwards several times renewed ; and 
it was at last allowed to be in force in all the ultra-marine dominions of Portugal, by 
the alvara of the 6th July, 1807. However as there were some restrictions attached to 
this law, that of 1 809 was passed. By this last, in the first place, executions cannot be 
made upon sugar estates which are in a working state and do work regularly, and that have 
under cultivation that quantity of ground which is requisite for the carrying on of the work 
of the mill, and for the support of the slaves ; executions can only be carried into effect 
upon one third of the net produce of such plantations ; the other two thirds being left for 
the expences of cultivation, and for the administration, that is, for the support of the 

Secondly. Executions can however be made if the debt is equal to or above the value 
of the estate; but the whole of the slaves, the cattle, the lands, and the implements be- 
longing to the engenho must form one valuation, nor can they be separated ; but they must 
all be taken as parts of the engenho. 

Tliirdly. If there are more debts than one, and these together make up the sum which 
may cause the plantation to be subject to execution, still some law proceedings must 
be entered into, by which these several debts may be placed in such a form as to be con- 
sidered as one debt. Thus the government does those things which ought not to be done, 
and leaves undone those things which ought to be done. 


from the vicinity of the sea. The slaves are fed with more ease, and 
less expence, and the quantity of food which they themselves have 
the means of obtaining from the sea and from the rivulets, enables 
them to be less dependent upon the rations of the master than the 
slaves of the Mata or districts between the coast and the Sertam. In 
a country that is without roads, upon which a wheeled carriage can 
be drawn with any degree of regularity of pace or of safety, the dif- 
ficulty of removing the large chests in which the sugar is packed, 
is a most serious consideration, and this inconvenience alone de- 
creases the value of lands, however productive they may be, which 
are so situated. If a person wishes to purchase property of this 
description, he will discover that the plantations which are conve- 
niently placed, are only to be obtained at high comparative prices, 
and by a considerable advance of money ; but many of those in the 
Mata may be purchased even without any advance, and under the 
agreement of small yearly payments of eight to ten per cent, upon the 

The lands of sugar plantations are appropriated to five purposes. 
These are ; the woods, — the lands for planting canes, — those which 
are cleared for pasturage, — the provision grounds for the negroes, — 
and the lands which are occupied by free people. 

The woods occupy a very considerable portion of the lands be- 
longing to a plantation ; in most cases much more than half the 
estate is yet covered with wood, but still I do not think, from what I 
saw and heard, that these forests contain so much fine timber as has 
been imagined. A tree of any species of valuable timber must now 
be purchased. Very little consideration is given to the quantity of 
wood that is destroyed in the work of a plantation, in many cases very 
unnecessarily. The fences are made of stakes, which are formed of 
the trunks of trees, driven into the ground, and to these are fastened 
horizontally the stems of younger plants. The best timber, rather 
than that of inferior quality, is selected for this purpose, that it may 
last the longer under exposure to the heat of the sun and to the 
rains. The fuel, likewise, is another most enormous source of de- 


struction; and although for this purpose some selection might be 
made of the qualities of timber which are less valuable, no thought 
is given to the matter. The havock which is committed in bringing 
out of the woods a tree that has been felled for any particular pur- 
pose is likewise immense ; for many trees are cut down to make a 
path from the usual road to the spot upon which the tree which is to 
be brought out is laying, that the oxen may enter to convey it away. 
It will be said, that the great object is to get rid of the superabund- 
ant quantities of wood, and this is no doubt the case; but according 
to the present system, very little land is radically cleared of wood, 
and yet the large and valuable timber is undergoing rapid destruc- 
tion. Virgin woods however certainly do yet exist to a great 
extent. It is said that those of Apepucos, which is near to Recife, 
are connected with the woods in the neighbourhood of Goiana, a 
distance of fifteen leagues. 

Of the lands for planting canes I have already treated. 

Each sugar plantation has one large field in which the buildings 
are placed. It is very rarely that estates are supplied with a second 
inclosure, consequently the cattle, or at least that part of it which is 
required after and before crop time for the work which is necessary 
to be done during the whole of the year, always remains upon the 
spot. These fields are sometimes of considerable extent ; I have 
seen some of three miles in circumference, or even of more. Few 
owners of estates can manage to preserve the field free from brush- 
wood. The horses which work the mill are usually removed from 
the plantation as soon as the crop is finished, and are often sent to 
the Sertam to pass the winter, and they return again just before crop- 
time on the following year. Indeed such is the importance of having 
good pasturage for these animals between the crops, and the ad- 
vantage of allowing some of them to rest two years, that every plan- 
tation should have a cattle estate in the interior of the country, as a 
necessary appendage. The oxen are often driven to the sea shore 
after the crop is over, if the estate is conveniently situated for this 
purpose, and are left to graze under the coco-trees until the follow- 


ing season. But they are fond of the young coco-plants, and there- 
fore it is not in every situation that this can be done. 

As the planters commonly feed their slaves, instead of allowing 
them a certain portion of each week for the purpose of supplying 
themselves, the lands which are set apart for raising their provisions 
are of great importance, for it does not answer to the planter to pur- 
chase the vegetable part of the food. The root of the mandioc and 
the kidney-bean are the two plants which are chiefly cultivated ; of 
the first of these I shall soon treat more at large. Maize is not much 
used in this part of the country. 

An estate contains in general much more land than its owner can 
manage or in any way employ, even under the present extravagant 
system of changing from one piece of ground to another. I call it 
extravagant, because it requires so much space for its operations, 
and performs these with more labour than is necessary. This over- 
plus of land gives room for the habitations of free people in the 
lower ranks of life, who live upon the produce which they raise by 
their own labour. The tenures by wliich these persons hold the 
lands which they occupy, are most insecure, and this insecurity con- 
stitutes one of the great engines of that power which the landholder 
enjoys over his tenants. No agreements are drawn out ; but the 
proprietor of the land verbally permits the peasant who applies to 
him for a place of residence, to inhabit a cottage upon his lands, 
under the condition of paying him a trifling rent (fi-om four to eight 
mil reis, one to two guineas or rather more ;) and he is allowed to culti- 
vate as much ground as he possibly can by himself, but the rent is in- 
creased if he calls in any one to assist him. Sometimes the verbal 
arrangement which is entered into, is that the tenant shall perform 
some service in lieu of making his payment in money. The service re- 
quired is, for instance, that of going upon errands, or of seeing that 
the woods are not destroyed by persons who have not obtained per- 
mission from the owner to cut down timber, and other offices of the 
same description. 



The buildings which are usually to be seen upon the plantations 
are the following : 

The mill ; which is either turned by water or by cattle ; some 
of the plantations possess both of these, owing to the failure of the 
water in the dry season ; and indeed there are a few estates upon 
which the crops are so large as to require that there should be 

The boiling-house ; which is usually attached to the mill, and is the 
most costly part of the apparatus, for the coppers, &c. must be ob- 
tained from Europe. 

The claying-house or caza de purgar ; which is oftentimes con- 
nected with the boiling-house. It is also generally made use of as 
the still-house or distillery. 

The chapel ; which is usually of considerable dimensions. This 
building and all the foregoing are almost universally constructed of 

The dwelling-house for the owner or manager ; to this is usually 
attached a stable for the saddle-horses ; the dwelling-houses are fre- 
quently made of timber and mud. 

The row of negro dwellings ; which I have described in another 
place as looking like neglected alms-houses in England, and is made 
of the same materials as the house of the owner. From the appear- 
ance of the negro huts an idea may usually be formed of the dispo- 
sition of the owner of a plantation. All these buildings are covered 
with tiles 

The estates have no regular hos]5ital for the sick negroes ; but one 
of the houses of the row is oftentimes set apart for this purpose. 
The stocks in which disorderly slaves are placed, stand in the clay- 


Of those estates which I have seen, I think that the average 
number of negroes sent to daily labour in the field does not reach 

3 A 


forty for each ; for although there may be upon a plantation this 
number of males and females of a proper age for working, still some 
of them will always be sick or employed upon errands, not directly 
conducive to the advancement of the regular work. An estate which 
possesses forty able negroes, males and females, an equal number of 
oxen*, and the same of horses, can be very well worked; and if the 
lands are good, that is, if there is a fair proportion of low and high 
lands fit for the culture of the sugar-cane, such an estate ought to 
produce a number of chests of sugar of fifteen hundred weight each, 
equal to that of the able slaves. I speak of forty slaves being suf- 
ficient, because some descriptions of work are oftentimes performed 
by freemen ; thus, for instance, the sugar boilers, the person who clays 
the sugar, the distiller, the cartmen, and even some others are very fre- 
quently free. Only a very small proportion of the sugar will be mus- 
cavado, if the business is conducted with any degree of management. 
I have heard it said by many planters that the melasses will pay almost 
every expence ; and that if rum is made, the proceeds of the me- 
lasses are rendered fully equal to the usual yearly expenditure. 

The negroes may be valued at 32/. each ; oxen at 31. each ; and 
horses at the same ; but by management the two last may be ob- 
tained at lower prices. A sugar plantation of the first class, 
with suitable buildings, may be reckoned as being worth from 7000/. 
to 8000/. and some few are valued as high as 10,000/. ; but an ad- 
vance of one-sixth of the price would probably be accepted, the 

* " diiils {les cahfouettiers) ayent soin, quand il est necessaire de Imr /aire oter les 
barbes, qui sont certaines excrescences de chair, qui leur viennent sous la langtie, qui les em- 
■pechent de paUre. Car les bcetifs ne cmipent pas I'Jierbe avec les dents comme les chevaux, ils ne 
font que Ventortiller avec la langue et Varracher ; mais quand ils ont ces excrescences, qui Icur 
causent de la doidetir, ils ne peuvenf appUquer leur langue atdour de Vherbc et deviennent 
maigres et sans force." — Nouveau Voyage, &c. torn iv. p. 1 79. 

Of this disorder I never heard, but there is one to which horses as well as horned cattle 
are subject ; it is produced by the animals feecUng upon fields of which the grass is very 
short. The flesh grows from the roots of the teeth towards tlieir edges, ami at last renders 
it impossible for the beasts to eat. 


remainder to be paid by yearly instalments. The inland plantations 
may be reckoned at from 3000/. to 5000/. and a few are rather 
higher ; but a smaller advance would be required than upon the pur- 
chase of prime plantations, and the instalments would be more 
moderate. Plantations of the first class ought to have eighty negroes 
at least, and an increased number of animals, owing to their capa- 
bility of employing more hands. * 

The only carts which are used upon the plantations are very clum- 
sily made ; a flat surface or table {meza) made of thick and heavy 
timber, of about two feet and a half broad, and six feet in length, is 
fixed upon two wheels of solid timber, with a moveable axle-tree ; a 
pole is likewise fixed to the cart. These vehicles are always drawn 
by four oxen or more, and as they are narrow, and the roads upon 
which they must travel are bad, they are continually overturning. 
The negroes who drive the carts have generally some indulgencies, 
with which their fellow-slaves are not favoured, from the greater 
labour which this business requires, and from the continual difficulty 
and danger to which they are exposed, owing to the over-turning 
of the carts and the unruliness of the oxen. In the whole 
management of the concerns of a plantation, the want of mechanical 
assistance to decrease the labour of the workmen must strike every 
person who is in the habit of seeing them, and of paying any atten- 
tion to the subject. I will mention one instance ; when bricks or 
tiles are to be removed from one place to another, the whole gang of 

* The following is a statement of the number of cases of sugar exported from Pernam- 
buco, from the year 1 8o8 to 1 8 1 3. 

1808. ----- 4271 

1809. ----- 12801 

1 8 10. - - - - - 9840 

181 1. 7749 

1812. 8577 

1813. ----- 9022 

I obtained it from my friend Mr. I. C. Pagen, who resided at Recife during a considerable 
portion of the time. 

3 A 2 


negroes belonging to the estate is employed in carrying them ; each 
man takes three or perhaps four bricks or tiles upon his head, and 
marches off gently and quietly ; he lays them down where he is 
desired so to do, and again returns for three or four more. Thus 
thirty persons sometimes pass the whole day in doing the same 
quantity of work that two men with wheel-barrows would have per- 
formed with equal ease in the same space of time. 




THIS most valuable plant has now become of more importance to 
Pernambuco even than the sugar-cane, owing to the great de- 
mand for the cotton of that province, and of those adjoining to it, in 
the British markets. New establishments are forming yearly for the 
cultivation of the cotton plant, notwithstanding the great in- 
conveniences which must often be experienced in accomplishing 
this object. The districts which are chosen for the purpose, and 
universally allowed to be the best adapted to its growth, are far re- 
moved from the sea coast, arid and oftentimes very scantily sup- 
plied with fresh water. Absolute distress is felt from a want of 
water in some of these situations, at the time that other parts of the 
country are enjoying perfect ease in this respect. The opinion is 
very general that the cotton plant will not thrive in the neighbour- 
hood of the coast*, and that frequent changes of weather are inju- 

* I have seen some fine cotton shrubs at the distance of one or two leagues, and even less, 
from the sea coast ; but the attempts that have been made to cultivate it to any extent in such 
situations, have not, from what I have seen and heard, met with the desired success. Might 
not the Sea-Island seed be sent for, and a trial of it made? The Pernambuco cotton is su- 
perior to that of every other part, excepting the small quantity which is obtained from 
those islands. 

Bolingbroke, in his "Voyage to the Demerary," says that "On the sea coast the British 
settlers also commenced the culture of cotlon, and found that land to answer much better 
than the soil up the river." — In Phillips' Collection, &c. p. 8i. 

The cotton of the settlements upon the part of South America of which he writes, is very 
inferior to that of Pernambuco. 

In the Third Report of the Directors of the African Institution, p. 23, I find it stated, 
that "the saline air of the sea-shore, which generally destroys coffee, is favourable to 
cotton ;" at p. 27, it is said that cotton never fails to degenerate "when it has been pro- 
pagated in the same ground for many years without a change of seed." 

366 COTTON. 

rious to it. The dry and wet seasons are doubtless more regularly 
marked at a distance from the sea, and if any variation is felt in such 
situations, it is from a want of rain, and not from a superabundance 
of it. The cotton plant requires that a great portion of the year 
should be dry ; for if much rain falls when the pod is open, the wool 
is lost ; it becomes yellow, decays, and is rendered completely unfit 
for use. The soil which is preferred for its culture is a deep red 
earth, with veins of yellow occasionally running through it ; this be- 
comes extremely hard, after a long interval without rain. The cot- 
ton plantations are yearly receding farther into the interior, where- 
ever the Sertam plains do not prevent this recession. The plant- 
ations of this description which were formerly established nearer to the 
coast, are now employed in the rearing of other plants. The con- 
stant supply of new lands which the cotton plant requires, for it is 
judged necessary to allow the land to rest for several years before it 
undergoes cultivation a second time, may in some degree account 
for this. Perhaps too, the rapid increase of the population upon the 
coast may have had some effect in forcing back those who plant an 
article of trade, to give place to others who cultivate the necessary 
food for the inhabitants of the country. The cotton is often sold by 
the planter in carofo, that is, before it has been separated from the 
seed, to other persons whose livelihood is obtained in preparing it 
for the export market ; but as the labour of conveyance is, of course, 
considerably increased whilst it is in this state, the dealers 
establish themselves near to the plantations ; they recede as the 
planters recede. Some years ago a number of the machines for sepa- 
rating the cotton from the seed were to be seen within two leagues of 
Recife ; a few years after they were removed to Goiana, and now 
the principal resorts of the dealers are Limoeiro and Bom Jardim ; 
places, as will have been seen, which are several leagues distant from 
the coast. 

The lands are cleared for planting cotton in the usual manner, — 
by cutting down the trees and burning them ; and the holes for the 
seeds are dug in quadrangular form at the distance of six feet from 
each other. Three seeds are usually put into each hole; in the 

COTTON. 367 

British colonies, it is found necessary to make use of eight or ten 
seeds. The time for planting is in January, after the primeiras aguas 
or first waters ; or at any rate as soon in the year as any rain has fallen. 
Maize is usually planted among the cotton shrubs. Three crops and 
sometimes four are obtained from the same plants ; but the second 
crop is that which generally produces the finest wool. The shrub 
has a pleasing appearance whilst it is in full leaf, and is covered with 
its most beautiful yellow blossoms ; but when the pods begin to open 
and the leaves to wither, its thin and straggling branches are left un- 
covered, and the plant much resembles a large black curi-ant bush, 
that has been left unpruned for a length of time. The cotton is 
gathered in nine or ten months. The machine for detaching it from 
the seed is simple, and might be rendered still more so. Two small 
rollers are placed horizontally in a frame, and nearly touching each 
other. At each end of these rollei's there are grooves through which 
a cord runs, which is connected at the distance of a few yards with a 
large wheel, to which handles are fixed, and this is turned by two 
persons. The rollers are so formed as to turn in . opposite direc- 
tions, so that as the cotton is thrust against them with the hand, it is 
carried to the other side, but the seeds remain, for the opening be- 
tween the rollers is not sufficiently broad to allov/ them to pass*. 
The machine which is used in the British colonies seems to be of the 
same construction in the main, but it is still more simple, for the 
rollers are made to turn by means of the feet of the person who holds 
the cotton to themf. After it has undergone the above pi^ocess, 
some particles of seeds which have been accidentally broken still 
remain, and of other substances which must be removed. For this 
purpose a heap of cotton is made, and is beaten with large sticks ; 
this is a most injurious operation, by which the fibre is broken ; but 

* I have heard that the seeds would form a very good food for cattle, if they could be 
completely freed from all particles of wool ; here lies the difficulty. 

f In Labat's time these machines were likewise worked by the feet of the person who 
was employed in thrusting the cotton against the rollers. 

868 COTTON. 

as the value of the commodity to the manufacturer chiefly depends 
upon the length of the fibre, no trouble ought to be grudged to avoid 
this practice. 

The seeds adhere " firmly to each other in the pod." Mr. Edwards 
speaks of this species in the British colonies, and gives to it the name 
of kidney cotton, saying that he believes it to be " the true cotton of 
Brazil*." The yellow or nankeen cotton is likewise to be found at 
Pernambuco ; but it does not form an article of cultivation, being 
regarded rather as a curiosity. I have seen some species of wild 
cotton, of which however as I have neither note nor specimen, I 
cannot pretend to give a description. 

The profits which ai-e obtained in favourable years by the planters 
of cotton, are enormous ; but frequently disappointments are expe- 
rienced. Oftentimes a whole crop is totally lost, and instead of large 
returns, the year proves entirely unproductive; or after a fair pro- 
mise, the grub, the caterpillar, the rain or the excessive drought 
destroys all hope vmtil the following season. The other great agri- 
cultural object, -7- the sugar-cane, is not subject to these numerous and 
ruinous reverses ; for even if the year is unfavourable, at least enough 
to pay the expences may be expected. I have heard it urged that 
the market is very little affected by the supposed failure of a crop ; 
but it must be remembered that in a country of such vast 
extent, one quarter may escape all mishap, whilst another is un- 
fortunate, t 

The quality of the cotton which is produced in South America, 
either to the north or south of Pernambuco, is inferior to that of the 
province of which I am treating. The cotton of Seara is not so 

* Mr. Edwards calls the species of the cotton plant which is cultivated in tlie Columbian 
islands, the common Jamaica, of which " the staple is coarse but strong." It is difficult to 
clean, owing to the brittleness of the seeds. It is strange, as Mr. Edwards remarks, that 
the British cotton planters should be acquainted with species of the shrub which produce 
finer wool, and yet continue to rear this inferior quality. 

f The following is a statement of the export of cotton from Pernambuco, from tlie 


good, and the cotton of Maranham is still coarser. Cotton is the 
staple commodity of both these ports. Proceeding from Pernam- 
buco to the south, the cotton of Bahia is not so fine, and the small 
quantity which is produced at Rio de Janeiro is not so good as that 
of Bahia. 

In treating of sugar and cotton, I have stated the chief points in 
which the planters in the Columbian islands and those of Brazil 
principally differ. Those of my readers to whom this subject is par- 
ticularly interesting may be referred to the well known work which 
I have consulted.* 


The mandioc requires good land, and the same spot will not pro- 
duce two crops successively ; it must be allowed to rest for one or 
two years or more. The operation of planting it is simple, and 
differs in no respect from that which was practised formerly by the 
Indians f. The flour which is made from this root is caWedfarinha 
de pao, or stick flour J. There are several species of the mandioc 

year 1808 to 1813. It was furnished to me by my fiiend Mr. I. C. Pagen, who re- 
resided at Recife during a considerable part of the time. 

1808. 26,877 

1809. 47»5i2 

1810. ----- 50,103 

181 1. 28,245 

1812. 58,824 

1813- 65,327 

From this it would appear that in saying, at chapter 1st, that the export from thence at 
the present time is between 80,000 and 90,000 bags annually, I have over-rated the real 
number. But it will be seen that the increase has been considerable from i8i2 to 1 8 13, 
and I know that it stiU continues to increase as rapidly, if not more so. 
* Edwards' History of the West-Indies. 
f History of Brazil, vol. i. p. 233. 

X Mr. Southey says, " When the mandioc failed, what was called stick flour (in Por- 
tugueze farinha de pao) was made from the wood of the Urucuri-iba, which thev cut in 
pieces and bruised ; and this being less liable to corrupt than the mandioc, is now gene- 
rally used in the Brazilian ships." vol. i. p. 233. The farhi/ia de pao which is at present 


plant, of which some are adapted to high lands, and others to low and 
moist situations ; but when the plant is cultivated upon the latter, hil- 
locks must be raised, else the root would decay. Cattle are fed 
upon the root and stalk : these are first prepared by being cut 
into small pieces and exposed to the sun for several hours ; if this 
was not done, the food would be injurious to them. I have how- 
ever seen some of the draught oxen that have become so habituated 
to it as to eat the root quite fresh, without receiving any apparent 
injury ; — in the manner that the human body becomes callous to the 
most violent medicines by long custom. 

I had in my possession, whilst I resided at Jaguaribe, one of these 
animals, who generally once in the course of every week at least 
contrived to get out of the inclosure, and pass part of the night in 
some neighbouring mandioc ground. He was so dexterous in tear- 
ing up the stalk with the root attached to it, that the marks of his 
footsteps alone made us quite confident of the natui'e of the thief. 
Whilst I was at Itamaraca, I lost a sheep, which had drank of the 
juice of the mandioc. The negroes and other persons were making 
farinha, and a trough stood under the press for the purpose of re- 
ceiving the juice. The sheep were attempting to come under the 
shed for the purpose of reaching some of the roots, of which they 
are extremely fond ; one of them approached the trough, which was 
filled with the juice, and although it was almost immediately per- 
ceived and driven away, still the effect of the small quantity which 
had been taken began to shew itself in a vei'y few minutes ; — the 
animal tottered and fell, rising again, and again falling. Oil was 
poured down its throat in considerable cfuantities, but to no purpose. 

used in these ships, is made from the mandioc, and the name of stick-floui- is by no means 
inapposite; for it always requires to be picked before it is used, to take out the bits of the 
husk and of tlie hardened fibres of the root wliich may chance to remain. But the name 
may have, and most probably did, commence with the stick-flour of the Urncuri-iba ; and 
when the substance from which it was made was changed, the name still continued. I refer 
the reader to the Historv of Brazil for a farther account of the mandioc. 


The body swelled to an enormous size, and the animal was dead in 
about ten minutes after it had drank of the juice.* 

The insect which is mentioned by Piso (quoted by Mr. Southey) 
under the name of tapuru, and is said to be generated by the juice 
of the mandioc, after it has become putrid, I have often seen. It is 
still known under the same name, which however is not peculiar to this 
worm, but it is likewise applied to maggots of every kind. The juice 
is not kept for any purpose, but it remains in the trough occasionally 
for some days, owing to the carelessness of the person under whose 
care these things are placed f. Of the deadly nature of this worm 
I never heard any mention. The species of mandioc which is called 
manipeba is proliibited, owing to the greater activity of its poisonous 
juice, and it is now almost extirpated; it had the advantage of gi'eater 
durability under ground. Those kinds which are usually planted 
decay if the stalk is broken off, but the stalks of the manipeba may 

* Du Tertre gives three remedies for those who have drank of the juice. " Le pre- 
mier qiiej'aij veu pratiqiier heureusement c'est de boire de Vhuile d!olive avec de I'eau tiede, ce 
qui fait x'omir tout ce qiCon a pris ; le second qui est tres-assure est de boire quantite de sue 
d'ananas, avec quelques goutes dejtis de citron ; mais sur torn les remcdes, le sue de Vherbe aux 
cmdeuvres, dont tons les arbres de ces isles sont revetiis, est le soriverain antidote, noji seulement 
centre ce mat, mais encore contre toute sorte de venin." — Histoire des Antilles, &c. 
torn. ii. p. 1 1 8. 

Labat does not believe in the virtue of the hei'be de couleuvres in this case. 

t Du Tertre speaks of the savages making use in their dishes of Veau de manyoc. — His- 
toire des Antilles, &c. tom. ii. p. 3 89. 

^^'Nos sauvages qui en mettent (the juice of the mandioc) dajis toutes leurs sauces n'en sont 
jamais incoiiunodez parce quails ne s'en servent jamais que quand il a boiiilli." — Nouveau 
Voyage, &c. tom. i, p. 400. 

Likewise in the " Voyage a la Guiane," p. loi, '■'■ Le sue de manioc cet instrument de mort 
devient, travaille par les Creoles de Cayenne, une sauce appetisso?ite et salutaire." 

" The juice is boiled with meat and seasoned, and makes excellent soup, which is termed 
casserepo, and used in pepper-pot and sauces." — Voyage to the Demerary, &c. by H; 
Bohngbroke, p. 149. 

Dr. Pinckard mentions having tasted in the colony of Demarary of the juice of the cas- 
sada prepared as sauce. — Notes on the West-Indies, vol. ii. p. 257. 

During the famine of 1 793, the people of Pernambuco made use of the juice as food ; but 
in times of plenty it is regarded as being unfit for any purpose. It is by evaporation that 
it loses its poisonous qualities. 

3b 2 


be cut away, and the root will still continue sound until, on the fol- 
lowing year a new stalk springs up. I have heard it said, that in 
the dry soils of the Mata a few of the other varieties of this 
plant will allow of the same treatment. Although the mandioc plant 
requires a dry situation, still when the rains fail in January the crops 
fall short, for it is in this month, immediately after the first waters, 
that the principal plantations of it are made. The Brazilians have a 
peculiar name for each part of this plant ; the root is called mandioca, 
the stalk maniva, the leaves manisoba, and the juice manipueira. 
There is one species of the plant, of which the juice is harmless ; it 
bears the name of macaxeira. Its root never grows to a great size, 
and it is therefore rather planted as an article of luxury than as 
regular food. From this species less juice is extracted than from the 
roots of equal dimensions of any of the other kinds of mandioc*. 
The rind of those species of mandioc which are in general use is of a 
dark brown colour, but there is one kind of which the rind is white. 
The most expensive part of the process of making the flour of 
the mandioc, consists in disengaging the rind from the root ; this is 
done with difficulty, by means of a piece of a broken blunt knife, a 
sharp pebble, or a small shell, with one of which each person is sup- 
plied ; in this work a considerable number of persons must be oc- 
cupied, to furnish employment to the wheel which grinds the root. 
This wheel is placed in a frame, and a handle is fixed to it on each 
side, by which it may be turned by two men, one of them working at 

* Du Tertre speaks of a species of harmless mandioc, which is called Kamanioc, and 
he adds, that it is assez rare. — Histoire des Antilles, &c. torn. ii. p. 114. 

Labat likewise speaks of the Camanioc, '' comme gut diroit le chef des maniocs. En effet son 
bois, ses feililles et ses racines sont plus grandes et plus grosses qiie les autres maniocs. Mais 
comme il est beaucoup plus long terns a. crditre et d murir, et que ses racines rendent beatwoup 
mains defarine parce qu'elles sont plus legeres et plus spongieuses que les autres, oti le neglige 
et peu de gens en plantent." — Nouveau Voyage, &c. torn. i. p. 411. 

It is not only the root of the macaxeira which is smaller, but the plant is, I think, altOr 
gether smalk-r than the other species. 

Barrere, in the Nouvclle Relation de la France Equinoxialc, p. 61, speaks of the harm- 
less species under the name of maniok sauvagc. 


each of the handles. A trough stands under the wheel, and the wheel 
is cased in copper, which is made rough by means of holes punched in 
it, the sides of the holes are not filed smooth. The mandioc is thrust 
against the wheel whilst it is turned with great velocity, and being by 
this means ground it falls into the trough underneath. From hence 
the ground pulp is put into a press, that the juice may be extracted; 
and after it has undergone sufficient pressure this pulp or paste {ma^a) 
is removed on to a hot hearth, upon which a person is employed to 
keep it in continual motion, that it may not be burnt ; when quite 
crisp it is taken off the hearth, and on being suffered to cool is in 
a state to be made use of * 

There is another mode of preparing the mandioc for food ; it is put 

* Barrere says, speaking of Cayenne, "ira Creoles prefei-ent eiicore au ineilleur pain du 
monde la cassave qii'elles mange rarement seche ; car elles la font toujmirs tremper dans I'eau ou 
dans quelque sauce : c'cst sans doute cctte notariture qui lew donne cette coideur pale, et qui fait 
qu' elles rHont point de coloris." I am afraid he docs not look quite far enough for the want 
of colour in the ladies of Cayenne. 

Then again, he says, " On ne mange que tres rarement a Cayenne, ou pour mieux dire, 
presqiie jamais de la Coaqiie, qui est la nourriture ordinaire des Portugais de Para, du Marag- 
nan, et despeuples, qui sont surles rivages dufleuve des Amazoties." He describes the coaque; 
and it is clearly the farinha, but he does not explain how the cassave was made, of which 
the Creole ladies were so fond, and which did them so much mischief. 

He says afterwards, " Les Indiens Portugais, quand ils veident prendre leurs repas, ils met- 
tent une poignee de coaque dans le creux de la main, qui leur sert d'assiette; et de Id ils la font 
saute)- adroitement dans la bouche ,■ Von boit par dcssus une bonne coiiye d'eau et de boisson ; et 
voila leur repas pi-is." — Nouvelle Relation de la France Equinoxiale, p. 55, and 56. 

This mode of eating and the abstemiousness of the repast are both common in Brazil 
to all casts of people. With respect to the cassave, I cannot comprehend what he means. 
But, contrary to his notion, to eat farinha in the manner that he mentions quite dry, 
although it is done by most people, is not reckoned wholesome. In fact, it is one of the 
duties of afeitoi- or manager to see that the negroes do not make their meals with dry 
farinha, but he should see that they make piram ; this is done by mixing the flour with 
boiling water or gravy. The negroes do not dislike piram, but they are sometimes too 
idle or too much fatigued to take the trouble of cooking their victuals; and therefore they 
eat the farinha dry, and their salt meat with it, after having smoke-dried the latter upon a 
wooden skewer. The disorder which is said to proceed from constantly eating dry farinha 
i« the drops}'. The flour of the mandioc swells considerably when it is moistened: if the 
expansion takes place in the stomach it may be injurious, and this may perhaps afford 
some reason for the opinion of the Brazilians upon the subject. 


into water in a pannier or closed basket, and is allowed to remain 
there for some days, until the root becomes soft, from which the 
iiiandioc, when in this state, is called mandioca molle. It is prepared 
in this manner for the purpose of making cakes, &c. but not gene- 
rally, for food. I tried to introduce the farmha, made from steeped 
mandioc, among the slaves whilst I resided at Jaguaribe ; the flour 
which was made from it, was much finer than that which is obtained 
in the usual manner, but the negroes did not like it so well, and I 
did not think it wholesome for them on consideration, and therefore 
the old way was continued. The mandioc must have made a cer- 
tain advance towards putrefaction before it becomes sufficiently soft 
to be bruised, and this cannot fail I should suppose to be injurious. 
The smell from the mandioca molle is extremely offensive, and is one of 
the annoyances in walking the streets of Recife, in which it is sold. 
The smell is however entirely removed after the farinha has been 
for some minutes upon the oven. * 


The sandy soils of the coast in which this plant seems to delight 
would, if they were not cultivated with it, remain almost useless ; but 
from the produce which the coco-tree yields, they are rendered very 
valuable. The lands which are occupied by this plant alone yield 
9, settled income to the owners of them without much labour ; whilst 

* Du Tertre mentions the same practice, — of steeping the mandioc, and says that the 
savages were in the habit " de la secher au soleil et I'ecorce s'ostanf (Telle-mesme, ilspillent le 
manyoc dans un mortier, pour le reduire enfarine, qiCih mangent sans autre cuisson" — His- 
toire des Antilles, &c. tom. ii. p. 1 14. 

Labat says, that the maroon negroes used to prepare it in the two following ways. " C'est 
de la couper par morceaux, et de le mettre tremper dans Veau cmtrante des rivieres oil des ra- 
vines pendant sept ou huit Jieures. Le movement de Veau ouxn-e les pores de la racine et entraine 
ce trap de substance. La seconde maniere est de le mettre cuire tout entier sous la braise. L' ac- 
tion dufeu met ses parties en mouvement et on le mange comme on fait des chataignes ou des pa- 
lates sans aucuneaainte." — Nouveau Voyage, &c. tom. i. p. 410. 

I think the said negroes must have been accustomed by degrees to eating the mandioc in 
this manner. I should not be willing to reconunend either of these ways of cooking it. 


the cultivation of any other requires considerable toil; however the 
long period, of from five to seven years, which the tree requires 
before it bears fruit, cannot fail to be considered as a drawback 
upon the profits which it ultimately affords, and upon the great age 
to which it arrives. However perhaps there are few trees of equal size 
that yield fruit in so short a period. It is a most valuable production, 
of which every part is appropriated to some useful purpose. The Bra- 
zilians say, that it affords to them both food and shelter ; of the trunk 
and of the leaves their huts are built ; of its fibrous roots baskets are 
made, and cordage of the outward husk. Its fruit renders to them 
meat and drink, and an excellent oil is likewise to be obtained 
by skimming the juice which may be pressed from the pulp. The 
coco is in general use in cookery among all ranks of people, and it 
forms one of the chief articles of internal trade *. When a plant- 
ation of this tree is about to be established, the ripe cocos from which 
the plants are to be reared, are placed in the ground, about twelve 
inches below the surface, in long and almost united rows, for the 
convenience of being watered. They are frequently placed in this 
manner, vmder the eaves of houses, which saves much trouble, for by 
the accumulation of water from the house top, each shower of rain pro- 
duces sufficient moisture, and the owner is i-elieved from any farther 
trouble in this respect. At the expiration of five months the shoots 
begin to make their appearance above ground, and at the end of 
twelve months from the time that the cocos were first put into the 
earth, the young plants may be removed f. They are then placed 

* " Les Espanhols enfont des tasscs paiir prendre le chocolat. J' en ai vil de ires belles bien 
travaillees, cizeUes, enrichies d'argent sur unpied d'argent, et d' autres sur un piedfait d'tm au- 
tre morceau de cocos bien cizele." — Nouveau Voyage, &c. tom.iii. p. 273. 

f " Ow pretend que Varbre est atitant ^annees d rapporter du fniit, qti'il a ete de mois 
en tetre, avant de potisscr son germe." — Nouveau Voj^age, &c. tom.iii. p. 267. 

Labat does not however vouch for the truth of the statement. He speaks of the cab- 
bage of the coco-tree being very good; and I agree with him. A coco-tree was cut down 
at Itamaraca, and the vicar sent me the cabbage of which several dishes were made, and 
they were excellent. 


at the distance of eight or ten yards from each other, upon the land 
that has been cleared for the purpose of receiving them. As soon 
as they have once taken root, and by far the major part of them 
fail not so to do, very little care is necessary. They must however 
be preserved tolerably free from brushwood, at least during the first 
years ; and indeed at all times the fruitfulness of the tree will be in- 
creased, if it is allowed its due space. * 


This plant may be, as well as the coco, reared in sandy soils, but 
it will flourish with more luxuriance, upon those that are of a richer 
kind. The oil, which is extracted from the seed, is in general use 
for lamps and other purposes, but neither is it eaten, nor known as 
a medicine; but it is administered as an outward application. It is 
given to animals that have drank the juice of the mandioc, and is 
sometimes successful in forcing the poison back from the stomach. 
The plant is much cultivated, but it is frequently to be seen growing 
spontaneously, f 


The wood from which is extracted the beautiful red dye, which 
is so much esteemed in Europe, is, I believe, generally supposed 
to be peculiar | to the country to which it has given a § name. 
It is often called in Pernambuco (from whence, I imagine, that it is 

* Vide Appendix for a farther account of the coco-tree. 

\ Labat was a most determined experimental eater, and therefore I was not surprised at 
meeting with the following expression of regret, " Je suisfache de n' avoir pas experimente 
pendant quefetois aux isles, si cette huile ne seioit pas bonne a manger: — Nouveau Voyage, 
&c. torn. iii. p. 283. I wish he had. 

If. Mr. Clarkson, in his work on the Impolicy of the Slave Trade, p. 1 3 and 1 4, mentions 
that a small billet was brought to England from the coast of Africa among a parcel of bar- 
wool ; that " it was found to produce a colour that emulated the carmine, and was deemed 
to be so valuable in the dying trade, that an offer was immediately made of sixty guineas ^«- 
ton for any quantity that could be procured." 

§ History of Brazil, vol. i. p. 19. 


exclusively exported) pao da Rcilnha or Queen's wood, owing to 
the circumstance of the trade in it being a government mono- 
poly ; and it is exported to Europe on account of the Crown. No 
care has been taken to prevent a scarcity of the wood, and in- 
deed its ultimate extirpation; it is cut down unmercifully wherever 
it is met \^ith by the officers who are appointed for this pur- 
pose, without any regard being paid to the size of the tree. 
No plantations have been formed of it, and consequently it is now 
rarely to be seen, within many leagues of the coast. The labour which 
is required in obtaining it is now considerable, for the weight of the 
wood renders its conveyance very difficult upon the backs of horses, 
and this is the only manner in which it can be carried. The pay which 
is given by the government to the carriers is below the usual rate for 
work equally laborious, and therefore a wide source of oppression 
is afforded. The carrier receives with his load a slip of paper, 
declaring the weight of the wood which he is conveying; this is to 
be presented by him at the Intendencia da Marinha, or dock-yard at 
Recife, and he must wait until the wood is again weighed and the 
paper countersigned, before he can return home. These men are 
delayed sometimes for several days, before they are permitted to re- 
turn; and they find that it is their interest to make many presents 
to the inferior officers, that they may be quickly dispatched. Here 
the old system of indifference to what is just, still most glai-ingly 
continues. This account of the treatment of the men who convey 
the wood, I received from several v/ho had been employed in the 

If the trade in the wood was to be laid open, it would only tend 
to its scarcity still more speedily than under the existing system; 
but as soon as it became scarce it would be rendered an object 
worthy of cultivation : however, as long as it is to be obtained in 
its wild state, and enormous profits can be made, the government 
will probably continue to supply the market on their own account. 
Every sugar plantation might cultivate a great number of these 

3 c 

378 MAIZE. 

trees, without any additional land being required to be cleared for 
the purpose of planting them. The fences of the Cercados, or fields, 
might be strengthened by the addition of the Brazil inserted at in- 
tervals; instead of other trees being used in this way. 

I never saw the plant, but I have heard it described in the follow- 
ing manner. It is not a lofty tree; and at a short distance from the 
ground, innumerable branches spring forth and extend in every 
direction in a straggling, irregular, and unpleasing manner. Prac- 
tice is requisite to obtain a knowledge of the tree, for the valuable 
portion of it is the heart, and the outward coat of wood has not any 
peculiarity. The leaves are small, and never cover the branches lux- 

The Tatajuba, or Fustic — This is a species of wood producing 
a yellow dye, which is well known in England. It is of spontaneous 
growth. A demand has lately been made for it, and destruction has 
followed wherever the plant can be met with. 

The Feijam or Kidney Bean is planted in April and May with 
the mandioc. It is much used in the neighbourhood of the coast by 
the free part of the population, but is not produced in sufficient 
quantities to form a common food for the negroes. When it is 
cooked with the juice of the pulp of the coco-nut it makes a most 
excellent dish. In the cotton districts it forms one of the chief 
articles of the negroes' food. 

MiLHO, or Maize, is planted with mandioc, and sometimes in 
the cane fields; but as the best crop is obtained by planting it with 
the mandioc in January, few persons sow it at any other time. In 
the inland districts it is sown with the cotton, and in such situations O 

yields more plentifully than in the lands which border upon the 

* Labat is much enraged, in his work of the Voyage du Chevalier des Marchais a Cay- 
enne, &c. at the idea of the Portugueze monopolizing the trade in Brazil wood, by per- 
suading all the world that the only true wood came from Pernambuco, or Fernambourg, as 
he calls it. He imagines that the Brazil is the same as the logwood. 



coast. Boiled maize is a common breakfast for the slaves in 
the cotton districts; the dish resembjes thick peas' soup, and is far 
from being unpalatable if sugar or treacle is added. The people 
call it angu de mllho. 

The Banana Plant is too well known to take up much space 
here. There are in Pernambuco three species of it ; the banana 
curta or short banana; this is a small fruit, not exceeding two inches 
in length; — the banana comprida or long banana, which is the 
plantain ; — and lately the third species has been introduced, and has 
obtained the strange name of the banana de quatro vintems or four 
vintems banana, because the clusters of the fruit are so large that each 
cluster may be sold for four vintejm, — rather more than 5d. I do not 
think that as much utility is derived from the plant as it is capable 
of affording; it is not so generally used as a food by the negroes, as 
it ought to be. The banana curta, with dry farinha, is a common 
breakfast among people of colour.* 

* The long banana or plantain appears to be of much more importance in Demarary 
and the adjoining colonies, for Mr. Bolingbroke says, " This coast (between the Esse- 
quibo and Pomaroon rivers) possesses a considerable advantage over the other sea-coasts, 
from its being able to rear any quantity of plantains." — Voyage to the Demarary, &c. 
p. 115.; and at p. 87, he speaks of the same fruit being the "negroes' chief food." 

Labat mentions a means of rendering the banana serviceable in travelling ; and as the 
ingredients of his receipt are all of them good, the mixture must, I should imagine, be 
like%vise good, and therefore I insert it for the benefit of those who may, as I have been, be 
much in want of something palatable, when crossing the Seara-Meirim. " Ceux qui veulent 
faire cette pate avec pliis de soin,font (Vahord sechei- les bananes au four ou au soleil, puis ils 
les gr agent, ils y melent ensuite du sucrepile, avec unpeu de poudre de canelle, de gerqffie et 
de gingembre, tant soit pen. defarine et un blanc d'ceufpour Her toutes ces choses ensemble, ap-es 
qtCelles ont ete paitries avec un peu d' eau dejleur d'cnwige." — Nouveau Voyage, &c. torn, 
iii. p. 314. Fewer ingredients might be made use of. 

Du Tertre says of the banana, " Quand on le coupe on voit une belle croix imprimee sur 
cJiaque tronfon; c'est qui afaitcroireaplusieurs que ce fruit est le meme qu^ Adam mangea 
dans le Paradis terrestre" S^c. — Histoire des Antilles, &c. torn. ii. p. 140. 

Labat speaks of the same story, but adds, " Adam pouvoit avoir meilleure viie que 
nous, ou la croix de ces bananes etoit mieux formee." — Nouveau Voyage, &c. torn iii. p. 307. 
I was once desired by a Brazilian woman of colour to cut the banana lengthways, and 
not across, for by the latter manner of dividing the fruit, I should cut the Cruz de 
Nosso Senkor, Our Saviour's Cross. 

3 c 2 


The Batatas. — Of these there are several species ; but that which 
Ihad the most opportunities of seeing was the batata roxa or purple 
potatoe, which is so called from the purple tinge of the pulp after it has 
been boiled ; this is the best of the tribe. The taste is pleasant, and 
would be still more so if it was not rather sweet. The batata is a 
creeping plant, and is re-produced from the roots, or from the sprouts 
of the branches. If the branches of roots that have been pulled up 
remain upon the ground, and a shower of rain falls soon after they 
have been broken off, their vegetation will recommence. The batatas 
are at present planted more as a luxury for the planter's house than 
as food for the negroes ; but I do not think that there is any plant 
which is more capable, or even so capable, of affording assistance to 
the mandioc as this; and perhaps it might supply its place. The 
mandioc should be supplanted, if any thing else could be discovered 
to answer the purpose of a staple article of food ; for it is uncertain 
in yielding its crops, and requires the best land. To neither of 
these disadvantages would, I rather think, the batata be found subject. 
The European potatoe has been planted, in several instances, at Per- 
nambuco; the first crop is as well tasted as the roots from which it 
was produced, but the potatoes were small; a second crop, being 
obtained from the same family of roots, has been sweetish, and on 
advancing, the potatoes become still more similar to the batata of 
the country *. Yet the plants appear to be totally different from 
each other, for the Brazil batata or potatoe is produced from a creeper. 
Tobacco is planted upon almost all the sugar-plantations, and by 
a majority of persons of the lower classes, for their own use. A 
considerable quantity is imported from the southern provinces of 
Brazil into Pernambuco. The ants do not molest the plant, but in 

* Labat says, that " la patate est une espece de pomme de tei-re que approche assez de ce 
qiCon appelle en France les Taupinamhours." — Nouveau Voyage, &c. torn. ii. p. 400. 

Du Tertre says, " Lorsque les ouragans ont tant defois ravage les manyocs de nos isles, on 
a fmijoiirs eu recours aux palates, sans lesquelles bien du monde anroii pery dejaim." And 
again, " Tons les matins, c' est une coustume generate par tmitcs les isles defairc ayre plein une 
chaudine de palates pour dejeuner ." — Histoire des Antilles, &c. toni. ii. p. 1 18 and 1 19. 


the parts of the country which are much infested by these insects, the 
peasants mix the seed of the tobacco with wood ashes before they 
strew with it the ground which they are about to sow. The ants 
have an antipathy to the ashes, and thus the seed is preserved. 

Rice is very httle cultivated in Pernambuco ; but at Maranham 
it forms the second object of trade. The use of it in Pernambuco is 
inconsiderable, from the idea that it is unwholesome for the negroes ; 
and indeed I never met with any of the Africans who preferred it to 
other kinds of food. 

Coffee and Cacao are yet planted as experiments, for their intro- 
duction into Pernambuco is recent.* 

Ipecacuanha. — Although this is at present only to be found in a 
wild state, I have inserted it here, for it must shortly take its place 
among cultivated plants. The small quantity exported is procured by 
the Indians and other persons of the same rank and habits of life, 
in the thickest woods. It thrives most in the shade. The plant is 
destroyed also by many of the larger kinds of game, to which it serves 
as food. There are two species of it which are distinguished by the 
names of white and black Ipecacuanha ; the latter is that which is used 
for medicinal purposes in Europe f. The white is used by the Brazi- 
lians in colds and coughs, and is taken to purify the blood after a 

* Labat says, in speaking of cacao, " On ne manque jamais de planto' du manioc en 
meme terns qu'on met les ama?ides en teire." This is done for tlie purpose of defending the 
plant from the sun. "Om arrache le manioc an bout de douze on quinze mois"— "ct siir le 
champ on en plante d^autrcs, mais en moindre qiutntitc, c'esf a dire, quon ne met qihin rang 
de fosses an milieu des allees" and he recommends that the water-melon, the common 
melon, and such like plants should be sown between the mandioc and the cacao-trees. — 
Nouveau Voyage, &c. tom. vi. p. 397 and 398. 

■\ Labat is angry at a notion which was entertained in his time by some people, that the 
black Ipecacuanha was only to be found near to the gold mines in the interior of Rio de 
Janeiro. He speaks of a third species of Ipecacuanha, which he distinguishes by the 
epithet of gris, and he likewise mentions the white kind ; both of these, he says, answer the 
same purpose as the black, but a larger dose is required. — Nouveau Voyage, &c. 
tom. vi. p. 29. 


Ginger is indigenous, but is now rarely to be found in a wild 
state*. The white ginger is that which is in general use. 

Malagueta Pepper is a small shrub which is to be seen under the 
eaves of almost every cottage. The pods are of a bright scarlet 
colour, of about one inch in length, and one quarter in breadth. It 
is a hardy plant ; for although it droops under excessive drought, it 
is seldom destroyed by it. Often are to be seen at the same time, 
and upon the same bush, the blossoms, and the green and the ripe 
scarlet pods. Wherever this shrub springs up care is taken of it ; 
for the people of all ranks are from habit almost unable to eat their 
food without the malagueta. The pods are bruised when about to 
be used, and either form an ingredient in every dish, or they are 
served up in all the sauces f. The pimenta de cheiro, or scented 
pepper, is likewise common, but it requires more care in rearing, 
and is a smaller shrub than the inalagueta. The pods are of a bright 
red in general, but sometimes they are, naturally, of a pale yellow 
colour ; they are round, and about the size of a crab apple. 

Tea is stated to be indigenous in Brazil:}:. A priest of con- 

* " Vieyra, in his letters, mentions a received tradition that Emanuel ordered all the 
spice plants to be rooted up, lest the Indian trade should be injured, and that ginger was 
the only spice which escaped, because it was under-ground. He does not appear to have 
recollected the impossibility of carrying such an order into effect upon a continent." — 
History of Brazil, vol. i, note to p. 3 2. Dr. Arruda alludes to this order in his Discurso 
sobre a utilidade da instituicam de jardims, &c. And he adds that a few cinnamon trees at 
Pernambuco escaped as well as the ginger, p. 8. 

f " On one article, guinea-grains or malaguetta-pepper, the duty has been doubled ; not 
not with a view of increasing the revenue, but of operating as a prohibition of the use of 
it, as it is supposed to have been extensively employed in the brewing of malt-liquor. The 
Directors however have great reason to doubt the existence of the deleterious qualities 
ascribed to this drug ; as they find it to be universally esteemed in Africa one of the most 
wholesome of spices, and generally used by the natives to season their food." — Fourth 
Report of the Directors of the African Institution, p. 16. 

If this article and the malagueta of Brazil are the same, I should be strongly inclined to 
agree with the Report; and indeed I conceive that it is not only harmless but extremely 
wholesome. A decoction of the pods is used among the peasantry as an injection in aguish 

% Noticias MSS. quoted by Mr. Southey, History of Brazil, vol. i. p. 320. 


siderable reputation as a botanist, told me that he liad discovered 
this plant in the neighbourhood of Olinda; but afterwards again he 
informed me that he was afraid he had been too sanguine. * 

HouTicuLTURE has of late years been rapidly improving, and the 
markets of Recife are now well supplied with vegetables and roots. 
The gardeners are chiefly Portugueze, from the provinces of the 
mother country^ or from the Azores. Peasf, cabbages, and several 
other kinds of European vegetables and roots are to be purchased, 
besides others which are peculiar to the country, such as mandubims 
and yams. The European onion produces a small root of an oblong 
form|, which is known in Pernambuco .under the name o£ ceboli7iho, 
as the diminutive of cehola, an onion. The vine is to be seen in 
many of the gardens in the neighbourhood of Recife and of Olinda; 
and formerly there were a great many at Conception upon the island 
of Itamaraca, but few now remain. No wine is made. The fruit 
trees are some of those which are common to the southern parts of 
Europe, such as the orange §, the fig, and others, but no olives; 
besides these, there are the manga, the jack, and a numerous list, 
so|ne of which have^ been mentioned incidentally in the course of 
this volume ; but I have tarried already too long upon this branch 
of my subject, and must now proceed to something else. 

* Labat says, " a Vegard du the, il croit naturellevient aux isles. Tontes les terres lid sont 
propres, f en ai vii en qtiaiitite a la Basseterre." &c. — Nouveau Voyage, &c. torn. iv. p. 225. 

He mentions it again, and seems to be quite confident that tlie plant of which he speaks 
is the tea shrub. 

f '■'■Ilfaut que les graities se naturalisent au pays, et qiiand cela est fait elles produisent a 
merveille. J'ai experiments qu'ayant seme des pais qui venoient de France, ils rappmtoient 
tres peu, les seconds rapportoient davantage, mais le troisiemes produisoient d'une maniere 
extraordinaire pcnir le nombre, la grosseur et la honte." — Nouveau Voyage, &c. torn. i. p. 367. 

X Du Tertre speaks of the same occurring in the Columbian Islands. 

§ Again Labat, " On employe le sue des oranges aigres avec un succesma-veilleiix et infail- 
lible a guerir les ulccrcs quelque vieux et opinidtres qu'ils piiissent etre. — Nouveau Voyage, &c. 
torn. iii. p. 254. 

The orange is cut into two pieces, and is rubbed violently upon the sore. 




THE insufficiency of the population of Portugal to the almost 
unbounded plans of the rulers of that kingdom, has, in all pro- 
bability, saved her South American possessions from the dreadful 
contests which are to be apprehended in the neighbouring Spanish 
colonies, between the creole white inhabitants and those of colour. 
The struggle yet rages with exterminating violence between the 
descendants of Europeans, born in South America, and the natives 
of Old Spain ; but when this is at an end, another equally, if not 
more destructive, is to be looked for between the former and their 
countrymen of mixed casts. The appeal which the creole whites 
have made to the people, and the declarations which they have 
publicly set forth, of directing their proceedings by their voice ; the 
exposure of those abstract principles of government which are so 
delightful in theory, but so difficult of execution, will, most pro- 
bably, bring down upon their heads the destruction which has thus 
been courted. In the Portugueze South American dominions, cir- 
cumstances have directed that there should be no division of casts, 
and very few of those degrading and most galling distinctions which 
have been made by all other nations in the management of their 
colonies. That this was not intended by the mother country, but 
was rather submitted to from necessity, is to be discovered in some 
few regulations, which plainly shew, that if Portugal could have pre- 


served the superiority of the whites, she would, as well as her neigh- 
bours, have established laws for this purpose. The rulers of Por- 
tugal wished to colonize to an unlimited extent ; but their country 
did not possess a population sufficiently numerous for their magnifi- 
cent plans. Adventurers left their own country to settle in the New 
World, who were literally adventurers; for they had not any settled 
plans of life, and they were without families. Persons of established 
habits, who had the wish to follow any of the ordinary means of 
gaining a livelihood, found employment at home ; neither could 
Portugal spare them, nor did they wish to leave their native soil. 
There was no superabundance of population, and therefore every man 
might find occupation at home, if he had steadiness to look for it ; 
there was no division in political or religious opinion ; there was no 
necessity for emigration, save that which was urged by crimes. 
Thus the generality of the men who embarked in the expeditions 
which were fitted out for Brazil, were unaccompanied by females, 
and therefore, naturally, on their arrival in that country, they mar- 
ried, or irregularly connected themselves with Indian women, and 
subsequently with those of Africa. It is true that orphan girls were 
sent out by the government of Portugal*, but these were necessarily 
few in number. In the course of another generation, the colonists mar- 
ried the women of mixed casts, owing to the impossibility of obtain- 
ing those of their own colour ; and the frequency of the custom, and 
the silence of the laws upon the subject, removed all idea of degra- 
dation, in thus connecting themselves. Still the European notions 
of superiority were not entirely laid aside, and these caused the 
passing of some regulations, by which white persons were to enjoy 
certain privileges. Thus, although the form of trial for all casts is 
the same, in certain places only can capital punishments be inflicted 
upon the favoured race ; the people of colour are not eligible to 

History of Brazil, vol. i. p. 2 1 6. 
3 D 


some of the chief offices of government, nor can they become mem- 
bers of the priesthood. 

From the mildness of the laws, however, the mixed casts have 
gained ground considerably ; the regulations which exist against 
them are evaded, or rather they have become obsolete. Perhaps the 
heroic conduct of Camaram and Henrique Dias, the Indian and 
negro chieftains, in the famous and most interesting contest be- 
tween the Pernambucans and the Dutch, and the honours subse- 
quently granted by the crown of Portugal to both of them, may 
have led to the exaltation of the general character of the much- 
injured varieties of the human species of which they were mem- 
bers. Familiarity between the chieftains of the several corps 
must be the consequence of their embarkation in the same cause, 
when the war is one of skirmishes, of ambuscades, of continual 
alarm, of assistance constantly afforded to each other ; a patriotic 
war, against a foreign invader, in which difference of religion 
exists, and each party mortally hates the other. On these occasions 
all men are equal, or he only is superior whose strength and whose 
activity surpasses that of others. The amalgamation of casts 
which is caused by this consciousness of equality could not have 
had a fairer field for its full accomplishment, than the war to which 
I'have alluded; and the friendships which were formed under these 
circumstances would not easily be broken off. Although the par- 
ties who had been so united might have been, in their situations in 
life very far removed from each other, still the participation of 
equal danger must render dear the companions in peril, and make 
the feelings which had been roused on these occasions of long 
duration ; they would continue to act, long after the cessation of 
the series of occurrences which had called them forth. 

The free population of Brazil at the present time consists o.' 
Europeans ; Brazilians, that is, white persons born in Brazil ; mu- 
lattos, that is, the mixed cast between the whites and blacks, and 
all the varieties into which it can branch ; mamalucos, that is, the 
mixed cast between the whites and Indians, and all its varieties j- 


Indians in a domesticated state, who are called generally Caboclos ; 
and those who still remain in a savage state, and are called gene- 
rally Tapuyas ; negroes born in Brazil, and manumitted Africans ; 
lastly, Mestizos, that is, the mixed cast between the Indians and 
negroes. Of slaves, I shall speak by and by more at large ; these 
are Africans, Creole negroes, mulattos, and mestizos. The maxim 
of the civil law, partus sequitur ventrem, is in force here as well as in 
the colonies of other nations.* 

These several mixtures of the human race have their shades of dif- 
ference of character as well as of colour. First we must treat of the 
whites. The Europeans who are not in office, or who are not mi- 
litary men, are, generally speaking, adventurers who have arrived 
in that country with little or no capital. These men commence 
their career in low situations of life, but by parsimony and continual 
exertion directed to one end, that of amassing money, they often 
attain their object, and pass the evening of their lives in opulence. 
These habits fail not, oftentimes, to give a bias to their dispositions, 
which is unallied to generosity and liberality. They look down 
upon the Brazilians, or rather they wish to consider themselves 
superior to them ; and until lately the government took no pains 
to remove the jealousy which existed between the two descriptions of 
white persons ; and even now, not so much attention is paid to thfe 
subject as its great importance seems to require, f 

* This was not the case at one time in the French islands. " Quand quelque commandeur 
abuse d^une negre, V enfant imdasfre qui en vient est libre, et le pere est oblige de le 7iourrir et 
de V entretenir jusqiC a I'age de doiize ans, sans Vamende a laquelle il est encore co7idamne." — 
Histoire des Antilles &c. torn. ii. p. 460. 

Labat tells us that "ie roi a fait j-evivre par sa Declaration la loi Ro^naine, qui veut que 
les enfans suivens le swt dtt ventre qui les aportez" and this revival took place in 1674, when 
the king took the islands from the Companies which had held them during his pleasure. — 
Nouveau Voyage &c. tom. ii. p. 192. 

f The majority of the clergy of Pernambuco, both regular and secular, are of Brazilian 
parentage. The governor is an European, and so are the major part of the chief officers, 
civil, military, and ecclesiastical ; but the bishop is a Brazilian, and so is the ouvidor. 

3 D 2 


The Brazilian white man of large property, who draws his descent 
from the first Donatory of a province, or whose family has for 
some generations enjoyed distinction, entertains a high opinion of 
his own importance, which may sometimes appear ridiculous ; but 
which much oftener leads him to acts of generosity, — to the adop- 
tion of liberal ideas, — to honourable conduct. If he has been well 
educated, and has had the good fortune to have been instructed by a 
priest whose ideas are enlightened, who gives a proper latitude for 
difference of opinion, who tolerates as he is tolerated, then the cha- 
racter of a young Brazilian exhibits much to admire. Surrounded 
by numerous relatives, and by his immediate dependants, living in 
a vast and half-civilized country, he is endued with much inde- 
pendence of language and behaviour, which are softened by the 
subordination which has been imbibed during his course of educa- 
tion. That this is general, I pretend not to say ; few persons are 
instructed in a proper manner, and again, few are those who profit 
by the education which they have received ; but more numerous 
are the individuals who now undergo necessary tuition, for powerful 
motives have arisen to urge the attainment of knowledge. 

I have heard it often observed, and I cannot help saying that I 
think some truth is to be attached to the remark, in the country of 
which I am treating, that women are usually less lenient to their 
slaves than men, but this doubtless proceeds from the ignorant state 
in which they are brought up; they scarcely receive any education, 
and have not the advantages of obtaining instruction from commu- 
nication with persons who are unconnected with their own way of 
life ; of imbibing new ideas from general conversation. They are 
born, bred, and continue surrounded by slaves without receiving any 
check, with high notions of superiority, without any thought that what 
they do is wrong. Bring these women forwards, educate them, treat 
them as rational, as equal beings, and they will be in no respect in- 
ferior to their countrymen; the fault is not with the sex, but in the 
state of the human being. As soon as a child begins to crawl, a 
slave of about its own age and of the same sex is given to it as a 


playfellow, or rather as a plaything; they grow up together, and 
the slave is made the stock upon which the young owner gives vent 
to passion ; the slave is sent upon all errands, and receives the 
blame of all unfortunate accidents; — in fact, the white child is thus 
encouraged to be overbearing, owing to the false fondness of its pa- 
rents. Upon the boys the effect is less visible in after-life, because 
the world cui'bs and checks them, but the girls do not stir from 
home, and therefore have no opportunities of wearing off these per- 
nicious habits. It is only surprising that so many excellent women 
should be found among them, and by no means strange that the 
disposition of some of them should be injured by this unfortunate 
direction of their infant years. 

As vegetation rapidly advances in such climates, so the animal 
sooner arrives at maturity than in those of less genial warmth ; and 
here again education is rendered doubly necessary to lead the mind 
to new ideas, to curb the passions, to give a sense of honour, and 
to instil feelings of that species of pride which is so necessary to a 
becoming line of conduct. The state of society, the climate, and 
the celibacy of the numerous priesthood, cause the number of illeo-iti- 
mate children to be very great; but here the roda dos engeitados, and a 
custom which shews the natural goodness of the people, prevent the 
frequent occurrence of infanticide, or rather render it almost unknown. 
An infant is frequently during the night laid at the door of a rich 
person, and on being discovered in the morning is taken in, and is 
almost invariably allowed to remain; it is brought up with the chil- 
dren of the house (if its colour is not too dark to admit of this,) cer- 
tainly as a dependant, but not as a servant; however a considerable 
tinge of colour will not prevent it from being reared with the white 
children. These engeitados or rejected ones, as individuals who are 
so circumstanced are called, are frequently to be met with, and 
I heard of few exceptions to the general kindness with which they 
are treated. Public feeling is much against the refusing to ac- 
cept and rear an engeitado ; the owner of a house, who is in easy cir- 
cumstances, and yet sends the infant from his own door to the pub- 


lie institution which is provided for its reception, is generally spoken 
of in terms of indignation. Sometimes a poor man will find one of 
these presents at his door, and he will generally place it at the 
landholder's threshold on the following night; this is accounted ex- 
cusable and even meritorious, for at the Great House the child has 
nearly a certainty of being well taken care of 

I have observed that, generally speaking, Europeans are less in- 
dulgent to their slaves than Brazilians; the former feed them well, 
but they require from the poor wretches more labour than they can 
perform, whilst the latter allow the aifairs of their estates to continue 
in the way in which it has been accustomed to be directed. This 
difference between the two descriptions of owners is easily accounted 
for ; the European has probably purchased part of his slaves on 
credit, and has during the whole course of his life made the accu- 
mulation of riches his chief object. The Brazilian inherits his estate, 
and as nothing urges him to the necessity of obtaining large profits, 
he continues the course that has been pointed out to him by the 
former possessors. His habits of quietude and indolence have led 
him to be easy and indifferent, and although he may not provide for 
the maintenance of his slaves with so much care as the European, 
still they find more time to seek for food themselves. That avari- 
cious spirit which deliberately works a man or a brute animal* until 
it is unfit for farther service, without any regard to the well-being of 
the creature, which is thus treated as a mere machine, as if it was 
formed of wood or iron, is however seldom to be met with in those 
parts of the country which I visited. Instances of cruelty occur (as 
has been, and will yet be seen,) but these pi'oceed from individual 
depravity, and not from systematic, cold-blooded, calculating indif- 
ference to the means by which a desired end is to be compassed. 

Notwithstanding the relationship of the mulattos on one side to 
the black race, they consider themselves superior to the mamalucos ; 
they lean to the whites, and from the light in which the Indians are 

* Our wicked stage coach and post chaise system. 


held, pride themselves upon being totally unconnected with them. 
Still the mulattos are conscious of their connection with men who 
are in a state of slavery, and that many persons even of their own 
colour are under these degraded circumstances ; they have therefore 
always a feeling of inferiority in the company of white men, if these 
white men are wealthy and powerful. This inferiority of rank is 
not so much felt by white persons in the lower walks of life, and these 
are more easily led to become familiar with individuals of their own 
colour who are in wealthy circumstances. Still the inferiority which 
the mulatto feels is more that which is produced by poverty than 
that which his colour has caused, for he will be equally respectful 
to a person of his own cast, who may happen to be rich*. The de- 
graded state of the people of colour in the British colonies is most 
lamentable f . In Brazil, even the trifling regulations which exist 
against them remain unattended to. A mulatto enters into holy 
orders or is appointed a magistrate, his papers stating him to be a 
white man, but his appearance plainly denoting the contrary. In 
conversing on one occasion with a man of colour v/ho was in my 
service, I asked him if a certain Cajntam-mor was not a mulatto 
man; he answered, " he was, but is not now |." I begged him to ex- 
plain, when he added, " Can a Capita?n-j)ior be a mulatto man § ?" 
I was intimately acquainted with a priest, whose complexion and hair 
plainly denoted from whence he drew his origin; I liked him much, 
he was a well educated and intelligent man. Besides this individual 
instance, I met with several others of the same description. 

The regiments of militia which are called mulatto regiments, are 
so named from all the officers and men being of mixed casts ; nor 

* The term of Scnhor or Senhora is made use of to all free persons, whites, mulattos, 
and blacks, and in speaking to a freeman of whatever class or colour the manner of address 
is the same. Dr. Pinckard says, in his " Notes on the West Indies," " the title of Mrs. 
seems to be reserved solely for the ladies from Europe, and the white Creoles, and to 
form a distinction between them and the women of colour of all classes and descriptions." 

f I refer the reader to Edwards' History of the West Indies, vol. ii. 

:|: " Era, poremja nam he." 

§ " Pois Senhor Capitam-mor pode ser mulatto ?" 


can white persons be admitted into them. Tlie principal officers 
are men of property, and the colonel, like the commander of any 
other I'egiment, is only amenable to the governor of the province. 
In the white militia regiments, the officers ought to be by law white 
men ; but in practice they are rather reputed white men, for very 
little pains are taken to prove that there is no mixture of blood. 
Great numbers of the soldiers belonging to the regiments which are 
officered by white men, are mulattos, and other persons of colour. 
The regiments of the line, likewise, (as I have elsewhere said) admit 
into the ranks all persons excepting negroes and Indians ; but the 
officers of these must prove nobility of birth ; however, as certain 
degrees of nobility have been conferred upon persons in whose 
families there is much mixture of blood, this proof cannot be re- 
garded as being required against the mulatto or mamaluco part of 
the population. Thus an European adventurer could not obtain a 
commission in these regiments, whilst a Brazilian, whose family has 
distinguished itself in the province in former times, will prove his 
eligibility without regard to the blood which runs in his veins. He 
is noble, let that flow from whence it may. * 

The late colonel of the mulatto regiment of Recife, by name 
Nogueira, went to Lisbon, and returned to Pernambuco with the 
Order of Christ, which the Queen had conferred upon him f. A 
chief person of one of the provinces is the son of a white 
man and a woman of colour ; he has received an excellent edu- 
cation, is of a generous disposition, and entertains most liberal views 
upon all subject's. He has been made a colonel, and a degree of 

* To this statement some explanation is necessary, owing to the regulations of the Por- 
tugueze military sernce. Privates are sometimes raised to commissions by the interme- 
diate steps of corporals, quarter-masters, and sergeants; these men gain their en- 
signcies without any relation to their birth ; and though a decidedly dark coloured mulatto 
might not be so raised, a European of low birth would. It is to enable a man to 
become a cadet and then an officer without serving in the ranks, that requires nobility of 

t The son of tliis man is a priest. 


nobility has been conferred upon him; likewise the Regent is 
sponsor to one of his children. Many other instances might be 
mentioned. Thus has Portugal, of late years from policy, continued 
that system into which she was led by her peculiar circumstances in 
former times. Some of the wealthy planters of Pernambuco, and of 
tlie rich inhabitants of Recife are men of colour. The major part 
of the best mechanics are also of mixed blood. 

It is said that mulattos make bad masters ; and this holds good 
oftentimes with persons of this description, who have been in a state 
of slavery, and become possessed of slaves of their own, or are em- 
ployed as managers upon estates. The change of situation would 
lead to the same consequences in any race of human beings, and 
cannot be accounted peculiar to the mixed casts. I have seen mu- 
lattos of free birth as kind, as lenient, and as forbearing to their 
slaves and other dependants as any white man. 

Marriages between white men and women of colour are by no 
means rare, though they are sufficiently so to cause the circumstance 
to be mentioned when speaking of an individual who has con- 
nected himself m this manner ; but this is not said with the intent 
of lowering him in the estimation of others. Indeed the remark is 
only made if the person is a planter of any importance, and the 
woman is decidedly of dark colour, for even a considerable tinge will 
pass for white ; if the white man belongs to the lower orders, the 
woman is not accounted as being unequal to him in rank, unless she 
is nearly black. The European adventurers often marry in this 
manner, which generally occurs when the woman has a dower. 
The rich mulatto families are often glad to dispose of their daughters 
to these men, although the person who has been fixed upon may be 
in indifferent circumstances ; for the colour of the children of their 
daughters is bettered, and from the well-known prudence and regu- 
larity of this set of men, a large fortune may be hoped for even from 
very small beginnings. Whilst I was at Jaguaribe, I was in the 
frequent habit of seeing a handsome young man, who was a native 
of the island of St. Michael's. This person happened to be with 
3 E 


me on one occasion when the commandant from the Sertam was 
staying at my house. The commandant asked him if he 
could read and write, and being answered in the negative, said, 
" then you will not do," and turning to me, added, " I have a com- 
mission from a friend of mine to take with me back to the Sertam a 
good-looking young Portugueze of regular habits, who can read and 
write, for the purpose of marrying him to his daughter." These kind 
of commissions [encojtimendas) are not unusual. 

Still the Brazilians of high birth and large property do not like to 
intermarry with persons whose mixture of blood is very apparent, 
and hence arise peculiar circumstances. A man of this description 
becomes attached to a woman of colour, connects himself with her, 
and takes her to his home, where she is in a short time even visited 
by married women ; she governs his household affairs, acts and con- 
siders herself as his wife, and frequently after the birth of se- 
veral children, when they are neither of them young, he marries her. 
In connections of this nature, the parties are more triUy attached than 
in marriages between persons who belong to two families of the first 
rank ; for the latter are entered into from convenience rather than 
from affection ; indeed the parties, on some occasions, do not see 
each other until a few days before the ceremony takes place. It 
often occurs, that inclination, necessity, or convenience induce or 
oblige a man to separate from the person with whom he has thus 
been connected ; in this case, he gives her a portion, and she marries 
a man of her own rank, who regards her rather as a widow than as 
one whose conduct has been incorrect. Instances of infidelity in 
these women are rare ; they become attached to the men with 
whom they cohabit, and they direct the affairs of the houses over 
which they are placed with the same zeal that they would display if 
they had the right of command over them. It is greatly to the 
credit of the people of that country that so much fidelity should be 
shewn on one side, and that this should so frequently as it is, be 
rewarded by the other party, in the advancement of those who have 
behaved thus faithfully, to a respectable and acknowledged situation 


in society. It should be recollected too that the merit of moral feel- 
ings must be judged of by the standard of the country, and not by 
our own institutions. I have only spoken above of what occurs 
among the planters ; for in large towns man is pretty much the same 
every where. 

The Mamalucos are more frequently to be seen in the Sertam than 
upon the coast. They are handsomer than the mulattos ; and the 
women of this- cast particularly surpass in beauty all others of the 
country ; they have the brown tint of mulattos, but their features are 
less blunt, and their hair is not curled. I do not think that the men 
can be said to possess more courage than the mulattos ; but whether 
from the knowledge which they have of being of free birth on both 
sides, or from residing in the interior of the country where govern- 
ment is more loose, they appear to have more independence of cha- 
racter, and to pay less deference to a white man than the mulattos. 
When women relate any deed of danger that has been surmounted 
or undertaken, they generally state that the chief actor in it was a 
large m.amaluco, mamalucam ; as if they thought this description of men 
to be superior to all others. Mamalucos may enter into the mulatto 
regiments, and are pressed into the regiments of the line as being 
men of colour, without any regard to the sources from which their 
blood proceeds. 

Of the domesticated Indians I have already elsewhere given what 
accounts I could collect, and what I had opportunities of observing. 
The wild Indians are now only to be met with at a great distance 
from the coast of Pernambuco ; and although they are very near to 
Maranham, and are dreaded neighbours, I had no means of seeing 
any of them. 

I now proceed to mention that numerous and valuable race of 
men, the creole negroes ; a tree of African growth, which has thus 
been transplanted, cultivated, and much improved by its removal to 
the New World. The creole negroes stand alone and unconnected 
with every other race of men, and this circumstance alone would be 
sufficient, and indeed contributes much to the effect of uniting them 
3 E 2 


to each other. The mulattos, and all other persons of mixed blood 
wish to lean towards the whites, if they can possibly lay any claim 
to relationship. Even the mestizo tries to pass for a mulatto, and 
to persuade himself and others that his veins contain some portion 
of white blood, although that with which they are filled proceeds 
from Indian and negro sources. Those only who can have no pre- 
tensions to a mixture of blood, call themselves negroes, which ren- 
ders the individuals who do pass under this denomination, much 
attached to each other, from the impossibility of being mistaken for 
members of .any other cast. They are of handsome persons, brave 
and hardy, obedient to the whites, and willing to please ; but they 
are easily affronted, and the least allusion to their colour being made 
by a person of a lighter tint, enrages them to a great degree ; though 
they will sometimes say, "a negro I am, but always upright*. They 
are again distinct from their brethren in slavery, owing to their supe- 
rior situation as free men. 

The free ci'eole negroes have their exclusive regiments, as well as 
the mulattos, of which every officer and soldier must be perfectly 
black. There are two of these regiments for the province of Per- 
nambuco, which consist of indefinite numbers of men, who are 
dispersed all over the country. These regiments are distinguished 
from each other by the names of Old Henriques and New Hen- 
riques f . The name of Henriques is derived from the famous chief- 
tain, Henrique Diaz, in the time of the Dutch war. I have heard 
some of the most intelligent of those with whom I have conversed, 
speak in enthusiastic terms of the aid which he gave to the whites in 
that struggle. I have seen some portion of one of these regiments, 
in Recife, accompanying the procession of our Lady of the 
Rosary, the patroness of negroes. They were dressed in white cloth 
uniforms turned up with scarlet, and they looked very soldier-like. 

* '^ Negro sim, poirm dircifo." 

t ManuniiUed Creole blacks arc. I am nearly certain, admitted into these regiments. 


They were in tolerable discipline, and seemed to wish to go through 
the duty of the day in the best manner that they were able ; they 
acted with an appearance of zeal and the desire of excelling. Those 
of which I speak formed a finer body of men than any other soldiers 
which I had an opportunity of seeing in that country. On gala 
days the superior black officers in their white uniforms, pay their 
respects to the governor, exactly in the same manner that the per- 
sons of any other cast, holding commissions of equal rank are ex- 
pected to go through this form. These men receive no pay, so that 
their neat appearance on such occasions bespeaks a certain degree of 
wealth among them ; neither are the privates nor any other persons be- 
longing to these regiments paid for their services. Some of the 
whites rather ridicule the black officers, but not in their presence ; 
and the laugh which is raised against them is caused perhaps by a 
lurking wish to prevent this insulted race from the display of those 
distinctions which the government has wisely conceded to them, but 
which hurt the European ideas of superiority. The old regiment 
of Henriques was, at the time that I resided in Pernambuco, without 
a colonel, and I heard much discussion on several occasions anion «• 
the Creole negroes, about the fittest person to be appointed to the 
vacant situation.* 

The Creole negroes of Recife are, generally speaking, mechanics of 
all descriptions; but they have not yet reached the higher ranks 
of life, as gentlemen, as planters, and as merchants. Some of them 
have accumulated considerable sums of money, and possess many 
slaves, to whom they teach their own trade, or these slaves are taught 
other mechanical employments by which they may become useful. 

* There was a rumour of the appointment of a white man as colonel of this regi- 
ment, and also of a white colonel for the Recife mulatto regiment ; and I was asked by 
several individuals of these casts whether there was any truth in the report. I cannot 
believe any thing of this kind ; the liberal policy which seems to pervade the Council of 
Rio de Janeiro forbids that such a report should be believed ; but if this should be true, 
most pernicious will be the consequences, which from such a determination may be 
expected to proceed. 


They work for their owners, and render to them great profits, for 
every description of labour is high, and that which requires any de- 
gree of skill bears even a higher comparative value than the depart- 
ments of which a knowledge is more easily attained. The best 
church and image painter of Pernambuco is a black man, who has 
good manners, and quite the air of a man of some importance, though 
he does not by any means assume too much. The negroes are ex- 
cluded from the priesthood* ; and from the offices which the mulattos 
may obtain through their evasion of the law, but which the decided 
and unequivocal colour of the negro entirely precludes him from as- 
piring to. In law all persons who are not white, and are born free, 
class equally ; manumitted slaves are placed upon the same footing as 
persons born free. However, although the few exclusions which ex- 
ist against the negroes are degrading, still in some instances they are 
befriended by them. They are unable, owing to their colour, to 
serve in the regiments of the line, or in any regiments excepting 
those which are exclusively their own ; but by means of this regu- 
lation they escape the persecutions under which the other casts 
suffer during the time of recruiting. The officers and men of the 
Henrique regiments are so united to each other, that the privates 
and subalterns are less liable to be oppressed by any white man in 
office even than the soldiers of the mulatto regiments. Of these 
latter the officers, having a considerable tinge of white, sometimes 

* The priests of the island of St. Thome, upon the coast of Africa, are negroes. I 
have seen some of these men at Recife, who have come over for a short time. I have 
heard that they are prohibited from saying Mass any where exceptifag upon the island for 
which they are ordained ; but I can scarcely think that this can be correct. In the Foi/- 
age du Chevalier des Marchais en Guinee, isles voisines et a Cayenne, I find that men of 
mixed blood were ordained in the islands of St. Thome and Principe, and the editor of 
the work says, " presque tout le clerge de la cathedrale (of St. Thome) etoit de cette cou- 
leur." Vol. iii. p. 4. " EEglise de S. Antoine qui est la Paroisse (of Prince's Island) est deser^ 
vie par des pretres noirs ou presque noirs, c'est a dire mtdatres." p. 30. 

I have, as is stated in the text, heard from good authority, that the law forbids the ordi- 
nation of mulattos ; what the practice is I am quite certain, and I hope the law may be 
favourable also. 


lean towards the wishes of the capitam-mor, or some other rich 
white officer, instead of protecting his soldiers. 

The men whose occupation it is to apprehend runaway negroes are, 
almost without exception, creole blacks ; they are called capitaens- 
do-campo, captains of the field ; and are subject to a capitam-mor do 
campo who resides in Recife, and they receive their commissions 
either from the governor or from this officer. By these they are 
authorised to apprehend and take to their owners any slaves who 
may be found absent from their homes without their master's consent. 
Several of these men are to be found in every district, employing them- 
selves in such pursuits as they think fit, when their services are not 
required in that calling which forms their particular duty. They are 
men of undaunted courage, and are usually followed by two or three 
dogs, which are trained to seek out, and if necessary to attack and 
bring to the ground those persons whose apprehension their masters 
are desirous of effecting. The men who bear these commissions can 
oblige any vmauthorised person to give up to them an apprehended 
negro, for the purpose of being by them returned to his owner. 

It is scarcely necessary to name the mestizos, for they usually 
class with the mulattos ; nor are they to be easily distinguished from 
some of the darker varieties of this cast. A dark coloured man of a 
disagreeable countenance and badly formed person is commonly 
called a mestizo, without any reference to his origin. 

Yet one race of human beings remain to be spoken of; but the in- 
dividuals who compose it are not sufficiently numerous to permit 
them to take their place among the several great divisions of the hu- 
man family which form the population of Brazil, and therefore I did 
not rank this among the others which are of more importance. Still 
the figanos *, for thus they are called, must not be forgotten. I fre- 
quently heard of these people, but never had an opportunity of seeing 
any of them. Parties of figanos were in the habit of appearing for- 

* This word is without doubt derived from Egypfianos ; I am told that the word 
gitanos is also used as a name for these people. 


merly once every year at the village of Pasmado, and other places 
in that part of the country ; but the late governor of the province was 
inimical to them, and some attempts having been made to appre- 
hend some of them, their visits were discontinued. They are re- 
presented as being a people of a brownish cast, with features which 
resemble those of white persons, and as being tall and handsome. 
They wander from place to place in parties of men, women, and 
children ; exchanging, buying, and selling horses, and gold and silver 
trinkets. The women travel on horseback, sitting between the pan- 
niers of the loaded horses, and the young ones are placed within 
the panniers among the baggage. The men are excellent horse- 
men, and although the packhorses may be overburthened, these fel- 
lows will only accommodate matters by riding slowly upon their 
own horses, and never think of dividing the loads more equally; 
but they preserve themselves and the animals upon which they ride 
quite unencumbered. They are said to be immindful of all reli- 
gious observances ; and never to hear Mass or confess their sins. 
It is likewise said that they never marry out of their own nation. 

There are now several British merchants established at Recife, and 
a consul likewise resides at that place ; but at the time of my coming 
away, there was no protestant chapel, no clergyman, nor even a 
burial ground for our countrymen. An Act of Parliament has, I 
believe, provided for the establishment of these things, but no steps 
have been taken towards the accomplishment of the directions of the 
legislature. Without any outward appearance of religion, how are 
we to expect that the people of Brazil are to regard us as any thing 
better than what we were represented to them as being in former 
times? — as pagans, animals, and horses — pagoens, bichos, and 
cavallos, this is literally true ; and although they are now aware that at 
any rate we have the forms of human beings, that we have the power 
of speech, and that we have our share of intellect in all the common 
transactions of the world, still how are we to look for respect from 
them towards a set of men, who have no appearance at least, of pos- 
sessing any religious feelings ? It should be recollected that we are 


living among a people who are deeply rivetted to their own forms 
and ceremonies of worship, whose devotedness to their church esta- 
blishment surpasses every other feeling. It is not thus that the Bri- 
tish nation is to become respectable; we may have relations of trade 
with these people, but we must be content to be merely regarded 
according to our utility; there can be no respect for our general 
character as a body of men, none of that regard which would make 
us listened ta in any great question, which would make our opinions 
and our assertions depended upon as coming from men of steadiness, — 
of religious habits. Nor can we be accounted as more than resi- 
dents for a time, we cannot be considered as an established com- 
munity, who are thus without any common bond of union, who have 
not any general place of meeting, who have not any one point to 
which all are directed; we have no appearance of belonging to one 
nation, as if we were brethren meeting in a foreign land. To these 
political reasons for the establishment of a place of worship are to 
be added those which are of far greater importance, those to which 
no Christian ought to be indifferent. I well know that it is not with 
the merchants that the evil arises ; — but enough, I will go no farther, 
although I could tarry long upon this subject. I wish however that I 
could have avoided the mention of it altogether. I might have done 
so, if I had not felt that I was passing by unnoticed a subject upon 
which I have often spoken whilst I was upon the spot ; and there my 
sentiments are well known to most of those persons with whom I 

3 F 



THE general equity of the laws regarding free persons of colour 
in the Portugueze South American possessions, has been to a 
certain degree extended to that portion of the population which is in 
a state of slavery ; and the lives of the slaves of Brazil have been 
rendered less hard and less intolerable than those of the degraded 
beings who drag on their cheerless existence under the dominion 
of other nations. The Brazihan slave is taught the religion of his 
master, and hopes are held out of manumission from his own exer- 
tions ; but still he is a slave, and must be guided by another man's 
will ; and this feeling alone takes away much of the pleasure which 
would be felt from the faithful discharge of his duty, if it was 
voluntarily performed. The consciousness that if the directions 
were not wilHngly attended to, the arbitrary will of the master would 
enforce their performance, removes much of the desire to please ; 
obedience to a command is not required with any idea that refusal 
can possibly ensue, and therefore no merit is attached to its accom- 
plishment by him whose orders are obeyed ; nor does the slave feel 
that he is doing in any degree more than would be enforced if he had 
made any doubts. The world has heard so much, and from so 
many quarters, of the enormities which have been committed by 
slave-owners in the colonies with which England has had any com- 
munication J both from her own possessions, and from those of other 


nations, that no doubts can be entertained of their existence. That 
such evil deeds are of frequent occurrence, I would not wish to sup- 
pose, though that they are dreadfully too frequent is well known ; I 
had rather not be persuaded that man in so depraved a state is often 
to be met with ; — that many civilized beings should have made such 
rapid returns to barbarism. I have to say, that in Brazil too, such 
instances of barbarity are spoken of — that they do exist ; they are, 
however, of rare occurrence, they are seldom heard of, and are 
always mentioned with abhorrence ; but it is enough that instances 
should be recorded, of the abuse of this absolute power of one man 
over another ; it is enough that this absolute power itself should be 
allowed to continue, to render the system upon which it is founded 
an evil of such great importance, as to sanction all exertions for its 
removal, as to make any government overlook many inconveniences 
rather than increase the numbers of those human beings who suffer 
this dreadful degradation. 

The Indian slavery has been for many years abolished in Brazil, 
and the individuals who ai'e now in bondage in that country are 
Africans, and their descendants on both sides, or individuals whose 
mothers are of African origin ; and no line is drawn at which the 
near approach to the colour and blood of the whites entitles the child, 
whose mother is a slave, to freedom. I have seen several persons 
who were to all appearance of white origin, still doomed to slavery. 

Slaves, however, in Brazil, have many advantages over their bre- 
thren in the British colonies. The numerous holidays of which the 
Catholic religion enjoins the observance*, give to the slave many 
days of rest or time to work for his own profit ; thirty-five of these, 
and the Sundays besides, allow him to employ much of his time as 
he pleases. Few masters are inclined to restrain the right of their 

* A Portugueze writer says, " When permission was given in Portugal to work upon 
several of the holidajs, the same was not extended to Brazil from a principle of humanity, 
that the slaves might not be deprived of any of their days of rest." — Correio Braziliense, 
for December, i8ic, p. 738. 

3 F 2 


slaves to dispose of these days as they think fit, or at any rate few 
dare, whatever their indinations may be, to brave pubHc opinion in 
depriving them of the intervals from work which the law has set 
apart as their own, that their lives may be rendered less irksome. 
The time which is thus afforded enables the slave, who is so inclined, 
to accumulate a sum of money ; however this is by law his master's 
property, from the incapability under which a slave labours of pos- 
sessing any thing which he can by right call his own. But I believe 
there is no instance on record in which a master attempted to de- 
prive his slave of these hard-earned gains. The slave can oblige his 
master to manumit him, on tendering to him the sum for which he 
was first purchased, or the price for which he might be sold, if that 
price is higher than what the slave was worth at the time he was first 
bought*. This regulation, like every one that is framed in favour 
of slaves, is liable to be evaded, and the master sometimes does 
refuse to manumit a valuable slave ; and no appeal is made by the 
sufferer, owing to the state of law in that country, which renders it 
almost impossible for the slave to gain a hearing ; and likewise this 
acquiescence in the injustice of the master proceeds from the dread, 
that if he was not to succeed he would be punished, and that his 

* In the island of Grenada " evei-y manumission is by an act of the island, charged with 
a fine of one hundred pounds currency;" it is said that this law has neither operated 
as a productive fund nor as a prohibition. — Edwards' History of the West-Indies, 
vol. i. p. 380. 

At Surinam, says another writer, " Si un maitre voulait affmnchir son esclave, outre la 
perte qu'il Jesuit de son negre., il etoit encore oblige d' acheter fort cher des lettrcs de J'ranchise, 
sans lesquelles aucun noir ne poiivait etre instruit dans la religion Ckretienne, ni baptise." — 
Voyage a la Guiane et a Cayenne en 1789, et annees suivantes, p. 224. 

Bolingbroke says, "It is by no means an uncommon thing in these colonies for negroes 
when they have accumulated a sufficiency, to purchase their freedom ; and I have known 
many instances of negroes who paid their owners a proportion of the purchase-money, 
and were allowed after emancipation to work out the balance." — Voyage to the Deme- 
rary, &c. p. 65. 

I give this statement, and should be happy to transcribe any other, with which I might 
meet in the ccnrse of reading, of the same tenor; but it must be recollected that the "Voyage 
to the Demerary" is decidedly written in favour of the slave trade and of slavery. 


life might be rendered more miserable than it was before *. Conse- 
quently a great deal depends upon the inclinations of the master, 
who will however be very careful in refusing to manumit, owing to 
the well-known opinion of every priest in favour of this regulation, 
to the feelings of the individuals of his own class in society, and to 
those of the lower orders of people, and likewise he will be afraid 
of losing his slave; he may escape with his money, and the master 
will then run much risk of never seeing him again, particularly if 
the individual is a creole slave f. In general therefore no doubts 
are urged, when application is made for manumission by a slave to 
his master; who is indeed oftentimes prepared for it by the habits 

* Tlie o'wTier of a sugar plantation, with whose sons I was well acquainted, possessed a 
slave, who had the management of the sugar boiling house during crop time, and who 
was accounted by all who knew him and understood the business, to be a most excellent 
workman. — This man accumulated a sum of money, which he offered to his master for 
his freedom, but it was not accepted ; and although the slave made great interest with 
persons of consideration in the country, he could not accompUsh his end. His master 
loaded him with irons, and he was made to work in this state. He did not obtain his 
liberty till after his master's death, when the widow received his money, and manumitted 
him. His trade of sugar-boiler renders him large profits yearly, and this injured man 
now lives in ease and comfort. This instance of refiisal, and some others of which I have 
heard, would make me doubtful of the foundation upon which the custom of manu- 
mitting is placed, if I did not know how easily the laws relating to many other important 
points are evaded through the influence of wealth and power. 1 did not see a copy of the 
law or regulation on the subject, but I never met with any one who made a doubt of its 
existence. I never met with any one who doubted that the slave had a right to appeal, if 
he thought proper ; whether he would be heard or not was another question. 

t Tlie major part of the slaves that abscond, are brought back to their owners, but 
some do escape, and are never afterwards heard of. They remove to some distant district 
and there reside as free men. Those who have once tasted of the sweets of free agency, 
for any length of time, even if they are brought back to their masters, scarcely ever re- 
main longer than is requisite to seek an opportunity of eluding the vigilance of those 
whose business it is to watch them ; they soon brave the risk of another detection. A 
young and handsome mulatto man of these unsettled habits once applied to me to pur- 
chase him. He had by mere accident been discovered only a short time before, by a 
friend of his master in the Sertam, where he had married a free woman, and had been 
considered as free himself. He was brought back to his master, was sold to another per- 
son, escaped, returned, and again fled, and had not, when I left the country, been heard _ 
of for a twelvemonth. 


of industry and regularity of his slave, and by common report among 
the other slaves and free persons upon the estate, that the individual 
in question is scraping together a sum of money for this purpose. 
The master might indeed deprive the slave of the fruits of his own 
labour, but this is never thought of, because the slave preserves his 
money in a secret place, or has entrusted it to some person upon 
whom he can depend, and would suffer any punishment rather than dis- 
close the spot in which his wealth lies concealed. A still more forcible 
reason than any other, for the forbearance of the master, is to be 
found in the dread of acting against public opinion; in the shame 
which would follow the commission of such an act ; and perhaps the 
natural goodness which exists in almost every human being, would 
make him shun such gross injustice, would make him avoid such a 
deed of baseness. 

A slave is often permitted by his owner to seek a master more to 
his liking ; for this purpose a note is given, declaring that the bearer 
has leave to enter into the service of any one, upon the price which 
the master demands being paid by the purchase!-. With this the 
slave applies to any individual of property whom he may wish to 
serve ; owing to having heard a good report of his character towards 
his slaves, or from any other cause. This is a frequent practice, and 
at least admits the possibility of escape from a severe state of bondage 
to one that is less irksome. 

A considerable number of slaves are manumitted at the death of 
their masters, and indeed some persons of large property fail not to 
set at liberty a few of them during their own life-time. A deed of 
manumission, however simply it may be drawn out, cannot be set 
aside ; a register of these papers is preserved at the office of every 
notary-public, by which any distress which might be occasioned by 
the loss of the originals is provided against, for the copy of course 
holds good in law. A slave who has brought into the world, and has 
reared ten children, ought to be free, for so the law ordains; but this 
.regulation is generally evaded; and besides, the number of children 


is too great for many women to be enabled to be benefited by it *. 
The price of a new-born child is 51. (20,000 mil-reis,) and the mas- 
ter is obliged to manumit the infant at the baptismal font, on the 
sum being presented. In this manner a considerable number of 
persons are set at liberty, for the smallness of the price enables many 
freemen who have had connections with female slaves to manumit 
their offspring ; and instances occur of the sponsors performing this 
most laudable act. Not unfrequently female slaves apply to persons 
of consideration to become sponsors to their children, in the hopes 
that the pride of these will be too great to allow of their god-child 
remaining in slavery f. Thus by their own exertions, by the favour 
of their masters, and by other means, the individuals who gain their 
freedom annually are very numerous. 

The comforts of slaves in different situations are widely dispro- 
portionate; whilst some are doomed to an existence of excessive 
toil and misery, from the natiu'e of their occupations and the cha- 
racters of their masters, others lead a comparatively easy life. It 

* The following circumstances occurred under my own observation : — A negress had 
brought into the world ten children, and had reared nine of them. These remained to 
work for their owners ; the woman claimed her freedom, for the tenth child did not die 
until it had arrived at an age when it did not require any farther care from her ; but it 
was refused. She was hired to a gentleman as a nurse for one of his children. This 
person did all in his power to obtain her freedom, but did not succeed; he purchased her, 
and immediately had a deed of manumission made out by a notary-pubhc. When he 
returned home to dinner, he desired his wife to tell the woman that she was his slave, 
and in the course of the day the deed was given to her. When I left the country, her 
only fear was, that as she was free, her master and mistress might turn her away ; thus 
■proving, by her anxiety, how happy she was. 

f Du Tertre says, speaking of negro baptismal festivals — " les parrairis et les mar- 
raines qui sont ordinairement dc Francois amis de lews maitres, ne laissent pas de contribiter 
a la boime chere." — Histoire des Antilles, tom.ii. p.528. 

Fellow slaves, or free persons of colour, are usually the sponsors in Brazil ; but it is 
better, I think, that fellow-slaves, that is, belonging to the same master, should be spon- 
sors, for they take a considerable interest in their god-children. The god-child, indeed, 
in any of the ranks of life, never approaches either of its sponsors without begging for 
their blessing. Labat, in speaking of a negro whom he had made renomer tons ses 
pactes implicites et explicites qu'ilpouvoit avoir fait avcc le diaUc, says, — " Je chargeai sont 


is true, that in countries of which the workmen are free, the daily 
labour is unequally divided, but their wages are proportioned ac- 
cordingly, and as each man is a free agent he seeks that employment 
to which his bodily and mental powers are befitted. The slave is 
purchased for a certain purpose, and is to follow the line of life which 
his master has chalked out for him ; he is not to be occupied in that 
which he would himself prefer, or at any rate his wishes are not con- 
sulted upon the subject. The price for which a slave is to be obtained, 
and the convenience of the purchaser are oftener consulted than 
the fitness of his bodily strength to the labour which it is his lot to be 
ordered to perform. Besides the obligation of following an unsuit- 
able trade, or at any rate of following one which he has not chosen, 
he has to endure the still incomparably greater grievance of bear- 
ing with a tyrannical, an inconsiderate, or a peevish master, whose 
commands are not to be called in question, whose will is absolute, 
and from whom the possibility of appeal is far removed, and that of 
redress placed at a still greater distance. Masters are punished by 
the payment of fines, for cruelty to their slaves, if any account of 
such behaviour should reach the ear of the Ouvidor of the province ; 
but I never heard of punishment having been carried farther than this 
trifling manner of correction. The emoluments which proceed from 
this mode of chastising the offenders weigh heavily in its favour ; the 
injury which the slave has received is n?ot, I am afraid, the only cause 
which urges the exaction of the stipulated penalty ; of this the slave 
does not receive any part. 

All slaves in Brazil follow the religion of their masters *; and not- 

maitre, qui itoit aussi son parrain de vieller soigneusement sur sa conduite" — Nouveau 
Voyage, &c. tom.ii. p. 54. 

I never heard of the master in Brazil being likewise the god-father, nor do I think 
that this ever happens ; for such is the connection between two persons which this is sup- 
posed to produce, that the master would never think of ordering the slave to be chas- 

• The same occurs in the Spanish and French colonies. Du Tertre, who seems from 
the general tenor of his work, to have been a much better man than friars usually are. 


"withstanding the impure state in which the Christian church exists 
in that country, still such are the beneficent effects of the Christian 
religion, that these, its adopted children, are improved by it to an 
infinite degree ; and the slave who attends to the strict observance 
of religious ceremonies invariably proves to be a good servant. 
The Africans who are imported from Angola are baptized in lots 
before they leave their own shores, and on their arrival in Brazil 
they are to learn the doctrines of the church, and the duties of the 
religion into which they have entered. These bear the mark of the 
royal crown upon their breasts, which denotes that they have under- 
gone the ceremony of baptism, and likewise that the king's duty 
has been paid upon them*. The slaves which are imported from 
other parts of the coast of Africa, arrive in Brazil unbaptized, and 
before the ceremony of making them Christians can be performed 
upon them, they must be taught certain prayers, for the acquirement 
of which one year is allowed to the master, before he is obliged to 
present the slave at the parish church. This law is not always 
strictly adhered to as to time, but it is never evaded altogether. 

speaks of the difficulty of converting the Caribs, and of their indifference to reUgion, and 
then adds, "Mais les 7iegressonf ccrtainement toucliez de Dieii,puisqti'2hconservenf,ji(squ'dla 
mart, la religion qu'ils ont embrassee; qti'ils en fratiquent les vertus et en exercent les ceiivres, 
etje puis dire avec verite qti'ils y vivent bien plus Chrestiennemerit dans leur condition, que 
heaucoup de Francois" — Histoire des Antilles, torn. ii. p, 502. 

* Labat says that the inhabitants of St. Domingo were in the habit of marking the 
negroes which they bought by burning the skin, and he adds, in his Dominican way, "De 
sorfe qiCu7i esclave qui auroit cte vendu et revendu phisieursfois paro'itroit a la fin aussi charge 
de caracters, que ces obelisqices d' Egypt." This was not practised, as he tells us, in the 
islands (Martinique and Guadaloupe) and he adds that their negroes, and principally the 
Creole slaves seroient au desespoir qiHon les marquat comme on fait les bceufs et les chevavj;. 
The small islands did not require this practice, but St. Domingo un pais aussi vaste, could 
not do without it, because the slaves ran away to the mountains. — Nouveau Voyage, &c, 
torn. vii. p. 260. 

The St. Domingo planters have paid severely for all their misdeeds, and therefore of 
them nothing need to be said in the present day. The vastness, however, of Brazil, which 
fs a httle more vaste than St. Domingo, does not require that the slaves shoidd be markec] 
like cattle. 

3 G 


The religion of the master teaches him that it would be extremely 
sinful to allow his slave to remain a heathen j and indeed the Por- 
tugueze and Brazilians have too much religious feeling to let them 
neglect any of the ordinances of their church. The slave himself 
likewise wishes to be made a Christian, for his fellow-bondmen will 
in every squabble or trifling disagreement with him, close their string 
of opprobrious epithets with the name of jjagam (pagan.) The un- 
baptized negro feels that he is considered as an inferior being, and 
although he may not be aware of the value which the whites place 
upon baptism, still he knows that the stigma for which he is up- 
braided will be removed by it ; and therefore he is desirous of being 
made equal to his companions. The Africans who have been long 
imported, imbibe a Catholic feeling, and appear to forget that they 
were once in the same situation themselves. The slaves are not 
asked whether they will be baptized or not ; their entrance into the 
Catholic church is treated as a thing of course ; and indeed they are 
not considered as members of society, but rather as brute animals, 
until they can lawfully go to mass, confess their sins, and receive 
the sacrament. 

The slaves have their religious brotherhoods as well as the free 
persons ; and the ambition of a slave very generally aims at being 
admitted into one of these, and at being made one of the officers 
and directors of the concerns of the brotherhood ; even some of the 
money which the industrious slave is collecting for the pui-pose of 
purchasing his freedom will oftentimes be brought out of its con- 
cealment for the decoration of a saint, that the donor may become 
of importance in the society to which he belongs. The negroes 
have one invocation of the Virgin, (or I might almost say one virgin) 
which is peculiarly their own. Our Lady of the Rosary is even 
sometimes painted with a black face and hands. It is in this man- 
ner that the slaves are led to place their attention upon an object 
in which they soon take an interest, but from which no injury can 
proceed towards themselves, nor can any through its means be by them 
inflicted upon their masters. Their ideas are removed from any 

SLAVERY. 41-1 

thought of the customs of their own country, and are guided 
into a channel of a totally different nature, and completely uncon- 
nected with what is practised there. The election of a King of 
Congo (which I have mentioned in chapter 13,) by the individuals 
who come from that part of Africa, seems indeed as if it would give 
them a bias towards the customs of their native soil ; but the Bra- 
zilian Kings of Congo worship Our Lady of the Rosary, and are 
dressed in the dress of white men ; they and their subjects dance, 
it is true, after the manner of their country ; but to these festivals 
are admitted African negroes of other nations, creole blacks, and 
mulattos, aU of whom dance after the same manner ; and these 
dances are now as much the national dances of Brazil as they are of 
Africa. The Portugueze language is spoken by all the slaves, and 
their own dialects are allowed to lay dormant until they are by many 
of them quite forgotten. No compulsion is resorted to to make 
them embrace the habits of their masters, but their ideas are insen- 
sibly led to imitate and adopt them. The masters at the same time 
imbibe some of the customs of their slaves, and thus the superior 
and his dependant are brought nearer to each other. I doubt not 
that the system of baptizing the newly-imported negroes, proceeded 
rather from the bigotry of the Portugueze in former times than from 
any political plan ; but it has had the most beneficial effects. The 
slaves are rendered more tractable ; besides being better men and 
women, they become more obedient servants ; they are brought 
under the controul of the priesthood, and even if this was the only 
additional hold which was gained by their entrance into the church, 
it is a great engine of power which is thus brought into action. 

But in no circumstance has the introduction of the Christian reli- 
gion among the slaves been of more service than in the change which 
it has wrought in the men regarding the treatment of their women, 
and in the conduct of the females themselves. A writer of great 
reputation on West-Indian affairs, states that the introduction of 
the marriage ceremony among the slaves of the colonies of which he 
treats " would be utterly impracticable to any good purpose ;" and 
3 G 2 


again, that he who conceives that a remedy may be found for poly- 
gamy "by introducing among them the laws of marriage, as es- 
tablished in Europe, is utterly ignorant of their manners, propen- 
sities, and superstitions*." Is it not that by the masters these things 
are considered to be of little importance, and therefore unworthy of 
much trouble ? As long as the work is done, little else is thought of. 
Where the interest of the master is concerned, the " manners, pro- 
pensities, and superstitions" will soon be overcome. I hope that at the 
present day such opinions do not generally exist. All men in the same 
state of barbarism treat their women in the same manner ; the evil 
lies not with the race of beings, but in the dreadful situation to which 
this one is reduced. Why, therefore, not attempt to improve and to 
benefit the individuals of which it is composed ? 

The slaves of Brazil are regularly married according to the forms 
of the Catholic church ; the banns are published in the same manner 
as those of free persons ; and I have seen many happy couples (as 
happy at least as slaves can be) with large families of children rising 
around them. The masters encourage marriages among their slaves, 
for it is from these lawful connections that they can expect to in- 
crease the number of their Creoles. A slave cannot marry 
without the consent of his master, for the vicar will not publish the 
banns of marriage without this sanction. It is likewise permitted 
that slaves should marry free persons ; if the woman is in bondage, 
the children remain in the same state, but if the man is a slave, and 
she is free, their offspring is also free. A slave cannot be married 
until the requisite prayers have been learnt, the nature of confession 
be understood, and the Sacrament can be received. Upon the estates 
the master or manager is soon made acquainted with the predilec- 
tions of the slaves for each other, and these being discovered, mar- 
riage is forthwith determined upon, and the irregular proceedings are 
made lawful. In towns there is more licentiousness among 

Edwards' History of the West-Indies, vol. ii. p. 82, and 147. 


the negroes, as there is among all other classes of men*. The pas- 
sion of love is supposed only to exist in a certain state of civilization, 
and this may be granted without at the same time declaring that 
negroes are incapable of lasting attachment, without supposing that 
the regard of each sex is mere animal desire, unconnected with pre- 
dilection. That species of affection which is heightened until per- 
sonal possession is almost forgotten, doubtless is not felt by human 
beings who are in a state of barbarism ; but still a negro may be 
attached, he may fix upon one object in preference to all others. 
That this is the case, I can vouch ; I have known and have heard of 
many instances in which punishments and other dangers have been 
braved to visit a chosen one ; in which journies by night have been 
made after a day of fatigue ; in which great constancy has been 
shewn, and a determination that the feelings of the heart shall not 
be controuled. f 

The great proportion of men upon many of the estates, produces, 
of necessity, most mischievous consequences. A supply is requi- 
site to keep up the number of labourers. The women are more 

* The base, the most abominable practice of some masters and mistresses, ff?2rfo/"Mc /«//«• 
qftcncr than the former, increases the bias which these miserable, these uneducated beings 
must be expected to have towards hcentiousness. Females have been punished because 
they have not increased the number of their owners' slaves. This is a fact ; but it is almost 
too much to believe. On which side does the extreme of depravity lie? 

f The following circumstances occurred within my own observation. A negro woman 
applied to a planter to be purchased, for which purpose she had brought a note from her 
master. She was accepted, and a bargain was concluded between the two persons ; how- 
ever, the day after she had taken up her abode upon the estate of her new master, she 
came to him, and falHng down upon her knees, said that she had liad a fellow-slave whp 
wished likewise to serve him, and she begged him to purchase her companion. The neiy 
master spoke to the owner of tlie slave in question on the subject, but he refused to seU 
him, and the matter rested in this manner ; but on the third day, he received a visit from 
the owjier, offering the slave for sale, adding that the man had refused to work, and had 
threatened to hang himself; and as he was a Gabam negro, he much feared that he might 
put his threat in execution. The price was soon fixed, and on the following morning tbfi 
man ipade his appearance. He proved to be a most excellent slave. 


liable to misconduct*, and the men imbibe unsettled habits ; but if 
jin adequate number of females are placed upon the estate, and the 
slaves are trained and taught in the manner which is practised upon 
well-regulated plantations, the negroes will be as correct in their 
behaviour, as any other body of men ; and perhaps their conduct 
may be less faulty than that of other descriptions of persons, who 
have less to occupy their time, though their education may be infi- 
nitely superior. That many men and many women will be licen- 
tious, has been and is still the lot of human nature, and not the pe- 
culiar fault of the much injured race of which I speak. 

I shall now state the manner in which the Africans are trans- 
ported from their own country to Brazil, and the disposal of them on 
their arrival in South America ; the characters of the several African 
nations with which the ships are loaded ; the condition of those who 
are employed in Recife, — upon the sugar plantations, — in the Mata 
or cotton estates, — and in the Sertam or cattle districts. 

As the voyage from the coast of Africa to the opposite shores of 
South America is usually short, for the winds are subject to little vari- 
ation and the weather is fine, the vessels which are employed in this 
traffic are generally speaking small, and are not of the best construc- 
tion. The situation of captain or master of a slave ship is con- 
sidered of secondary rank in the Poitugueze merchant-service, and 
the persons who are usually so occupied are vastly inferior to the 
generality of the individuals who command the large and regular 

* The following occurrences took place upon the estate ©f a wealthy planter to the South 
of Recife, and the anecdote was related by the owner of the plantation himself. A negro 
complained to his master of the infidelity of his wife; she was immediately questioned; 
and other enquiries being made, and the truth of the statement respecting her conduct 
being proved, she was tied to a post to be flogged. Her husband was present, and at first 
he rather received pleasure from the sight of her sufferings ; but he soon stopped the 
driver's hand, and going to his master, begged him to order her to be unbound, and that 
he would pardon her, for he added, " If there are to be so many men, and so small a 
number of women upon the estate, how is it to be expected that the latter are to be faithful." 
*'Para que Senkor tern tantos negros ei tarn poucas negras." 

SLAVERY. 41;5 

trading vessels between Europe and Brazil. The slave ships * were 
formerly crouded to a most shocking degree, nor was there any 
means of preventing this; but a law has been passed for the pur- 
pose of restricting the number of persons for each vessel. How- 
ever, I more than suspect, that no attention is paid to this 
regulation, — that means are made use of to evade the law. On 
the arrival at Recife of a cargo of slaves, the rules of the port direct 
that these persons shall be disembarked and taken to St. Amaro, 
which is an airy spot, and sufficiently distant from the town to 
prevent the admittance of any infectious disorder, if any such should 
exist among the newly-imported negroes ; and yet the place is at 
a convenient distance for the purchasers, St. Amaro being situated 
immediately opposite to Recife, upon the inland bank of the expanse 
of waters which is formed by the tide on the land side of the town. 
However, like many others, this excellent arrangement is not 
attended to, and even if the slaves are removed for a few days to 
St. Amaro, they are soon conveyed back to the town. Here they 
are placed in the streets before the doors of their owners, regardless 
of decency, of humanity, and of due attention to the general health 
of the town. The small pox, the yaws, and other complaints have 
thus frequent opportunities of spreading. It is probable, that if the 
climate was not so very excellent as it is, this practice would be 

* The ships which are employed in this trade oftentimes fill some of their water casks 
with salt water, when they leave Brazil, that they may serve as ballast ; and on taking their 
hve cargo on board upon the coast of Africa, the salt water is replaced by that which is 
for the use of the additional number of persons. On one occasion a vessel liad proceeded 
for some days on her voyage from Africa towards Brazil with a full cargo, when the dis- 
covery was made tliat the casks had not been filled with fi-esh water. The coast of either 
continent was too distant to enable the vessel to reach one or the other, before the greatest 
distress must be experienced, and therefore a most shocking expedient was resorted to, -^ 
a great number of the negroes were thrown overboard. This misfortune was accidental and 
occurred unintentionally, and a man must have been in a similar situation before lie can 
declare that he would not act as the Portugueze did on this occasion; but the circumstances 
arose from the natiu-e of this execrable trade. 


discontinued, but if it was not put a stop to, and the country was 
subject to pestilential complaints, the town would not be habitable. 

In the day-time some of the streets of Recife are in part lined 
with these miserable beings, who are lying or sitting promiscuously 
upon the foot-path, sometimes to the number of two or three hun- 
dred. The males wear a small piece of blue cloth round their waists, 
which is drawn between the legs and fastened behind ; the females 
are allowed a larger piece of cloth, which is worn as a petticoat ; and 
sometimes a second portion is given to them, for the purpose of 
covering the upper parts of the body. The stench which is created 
by these assemblages is almost intolerable to one who is unaccus- 
tomed to their vicinity; and the sight of them, good God, is horrid 
beyond any thing. These people do not however seem to feel their 
situation, any farther than that it is uncomfortable. Their food con- 
sists of salt meat, the flour of the mandioc, beans, and plantains occa- 
sionally; the victuals for each day are cooked in the middle of the 
street in an enormous caldron. At night they are driven into one or 
more warehouses, and a di'iver stands to count them as they pass ; 
they are locked in, and the door is again opened at day-break on the 
following morning. The wish of these wretched creatures to escape 
from this state of inaction and discomfort is manifested upon the 
appearance of a purchaser; they start up willingly, to be placed in the 
row for the purpose of being viewed and handled like cattle, and on 
being chosen they give signs of much pleasure. I have had many 
opportunities of seeing slaves bought, for my particular friends at 
Recife lived opposite to slave-dealers. I never saw any demonstra- 
tions of grief at parting from each other; but I attribute this to the 
dread of punishment if there had been any flow of feeling, and to a 
resigned or rather despairing sensation which checks any shew of 
grief, and which has prepared them for the worst, by making them 
indifferent to whatever may occur ; besides, it is not often that a 
family is brought over together, — the separation of relatives and friends 
has taken place in Africa. It is among the younger part of the 
assemblage of persons who are exposed for sale that pleasure is par- 


ticularly visible at the change of situation, in being removed from 
the streets of the town; the negroes of more advanced age do 
whatever the driver desires, usually with an unchanged countenance. 
I am afraid that very little care is taken to prevent the separation 
of relations who may chance to come over in the same ship; and any 
consideration on this point lies entirely with the owner of the cargo*. 
A species of relationship exists between the individuals who have 
been imported in the same ship ; they call each other malungos, and 
this term is much regarded among them. The purchaser gives to 
each of his newly-bought slaves a large piece of baize and a straw 
hat, and as soon as possible marches them off to his estate. I have 
often in travelling met with many parties going up to their new 
homes, and have observed that they were usually cheerful ; — any 
thing is better than to sit at the door of the slave merchant in Recife; 
The new master too does every thing in his power to keep them 

* I was present on one occasion at the purchase of some slaves. The person who 
was chusing those which suited his purpose, singled out among others a handsome woman, 
and a beautiflil boy of" about six years old. The woman had been a slave at Loanda 
upon the coast of Africa, and she spoke a little Portugueze. Whilst the selection 
was going on, the slave-dealer had happened to leave the room ; but after it was concluded 
he returned, and seeing the persons who had been set apart to be purchased, said, 
he was sorry the woman and child could not be sold, for they formed part of a lot 
which could not be separated. The purchaser enquired the reason of the formation of a 
lot in this instance, and was answered that it consisted of a family, the husband, wife, and 
three children. The dealer was then requested to point out the individuals which com- 
posed it, and they were all bought together. How few slave-merchants would have acted 
in this manner ! The whole family was present during the greatest part of the time, but 
there was no change of countenance in either the husband or the wife, — both of them 
understood the Portugueze language ; the children were almost too young to know what 
was about to happen, and besides we spoke in a language which they did not understand. 
That their parents did feel deeply the separation which they must have apprehended as 
being upon the point of taking place, I have not the slightest doubt, because I fre- 
quently saw these slaves afterwards, and knew how much they were attached to each other 
and to their children. But whether it proceeded from resignation, from despair, from fear,, 
or from being ashamed to shew what they felt before so many strangers, there was no de- 
monstration of feeling. Negroes may have feelings, and yet not allow the standers-by to 
know what they feel. ." 



in good humour at first, whatever his conduct may afterwards be to- 
wards them. 

The slaves which are usually brought to Pernambuco are known 
under the names of Angola, Congo, Rebolo, Anjico, Gabam, and 
Mosambique. These last have only been imported of late years, ow- 
ing, I rather imagine, to the difficulty with which slaves have been 
obtained on the western coast of Africa, caused by the vigilance of 
the British cruisers in that quarter, and the vexations to which some 
of the slave ships have been liable from detention, although they 
were ultimately suffered to proceed on their voyages. 

The Angola negroes make the best slaves; many of them have 
been in bondage in their own country, and therefore to these the 
change is for the better. Some of them have even served the whites 
in the city of Loanda, which is the principal Portugueze settlement 
upon the coast of Africa. But othex's were free in Angola, and conse- 
quently to these is allotted a life of disappointment and vexation, 
whenever they remember their own country. The negroes from 
Angola are however usually tractable, and may be taught to perform 
the menial services of a house or stable without much pains being 
taken with them; and they often shew great attachment *, fidelity, 

* An instance occurred at Liverpool of the attachment of some of these people to 
their master. At the commencement of the direct trade from Brazil to Great Britain, 
some small vessels came to Liverpool manned in part with slaves, owing to their 
masters being ignorant that their arrival upon British ground would make them 
free. However the men themselves were soon made acquainted with this circumstance, 
and many of them availed themselves of the advantages which were to be thus obtained. 
One of the men belonging to a small bark left his vessel, and having entered himself as a 
seaman on board some other ship, returned to persuade three of his companions to do the 
same ; but he wis answered, that they were well treated where they were, had always been 
used kindly, and therefore had no wish to try any other way of life. These three men 
returned to Brazil in the bark, and I have heard that they were set at liberty by their 
master on their arrival there. I hope it was so. When the advocates of slavery relate 
such stories as these, they give them as tending to prove that slaves in general are happy. 
Anecdotes of this kind demonstrate individual goodness in the master and individual 
gratitude in the slave, but they prove nothing generally ; they do not affect the great ques- 
tion ; that is rested upon grounds which are too deeply fixed to be moved by single mstances 
of evil or of good. 


and honesty. The Angola negroes are those who most commonly 
exert themselves to purchase their own freedom. The Congo ne- 
groes partake much of the character of the Angolans, being equally 
tractable; but they are steadier, and are particularly adapted to the 
regular routine of field labour. They are less quick in their move- 
ments than the Angolans, and do not seem to be so spirited and 
courageous ; they obtain in a short period a knowledge of the 
Portugueze language. The Rebolos can scarcely in person be dis- 
tinguished from the two former, being stoutly made, and not tall; 
they have a black skin, but it is not shining, and the features are 
flat. They seem to be a branch of the Angolans and Congos, but 
they are more obstinate, and more subject to despond than the others. 
These three tribes appear to have belonged originally to the same 
nation, for many parts of their characters are similar, their persons 
are of the same mould, and the dialects of each sufficiently resemble 
each other to be understood by all the three. 

The Anjico negroes shew many marks of being of another nation ; 
they make good slaves if they are well treated, and are yet preserved 
under due controul. They are difficult to train, and bear a heavy 
yoke impatiently ; there is in them much independence of charac- 
ter, if they dared to shew it ; there is also much cunning, and the 
desire and capability of over-reaching. Their persons are tall and 
well formed, their skins are of a glossy black, their eyes are expres- 
sive, and their countenances plainly denote that it is not by their 
own will that they continue in slavery. They are not however nu- 
merous. Great neatness is shown by them in their household 
arrangements, and they often exert themselves to obtain money ; 
but they are less careful and prudent than the nations of which 
I have already treated. All the Anjico negroes have three gashes 
on each cheek, which are cut in a circular form from the ear to the 
mouth. * 

* Mr. Edwards mentions some of the Gold coast negroes, or those of the 
countries, and gives as an instance the chamba negroes, who follow this custom. 

3 H 2 


The Gabam or Gaboon negroes have not been very long intro- 
duced, and from the well known general character of the nation they 
are sold at a reduced price. I have heard many persons state that 
they are cannibals *. They appear to be in a still more savage state 
than any of the former-mentioned nations, and are much given to 
despondency and consequent suicide; indeed ten and even twenty 
that have been purchased together have, in some instances, in the 
course of a short period, all died from despair, or have put an end 
to their lives in a more summaiy manner. It is with difficulty that 
the Gaboons can be taught to perform any labour above that of the 
simplest description ; and sometimes they remain for years unbap- 
tized, from the great trouble which is required in making them arti- 
culate any sounds to which they have not been accustomed. Yet it 
is rather that they will not be taught, than that they cannot learn, 
for I have heard many planters say, that if a Gabam negro can be 
made cheerful, and is induced to take an interest in those persons 
who are around him and in his occupations, he becomes a most use- 
ful and intelligent slave. The Gabam negroes are tall and handsome, 
and their skins are very black and shining; the features of many of 
them are good, being much less flat and blunt than those of their 
countrymen in general. 

The Mosambique negroes are a poor and ugly race of beings, lan- 
guid and inactive, and subject to despondency. Their colour inclines 
to brown, but still they have completely the negro features. As 
the price of these slaves is much below that of any other descrip- 
tion of negroes, some of the planters have taken them on trial, but 
they are said to have many of the bad qualities of the Gaboons with- 
out their hardiness. 

A negro will sometimes tell his master that he is determined to 

* Whilst I resided at Jaguaribe, I heard that two negroes of this nation had murdered 
a child of three or four years of age, the son or daughter of their master, and that they had 
been caught in the act of preparing to cook part of the body. The men were carried 
down to Recife, but the person who informed me of these circumstances did not know what 
punishment had been inflicted upon them. 


die, and too often the effects of his resolve begin shortly afterwards 
to be perceived; he becomes thin, loses his appetite, and dies almost 
a skeleton. One of the means which it is very generally said that 
these miserable beings employ for the purpose of destroying them- 
selves, is that of eating considerable quantities of lime and earth, 
which either produces emaciation or dropsy. But it is strange that a 
habit of eating lime and earth should be contracted in some instances 
by African and likewise by Creole children, and as frequently by free 
children as by those who are in slavery. This practice is not treated 
as if it were a disorder, but it is accounted a habit, which, by attention 
from those who have the charge of the children — in watching and 
punishing them, may be conquered without the aid of medicine. I 
know of some instances in which no medical treatment was deemed 
necessary, but the individuals recovered by means of chastisement 
and constant vigilance. It is a subject upon which I was often led 
to converse, and I discovered that most of the free-born families were 
acquainted with the practice from experience among their own chil- 
dren or those of their neighbours, and that they always considered 
it as a habit and not as a disease. Among adults, however, slaves are 
infinitely more subject to it than free persons.* 

Pernambuco has never experienced any serious revolt among the 
slaves ; but at Bahia there have been several commotions f. I be- 
lieve that Bahia contains fewer free people than Pernambuco in pro- 
portion to the number of slaves ; but I cannot avoid attributing the 
quietude of the latter in some measure to the circumstance of few of 
the Gold Coast negroes being imported to it, whilst at Bahia the 
principal stock of slaves is from that part of Africa. It is by the 

* I merely state what is the general idea upon the subject in that country, without 
giving an opinion upon the general question. — Mr. Edwards says that it is a disease and 
not a habit. — History of the West-Indies, vol. ii. p. 141. 

Labat is of opinion, that it is a habit and not a disease. — Nouveau Voyage &c. torn. ii. 
p. II. 

f There was one in 18 14, and another in February of the present year, 1816. 


Mina negroes in Bahia that the revolts have been made, and by the 
Koromanties in Jamaica, in 1760*. These are, I beUeve, the same 
people under different names, and they are represented as possessing 
great firmness of mind and body, and ferociousness of disposition. 

The Obeah-men of the Columbian islands and the Mandingueiros 
of Brazil f, are evidently, from their practices, the same description 
of persons. The religion which the Brazilian slaves are taught, has 
likewise a salutary effect upon this point, for it tends to lessen or 
entirely removes the faith which was previously entertained by the 
Africans respecting the incantations of their countrymen ; the super- 
stitions of their native land are replaced by others of a more harm- 
less nature. The dreadful effects of faith in the Obeah-men which 
sometimes occur in the British colonies, are not experienced in 
Brazil from the Mandingueiros : belief in their powers is certainly 
not extinguished, and indeed even some of the Creoles imbibe a 
notion of the efficacy of their spells, but the effects of these are not 
generally felt. 

The slaves who are employed in Recife may be divided into two 
classes ; household slaves, and those which pay a weekly stipend to 
their owners proceeding from the earnings of some employment 
which does not oblige them to be under the immediate eye of the 
master. The first class have little chance of gaining their freedom 
by their own exertions, and are subject to the caprice and whims of 
their superiors ; but some few are manumitted by the kindness of those 
whom they have served, and the cloathing and food which is afforded 

* Edwards' History of the West-Indies, vol. ii. p. 64. 

\ The negroes who are obtained in the province of Senegambia, " are known to the 
West-Indian planters by the general name of Mandi?igoes." — History of the West-Indies, 
vol. ii. p. 50. 

" There is a sort of people who travel about in the country, called Mandingo-men ; 
(these are Mahommedans) they do not like to work ; they go from place to place; and when 
they find any chiefs or people whom they think they can make any thing of, they take up 
iheir abode for a time with them, and make greegrees, and sometimes cast sand from them, 
for which they make them pay." — Correspondence of Mr. John Kizell in the Sixth Report 
of the Directors of the African Institution, p. 136. 


to them is generally better than that which the other class obtains. 
This second class consists of joiners, shoemakers, &c. canoemen, 
porters, &c. and these men may acquire a sufficient sum of money to 
purchase their own freedom, if they have the requisite prudence and 
Steadiness to allow their earnings to accumulate ; but too often, the 
inducements to expend them foolishly are sufficiently powerful to 
make these people swerve from their purpose. They generally earn 
more each day than the master exacts, and have besides the Sun- 
days and holidays as their own ; and if the slave feeds and cloaths 
himself, to these are added the Saturday of every week*. I think 
that allowing largely for him to supply every thing requisite for his 
support and decent appearance, and yet something for what to a person 
in such a rank in life may be accounted luxury, a slave so circum- 
stanced may in ten years purchase his freedom. If his value is 
great, it is because his trade is lucrative, so that these things keep 
pace with each other. The women have likewise some employ- 
ments by which they may be enabled to gain their liberty ; they make 
sweetmeats and cakes, and are sent out as cooks, nurses, house- 
keepers, &c. 

Creole negroes and mulattos are generally accounted quicker in 
learning any trade than the Africans. This superior aptitude to 
profit by instruction is doubtless produced by their acquaintance from 
infancy with the manners, customs, and language of their masters. 
From the little experience, however, which I have had, and from 
the general remarks which I have gathered from others, who might 
be judged better acquainted than myself with slaves, I think that an 

* Mr. Edwards says, " In Jamaica the negroes are allowed one day in a fortnight, ex. 
cept in time of crop, besides Sundays and holidays, for cultivating their grounds, and car- 
rying their provisions to market." The Protestant church enjoins the observance of 
three or four holidays, and the Catholic church of above thirty. 

Du Tertre says that the custom of giving a certain portion of time to the slave for the 
purpose of providing for his own maintenance, was introduced into the Columbian islands 
by " Ics Holandois chassez du Recif" and he adds that they ^^goiivermnt lews csclaves a la 
Jafon du Bresil" — Histoire des Antilles, vol. ii. p. 515. 


African who has become chearful, and seems to have forgotten his 
former state, is a more valuable slave than a Creole negro or mu- 
latto. He will be generally more fit to be trusted. Far from the 
latter submitting quietly to the situation in which they have been 
born, they bear the yoke of slavery with impatience ; the daily sight 
of so many individuals of their own casts, who are in a state of 
freedom, makes them wish to be raised to an equality with them, 
and they feel at every moment their unfortunate doom. The con- 
sideration with which the free persons of mixed casts are treated, 
tends to increase the discontent of their brothers who are in slavery. 
The Africans do not feel this, for they are considered by their Cre- 
ole brethren in colour, as being so completely inferior, that the line 
which by public opinion has been drawn between them, makes the 
imported slave feel towards the Creoles as if they had not been ori- 
ginally of the same stock. 

Miserable objects are at times to be seen in Recife, asking alms 
in various quarters of the town, aged and diseased ; some of these 
persons have been slaves, and when, from infirmity they have been 
rendered useless, their masters have manumitted them ; and thus 
beino- turned away to starve in their old age, or in a crippled state, 
their only resource is to beg in the public streets. These instances 
of gross injustice and depravity in masters, are not many, but 
that they should occur, is sufficient to cause the aid of law to be 
called in, that the existence of them should be prevented. 

The suffar-plantations which belong to the Benedictine monks and 
Carmelite friars, are those upon which the labour is conducted with 
the greatest attention to system, and with the greatest regard to the 
comfort and ease of the slaves. I can more particularly speak 
of the estates of the Benedictine monks, because my residence at 
Jaguaribe gave me daily opportunities of hearing of the manage- 
ment of one of their establishments ; and although sugar-works were 
not erected upon the estate in question, still the number of negroes 
which were upon it, was fully adequate to this purpose. Besides, in 
some years canes were planted upon it, which were to be ground at 



some neighbouring mill. The frequent communication, likewise, 
which there was between the slaves of this plantation and those of 
the other estates, belonging to the same convent, upon which sugar is 
made, enabled me to ascertain that all the establishments which are 
owned by the Benedictines, are conducted in the same manner. 

The slaves of the Jaguaribe St. Bento estate are all Creoles, and are 
in number about one hundred. The children are carefully taught 
their prayers by some of the elder negroes, and the hymn to the 
Virgin is sung by all the slaves, male and female, who can possibly 
attend, at seven o'clock every evening; at this hour it is required 
that every person shall be at home. The young children are allowed 
to amuse themselves as they please during the greatest part of the 
day ; and their only occupation for certain hours is to pick cotton for 
lamps, and to separate the beans which are fit for seed from those 
which are rotten, and other work of the same description. When they 
arrive at the age of ten and twelve years, the girls spin thread for 
making the coarse cotton cloth of the country, and the boys attend to 
the horses and oxen, driving them to pasture, &c. If a child 
evinces peculiar fitness for any trade, care is taken that his talents 
should be applied in the manner which he would himself prefer. A 
few of them are taught music, and assist in the church festivals of 
the convent. Marriages are encouraged ; as early as the age of seven- 
teen and eighteen years for the men, and at fourteen and fifteen for 
the girls, many of these unions take place. Immediately after their 
entrance into this state, the people begin to labour regularly in 
the field for their owners ; oftentimes both boys and girls request the 
manager to allow them to commence their life of daily toil, before 
the age which is pointed out by the regulations of the convent ; and 
this occurs because they are not permitted to possess provision 
grounds of their own until they labour for their masters. Almost 
every description of labour is done by piece-work ; and the task is 
usually accomplished by three o'clock in the afternoon, which gives 
to those who are industrious an opportunity of working daily upon 
their own grounds. The slaves are allowed the Saturday of every 
3 I 


week to provide for their own subsistence, besides the Sundays and 
holidays. Those who are diligent fail not to obtain their freedom 
by purchase. The provision grounds are never interfered with by 
the monks, and when a negro dies or obtains his freedom, he is per- 
mitted to bequeath his plot of land to any of his companions whom 
he may please to favour in this manner. The superannuated slaves 
are carefully provided with food and cloathing.* 

None of the monks reside upon the Jaguaribe estate, but 
one of them comes from Olinda almost every Sunday and holi- 
day to say Mass. Upon the other Benedictine estates there are 
resident monks. The slaves treat their masters with great familiarity ; 
they only pay respect to the abbot, whom they regard as the repre- 
sentative of the Saint. The conduct of the younger members of the 
communities of regular clergy, is well known not to be by any means 
correct ; the vows of celibacy are not strictly adhered to. This cir- 
cumstance decreases the respect with which these men might otherwise 
be treated upon their own estates, and increases much the licentious- 
ness of the women. I have seen upon these plantations many light- 
coloured mulatto slaves ; but when the approximation to white 
blood becomes considerable, a marriage is projected for the indi- 
vidual with a person of a darker tint. No compulsion is made use 
of to oblige any one to marry, and therefore many of the slaves, 
contrary to the wishes of their masters, remain single. The monks 
allow their female slaves to marry free men, but the male slaves are 
not permitted to marry free women. Many reasons are alleged in 
favour of this regulation. One is that they do not wish that a slave 
should be useless in the way of increasing the stock of the plant- 

* One of these old men, who was yet however sufficiently hearty to be often in a 
state of intoxication, and would walk to a considerable distance to obtain liquor, 
made a practice of coming to see me for this purpose. He would tell me, that he and his 
companions were not slaves to the monks but to St. Bento himself, and that consequently, 
the monks were only the representatives of their master for the due administration of the 
Saint's property in this world. I enquired of some others of the slaves, and found that 
this was the general opinion among them. 


ation ; likewise the monks do not wish to have a free family re- 
siding among their slaves (for obvious reasons), which must be the 
case if a man marries a free woman ; they have less objection to a man, 
because he is during the whole of the day away from their people, or 
is perhaps employed by the community, and thus in part de- 
pendant upon it, and he merely comes to sleep in one of the huts ; 
besides, a stranger is contributing to the increase of the stock. 

The Jaguaribe estate is managed by a mulatto slave, who mar- 
ried a person of his own colour, and she likewise belonged to the 
convent. Her husband has purchased her freedom and that of her 
children ; he possesses two African slaves, the profits of whose labour 
are entirely his own ; but he is himself obliged to attend to the 
business of the plantation, and to see that the work of his masters is 
properly executed. This man has offered his two Africans in ex- 
change for himself to the monks ; but they tell him that the Jagua- 
ribe estate could not be properly managed without his assistance ; and, 
though much against his inclination, he continues in slavery. This 
is one of the strongest instances of man's desire to act for himself; 
Nicolau enjoys the entire direction of the estate, and every comfort 
which a man of his description can possibly wish for ; when he moves 
from home, he is as well mounted as the generality of the rich 
planters ; he is permitted to be seated in the presence of his masters, 
and indeed is allowed all the privileges of free men ; and yet the 
consciousness of being under the controul of another always oc- 
cupies his mind, and leads him to desire the possession of those pri- 
vileges as a right, which he at present only enjoys by sufferance. * 

* An old slave, who had been invariably well treated, for he had never deserved punish- 
ment, was asked by his master if he wished to be free ; he smiled, but said nothmg ; the 
question being repeated, he answered that of course he wished to be free ; the master then 
told him that his deed of manumission should be drawn out that same day ; upon this 
being said, the slave shook his head, saying, " Why do you say such things to laugh at 
your old black man." However, as soon as he was persuaded that it was true, he 
began to dance about like one who was mad, and for some minutes could answer no ques- 
tions, nor could any directions be given to him. 

3i 2 


Slavery, however, in this less intolerable state exists in only a few 
instances ; and although a great many of the planters certainly do 
treat their slaves with considerable regard and attention to their 
comforts, still, upon none of the estates, excepting those of the 
religious communities which have been mentioned, is the complete 
system of rendering unnecessary a constant supply of new labourers, 
made the primary obect ; — the end to which all other consider- 
ations must give place. 

Next to the plantations which belong to the convents, stand 
some of those of the rich Brazilian owners, who go on quietly, if 
not systematically. Here the labour is not in general done 
by piece-work, nor do the labourers provide for their own sub- 
sistence ; and the slaves are sent to the field at an earlier age than 
they ought, and earlier than is practised upon the convent estates. 
Some of the plantations, however, which are owned by individuals, do 
give the Saturday of each week for the slave to support himself*. 
Corporal punishments are resorted to contrary to the custom of the 
St. Bento and Carmo estates, and though great cruelties are not 
often committed f, still the mode of punishment produces much 

* The Saturday of each week is not sufficient for the slave to provide for his own 
subsistence, unless the labour of his master, is done by task work, in which case, he may 
manage to finish this in due time, and to work a little each day upon his own provision 
grounds. He may indeed be able to live, by assisting the Saturdays, through the 
labour of his Sundays and holidays, even if the labour of his master is not done by 
piece-work ; but this is not just, for to the Sundays and holidays he has a right as his 
own, even if his master supports him ; but slavery and justice seldom go hand in 

f A planter with whom I was acquainted, was once seen by a person who happened to 
call upon him, occupied with three of his companions in flogging four negroes; the men 
were tied at a short distance from each other to four posts, and as the operation con- 
tinued, there was much laughing and joking, for as they laslied their miserable victims, 
they cried out, — " Here is to the health of such and such a person." It is some comfort 
to be able to say, that this wretch has been ruined ; but his ruin has been caused by his 
treatment of his slaves, which has occasioned the death of some, and the escape of others 
from his power in a less melancholy manner. 

Another man, on ordering a slave to work in the sugar-mill, was answered, that he 
was sick and could not go, but the master persisted. The negro went, saying, " you 



suffering, much misery, much degradation. Confinement and pri- 
vations, would, I rather imagine, be more efficacious. The pride of 
the slave, who is obliged to appear abroad with his back covered 
with scars, is at first much hurt ; but the shame of being seen in 
this state soon wears off, and then all hopes of reform may be given 
up ; he will continue in his faults, and be indifferent to the stripes 
which he must occasionally undergo for committing them. I have 
been requested by slaves, who had been often so treated, to punish 
them with the whip, and not to make them endure the misery of 
sitting in the stocks in solitary confinement. But the punishment is 
suffered in private ; no exposure is occasioned by it. It would 
appear strange that the slave should prefer corporal punishment ; and 
this would seem to denote that this class of men possesses none of those 
feelings of shame of which I have spoken ; but I am convinced, that 
these are as deeply implanted in the negro, as in any other race of 
human beings. The case is this, where a slave has been often punished 
with the whip, and is seeing many of his companions and acquaint- 
ance undergoing the same punishment frequently, the knowledge 
that it is what he himself has before borne, and that so many are 
thus treated, takes away the horror which he would otherwise feel at 
the kind of chastisement. This proves the debased state, — the 
very low ebb to which human nature may be brought. The ad- 
ditional rigour which thus the slave seems to consider confinement 
to be, would be a recommendation to some persons, and perhaps 
the feeling is in the main right ; for if the crime is great, the 
punishment should be adequate, and by this means of confinement 

will then kill your slave ;" and vexed with the treatment which he received now, and had 
suffered on other occasions, he placed his head near to one of the wheels, (for it was a 
water-mill) by which it was severed from his body. I could mention many anecdotes of 
this decription, indicative of individual blackness of heart, such as have been related of 
all nations who have had to do with slaves ; but few will suffice. Neither of the stories 
which are above related, occurred in the great and pre-eminent instance of depravity of 
which the scene was the Mata, and which has been mentioned in a former part of this 
work ; in that case 55 slaves were consumed in less thanfifteeen years. 


no degradation of the human being is occasioned. Hopes may be 
entertained that the time which is given for reflection, and the 
depression of spirits which is produced by the loneHness of the 
situation, may bring about a correction of error ; but by the whip, 
angry and vindictive feehngs are excited, or despair is the con- 
sequence, and in either case the owner will be injured ; in the for- 
mer, by a determination to continue in fault, and in the latter by 
the death or inaction of the sufferer. The objection which is prin- 
cipally to be urged against the mode of chastisement, which I have 
accounted the least prejudicial to the slave, considered as a rational 
being, is to be met with in the loss of time which is incurred by 
confinement a due length ; but I think, that this would be 
much more than compensated by the loss of health and of character 
which the negro suffers in undergoing punishment by the whip, 
and even of time during the period that the slave is recovering 
from the stripes. Iron collars, chains, and other punishments of the 
same description are likewise made use of, and are liable to the 
objection of rendering callous the sense of shame. I have observed, 
and have often heard it remarked, that scarcely any of the slaves 
who receive frequent correction, ever gain their freedom through 
their own exertions. The bad dispositions and inclinations of 
many, and the indifference which is produced in others by severe 
punishments, sufficiently account for this fact. * 

The Creole slaves are usually employed as tradesmen and house- 
hold servants ; even upon the sugar plantations this is the case 
where they are not more numerous than what are necessary to fill 
these departments ; to the Africans the field labour is chiefly al- 
lotted. The negroes are sent to work as the sun rises, and far 
from being more capable of exertion in the early part of the morn- 
ing than under the mid-day heat, the Africans are inactive and 

* Might not an act be passed for the British Colonies, obliging the master to manu- 
mit his slave, on the fair value of the individual being tendered ? Hovi^ever, this is not 
a place for discussion. 


languid, until the increasing power of the sun removes the chill 
which they receive from the cool morning air. They frequently leave 
their huts wrapped up in their coverlids of baize, seemingly much 
distressed by the cold. The -negroes breakfast about eight o'clock, 
and for this meal half an hour or less is allowed ; and some masters 
expect that their slaves shall bi-eakfast before they commence their 
work in the morning ; — that is, before sunrise. The time which is 
allowed for dinner, is from twelve o'clock till two, when the 
labourers again continue their labour until half past five o'clock. 
They are now, generally speaking, expected to pick a small bundle 
of grass for the master's saddle-horses, in some of the neighbouring 
provision grounds ; but if this is not requisite, the work continues 
until sun-set, about six o'clock. On the arrival of the people at 
home in the evening, they are sometimes required to scrape the 
rind from the mandioc for about one or two hours ; but as none of 
the principal estates make a practice of selling the flour of the 
mandioc, and only prepare the quantity which is necessary for the 
subsistence of the slaves, this labour only occurs about once in each 
week, or less frequently. In crop time, the work is only discon- 
tinued on Sundays and holidays ; and, as is practised on board 
vessels at sea, the negroes relieve each other at stated hours. 

The field negroes are attended by a feitor or driver, who is some- 
times a white man; but more frequently a free mulatto is employed 
for the purpose. It is the practice likewise of some of the planters 
to appoint a Creole, or even an African slave to the situation. Upon 
3l feitor who is a slave, more reliance is to be placed than upon a free 
person of colour, for the slvcve feitor becomes responsible to his master 
for the work which is to be executed, and is therefore careful that 
every one should do his duty. It is a remark which is gene- 
rally made; that the slave feitores require to be watched, that they 
may be prevented from being too rigorous towards those whom they 
are appointed to command ; their behaviour is usually more over- 
bearing than that of free men ; and next to the slaves the European 
feitores are the most tyrannical. It is likewise frequently observed 


that even manumitted Africans who become possessed of slaves, 
which occasionally occurs, treat them in a severe and unfeeling man- 
ner, that is nothing softened, but rather rendered more violent, 
by a remembrance of their own sufferings. Experience in trouble 
too often leads those who have suffered to the infliction of equal 
or greater hardships, when opportunities for so doing are afforded ; 
the human being becomes callous ; it is tormented, and torments with 
the same indifference. 

Medical attendance is not so well provided for as it ought, which 
proceeds rather from the small number of practitioners in the country, 
than from the negligence of the planters ; indeed due atten- 
tion in this respect is so much and so evidently their interest, that 
this alone, independent of any feelings of humanity, would make 
them seek every means of obtaining proper advice for their slaves *. 
I do not think that the food which the slaves receive is in sufficient 
quantities, or of a quality sufficiently nourishing for the labour which 
they are required to perform ; and it would be undoubtedly 
much too scanty, if the days of intended rest did not supply them 
with an addition to the stock of provisions which the master affords. 
I have in another place stated, that the vegetable part of the food 
of the sugar plantation negroes is chiefly the flour of the mandioc ; 
the animal food is generally the came do Seard, salt meat which 
comes from Rio Grande do Sul ; and sometimes salt fish supplies its 
place. The cloathing which is given to the slaves by the master 
consists of a shirt and drawers of the cotton cloth of the country, 
and a straw hat ; a piece of baize and a mat are likewise afforded to 
them ; but these things are not renewed as often as a due consider- 
ation to their comforts would demand. Although the negroes are 
fed by their masters, still as lands are to be had in abundance, the 

* I met with the following passage in a work of much reputation upon the affairs of 
the British sugar islands. " The circumstance wherein the slaves in the West Indies seemi 
jnostly indebted to their owners' liberality are, I think, those of medical attendance and 
accommodation when sick." Would not a man take his horse to a farrier if any thing 
ailed him? 


slaves are permitted to plant whatever they think fit, and to sell the 
produce to whom they please. Many of them rear pigs and poultry, 
and occasionally a horse is kept, from the hire of which money may 
be obtained. * 

The newly-imported negroes are usually sent to work too soon 
after their arrival upon the estates; if proper care is taken of them, 
they may indeed be employed in almost any description of labour at 
the end of eight or ten months, but not much before this period. 
Damp situations should be avoided, and they ought not to be sent 
out in the morning earlier than eight o'clock, and they should break- 
fast before they leave home : by these precautions the loss of many 
slaves might be prevented ; and they should be followed without any 
deviation, at least until the new negroes have been for a twelve- 
month in the country to which they have been transported, f 

I have represented slavery in what I conceive to be the state in 
which it usually exists upon the plantations ; but any comforts which 
the human beings who are so circumstanced enjoy, and any respite 
from severe labour is so entirely at the will of the master, that the 
instances in which the fate of the slave is hard almost beyond endu- 
rance, are dreadfully too frequent. Some planters follow the system 

* Horses are usually marked upon the right haunch with the private mark of their 
owners ; but the beasts which have been bred by slaves are marked on the left haunch or 
on the shoulder-blade. This proves, among many other corroborating circumstances, that 
though the law may prohibit a slave from possessing property, custom has estabhshed a 
practice which is better adapted to the present state of the country. 

f The plan of distributing the new-comers among the old established negroes to be 
taken care of by them, as is practised in Jamaica, has not been adopted in Brazil. I think 
the effect of this must be good, for thus each established slave takes an interest in one of 
of his newly-arrived companions; the new slaves too may be sooner reconciled to their 
situation, by the interest which is shevm in their behalf; ' and their wants may be made 
known to the master with more ease. The law which was passed at Rio de Janeiro in 
1809 (mentioned in chapter 1 6th) for preventing executions for debt upon the property 
of sugar planters, may have one beneficial effect; — the slaves cannot, unless the master 
pleases, be sold separately from the estate for the purpose of paying debts; the master 
cannot be forced to dispose of them, unless the debt amounts to the value of the estate; 
and thus the slave is advanced in some slight degree towards the condition of a serf. 



of performing certain kinds of work during the early part of the 
night, besides making the negroes labour for the full usual time during 
the day; — for instance, the whole of the labour of making the man- 
dioc flour, preparing with the feet the clay for making bricks and 
earthenware, also building mud walls ; besides removing bricks, 
fire wood, and so forth from one place to another. This extra work 
is called quingingoo. I even knew of one instance in which the field 
labour was continued until twelve o'clock at night, by the light of 
large fires which had been kindled in several parts of the ground. 
For this manner of proceeding there was no reason, excepting that 
it was the master's pleasure so to act, for the season was favourable, 
and not too far advanced to have continued the work in the usual 
manner and yet have accomplished the planting of the field in proper 
time. Of cruelty I could say much, but I have gone far enough, and 
must not enter into farther details upon this part of my subject. 
The relation of such misdeeds do more harm than good, they serve as 
examples for those who have unprincipled minds and unfeeling 
hearts ; and who may consider them as paths in which they may tread, 
because others have trodden in them, rather than as precipices which 
ought to be avoided. The power which is entrusted to an individual 
is too great, abuses must arise, the system is radically bad, and every 
possible means should be put into action for its extirpation. 

I am acquainted with the owners of a few estates who profess to 
purchase any slaves however bad their characters may be, if they can 
obtain them below the usual price. The persons of secondary rank 
who possess only a few slaves, and have not the same means of 
punishing them if they misbehave which exist upon the great estates, 
dispose of those of their negroes who act improperly to the rich men 
who will purchase them. There is an estate in the Mata, of which 
the owner is known to buy any slave, however ill disposed he may 
be, provided he can obtain him at a low })rice. This man manages 
to keep his estate in the best order possible; every thing goes on 
regularly upon it. He even prefers purchasing creole slaves to Afri- 
cans, although the former are invariably more difficult to manage. 


He is a man of determined character ; on the arrival of one of these 
new slaves, he takes him to the prison of the estate and shews him 
the stocks, the chains, the whips, &c. saying " this is what you are 
to expect if you continue in your evil practices ;" then a hut is given 
to the slave ; and also cloaths and other articles of comfort, all of 
which are in a state of greater neatness, and are afforded in larger 
quantities than are usually bestowed upon the slaves of other plant- 
ations. On one occasion a negro struck the feitoi^ for which he was 
immediately confined, until the matter could be investigated ; the 
freeman was found to be in fault, and was turned away. The negro 
suffered a certain degree of punishment for striking a superior, but 
he was ultimately appointed to the situation of feitor, having before 
held that of second driver. If this planter did not rule his people 
with great severity when guilty, his estate would soon become a den 
of thieves and murderers, for it is well known of what bad materials 
his gang of slaves is composed. This man is of mixed blood, but is 
nearly related to some of the first families of the province. It is 
well that a man should appear, who is willing, for the sake of a tri- 
fling difference in the price for which he may obtain his labourers, 
to take the trouble, and imdergo the risk of person and of property 
in controuling a set of uneducated men, who cannot consequently 
have any principle of action, and whose habits are of the worst de- 
scription. According to present circumstances he is of service to 
the country, for these fellows are kept quiet; but what a dreadful 
state it is, that the institutions of a country should be so framed that 
there should possibly exist in its centre, a body of human beings of 
which many of the individuals are criminals; men, who certainly 
never will be punished by the laws of the country, though punish- 
ment may or may not be inflicted by the person to whom they are 

The slaves of the cotton estates undergo, as may be supposed, the 
same kind of punishments, and are subject to the same species of 
treatment as those which have already been spoken of; their manage- 
ment, as in other parts, is conducted on the whole in a more lenient 

3 K 2 


or more rigorous manner, according to the dispositions of the owners. 
They are however liable to greater privations from the nature of the 
country in which they reside, and they do not enjoy the benefit of 
crop time, which is so favourable to the negroes of the sugar plantations. 
Food is not so easily obtained in parts which are so distant 
from great towns and from the sea-coast ; and greater difficulty is 
experienced in the sale of the mandioc, the beans and the maize 
which the slaves raise upon their own provision grounds. Still the 
negroes of the cotton districts sometimes gain their freedom by their 
own exertions, for as cotton is a most lucrative plant, and yet may 
be cultivated and brought to market with little or no out-lay of money, 
those of the slaves who plant regularly and gather their trifling quan- 
tities, frequently in the end meet with the reward of their labours. 
This is not the case with the sugar-cane, for in cultivating this plant as- 
sistance is necessary, much work being required to be done within a 
given time, owing to the seasons in planting it, and to the nature of 
the cane when it ripens ; and there is likewise the difficulty of having 
it ground, and of receiving the proceeds, &c. In the manufactory the 
slave has not his property under his own eye ; it passes through the 
hands of many other individuals, and as there is no personal respect for 
the owner of the property, nor any means of redress in case of injustice, 
the slave has only a poor chance of being properly dealt with ; the 
above circumstances being those to which the culture of the sugar- 
cane is subject, it is scarcely ever planted by slaves on their own 

The cattle districts employ few slaves, and these are occupied at 
home, for scarcely any of them, unless they are Creoles, are deemed 
capable of undertaking the more arduous employments of pursuing 
the cattle, breaking in horses, &c. The slaves remain in the huts to 
attend to the less enterprizing occupations. The climate of the 
Sertam is accounted well adapted to the constitutions of the 
Africans ; sickly negroes are often purchased at reduced prices by 
persons who reside in the interior, under the idea that the climate 
will soon re-establish their health. The circumstance of the non- 


existrnce of the chigua or hicho*, in the plains of the Sertam is of 
much importance ; for this insect is extremely injurious to some of 
the negroes ; — notwithstanding every precaution, the feet have in 
some instances been destroyed by them. The chigua has more effect 
upon the flesh of some persons than upon that of others ; and the 
subjects who are violently attacked by this insect, are sometimes 
only preserved from being crippled by their removal to a part of the 
country in which it does not exist. The dryness of the air and soil 
of the Sertam generally removes agues of long standing, and like- 
wise the complaint which frequently proceeds from the ague, and is 
called ajnarellidam, or yellowness. The Africans are seldom at- 
tacked by the ague, but they have often the amarellidam. 

In the back settlements, beyond the plains of the Sertam, bor- 
dering upon the mountains where cotton is planted, and from which 
the plains are in part supplied with food, the number of negroes is 
becoming considerable. I have had opportunities of conversing with 
negroes from the Sertam, and have invariably found that they pre- 
ferred their residence in the cattle districts even to a removal into 
the country bordering upon the sea. The diet of the Sertam negro 
is preferable to that of the plantation slave, so that this cir- 
cumstance, independently of all others, would make the former be 
well aware of the superiority of his situation. Fresh beef and 
mutton are the usual food of the Sertam slaves, but upon the plant- 
ations these are rarely served out. 

The most dreadful complaint to which negroes are subject more 
than other descriptions of men, is that which, in the Columbian 
islands is known under the name of t/azvs, and in Brazil by that of 
bobas. I had opportunities of seeing it, and most loathsome is the 
sight of the individuals who are afflicted with it. The body becomes 
covered with large ulcers, the patient is reduced to a mere skeleton, 

* Bicho, means an animal, in the common acceptation of the word ; but the insect which 
is commonly, in other countries, called the chigua, is known at Pernambuco, only under the 
name of bic/io. 


and is rendered generally for a time quite helpless. The facility 
with which it is communicated to others increases the distress of the 
patient ; for every precaution must be taken in separating the suf- 
ferer to some distance from the other slaves. The adult who re- 
covers from it seldom enjoys as perfect health as before. The ne- 
groes say that it gets into the bone ; every change of weather is felt 
by those who have had the disorder, although they are again accounted 
in health, and in some cases the use of one or other of the limbs is 
occasionally lost for a time. A certain diet must be observed for 
many months after the disorder has apparently left the person who 
has had it, for the purpose of preventing a relapse ; and sometimes a 
deviation from this, even some years after, will cause violent pains in 
the joints. The following circumstances occurred under my own 
eyes. A child belonging to one of my neighbours, whilst I resided 
at Jaguaribe, was in the practice of coming to amuse itself with some 
of the children of the plantation. He had this disorder upon him; 
and soon afterwards the son of a labourer caught it ; all this was not 
made known to me, until a slave of eight years of age was reported 
to me to have the bobas ; and shortly afterwards an old man, the 
father of this child, likewise fell sick. In the course of a short 
time, notwithstanding every care was taken, other persons were 
afflicted with the disease. A surgeon was applied to, and he pre- 
scribed mercury to all the patients. An infant of a few months old, 
which afterwards caught the disease, underwent the same treatment. 
The children who had arrived at a certain age all recovered, and 
until the period of my departure, they had never experienced any 
return, nor had felt any bad effects from it. The old man still 
laboured under it, but was recovering. The growth of the infant 
was stopped by the disease, and very little hopes were entertained of 
saving its life. 

This horrible disorder is contracted by inhabiting the same 
room with the patient, and by inoculation ; this is effected by means 
of a small fly, from which every precaution is oftentimes of no avail. 
Great numbers of the insects of this species appear early in the 


morning ; but they are not so much seen when the sun is powerful. 
If one of them chances to settle upon the corner of the eye or 
mouth, or upon the most trifling scratch, it is enough to inoculate 
the bobas, if the insect comes from a person who labours under the 
disease. The same person can only have the bobas once. The scars 
which it leaves upon the bodies of the negroes have a most disgust- 
ing appearance ; for the wounds' have in some cases been of such 
long standing, and have penetrated so deep as to have changed the 
colour of the skin, which becomes of a most loathsome white colour.* 
However, deep wounds of any description have the same effect upon 
the negro skin. 

There are considerable numbers of white persons and of colour 
who possess two or three slaves, and share with them the daily 
labour, even of the field. These slaves ai'e, generally speaking, 
Creoles, who have been reared in the family, or they are Africans 
who have been purchased very young for a trifling sum of money ; 
they are frequently considered as part of the family, and 
share with the master the food for which both are working. These 
slaves appear on gala days well-dressed, and they have a certain 
air of independence, which shews that they think themselves to be 
something more in the world than mere drudges. The difference of 
the feeling of one of these men towards his master, and that of the 

* Dr. Pinckard, in his "Notes on the West-Indies" mentions that mercury was used 
for the complaint at Berbice, with very little success. Mr. Edwards doubts " if medicine 
of any kind is of use in this disease." This writer likewise states that he had heard of the 
Gold Coast negroes inoculating their children with the complaint, and also the notion 
which they have of the disease getting into the bone. Bolingbroke says, "No effectual 
cure has, I believe, ever been found for it. Salivation wiU drive it in, but sulphur and 
other opening medicines are now preferred to induce its coming out ;" and again " There 
are black women who inoculate their children for this disorder ; its violence is thereby les- 
sened." — Voyage to the Demerary, &c. p. 54. 

In the " Voyage u la Guiane et a Cayenne fait en 1789 et annees suivantes," I find that 
speaking of the same disorder, "on la gagne trcs-aisement avec les Indiennes qui en sont 
presque toutes attaquees." It is supposed by Mr. Edwards to be brought from Africa, and 
the same idea exists in Brazil ; indeed it is less known among the Inchans than among the 
people of colour. 


generality of the slaves which are owned by great proprietors, is very 
striking. The former will not suffer in his presence a word to be 
spoken against his master, whilst the latter cares not if he hears 
every injurious epithet made use of. The slaves of small pro- 
prietors are not so liable to imbibe many of the faults to which those 
of wealthy men are subject, and they possess more pride, — a greater 
wish to act honourably, — a greater dread of being upbraided for a 
fault. Upon large estates the assemblage of so many persons tends 
to depravation, and the wide distance which there is between the 
slave and the master tends to produce a greater feeling of infe- 
riority ; but among the small proprietors the difference of rank is 
infinitely less, owing, among other causes, to the assistance which 
they receive from each other, in tlieir daily occupations.* 

From the vastness of the country, it might be supposed that if a 
slave escapes from his master, the chances would be against his re- 
turn, but this is not the case. The Africans particularly are gene- 
rally brought back ; they are soon distinguished by their manner of 
speaking the Portugueze language ; and if any one of them cannot 
give a good account of himself, he will not be allowed to remain 
long unmoleslfed, for the profit arising from the apprehension of 
a runaway slave is considerable. Besides, the manumitted 
African generally continues to reside in the neighbourhood of the 
estate upon which he has served as a slave ; so that when a man of 
this description, that is, an African, comes without being known, to 
settle in a district, suspicion immediately arises that he is not free. 
The manumitted Creoles remove to where they are not known, be- 
cause they do not wish that the state in which they were born should 
reach their new place of residence. An African must have been 
brought to Brazil as a slave, and therefore his situation of a freeman 
proves that his character is good, or he could not have obtained his 
liberty ; but a creole may have been born free, and consequently his 
former state as a slave he wishes to conceal. Creole slaves, and 

* A small proprietor in Brazil is a man who possesses from two to ten slaves. A large 
proprietor upon an average, in the part of the country of which 1 may speak, possesses 
from twenty to sixty s\aves. 


more especially mulattos, often do escape, and are never afterwards 
heard of by their masters ; but even these are sometimes brought 

A case of great hardship occurred at Recife a short time before I 
left that place. A negro and his wife had escaped, and as their master 
had not received any tidings of them for sixteen or seventeen 
years, he supposed that both of them had died. However, one day 
there arrived at his door in Recife, a number of capitaens-do-campo 
with several persons in custody. He soon recognized his negro and 
negress, and was told that the five young persons who were with 
them were their children, and consequently his slaves. These poor 
creatures had been brought up until this period of their liyes with the 
idea that they were free ; and thus a young man of sixteen, and his 
sister of fourteen years of age, were at the season of joy and glad- 
ness to commence a life of misery. The master confined them all, 
until he could dispose of them to some slave-dealer, which he soon 
accomplished, and they were shipped from Recife for Maranham. 
I never heard how the discovery had been made, that these people 
were not free. Oh ! system accursed, which thus damps the hopes and 
prospects of a whole life. 

Some of the negroes who escape determine to shun the haunts 
of man, they conceal themselves in the woods, instead of attempt- 
ing to be received into some distant village as free persons. They 
form huts, which are called mocamhos, in the most unfrequented spots, 
and live upon the game and fruit which their places of retreat afford. 
These persons sometimes assemble to the number of ten or twelve, 
and then their dislodgement is difficult ; for their acquaintance with 
the woods around gives them the advantage over any party which 
may be sent to attack them*. Sometimes a whole neighbourhood is 

* A slave belonging to a colonel of militia, who was a planter of great wealth, was in 
the frequent practice of concealing himself in the woods for some days at a time ; on being 
brought back, he wa