BLTC Press Titles

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Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner

Shakti and Shakta

John Woodroffe

The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi

Narrative of a visit to Brazil, Chile, Peru, and the Sandwich islands

by Gilbert Farquhar Mathison


But if inanimate objects are so delightful to the senses, the living are not less worthy of admiration. A great variety of birds, of beautiful plumage, people the groves; and the buzz of the tiny humming-birds,here called bejajlorcs (kiss-flowers), as they glance among the orange blossoms, in search of " liquid sweets," add to the general harmony. Swarms of insects, also, fill the air and surface of the earth. As night approaches, myriads of fire-flies take the place of those which sport only in the genial rays of the sun, and their vivid emissions of light, whilst darting amid the foliage, produce an effect which, in more ignorant times, might easily have been attributed to supernatural causes. The monotonous hum of the tree-frog is then heard, continuing without interKFO JANEIRO. 17

mission during the night, while no other sound disturbs the solemn and universal silence.

None but those who are used to tropical climates, can imagine the feelings which such scenes inspire in the breasts of travellers recently arrived from Europe.

After residing a month at Rio and its immediate neighbourhood, I felt desirous of seeing a little of the interior of the country; and accordingly determined to visit the Swiss colony established at Moro Quemado; the ancient mining station at Canta Gallo; and the Ilha da Pedra, a settlement of Indians on the banks of the river Parayba.

The Swiss colony I was most particularly anxious to visit, from its being the first attempt made in this part of South America to introduce foreign European settlers in the capacity of farmers and labourers.

The account I received of it was this: a plan was first contrived and laid before the King, by a Swiss gentleman, and received the approbation of His Majesty, who spared no pains nor expense to carry it into effect. In Switzerland, where the


people are naturally enterprizing, and fond of emigration, the plan was eagerly embraced, and many persons in good circumstances left their homes with the expectation of quickly realizing large fortunes. Some skilful mechanics, and men of all trades, volunteered to join the party; but the majority were taken indiscriminately from the lowest-classes of society. The accommodation on ship-board must have been very defective and bad; for, out of 1500 persons, who left their native country, and were embarked in Holland, no fewer than 300 died during the voyage out, and many others soon after their arrival in Brazil. The remainder were immediately sent up the country, and established as a regular colony at Moro Quemado, the place above mentioned, to which I was now about to proceed.



Having hired a Swiss servant, who acted as guide, and taken with me a stock of necessary provisions, a gun, &c., I left Praya Grande, in a boat manned by six negroes, on Tuesday, September 23, 1821; and, after a pleasant passage of about three hours, reached the mouth of the Macacou, the largest of the eleven small rivers which discharge their waters into the Bay at its northern extremity, fourteen miles distant, in a straight line, from the town of Rio.

In coming to this place, we passed by Governor's Island, (Ilha du Gouvernador,) by far the largest of the many islands of the Bay. It extends along the Eastern bank, and is about six miles in length, and two and a half broad. On it are two large sugar plantations. The soil is said to be extremely fertile. It was formerly a royal preserve, abundantly stocked with game; but the right of sporting is now thrown open to the public, the exclusive privileges of the Crown having been given up since the proclamation of the late Portuguese Constitution.

The river Macacou, at its mouth, is about the breadth of the Thames at Windsor. The navigation extends to a distance of thirty miles for large market-boats, of which we passed several on their way to Rio, laden with the produce of the interior. This consists chiefly of coffee, sugar, rum, maize, tobacco, and charcoal, and furnishes employment to the inhabitants of three villages, namely, Macacou, Porto das Caxas, and Villa Nova, situate on the banks of the river. The last-named village, where we stopped, is about ten miles distant from the embouchure.

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