Before leaving the Cidade Diamantina, I made several excursions to the valleys, the ravines, and the mountain tops in its vicinity, which yielded me many acquisitions; having made all the necessary preparations for our departure, we left early in the forenoon of the 15th of August. We made a journey of about three leagues, and remained for the night at a place called As Borbas, encamping in an open grassy spot, not far from the only house there, that belonged to a blacksmith. The road by which we travelled is the high way leading to Rio de Janeiro, and is perhaps the worst in the country, notwithstanding the great traffic here carried on, not only to the capital of the Diamond country, but also to that large district to the N.E. called Minas Novas. The numerous ascents and descents are very rocky and full of large stones, the last ascent, of greater extent than the others, about a league from the city, leads to an open flat grassy country, the summit of the Serro do Frio. To the left we passed some higher ranges, one of which is the elevated Serra de Itambé; it was a very arid desolate tract, the few shrubs which grew on it being two or three species of Lychnophora, called Candeia by the inhabitants, and the grotesque Lychnocephalus tomentosus, together with a few occasional clumps of Vellozia. Shortly before we reached As Borbas, we gradually descended to a considerable extent, by a rocky path, and entered a broad valley, which, though more wooded than the plain above, was still very arid in its appearance.
As some of the mules had strayed during the night, we were delayed at our encampment till near noon on the following day; this was not at all agreeable, for we were exposed to a hot sun, without any means of sheltering ourselves from its influence. As I had now no animals of my own, I was obliged to submit to the will of the tropeiro, who did not seem very anxious to proceed rapidly on his journey. We found the mode of travelling in the southern provinces very different from that we had been accustomed to in the northern. Horses are seldom or never used, and only one journey is made in the day, which, according to the nature of the road, extends from three to four leagues. The troops, which often consist of as many as from fifty to one hundred mules, are very well organized, those which are not conducted by the owner himself being entrusted to an Arrieiro or muleteer, who, mounted on horseback, follows in the rear of the troop. It is he who gives the necessary orders for its starting and halting, looks to the condition of the pack saddles, and takes care the loads are well balanced, as otherwise they would gall the backs of the animals; it is also part of his business to examine the feet of the mules, when the troop halts, to ascertain the state of their shoes, and replace those which have been lost; the situation of Arrieiro is generally held by a free mulatto, and to him also the sale and purchase of goods is often entrusted. The roads in Brazil are so narrow that the animals are obliged to go singly, one before the other, and so much are they accustomed to this, that even when the road is broad enough for many to go abreast, they still persist in the habit they have acquired of following one another. The troop is subdivided into divisions (lotes) of seven mules each, which are separately managed by a driver (tocrado), who goes on foot, and is generally a negro. From As Borbas we made a journey of about three leagues and a half, through a hilly, rocky, uninteresting country, and arrived at a place called Tres Barras. Shortly before reaching it we passed the Arraial de Milho Verde, but at a short distance to the south, at a place called Váo, we crossed a small river over an old half-rotten wooden bridge. At this place there are a few poor looking houses, the owners of which are principally diamond washers; one of them showed me a few diamonds, all of which were very small, and not nearly equal in colour to those found near the Cidade Diamantina; one was jet black, a colour that not unfrequently occurs.
Leaving Tres Barras, another journey of three leagues and a half brought us to the Cidade do Serro. The road leads through a hilly undulating country, evidently much lower than that in the Diamond district which we left behind at Tres Barras; it had now lost its barren rocky appearance, the greater part of the rounded hills being wooded to their tops, and occasionally houses and plantations were to be seen in the hollows. In place of the gravelly soil which exists in the Diamond district, the red argillaceous ferruginous clay, so common in the country, again made its appearance. We came in sight of the city when about a league distant from it, and although much smaller than the Cidade Diamantina, its elevated situation gives it quite as striking an appearance. Like it, the greater part of the Cidade do Serro is built on the slope of a hill, which, however, is of less elevation, and the houses are not so closely crowded together. At this place I parted with the tropeiro who brought us from the Cidade Diamantina, and as there was no inn of any description, I took up my quarters in the public rancho, which is a large well-built house, expressly constructed for the accommodation of the troops that pass and repass, three only of which are allowed to rest in it at a time, and the proprietor charges four vintims (about two pence) per night to each tropeiro for the accommodation. He has adjoining it, a large venda, for the sale of provisions and Indian corn, and it is understood, that the tropeiros are expected to purchase there what they require for themselves, their men, and their mules. At this rancho I met with a muleteer returning to Ouro Preto, with his mules unloaded, eighteen of which I hired to carry us forward, and for which I agreed to pay him on our arrival there, 180 mil-reis, or about 22l. sterling.
Cidade do Serro, formerly known by the name of Villa do Principe, is situated partly on the northern acclivity, and partly upon the ridge of a hill which runs from east to west, and consists, principally, of one long street, with a few others that intersect it; these are nearly all well paved, and the houses are, with but few exceptions, white-washed. As in the capital of the Diamond district, almost every house has a small garden, which gives to the city a very pleasing appearance, when seen from a distance. I remained here only part of a day, and had, therefore, little opportunity of gaining much information respecting it; it struck me, however, during a walk through its principal street, that it was a dull place. According to St. Hilaire, it contained in the year 1817, a population of from 2,500 to 3,000 inhabitants; it has a few good shops, but the greater part of the respectable inhabitants are agriculturists, who have their fazendas in the neighbourhood. Gold at one time was found rather plentifully in the argillaceous soil, particularly in a small stream which runs in the valley below the city called the Corrego de quatro vintems; it is now, however, nearly exhausted, and only a few of the more wealthy citizens employ some of their slaves in search for this metal.
The hills around the Cidade do Serro, are covered with a grass which the Brazilians call Capim gordura (Melinis minutiflora, Nees ab E.). It is covered with an oily viscous matter, and universally makes its appearance in those tracts, which have been cleared of virgin forest for the purposes of cultivation; both cattle and horses are very fond of it, but although they soon fatten on it, the latter get short-winded, if they feed on it for any length of time. Martius considers this plant to be truly a native of Minas Geräes, while St. Hilaire is of a different opinion; as it is now everywhere so common in this province, it is a difficult matter to say which of those excellent botanists is in the right; all the agriculturists that I have spoken with on the subject agree with St. Hilaire, although they differ in opinion in regard to the place of its original growth. It is only on the mountains, that it is found covering large tracts, and at present it is rapidly extending northwards. St. Hilaire during his travels did not observe it beyond 17° 40´ of south latitude; but while crossing the Serra Geral from Goyaz to Minas, I met with it many degrees to the north of that parallel. T noticed it only near houses, and there is little doubt that in the course of a few more years it will overrun that chain in the same manner that it has done those of Minas. The seeds had evidently been brought from the latter country by troops, which pass that way into Goyaz; it is not to be met with at all in the Sertão. Another plant which makes its appearance with this grass, and one of the worst pests which the Brazilian farmer has to contend with is the Pteris caudata, a large brake similar to that so common in many places in Great Britain; it is called by the common name of Samambaia.
Leaving the Cidade do Serro, and passing through a hilly country, which is more thickly wooded, and contains a greater number of habitations than that we had lately traversed, a journey of four leagues brought us to the Arraial de Tapanhuacanga, where we passed the night in the public rancho; a large troop of about one hundred mules had arrived there before us, from Rio de Janeiro, loaded with European merchandise. This village is situated in a hollow, which is surrounded by some rather high hills, the nearest of which are covered with grass, a few solitary trees, and an immense number of the large clay nests of the white ant; while the more distant are covered with virgin forests. At the time the village was founded, gold was discovered abundantly in the neighbourhood, but it is now very nearly exhausted; it contains at present only about twenty or thirty houses, the greater part of which are falling into ruin, and the two churches are in the same condition. Below the village runs a small stream, in the bed of which a few miserable beings still endeavour to earn a livelihood by washing for gold. While in the rancho, one of the men belonging to the troop brought in a handful of branches covered with leaves, with which, after holding them some time over the fire, so as to render them brittle, he made a kind of tea for himself and his companions; from the fruit on it, I found it to be a species of Symplocos. The leaves of many other shrubs and trees are used in the same manner by the inhabitants of Minas, under the name of Congonha; those of the Ilex Caraguayensis, from which the celebrated Yerba of Paraguay is prepared, are most commonly used.
We left Tapanhuacanga early next morning, and having accomplished about five leagues and a half, we halted at a fazenda called Retiro de Padre Bento, a large house built on the gentle slope of a grassy hill; our whole journey, indeed, was through an open, hilly, grassy country, the pasture being chiefly Capim gordura. In many places the ground had been turned up to a great extent in search after gold, but the workings were all abandoned; large tracts were likewise covered with the tall brake of which I have already spoken. One of the most common trees I observed was a fine large Hyptis (H. membranacea, Benth.) bearing great panicles of purple flowers. This tree is from twenty to forty feet high, and is one of the largest species of the family of the Labiatæ I met with in Brazil.
After travelling about half a league next morning, we passed through the Arraial de Nossa Senhora de Conceição de Mato Dentro. This village is situated in a hollow, on the banks of a small stream, and is surrounded by high grassy hills; it contains about two hundred houses arranged in two long parallel streets, and is one of the most miserable looking places I have ever seen; many of the houses are falling into decay, and those which are still inhabited, are not even white-washed, but are merely covered with the red clay used in plastering them. The country around has a barren aspect, but as the hills are all covered with Capim gordura, it does not look quite so sterile as that around the Cidade Diamantina; they are, however, destitute of all those beautiful small shrubs, which render the mountains in the diamond district so interesting to the botanist. Except a few small gardens attached to some of the houses, there are no signs of cultivation in the neighbourhood of Conceição. At a short distance from this village the road passes over a high hill, upon reaching the top of which we got into a cold dense mist, which was rolling down into the valley before the wind, but which disappeared as soon as it reached a warmer atmosphere. We travelled in the mist for about half a league, and finally emerged from it by descending the opposite side of the Serra. On this descent we met another large troop consisting of upwards of one hundred mules, part of which was destined to the diamond district, and part to Minas Novas; the road was here so narrow that our small troop was obliged to halt while the others passed.
About a league and a half from Conceição, we passed a small iron work belonging to a German blacksmith; it is situated in a most romantic spot on the banks of a small river, the waters of which rush through a narrow rocky channel, and is surrounded by hills covered with virgin forests. The proprietor of this establishment told me that he had been eighteen years in Brazil, seven of which had been spent at this place. His furnace is a small one, making only a hundred weight of iron per day, but he was about to erect another of equal size. The blasts for the furnace, and for the forging fires, as well as the large hammer by which the iron is beaten into bars, are worked by water. He had several men in his employ, making all kinds of iron implements used in the country, but principally shoes for mules, for which he finds a quick sale from the tropeiros that are daily passing. He also manufactures a small quantity of steel, which he confessed to be of an inferior quality; there is abundance of iron-stone in the neighbourhood, and plenty of wood to make charcoal for reducing the ore. The province of Minas Geräes is perhaps richer than any part of the world in iron; indeed, as St. Hilaire observes, it may be considered as inexhaustible. In Europe iron ore is generally found at a considerable depth, but in Minas it is frequently met with near the surface.
From Girão, for so this forge is called, we went on another league, and halted for the night in a public rancho at a fazenda called Escadinha. The country during the latter part of the journey was well wooded with virgin forests similar to those on the Organ mountains, and like them abounding in tree-ferns, small palms, and a large species of bamboo. It was quite refreshing to be once more in such a region, after wandering so long in the arid provinces of the north.
On the following morning, after travelling about two leagues, we passed a small village called the Arraial do Morro de Gaspar Soares, which, contrary to the general custom in Brazil, is situated on the summit of a high hill. It is surrounded by other hills covered with Capim gordura, which, although it was then the end of the dry season was quite green, and presented a great contrast to the pastures of Ceará, Piauhy, and Goyaz, which in the same season are quite burned up. Here there was no sign of cultivation, although I was informed that at one time the whole of these bare campos were under culture till the Capim gordura took possession of them; new plantations have been formed at a distance by the cutting down of the virgin forests, which in time will have to be abandoned from the same cause. Notwithstanding the richness of these pastures but few cattle were to be seen grazing here. As we did not intend to stop at this village, and as the road passes along the foot of the hill on which it stands, I had not an opportunity of seeing it more closely, but it had a neat and picturesque appearance at a distance. On the road not far from each other, we passed two small iron works; these forges were established by government while Brazil was still a colony of Portugal, and the greater part of the iron they produced was sent to the diamond district for the use of the mines there; they are now in the hands of private individuals. About two leagues beyond this village, we finished our day’s journey at a venda called Ponte Alta, which has a public rancho attached to it. The country through which we passed was not very interesting to the botanist; by the side of a little rivulet near the rancho grew a fine species of Vochysia, covered with its long spikes of bright yellow flowers, and a Rubus, the fruit of which, when ripe, is green, and has somewhat the flavour of the strawberry.
From Ponte Alta, a journey of three leagues brought us to the Arraial de Itambé; the road led through a hilly but rather well wooded country, with a more varied general vegetation than any part I had passed over since leaving the diamond district. About a league and a half from Itambé, we ascended a hill of considerable height; and after journeying about half a mile through a low wood, we entered on an open tract with a moist sandy soil, which afforded me a large collection of very rare and interesting plants.
The Arraial de Itambé is situated in a beautiful valley, on the banks of a small river which bears the same name, and which we crossed before entering the village, over an excellent wooden bridge. The village contains from eighty to a hundred houses, and a church, most of which are in a state of great decay; indeed, the aspect of ruin and desolation was more apparent here than in any place of its size I have seen in Brazil, with the exception perhaps of the Villa de Parnagoá, in the south of the province of Piauhy; the appearance of the inhabitants was equally abject and miserable. The valley in which it stands is surrounded by high gently sloping hills, some of which are grassy and rocky, while others are covered with low woods. Beyond these hills, and about a league distant from the village in a westerly direction, a higher chain of mountains exists called Itacolumi; from the seven summits it presents, it also bears the name of Sete Pecados Mortaes; this range was once covered by forests, which about forty years ago were accidentally destroyed by fire. As at the Arraial do Morro, the neighbourhood of Itambé presents no signs of cultivation, if a few small gardens attached to some of the houses, containing some orange and other fruit trees, be excepted. Formerly gold washing was carried on to some extent in the bed of the river, but it is now found in such small quantities that the produce will not pay the expense of the labour.
From Itambé we went to a little hamlet consisting of about a dozen houses, and a small chapel called Onça, the distance being about two leagues and a half. The ascent of the Serra from Itambé was very rocky, and the country afterwards hilly. One of the few plants which I met with on this journey, was the really beautiful Mutisia campanulata, Less., a climber with pea-like leaves, and large heads of bright scarlet flowers, which are gracefully suspended on long footstalks.
Our next journey was very long, being a double day’s march, or about six leagues. The road led through an open, undulating, and very rich country; and we passed some large fazendas surrounded by extensive plantations of Indian corn; those parts of the country not under cultivation were covered with virgin forests, in which I observed, for the first time since I had left the Organ mountains, abundance of the Brazilian cabbage-palm (Euterpe edulis, Mart.). The sun was excessively hot all day, and there was scarcely a breath of wind stirring; in consequence of this I suffered much from a severe attack of headache. The place we stopped at is called Ponte do Machado, where there is an excellent rancho; the night was clear and cold, and when the men went out in the morning to collect the mules, the grass was covered with hoar frost; and the dew which had fallen on the leaves of the shrubs during the early part of the night, was formed into small icicles; this was the only time I observed ice in Brazil, and the first time in their lives that my men had ever seen it.
From Ponte do Machado, a short journey of two leagues brought us to the Arraial de Cocaes early in the forenoon, where we took up our quarters as usual in the public rancho, the village not affording better accommodation. Long before we arrived at this place, I had been informed that an English mining company possessed an establishment in the neighbourhood; and I now learned that it was situated on a high Serra, which bears the same name as the Arraial, and only about a quarter of a league distant. My stock of money was very nearly exhausted, and as I should have to pay my tropeiro on our arrival at the city of Ouro Preto, from which we were now only eleven leagues distant, I determined to apply to the chief commissioner of the Cocaes mine for some assistance. From Natividade, in the province of Goyaz, I had written to the house of Messrs. Harrison & Co., at Rio de Janeiro, who kindly acted as my agents during the whole time of my residence in Brazil, requesting them to forward all my letters and parcels to Mr. Herring, the chief commissioner of the San João d’El Rey mining company, and once at that place I felt certain that all my wants would be supplied, as Mr. Herring knew me personally, having had the pleasure of meeting him in Rio, in the beginning of 1837; but we were still about thirty-six leagues distant from the town of San João d’El Rey, at which place it was then my impression Mr. Herring resided. Coming as I did from the ‘far west’ of Brazil, I had of course no letters of recommendation to Mr. Goodair, the chief commissioner of the Cocaes mines, yet I resolved to solicit from him that aid which a countryman of my own could only be expected to supply.
As soon as my luggage was all properly arranged in the rancho, I rode up to the mine, but found that Mr. Goodair was out visiting some of the works at a distance, and was not expected to return for two hours, I therefore determined to await his arrival; and in the meantime I was invited to dine with Mr. Roscoe, one of the officers of the establishment. This gentleman, who is married to an English lady, had a fine family of several little flaxen-haired children, and they, and the dinner, which consisted principally of roast beef and English potatoes, made me feel as if suddenly transported to my own country. Shortly after dinner Mr. Goodair arrived, and after stating to him the object of my long journey, I candidly informed him of the unpleasant circumstances in which I was placed for want of money, and asked him for the loan of £25, for which I would give him an order on my agents in Rio; by doing so I told him he would confer an obligation, not only on me, but on those under whose patronage I was travelling, at the same time offering to show him credentials, which I purposely took with me, to prove that I was not an impostor. These, however, he would not look at, told me he was sorry that he could do nothing for me, but added, that as my agents in Rio were also the agents for the Morro Velho mining company, perhaps I might meet with some assistance there: “at all events,” he concluded, “the doctor there is a countryman of your own, a Scotchman, and he, perhaps, may feel inclined to do something for you.” After giving me this advice, he turned on his heel, and without even bidding me good day, walked out of the room.
As may well be imagined, my feelings were not a little hurt at this uncourteous treatment; it was quite optional on his part whether he would let me have the money or not, but I certainly expected a kinder reception. I looked back on my long and painful journey of more than two years’ duration, and my memory recalled the many acts of kindness I had received from people of the country who had never heard of me before, and I felt keenly the marked contempt with which I was treated by an Englishman, and the only one too, to whose benevolence I appealed during the whole course of my travels. My personal appearance might perhaps have influenced him, for the necessarily limited wardrobe with which I started from the coast was now nearly exhausted, nor would the state of my funds allow me to add to it. I was deeply sunburnt from exposure, and the fatigue of long continued travelling, innutritious diet, and latterly even little of that, together with much anxiety of mind, produced by the evil which I here tried in vain to remedy, gave me, I have no doubt, no very prepossessing appearance. Had Mr. Goodair, however, been of an obliging disposition, a little enquiry would have satisfied him that my object was not to deceive; the fact of my having arrived in the village with four attendants, and nearly twenty mules’ load of luggage, and the excellent credentials I possessed, carried with them sufficient evidence that this was not the case.
Learning from Mr. Roscoe, and Mr. Rigby, another officer of the establishment, from whom I received much civility, that Mr. Herring was chief commissioner of the Morro Velho mine, which was only about eleven leagues distant from Cocaes, I instantly determined to go and ascertain if any letters had been sent up for me from Rio de Janeiro. I expected to have been able to examine the geological nature of the mine, but the reception I met with put a stop at once to my intentions. Mr. Rigby, however, showed me over the surface works.
The mine is situated near the top of the eastern side of the Serra de Cocaes. In the year 1833, a lease for fifty years was bought by the present company; the former proprietors had worked it previously for a long period with much profit; in June 1834, the company began operations, and though these have been carried on with much perseverance, and at a great yearly expenditure, but very little gold has been extracted. At the time of my visit, the money laid out on the mine altogether exceeded £200,000. The manner in which the mine was worked, formed a great contrast to what I had previously seen adopted by the Brazilians; all the machinery was put in action by water power, and it was a most interesting sight to observe how one very small stream of water, brought from a distance of several leagues, was turned to so many useful purposes. In the first place it was made use of to drive a saw mill, then descended to the mill where Indian corn for the slaves was ground into flour, thence it was conducted to the blacksmith’s shop, to work the blast for a furnace, and the tilt hammer, after this it was led into a large vegetable garden for the purposes of irrigation, and thence conducted to work a machine for drawing ore from the mine. Leaving this it descended to drive a large pumping wheel, forty feet in diameter; besides which it kept in action two stamping machines for reducing the ore to powder, another machine for raising ore, a second forty feet pumping wheel, and lastly, it turned a wheel that worked a machine for ventilating the mine. The gold is found in a soft, friable, greyish-coloured, micaceous iron schist, which is called by the Brazilians Jacotinga: the principal shaft is about fifty fathoms deep. At the time of my visit, there were thirty English miners, about three hundred slaves, and thirty hired free Brazilians, at work in and about the mine.
The village of Cocaes is not only the prettiest I have seen in Minas, but is also the most beautifully situated. It is built on the gentle slope and summit of a low hill that stands in the bosom of a semicircle formed by the Serra, which in some places is covered with virgin forest, and in others is bare and rocky. Between the Serra and the village runs the Una, a small stream, which, however, in the dry season contains but little water. Everywhere along its banks, and even to a considerable distance, the ground has been turned over and washed for gold; these operations are still carried on. Far from exhibiting the ruin and decay, which the other villages we shortly before passed through presented, the houses here have all a neat appearance, being mostly white-washed, and surrounded by little gardens containing orange and coffee trees, bananas, &c. The church stands out conspicuously from all the other buildings, and around it are planted a few tall palms, which give to the whole place a truly tropical aspect.
On the morning of the second day after our arrival, we left the Arraial de Cocaes; and I thought it very hard to be travelling in the famous El Dorado, with scarcely a sixpence in my pocket, while judging from my first attempt there were but faint expectations of improving my pecuniary wants. Ascending the Serra de Cocaes by an excellent road, and passing the entrance to the mine, we descended to the other side, and following a nearly westerly route for about the distance of four leagues along the base of the Serra, reached the celebrated Gongo Soco mine, about two o’clock in the afternoon. About half way we passed through the Arraial de San João do Morro Grande, which consists principally of one long narrow street. The country around it is formed of a coarse ferruginous soil, that everywhere has been turned up in search of gold, but as it is now nearly exhausted, very few of the inhabitants are engaged in that species of labour. Like most other villages that owe their origin to the auriferous soil in their neighbourhood, it presents all the symptoms of decadence; houses that were built in times of prosperity are quickly falling into ruin, and the few that have been more recently erected, are of a much inferior construction; near the centre of the Arraial is a fine church, still kept in good repair. On the road several English miners passed us on their way to Rio, from a mine which had been established a few years before on the Serra de Candonga, between Tapanhuacanga and Cidade do Serro, but which was now about to be abandoned.
As I brought a letter with me from Mr. Rigby at Cocaes to Mr. T. Baird, one of the partners of a large general store at Gongo Soco, and as I was most kindly received by him, I found myself more comfortably situated than at Cocaes. The whole of the houses at this place belong to the company, and it is undoubtedly one of the prettiest little villages in the province. The situation in which it is placed adds much to its beauty, being a narrow valley bounded on the north by the high wooded Serra, that runs westward from Cocaes, and by a lower undulating grassy elevation on the south. With the exception of the large house occupied by Mr. Duval, the chief commissioner, the others are all of one story, arranged in streets, isolated, and in the English cottage style, adorned in front with flower beds, and not unfrequently with palms and other tropical trees. Near the centre of the village stands a small but elegant church for the use of the free Brazilian workmen and slaves, employed by the company. There is a catholic priest in the pay of the company, and formerly there used to be an English clergyman also; in this village the officers and the greater part of the English miners reside. The mining operations are carried on about half a mile further to the westward, and the houses of the slaves are situated near the works.
By Mr. Hammond, the chief acting commissioner, Mr. Duval being then on a visit to Rio, and by the other officers I was kindly welcomed to the establishment; and to one gentleman in particular I shall ever feel grateful for his disinterested kindness, and more so from his being a foreigner,—I mean Mr. Virgil Von Helmreichen, the civil engineer of the establishment. Having entered into conversation with me on the nature of my travels and pursuits, he told me that he was well acquainted with Mr. Natterer, the celebrated zoological traveller in Brazil, who had often mentioned to him the awkward situations in which he had frequently been placed, when in the interior, from the want of opportunity to draw for money; and his knowledge of this fact led him to enquire into the state of my funds, which I candidly explained to him, when he very generously offered to let me have as much money as would convey me to Rio, on no other security than my promise to pay it into the hands of his agent on my arrival there. This obliging offer I however declined to accept, until I could ascertain at Morro Velho whether my letters had arrived there or not.
Having expressed a wish to Mr. Hammond to be allowed to visit the interior of the mine, he at once kindly consented, and requested one of the mining captains to escort me: Mr. Ferriar, a young gentleman whom I had formerly met at Rio, offered to accompany me. Before going down, we were taken to the room where the captains keep their mining clothes, and were there obliged to change our dress for one of the suits used in the mines. This consisted of a large coarse flannel shirt, a pair of drawers of the same material, and a coat and trowsers made of coarse canvass, a stout leathern hat which fitted the head tightly, and a pair of strong shoes, which we put on our bare feet. Being thus accoutred, we were each provided with two candles, one which was for immediate use was stuck into a ball of soft clay which served as a candlestick, and the other hung to the button of the coat for after use. Fitted out in this manner, we entered the mine by what is called the Adit level, whence we descended to the next level, seven fathoms deeper; and so on in succession, till we visited seven out of the nine levels, or workings, of which the mine consists; as the two lowest were full of water we could not visit them. The distance between each of the levels is seven fathoms, so that we reached the depth of 294 feet, while the greatest depth is about 378. The excavations in these levels consist of narrow passages or galleries, not more than four or five feet wide, and five or six in height, driven in various directions through the Jacotinga, or micaceous iron schist. This schist is of so soft a nature, that the passages as they are driven require to be strongly lined with wood to prevent their filling up again; and in many places it is quite astonishing to see how some of the thick pillars of hard Brazilian wood, often a foot and a half in diameter, are crushed and broken by the weight from above. The principal gold vein runs to the westward, but there are many ramifying branches. The vein is very unequal in richness, sometimes, as at the period of my visit, yielding hardly any gold, while at others it is found in what the miners call bunches, which are sometimes so rich that more than one hundred pounds weight of the pure metal has been taken out in one day. The rich ore is washed and pounded up in mortars, while the poorer sort is sent to the stamping mills, and afterwards either separated by washing in the Bateia or amalgamated. Notwithstanding the superior richness of this mine, the machinery appeared much inferior to that at Cocaes.
From an excellent diagram constructed by Mr. Helmreichen, exhibiting a section of the country in which the mine is situated, and which he kindly allowed me to examine, I have been enabled to make the following sketch of its geological structure. The Serra which runs from east to west, and lies to the north of the mine, is of primitive character, the mass of its centre consisting of granite; upon the granite is imposed a thick bed of schistose and clay slates, cropping out at an angle of about 45°. Above this lies another thick bed of ferruginous Itacolumite, having the same inclination as the rocks below; and immediately over this the Jacotinga, or soft micaceous iron schist which contains the gold, and which is about fifty fathoms in thickness. Above the Jacotinga is another thick layer of Itacolumite; and lastly, about half a mile to the south of the mine, a thick bed of a highly crystallized stratified limestone crops out at the same angle, and in the same direction as the other rocks. About half a mile to the eastward of the entrance to the mine, the bed of Jacotinga narrows to a point, but towards the westward it appears to be inexhaustible, and in that direction all further mining operations will be carried on.
On the morning of the 29th of August, I left Gongo Soco to visit the Morro Velho mine, which is distant about six leagues, in a N.W. direction. I was accompanied only by a guide, having left all my men and luggage at Gongo, as I expected to be absent only about three days. The country between the two places is very hilly and barren, consisting of elevated grassy hills occasionally studded with a few small trees. In the hollows, however, there are generally patches of trees, forming those woods to which the name of Capoes is given. About two leagues and a half from Gongo, we passed through a small straggling village called Morro Vermelho, which was in a state of great decay; and about two leagues and a half further on a still smaller village, called Rapoza, situated on the banks of the Rio das Velhas; we crossed this river over an old narrow, tottering, wooden bridge without rails. On my arrival at Morro Velho about eight o’clock in the afternoon, I found to my great delight, that all my English letters and parcels, which had been accumulating during more than two years, were here awaiting my arrival, which had been expected several months. Letters of credit had also been kindly sent up by Messrs. Harrison, for such sums of money as might be required by me, so that my mind was now quite at ease on that point. I sat up nearly all the night reading my letters, but the state of mind produced by them was far from happy, for not a few of them brought most unwelcome news, of the death of near and dear relations and friends. The kind reception I met with from Mrs. Herring, the lady of the chief commissioner, and from Mr. Crickitt, the acting commissioner for Mr. Herring, who was then in Rio with his two eldest daughters, will ever be remembered by me with gratitude. Rooms were ready to receive me, and instead of remaining only one day, as I originally intended, I was prevailed on to spend about a month at Morro Velho, during which time my health improved rapidly. The day after my arrival, I sent to Gongo Soco for Mr. Walker, the men, and the luggage.
The mine of Morro Velho is situated about half a mile to the S.E. of the Arraial de Congonhas de Sabará. The village, which is very irregularly built, is placed in a hollow, and contains a population of about 2,000 inhabitants; but until the mines in the neighbourhood began to be worked by the English, the population was much less; here are three churches, one of which has never been finished and is now falling into a state of ruin. The mine is situated on one of the hills surrounding the valley, and had been worked by its proprietors for about a hundred years previous to its being bought by the present company. When St. Hilaire visited this village the gold was considered as exhausted, but it now yields perhaps more gold than any other mine in the empire. The present company first commenced its operations about 1830, under the superintendence of Captain Lyon, the northern voyager. This mine is very different from that at Gongo Soco, inasmuch as the auriferous vein occurs in a greyish coloured clay state; the vein, or lode itself, consisting of a kind of quartzose rock mixed with a considerable proportion of carbonate of lime, strongly impregnated with iron and arsenical and copper pyrites; its general direction is from east to west, and it is about seven fathoms wide a little to the west of the central workings, at which point it divides into two branches that run to the westward, while other two extend to the eastward; the more easterly branches are those that have been worked to the greatest extent. These ramifications gradually diverge, and ultimately take a N.E. direction, running parallel to each other, at a distance of about a hundred feet.
The ore is first removed from its bed by blasting, and is afterwards broken by female slaves into small pieces, about the size of the stones put upon macadamized roads, after which it is conveyed to the stamping machine to be reduced to powder; this machine consists of a number of perpendicular shafts placed in a row, and heavily loaded below with large blocks of iron; these being alternately lifted up to a certain height by a toothed cylinder, turned by a large water-wheel, fall down upon, and crush the stones to powder; a small stream of water constantly made to run through them, carries away the pulverized matter to what is called the strakes, a wooden platform, slightly inclined, and divided into a number of very shallow compartments, of fourteen inches in width, the length being about twenty-six feet; the floor of each of these compartments is covered with pieces of tanned hide about three feet long, and sixteen inches wide, which have the hair on; the particles of gold are deposited among the hair, while the earthy matter, being lighter, is washed away. The greater part of the gold dust is collected on the three upper, or head skins, which are changed every four hours, while the lower skins are changed every six or eight hours, according to the richness of the ore. The sand which is washed from the head skins, is collected together and amalgamated with quicksilver in barrels, while that from the lower skins is conveyed to the washing-house, and concentrated over strakes of similar construction to those of the stamping mill, till it be rich enough to be amalgamated with that from the head skins. The barrels into which this rich sand is put together with the quicksilver, are turned by water, and the process of amalgamation is generally completed in the course of forty-eight hours; when taken out, the amalgam is separated from the gold by sublimation. In the whole process, the loss of mercury amounts to about thirty-five pounds a month, but up to two months before my visit, it was nearly double that quantity. For a long time the gold dust was extracted from the sand by hand-washing in Bateias, after the Brazilian manner; but the process of amalgamation is found to be superior, requiring less labour, and extracting a larger proportion of gold. The zillerthal, or running amalgamation process, similar to that used in the Tyrol, has also been tried here, but was not found to answer owing to the great loss of quicksilver. The roasting process has also been attempted, but although by this means the ore yields a much larger per-centage of gold, the fumes arising from the arsenic were found to be so injurious to the health of the workmen, that it was abandoned. A ton of ore produces from three to four Portuguese oitavas of gold; but the same quantity has often yielded as much as seven oitavas. At the time of my visit, from fifteen to sixteen hundred tons of ore were reduced to powder every month.
After having rested about a week at Morro Velho, I started, with Mr. Monach, the surgeon to the company, to ascend the Serra de Piedade, which is the highest part of the great western chain in the Gold district. After travelling about three leagues in a northerly direction, we arrived at the city of Sabará, which, except the Cidade Diamantina, was the largest I had then seen in the interior; it is situated on the north bank of the Rio das Velhas, at the eastern foot of the great chain already alluded to. From the place where the first view of it is obtained, it has a very fine appearance, its site being somewhat elevated, the houses are generally large, and there are several fine churches; the old and new city together are about a mile in length, but the breadth is inconsiderable; the streets are well paved, and judging from the numerous public fountains, it appears to be well supplied with water. It was only about two years before the period of my visit that Sabará was raised to the dignity of a city; the greater part of the inhabitants are shopkeepers, who trade with those of the Sertão to the westward. Notwithstanding its near approach in size to the Cidade Diamantina, it forms a great contrast with it in the stillness of its streets. The ferruginous gravelly soil around it, and along the banks of the river, has all been turned over in search of gold, but now very few seem to be engaged in that pursuit; the bed of the river is said to be rich in gold dust.
From Sabará we went to Cuiabá, a mining establishment belonging to the Cocaes Company, about two leagues distant; the road for nearly the whole way runs up a narrow and very picturesque valley, along the banks of a small river. At the Cuiabá mine there were only two officers, Mr. Richards, the superintendent, and Dr. Morson, the surgeon, who is married to an English lady, by whom we were kindly received. The Serra de Piedade being still about two leagues and a half distant, we slept that night at Cuiabá, and started next morning about half-past six o’clock, accompanied by Mr. Richards. After crossing the small river which passes the mine, we almost immediately began to ascend the high country on the opposite side, and having travelled about two leagues, through a hilly, grassy country, destitute of trees, except in low hollow places, we crossed entirely from the eastern to the western side of the mountain chain, of which the Serra forms part, so as to reach the proper place of ascent; this we gained by skirting along the base of the Serra, but at a considerable elevation above the plain below, through a bushy stony spot. The first half of the way from this place is pretty steep, and leads over a rough hard reddish iron-stone tract, thinly covered with a few bushes of a species of Baccharis, and another of Lychnophora, while on the grassless stony surface of the ground, there were numerous species of Orchideæ, among them a beautiful Lælia with yellow flowers, a very prickly procumbent species of Cactus, and numerous large water-bearing Tillandsias. Leaving this region we came upon a flat space covered with large blocks of micaceous rocks, the layers of which are very tortuous. The road then winds along the western side of the mountain, close to the edge of some deep precipices, and finally ascends to a level spot, situated but a little way below the highest part of the mountain. On the extreme northern part of this flat there is a small church called Nossa Senhora de Piedade. Upon our arrival there, we found a party consisting of half a dozen women and two men, who had reached it a short time before us; we soon learned they had come to fulfil vows which they had made some time before. We saw large offerings of candles which they had presented to the church; and most of them had made promises to sweep the floor of the chapel, for we observed that the women in particular cut small twigs from the bushes in the neighbourhood, of which they made brooms, and with which they, one after the other, swept it, but in no very careful manner. Leaving our horses near the church, we ascended the highest peak, which is of a very rocky nature, and covered with a vegetation of small Orchideæ and Tillandsias. Ordering the refreshments we had brought with us to this place, we sat down on the rocks to breakfast; according to Spix and Martius, this mountain is 5,400 feet above the level of the sea. While skirting along the lower part of it, we felt very cold, in consequence of being enveloped in a mass of dense clouds which were rolling past us, discharging at the time enough of their contents to wet us not a little; I never, before this occasion, saw so distinctly the vesicles of which clouds are formed. It was not till about eleven o’clock, or nearly two hours after we had reached the summit, that these clouds began to disperse, and then we had a most extensive view of the country on all sides, which is of a very hilly nature, excepting on the west, where the flat Sertão district presents itself. Notwithstanding the magnificence of the view obtained from this point, the pleasure to be derived from overlooking a populous and richly cultivated country was wanting. But few houses came within range of the sight; and the Villa de Santa Luzia, about six leagues distant to the south, is the only town that can be descried, the others being hidden by the surrounding mountains. Two of the most prominent objects that strike the view, are the Serras of Cocaes and Caráça, the latter of which is the highest, and about eight leagues distant, in a N.E. direction.
On the eastern side of the mountain, close to the church, there is a small garden, which seems to have been well attended to in better times. I observed there a few stunted peach and apple trees, a few potatoes, and other European vegetables. The greater part of the garden, as well as the top of the Serra, in front of the church, is overrun with the common strawberry of Europe, and being then in fruit, we each obtained a handful. Several other European plants have become naturalized, such as the chickweed, Cerastium vulgatum. The church is kept by a middle-aged Mulatto woman, and a dirty-looking old white man, dressed in the manner of a priest, who calls himself a hermit, resides there also. Except the few vegetables which they cultivate, food comes all from below, and the water they drink is obtained from the numerous Tillandsias which crowd the rocky parts of the Serra, and which in the bases of their leaves, contain a large quantity of water, an ordinary sized plant yielding about a pint.
The Serra is rich in plants interesting to the botanist, but not nearly so much so as the Organ Mountains, in the province of Rio de Janeiro, owing, no doubt, to its great want of moisture. From the upper part, I obtained two fine shrubs belonging to the natural order Malpighiaceæ; a fine shrubby Styrax; a Cassia, about four feet high, which is very common near the middle of the mountain; a red-flowered Gaylussacia, and a Gualtheria, both abundant near the summit; a shrubby variety of Drymis Granatensis, several ferns, and a few mosses and lichens.
Shortly before we began to descend, the atmosphere became so hazy, that we could see only a short distance; this was caused by the custom that prevails at the end of the dry season of burning the campos, as this encourages the more speedy growth of a crop of new grass, after the rains have set in; it is also at this season that the wood is burned on the grounds which have been cleared for cultivation. After a very pleasant day’s excursion, we reached Cuiabá about dusk, and having spent the greater part of the evening with Dr. Morson and his lady, I was occupied till near midnight in preparing the specimens I brought with me from the Serra. On the following day we returned to Morro Velho. The mine of Cuiabá is very similar in its nature to that at Morro Velho, but wrought on a much smaller scale, and the ore moreover is not nearly so rich. During my stay at Morro Velho, I made many little excursions in the neighbourhood, and thus added largely to my collections.
On the morning of the 24th of September, after having taken leave of my kind friends at Morro Velho, we again resumed our journey. There is a direct road from this place to the city of Ouro Preto, the capital of the province of Minas, through which I wished to pass, but part of my luggage having been sent on from Cocaes to a village called San Caetano, situated about three leagues below the city of Marianna, I was obliged to proceed there first. It was my intention to return to Gongo Soco by the way I had come, but the day before we left, information reached Morro Velho, that the wooden bridge over the Rio das Velhas, at Rapoza, had fallen down. We were therefore obliged to return by the way of Sabará, which increased the journey about two leagues. We passed through Sabará without halting, and arrived in the afternoon at the Cuiabá mine, where we spent the night with Mr. Richards, and started again next morning after breakfast, reaching Gongo Soco between five and six o’clock in the afternoon. Almost the whole of the country between the two places, with the exception of the Serra to the N.W. of Gongo, consists of bare grassy hills, a few small woods only existing in the hollows. Being then the end of the dry season, the hills had a very arid and barren look, everything being burned up from the want of rain. The roads were covered with fine yellow dust, the débris of the clay slate of which the hills are formed; and we were nearly the whole way enveloped in a dense cloud of it, rising up from the horses’ feet.
At about half way between the two places, we passed through part of the Villa de Caeté, a miserable looking town of some size, situated in a narrow shallow valley, running in a N.E. direction from the Serra de Piedade, the Villa itself being distant from it about two leagues. This Villa, like many others in the mining districts, has all the appearance of having seen better days, as it contains the ruins of many fine houses, as well as one of the finest churches that exists in the interior, and St. Hilaire doubts even if there is one in Rio de Janeiro that may be compared with it.
On the day we left Gongo Soco, we passed through the Arraial de San João do Morro Grande, and halted for the night at a small hamlet called Barra, about a league to the S.E. of it. The country around, as well as the road we had passed over, was hilly, bare, and arid; a small stream passes through the village, the gravelly banks of which have been completely turned over in search of gold. Next day we made a journey of about two leagues; and about half a league from Barra we passed through the Arraial do Brumado, a long straggling village in a state of great decay. Leaving this place, we continued in an easterly direction till we arrived at the foot of the Serra de Caráça, and winding along the hilly base of its N.E. side, we reached, shortly after mid-day, the Arraial de Catas Altas, which is situated at the foot of the Serra towards its S.E. extremity. It consists principally of one long street, and like Brumado does not seem to be in a very flourishing condition. The hills around the village, and between it and Brumado, are covered with Capim gordura. At a considerable elevation on the Serra itself, there is a hermitage, called Nossa Senhora Mai dos Homens. The building was begun by a Portuguese in 1771, who was still alive, though above a century old, when it was visited by Spix and Martius in 1818; it is now converted into a theological seminary, but is said to contain but few pupils. This Serra was botanically explored by St. Hilaire, as well as by Spix and Martius, and found to be very rich in rare and curious vegetable productions; I wished also to devote a day to ascend it, but the weather was very unfavourable, as it rained heavily, and the upper parts of the mountain were enveloped in clouds.
Leaving Catas Altas, the road takes a southerly direction, along the foot of the Serra de Caráça; and after travelling about two leagues, we passed through the Arraial de Inficionado, another long narrow village, about the same size as Catas Altas, and, like it, in an obvious state of decadence. About a league further on, we arrived at the Arraial de Bento Rodrigues, where we took up our quarters for the night in the public rancho. The road, on this journey, was far from good, being both hilly and stony; I saw but little soil fit for plantations, it being generally of a clayey nature, intermixed with a coarse ferruginous gravel, or the débris of the schistoze rocks of the Serra; and everywhere this soil has been turned up in search of gold, but with the exception of a small mine between Inficionado and Bento Rodrigues, I saw no workings being carried on.
At about a league from Bento Rodrigues, we passed through a small village called Arraial de Camargos, which is situated among some hills on the side of a small river. We were now only three leagues from the place of our destination, San Caetano, which I was anxious to reach without further delay; but the road, which here passes through a bare hilly country, is bad, and the mules being only lately broken into work, we got on but very slowly, from their either lying down or going off the road. On this account it was about five o’clock in the afternoon when we reached the last house on the road to San Caetano, the distance between them being somewhat less than a league. At this house, the tropeiro wished to remain for the night, a proposal I would by no means consent to, especially as it threatened to rain, and the house was so small, and so badly covered, as to afford but very indifferent shelter. He, however, insisted on remaining, and would have done so, had I not threatened him with non-payment, when, very much against his will, he resumed the journey, and about dusk we reached the Arraial de Caetano, where I found all my collections in good condition, in the house of the tropeiro who brought me from Cidade do Serro, and who again agreed to take me to Rio. In passing through a small forest, not far from the Arraial, I collected specimens of three kinds of tree ferns, and added to my collection of Orchideæ a pretty sweet-smelling Epidendrum.
The Arraial de San Caetano, which is small, and evidently poor, is situated on the acclivity of a low hill on the north bank of a small stream which empties itself into the Rio Doce. It contains only one church, which if finished on the scale it has been begun, would be a great ornament to the place, standing, as it does, on a height which overlooks the village. Gold washing in the bed of the stream, and along its banks, seems once to have been the chief occupation of its inhabitants, but that source of gain being now exhausted, they have mostly taken to the cultivation of the soil much of which in the neighbourhood is well adapted for the growth of coffee, Indian corn, &c.
The tropeiro not being able to start for some days after my arrival, and making objections to go round by Ouro Preto, which I had a great desire to see, I determined to make a hurried visit to that city alone. I therefore hired a guide, and started on the morning of the 5th of October. A journey of three leagues through a hilly and thinly-wooded country, brought me to the city of Marianna, the situation and appearance of which pleased me very much; it stands on the S.W. side of a broad level valley, on the gentle declivity of a rising ground which skirts the base of the range of the Serra de Itacolumi. It is more compactly built than the towns I have generally seen in Brazil, and as there are several fine and handsome churches, and the houses are mostly large and white-washed, the city has altogether a very noble appearance. In the suburbs, and even in the city itself, many of the houses have gardens attached to them, planted with bananas, oranges, and the round-headed Jaboticabeira, which with their different shades of green, contrast well with the white-washed walls of the houses; in passing through the town, it appeared so quiet, that I could almost have fancied it deserted. In some of the principal streets, I saw a few shopkeepers leaning listlessly over their counters, and on the stairs in front of the prison a few soldiers keeping guard; these and an occasional black urchin squatted at a door, were all that gave an idea of life in the city, which is said to contain about 5,000 inhabitants. It is more a clerical than a commercial city, being the residence of the bishop and the seat of a theological college.
The imperial city of Ouro Preto, formerly Villa Rica, is about two leagues distant from Marianna in a south west direction. The road, which is very good, gradually rises towards Ouro Preto; in many places along the side of it there are planted at irregular distances wild fig trees, natives of the country, which have grown up, and not only give a good shade, but recall to a European the roads of his native country. Near the entrance to the city, where the road has been hollowed out of the solid rock, many galleries are to be seen entering the hills; these are gold workings which have long been abandoned, and some of which are now made use of as pig-styes, by the poor people who live in their vicinity. About half way between the two cities, the road passes through the Arraial de Passagem, a small village, the inhabitants of which formerly subsisted by gold washings, but the mines being now exhausted, they occupy themselves with the cultivation of provisions, for which they find a ready market in Ouro Preto.
During my short stay in the Imperial city, I lived in the house of Senhor José Peixoto de Souza, having carried letters to him from Morro Velho. He is the principal merchant in the province of Minas, and possesses the finest house in the city; the erection of it cost him about £4,000 sterling, a great sum for a house in the interior of Brazil. He is a man of a very kind and obliging disposition, and being agent for all the English mining companies, his house is the place where the officers belonging to them put up at in passing through the city, there being no respectable inn in the whole place; nor is it only Englishmen who make his house a rendezvous, his own countrymen sharing in like manner his hospitality. During the three days I remained there, so many guests arrived and departed, that it had more the appearance of an inn than the dwelling of a private individual. He began life as a simple washer of gold (faiscador), and is now the principal gold merchant in the province.
The country around the city is hilly in the extreme, and the rocks consist of clay-slates, soft micaceous iron schist, commonly called Jacutinga, and that hard iron slate rock, now known by the name of Itacolumite, all disposed in layers that are much inclined; the country round is auriferous, and many workings exist in the neighbourhood. In the narrow valley, on one side of which the city stands, runs a small stream, called the Riberão de Ouro Preto, which takes its rise in the neighbourhood; the bed of this brook consists of a soft kind of gravel, and in it the poorer part of the inhabitants gain a scanty subsistence by washing for gold. The operation is called Mergular, or diving, and the people who work in this manner are called faiscadores; they are generally half-naked, and after raking away the larger stones from the place which they select in the bed of the stream, they fill their flat wooden plate (Bateia) with the fine gravel and sand, which is purified by washing in a peculiar manner, till at last the gold dust remains in the bottom of the vessel, from which it is transferred to a small leathern bag which is suspended from their middle; they are not able to make more than about a shilling a day. The time they prefer is after heavy rains have caused a strong current in the stream.
Although the city of Ouro Preto is much larger than that of Marianna, it has not the same imposing appearance, not for the want of large buildings, but from the irregularity of its site. The greater part of it is built upon the side of the Serra de San Sebastião, which forms the N.W. boundary of a deep narrow valley. It is naturally divided into an upper and lower town, the upper being by far the finer; it contains a number of handsome buildings, such as the palace of the provisional government, which is a large and well-built stone edifice, standing on one side of a square of considerable size, the opposite side of which is formed by the town house and prison, which is also a fine building. A little below these stand the barracks, which are the best I have seen in the interior; the treasury is also a good substantial stone building, but the low situation, and the narrow street in which it is built, do not allow of its being seen to advantage. The city contains six large churches, the finest of which, Nossa Senhora do Carmo, stands in the upper town, not far from the prison house; the city is abundantly supplied with water of an excellent quality, a fountain existing in almost every street.
The population of the city is said to amount to about 8,000 souls; it contains many good shops, but not one devoted to the sale of books. It boasts, however, of two printing offices, and four newspapers, two of which are ministerial, and two belong to the opposition. They are of small folio size, and their contents are almost entirely of a political nature. In the beginning of the year 1840, a college, a preparatory one, was established by a law passed in the provincial assembly, in which Latin, French, English, philosophy, mathematics, and pharmacy, are taught by as many different professors.
About a mile from the city there is a Botanic Garden, which is maintained by government, and principally intended for the propagation of useful exotic plants, to be given gratis to those who may apply for them. I found the plants principally cultivated here to be the Tea plant, Cinnamon, the Jaca, Bread-fruit, Mango, &c. Several acres are devoted to the cultivation of tea, of which a considerable quantity is manufactured yearly, and sold in the city at about the same price as that which is imported from China. The avenue leading to the garden, as well as several others which surround it, are planted with the Brazilian pine (Araucaria Brasiliana), which adds greatly to the beauty of the grounds; these trees were about thirty years of age, and bore abundance of their large cones yearly.