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changes in appearance--from a long, low out-|ed with tall rank grasses, the abode of reptiles line of bush to the different objects which and aquatic birds ; but some of them are also characterize the attractive scenery of the well adapted for grazing. A second variety tropics. The bright green palm-trees, with are more inland, of greater extent-extending their huge leaves fanned briskly by the sea- to about 14,400 square miles—mountains sur breeze, and the lofty silk-cotton-tree are rounded, but also marshy, covered with grassplainly visible; while a confused, but pictur- es and a few stunted trees, traversed by esque group of trees and plants of tropical tortuous streams whose course may often be growth, with white and shining houses inter- traced afar off by an irregular row of trees, spersed among them, present to the stranger and with here and there tufts of trees like verrather the appearance of a large garden than dant isles in the plain. the site of an extensive and busy city."
Upon these savannahs is the celebrated lake This low wooded alluvial tract extends in- Arnuch, whose waters during the season of land to variable distances, from ten to forty inundation are said to flow eastward and westmiles, and is almost level throughout its whole ward, and which, according to Schomburgk, extent. It is succeeded by a range of unpro- was once the bed of an inland lake, which, by ductive sand-hills and sand-ridges, which at one of those catastrophes of which even later tain an elevation varying from 30 to 120 feet. times gives us examples, broke its barrier, These sand-hills repose upon rock, and be- forcing for its waters a path to the Atlantic yond them the land is covered with trees and" May we not,” inquires the same learned and shrubs, constituting what is called “ The enlightened explorer, “connect with the formBush."
er existence of this inland sea the fable of the The mountains of British Guiana are so far Lake Parima and the El Dorado ? Thouremoved from the coasts, and are so difficult sands of years may have elapsed; generations of access, as to be rarely seen by the inhabit- may have been buried and returned to dust; ants. Yet are there many different ranges nations who once wandered on its banks may and groups, for the most part granitic, more be extinct, and even no more in name : still or less wooded, and varying in elevation from the tradition of the Lake Parima and the El one to four and even five thousand feet.-- Dorado survived these changes of time; transAmong them is the famous Roraima, or “ red mitted from father to son, its fame was carried rock,” a remarkable sandstone group which across the Atlantic, and kindled the romantic rises 7500 feet above the level of the sea, the fire of the chivalrous Raleigh.”. upper 1500 feet presenting a mural precipice. A third description of savannahs are of These stupendous walls are as perpendicular as varying extent, but are marked by an entire if erected with the plumb-line; nevertheless, absence of hills or irregularities of any kind, in some parts they are overhung with low hence the term llanos, or plains, which has shrubs, while down their face rush numerous been applied to them by some. According to cascades, which, falling from this enormous Humboldt, these savannahs, improperly called height, flow in different directions to form the by some, prairies, are true steppes (llanos and tributaries of three of the largest rivers in pampas of South America).. They present a South America ; namely, the Amazon, the rich covering, of verdure during the rainy Orinoco, and the Essequebo.
season, but in the months of drought the Romantic and poetical as are the sublimities earth assumes the appearance of a desert.of nature, they are duly appreciated by the The turf becomes reduced to powder, the Indians. Their traditions and songs bear con- earth gapes in huge cracks. The crocodiles stant allusion to this magnificent scenery. In and great serpents lie in a dormant state in their dances they sing of " Roraima, the red- the dried mud, until the return of rains and rocked, wrapped in clouds, the ever fertile the rise of the waters in the great rivers, source of streams ;.” and in consequence of which flooding the vast expanse of level surthe darkness which frequently prevails when face awake them from their slumbers. These thick clouds hover about its summit, it is like- sterile savannahs are the deserts of the Ameriwisc called the Night Mountain ; " of Roraima, can continent. the red-rocked, 1 sing, where with daybreak " Far different to the barren savannahs," the night still prevails.”
Dr. Dalton remarks, “are the magnificent These mountain ranges are inhabited by forests which present to the eye an unfading various tribes of Indians, who live chiefly by garment of green, varying in tint from the hunting ; and enclosed between the same darkest to the lightest hue. llere are to be rocky regions, the rest of the face of the coun- seen majestic trees, larger and statelier than try is marked by a few, but grand features, the oak; here entwine in voluptuous negli such as wide-spread savannahs, illimitable gence numerous pliant vines, interlacing and forests, undulating plains, and gigantic rivers. encircling the larger trees, and named by the
There are several kinds of savannahs. Some colonists bush-ropes (lianes). Here flourish are merely large tracts of swampy land, cover- the varieties of the broad-leaved palms, the
numerous native 'fruit trees, and a host of preciates their gorgeous beauty and soothing others possessing medicinal and other valuable solitudes. properties, whilst minute mosses, innumerable Next to the boundless forests come the fichens, and a variety of ferns and parasitic magnificent rivers of Guiana ; with their plants crowd together in social luxuriance; noble expanse of waters, their beautiful woodorchideous plants in amazing numbers, perch- ed islands, their picturesque cataracts, their ed on the gigantic and forked branches of lonely but romantic scenery, and their setrees, seeking only for a resting place, appear cluded creeks, the resort of savage barbato inhale from the air alone (though so rism. densely crowded by inhabitants) the pabulum But it is not in the neighborhood of the which supports their capricious and singular coasts, nor near the banks of the rivers, alexistence.
though even there the luxuriance of the foThe whole earth is life, the very air is life, liage and breadth of water are very striking, and the foot of man can scarcely tread upon that the most remarkable scenes and objects an inch of ground in this magazine of Na- which are met with in the interior of British ture's wonders without crushing some graceful Guiana present themselves to notice. The plant or beauteous flower, so densely is it in- traveller must pass by the maritime portion, habited, so united, peaceful, and thriving are and leave behind him the interminable forests; its denizens. The very beams of the bright he must ascend the rivers, and surmount the sun are excluded from these secret haunts. numerous rapids and cataracts; he must quit Its rays glance only on the fanciful and glis- the equable but enervating temperature of tening leaves, which form a veil or mantle to the low lands, and ascend the granite mounthe treasures they conceal. How true and tains and sandstone heights, in order to apbeautiful again is the language of Humboldt; preciate all the grandeur and beauty of the not alone are trees, and shrubs, and plants scenery; and to trace with awe, wonder, and glorying in existence, but the forest, still admiration, the picturesque objects which stud and silent as the grave, is yet à city for the the wooded plains and wandering streams. reception of all things living, save man : "Yet According to Sir Robert Schomburgk, the amid this apparent silence, should one listen greatest geological wonder of Guiana is the attentively, he hears a stified sound, a con- Ataraipu, or Devil's Rock. This singular tinued murmur, a hum of insects that fill the rock is wooded for about 350 feet, above which lower strata of the air. Nothing is more rises a mass of granite devoid of all vegetation, adapted to excite in man a sentiment of the in a pyramidal form, for about 550 feet more, extent and power of organic life.
At another spot, a remarkable basaltic column, “ Myriads of insects crawl on the ground, fashioned by Nature, and called by the Inand flutter round the plants scorched by the dians Puré-Piapa, or the Felled Tree, occupies sun's heat. A confused noise issues from the summit of a small hillock, about 50 feet every bush, from the decayed trunks of trees, high. the fissures of the rocks, and from the ground, A portion of another group of columnar which is undermined by lizards, millepedes, basalt, which also terminates on the summit and blind worms. It is a voice proclaiming in one abrupt pillar, about 50 feet in height, to us that all nature breathes, that, under a has been assimilated by the Indians to the thousand differents forms, life is diffused in Maroca--a large rattle made of the fruit of the the cracked and dusty soil as in the bosom of calabash-tree, filled with pebbles, feathers, stone its waters, and in the air that circulates around and snake-teeth, and which is the indispensable
instrument of the Piatrar", Piai-man, or InTimber trees in every variety, fruit trees in dian sorcerer, during his conjurations. Anastonishing profusion, medicinal plants of sin- other group of columnar trap-rocks has been gular efficacy, shrubs and flower plants in called the guava-tree stump. The Indians inexhaustible numbers, are found within these have a very primitive tradition of a good fruitful forests, in whose branches nestle a spirit turning everything to stone which be world of birds. The shrill scream of the touched; hence every rock which is of more parrot at morning and evening rends the air, than ordinary size, or fantastically shaped by while plaintive and slow strains may be heard nature, is compared to some bird, animal, or at times from the maam and the powie. The tree, petrified by the powerful Makunaima. rich plumage of the numerous bird tribes, Granite rocks, well known for the fantastic and their peculiar and varied notes, form a shapes which they assume in various countries, marked contrast to the mute but grand as- and for their peculiar decomposition into glosemblage of living plants. The magnitude and bular masses and rocking stones, present the grandeur of these vast forests are almost in- same peculiarities here as elsewhere, and to a credible, save to eye-witnesses. The Indian, rather remarkable extent. Piles of granite the melancholy lord of the soil, alone ap-lare met with on the Essequebo rising to a
VOL. VIII. 50
height of 140 to 160 feet. One pile consists into tribes, having different names, babits, of three huge blocks, resting one above the language, and even moral and physical quali other. Another of a pyramidal shape attains ities, although apparently descending from nearly to the height of 200 feet. These the same parent stock, which is Mongolian in giants of the hill," as Mr. Waterton bas its character. After an intercourse of three termed them in bis “ Wandering," are both of hundred years with the white man, the modes them inaccessible.
and habits of the native have undergone little - It is in this neighborhood that the rude and or no change. With the exception of the effanciful hieroglyphics, called " picture-writing” forts made by a few zealous missionaries, no by the Indians, are met with. The figures attempt has been made to civilize and improve. represented are of the most varied and sin- him ; while the intrusion of Europeans into gular description - rude outlines of birds, the territories which once belonged to his foreanimals, men and women, and even large ves- fathers rapidly threatens to extivguish the sels with masts. Characters have also been last remnants of his race. met with which have been supposed to bear a The tribe called Macusi has the credit, if remote resemblance to the Hebrew. any, of preparing the famous wourali or urari
Sir R. Schomburgk remarks, in his “ Illus- poison, the various ingredients of which he trated Views of British Guiana," in reference obtains from the depths of the forests. The to those rude sculptures :
principal, according to Dr. Dalton, is the “ A mystery, not yet solved, hangs over wourali vine, which grows wild. Having pro these sculptured rocks; whatever may be cured a sufiicient quantity of this, he next their origin, the subject is one of high interest, seeks a bitter root, and one or two bulbous and demands the full investigation of the an- plants, which contain a green and glutinous tiquarian and historian. I have myself traced juice. These being all tied together, be these inscriptions through seven hundred searches for two species of venomous ants : miles of longitude, and five hundred of lati- one large and black, the “ muneery,” about tude, or scattered here and there over an ex- an inch long, and found in nests near to aro tent of three hundred and fifty thousand matic shrubs; the other a small red one, found square miles. I have copied many of them, under the leaves of several kinds of shrubs. and although they do not denote an advanced Providing himself now with some strong Instate of civilization, in my opinion they have dian pepper, and the pounded fangs of the a higher origin and signification than that cabarri" and conna-couchi snakes, the manu. generally ascribed to them; namely, the idle facturer of poison proceeds to his deadly task tracings of hunting nations. It is remarkable in a manner which reminds us of the proceedthat the situation of those which I have seen ings of witches, as chronicled by poets and was generally near cataracts and rapids. The romancers : Indian races of the present day and give no " He scrapes the wourali vine and bitter account of their origin; some ascribe them to root into thin shavings, and puts them into a the good spirit, others to their forefathers; kind of colander, made of leaves; this he holds and the Taruma Indians, on the river Cuyu- over an earthen pot, and pours water on the wine, a tributary of the Upper Essequebo, shavings; the liquor which comes through has gave me, in answer to the question, Who had the appearance of coffee. When a sufficient made the figures which I saw sculptured on quantity has been procured, the shavings are some of the blocks of greenstone in that river? thrown aside. He then bruises the bulbous that women had made them long time stalks, and squeezes a proportionate quantity
of their juice through his hands into the poi. It might be remarked upon this that cataracts Lastly, the snakes' fangs, ants, and pepper are are just the places where hard roeks, such as bruised, and thrown into it. It is placed then granite and greenstone, are met with, adapted on a slow fire, and as it boils, more of the for lasting sculptures; the natural beauties of juice of the wourali is added, according as it the spot, to which the Indian is never insen- may be found necessary, and the scum is taken şible, and the neighborhood of water, would off with a leaf; it remains on the fire till rehave constituted further temptations to the duced to a thick syrup, of a deep brown lingering hunter to practise there his rude and color. As soon as it has arrived at this state, elementary art.
a few arrows are poisoned with it to try ita The Indians of Guiana are of a reddish- strength." brown color, and somewhat glossy, not unlike The manner in which the strength of the new and clean copper. They are as grave poison is tested is said to be by wounding and austere as Arabs,exhibiting much dignity in trees, and if the leaves fall off or die within their walk and bearing, and an imperturbable three days, they consider the poison sufficientcalmness and self-possession. Strange that ly virulent, but not otherwise! sueb noble attributes should most distinguish When a man is to be killed, his enemy folman in his savage state! They are divided lows his path for days, and even weeks, till a
favorable opportunity presents itself of shoot- Parturition is attended with few inconve ing him in the back. He then drags the niences to the female Indian ; as soon as the corpse aside and buries it in a shallow grave. child is born, it is not an uncommon thing to The third night he goes to the grave, and see the mother proceed to a neighboring presses a pointed stick through the corpse. If stream, where she performs the necessary abon withdrawing the stick he finds blood on lutions for herself and infant. There is little the end of it, he tastes the blood, in order to in the way of dress to give her much trouble ; ward off any evil effects that might follow nor does the occurrence occasion any interfrom the murder. Hence also, if the wound- ruption to her usual duties. The husband; ed man is able to reach his home, he charges however, is not let off so easily; the etiquette his relations to bury him in some place where of savage life requires that he should take to his body cannot be found, and leaves it to his hammock for several days, where, with them to avenge his death.
solemn countenance, and an appearance of Humboldt relates, in his “ Views of Nature" suffering, he receives the visits of his ac (p. 20 of Bohn's Edition,) that while in the quaintances, who either condole or rejoice steppe tigers and crocodiles contend with with him, as the case may be.. horses and cattle, so on the forest borders, and The History of Guiana comprises the first in the wilds of Guiana, the hand of man is discovery by the Spanish navigators at the end ever raised against his fellow-man. With of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth revolting eagerness some tribes drink the flow- century, followed by the numerous adventuring blood of their foes, whilst other seemingly ous and romantic expeditions made in search unarmed, yet prepared for murder, deal certain of the El Dorado of the Westma rich city death with a poisoned thumb-nail. This, we abounding in gold, silver, and precious stones, are informed in the notes to the same work, situated on the borders of the Lake Parima, . is done by the Otomacs, who poison their and of whose fabulous wealth the Spaniards thumb-nails with curare, as it was called by had obtained reports as early as in A. d. 1500 Raleigh. The mere impress of the nail proves -a story which'in after times kindled the rofatal, should the poison become mixed with mantic spirit of the chivalric Raleigh. the blood. Humboldt judged the creeping The settlements of the Dutch succeeded in plant, described above by Dr. Dalton and 1580 to these dreams of wondrous wealth--the Waterton, as a vine, to be from its physiog- age of chivalry and romance in British Guiana, nomy allied to strychnos. Sir R. Schomburgk as Dr. Dalton calls it; methodical and unimhas since found the plant in flower and describ- aginative, the Dutchman left to more credulous ed it under the name of strychnos-toxifera. and speculative individuals the task of explorIt however contains, according to Boussin- ing the interior of a country enveloped in gault, no trace of strychnine. "If this is the mystery and marvels. The adventurers from case, it contains a vegetable poison of a dif- Spain, Portugal, England, and France left little ferent nature, as yet undescribed. The ex- behind them but the history of their misfortunes periments of Virchow and Münter show that and disappointment--and a curious one it is. the curare, urari or wourali poison, does 'not The Dutch, who settled down in contentment destroy by absorption from without but when upon the undrained banks of rivers and seait is absorbed by the animal substance after coasts, constructed canals, upon whose placid the separation of continuity of the latter, waters they trafficked in their barges, and which explains how an Indian can taste his which have been totally neglected by their victim's blood with impunity. It does not be- successors; they introduced the cotton-plant, long to tetanic poisons, but produces paralysis, the coffee-plant, and the sugar-cane; they that is to say, à cessation of voluntary mus- laid out beautiful gardens, where groves of cular movement, while the function of the in- orange and lime-trees mingled their shade voluntary muscles (as the heart and intestines) and perfume with plantains and other indigecontinues unimpaired. It would appear that nous tropical fruit trees. They also introduced a plant endowed with such virtues might be slaves : the shores of Guiana were perhaps applied to valuable purposes both in surgery the first territories to which the miserable steps and medicine.
of the captured Africans were directed by If a woman or a child is to be murdered, their Dutch masters. their death is ensured in a still more barbarous | The epoch of Dutch colonization of Guiana
The miserable creature is thrown is diversified by several invasions by the Eng. down on the ground, the mouth is forced lish and French, till Demerara and Essequebo open, and the fangs of a venomous serpent were finally surrendered to the former in are driven through the tongue. Before the 1803, an occupation which was followed subpoor wretch can reach home, the tongue be- sequently by the introduction of European comes so inflained and swoilen that she is women. The population had till that time unable to tell who did the deed, and death been kept up by mulattoes, tercerones, quadsoon relieves her of her sufferings.
roons, quarterones, and quinterones, or mus
tees, as they were called, according to the Domestic cats and dogs removed to Guiana amount of white and black admixture of blood, do not thrive; they have fits and die; but all difference vanishing in the last.
wild dogs and cats abound, and commit great The history of English tenure presents the depredations. Tiger-cats may be seen elimbusual colonial varieties of a long succession of ing the trees in the suburbs of the cities, and governors of various tempers and abilities; of the favorite food of the jaguar are the pigs disputes between the new governors and the and cows of the colonist. The most impudent old-established order of things in the shape of thieves are the opossums. They require somea Dutch fiscaal; of disputes about the adminis- times to be beaten and kicked out of the tration of justice and the monopoly of offices ; houses, and considering that they are very of of insurrections fanned by missionary inter- fensive, as well as predatory, their presence ference and the negro apprentice act; of the must be anything but desirable. The sportsemancipation of slaves, the appointment of man's great resources are the labba or paca, stipendiary magistrates, and the encourage the water-hog, and the acourys—the American ment of free immigration of Portuguese and hare. There are also deer, wild boar, tapirs, Coolies. This portion of the work does great sloths, armadillos, ant-caters, and a variety of credit to Dr. Dalton's industry and ability, as other strange creatures. Nature in such redo also those which embrace the statistics of gions appears positively to luxuriate in the the country, its government, public institu- most fanciful and curious creations. Tbat great tions, population, actual condition, and future unwieldy-looking animal, the sea-cow, is met prospects.
with at the outlet of the larger streams. British Guiana has acquired an unenviable The variety and number of birds found in notoriety both in Europe and the West Indies Guiana, the richness and beauty of their for the insalubrity of its climate, and for the plumage, the surprising, and in many cases mortality which has occurred among Euro- melodious, tones of their voices, and the curious peans and others who have visited its mala- and singular habits of most of them, offer a rious shores. Dr. Dalton does not deny to it large field of inquiry. Large collections are some pre-eminence in these respects; but he made annually by naturalists, bird-stuffers, and argues at length, that the temperature is very travellers, and the specimens are distributed equable, and even advantageous for a certain among museums in Europe and America. class of complaints, and the greater amount of Possibly there are few persons who have not fatality is induced by the recklessness of the at times felt the wish to have their curiosity colonists. In fact, if the natural law is care- satisfied regarding the habits of those humming fully observed, a person may live as long in birds, parrots, macaws, sbrikes, tanagers, maGuiana, with very little more sickness, than nakins, troupiales, jacamars, and other birds elsewhere.
of brilliant plumage, which attract the eye in In a country constituted as Guiana is, ani- almost every collection. Guiana has also its mal life naturally abounds. Noxious insects useful birds—its turkeys, pheasants, partridges, intrude into dwelling-houses, the rivers teem pigeons, plovers, snipe, ducks, etc. Dr. Dalwith fish, birds and reptiles people the savan- ton tells us, however, that the European gets nahs, wild beasts roam undisturbed in the for- little sport in the forests, although game birds est, receding, however, before the advancing abound there. The crash of dried branches ste of civilization. The monkeys are lords warn the bird, he flies away, and the density of the forests--the snake alone disputing with of the forest prevents his getting a shot. The them the dominion of the wooded world. They stealthy Indian alone can get a shot on a live on high branches of lofty trees, where branch or on the ground. they consider themselves to be tolerably safe, Needless to say that tortoises, crocodiles, except from the hunter's gun or Indian's ar- snakes, and other reptiles abound in a country row, and the ever dreaded wiles and strata- so favorable to the development of animal life. gems of their greatest enemy, the snake. There are many kinds of turtle and tortoises, There are howling monkeys, weeping mon- from the edible to the ferocious
, and which keys, and preaching monkeys, spider mon- themselves prey on other reptiles. Alligators keys, fox-tailed monkeys, squirrel monkeys, are even to be seen in the canals and trenches and monkeys with all kinds of faces and about Georgetown. The largest species is the beards. The forest in some repects resembles black alligator of the Essequebo, the same a large community of men. There are vampire that Waterton encountered in so courageous bats that suck the blood of persons asleep. and entertaining a manner. Among, snakes; There are wild dogs that live on crabs (Pro- there are the boas, the largest of which, the cyon Cancrivorus), in reality a small descrip- boa-constrictor, is called the bushmaster:tion of bear. There are skunks, which They have sometimes terrible conflicts with bid defiance to all enemies, driving back the alligators. There are great numbers of dogs and men by their intolerably fætid venomous snakes, and others that are not so, odor.
and which latter are chiefly arboreal or water