A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 681 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.

[Footnote 4:  There is no doubt that at least some of the tribes roasted and eat their prisoners, like the Caribs of the West Indies.  But certainly they had not arrived to that state of civilization as to have markets; and beef and mutton were unknown in America, till carried there from Europe.—­E.]

Such of the natives as were seen were large dark-complexioned men, having thick lips, flat noses, and very white teeth.  The Portuguese are numerous in Brazil, both Creoles, and such as come from time to time from Portugal, to repair their broken fortunes.  A little time before the arrival of Roggewein, the Portuguese had discovered a diamond mine not far from St Sebastian, of which at that time they were not in full possession, but were meditating an expedition against the Indians, in order to become sole masters of so valuable a prize; and with this view they invited the Dutch to join them, promising them a share in the riches in the event of success.  By these means, nine of our soldiers were tempted to desert.  I know not the success of this expedition; but it is probable that it succeeded, as great quantities of diamonds have since been imported from Brazil into Europe.  They are said to be found on the tops of mountains among a peculiar red earth containing a great deal of gold; and, being washed down by the great rains and torrents into the vallies, are there gathered in lavaderas by negroes employed for the purpose.

Brazil abounds with numerous sorts of beasts, birds, and fish, both wild and tame.  They have tigers that do a great deal of mischief, also elephants in great abundance, the teeth of which are of great value.[5] There is no country on earth where serpents, and other venomous reptiles, are more frequent, or of larger size.  So far as the Portuguese power and colonization extends, the popish religion is established; but vast numbers of the indigenous natives of the country remain unsubdued, and continue their original idolatry, being of such cruel and vindictive dispositions, that when a Christian falls into their hands, the best thing that can happen to him is to have his throat cut, as they are, for the most part, put to death by means of cruel tortures.  The air of the country, though excessively hot at certain times of the year, is extremely wholesome, as we experienced by our speedy recovery from the scurvy and other distempers.  About St Sebastian there are vast quantities of venomous musquetoes, which sting to such a degree that we were all covered over with blisters.  Our pilot, having drank too freely of the country rum, and afterwards fallen asleep in the open air, had his head, face, arms, and legs so severely stung, that his life was in imminent danger, and he recovered after a long time, not without much care.

[Footnote 5:  There are animals of the tyger kind in Brazil and other parts of America, and the Jaguar, Owza, or Brazilian tyger, is probably the one here meant.  No elephants exist in America, and their teeth, mentioned in the text, must have come from some of the Portuguese African possessions.—­E.]

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