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and this prescription answered its purpose. The amphisbæna is often found in ant-hills: in Brazil it is called cobra de duas cabeças, the two-headed snake. Mr. Koster describes it as eighteen inches in length, and about the thickness of the little finger of a child four or five years old. Both extremities, he says, are in appearance exactly similar to each other, and when the reptile is touched it raises both, and forms a circle or hoop to strike that which has molested it.' 6 They appear,' he says, 'to be perfectly blind, for they never alter their course to avoid any object until they come in contact with it, and then without turning about they crawl away in an opposite direction. The colour is grey inclining to white, and they are said to be venomous.' An opinion prevails that whoever has been bit by the boa constrictor has nothing to fear from that of any other snake: were the boa venomous, or did its bite produce any visible effect beyond that of a mere wound, it might be supposed that, like the vaccine infection, it secured the system against a stronger poison;-as this is not the case, the notion is probably a mere prejudice. The cow-pox was introduced in Itamaraca during Mr. Koster's residence there, but with a more fatal result than has any where else attended it. None of those who were vaccinated were in danger, but the infection spread, ten or twelve persons died of it, and the evil was only stopt by the inoculation of great numbers of the inhabitants:-it is no slight proof of their good sense that they submitted to this means of preservation.
The bite of the scorpion produced in Mr. Koster violent pain, but of short duration, then a numbness in the hand (the part bitten) during the remainder of the day. The only application which he used was lemon juice. The neighbours accounted for its affecting him so slightly by the state of the moon; when the moon is strong' they believe that the effect of animal poisons is more violent. A black whom the Mandingo negroes had cured of the bite of a rattlesnake suffered great pain in his limbs at the full and change of the moon, and sometimes the wound opened and remained in that state for weeks together. Consumption is believed to be infectious, and the belief leads to shocking consequences: for not only is all communication cut off between the unhappy sufferer and the rest of the family, but, a hovel,' Mr. Koster tells us, 'is erected at a distance from any habitation, and the miserable patient is removed to it, and shunned by every one, even receiving his food without the bearer approaching the hovel.' It is as much the duty of the clergy as of the medical men to prevent this disgraceful and inhuman custom. During his abode at Jaguaribe, the author had a third attack of ague, for which he confided himself to the care of an old mulatta, who had the reputation of being a witch, and might with much propriety have been selected to sit for one by a painter.
VOL. XVI. NO. XXXII.
She gave him the seeds of the pinham, which are used by the peasants as an emetic, and the dose which she administered was such, that a practitioner in Recife said he should have imagined it would have killed any person. It acted most violently, and left an excessive weakness, but it removed the disorder. She afterwards applied the bark of the mutamba tree to the stomach, to prevent an induration of the spleen. It is to be regretted that Mr. Koster was not acquainted with botany, and with other branches of natural history. Men who possess this knowledge are too apt to despise as trivial many details which in themselves are interesting, and frequently prove of importance in their application;-but if it had been joined to Mr. Koster's extraordinary habits of observation, he might have added as much to science, as he has to our knowledge of the moral state of Brazil. It is no light praise to say that he frequently reminds us of Dampier.
Of the remaining topics in this volume, that of slavery is the only one which we have room to notice. There is no Christian country in which the condition of slavery has obtained so many mitigations as in Brazil. Besides the Sabbath, the kalendar gives the slave thirty-five holidays in the course of the year: and the law, not less wise than humane, compels the master to manumit him for the price at which he was first purchased, or his present value, if it be greater than the prime cost. In some of our own islands, every manumission is charged with a fine of one hundred pounds currency, which is intended to act as a prohibition, and renders the state of slavery perpetual and hopeless! The law is sometimes evaded in Brazil; but general opinion is decidedly in its favour: the priests, who in this respect deserve the highest commendation, give it the whole of their influence; and though the master might set the law at defiance, public feeling cannot so easily be despised. In general, therefore, the slave who has earned enough to purchase his freedom, obtains it without difficulty. A woman who has reared ten children is entitled to her freedom; but this regulation, Mr. Koster says, is generally evaded; and of course it cannot often be claimed. Many slaves are manumitted at the death of their masters; and wealthy persons often indulge in this most gratifying mode of charity during their lives. There is another law by which the entail of slavery is very frequently cut off. If the sum of five pounds (twenty milreas) is offered at the baptismal font, the master must manumit the child: this sum is often paid when the father is a freeman; and often also by the sponsors,-the mother, frequently in hope of this bounty, soliciting some persons of consideration to take upon them this spiritual relationship to the child;-in Brazil it is considered as such. By these various means considerable numbers become free, and it is the peculiar good fortune of the Portugueze colonies
that when once this barrier is removed, little difference is made by law between the different casts, and less by public opinion. In all other colonies, there are fearful difficulties in the way of that amalgamation which sooner or later must take place, and till it has taken place, there can be neither prosperity nor safety;—in Brazil it has already been effected, and whatever revolutions that country may be destined to undergo, it is safe at least from a war of colours, the most horrible of all wars. This, which is one cause why the Brazilians are so infinitely superior to the Spanish Americans, and indeed to all other creoles, arose less from the superior policy of Portugal, than it did necessarily from the smallness of its population. An abominable system of exclusion (which has not cost less than 200,000 lives within the last eight years, and must yet cost many more) degraded the mestizo of Peru and Mexico, and even the creole;-but in Brazil the mamaluco ranked with his father, and inheriting all his privileges inherited his feelings and his interests.
There is another point also in which the Brazilian slaves are infinitely happier than those in the British islands: they are baptized; and though the religion in which they are instructed is debased with many superstitions, still the advantage which they derive from it is beyond all price. They are proud of it,--the negro till he has received baptism being considered in a very inferior state,-they derive from their faith, hope and consolation; and the good effects which are produced by the institution of marriage, effectually disproves the audacious assertion of Bryan Edwards, that those alone who are utterly ignorant of the negroes' nature can suppose that marriage could be introduced among them to any good purpose. It was he who was ignorant,-ignorant of the nature of man, ignorant of the duties of a Christian. Upon the whole subject of slavery, Mr. Koster writes with thorough knowledge, with the best feelings and the best principles.
The slave-trade, however, is carried on by the Portugueze with great inhumanity. The ships were formerly crowded in a most shocking manner; and though a law has been passed for proportioning the number of slaves to the size of the vessel, Mr. Koster more than suspects that it is evaded. The rules of the port direct that as soon as slaves are landed at Recife, they shall be taken to St. Amaro, an airy situation opposite the town, upon the inland bank of the waters on the land side; sufficiently distant to prevent any dauger from infection, if an infectious disease should exist among them. This regulation is disregarded; or if the slaves are removed to St. Amaro, they are soon brought back, and placed in the streets before the doors of their owners, regardless of decency, of humanity, and of due attention to the health of the town.' The
small pox and the yaws have thus full opportunity of spreading, and that the most fatal consequences are not produced, must in great measure be imputed to the excellence of the climate. So Mr. Koster thinks, but the excellence of the climate must not be relied on with too much confidence. The bicha, the most destructive pestilence which ever visited Brazil, broke out at Recife;-from that malady the negroes and the coloured races were exempt; and in like manner, perhaps, the white population may not be susceptible of diseases which the negroes bring with them from Africa. They are driven into warehouses, like cattle into a pen, by night, and by day they are seen sitting or lying upon the footpath, to the number of two or three hundred ;-the stench is almost intolerable to one unaccustomed to it, and the sight of them'-Mr. Koster exclaims-good God! is horrid beyond any thing! It is not wonderful that they start up eagerly to be examined and handled when a purchaser appears, and that they appear joyful when they are led away from this state of inaction and wretchedness.The slaves upon the Church property are those who have least reason to regret their lot. The Benedictines, in particular, omit nothing which can contribute to their well-being. The children are carefully instructed in their religion; they generally solicit permission to begin their regular work before the age which the rulers of the estates have appointed. Marriages are encouraged; the means of emancipation facilitated by allowing them the Saturday in addition to the other holidays; and those who are superannuated enjoy every comfort of which feeble age is capable. Upon estates which are thus managed, there is no occasion to keep up the stock by purchase ;-on that which Mr. Koster describes there were about an hundred, and all creoles. Here also it is not the custom to inflict corporal punishment: the slaves are regarded as moral and intellectual beings, as men and brethren,-severity, therefore, is not needful. It is only when the slaveholder is a brute that the slaves are treated as such. In Brazil it appears that, generally speaking, the richer the proprietor the better is the condition of the slaves; men who are greedy of gain are proportionately hard-hearted; but individuals are found like Hodge and Huggins, whose cruelties not only render the men themselves infamous, but prove the system to be in itself radically wrong under which such things are possible. Mr. Koster has not, like Stedman, lacerated the feelings of his readers by entering into the dreadful detail of such crimes; but he tells us that they exist; and delivers his opinions with good feeling and good sense, upon the impolicy of Portugal in continuing the slave-trade.
The volume concludes with some remarks upon the last treaty between this country and Portugal, the writer arguing that the
manner in which it has been condemned by both parties is presumptive proof of its general fairness; and entering into its merits. He points out the abuses and grievances in Brazil which the government could easily reform, and the reform of which he considers as absolutely necessary to the security of the government, and a sure means of averting the unutterable miseries and infinite evils of revolution. The general spirit of the book, indeed, is excellent; the manner more resembling the good, old, plain, straight-forward style of our best travellers, than the modern fashion of fine periods; and the matter for the most part equally curious and amusing, presenting a faithful picture of a very interesting stage in the progress of society.
ART. V. The Veils, or the Triumph of Constancy. A Poem, in Six Books. By Miss Porden. 8vo. London. 1816.
E have been much pleased with Miss Porden's poem, and almost against our will. In our opinion she could not have chosen a species of composition by which her extraordinary powers of versification could have been exercised under greater disadvantages, than a poem intended to display the different energies of nature, exerted in producing the various changes which take place in the physical world,' but personified and changed into the spirits of the Rosicrucian doctrine.' 'A system' which, as she observes,
was introduced into poetry by Pope, and since used by Darwin in the Botanic Garden.'
We have sometimes thought that the ministry of the people of the elements might be profitably employed; but for that purpose the tenets relating to them should be sought for in their native truth and orthodoxy, and not as corrupted by the French novelist, who has most wrongfully ascribed those tenets to the pure brethren of the Rosie Cross. The Intelligences with which this holy fraternity held converse were more ethereal, and housed above the lunar sphere. They knew nothing of the existence of the gnomes, and nymphs, and sylphs, and salamanders, whose secrets were first revealed to the listening world by Paracelsus. This 'daring dreamer' deserves not the name of an impostor which some of our friends have given him. Wild as his visions were, they were undoubtedly his belief: hence they have acquired a fanciful but impressive consistency. He delivers his oracles with a solemn tone of mystic theosophy, whilst his eyes are glistening with the keen, wandering gaze of rising madness.
'Happier is he,' quoth Philip Theophrastus Bombast Hohenheym Paracelsus, leaning on the tremendous long sword whose