Page images
PDF
EPUB

soil and its productions, the jungle and its den-| long too much prevailed in what are called the izens - the ocean and its life, are all of modern higher circles of society." origin. Min himself, as the representative of his In the first volume of his work, Baron Hom. race, is but an upstart in the chronicle of time. boldt treats of the steppes and deserts of the earth The primeval antiquities of our planet, and the of the cotaracts of the Orinoco, and of the records of its ancient life, lie buried in the crypus nocturnal life of animals in the primeral foresis; beneath is. Its history is engraven on walls of and in the second, lie discusses the physiognomy stone, in characters which long baffled his inge- of plants, describes the structure and mode of nuity; but the geologist and the naturalist have at action of volcanoes in different parts of the globe, last deciphered them. He whose power is infi-treats of the vilal force, and concludes with a nite could have called the earth into being in the description of the plateaur of Casamarca, the very instant which preceded the creation of man ; ancient capital of the Inca Atahualpa, and the but that power has been exercised through other first view of the Pacific Ocean from the crest of agencies, and in conformity with material laws; the Andes. These different treatises, as we may and long cycles of years have thus been required call them, are concise and popular, for the perusa] to prepare the earth for the reception of beings of the general reader, and are followed by copious intellectual and immortal. To read that history, annotations and additions, for the use of those who to study these antiquities, and to contemplate willi wish to investigate more profoundly and extenwonder and awe the subterranean aspects of nature, sively the subjects to which they relate. is a privilege which none who understands it will The widely extended, and apparently intermirenounce, and a duty which none who enter upon nable plains, which have received the name of it will decline.

steppes, deserts, Llanos, pampas, prairies, and The aspects of nature around us, and above us, barrens, present themselves to the traveller under and beneath us, while they are a never-ending all the zones into which our globe has been source of instruction and enjoyment, cannot fail divided ; but in each they have a peculiar physito prepare the mind for nobler studies, and for ognomy, depending on diversity of soil, of climate, higher destinies.

and of elevation above the sea. The heaths in There is, doubtless, no living philosopher who the north of Europe, with their purple blossoms, could conduct us, with the same safety and inter- rich in honey, extending from the point of Jutest as Baron Humboldt, over these wonderful land to the mouth of the Scheldt, are regarded by fields of the material world. With his own eye our author as true steppes, though their extent is he has seen the grand phenomena which he small, when compared with the Llanos or pampas records. He has trodden the deserts and the of South America, or the prairies of the Missouri, Llanos of the far west ; he has climbed' its vol- or the barrens of the Coppermine river, on which canic cones, and breathed the vapors which they the shaggy buffalo and the musk ox range in exhale ; he has swept over ils cataracts, and countless herds.f threaded ils forests; and with the profound knowl- The desert plains in the interior of Africa are edge of a naturalist and a philosopher, he has parts of a sea of sand, separating fertile regions, described what he saw with all the precision of or enclosing them like islands. On these desotruth, and with all the eloquence of poetry. late plains neither dew nor rain descends ; and

In the work which we have placed at the head except in the oases, to which malefacotrs were of this article, its author “ has sought to indicate sent in the later times of the Cæsars, vegetable the unfailing influence of external nature on the life is wholly extinct. Herds of antelopes, and feelings, the moral dispositions, and the destinies swift-footed ostriches, roam through these vast of man," and viewing the “ soothing influence of regions; and though the verdant shores of the the contemplation of nature, as peculiarly precious watered cases are frequented by nomadic tribes, to those who are oppressed with the cares or the the African desert must be regarded as uninhabsorrows of life,” he dedicates his work more itable by man. Bordering nations cross it periodespecially to them, and invites them, while ically, by routes which have been unchanged for

escaping from the stormy waves of life," " to thousands of years, and by the aid of the camel, follow him in spirit to the recesses of the prime- the ship of the desert, the adventurous merchant is val forests, over the boundless surface of the enabled to cross it from Tafilet to Timbuctoo, and sleppe, and to the higher ridges of the Andes." from Moorzouk 10 Bornou. The extent of these Enjoying, “ in his eightieth year, the satisfaction vast plains, lying partly within, and partly in the of completing a third edition of his work, and vicinity, of the tropics, is three times as great as remoulding it entirely afresh, to meet the require that of the Mediterranean Sea. ments of the present time,” he “ hopes that these The most extensive, if not the loftiest steppes, volumes may tend to inspire and cherish a love for on the surface of the globe, occur in the temperate the study of nature, by bringing together, in a zone, on the plateau of central Asia, which lies small space, the results of careful observation, on between the gold mountains of the Altai and the the most varied subjects, by showing the importance of exact numerical data, and the use to be * This observation is entirely inapplicable to the made of them by well considered arrangement and

higher circles of society" in England.

+ The Indians sometimes kill from 600 in 700 huffaloes comparison, and by opposing the dogmatic half-in a few day's, by driving the wild herds into artificial knowledge and arrogant scepticism, which have enclosures.

never

Kuenlun. They extend from the Chinese wall toward, on quitting the mountain valleys of Caracbeyond the celestial mountains, and towards the c:ls. It occupies a space of 256,000 English sea of Aral, through a length of many thousand square miles, stretching from the coast chain of miles. About thirty years after his journey to the Caraccas to the forests of Guiana, and from the South America, our author visited an extent snowy mountains of Merida 10 the great Delta at of 2800 miles of these Asiatic steppes. Some-i che mouth of the Orinoco, To the south-west, a times hilly, and sometimes interrupted by dis- branch is prolonged to the upvisited sources of persed groups of pine forests, they exhibit a far the Guaviare, and the lonely mountains 10 which more varied vegetation than those of the new the excited fancy of the Spanish soldiery gave the world. The fuest parts of these plains, inhabited name of Paramo de la Suma Paz—the seat of by pastoral tribes, are adorned with flowering perfect peace. The Pampas of Buenos Ayres are herbaceous plants of great height; and while the of such extent " that while their northern margin traveller is driving in his Tartar carriage over is bordered by palm trees, their southern extremtheir pathless surface, the thickly crowded plants jity is almost continually covered with ice. In bend before the wheels, and such is their height, these grassy plains, troops of dogs, descended that he is obliged to rise up and look around him, from those introduced by the colonisis, have to see the direction in which to move. “Some become completely wild. They live socially, of the Asiatic steppes are grassy plains; others inhabiting subterranean hollow's, in which they are covered with succulent evergreen articulated hide their young, and often attacking man with a soda plants ; and many glisten from a distance bloodthirsty rage. When the society becomes 100 with flakes of exuded salt, which cover the clayey numerous, some faniilies migrate and furin new soil, not unlike in appearance to fresh fallen colonies. snow."

The absence of human inhabitants from the Dividing the very ancient civilization of Thibet South American sleppes lias given free scope for and Hindostan from the rude nations of Northern the development of the inost varied forms of ani. Asia, these Mongolian and Tartarian steppes have mal life; "a development limited only by their in various ways exercised an important influence mutual pressure, and similar to that of vegetable on the changeful destinies of man. Compress- life in the forests of the Orinoco, where the ing the population towards the South, they have Hymnenæa and the gigantic laurel are tended, more than the Himalaya, or the snowy exposed 10 the destructive hand of man, but only mountains of Sirinagur and Ghorka, lo impede the to the pressure of the luxuriant climbers which intercourse of nations, and to place permanent iwine around their massive trunks. Agoutis, limits to the extension of milder manners, and of small spoiled antelopes. cuirassed armadilloes, artistic and intellectual cultivation in Northern which, like rals, starile the hare in its subterraAsia."

nean holes, herds of lazy chiguires, beautifully But in the history of the past, (says our striped viverræ, wliich poison the air with their author,) it is not alone as an opposing barrier odor, the large maneless lion, spotted jaguars, that we must regard the plains of central Asia. (often called rigers.) strong enougli to drag away More than once they have proved the source from a young bull alier killing him ;-these and many which devastation has spread over distant lands. Suher forms of aniinal life wander tirough the The pastoral nations of these steppes-Moguls, ireeless plains." Getæ, Alani, and Usuni-have shaken the world. As in the course of past ages, early intellectual Thus, almost exclusively inhabited by these wild culture has come, like the cheering light of the animals, the steppe would offer liule attraction or sun, from the east, so at a later period, from the means of subsistence to those nomadic native hordes, same direction, barbaric rudeness has threatened to who, like the Asiatics of Hindostan, prefer vegetaoverspread and involve Europe in darkness. A ble nutriment, if it were not for the occasional presbrown pastoral race, of Tukiuish or Turkish ence of single individuals of the fan palm, the maudescent-the Hiongnu, dwelling in tents of skins, ritia. The benefits of this life-supponung tree aro inhabited the elevated steppes of Gobi. Long ter- widely celebrated ; it alone, from the mouth of the rible to the Chinese power, a part of this tribe was Orinoco to north of the Sierra de Imatara, feeds driven back into central Asia. The shock or the unsubdued natives of the Guaranis. When this impulse thus given passed from nation to nation, people were more numerous, and lived in closer until it reached the ancient land of the Finns, near contiguity, not only did they support their huts on the Ural mountains. From thence Huns, Avari, the cut trunks of palm trees as pillars, on which Ghazares, and various admixtures of Asiatic races, rested a scaffolding forming the floor, but they also, broke forth. Armies of Huns appeared success- it is said, twined from the leaf-stalks of the mauively on the Volga, in Pannonia, on the Marne, ritia cords and mats, which, skilfully interwoven and on the Po, desolating those fair and fertile and suspended from stem to stem, enabled them in fields, which, since the time of Antenor, civilized the rainy season, when the Delta is overflowed, to man had adorned with successive monuments. live in the trees like the apes. The floor of these Thus went forth from Mongolian deserts a deadly raised cottages is partly covered with a coating of blast, which withered, on Cisalpine ground, the damp clay, on which the women make fires for tender, long cherished flower of art !-Vol. i., household purposes, the flames appearing at night p. 6.

from the river to be suspended high in air. The

Guaranis still owe the preservation of their physiThe great steppe of South America displays cal, and perhaps also their moral independence, to itself to the traveller's eye when he looks south- the half-submerged marshy soil, over which they move with a light and rapid step, and to their ele- | proach his lips to the plant, and drink the cool vated dwellings in the trees—a habitation never juice. But resort to this vegetable fountain is not likely to be chosen from motives of religious enthu- always without danger, and one sees many animals siasm by an American Stylites. But the mauritia that have been lamed by the prickles of the cactus. affords to the Guaranis not merely a secure dwell-When the heat of the burning day is followed by ing-place, but also various kinds of food. Before the coolness of the night, even then the horses and the flower of the rich palm tree breaks through its cattle cannot enjoy repose. Enormous bats suck tender sheath, and only at that period of vegetable their blood like vampires during their sleep, or metamorphosis, the pith of the stem of the tree attach themselves to their backs, causing festering contains a meal resembling sago, which, like the wounds, in which mosquitoes, hippobosces, and a farina of the jatropha root, is dried in thin, bread-host of stinging insects niche themselves.—Vol. i., like slices. The fermented juice of the tree forms pp. 17, 18. the sweet intoxicating palm wine of the Guaranis. The scaly fruits, which resemble in their appear, Llano is entirely changed. Sweet odors are ex

When the rainy season arrives, the aspect of the ance reddish fir cones, afford, like the plantain and almost all tropical fruits, a different kind of nutri- haled from its previously barren surface. Grasses ment according as they are eaten, after their sac- in great variety spring up around; the mimosas charine substance is fully developed, or in their unfold their drooping leaves, and the water plants earlier or more farinaceous state. Thus, in the open their blossoms to the sun. Mud volcanoes lowest stage of man's intellectual development, we burst out from the moistened clay, and a gigantic find the existence of an entire people bound up with water-snake or crocodile often issues from the spot. that of a single tree, like the insect which lives in describing the phenomena of the rainy season, exclusively on a single part of a particular flower. -Vol. i., pp. 15-17.

our author has introduced some very brief notices

of the attacks made upon brood mares and their Since the discovery of America the Llanos have foals in the swollen streams, and of the battles become habitable, and towns have been built here which take place between the electrical eels and and there on the banks of the streams which water the wild horses; but as we have already given a them. Hluts formed of reeds bound by thongs, and full account of these and other interesting phenomcovered with skins, have been placed at the dis- ena in a review of his Kosmos, we must refer our tance of a day's journey from cach other; and in- readers to that article. Cruel though they be, we numerable herds of oxen, horses, and mules, esti- read with pleasure the details of battles, when mated at a million and a half thirty-five years ago, Nature has supplied the combatants with the roam over the plains, exposed to numberless dan

weapons of destruction, and with the ferocious gers. Under a vertical and never clouded sun, the instinct to use them ; but we turn with pain from carbonized turf cracks and pulverizes, and when those scenes of blood, in which man is the hero and the dust and sand are raised by opposing winds in the victim. the electrically charged centre of the revolving current, they have the form of inverted cones like the

As in the steppes tigers and crocodiles fight with

horses and cattle, so in the forests on its borders, in waterspouts of the ocean.

the wildernesses of Gujana, man is everarmed against The lowering sky sheds a dim, almost straw- man. Some tribes drink with unnatural thirst the colored light on the desolate plain. The horizon blood of their enemies; others apparently weapondraws suddenly nearer; the steppe seems to con- less, and yet prepared for murder, kill with a poitract, and with it the heart of the wanderer. The soned thumb-nail. The weaker hordes, when they hot, dusty particles which fill the air, increase its have to pass along the sandy margins of the rivers, suffocating heat; and the east wind, blowing over carefully efface with their hands the traces of their the long heated soil, brings with it no refreshinent, timid footsteps. Thus man in the lowest stage of but rather a still more burning glow. The pools, almost animal rudeness, as well as amidst the apparwhich the yellow fading branches of the fan palm ent brillianey of our higher cultivation, prepares for had protected from evaporation, now gradually dis- himself and his fellow-men increased ioil and dan appear. As in the icy north the animals become ger. The traveller wandering over the wide globe torpid with cold, so liere, under the influence of by sea and land, as well as the historic inquirer the parching droughts, the crocodile and the boa searching the records of past ages, finds everywhere become motionless, and fall asleep deeply buried in the uniform and saddening spectacle of man at vathe dry mud. Everywhere the death-threatening riance with man. He, therefore, who amid the drought prevails, and yet by the play of the re- unreconciled discord of nations secks for intelleofracted rays of light producing the phenomenon of tual calm, gladly turns to contemplate the silent life the mirage, the thirsty traveller is everywhere pur- of vegetation, and the hidden activity of forces and sued by the illusive image of a cool, rippling, powers operating in the sanctuaries of nature, or watery mirror.

Half-concealed by the obedient to the inborn impulse which for thousands dark clouds of dust, restless with the pain of ihirst of years has glowed in the human breast, gazes and hunger, the horses and cattle roam around, the upwards in meditative contemplation on those celescattle lowing dismally, and the horses stretching tial orbs which are ever pursuing, in urdisturbed out their long necks and snuffing the wind, if haply harmony, their ancient and unchanging course.-a moister current may betray the neighborhood of Pp. 25, 26. a not wholly dried up pool. More sagacious and

In his section on the Cataracts of Orinoco, cunning, the mule seeks a different mode of allevi- Baron Humboldt proposes to describe“ in particular ating his thirst. The ribbed and spherical meloncactus conceals under its prickly envelope a watery two scenes of nature in the wilderness or Guiana pith. The mule first strikes the prickles aside -the celebrated cataracts of the Orinoco, the with his forefeet, and then ventures warily to ap- Atures and Maypures,” which few Europeans

[graphic]

had seen previous to his visit. At the mouth of mouth of the Guaviare and Atabapo grows the the Orinoco, where its milk-white waters bedin noblest of the palms, " the Piriguao,” whose the bright blue of the Atlantic, its width is less smooth and polished trunk, about sixty-five feet than that of the river Plate or the Amazons. Its high, is adorned with the most delicate flag-like length is only 1120 geographical miles; but at the foliage, and bears large and beautiful fruit like distance of 560 miles from its mouth, its breadth, peaches, which, when prepared in a variety of when full, is 17,265 English feet, or nearly 3 ways, affords a nutricious and farinaceous food to miles ; and the heig!t 10 which it here rises above the natives. At the junction of the Meta, there its lowest level is from 30 to 36 feet. After pur- rises from the middle of a mighty whirlpool an suing a wesierly and then a northerly course, it isolated cliff, called the Rock of Patience, as voyruns again to the east, so that its inouth is nearly agers sometimes require two days to pass it ; and in the same meridian as its source ! Near the opposite the Indian mission of Carichano, the eye mouths of the Sodomoni and the Guapo stands the of the traveller is riveted on an abrupt rock, Elgrand and picturesque mountain of Duida, and Mogote de Cocnyza, a cube with vertically preamong the cocoa groves to the east of it are found cipitous sides, above 200 feet high, and carrying on trees of the Bertholleria excelsa, the most vigo- its surface forests of trees of rich and varied rous and gigantic of the productions of the tropical foliage. Like a Cyclopean monument in its simworld. From this region the Indians obtain the ple grandeur, this central mass rises high above materials for the long blow-pipes out of which the tops of the surrounding palms, marking the they discharge their arrows. The plant, from deep azure of the sky, with its sharp and rugged which they obtain tubes about eighteen feet long, outlines, and uplifting “its summit high in air, a from knot to knot, is a grass, a species of the forest above the forest.'' In the lower parts of arundinaria, which grows to the height of thirty the river near the sea, great natural rafts, conor forty feet, though its thickness is scarcely half sisting of trees torn from the banks by the swellan inch in diameter.

ing of the river, are encountered by the boatmen, Between the third and fourth degrees of latitude, whose canoes are often wrecked by striking against Humboldt observed in the Atabapo, the Temi, the them in the dark. These rasts, which are covered Tuamini, and the Guainia, the “ enigmatical phe-like meadows with flowering water plants, remind nomenon of the so-called black-water." The color the traveller of the floating gardens of the Mexof these rivers is a coffee-brown, which, in the ican lakes. shade of the palm groves, passes into ink-Vlack, As the Orinoco imparts a black color to the though in transparent vesseis the water has a reddish white granite which it has washed for a golden yellow color. This black color of the water thousand years, the existence of similar black holis ascribed by our author to its holding in solution lows, at heights of nearly 200 feet above the prescarburetted hydrogen,“ to the luxuriance of the ent bed of the river, indicates the fact, “ that the tropical vegetation, and to the quantity of plants streams whose magnitude now excites our astonishand herbs upon the ground over which the rivers ment, are only the feeble remains of the immense flow.” The ink-bluckness mentioned by Humboldt, masses of water that belonged to an earlier age arises, as he siates, from the groves of palm when of the world.” The very natives of Guiana called reflected from the aqueous surface, a phenomenon the attention of our author to the traces of the forwhich we have frequently seen even under a more mer heighit of the waters. On a grassy plain, near remarkable aspect in the lakes which exist in the Uruana, stands an isolated granite rock, upon Grampian range near the banks of the Spey. which are engraven, at a height of more than When these lakes, seen from above, reflect from eighty feet, figures of the sun and moon, and of their unruled surface only the purple flanks of many animals, particularly crocodiles and boas, the hills covered with heath or with pine, the arranged almost in rows or lines. The natives light which reaches the eye is exceedingly faint, believe that these figures were carved when their and almost inappreciable, not only from the dark- fathers' boats were only a little lower than the ness of its tint, but from the smallness of its angle drawings. of incidence npon the reflecting surface. Under The cataracts, or Raudal of Maypures, are not, these circumstances, the lake literally is as black like the falls of Niagara, formed by the descent of as ink ; but if the slightest breeze forins a ripple a mass of water through a great height, nor are on a portion of its surface, the inclined faces of they narrow gorges through which the river rushes the tiny waves reflect the light of the sky or of with accelerated velocity. They consist of a the clouds, and the portion of the lake thus dis- countless number of liule cascades, succeeding each turbed has the appearance of milk, so that the other like steps, sometimes extending across the sheet of water seems to be formed of ink and of entire bed of the river, and sometimes in a river milk in immiscible proximity. The slight coffee- +500 feet wide, leaving only an open channel of brown color of some of our own streams, is obvi- twenty feet. When the steps are but iwo or three ously occasioned by the peaty soil over which they feet high, the natives can descend the fulls, remainflow.

ing in the canoe. When the steps are high, and The phenomenon exhibited on the banks of this stretch across the stream, the boat is landed and remarkable river (the Orinoco) cannot fail to com- dragged along the bank by branches of trees placed mand the admiration of the traveller, Near the under it as rollers.

In descending from the village of Maypures to quite similar to those which cover the walls of the the Rock of Manimi in the bed of the river, a Mexican palace at Mitla. They are found in all wonderful prospect opens to the traveller's view.

countries and climates, and in the most different

stages of human cultivation--among the Greeks and A foaming surface, four miles in length, presents Romans, as well as on the shields of some of the itself at once to the eye. Iron-black masses of rocks, natives at Tahiti, and other islands of the South resembling ruins and battlemented towers, rise Sea-wherever the eye is gratified by the rhythfrowning from the waters. Rocks and islands are mical recurrence of regular forms. adorned with the luxuriant vegetation of the trop- Our interpreters could give us no certain informaical forest; a perpetual mist hovers over the waters, tion as to ihe age of these vessels ; that of the skeland the summits of the lofty palms pierce through etons appeared for the inost part not to exceed a the cloud of spray and vapor. When the rays of century. It is reported among the Guareca Indians, the glowing evening sun are refracted in these hu- that the brave Atures being pressed upon by the mid exhalations, a magic optical effect begins. cannibal Caribs, withdrew to the rocks of the cataColored bows shine, vanish, and reäppear; and the racis—a melancholy refuge and dwelling-place, in ethereal image is swayed 10 and fro by the breaih which the distressed tribe finally perished, and with of the sportive breeze. During the long rainy sea- them their language. In the most inaccessible son the streaming waters bring down islands of veg. parts of the Raudal there are cavities and recesses etable mould, and thus the naked rocks are studded which have served, like the Cave of Ataruipe, as with bright flower-beds, adorned with melastomas burying-places. It is even probable that the last and droseras, and with small silver-leaved mimosas family of the Atures may not have been long doand ferns. These spots recall to the recollection ceased; for (a singular fact) there is still in May. of the European those blocks of granite decked pures an old parrot, of whom the natives affirm that with flowers which rise solitary amid the glaciers he is not understood because he speaks the Ature of Savoy, and are called, by the dwellers in the language. — Vol. i., pp. 229, 230. Alps, “ jardins," or "courtils.” In the blue distance the eye rests on the mountain chain of Cuna

Leaving this interesting cave at nightfall, and vami, a long extended ridge, which terminates ab- carrying along with him several skulls, and an ruptly in a truncated cone. We saw the latter entire skeleton, our author could not avoid tracing glowing at sunset as if in roseate flames. This a melancholy contrast between the extinct race, appearance returns daily. No one has ever been whose mouldering relics he bore, with the ever near the mountain to detect the precise cause of this new life which springs from the bosom of the brightness, which may perhaps proceed from a earth :reflecting surface produced by the decomposition of talc or mica slate.—Vol. i., pp. 224, 225.

Countless insects poured their red phosphoric

light on the herb-covered ground, which glowed The Raudal of Atures is, like that of the May- with living fire, as if the starry canopy of heaven pures, a cluster of islands, between which the river

had sunk down upon the turf. Climbing bignoforces its way for ten or twelve thousand yards, a terias adorned the entrance of the cave, and the

nias, fragrant vanillas, and yellow flowering banis forest of palms rising from the middle of its foam- summits of the palms rustled above the graves. ing waters. Near the southern entrance of this Thus perish the generations of men! Thus do cataract, and on the right bank of the river, stands the name and the traces of nations fade and disapthe celebrated Cave of Ataruipe. It consists of a pear! Yet when one blossom of man's intellect

withers—when in the storms of time the memocavity or vaulted roof, formed by “ a far overhanging cliff,” and is the vault or cemetery of an life springs forth from the bosom of the earth :

rials of his art moulder and decay-an ever new extinct nation.

maternal nature unfolds unceasingly her germs, We counted (says our author) about 600 well her flowers, and her fruits ; regardless though man, preserved skeletons, placed in as many baskets, with his passions and his crimes, treads under foot woven from the stalks of palm leaves. These bas- her ripening harvest3.—Vol. i., p. 231. kets, which the Indians call mapires, are shaped The third aspect of nature to which Baron like 'square sacks, differing in size according to the Humboldt directs our attention is the Noclurnal age of the deceased. Even new-born children had Life of Animals in the Primeral Forest. The each its own mapire. The skeletons are so perfect, that not a hone or a joint is wanting. The bones wooded region which lies between so of north had been prepared in three different ways; some and 19° of south latitude is one connected forest bleached, some colored red with onoto, the pigment having an area twelve times greater than that of of the bira orellana, and some like muninies, closely Germany. This vast surface is watered by sysenveloped in sweet-sinelling resin and plantain tems of rivers, whose tributaries sometimes exleaves. The Indians assured us that the custom ceed in the abundance of their waters the Rhine had been to bury the fresh corpses for some months in damp earth, which gradually consumed the flesh ;

or the Danube ; and it is to the combination of they were then dug up, and any remaining flesh great moisture with a tropical heat that these forscraped away with sharp stones. This the Indians ests owe the luxuriant growth of their trees. So said was still the practice of several tribes in rank indeed is their vegetation, that particular Guiana. Besides the mapires, or baskets, we parts of the forest are impenetrable ; and the large found urns of half-burnt clay, which appeared to American tigers, or panther-like jaguars, often contain the bones of entire families. The larger lose themselves in their dense and impenetrable of these urns were about three feet high, and nearly six feet long, of a pleasing oval form, and greenish

Being thus unable to hunt on the color, having handles shaped like snakes and croc- ground, they actually live on the trees, and become odiles, and meandering or labyrinthine ornaments the terror of the families of monkeys, and of the round the upper margin. These ornaments are prehensile-tailed viverræ.

recesses.

« PreviousContinue »