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would grow here; notwithstanding which, the 1768.
December, inhabitants import their coffee and chocolate from Lisbon.
Most of the land, as far as we saw of the country, is laid down in grass, upon which cattle are pastured in great plenty; but they are so lean, that an Englishman will scarcely eat of their fesh: the herbage of these pastures consists principally of creffes, and consequently is so short, that though it may afford a bite for horses and sheep, it can scarcely be grazed by horned cattle in a sufficient quantity to keep them alive.
This country may possibly produce many valuable drugs; but we could not find any in the apothecaries shops, except pariera brava, and balsam capivi; both of which were excellent in their kind, and sold at a very low price. The drug trade is probably carried on to the north. ward, as well as that of the dying woods, for we could get no intelligence of either of them here.
As to manufactưres, we neither saw nor heard of any except that of cotton hammocks, in which people are carried about here, as they are with us in sedan chairs; and these are principally, if not wholly, fabricated by the Indians.
The riches of the place consist chiefly in the mines which we supposed to lie far up the country, though we could never learn where, or at what distance; for the situation is concealed as much as possible, and troops are continually S3 .
1768. employed in guarding the roads that lead to December.
them: it is almost impossible for any man to get à sight of them, except those who are employed there; and indeed the strongest curiosity would scarcely induce any man to attempt it, for whoever is found upon the road to them, if he cannot give undeniable evidence of his having business there, is immediately hanged up upon the next tree.
Much gold is certainly brought from these mines, but at an expence of life that must strike every man, to whom custom has not made it familiar, with horror. No less than forty thoufand negroes are annually imported, on the king's account, to dig the mines; and we were credibly informed, that, the last year but one before we arrived here, this number fell fo short, probably from some epidemic disease, that twenty thousand more were draughted from the town of Rio.
Precious stones are also found here in such plenty, that a certain quantity only is allowed to be collected in a year; to collect this quantity, a number of people are, sent into the country where they are found, and when it is got toge* ther, which fometimes happens in a month,
fometimes in less and sometimes in more, they return; and after that, whoever is found in these precious districts, on any pretence, before the next year, is immediately put to death.
The jewels found here, are diamonds, topazes of several kinds, and amethysts. We did not see any of the diamonds, but were informed that the viceroy had a large quantity by him, which he would sell on the King of Portugal's account, but not at a less price than they are sold for in Europe. Mr. Banks bought a few topazes and amethysts as specimens: of the topazes there are three sorts, of very different value, which are distinguished here by the names of Pinga d'agua qualidade primeiro, Pinga d'agua qualidade fecundo, and Chrystallos armerillos: they are sold, large and small, good and bad together, by octavós, or the eighth part of an ounce; the best at 45. gd. All dealing, however, in these stones is prohibited to the subject under the severest penalties: there were jewellers here formerly, who purchased and worked them on their own account; but about fourteen months before our arrival, orders came from the court of Portugal, that no more stones should be wrought here, except on the king's account: the jewellers were ordered to bring all their tools to the viceroy, and left without any means of subsistence. The persons employed here to work ftones for the king are Naves.
The coin that is current here, is either that of Portugal, consisting chiefly of thirty-six shillings pieces; or pieces, both of gold and filver, which are struck at this place : the pieces of silver, S 4
which are very much debased, are called Petacks, and are of different value, and easily distinguished by the number of rees that is marked on the outside. Here is also a copper coin, like that in Portugal, of five and ten ree pieces. A ree is a nominal coin of Portugal, ten of which are equal in value to about three farthings sterling.
The harbour of Rio de Janeiro is situated W. by N. 18 leagues from Cape Frio, and may be known by a remarkable hill, in the form of a sugar- loaf, at the west point of the bay; but as all the coast is very high, and rises in many peaks, the entrance of this harbour may be more certainly distinguished by the inands that lie before it; one of which, called Rodonda, is high and round like a hay.stack, and lies at the dif. tance of two leagues and a half from the en. trance of the bay, in the direction of S. by W.; but the first isands which are met with, coming from the east, or Cape Frio, are two that have a rocky appearance, lying near to each other, and at the distance of about four miles from the shore: there are also at the distance of three leagues to the westward of these, two other isands which lie near to each other, a little without the bay on the east side, and very near the shore. This harbour is certainly a good one; the entrance indeed is not wide, but the seabreeze, which blows every day from ten or twelve
o'clock till sunset, makes it easy for any ship to 1768.
December go in before the wind; and it grows wider as m e the town is approached, so that abreast of it there is room for the largest feet, in five or six fathom water, with an oozy bottom. At the narrow part, the entrance is defended by two forts. The principal is Santa Cruz, which stands on the east point of the bay, and has been mentioned before ; that on the west side is called fort Lozia, and is built upon a rock that lies close to the main; the distance between them is about of a mile, but the channel is not quite so broad, because there are sunken rocks which lie off each fort, and in this part alone there is danger: the narrowness of the channel causes the tides, both food and ebb, to run with considerable itrength, so that they cannot be stemmed without a fresh breeze. The rockiness of the bottom makes it also unsafe to anchor here'; but all danger may be avoided by keeping in the middle of the channel. Within the entrance, the course up the bay is first N. by W. ; W. and N. N. W. something more than a league ; this will bring the vessel the length of the great road; and N. W. and W. N. W. one league more will carry her to the INe dos Cobras, which lies before the city: she should then keep the north side of this island close on board, and anchor above it, before a monastery of Benedictines which stands upon a hill at the N. W. end of the city.