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continues to lwell five months, and decreases in an equal period, remaining at its highest food and lowest ebb relpec tively for one month, thus completing the year in its revolution. It is also affirmed, that every twenty-five years the greateft increase is two feet and a half above the fall of the twenty-four preceding years. In the most contracted part of its bed, it seems to rise 120 feet. It is navigable only about 35 leagues; and, in this short course, it is interrupted by three cataracts.
From the defcription of the trees and plants which grow on the banks of the Oronoque, or its tributary rivers, we fhall extract the author's account of the properties of the palm-tree. This useful tree, he remarks, supplies all the wants of the people in its neighbourhood.
They draw from it, by incision, a whitish Auid, which has a fweet and pleasant taste, and, in a few days, becomes fpirituous. In the opening thus made, while any of the juice remains, white worms are found, which refemble butter, and furnish a pleasing nutritious food, when the disgust; which their appearance excites, is conquered. When the wounded part furnishes no more worms, it is filled with a spongy mass, which contains a kind of farina, resembling fine itarch: of this fubstance tolerable bread is made ; but it is so heavy, as to disagree with those who are not accuftomed to it. The fruit consists of large round dates; the pulp is a pleasant food; and the date also contains an esculent kernel. Of the planks of this tree, the natives build their huts, covering them with the leaves. From the leaves also they spin a kind of hemp, of which they make cords; and they use the bark for making chests and boxes of different kinds.'
From the account of the quadrupeds we shall felect the observations upon the ante, which the Spaniards call the great beaft.
The ante has little resemblance to the quadrupeds - of Europe. It lives equally well in water and on land. It is as large as a mule; its feet are short and difs proportioned to its size, and are terminated by four claws. Its head is like that of a hog; but, between its eye-brows, is a bone, with which it ftrikes and beats down an enemy. The tiger watches this animal, and springs on it behind. If the country is clear, the ante is certainly destroyed; but, if there are trees or bushes in the way, they are fatal to the tiger; for the ante rushes into the thickest part of the wood, and its adversary.is, in a moment, dashed or torn in pieces.? This animal has by naturalists been called the ant-bear, and is supposed to feed on eminets. It appears to be of a kind between the rhinoceros and hippopotamus. Perhaps the
idea of its food has been suggested from the name, which, however, has no relation to the European insect.
We will also introduce the account of the caficuse. Among other extraordinary animals of the countries watered by the Oronoque, we may distinguish the caficuse, a kind of cat, without a tail, and with wool resembling the down of the castor. It fleeps all day, and goes out at night in pursuit of birds and serpents. It is very gentle, and, when brought into the house, never quits its place through the whole day ; but, at night, begins its excursions. It". pushes its tongue, which is long and small, into every aperture; and, if it goes to a bed, where any one is sleeping with his mouth open, it never fails to examine this aperture also.'
Of the bat he says, that it may be ranged with the birds. It is a very dangerous animal in this country. There are two forts: the smaller differ little from those of Europe; the larger are nearly of the size of a pigeon, and are hideously uglý. Both species fly about all night, to pierce, with the very fine point of their tongue, the skins of men or other animals whom they find sleeping, and to fuck their blood. If those who sleep do not cover their whole body, they are wounded; and, should a vein be opened, they pass imperceptibly from the arms of sleep into those of death; for the air, agitated by the wings of the bat, refreshes the sleeper, and makes his flumber more profound.'
Our readers will here see the origin of the German superstition respecting vampires. Since the author mentions the wound as being made by the point of the tongue, there is great reason to suppose that the blood is drawn by fuction, without any real division of the skin. The fleep, therefore, is less likely to be interrupted.
Accounts of fish, serpents, &c. follow; but, as we have not room for the many very extraordinary narratives, which occur in this part of the work, we shall select some of the shortest.
• The guaricotos are very voracious, and particularly fond of human fleih. It is the linell of the blood that attracts them; and persons who have not the flightest fcratch, need not fear swimming among them, if they can avoid the sardinas-bravas, which accompany the guaricotos. These little animals, which have a long red tail, are so troublefome and greedy, that they fix immediately on the skin to bite; and the first drop of blood which they draw, tempts the guaricotos to assail and devour the man.
Of the different kinds of serpents, with which the deserts are filled, the buio is the moft remarkable. It resembles
the trunk of a tree, and is covered with moss, like an old log of wood. It is from 15 to 20 feet long, and large in proportion. Its motion is almost imperceptible; for it can fcarcely proceed half a league in a whole day. Its body makes an impression on the ground, like that of a tree dragged along. When it hears a noise, it lifts up its head, stretches itself, and turns towards its prey, whether it be a tiger, a deer, or a man. It then opens its mouth, and emits fuch a venomous vapour as to stupify and even attract those who are within its influence. The only method of preventing the bad effects of this effluvium is to break, by a motion of the hat, the column of tainted air: the enchantment is then destroyed, and the person is free. On this account, the Indians never travel alone. The buio has no teeth, and therefore employs a long time in swallowing its prey, which, however, it does not fail to accomplish, as its throat is very large. These animals are very common in marshy and watery places, and often devour the incautious hunter or fisherman.'
The manners of the inhabitants are nearly those of all uncivilised races on the continent of America. They seem to be indifferent christians; but, being informed that they are to go to heaven, after the termination of this life, they aré contented to resign it, and, in their eagerness for the enjoyment of promised felicity, are even willing to be buried alive. Dr. Bancroft seems to distrust the account of the facrifice of the old women, in the preparation of their most fatal poison; but the present writer, whose credibility we shall foon examine, gives a fuil account of the process, and of the deaths of the fucceffive attendants on the caldron.
The Caverres, the moft ferocious and inhuman of those tribes which inhabit the banks of the Oronoque, prepare a poison, which is called curare. It is, in no respect, acris monious, but may be tasted and swallowed with impunity, provided there be no wound in the palate or fauces. When it touches the smalleft drop of blood, it congeals the whole in a moment; and when a wound is inflicted by an arrow dipped in it, however small the scratch, the man dies before he can utter four words. It acts with equal activity on apes, buffaloes, tigers, and lions: if they receive the slightest wound, their death is almost instantaneous. It appears to have no influence when a person has falt in his mouth; but its fatal effects almost always ensue before the specific can be employed. It is drawn from a root which has neither branches nor leaves, concealing itself as if confcious of its malignity. This root grows not like other plants, in common ground, but in the corrupted mass of ftagnant lakes and ponds. The Indians gather, wash, and flice it,
dangerous, they employ old women, who, they say, are in no other respect useful. These rarely survive, and more * rarely refuse the office. One at a time is placed near the itove; and, when the dies, she is replaced by another, who usually shares the same fate, without any opposition either 'from herself or her relatives. They know that it is the lot of women at their age, and think themselves honoured, if by *their death they can serve their country. When the water is cold, they press out the decoction, and again boil it, till it has acquired the consistence of a syrup. During the first operation, their strength begins to fail, and the second kills 'them before they see its end.
Four of these victims are sacrificed, before the poison reaches its perfection. When 'one-third has evaporated, the dying groans of the old woman give notice of it. The principal chiefs then try it. A night wound is made in the arm or leg of a child, and the poison moved towards, without touching, the blood. If it returns instead of Aowing, the process is complete; but, if it continues to flow, another old woman is sacrificed in the farther evaporation,
Other preparations of a similar kind are recorded; and, by the strangeness of some of these narratives, we were induced to examine the accounts which former writers had given of this country and its inhabitants, and to compare their descriptions with those of our author. In this comparison, we did not find any decisive confirmation of his credibility'; yet, in many parts, there are traces of what in the present volume is more particularly described ; and we must allow, that, if this author has been imposed on, or aims at impofing on others, he has the air of confidence which generally accompanies truth. Upon the whole, though much is marvellous, we find nothing impossible; and what we know to be true is so fairly related, that we may trust to him in those points with which we are less acquainted.
The historical parts of the volume are accurate and comprehenfive; and the writer has well described the present State both of Dutch and French Guiana. The French division extends little more than 100 leagues. If not the most fertile, it is the most healthy part of the country. The account of the climate we shall tranfcribe.
Though this country is under the line, its heat is neither oppre live nor constant. Besides the nine months of rain and the succeeding drought, no other change of season is experienced. Fruit may be gathered in all seasons : some trees offer it fully ripened, while others are in bloom. When the sky is not cloudy, and there is no wind, the dew, which begins to fall at four in the morning, occasions a coldness that requires additional coverin, Exnofure
this dew, during sleep, is dangerous ; for it is so corrosives as soon to consume a bar of iron.
The rainy season, or the winter, begins in October. It is called the rain of acajou, because this fruit then ripens. The rain soon becomes so copious and constant, that it is difficult to preserve the furniture, on account of the mois
But this is the time when cattle find the best parture : at this season, the rain often continues day and night; and comes on with such violence, as frequently to cover the surface of the earth with water, in the course of an hour., Six days, however, scarcely elapse, in the whole year, without the sun shining in its greatest splendour, fo that the inhabitants can constantly, work or walk in elevated places, or those which are not marshy. The rains diminish at the beginning of June, and cease about the end of July. From this time, to the roth of November, scarcely a drop falls; but, in different years and different places; there are exceptions to the general rule. It rains less in the cleared than in the wooded country; much less in Cayenne than in the neighbourhood of the Oyapoco; much more in Surinam than in the French colonies.'
The trees, plants, quadrupeds, &c. of French Guiana are afterwards noticed. Methods of improving its coinmerce, and several other topics, are discussed ; and the manners of the Creoles and the Indians of that territory are described. Upon the whole, the work may be read with pleasure and information, and may with advantage be brought forward in an English dress. It is illustrated with various engravings. Vie de Lazare Hoche, Général des Armées de la République
Française ; par Alexandre Rousselin : suivie de la Core respondance publique et privée avec le Gouvernement, les Miniltres, les Généraux, etc. dans ses divers Commandemens des Armées de la Moselle et du Rhin, des Côtes de Cherbourg, de Breft, de l'Ouest et de 1 Ocean, d'Irlande, et de Sambre et Meufe. Seconde Edition, corrigée, et augmentée de trois
Planches. Paris. 1798. The Life of Lazarus Hoche, General of the Armies of the French
Republic ;, by Alexander Roufselin; followed by his Correspondence, both public and private, with the Governinent, the Ministers, the Generals, &c. in his different Commands of the Armies of the Moselle and Rhine, of the Coales of Cherbourg, of Brest, of the West and of the Ocean, of Ireland, and of the Sambre and Meuse. The Second Edition, corrected, and illustrated with three Plates. 2 Vols. 8vo. 145. fewed.
Imported by De Boffe. BIOGRAPHY is sometimes fatire, more frequently pane