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Any one coming hither, who looks for
melancholy, haggard and despairing
countenances, backs scored with the lash, and
limbs crushed and crippled by brutal treatment,
looks in vain, and wonders. He beholds,
instead, a swarming throng of Africans,
men, women, and children, constituting two-
thirds of the population of the place, all
vigourous, healthy, merry, and alert. No
portion of the inhabitants appears more
care-free, none more at home; and,
certainly, so far as physical development goes, none
equal to them, except Europeans, who
reside or visit there. The blacks are a
fine, healthy, athletic, race, far superior to
the native Brazilians of Portuguese descent.
The latter are, generally, a very slight-built
and even feeble-looking, race. Many of the
young men surprised me by the smallness
of their stature, the slightness of their
build, and the narrowness of their chests.
The boys, too, had a spider-like lightness and
fineness of frame. I never saw anything like
it; one English school- boy would have made
three of them. The same peculiarity characterised
the women, though they exhibited,
generally, finely-traced and delicate features. They
strike me, generally, as an almost Lilliputian
race. But the negroes, men and women, were
a stout, active, vivacious people. I noticed
amongst the men, some of the most Herculean
figures that I ever saw, and I was astonished
at the stature of some of the women,
who must have been full six feet. There
were evidently two very distinct varieties of
the negroes, one being said to come from
Congo, the other from Mozambique. One
portion were of a dusky sooty black, the other
of a rich dark copper-colour, and the skins of
these were peculiarly fine and glossy. In
figure, bearing, and fresh roundness of limbs,
they might be pronounced handsome, although
that compliment could not be extended to
their faces and woolly hair.

The negroes, or the labourers of the place,
were everywhere. You saw them by scores
in the shops, sitting at different employments.
Tailors sat to their work on chairs,
and not, as with us, on their boards cross-
legged. Negroes were boatmen, porters,
paviors, labourers of all kinds; and in all
departments, they appeared contented and
even jocund. The women kept the stalls at
market, and carried fruit, and fish, and
vegetables, all over the city. You encountered
them in groups everywhere, and everywhere
they were gossipping together, with a degree
of ease and leisure that amazed me. Nobody
seemed to hurry, or interfere with them.
With their baskets on their heads, or rested
on the pavement, they were holding the most
animated dialogues, with loud voices, manners
most unrestrained, and with exuberance
of jest, and sarcasm, and laughter. Their
wrists profusely ornamented with bracelets
of coloured beads, chiefly red and blue, their
necks with chains of the same, their ears well
loaded with gold, or gilt ear-rings. They
gesticulated, waved their hands, quite with
an oratorical air, clapped them occasionally
loudly, amid bursts of merriment, as in
triumph over their fellow-disputants.

Abhorring, as I do, slavery, as a violation
of every right of humanity, I could not but
come to the conclusion, that the Brazilians
must use their Helots better than Brother
Jonathan does his. True, I did not go up
the country, to behold the condition of the
slave on the sugar and cotton plantations;
but, wherever I did see it in the plantations
in the vicinity of the city, the negroes,
men and women, appeared just as well-
conditioned. We came continually upon groups
of them at work in the fields, but we saw
neither whip, nor driver; and ever and anon,
in some retired nook, we found troops of
women collected about a spring with their
washing, who were all laughing and chattering
as noisily as so many magpies. Neither
could I perceive the same marked aversion to
the coloured race as in the United States.
I saw blacks in the steamers, crossing to
Praia Grande, seated amongst the whites,
quite at their ease, and observed numbers of
negroes amongst the city guards.

The manners of the negro porters are
very amusing. You see them discharging
the cargoes of ships. The moment they
get their load upon their heads they begin
to sing some old African ditty, and continue
singing often in a sort of recitative,
till they deposit their burden in the warehouse
It is the same as they carry luggage
or other articles along the streets. I
saw four men carrying a piano on their heads,
two other negroes following behind to relieve
the others in turn. They had each a rattle
in their hands, in form precisely like the
rose of a watering-pan, and containing a
number of small pebbles. As they went along
they not only sung a tune, but danced to it,
beating time with their rattles; yet it was
wonderful to see how perfectly steady they
managed to keep the piano, while they were
all the time capering and making the most
antic movements. They go bare-headed under
a sun that would strike down a white man
with coup de soleil, and their hair is cut very
short. Their power of balancingespecially
tall jugson their heads is amazing, and that
even in very little children.

Our time being short, we exerted ourselves
to see as much of the city and neighbourhood
as possible, and the numbers of calashes or
fiacres which stand in the public squares,
vehicles particularly light and upright in form,
drawn by handsome mules, and omnibuses
also drawn by mules, and running to all parts
of the city and environs, enabled us to
accomplish a good deal. One of our first
achievements, however, was to ascend the
Morro do Castello, or Flag-Staff Hill, which
rises in the very centre of the town. There
we had a most magnificent panoramic view.

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