Travels in the Interior of Brazil,: Particulary in the Gold and Diamond Districts of that Country, by Authority of the Prince Regent of Portugal: Including a Voyage to the Rio de Le Plata and an Historical Sketch of the Revolution of Buenos Ayres. Illustrated with Engravings (Google eBook)

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Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1812 - Brazil - 366 pages
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British mineralogist John Mawe visited Brazil in 1809-1810. With the permission of the prince regent of Portugal, he spent much of his time in the diamond and gold mining regions of Minas Gerais. Cities visited include Villa Rica, Santa Rita, Mariana, Tejuco, Serro Frio, and Minas Novas.
Chapter XVII (starting on page 280) includes his brief description of Bahia "as I did not visit it, I have only to present some observations from the best information I could procure (280)." He presents some comments on the social and economic position of Salvador, and then goes on to praise the fertility of the region's soil. Mawe then describes the process of making sugar.
 

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Page 219 - ... of cascalhao. The water being then let in upon it, the cascalhao is spread abroad and continually raked up to the head of the trough, so as to be kept in constant motion. This operation is performed for the space of a quarter of an hour; the water then begins to run clearer, having washed the earthy particles away, the gravel-like matter is raked up to the end of the trough ; after the current flows...
Page 220 - ... are thrown out, and afterwards those of inferior size ; then the whole is examined with great care for diamonds. When a negro finds one, he immediately stands upright and...
Page 220 - ... swallowed a diamond, he is confined in a strong room until the fact can be ascertained. Formerly the punishment inflicted on a negro for smuggling diamonds was confiscation of his person to the state : but it being thought too hard for the owner to suffer for the offence of his servant, the penalty has been commuted for personal imprisonment and chastisement. This is a much lighter, punishment than that which their owners or any white man would, suffer for a similar offence.
Page 219 - The flooring is divided into about twenty compartments or troughs, each about three feet wide, by means of planks placed on their edge. The upper ends of all these troughs (here called canoes) communicate with the canal, and are so formed that water is admitted into them between two planks that are about an inch separate. Through this opening the current falls about six inches into the trough, and may be directed to any part of it, or stopped at pleasure by means of a small quantity of clay.
Page 220 - The officers are liberally paid, and live in a style of considerable elegance, which a stranger would not be led to expect in so remote a place. Our tables were daily covered with a profusion of excellent viands, served up on fine Wedgewood ware, and the state of their household generally corresponded with this essential part of it.
Page 220 - Tejuco, a stone of 16^ carats was found : it was pleasing to see the anxious desire manifested by the officers that it might prove heavy enough to entitle the poor negro to his freedom; and when, on being delivered and weighed, it proved only a carat short of the requisite weight, all seemed to sympathize in his disappointment.
Page 220 - When a negro is so fortunate as to find a diamond of the weight of seventeen carats, much ceremony takes place ; he is crowned with a wreath of flowers, and carried in procession to the administrator, who gives him his freedom, by paying his owner for it.
Page 72 - ... steps, each twenty or thirty feet wide, two or three broad, and about one deep. Near the bottom a trench is cut to the depth of two or three feet. On each step, stand six or eight negroes, who, as the water flows gently...

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