South America

  Nunc huc, nunc illuc et utrinque sine ordine curro.

Were you to pay as much attention to birds as the sculptor does to the human frame, you would immediately see, on entering a museum, that the specimens are not well done.

Acaiari, the resinous gum of the hiawa-tree. 
Acouri, one of the agutis; a rodent about the size of a rabbit. 
Acuero, a species of palm. 

   - - nec herba, nec latens in asperis 
  Radix fefellit me locis.

In the month of April 1812 I left the town of Stabroek to travel through the wilds of Demerara and Essequibo, a part of ci-devant Dutch Guiana, in South America.

The chief objects in view were to collect a quantity of the strongest wourali poison and to reach the inland frontier-fort of Portuguese Guiana.

In the year 1816, two days before the vernal equinox, I sailed from Liverpool for Pernambuco, in the southern hemisphere, on the coast of Brazil. There is little at this time of the year, in the European part of the Atlantic, to engage the attention of the naturalist. As you go down the Channel you see a few divers and gannets. The middle-sized gulls, with a black spot at the end of the wings, attend you a little way into the Bay of Biscay. When it blows a hard gale of wind the stormy petrel makes its appearance.

  Desertosque videre locos, littusque relictum.

Gentle reader, after staying a few months in England, I strayed across the Alps and the Apennines, and returned home, but could not tarry. Guiana still whispered in my ear, and seemed to invite me once more to wander through her distant forests.

What is the real religion of the Brazilians? It is more a saint worship than anything else. Saint worship is at its core. Mary is the chief saint. All prayers are made to her. She is the intercessor. The Litany is all addressed to Mary. It runs, "Oh Mary, hear us, etc." She is worshiped under different aspects - Mary of the Sailors, Mary of the Conception, Mary of the Candles, Mary of the Rosary, ad infinitum. Even Christ is worshiped as a saint. The patron saint of Campos, for instance, is called Sao Salvador (St. Savior). The city of Bahia is called Sao Salvador.

Confession and penance play a large part in the religious life of the common people. The priests exercise great ingenuity to preserve the confessional. The better educated classes have long ago deserted the confessional, but it still holds sway over the common people and hangs like a dark shadow over the immoral deeds of the priests. Along with it flourishes the performance of penance. These two hand-maidens in wrong-doing often thrive in an absurd way.

It is often claimed that the progress of the gospel is slower and more difficult in Catholic countries than in outright heathen lands. Such statements can be answered only by an appeal to the facts in the case. What are the facts? The Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has been conducting operations in Brazil for about thirty years. It has been doing work in China for more than sixty years.

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