He who is unfortunate enough to be wounded by a poisoned arrow from Macoushia had better not depend upon the common antidotes for a cure. Many who have been in Guiana will recommend immediate immersion in water, or to take the juice of the sugar-cane, or to fill the mouth full of salt; and they recommend these antidotes because they have got them from the Indians. But were you to ask them if they ever saw these antidotes used with success, it is ten to one their answer would be in the negative.
Wherefore let him reject these antidotes as unprofitable and of no avail. He has got an active and deadly foe within him which, like Shakespeare's fell Serjeant Death, is strict in his arrest, and will allow him but little time - very, very little time. In a few minutes he will be numbered with the dead. Life ought, if possible, to be preserved, be the expense ever so great. Should the part affected admit of it, let a ligature be tied tight round the wound, and have immediate recourse to the knife:
Continuo, culpam ferro compesce, priusquam
Dira per infaustum serpant contagia corpus.
And now, kind reader, it is time to bid thee farewell. The two ends proposed have been obtained. The Portuguese inland frontier-fort has been reached and the Macoushi wourali poison acquired. The account of this excursion through the interior of Guiana has been submitted to thy perusal in order to induce thy abler genius to undertake a more extensive one. If any difficulties have arisen, or fevers come on, they have been caused by the periodical rains which fall in torrents as the sun approaches the Tropic of Cancer. In dry weather there would be no difficulties or sickness.
Amongst the many satisfactory conclusions which thou wouldest be able to draw during the journey there is one which, perhaps, would please thee not a little, and that is with regard to dogs. Many a time, no doubt, thou hast heard it hotly disputed that dogs existed in Guiana previously to the arrival of the Spaniards in those parts. Whatever the Spaniards introduced, and which bore no resemblance to anything the Indians had been accustomed to see, retains its Spanish name to this day.
Thus the Warow, the Arowack, the Acoway, the Macoushi and Carib tribes call a hat sombrero; a shirt or any kind of cloth camisa; a shoe zapalo; a letter carta; a fowl gallina; gunpowder colvora(Spanish polvora); ammunition bala; a cow vaca; and a dog perro.
This argues strongly against the existence of dogs in Guiana before it was discovered by the Spaniards, and probably may be of use to thee in thy next canine dispute.
In a political point of view this country presents a large field for speculation. A few years ago there was but little inducement for any Englishman to explore the interior of these rich and fine colonies, as the British Government did not consider them worth holding at the Peace of Amiens. Since that period their mother-country has been blotted out from the list of nations, and America has unfolded a new sheet of politics. On one side the Crown of Braganza, attacked by an ambitious chieftain, has fled from the palace of its ancestors, and now seems fixed on the banks of the Janeiro. Cayenne has yielded to its arms, La Plata has raised the standard of independence and thinks itself sufficiently strong to obtain a Government of its own. On the other side the Caraccas are in open revolt, and should Santa Fe join them in good earnest they may form a powerful association.
Thus on each side of ci-devant Dutch Guiana most unexpected and astonishing changes have taken place. Will they raise or lower it in the scale of estimation at the Court of St. James's? Will they be of benefit to these grand and extensive colonies? Colonies enjoying perpetual summer. Colonies of the richest soil. Colonies containing within themselves everything necessary for their support. Colonies, in fine, so varied in their quality and situation as to be capable of bringing to perfection every tropical production, and only want the support of Government, and an enlightened governor, to render them as fine as the finest portions of the equatorial regions. Kind reader, fare thee well!
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Letter to the Portuguese Commander