"There can be no more fascinating field of labor than Brazil, notwithstanding the difficulty of the soil and the immense tracts of country which have to be traversed. It covers half a continent, and is three times the size of British India. Far away in the interior there exist numerous Indian tribes with, as yet, no written language, and consequently no Bible. Thrust back by the white man from their original homes, these children of the forest and the river are, perhaps, the most needy of the tribes of the earth. For all that these millions know, the Gospel is non-existent and Jesus Christ has never visited and redeemed the world." [Footnote: The Neglected Continent]


The Republic of Brazil has an area of 3,350,000 square miles. From north to south the country measures 2,600 miles, and from east to west 2,500 miles. While the Republic of Bolivia has no sea coast, Brazil has 3,700 miles washed by ocean waves. The population of this great empire is twenty-two millions. Out of this perhaps twenty millions speak the Portuguese language.

"If Brazil was populated in the same proportion as Belgium is per square mile, Brazil would have a population of 1,939,571,699. That is to say, Brazil, a single country in South America, could hold and support the entire population of the world, and hundreds of millions more, the estimate of the earth's population at the beginning of the twentieth century being 1,600,000,000." [Footnote: Bishop Neely's "South America."]

Besides the millions of mules, horses and other animals, there are, in the republic, twenty-five millions of cattle.

Brazil is rich in having 50,000 miles of navigable waterways. Three of the largest rivers of the world flow through its territory. The Orinoco attains a width of four miles, and is navigable for 1,400 miles. The Amazon alone drains a basin of 2,500,000 square miles.

Out of this mighty stream there flows every day three times the volume of water that flows from the Mississippi. Many a sea-captain has thought himself in the ocean while riding its stormy bosom. That most majestic of all rivers, with its estuary 180 miles wide, is the great highway of Brazil. Steamboats frequently leave the sea and sail up its winding channels into the far interior of Ecuador - a distance of nearly 4,000 miles. All the world knows that both British and American men-of-war have visited the city of Iquitos in Peru, 2,400 miles up the Amazon River. The sailor on taking soundings has found a depth of 170 feet of water at 2,000 miles from the mouth. Stretches of water and impenetrable forest as far as the eye can reach are all the traveller sees.

Prof. Orton says: "The valley of the Amazon is probably the most sparsely populated region on the globe," and yet Agassiz predicted that "the future centre of civilization of the world will be in the Amazon Valley." I doubt if there are now 500 acres of tilled land in the millions of square miles the mighty river drains. Where cultivated, coffee, tobacco, rubber, sugar, cocoa, rice, beans, etc., freely grow, and the farmer gets from 500 to 800-fold for every bushel of corn he plants. Humboldt estimated that 4,000 pounds of bananas can be produced in the same area as 33 pounds of wheat or 99 pounds of potatoes.

The natural wealth of the country is almost fabulous. Its mountain chains contain coal, gold, silver, tin, zinc, mercury and whole mountains of the very best iron ore, while in forty years five million carats of diamonds have been sent to Europe. In 1907 Brazil exported ten million dollars' worth of cocoa, seventy million dollars' worth of rubber; and from the splendid stone docks of Santos, which put to shame anything seen on this northern continent, either in New York or Boston, there was shipped one hundred and forty-two million dollars' worth of coffee. Around Rio Janeiro alone there are a hundred million coffee trees, and the grower gets two crops a year.

Yet this great republic has only had its borders touched. It is estimated that there are over a million Indians in the interior, who hold undisputed possession of four-fifths of the country. Three and a quarter million square miles of the republic thus remains to a great extent an unknown, unexplored wilderness. In this area there are over a million square miles of virgin forest, "the largest and densest on earth." The forest region of the Amazon is twelve hundred miles east to west, and eight hundred miles north to south, and this sombre, primeval woodland has not yet been crossed. [Footnote: Just as this goes to press the newspapers announce that the Brazilian Government has appropriated $10,000 towards the expenses of an expedition into the interior, under the leadership of Henry Savage Landor, the English explorer.]

Brazil's federal capital, Rio de Janeiro, stands on the finest harbor of the world, in which float ships from all nations. Proudest among these crafts are the large Brazilian gunboats. "It is a curious anomaly," says the Scientific American, "that the most powerful Dreadnought afloat should belong to a South American republic, but it cannot be denied that the Minas Geraes is entitled to that distinction." This is one of the vessels that mutinied in 1910.

Brazil is a strange republic. Fanatical, where the Bible is burned in the public plaza whenever introduced, yet, where the most obscene prints are publicly offered for sale in the stores. Where it is a "mortal sin" to listen to the Protestant missionary, and not a sin to break the whole Decalogue. Backward - where the villagers are tied to a post and whipped by the priest when they do not please him. Progressive - in the cities where religion has been relegated to women and children and priests.

Did I write the word religion? Senhor Ruy Barbosa, the most conspicuous representative of South America at the last Hague Conference, and a candidate for the Presidency of Brazil, wrote of it: "Romanism is not a religion, but a political organization, the most vicious, the most unscrupulous, and the most destructive of all political systems. The monks are the propagators of fanaticism, the debasers of Christian morals. The history of papal influence has been nothing more nor less than the story of the dissemination of a new paganism, as full of superstition and of all unrighteousness as the mythology of the ancients - a new paganism organized at the expense of evangelical traditions, shamelessly falsified and travestied by the Romanists. The Romish Church in all ages has been a power, religious scarcely in name, but always inherently, essentially and untiringly a political power." As Bishop Neely of the M. E. Church was leaving Rio, Dr. Alexander, one of Brazil's most influential gentlemen, said to him: "It is sad to see my people so miserable when they might be so happy. Their ills, physical and moral, spring from lack of religion. They call themselves Catholics, but the heathen are scarcely less Christian!" Is it surprising that the Italian paper L'Asino (The Ass), which exists only to ridicule Romanism, has recently been publishing much in praise of what it calls authentic Christianity?

"Rio Janeiro, the beautiful," is an imperial city of imposing grandeur. It is the largest Portuguese city of the world - greater than Lisbon and Oporto together. It has been called "the finest city on the continents of America, - perhaps in the world, with unqualifiedly the most beautiful street in all the world, the Avenida Central." [Footnote: Clark. "Continent of Opportunity."] That magnificent avenue, over a mile long and one hundred and ten feet wide, asphalt paved and superbly illuminated, is lined with costly modern buildings, some of them truly imposing. Ten people can walk abreast on its beautiful black and white mosaic sidewalks. The buildings which had to be demolished in order to build this superb avenue cost the government seven and a half millions of dollars, and they were bought at their taxed value, which, it was estimated, was only a third of the actual. [Footnote: "But as a wonderful city, the crowning glory of Brazil - yes of the world, I believe - is Rio de Janeiro." - C. W. Furlong, in "The World's Work."]

Some years ago I knew a thousand people a day to die in Rio Janeiro of yellow fever. It is now one of the healthiest of cities, with a death-rate far less than that of New York.

Rio Janeiro, as I first knew it, was far behind. Oil lamps shed fitful gleams here and there on half-naked people. Electric lights now dispel the darkness of the streets, and electric streetcars thread in and out of the "Ruas." There is progress everywhere and in everything.

To-day the native of Rio truthfully boasts that his city has "the finest street-car system of any city of the world."

A man is not permitted to ride in these cars unless he wears a tie, which seems to be the badge of respectability. To a visitor these exactions are amusing. A friend of mine visited the city, and we rode together on the cars until it was discovered that he wore no tie. The day was hot, and my friend (a gentleman of private means) had thought that a white silk shirt with turn-down collar was enough. We felt somewhat humiliated when he was ignominiously turned off the car, while the black ex-slaves on board smiled aristocratically. If you visit Rio Janeiro, by all means wear a tie. If you forget your shirt, or coat, or boots, it will matter little, but the absence of a tie will give the negro cause to insult you.

Some large, box-like cars have the words "Descalcos e Bagagem " (literally, "For the Shoeless and Baggage") printed across them. In these the poorer classes and the tieless can ride for half-price. And to make room for the constantly inflowing people from Europe, two great hills are being removed and "cast into the sea."

Rio Janeiro may be earth's coming city. It somewhat disturbs our self-complacency to learn that they have spent more for public improvements than has any city of the United States, with the exception of New York. Municipal works, involving an expenditure of $40,000,000, have contributed to this.

Rio Janeiro, however, is not the only large and growing city Brazil can boast of. Sao Paulo, with its population of 300,000 and its two-million-dollar opera house, which fills the space of three New York blocks, is worthy of mention. Bahia, founded in 1549, has 270,000 inhabitants, and is the centre of the diamond market of Brazil. Para, with its population of 200,000, who export one hundred million dollars' worth of rubber yearly and keep up a theatre better than anything of the kind in New York, is no mean city. Pernambuco, also, has 200,000 inhabitants, large buildings, and as much as eight million dollars have recently been devoted to harbor improvements there.

Outside of these cities there are estates, quite a few of which are worth more than a million dollars; one coffee plantation has five million trees and employs five thousand people.

With its Amazon River, six hundred miles longer than the journey from New York to Liverpool, England, with its eight branches, each of which is navigable for more than a thousand miles, Brazil's future must be very great.