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Through the Brazilian Wilderness by Theodore Roosevelt

Part 5 out of 6

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altogether too great to permit us to spend any time in such manner.
The hunting had to come in incidentally. This type of well nigh
impenetrable forest is the one in which it is most difficult to get
even what little game exists therein. A couple of curassows and a big
monkey were killed by the colonel and Kermit. On the day the monkey
was brought in Lyra, Kermit, and their four associates had spent from
sunrise to sunset in severe and at moments dangerous toil among the
rocks and in the swift water, and the fresh meat was appreciated. The
head, feet, tail, skin, and entrails were boiled for the gaunt and
ravenous dogs. The flesh gave each of us a few mouthfuls; and how good
those mouthfuls tasted!

Cherrie, in addition to being out after birds in every spare moment,
helped in all emergencies. He was a veteran in the work of the tropic
wilderness. We talked together often, and of many things, for our
views of life, and of a man's duty to his wife and children, to other
men, and to women, and to the state in peace and war, were in all
essentials the same. His father had served all through the Civil War,
entering an Iowa cavalry regiment as a private and coming out as a
captain; his breast-bone was shattered by a blow from a musket-butt,
in hand-to-hand fighting at Shiloh.

During this portage the weather favored us. We were coming toward the
close of the rainy season. On the last day of the month, when we moved
camp to the foot of the gorge, there was a thunder-storm; but on the
whole we were not bothered by rain until the last night, when it
rained heavily, driving under the fly so as to wet my cot and bedding.
However, I slept comfortably enough, rolled in the damp blanket.
Without the blanket I should have been uncomfortable; a blanket is a
necessity for health. On the third day Lyra and Kermit, with their
daring and hard-working watermen, after wearing labor, succeeded in
getting five canoes through the worst of the rapids to the chief fall.
The sixth, which was frail and weak, had its bottom beaten out on the
jagged rocks of the broken water. On this night, although I thought I
had put my clothes out of reach, both the termites and the
carregadores ants got at them, ate holes in one boot, ate one leg of
my drawers, and riddled my handkerchief; and I now had nothing to
replace anything that was destroyed.

Next day Lyra, Kermit, and their camaradas brought the five canoes
that were left down to camp. They had in four days accomplished a work
of incredible labor and of the utmost importance; for at the first
glance it had seemed an absolute impossibility to avoid abandoning the
canoes when we found that the river sank into a cataract broken
torrent at the bottom of a canyon-like gorge between steep mountains.
On April 2 we once more started, wondering how soon we should strike
other rapids in the mountains ahead, and whether in any reasonable
time we should, as the aneroid indicated, be so low down that we
should necessarily be in a plain where we could make a journey of at
least a few days without rapids. We had been exactly a month going
through an uninterrupted succession of rapids. During that month we
had come only about 110 kilometres, and had descended nearly 150
metres--the figures are approximate but fairly accurate. We had lost
four of the canoes with which we started, and one other, which we had
built, and the life of one man; and the life of a dog which by its
death had in all probability saved the life of Colonel Rondon. In a
straight line northward, toward our supposed destination, we had not
made more than a mile and a quarter a day; at the cost of bitter toil
for most of the party, of much risk for some of the party, and of some
risk and some hardship for all the party. Most of the camaradas were
downhearted, naturally enough, and occasionally asked one of us if we
really believed that we should ever get out alive; and we had to cheer
them up as best we could.

There was no change in our work for the time being. We made but three
kilometres that day. Most of the party walked all the time; but the
dugouts carried the luggage until we struck the head of the series of
rapids which were to take up the next two or three days. The river
rushed through a wild gorge, a chasm or canyon, between two mountains.
Its sides were very steep, mere rock walls, although in most places so
covered with the luxuriant growth of the trees and bushes that clung
in the crevices, and with green moss, that the naked rock was hardly
seen. Rondon, Lyra, and Kermit, who were in front, found a small level
spot, with a beach of sand, and sent back word to camp there, while
they spent several hours in exploring the country ahead. The canoes
were run down empty, and the loads carried painfully along the face of
the cliffs; so bad was the trail that I found it rather hard to
follow, although carrying nothing but my rifle and cartridge bag. The
explorers returned with the information that the mountains stretched
ahead of us, and that there were rapids as far as they had gone. We
could only hope that the aneroid was not hopelessly out of kilter, and
that we should, therefore, fairly soon find ourselves in comparatively
level country. The severe toil, on a rather limited food supply, was
telling on the strength as well as on the spirits of the men; Lyra and
Kermit, in addition to their other work, performed as much actual
physical labor as any of them.

Next day, the 3rd of April, we began the descent of these sinister
rapids of the chasm. Colonel Rondon had gone to the summit of the
mountain in order to find a better trail for the burden-bearers, but
it was hopeless, and they had to go along the face of the cliffs. Such
an exploring expedition as that in which we were engaged of necessity
involves hard and dangerous labor, and perils of many kinds. To follow
down-stream an unknown river, broken by innumerable cataracts and
rapids, rushing through mountains of which the existence has never
been even guessed, bears no resemblance whatever to following even a
fairly dangerous river which has been thoroughly explored and has
become in some sort a highway, so that experienced pilots can be
secured as guides, while the portages have been pioneered and trails
chopped out, and every dangerous feature of the rapids is known
beforehand. In this case no one could foretell that the river would
cleave its way through steep mountain chains, cutting narrow clefts in
which the cliff walls rose almost sheer on either hand. When a rushing
river thus "canyons," as we used to say out West, and the mountains
are very steep, it becomes almost impossible to bring the canoes down
the river itself and utterly impossible to portage them along the
cliff sides, while even to bring the loads over the mountain is a task
of extraordinary labor and difficulty. Moreover, no one can tell how
many times the task will have to be repeated, or when it will end, or
whether the food will hold out; every hour of work in the rapids is
fraught with the possibility of the gravest disaster, and yet it is
imperatively necessary to attempt it; and all this is done in an
uninhabited wilderness, or else a wilderness tenanted only by
unfriendly savages, where failure to get through means death by
disease and starvation. Wholesale disasters to South American
exploring parties have been frequent. The first recent effort to
descend one of the unknown rivers to the Amazon from the Brazilian
highlands resulted in such a disaster. It was undertaken in 1889 by a
party about as large as ours under a Brazilian engineer officer,
Colonel Telles Peres. In descending some rapids they lost everything--
canoes, food, medicine, implements--everything. Fever smote them, and
then starvation. All of them died except one officer and two men, who
were rescued months later. Recently, in Guiana, a wilderness veteran,
Andre, lost two-thirds of his party by starvation. Genuine wilderness
exploration is as dangerous as warfare. The conquest of wild nature
demands the utmost vigor, hardihood, and daring, and takes from the
conquerors a heavy toll of life and health.

Lyra, Kermit, and Cherrie, with four of the men, worked the canoes
half-way down the canyon. Again and again it was touch and go whether
they could get by a given point. At one spot the channel of the
furious torrent was only fifteen yards across. One canoe was lost, so
that of the seven with which we had started only two were left.
Cherrie labored with the other men at times, and also stood as guard
over them, for, while actually working, of course no one could carry a
rifle. Kermit's experience in bridge building was invaluable in
enabling him to do the rope work by which alone it was possible to get
the canoes down the canyon. He and Lyra had now been in the water for
days. Their clothes were never dry. Their shoes were rotten. The
bruises on their feet and legs had become sores. On their bodies some
of the insect bites had become festering wounds, as indeed was the
case with all of us. Poisonous ants, biting flies, ticks, wasps, bees
were a perpetual torment. However, no one had yet been bitten by a
venomous serpent, a scorpion, or a centipede, although we had killed
all of the three within camp limits.

Under such conditions whatever is evil in men's natures comes to the
front. On this day a strange and terrible tragedy occurred. One of the
camaradas, a man of pure European blood, was the man named Julio, of
whom I have already spoken. He was a very powerful fellow and had been
importunately eager to come on the expedition; and he had the
reputation of being a good worker. But, like so many men of higher
standing, he had had no idea of what such an expedition really meant,
and under the strain of toil, hardship, and danger his nature showed
its true depths of selfishness, cowardice, and ferocity. He shirked
all work. He shammed sickness. Nothing could make him do his share;
and yet unlike his self-respecting fellows he was always shamelessly
begging for favors. Kermit was the only one of our party who smoked;
and he was continually giving a little tobacco to some of the
camaradas, who worked especially well under him. The good men did not
ask for it; but Julio, who shirked every labor, was always, and always
in vain, demanding it. Colonel Rondon, Lyra, and Kermit each tried to
get work out of him, and in order to do anything with him had to
threaten to leave him in the wilderness. He threw all his tasks on his
comrades; and, moreover, he stole their food as well as ours. On such
an expedition the theft of food comes next to murder as a crime, and
should by rights be punished as such. We could not trust him to cut
down palms or gather nuts, because he would stay out and eat what
ought to have gone into the common store. Finally, the men on several
occasions themselves detected him stealing their food. Alone of the
whole party, and thanks to the stolen food, he had kept in full flesh
and bodily vigor.

One of our best men was a huge negro named Paixao Paishon--a corporal
and acting sergeant in the engineer corps. He had, by the way,
literally torn his trousers to pieces, so that he wore only the
tatters of a pair of old drawers until I gave him my spare trousers
when we lightened loads. He was a stern disciplinarian. One evening he
detected Julio stealing food and smashed him in the mouth. Julio came
crying to us, his face working with fear and malignant hatred; but
after investigation he was told that he had gotten off uncommonly
lightly. The men had three or four carbines, which were sometimes
carried by those who were not their owners.

On this morning, at the outset of the portage, Pedrinho discovered
Julio stealing some of the men's dried meat. Shortly afterward Paishon
rebuked him for, as usual, lagging behind. By this time we had reached
the place where the canoes were tied to the bank and then taken down
one at a time. We were sitting down, waiting for the last loads to be
brought along the trail. Pedrinho was still in the camp we had left.
Paishon had just brought in a load, left it on the ground with his
carbine beside it, and returned on the trail for another load. Julio
came in, put down his load, picked up the carbine, and walked back on
the trail, muttering to himself but showing no excitement. We thought
nothing of it, for he was always muttering; and occasionally one of
the men saw a monkey or big bird and tried to shoot it, so it was
never surprising to see a man with a carbine.

In a minute we heard a shot; and in a short time three or four of the
men came up the trail to tell us that Paishon was dead, having been
shot by Julio, who had fled into the woods. Colonel Rondon and Lyra
were ahead; I sent a messenger for them, directed Cherrie and Kermit
to stay where they were and guard the canoes and provisions, and
started down the trail with the doctor--an absolutely cool and plucky
man, with a revolver but no rifle--and a couple of the camaradas. We
soon passed the dead body of poor Paishon. He lay in a huddle, in a
pool of his own blood, where he had fallen, shot through the heart. I
feared that Julio had run amuck, and intended merely to take more
lives before he died, and that he would begin with Pedrinho, who was
alone and unarmed in the camp we had left. Accordingly I pushed on,
followed by my companions, looking sharply right and left; but when we
came to the camp the doctor quietly walked by me, remarking, "My eyes
are better than yours, colonel; if he is in sight I'll point him out
to you, as you have the rifle." However, he was not there, and the
others soon joined us with the welcome news that they had found the

The murderer had stood to one side of the path and killed his victim,
when a dozen paces off, with deliberate and malignant purpose. Then
evidently his murderous hatred had at once given way to his innate
cowardice; and, perhaps hearing some one coming along the path, he
fled in panic terror into the wilderness. A tree had knocked the
carbine from his hand. His footsteps showed that after going some rods
he had started to return, doubtless for the carbine, but had fled
again, probably because the body had then been discovered. It was
questionable whether or not he would live to reach the Indian
villages, which were probably his goal. He was not a man to feel
remorse--never a common feeling; but surely that murderer was in a
living hell, as, with fever and famine leering at him from the
shadows, he made his way through the empty desolation of the
wilderness. Franca, the cook, quoted out of the melancholy proverbial
philosophy of the people the proverb: "No man knows the heart of any
one"; and then expressed with deep conviction a weird ghostly belief I
had never encountered before: "Paishon is following Julio now, and
will follow him until he dies; Paishon fell forward on his hands and
knees, and when a murdered man falls like that his ghost will follow
the slayer as long as the slayer lives."

We did not attempt to pursue the murderer. We could not legally put
him to death, although he was a soldier who in cold blood had just
deliberately killed a fellow soldier. If we had been near civilization
we would have done our best to bring him in and turn him over to
justice. But we were in the wilderness, and how many weeks' journey
were ahead of us we could not tell. Our food was running low, sickness
was beginning to appear among the men, and both their courage and
their strength were gradually ebbing. Our first duty was to save the
lives and the health of the men of the expedition who had honestly
been performing, and had still to perform, so much perilous labor. If
we brought the murderer in he would have to be guarded night and day
on an expedition where there were always loaded firearms about, and
where there would continually be opportunity and temptation for him to
make an effort to seize food and a weapon and escape, perhaps
murdering some other good man. He could not be shackled while climbing
along the cliff slopes; he could not be shackled in the canoes, where
there was always chance of upset and drowning; and standing guard
would be an additional and severe penalty on the weary, honest men
already exhausted by overwork. The expedition was in peril, and it was
wise to take every chance possible that would help secure success.
Whether the murderer lived or died in the wilderness was of no moment
compared with the duty of doing everything to secure the safety of the
rest of the party. For the two days following we were always on the
watch against his return, for he could have readily killed some one
else by rolling rocks down on any of the men working on the cliff
sides or in the bottom of the gorge. But we did not see him until the
morning of the third day. We had passed the last of the rapids of the
chasm, and the four boats were going down-stream when he appeared
behind some trees on the bank and called out that he wished to
surrender and be taken aboard; for the murderer was an arrant craven
at heart, a strange mixture of ferocity and cowardice. Colonel
Rondon's boat was far in advance; he did not stop nor answer. I kept
on in similar fashion with the rear boats, for I had no intention of
taking the murderer aboard, to the jeopardy of the other members of
the party, unless Colonel Rondon told me that it would have to be done
in pursuance of his duty as an officer of the army and a servant of
the Government of Brazil. At the first halt Colonel Rondon came up to
me and told me that this was his view of his duty, but that he had not
stopped because he wished first to consult me as the chief of the
expedition. I answered that for the reasons enumerated above I did not
believe that in justice to the good men of the expedition we should
jeopardize their safety by taking the murderer along, and that if the
responsibility were mine I should refuse to take him; but that he,
Colonel Rondon, was the superior officer of both the murderer and of
all the other enlisted men and army officers on the expedition, and in
return was responsible for his actions to his own governmental
superiors and to the laws of Brazil; and that in view of this
responsibility he must act as his sense of duty bade him. Accordingly,
at the next camp he sent back two men, expert woodsmen, to find the
murderer and bring him in. They failed to find him.

The above account of all the circumstances connected with the murder
was read to and approved as correct by all six members of the

I have anticipated my narrative because I do not wish to recur to the
horror more than is necessary. I now return to my story. After we
found that Julio had fled, we returned to the scene of the tragedy.
The murdered man lay with a handkerchief thrown over his face. We
buried him beside the place where he fell. With axes and knives the
camaradas dug a shallow grave while we stood by with bared heads. Then
reverently and carefully we lifted the poor body which but half an
hour before had been so full of vigorous life. Colonel Rondon and I
bore the head and shoulders. We laid him in the grave, and heaped a
mound over him, and put a rude cross at his head. We fired a volley
for a brave and loyal soldier who had died doing his duty. Then we
left him forever, under the great trees beside the lonely river.

That day we got only half-way down the rapids. There was no good place
to camp. But at the foot of one steep cliff there was a narrow,
boulder-covered slope where it was possible to sling hammocks and
cook; and a slanting spot was found for my cot, which had sagged until
by this time it looked like a broken-backed centipede. It rained a
little during the night, but not enough to wet us much. Next day Lyra,
Kermit, and Cherrie finished their job, and brought the four remaining
canoes to camp, one leaking badly from the battering on the rocks. We
then went down-stream a few hundred yards, and camped on the opposite
side; it was not a good camping-place, but it was better than the one
we left.

The men were growing constantly weaker under the endless strain of
exhausting labor. Kermit was having an attack of fever, and Lyra and
Cherrie had touches of dysentery, but all three continued to work.
While in the water trying to help with an upset canoe I had by my own
clumsiness bruised my leg against a boulder; and the resulting
inflammation was somewhat bothersome. I now had a sharp attack of
fever, but thanks to the excellent care of the doctor, was over it in
about forty-eight hours; but Kermit's fever grew worse and he too was
unable to work for a day or two. We could walk over the portages,
however. A good doctor is an absolute necessity on an exploring
expedition in such a country as that we were in, under penalty of a
frightful mortality among the members; and the necessary risks and
hazards are so great, the chances of disaster so large, that there is
no warrant for increasing them by the failure to take all feasible

The next day we made another long portage round some rapids, and
camped at night still in the hot, wet, sunless atmosphere of the
gorge. The following day, April 6, we portaged past another set of
rapids, which proved to be the last of the rapids of the chasm. For
some kilometres we kept passing hills, and feared lest at any moment
we might again find ourselves fronting another mountain gorge; with,
in such case, further days of grinding and perilous labor ahead of us,
while our men were disheartened, weak, and sick. Most of them had
already begun to have fever. Their condition was inevitable after over
a month's uninterrupted work of the hardest kind in getting through
the long series of rapids we had just passed; and a long further
delay, accompanied by wearing labor, would have almost certainly meant
that the weakest among our party would have begun to die. There were
already two of the camaradas who were too weak to help the others,
their condition being such as to cause us serious concern.

However, the hills gradually sank into a level plain, and the river
carried us through it at a rate that enabled us during the remainder
of the day to reel off thirty-six kilometres, a record that for the
first time held out promise. Twice tapirs swam the river while we
passed, but not near my canoe. However, the previous evening, Cherrie
had killed two monkeys and Kermit one, and we all had a few mouthfuls
of fresh meat; we had already had a good soup made out of a turtle
Kermit had caught. We had to portage by one short set of rapids, the
unloaded canoes being brought down without difficulty. At last, at
four in the afternoon, we came to the mouth of a big river running in
from the right. We thought it was probably the Ananas, but, of course,
could not be certain. It was less in volume than the one we had
descended, but nearly as broad; its breadth at this point being
ninety-five yards as against one hundred and twenty for the larger
river. There were rapids ahead, immediately after the junction, which
took place in latitude 10 degrees 58 minutes south. We had come 216
kilometres all told, and were nearly north of where we had started. We
camped on the point of land between the two rivers. It was
extraordinary to realize that here about the eleventh degree we were
on such a big river, utterly unknown to the cartographers and not
indicated by even a hint on any map. We named this big tributary Rio
Cardozo, after a gallant officer of the commission who had died of
beriberi just as our expedition began. We spent a day at this spot,
determining our exact position by the sun, and afterward by the stars,
and sending on two men to explore the rapids in advance. They returned
with the news that there were big cataracts in them, and that they
would form an obstacle to our progress. They had also caught a huge
iluroid fish, which furnished an excellent meal for everybody in camp.
This evening at sunset the view across the broad river, from our camp
where the two rivers joined, was very lovely; and for the first time
we had an open space in front of and above us, so that after nightfall
the stars, and the great waxing moon, were glorious over-head, and
against the rocks in midstream the broken water gleamed like tossing

The huge catfish which the men had caught was over three feet and a
half long, with the usual enormous head, out of all proportions to the
body, and the enormous mouth, out of all proportion to the head. Such
fish, although their teeth are small, swallow very large prey. This
one contained the nearly digested remains of a monkey. Probably the
monkey had been seized while drinking from the end of a branch; and
once engulfed in that yawning cavern there was no escape. We Americans
were astounded at the idea of a catfish making prey of a monkey; but
our Brazilian friends told us that in the lower Madeira and the part
of the Amazon near its mouth there is a still more gigantic catfish
which in similar fashion occasionally makes prey of man. This is a
grayish-white fish over nine feet long, with the usual
disproportionately large head and gaping mouth, with a circle of small
teeth; for the engulfing mouth itself is the danger, not the teeth. It
is called the piraiba--pronounced in four syllables. While stationed
at the small city of Itacoatiara, on the Amazon, at the mouth of the
Madeira, the doctor had seen one of these monsters which had been
killed by the two men it had attacked. They were fishing in a canoe
when it rose from the bottom--for it is a ground fish--and raising
itself half out of the water lunged over the edge of the canoe at
them, with open mouth. They killed it with their falcons, as machetes
are called in Brazil. It was taken round the city in triumph in an
oxcart; the doctor saw it, and said it was three metres long. He said
that swimmers feared it even more than the big cayman, because they
could see the latter, whereas the former lay hid at the bottom of the
water. Colonel Rondon said that in many villages where he had been on
the lower Madeira the people had built stockaded enclosures in the
water in which they bathed, not venturing to swim in the open water
for fear of the piraiba and the big cayman.

Next day, April 8, we made five kilometres only, as there was a
succession of rapids. We had to carry the loads past two of them, but
ran the canoes without difficulty, for on the west side were long
canals of swift water through the forest. The river had been higher,
but was still very high, and the current raced round the many islands
that at this point divided the channel. At four we made camp at the
head of another stretch of rapids, over which the Canadian canoes
would have danced without shipping a teaspoonful of water, but which
our dugouts could only run empty. Cherrie killed three monkeys and
Lyra caught two big piranhas, so that we were again all of us well
provided with dinner and breakfast. When a number of men, doing hard
work, are most of the time on half-rations, they grow to take a lively
interest in any reasonably full meal that does arrive.

On the 10th we repeated the proceedings: a short quick run; a few
hundred metres' portage, occupying, however, at least a couple of
hours; again a few minutes' run; again other rapids. We again made
less than five kilometres; in the two days we had been descending
nearly a metre for every kilometre we made in advance; and it hardly
seemed as if this state of things could last, for the aneroid showed
that we were getting very low down. How I longed for a big Maine
birch-bark, such as that in which I once went down the Mattawamkeag at
high water! It would have slipped down these rapids as a girl trips
through a country dance. But our loaded dugouts would have shoved
their noses under every curl. The country was lovely. The wide river,
now in one channel, now in several channels, wound among hills; the
shower-freshened forest glistened in the sunlight; the many kinds of
beautiful palm-fronds and the huge pacova-leaves stamped the peculiar
look of the tropics on the whole landscape--it was like passing by
water through a gigantic botanical garden. In the afternoon we got an
elderly toucan, a piranha, and a reasonably edible side-necked river-
turtle; so we had fresh meat again. We slept as usual in earshot of
rapids. We had been out six weeks, and almost all the time we had been
engaged in wearily working our own way down and past rapid after
rapid. Rapids are by far the most dangerous enemies of explorers and
travellers who journey along these rivers.

Next day was a repetition of the same work. All the morning was spent
in getting the loads to the foot of the rapids at the head of which we
were encamped, down which the canoes were run empty. Then for thirty
or forty minutes we ran down the swift, twisting river, the two lashed
canoes almost coming to grief at one spot where a swirl of the current
threw them against some trees on a small submerged island. Then we
came to another set of rapids, carried the baggage down past them, and
made camp long after dark in the rain--a good exercise in patience for
those of us who were still suffering somewhat from fever. No one was
in really buoyant health. For some weeks we had been sharing part of
the contents of our boxes with the camaradas; but our food was not
very satisfying to them. They needed quantity and the mainstay of each
of their meals was a mass of palmitas; but on this day they had no
time to cut down palms. We finally decided to run these rapids with
the empty canoes, and they came down in safety. On such a trip it is
highly undesirable to take any save necessary risks, for the
consequences of disaster are too serious; and yet if no risks are
taken the progress is so slow that disaster comes anyhow; and it is
necessary perpetually to vary the terms of the perpetual working
compromise between rashness and over-caution. This night we had a very
good fish to eat, a big silvery fellow called a pescada, of a kind we
had not caught before.

One day Trigueiro failed to embark with the rest of us, and we had to
camp where we were next day to find him. Easter Sunday we spent in the
fashion with which we were altogether too familiar. We only ran in a
clear course for ten minutes all told, and spent eight hours in
portaging the loads past rapids down which the canoes were run; the
balsa was almost swamped. This day we caught twenty-eight big fish,
mostly piranhas, and everybody had all he could eat for dinner, and
for breakfast the following morning.

The forenoon of the following day was a repetition of this wearisome
work; but late in the afternoon the river began to run in long quiet
reaches. We made fifteen kilometres, and for the first time in several
weeks camped where we did not hear the rapids. The silence was
soothing and restful. The following day, April 14, we made a good run
of some thirty-two kilometres. We passed a little river which entered
on our left. We ran two or three light rapids, and portaged the loads
by another. The river ran in long and usually tranquil stretches. In
the morning when we started the view was lovely. There was a mist, and
for a couple of miles the great river, broad and quiet, ran between
the high walls of tropical forest, the tops of the giant trees showing
dim through the haze. Different members of the party caught many fish,
and shot a monkey and a couple of jacare-tinga birds kin to a turkey,
but the size of a fowl--so we again had a camp of plenty. The dry
season was approaching, but there were still heavy, drenching rains.
On this day the men found some new nuts of which they liked the taste;
but the nuts proved unwholesome and half of the men were very sick and
unable to work the following day. In the balsa only two were left fit
to do anything, and Kermit plied a paddle all day long.

Accordingly, it was a rather sorry crew that embarked the following
morning, April 15. But it turned out a red-letter day. The day before,
we had come across cuttings, a year old, which were probably but not
certainly made by pioneer rubbermen. But on this day--during which we
made twenty-five kilometres--after running two hours and a half we
found on the left bank a board on a post, with the initials J. A., to
show the farthest up point which a rubberman had reached and claimed
as his own. An hour farther down we came on a newly built house in a
little planted clearing; and we cheered heartily. No one was at home,
but the house, of palm thatch, was clean and cool. A couple of dogs
were on watch, and the belongings showed that a man, a woman, and a
child lived there, and had only just left. Another hour brought us to
a similar house where dwelt an old black man, who showed the innate
courtesy of the Brazilian peasant. We came on these rubbermen and
their houses in about latitude 10 degrees 24 minutes.

In mid-afternoon we stopped at another clean, cool, picturesque house
of palm thatch. The inhabitants all fled at our approach, fearing an
Indian raid; for they were absolutely unprepared to have any one come
from the unknown regions up-stream. They returned and were most
hospitable and communicative; and we spent the night there. Said
Antonio Correa to Kermit: "It seems like a dream to be in a house
again, and hear the voices of men and women, instead of being among
those mountains and rapids." The river was known to them as the
Castanho, and was the main affluent or rather the left or western
branch, of the Aripuanan; the Castanho is a name used by the rubber-
gatherers only; it is unknown to the geographers. We were, according
to our informants, about fifteen days' journey from the confluence of
the two rivers; but there were many rubbermen along the banks, some of
whom had become permanent settlers. We had come over three hundred
kilometres, in forty-eight days, over absolutely unknown ground; we
had seen no human being, although we had twice heard Indians. Six
weeks had been spent in steadily slogging our way down through the
interminable series of rapids. It was astonishing before, when we were
on a river of about the size of the upper Rhine or Elbe, to realize
that no geographer had any idea of its existence. But, after all, no
civilized man of any grade had ever been on it. Here, however, was a
river with people dwelling along the banks, some of whom had lived in
the neighborhood for eight or ten years; and yet on no standard map
was there a hint of the river's existence. We were putting on the map
a river, running through between five and six degrees of latitude--of
between seven and eight if, as should properly be done, the lower
Aripuanan is included as part of it--of which no geographer, in any
map published in Europe, or the United States, or Brazil had even
admitted the possibility of the existence; for the place actually
occupied by it was filled, on the maps, by other--imaginary--streams,
or by mountain ranges. Before we started, the Amazonas Boundary
Commission had come up the lower Aripuanan and then the eastern
branch, or upper Aripuanan, to 8 degrees 48 minutes, following the
course which for a couple of decades had been followed by the
rubbermen, but not going as high. An employee, either of this
commission or of one of the big rubbermen, had been up the Castanho,
which is easy of ascent in its lower course, to about the same
latitude, not going nearly as high as the rubbermen had gone; this we
found out while we ourselves were descending the lower Castanho. The
lower main stream, and the lower portion of its main affluent, the
Castanho, had been commercial highways for rubbermen and settlers for
nearly two decades, and, as we speedily found, were as easy to
traverse as the upper stream, which we had just come down, was
difficult to traverse; but the governmental and scientific
authorities, native and foreign, remained in complete ignorance; and
the rubbermen themselves had not the slightest idea of the headwaters,
which were in country never hitherto traversed by civilized men.
Evidently the Castanho was, in length at least, substantially equal,
and probably superior, to the upper Aripuanan; it now seemed even more
likely that the Ananas was the headwaters of the main stream than of
the Cardozo.

For the first time this great river, the greatest affluent of the
Madiera, was to be put on the map; and the understanding of its real
position and real relationship, and the clearing up of the complex
problem of the sources of all these lower right-hand affluents of the
Madiera, was rendered possible by the seven weeks of hard and
dangerous labor we had spent in going down an absolutely unknown
river, through an absolutely unknown wilderness. At this stage of the
growth of world geography I esteemed it a great piece of good fortune
to be able to take part in such a feat--a feat which represented the
capping of the pyramid which during the previous seven years had been
built by the labor of the Brazilian Telegraphic Commission.

We had passed the period when there was a chance of peril, of
disaster, to the whole expedition. There might be risk ahead to
individuals, and some difficulties and annoyances for all of us; but
there was no longer the least likelihood of any disaster to the
expedition as a whole. We now no longer had to face continual anxiety,
the need of constant economy with food, the duty of labor with no end
in sight, and bitter uncertainty as to the future.

It was time to get out. The wearing work, under very unhealthy
conditions, was beginning to tell on every one. Half of the camaradas
had been down with fever and were much weakened; only a few of them
retained their original physical and moral strength. Cherrie and
Kermit had recovered; but both Kermit and Lyra still had bad sores on
their legs, from the bruises received in the water work. I was in
worse shape. The after effects of the fever still hung on; and the leg
which had been hurt while working in the rapids with the sunken canoe
had taken a turn for the bad and developed an abscess. The good
doctor, to whose unwearied care and kindness I owe much, had cut it
open and inserted a drainage tube; an added charm being given the
operation, and the subsequent dressings, by the enthusiasm with which
the piums and boroshudas took part therein. I could hardly hobble, and
was pretty well laid up. But "there aren't no 'stop, conductor,' while
a battery's changing ground." No man has any business to go on such a
trip as ours unless he will refuse to jeopardize the welfare of his
associates by any delay caused by a weakness or ailment of his. It is
his duty to go forward, if necessary on all fours, until he drops.
Fortunately, I was put to no such test. I remained in good shape until
we had passed the last of the rapids of the chasms. When my serious
trouble came we had only canoe-riding ahead of us. It is not ideal for
a sick man to spend the hottest hours of the day stretched on the
boxes in the bottom of a small open dugout, under the well-nigh
intolerable heat of the torrid sun of the mid-tropics, varied by
blinding, drenching downpours of rain; but I could not be sufficiently
grateful for the chance. Kermit and Cherrie took care of me as if they
had been trained nurses; and Colonel Rondon and Lyra were no less

The north was calling strongly to the three men of the north--Rocky
Dell Farm to Cherrie, Sagamore Hill to me; and to Kermit the call was
stronger still. After nightfall we could now see the Dipper well above
the horizon--upside down, with the two pointers pointing to a north
star below the world's rim; but the Dipper, with all its stars. In our
home country spring had now come, the wonderful northern spring of
long glorious days, of brooding twilights, of cool delightful nights.
Robin and bluebird, meadow-lark and song sparrow, were singing in the
mornings at home; the maple-buds were red; windflowers and bloodroot
were blooming while the last patches of snow still lingered; the
rapture of the hermithrush in Vermont, the serene golden melody of the
woodthrush on Long Island, would be heard before we were there to
listen. Each man to his home, and to his true love! Each was longing
for the homely things that were so dear to him, for the home people
who were dearer still, and for the one who was dearest of all.


Our adventures and our troubles were alike over. We now experienced
the incalculable contrast between descending a known and travelled
river, and one that is utterly unknown. After four days we hired a
rubberman to go with us as guide. We knew exactly what channels were
passable when we came to the rapids, when the canoes had to unload,
and where the carry-trails were. It was all child's play compared to
what we had gone through. We made long days' journeys, for at night we
stopped at some palm-thatched house, inhabited or abandoned, and
therefore the men were spared the labor of making camp; and we bought
ample food for them, so there was no further need of fishing and
chopping down palms for the palmtops. The heat of the sun was blazing;
but it looked as if we had come back into the rainy season, for there
were many heavy rains, usually in the afternoon, but sometimes in the
morning or at night. The mosquitoes were sometimes rather troublesome
at night. In the daytime the piums swarmed, and often bothered us even
when we were in midstream.

For four days there were no rapids we could not run without unloading.
Then, on the 19th, we got a canoe from Senhor Barboso. He was a most
kind and hospitable man, who also gave us a duck and a chicken and
some mandioc and six pounds of rice, and would take no payment; he
lived in a roomy house with his dusky, cigar-smoking wife and his many
children. The new canoe was light and roomy, and we were able to rig
up a low shelter under which I could lie; I was still sick. At noon we
passed the mouth of a big river, the Rio Branco, coming in from the
left; this was about in latitude 9 degrees 38 minutes. Soon afterward
we came to the first serious rapids, the Panela. We carried the boats
past, ran down the empty canoes, and camped at the foot in a roomy
house. The doctor bought a handsome trumpeter bird, very friendly and
confiding, which was thenceforth my canoe companion.

We had already passed many inhabited--and a still larger number of
uninhabited--houses. The dwellers were rubbermen, but generally they
were permanent settlers also, homemakers, with their wives and
children. Some, both of the men and women, were apparently of pure
negro blood, or of pure Indian or south European blood; but in the
great majority all three strains were mixed in varying degrees. They
were most friendly, courteous, and hospitable. Often they refused
payment for what they could afford, out of their little, to give us.
When they did charge, the prices were very high, as was but just, for
they live back of the beyond, and everything costs them fabulously,
save what they raise themselves. The cool, bare houses of poles and
palm thatch contained little except hammocks and a few simple cooking
utensils; and often a clock or sewing machine, or Winchester rifle,
from our own country. They often had flowers planted, including
fragrant roses. Their only live stock, except the dogs, were a few
chickens and ducks. They planted patches of mandioc, maize, sugarcane,
rice, beans, squashes, pineapples, bananas, lemons, oranges, melons,
peppers; and various purely native fruits and vegetables, such as the
kniabo--a vegetable-fruit growing on the branches of a high bush--
which is cooked with meat. They get some game from the forest, and
more fish from the river. There is no representative of the government
among them--indeed, even now their very existence is barely known to
the governmental authorities; and the church has ignored them as
completely as the state. When they wish to get married they have to
spend several months getting down to and back from Manaos or some
smaller city; and usually the first christening and the marriage
ceremony are held at the same time. They have merely squatter's right
to the land, and are always in danger of being ousted by unscrupulous
big men who come in late, but with a title technically straight. The
land laws should be shaped so as to give each of these pioneer
settlers the land he actually takes up and cultivates, and upon which
he makes his home. The small homemaker, who owns the land which he
tills with his own hands, is the greatest element of strength in any

These are real pioneer settlers. They are the true wilderness-winners.
No continent is ever really conquered, or thoroughly explored, by a
few leaders, or exceptional men, although such men can render great
service. The real conquest, the thorough exploration and settlement,
is made by a nameless multitude of small men of whom the most
important are, of course, the home-makers. Each treads most of the
time in the footsteps of his predecessors, but for some few miles, at
some time or other, he breaks new ground; and his house is built where
no house has ever stood before. Such a man, the real pioneer, must
have no strong desire for social life and no need, probably no
knowledge, of any luxury, or of any comfort save of the most
elementary kind. The pioneer who is always longing for the comfort and
luxury of civilization, and especially of great cities, is no real
pioneer at all. These settlers whom we met were contented to live in
the wilderness. They had found the climate healthy and the soil
fruitful; a visit to a city was a very rare event, nor was there any
overwhelming desire for it.

In short, these men, and those like them everywhere on the frontier
between civilization and savagery in Brazil, are now playing the part
played by our backwoodsmen when over a century and a quarter ago they
began the conquest of the great basin of the Mississippi; the part
played by the Boer farmers for over a century in South Africa, and by
the Canadians when less than half a century ago they began to take
possession of their Northwest. Every now and then some one says that
the "last frontier" is now to be found in Canada or Africa, and that
it has almost vanished. On a far larger scale this frontier is to be
found in Brazil--a country as big as Europe or the United States--and
decades will pass before it vanishes. The first settlers came to
Brazil a century before the first settlers came to the United States
and Canada. For three hundred years progress was very slow--Portuguese
colonial government at that time was almost as bad as Spanish. For the
last half-century and over there has been a steady increase in the
rapidity of the rate of development; and this increase bids fair to be
constantly more rapid in the future.

The Paolistas, hunting for lands, slaves, and mines, were the first
native Brazilians who, a hundred years ago, played a great part in
opening to settlement vast stretches of wilderness. The rubber hunters
have played a similar part during the last few decades. Rubber dazzled
them, as gold and diamonds have dazzled other men and driven them
forth to wander through the wide waste spaces of the world. Searching
for rubber they made highways of rivers the very existence of which
was unknown to the governmental authorities, or to any map-makers.
Whether they succeeded or failed, they everywhere left behind them
settlers, who toiled, married, and brought up children. Settlement
began; the conquest of the wilderness entered on its first stage.

On the 20th we stopped at the first store, where we bought, of course
at a high price, sugar and tobacco for the camaradas. In this land of
plenty the camaradas over-ate, and sickness was as rife among them as
ever. In Cherrie's boat he himself and the steersman were the only men
who paddled strongly and continuously. The storekeeper's stock of
goods was very low, only what he still had left from that brought in
nearly a year before; for the big boats, or batelaos-batelons--had not
yet worked as far up-stream. We expected to meet them somewhere below
the next rapids, the Inferno. The trader or rubberman brings up his
year's supply of goods in a batelao, starting in February and reaching
the upper course of the river early in May, when the rainy season is
over. The parties of rubber-explorers are then equipped and
provisioned; and the settlers purchase certain necessities, and
certain things that strike them as luxuries. This year the Brazil-nut
crop on the river had failed, a serious thing for all explorers and
wilderness wanderers.

On the 20th we made the longest run we had made, fifty-two kilometres.
Lyra took observations where we camped; we were in latitude 8 degrees
49 minutes. At this camping-place the great, beautiful river was a
little over three hundred metres wide. We were in an empty house. The
marks showed that in the high water, a couple of months back, the
river had risen until the lower part of the house was flooded. The
difference between the level of the river during the floods and in the
dry season is extraordinary.

On the 21st we made another good run, getting down to the Inferno
rapids, which are in latitude 8 degrees 19 minutes south. Until we
reached the Cardozo we had run almost due north; since then we had
been running a little west of north. Before we reached these rapids we
stopped at a large, pleasant thatch house, and got a fairly big and
roomy as well as light boat, leaving both our two smaller dugouts
behind. Above the rapids a small river, the Madeirainha, entered from
the left. The rapids had a fall of over ten metres, and the water was
very wild and rough. Met with for the first time, it would doubtless
have taken several days to explore a passage and, with danger and
labor, get the boats down. But we were no longer exploring,
pioneering, over unknown country. It is easy to go where other men
have prepared the way. We had a guide; we took our baggage down by a
carry three-quarters of a kilometre long; and the canoes were run
through known channels the following morning. At the foot of the
rapids was a big house and store; and camped at the head were a number
of rubber-workers, waiting for the big boats of the head rubbermen to
work their way up from below. They were a reckless set of brown
daredevils. These men lead hard lives of labor and peril; they
continually face death themselves, and they think little of it in
connection with others. It is small wonder that they sometimes have
difficulties with the tribes of utterly wild Indians with whom they
are brought in contact, although there is a strong Indian strain in
their own blood.

The following morning, after the empty canoes had been run down, we
started, and made a rather short afternoon's journey. We had to take
the baggage by one rapids. We camped in an empty house, in the rain.
Next day we ran nearly fifty kilometres, the river making a long sweep
to the west. We met half a dozen batelaos making their way up-stream,
each with a crew of six or eight men; and two of them with women and
children in addition. The crew were using very long poles, with
crooks, or rather the stubs of cut branches which served as crooks, at
the upper end. With these they hooked into the branches and dragged
themselves up along the bank, in addition to poling where the depth
permitted it. The river was as big as the Paraguay at Corumba; but, in
striking contrast to the Paraguay, there were few water-birds. We ran
some rather stiff rapids, the Infernino, without unloading, in the
morning. In the evening we landed for the night at a large, open,
shed-like house, where there were two or three pigs, the first live
stock we had seen other than poultry and ducks. It was a dirty place,
but we got some eggs.

The following day, the 24th, we ran down some fifty kilometres to the
Carupanan rapids, which by observation Lyra found to be in latitude 7
degrees 47 minutes. We met several batelaos, and the houses on the
bank showed that the settlers were somewhat better off than was the
case farther up. At the rapids was a big store, the property of Senhor
Caripe, the wealthiest rubberman who works on this river; many of the
men we met were in his employ. He has himself risen from the ranks. He
was most kind and hospitable, and gave us another boat to replace the
last of our shovel-nosed dugouts. The large, open house was cool,
clean, and comfortable.

With these began a series of half a dozen sets of rapids, all coming
within the next dozen kilometres, and all offering very real
obstacles. At one we saw the graves of four men who had perished
therein; and many more had died whose bodies were never recovered; the
toll of human life had been heavy. Had we been still on an unknown
river, pioneering our own way, it would doubtless have taken us at
least a fortnight of labor and peril to pass. But it actually took
only a day and a half. All the channels were known, all the trails
cut. Senhor Caripe, a first-class waterman, cool, fearless, and brawny
as a bull, came with us as guide. Half a dozen times the loads were
taken out and carried down. At one cataract the canoes were themselves
dragged overland; elsewhere they were run down empty, shipping a good
deal of water. At the foot of the cataract, where we dragged the
canoes overland, we camped for the night. Here Kermit shot a big
cayman. Our camp was alongside the graves of three men who at this
point had perished in the swift water.

Senhor Caripe told us many strange adventures of rubber-workers he had
met or employed. One of his men, working on the Gy-Parana, got lost
and after twenty-eight days found himself on the Madeirainha, which he
thus discovered. He was in excellent health, for he had means to start
a fire, and he found abundance of Brazil-nuts and big land-tortoises.
Senhor Caripe said that the rubbermen now did not go above the ninth
degree, or thereabouts, on the upper Aripuanan proper, having found
the rubber poor on the reaches above. A year previously five
rubbermen, Mundurucu Indians, were working on the Corumba at about
that level. It is a difficult stream to ascend or descend. They made
excursions into the forest for days at a time after caoutchouc. On one
such trip, after fifteen days they, to their surprise, came out on the
Aripuanan. They returned and told their "patron" of their discovery;
and by his orders took their caoutchouc overland to the Aripuanan,
built a canoe, and ran down with their caoutchouc to Manaos. They had
now returned and were working on the upper Aripuanan. The Mundurucus
and Brazilians are always on the best terms, and the former are even
more inveterate enemies of the wild Indians than are the latter.

By mid-forenoon on April 26 we had passed the last dangerous rapids.
The paddles were plied with hearty good will, Cherrie and Kermit, as
usual, working like the camaradas, and the canoes went dancing down
the broad, rapid river. The equatorial forest crowded on either hand
to the water's edge; and, although the river was falling, it was still
so high that in many places little islands were completely submerged,
and the current raced among the trunks of the green trees. At one
o'clock we came to the mouth of the Castanho proper, and in sight of
the tent of Lieutenant Pyrineus, with the flags of the United States
and Brazil flying before it; and, with rifles firing from the canoes
and the shore, we moored at the landing of the neat, soldierly, well
kept camp. The upper Aripuanan, a river of substantially the same
volume as the Castanho, but broader at this point, and probably of
less length, here joined the Castanho from the east, and the two
together formed what the rubbermen called the lower Aripuanan. The
mouth of this was indicated, and sometimes named, on the maps, but
only as a small and unimportant stream.

We had been two months in the canoes; from the 27th of February to the
26th of April. We had gone over 750 kilometres. The river from its
source, near the thirteenth degree, to where it became navigable and
we entered it, had a course of some 200 kilometres--probably more,
perhaps 300 kilometres. Therefore we had now put on the map a river
nearly 1,000 kilometres in length of which the existence was not
merely unknown but impossible if the standard maps were correct. But
this was not all. It seemed that this river of 1,000 kilometres in
length was really the true upper course of the Aripuanan proper, in
which case the total length was nearly 1,500 kilometres. Pyrineus had
been waiting for us over a month, at the junction of what the
rubbermen called the Castanho and of what they called the upper
Aripuanan. (He had no idea as to which stream we would appear upon, or
whether we would appear upon either.) On March 26 he had measured the
volume of the two, and found that the Castanho, although the narrower,
was the deeper and swifter, and that in volume it surpassed the other
by 84 cubic metres a second. Since then the Castanho had fallen; our
measurements showed it to be slightly smaller than the other; the
volume of the river after the junction was about 4,500 cubic metres a
second. This was in 7 degrees 34 minutes.

We were glad indeed to see Pyrineus and be at his attractive camp. We
were only four hours above the little river hamlet of Sao Joao, a port
of call for rubber-steamers, from which the larger ones go to Manaos
in two days. These steamers mostly belong to Senhor Caripe. From
Pyrineus we learned that Lauriado and Fiala had reached Manaos on
March 26. On the swift water in the gorge of the Papagaio Fiala's boat
had been upset and all his belongings lost, while he himself had
narrowly escaped with his life. I was glad indeed that the fine and
gallant fellow had escaped. The Canadian canoe had done very well. We
were no less rejoiced to learn that Amilcar, the head of the party
that went down the Gy-Parana, was also all right, although his canoe
too had been upset in the rapids, and his instruments and all his
notes lost. He had reached Manaos on April 10. Fiala had gone home.
Miller was collecting near Manaos. He had been doing capital work.

The piranhas were bad here, and no one could bathe. Cherrie, while
standing in the water close to the shore, was attacked and bitten; but
with one bound he was on the bank before any damage could be done.

We spent a last night under canvas, at Pyrineus' encampment. It rained
heavily. Next morning we all gathered at the monument which Colonel
Rondon had erected, and he read the orders of the day. These recited
just what had been accomplished: set forth the fact that we had now by
actual exploration and investigation discovered that the river whose
upper portion had been called the Duvida on the maps of the
Telegraphic Commission and the unknown major part of which we had just
traversed, and the river known to a few rubbermen, but to no one else,
as the Castanho, and the lower part of the river known to the
rubbermen as the Aripuanan (which did not appear on the maps save as
its mouth was sometimes indicated, with no hint of its size) were all
parts of one and the same river; and that by order of the Brazilian
Government this river, the largest affluent of the Madeira, with its
source near the 13th degree and its mouth a little south of the 5th
degree, hitherto utterly unknown to cartographers and in large part
utterly unknown to any save the local tribes of Indians, had been
named the Rio Roosevelt.

We left Rondon, Lyra, and Pyrineus to take observations, and the rest
of us embarked for the last time on the canoes, and, borne swiftly on
the rapid current, we passed over one set of not very important rapids
and ran down to Senhor Caripe's little hamlet of Sao Joao, which we
reached about one o'clock on April 27, just before a heavy afternoon
rain set in. We had run nearly eight hundred kilometres during the
sixty days we had spent in the canoes. Here we found and boarded
Pyrineus's river steamer, which seemed in our eyes extremely
comfortable. In the senhor's pleasant house we were greeted by the
senhora, and they were both more than thoughtful and generous in their
hospitality. Ahead of us lay merely thirty-six hours by steamer to
Manaos. Such a trip as that we had taken tries men as if by fire.
Cherrie had more than stood every test; and in him Kermit and I had
come to recognize a friend with whom our friendship would never falter
or grow less.

Early the following afternoon our whole party, together with Senhor
Caripe, started on the steamer. It took us a little over twelve hours'
swift steaming to run down to the mouth of the river on the upper
course of which our progress had been so slow and painful; from source
to mouth, according to our itinerary and to Lyra's calculations, the
course of the stream down which we had thus come was about 1,500
kilometres in length--about 900 miles, perhaps nearly 1,000 miles--
from its source near the 13th degree in the highlands to its mouth in
the Madeira, near the 5th degree. Next morning we were on the broad
sluggish current of the lower Madeira, a beautiful tropical river.
There were heavy rainstorms, as usual, although this is supposed to be
the very end of the rainy season. In the afternoon we finally entered
the wonderful Amazon itself, the mighty river which contains one tenth
of all the running water of the globe. It was miles across, where we
entered it; and indeed we could not tell whether the farther bank,
which we saw, was that of the mainland or an island. We went up it
until about midnight, then steamed up the Rio Negro for a short
distance, and at one in the morning of April 30 reached Manaos.

Manaos is a remarkable city. It is only three degrees south of the
equator. Sixty years ago it was a nameless little collection of
hovels, tenanted by a few Indians and a few of the poorest class of
Brazilian peasants. Now it is a big, handsome modern city, with Opera
house, tramways, good hotels, fine squares and public buildings, and
attractive private houses. The brilliant coloring and odd architecture
give the place a very foreign and attractive flavor in northern eyes.
Its rapid growth to prosperity was due to the rubber trade. This is
now far less remunerative than formerly. It will undoubtedly in some
degree recover; and in any event the development of the immensely rich
and fertile Amazonian valley is sure to go on, and it will be
immensely quickened when closer connections are made with the
Brazilian highland country lying south of it.

Here we found Miller, and glad indeed we were to see him. He had made
good collections of mammals and birds on the Gy-Parana, the Madeira,
and in the neighborhood of Manaos; his entire collection of mammals
was really noteworthy. Among them was the only sloth any of us had
seen on the trip. The most interesting of the birds he had seen was
the hoatzin. This is a most curious bird of very archaic type. Its
flight is feeble, and the naked young have spurs on their wings, by
the help of which they crawl actively among the branches before their
feathers grow. They swim no less easily, at the same early age. Miller
got one or two nests, and preserved specimens of the surroundings of
the nests; and he made exhaustive records of the habits of the birds.
Near Megasso a jaguar had killed one of the bullocks that were being
driven along for food. The big cat had not seized the ox with its
claws by the head, but had torn open its throat and neck.

Every one was most courteous at Manaos, especially the governor of the
state and the mayor of the city. Mr. Robiliard, the British consular
representative, and also the representative of the Booth line of
steamers, was particularly kind. He secured for us passages on one of
the cargo boats of the line to Para, and thence on one of the regular
cargo-and-passenger steamers to Barbados and New York. The Booth
people were most courteous to us.

I said good-by to the camaradas with real friendship and regret. The
parting gift I gave to each was in gold sovereigns; and I was rather
touched to learn later that they had agreed among themselves each to
keep one sovereign as a medal of honor and token that the owner had
been on the trip. They were a fine set, brave, patient, obedient, and
enduring. Now they had forgotten their hard times; they were fat from
eating, at leisure, all they wished; they were to see Rio Janeiro,
always an object of ambition with men of their stamp; and they were
very proud of their membership in the expedition.

Later, at Belen, I said good-by to Colonel Rondon, Doctor Cajazeira,
and Lieutenant Lyra. Together with my admiration for their hardihood,
courage, and resolution, I had grown to feel a strong and affectionate
friendship for them. I had become very fond of them; and I was glad to
feel that I had been their companion in the performance of a feat
which possessed a certain lasting importance.

On May 1 we left Manaos for Belen-Para, as until recently it was
called. The trip was interesting. We steamed down through tempest and
sunshine; and the towering forest was dwarfed by the giant river it
fringed. Sunrise and sunset turned the sky to an unearthly flame of
many colors above the vast water. It all seemed the embodiment of
loneliness and wild majesty. Yet everywhere man was conquering the
loneliness and wresting the majesty to his own uses. We passed many
thriving, growing towns; at one we stopped to take on cargo.
Everywhere there was growth and development. The change since the days
when Bates and Wallace came to this then poor and utterly primitive
region is marvellous. One of its accompaniments has been a large
European, chiefly south European, immigration. The blood is everywhere
mixed; there is no color line, as in most English-speaking countries,
and the negro and Indian strains are very strong; but the dominant
blood, the blood already dominant in quantity, and that is steadily
increasing its dominance, is the olive-white.

Only rarely did the river show its full width. Generally we were in
channels or among islands. The surface of the water was dotted with
little islands of floating vegetation. Miller said that much of this
came from the lagoons such as those where he had been hunting, beside
the Solimoens--lagoons filled with the huge and splendid Victoria
lily, and with masses of water hyacinths. Miller, who was very fond of
animals and always took much care of them, had a small collection
which he was bringing back for the Bronx Zoo. An agouti was so bad-
tempered that he had to be kept solitary; but three monkeys, big,
middle-sized, and little, and a young peccary formed a happy family.
The largest monkey cried, shedding real tears, when taken in the arms
and pitied. The middle-sized monkey was stupid and kindly, and all the
rest of the company imposed on it; the little monkey invariably rode
on its back, and the peccary used it as a head pillow when it felt

Belen, the capital of the state of Para, was an admirable illustration
of the genuine and almost startling progress which Brazil has been
making of recent years. It is a beautiful city, nearly under the
equator. But it is not merely beautiful. The docks, the dredging
operations, the warehouses, the stores and shops, all tell of energy
and success in commercial life. It is as clean, healthy, and well
policed a city as any of the size in the north temperate zone. The
public buildings are handsome, the private dwellings attractive; there
are a fine opera-house, an excellent tramway system, and a good museum
and botanical gardens. There are cavalry stables, where lights burn
all night long to protect the horses from the vampire bats. The parks,
the rows of palms and mango-trees, the open-air restaurants, the gay
life under the lights at night, all give the city its own special
quality and charm. Belen and Manaos are very striking examples of what
can be done in the mid-tropics. The governor of Para and his charming
wife were more than kind.

Cherrie and Miller spent the day at the really capital zoological
gardens, with the curator, Miss Snethlage. Miss Snethlage, a German
lady, is a first rate field and closet naturalist, and an explorer of
note, who has gone on foot from the Xingu to the Tapajos. Most wisely
she has confined the Belen zoo to the animals of the lower Amazon
valley, and in consequence I know of no better local zoological
gardens. She has an invaluable collection of birds and mammals of the
region; and it was a privilege to meet her and talk with her.

We also met Professor Farrabee, of the University of Pennsylvania, the
ethnologist. He had just finished a very difficult and important trip,
from Manaos by the Rio Branco to the highlands of Guiana, across them
on foot, and down to the seacoast of British Guiana. He is an
admirable representative of the men who are now opening South America
to scientific knowledge.

On May 7 we bade good-by to our kind Brazilian friends and sailed
northward for Barbados and New York.

Zoologically the trip had been a thorough success. Cherrie and Miller
had collected over twenty-five hundred birds, about five hundred
mammals, and a few reptiles, batrachians, and fishes. Many of them
were new to science; for much of the region traversed had never
previously been worked by any scientific collector.

Of course, the most important work we did was the geographic work, the
exploration of the unknown river, undertaken at the suggestion of the
Brazilian Government, and in conjunction with its representatives. No
piece of work of this kind is ever achieved save as it is based on
long continued previous work. As I have before said, what we did was
to put the cap on the pyramid that had been built by Colonel Rondon
and his associates of the Telegraphic Commission during the six
previous years. It was their scientific exploration of the chapadao,
their mapping the basin of the Juruena, and their descent of the Gy-
Parana that rendered it possible for us to solve the mystery of the
River of Doubt.

The work of the commission, much the greatest work of the kind ever
done in South America, is one of the many, many achievements which the
republican government of Brazil has to its credit. Brazil has been
blessed beyond the average of her Spanish-American sisters because she
won her way to republicanism by evolution rather than revolution. They
plunged into the extremely difficult experiment of democratic, of
popular, self-government, after enduring the atrophy of every quality
of self-control, self-reliance, and initiative throughout three
withering centuries of existence under the worst and most foolish form
of colonial government, both from the civil and the religious
standpoint, that has ever existed. The marvel is not that some of them
failed, but that some of them have eventually succeeded in such
striking fashion. Brazil, on the contrary, when she achieved
independence, first exercised it under the form of an authoritative
empire, then under the form of a liberal empire. When the republic
came, the people were reasonably ripe for it. The great progress of
Brazil--and it has been an astonishing progress--has been made under
the republic. I could give innumerable examples and illustrations of
this. The change that has converted Rio Janeiro from a picturesque
pest-hole into a singularly beautiful, healthy, clean, and efficient
modern great city is one of these. Another is the work of the
Telegraphic Commission.

We put upon the map a river some fifteen hundred kilometres in length,
of which the upper course was not merely utterly unknown to, but
unguessed at by, anybody; while the lower course, although known for
years to a few rubbermen, was utterly unknown to cartographers. It is
the chief affluent of the Madeira, which is itself the chief affluent
of the Amazon.

The source of this river is between the 12th and 13th parallels of
latitude south and the 59th and 60th degrees of longitude west from
Greenwich. We embarked on it at about latitude 12 degrees 1 minute
south, and about longitude 60 degrees 15 minutes west. After that its
entire course lay between the 60th and 61st degrees of longitude,
approaching the latter most closely about latitude 8 degrees 15
minutes. The first rapids we encountered were in latitude 11 degrees
44 minutes, and in uninterrupted succession they continued for about a
degree, without a day's complete journey between any two of them. At
11 degrees 23 minutes the Rio Kermit entered from the left, at 11
degrees 22 minutes the Rio Marciano Avila from the right, at 11
degrees 18 minutes the Taunay from the left, at 10 degrees 58 minutes
the Cardozo from the right. In 10 degrees 24 minutes we encountered
the first rubbermen. The Rio Branco entered from the left at 9 degrees
38 minutes. Our camp at 8 degrees 49 minutes was nearly on the
boundary between Matto Grosso and Amazonas. The confluence with the
Aripuanan, which joined from the right, took place at 7 degrees 34
minutes. The entrance into the Madeira was at about 5 degrees 20
minutes (this point we did not determine by observation, as it is
already on the maps). The stream we had followed down was from the
river's highest sources; we had followed its longest course.


The Work of the Field Zoologist
and Field Geographer in South America

Portions of South America are now entering on a career of great social
and industrial development. Much remains to be known, so far as the
outside world is concerned, of the social and industrial condition in
the long-settled interior regions. More remains to be done, in the way
of pioneer exploring and of scientific work, in the great stretches of
virgin wilderness. The only two other continents where such work, of
like volume and value, remains to be done are Africa and Asia; and
neither Africa nor Asia offers a more inviting field for the best kind
of field worker in geographical exploration and in zoological,
geological, and paleontological investigation. The explorer is merely
the most adventurous kind of field geographer; and there are two or
three points worth keeping in mind in dealing with the South American
work of the field geographer and field zoologist.

Roughly, the travellers who now visit (like those who for the past
century have visited) South America come in three categories--
although, of course, these categories are not divided by hard-and-fast

First, there are the travellers who skirt the continent in comfortable
steamers, going from one great seaport to another, and occasionally
taking a short railway journey to some big interior city not too far
from the coast. This is a trip well worth taking by all intelligent
men and women who can afford it; and it is being taken by such men and
women with increasing frequency. It entails no more difficulty than a
similar trip to the Mediterranean--than such a trip which to a learned
and broad-minded observer offers the same chance for acquiring
knowledge and, if he is himself gifted with wisdom, the same chance of
imparting his knowledge to others that is offered by a trip of similar
length through the larger cities of Europe or the United States.
Probably the best instance of the excellent use to which such an
observer can put his experience is afforded by the volume of Mr.
Bryce. Of course, such a trip represents travelling of essentially the
same kind as travelling by railroad from Atlanta to Calgary or from
Madrid to Moscow.

Next there are the travellers who visit the long-settled districts and
colonial cities of the interior, travelling over land or river
highways which have been traversed for centuries but which are still
primitive as regards the inns and the modes of conveyance. Such
travelling is difficult in the sense that travelling in parts of Spain
or southern Italy or the Balkan states is difficult. Men and women who
have a taste for travel in out-of-way places and who, therefore, do
not mind slight discomforts and inconveniences have the chance
themselves to enjoy, and to make others profit by, travels of this
kind in South America. In economic, social, and political matters the
studies and observations of these travellers are essential in order to
supplement, and sometimes to correct, those of travellers of the first
category; for it is not safe to generalize overmuch about any country
merely from a visit to its capital or its chief seaport. These
travellers of the second category can give us most interesting and
valuable information about quaint little belated cities; about
backward country folk, kindly or the reverse, who show a mixture of
the ideas of savagery with the ideas of an ancient peasantry; and
about rough old highways of travel which in comfort do not differ much
from those of mediaeval Europe. The travellers who go up or down the
highway rivers that have been travelled for from one to four hundred
years--rivers like the Paraguay and Parana, the Amazon, the Tapajos,
the Madeira, the lower Orinoco--come in this category. They can add
little to our geographical knowledge; but if they are competent
zoologists or archaeologists, especially if they live or sojourn
long in a locality, their work may be invaluable from the scientific
standpoint. The work of the archaeologists among the immeasurably
ancient ruins of the low-land forests and the Andean plateaux is of
this kind. What Agassiz did for the fishes of the Amazon and what
Hudson did for the birds of the Argentine are other instances of the
work that can thus be done. Burton's writings on the interior of
Brazil offer an excellent instance of the value of a sojourn or trip
of this type, even without any especial scientific object.

Of course travellers of this kind need to remember that their
experiences in themselves do not qualify them to speak as wilderness
explorers. Exactly as a good archaeologist may not be competent to
speak of current social or political problems, so a man who has done
capital work as a tourist observer in little-visited cities and along
remote highways must beware of regarding himself as being thereby
rendered fit for genuine wilderness work or competent to pass judgment
on the men who do such work. To cross the Andes on mule-back along the
regular routes is a feat comparable to the feats of the energetic
tourists who by thousands traverse the mule trails in out-of-the-way
nooks of Switzerland. An ordinary trip on the highway portions of the
Amazon, Paraguay, or Orinoco in itself no more qualifies a man to
speak of or to take part in exploring unknown South American rivers
than a trip on the lower Saint Lawrence qualifies a man to regard
himself as an expert in a canoe voyage across Labrador or the Barren
Grounds west of Hudson Bay.

A hundred years ago, even seventy or eighty years ago, before the age
of steamboats and railroads, it was more difficult than at present to
define the limits between this class and the next; and, moreover, in
defining these limits I emphatically disclaim any intention of thereby
attempting to establish a single standard of value for books of
travel. Darwin's "Voyage of the Beagle" is to me the best book of the
kind ever written; it is one of those classics which decline to go
into artificial categories, and which stand by themselves; and yet
Darwin, with his usual modesty, spoke of it as in effect a yachting
voyage. Humboldt's work had a profound effect on the thought of the
civilized world; his trip was one of adventure and danger; and yet it
can hardly be called exploration proper. He visited places which had
been settled and inhabited for centuries and traversed places which
had been travelled by civilized men for years before he followed in
their footsteps. But these places were in Spanish colonies, and access
to them had been forbidden by the mischievous and intolerant tyranny--
ecclesiastical, political, and economic--which then rendered Spain the
most backward of European nations; and Humboldt was the first
scientific man of intellectual independence who had permission to
visit them. To this day many of his scientific observations are of
real value. Bates came to the Amazon just before the era of Amazonian
steamboats. He never went off the native routes of ordinary travel.
But he was a devoted and able naturalist. He lived an exceedingly
isolated, primitive, and laborious life for eleven years. Now, half a
century after it was written, his "Naturalist on the Amazon" is as
interesting and valuable as it ever was, and no book since written has
in any way supplanted it.

Travel of the third category includes the work of the true wilderness
explorers who add to our sum of geographical knowledge and of the
scientific men who, following their several bents, also work in the
untrodden wilds. Colonel Rondon and his associates have done much in
the geographical exploration of unknown country, and Cherrie and
Miller have penetrated and lived for months and years in the wastes,
on their own resources, as incidents to their mammalogical and
ornithological work. Professor Farrabee, the anthropologist, is a
capital example of the man who does this hard and valuable type of

An immense amount of this true wilderness work, geographical and
zoological, remains to be done in South America. It can be
accomplished with reasonable thoroughness only by the efforts of very
many different workers, each in his own special field. It is desirable
that here and there a part of the work should be done in outline by
such a geographic and zoological reconnaissance as ours; we would, for
example, be very grateful for such work in portions of the interior of
the Guianas, on the headwaters of the Xingu, and here and there along
the eastern base of the Andes.

But as a rule the work must be specialized; and in its final shape it
must be specialized everywhere. The first geographical explorers of
the untrodden wilderness, the first wanderers who penetrate the wastes
where they are confronted with starvation, disease, and danger and
death in every from, cannot take with them the elaborate equipment
necessary in order to do the thorough scientific work demanded by
modern scientific requirements. This is true even of exploration done
along the courses of unknown rivers; it is more true of the
exploration, which must in South America become increasingly
necessary, done across country, away from the rivers.

The scientific work proper of these early explorers must be of a
somewhat preliminary nature; in other words the most difficult and
therefore ordinarily the most important pieces of first-hand exploration
are precisely those where the scientific work of the accompanying
cartographer, geologist, botanist, and zoologist must be furthest
removed from finality. The zoologist who works to most advantage in
the wilderness must take his time, and therefore he must normally
follow in the footsteps of, and not accompany, the first explorers.
The man who wishes to do the best scientific work in the wilderness
must not try to combine incompatible types of work nor to cover too
much ground in too short a time.

There is no better example of the kind of zoologist who does first-
class field-work in the wilderness than John D. Haseman, who spent
from 1907 to 1910 in painstaking and thorough scientific investigation
over a large extent of South American territory hitherto only
partially known or quite unexplored. Haseman's primary object was to
study the characteristics and distribution of South American fishes,
but as a matter of fact he studied at first hand many other more or
less kindred subjects, as may be seen in his remarks on the Indians
and in his excellent pamphlet on "Some Factors of Geographical
Distribution in South America."

Haseman made his long journey with a very slender equipment, his
extraordinarily successful field-work being due to his bodily health
and vigor and his resourcefulness, self-reliance, and resolution. His
writings are rendered valuable by his accuracy and common sense. The
need of the former of these two attributes will be appreciated by
whoever has studied the really scandalous fictions which have been
published as genuine by some modern "explorers" and adventurers in
South America; and the need of the latter by whoever has studied
some of the wild theories propounded in the name of science concerning
the history of life on the South American continent. There is,
however, one serious criticism to be made on Haseman: the extreme
obscurity of his style--an obscurity mixed with occasional bits of
scientific pedantry, which makes it difficult to tell whether or not
on some points his thought is obscure also. Modern scientists, like
modern historians and, above all, scientific and historical educators,
should ever keep in mind that clearness of speech and writing is
essential to clearness of thought and that a simple, clear, and, if
possible, vivid style is vital to the production of the best work in
either science or history. Darwin and Huxley are classics, and they
would not have been if they had not written good English. The thought
is essential, but ability to give it clear expression is only less
essential. Ability to write well, if the writer has nothing to write
about, entitles him to mere derision. But the greatest thought is
robbed of an immense proportion of its value if expressed in a mean or
obscure manner. Mr. Haseman has such excellent thought that it is a
pity to make it a work of irritating labor to find out just what the
thought is. Surely, if he will take as much pains with his writing as
he has with the far more difficult business of exploring and
collecting, he will become able to express his thought clearly and
forcefully. At least he can, if he chooses, go over his sentences
until he is reasonably sure that they can be parsed. He can take pains
to see that his whole thought is expressed, instead of leaving
vacancies which must be filled by the puzzled and groping reader. His
own views and his quotations from the views of others about the static
and dynamic theories of distribution are examples of an important
principle so imperfectly expressed as to make us doubtful whether it
is perfectly apprehended by the writer. He can avoid the use of those
pedantic terms which are really nothing but offensive and,
fortunately, ephemeral scientific slang. There has been, for instance,
a recent vogue for the extensive misuse, usually tautological misuse,
of the word "complexus"--an excellent word if used rarely and for
definite purposes. Mr. Haseman drags it in continually when its use is
either pointless and redundant or else serves purely to darken wisdom.
He speaks of the "Antillean complex" when he means the Antilles, of
the "organic complex" instead of the characteristic or bodily
characteristics of an animal or species, and of the "environmental
complex" when he means nothing whatever but the environment. In short,
Mr. Haseman and those whose bad example he in this instance follows
use "complexus" in much the same spirit as that displayed by the
famous old lady who derived religious--instead of scientific--
consolation from the use of "the blessed word Mesopotamia."

The reason that it is worth while to enter this protest against Mr.
Haseman's style is because his work is of such real and marked value.
The pamphlet on the distribution of South American species shows that
to exceptional ability as a field worker he adds a rare power to draw,
with both caution and originality, the necessary general conclusions
from the results of his own observations and from the recorded studies
of other men; and there is nothing more needed at the present moment
among our scientific men than the development of a school of men who,
while industrious and minute observers and collectors and cautious
generalizers, yet do not permit the faculty of wise generalization to
be atrophied by excessive devotion to labyrinthine detail.

Haseman upholds with strong reasoning the theory that since the
appearance of all but the lowest forms of life on this globe there
have always been three great continental masses, sometimes solid
sometimes broken, extending southward from the northern hemisphere,
and from time to time connected in the north, but not in the middle
regions or the south since the carboniferous epoch. He holds that life
has been intermittently distributed southward along these continental
masses when there were no breaks in their southward connection, and
intermittently exchanged between them when they were connected in the
north; and he also upholds the view that from a common ancestral form
the same species has been often developed in entirely disconnected
localities when in these localities the conditions of environment were
the same.

The opposite view is that there have been frequent connections between
the great land masses, alike in the tropics, in the south temperate
zone, and in the Antarctic region. The upholders of this theory base
it almost exclusively on the distribution of living and fossil forms
of life; that is, it is based almost exclusively on biological and not
geological considerations. Unquestionably, the distribution of many
forms of life, past and present, offers problems which with our
present paleontological knowledge we are wholly unable to solve. If we
consider only the biological facts concerning some one group of
animals it is not only easy but inevitable to conclude that its
distribution must be accounted for by the existence of some former
direct land bridge extending, for instance, between Patagonia and
Australia, or between Brazil and South Africa, or between the West
Indies and the Mediterranean, or between a part of the Andean region
and northeastern Asia. The trouble is that as more groups of animals
are studied from the standpoint of this hypothesis the number of such
land bridges demanded to account for the existing facts of animal
distribution is constantly and indefinitely extended. A recent book by
one of the most learned advocates of this hypothesis calls for at
least ten such land bridges between South America and all the other
continents, present and past, of the world since a period geologically
not very remote. These land bridges, moreover, must, many of them,
have been literally bridges; long, narrow tongues of land thrust in
every direction across the broad oceans. According to this view the
continental land masses have been in a fairly fluid condition of
instability. By parity of reasoning, the land bridges could be made a
hundred instead of merely ten in number. The facts of distribution are
in many cases inexplicable with our present knowledge; yet if the
existence of widely separated but closely allied forms is habitually
to be explained in accordance with the views of the extremists of this
school we could, from the exclusive study of certain groups of
animals, conclude that at different periods the United States and
almost every other portion of the earth were connected by land and
severed from all other regions by water--and, from the study of
certain other groups of animals, arrive at directly opposite and
incompatible conclusions.

The most brilliant and unsafe exponent of this school was Ameghino,
who possessed and abused two gifts, both essential to the highest type
of scientist, and both mischievous unless this scientist possess a
rare and accurate habit of thought joined to industry and mastery of
detail:--namely, the gift of clear and interesting writing, and the
gift of generalization. Ameghino rendered marked services to
paleontology. But he generalized with complete recklessness from the
slenderest data; and even these data he often completely misunderstood
or misinterpreted. His favorite thesis included the origin of
mammalian life and of man himself in southernmost South America, with,
as incidents, the belief that the mammalian-bearing strata of South
America were of much greater age than the strata with corresponding
remains elsewhere; that in South America various species and genera of
men existed in tertiary times, some of them at least as advanced as
fairly well advanced modern savages; that there existed various land
bridges between South America and other southern continents, including
Africa; and that the ancestral types of modern mammals and of man
himself wandered across one of these bridges to the old world, and
that thence their remote descendants, after ages of time, returned to
the new. In addition to valuable investigations of fossil-bearing beds
in the Argentine, he made some excellent general suggestions, such as
that the pithecoid apes, like the baboons, do not stand in the line of
man's ancestral stem but represent a divergence from it away from
humanity and toward a retrogressive bestialization. But of his main
theses he proves none, and what evidence we have tells against them.
At the Museum of La Plata I found that the authorities were
practically a unit in regarding his remains of tertiary men and proto-
men as being either the remains of tertiary American monkeys or of
American Indians from strata that were long post-tertiary. The
extraordinary discovery, due to that eminent scientist and public
servant Doctor Moreno, of the remains of man associated with the
remains of the great extinct South American fauna, of the mylodon, of
a giant ungulate, of a huge cat like the lion, and of an extraordinary
aberrant horse (of a wholly different genus from the modern horse)
conclusively shows that in its later stages the South American fauna
consisted largely of types that elsewhere had already disappeared and
that these types persisted into what was geologically a very recent
period only some tens of thousands of years ago, when savage man of
practically a modern type had already appeared in South America. The
evidence we have, so far as it goes, tends to show that the South
American fauna always has been more archaic in type than the arctogeal
fauna of the same chronological level.

To loose generalizations, and to elaborate misinterpretations of
paleontological records, the kind of work done by Mr. Haseman
furnishes an invaluable antiscorbutic. To my mind, he has established
a stronger presumption in favor of the theory he champions than has
been established in favor of the theories of any of the learned and
able scientific men from whose conclusions he dissents. Further
research, careful, accurate, and long extended, can alone enable us to
decide definitely in the matter; and this research, to be effective,
must be undertaken by many men, each of whom shall in large measure
possess Mr. Haseman's exceptional power of laborious work both in the
field and in the study, his insight and accuracy of observation, and
his determination to follow truth with inflexible rectitude wherever
it may lead--one of the greatest among the many great qualities which
lifted Huxley and Darwin above their fellows.


The Outfit for Travelling in the South American Wilderness

South America includes so many different kinds of country that it is
impossible to devise a scheme of equipment which shall suit all. A
hunting-trip in the pantanals, in the swamp country of the upper
Paraguay, offers a simple problem. An exploring trip through an
unknown tropical forest region, even if the work is chiefly done by
river, offers a very difficult problem. All that I can pretend to do
is to give a few hints as the results of our own experience.

For bedding there should be a hammock, mosquito-net, and light
blanket. These can be obtained in Brazil. For tent a light fly is
ample; ours were brought with us from New York. In exploring only the
open fly should be taken; but on trips where weight of luggage is no
objection, there can be walls to the tent and even a canvas floor-
cloth. Camp-chairs and a camp table should be brought--any good
outfitter in the United States will supply them--and not thrown away
until it becomes imperative to cut everything down. On a river trip,
first-class pulleys and ropes--preferably steel, and at any rate very
strong--should be taken. Unless the difficulties of transportation are
insuperable, canvas-and-cement canoes, such as can be obtained from
various firms in Canada and the United States, should by all means be
taken. They are incomparably superior to the dugouts. But on different
rivers wholly different canoes, of wholly different sizes, will be
needed; on some steam or electric launches may be used; it is not
possible to lay down a general rule.

As regards arms, a good plain 12-bore shotgun with a 30-30 rifle-
barrel underneath the others is the best weapon to have constantly in
one's hand in the South American forests, where big game is rare and
yet may at any time come in one's path. When specially hunting the
jaguar, marsh-deer, tapir, or big peccary, an ordinary light repeating
rifle--the 30-30, 30-40, or 256--is preferable. No heavy rifle is
necessary for South America. Tin boxes or trunks are the best in which
to carry one's spare things. A good medicine-chest is indispensable.
Nowadays doctors know so much of tropical diseases that there is no
difficulty in fitting one out. It is better not to make the trip at
all than to fail to take an ample supply of quinine pills. Cholera
pills and cathartic pills come next in importance. In liquid shape
there should be serum to inject for the stoppage of amoebic dysentery,
and anti-snake-venom serum. Fly-dope should be taken in quantities.

For clothing Kermit and I used what was left over from our African
trip. Sun helmets are best in the open; slouch-hats are infinitely
preferable in the woods. There should be hobnailed shoes--the nails
many and small, not few and large; and also moccasins or rubber-soled
shoes; and light, flexible leggings. Tastes differ in socks; I like
mine of thick wool. A khaki-colored shirt should be worn, or, as a
better substitute, a khaki jacket with many pockets. Very light
underclothes are good. If one's knees and legs are unfortunately
tender, knickerbockers with long stockings and leggings should be worn;
ordinary trousers tend to bind the knee. Better still, if one's legs
will stand the exposure, are shorts, not coming down to the knee. A
kilt would probably be best of all. Kermit wore shorts in the
Brazilian forest, as he had already worn them in Africa, in Mexico,
and in the New Brunswick woods. Some of the best modern hunters always
wear shorts; as for example, that first-class sportsman the Duke of

Mr. Fiala, after the experience of his trip down the Papagaio, the
Juruena, and the Tapajos, gives his judgment about equipment and
provisions as follows:

The history of South American exploration has been full of the losses
of canoes and cargoes and lives. The native canoe made from the single
trunk of a forest giant is the craft that has been used. It is durable
and if lost can be readily replaced from the forest by good men with
axes and adzes. But, because of its great weight and low free-board,
it is unsuitable as a freight carrier and by reason of the limitations
of its construction is not of the correct form to successfully run the
rapid and bad waters of many of the South American rivers. The North
American Indian has undoubtedly developed a vastly superior craft in
the birch-bark canoe and with it will run rapids that a South American
Indian with his log canoe would not think of attempting, though, as a
general thing, the South American Indian is a wonderful waterman, the
equal and, in some ways, the superior of his northern contemporary. At
the many carries or portages the light birch-bark canoe or its modern
representative, the canvas-covered canoe, can be picked up bodily and
carried by from two to four men for several miles, if necessary, while
the log canoe has to be hauled by ropes and back-breaking labor over
rollers that have first to be cut from trees in the forest, or at
great risk led along the edge of the rapids with ropes and hooks and
poles, the men often up to their shoulders in the rushing waters,
guiding the craft to a place of safety.

The native canoe is so long and heavy that it is difficult to navigate
without some bumps on the rocks. In fact, it is usually dragged over
the rocks in the shallow water near shore in preference to taking the
risk of a plunge through the rushing volume of deeper water, for
reasons stated above. The North American canoe can be turned with
greater facility in critical moments in bad water. Many a time I heard
my steersman exclaim with delight as we took a difficult passage
between two rocks with our loaded Canadian canoe. In making the same
passage the dugout would go sideways toward the rapid until by a
supreme effort her three powerful paddlers and steersman would right
her just in time. The native canoe would ship great quantities of
water in places the Canadian canoe came through without taking any
water on board. We did bump a few rocks under water, but the canoe was
so elastic that no damage was done.

Our nineteen-foot canvas-covered freight canoe, a type especially
built for the purpose on deep, full lines with high free-board,
weighed about one hundred and sixty pounds and would carry a ton of
cargo with ease--and also take it safely where the same cargo
distributed among two or three native thirty or thirty-five foot
canoes would be lost. The native canoes weigh from about nine hundred
to two thousand five hundred pounds and more.

In view of the above facts the explorer-traveller is advised to take
with him the North American canoe if he intends serious work. Two
canoes would be a good arrangement for from five to seven men, with
at least one steersman and two paddlers to each canoe. The canoes can
be purchased in two sizes and nested for transportation, an
arrangement which would save considerable expense in freight bills. At
least six paddles should be packed with each boat, in length four and
one half, four and three fourths, and five feet. Other paddles from
six and one half feet to eight and one half feet should be provided
for steering oars. The native paddler, after he has used the light
Canadian paddle, prefers it to the best native make. My own paddlers
lost or broke all of their own paddles so as to get the North American
ones, which they marked with their initials and used most carefully.

To each canoe it would be well to have two copper air tanks, one fore,
one aft, a hand-hole in each with a water-tight screw cover on hatch.
In these tanks could be kept a small supply of matches, the
chronometer or watch which is used for position, and the scientific
records and diary. Of course, the fact should be kept in mind that
these are air tanks, not to be used so as to appreciably diminish
their buoyancy. Each canoe should also carry a small repair kit
attached to one of the thwarts, containing cement, a piece of canvas
same as cover of canoe, copper tacks, rivets, and some galvanized
nails; a good hatchet and a hammer; a small can of canoe paint, spar
varnish, and copper paint for worn places would be a protection
against termites and torrential downpours. In concluding the subject
of canoes I can state that the traveller in South America will find no
difficulty in disposing of his craft at the end of his trip.

MOTORS--We had with us a three and one half horse-power motor which
could be attached to stern or gunwale of canoe or boat. It was made by
the Evinrude Motor Company, who had a magneto placed in the flywheel
of the engine so that we never had to resort to the battery to run the
motor. Though the motor was left out in the rain and sun, often
without a cover, by careless native help, it never failed us. We found
it particularly valuable in going against the strong current of the
Sepotuba River where several all-night trips were made up-stream, the
motor attached to a heavy boat. For exploration up-stream it would be
valuable, particularly as it is easily portable, weighing for the two
horse-power motor fifty pounds, for three and one half horse-power one
hundred pounds. If a carburetor could be attached so that kerosene
could be used it would add to its value many times, for kerosene can
be purchased almost anywhere in South America.

TENTS--There is nothing better for material than the light waterproof
Sea Island cotton of American manufacture, made under the trade name
of waterproof silk. It keeps out the heaviest rain and is very light.
Canvas becomes water-soaked, and cravenetted material lets the water
through. A waterproof canvas floor is a luxury, and, though it adds to
the weight, it may with advantage be taken on ordinary trips. The tent
should be eight by eight or eight by nine feet, large enough to swing
a comfortable hammock. A waterproof canvas bag, a loose-fitting
envelope for the tent should be provided. Native help is, as a rule,
careless, and the bag would save wear and tear.

HAMMOCKS--The hammock is the South American bed, and the traveller
will find it exceedingly comfortable. After leaving the larger cities
and settlements a bed is a rare object. All the houses are provided
with extra hammock hooks. The traveller will be entertained hospitably
and after dinner will be given two hooks upon which to hang his
hammock, for he will be expected to have his hammock and, in insect
time, his net, if he has nothing else. As a rule, a native hammock and
net can be procured in the field. But it is best to take a comfortable
one along, arranged with a fine-meshed net.

In regard to the folding cot: It is heavy and its numerous legs form a
sort of highway system over which all sorts of insects can crawl up to
the sleeper. The ants are special pests and some of them can bite with
the enthusiastic vigor of beasts many times their size. The canvas
floor in a tent obviates to a degree the insect annoyance.

The headwaters of the rivers are usually reached by pack-trains of
mules and oxen. The primitive ox-cart also comes in where the trail is
not too bad. One hundred and sixty to one hundred and eighty pounds is
a good load for the pack-animals, and none of the cases should weigh
more than fifty or sixty pounds. Each case should be marked with its
contents and gross and net weight in kilos.

For personal baggage the light fibre sample case used by travelling
men in the United States does admirably. The regulation fibre case
with its metal binding sold for the purpose is too heavy and has the
bad feature of swelling up under the influence of rain and dampness,
often necessitating the use of an axe or heavy hammer to remove cover.

The ordinary fibre trunk is good for rail and steamer travel, but it
is absolutely unpractical for mule-back or canoe. The fibre sample
case could be developed into a container particularly fitted for
exploration. The fibre should be soaked in hot paraffin and then hot-
calendered or hot-pressed. This case could then be covered with
waterproof canvas with throat opening like a duffel-bag.

The waterproof duffel-bags usually sold are too light in texture and
wear through. A heavier grade should be used. The small duffel-bag is
very convenient for hammock and clothing, but generally the thing
wanted will be at the bottom of the bag! We took with us a number of
small cotton bags. As cotton is very absorbent, I had them paraffined.
Each bag was tagged and all were placed in the large duffel-bag. The
light fibre case described above, made just the right size for mule
pack, divided by partitions, and covered with a duffel-bag, would
prove a great convenience.

The light steel boxes made in England for travellers in India and
Africa would prove of value in South American exploration. They have
the advantage of being insect and water proof and the disadvantage of
being expensive.

It would be well if the traveller measured each case for personal
equipment and computed the limit of weight that it could carry and
still float. By careful distribution of light and heavy articles in
the different containers, he could be sure of his belongings floating
if accidentally thrown into the water.

It is not always possible to get comfortable native saddles. They are
all constructed on heavy lines with thick padding which becomes water-
soaked in the rainy season. A United States military saddle, with
Whitman or McClellan tree, would be a positive luxury. Neither of them
is padded, so would be the correct thing for all kinds of weather. The
regulation army saddle-blanket is also advised as a protection for the
mule's back. The muleteer should wash the saddle-blanket often. For a
long mule-back trip through a game country, it would be well to have a
carbine boot on the saddle (United States Army) and saddle-bags with
canteen and cup. In a large pack-train much time and labor are lost
every morning collecting the mules which strayed while grazing. It
would pay in the long run to feed a little corn at a certain hour
every morning in camp, always ringing a bell or blowing a horn at the
time. The mules would get accustomed to receiving the feed and would
come to camp for it at the signal.

All the rope that came to my attention in South America was three-
strand hemp, a hard material, good for standing rigging but not good
for tackle or for use aboard canoes. A four-ply bolt rope of best
manilla, made in New Bedford, Mass., should be taken. It is the finest
and most pliable line in the world, as any old whaler will tell you.
Get a sailor of the old school to relay the coils before you go into
the field so that the rope will be ready for use. Five eighths to
seven eighths inch diameter is large enough. A few balls of marline
come in conveniently as also does heavy linen fish-line.

A small-sized duffel-bag should be provided for each of the men as a
container for hammock and net, spare clothing, and mess-kit. A very
small waterproof pouch or bag should be furnished also for matches,
tobacco, etc.

The men should be limited to one duffel-bag each. These bags should be
numbered consecutively. In fact, every piece in the entire equipment
should be thus numbered and a list kept in detail in a book.

The explorer should personally see that each of his men has a hammock,
net, and poncho; for the native, if left unsupervised, will go into
the field with only the clothing he has on.

FOOD--Though South America is rich in food and food possibilities,
she has not solved the problem of living economically on her
frontiers. The prices asked for food in the rubber districts we passed
through were amazing. Five milreis (one dollar and fifty cents) was
cheap for a chicken, and eggs at five hundred reis (fifteen cents)
apiece were a rarity. Sugar was bought at the rate of one to two
milreis a kilo--in a country where sugar-cane grows luxuriantly. The
main dependence is the mandioc, or farina, as it is called. It is the
bread of the country and is served at every meal. The native puts it
on his meat and in his soup and mixes it with his rice and beans. When
he has nothing else he eats the farina, as it is called, by the
handful. It is seldom cooked. The small mandioc tubers when boiled are
very good and are used instead of potatoes. Native beans are nutritious
and form one of the chief foods.

In the field the native cook wastes much time. Generally provided with
an inadequate cooking equipment, hours are spent cooking beans after
the day's work, and then, of course, they are often only partially
cooked. A kettle or aluminum Dutch oven should be taken along, large
enough to cook enough beans for both breakfast and dinner. The beans
should be cooked all night, a fire kept burning for the purpose. It
would only be necessary then to warm the beans for breakfast and
dinner, the two South American meals.

For meat the rubber hunter and explorer depends upon his rifle and
fish-hook. The rivers are full of fish which can readily be caught,
and, in Brazil, the tapir, capybara, paca, agouti, two or three
varieties of deer, and two varieties of wild pig can occasionally be
shot; and most of the monkeys are used for food. Turtles and turtle
eggs can be had in season and a great variety of birds, some of them
delicious in flavor and heavy in meat. In the hot, moist climate fresh
meat will not keep and even salted meat has been known to spoil. For
use on the Roosevelt expedition I arranged a ration for five men for
one day packed in a tin box; the party which went down the Duvida made
each ration do for six men for a day and a half, and in addition gave
over half the bread or hardtack to the camaradas. By placing the day's
allowance of bread in this same box, it was lightened sufficiently to
float if dropped into water. There were seven variations in the
arrangement of food in these boxes and they were numbered from 1 to 7,
so that a different box could be used every day of the week. In
addition to the food, each box contained a cake of soap, a piece of
cheese-cloth, two boxes of matches, and a box of table salt. These tin
boxes were lacquered to protect from rust and enclosed in wooden cases
for transportation. A number in large type was printed on each. No. 1
was cased separately; Nos. 2 and 3, 4 and 5, 6 and 7 were cased
together. For canoe travel the idea was to take these wooden cases
off. I did not have an opportunity personally to experience the
management of these food cases. We had sent them all ahead by pack-
train for the explorers of the Duvida River. The exploration of the
Papagaio was decided upon during the march over the plateau of Matto
Grosso and was accomplished with dependence upon native food only.


Rice 16 16 16
Oatmeal 13 13 13
Bread 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Tea-biscuits 18 18 18
Gingersnaps 21 21 21 21
Dehydrated potatoes 11 11 11 11 11 11
Dehydrated onions 5 5 5 5 5 5
Erbswurst 8 8 8
Evaporated soups 6 6 6
Baked beans 25 25
Condensed milk 17 17 17 17 17 17 17
Bacon 44 44 44 44 44 44 44
Roast beef 56
Braised beef 56 56
Corned beef 70
Ox tongue 78
Curry and chicken 72
Boned chicken 61
Fruits: evaporated berries 5 5 5 5
Figs 20 20
Dates 16
Sugar 32 32 32 32 32 32 32
Coffee 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
Tea 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Salt 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Sweet chocolate 16


Muslin, one yard 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Matches, boxes 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Soap, one cake 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Above weights of food are net in avoirdupois ounces. Each complete
ration with its tin container weighed nearly twenty-seven pounds. The
five pounds over net weight of daily ration was taken up in tin
necessary for protection of food. The weight of component parts of
daily ration had to be governed to some extent by the size of the
commercial package in which the food could be purchased on short
notice. Austin, Nichols & Co., of New York, who supplied the food
stores for my polar expedition, worked day and night to complete the
packing of the rations on time.

The food cases described above were used on Colonel Roosevelt's
descent of the Rio da Duvida and also by the party who journeyed down
the Gy-Parana and Madeira Rivers. Leo Miller, the naturalist, who was
a member of the last-named party, arrived in Manaos, Brazil, while I
was there and, in answer to my question, told me that the food served
admirably and was good, but that the native cooks had a habit of
opening a number of cases at a time to satisfy their personal desire
for special delicacies. Bacon was the article most sought for.
Speaking critically, for a strenuous piece of work like the
exploration of the Duvida, the food was somewhat bulky. A ration
arrangement such as I used on my sledge trips North would have
contained more nutritious elements in a smaller space. We could have
done without many of the luxuries. But the exploration of the Duvida
had not been contemplated and had no place in the itinerary mapped out
in New York. The change of plan and the decision to explore the Duvida
River came about in Rio Janeiro, long after our rations had been made
out and shipped.

"Matte" the tea of Brazil and Paraguay, used in most of the states of
South America, should not be forgotten. It is a valuable beverage.
With it a native can do a wonderful amount of work on little food.
Upon the tired traveller it has a very refreshing effect.

Doctor Peckolt, celebrated chemist of Rio de Janeiro, has compared the
analysis of matte with those of green tea, black tea, and coffee and
obtained the following result:

Natural oil 7.90 0.06 0.41 0.01
Chlorophyl 22.20 18.14 13.66 62.00
Resin 22.20 34.40 13.66 20.69
Tannin 178.09 128.80 16.39 12.28
Mateina 4.50 4.30 2.66 2.50
Extractive substances 464.00 390.00 270.67 238.83
Cellulose and fibres 175.80 283.20 178.83 180.00
Ashes 85.60 25.61 25.61 38.11

Manner of preparation: The matte tea is prepared in the same manner as
the Indian tea, that is to say, by pouring upon it boiling water
during ten to fifteen minutes before using. To obtain a good infusion
five spoonfuls of matte are sufficient for a litre of water.

Some experiments have been made lately with the use of matte in the
German army, and probably it would be a valuable beverage for the use
of our own troops. Two plates and a cup, knife, fork, and spoon should
be provided for each member of the party. The United States Army mess-
kit would serve admirably. Each man's mess-kit should be numbered to
correspond with the number on his duffel-bag.

An aluminum (for lightness) cooking outfit, or the Dutch oven
mentioned, with three or four kettles nested within, a coffee pot or a
teapot would suffice. The necessary large spoons and forks for the
cook, a small meat grinder, and a half dozen skinning knives could all
be included in the fibre case. These outfits are usually sold with the
cups, plates, etc., for the table. As before suggested, each member of
the party should have his own mess-kit. It should not be carried with
the general cooking outfit. By separating the eating equipments thus,
one of the problems of hygiene and cleanliness is simplified.

RIFLES--AMMUNITION--A heavy rifle is not advised. The only animals
that can be classed as dangerous are the jaguar and white-jawed
peccary, and a 30-30 or 44 calibre is heavy enough for such game. The
44-calibre Winchester or Remington carbine is the arm generally used
throughout South America, and 44 calibre is the only ammunition that
one can depend upon securing in the field. Every man has his own
preference for an arm. However, there is no need of carrying a nine or
ten pound weapon when a rifle weighing only from six and three fourths
to seven and one half pounds will do all that is necessary. I,
personally, prefer the small-calibre rifle, as it can be used for
birds also. The three-barrelled gun, combining a double shotgun and a
rifle, is an excellent weapon, and it is particularly valuable for the
collector of natural-history specimens. A new gun has just come on the
market which may prove valuable in South America where there is such a
variety of game, a four-barrel gun, weighing only eight and one fourth
pounds. It has two shotgun barrels, one 30 to 44 calibre rifle and the
rib separating the shotgun barrels is bored for a 22-calibre rifle
cartridge. The latter is particularly adapted for the large food
birds, which a heavy rifle bullet might tear. Twenty-two calibre
ammunition is also very light and the long 22 calibre exceedingly
powerful. Unless in practice it proves too complicated, it would seem
to be a good arm for all-round use--sixteen to twenty gauge is large
enough for the shotgun barrels. Too much emphasis cannot be placed
upon the need of being provided with good weapons. After the loss of
all our arms in the rapids we secured four poor, rusty rifles which
proved of no value. We lost three deer, a tapir, and other game, and
finally gave up the use of the rifles, depending upon hook and line. A
25 or 30 calibre high power automatic pistol with six or seven inch
barrel would prove a valuable arm to carry always on the person. It
could be used for large game and yet would not be too large for food
birds. It is to be regretted that there is nothing in the market of
this character.

We had our rifle ammunition packed by the U. M. C. Co. in zinc cases
of one hundred rounds each, a metallic strip with pull ring closing
the two halves of the box. Shot-cartridge, sixteen gauge, were packed
the same way, twenty-five to the box.

The explorer would do well always to have on his person a compass, a
light waterproof bag containing matches, a waterproof box of salt, and
a strong, light, linen or silk fish-line with several hooks, a knife,
and an automatic at his belt, with several loaded magazines for the
latter in his pocket. Thus provided, if accidentally lost for several
days in the forest (which often happens to the rubber hunters in
Brazil), he will be provided with the possibility of getting game and
making himself shelter and fire at night.

FISH--For small fish like the pacu and piranha an ordinary bass hook
will do. For the latter, because of its sharp teeth, a hook with a
long shank and phosphor-bronze leader is the best; the same character
of leader is best on the hook to be used for the big fish. A tarpon
hook will hold most of the great fish of the rivers. A light rod and

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