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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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of which there are several species, extremely small, the size of the tip of a needle (small tick, micuim) and larger; the latter, cattle and horse suckers, sometimes reach the size of a half hazelnut. People mistakenly think that small and large are of the same kind, and that the difference in size and growth is due to age. In general, they remain by the thousands in the grass and, at the slightest contact, cling to the passerby, who is soon despairing, for the violent commotion they produce.

To the north of the Cerva River and about two leagues from Mandu, the first traces of the gold wash appeared. The mountain is of white or greenish-white quartz mica-schist, and at one point and another it goes in the direction S.W. to N. E., on which is a considerable mass of heavy red clay, which is washed to obtain the gold. The mica schist, in which a quartz deposit with common black tourmaline appears, appears to be above syenite, which in some places, especially in the deep valleys and slopes, is loose. Most of this region is covered with undergrowth, which surrounds new plantations of maize, cassava and some sugarcane. The rest of the crop products are poor here, because the inhabitants buy most of the things they need out of gold with their washed gold.

Black tourmaline

In Sant'Ana de Sapucai, two leagues north of Sao Vicente, we found golden mines of considerable expanse. From afar they look like dug trenches. On the slopes, forming terraces, holes were drilled a few feet deep and wide, through which rainwater was carried down the open flanks of red clay. The washed clay was heaped at one point or another, or forming far flats or artificial slopes. There was a general aspect of ruin and savagery; the roads themselves are damaged, and the sight saddens the traveler painfully, for in a place where one sees gold being taken, instead of precious metal one has only paper money and misery. In the captaincy of Minas Gerais were put into circulation, instead of the small currencies of ten, twenty, forty, eighty, one hundred and sixty, three hundred and twenty reis, stamped coins, which are worth on the basis of gold (one gold penny) = thirty seven reis and a half, not twenty reis) produced on four foundations of the captaincy. With these provisions, the government wanted partly to remedy the real shortage of copper coins, and partly to its advantage to draw upon itself the small amounts of gold in exchange for paper money. The prejudice that this decree produced, in particular regarding credit and morality still redoubled with the

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