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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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wages obtained in Para by expeditions destined to collect forest products, were largely absorbed by the administration. Also the contributions of the pottery and the spinning rooms, which, in Rio Negro for example, maintained with public monies, were judged of disproportionately mingled income. The more often, however, they served indirectly the interests of the Treasury, because they did not suffer any hostility from these allied Indians, who, on the contrary, helped them in their industrial companies, receiving in return a petty salary. This extremely uncertain and precarious help depends on the whim and the need of the moment of a race of people who, not for noble reasons, but through indifference and indolence, hates all the restrictions of civilization, a civilization whose advantages are not within the reach of their narrow discernment. We are dealing here with a state of things where there is opposition to the philanthropy of our agitated and experienced century, much more than in primitive times.

We are sorry to say our conviction, based on a few years of observation, does not agree with the general opinion about the perfectibility of the redskins’ race after the most diverse and numerous attempts were made to establish equal rights and duties among the other inhabitants of America. When, moreover, a disproportionate mortality makes us see that the children of this part of the world, endowed with superabundant material life, are lacking in moral strength. We had to bend toward the conclusion that the Indians cannot bear the highest culture with which Europe wants to inculcate them. Until our progressive civilization, a vital element of flourishing humanity, irritates them like a destructive poison,--and they, like many other beings of nature, seem intended to perish and leave the number of the living, before reaching their highest degree of development, an idea whose germ is implanted in them. We consider, therefore, the red skins, a spinal branch in the trunk of mankind, intended typically to present only certain attributes of physical expression that are part of the cycle, to which man is subject as a natural factor. They are unable to produce the highest flowers and fruits of mankind.

Who comes to form such a concept on the nature of the native American race, regrets the few choices that remained for the great humanitarian government to help the Indians. The most illustrious ecclesiastics of Brazil already concluded that there is no permanent advantage to the overseers with the founding of new villages, because they cannot anticipate the expenses, and even less predict the size of the population, because it is usual that the Indigenous race disappears gradually. What is still spent annually from the vaults of the State to tame the Botocudos, in the virgin forests between Porto Seguro and Minas Gerais, has made them less harmful to the other inhabitants of the forest. Some of that money, however, finds itself handed to the evil deeds of the other classes of the Brazilian population who use the Indians, as they see fit for the domestic service. However, each year finds less Indians in domestic service, which is shown mainly by the extraordinary import of black slaves, which, in the years 1822 to 1827, Rio de Janeiro alone rose to 40,000 people. When, therefore, the Government, for reasons arising from the fair assessment of its Treasury, must abandon the continuing assistance devoted to the Indians, it seems to us that the aid should still come from another source to conserve and improve this sad race, whose decadent nature has prepared them for their fate.

Carmelite convent

The convents are still rich and very powerful, sustaining at their own expense missions in the interior, gathering there around them the Indians, in the enjoyment of certain freedom, educating them and making them good citizens.

With their wisdom the nuns will reinstate, on the part of the government, the prestige and respect, which are measured in proportion to the progress and growth of local needs especially in the maritime cities, populous and sought by many foreigners, especially Englanders who

(IV) For more rigorous knowledge of the import and export of Para, refer to the following data, which is thanks to the kindness of the British consul then in Belem, the Sr. H. Dickinson, Esq.

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