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Sao Felix on Rio Paraguacu

It is undoubtedly not only one of the richest and most populous villages, but also one of the most enjoyable in all of Brazil. A number of stalls and stores, with the most diverse European articles, give the idea of the animation of its trade.

The village has close to 1,000 houses and more than 10,000 inhabitants, among which are relatively many Portuguese. This place was enriched mainly by the cultivation of tobacco, which is very good in its district and in a ten league radius. The tobacco is exported to Europe, especially to Gibraltar, Lisbon, Porto, Marseille, Hamburg and Liverpool in large bales of 30 to 100 pounds; to the coast of Africa, it goes in small bales of 10-12 pounds. This was formerly the main article by which Brazilian navigators traded in Guinea for slaves; but after the black traffic was suspended by a treaty, or greatly diminished, in northern Ecuador, due to the vigilance of the English maritime stations, requests were scarce, and there was generally a large decrease in the tobacco business.

During our stay in the port of Sao Felix, we often went around this busy place with the greatest interest, and when we sent the letter of recommendation to the judge, we were pleasantly surprised by a letter from Tejuco, from our excellent friend, Mr. Ferreira da Camara, who invited us to spend some time on his own sugar mill, the Engenho da Ponte, located below Cachoeira, in Paraguacu.

Sugar mill

Already on the day of our arrival, the foreman of the mill was in Sao Felix with his boat to pick us up; We gladly accepted the invitation, because we had to choose, without delay, a place to graze our numerous mule troops during our stay in Bahia.

As the Paraguacu River is only navigable to Cachoeira, and participates here in the ebb and flow of the sea so close to where it flows, so it is customary to begin the navigation downstream, and especially to the capital, in the ebb, usually after the hours of the morning. The high tide during the new and full moons, very sensitive here reaches its peak in the months of March and August and the river begins to rise from January onwards. In eclipses of the moon, as a rule, no noticeable changes are observed. In the years 1754 or 1755 (perhaps at the time of the Lisbon earthquake), it is said that the tide rose twelve feet more than usual. We experienced the same shaking of nature on the afternoon of November 7, the time to take our collections to the canoe, which was to take us to the Bridge Mill where we were going to embark. Suddenly, the sky was covered with threatening black thunderclouds, seeming to be just above the river, which discharged, not for a short time, as we had seen so many times before, but during