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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Brother turned against brother, son against father; like the dowry of the goddess Eris (1), who threw her apple of disagreement right in the middle of the bridal banquet.

But, as far as the traveler's observation perceives in this respect in this distinct part of the society of Sao Luis, a feature is hidden from it, a feature that illustrates this city in the most advantageous way. I refer to the dignity of behavior, and to the safe and polite tone of society. Neither the great wealth of many individuals, nor their efforts to copy European customs, nor the obvious influence of numerous English and French trading firms, are the sole reason for this laudable circumstance, which must above all be attributed to the most uncontrollable factor, the natural influence of the beautiful sex on men.

Brazilian woman by Albert Eckhout

The women of Maranhao, in addition to their praiseworthy modesty and domestic virtues, also have spirit, illustrated time and again, and show themselves, in relation to men, in a independence full of dignity, which gives them more and more rights, as well like their European sisters, the ability to impress their influence on society.

Brazilian woman by Albert Eckhout

For a long time it has been customary in Maranhao to have the young people of the opulent families educated in Portugal; The boys may also graduate in England and France. It is generally said that the climate of this city is too hot to permit the study of abstract sciences; and in Maranhão, they undoubtedly envy the cities of Olinda and Sao Paulo, for establishing a university, as, according to recent news, the Brazilian government decided to grant them. There is already here a gym and some public colleges. In order to educate the feminine youth, the nuns of the Order of St. Augustine, who are not ordained and who do not take the three vows of the religious, are welcome, and may again return to the world.

Although there was a lot of statistical information I obtained about the province of Maranhao, what I had the opportunity to gather about the state of the population is not satisfactory. According to the reports of several informed persons, the parish lists of the year 1819 recorded the number of souls at 210,000, while Mr. Adr. Balbi, in a brief report, consigned (in the years 1821 to 1822) 182,000, and Mr. Pizarro 462,000. The first number seems closest to the truth. The armed force, which is scattered throughout the province, at the various surveillance posts, consists of a line infantry regiment, an artillery brigade, eight militia regiments and a horse militia regiment, also scattered throughout the province. The city has a regiment of whites and a militia of color, and, like the city of Alcantara, a company

1) Greek name of goddess of discord. (Rev. Note, Ed. Meth.).

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