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PROGRESS OF POPULATION IN 1835.
Legitimate births, male . . . . . . . . . . . 1807
Excess of births . . . 1351
Marriages . . . . 1065
The revenue of the island is stated to be about $210,000 per annum. That portion which is derived from the customs, is about one half, or $110,000. The remainder is from taxes and tithes. The latter are now collected by the government, and from it the priesthood receive salaries. The inhabitants are liable to pay tax for the maintenance of the small naval force kept on the station. The expenses of the government of Madeira, including the support of the military garrison, is about $150,000, leaving a surplus to the government of about $50,000 or $60,000. There are about five thousand proprietors of the soil, of whom no more than six hundred and fifty live on their rents; and there are about four hundred who receive government salaries. Mendicants are numerous, and one is much tormented with them from the very moment of landing. It is surprising to find them so importunate in so fine an island, and where the necessaries of life ought to abound. Wine is the staple commodity: the produce during the year 1837 was 14,150 pipes. The export the year previous to our visit amounted to 8,435 pipes, of which about 3,800 pipes, valued at $793,000, went to the United States. The imports only amounted to $105,000, in staves, rice, and oil. The 5,700 pipes that remain, includes that shipped to Europe, the home consumption, and what is stored for refining. The inhabitants of Madeira are much alive and justly jealous of the reputation of their Wines, which are generally the engrossing topic of conversation. An amusing excitement existed during our visit. A London paper (the Times) had asserted that foreign wine had frequently been introduced into Madeira, and afterwards exported as the genuine article, to the United States in particular; and what gave more force to the story, it was stated as a fact, that seventy pipes had lately been VOL. I. B2 3
entered, at the expense of $1000, and remanufactured. Every body was up in arms. The commercial association of Funchal passed resolutions denouncing the publication in strong terms, as designed by certain interested persons to injure the reputation of the wine of Madeira. So strict are the laws to prevent frauds, that even genuine Madeira, after being once shipped, cannot be returned to the island. I heard, however, of an attempt, and but one, to smuggle in Tenerifle and Fayal wines, which was discovered. The casks were broken, the wine destroyed, the boats confiscated, and the smuggler condemned to be transported to the coast of Africa. We were informed that the industry of the inhabitants had much increased within a few years, and since the new order of things: this is shown in the increased quantity of grain which is raised, viz., wheat, barley, rye, and Indian corn. Sugar and coffee are also raised, and of superior quality. All kinds of vegetables and fruits are in abundance, all of very fine kinds, and not only sufficient for their own wants, but to supply the shipping that touch there. There are some things relative to the organization of the present government, that seem to forebode any thing but harmony in its operations. It is too complicated for an ignorant community, that cannot value the elective franchise. The system is somewhat a caricature of our own, in the frequency of elections, and the numerous small magistrates who have for the most part little or no ermolument. I was told that instances had occurred of their refusing to educate their children, in order that they might escape being elected to an office, which would bring them nothing but toil and vexation. As they become more enlightened this prejudice will pass away. The people are industrious, sober, and civil, and although ignorant, I should think happy. There is little, if any, mixed blood among them. They are of the old Arabian stock. Free negroes are seen. Dark hair, eyes, and complexion, are most common; but much diversity in form and feature, and in the colour of the hair exists. The character of the features of the inhabitants is usually rather a broad face, high cheek bones, and pointed nose, full lips, good teeth, and retreating chin. The men are very muscular, rather above the middle height, strongly built, and capable of enduring great fatigue. We all agreed that the women were particularly ugly, which is to be imputed in part to the hard labour required of them. The two sexes do not appear to belong to the same race. The men of the lower order are dressed in a kind of loose trousers (cuecas), descending as far as the knee, with a shirt or jacket of a gaudy colour. Both sexes wear a kind of cap (carapuca), of very small dimensions, tied under the chin. Its use is not readily conceived, as it is only a few inches in diameter at its base, and terminates in a conical top, like an inverted funnel.
The women wear bodices, with short petticoats of a variety of colours, in stripes. They have usually shoes and stockings, but they generally go barefooted, with these articles tied in a small bundle, to be put on when they wish to appear fine. The children are poorly clad, have but one garment, and that dirty.
The habitations of the lower order would be called huts in our country. They are composed of walls of stone, about five or six feet high, with a roof rising on all sides to a central pole, are thatched with straw or broom, and contain only one room. The only aperture for light and smoke is the door. There is but little necessity for chimneys, as fire is seldom required. It is said that in the northern part of the island, some of the peasants make their habitation in caves or excavations on the hill-side.
PEASANT's cott AGE.
In the town of Funchal, there are many elegant establishments, and much luxury among the higher classes, but the poorer classes are lodged miserably. The houses are generally of one story, of which the exterior is well kept, being neatly whitewashed; but the interior is any thing but comfortable. They have but one entrance. The floors are paved with round stones, and the walls are of rough stone, presenting no better an appearance than our wood-cellars. The furniture is scanty, and of the coarsest kind. Those of the peasants are more characteristic to the island. The wood-cut above is a good representation of their habitations.
Travelling is performed in sedan-chairs. This mode is always considered the safest for ladies, particularly in crossing the mountains. Horses and mules are seldom used. On leaving Funchal for the country, it is one continued ascent between high stone walls, these forming abutments to the terraces, which are covered with vines, and afford protection from the sun. After reaching the hills, one enjoys a delightful view of the beautiful gardens. The roadsides are lined throughout with flowers, (to us, those of the green-house.) among them Fuchsias, Digitalis, Rose geraniums, Punica granitum, Rosa indica coccinea, Hydrangea hortensis, mixed with box-trees, myrtles, &c. The valleys are covered with the Belladonna lily, and the mountainpasses cannot be compared to any thing more appropriate than to a rich flower-garden left to grow wild. Added to all this, a climate which resembles our finest spring weather. Such of the peasantry as do not gain a subsistence in the vineyards, have usually a small patch of ground which they cultivate, raising grain, corn, potatoes, and the taro (Arum esculentum), in quantities barely sufficient to eke out a scanty living. The cultivation is commonly performed by hand, although a plough of very simple construction is sometimes used. Many of the peasantry are employed as carriers, and one is much struck by their numbers when entering Funchal, early in the morning, with sheepskins filled with wine on their shoulders, that look at a distance more like the live
animal than a filled skin. These skins are preserved as entire as possible, even the legs of the animal being retained. They are generally kept steady by a band that passes over the forehead, which supports a great part of the weight. About twenty-five gallons, weighing more than two hundred pounds, is a load. They move rapidly, and carry this load five miles for a mere trifle. To us, one of the most remarkable features in the population, was to see a female not only thus employed, but a stout mountain lass trudging up a steep path with ease, under a load that would have staggered one of our labourers, even for a short distance. The manner of expressing the juice I have no where seen particularly described, and although a description of it may not add a relish to the cup, yet it will show the manufacture as conducted according to the old custom, at the present day. A friend of our consul was obliging enough to show us his works, and the machinery for expressing the juice from the grape. It was in a rude sort of shed. On our approach we heard a sort of song, with a continued thumping, and on entering, saw six men stamping violently in a vat of six feet square by two feet deep, three on each side of a huge lever beam, their legs bare up to the thighs. On our entrance they redoubled their exertions till the perspiration fairly poured from them; the vat had been filled with grapes, and by their exertions we were enabled to see the whole process. After the grapes had been suffi
ciently stamped, and the men's legs well scraped, the pulp was made into the shape of a large bee-hive, a rope made of the young twigs of the vine being wound around it. The lever was then used, which has a large stone or rock attached to it by a screw. Much time is lost in adjusting this, and much consultation and dispute had. The juice flows off, and is received in tubs. The produce of the press is on an average about fifty gallons daily. Each gallon requires about two bushels of grapes. The taste is very much like sweet cider. The process is any thing but pleasing, and endeavours have been