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CITY OF SAN SEBASTIAN–ITS IMPROVEMENT—ITS PRESENT CONDITION.—CHURCHESTHE MISERICORDIA - FUNERALS-EMPEROR'S BIRTHDAY-AQUEDUCTS-GEOLOGICAL CHARACTER OF THE COUNTRY - PUBLIC GARDEN – MUSEUM-BAY AND HArbour – WEGETATION – BOTANIC GARDEN - SLAVE POPULATION – COFFEE-CARRIERS – RE. SEARCHES INTO THE NATIONS OF AFRICA–TREATMENT OF SLAVES-STREETS OF THE CITY-SOCIETY-WHITE-JACKET BALL–ARRIVAL OF THE RELIEF—ASCENT OF THE SUGAR LOAF—SURVEYS-DEFECTS IN THE EQUIPMENT OF THE SQUADRONTRIP TO THE ORGAN MOUNTAINS – JAUNT TO PIEDADE – CONCLUSION OF THE SURVEY'S AND OBSERVATIONS-ASCENT OF THE CORCOVADO.
The city of San Sebastian, better known as Rio de Janeiro, has been often described. At the time of our visit a great change appeared to have taken place within a few years, as well in its outward appearance as in its government and institutions, thus giving to the whole a different aspect from that it formerly wore. Under its former monarch, Don Pedro the First, it had all the aspect of a court residence; now it is the very reverse. I shall, therefore, give my own impressions, and sketch a picture of its state as we found it in the latter part of the year 1838.
Republican forms, habits, and customs, are gradually creeping in under its new and reformed constitution. It is not to be denied that the people now appear to be much better off than formerly, and more at liberty to carry on their lawful pursuits. Commerce, and intercourse with foreigners are every day making liberal advances. Every one, on his first landing at Rio, will be struck with the indiscriminate mingling of all classes, in every place, all appearing on terms of the utmost equality;-officers, soldiers, and priests, both black and white, mixing and performing their respective duties, without regard to colour or appearance. The only distinction seems to be that of freedom and slavery. There are many wealthy free blacks, highly respectable, who amalgamate with the white families, and are apparently received on a footing of perfect equality. The police, too, consisting of a national guard, has taken away those forms of military parade that formerly existed. An air of independence is creeping in even among the working-classes. Any little service that is required, and for which they are well paid, they appear to consider as a favour done you. The mechanical arts are at least half a century behind those of our own country. The churches, which are numerous, are falling into decay, which gives a dilapidated look to the city; its religious ceremonies are dispensed with, and to crown all, the steps of
the churches are made a market-place for the sale of sheep, pigeons,
fruit, &c. To judge from appearances, and the attendance on its services, there exists little religious feeling towards the Roman Church. It is true, the same constant ringing of bells occurs that is to be heard in all Catholic countries, and other outward signs are still kept up; but the priesthood are not regarded with such awe as they formerly were, and society seems to be breaking through the trammels that have so long enslaved the female portion of it. Religion is a mere name among the youth of Brazil. The aged are still observant of its ceremonies, but little or no attention is paid to the Sabbath. The stores do business, and the workshops are open the same as on other days. A few are seen going to worship in the morning of that day, but a greater number attend the billiard-tables in the afternoon, and the theatres at night. There is an Episcopal church, and a missionary of the Methodist persuasion from the United States resident here. We saw Rio de Janeiro under its most favourable aspect, that of the holidays, when the church had put on all her finery and decorations, and every one, slave as well as master, seemed intent upon enjoying himself. The Christmas week or holidays give a respite from all labour, and various are the amusements. The churches are decked, and the services extraordinary. The neglect of the public walks and roads shows a want of proper attention, and strikes the visiter as different from the usual order of things around a court. So far as cleanliness goes, Rio, I should think, is not much improved. It has every advantage to make it a clean city, but the inclination appears to be wanting. Neither do I intend to assert that its style of building is changed. Although the government is doing little, one sees the spirit of enterprise among the citizens. Many private dwellings are being erected, and I understood that many other improvements were taking place. The houses of the city are strongly built of stone, cemented together with clay; this is used in consequence of the scarcity of lime, which is only obtained by burning shells fished up from the bay. The houses are plastered on the outside, and have a pretty appearance and colour. The floors, beams, and roofs, are made of the hard wood of the country, of great size and strength, which are indeed necessary from the great tile roof they have to bear. Very few of the houses have yards, cellars, or gardens: consequently the dwellers are still greatly incommoded from the want of water-closets, detrimental both to health and