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spirit of adventure or necessity, renders it so these wildernesses. There is one kind of repugnant to him. He feels that it is as yet parasitic tree, very common near Para, which the inheritance only of arboreal man
the exhibits this feature in a very prominent
It is called the Sipo Matador, or monkey. Another class of philosophers, like Buckle, order, and has been described and figured
the Murderer Liana. It belongs to the fig have assigned the exceeding luxuriance of by Von Martius in the Atlas to Spix and vegetation in the primeval forest as the rea- Martius's Travels. I observed many specison why “ civilization ” cannot gain a firm mens. The base of its stem would be unable footing in a region where so much of labor to bear the weight of the upper growth; it and energy is expended in keeping down the is obliged, therefore, to support itself on a thousands and thousands of germs of vegeta- sentially different from other climbing trees,
tree of another species. In this it is not esble life ever ready to dispute with man the and plants, but the way the matador sets possession of the soil. The expression, how- about it is peculiar, and produces certainly ever, is erroneous. It should have been a disagreeable impression. It springs up “population.” There is nothing at all to close to the tree on which it intends to fix prevent the highest amount of civilization dis- itself, and the wood of its stem grows by playing itself in Amazonia. The great riv- spreading itself like a plastic mould over ers are navigable-open a tract in the forest. then puts forth, from each side, an arm-like
one side of the trunk of its supporter. It and it can be cultivated, and the produce branch, which grows rapidly, and looks as elaborated by all that is most perfect in ap- though a stream of sap were flowing and pliances and machinery - but the energetic hardening as it went. This adheres closely vegetation opposes itself to the more humble to the trunk of the victim, and the two arms settler, and hence it acts as a bar upon the meet on the opposite side and blend together. spread of population, not of civilization-sim- These arms are put forth at somewhat irregply as such.
ular intervals in mounting upwards, and the The first great feature of the primeval for-comes tightly clasped by a number of inflex
victim, when its strangler is full grown, beest is, then, its “impenetrability ;” the sec- ible rings. These rings gradually, grow ond, is its non-adaptation to the development larger as the murderer flourishes, rearing its of the human species; the third, is the ex- crown of foliage to the sky mingled with ceeding energy and restless rivalry of vegeta- that of its neighbor, and in course of time tion. A German traveller, Burmeister, has they kill it by stopping the flow of its sap. said that the contemplation of a Brazilian
The strange spectacle then remains of the selforest produced on him a painful impression, and decaying body of its victim, which had
fish parasite clasping in its arms the lifeless on account of the vegetation displaying such been a help to its own growth. Its ends a spirit of restless selfishness, eager emula- have been served – it has flowered and tion, and craftiness. He thought the soft- fruited, reproduced and disseminated its ness, carnestness, and repose of European kind and now, when the dead trunk mouldwoodland scenery were far more pleasing, and ers away, its own end approaches ; its supthat these formed one of the causes of the su
port is gone, and itself also falls." perior moral character of European nations. The Murderer Sipo merely exhibits, in a According to this view of the case, the prime- niore conspicuous manner than usual, the val forest is not only not suited for the devel- struggle which necessarily exists amongst opment of man, but is not calculated to im- vegetable life in these crowded forests, where prove his moral and intellectual faculties. individual is competing with individual and How this happens will be best explained by species with species, all striving to reach an extract from Mr. Bates's admirable work light and air in order to unfold their leaves now before us :
and perfect their organs of fructification. “ In thiese tropical forests each plant and All species entail in their successful strugtrce seems to be striving to outvie its fellow, gles the injury or destruction of many of struggling upwards towards light and air their neighbors or supporters, but the probranch and leaf and stem-regardless of its
cess is not in others so speaking to the eye as neighbors. Parasitic plants are seen fastening with firm grip on others, making use of it is in the case of the matador. The efforts them with reckless indifference as instru- to spread their roots are as strenuous in some ments for their own advancement. Live and plants and trees as the struggle to mount uplet live is clearly not the maxim taught in wards is in others. From these apparent
strivings result the buttressed stems, the The very general tendency of the animals dangling air roots, and other similar phe- that dwell in the primeval forests to become
climbers is as remarkable as in the plants. The impenetrability of primeval forests, It must be premised that the amount and their non-adaptation to the human species, variety of life in the primeval forests is much and the rivalry of vegetation, are not their smaller than would, à priori, be expected. only almost peculiar and certainly striking There is a certain number of mammals, birds, phenomena. The climbing character of the and reptiles, but they are widely scattered, plants and animals is equally remarkable. and all excessively shy of man.
The region The tendency to climb, forced upon specific is so extensive and uniform in the forest creations by the necessities of circumstance-clothing of its surface, that it is only at long the getting up in so denso a vegetation to intervals that animals are seen in abundance light and air — is peculiarly attested by when some particular spot is found which is the fact that climbing trees do not form any more attractive than others. Brazil, moreparticular family or genus. There is no or- over, is throughout poor in terrestrial mamder of plants whose especial habit it is to mals, and the species are of small size; they climb, but species of many and of the most do not, therefore, form a conspicuous feature diverse families, the bulk of whose members in its forests. The huntsman would be disare not climbers, seem to have been driven appointed who expected to find there flocks by circumstances to adopt this habit. The of animals similar to the buffalo herds of orders Leguminosa, the Guttiferæ, Bignoni- North America, or the swarms of antelopes aceæ, Moraceæ, and others, furnish the and herds of ponderous pachyderms of Southgreater number. There is even a climbing ern Africa. The largest and most interestgenus of palms (Desmoncus), the species of ing portion of the Brazilian mammal fauna which are called, in the Tupi language, Jaci- is also aboreal in its habits. All the Amatara. These have slender, thickly spined, zonian, and in fact, all South American monand flexuous stems, which twine about the keys, are climbers. There is no group antaller trees from one to the other, and grow swering to the baboons of the Old World to an incredible length. The leaves, which which live on the ground. The most inhave the ordinary pinnate shape characteris- tensely arboreal animals in the world are the tic of the family, are emitted from the stems South American monkeys of the family Ceat long intervals, instead of being collected bidæ, many of which have a fifth hand for into a dense crown, and have at their tips a climbing in their prehensile tails, adapted number of long recurved spines. These for this function by their strong muscular structures are excellent contrivances to ena- development, and the naked palms under ble the trees to secure themselves by in their tips. A genus of plantigrade carnivclimbing; but they are a great nuisance to ora, allied to the bears (Cercoleptes), found the traveller, for they sometimes hang over only in the Amazonian forests, is entirely the pathway and catch the hat or clothes, arboreal, and has a long flexible tail like dragging off the one or tearing the other as that of certain monkeys. Even the gailihe passes. The trees that do not climb are naceous birds of the country—the representfor the same reasons exceedingly tall, and atives of the fowls and pheasants of Asia their trunks are everywhere linked together and Africa-are all adapted by the position by the woody flexible stems of climbing and of the toes to perch on trees, and it is only creeping trees, whose foliage is far away on trees, at a great height, that they are to above, mingled with that of the taller inde- be seen. A great proportion of the genera pendent trees. Some are twisted in strands, and species of the Geodephaga, or carnivorlike cables, others have thick stems con- ous ground beetles, are also in these forest torted in every variety of shape pentwining, regions fitted by the structure of their feet snake-like, round the tree trunks, or form- to live exclusively on the branches and leaves ing gigantic loops and coils among the larger of trees. This, according to Mr. Bates, who branches ; others, again, are of zig-zag shape, adopts the Darwinian theory, would seem to or indented like the steps of a staircase, teach us that the South American fauna has sweeping from the ground to a giddy height. been slowly adapted to a forest life, and,
therefore, that extensive forests must have encumbered with fallen and rotten trunks, always existed since the region was first peo- branches, and leaves ; the whole illuminated pled by mammalia.
by a glowing vertical sun, and reeking with Even reptiles and insects do not abound in moisture. primeval forests so much as might have been This is not the case, however, with the anticipated. A stranger is, at first, afraid in great extent of the primeval forests—that these swampy shades of treading at each step which is truly geographical in importance, on some venomous reptile. But, although and which stretches many hundreds of miles numerous in places, they are by no means 50 in some directions without a break. The generally, and then they belong, for the most land is there more elevated and undulating ; part, to the non-venomous genera. Our the many swamp plants, with their long and traveller got for a few moments once com- broad leaves, are wanting ; there is less unpletely entangled in the folds of a snake-a derwood, and the trees are wider apart. The wonderfully slender kind, being nearly six general run of these trees have not remarkfeet in length, and not more than half an ably thick stems; the great and uniform inch in diameter at its broadest part. It was height to which they grow without emitting a species of dryophis. The hideous sucurugu, a branch, is a much more noticeable feature or water-boa (Eunectes murinus), is more to than their thickness, but at intervals a veribe dreaded than the forest snakes, save the table giant towers up. Only one of these more poisonous kinds, as the javaraca (Cras- monstrous trees can grow within a given pedocephalus atrox), and will often attack space ; it monopolizes the domain, and none
Boas are so common in the wet season but individuals of much inferior size can find as to be killed even in the streets of Para. a footing near it. The cylindrical trunks of Amongst the more common and most curious these larger trees are generally about twenty snakes are the Amphisbonæ, an innocuous ge- to twenty-five feet in circumference. Von nus, allied to the slow-worm of Europe, and Martius mentions having measured trees in which lives in the subterranean chambers of the Para district which were fifty to sixty the saiba ant. The natives call it, as the feet in girth at the point where they become Orientals would do, Mai das Saübas, “ the cylindrical. The height of the vast columnmother of ants."
like stems is not less than a hundred feet from The primeval forest is also, for the most the ground to their lowest branch. The total part, free from mosquitoes and insect pests. height of these trees, stem and crown together, It is this that, with the endless diversity, the may be estimated at from a hundred and eighty comparative coolness of the air, the varied to two hundred feet, and where one of them and strange forms of vegetation, and even stands, the vast dome of foliage rises above the the solemn gloom and silence, combine to other forest trees as a domed cathedral does render even this wilderness of trees and li- above the other buildings in a city. The galanas attractive. Such places, Mr. Bates re- linaceous birds of the forest, perched on these marks, are paradises to a naturalist, and if domes, are completely out of reach of an orhe be of a contemplative turn, there is no dinary fowling-piece. situation more favorable for his indulging A very remarkable feature in these trees is this tendency. There is something in a trop- the growth of battress-shaped projections ical forest akin to the ocean (Humboldt had around the lower part of their stems. The made the same remark before) in its effects spaces between these buttresses, which are on the mind. Man feels so completely his generally thin walls of wood, form specious insignificance there, and the vastness of na- chambers, and may be compared to stalls in ture.
a stable : some of them are large enough to Some idea may be formed of the appear- hold half a dozen persons.
of ance of things in the low ground, by conceiv- these struttures is as obvious, at the first ing a vegetation like that of the great palm- glance, as that of the similar props of brickhouse at Kew spread over a large tract of work which support a high wall. They are swampy ground, but he must fancy it min- not peculiar to one species, but are common gled with large exogenous trees, similar to to most of the larger forest trees. Their naour oaks and elms, covered with creepers and ture and manner of growth are explained parasites, and figure to himself the ground when a series of young trees of different ages
is examined. It is then seen that they are countries. Plants do not flower or shed their the roots which have raised themselves ridge- leaves, nor do birds moult, pair, or breed like out of the earth ; growing gradually up- simultaneously. In Europe, a woodland scene wards as the increasing height of the tree re- has its spring, its summer, its autumnal, and quired augmented support. Thus they are its winter aspects. In the equatorial forests plainly intended to sustain the massive crown the aspect is the same, or nearly so, every and trunk in these crowded forests, where day in the year—a circumstance which imlateral growth of the roots in the earth is parts additional interest to the diurnal cycle rendered difficult by the multitude of com- of phenomena-budding, flowering, fruiting, petitors.
and leaf-shedding, are always going on in one Many of the woody lianas suspended from species or another. The activity of birds and trees, it is also to be observed, are not climb- insects proceed without interruption, each ers, but the air roots of epiphytous plants species having its own separate times. The (Aroideæ,) whose home is at the top of the colonies of wasps, for instance, do not die off forest, in the air, and has no connection with annually, leaving only the queens, as in cold the soil below—a forest above a forest. The climates ; but the succession of generations epiphytes sit on the strong boughs of the and colonies goes on incessantly. It is never trees above, and hang down straight as either spring, summer, or autumn, but each plumb-lines. Some are suspended singly, day is a combination of all three. With the others in leashes ; some reach half way to day and night always of equal length, the the ground, and others touch it, ultimately, atmospheric disturbances of each day neutraland then strike their rootlets into the ground. 'izing themselves before each succeeding morn;
The underwood of the primeval forest va- with the sun in its course proceeding midway ries much in different places ; at times it is across the sky, and the daily temperature the composed mainly of younger trees of the same same within two or three degrees throughout species as their taller parents ; at others, of the year, how grand in its perfect equilibrium palms of many species, some of them twenty and simplicity is the march of Nature under to thirty feet in height; others small and del- such peculiar circumstances ! icate, with stems no thicker than a finger : At break of day the sky is, for the most part, then, again, of a most varied brushwood, or cloudless. The thermometer ranges from 72 of striving interlacing climbing lianas. Tree to 73 deg. Fahr., which is not 'oppressive. ferns belong more to hilly regions and to the The heavy dew, or the previous night's rain, forests of the Upper Amazons. Of flowers which lies on the moist foliage, is quickly there are few. Orchids are very rare in the dissipated by the glowing sun, which rising dense forests of the low lands, and what straight out of the east, mounts rapidly flowering shrubs and trees there are, are in- towards the zenith. All nature is refreshed, conspicuous. Flower-frequenting insects are, new leaf and flower-buds expanding rapidly. in consequence, also rare in the forest. The Some mornings a single tree will appear in forest bees belonging to the genera Melipona flower, amidst what was the preceding evenand Eaglossa, are more frequently seen feed-ing a uniform mass of green forest-a dome ing on the sweet sap which exudes from the of blossoms suddenly created as if by magic. trees, or on the excrement of birds on leaves, The birds all come into life and activity, than on flowers.
and the shrill yelping of the toucans makes The annual, periodical, and diurnal cycle itself more especially heard. Small flocks of phenomena, in the primeval forest, are all of parrots take to wing, appearing in distinct worthy of notice. As in all intertropical re-relief against the blue sky, always two by gions, the season is pretty nearly always the two, chattering to each other, the pairs being same, and there is no winter and summer ; separated by regular intervals; their bright the periodical planomena of plant and ani- colors, however, not apparent at that height. mals do not take place at about the same time. The only insects that appears in great numin all species, or in the individuals of any bers are ants, termites, and social wasps ; and given species, as they do in temperate coun- in the open grounds, dragon-flies. tries. Of course there is no hybernation, The heat increases rapidly up to two o'clock, nor, as the dry season is not excessive, is when the thermometer attains an average of there any estivation, as in some tropical from 92 to 93 deg. Fabr., and by that time
every voice of mammal or bird is hushed ; sense of life and cheerfulness. Sometimes, in
We often read, in books of travels, of the tremble with fear. He would crouch down