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The Famine In Brazil

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CorreepoDdence N. Y. Tribune. While Americana are opening hearts and purses for the Irish poor, a fiir greater cry of' suffering comes to us frora another quarter. The Brazilian famine has been almost hidden from the world ; our journals have been silent aboutit, orhavegiven ouly the sterootyped notices that have reached them by the way of Rio de Janeiro. Yet there, within 3,000 miles of New York, is being enacte,d ono of' the greatest tragedies in history ; a tragedy before which the Irish lamine sinks into insignificance. The famine district is comprehended between the rivers Parnahyba and San Francisco, in that part of Brazil whicU is known as the Sertao. This región, unlike the rest of Brazil, has a sharp divisioD of the seasons, half' the year, corresponding to our suuimer, being very dry, and tho other half rainy. Much of the land is open, fitted for pasturage, while the valleys and hill sides give fine crops of cotton and sugar-cane. Before the drought, tho country was well populated- about as thickly as Ohio and Indiana - and the provinces comprehended here were regarded as auioiiK the most flourishing ia the Empire. The whole rjopulation was directly dependent on agriculture ; there were absolutely no manufactures ; and hardly any mines. Cattle-raising was a principal industry, and sugar, cotton and coffee were exported in considerable quantilies. This región is subject to periodical droughts, when one or two years the winter rains are lighter than usual, or wanting altogether. Several of these droughts are on record, but none of them will compare for duration and terrible effects with the present one. It began in 1S77, when the winter rains were almuBt entiiely wanting, so that all the crops failed and the cattle died or want of food and water. By July of that year a third of ihe nopulation were begging fbr food; by November ninetentbs of the cattle had died, and rich and poor alike were suffering from hunger. The whole country was dried up, so that not even a green leaf or blade of grasa could be seen, except along a few fertile hillnides. The poor peoplo were gathered in camps about the larger villages, where they lived on charity or on government aid ; but this latter was scanty and irregular, and it was almost useless to beg where the whole country was impovcrished. Even at this time the famine deaths ran up to ten or ritteen a day in small villages. Following this first year of drought came a second one ; over the greater part of the country it did not rain at all and at the best there were only a few showers. As the people were starving already, this new calamity drove them to despair. In March, 1878, a great panicseized them ; the whole population deserted the interior country and came rushing down to the coast citias. There were no railroads, and for the mout part, no horses wero left , they came on foot, as best they oonld. In the tiuirle Province ol Ceara, the exodus comprehended 500,000 people, and at least 15,000 dkd on the road, strictly speaking, of starvation. The greatest nionality was dnring about five weeks- between the 25th of February and the lst of April. By that time the interior country was almost deserted, and immense camps of refugees were fornied near the coast. At one time no fewer than 110,000 persons were gathered at Furtaleza, a city the normal population of wkieh is no more than 25,000. These refugees were dying by hundreds; many were absolutcly without clothing ; they lived in hute made of dry branches, and daily cauie to beg in the streets - a horrible throng. Alter seemg these I could believe the account of a sbop-keeper : "A refugoe carne to my house and asked perinission to kill the rats that he mighteat theui." I have been constantly in receipt of advices froin Ceara, and late letters from that province show that the drought still continuos, while governnient aidis likely to be withdrawn. I may bo allowed to mcntion the philanthropical work of a noble Brazil ian to whom Ueara owes the aving of 10,000 Uves. This gentleman is now Secretary of the Province, and nis whole lime is devoted to the relief of the refugees. He has, therefbre, the best racans of knowing the Iruth. I wish to cali special attentiou to one statement made in his last letter ; namely, that Government nid lor the refugees is likely to be withdrawn, simply because the Uruzilian treasury wasotlong er withstand the strain. l'he efl'ect of suuli an event wouM be simply appalüng. The 250,000 people who are now fed by the governmeut are more than poor; they absolutely have nothing in the world but the raga that cover them. They cannot find euiployment whore they are, because there is no one to employ them ; agrioulturo is destroyed utterly, and there ia no manufactures. They cannot get awuy from the province ; the only way il by the sea, or across huodred of miles of drought-stricken counlry, where they could get uo food by the way. They cannot beg, fur rich und poor alike aro ruined. I know that Ireland appealn more direct - ly to uh, because so many of ber vhiMivn are witb uh ; and no one more heartily apnroves oi' the aiJ we have given than 1 do. But the need of Ireland i not- it caunot be - one-tenth as great as that of Ccara. ín Ireland a few cases of death froin starvation cali forth the tcar i' u piíyinfr worid ; but in Ceara a whnle populstion is facintf the dread reality of faniine. Out of 900.000 ppople who inhabited thisprovioce in 1879, 200,000 have died of starvation, and 300,000 of' pestilenoe ; of those who are left, two thirds are ied at the public uxpeose. If this ail is 'viihdiawn all must die. Could the case be barder?