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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.

Page 195

  On the edge of the cliff below the falls Colonel Rondon had placed benches, giving a curious touch of rather conventional tourist-civilization to this cataract far out in the lonely wilderness. It is well worth visiting for its beauty. It is also of extreme interest because of the promise it holds for the future. Lieutenant Lyra informed me that they had calculated that this fall would furnish thirty-six thousand horse-power. Eight miles off we were to see another fall of much greater height and power. There are many rivers in this region which would furnish almost unlimited motive force to populous manufacturing communities. The country round about is healthy. It is an upland region of good climate; we were visiting it in the rainy season, the season when the nights are far less cool than in the dry season, and yet we found it delightful. There is much fertile soil in the neighborhood of the streams, and the teeming lowlands of the Amazon and the Paraguay could readily—and with immense advantage to both sides—be made tributary to an industrial civilization seated on these highlands. A telegraph-line has been built to and across them. A rail-road should follow. Such a line could be easily built, for there are no serious natural obstacles. In advance of its construction a trolley-line could be run from Cuyab&á to the falls, using the power furnished by the latter. Once this is done the land will offer extraordinary opportunities to settlers of the right kind: to home-makers and to enterprising business men of foresight, coolness, and sagacity who are willing to work with the settlers, the immigrants, the home-makers, for an advantage which shall be mutual.