1902 Encyclopedia > Madeira


MADEIRA. The Madeiras, a group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean belonging to Portugal, consist of two inhabited islands named Madeira and Porto Santo, and three uninhabited rocks named collectively the Desertas. Funehal, the capital of Madeira, is on the south coast of the principal island, in 32° 37' 45" N. lat., 16° 55' 20" W. long. It is about 360 miles from the coast of Africa, 535 miles from Lisbon, 1215 from Plymouth, 240 from Teneriffe, and 480 from Santa Maria, the nearest of the Azores. Funehal is connected by the Brazilian submarine telegraph, which belongs to a British company, with Lisbon on the one hand, and on the other with Brazil.

Madeira, the largest island of the group, has a length of 30 geographical miles, an extreme breadth of 13 miles, and a coast-line of 80 or 90 miles. Its longer axis lies east and west, in which direction it is traversed by a mountain chain, the backbone of the island, having a mean altitude of 4000 feet, up to which many deep ravines penetrate from both coasts, rendering travelling by land from place to place a very tedious and fatiguing labour. Bico Ruivo, the highest summit, stands in the centre of the island, and has a height of 6100 feet, but some of the adjacent sum-mits are very little lower. The depth and narrowness of the ravines, the loftiness of the rugged peaks that tower above them, the bold precipices of the coast, and the proximity of the sea afford many scenes of picturesque beauty or striking grandeur which are continually changing in character as the traveller advances on his way. The greater part of the interior is uninhabited, for the towns, villages, and scattered huts lie either at the mouths of ravines or upon the lower slopes that extend from the mountains to the coast. The ridges between the ravines usually terminate in lofty headlands, one of which has the height of 1920 feet, and much of the coast is bound by precipices of dark basalt. The north coast, having been more exposed to the erosion of the sea, is on the whole more precipitous than the south coast, and presents every-where a wilder aspect. On the south there is left very little of the indigenous forest which once clothed the whole island and gave it the name it bears (Madeira, from materia, wood), but on the north some of the valleys still contain native trees of fine growth. A long, narrow, and compara-tively low rocky promontory forms the eastern extremity of the island, and here is to be seen a tract of calcareous sand, known as the Fossil Bed, containing land shells and numerous bodies resembling the roots of trees, probably produced by infiltration. Upon an islet off this promontory stands the only lighthouse of the group. It has a flashing light visible at the distance of 25 miles in clear weather.

History.—It has been conjectured, but on insufficient evidence, that the Phoenicians discovered Madeira at a very early period. Pliny mentions certain Purple or Mauretanian Islands, the position of which with reference to the Fortunate Islands or Canaries might seem to indi-cate the Madeiras. There is a romantic story, of doubtful truth, to the effect that two lovers, Robert Machim and Anna d'Arfet, fleeing from England to France in 1346, were driven out of their course by a violent storm, and cast on the coast of Madeira at the place subsequently named Machico, in memory of one of them. On the evidence of a portulano dated 1351, preserved at Florence, it would appear that Madeira had been discovered long previous to that date by Portuguese vessels under Genoese captains. In 1419 two of the captains of Prince Henry of Portugal were driven by a storm to the island called by them Porto Santo, or Holy Port, in gratitude for their rescue from shipwreck. The next year an expedition was sent out to colonize the island, and, Madeira being descried, they made for it, and took possession on behalf of the Portuguese crown. The islands were then uninhabited. For the sixty years intervening between 1580 and 1640, Madeira, with Portugal itself, was under Spanish rule. In 1801 British troops occupied the island for a few months, commanded by General Beresford, and it was again under the British flag from 1807 to 1814. Madeira is now a province and an integral part of the Portuguese kingdom, entitled to send deputies to the Cortes assembling at Lisbon.

Inhabitants.—The inhabitants are of Portuguese descent, with probably some intermixture of Moorish and Negro blood amongst the lower classes. The dress of the peasantry, without being picturesque, is peculiar. Both men and women in the outlying country districts wear the carapuca, a small cap made of blue cloth, in shape something like a funnel, with the pipe standing upwards. The men have trousers of linen, drawn tight, and terminating at the knees; a coarse shirt enveloping the upper part of their person, covered by a short jacket, completes their attire, with the exception of a pair of rough yellow boots. The women's outer garments consist of a gaudily coloured gown, made from island material, with a small cape of coarse scarlet or blue woollen cloth. At the end of 1881 the inhabitants of Madeira numbered 131,906 persons, the females exceed-ing the males by 7060. The population increases, notwith-standing the emigration to Demerara and the Hawaiian Islands that occasionally takes place. There is strong reason for thinking that the islands are too densely peopled, considering the small proportion which cultivable ground bears to the whole, and the general want of capital.

Government.—The administration of affairs is in the hands of a civil governor appointed by the crown, under whom is a military officer in command of the troops, which consist of a battalion of infantry, a detachment of artillery, and some militia. The law of Portugal is administered by f our chief judges, each of whom has a separate division (comarca) of the island in his jurisdiction, within which he tries both civil and criminal cases with the assistance of a jury. Magistrates elected by the people decide minor cases. For municipal purposes the island is divided into nine districts, called concelhos (Porto Santo forming a tenth), each of which has its popularly elected municipal chamber, whose duty it is to repair the roads, light and cleanse the towns and villages, &c. The chief police magistrate of each district is the administrador, who is appointed by the central Government. A bishop is at the head of the clergy, his cathedral being at Funehal. There are forty-eight parishes, each with its church and resident priest. Roman Catholicism is the established form of religion, but others are now tolerated.

Education.—By law all children of a certain age should be sent to school, but this regulation is not strictly enforced, and only a small fraction of the total number actually receive instruction. The chief educational establishment is the Lyceo at Funehal, where there are seven professors paid by Government. In 1881 the pupils at this establish-ment were two hundred and fifty in number. There is a seminary for young priests, and a number of public primary schools are scattered over the island.

Agriculture.-—Until recently a considerable portion of the land was strictly entailed in the families of the land-lords (morgados), but entails have been abolished by the legislature, and the land is now absolutely free. Owing to the irremediable difficulties of the surface, the roads are bad, except in the neighbourhood of the capital. A deficient supply of water is another great obstacle to the proper cultivation of the land, and the rocky nature or steep inclination of the upper parts of the islands is an effectual bar to all tillage. An incredible amount of labour has been expended upon the soil, partly in the erection of walls intended to prevent its being washed away by the rains, and to build up the plots of ground in the form of terraces, so as to lessen their slope. Water-courses, too, have been constructed for purposes of irrigation, without which at regular intervals the island would not produce a hundredth part of its present yield. These water-courses originate high up in the ravines, are built of masonry or driven through the rock, and wind about for miles until they reach the cultivated land. Some of them are brought by tunnels from the north side of the island through the central crest of hill. The water thus conveyed is carefully dealt out according to the rights of each occupier, who takes his turn at the running stream for so many hours in the day or night at a time notified to him beforehand. In this climate flowing water has a saleable value as well as land, for the latter is useless without a supply of the former. The agricultural implements employed are of the rudest kind, and the system of cultivation is extremely primitive. Very few of the occupiers are the owners of the land they cultivate; but they are almost invariably the owners of the walls, cottages, and trees standing thereon, the bare land alone belonging to the landlord. The tenant can sell his share of the property without the con-sent of the landlord, and if he does not so dispose of it that share passes to his heirs. In this way the tenant practically enjoys fixity of tenure, for the landlord is seldom in a position to pay the price at which the tenant's share is valued. Money rents are rare, the m6tayer system regulating almost universally the relations between landlord and tenant; that is, the tenant pays to the owner a cer-tain portion of the produce, usually one half or one third. The holdings are usually very small, rarely larger than one man can cultivate with a little occasional assistance. Meadows and pastures are seldom to be met with, the cattle being stall-fed when not feeding on the mountains. Horses are never employed for draught, all labour of that kind being done by oxen, of which there is an ample supply.

The two staple productions of the soil are wine and sugar. The vine was introduced from Cyprus or Crete soon after the discovery of the island by the Portuguese, but it was not actively cultivated until the early part of the 16th century. The vines, after having been totally destroyed by the oidium disease, which made its first appearance in the island in 1852, were replanted, and in a few years wine was again made. The disease is now kept in check by the application of sulphur, which has the effect of increasing the quantity of fruit, whilst it shortens the life of the plant. The phylloxera has also made its way to the island, and every vineyard in Madeira is more or less affected by it. The wine usually termed Madeira, and known in the trade as " London particular," is made from a mixture of black and white grapes, which are also made separately into wines called Tinta and Verdelho, after the names of the grapes. Other high-class wines, known as Bual, Sercial, and Malmsey, are made from varieties of grapes bearing the same names. The exported Madeira is a strong-bodied wine of fine bouquet and excellent quality, but of late years it has gone out of fashion in England, the lighter wines of France and Germany having to a certain extent supplanted it. Taking the four years 1878-1881, the average quantity annually exported was 3045 pipes, each of 92 imperial gallons. It is not usual for the merchant to possess vineyards of his own. The vines are cultivated by the peasants in their small patches of land, and the general rule is for the merchant or wine manufac-turer to buy the must from them, and to have it conveyed as it comes from the press direct to his store, where the process of fermentation and the subsequent treatment are carried on from first to last under his own eye.

The sugar cane is said to have been brought from Sicily about 1452, and in course of time its produce became the sole staple of the island. The cultivation languished, however, as the more abundant produce of tropical countries came into the European market, and sugar had long ceased to be made when the destruction of the vines com-pelled the peasants to turn their attention to other things. Its cultivation was resumed, and sugar machinery im-ported. In 1881 about 6515 cwts. of sugar, valued at £14,452, were exported. A considerable quantity of spirit is made by the distillation of the juice, or of the molasses left after extracting the sugar, and this is consumed on the island,—not an unmixed benefit to the people, for intem-perate habits have greatly increased since they have been subjected to the temptation of cheap spirits. The cane does not flourish here as luxuriantly as within the tropics; still in localities below 1000 feet, where there is a good supply of water, it pays the cultivator well.

The grain produced on the island (principally wheat, barley, and Indian corn) is not sufficient for the consump-tion of the people. The common potato, sweet potato, and gourds of various kinds are extensively grown, as well as the Colocasia esculenta, the halo of the Pacific islanders, the root of which yields an insipid food. Most of the common table vegetables of Europe—cabbages, carrots, onions, beans, pease, &c—are plentiful. Besides apples, pears, and peaches, all of poor quality, oranges, lemons, guavas, mangos, loquats, custard-apples, figs, bananas, and pine-apples are produced, the last two forming articles of export to the London market. The date palm is occasionally seen, but its fruit is scarcely edible. On the hills large quantities of the Spanish chestnut afford an item in the food of the common people. A little tobacco is grown, and is made up into cigars of inferior quality.

Trade and Commerce. —Excepting sugar and tobacco, the manufactures are insignificant. Coarse linen and woollen articles and boots and shoes are made for island use. A good deal of needlework embroidery is made by the women in and about Funchal for exportation. Baskets, chairs, &c, of wicker work are also exported. According to official returns the total value of exports in 1881 was ¿£134,000, whilst the imports from foreign countries amounted to £175,000 (including £128,500 from the United Kingdom), and the imports from Portugal and the Azores to £112,800. The principal imports were textile fabrics, hardware, grain, salt fish, salt, tea and coffee, tobacco, cask staves, timber, and petroleum (the last three articles coming from America). The duties levied at the custom-house amounted in the same year to about £41,000. In the course of the year 710 merchant vessels entered the port, but more than half of these were English steamers calling on their passage to and from the west coast of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope, or Brazil. The number of Portuguese vessels was only 113.

There is a local bank at Funchal, and also a branch of the Bank of Portugal. The English merchants act as bankers for visitors, and bills or cheques can be negotiated through them. Accounts are made out in reis, an imaginary coin, 4500 of which are equal to the pound sterling, and 1000 form the mil-rei or dollar, equal to 4s. 5-|-d. The coins in circulation are of British gold and Portuguese silver, the latter in pieces of 50, 100, 200, and 500 reis, the coinage being decimal. The French decimal system has been established here as in Portugal. Madeira, as a province of Portugal, has the benefit of the regulations of the International Postal Union. Consuls from Great Britain and other European states, as well as from the United States and Brazil, reside at Funchal. Lines of steamers from Liverpool to the British colonies on the west coast of Africa, and from London and Plymouth to the Cape of Good Hope, touch at Madeira, both on their outward and homeward voyages. There is steam communication with Lisbon, and also with Brazil, the Cape Verds, the Canaries, and the Azores (St Michael's), as well as with Antwerp. A large coal depot for supplying the steamers has been established at Funchal by a firm of British merchants.

Funchal, the capital of the archipelago, lies on the south coast of Madeira, and has a population of about 18,000 persons, the immediate neighbourhood being inhabited by nearly as many more. It is seen to great advantage from the bay, lying on its curving shore, and backed by an amphitheatre of lofty mountains, some of them 4000 feet in height. Numerous country houses (quintas) with terraced gardens, and surrounded by vineyards and patches of sugar cane, adorn the slopes and give an air of cheerfulness to the landscape. A small fort on an insulated rock close to the shore commands the bay with its cannon, and there is a much larger fortress on an eminence behind the city. There are no facilities for landing either passengers or goods, nor is there any dock for vessels, which are obliged to remain in the open roadstead, where, however, the anchorage is good. Vessels are protected from all winds except that from the south, which, when blowing with violence, occasionally drives those on shore that do not slip their cables in good time, and take to the open sea. The principal edifices in the city are the cathedral and the churches, none of which deserve much notice, the governor's residence, a semi-castellated building, and the substantial custom-house. The streets are for the most part narrow, but fairly clean, paved with small stones, without side walks, and lighted at night by petroleum lamps. There are two public walks planted with trees, and a garden of small extent, but rendered gay with flower-ing plants which would need protection in England. There are also fountains of good water, a large hospital, a poor-house, and an unsightly ill-managed jail. The late empress of Brazil built a spacious and handsome hospital close to the town for the reception of twenty-four consumptive patients of Portuguese or Brazilian birth. The entrances of some of the larger houses are through great gates into a paved vestibule, from which a double flight of stairs ascends to the principal rooms. The shops are poor and without dis-play. The windows on the ground floor of the dwelling houses are filled with stout iron bars, which give a prison-like air to the streets. Three streams come down from the hills and run across the town at the bottom of deep channels, which in summer are dry, because the water is diverted higher up for irrigation purposes. Convenient market places have been constructed for the sale of meat, vegetables, and fish. Vegetables and fruit are abundant, but not of the first quality. Fish is plentiful and cheap when fishing is possible, and fresh fish forms with salted cod and herrings an important item in the food of the islanders. Butcher meat is fairly good, with the exception of the mutton, which is very inferior.

The affairs of the city are managed by a municipal chamber of seven persons with a president. Their revenue is derived from imposts on grain and salt imported, and from duties on fresh meat and fish sold in the open market, on wine exported, on houses, and on persons carrying on trade or business. It is expended principally on the lighting and repairing of the streets, and the maintenance of markets and public gardens.

Wheel carriages are not in use; and all heavy articles are transported either on the backs of mules or upon rude wooden sledges drawn by bullocks. When horses are not employed, locomotion is effected either by means of ham-mocks, or by bullock cars. The hammock is a piece of stout canvas gathered up and secured at each end to a long pole carried by a couple of bearers. In place of cabs, curtained cars on sledges, made to hold four persons, and drawn by a pair of bullocks, are employed. Theyare convenient enough, but the rate of progress is very slow. The common people carry heavy burdens on the head and shoulders. Such aids as wheelbarrows and trucks are entirely rejected.

A few daily and weekly newspapers are published at Funchal, but they are small sheets, and their circulation is very limited. In a room of the building occupied by the municipal chamber there is a collection of books, numbering about 2800 volumes, accessible to the public. The Portuguese have a club, which has a large house con-taining a ball room, card rooms, and a billiard room, but no library.

The wine trade attracted several British merchants in the last century to take up their residence at Funchal, where, notwithstanding the decrease of that trade, there was in 1881 a resident British population of 208 persons. A church has been built where a resident chaplain con-ducts the services of the English Established Church, and the Presbyterians of the Free Church of Scotland have also erected a place of worship. The British community have formed a cemetery, which is kept in admirable order. The English Club, to which strangers can subscribe, has _ a library of 5000 volumes and a billiard table.

Climate and Meteorology.—The following results have been derived from observations made for a series of eight years at the Government observatory, Funchal, which has a height of 80 feet above the sea. The mean annual barometrical pressure was 30'14 inches. The mean annual temperature was 65°'84 Fahr., the high-est point during the eight years having been 90°'3 Fahr. and the lowest 46°'22 Fahr. The two hottest months are August and Sep-tember, when the mean temperature was 72°-58 Fahr. The three coldest months are January, February, and March, their mean temperature being 60°'6 Fahr. The mean temperature of the six months November to April was 61°'8 Fahr. The mean temperature of winter (December to February) was 61°; of spring (March to May) 62°'64 ; of summer (June to August) 70°'8 ; of autumn (Sep-tember to November) 68°'9. The mean number of days in the year on which rain fell was 80J. The distribution of rain through the months from October to May varies a good deal, but the wettest months are usually November, December, January, and March. Taking a series of twelve years' observations, the mean annual rain-fall was 30J inches, the extremes being 16 and 49 '15 inches. The mean daily range of the thermometer from 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. during the six months November to April is about 6°1 Fahr., but taking the twenty-four hours the mean daily range is about 10°.

The remarkable mildness both in summer and winter of the climate of Madeira, though it lies only 10° north of the Tropic of Cancer, is owing to its being surrounded by a great ocean, from which the atmosphere obtains a large supply of watery vapour. The mean humidity of the air is about 75 (saturation = 100). The prevalent winds are those that blow from the north or from a few points east or west of north, but these winds are much mitigated on the south coast by the central range of mountains. The west wind usually brings rain. That from the east is a dry wind. A hot and dry wind, the leste of the natives, occasionally blows from the east-south-east, the direction of the Great Sahara, and causes the hill region to be hotter than below, but even on the coast the thermo-meter under its influence sometimes indicates 93°. As the ther-mometer has never been known to fall as low as 46° at Funchal, frost and snow are there wholly unknown, but snow falls on the mountains once or twice during the winter, very seldom, however, below the altitude of 2000 feet. Thunderstorms are rare, and scarcely ever violent.

Madeira has long had a high reputation as a sanatory resort for persons suffering from diseases of the chest. " When we take into consideration," said Sir James Clark in his work on Climate, " the mildness of the winter and the coolness of the summer, together with the remarkable equality of the temperature during the day and night, as well as throughout the year, we may safely conclude that the climate of Madeira is the finest in the northern hemi-sphere." Notwithstanding the ever-increasing competition of other winter resorts, a considerable number of invalids, both English and German, continue to spend the winter at Funehal, where there are numerous well-conducted hotels and hoarding-houses, as well as furnished houses, with gardens, for hire in the neighbourhood, and where English and German physicians practise their profession. The island possesses one great advantage over most other places frequented by invalids in affording cool and comfortable summer quarters on the hills, so that they have no need to make a long journey for the purpose of escaping from the heat.

Zoology.—No species of land mammal is indigenous to the Madeiras. Some of the early voyagers indeed speak of wild goats and swine, but these animals must have escaped from confinement. The rabbit, and those pests the black rat, brown rat, and mouse, have been introduced. The first comers encountered seals, and this amphibious mammal (Monachus albiventer) still lingers at the Desertas, but its early extinction is threatened, from the same cause that has brought about its extinction at the Canaries, the per-sistent attacks of man. Amongst the thirty species of birds which breed in these islands are the kestrel, buzzard, and bam owl, the blackbird, redbreast, wagtail, goldfinch, ring sparrow, linnet, two swifts, three pigeons, the quail, red-legged partridge, woodcock, tern, herring gull, two petrels, and three puffins. Only one species is endemic, and that is a wren (Regultis maclcirensis), but five other species are known elsewhere only at the Canaries. These are the green canary (Fringilla butyracea, the parent of the domesti-cated yellow variety), a chaffinch (Fringilla tintillon), a swift (Cypselus unicolor), a wood pigeon (Columba trocaz), and a petrel (Thalassidroma bulwerii). There is also a local variety of the black cap, distinguishable from the common kind by the extension in the male of the cap to the shoulder. About seventy other species have been seen from time to time in Madeira, chiefly stragglers from the African coast, many of them coming with the teste wind.

The only land reptile is a small lizard (Lacerta dugesii), which is abundant and is very destructive to the grape crop. The logger-head turtle (Gaouana caretta, Gray) is frequently captured, and is cooked for the table, but the soup is much inferior to that made from the green turtle of the West Indies. The only batrachian is a frog (liana esculenta) which has been introduced and has made its way from ravine to ravine.

About 250 species of marine fishes taken at Madeira have been scientifically determined, the largest families being Scombridee with 35 species, the sharks with 24, the Sparidm with 15, the rays with 14, the Labridse with 13, the Gadidse, with 12, the eels with 12, the Pcrcidse. with 11, and the Carangidse with 10. Many kinds, such as the mackerel, horse mackerel, groper, mullet, braise, &c, are caught in abundance, and afford a cheap article of diet to the people. Several species of tunny are taken plentifully in spring and summer, one of them sometimes attaining the weight of 300 fb. The only freshwater fish is the common eel, which is found in one or two of the streams. (See lists and memoirs by E. T. Lowe and J. Y. Johnson, published by the Zoological Society of London.)

According to the latest writer on the land mollusea of the Madeiras (T. V. Wollaston, Tcstacca Atlantica, 1878), there have been found 158 species on the land, 6 inhabiting fresh water, and 7 littoral species, making a total of 171. A large majority of the land shells are considered to be peculiar, but naturalists do not agree as to the distinctness of the so-called species. Many of the species are variable in form or colour, and some have an extraordinary number of varieties. Of the land mollusea 91 species are assigned to the genus Helix, 31 to the genus Pupa, and 15 to the genus Acliatina (or Lovea). About 43 species are found both living and fossil in superficial deposits of calcareous sand in Madeira or Porto Santo. These deposits were assigned by Lyell to the Newer Pliocene period. Some 12 or 13 species have not been hitherto discovered alive. As to the marine testaceous mollusea it may be stated that between 300 and 400 species have been collected, but they have been only partially examined, and a large number of forms await identification. Few of them are remarkable for size or colour, and a consider-able number are very small. More than 100 species of Polyzoa (Bryozoa) have been collected, and amongst them are some highly interesting forms.

The only order of insects which has been thoroughly examined is that of the Coleoptera. By the persevering researches of the late T. V. Wollaston the astonishing number of 695 species of beetles has been brought to light at the Madeiras (Insecta Madcrensia, Cat. of Madeiran Col., &c). The proportion of endemic kinds is very large, and it is remarkable that 200 of them are either wingless or their wings are so poorly developed that they cannot fly, whilst 23 of the endemic genera have all their species in this condition. This fact, Mr Darwin thinks, may be mainly due to the action of natural selection combined with disuse, since those beetles which were much on the wing would incur the risk of being blown out into the sea, whilst those with less-developed wings had the best chance of surviving. With regard to the Lepidoptera, 11 or 12 species of butterflies have been seen, all of which belong to European genera. Some of the species are interesting as being geographical varieties of well-known types. Upwards of 100 moths have been collected, the majority of them being of a European stamp, but probably a fourth of the total number are peculiar to the Madeiran group. Thirty-seven species of Neuroptera have been observed in Madeira, 12 of them being so far as is known peculiar.

The bristle-footed worms of the coast have been studied by Professor P. Langerhans, who has met with about 200 species, of which a large number were new to science. There are no modern coral reefs at these islands, but several species of stony and flexible corals have been collected, though none are of commercial value. There is, however, a wdiite stony coral allied to the red coral of the Mediterranean which would be valuable as an article of trade if it could be obtained in sufficient quantity. Specimens of a rare and handsome red Paragorgia are to be seen in the British Museum and Liverpool Museum.

Botany.—The vegetation of these islands is strongly impressed with a South-European character. Many of the plants in tile lower region have undoubtedly been introduced and naturalized since the Portuguese colonization. A large number of the remainder are found at the Canaries and the Azores, or in one of these groups, but nowhere else. Lastly, there are about a hundred plants which are peculiarly Madeiran, either as distinct species or as strongly marked varieties. The late Mr Lowe undertook a description of the vegeta-tion in his Manual Flora of Madeira, but unfortunately this valu-able work has been left unfinished. The flowering plants found truly wild belong to about 363 genera and 717 species,—the mono-cotyledons numbering 70 genera and 128 species, the dicotyledons 293 genera and 589 species. The three largest orders are the Composite,, Leguminosse, and Graniinaceee. Forty-one species of ferns grow in Madeira, three of which are endemic species and six others belong to the peculiar flora of the North Atlantic islands. About 100 species of moss have been collected, and 47 species of Hepaticsc. A connexion between the flora of Madeira and that of the West Indies and tropical America has been inferred by the presence in the former of six ferns found nowhere in Europe or North Africa, but existing on the islands of the east coast of America or on the Isthmus of Panama. A further relationship to that continent is to be traced by the presence in Madeira of the beautiful ericaceous tree Clethra arborea, belonging to a genus which is otherwise wholly American, and of a Persea, a tree laurel, also an American genus. The dragon tree (Dracaena Draco) is almost extinct. Amongst the trees most worthy of note are four of the laurel order belonging to separate genera, an Ardisia, Pittosporum, Sideroxylon, Notelaza, Rhamnus, and Myrica,—a strange mixture of genera to be found on a small Atlantic island. Two heaths of arborescent growth and a whortleberry cover large tracts on the mountains. In some parts there is a belt of the Spanish chestnut about the height of 1500 feet. There is no indigenous pine tree as at the Canaries ; but large tracts on the hills have been planted with Pinus pinaster, from which the fuel of the inhabitants is mainly derived. A European juniper (/. Oxycedrus), growing to the height of 40 or 50 feet, was formerly abundant, but has been almost exterminated, as its scented wood is prized by the cabinet-maker. Indeed the flora has been recklessly defaced by the un-sparing hand of man. Several of the native trees and shrubs now grow only in situations which are nearly inaccessible, and some of the indigenous plants are of the greatest rarity. There are few remains of the noble forests that once clothed the island, and these are daily becoming less. On the other hand, some plants of foreign origin have spread in a remarkable manner. Amongst these is the common cactus or prickly pear (Opuntia Tuna), which in many spots on the coast is sufficiently abundant to give a character to the landscape. As to Algm, the coast is too rocky and the sea too unquiet for a luxuriant marine vegetation, consequently the species are few and poor.

Geology.—The hypothesis that the Madeiras during or since the middle part of the Tertiary epoch formed part of a large tract of land connecting the Canaries in the south and the Azores in the west with south-western Europe and northern Africa has been com-pletely discredited by the discovery of the great depth of the sur-rounding ocean. The origin of its existing fauna and flora, both of which must have been very different if such a connexion had ever been a fact, is now attributed to the chance arrival from Europe or Africa at distant intervals of the ancestors of the present species, the winds and waves, birds and insects, having been the means of transport. This immigration must have commenced at an early date if the aboriginal flora is partly traceable, as is asserted, to the Miocene flora of Europe, which has been found to contain genera now represented by species only living in the Atlantic islands and in America.

In one of the northern ravines of Madeira some masses of hyper-sthenite are exposed to view, and these are believed to belong to a diabase formation (better displayed in some of the Canary Islands than in Madeira) of much older date than the beds of basalt, tuff. &c., constituting the rest of the island. It is therefore supposed that there existed at an ancient but unknown epoch an island or the foundation of an island composed of diabase rocks, which, after being subjected to denudation, were overlaid by the materials thrown out by volcanoes of Miocene or later times.

All the islands of the group are of volcanic origin, and recent soundings show that they are the summits of very lofty mountains which have their bases in an abyssal ocean. The greater part of what is now visible in Madeira is of subaerial formation, consisting of an accumulation of basaltic and trachytic lavas, beds of tuff and other ejectamenta, the result of a long and complicated series of eruptions from innumerable vents. Besides this operation of building up by the emission of matter from craters and clefts there is evidence that a certain amount of upheaval in mass has taken place, for at a spot about 1200 feet above the sea in the northern valley of St Vicente, and again at about the same height on Pico Juliana in Porto Santo, there have been found fragments of lime-stone accompanied by tuffs containing marine shells and echinoderms of the Miocene Tertiary epoch. We have here proof that during or since that epoch portions at least of these islands have been bodily uplifted more than 1000 feet. The fossils are sufficiently well pre-served to admit of their genera and in many instances even their species being made out.

That there were pauses of considerable duration whilst the island of Madeira was being increased in height is proved by several facts. The leaf bed and the accompanying carbonaceous matter, frequently termed lignite, although it displays no trace of structure, which lie under 1200 feet of lavas in the valley of St Jorge, afford proof that there had been sufficient time for the growth of a vegetation of high order, many of the leaf impressions having been identified as belonging to species of trees and shrubs which still exist on the island. It is evident, moreover, that great alterations and disloca-tions had taken place in the rocks of various localities before other lavas and tuffs had been thrown upon them.

There are no data for determining when volcanic action commenced in this locality, but looking at the enormous depth of the surround-ing sea it is clear that a vast period of time must have elapsed to allow of a great mountain reaching the surface and then rising several thousand feet into the air. Again, considering the com-paratively feeble agents for effecting the work of denudation (neither glaciers nor thick accumulations of alpine snow being found here), and then the enormous erosion that has actually taken place, the inference is inevitable that a very great lapse of time was required to excavate the deep and wide ravines that everywhere intersect the island. Nor is anything known as to the period of the cessation of volcanic action. At the present day there are no live craters, or smoking crevices, as at the Canaries and Cape Verds, nor any hot springs, as at the Azores. On the slopes which descend from the central ridge to the sea, especially in the neigbourhood of Funchal, there are many hills with conical shapes of more or less regularity, which seem to have been formed at a comparatively modern epoch. Volcanic cinders and slag are lying upon several of them, which look as if they had been thrown out of a furnace yesterday. Yet round the base of others there may be traced streams of lava flowing from a higher source, and showing that, subsequent to the con-struction of these lateral cones, modern as they look, molten matter issued from higher vents, which assumed, on cooling, the character of ordinary compact basalt.

If we examine the general configuration of Madeira, we shall see a mountain chain, about 30 miles in length, running east and west, and throwing off lateral ridges, that give it an extreme breadth of about 12 miles. Peaks rise about the middle to a height of more than 60C0 feet; and deep ravines, lying between the lateral ridges, strike for the most part north and south from the central ridge to the sea. In the sections afforded by the ravines, the nucleus of the island is seen to consist of a confused mass of more or less stratified rock, upon which rest beds of tuff, scoriae, and lava, in the shape of basalt, trap, and trachyte, the whole traversed by dykes. These beds are thinnest near the central axis ; as they approach the coast they become thicker and less intersected by dykes. At the centre of the island there are several summits of nearly the same altitude, and these are in some places connected by narrow walls and ridges, which are frequently quite impassable, whilst at others they are separated by ravines of great depth. On all sides are seen vertical dykes, projecting like turrets above the weathered surface of the softer beds.

In various parts of the island may be seen elevated tracts of com-paratively level ground. These are supposed to have been formed by the meeting of numerous streams of lava flowing from cones and points of eruption in close proximity, various ejectamenta assisting at the same time to fill up inequalities. Deep down in some of the lateral ravines may be seen ancient cones of eruption which have been overwhelmed by streams of melted matter issuing from the central region, and afterwards exposed to view by the same causes that excavated the ravines. These ravines may be regarded as having been formed at first by subterranean movements, both gradual and violent, which dislocated the rocks, and cut clefts through which streams flowed to the sea. In course of time the waters, periodically swollen by melted snows and the copious rains of winter, would cut deeper and deeper into the heart of the mountains, and would undermine the lateral cliffs, until the valleys became as large as we now find them. Even the Curral, which, from its rounded shape and its position in the centre of the island, has been usually deemed the ruins of a crater, is thought to be nothing more than a valley scooped out in the way described. The rarity of crateriform cavities in Madeira is very remarkable. There exists, however, to the east of Funchal, on a tract 2000 feet high, the Lagoa, a small but perfect crater, 500 feet in diameter, and with a depth of 150 feet; and there is another, which is a double one, in the district known as Fanal, in the north-west of Madeira, nearly 5000 feet above the sea. The basalt of which much of the outer part of the island is composed is of a dark colour and a tough texture, with small disseminated crystals of olivine and augite. It is sometimes full of vesicular cavities, formed by the expansion of imprisoned gases. A rudely columnar structure is very often -seen in the basalt, but there is nothing so perfect as the columns of Staffa or the Giant's Causeway. The trachytic rocks are small in quantity compared with those of the basaltic class. The tufa is soft and friable, and generally of a yellow colour ; but where it has been overflowed by a hot stream of lava it has assumed a red colour. Black ashes and fragments of pumice are sometimes found in the tufaceous strata.

The mineral contents of the rocks of Madeira are unimportant. There are no metallic ores, nor has any sulphur been found ; but a little iron pyrites and specular iron are occasionally met with. The basalt yields an excellent building-stone, various qualities of which are quarried near Cama dos Lobos, 5 or 6 miles west of Fun-chal.

At Porto Santo the trachytic rocks bear a much greater proportion to the basaltic than in Madeira. An adjacent islet is formed of tuffs and calcareous rock, indicating a submarine origin, upon wdiich supramarine lavas have been poured. The older series contains corals and shells (also of the Miocene Tertiary epoch), with water-worn pebbles, cemented together by carbonate of lime, the whole appearing to have been a coral reef near an ancient beach. The calcareous rock is taken in large quantities to Funchal, to be burnt into lime for building purposes.

PORTO SANTO. —This forms a single concelho and parish, about 25 geographical miles north-east of Madeira. It has a length of 6J geographical miles and a width of 3. A stationary population of about 1750 persons inhabits 435 houses, chiefly collected at one spot known as the Villa, w'here a lieutenant-governor resides. The island is very unproductive, water being scarce and wood wholly absent. Around the little town there is a considerable tract of pretty level ground covered by calcareous sand containing fossil land shells. At each end of the island there are hills, of which Pico do Facho, the highest, reaches the altitude of 1600 feet. Barley, but little else, is grown here, the limited requirements of the in-habitants being supplied from Funchal by means of small sailing vessels.

THE DESERTAS.—These are three uninhabited rocks lying F.bout 11 miles south-east of Madeira. They are not easily accessible, as they present lofty precipices to the sea on all sides. Rabbits and goats abound on them. The archil weed grows on the rocks, and is gathered for exportation. The largest islet is 6J miles long, and attains the height of 2000 feet. These rocks are conspicuous objects in the sea-views from Funchal. (J. Y. J.)

The above article was written by J. Y. Johnson, author of Handbook to Madeira.

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