5 DECEMBER 1987, Page 24

One hundred years ago

THE Chronicle of Thursday publishes a statement which looks true, but which we have not seen confirmed in any other journal. According to its informa- tion, a rising of the slaves occurred in the St Paulo District of Brazil on October 22nd, the whole body retiring from the plantations to the mountains, with their wives and children. The mounted police followed, but either were defeated by the slaves, or so far sympathised with them as to make their attack unreal. At all event, the mounted police, either through timidity or dis- affection, when ordered out against other bodies of slaves subsequently in retreat, declined to obey orders. The movement may be purely local, but it has long been expected, the late Mr Christie, for example, for twenty years British Minister at Rio, having pre- dicted many years since, in the writer's hearing, that unless white emigration could be largely and suddenly in- creased, Brazil would share the fate of Hayti. That is improbable; but the coloured population is so numerous in proportion to the whites, and to those half-breeds who would sympathise with the whites, that a servile war is never impossible, and, in a territory so exten- sive, would be most difficult to put down. It will be observed that the slaves have taken the opportunity of the Emperor's absence.

The Spectator, 3 December 1887