Through the Brazilian Wilderness/My Letter of May 1 to General Lauro Müller
THE first report on the expedition, made by me immediately after my arrival at Manaos, and published in Rio Janeiro upon its receipt, is as follows:
- MAY 1st, 1914.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE MINISTER OF
MY DEAR GENERAL LAURO MÜLLER:
I wish first to express my profound acknowledgments to you personally and to the other members of the Brazilian Government whose generous courtesy alone rendered possible the Expedicao Scientifica Roosevelt-Rondon. I wish also to express my high admiration and regard for Colonel Rondon and his associates who have been my colleagues in this work of exploration. In the third place I wish to point out that what we have just done was rendered possible only by the hard and perilous labor of the Brazilian Telegraphic Commission in the unexplored western wilderness of Matto Grosso during the last seven years. We have had a hard and somewhat dangerous but very successful trip. No less than six weeks were spent in slowly and with peril and exhausting labor forcing our way down through what seemed a literally endless succession of rapids and cataracts. For forty-eight days we saw no human being. In passing these rapids we lost five of the seven canoes with which we started and had to build others. One of our best men lost his life in the rapids. Under the strain one of the men went completely bad, shirked all his work, stole his comrades' food and when punished by the sergeant he with cold-blooded deliberation murdered the sergeant and fled into the wilderness. Colonel Rondon's dog running ahead of him while hunting, was shot by two Indians; by his death he in all probability saved the life of his master. We have put on the map a river about 1500 kilometres in length running from just south of the 13th degree to north of the 5th degree and the biggest affluent of the Madeira. Until now its upper course has been utterly unknown to every one, and its lower course although known for years to the rubber men utterly unknown to all cartographers. Its source is between the 12th and 13th parallels of latitude south, and between longitude 59 degrees and longitude 60 degrees west from Greenwich. We embarked on it about at latitude 12 degrees 1 minute south and longitude 60 degrees 18 west. After that its entire course was between the 60th and 61st degrees of longitude approaching the latter most closely about in latitude 8 degrees 15 minutes. The first rapids were at Navaité in 11 degrees 44 minutes and after that they were continuous and very difficult and dangerous until the rapids named after the murdered sergeant Paishon in 11 degrees 12 minutes. At 11 degrees 23 minutes the river received the Rio Kermit from the left. At 11 degrees 22 minutes the Marciano Avila entered it from the right. At 11 degrees 18 minutes the Taunay entered from the left. At 10 degrees 58 minutes the Cardozo entered from the right. At 10 degrees 24 minutes we encountered the first rubber man. The Rio Branco entered from the left at 9 degrees 38 minutes. We camped at 8 degrees 49 minutes or approximately the boundary line between Matto Grosso and Amazonas. The confluence with the upper Aripuanan, which entered from the right, was in 7 degrees 34 minutes. The mouth where it entered the Madeira was in about 5 degrees 30 minutes. The stream we have followed down is that which rises farthest away from the mouth and its general course is almost due north:
My dear Sir, I thank you from my heart for the chance to take part in this great work of exploration.
With high regard and respect, believe me
- Very sincerely yours,
- THEODORE ROOSEVELT.