We must now revert to Franklin, who, as we have seen, had been despatched by the Admiralty to outline the north coast of America, only two points of which had been determined, the embouchures of the Coppermine and the Mackenzie, discovered respectively by Hearne and Mackenzie.

This is what the two rivers are engaged upon now, and instead of strewing their embouchures with pebbles, they distribute over them, or would do so, if permitted, a film of fertilising mud.

Let us to the well-heads, I say; to the chief fountains of these waters of bitterness; and there strike home and dig! To puddle in the embouchures and drowned outskirts, and ulterior and ultimate issues and cloacas of the affair: what profit can there be in that?

Opposite to Para is the large island of Marajo; and if Professor Agassiz is right in supposing that the continent once extended much further to the east than it now does, this island may properly be considered in the centre of the mouth of the river, and the River Para might then properly be called one of its true embouchures. But only a few of the streams which feed the Amazon have been named.

Every day, and sometimes two or three times in the day, they passed places where the river forked, as though each branch passed round an island, but our travellers perceived that these branches did not meet again; and they conjectured that they all fell into the Amazon by separate embouchures.

According to later supposition, their nucleus was a body of refugees from the ancient Russian lands invaded by Tartars in the thirteenth century. Some of those refugees settled between the embouchures of the Ural River, others near the mouth of the Don. Driven by invasion to form themselves into a military organization, the Cossacks of the Don became a formidable confederacy.

If we receive this statement as correct, we must suppose that at certain seasons the discharge from the various inlets and rivers we discovered is sufficiently powerful to force back the great body of seawater, as is the case at the embouchures of many large rivers.

Every day, and sometimes two or three times in the day, they passed places where the river forked, as though each branch passed round an island, but our travellers perceived that these branches did not meet again; and they conjectured that they all fell into the Amazon by separate embouchures.

Lines of plane-trees, with foliage now blighted yellow and bright green in February, define the embouchures of the three grim black ravines radiating from the upper heights, and broadening out as they approach the bay.

Those of Manati, Loisa, Trabajo, and Arecibo are very deep and broad, and it is difficult to imagine how such large bodies of water can be collected in so short a course. Owing to the heavy surf which continually breaks on the north coast, these rivers have bars across their embouchures which do not allow large vessels to enter.