Journal of a Voyage …

Charles Darwin

This page displays Darwin's entries in his hand-written Journal of a Voyage in H. M. S. Beagle, written during his three visits to Tierra del Fuego.

VisitFromToms. pagesin Barlowin Keynes
First1832, December 161833, February 26262-302117-138120-144
Second1834, January 261834, March 6417-433206-216217-227
Third1834, May 121834, June 10452-457227-230239-244

Darwin's style for writing dates is inconsistent. Here, each date is followed by the appropropriate superscripted suffix (16th, for example). In addition, the year and (if necessary) month are added. Minor punctuation edits have been made for clarity; however, Darwin's frequent use of dashes, and word(s) crossed out, are retained. Likewise, his irregular spelling and occasional omission of a word are left uncorrected. Words (in parentheses) are his; others [in brackets] are added to this online version.

1: 1832

December 16th Sunday: We made the coast of Tierra del Fuego a little to the South of Cape St. Sebastian & then altering our course ran along a few miles from the shore.— The Beagle had never visited this part before; so that it was new to every body.— Our ignorance whether any natives lived here, was soon cleared up by the usual signal of a smoke.— & shortly by the aid of glasses we could see a group & some scattered Indians evidently watching the ship with interest.— They must have lighted the fires immediately upon observing the vessel, but whether for the purpose of communicating the news or attracting our attention, we do not know.— The breeze was fresh & we ran down about 50 miles of coast & anchored for the night.— The country is not high, but formed of horizontal strata of some modern rock, which in most places forms abrupt cliffs facing the sea.— It is also intersected by many sloping vallies, these are covered with turf & scattered over with thickets & trees, so as to present a cheerful appearance. The sky was gloomy & the atmosphere not clear, otherwise the views would in some places have been pretty.— At a great distance to the South was a chain of lofty mountains, the summits of which glittered with snow.— We are at anchor to the South of St. Pauls head.—

17th: The Ship rolled so much during the night from the exposed anchorage, that there was no comfort to be obtained.— At daylight which is about 3 oclock we got under weigh & with a fair breeze stood down the coast. At Port St. Policarpo, the features of the country are changed.— high hills clothed in brownish woods take the place of the horizontal formations.— A little after noon we doubled C. St. Diego & entered the famous Straits Le Maire.— We had a strong wind with the tide; but even thus favoured it was easy to perceive how great a sea would rise were the two powers opposed to each other.— The motion from such a sea is very disagreeable; it is called “pot-boiling,” & as water boiling breaks irregularly over the ships sides.— We kept close to the Fuegian shore; the outline of the rugged inhospitable Staten Land was visible amidst the clouds.— In the afternoon we anchored in the bay of Good Success, here we intend staying some days.— In doubling the Northern entrance, a party of Fuegians were watching us, they were perched on a wild peak overhanging the sea & surrounded by wood.— As we passed by they all sprang up & waving their cloaks of skins sent forth a loud sonorous shout.— this they continued for a long time.— These people followed the ship up the harbor & just before dark we again heard their cry & soon saw their fire at the entrance of the Wigwam which they built for the night.— After dinner the Captain went on shore to look for a watering place; the little I then saw showed how different this country is from the corresponding zone in the Northern Hemisphere.— To me it is delightful being at anchor in so wild a country as Tierra del F.; the very name of the harbor we are now in, recalls the idea of a voyage of discovery; more especially as it is memorable from being the first place Capt. Cook anchored in on this coast; & from the accidents which happened to Mr Banks & Dr Solander.§—

§ Described in An Account of What Happened ….

The harbor of Good Success is a fine piece of water & surrounded on all sides by low mountains of slate.— These are of the usual rounded or saddle-backed shape, such as occur in the less wild parts of N: Wales.— They differ remarkably from the latter in being clothed by a very thick wood of evergreens almost to the summit. The last time Cap. FitzRoy was here it was in winter; he says the landscape was of the same brownish green tint & but little more snow on the hills.— The Barometer had been very low & this evening it suddenly rose 3/10 of an inch, & now at night it is blowing a gale of wind & rain & heavy squalls sweep down upon us from the mountains: Those who know the comfortable feeling of hearing the rain & wind beating against the windows whilst seated round a fire, will understand our feelings: it would have been a very bad night out at sea, & we as well as others may call this Good Success Bay.—

18th: The Captain sent a boat with a large party of officers to communicate with the Fuegians.— As soon as the boat came within hail, one of the four men who advanced to receive us began to shout most vehemently, & at the same time pointed out a good landing place.— The women & children had all disappeared.— When we landed the party looked rather alarmed, but continued talking & making gestures with great rapidity.— It was without exception the most curious & interesting spectacle I ever beheld.— I would not have believed how entire the difference between savage & civilized man is.— It is greater than between a wild & domesticated animal, in as much as in man there is greater power of improvement.— The chief spokesman was old & appeared to be head of the family; the three others were young powerful men & about 6 feet high.— From their dress &c &c they resembled the representations of Devils on the Stage, for instance in Der Freischutz.— The old man had a white feather cap; from under which, black long hair hung round his face.— The skin is dirty copper colour. Reaching from ear to ear & including the upper lip, there was a broard red coloured band of paint.— & parallel & above this, there was a white one; so that the eyebrows & eyelids were even thus coloured; the only garment was a large guanaco skin, with the hair outside.— This was merely thrown over their shoulders, one arm & leg being bare; for any exercise they must be absolutely naked.— Their very attitudes were abject, & the expression distrustful, surprised & startled:— Having given them some red cloth, which they immediately placed round their necks, we became good friends.— This was shown by the old man patting our breasts & making something like the same noise which people do when feeding chickens.— I walked with the old man & this demonstration was repeated between us several times: at last he gave me three hard slaps on the breast & back at the same time, & making most curious noises.— He then bared his bosom for me to return the compliment, which being done, he seemed highly pleased:— Their language does not deserve to be called articulate: Capt. Cook says it is like a man clearing his throat; to which may be added another very hoarse man trying to shout & a third encouraging a horse with that peculiar noise which is made in one side of the mouth.— Imagine these sounds & a few gutterals mingled with them, & there will be as near an approximation to their language as any European may expect to obtain.§

§ For a different opinion, when Lucas Bridges wrote his Uttermost Part of the Earth, he recalled that his father …

… was fascinated by the extraordinary richness of this aboriginal tongue and the grammatical beauty of its construction … Within its own limitations, it is infinitely richer and more expressive (emphasis added) than English or Spanish.
The Yahgans had five names for “snow” and more for “beach”—depending on the position of the beach in relation to that of the speaker, …

Their chief anxiety was obtain knives; this they showed by pretending to have blubber in their mouths, & cutting instead of tearing it from the body.— they called them in a continued plaintive tone Cochilla,— probably a corruption from a Spanish word.— They are excellent mimics, if you cough or yawn or make any odd motion they immediately imitate you.— Some of the officers began to squint & make monkey like faces;— but one of the young men, whose face was painted black with white band over his eyes was most successful in making still more hideous grimaces.— When a song was struck up, I thought they would have fallen down with astonishment; & with equal delight they viewed our dancing and immediately began themselves to waltz with one of the officers.— They knew what guns were & much dreaded them, & nothing would tempt them to take one in their hands.— Jemmy Button came in the boat with us; it was interesting to watch their conduct to him.— They immediately perceived the difference & held much conversation between themselves on the subject.— The old man then began a long harangue to Jemmy; who said it was inviting him to stay with them:— but the language is rather different & Jemmy could not talk to them.— If their dress & appearance is miserable, their manner of living is still more so.— Their food chiefly consists in limpets & muscles, together with seals & a few birds; they must also catch occasionally a Guanaco. They seem to have no property excepting bows & arrows & spears: their present residence is under a few bushes by a ledge of rock: it is no ways sufficient to keep out rain or wind.— & now in the middle of summer it daily rains & as yet each day there has been some sleet.— The almost impenetrable wood reaches down to high water mark.— so that the habitable land is literally reduced to the large stones on the beach.— & here at low water, whether it may be night or day, these wretched looking beings pick up a livelihood.— I believe if the world was searched, no lower grade of man could be found.— The Southsea Islanders are civilized compared to them, & the Esquimaux, in subterranean huts may enjoy some of the comforts of life.—

After dinner the Captain paid the Fuegians another visit.— They received us with less distrust & brought with them their timid children.— They noticed York Minster (who accompanied us) in the same manner as Jemmy, & told him he ought to shave, & yet he has not 20 hairs on his face, whilst we all wear our untrimmed beards.— They examined the color of his skin; & having done so, they looked at ours.— An arm being bared, they expressed the liveliest surprise & admiration.— Their whole conduct was such an odd mixture of astonishment & imitation, that nothing could be more laughable & interesting.— The tallest man was pleased with being examined & compared with a tall sea-man, in doing this he tried his best to get on rather higher ground & to stand on tip-toes: He opened his mouth to show his teeth & turned his face en profil; for the rest of his days doubtless he will be the beau ideal of his tribe.— Two or three of the officers, who are both fairer & shorter than the others (although possessed of large beards) were, we think, taken for Ladies.— I wish they would follow our supposed example & produce their “squaws.”— In the evening we parted very good friends; which I think was fortunate, for the dancing & “sky-larking” had occassionally bordered on a trial of strength.—

19th: I determined to attempt to penetrate some way into the country.— There is no level ground & all the hills are so thickly clothed with wood as to be quite impassable.— The trees are so dose together & send off their branches so low down, that I found extreme difficulty in pushing my way even for gun-shot distance.— I followed therefore the course of a mountain torrent; at first from the cascades & dead trees, I hardly managed to crawl along; but shortly the open course became wider, the floods keeping clear the borders.— For an hour I continued to follow the stream, & was well repaid by the grandeur of the scene.— The gloomy depth of the ravine well accorded with the universal signs of violence.— in every direction were irregular masses of rock & uptorn trees, others decayed & others ready to fall.— To have made the scene perfect, there ought to have been a group of Banditti.— in place of it, a seaman (who accompanied me) & myself, being armed & roughly dressed, were in tolerable unison with the surrounding savage Magnificence. We continued ascending till we came to what I suppose must have been the course of a water-spout, & by its course reached a considerable elevation.— The view was imposing but not very picturesque: the whole wood is composed of the antarctic Beech (the Winters bark & the Birch are comparatively rare). This tree is an evergreen, but the tint of the foliage is brownish yellow: Hence the whole lanscape has a monotomous sombre appearance; neither is it often enlivened by the rays of the sun.— At this highest point the wood is not quite so thick,— but the trees, though not high are of considerable thickness.— Their curved & bent trunks are coated with lichens, as their roots are with moss; in fact the whole bottom is a swamp where nothing grows except rushes & various sorts of moss.— the number of decaying & fallen trees reminded me of the Tropical forest.— But in this still solitude, death instead of life is the predominant spirit.— The delight which I experienced, whilst thus looking around, was increased by the knowledge that this part of the forest had never before been traversed by man.—

20th: I was very anxious to ascend some of the mountains in order to collect the Alpine plants & insects.— The one which I partly ascended yesterday was the nearest, & Capt. FitzRoy thinks it is certainly the one which Mr Banks ascended, although it cost him the lives of two of his men & very nearly that of Dr Solander.— I determined to follow a branch of the watercourse, as by this means all danger of losing yourself even in the case of a snow storm is removed.— The difficulty of climbing was very great: as the dead & living trunks were so close, that in many places it was necessary to push them down to make a path.— I then gained a clearer place & continued following the rivulet.— This at last dwindled away, but having climbed a tree I took the bearing of the summit of the hill with a compass & so steered a straight course.— I had imagined the higher I got, the more easy the ascent would be, the case however was reversed. From the effects of the wind, the trees were not above 8 or 10 feet high, but with thick & very crooked stems; I was obliged often to crawl on my knees. At length I reached what I imagined to be green turf; but was again disappointed by finding a compact mass of little beech trees about 4 or 5 feet high.— These were as thick as Box in the border of a flower garden.— For many yards together my feet never touched the ground. I hailed with joy the rocks covered with Lichens & soon was at the very summit.— The view was very fine, expecially of Staten Land & the neighbouring hills; Good Success Bay with the little Beagle were close beneath me. In ascending the bare summit, I came close to two Guanaco & in the course of my walk saw several more.— These beautiful animals are truly alpine in their habits, & in their wildness well become the surrounding landscape.— I cannot imagine anything more graceful than their action: they start on a canter & when passing through rough ground they dash at it like a thorough bred hunter.— The noise they make is very peculiar & somewhat resembles the neighing of a colt.1 A ridge connected this hill with one several miles distant & much more lofty, even so that snow was lying on it; as the day was not far advanced I determined to walk there & collect on the road.— Some time after I left this hill (Banks Hill - Capt: FitzR) a party of 6 from the ship reached it, but by a more difficult path; but in descending they found an easier.— After 2 hours & a half walking I was on the top of the distant peak.— it was the highest in the immediate neighbourhead & the waters on each side flowed into different seas.— The view was superb, & well was I repaid for the fatigue.— I could see the whole neck of land which forms the East of Strait Le Maire.— From Cape St. Diego as far as the eye could reach up the NW coast; & what interested me most, was the whole interior country between the two seas.— The Southern was mountainous & thickly wooded; the Northern appeared to be a flat swamp & at the extreme NW part there was an expanse of water, but this will be hereafter examined. It looked dirty in the SW & I was afraid to stay long to enjoy this view over so wild & so unfrequented a country.— When Sir J. Banks ascended one of these mountains it was the middle of January which corresponds to our August & is certainly as hot as this month, & even with the occurrence of a snow-storm the misfortunes they met with are inexplicable. The snow was lying on the ESE side of the hills, & the wind was keen.— but on the lee side the air was dry & pleasant. Between the stony ridges & the woods there is a band of peat bogs & over this the greater part of my track lay.— but nearly all the difficulty was avoided by following a regular path which the Guanacos frequent; by following this I reached in much shorter time the forest & began the most laborious descent through its entangled thickets.— I collected several alpine flowers, some of which were the most diminutive I ever saw; & altogether most throuighly enjoyed the walk.—

21st: The Beagle got under weigh at 4 AM. — & doubtless to the grief of the Fuegians: The same evening we were with them they departed in a body, but yesterday they returned with a reinforcement of natives who most likely came to beg for “Cochillas.” — We doubled Cape Good Success, then the wind fell light & it became misty. — So calm a sea & atmosphere would have surprised those who think that this is the region where winds & waters never cease fighting. —

22nd: In the morning watch it freshened into a fine Easterly wind. — which is about as lucky & rare an event as getting a prize ticket in a lottery. We soon closed in with the Barnevelts; & running past Cape Deceit with its stony peaks, about 3 oclock doubled the old-weather-beaten Cape Horn. — The evening was calm & bright & we enjoyed a fine view of the surrounding isles. — The height of the hills varies from 7 or 800 to 1700, & together they form a grand irregular chain. — Cape Horn however demanded his tribute & by night sent us a gale right in our teeth. — With close-reefed sail

23rd: the Beagle made good weather of

24th: it; & much to her credit fell nothing to leeward. — In the morning of the 24th Cape Horn was on our weather bow. — We now saw this notorious point in its proper form, veiled in a mist & its dim outline surrounded by a storm of wind & water: Great black clouds were rolling across the sky & squalls of rain & hail swept by us with very great violence: so that the Captain determined to run into Wigwam Cove. — This harbor is a quiet little basin behind Cape Spencer & not far from Cape Horn. — And here we are in quite smooth water; & the only thing which reminds us of the gale which is blowing outside. — is the heavy puffs or Whyllywaws, which every 5 minutes come over the mountains, as if they would blow us out of the water. —

25th: This being Christmas day, all duty is suspended, the seamen look forward to it as a great gala day; & from this reason we remained at anchor. — Wigwam Cove is in Hermit Island; its situation is pointed out by Katers Peak, a steep conical mountain 1700 feet high which arises by the side of, & overlooks the bay: — Sulivan Hamond & myself started after breakfast to ascend it: — the sides were very steep so to make the climbing very fatiguing, & parts were thick with the Antarctic Beech. From the summit a good geographical idea might be obtained of the surrounding isles & distant main land. — These islands would appear to be the termination of the chain of the Andes; the mountain tops only being raised above the ocean. — Whilst looking round on this inhospitable region we could scarcely credit that man existed in it. — On our return on board, we were told we had been seen from the ship: this we knew to be impossible, as the Beagle is anchored at the mouth of the harbor & close under a lofty peak, behind which is Katers. As it was certain men had been seen crawling over the rock on this hill, they must have been Fuegians. — From their position, all our parties were in view. — & what must have been their feelings of astonishment — the whole of Wigwam Cove resounded with guns fired in the Caverns at the Wild fowl; we three also screaming to find out echos, Sulivan amusing himself by rolling down the precipes huge stones, & I impetuously hammering with my geological tools the rocks. They must have thought us the powers of darkness; or whatever else, fear has kept them concealed. — Wigwam Cove has frequently been visited: it was named by Mr Weddell. The Chanticleer, with Capt. Forster remained here some months; the remains of the tent where he swung the Pendulum exist yet. —

The sky looked ominous at sunset & in the middle of the night the hands were turned up to let go another anchor, for it blew a tremendous gale.

26th: The weather continues unsettled & most exceedingly unpleasant; on the hills snow falls, & in the vallies continued rain & wind. — The temperature in day-time is about 45° & at night it falls to 38° or 40°; from the continued cloudy state of the atmosphere, the suns rays seldom have much power. — Considering this is the middle of the summer & that the Latitude is nearly the same as Edinburgh, the climate is singularly uncongenial. Even on the fine days, there is a continual succession of rain or hail storms; so that on shore there is not a dry spot. —

27th, 28th & 29th: To our great loss, the weather during these three days has been very bad, with much rain & violent squalls from the SW. — Yesterday the Captain went to reconnoitre the bays formed by the many islands at the back of Hermits.— I accompanied him, but the weather is so bleak & raw as to render boating rather disagreeable. — We ascended some of the hills, which as usual showed us the nakedness of the land. —

In most of the coves there were wigwams; some of them had been recently inhabited. The wigwam or Fuegian house is in shape like a cock of hay, about 4 feet high & circular; it can only be the work of an hour, being merely formed of a few branches & imperfectly thatched with grass, rushes &c. As shell fish, the chief source of subsistence, are soon exhausted in any one place, there is a constant necessity for migrating; & hence it comes that these dwellings are so very miserable. It is however evident that the same spot at intervals, is frequented for a succession of years. — the wigwam is generally built on a hillock of shells & bones, a large mass weighing many tuns. — Wild celery, Scurvy grass, & other plants invariably grow on this heap of manure, so that by the brighter green of the vegetation the site of a wigwam is pointed out even at a great distance. —

The sea is here tenanted by many curious birds, amongst which the Steamer is remarkable; this a large sort of goose, which is quite unable to fly but uses its wings to flapper along the water; from thus beating the water it takes its name. Here also are many Penguins, which in their habits are like fish, so much of their time do they spend under water, & when on the surface they show little of their bodies excepting the head. — their wings are merely covered with short feathers. So that there are three sorts of birds which use their wings for more purposes than flying; the Steamer as paddles, the penguin as fins, & the Ostrich spreads its plumes like sails to the breeze. —

30th: Remained at anchor.

31st: The sun having at last shown itself at the proper time, observations were obtained & as the weather did not look quite so bad we put to sea.


January 1st: For this & the following day we had a moderate wind from the old quarter SW; we all thought that after so much bad weather we should at least have a few fine days; the wind lulled & we hailed with joy a light air from the East; but in a couple of hours it veered to the North & then blew a strong gale from the SW.—

2nd, 3rd: This is always accompanied by constant rain & a heavy sea; & now after four days beating we have scarcely gained a league. Can there be imagined a more disagreeable way of passing time?— Whilst weathering the Diego Ramirez rocks, the Beagle gave an unusual instance of good sailing; with closed reefed topsails & courses & a great sea running, close hauled to the wind she made 7½ knots.

4th-9th: During all these precious days we have been beating day & night against the Westerly winds. The cause of our slow progress is a current which is always setting round the coast & which counterbalances the little which can be gained by beating up against strong winds & a heavy sea. — After passing the Il Defonsos rocks, it blew strong & in 24 hours we were rather to leeward of them. — After this the wind was steady from the NW with much rain, & we drifted down to the Latitude of 57° 23'. — On the 8th it blew what Sailors term a strong gale (it is the first we have had) the Beagle is however so good a sea-boat, that it makes no great difference.

To day (9th) the weather has been a little better, but now at night the wind is again drawing to the old quarter.— We doubled Cape Horn on the [illegible], since which we have either been waiting for good or beating against bad weather & now we actually are about the same distance, viz. a hundred miles, from our destination.— There is however the essential difference of being to the South instead of the East.— Besides the serious & utter loss of time & the necessary discomforts of the ship heavily pitching & the miseries of constant wet & cold, I have scarcely for an hour been quite free from sea-sickness: How long the bad weather may last, I know not; but my spirits, temper, & stomach, I am well assured, will not hold out much longer.—

10th: A gale from the SW.

11th: A very strong breeze, with heavy squalls; by carrying a press of sail, we fetched within a mile of Christmas Sound. — This rough precipitous coast is known by a mountain which from its castellated form was called by Capt. Cook York Minster. We saw it only to be disappointed, a violent squall forced us to shorten sail & stand out to sea. — To give an idea of the fury of the unbroken ocean, clouds of spray were carried over a precipice which must have been 200 feet high. —

12th: A gale with much rain, at night it freshened into a regular storm. — The Captain was afraid it would have carried away the close reefed main topsail. — We then continued with merely the trysails & storm stay sail.

Sunday 13th: The gale does not abate: if the Beagle was not an excellent sea-boat & our tackle in good condition, we should be in distress. A less gale has dismasted & foundered many a good ship. The worst part of the business is our not exactly knowing our position: it has an awkward sound to hear the officers repeatedly telling the look out man to look well to leeward. — Our horizon was limited to a small compass by the spray carried by the wind:—the sea looked ominous, there was so much foam that it resembled a dreary plain covered by patches of drifted snow. — Whilst we were heavily labouring, it was curious to see how the Albatross with its widely expanded wings, glided right up the wind. —

Noon. At noon the storm was at its height; & we began to suffer; a great sea struck us & came on board; the after tackle of the quarter boat gave way & an axe being obtained they were instantly obliged to cut away one of the beautiful whale-boats. —the same sea filled our decks so deep, that if another had followed it is not difficult to guess the result. — It is not easy to imagine what a state of confusion the decks were in from the great body of water. — At last the ports were knocked open & she again rose buoyant to the sea. — In the evening it moderated & we made out Cape Spencer (near Wigwam Cove), & running in, anchored behind false Cape Horn. — As it was dark there was difficulty in finding a place; but as the men & officers from constant wet are much tired, the anchor was “let go” in the unusual depth of 47 fathoms. — The luxury of quiet water after being involved in such a warring of the elements is indeed great. — It could have been no ordinary one since Capt. FitzRoy considers it the worst gale he was ever in. — It is a disheartening reflection; that it is now 24 days since doubling Cape Horn, since which there has been constant bad weather, & we are now not at much above 20 miles from it.

14th: The winds certainly are most remarkable; after such a storm as yesterdays, it blew a heavy gale from the SW.— As we are in smooth water it does not so much signify. — We stood to the North to find an harbor; but after a wearying search in a large bay did not succeed. I find I have suffered an irreparable loss from yesterdays disaster, in my drying paper & plants being wetted with salt-water. — Nothing resists the force of an heavy sea; it forces open doors & sky lights, & spreads universal damage. — None but those who have tried it, know the miseries of a really heavy gale of wind. — May Providence keep the Beagle out of them. —

15th: Standing to the East, we found a most excellent anchorage in Goree Sound & moored ship, secured from wind & sea: We shall probably remain here some weeks as the Fuegians & Matthews are to be settled here & there will be some boat expeditions. The object of our disastrous attempt to get to the Westward was to go to the Fuegian York Minsters, country. — Where we now are is Jemmy Buttons & most luckily York Minster from his free choice intends to live here with Matthews & Jemmy. — Goree Sound is situated by Lennox Island & near to the Eastern entrance of Beagle channell. —

16th: The Captain took two boats to search for a good place for the settlement. — We landed & walked some miles across the country. — It is the only piece of flat land the Captain has ever met with in Tierra del F & he consequently hoped it would be better fitted for agriculture. — Instead of this it turned out to be a dreary morass only tenanted by wild geese & a few Guanaco. — The section on the coast showed the turf or peat to be about 6 feet thick & therefore quite unfit for our purposes. We then searched in different places both in & out of the woods, but nowhere were able to penetrate to the soil; the whole country is a swamp. — The Captain has in consequence determined to take the Fuegians further up the country. — This place seems to be but sparingly inhabited. — In one place we found recent traces; even so that the fire where limpets had been roasted was yet warm. — York Minster said it had only been one man; “very bad man” & that probably he had stolen something. — We found the place where he had slept. — it positively afforded no more protection than the form of a hare. — How very little are the habits of such a being superior to those of an animal. — By day prowling along the coast & catching without art his prey, & by night sleeping on the bare ground. —

17th & 18th: Spent in preparing for a long excursion in the boats. — In consequence, the Captain determined to take the whole party to J. Buttons country in Ponsonby Sound.

19th: In the morning, three whale-boats & the Yawl started with a fair wind. — We were 28 in number & the yawl carried the outfit given to Matthews by the Missionary society. — The choice of articles showed the most culpable folly & negligence. Wine glasses, butter-bolts, tea-trays, soup turins, mahogany dressing case, fine white linen, beavor hats & an endless variety of similar things shows how little they was thought where about the country where they were going to. The means absolutely wasted on such things would have purchased an immense stock of really useful articles. — Our course lay towards the Eastern entrance of the Beagle channel & we entered it in the afternoon. — The scenery was most curious & interesting; the land is indented with numberless coves & inlets, & as the water is always calm, the trees actually stretch their boughs over the salt water. In our little fleet we glided along, till we found in the evening a corner snugly concealed by small islands. — Here we pitched our tents & lighted our fires. — nothing could look more romantic than this scene. — the glassy water of the cove & the boats at anchor; the tents supported by the oars & the smoke curling up the wooded valley formed a picture of quiet & retirement. —

20th: We began to enter to day the parts of the country which is thickly inhabited. — As the channel is not generally more than three or 4 miles broard, the constant succession of fresh objects quite takes away the excessive fatigue of sitting so many hours in one position. — The Beagle channel was first discovered by Cap FitzRoy during the last voyage,§ so that it is probable the greater part of the Fuegians had never seen Europæans. — Nothing could exceed their astonishment at the apparition of our four boats: fires were lighted on every point to attract our attention & spread the news. — Many of the men ran for some miles along the shore. — I shall never forget how savage & wild one group was. — Four or five men suddenly appeared on a cliff near to us. — they were absolutely naked & with long streaming hair; springing from the ground & waving their arms around their heads, they sent forth most hideous yells. Their appearance was so strange, that it was scarcely like that of earthly inhabitants. —

§ The Beagle Channel was actually discovered by Ship's Master Matthew Murray on the previous voyage, as noted in Volume I of the Narrative.

We landed at dinner time; the Fuegians were not at first inclined to be friendly, for till one boat pulled in before the others, they kept their slings in readiness:— We soon delighted them by trifling presents such as tying red tape round the forehead; it is very easy to please them but as difficult to make them content; the last & first word is sure to be “Yammerschooner” which means “give me.” — At night we in vain endeavoured to find an uninhabited cove; the natives being few in number were quiet & inoffensive:

21st: In the morning however, a fresh party having arrived, they became troublesome, some of the men picked up stones & the women & children retreated; I was very much afraid we should have had a skirmish; it would have been shocking to have fired on such naked miserable creatures. — Yet their stones & slings are so destructive that it would have been absolutely necessary. — In treating with savages, Europæans labor under a great disadvantage, untill the cruel lesson is taught how deadly firearms are. — Several times when the men have been tired & it was growing dark, all the things have been packed up to remove our quarters; & this solely from our entire inability to frighten the natives. One night the Captain fired double barrelled pistols close to their faces, but they only rubbed their heads & when he flourished his cutlass they were amused & laughed. They are such thieves & so bold Cannabals that one naturally prefers separate quarters. —

The country on each side of the channel continues much the same, slate hills thickly clothed by the beech woods run nearly parallel to the water; the low point of view from a boat & the looking along one valley & thus loosing the beautiful succession of ridges, is nearly destructive to picturesque effect. —

22nd: After an unmolested night in what would appear to be neutral ground, between the people we saw yesterday & Jemmy's. — we enjoyed a delightful pull through the calm water. — The Northern mountains have become more lofty & jagged. — their summits are partially covered with snow & their sides with dark woods: it was very curious to see as far as the eye ranged, how exact & truly horizontal the line was at which the trees ceased to grow. —it precisely resembled on a beach the high-water mark of drift sea-weed. —

At night we arrived at the junction with Ponsonby Sound; we took up our quarters with a family belonging to Jemmy's or the Tekenika1 people. — They were quiet & inoffensive & soon joined the seamen round a blazing fire; although naked they streamed with perspiration at sitting so near to a fire which we found only comfortable. — They attempted to join Chorus with the songs; but the way in which they were always behind hand was quite laughable.— A canoe had to be despatched to spread the news & in the morning a large gang arrived. —

23rd: Many of them had run so fast that their noses were bleeding, & they talked with such rapidity that their mouths frothed, & as they were all painted white red & black they looked like so many demoniacs who had been fighting. — We started, accompanied by 12 canoes, each holding 4 or 5 people, & turning down Ponsonby, soon left them far behind. — Jemmy Button now perfectly knew the way & he guided us to a quiet cove where his family used formerly to reside. We were sorry to find that Jemmy had quite forgotten his language, that is as far as talking, he could however understand a little of what was said. It was pitiable, but laughable, to hear him spe talk to his brother in English & ask him in Spanish whether he understood it.§ I do not suppose, any person exists with such a small stock of language as poor Jemmy, his own language forgotten, & his English ornamented with a few Spanish words, almost unintelligible. — Jemmy heard that his father was dead; but as he had had a “dream in his head” to that effect, he seemed to expect it & not much care about it. — He comforted himself with the natural reflection “me no help it.” — Jemmy could never find out any particulars about his father, as it is their constant habit, never to mention the dead. — We believe they are buried high up in the woods. — anyhow Jemmy will not eat land-birds, because they live on dead men. — This is one out of many instances where his prejudices are recollected, although language forgotten.

§ “|| Man violently crying along side ||” written in left margin.

When we arrived at Woolliah (Jemmy's Cove)[now, Wulaia] we found it far better suited for our purposes, than any place we had hitherto seen. — There was a considerable space of cleared & rich ground, & doubtless Europæan vegetables would flourish well. — We found a strange family living there, & having made them friends, they, in the evening, sent a canoe to Jemmy's relations. — We remained in this place till the 27th, during which the labors of our little colony commenced. — On the 24th the Fuegians began to pour in; Jemmy's mother, brother, & uncle came; the meeting was not so interesting as that of two horses in a field. — The most curious part was the astonishing distance at which Jemmy recognized his brothers voice. To be sure, their voices are wonderfully powerful. — I really believe they could make themselves heard at treble the distance of an Englishmen. — All the organs of sense are highly perfected; sailors are well known for their good eyesight, & yet the Fuegians were as superior as another almost would be with a glass. — When Jemmy quarrelled with any of the officers, he would say “me see ship, me no tell.” — Both he & York have invariably been in the right; even when objects have been examined with a glass.

Everything went on very peacibly for some days.— 3 houses were built, & two gardens dug & planted. — & what was of most consequence the Fuegians were very quiet & peacible; at one time there were about 120 of them. —the men sat all day long watching our proceedings & the poor women working like slaves for their subsistence. The men did not manifest much surprise at anything & never even appeared to look at the boats. — Stripping for washing & our white skins seemed most to excite their attention. — They asked for every thing they saw & stole what they could. — Dancing & singing absolutely delighted them. — Things thus remained so quiet, that others & myself took long walks in the surrounding hills & woods. — On the 27th however suddenly every woman & child & nearly all the men disappeared removed themselves & we were watched from a neighbouring hill. — We were all very uneasy at this, as neither Jemmy or York understood what it meant; & it did not promise peace for the establishment. — We were quite at a loss to account for it. Some thought that they had been frightened by our cleaning & firing off our fire-arms the evening before. — perhaps it had some connection with a quarrell between an old man & one of our sentries. — the old man being told not to come so close, spat in the seamans face & then retreating behind the trench, made motions, which it was said, could mean nothing but skinning & cutting up a man. He acted it over a sleeping Fuegian, who was asleep, & eyed at the same time our man, as much as to say, this is the way I should like to serve you: — Whatever might have been the cause of the retreat of the Fuegians, the Captain thought it advisable not to sleep another night there. All the goods were therefore moved to the houses, & Matthews & his companions prepared to pass rather an aweful night. — Matthews behaved with his usual quiet resolution: he is of an eccentric character & does not appear (which is strange) to possess much energy & I think it very doubtful how far he is qualified for so arduous an undertaking. — In the evening we removed to a cove a few miles distant & in the morning returned to the settlement.

28th: We found everything quiet; the canoes were employed in spearing fish & most of the people had returned. — We were very glad of this & now hoped everything would go on smoothly. — The Captain sent the Yawl & one Whale boat back to the ship; & we in the other two re-entered the Beagle channel in order to examine the islands around its Western entrance. To everyones surprise the day was overpowringly hot, so much so that our skin was burnt; this is quite a novelty in Tierra del F. — The Beagle channel is here very striking, the view both ways is not intercepted, & to the West extends to the Pacific. — So narrow & straight a channell & in length nearly 120 miles, must be a rare phenomenon. — We were reminded, that it was an arm of the sea, by the number of Whales, which were spouting in different directions: the water is so deep that one morning two monstrous whales were swimming within stone throw of the shore. — In the evening having pitched our tents, unfortunately a party of Fuegians appeared. — If these barbarians were a little less barbarous, it would have been easy, as we were superior in numbers, to have pushed them away & obliged them to keep beyond a certain line. — but their courage is like that of a wild beast, they would not think of their inferiority in number, but each individual would endeavour to dash your brains out with a stone, as a tiger would be certain under similar circumstances to tear you. — We sailed on till it was dark & then found a quiet nook; the great object is to find a beach with pebbles, for they are both dry & yield to the body, & really in our blanket bags we passed very comfortable nights. — It was my watch till one oclock; there is something very solemn in such scenes; the consciousness rushes on the mind in how remote a corner of the globe you are then in; all tends to this end, the quiet of the night is only interrupted by the heavy breathing of the men & the cry of the night birds. —the occasional distant bark of a dog reminds one that the Fuegians may be prowling, close to the tents, ready for a fatal rush. —

29th: In the morning we arrived at the point where the channel divides & we entered the Northern arm. The scenery becomes very grand, the mountains on the right are very lofty & covered with a white mantle of perpetual snow: from the melting of this numbers of cascades poured their waters through the woods into the channel. — In many places magnificent glaciers extended from the mountains to the waters edge. — I cannot imagine anything more beautiful than the beryl blue of these glaciers, especially when contrasted by the snow: the occurrence of glaciers reaching to the waters edge & in summer, in Lat: 56° is a most curious phenomenon: the same thing does not occur in Norway under Lat. 70°. — From the number of small ice-bergs the channel represented in miniature the Arctic ocean. — One of these glaciers placed us for a minute in most imminent peril; whilst dining in a little bay about ½ a mile from one & admiring the beautiful colour of its vertical & overhanging face, a large mass fell roaring into the water; our boats were on the beach; we saw a great wave rushing onwards & instantly it was evident how great was the chance of their being dashed into pieces. — One of the seamen just got hold of the boat as the curling breaker reached it: he was knocked over & over but not hurt & most fortunately our boat received no damage. — If they had been washed away; how dangerous would our lot have been, surrounded on all sides by hostile Savages &deprived of all provisions.—

30th: The scenery was very grand, we were sailing parallel, as it were to the backbone of Tierra del; the central granitic ridge which has determined the form of all the lesser ones: It was a great comfort finding all the natives absent; the outer coast during the summer is on account of the seals, their chief resort. — At night we had miserable quarters, we slept on boulders, the intervals being filled up with putrefying sea-weed; & the water flowed to the very edge of the tent. —

31st: The channel now ran between islands; & this part was entirely unknown; it rained continually & the weather well became its bad character. —

February 1st & 2nd: The country was most desolate, barren, & unfrequented: we landed on the East end of Stuart island, which was our furthest point to the West being about 150 miles from the ship:

3rd: Miserable weather: we proceeded by the outside coast to the Southern entrance or arm of the Beagle Ch. & thus commenced our return.

4th & 5th: Nothing happened till the evening before reentering Ponsonby Sound. — We met a large body of Fuegians, & had a regular auction to purchase fish; by the means of old buttons, & bits of red cloth we purchased an excellent supper of fish.

6th: Arrived at the Settlement. — Matthews gave so bad an account of the conduct of the Fuegians that the Captain advised him to return to the ship. — From the moment of our leaving, a regular system of plunder commenced, in which not only Matthews, but York & Jemmy suffered. Matthews had nearly lost all his things; & the constant watching was most harassing & entirely prevented him from doing anything to obtain food &c. Night & day large parties of the natives surrounded his house.§ — One day, having requested an old man to leave the place, he returned with a large stone in his hand: Another day, a whole party advanced with stones & stakes, & some of the younger men & Jemmy's brother were crying. — Matthews thought it was only to rob him & he met them with presents. — I cannot help thinking that more was meant. — They showed by signs they would strip him & pluck all the hairs out of his face & body. — I think we returned just in time to save his life. — The perfect equality of all the inhabitants will for many years prevent their civilization: even a shirt or other article of clothing is immediately torn into pieces. — Until some chief rises, who by his power might be able to keep to himself such presents as animals &c &c, there must be an end to all hopes of bettering their condition. — It would not have been so bad if all the plunder had remained in one family or tribe. — But there was a constant succession of fresh canoes, & each one returned with something. — Jemmy's own relations were absolutely so foolish & vain, as to show to strangers what they had stolen & the method of doing it. —

§ Illegible note in left margin: “They tryed to tire him out by making incess. noises” according to Barlow and Keynes editions.

It was quite melancholy leaving our Fuegians amongst their barbarous countrymen: there was one comfort; they appeared to have no personal fears. — But, in contradiction of what has often been stated, 3 years has been sufficient to change savages, into, as far as habits go, complete & voluntary Europæans. — York, who was a full grown man & with a strong violent mind, will I am certain in every respect live as far as his means go, like an Englishman. — Poor Jemmy, looked rather disconsolate, & certainly would have liked to have returned with us;§ he said “they were all very bad men, no sabe nothing.” —Jemmy's own brother had been stealing from him as Jemmy said, “what fashion do you call that.” — I am afraid whatever other ends their excursion to England produces, it will not be conducive to their happiness. — They have far too much sense not to see the vast superiority of civilized over uncivilized habits; & yet I am afraid to the latter they must return. —

§ FitzRoy's account contradicts this: Jemmy “ … was happy and contented, and had no wish whatever to change his way of life.” Now married, he had no intention of returning to England, as also noted by Darwin one month later.

We took Matthews & some of the clothes, which he had buried in the boat & made sail: The Captain to save time determined to go to the South & outside of Navarin Island, instead of our returning by the Beagle channel. We slept at night in the S. entrance of Ponsonby Sound, & in the morning started for the ship.

There was a fresh breeze & a good deal of sea, rather more than is pleasant for a boat. So that on reaching in the evening the Beagle, there was the pleasure of smooth water joined to that of returning after 20 days absence. — The distance we have run in the boats has been about 300 miles & as it was in a East & West direction it afforded an excellent geological section of the country. —

8th & 9th: The ship remained in Goree Sound. —

Sunday 10th: Removed to a bay North of Orange Bay. —

11th-15th: The Captain, in his boat, paid the Fuegians a visit, & has brought back a very prosperous account of them. — Very few of the things belonging to Jemmy, York or Fuegia had been stolen & the conduct of the natives was quite peacible. — If the garden succeeds, this little settlement may be yet the means of producing great good & altering the habits of the truly savage inhabitants: — On the 13th, a party of eight under the command of Mr Chaffers crossed Hardy peninsula so as to reach & survey the West coast. The distance was not great; but from the soft swampy ground was fatiguing. — This peninsula, although really part of an island, may be considered as the most Southern extremity of America: it is terminated by False Cape Horn. — The day was beautiful, even sufficiently so as to communicate part of its charms to the surrounding desolate scenery.— This & a view of the Pacific was all that repaid us for our trouble.—

16th: The same party started again & for the same object, but our course was rather different: Having ascended a more lofty hill, we enjoyed a most commanding view of the two oceans & their islands.— The weather was beautiful; indeed ever since being in harbour Tierra del has been doing its best to make up for the three miserable weeks at sea.—

Sunday 17th: Divine service & a quiet day.—

18th & 19th: The Ship moved to Woollaston Island & during these days, the Northern part has been surveyed.

20th: It blew very hard, & in consequence the Captain has run across the bay to our old quiet place in Goree Road.— The thermometer was only 38° with much rain & hail.—

21st: The weather prevented our returning to Woollaston island & from touching at Acquirre bay, so we made a clean run for good Success Bay.

22nd: To night it is blowing furiously: the water is fairly torn up, & thick bodies of spray are whirled across the Bay.—

23rd: Last nights gale was an unusually heavy one.— We were obliged to let go three anchors.— The Boats were unable to bring off the wooding party, so they were obliged to make it out as well as they could during the night.—

Sunday 24th & 25th: After waiting for fine weather, on Monday I ascended Banks Hill to measure its height & found it 1472 feet.— The wind was so strong & cold; that we were glad to beat a retreat.— If we had been an hour later, the boats could not have reached the shore for us.— This was one of the hills I went up during our last visit, I was surprised that nine weeks had not effaced our footsteps so that we could recognize to whom they belonged.—

26th: Put to sea & steered for the Falkland islands: at night it blew heavily with a great sea: the history of this climate is a history of its gales.—

2: 1834

January 26th: With a fair wind, we passed the white cliffs of Cape Virgins & entered those famous Straits.

29th: Came to an anchor in St Gregory Bay; these days we have beaten against strong Westerly gales. — the tide here rises between 40 & 50 feet & runs at the rate of between 5 & 6 miles per hour. Who can wonder at the dread of the early navigators of these Straits? On shore there were the Toldos of a large tribe of Patagonian Indians. — Went on shore with the Captain & met with a very kind reception. These Indians have such constant communication with the Sealers, that they are half civilized. — they talk a good deal of Spanish & some English. Their appearance is however rather wild. — they are all clothed in large mantles of the Guanaco, & their long hair streams about their faces. — They resemble in their countenance the Indians with Rosas, but are much more painted; many with their whole faces red, & brought to a point on the chin, others black. — One man was ringed & dotted with white like a Fuegian. — The average height appeared to be more than six feet; the horses who carried these large men were small & ill fitted for their work. When we returned to the boat, a great number of Indians got in; it was a very tedious & difficult operation to clear the boat; The Captain promised to take three on board, & every one seemed determined to be one of them. — At last we reached the ship with our three guests. — At tea they behaved quite like gentlemen, used a knife & fork & helped themselves with a spoon. — Nothing was so much relished as Sugar. They felt the motion & were therefore landed. —

30th: A large party went on shore to barter for mantles. &c. The whole population of the Toldos were arranged on a bank, bringing having brought with them Guanaco skins, ostrich feathers &c &c. The first demand was for fire-arms & of course not giving them these, tobacco was the next; indeed knives, axes &c were of no esteem in comparison to tobacco. — It was an amusing scene & it was impossible not to like these mis-named giants, they were so throughily good-humoured & unsuspecting. — An old woman, well known by the name of Santa Maria,§ recognized Mr. Rowlett as belonging formerly to the Adventure & as having seen him a year & a half ago at the R. Negro, to which place a part of this tribe had then gone to barter their goods. Our semi-civilized friends expressed great anxiety for the ship to return & one old man wanted to accompany us. — Got under weigh & beat up to Elizabeth island & there came to an anchor. Some Patagonians near Peckets harbor made three large fires, as did also the Fuegians on the more distant Southern shore. — Which signs of their proximity we are sorry to see. —

§ Known simply as Maria by Phillip Parker King and others. How Darwin came up with Santa Maria is unknown.

31st: The Ship came to an anchor in Shoal Harbor; but it was found inconvenient; she then doubled Cape Negro & again anchored in Lando Bay. — The boats were lowered & a party went on shore. — no good water could be found.

February 1st: So in the morning got under weigh to run to Port Famine; The wind fell light; so the Captain sent the ship back to her anchorage & proceeded in a boat to the head of Shoal Harbor, During the last voyage the Captain discovered a large inland sea (Skyring Water), 50 miles long; From the end of Shoal harbor we walked 5 miles across the country in hopes of being able to see it; the distance turned out to be greater than was expected & we were disappointed, if it had been nearer, the Captain had intended to have put a whale-boat on wheels & dragged it across, which would have saved much time in the survey of this Water. As soon as we came on board, the anchor was weighed & with a light air stood down for Port Famine.

The country, in this neighbourhead, may be called an intermixture of Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego; here we have many plants of the two countries; the nature of the climate being intermediate: a few miles to the South the rounded Slate hills & forests of evergreen beeches commence. — The country is however throughily uninteresting. —

February 2nd: We got into Port Famine in the middle of the night, after a calm delightful day. M. Sarmiento a mountain 6800 feet high, was visible although 90 miles distant. —

3rd, 4th, 5th: We are now within a wet circle, in consequence every morning there has been torrents of rain; in the evening I managed to have some walks along the beach; which is the only place where it is possible to walk proceed in any way but scrambling.

6th: I left the ship at four oclock in the morning to ascend Mount Tarn; this is the highest land in this neighbourhead being 2600 feet above the sea. For the two first hours I never expected to reach the summit. — It is necessary always to have recourse to the compass: it is barely possible to see the sky & every other landmark which might serve as a guide is totally shut out. — In the deep ravines the death-like scene of desolation exceeds all description. It was blowing a gale of wind, but not a breath stirred the leaves of the highest trees; everything was dripping with water; even the very Fungi could not flourish. — In the bottom of the valleys it is impossible to travel, they are barricaded & crossed in every direction by great mouldering trunks: when using one of these as a bridge, your course will often be arrested by sinking fairly up to the knee in the rotten wood; in the same manner it is startling to rest against a thick tree & find a mass of decayed matter is ready to fall with the slightest blow. — I at last found myself amongst the stunted trees & soon reached the bare ridge which conducted me to the summit. — Here was a true Tierra del Fuego view; irregular chains of hills, mottled with patches of snow; deep yellowish-green valleys; & arms of the sea running in all directions; the atmosphere was not however clear, & indeed the strong wind was so piercingly cold, that it would prevent much enjoyment under any circumstances. — I had the good luck to find some shells in the rocks near the summit. — Our return was much easier as the weight of the body will force a passage through the underwood; & all the slips & falls are in the right direction. —

7th: The day has been splendidly clear; Sarmiento, appearing like a solid mass of snow, came quite close to us. If Tierra del could boast one such day a week, she would not be so throughily detested, as she is by all who know her. — I made the most of it & enjoyed a pleasant stroll with Mr Rowlett & Martens. — There is little fear of Indians. — we found however a wigwam which was not very old. — & the marks of a horse; Although There can be little inducement for the Patagonians to come here, as they cannot leave the beach; it is one of the few spots where the Fuegian & Patagonian can meet. — Many of the trees are of a large size. I saw several near the Sedger river, 13 feet in circumference & there is one 18·9 inches.§ — I saw a Winters bark 4'6" in circumference.—

§ Darwin's “18·9” style is unclear. Perhaps he meant “18 or 19.”

10th: As soon as observations were obtained, we made sail in order to leave the Straits & survey the East coast of Tierra del Fuego.

11th: The next day we were almost becalmed. — It is a most extraordinary contrast with the last season. — A sealing Schooner in the course of the day sent a boat on board; which brought lamentable news from the Falkland Islands. — the Gauchos had risen & murdered poor Brisbane & Dixon & the head Gaucho Simon, & it is feared several others. — Some English sailors managed to escape & are now in the West Island. — Since this the Challenger has been there & left the Governor with six (!) marines. — A Governor with no subjects except some desperate gauchos who are living in the middle of the island. — Of course they have taken all the half wild cattle & horses: in my opinion the Falkland islands are ruined. — this second desperate murder will give the place so bad a name that no Spanish Gauchos will come there, & without them to catch the wild cattle, the island is worth nothing. —

This Sealer has been this summer at anchor for six weeks under the Diego Ramiroz islands; & without a gale of wind! — The very time during which last year we had a gale of a month. — He was last year at these same islands. — during the gale of the 13th: his deck was fairly swept, he lost all his boats &c &c. — At this time two of his men were on one of the Diego rocks, where they were left miserably to perish, as he was obliged to run for the Falkland Ids.

12th: With very baffling winds we anchored late in the evening in Gregory Bay, where our friends the Indians anxiously seemed to desire our presence. During the day we passed close to Elizabeth Island, on North end of which there was a party of Fuegians with their canoe &c. — They were tall men & clothed in mantles; & belong probably to the East Coast; the same set of men we saw in Good Success Bay; they clearly are different from the Fuegians, & ought to be called foot Patagonians. — Jemmy Button had a great horror of these men, under the name of “Ohens men.” — “When the leaf is red, he used to say, Ohens men come over the hill & fight very much.” —

13th: Early in the morning we paid the Indians a visit in hopes of being able to obtain some Guanaco meat. — They were as usual very civil: there is now married & living amongst them a native of M: Video (by birth I should think 2/3 of Northern Indian blood) who has been four years with them. — He tells us that they will remain here all the winter & then proceed up the Cordilleras; hunting for ostrich eggs; but that Guanaco meat never fails them in these parts. — The Captain is thinking of exploring the R. Santa Cruz, & this man gave us some good news, viz that there are very few Indians in that part & that the river is so deep, that horses can no where ford it.§ — In the R. Chupat, much further North, there are very many Indians; enemies to this tribe. — But that all the Southern Indians 900 in number are friends. — At this present time there were two boat Indians paying the Patagonians a visit (the men whom I have called foot Patagonians); they do not speak the same language; but one of this tribe has learnt their dialect. — These Indians appear to have a facility in learning languages: most of them speak a little Spanish & English, which will greatly contribute to their civilization or demorilization: as these two steps seem to go hand in hand. —

§ FitzRoy's April 22, 1834 account mentions a place where the Indians crossed the river.

At mid-day we passed out of the first Narrows, & began to survey the coast. — There are many & dangerous banks, on one of which we ran a very good chance of sticking; to escape it was necessary to get in three Fathom water. —

14th-21st: During this week a complete survey has been made of the East coast of Tierra del Fuego. We landed only once, which was at the mouth of what was formerly supposed to be St Sebastians Channel, it now turns out only to be a large wild bay. — The country here is part of Patagonia, open & without trees; further to the South, we have the same sort of transition of the two countries which is to be observed in the Straits of Magellan. The scenery has in consequence a pretty, broken & park-like appearance. — In St Sebastian bay, there was a curious spectacle of very many Spermaceti Whales, some of which were jumping straight up out of the water; every part of the body was visible excepting the fin of the tail. As they fell sideways into the water, the noise was as loud as a distant great gun. — By the middle of the day we were, after very fortunate weather, at anchor in Thetis Bay, between C St Vincent & Diego.

Upon going on shore, we found a party of Fuegians; or the foot Patagonians, fine tall men with Guanaco mantle. — The wigwam was also covered with the skin of the same animal. — It is a complete puzzle to every-one, how these men with nothing more than their slight arrows, manage to kill such strong wary animals. —

22nd: As soon as the Ship doubled C. St Diego she got into a very great & dangerous tide rip. The Ship pitched very heavily; in a weak vessel it would almost have been sufficient to have jerked out her Masts. We soon got out of these uncomfortable straits; where a strong tide, great swell, & a bottom so uneven as to vary from 16 to 60 fathoms & then to 5, almost always cause a great bubbling sea. — In the evening, it fell a complete calm, & the long Southerly swell set us far too close to the West end of Staten land.

23rd: What a great useless animal a ship is, without wind; here the swell was setting us right on shore & in the morning we found ourselves at the East end of the island about 30 miles further from our destination, than on the day before. — Staten land is one of the most desolate places; it is the mere backbone of a mountain forming a ridge in the ocean. Its outline is peaked, castellated & most rugged. —

24th: Came to an anchor in the evening under Woollaston Isd.

25th: I walked or rather crawled to the tops of some of the hills; the rock is not slate, & in consequence there are but few trees; the hills are very much broken & of fantastic shapes. —

Whilst going on shore, we pulled alongside a canoe with 6 Fuegians. I never saw more miserable creatures; stunted in their growth, their hideous faces bedaubed with white paint & quite naked.— One [illegible] full aged woman absolutely so,§ the rain & spray were dripping from her body; their red skins filthy & greasy, their hair entangled, their voices discordant, their gesticulation violent & without any dignity. Viewing such men, one can hardly make oneself believe that they are fellow creatures placed in the same world.

§ “Woman with child” in left margin.

I can scarcely imagine that there is any spectacle more interesting & worthy of reflection, tha[?] one these unbroken savages. — It is a common subject of conjecture; what pleasure in life some of the less gifted animals can enjoy? How much more reasonably it may be asked with respect to these men. — To look at the Wigwam; any little depression in the soil is chosen, over this a few rotten trunks of trees are placed & to windward some tufts of grass. Here 5 or 6 human beings, naked & uncovered from the wind, rain & snow in this tempestuous climate sleep on the wet ground, coiled up like animals. — In the morning they rise to pick shell fish at low water; & the women winter & summer dive to collect sea eggs;§ such miserable food is eked out by tasteless berrys & Fungi. — They are surrounded by hostile tribes speaking different dialects; & the cause of their warfare would appear to be the means of subsistence. —Their country is a broken mass of wild rocks, lofty hills & useless forests, & these are viewed through mists & endless storms. In search of food they move from spot to spot, & so steep is the coast, this must be done in wretched canoes. — They cannot know † the feeling of having a home — & still less that of domestic affection; without, indeed, that of a master to an abject laborious slave can be called so. — How little can the higher powers of the mind come into play: what is there for imagination to paint, for reason to compare, for judgement to decide upon. — to knock a limpet from the rock does not even require cunning, that lowest power of the mind. Their skill, like the instinct of animals is not improved by experience; the canoe, their most ingenious work, poor as it may be, we know has remained the same for the Iast 300 years. Although essentially the same creature, how little must the mind of one of these beings resemble that of an educated man. What a scale of improvement is comprehended between the faculties of a Fuegian savage & a Sir Isaac Newton — Whence have these people come? Have they remained in the same state since the creation of the world? What could have tempted a tribe of men ‡ to travel down the Cordilleras the backbone of America, to invent & build canoes, & then to enter upon one of the most inhospitable countries in the world. — Such & many other reflections, must occupy the mind of every one who views one of these poor Savages. — At the same time, however, he may be aware that some of them are erroneous. — There can be no reason for supposing the race of Fuegians are decreasing, we may therefore be sure that he enjoys a sufficient share of happiness (whatever its kind may be) to render life worth having. Nature, by making habit omnipotent, has fitted the Fuegian to the climate & productions of his country. —

§ “Jerk out little fish out of the Beds of Kelp” in left margin.

† “The habitable land cannot support” inserted above previous three words.

‡ “leaving the fine regions of [?] north” inserted above previous five words.

26th: In the night it blew very hard & another anchor was let go. — The leaden sky, the water white with foam, brings one back to reason after all the fine weather. — Dear Tierra del has recollected her old winning ways. — The ship is now starting & surging with her gentle breath. — Oh the charming country.

27th: The weather was very bad: we left Wollaston Island & ran through Goree roads & anchored at the NE end of Navarin Island.

28th: This not being found a good place, the ship was moved to within the East end of the Beagle Channel & was moored by a beautiful little cove, with her stern not 100 yards from the mountains side. We passed this way last year in the boats. —

March 1st: All hands employed in getting in a stock of wood & water. There were three canoes full of Fuegians in this bay, who were very quiet & civil & more amusing than any Monkeys. — Their constant employment was begging for everything they saw; by the eternal word—yammer-scooner.— They understood that guns could kill Guanaco & pointed out in which direction to go. — They had a fair idea of barter & honesty. — I gave one man a large nail (a very valuable present) & without making signs for any return, he picked out two fish & handed them up on the point of his spear. — If any present was designed for one canoe & it fell near another, invariably it was restored to the right owner. — When they yammer-scooner for any article very eagerly; they by a simple artifice point to their young women or little children; as much as to say, “if you will not give it me, surely you will to them.” —

2nd: The Captain determined to make the bold attempt of beating against the Westerly winds & proceeding up the Beagle channel to Ponsonby Sound or Jemmy Buttons country. — The day was beautiful, but a calm.—

4th: Came to an anchor in the Northern part of Ponsonby sound. We here enjoyed three very interesting days: the weather has been fine & the views magnificent. The mountains, which we passed today, on the Northern shore of the Channel are about 3000 feet high. — they terminate in very broken & sharp peaks; & many of them rise in one abrupt rise from the waters edge to the above elevation. The lower 14 or 1500 feet is covered with a dense forest. — A mountain, which the Captain has done me the honour to call by my name, has been determined by angular measurement to be the highest in Tierra del Fuego, above 7000 feet & therefore higher than M. Sarmiento.— It presented a very grand, appearance; there is such splendour in one of these snow-clad mountains, when illuminated by the rosy light of the sun; & then the outline is so distinct, yet from the distance so light & aerial, that one such view merely varied by the passing clouds affords a feast to the mind. — Till near Ponsonby Sound we saw very few Fuegians; yesterday we met with very many; they were the men Jemmy Button was so much afraid of last year, & said they were enemies to his tribe; the intervening & thinly inhabited space of ground, I suppose, is neutral between the belligerents. — We had at one time 10 or 12 canoes alongside; a rapid barter was established Fish & Crabs being exchanged for bits of cloth & rags. — It was very amusing to see with what unfeigned satisfaction one young & handsome woman with her face painted black, § tied with rushes, several bits of gay rags round her head. — Her husband, who enjoyed the very unusual priviledge in this country of possessing two wives, evidently became jealous of all the attention paid to his young wife, & after a consultation with his two naked beauties, was paddled away by them. — As soon as a breeze sprung up, the Fuegians were much puzzled by our tacking; they had no idea that it was to go to windward & in consequence all their attempts to meet the ship were quite fruitless. — It was quite worth being becalmed, to have so good an opportunity of looking & laughing at these curious creatures; I find it makes a great difference being in a ship instead of a boat. — Last year I got to detest the very sound of their voices; so much trouble did it generally bring with to us. — But now we are the stronger party, the more Fuegians the merrier & very merry work it is. — Both parties laughing, wondering & gaping at each other: we pitying them for giving us good fish for rags &c; they grasping at the chance of finding people who would give any exchange such valuable articles for a good supper. —

§ From here, through the end of the paragraph, a vertical line marked with an “xx” is drawn in the left margin. A single “x” appears in the left margin below the next date (5th). The significance of these notations is unknown.

5th: In the morning, after anchoring in Ponsonby Sound we stood down to Wullia or Jemmy Buttons country. This being a populous part of the country, we were followed by seven canoes. — When we arrived at the old spot; we could see no signs of our friends, & we were the more alarmed, as the Fuegians made signs of fighting with their bows and arrows. — Shortly afterwards a canoe was seen coming with a flag hanging up: untill she was close alongside, we could not recognise poor Jemmy. It was quite painful to behold him; thin, pale, & without a remnant of clothes, excepting a bit of blanket round his waist: his hair, hanging over his shoulders; & so ashamed of himself, he turned his back to the ship as the canoe approached. When he left us he was very fat, & so particular about his clothese, that he was always afraid of even dirtying his shoes; scarcely ever without gloves & his hair neatly cut. — I never saw so complete & grievous a change. — When however he was clothed & the first flurry over, things wore a very good appearance. — He had plenty (or as he expressed himself too much) to eat. — was not cold; his friends were very good people; could talk a little of his own language! & lastly we found out in the evening (by her arrival) that he had got a young & very nice looking squaw. This he would not at first own to: & we were rather surprised to find he had not the least wish to return to his own country England. Poor Jemmy with his usual good feeling brought two beautiful otter skins for two of his old friends & some spear heads & arrows of his own making for the Captain. — He had also built a canoe. —& is clearly now well established. The various things now given to him he will doubtless be able to keep. — The strangest thing is Jemmys difficulty in regaining his own language. — He seems to have taught all his friends some English. — When his wife came, an old man announced her, “as Jemmy Buttons wife!” — York Minster returned to his own country several month ago, & took farewell by an act of consummate villainy: He persuaded Jemmy & his mother to come to his country, when he robbed them of every thing & left them. — He appears to have treated Fuegia very ill.—

6th: Jemmy went to sleep on shore but came in the morning for breakfast. — The Captain had some long conversations with him & extracted much curious information: they had left the old wigwams & crossed the water in order to be out of the reach of the Ohens men who came over the mountains to steal. They clearly are the tall men, the foot Patagonians of the East coast. — Jemmy staid on board fill the ship got under weigh, which frightened his wife so that she did not cease crying till he was safe out of the ship with all his valuable presents. — Every soul on board was as sorry to shake hands with poor Jemmy for the last time, as we were glad to have seen him. — I hope & have little doubt he will be as happy as if he had never left his country; which is much more than I formerly thought. — He lighted a farewell signal fire as the ship stood out of Ponsonby Sound, on her course to East Falkland Island. —

3: 1834

May 12th: We put to sea; & steered in search of an alleged rock (the L'aigle) between the Falklands & mouth of Straits of Magellan;§ after an unsuccessful hunt, we anchored on the 16th: off C. Virgins. —

§ According to the Army and Navy Chronicle ( Vol. IV, 1837, p. 345), a L'Aigle Shoal was seen {by persons unidentified} at 51° 47' 30" S., 65° 1' 15" W. The Chronicle reports that: “Upon the existence of this shoal, however, there are conflicting opinions, it having been sought by many, but never found.”

16th: The weather has been bad, cold, & boisterous (& I proportionally sick & miserable). — It never ceases to be in my eyes most marvellous that on the coast of Patagonia there is constant dry weather & a clear sky, & at 120 miles to the South, there should be as constant clouds rain, hail, snow & wind. —

21st: During these days we have been beating about the entrance of the Straits, obtaining soundings & searching for some banks (a dangerous one was found); at night we came to an anchor;

22nd & before daylight the Adventure was seen on her passage from the Falklands. Shortly after we left Berkeley Sound, a man of war came in; she has taken away all the prisoners, & now the island is quite quiet. — We received our letters; mine were dated October & November. — We shall now in a few days make the best of our way to Port Famine; the days are of course very short for surveying; the weather however, gracias a dios, is pretty fine for these Southern latitudes. — It is a very curious fact; that it now being only one month from the shortest day & in such a latitude, that the temperature is scarcely perceptibly colder, than during the summer; we all wear the same clothes as during last years visit. —

29th: We anchored in Gregory Bay & took in six days water; our old friends the Indians were not there. — The weather has lately been very bad, & is now very cold. — The Thermometer has been all day below the freezing point & much snow has fallen: This is rather miserable work in a ship, where you have no roaring fire; & where the upper deck, covered with thawing snow is as it were, the hall in your house. —

June 1st: Arrived at Port Famine. I never saw a more cheer-less prospect; the dusky woods, pie-bald with snow, were only indistinctly to be seen through an atmosphere composed of two thirds rain & one of fog; the rest, as an Irishman would say, was very cold unpleasant air. —

Yesterday, when passing to the S. of C. Negro, two men hailed us & ran after the ship; a boat was lowered & picked them up. — They turned out to be two seamen who had run away from a Sealer & had joined the Patagonians. They had been treated by these Indians with their usual disinterested noble hospitality. — They parted company from them by accident & were walking down the coast to this place to look out for some vessel. I dare say they were worthless vagabonds, but I never saw more miserable ones; they had for some days been living on Muscles &c & berrys & had been exposed night & day to all the late constant rain & snow. — What will not man endure! —

2nd-8th: The Adventure rejoined us, after having examined the East side of this part of the Straits. —

The weather has during the greater part of the time been very foggy & cold; but we were in high luck in having two clear days for observations. On one of these the view of Sarmiento was most imposing: I have not ceased to wonder, in the scenery of Tierra del Fuego, at the apparent little elevation of mountains really very high. — I believe it is owing to a cause which one would be last to suspect, it is the sea washing their base & the whole mountain being in view. I recollect in Ponsonby Sound, after having seen a mountain down the Beagle Channel, I had another view of it across many ridges, one behind the other. — This immediately made one aware of its distance, & with its distance it was curious how its apparent height rose.

The Fuegians twice came & plagued us. — As there were many instruments, clothese &c & men on shore, the Captain thought it necessary to frighten them away. — The one time, we fired a great gun, when they were a long way off; it was very amusing to see through a glass their bold defiance, for as the shot splashed up the water, they picked up stones in return & threw them towards the ship which was then about a mile & a half off. — This not being sufficient, a boat was sent with orders to fire musket balls wide of them. — The Fuegians hid themselves behind the trees, but for every discharge of a musket they fired an arrow. These fell short of the boat; & the officer pointing to them & laughing made the Fuegians frantic with rage (as they well might be at so unprovoked an attack); they shook their very mantles with passion. — At last seeing the balls strike & cut the trees, they ran away; their final decampement was effected by the boat pretending to go in chase of their canoes & women. Another party having entered the bay was easily driven to a little creek to the north of it: the next day two boats were sent to drive them still further;§ it was admirable to see the determination with which four or five men came forward to defend themselves against three times that number. — As soon as they saw the boats they advanced a 100 yards towards us, prepared a barricade of rotten trees & busily picked up piles of stones for their slings. — Every time a musket was pointed towards them, they in return pointed an arrow. — I feel sure they would not have moved till more than one had been wounded. This being the case we retreated.

§ “Rockets, noise, dead silence” in left margin.

We filled up our wood & water; the latter is here excellent. The water we have lately been drinking contained so much salt that brackish is almost too mild a term to call it. — Amongst trifling discomforts there is none so bad as water with salts in it: when you drink a glass of water, like Physic, & then it does not satisfy the thirst. Mere impure, stinking water is of little consequence: especially as boiling it & making tea generally renders it scarcely perceptible. —

8th: We weighed very early in the morning: The Captain intended to leave the St.s of Magellan by the Magdalen channel, which has only lately been discovered & very seldom travelled by Ships. The wind was fair, but the atmosphere very thick, so that we missed much very curious scenery. The dark ragged clouds were rapidly driven over the mountains, nearly to their base; the glimpses which we had caught through the dusky mass were highly interesting; jagged points, cones of snow, blue glaciers, strong outlines marked on a lurid sky, were seen at different distances & heights. — In the midst of such scenery, we anchored at C. Turn, close to Mount Saimiento, which was then hidden in the clouds. At the base of the lofty & almost perpendicular sides of our little cove there was one deserted wigwam, which and it alone reminded one us that man sometimes wandered amongst these desolate regions; imagination could scarcely paint a scene where he seemed to have less claims or less authority; the inanimate works of nature here alone reign with overpowering force. —

9th: We were delighted in the morning by seeing the veil of mist gradually rise from & display Sarmiento. — I cannot describe the pleasure of viewing these enormous, still, & hence sublime masses of snow which never melt & seem doomed to last as long as this world holds together. — The field of snow extended from the very summit to within 1/8th of the total height, to the base, this part was dusky wood. — Every outline of snow was most admirably clear & defined; or rather I suppose the truth is, that from the absence of shadow, no outlines, but those against the sky, are perceptible & hence they such stand out so strongly marked. — Several glaciers descended in a winding course from the pile of snow to the sea, they may be likened to great frozen Niagaras, & perhaps these cataracts of ice are as fully beautiful as the moving ones of sea[?] water. — By night we reached the [illegible] Western parts of the Channel; in vain we tried to find anchoring [illegible] ground, these islands are so truly only the summits of steep submarine mountains.— We had in consequence to stand off & on during a long, pitch-dark night of 14 hours, & this in a narrow channel. — Once we got very near the rocks; The night was sufficiently anxious to the Captain & officers. —

10th: In the morning, in company with the Adventure, we made the best of our way into the open [Pacific] ocean. The Western coast generally consists of low, rounded, quite barren hills of Granite. Sir J. Narborough called one part of it South Desolation. — “because it is so desolate a land to behold,” well indeed might he say so, — Outside the main islands, there are numberless rocks & breakers on which the long swell of the open Pacific incessantly rages. — We passed out between the “East & West Furies”; a little further to the North, the Captain from the number of breakers called the sea the “Milky way.” — The sight of such a coast is enough to make a landsman dream for a week about death, peril, & shipwreck.