Narrative of the Surveying Voyages …

“Proceedings of the First Expedition, 1826-1830”

Phillip Parker King, Pringle Stokes, Robert FitzRoy

Bibliography
TABLE OF CONTENTS
  Information about text on this page
 Preface & Introduction
I Departure from Monte Video
II Enter the Strait of Magalhaens
III Prepare the Beagle
IV Deer Seen—Hope Sails Again
V Lieutenant Sholl Arrives
VI Trees—Leave Port Famine
VII Leave Rio de Janeiro
VIII Find that the Cutter has been Burned
IX Detention in Port Gallant
X Account of the Beagle's Cruise
XI Leave Port Otway
XII Adventure Sails from Rio de Janeiro
XIII Beagle and Adelaide anchor in Possession Bay
XIV Place for a Settlement
XV Extracts from the Journals …
XVI Chilóe—Its probable Importance
XVII Chilóe the last Spanish Possession
XVIII Adelaide's Last Cruise
XIX Sarmiento Channel
XX Beagle Sails from San Carlos
XXI Skyring's Chart
XXII Mr. Murray Returns
XXIII Set Out in Boats
XXIV A Few Nautical Remarks … Cape Horn
 Appendix (not included)
Show FitzRoy's Proceedings … (vol. 2)
Show Darwin's Journal … (vol. 3) or
Voyage of the Beagle

CHAPTER X

Account of the Beagle's cruize—Borja Bay—Cape Quod—Stuart Bay—Cape Notch—Remarks on weather, and errors of Chart—Evangelists—Santa Lucia—Madre de Dios—Gulf of Trinidad—Port Henry—Puma's track—Humming-birds—Very bad weather—Campana Island—Dangers—Gale—Wet—Sick—Santa Barbara—Wager's beam—Wigwams—Guaianeco Islands—Cape Tres Montes—St. Paul's—Port Otway—Hoppner Sound—Cape Raper.

The following account of the Beagle's cruize is drawn up from Captain Stokes's unfinished journal, and from detached memoranda, which were found amongst his papers.

It will be recollected that, on my departure from Port Famine, in the Adelaide, in the month of March, to survey portions of the southern side of the Strait, I left instructions with Captain Stokes to proceed in the execution of his orders as soon as the Beagle was ready. The details of those orders it is unnecessary to repeat here, as they were performed to my entire satisfaction; it will be merely requisite, as briefly as possible, to follow him through a most arduous and distressing service. It is the sequel that embitters the record.

“On the 18th of March, I sailed from Port Famine, and next day reached Port Gallant.

“On the 23d, we anchchored in the little cove called Borja Bay, which, though very confined, and rather difficult of access, suited our purpose extremely well. (See Sailing Directions). While there we measured the height of one of the principal hills in the neighbourhood, and found it 1,800 feet.

“Bad weather detained us until the 26th, when we passed Cape Quod, and reached Stuart Bay. Many places were left unexamined, because my object was to hasten westward before the year was farther advanced.

“(27th.) We left Stuart Bay, and continued our progress to the westward, with westerly winds, thick weather, and rain. The shores of the Straits were seldom visible to us, from a thick mist with which they were clouded: it is, however, a bold coast on each side, otherwise the Strait would be utterly unnavigable in such weather. Near Cape Notch the mountains spire up into peaks of great height, singularly serrated, and connected by barren ridges. About their bases there are generally some green patches of jungle; but, upon the whole, nothing can be more sterile and repulsive than the view. This afternoon we passed Playa Parda, and in the evening anchored in Marian Cove.

“In the course of the next day the wind freshened to a strong and squally gale from the W.N.W., with much rain; the weather was so thick that we could scarcely make out the coast. In this kind of weather, the lower parts of the shore are screened from view by mist, and the upper ones are seen looming through it in lofty masses, in a manner which would lead a stranger to believe that the ship [the strait?] was completely environed with islands.

“In the evening: we anchored in the little cove called Half Port Bay, and next morning resumed our daily struggle against wind, tide, and weather.

“We crossed the mouth of a deep sound on the north shore,* where no tide or current was remarked: the delineation of the coast about this point is particularly defective in the old charts; fortunately, however, for the navigator, he has here to deal with shores where the omission of a whole island, or even the addition of a few that do not exist, is of less consequence to his safety than the exact limit of one sand-bank in other parts of the world. This night we anchored in Upright Bay, which, though affording excellent shelter from the prevailing winds, is bad with a southerly one; as, from the steepness of the bottom requiring a vessel to anchor close to the shore, sufficient scope is not left for veering cable.

* Afterwards examined by Capt. Fitz Roy. It was called Xaultegua by Sarmiento, who very correctly describes it.—(Sarmiento's Voyage, p. 208. [p. 115 in Hakluyt edition.])

“Sheltered by the high land under which we were anchored, with the exception of occasional gusts down the ravines and sounds, we had the wind light at W.S.W.; but the rapid travelling of the scud over-head showed that the usual weather prevailed. We weighed early next morning (30th), and by noon had reached so far to the westward that the easternmost of the round islands in Cape Tamar Bight bore north about two miles. By nightfall we were off Cape Cortado; but the weather seeming settled and the wind drawing to the southward, I resolved to keep under weigh, and try to get out to sea that night. Circumstances favoured us; the weather was fine, the moon remained unclouded, and the wind held at S.S.W. An hour after midnight Cape Pillar bore W.S.W., distant about two miles, and thence we shaped our course for the Evangelists, which we passed at the distance of a mile.

“The Evangelists, as they are called by the early Spanish voyagers,§ or as they were afterwards named (1670) by Sir John Narborough, the Isles of Direction,* are a group of four rocky islets, and some detached rocks and breakers, occupying altogether a space of three miles; they are exceedingly rugged and barren, and suited only to afford a resting-place for seals and oceanic birds. From the heavy sea prevalent there, and the raging surf that generally breaks around, landing on them can be rarely practicable; yet sealers effect it. The mate of a sealing vessel told me that he had landed on the largest in a whale-boat, and killed several thousand seals. The Evangelists are of sufficient height to be seen in clear weather from a ship's deck, at the distance of six or seven leagues, but the superior elevation of the coast on both sides will usually render it visible, before these islands can be observed.

§ Mentioned by the de Nodals in 1621, but in context apparently named earlier by someone else.

* Because they formed a capital leading mark for the Strait of Magalhaens.

“Immediately on rounding the Evangelists a cape was distinguished, appearing to terminate the northern coast line, which we made out to be ‘Cape Isabel’ of the Spanish charts. It is a steep, rocky promontory of great height, having at its base some detached columnar masses of rock, and at its summit a peak, and a serrated ridge; off it is a steep-sided island, which proved to be that (Beagle Island) of which Lieut. Skyring and I took the bearing last year, when we were on the summit of Cape Victory.

“Northward of Cape Victory the land forms a deep bight, of which Cape Santa Lucia is the north-eastern headland. The coast in the interval is exceedingly rugged and mountainous. Cape Santa Lucia may be distinguished by a portion of flat table-land, about one-third of the altitude of the mountain from which it proceeds, and terminating at its outer face with a perpendicular precipice.

“The coast between Capes Isabel and Santa Lucia is dangerous to approach nearer than ten miles, for there are within that distance many sunken rocks, on which the sea only occasionally breaks. Some of these breakers were seen to seaward of us, as we proceeded along the coast, at the distance of five or six miles. When off Santa Lucia, whales were very numerous around us.

“The general aspect of this portion of the coast is similar to that of the most dreary parts of the Magalhaenic regions: bare, rugged, rocky, and mountainous, intersected by inlets, and bordered by islets, rocks, and breakers.

“The information we possessed respecting the prevalent winds on this coast was very scanty; yet, since all we could procure represented them as prevailing from the northward and north-westward, I considered it advisable to take advantage of the present southerly wind to proceed to the northern part of the coast assigned for our survey, instead of stopping to explore the bight between Cape Isabel and Cape Santa Lucia.

“From the bearings at sunset,* we ran along the land with bright moonlight, sounding every hour; and at daylight were about ten miles from the Island of Madre de Dios.

* Beagle Island N. 71° E., Cape Isabel N. 32° E., a remarkable mountain in the bight between Cape Santa Lucia and Cape Isabel N. 11° W. Cape Santa Lucia N. 33° W.; distance off shore three leagues; and soundings fifty fathoms, sandy bottom.

“We closed the land and proceeded to the northward, keeping at a distance of about three miles off shore, sounding between twenty-eight and thirty-three fathoms, sandy bottom. The weather was clear and fine, and we were enabled to make observations, and take the bearings and angles, necessary for laying down the coast satisfactorily.

“At noon we were in latitude 50° 12' south, and in the meridian of Cape Tres Puntas, between which and a cape bearing from us N. 13° E. (magnetic), distant eight miles, there was evidently an inlet: this cape is marked on the chart as Cape William. The character of the land is the same with that which we had hitherto passed, bare, rugged, rocky mountains, with peaks, and sharply serrated ridges. From daylight to noon we had run twenty-one miles along the coast; in that interval only one inlet was seen, which was in the latitude of 50° 27' south, agreeing well with the ‘West Channel’ of the Spanish chart. It was four miles wide at its mouth, and appeared to follow a winding course to the eastward. The land of Cape Tres Puntas curved in to the eastward, until it closed with Cape William; at dusk we were abreast of Cape William, and two leagues off shore, where we lay-to till daylight, as I wished to examine the inlet between it and Cape Tres Puntas, which subsequently proved to be Sarmiento's Gulf of Trinidad. The old navigator thus describes its discovery:

“‘At daylight, 17th of March,§ 1579, in the name of the most holy Trinity, we saw land, bearing E.S.E., ten leagues distant, towards which we steered to explore it. At mid-day, being near the land, we observed the latitude 49½°, but Hernando Alonzo made it 49° 9'. In approaching the shore we saw a great bay and gulf, which trended deeply into the land towards some snowy mountains. To the south there was a high mountain, with three peaks, wherefore Pedro Sarmiento* named the bay ‘Golfo de la Sanctisima Trenidad [sic, Trinidad].’ The highest land of the three peaks was named ‘Cabo de Tres Puntas ó montes.’ This island is bare of vegetation, and at the water-side is low and rugged, and lined with breakers; on the summit are many white, grey, and black-coloured portions of ground, or rock. Six leagues to the north of Cape Tres Puntas is the opposite side of the gulf, where it forms a large high mountain, backed to the north by low land, and fronted by many islands. This high mountain, which appears to be an island from the offing, was called ‘Cabo Primero.’”

§ Actually, the month was November. See Part I, Chapter III in Sarmiento's Voyages ….

* (Sarmiento, p. 65.) [p. 37 in Hakluyt edition. Sarmiento often refers to himself in the third person, as noted in a footnote at the start of his Voyages ….]

“The following night was clear, and the wind moderate from S.E., but in the course of next morning it shifted to N.E., with squalls, rain, and thick weather; we worked into the inlet notwithstanding, and by noon had reached three miles within its S.W. head-land, Cape William, and were abreast of a bay, into which I sent a boat to look for anchorage. On her return we stood into it, and anchored in the excellent harbour, afterwards named Port Henry, where we remained from the 2d to the 5th of April, employed in making a correct survey of the harbour and its adjacencies, and determining the latitude and longitude.*

* The description of Port Henry is given in our Sailing Directions.

“The inner harbour, distinguished in the plan by the name of ‘Aid Basin,’ is perfectly land-locked, and sufficiently spacious to contain a numerous squadron of the largest ships in twenty fathoms water, over a mud bottom, and as completely sheltered from the effects of wind and sea as in wet-docks. At the south-west side of the basin is a freshwater lake, which discharges itself bv a small stream, whence casks might be conveniently filled by means of canvas hoses, and the shores around have wood for fuel in abundance; but, from the lofty surrounding mountains, some rising almost perpendicularly to an elevation of two thousand feet, the thick clouds with which this basin was generally overhung, and the dense exhalations that arose from it during the rare intervals of sunshine, together with the exceeding prevalence of heavy rain on this coast, this place must be disagreeable and unhealthy. Such objections do not apply to the outer harbour, for while its shores afford shelter, they do not obstruct a free circulation of air. It is sufficiently large to afford convenient and secure anchorage for five or six frigates.

“We hauled the seine with very poor success, as a few smelt only were taken; we had no better luck with our fishing-lines; but the trial might have been more profitable at another season, judging from the number of seals we saw on the rocks off the Port, which live principally upon fish. Muscles, limpets, and sea-eggs abound here, and are good and wholesome of their kind. Birds are few in number, and of the species most common in these regions. No quadruped of any kind was seen; but the purser told me that he had observed, near the sandy beach, traces of a four-footed animal, resembling those of a tiger: he followed them to a cavern, and thence to the jungle. He also said that he had seen several humming-birds.

“With the exception of wild celery and the arbutus berry, I know not of any useful vegetable production that this place affords, unless the ‘Winter's-bark tree’ may be mentioned. Some coarse grass, fit perhaps for animals, may be there procured. The only signs of inhabitants were some wigwams on the western point, which seemed to have been long forsaken: in their construction they were precisely similar to those erected by the migratory tribes in the Straits of Magalhaens: and the shells of muscles, limpets, and sea-eggs, within and about them, showed that the former tenants of these hovels drew, like the Magalhaenic tribes, a principal part of their subsistence from shell-fish.

“Around the harbour are granite mountains, perfectly bare at their summits and north-western sides, but the lower parts are thickly covered in sheltered places and ravines, partly with trees, and partly with brushwood: among the trees growing here we observed, as usual, two kinds of beech, a tree like the cypress, but of small size, and the Winter's-bark. The underwood is composed of all the various shrubs we had met with in the Straits of Magalhaens; and this brushwood is so thickly spread over the lower parts of the shores of the harbour, that it is only by crawling over it that the distance of a few yards from the rocks can be gained; and being generally of insufficient strength to support a man's weight, it frequently gives way beneath him, and he is so completely buried, as to make it difficult for him to extricate himself.

“Scarcely any of the trees attain a size to render them fit for any thing but firewood; of those we felled there was scarcely one that was not more or less rotten at the heart, a defect probably caused by the extreme humidity of the climate.

“During our stay, the master, accompanied by our boatswain's mate,(f) an experienced sealer, went to take seal on the rocks, and returned in a few hours with some of the inferior sort, called ‘hair seal,’ which were numerous; but the surf was in most places too heavy to allow them to land without much risk. The fry of the young seals we thought extremely good, not exceeded even by the finest lamb's fry.

(f) Thomas Sorrell, now boatswain of the Beagle (1837). He was boatswain of the Saxe Cobourg, when wrecked in Fury Harbour.—R.F.

“On the morning of the 5th we worked to the westward, to clear the land on each side of the inlet; and at sunset, Cape Tres Puntas bore N. b. W. ½ W., distant two leagues. The northerly breeze, which we had worked with since leaving Port Henry, increased rapidly to a hard gale, and by 8 p.m. we were reduced to the close-reefed main-topsail and reefed foresail. The gale continued with unabated violence during the 6th, 7th, and 8th, from the north, N.W., and S.W., with a confused mountainous sea. Our decks were constantly flooded, and we could rarely show more than the close-reefed main-topsail and reefed foresail. Only two accidents occurred: the little boat which we carried astern was washed away by a heavy sea that broke over us, while hoisting her in-board; and the marine barometer was broken by the violent motion of the vessel. At noon, on the 8th, Cape Corso bore from us, by account, S.E. (true), distant fifty-five miles. I had tried to gain a wide offing to get a less turbulent sea, and because not even an outline of the sea-coast of Campana Island was drawn in the chart. We had not, during these three days, a glimpse of the sun or of a star, for it blew a constant gale, accompanied by squalls, thick weather, and rain. According to the time of year, the season of winter had not arrived, but the weather seemed to say it was already come—

Sullen and sad, with all it's [sic, its] rising train
Of vapours, clouds, and storms.

“The wind abated at daylight on the 9th, and drew to the southward, and thence to the S.E. (the fair weather quarter of this coast). We bore up to make the land, and at about 10 a.m. the ‘loom’ of it was seen from the mast-head. At noon, high mountains were visible from the deck; our latitude, by observation, was 48° 51', and our longitude, by chronometer, 00° 27' west of Port Henry. No soundings were obtained with one hundred and ten fathoms of line. Hence we steered east (magnetic) towards a remarkable mountain, which, from our being nearly in the parallel of it at noon, has been marked in the chart as Parallel Peak. The coast we were upon was that of the Island ‘Campana,’ and, in its general appearance, did not differ from that of Madre de Dios. It was late before we got very close to the land; but, for a couple of leagues to the northward, and about a league to the southward of the parallel of our latitude at noon, we could distinguish rocks and breakers skirting the coast to a distance of two leagues from the shore.

“At dusk we hauled off for the night; but instead of being able to resume the examination of the coast next morning, we had to encounter another gale of wind from the N.W., which, before noon, reduced us to close-reefed main-topsail and reefed foresail. This gale suddenly subsided in the western quarter, which was singular; for those we have experienced generally commenced at north, thence drew round to the westward, from which point to S.W. they blew with the greatest fury, and hauling to the southward, usually abated to the eastward of south.

“During the afternoon, we again made the land near Parallel Peak, but could not close it. Next morning (11th), with fine weather, and a fresh breeze at S.W. b. W., we once more saw the land about Parallel Peak; and when distant from the shore about eight miles, steered N. b. E. along the coast. At noon our latitude was 48° 47'.

“Throughout our run along the coast this day, we skirted a number of rocky islets, rocks, and breakers, lying off shore at the distance of three or four miles. Some of the islets were elevated several feet above the surface of the sea; others were a-wash, and there were breakers that showed themselves only occasionally. Along this line the surf beat very heavily, and, outside, a long rolling sea prevailed, in which the ship was very uneasy.

“This line of dangers is not altogether continuous; for there is an opening about two miles wide, abreast of Parallel Peak, to the southward of which is a bight, where possibly a harbour may exist; but, considering the prevalence of heavy westerly gales and thick weather, if there be one, few vessels would venture to run for it; and this line must, I should think, be considered as a barrier that they ought not pass. As seal are found on the rocks, vessels engaged in that trade might not, perhaps, be deterred by these dangers, but every other would give all this extent of coast a wide berth. We ran past the breakers at the distance of about a mile, having rocky soundings, from thirty to twenty-three fathoms.

“The termination of the coast line northward was a high, rugged island, with a small peak at the north end. The extremity of the main land was rather a high bluff cape, whence the coast extends southward, with craggy, mountainous peaks and ridges, as far as Parallel Peak. At sunset, the N.W. end of Campana bore north (magnetic), distant three leagues, and from the mast-head I could see very distinctly the belt of rocks and breakers extending uninterruptedly to the northward, as far as the end of Campana.

“We hauled off for the night, and had light variable airs, or calms, until 2 a.m. of the 12th, when a breeze from the northward sprung up, and freshened so rapidly, that by noon we were again reduced to a close-reefed main-topsail and foresail. The gale was accompanied, as usual, by incessant rain and thick weather, and a heavy confused sea kept our decks always flooded.

“The effect of this wet and miserable weather, of which we had had so much since leaving Port Famine, was too manifest by the state of the sick list, on which were now many patients with catarrhal, pulmonary, and rheumatic complaints. The gale continued undiminished until the morning of the 13th, when, having moderated, we bore up and steered N.E. to close the land. At noon a good meridional altitude gave our latitude 48° 30' south, and about the same time we saw the land bearing N.E. b. E., which we soon made out to be Parallel Peak. After allowing amply for heave of sea, and lee-way, we were considerably southward of our reckoning, which indicates a southerly current; but under such circumstances of wind and weather its exact direction, or strength, could not be ascertained.

“We proceeded along the land, taking angles and bearings for the survey, and at sunset the N.W. end of Campana bore from us north (magnetic), distant five leagues. Being now off the N.W. end of the island of Campana, which forms the south-western headland of the Gulf of Peñas, I considered that, before I proceeded to examine its inlets, I ought to look for the Harbour of Santa Barbara, which has been placed on the old charts in this neighbourhood. Accordingly we lay-to during the night, and at 4 a.m. bore up to close the land; at daylight the extremes of it were seen indistinctly through a very cloudy and hazy atmosphere, from N. 39° E. to S. 53° E. About noon the weather cleared off, and we got the meridian altitude of the sun, which gave our latitude 48° 09' south.* We directed our course for the Dundee Rock, and when abreast of it, steered N.E. (compass) for an opening in the low part of the coast ahead, backed by very high mountains, which we found was the entrance of Port Santa Barbara. The coast to the southward was lined with rocky islets, rocks, and breakers, extending a league to seaward, and there were others to the northward. We were in a channel half a mile wide, through which we continued our course, sounding from fifteen to eleven fathoms, and in the evening anchored near the entrance of the harbour.

* The N.W. end of the Island de la Campana bearing N. 71° 40' E. Two distant hummocky islands (answering pretty well in position with the Guaianeco Islands § of the Spanish charts) N. 53° 30' E., and N. 55° 48' E., and a remarkable rock, the ‘Dundee’ of Bulkeley and Cummings, about forty-five feet high, rising like a tower from the sea, distant offshore five miles, bearing east of us, distant one mile.

§ Probably, the modern Isla Guayanec and others nearby.

“As our present situation was completely exposed to westerly winds, I went to examine a deep bight in the southern shore, which proved to be a good harbour, perfectly sheltered from all winds, with a depth of three and a half fathoms over a fine sandy bottom. In the afternoon we weighed anchor and warped into a berth in the inner harbour, where we moored in three fathoms. I found lying, just above high-water mark, half buried in sand, the beam of a large vessel.* We immediately conjectured that it had formed part of the ill-fated Wager, one of Lord Anson's squadron (of whose loss the tale is so well told in the narratives of Byron and Bulkeley): the dimensions seemed to correspond with her size, and the conjecture was strengthened by the circumstance that one of the knees that attached it to the ship's side had been cut, which occurred in her case, when her decks were scuttled to get at the provisions; all the bolts were much corroded; but the wood, with the exception of the outside being worm-eaten, was perfectly sound. Our carpenter pronounced it to be English oak.

* Length twenty feet five inches and a half, sided twelve inches, and moulded eight inches and a half.

“The land about this harbour is similar to that about Port Henry. Its shores are rocky, with some patches of sandy beach, but every where covered with trees, or an impervious jungle, composed of dwarfish trees and shrubs. The land, in most places, rises abruptly from the shore to mountains, some of which attain an altitude of more than two thousand feet, and are quite bare at their summits and on their sides, except in sheltered ravines, where a thick growth of trees is found. These mountains, or at least their bases, where we could break off specimens, were of basalt, with large masses of quartz imbedded in it; but on some parts of the shores the rocks were of very coarse granite.

“As in the vicinity of Port Henry, the thickness of the jungle prevented our going far inland; the greatest distance was gained by Lieut. Skyring, who, with his wonted zeal to prosecute the survey, ascended some of the mountains for the purpose of obtaining bearings of remote points: he remarked to me, ‘that many miles were passed over in ascending even moderate heights; the land was very high and very irregular; the mountains seemed not to lie in any uniform direction, and the longest chain that was observed did not exceed five miles. The flat land between the heights was never two miles in extent: the ground was always swampy, and generally there were small lakes receiving the drainage of mountain-streams. Indeed the whole country appeared broken and unconnected.’

“Some of the mountains were ascertained to be 2,500 feet high, but the general height was about 2,000 feet. A large island, on the northern side of the harbour, is an excellent watering-place, at which casks may be conveniently filled in the boat. It is also an object of great natural beauty: the hill, which forms its western side, rises to seven or eight hundred feet, almost perpendicularly, and when viewed from its base in a boat, seems stupendous: it is clothed with trees, among which the light-green leaves of the Winter's-bark tree, and the red flowers of the Fuchsia, unite their tints with the darker foliage of other trees. This perpendicular part extends to the northward till it is met by the body of the mountain, which is arched into a spacious cavern, fifty yards wide and a hundred feet high, whose sides are clothed with a rich growth of shrubs; and before it a cascade descends down the steep face of the mountain.

“On the shore we found two Indian wigwams and the remains of a third; but they had evidently been long deserted, for the grass had grown up both around and within them to the height of more than a foot. These wigwams were exactly similar to those in the Strait of Magalhaens: one was larger than any I had met with, being eighteen feet in diameter. The only land birds I saw were two owls, which passed by us after dusk with a screeching noise.

“On the patches of sandy beach, in the inner harbour, we hauled the seine, but unsuccessfully; we expected to find fish plentiful here, from seeing many seals on the rocks outside, and from finding the water quite red with the spawn of cray-fish. Muscles and limpets were pretty abundant, and the shells (Concholepas Peruviana) used by the Magalhaenic tribes as drinking cups, were found adhering to the rocks in great numbers.

“Nothing could be worse than the weather we had during nine days' stay here; the wind, in whatever quarter it stood, brought thick heavy clouds, which precipitated themselves in torrents, or in drizzling rain. We were well sheltered from the regular winds; but many troublesome eddies were caused by the surrounding heights, while the passing clouds showed that strong and squally north-west winds were prevalent.

“On the morning of the 24th, we put to sea with a southerly breeze. The extent of coast from the eastern part of Port Santa Barbara to the outer of the Guaianeco Islands presents several inlets running deep into the land; but it is completely bound by rocks and rocky islets, which, with its being generally a leeshore, renders it extremely unsafe to approach. Observing an opening between some islets, of which we had taken the bearing at noon, we stood in to see whether it afforded anchorage; and approaching the extremity of the larger island, proceeded along it at the distance of only half a mile, when, after running two miles through a labyrinth of rocks and kelp, we were compelled to haul out, and in doing so scarcely weathered, by a ship's length, the outer islet. Deeming it useless to expend further time in the examination of this dangerous portion of the gulf, we proceeded towards Cape Tres Montes, its northwestern headland.

“At sunset Cape Tres Montes bore N. 25° W., distant eighteen miles. In this point of view the cape makes very high and bold; to the eastward of it, land was seen uninterruptedly as far as the eye could reach. We stood in shore next morning, and were then at a loss to know, precisely, which was the cape. The highest mountain was the southern projection, and has been marked on the chart as Cape Tres Montes: but none of the heights, from any point in which we saw them, ever appeared as ‘three mounts.’ The land, though mountainous, seemed more wooded, and had a less rugged outline than that we had been hitherto coasting, since leaving the Strait. We steered along the western coast of the land near Cape Tres Montes, and at noon, lieing three miles from the shore, observed, in latitude 46° 5' south, the cape, bearing N. 80° E. (mag.), distant seven miles. The northernmost cape in sight N. 26° W., distant ten miles, soundings ninety-seven fathoms. Shortly afterwards another cape opened at N. 37° W. (mag.).

“The parallel of forty-seven degrees, the limit assigned for our survey, being already passed, I did not venture to follow the coast further, although we were strongly tempted to do so by seeing it trend so differently from what is delineated on the old charts. An indentation in the coast presenting itself between mountainous projections on each side of low land (of which the northernmost was the cape set at noon), we hauled in to look for an anchorage; but it proved to be a mere unsheltered bight, at the bottom of which was a furious surf. We then stood to the southward, along the land of Cape Tres Montes, with the view of examining the north side of the Gulf of Peñas [sic, Penas].§

§ The link displays Golfo de Penas, with a detail view (magnifying-glass icon) of St. Xavier Island and Port Xavier; the modern Isla Javier and Puerto Javier, respectively. The port's “sandy beach” is presumably the place where Serjeant Lindsay was buried, as described below. Yellow line is the track of HMS Beagle and dotted line is the path of modern Navimag ferries between Puerto Montt and Puerto Natales. Coordinates are from FitzRoy's Table of Positions.

“The following morning was fine: Cape Tres Montes bore N.E., distant about three leagues. We lay off and on during the day, while the master went in the whale-boat, to examine a sandy bay (of which Cape Tres Montes was the easternmost point) for anchorage: he returned about sunset, and reported that it did afford anchorage; but was quite unsheltered from wind, and exposed to a great swell. The boat's crew had fallen in with a number of seals, and the quantity of young seal's fry they brought on board afforded a welcome regale to their messmates and themselves.

“At daylight (27th) we were four leagues from Cape Tres Montes, bearing N. 68° W. (magnetic) a remarkable peak, marked in the chart the ‘Sugar Loaf,’ N. 19° E., distant twenty-four miles, and our soundings were sixty-eight fathoms. This peak resembled in appearance, the Sugar Loaf at Rio de Janeiro: it rises from a cluster of high and thickly-wooded islands, forming apparently the eastern shore of an inlet, of which the land of Cape Tres Montes is the western head. Further to the N.E. stands a lofty and remarkable mountain, marked in our chart as ‘the Dome of Saint Paul's.’ It is seen above the adjacent high land. The height of the Sugar Loaf is 1,836 feet, and that of the Dome of Saint Paul's, 2,284 feet.

“During the day we worked up towards the land, eastward of Cape Tres Montes, and at night succeeded in anchoring in a sandy bay, nine miles from the Cape, where our depth of water was twelve fathoms, at the distance of a cable and a half off shore. We lay at this anchorage until noon the following day, while Lieut. Skyring landed on some low rocks detached from the shore, where he was able to take some advantageous angles; and on his return we weighed and worked up the gulf, between the eastern land of Cape Tres Montes, and high, well wooded islands. The shores of the main land, as well as of the islands, are bold, and the channel between them has no dangers: the land is in all parts luxuriantly wooded. About a mile and a half to the northward of the sandy beach which we had left, lies another, more extensive; and a mile further, a considerable opening in the main land, about half a mile wide, presented itself, having at its mouth two small thickly-wooded islands, for which we steered, to ascertain whether there was a harbour. The water was deep at its mouth, from thirty-eight to thirty-four fathoms; but the comparative lowness of the shores at its S.W. end, and the appearance of two sandy beaches, induced us to expect a moderate depth within. As we advanced, a long white streak was observed on the water, and was reported from the mast-head as a shoal; but it was soon ascertained to be foam brought down by the tide, and we had the satisfaction of anchoring in sixteen fathoms over a sandy bottom, in a very excellent port, which we named Port Otway,§ as a tribute of respect to the Commander-in-chief of the South American Station, Rear Admiral Sir Robert Waller Otway, K.C.B.”

§ At 46.816667° S, 75.35° W; on the north shore of Golfo de Penas. Not to be confused with Seno Otway near Punta Arenas. Named Otway Water by FitzRoy.

*   *   *   *

A deficiency here occurs in Captain Stokes's journal, which the Beagle's log barely remedies. From the 30th of April to the 9th of May there was a succession of stormy weather, accompanied by almost incessant and heavy rain, which prevented the ship being moved; but proved, in one respect, advantageous, by affording a very seasonable cessation from work to the fatigued crew, and obliging Captain Stokes to take some little rest, which he so much required; but regretted allowing himself, and submitted to most reluctantly. He continues his journal on the 9th of May, stating that,

“Among the advantages which this admirable port presents to shipping, a capital one seems to be the rich growth of stout and shapely timber, with which its shores, even down to the margin of the sea, are closely furnished, and from which a frigate of the largest size might obtain spars large enough to replace a topmast, topsail-yard, or even a lower-yard. In order to try what would be the quality of the timber, if, in case of emergency, it were used in an unseasoned state, I sent the carpenter and his crew to cut two spars for a topgallant-mast and yard. Those they brought on board were of beech-wood; the larger being thirteen inches in diameter, and thirty feet in length.

“On the 10th, the weather having improved, the Beagle was moved to the head of the inlet, to an anchorage in Hoppner Sound, and on the 11th I went with Lieut. Skyring to examine the opening, off which we were anchored.

“On each side of it we found coves, so perfectly sheltered, and with such inexhaustible supplies of fresh water and fuel, that we lamented their not being in a part of the world where such advantages could benefit navigation. The depth of water in mid-channel was generally forty fathoms; in the bights, or coves, it varied from sixteen to twenty-five fathoms, with always a sandy bottom. We saw a great many hair seals, shoals of pie-bald porpoises, and birds of the usual kinds in considerable numbers. On several points of the shores were parts of the skeletons of whales; but we no where saw a four-footed animal, or the slightest trace of a human habitation. The unusual fineness of the morning, the smoothness of the water, and the proximity of the adjacent lofty mountains, clothed almost to their summits by the fullest foliage, with every leaf at rest, combined with the stillness around to give the scene a singular air of undisturbed repose. We reached the extremity of the inlet, which we found was about six miles from its mouth; and thinking that it was the inner shore of an isthmus, of no great width, curiosity prompted us to endeavour to see its outer shore: so we secured the boat, and accompanied by five of the boat's crew, with hatchets and knives to cut their way, and mark the trees to guide us on our way back, we plunged into the forest, which was scarcely pervious on account of its entangled growth, and the obstructions presented by trunks and branches of fallen trees.

“Our only guide was an occasional glimpse, from the top of a tree, of the ranges of mountains, by which we steered our course. However, two hours of this sort of work were rewarded by finding ourselves in sight of the great South Sea. It would be vain to attempt describing adequately the contrast to the late quiet scene exhibited by the view we had on emerging from this dark wood. The inlet where we left our boat resembled a calm and sequestered mountain lake, without a ripple on its waters: the shore on which we now stood was that of a horrid rock-bound coast, lashed by the awful surf of a boundless ocean, impelled by almost unceasing west winds.

“Our view of the coast was limited on each side by rocky mountainous promontories: off the northernmost, which I called Cape Raper, were rocks and breakers, extending nearly a mile to seaward. Having taken the few bearings our situation enabled us to obtain, we retraced our steps to the boat, and by aid of the marks we had left on the trees, reached her in an hour and forty-three minutes.

“Some of the beech-trees of this wood were fifteen feet in circumference; but I noticed none differing in their kind from those already observed about Port Otway. A few wrens were the only living creatures we saw; not even an insect was found in our walk. In the beds of some of the streams intersecting the woods was a singularly sparkling sand, which had so much the appearance of gold, that some of our party carried a bag-full on board to be tested. The shining substance proved to be, as I had supposed, the micaceous particles of disintegrated granite. It was not our good fortune to discover streams similar to those sung of by the poet,

“Whose foam is amber, and whose gravel gold.” §

§ Sir John Denham, 1614/5-1669, describing the River Thames


CHAPTER XI

Leave Port Otway—San Quintin's Sound—Gulf of Peñas [sic, Penas]—Kelly Harbour—St. Xavier Island—Death of Serjeant Lindsey—Port Xavier—Ygnacio Bay—Channel's mouth—Bad weather—Perilous situation—Lose the yawl—Sick list—Return to Port Otway—Thence to Port Famine—Gregory Bay—Natives—Guanaco meat—Skunk—Condors—Brazilians—Juanico—Captain Foster—Changes of officers.

The Beagle returned to Port Otway the following day, and in an interval of better weather obtained the observations necessary for ascertaining the latitude and longitude of the port, and for rating the chronometers.

Captain Stokes's journal continues on the 19th of May:

“We left Port Otway, and as soon as we had cleared its entrance, steered E.N.E. across the gulf; leaving to the northward all that cluster of islands, distinguished in the chart as the ‘Marine Islands,’ and went to within a mile from the eastern shore. Thence we ran four miles and a half parallel with the direction of coast E.S.E. (mag.), at the mean distance of a mile off shore. The aspect of the eastern and western portions of this gulf is very different, and the comparison is much to the disadvantage of the eastern. Ranges of bare, rugged, rocky mountains now presented themselves, and where wood was seen, it was always stunted and distorted. A long swell rolled in upon the shore, and every thing seemed to indicate a stormy and inclement coast. There are a few bays and coves, in which is anchorage depth, with a pretty good bottom of dark coarse sand: but rockweed in large patches, seen in some of them, denoted foul ground; and they are all more or less exposed, and extremely unsafe. As night advanced, the weather became rainy and thick; so having reached a bight which seemed less insecure than others that we passed, I hauled in, and at about seven p.m., guided only by the gradual decrease of our soundings, from fourteen to eight fathoms, and the noise of the surf, came to an anchor.

“Next morning (20th) we found that we had anchored in a small bay, at about half a mile from a shingle beach, on which a furious surf was breaking so heavily as to prevent our landing any where. We were completely exposed to S.W. winds, with a heavy rolling sea; and the surf on all points cut off communication with the shore. A breeze from the S.W. would have rendered it difficult to get out, and would have exposed us to imminent hazard. It is called on the chart Bad Bay. We left it eagerly, and proceeded to trace the coast to the E.S.E., until we were nearly abreast of a moderately high and thickly-wooded island, called Purcell Island. We passed to the northward of Purcell Island, leaving on the left a rock only a few feet above the surface of the sea, which lies about midway between that island and the main land. As we advanced to the eastward, a large and very remarkable field of ice was seen lying on the low part of the coast, yhich, at a distance, we took for a dense fog hanging over it, as nothing of the kind was observable in any other part. When nearly abreast of San Xavier Island, a deep sound was observed to the left, or north, which we concluded was the San Quintin Sound of the Spanish chart: it seemed to be about five miles in breadth, and following a westerly direction. We kept sight of the Sugar Loaf, and other points we had fixed, until more could be established, which enabled us to chart the coast as we went along. My next object was to trace the Sound of San Quintin to its termination, and at nightfall we succeeded in getting an anchorage at the entrance.

“On the 21st we proceeded up the sound, passing to the northward of Dead Tree Island. Our soundings, until abreast of it, were from sixteen to ten fathoms, on a mud bottom; it then shoaled to four fathoms, and after running about three miles in that depth, we came to an anchor at the distance of a mile from the north shore of the sound, in four fathoms.

“Exceedingly bad weather detained us at tlhis anchorage. From the time of our arrival, on the evening of the 21st, until midnight of the 22d, it rained in torrents, without the intermission of a single minute, the wind being strong and squally at W., W.N.W., and N.W.

“When the weather improved, on the 23d, we weighed, and made sail along the northern side of the sound, for the purpose of ascertaining whether it admitted of a passage to the northward. We kept within a mile of the shore, sounding from eight to fifteen fathoms, generally on a sandy bottom; and a run of seven miles brought us within three miles of the bottom of the inlet, the depth of water being four fathoms, on sand. The termination of this sound is continuous low land, with patches of sandy beach, over which, in the distance, among mountains of great height, we were again able to make out and take the bearing of that remarkable one, named the ‘Dome of St. Paul's.’ The shores of this inlet are thickly wooded; the land near them is, for the most part, low, but rises into mountains, or rather hills, from twelve to fifteen hundred feet in height, from which many streams of water descend. As soon as a ship has passed Dead Tree Island, she becomes landlocked; and as in all parts of the sound there is anchorage depth, with a muddy or sandy bottom, the advantages offered to shipping would be of great consequence in parts of the world more frequented than the Gulf of Peñas.

“Whales were numerous, and seals were seen in this inlet, now called the Gulf of San Estevan.

“Hence we went to Kelly Harbour, at the north-eastern side of the Gulf of Peñas, four miles N.E. of Xavier Island. The land around it is rocky and mountainous, but by no means bare of wood. Near the entrance it is low, as compared with the adjacent land; but in the interior are lofty snow-capped mountains.

“A large field of ice, lying on the low land near Kelly Harbour, was remarkable. There was none on the low grounds at the other (southern) side of the port, though it was almost the winter solstice at the time of our visit.

“Another day and night of incessant rain. In the morning of the 25th we had some showers of hail, and at daylight found that a crust of ice, about the thickness of a dollar, had been formed in all parts of the harbour. The water at our anchorage being fresh at half-tide, was, no doubt, in favour of this rapid congelation. Lieutenant Skyring having completed the examination of the harbour, we left it and steered between St. Xavier Island and the mainland, through a fine bold channel, nearly four miles wide, with a depth of more than thirty fathoms. The land on both sides is closely wooded, and rises into high mountains. About dusk we stood into Port Xavier, a little bight, with a sandy beach, on the eastern side of the island; and, at a distance of two cables' length from the beach, anchored for the night in seventeen fathoms.

“(26th). This sandy beach extended about half a mile between the points of the bay, and, at fifty yards from the water, was bounded by thick woodland, which rose with a rapid ascent to the height of a thousand feet. The trees were like those in the neighbourhood of Port Otway, and were stout and well-grown. A tree, large enough for a frigate's topmast, might be selected close to the shore. The Winter's-bark tree attains here a greater size than I had before seen. One, which was felled by our wood-cutters, measured eighty-seven feet in length, and was three feet five inches in circumference. All the trees were in full foliage and verdure, though the season corresponded to the latter part of November in our northern latitudes. At the south end of the sandy beach was a stream of fresh water, several yards in width, and various waterfalls descended from the mountains. The shore to the southward was composed of fragments of granite, lying at the base of a lead-coloured clay cliff, at least three hundred feet in height. In this cliff the mountain torrents had formed deep chasms, and strewed the beach with its debris, and with uprooted timber. The only living creatures seen were steamer-ducks, king-fishers, and turkeybuzzards.

“While on shore, I received a melancholy message, announcing the death of Serjeant Lindsey,§ of the Royal Marines. During the last few days he had suffered from inflammation of the bowels, which brought his existence to a close.

§ But Lindsay in FitzRoy's Table of Positions [Xavier Island—Lindsay Point], and elsewhere [first name unknown].

“The following day (27th) a grave was dug, and we discharged the last sad duties to our departed shipmate. A wooden cross was erected at the head of his grave, on which was an inscription to his memory: we also named the south point of the bay after him.§ About noon we left Port Xavier, and coasted the island, at the mean distance of a mile, examining it for anchorages, until, after a run of eight miles, we reached its south point. For the first four or five miles of that distance, the coast of the island consisted of a high steep cliff, having at its base a narrow beach, composed of various-sized masses of rock. In the interior there were heights, rising twelve or fourteen hundred feet, wooded nearly to the summits, with many streams of water descending from them; but for the remainder of the distance the coast was low, and the wood stunted and scanty. All along the shore rolled a heavy surf, that would have rendered any attempt to land exceedingly hazardous; there was no place fit for anchorage, except a small bight, near the extreme south point, into which we stood, and with some difficulty succeeded in anchoring at a cable's length §§ from the shore. The bay proved to be that called by the Spanish missionary voyagers ‘Ygnacio Bay.’ Over the south point,—a narrow tongue of land, about five hundred yards across, with rocks and breakers stretching off shore, to the distance of two miles,—we took bearings and angles to various fixed points in the northern part of the gulf. The latitude, chronometric differences of longitude, and magnetic variation, were determined on shore at this southern point.

§ There is no known record of the “south point of the bay” (presumably, Golfo de Penas) being named in Lindsay's honor. There is however a Punta Lindsay on Isla Xavier, as noted in the previous footnote.

§§ One cable's length is approximately 608 feet (British Admiralty measure).

“Our observations being completed, we left this anchorage; and as it is little likely to be visited again, it will be enough to say that it is exceedingly dangerous. Nothing would have induced me to enter it, but the duty of examining the coast for anchorage, and the danger of remaining under sail close to an unexplored shore.

“Under an impression that the island of St. Xavier* was the scene of the Wager's wreck, I wished to examine its western side; but a strong N.N.E. wind did not permit my doing so, without risking the loss of more time than could be spared for an object of mere curiosity. I steered, therefore, to the southeastward for an inlet, which proved to be the Channel's Mouth of the Spanish charts, and reached it, after running seventeen miles from the south end of Xavier Island. We got no soundings with ninety fathoms of line, when at its entrance; but making no doubt that we should get anchorage within, we left, at the distance of half a mile, the islets of the northern point; passed between two others distant apart only one-fifth of a mile, and shortly after anchored in twenty fathoms, sheltered by an island to the westward, but with rocky islets around us in all directions, except the S.E., some of wliich were less than a cable's length from us.† Here we were detained until the 10th of June by the worst weather I ever experienced: we rode with three anchors down and the topmasts struck; and though we lay within a couple of hundred yards of the islands and rocks, and less than half a mile from the shores of the inlet, such a furious surf broke on them all, that it was but rarely a boat could land, even in the least exposed situations the inlet afforded. The evening of our arrival was fine, and we put up the observatory tent, on the island to the westward of us; but the weather was so bad, during the next day, that we could effect no landing to remove it, although we anticipated the result that followed, namely, its being washed away.

* Xavier's Island is certainly the Montrose Island of Byron's Narrative. The Wager was lost, as will be seen, more to the southward, on the Guaianeco Islands.

† This group was afterwards called Hazard Isles.

“In the short intervals of the horrible weather that prevailed, boats were sent to the northern shore of the inlet, for the purpose of procuring water and fuel; but though they sometimes succeeded, by dint of great perseverance, in landing through a raging surf, it was but seldom they could embark the small casks (barecas) which had been filled, or the wood they had cut.

“Upon this shore the master observed remains of some Indian wigwams, that seemed to have been long forsaken, and he described them to be exactly like those we had hitherto met to the southward.

“This was the northernmost point at which we noriced traces of human beings.

“Finding the boats' crews suffer much from their unavoidable exposure during continually wet weather, I ordered some canvas to be given to each man for a frock and trowsers, to be painted at the first opportunity, as a protection against rain and spray.

“Nothing could be more dreary than the scene around us. The lofty, bleak, and barren heights that surround the inhospitable shores of this inlet, were covered, even low down their sides, with dense clouds, upon which the fierce squalls that assailed us beat, without causing any change: they seemed as immovable as the mountains where they rested,

“Around us, and some of them distant no more than two-thirds of a cable's length, were rocky islets, lashed by a tremendous surf; and, as if to complete the dreariness and utter desolation of the scene, even birds seemed to shun its neighbourhood. The weather was that in which (as Thompson emphatically says) ‘the soul of man dies in him.’

“In the course of our service since we left England, we have often been compelled to take up anchorages, exposed to great risk and danger. But the Beagle's present situation I deemed by far the most perilous to which she had been exposed: her three anchors were down in twenty-three fathoms of water, on a bad bottom of sand, with patches of rock. The squalls were terrifically violent, and astern of her, distant only half a cable's length, were rocks and low rocky islets, upon which a furious surf raged.

“I might use Bulkeley's words in describing the weather in this neighbourhood, and nearly at this season: ‘ Showers of rain and hail, which beat with such violence against a man's face, that he can hardly withstand it.’

“On the 10th, the wind being moderate, and the weather better, preparations were made to quit this horrid place. We put to sea, with a moderate breeze from N. b. W., which increased rapidly to a strong gale; and scarcely were we fairly freed from the channel, than we found ourselves in a heavy confused sea. Anxious to clear the entrance, I had not waited to hoist in the yawl, with which we had weighed one of our anchors, expecting to find smooth water as we went out; but the sea we met made it unsafe to tow her, and while hauling up to hoist her in, she was so badly stove by blows received from the violent motion of the ship, that we were obliged to cut her adrift. This was a heavy loss. She was a beautiful boat, twenty-eight feet in length,—pulled and sailed well, and was roomy, light, and buoyant; her loss was second only to that of the ship.

“We endeavoured to clear the Guaianeco Islands, by carrying a heavy press of sail, but soon after midnight were obliged to furl the reefed mainsail. Before daylight the wind shifted suddenly to W. b. N., taking us aback by a violent squall, with much vivid lightning and heavy rain. Our admirable little vessel paid off without sustaining any damage; but for a minute her situation was critical. At daylight, the land of Cape Tres Montes bore W. ½ N. (magnetic), distant four leagues. The violence of the gale we had just had put it out of our power to clear the gulf; and, from the state to which we were reduced by the loss of our yawl, both gigs being in bad condition, and our cutter so much stove as to be useless, I considered that it would not be justifiable to attempt proceeding in a lone ship to an unknown and most stormy coast, without a single efficient boat; so I resolved to hasten to Port Otway, and put the boats into an effective state. We had baffling winds all day; but in the evening succeeded in reaching the harbour, and anchoring nearly in our old berth. On the 13th and 14th, we had a continued hard gale, with the usual accompaniment of heavy rain. The carpenters were, however, kept constantly at work to render the cutter effective. On the 15th, the state of the sick list caused me to require from the surgeon, his opinion as to the ‘necessity of a temporary cessation of surveying operations.’ Mr. Bynoe's reply stated ‘that in consequence of great exposure to a long-continued succession of incessant and heavy rain, accompanied by strong gales, the health of the ship's company had been seriously affected, particularly with pulmonic complaints, catarrhal, and rheumatic affections; and that, as a recurrence of them would probably prove fatal in many instances, a temporary cessation would be of the greatest advantage to the crew, by affording an opportunity of recruiting their health.’

“On receiving the above communication from the surgeon, I ordered the yards and topmasts to be struck, and the ship covered over with sails. Precaution was used to prevent the people from being subjected to frequent exposure, by not employing any of them in boats, except once a day in procuring muscles, and every thing was avoided that could in the least interfere with the recovery of their health: but this place is exceedingly ill adapted for the winter quarters of a ship's company, as the woods that surround it, down even to the water's edge, allow no space for exercise on shore, and there is neither game nor fish to be procured, except shell-fish; of which, fortunately (muscles and clams), we found an abundance, and they proved useful in removing symptoms of scurvy, besides affording a change of diet. The place being destitute of inhabitants, is without that source of recreation, which intercourse with any people, however uncivilized, would afford a ship's company alter a laborious and disagreeable cruise in these dreary solitudes. Every port along this coast is alike ill suited for a winter's residence, and it was only our peculiar situation that induced me to determine on making a short stay at this place.”

Here poor Captain Stokes's remarks and notes end. Those who have been exposed to one of such trials as his, upon an unknown lee shore, during the worst description of weather, will understand and appreciate some of those feelings which wrought too powerfully upon his excitable mind.

The Beagle remained quiet until the 29th of June, when the surgeon reported “the crew sufficiently healthy to perform their duties without any material injury to their constiiutions.”

Leaving Port Otway, she steered along the coast with, strange to say, easterly winds and fine weather, which enabled Lieut. Skyring to add much to the survey of the coast of Madre de Dios. Captain Stokes now began to show symptoms of a malady, that had evidently been brought on by the dreadful state of anxiety he had gone through during the survey of the Gulf of Peñas. He shut himself up in his cabin, becoming quite listless, and inattentive to what was going on; and after entering the Strait of Magalhaens, on his return to Port Famine, he delayed at several places without any apparent reason; conduct quite opposite to what his would naturally have been, had he then been of sound mind. At last, want of provisions obliged him to hasten to Port Famine; and the day on which he arrived every article of food was expended.

The fatal event, which had cast an additional gloom over every one, decided our quitting the Strait. Both ships were immediately prepared, and we sailed on the 16th August; but previously, I appointed Lieutenant Skyring to act as commander of the Beagle; Mr. Flinn to be master of the Adventure; and Mr. Millar, second master of the Adventure, to act as master of the Beagle. The day we sailed, Mr. Flinn was taken ill; and, Lieutenant Wickham being on the sick list, I was the only commissioned officer able to keep the deck. As the wind was from the N.W., we were obliged to beat to windward all night, and the next morning were off Sandy Point; but it blew so very strong from the westward, and the weather was so thick from snow-squalls, which passed in rapid succession, that we bore up, and anchored in Freshwater Bay, where the ships were detained by northerly winds until the 21st, when we proceeded; the wind, however, again opposing, we anchored about half a mile from the shore, in a bight, seven miles southward of Sandy Point. The following day we were underweigh early, and reached Gregory Bay. When off Elizabeth Island, I despatched the Beagle to Pecket's Harbour to recall the Adelaide, in which Lieutenant Graves had been sent to procure guanaco meat. The Beagle worked through, between Elizabeth Island and Cape Negro, and was seen by us at anchor off Pecket's Harbour before we entered the Second Narrow.

Upon our anchoring under Cape Gregory, two or three Patagonians were seen on the beach, and before half an hour had elapsed others joined them. By sunset several toldos, or tents, were erected, and a large party had arrived. When the Adelaide first went to Pecket's Harbour, Mr. Tarn told the Indians that the Adventure would be at Gregory Bay in twenty-five days, and, accidentally, we arrived punctually to the time. The Patagonians must have been on their way to meet us, for they could not have travelled from Pecket's Harbour in the short space of time that we were in sight. To their great mortification, however, we held no communication with them that evening, and the next day the weather was so bad we could not even lower a boat. At noon the wind blew harder than I had ever witnessed; but since we were on good holding-ground, and the water was smooth, no danger was anticipated.

As the snow-squalls cleared off, we looked towards the Patagonians, with the full expectation of seeing their huts blown down:—to our astonishment, they had withstood the storm, although placed in a very exposed situation. We counted twelve or fourteen of them, and judging by our former experience of the number belonging to each, there must have been, at least, one hundred and fifty persons collected. During the gale they kept close; and it was only now and then that a solitary individual was observed to go from one toldo to another.

The weather having moderated, the Beagle and Adelaide joined us on the following day. They rode the gale out, without accident, off the entrance of Pecket's Harbour. The next morning being fine, we prepared to proceed; but previous to weighing I landed, and communicated with our old acquaintances. Maria was with them, and, if possible, dirtier, and more avaricious than ever. We collected the guanaco meat they had brought for us; distributed a few parting presents, and then returned on board.

The Adelaide brought sixteen hundred pounds of meat, which, with what was first obtained, amounted to four thousand pounds weight; and cost altogether ten pounds of tobacco, forty biscuits, and six pocket-knives. At first a biscuit was considered equivalent to forty or fifty pounds of meat; but as the demand increased, the price rose four or five hundred per cent. With the Patagonians were two of Mr. Low's crew, who had left him. They were Portuguese, in a miserable state, and appeared to be thoroughly ashamed of being the companions of such a dirty set: they could not speak English, and could give us very little information. They had not then assumed the Indian garb, although, from the state of their clothes, they would very soon be obhged to adopt it.

At Pecket's Harbour a few words of the native language were collected, which are very different from those given by Falkner, in his description of the Patagonian natives: he says himself, that the language of the northern Indians differs materially from that of the ‘Yacana Cunnees.’§

§ Falkner, Patagonia, p. 110.

During Lieutenant Graves's communication with the natives, at Pecket's Harbour, he obtained some interesting information respecting these Indians, which will be given in a subsequent part of the work.

The Adelaide brought me a few very gratifying additions to my zoological collection, among which was the Zorillo, or Skunk, of the Pampas; differing in no way whatever from the species found about the River Plata, in such numbers as to impregnate the air with their disagreeable odour for many miles around.

I have frequently found the scent of this offensive little animal distinctly perceptible when I was on board the Adventure, lying at anchor about two miles from Monte Video, with the wind blowing from the land.*

* D'Azara, in his Essai sur I'Histoire Naturelle des Quadrupedes de Paraguay, gives the following account of this animal, which he calls Yagouare. It burrows in the ground, eats insects, eggs, and birds, when it can surprise them, and moves about the plains and fields both by day and night in search of food; brushing the ground with its body, and carrying its tail horizontally. It regards not the presence of man or beast; unless an attempt be made to injure or take it, when it gathers up its body, bristles up the hairs of its tail, erecting it vertically; and in this this position awaits the approach of its enemy, at whom it ejects its urine, which produces so unbearable a smell, that neither man, dog, nor tiger, will attempt to touch the animal.
The yagouare moves very slowly, and cannot run. It produces two young ones, which are placed at the bottom of its burrow. The unconquered Indians of the Pampas make mantles with the furs of the fox, cavia, or other animals, and border them with the skins of the yagouare, which are very soft and fine, and would be fit for being employed by the furrier were it not for the disagreeable odour which they impart to every thing they touch. The Indians eat the flesh of this animal, which they irritate until its only means of defence is unavailing, and it can be captured without offensive consequences.

A very large condor was shot by one of the Adelaide's party, which measured, in length, four feet three inches and a half, and nine feet two inches between the extremities of the wings. It was presented to the British Museum. Many exaggerated accounts of this bird have been given by old voyagers; but the largest dimensions stated, of whose accuracy there exists no doubt, are those of one that was preserved in the Leverian Museum, which measured thirteen feet one inch, from wing to wing. This, however, must have been an old bird; for the one we killed is larger than the usual size of specimens which have been obtained. Molina states, in his account of this bird, vol. i. p. 298, that the largest he ever saw measured fourteen feet and some inches (Spanish measure), from the tip of one wing to that of the other. M. Humboldt also gives a detailed description.

“It is with the condor,” says this celebrated voyager, “as with the Patagonian, and many other objects of natural history; the more they are examined, the more they diminish in size.” They inhabit the highest mountains of the Andes, and only descend to the plains when pressed by hunger. Frequently, in troops, they attack cattle, deer, guanacoes, and even the puma, and always succeed in killing them; but their principal food is carrion, of which, in a country so abundantly stocked with quadrupeds, there is probably no want.

Our departure from the Strait was attended with beautiful weather; the moon was full, and the wind fair and moderate. Cape Virgins was passed soon after sunset, and we proceeded on our course with rapidity.

The timely supply of guanaco meat had certainly checked the scurvy, for we had no new cases added to the number of the sick, now amounting to twenty. The Beagle was not so sickly; but, during the last cruise, upwards of forty cases, principally pulmonic, had occurred, and several were not yet recovered. On the passage, a man fell overboard from the Beagle, at night, and was drowned.

In latitude 45° S. we were delayed three days, by northerly winds and damp foggy weather, after which a fresh S. W. gale carried us into the River Plata. Having obtained good chronometer sights in the afternoon, we steered on through the night, intending to pass to the westward of the Archimedes Shoal; which would have been rather a rash step, had we not been well assured of the correctness of our chronometrical reckoning. At this time Brazil and Buenos Ayres were at war, and some of the blockading squadron of the former were generally to be met with in the mouth of the river; but we saw none, until half-past two in the morning, when several vessels were observed at anchor to leeward, and we were soon close to a squadron of brigs and schooners, whose number was evident by a confusion of lights, rockets, and musketry, on board every vessel. I bore down to pass within hail of the nearest, which proved to be the Commodore's, the Marañao of eighteen guns; and on approaching, explained who and what we were; but they were so confused, I could not even make myself understood. The breeze, at the time, had fallen so light, that, fearing to get foul of the brig, the ship was hove up in the wind, and the anchor ordered to be let go. Unluckily a stopper was foul, and before another bower could drop, the Brazilians had fired several muskets into us, happily without doing any mischief; and threatened us, if we did not immediately anchor, with a broadside, which, in their utter confusion, I am astonished they did not fire. Having anchored, and lowered the topsails, I sent a boat to inform the Brazilian who we were, and to request, that in consequence of the number of our sick (we had only ten serviceable men on deck), we might not be detained, as even a few hours might prove of serious consequence; but all I could urge was unavailing, and we were detained until daylight with trifling excuses. We were so situated, that unless the brig veered her cable, or dropped out of our way, we could not move without getting foul of her, else I should have proceeded without permission. After daylight, the brig gave us room, by tripping her anchor; and upon an officer coming on board to release us, I told him my opinion of the affair, and said I should report the captain's conduct to his admiral. This report was afterwards made, in a very spirited manner, by Captain Henry Dundas, of H.M.S. Sapphire; but the admiral defended the conduct of his officer by saying that he had merely acted, “magna componere parvis,” as an English blockading squadron would have done in a similar case.

Whether the act was borne out, or not, by the law or custom of blockade, it was very uncivil; and one for which, after the explanation given, and the proofs offered, there could not be the slightest occasion. Owing to this detention, we did not reach the anchorage at Monte Video until too late in the day to procure refreshments for the sick. We found, to our sorrow, that fresh provisions were so extremely scarce, owing to the war, that none could be procured for our ships' companies; and had it not been for the kindness of Señor Juanico, a well-known, and highly esteemed resident at Monte Video, who supplied us plentifully with bitter (Seville) oranges, we might have been much distressed. The free use, however, of this fruit alone caused a rapid change in the health of those affected by scurvy, and in less than a week every man was at his duty.

A few days after our arrival, through the intervention of the British minister, a peace was concluded between the belligerents, in which Buenos Ayres gained all it had contended for, and Brazil gave up what she had so imperiously demanded.

I was extremely gratified by meeting, at this port, the late Captain Henry Foster, in H.M.S. Chanticleer, on his pendulum voyage. He was established at an observatory on a small island, called Rat, or Rabbit Island, whither I lost no time in proceeding, and found him deeply engaged in that series of observations which has reflected so much honour upon his memory.

Before he sailed, I made an arrangement to meet the Chanticleer, either at Staten Land or Cape Horn, for the purpose of supplying her with provisions, to enable him to proceed thence to the Cape of Good Hope, without returning to Monte Video. On the 13th of October, we sailed for Rio de Janeiro to procure some stores, which had been sent from England for our use, and to be caulked and refitted. The Beagle remained at Monte Video, to prepare for our next cruise. Before we were ready to leave Rio de Janeiro, the Commander-in-chief, Sir Robert Otway, arrived from Bahia, in his flag-ship, the Ganges. Sir Robert acquainted me, that he considered it necessary for the Beagle to be hove down and repaired;—that he intended to supersede Lieutenant Skyring; and had sent the requisite orders to Monte Video. When the Beagle arrived, Lieutenant Robert Fitz Roy, flag lieutenant of the Ganges, was appointed as commander; Mr. J. Kempe, mate, as lieutenant; and Mr. M. Murray, second master of the Ganges, as master.

Although this arrangement was undoubtedly the prerogative of the Commander-in-chief, and I had no reason to complain of the selection he had made to fill the vacancies, yet it seemed hard that Lieutenant Skyring, who had in every way so well earned his promotion, should be deprived of an appointment to which he very naturally considered himself entitled.

The conduct of Lieutenant Skyring, throughout the whole of his service in the Beagle,—especially during the survey of the Gulf of Penas,§ and the melancholy illness of his captain,—deserved the highest praise and consideration; but he was obliged to return to his former station as assistant surveyor: and, to his honour be it said, with an equanimity and goodwill, which showed his thorough zeal for the service.

§ The sole appearance of Penas spelled correctly.

Captain FitzRoy was considered qualified to command the Beagle: and although I could not but feel much for the bitterness of Lieutenant Skyring's disappointment, I had no other cause for dissatisfaction.


CHAPTER XII

Adventure sails from Rio de Janeiro to the River Plata—Gorriti—Maldonado—Extraordinary Pampero—Beagle's losses—Ganges arrives—Another pampero—Go up the river for water—Gale, and consequent detention—Sail from Monte Video—Part from our consorts—Port Desire—Tower Rock—Skeletons—Sea Bear Bay—Fire—Guanacoes—Port Desire Inlet—Indian graves—Vessels separate—Captain Foster—Chanticleer—Cape Horn—Kater's Peak—Sail from St. Martin Cove—Tribute to Captain Foster—Valparaiso—Santiago—Pinto Heights—Chilóe—Aldunate.

The Adventure sailed from Rio de Janeiro on the 27th of December 1828, leaving the Beagle to complete her repairs, and follow to the River Plata. The day before our arrival at Maldonado, we were overtaken by the Commander-in-chief, in H.M.S. Ganges, and entered the river in company. The Ganges proceeded to Monte Video; but we went into Maldonado Bay, where I had determined to wait for the Beagle.

[1829] §

§ The new year is not indicated here, and the ship's log is not yet available.

Since our last visit to this place, the Island of Gorriti had been occupied by Brazilian troops, who, before going away, set fire to the buildings, and destroyed all the wood-work. As one object of my stay was to obtain observations for the latitude and longitude, I erected our portable observatory, and set up an azimuth altitude instrument.

On the 30th of January, after some intensely hot and sultry weather, we experienced a very severe ‘Pampero.’ It was preceded by the barometer falling to 29·50, and by a strong N.W. wind, which suddenly veered round to S.W., when the pampero burst upon us. Our ship and boats fortunately escaped any bad effects from the violence of the squall, which was so strong as to lay the former, at anchor, upon her broadside; but on shore our tent was blown down, and a boat that had been lately built, and fresh painted, on the Island Gorriti, was completely destroyed. The part above the thwarts, was torn away from the bottom of the boat, and carried, by the violence of the wind, for two hundred yards along the beach. A boat, also, on the opposite shore, was blown to atoms. When the squall commenced, one of our boats was coming off from the island; the officer being quite unconscious of the approaching hurricane, and as she was overloaded with people, I felt very uneasy until after the squall cleared away, when I observed her beached on the opposite shore, many yards above high water mark, to which position she had been driven by the force of the wind. The violence of this pampero, during the twenty minutes it lasted, was terrific. Old inhabitants of Maldonado declared, that they had experienced nothing like it for the last twenty years. The spray was carried up by whirlwinds, threatening complete destruction to every thing that opposed them. In less than half an hour it had diminished to a strong S. W. gale, which lasted during the night.

Just before the pampero commenced, L'Aréthuse, French frigate, was observed over the point of land under all sail; but not being seen after the squall cleared off, we were much alarmed for her safety. At daylight, however, the next morning, she was seen at anchor under Lobos Island, and near her was our consort, the Beagle, of whose approach we had known nothing; bnt she appeared to be lying quietly, with topmasts struck, under the lee of the island. L'Aréthuse slipped her cable in the afternoon, and ran out to sea.

On the 1st of February the wind moderated, and enabled the Beagle to join us, when we found that she had been nearly capsized by the pampero; and had suffered a considerable loss of sails and masts, besides injury to her boats. Both topmasts, and jib-boom, with all the small spars, were carried away; and her jib and topsails, although furled, were blown to pieces. The vessel was on her beam ends for some time; but letting go both anchors brought her head to wind and righted her, which prevented the necessity of cutting away the lower masts. To add to their misfortune, two men were blown overboard, from aloft, and drowned.

These severe losses caused considerable detention; but, fortunately, the Ganges arrived, and rendered every assistance in repairing and replacing the Beagle's damages.

On the night of the 2d of February we experienced another very severe pampero, during which one of the Beagle's boats, hauled up on shore, was blown to atoms. The barometer had previously fallen to 29·39.

On the 9th of February, we went to Monte Video, and on the 17th ran up the north side of the river for water; but did not find it fresh until we were within four miles of Cape ‘Jesus Maria.’ The wind was against our return, so that we had to beat down the river, in doing which the Adelaide grounded, but without receiving any injury. We anchored twice in our passage out, and, at the second anchorage,* experienced a very heavy westerly gale. In attempting to weigh at its commencement, our windlass was so much injured, that we were obliged to ride the gale out, which we did by veering to one hundred and ten fathoms of chain cable; and the Beagle, to one hundred and fifty fathoms. Owing to a short heavy sea, in which the Adventure frequently pitched her bowsprit and stem alternately under water, her jolly-boat was washed away. This loss we could ill afford, as we were already three boats short of our establishment, and wants; and as the Adelaide had suffered severely, by losing her topmast and jib-boom, and carrying away the head of her bowsprit, we were obliged to return, very reluctantly, after the gale had subsided, to Monte Video; whence we finally sailed on the 1st of March, On the 5th a S.S.E. gale separated us from our consorts, our course, therefore, was directed for the first rendezvous, at Port Desire.

* From which the Mount (at Monte Video) bore N. 11° W., distant eight leagues.

When off Cape Blanco, the high land of Espinosa, in the interior, was clearly distinguished at a distance of sixty miles, and might probably be seen twenty miles further; so that its height must be, at least, four thousand feet. This range is of irregular form, and has several peaked summits, so very different from the general features of this coast, where the heights are either flat-topped, or of an undulating outline, that I suppose the rock to be of a character unlike that of the porphyry hills common hereabouts.

On anchoring off Port Desire (14th), we found that the Beagle had arrived, but had not met the Adelaide. The following afternoon I landed to examine the Tower Rock, a very conspicuous object, on the south side of this harbour, having the appearance of an enormous dead tree with its branches lopped off. On our way to it we passed over an undulating plain, composed of a sandy light soil, lying on a rocky basis, which in many parts protruded. The soil was so poor, as only to produce a few tufts of grass, and here and there a straggling bush of Berberis, or Piccoli, a dwarf woody shrub, which is much esteemed as firewood by the sealers who frequent the coast. Sir John Narborough, in describing this place, says, “The soil is gravelly and sandy, with tufts of dry seared grass growing on it;” again: “from the tops of the hills I could see a great way into the land, which is all hills and downs, like Cornwall, toilsome travelling to those who were not used to it.”

The Tower Rock is evidently the remains of what was once probably a considerable rocky mass, which has either been partially destroyed by some convulsion, or, more probably, has been gradually worn away by the effect of weather. Like all the debris around, it is of a fine-grained red porphyritic claystone, much decomposed, but very hard, and difficult to break.*

* Specimens of this rock are deposited in the Geological Society's Museum, Nos. 3 and 3—1.

It stands erect at the summit of a mound or heap of broken stones, of all sizes, some being very large blocks, from ten to twenty, or thirty tons weight. It is about forty feet high, and twelve in diameter, having its upper portion cleft, as it were, for about one-third down the middle, which gives it a resemblance to the forked branch of an immense tree. It is covered with moss and lichen, and, from its peculiar shape and prominent situation, presents a very remarkable object.

Near it we observed traces of an Indian visit, among which was a horse's skull. From the sterility of the soil and absence of fresh water, it is probable that it is but little frequented by them. Port Desire is celebrated as being the place where Schouten, the Dutch navigator, is said to have found skeletons measuring eleven or twelve feet in length!

Captain Fitz Roy informed me that he had not seen the Adelaide since we separated. The Beagle had lost another boat in the gale; the eleventh we had lost in the expedition since leaving England. As the Adelaide did not make her appearance, I determined upon proceeding in the Adventure to Sea Bear Bay, a few miles to the southward of Port Desire, to await her arrival with the Beagle. While standing into the bay, we were amused by a chase of a novel description: a guanaco was observed following a fox, which had much difficulty in keeping his pursuer at a distance. As the guanaco is not carnivorous, it may have been in playfulness: Reynard, however, by his speed, and anxiety to escape, did not seem to think it an amusement. How the chase terminated we did not see, for they disappeared in a valley.

While the ship was being moored, I landed to examine some wells near the outer point, which have been said to afford some tuns of good water. I found them to be deep holes in the solid rock, within the wash of a heavy surf, and large enough to contain two hundred gallons of water; but in one only was the water fresh, the sea having broken into the others, and, of course, spoiled their contents. They receive the rain from the ravines, and are much depended upon by sealing vessels which frequent this coast.

Sea Bear Bay was discovered in the voyage of the Nodales, in the year 1618; they describe the place, but give it, as it deserves, a very poor character. “The port,” they say, “for a short stay, is not bad, since it affords a good depth of water and a clear bottom; but otherwise it possesses nothing to make it worth a ship visiting it, for there is neither wood nor water, which are what ships most require.” Nodales called the bay ‘Sea Lion,‘ from the multitude of sea-lions (Phoca jubata) found on Penguin Island. Why it has been changed to Sea Bear Bay I cannot determine.§

§ Sea lions and the bay itself are described in the de Nodals' account, but they do not name the latter. The subsequent name change may be due to the island's population of fur seals (or “Sea Bears”) rather than sea lions.

In one of Mr. Tarn's excursions into the country, he observed a sail in the offing, which he thought was a whale-boat; and supposing it might be in distress, if not one of the Adelaide's, kindled a fire to attract attention. As the grass was very dry, it blazed furiously, and spread rapidly around, yet without exciting fear that it could do us any injury; but the next morning flames being observed on the crest of the hills, behind the valley in which our tent had been erected, a boat was sent to save it, and remove the instruments. Our men had just left the ship, when, fanned by a land breeze which rose with the sun, the flames flew on with rapidity, descended the valley, and before the boat reached the shore, had consumed every vestige of the tent, and several articles of minor consequence. The sextant and artificial horizon, lying on the ground, escaped destruction, and the dipping-needle had fortunately been taken on board. Before the fire burned itself out, the whole country for fifteen or twenty miles around was completely over-run, so that all hope of procuring guanacoes was destroyed. Previous to the fire, Mr. Tarn had shot one; but being young, the carcase only weighed one hundred pounds, and was scarcely worth the trouble of sending fifteen miles for; however, as an amusement to the people, I sent a party to bring it on board, and it proved sufficient to furnish the ship's company with a fresh meal.

We had seen several herds within four miles of the ship before the conflagration; but the country was so very level and open, that these shy animals were always warned of the approach of our people by their vigilant scouts. So watchful and attentive is the look-out at his post, that he never drops his head even to feed, and it is only with the greatest cunning and care a man can get near the herd. The best way is, to lie concealed near the water holes, and await their coming to drink. A small stream of fresh water trickled over the beach into the bay, fringed by a patch of grass which the fire had spared, at which having once observed a guanaco drinking, we set a watch; but whether the animals were aware of it or not, none came until the morning we sailed, when a small herd walked down to the place quite unconcernedly, having no doubt first ascertained that there was no danger.

The little vessel Mr. Tarn saw was an American sealer, which anchored in the bay next morning.

Besides the guanacoes, and fox, above-mentioned, we saw no quadrupeds, although two or three sorts of cavia and the puma are common in this neighbourhood. Of birds, nothing interesting was seen, except a plover (Totanus fuscus?), oyster-catcher (Hoematopus niger, rostro rubro, pedibus albis), and one of the night bitterns, very much resembling the young of the European bird;* but these three species had previously been found at Port Famine. Several lizards were taken, and preserved.

* See Zoological Journal, vol. iv. p. 92.

This extremely sterile and barren country is very unfavourable for animals of any kind. The soil is like that already described about Port Desire. The rock is of the same character as at Port St. Elena and Port Desire: red porphyritic claystone.*

* Nos. 1 and 2 in the Geological Society's Museum. A new species of Solen (Solen Scalprum, nob., Zool. Journ. V. 335. No. 5.) was found on the beach; and the camerated nidus of Buccinum muriciforme, nob., Zool. .Journal, I.e. No. 62.

On the 23d of March, a week having passed since we came to Port Desire, my anxiety for the Adelaide's safety was much increased; especially as both wind and weather had been favourable for her approach to this rendezvous. I therefore despatched Lieut. Wickham overland to Port Desire to order the Beagle to join us, and proceed with us to the other points of rendezvous, Port San Julian and Cape Fairweather. Lieut. Wickham reached Port Desire after a fatiguing walk, and early next morning the Beagle was beating into Sea Bear Bay against a very strong wind which increased, and detained us. I seized this opportunity of completing our consort's provisions to five months. Captain Fitz Roy informed me that he had taken advantage of his stay at Port Desire, to ascend the inlet to the head. It extended for thirty miles, and the water was salt to its very extremity; but, from the height of the old banks on each side, it appeared likely that at times there may be considerable freshes. At the head of the river he lighted a fire, which spread, and soon joined that which Mr. Tarn had made. Their union probably burned many square leagues of country. On the 27th, we were still detained by a southerly gale. Captain Fitz Roy accompanied me in search of Indian graves, which are described to be on the summits of the hills. We found the remains of two, one of which had been recently disturbed, but the other had been opened a considerable time.

No vestiges of bones were left. It is said that the corpse is extended in an east and west direction, on the top of the highest pinnacle of the hill, and then covered over with large stones until secure from beasts of prey. Decomposition takes place, or the flesh is consumed by small animals or insects, without the bones being removed, so that complete skeletons are formed. According to Falkner, the bones are collected at a certain period, and removed to some general cemetery, where the skeletons are set up, and tricked out with all the finery the Indians can collect.§ The avidity they evince for beads and other ornamental trifles is, perhaps, caused by this desire of adorning the remains of their ancestors.

§ Falkner, Patagonia, p. 119. [Here, King repeats something he wrote earlier, in Chapter I.]

The next morning we left Sea Bear Bay and proceeded to San Julian, off which we anchored for a few hours, while Captain Fitz Roy entered the port to look for the Adelaide, or for some vestige of Lieutenant Graves's visit. Finding nothing in the port, nor any tracks upon the shore, we went on towards Cape Fairweather, and in our way met the Adelaide. After parting from us during the gale in which all her sails were split, she went to Port Desire, where she arrived first, and, not seeing us, proceeded to the two other places of rendezvous, and had been lying at anchor eight days off Cape Fairweather. Finding we were not there, she was returning to Port San Julian, when we met her. The weather being calm, so good an opportunity of supplying the Adelaide with provisions was not lost, and she was completed to six months.

On the 1st of April we were off Cape Virgins, and parted from the Beagle and Adelaide; Captain Fitz Roy having previously received orders from me to proceed through the Strait of Magalhaens, and despatch the Adelaide to survey the Magdalen and Barbara Channels, while he was to survey part of the south shore of the Strait and the Jerome Channel, and then proceed, in company with the Adelaide, to Chilóe.

The Adventure then proceeded along the coast of Tierra del Fuego towards Staten Land, for the purpose of communicating with the Chanticleer, or obtaining some intelligence of her. The appointed rendezvous was New Year's Harbour, and the day on which I had promised to be there was past.

It was so foggy that no part of the coast of Tierra del Fuego could be seen; but as any detention might cause Captain Foster inconvenience, I did not wait for fair weather, but went at once to the place appointed.

When crossing Strait le Maire, we were very nearly drifted through by the tide, which, however, changed just in time to admit of our keeping on the north side of Staten Land.

With a strong squally breeze we entered New Year's Harbour, and seeing nothing of the Chanticleer, should have sailed without further investigation, had we not observed a cleared white space on one of the islands, which being near the place where I had requested Captain Foster to leave a document, I concluded was intended to attract our attention. The anchor was therefore dropped in twenty-five fathoms (the island bearing from N. to N.W. ¼ W.), nearly in the spot where Captain Cook anchored, and a boat was sent to the white mark, near which a flag-staff was observed, at whose foot was a tin canister, containing a letter from Captain Foster, which informed me of his having been obliged, in consequence of a longer detention here than he had anticipated, to alter his arrangements, and requesting me to meet him at St. Martin's Cove, near Cape Horn, about this day. We therefore lost no time in getting under weigh, but in doing so, broke an anchor. We passed round Cape St. John, and with a fair wind made rapid progress to the westward. At noon, the next day, being seventy-five miles from Cape Horn, bearing W. by S., the high mountains on the S.E. end of Tierra del Fuego came in sight, among which the ‘Sugar Loaf’ (g) was a conspicuous object. By an angular measurement of its altitude, and the distance given by the chart, its height must be nearly five thousand feet, and the average height of its neighbouring mountains full three thousand.

(g) Campana, or Bell Mountain.—R.F.

A south-west gale now set in, and delayed our reaching Cape Horn until the 16th, when we anchored off the entrance of St. Martin's Cove and found the Chanticleer moored within. A boat soon after came with the welcome information of all being well on board her. We were not able to warp into the Cove until next day, and in doing so found much difficulty, owing to the violence of the squalls, which repeatedly obliged us to slacken the hawsers quickly, else we should have carried them away.

The Adventure was moored in seventeen fathoms, about a cable's length within the low green point on the south side: and the Chanticleer lay in ten fathoms near the head of the Cove. The summit of Cape Horn being in a line with the south point of entrance, we were quite land-locked, and perfectly sheltered from all winds, excepting the williwaws, or furious gusts from off the high land, which sometimes suddenly struck the ship, and threw her on her broadside; but being as momentary in duration as they were sudden in approach, we found them more disagreeable than dangerous.

During our stay here I made a partial survey of the Bay of St. Francis, which has since been completed by Captain Fitz Roy. St. Joachim's Cove, to the southward of St. Martin's Cove, is more exposed than the latter, but is of easier depth. These coves are separated from each other by a steep and precipitous mass of hills of greenstone, which in many parts appear to be stratified, the dip being to the westward, at an angle of 40°. I landed at the point, and ascended the hill, which I found more difficult to do than I supposed, the whole surface being covered with stunted beech bushes, so thickly matted or interwoven together, that I was obliged to walk or crawl over their tops. Among them were occasionally seen the berberis ilicifolia and veronica, the latter of very small size. Another day, Lieutenant Kendall, of the Chanticleer, accompanied me to Weddel's Port Maxwell, which is evidently St. Bernard's Cove of D'Arquistade.(h) Port Maxwell is contained between Jerdan Island, Saddle Island, and a third island, forming a triangle. It has four entrances, the principal one being to the north of Jerdan Island, and affords tolerable anchorage in the centre, in nineteen and twenty fathoms, sand;* nearer the shores of the island the depth is more moderate, but the bottom is very rocky.

(h) I do not think the bay adjacent to Cape Horn is that which was named by D'Arquistade ‘St. Francis,’ and, if my supposition is correct, Port Maxwell is not the place which was called ‘St. Bernard's Cove.‘ See Second volume.—R.F.

* According to Capt. Fitz Roy the best berth is in sixteen fathoms. (Sail. Directions.)

The summit of Saddle Island, which I ascended for bearings, is composed of large blocks of greenstone rock, on one of which the compass (Kater's Azimuth, without a stand) was placed; but the needle was found to be so much influenced by the ferruginous nature of the rock, composed of quartz and feldspar, thickly studded with large crystals of hornblende, that the poles of the needle became exactly reversed. An experiment was then made, by taking bearings of a very distant object, at several stations around, about fifty yards from the magnetic rock, when the extreme difference of the results amounted to 127°. The block upon which the compass stood, in the first instance, is now conspicuously placed in the museum of the Geological Society.*

* Nos. 268 to 271, Geo. Soc. Museum.

Saddle Island, like the others near it, is clothed with low stunted brushwood of beech, berberis, and arbutus, and the ground is covered with a species of chamitis, and other mountain plants. While Mr. Kendall and I were absent from the boat, the crew caught several kelp fish, which are very delicate and wholesome food. On the following day, while going with Mr. Kendall to Wollaston Island, we passed a great many whales, leaping and tumbling in the water. A blow from one of them would have destroyed our boat, and I was glad to cross the Sound without getting within their reach. We returned by the west side of Jerdan Island, where there are bights which might afford shelter to a small vessel.

The Sound that separates Wollaston Island from the Bay of St. Francis, I named after Sir John Franklin, and the harbour to the east of the point on which we landed, after Lieutenant Kendall, who was one of Sir John Franklin's companions in his last journey to the north-west coast of America.

On the west point of Kendall Harbour, I observed a magnetic property in the rock, which is of the same character as that on Saddle Island. Weddel noticed the same at St. Martin's Cove; but I placed the compass in various parts of that cove, without observing any difference from the correct bearing. This was, perhaps, owing to the rock being much covered with soil; for, being of the same character with that of the places above-mentioned, it should cause a similar effect.

The next day S.W. gales and thick weather set in, and confined us almost to the ship. Taking advantage of a short interval of more moderate weather, I ascended the highest peak on the south side of the cove, immediately over the anchorage, taking two barometers, one of the Englefield construction, and the other a syphon barometer, on M. Gay Lussac's plan, made by Bunten, of Paris. Mr. Harrison accompanied me, taking charge of one barometer, whilst I carried the other. My coxswain carried a theodolite. On landing, the barometers were set up at the edge of the water and read off, and at the same moment the barometer on board was read off. We then ascended, but the rise was so precipitously steep as to offer very great impediments; and had it not been for a water-course, in whose bed we climbed for the first part, the ascent, with delicate instruments, would have been almost impracticable. We had ascended but little way, when the unfortunate theodolite escaped from my coxswain, rolled down the ravine, and was much damaged. It was an excellent magnetic transit, and for that purpose was irremediably injured; but, as a theodolite, it was yet useful. The first third of the ascent, from the comparative facility offered by the water-course, was only impeded by loose stones, which frequently yielded to the foot, and rolled down the gully, to the great danger of those who followed. The banks of the ravine were saturated with water, and covered either with spongy moss, or matted with plants,* which afforded no assistance; had it not therefore been for straggling shrubs of arbutus, or veronica, and tufts of rushes, growing on the steeper parts, we should have had many a fall; and however unimportant we might think bruises and scratches, a broken barometer would have been a serious accident, and much care was required to avoid it. We had to leave the bed of the torrent, when it became full of wood, and then our difficulty increased much; for in many places we had to scramble over the thickly-matted and interwoven branches of the stunted bushes of beech which frequently yielded to our weight, and entangled our legs so much, that it was no easy matter to extricate ourselves.

* A species of Gunnera (Dysemore integrifolia, Banks and Solander), and the green-stemmed Cineraria (Cin. Icucanthema, Banks and Solander).

At the height of one thousand feet, vegetation became much more stunted; we found the plants and shrubs of very diminutive size, consisting principally of the deciduous-leaved beech, one plant of which, though not more than two inches high, occupied a space of four or five feet in diameter, its spreading branches insinuating themselves among wild cranberry, chamitis, donacia, arbutus, and escalonia, so closely matted together, as to form quite an elastic carpet. For the last two hundred feet, we walked over the bare rock, on which no other vegetation was observed than lichens. The summit of the peak is formed by a loose pile of green-stone rock, in which the hornblende appears in very varied forms, sometimes in large crystals, and again so small and disseminated, as to be scarcely visible; on the summit it is seen, in very long, narrow (? filiform) crystals, and the feldspar predominating, gives it a white appearance.*

* Nos. 283 to 286, in Geol. Soc. Museum.

The only living creatures we saw were a solitary hawk and one insect, a species of Oniscus. Nothing, in fact, could be more desolate, and we had only the satisfaction of a good observation for the height, and an excellent bird's-eye view of the surrounding islands and channel, to repay us for the labour of the ascent. On reaching the top, the barometers were suspended under the lee of the rock, twelve feet below its summit, and I then proceeded to set up the theodolite, which I found more damaged than I had anticipated; but not so much as to deprive me of a very extensive round of angles, in which were contained bearings of the Ildefonso Islands. We were thus occupied about an hour and half, which afforded me an opportunity of obtaining two good readings of the barometer.

The view to the N.W. was very extensive, and bounded by long ranges of snow-clad mountains of great height; the atmosphere was remarkably clear, and every object unusually distinct. Bearings of the islands of Diego Ramirez would have been taken, but for the extreme force of the wind, which more than once blew me from the theodolite, and once actually threw me on the ground. The temperature was not below 38°; but, owing to the wind, the cold was intense, and the rapid evaporation produced the most painful sensations, particularly in our feet and legs, which were thoroughly wet when we reached the top.

Our descent was not effected in less than an hour and twenty minutes, owing to the difficulty of passing through the beech thickets; but we reached the base without injury to the barometers, which was being more fortunate than I expected. They were again set up on the beach, and read; after which we returned on board, amply gratified and rewarded for our fatigue.

The height of the peak, which, from its vicinity to the station selected by Captain Foster for the pendulum experiments, could not receive a more appropriate name than Kater's Peak, was found to be 1,742 feet above the highwater mark.*

* The changes of pressure, during the intervals of ascent and descent, were obtained by registering the ship's barometer, which was done by signal from the stations on shore, when the readings were taken. During the ascent the column fell 0·039 inches, and during the descent rose 0·041 inches. Corrections were made for the dew point, as observed by Daniell's hygrometer at the base and summit, and the calculations were made according to the formula in Daniell's Meteorological Essay. The following is the result:

By Bunten's Syphon.By Jones 509.
Ascent1743·41749·3
Descent1738·1739·1
Mean1741.1744·2
which instruments 1742·4 feet.

The next day, after a beautifully clear and mild morning, with a fresh northerly breeze, the weather became cloudy, and the wind veered to the S.W. blowing excessively hard, with hail and rain. The gusts, or williwaws, rushed through the valley of the cove with inconceivable violence, heaving the ship over on her broadside every minute, so that we were obliged to have every thing lashed as if at sea. Fortunately, we had completed wood and water, and now only waited for observations, to rate the chronometers, for our run to Valparaiso, whither it was my intention to proceed. Days, however, passed without a glimpse of the stars, and the sun only appeared for a few minutes above the hills. Captain Foster had completed his observations, and embarked all his instruments, excepting the transit, which remained for taking the passages of stars; but the bad weather continued, with little intermission. On the 3d, the gale was most violent, and the williwaws became short hurricanes, in some of which the ship drifted and fouled her anchors. On the 10th, we had a dry and fair day, which permitted us to sight the anchors and moor again.

The fine weather was of only a few hours duration, when the gale again sprung up, and lasted, with little intermission, until the day of our departure (the 24th). From the 4th to the 22d the sky was so perpetually clouded, that the only transits obtained in that interval were, one of Antares, one of Regulus, and one of the limb of the moon, though Captain Foster even slept close to the telescope, in the greatest anxiety to obtain observations. On the night of the 22d four stars were observed, by which the error of the clock was satisfactorily ascertained.

Captain Foster's pluviameter, a cubic foot in size, placed on a stand two feet above the ground, at an elevation of forty-five feet above the sea, contained eight inches and a quarter of rain, after standing thirty days; therefore, with the quantity evaporated, at least twelve inches must have fallen. The day after the above was registered, the vessel only contained seven inches and a quarter; so that in twenty-four hours one inch had evaporated, by which an idea may be formed of the sort of weather we experienced, and of the humidity of the climate.

With respect to the geological features, I can only add, that all the islands on which I landed, and, I believe, all the others, are composed of green-stone of various characters. The lower portion, or base, being less decomposed, is a fine-grained greencoloured rock, in which the component parts are so blended as not to be distinguished from each other. It appears sometimes in strata, dipping at various angles, from 20° to 45° from the vertical; and is very similar to the rock which alternates with granite in the Straits of Magalhaens, at the entrance of the Barbara; and also to that about Pond Harbour, and Bell Bay. At a greater elevation the feldspar predominates, the hornblende is observed in distinct crystals,* and the rock contains a considerable quantity of iron, which is observed in the reddish tinge of its surface. I have before noticed the magnetic property of this rock, which was more or less according to the quantity of hornblende: the beach-stones are different sorts of greenstone.

* This rock is very similar to the boulders and pebbles which we found on the beach at Point St. Mary (Freshwater Bay).

The lower parts of the hills, around St. Martin's Cove, are thickly wooded with the smooth-leaved, evergreen beech, which I have before described. Its leaves were as fresh and vivid, when we sailed, as if it were the height of summer; but those of the deciduous-leaved beech had assumed their autumnal tint, and were falling fast. Neither species attained a greater size, in diameter, than six or eight inches. The Winter's-bark was found in sheltered places, but not larger in dimensions than the beech.* Where no trees are produced, the ground is covered with tufts of chamitis and donacia, which, being of a bright-green colour, give the sides of the hills a lively and verdant appearance. Had the state of the weather permitted our boats to leave the neighbourhood of the cove, or had the woods afforded any addition to collections for natural history, our detention would have been more agreeable; but, with the exception of a few corvorants, divers, and ‘steamers,’ with now and then a solitary hawk, or a Patagonian ‘warbler,’ we saw no traces of animal life. No Indians came near us, having been frightened away by the Chanticleer; for when Captain Foster was absent at night, after attempting to land at Cape Horn, several rockets were fired off as signals, and a few Indians who were then in the cove were so much alarmed, that they went away next day, and never afterwards showed themselves, although I dare say we were very narrowly watched by them.

* The underwood is composed chiefly of Arbutus rigida—Berheris parvifolia and ilicifolia—(sempervirens of Banks and Solander). Veronica (decussata?) and, in moist places, Cineraria leucantheina, and Dysemore integrifolia; both of which are found in all the sheltered corners of Tierra del Fuego. No Fuchsia was seen, but Mr. Anderson gathered the sweet-scented Callixene marginata, and a species of Escalonia, on the hill sides.

Having supplied the Chanticleer with the provisions she required, we prepared to leave St. Martin's Cove. On the 24th the Chanticleer sailed, and in two hours after we also left this dismal cove, in which we experienced a succession of very bad weather, an almost constant S.W. wind, and for the last month a scarcely ceasing fall of either rain, hail, or snow. The Chanticleer bore away round Cape Horn, and was soon out of sight.

This was my last meeting with Captain Foster, who, the night before we sailed, communicated to me a presentiment, which he could not shake off, that he should not survive the voyage. I cannot now resist indulging in the melancholy satisfaction of saying a few words to the memory of my late excellent friend, and lamenting, with many others, the severe loss which science suffered in his death. He was a fellow of the Royal, and Astronomical Societies, and to the former had contributed, to use the words of His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, as President of the Royal Society, a most valuable and extensive series of observations upon the diurnal variation, diurnal intensity, and dip of the magnetic needle; and upon other subjects connected with the terrestrial magnetism and astronomical refraction, which formed an entire fourth part of the Philosophical Transactions for the year 1826. For these papers he received the Copley medal; and the Lords of the Admiralty acknowledged their sense of the honour which was thus conferred upon the profession to which he belonged, by immediately raising him to the rank of Commander, and by appointing him to the command of the Chanticleer, upon a voyage of discovery and observation in the South Seas. The address of the President of the Royal Astronomical Society, at the anniversary meeting,* also bears ample testimony to his active and useful services in the expedition, under Captain Parry, towards the North Pole; as well as to his ardent zeal, very great attention, and accuracy, in every thing which he undertook for the promotion of science; and concludes the notice of his death in the following words: “In the premature death of this young and accomplished officer, the Society has to deplore the loss of a zealous and active votary to science; and his memory will be long held dear by those who were more intimately acquainted with him in the relations of private life.” Captain Foster was unfortunately drowned, near the close of his voyage, while descending the River Chagres in a canoe.

* Ann. Meeting, 30th Nov. 1832.

No sooner had we cleared the land, than we found a strong westerly wind, and a heavy sea; so that if we had entertained any expectation of making a quiet passage to the westward, we should have been disappointed.

The land of Hermite Island, and its vicinity, has a most remarkable appearance when seen from the south. Its outline is a series of peaks, following each other in regular succession, and resembling the worn teeth of an old saw. Mount Hyde is made sufficiently distinct by its rounded apex, and by being higher than any land near it. Kater's Peak also is remarkable in this view, from its conical form and very pointed summit, and from being situated at the eastern end of the island. The ‘Horn’ itself needs no description; it cannot easily be mistaken.*

* The Survey of this part now presents the navigator with the means of ascertaining his position, to a nicety, by angles taken with a sextant between Cape Horn summit and Jerdan's Peak, or Mount Hyde, and Kater's Peak; and if Jerdan's Pealv and Mount Hyde be brought in a line, and an angle taken between them and Cape Horn summit, the operation will be still more simple.

Westerly winds carried us as far as 60° south latitude before we could make any westing, and then we had a slant from the eastward, followed by variable winds. Our run to Valparaiso was much like all other voyages in this climate; we had the usual quantity of foul and fair winds, with a share of tempestuous weather, and arrived at Valparaiso Bay on the 22d of June. While remaining here our chronometers were cleaned, and some of them repaired; and the ship was refitted and provisioned, with a full supply for the Beagle and Adelaide as well as herself.

At the latter end of July, Lieutenant Wickham accompanied me to Santiago, the capital of Chile, ninety miles from the port, for the purpose of waiting upon General Pinto, the Director; and communicating to him the purpose of our voyage, to prevent exciting suspicion, or receiving any interruption on the part of the authorities of places we might visit, particularly Chilóe, where our stay might be viewed with distrust or apprehension; for rumour had already said that the English were about to take that island. Ridiculous as such a report was, I deemed it sufficiently important to induce me to explain to the Chilian Government our views and orders, which could be done better by personal explanation than by a correspondence.

We commenced our journey early on the 11th of July, travelling in a covered chaise, drawn by three horses, one in the shafts, and the others outside, attached to the carriage by a single trace of hide; and preceded by a drove of horses, from which, at the end of every stage of twelve or fifteen miles, we selected a relay. The day was so very stormy, that we saw but little of the country. Immediately after leaving the Almendral, or suburbs of Valparaiso, we ascended twelve hundred feet, and then descended about four hundred feet to an extensive plain, reaching to the Cuesta de Zapato, the summit of which, at least the highest part of the road over it, we found by barometrical measurement to be 1,977 feet above the sea. In the interval we passed through the village of Casa Blanca, lying eight hundred and three feet above the sea. After passing the Cuesta de Zapato, between it and the Cuesta de Prado, is another extensive valley, through which runs the River Poangui. At Curacavi, where we crossed the river, the height above the sea is six hundred and thirty-three feet;* and the road proceeds by a gentle ascent to the foot of the Cuesta de Prado, near which is the village of Bustamente, eight hundred and eight feet above the sea.

* Miers, in his account of Chile, gives a table of barometrical measurements of the heights of the land between Valparaiso and Mendoza, from which it appears that he has deduced the height of Curacavi to be 1,560 feet. As my determinations are the results of observations made on my way to and from Santiago, I have no doubt of their correctness, and think that the registered height of Miers's table should be 29·355 instead of 28-·355.

This ‘cuesta’ is passed by a very steep road, and is ascended by twenty-seven traverses, which carry one to a height of 2,100 feet above the plain, or 2,950 feet above the sea. When we reached the summit of this mountain the weather was so cloudy, that the Andes were almost concealed from view. Beneath us was the extensive plain of Maypo, with the city of Santiago in the distance, a view of considerable extent, and possessing very great interest; but from the state of the weather, its beauty would not have been seen to advantage, had not portions of the towering Andes, raised by optical deception to apparently twice their height, appeared at intervals among the clouds. On a fine day, when the range of mountains is uncovered, the view is grand; but not so imposing as when their lower portions are concealed, and their summits partially exposed. This part of the Andes rises about 11,000 feet above the plain, and is covered half way down the sides with snow, the lower edge of which is regularly defined, and presents a change of colour so abrupt and horizontal as to appear unnatural, and therefore diminish the grandeur of the scene very much. But under whatever circumstances this view is seen from the Cuesta de Prado, it is magnificent, and produces an effect beyond description. The road descends down the eastern side of this Cuesta, to a plain about 1,100 feet below the summit. So much rain had fallen during the two preceding days, and last night, that our driver expressed some doubt whether we should be able to cross the Podaguel, a river which is frequently impassable from the strength of its current. The idea of spending a night at the miserable hovel we were leaving was enough to induce us to run a considerable risk, and we set off to make the attempt. The water was very deep, and the current sufficiently strong to render it a performance of some danger; but, this difficulty being passed, we soon reached the city of Santiago, and in the house of Mr. Caldcleugh, enjoyed the hospitality and society of a warm-hearted friend.

I waited on the Director (Pinto), who received me with the greatest politeness. He entered into the particulars of our past voyage with much interest, assuring me that every facility should be afforded, and every assistance rendered, whenever it might be required; and in this assurance we never found ourselves deceived, for on all occasions the conduct of the executive authorities towards us was marked in attention, and even kindness. I make this observation with the more pleasure, as it was very unusual in our communications with the authorities of those governments we had previously visited, to find the objects of our voyage considered in the least interesting.

Although the weather, during our visit to Santiago, was not there considered fine, wc left the city and its neighbourhood with a strong impression of the salubrity of the climate, and the mildness of its temperature, which even in the middle of winter, and at the height of nearly 2,000 feet above the sea, ranged no lower than 45° Fahrenheit, and during the day the maximum height of the thermometer never exceeded 62°.*(k)

* The following are the results of the barometrical determination of the height of various points on the road between Valparaiso and Santiago:—

 Feet about the Sea
Casa Blanca, ten leagues from Valparaiso803
Highest point of the road over the Cuesta de Zapata1,977
Inn at Curacavi633
Plain near Bustamente808
Summit of Cuesta de Prado (not certain to 200 feet)2,949
Inn, or post-house, at the base of the east side of the Cuesta de Prado1,804
Santiago, by mean of numerous observations1,821
Miers makes the above places above the sea as follows:—
 Feet about the Sea
Casa Blanca75
Summit of Cuesta de Zapata1,850
Curacavi1,560
Summit of Cuesta de Prado2,543
Post-house, Prado1,773
Santiago, mean of two observations1,691
   Do.    by Malaspina            2,463 Spanish2,254 English
   Do.    Mercurio Chileno     1,693½ Spanish1,550 English

(k) Sharp frosts sometimes occur.—R.F.

We returned to Valparaiso on the 26th of July, and made preparations to sail; but were detained by a strong northerly gale for many days, in which we were enabled to render assistance to a large Indian trader that would otherwise have been wrecked. On the 10th of August, we sailed for Chilóe; and on our way were greatly delayed by southerly winds, which carried us in sight of the island of Juan Fernandez. We reached our destination on the 26th, and found the Beagle, to our great delight, arrived, and all well. Captain Fitz Roy came on board before we anchored, and gave me an outline of his proceedings, and those of the Adelaide, which had not returned, but was daily expected, having been despatched to survey some interior channels on her way to Chilóe. Our anchorage was off Point Arenas, which is not only the best in the bay, but appeared to be well adapted to our wants. The Beagle had arrived early in July, and had sent to Valparaiso for stores with which to refit, and make preparations for another cruize to the south.

The harbour master, Mr. Williams, an Englishman, visited us soon after our anchoring, and by him I forwarded to the Yntendente (or governor), Don Jose Santiago Aldunate, the letters brought for him from Chile.

In the afternoon I received his acknowledgments, and offers of all the assistance in his power to render. As it was probable that our stay would occupy some weeks, I established myself at a house in the town, obtained by his kindness; and there fixed my portable observatory, and set up an azimuth altitude instrument.


CHAPTER XIII

Beagle and Adelaide anchor in Possession Bay—Beagle passes the First Narrow—Fogs—Pecket Harbour—Adelaide arrives with Guanaco meat—Portuguese Seamen—Peculiar light—Party missing—Return—Proceed towards Port Famine—Fuegians—Lieut. Skyring—Adelaide sails to survey Magdalen and Barbara Channels—Views—Lyell Sound—Kempe Harbour—Cascade Bay—San Pedro Sound—Port Gallant—Diet—Rain—Awnings—Boat cruise—Warning—Jerome Channel—Blanket bags—Otway Water—Frequent rain—Difficulty in lighting fires.

The following is an account of the Beagle's and Adelaide's operations, after separating from the Adventure, on the 1st of April, at the entrance of the Strait of Magalhaens.

Light northerly winds were favourable for their entering the Strait, and they reached Possession Bay the first night. The following day was foggy, and almost calm, until the afternoon, when both vessels weighed, and proceeded with the tide. At sunset the Adelaide anchored on the north shore; but the Beagle stood on, and entered the Narrow. After dark, when within it, with a rapid tide running, the wind fell light, and an anchor was let go, under the north shore, in eight fathoms; but the cable being accidentally checked too soon, snapped like a small rope, and the vessel was hustled out into deep water. As it would have been both useless and imprudent to let go another anchor, the Beagle was kept underweigh, and worked to the westward, aided by a very powerful tide, which speedily carried her through the Narrow, without accident, although the night was dark; and they had no guide but the chart and lead. At eleven o'clock she was anchored within the Narrow, in twelve fathoms, soon after which the tide turned, and ran with great strength; but the night was calm, as well as the next morning.

While waiting for wind, and the change of tide, several Patagonian Indians were observed on horseback hunting guanacoes. A very large dead cod-fish was also seen, floating past, which was taken on board; on its skin were several parasites.*

* Probably they are the same as we observed on the fish taken by us off Cape Fairweather, and which, I believe, to be nearly allied to the one that is figured in Cuvier's Règne animal, Plate XV. figure 5, a species of Lernæa, or Entomoda of Lamarck, iii. 233. The species is new.

With the evening tide the Beagle reached Gregory Bay; and the next day (April 4th) worked through the Second Narrow, and anchored in Pecket Harbour.

As soon as she arrived people were sent on shore to make a large fire, to show the natives where the ship was, and attract them to her. Next morning, the 5th, it had spread very much, and overrun several acres of ground, which showed either a very dry soil, or that there had not been much rain for some time. The ground was covered with cranberries; so much so, that it had quite a red tinge; they were very good. Plenty of wild celery was found, but no wood of any kind. Water was obtained in small quantities, from a spring about eighty yards from the beach, abreast of the anchorage: it may also be procured by sinking wells. Early on the 6th of April the Adelaide anchored near the Beagle. Captain Fitz Roy went on board, and found that Lieutenant Graves had seen the Indians in Gregory Bay; and had anchored there for the purpose of obtaining guanaco meat, of which he got about nine hundred pounds weight. Thick fogs had prevented his getting through the First Narrow until the 4th. At Gregory Bay, Lieutenant Graves took three Portuguese seamen on board, who claimed his protection, having been left by an English sealing vessel nearly a year before. One of them asked to be again put ashore, and was landed on Quoin Hill to carry a message to the Indians, from whom he promised to bring a supply of meat in two days. The other two were entered on the books as supernumeraries, and employed in the Adelaide. Having given the Beagle two-thirds of the meat, the Adelaide weighed; and in two hours was out of sight, on her way to Port Famine.

The following are extracts from Captain Fitz Roy's journal of this cruise of the Beagle.

“Monday 7th April. Several of our people were employed in gathering cranberries, and preserving them for future use; they are anti-scorbutic, as well as the wild celery, much of which has been used with our guanaco soup.

“Wednesday, 8th. I went to Oazy Harbour with Lieutenant Skyring, who surveyed the harbour while I examined the cove to the northward.

“Oazy Harbour appears large, but the part where there is anchorage is very small, and a strong tide sets in and round it, by which a bank is thrown up, a short distance inside the entrance; there is very little wood, and some difficulty in obtaining fresh water, even in a small quantity. The anchorage outside might be more convenient for procuring guanaco meat from the Indians than Gregory Bay, but it is exposed to winds between W.S.W. and S.S.E.

“At my return to the Beagle, I was much surprised to find that Lieutenant Kempe, Mr. Bynoe, and a boy, had not yet come back from a shooting excursion. A boat had been to the appointed place at sun-set, and had waited an hour without seeing them. At seven, a light was seen on the top of Quoin Hill, and I sent a boat to the spot, with cautions about landing, being in doubt whether it was shown by them or by the Indians; but the boatswain, who went with her, could find no person, nor any light. He waited some time, and returned on board. (l) A similar light was again seen, more than once, during the dark and gloomy weather, with small misty rain falling, and a light breeze from the westward, which we had all night.

(l) This was a remarkable instance of what I often observed afterwards in those regions, a kind of ‘ignis fatuus,’ which sometimes was stationary, like the light of a lanthorn, and at others suddenly flitting, like the flashes of pistols, at a distance. It was only seen upon the lower hills.—R.F.

“Thursday, 9th. No signs of our officers, nor any appearance of the Indians. Fearing that some accident had happened, I sent two boats away, with arms and provisions, to look for them all round the harbour, and the large lagoon which communicates with it. Both boats were thoroughly cautioned about the Indians, for I had thoughts of their treachery. Just as the boats got out of sight, three people were observed on the ridge of a hill, about six miles distant; and, at the same time two other persons appeared, much nearer the ship, on the east side of the harbour. Which was our party, and who the others were, it was perplexing to say. Both disappeared again for about two hours, when our stragglers came over a hill, very near the ship. Upon their arrival on board, they were scarcely able to move: they had been on their legs, almost without food, and without shelter from the rain, since they left the ship. Their intention had been to walk round the harbour, which appeared an employment for two hours only; but at its head they found a lake, and beyond that lake a much larger one, joined to the first by a passage, which they could not cross. When they arrived at this passage, it was too late to return by the way they went, and their best chance seemed to be going on. After dark, they tried to make a fire, but the rain prevented them. It was too dark to see their way, and the cold rain obliged them to keep moving about, though in one place. When daylight came, they travelled on, and until they reached the ship at two o'clock, were constantly walking.

“The other people seen by us must have been Indians; none were met by our wanderers, but several places were passed where fires had been made by them.

“April 10th. Directly our boats returned, we weighed and made sail; but the wind soon failed, and the tide setting against us, obliged me to anchor.

“April 11th. Made sail towards the passage between Elizabeth Island and Cape Negro, and anchored there to wait for the tide, which ran past us when at anchor, at the rate of three knots an hour. About Cape Negro the appearance of the land entirely changes. A low barren country gives way to hills covered with wood, increasing in height, and becoming more rocky and mountainous as you go southward.

“On the 13th, when working near the land, against a light southerly breeze, we saw a small canoe paddling along and some people walking on the beach. While the ship was standing off, I went to them, being the first savages I had ever met. In the canoe were an old woman, her daughter, and a child, and on shore were two Fuegian men with several dogs. Their figures reminded me of drawings of the Esquimaux, being rather below the middle size, wrapped in rough skins, with their hair hanging down on all sides, like old thatch, and their skins of a reddish brown colour, smeared over with oil, and very dirty. Their features were bad, but peculiar; and, if physiognomy can be trusted, indicated cunning, indolence, passive fortitude, deficient intellect, and want of energy. I observed that the forehead was very small and ill-shaped; the nose was long, narrow between the eyes, and wide at the point; and the upper lip, long and protruding. They had small, retreating chins; bad teeth; high cheek-bones; small Chinese eyes, at an oblique angle with the nose; coarse hair; wide ill-formed mouths, and a laugh as if the upper lip were immoveable. The head was very small, especially at the top and back; there were very few bumps for a craniologist. They asked earnestly for ‘tabac, tabac,’ but seemed very timid. We bartered some biscuit and old knives for a few of their arrows, skins, spears, &c.

“Their canoes, twenty-two feet long, and about three wide, were curiously made of the branches of trees, covered with pieces of beech-tree bark, sewed together with intestines of seals. A fire was burning in the middle, upon some earth, and all their property, consisting of a few skins and bone-headed lances, was stowed at the ends.

“The young woman would not have been ill-looking, had she been well scrubbed, and all the yellow clay with which she was bedaubed, washed away. I think they use the clayey mixture for warmth rather than for show, as it stops the pores of the skin, preventing evaporation and keeping out the cold air. Their only clothing was a skin, thrown loosely about them; and their hair was much like a horse's mane, that has never been combed.

“April lth. Anchored in Port Famine.

“April 16th. Lieutenant Skyring went on board the Adelaide with Mr. [Midshipman James] Kirke, five seamen, and one of the Beagle's whale-boats. Mr. Bynoe, the assistant-surgeon, also went as a volunteer.

“April 17th. The Adelaide sailed to survey the Magdalen and Barbara Channels; after which she was to rejoin the Beagle at Port Gallant. She soon got into a strong southerly wind, and could make no progress, as the current was against her; she therefore again stood into the bay, and anchored.

“A sharply cold night made us remember we were far south, although the weather by day had been mild. I have said little about this anchorage, as it has already been described. The appearance of the surrounding country is striking and picturesque. Mount Tarn, with its patches of snow, rising from thick woods, and the high snow-covered mountains in the distance, with dark blue sea at their base, are very remarkable objects.

“We sailed on the 19th with the Adelaide, which had been prevented from going sooner by strong and unfavourable winds: and about noon we parted from our consort, whose course was southerly, into the Magdalen Channel, while we went towards Lyell Sound.

“I cannot help here remarking, that the scenery this day appeared to me magnificent. Many ranges of mountains, besides Mount Sarmiento, were distinctly visible, and the continual change occurring in the views of the land, as clouds passed over the sun, with such a variety of tints of every colour, from that of the dazzling snow to the deep darkness of the still water, made me wish earnestly to be enabled to give an idea of it upon paper; but a necessary look-out for the vessel, not having a commissioned officer with me who had been in the Strait before, kept my attention too much occupied to allow me to make more than a few hasty outlines. Under the high land the Beagle had but little wind, and night closed upon us before we could gain an anchorage in Lyell Sound, so we shortened sail after dark, and kept near mid channel until the morning.

“The night was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen; nearly calm, the sky clear of clouds, excepting a few large white masses, which at times passed over the bright full moon: whose light striking upon the snow-covered summits of the mountains by which we were surrounded, contrasted strongly with their dark gloomy bases, and gave an effect to the scene which I shall never forget.

“At daylight, on the 20th, we were close to Lyell Sound, and stood along its west side, looking for an anchorage, until we found a very good harbour, about a mile inside Mazaredo Point.

“I then went away, with two boats, to examine the Sound, leaving the master to sound and plan the inner harbour.

“Kempe Harbour, within Lyell Sound, would hold six large ships in security; but, like most of the harbours hereabouts, access is difficult, on account of the squalls off the high land, which are so irregular, and often violent.

“During the night of the 21st, it blew strong in squalls, and the chain-cable kept us awake by rattling very much over rocks; yet when the anchor was hove to the bows next morning, it appeared to have been well bedded in stiff clay. To these sounds we afterwards became familiarised.

“Wednesday, 22d. Strong squalls from the south-eastward during the night, and in the morning; when, being anxious to reach Cascade Bay, I weighed, though the weather was thick, and the wind against us. The flaws were so variable, that we were two hours knocking the helm and sails about before we could clear the anchorage, and move half a mile in still water. I should recommend warping in and out of these harbours, in preference to making sail: as it is far easier, if a ship is provided with small hawsers and kedges: and the hawsers can often be made fast to the rocks, or roots of trees.

“The tide rises about four feet in Kempe Harbour; and there is a place where a vessel might be grounded or careened with perfect safety.

“Mazaredo Peak (Bougainville's Sugar Loaf) is an excellent guide to Kempe Harbour; the valley-like appearance of the land also shows its situation to a vessel in the Straits. What at first appears to be Lyell Sound is Kempe Harbour, the Sound lies more to the left.

“After passing Mazaredo Point, the land is rugged and less woody; it is not very high, and has a peculiar, rounded appearance, like the tops of loaves of bread.

“There was slate in Kempe Harbour, which seemed to me fit for roofing purposes.

“In Cascade Bay we found the abundance of limpets and muscles usual on these shores, and of particularly good quality. The Indians live almost entirely upon them and sea-eggs, though birds, and occasionally a seal, add to their subsistence. Vegetation, both on shore and in the water, is most abundant. At every step one sinks knee-deep in moss, grass, fern, or low bushes. Trees seem to arrive but seldom at perfection; the climate is so moist that they rot while growing, before they attain any size. Moss grows every where; each bough is covered with it: and the water appears to be as favourable to the growth of kelp as the land is to that of plants. The large kind (Fucus giganteus) shoots up, from many fathoms depth, to the surface, with strong stalks and large leaves.

“23d. A bad day; blowing strong, and at times raining. Mr. Murray, Mr. Stokes, and I, went with three boats to continue our work of exploring and sounding.

“Saturday, 25th. We weighed and made sail; but the breeze failed, and flaws came against us. While laying out warps, and hanging by the stream-cable, a squall took the ship and drove her against the rocks, but without doing her any injury, for they were quite wall-sided. The main-yard and spankerboom were among the trees. We again laid out warps, and had made some progress, when another strong squall obliged us to go back into our anchorage, to remain until the hail, snow, wind, and rain should cease.

“26th. An unpromising and wet morning; but the heavy rain being over, we weighed, and in a few hours reached the Western side of San Pedro Sound.

“About a mile from the point we anchored in in Murray Cove, which affords good shelter from westerly winds, and is very easy of access, being a small roadstead rather than a harbour.

“27th. We set out early with the boats, but the weather was too bad to do much; however, something was done, and at dusk we went ashore on a small island in the Sound. It rained very hard all the afternoon and during part of the night. We sheltered ourselves as well as we could with the boat's sails and tarpaulins; but during the night the wind shifted, and blew so hard, that it threw down our slight shelter, and made me very anxious about the ship; for I was doubtful of the security of the anchorage where she lay.

“28th. This morning was very cold, it rained hard and blew strong; but when it cleared away for a short time, we set to work again, to explore what appeared to be a channel.

“After a three hours' pull against wind, snow, and hail, my channel proved to be only one of the numerous inlets which encroach upon the Fuegian territory; and the boats returned to the Beagle, with the help of strong squalls from the S.W. I was not a little glad to see the ship in the place where I had left her. During the night another anchor had been let go; but she had not moved from her position. This anchorage is so easy of access, that I hope it will be of use to vessels passing through the Strait. There is room for one large sized ship to lie convenientlv, or for two or three small craft.

“The weather has not yet been so cold as I expected it would be: snow lies on the deck a short time, but the thermometer has not been lower than 31° (Fahrenheit).

“29th. A rainy, blowing morning: Mr. Stokes and I set out in the boats; but it rained so much, that we could only make a fire to dry our clothes, and remove the numbness, caused by sitting a long time in the wet.

“On the 3d of May, we anchored in Port Gallant: though perfectly secure, this is a dismal harbour in winter, being so surrounded by high mountains, that the sun is seldom visible. Until the 7th, in addition to our usual daily duties, we were occupied in preparing for an excursion, in boats, to the Jerome Channel. Salt provisions were entirely withheld from the crew for three days, and instead of them, preserved meat, shell-fish, and a large pig, brought from Monte Video, were substituted. We found in this, as in almost every Fuegian harbour, abundance of muscles, limpets, and wild celery; some fish and some wild-fowl. Many of our party thought shags good eating, but only one person could be found daring enough to try whether old Sir John Narborough was quite warranted in saying that a fox was ‘savoury food,’ and that one repented of his experiment during a week's serious illness. §

§ Narbrough stated he could “eat foxes … as savourily as … mutton.” FitzRoy does not identify the man who tried fox and suffered “a week's serious illness.”.

“My reason for entirely stopping the use of salt-meat, for a few days, was the belief that, at least, two or three days' change of diet is necessary to cause any real alteration in the system; and that it is better to give fresh provisions for three days in succession, and salt-meat during the remainder of three weeks, than to give fresh-meat at three separate intervals in the same period.

“During the wet weather of these regions, we derived great benefit from awnings, painted for the purpose, while refitting at Rio de Janeiro and Maldonado: they kept the lower, and a great part of the upper deck quite dry, even in heavy rain.

“May 7th. Mr. Stokes and I set out with a cutter and whale-boat, to explore the Jerome Channel. We were well provided, with as much as the boats could stow, of what we thought likely to be useful during a month's cruise. Of water we took but little, trusting to the wetness of these regions for a supply. Each man had his clothes covered with canvas, or duck, well painted; and instead of a hat, every one had a ‘south-wester’ (like a coal-heaver's cap).

“Our provisions, being sufficient for twenty-eight days, made the boats rather deep; and I soon found the cutter pulled very heavily, and was obliged to take her in tow. All our party slept in the cutter the first night, the whale-boat being made fast astern. Towards midnight it blew fresh, and as the boats were anchored near the wash of the beach, they rolled a good deal; and soon afterwards, feeling the whaleboat hanging heavily on her rope, I hauled her up alongside, and found she was almost swamped; in a few minutes she must have sunk with all her heavy cargo, to us invaluable. The plug had worked out by her rolling:—I seldom left her afloat at night after this warning. Having saved the boat, made me think less of all our things being wetted, and of some of the instruments being almost spoiled.

“At daylight, on the 8th, we pulled along shore, with the wind against us, and reached Point York before the tide made strongly; but that place we could not pass; and sooner than give up an inch of ground, let go our grapnels, in the middle of a race of tide, that tumbled in over both gunwales, and ran past us at the rate of five knots. At one p.m. it slackened, and we pulled on into Bachelor River, very glad to get so good a place to dry our clothes, and put the boats to rights. Three deserted wigwams gave us shelter; and while some made fires, others went to collect shell-fish, or shoot birds. Though the season was so far advanced, some shrubs were in flower, particularly one, which is very like a jessamine, and has a sweet smell. Cranberries and berberis-berries were plentiful: I should have liked to pass some days at this place, it was so very pretty; the whole shore was like a shrubbery. I cannot account for the exaggerated accounts of the Fuegian coasts given by some voyagers: it is true that the peaks of the mountains are covered with snow, and those sides exposed to the prevailing west winds are barren, and rugged; but every sheltered spot is covered with vegetation, and large trees seem to grow almost upon the bare rock. I was strongly reminded of some of the Greek islands in winter, when they also have a share of snow on their mountains.

“May 9th. The tide carried our boats rapidly up the Jerome Channel, which, though narrow, is quite free from danger. The west shore is very high, and steep, and well covered with wood; the eastern is lower, and less woody.

“Having passed this channel, we entered the mysterious Indian Sound, with all that anxiety one feels about a place, of which nothing is known, and much is imagined. I hoped to find a large river; and the strong tide setting up the channel convinced me that there was a body of water inland, but of what nature remained to be discovered. At dusk we put into a small creek, and secured the boats, hauling up the whale-boat on the sand. When too late to remove, we found the place of our bivouac so wet and swampy, that nearly two hours were occupied in trying to light a fire. Supper and merry songs were succeeded by heavy rain, which continued throughout that night and the next day without intermission.

“10th. Continual hard rain prevented our moving: the whaleboat's men were thoroughly drenched in their tent during the night; but made a better one in the morning. The cutter, having a tarpaulin cover, gave her crew a better lodging; and although a small and loaded boat, only twenty-four feet long, could not be expected to allow much room to a dozen sleepers, during such weather, with the help of our blanket bags,(m) we did very well.

(m) Each officer and man, when detached from the Beagle during a night, carried a blanket, or large poncho (sewed up, and with a drawing string, like a large bag), in which he slept, and found much comfort and warmth.—R.F.

“11th. During this night, also, it rained very hard. Early the next morning, however, it cleared a little, and we got under-weigh. When in the fair-way our hopes were much excited; for beyond a high island, like a sugar-loaf, appeared an opening without land. I tasted the water repeatedly, fancying it less salt, and that we were approaching a river.

“Less salt it might have been, from the number of waterfalls dashing down the mountains on each side of the channel, which is here about two miles wide, with a current, or rather stream of tide, running at the rate of two knots an hour.

“At noon, we reached the Sugar Loaf: it cost a struggle to get to the top with the instruments; but the view repaid me. For three points of the compass towards the north-east, I could see no land, except two islands; and the farthest extreme to the eastward, appeared to me distant, at least, thirty miles. No mountains or high land could be seen to the north or east; the country seemed there to change its character, and become lower and less wooded. This was, indeed, an animating view: I stood considering what might be the boundary of this water, till I recollected, that the longer I thought about it, the longer I should be finding it out; so we pushed on with the boats, of course taking the necessary bearings and angles, until we reached the ‘Point of Islets’ in ‘Otway Water.’

“On the 12th, our oars were going early.

“The two islands, ‘Englefield’ and ‘Vivian,’ were the only land upon the horizon for six points of the compass. The southern coast trended away nearly east from Cape Charles, preserving the high mountainous character of the Fuegian shores, while that to the northward was low, though as yet well wooded.

“I was nearly tempted to try whether Fanny Bay led towards the Gulf of Xaultegua; but fortunately did not, as I should have regretted the time so employed.

“Point Hamond is thickly wooded with evergreens, similar to those of the Strait; and with a species of pine, about thirty or forty feet in height.

“To the S.E. three remarkable promontories stand out in bold relief from the Fuegian shore; but beyond them the land sinks into the tame flatness of Patagonia.

“The water on the west shore is not deep; from ten to thirty fathoms at a quarter of a mile off shore, but getting more shallow advancing northward. There is anchorage for a vessel after passing Indian Channel, the whole way along; and as the prevailing winds are off shore, it would generally be safe. In Indian Channel I only know of two anchorages, Cutter Bay and Bending Cove.

“Such constant rain fell during this evening, that it was not until after much trouble that we at last made fires. Carrying dry fuel in the boats we found indispensable, and I would recommend any person who passes a night on shore in this wet climate, with a boat, to carry a sheet of copper, or a piece of flat iron, in preference to any boat-stove, as a fire can be lighted upon it much more easily, and it does not take much stowage: the great difficulty about fires here is getting fuel to burn when the ground is wet, or when snow lies on it.

“13th. Raining so steadily all day, that it was useless to proceed: I could neither see my way, nor notice any thing but wind and rain.

“14th. So mild was the weather, that I bathed this morning, and did not find the water colder than I have felt it in autumn on the English coast; its temperature, at a foot below the surface, averaged 42°; that of the air was 39°. From this place, Point Hamond, I saw seven points of the compass clear of land, my eye being twenty feet above the level of the sea. The water was quite salt, therefore we were certain of being in an unexpected inland sea, or large lagoon. Four miles from Point Hamond lie Englefield and Vivian Islands, rather low, but well wooded with evergreens. They are the only islands of any note in the Otway Water. The farthest point I could discern I called Cape Marvel, for much I wondered at the hitherto unsuspected extent of this inlet.

“At noon we were off the north end of Englefield Island. Mr. Stokes and I observed the sun's meridian altitude satisfactorily from the boats, so smooth was the water. This quiet day was too fine, for it was hard work pulling from nine till five, without any help from sails. Towards evening a breeze sprung up in our favour, and with its assistance we ran along the land about ten miles. Taking advantage of the moonlight, I did not look out for a resting-place till past seven o'clock, when we had a great deal of trouble in landing; the coast having quite changed its character; and instead of deep water with a rocky shore, we found a flat shingly beach and shoal water, with very large stones scattered between high and low water marks, so numerously as to make it dangerous for a boat, especially at night. Upon landing, we found the ground quite changed into a fine light soil, with stunted bushes and trees; and so dry was the wood, that a fire was easily kindled, but not a drop of water could be got any where to cook our supper. A considerable rise and fall of tide was observed, much greater than near Indian Channel.

“15th. No breakfast this morning, for want of water—a decided proof of the change of climate and country. North of us the sky was clear; but to the southward, over the Strait, hung thick clouds. The trees were not evergreen, and at this time their leaves were withered and falling.

“While pulling along shore, and passing a low projecting point, we saw the smoke of three fires, and approaching nearer, observed four canoes lying on the beach, near several wigwams. Their owners soon appeared, running along the shore, hallooing and jumping. The first who came near us reminded me of an old-fashioned sign of the ‘Red Lion,’ for he was painted red all over, and looked more like a wild beast than a human being; another was covered with a bluish mixture; a third was quite black. Several had the lower half of the face blacked, and the oldest men and women were painted entirely black. There were about eight men, six or eight boys, and perhaps a dozen women and girls. Some had a skin over their shoulders, but others had no covering at all, except paint; they seemed apprehensive, and hid several skins and other things in the wood, as soon as they saw us approaching.

“When they found we were peaceably disposed, and had tobacco and knives, they were eager to barter with us. How they have learned the use of tobacco is curious, but they are fond of it to excess. Guanaco, as well as seal and otter skins, are in their possession; therefore they probably barter with the Patagonians. They have also the skins and horns of a deer, which, as I understood them, inhabits their country. (n) They catch small animals with snares, made of whalebone, just like hare-snares. This tribe was very rich in Fuegian wealth, such as skins, arrows, lances, &c. They appeared to be of a race similar, but superior, to the Fuegians, being stronger, stouter, more lively, and more active. I persuaded one of their boys to have his face washed, and found his natural complexion was scarcely darker than that of a European. Their language sounds like that of the Fuegians, and the huts and weapons are precisely similar to their's. We asked them for water, and they pointed to a place about a mile further, making signs to us that we must dig in the earth for it. We went there, and near a green-looking spot some good water was found. We then landed, and enjoyed our breakfast at one o'clock, being not a little thirsty.

(n) Like a roebuck; supposed to be the ‘Huemul’ mentioned by Molina.—R.F.

“The natives were still with us; they seemed inquisitive and cunning; and shewed great surprise at a sextant and artificial horizon, by which they sat down, attentively watching what was done. I put my watch to their ears; they were much astonished, and each came in his turn to hear it tick. I pointed to the watch and then to the sky; they shook their heads and suddenly looked so grave, that from their manner in this instance, and from what I could understand by their signs, I felt certain they had an idea of a Superior Being, although they have nothing like an image, and did not appear to us to have any form of worship. We could learn scarcely any words of their language, because of their trick of repeating whatever we said.

“They saw how we lighted a fire, by means of a tinder-box, and took an opportunity to tread it out of sight. Our loss was not known until leaving the spot, when that material necessary was missed. It was evident they had stolen it; and while I was meditating a reprisal, one of our men by chance trod upon the missing box, which was artfully hid under the sand. After this discovery, they seemed rather inclined for a skirmish, all having clubs, while our men appeared to have no weapons. However, we parted without a quarrel.

“The features of tliese people differed from those of the Fuegians whom I had previously seen, in being better formed, and having a less artful expression.

“We pulled hence along a low shore until evening, when distant land began to show itself, stretching to the northward and eastward, and bounding this supposed inland sea. At dusk we discovered an opening, which appeared to be either a river or a channel, and I steered for its north bank, securing the boats for the night in a place we named Donkin Cove, as a mark of respect to the preserver of meat, to whom we had been so often thankful. A little of this meat, mixed with wild fowl, and some wild celery, makes a wholesome and agreeable mess. On boat service, meat preserved in tin is particularly useful, being already cooked, and therefore fit for dinner without the aid of fire.

“We were surprised at the mildness of the weather. Indeed, the change of climate was as pleasant as it was sudden and unexpected.

“16th. At daylight, we found ourselves in the entrance of what was thought a river. Under this impression, I hoped to penetrate into the interior of the country, and meet some new tribes of Patagonians. As soon as we could get underweigh, we pulled and sailed along a winding channel, on one side of which was a pleasant-looking, woody country, extending towards Tierra del Fuego; and on the other, a low, barren district, like Eastern Pataoonia. The banks on both shores were from five to forty feet high, sloping, and covered with grass.

“The current was in our favour, which with the saltness of the water, inclined me to think it a channel, and not the mouth of a river. In this opinion I was confirmed in a short time, by seeing surf breaking against some land beyond an opening, which showed that we were approaching a large body of water. Soon after, we reached the extreme west point of this small channel; and, to our surprise, saw an expanse, at least thirty miles across from east to west, and twenty from north to south. I thought it more at first, but probably was deceived. West and south of it I observed high snow-covered mountains; and the summit of one was remarkable, being like a castle with a high tower. Northward, the land was low; excepting a few ranges of down-like hills with large plains between them.

“It happened to be a very clear day, and all that could be seen at any time was visible. In two places there seemed to me to be openings to the westward; in the southernmost I could see no land at all; the other was backed by distant mountains, but still had the appearance of an opening. After this I went to the top of a hill near me, about three hundred feet high, to gain a better view, yet so small an elevation made but little difference, and I rather thought the opposite coast farther off than I had at first supposed.

“Having sent the cutter back a short distance, to make a fire and land our things, I crossed the channel to a fine level plain, and measured a base line. In crossing, I found a most rapid tide, at least five or six knots at neap tides, and to pull against it was out of the question. It caused a considerable swell and race at the entrance, which is not a quarter of a mile wide, though it averages twelve fathoms in depth. On the plain was growing thick grass, like that in the vicinity of the river Plata. So rich and good were the grass and trefoil, that I saved a few seeds, hoping some day to see their produce in England. No tree was seen; the soil seemed dry, rich, and light. Skunks, and a small kind of cavy, had burrowed every where, which proves the climate to be of a different nature from that of the Strait. The bones and traces of guanacoes were numerous, and some horses' tracks were found; as also part of a dead guanaco, which appeared to have been a prey to wild beasts. Water was not so plentiful as to the southward; but quite sufficient for all useful purposes, many small brooks being noticed, besides springs in the sides of the low hills. We shot a swan (o) and some coots; the swans were so fat, or so tame, that they woidd not rise from the water.

(o) Black-necked swan, noticed elsewhere by Captain King.—R.F.

“17th. While on Whitestone Plain, a very heavy squall of wind and hail passed over from the S.W., so cuttingly cold, that it showed me one reason why these plains, swept by every wind from S.S.W. to N., are destitute of trees.

“After dark, we returned to the cutter and partook of a large mess, made of the swan we had shot, the coots, some limpets, and preserved meat. The shortness of the days was bscoming very inconvenient; from eight to four were the only hours of daylight; but some of the nights were so fine, that I got many sets of observations of the moon and stars.


CHAPTER XIV

Place for a Settlement—Frost—Boats in danger—Narrow escape—Sudden change—Beagle Hills—Fuegian painting—Tides—Medicine—Water warmer than the air—Jerome Channel—Mr. Stokes returns to the Beagle—Cape Quod—Snowy Sound—Whale Sound—Choiseul Bay—Return to the Beagle—Adelaide returns—Plan of operations—Difficulties removed—Preparations—Wear and tear of clothing—Ascend the Mountain de la Cruz—Sail from Port Gallant—Tides—Borja Bay—Cape Quod—Gulf of Xaultegua—Frost and snow—Meet Adelaide—Part—Enter Pacific—Arrive at Chilóe.

“18th of May. Very cold, raining heavily, and blowing strong from S.W. The tide turned this day (full moon), and set to the westward at 1.15. I only say ‘turned,’ because I could not distinguish the ebb from the flood, so little rise and fall was there. No sooner had the tide ceased to run in one direction, than it began to run as strongly in the other, for about six hours. For the last four nights I noticed, that soon after sunset the sky was suddenly overcast, a trifling shower fell, and afterwards the heavens became beautifully clear. The climate must be much like that of the east coast of Patagonia, as shrubs grow here like those I saw at Port Desire. While walking, the leaves and dry sticks crackled under foot, which is very different from what one observes about the Strait of Magalhaens, where everything is wet and spungy. I was inclined to think this place suitable for a settlement. There is water, wood, and good soil, fit for planting, besides pasture land; the climate is not bad; and probably the Patagonian Indians might be induced to trade in guanaco meat, as they now do at Gregory Bay; while any of their hostile incursions would be prevented by the channel.

“19th. Two natives, a man and a boy, came to our boats this morning; they seemed to have neither curiosity, nor fear, nor even a relish for tobacco. They took a piece of tinder, picked up a stone, and went away to some wigwams, at a little distance, where we soon afterwards saw a fire burning.

“During this night and the preceding it froze sharply; but the sky was so clear, that I observed many sets of distances, on each side the moon.

“20th. We went eastward through the little channel. Every thing was frozen; and the boat's sails were useless until thawed. We left Donkin Cove directly after noon, and with a fresh and fair wind, steered towards Pecket Harbour. I may as well mention here my reasons for taking this course, instead of going farther westward.

“Considering our very limited time, and provisions, I wished to do first what was most useful; and to find a new passage, seemed to me the primary object. Having surveyed the narrow winding channel, and proved its navigability for vessels of any class; I thought it desirable to ascertain next the nature of the separation between Otway Water and the Strait of Magalhaens, between Laredo Bay and Pecket Harbour.

“A western passage might be sought by the Adelaide schooner, or by myself, at a future time. If we tried to cross the Skyring Water, our success would be very doubtful, for during the whole time we had been in the channel, the wind blew strong from S.W., raising so much sea, that it was with great difficulty I could sound outside the western entrance, even in a whale-boat.

“A fine breeze carried us rapidly eastward; but it freshened too fast, reef after reef was taken in, until at two o'clock we were obliged to lower the sail, and pull to windward; for as far as we could see, the shore continued unbroken, flat, and low, with a high surf breaking on it. To have attempted to land, would have been folly; and as the wind continued to increase, and a current setting to windward caused a very short awkward sea, I sent Mr. Stokes off in the cutter, under his small close-reefed sails, to hang to windward as long as he could carry sail, while I kept the whale-boat head to wind. At three o'clock, we were embayed, and about a mile from the shore. My boat was deeply laden, and as our clothes and bags got soaked, pulled more heavily. We threw a bag of fuel overboard, but kept everything else to the last. At sunset the sea was higher, and the wind as strong as ever. I saw the cutter a little before, about three miles from us, standing to the eastward on a wind; but whether she would clear the shore I could not make out.

“After dark, finding we could not well be worse off as to risk, I bore up, and pulled with the sea rather abaft the beam, twisting the boat ‘end on’to each wave as it came, hoping to get into smoother water to the westward. Night, and having hung on our oars five hours, made me think of beaching the boat to save the men; for in a sea so short and breaking, it was not likely she would live much longer. At any time in the afternoon, momentary neglect, allowing a wave to take her improperly, would have swamped us; and after dark it was worse. Shortly after bearing up, a heavy sea broke over my back, and half filled the boat: we were baling away, expecting its successor, and had little thoughts of the boat living, when—quite suddenly—the sea fell, and soon after the wind became moderate. So extraordinary was the change, that the men, by one impulse, lay on their oars, and looked about to see what had happened. Probably we had passed the place where a tide was setting against the wind. I immediately put the boat's head towards the cove we left in the morning, and with thankful gladness the men pulled fast ahead. In ten minutes the sea was smooth, and the breeze so moderate, as not to impede our progress. Our only anxiety was then about the cutter; for we could not tell how she had weathered the gale. I was sure she would have prospered if kept by the wind; but some accident, or change of purpose, was to be feared.

“About an hour after midnight, we landed in safety at Donkin Cove; so tired, and numbed by the cold, for it was freezing sharply, that we could hardly get out of the boat. The embers of our morning fire were still burning; so we put on some wood, and lay down round them. No men could have behaved better than that boat's crew: not a word was uttered by one of them; nor did an oar flag at any time, although they acknowledged, after landing, that they never expected to see the shore again. We resolved to start early to look for the cutter, and fell asleep: but before daylight I was roused by some one, and to my joy, saw Mr. Stokes standing by me. He had just arrived with the cutter, having kept his wind till the sea fell; and since that time had been pulling towards this spot: with what thankful feelings all hands lay down to sleep may be easily supposed.

“21st. This morning I believe no one waked before ten o'clock. Drying our clothes, and putting the boats to rights, occupied most of the day. Our time was now so short, besides having almost expended our provisions, that I gave up the idea of crossing the Otway Water, and decided to return nearly the way we came, after taking a view from the higher ground.

“22d. A sharp frost, during the past night and this day, hardened the ground, and with four of my boat's crew, I walked to the Beagle Hills. Our way led through a scattered wood, the only one seen on the north side of the channel, and in which most of the trees appeared to have been burned. We gained the summit of the heights soon after noon, and were amply rewarded by an extensive view.

“Although not more than eight hundred feet above the sea, I could discern the Gregory Hills (so plainly as to make out their yellowish brown colour); Cape Bartholomew, Nassau Island; Cape Monmouth; the high peaks over Cape Froward; the range of mountains thence to the Jerome Channel, and from the Jerome, westward to all those about Cape Phillip, and Cape Parker; and the whole extent of the Otway and Skyring Waters; the latter being bounded to the N.W. by down-like hills, about six or eight hundred feet high. North of the Beagle Hills, a range of similar downs extended; and to the east was a succession of lagoons, completely intersecting the flat country towards Pecket Harbour.

“We left a memorial, cut in lead, at the foot of a post sunk in the ground; but the air was so cold, that the men, who wished to add their names, were unable to mark them on the lead. It was eight o'clock before we regained our bivouac, much fatigued by the day's work.

“23d. I went into a wigwam, where there was a woman and two children. A rough likeness made of her did not please at all, because it was white: she took out her red paint, and put some on her own cheeks, as drawn on the paper, and then was quite satisfied, sitting as still as a mouse, while I made another sketch. In return for the compliment paid to her countenance, she daubed my face, as well as my coxswain's, with the same red mixture.

“24th. w during the night. We left Donkin Cove, as soon as I had taken observations for the chronometers. A fine breeze in our favour carried us rapidly along, and at dusk we were near Englefield Island. The last few nights have been so clear, that two or three of the men, and myself, have slept in the open air without any other covering than our blanket-bags, and clothes. My cloak has been frozen hard over me every morning; yet I never slept more soundly, nor was in better health.

“We had a good view of Mount Misery this day. It is about 3,000 feet in height; twice as high as the surrounding mountains, and quite bare, even of snow, on the summit. The night tides here rise nore than those of the day at this season: the times of high water do not differ much on the opposite shores. About an hour after dusk we reached Englefield Island, having made a capital run, with a fresh and fair wind. Creeping in the dark, along shore, we at last found shelter for the boats, and formed a snug place amongst the bushes for our tent and fires. One of my boat's crew was ill this day; the first man that had been seriously so, although several had been slightly affected by the muscles and limpets; and one had fits. A draught of hot port wine and Winter's bark, certainly seemed to be an efficient medicine for the slighter complaints.

“25th. Blowing strong from the westward, with much rain. I forced a way, with much difficulty, among thick bushes, to the top of the island, and when I got there found, to my mortification, that by no possible contrivance could I see round, for I was encompassed by lofty trees of nearly equal height.

“26th. We crossed over to the east shore: the temperature of the water, between Englefield Island and the nearest land, one foot beneath the surface, was 42°; the air at the same time being 38°. While the sea water preserves this temperature, it must tend much to moderate the severity of cold, one would naturally expect in this latitude, near so many snow-covered mountains. We arrived at the Point of Islets, soon after sunset, on the 27th.

“28th. Almost every night I observed that the wind subsided soon after sunset, the clouds passed away, and the first part of the night was very fine; but that, towards morning, wind and clouds generally succeeded. From Point of Islets, we sailed southward; and were again close to the mountains: from whose appearance at this spot, no one would suppose that any passage lay between them; so intricate and winding are the channels.

“I was sorry to leave the open country, behind me; but time pressed; and there was yet much to do with our loaded boats, which could not make very great progress in the short daylight afforded by this season. After passing Bennett Island the land became rugged, and mountainous on each side, covered, however, with wood and vegetation wherever it could grow; and we were again in the Magalhaenic regions.

“This day I examined as much of the west side of the channel, as time would allow, and reached Corona Creek at about eight o'clock. What I called the Sugar Loaf must be the Corona Island of Cordova's officers; for at some distance it looks somewhat like a crown. It is singular that they inserted (in their chart) an island near their Corona, which cannot be distinguished from the main-land, until one is within two miles of it; and as at that distance the Otway Water is plainly visible, must they not have seen the opening? Tired of their job, did they return without prosecuting the discovery, or was the weather too thick to see far? Their description of the Jerome Channel, leads to the supposition of a continual current setting tlirough in one direction, instead of a regular ebb and flood; and the surest sign of a passage between places in Tierra del Fuego, is a current or stream. Many large inlets and sounds look like channels; but on going a short distance into them, you find dead water.

“29th. We passed through Jerome Channel, and reached the bar, off Bachelor River, after dark; but the cutter got aground, and gave us some trouble to float her again. Afterwards one of the men was landed on the bar, and by his walking in the deepest water, and the whale-boat going next, we got into the little river at nine o'clock, not sorry to be in safety. There are tide races between the Jerome Channel, and Bachelor River, which are sometimes dangerous; but as the breeze was moderate, we passed them without difficulty.

“May 30th. Employed chiefly in stowing the cutter afrebh, packing specimens, and preparing my boat to take what remained of our provisions. At two next morning, when the tide served, Mr. Stokes set out to return to the Beagle: and having both wind and tide in his favour arrived early at Port Gallant.

“The wind increased after daylight, and blew strong, with squalls. I waited a short time, but, having no hopes of its improving, left the river. My boat was much lumbered, having the chronometer-box, and more instruments than before; yet she pulled pretty well, even against the heavy squalls. After landing at the west side of the entrance to the Jerome Channel, to take bearings and angles, we pulled along shore to the westward, and at dark hauled the boat up in a small sheltered corner. After she was secured, we employed ourselves looking for limpets and muscles for supper, by the light of a lanthorn, as we had good appetites, and our provisions were scanty.

“June 1st. We pulled along shore against a strong and squally wind, and before evening nearly readied Cape Quod; but not being able to pass it, stopped in a cove on the east side.

“2d. At the oars again, early, having a fine clear morning, with the tide rather in our favour. By eleven, Cape Quod was astern of us; and a long view of the Strait presented itself This part is very rugged and barren, and looks triste, indeed; still wherever a tree can take root it tries to grow. This night was passed on a small island at the west point of Snowy Sound.

“3d. We began at daylight, and worked, from point to point, up the sound, thinking it a channel. Two good anchorages were found on the west side, but none on the east, except a trifling cove between the little island and the land, which would only shelter a small vessel. The night was passed on an island five miles within the sound. It rained hard for an hour before we landed, and all the night afterwards. Our rest was not the most satisfactory, as the ground was wet and swampy.

“Two of the boat's crew got into a hole under a tree thinking they should be warm; but in the middle of the night they complained of not being able to get up, and of being half frozen.

“4th. The rain ceased at times this morning, but the wind continued. After going to the top of an island, we pulled and sailed onwards, not having a doubt of soon getting into Whale Sound. At noon, the passage appeared suspiciously small; yet I could not doubt the fine large opening laid down in our old charts, and proceeded until the shore made a sudden turn, when, to my astonishment, I saw a high black cliff stopping farther progress. After a hearty growl, we turned back, and landed to look for a sleeping place. Not a spot could we find that was not wet like a sponge; but night was closing in, and obliged us to stay where we were. It was bitterly cold, all of us were wet through, the ground was a mere swamp, we could not get a fire to burn, and the frost was sharp.

“After daylight on the 5th, we succeeded in making a large fire, and spent two hours drying our clothes and warming ourselves. In order to lighten the boat, no one carried more clothes, since leaving the cutter, than those he wore, except one shirt. We hastened back towards Charles Island, passing some very remarkable glaciers, one of which looked like an enormous frozen river, covering the whole side of a mountain. Many portions were of a transparent blue colour, which, contrasted with the snowy whiteness of others, and with the dark shadows of bare rocky places, had a very striking effect. At noon, we passed out of the sound, and steered for Charles Island, with a light breeze in our favour. Seeing a canoe coming across, we made towards it, and found a wretched-looking family, consisting of a man, his wife, and three children, with some small dogs, seemingly more miserable than their owners. A few wooden-headed spears were all the property they possessed, excepting the worn-out skins thrown over their shoulders. The man sold me a little dog for a bit of tobacco, and afterwards wanted to have him again, because his wife would not consent to the bargain. However, I kept the dog, and they began to abuse us in right earnest, the woman alternately crying and scolding, and the man apparently calling on the wind and water to destroy us. His gestures were very expressive and animated. I was surprised to see so much feeling for a wretched little half-starved puppy, and made them happy by returning him, without asking for the tobacco.

“El Morrion (p) (the helmet) was certainly an excellent name for the promontory we passed this day. It reminded me of the ‘Castle of Otranto.’

(p) Noticed previously by Captain Stokes,—R.F.

“We reached a small islet, at the west point of Charles Bay, and passed a good night on the top of a bare rock. So often had we slept in wet places, that a dry, though stony berth, was thought very comfortable. The boat's two sails, oars, and boat-hook, formed our tent.

“6th. We left the islet as soon after day-light as we could get breakfast, and take the required bearings and angles; went into Spot Cove, thence crossed to Charles Island, and to the narrow opening between it and the nearest land. Ulloa's memory can no longer be preserved here in an island, though it may in a peninsula. This small channel is narrow, and has a strong tide setting through it. There is anchorage all the way, though generally over a rocky bottom, and it is navigable for small vessels: its average width is a quarter of a mile, and its length about three miles. For a boat going westward through the Strait, it is far preferable to the regular channel. Two old Fuegians were living here, a man and a woman.

“When in Whale Sound, appearances were such that had I not been to the bottom of Snowy Sound, I should have thought they joined. After going far enough, to see quite to the end, we returned, hauled the boat on a shingle beach, and secured her for the time. When a bit of shingle beach could be found, it was a prize; for on it we could always make a good tent, and have a dry bed, besides hauling the boat up easily. There is a greater rise and fall of tide here, than at the other side of Charles Island, being not less than seven or eight feet, at springs. During the night, a dog stole a small piece of pork, which we had reserved for our last dinner; and, until his track was discovered, there was no little distrust among our party.

“Whale Sound is a large and deep inlet, ending in a valley between mountains. On the south side, a vessel may anchor in one place, at the west side of Last Harbour; but there, though the harbour appears large, the anchorage is small, and close to the shore. We pulled and sailed along the south shore, landing occasionally to take bearings, until we reached Choiseul Bay, and in a cove, at its west side, we passed the night. This is a place no ship need approach: it is a large, deceiving bay, full of islets and patches of kelp, under which, probably, there are rocks, and between the islets the water is deep and unfit for anchorage. The temperature of the sea this day, in the middle of the sound, one foot below the surface, was 45°.

“8th. As it rained heavily, we remained under such shelter as we could obtain; and prepared for our return to the Beagle, by making use of the only razor we had. When the rain ceased, we left the cove and sailed across to Port Gallant, with a fresh breeze. The smoke of natives' fires was seen near the entrance of the Barbara Channel; and on Prince Island, where we stopped a few minutes, the first man seen had on an old pair of sailor's trowsers, which he had obtained from the Beagle tied round his legs in six places. The wigwam these people were living in was not half covered: both wind and rain passed through it. How they bear the cold is surprising, being without clothes: one minute sitting close to the fire, and the next perhaps up to the waist in water, getting muscles or sea-eggs. The women dive for sea-eggs, even in the middle of winter; but the water is never very cold (42° to 44°).(q) In the afternoon we saw the Beagle's mast-heads, and soon afterwards arrived on board, and enjoyed the happiness of finding all hands well, and every thing ready for farther progress. Lieutenant Kempe had turned the few hours of light, each day afforded, to the best acccount. Those who have had the care of ships in remote places, will know my feelings at finding all as it should be, after a long absence, in a country little known. Not a man had been ill; and the weather had been very tolerable compared with what was expected. There was less snow on the mountains than when I left Port Gallant early in May. One thing only disappointed me,—the Adelaide had not arrived. It was past the time appointed for her, but she might have found much more to do than was expected, or might have been obliged to return by the Magdalen, instead of coming through the Barbara Channel.

(q) At the western entrance of the Strait the water is said to be generallv a few degrees warmer than at the eastern.—R.F.

“During my absence, two sealing vessels had been at Port Gallant, on their way through the Strait. From one (an American), which arrived on the 7th of May from Staten Land, information was received that the Adventure had not been there. The Chanticleer had remained some time, but had sailed for the Cape of Good Hope. The master of the American had a brother staying with a boat's crew in Staten Land, during the whole of April, who would probably have seen the Adventure, had she called. The other was Mr. Cutler's vessel, the Uxor, bound to the United States; he had been through a channel which leads from the Gulf of Trinidad to Cape Tamar, and spoke well of it; but could give no drawing, nor precise information; having passed through rapidly.

“Lieutenant Kempe had been at the summit of the Mountain de la Cruz, and left a memorial. No rare animals had been seen, nor any new birds. Small fish were still caught with hook and line, but very few with the seine.

“I never was fully aware of the comfort of a bed until this night. Not even a frost-bitten foot could prevent me from sleeping soundly for the first time during many nights.

“9th. At one o'clock this day, I heard an exclamation of ‘The schooner!’ and soon saw her standing across from the Barbara Channel with a fair wind. Before she anchored in Port Gallant, I went on board, and, to my joy, found Lieutenants Skyring and Graves, and all their companions well, having thoroughly completed the work they had to perform, without loss, or even an accident. The difficulty of their task was increased by very bad weather; but they succeeded in tracing and surveying the Magdalen Channel to its junction with the sea, and thence returned by the Barbara Channel to Port Gallant; carrying on a regular chain of triangles, and connecting their work with points previously fixed in the Strait of Magalhaens. A multitude of small islands, and much bad weather, detained them longer than was expected.

“While Lieutenants Skyring and Graves, assisted by Mr. Kirke, were employed surveying, Mr. Bynoe collected geological and other specimens.*

* Geol. Soc. Museum, Nos. 176 to 205, and Zool. Mus.

“11th. We had nearly reached the shortest day; the sun did not rise above the hills until past eleven; it disappeared again before two (the land being less high towards the N.W.), and even in those three hours was seldom visible.

“12th. Finding that Lieutenant Skyring agreed with me in thinking that the channel from Cape Tamar to the Gulf of Trinidad might be surveyed by the Adelaide, in her way to San Carlos de Chilóe, I resolved to send him and Lieutenant Graves on that service, hoping that it would lead to the discovery of a passage into the Skyring Water, and give vessels another way of getting into or out of the Strait, should thick weather or adverse winds oppose them in the usual channel.

“In making this arrangement there was much to be considered. As I had received no orders from Captain King to employ the Adelaide in surveying, after her return from the Magdalen Channel; and as I had been desired to repair, with her, to San Carlos, in Chilóe, during which voyage Lieutenant Skyring was to be on board his own vessel, the Beagle, it would be incurring considerable responsibility, to order a new piece of service to be undertaken, which might not be successful; and would require officers, men, a boat, provisions, and stores from the Beagle.

“I did not doubt that the measure would be approved by Captain King, because he had discussed the feasibility of such a plan with me, and had expressed a wish that it should be tried; but as I had not received any orders, I could not decide without anxiety.

“Another, though a minor difficulty, arose from sending Lieutenant Skyring in command of the Adelaide, over Lieutenant Graves, her proper commander, who had expected to take her to Chilóe, and was quite competent to undertake this or any other service in which she might be employed. Both these officers excelled in their professional duties; but Skyring had been on the western coasts of Patagonia before, and was the senior.

“Much to the credit of Lieutenant Graves, he removed one weight, by volunteering to go any where I thought proper to direct, either alone or with Lieutenant Skyring, and the necessary orders were forthwith given. (See Appendix). Mr. Kirke was again to form one of their party, as well as Mr. Bynoe, who exchanged temporarily with Mr. Park. The Beagle's whale-boat was also lent, with five able seamen to man her; and good care was taken that nothing the ship could give should be wanting in their outfit for a service which, at that time of year, must be severe and tedious.

“Anchors and cables, hawsers and kedges, were abundantly supplied, because in warping into unknown places, or anchoring hastily, many an anchor is unavoidably broken or lost.

“The boat's crew, who had been away with the Adelaide, and were going in her again, were supplied with extra clothing at the expense of Government, the wear and tear of their clothes having been far beyond what they could be expected to make good out of their pay.

“As an instance, I may mention, that a careful north countryman carried with him, when he left the Beagle, two new pair of shoes (besides those on his feet), and three pair of new stockings: but brought back only a ragged pair of stockings and the remains of one shoe. The others had been fairly worn out, or lost, in scrambling over rocks and ascending mountains.

“One height ascended by Lieutenant Skyring was so steep, that the men were obliged to pass the instruments from one to another, at a great risk of their own lives; and when they reached the summit, the wind was so strong, that a heavy theodolite and stand, firmly placed, was blown over; and even a Kater's compass could scarcely be used.

“With good clothing and provisions, weather may be almost defied, and work may be done at the less unfavourable times; but without them, ill-humour and ill-health must inevitably appear in such a climate as this.

“14th, Sunday. I had the satisfaction of keeping this day in a proper manner, for the first time since we entered the Strait. So much had depended upon employing every minute of our time while the weather would allow, that there had been little distinction of days.

“17th. The morning being fine, with not much wind, though a sharp frost, I left the ship with Mr. Murray and four men, and landed in Fortescue Bay, intending to ascend the mountain ‘De la Cruz,’ if the snow and ice did not prevent me.

“On the beach, close to the water, I suspended the mountain barometer, and let it remain half an hour before we began the ascent, which, from the snow lying so deep, was troublesome; for at one step a hard rock received one's foot, and at the next, perhaps, a deep hole amongst broken trees. Sometimes we tumbled head foremost into soft snow, slightly covering rotten mossy boughs and swampy ground; and at others, slipped between the concealed trunks of trees, which, though much decayed, were hard enough to cause many a bruise. Each movement of our arms or legs shook down a shower of snow from the trees, among which we were forcing our way.

“At noon we gained the part that is clear of wood, but so very steep and slippery was the summit, that we were obliged to go on our hands and knees, forcing them as deeply into the snow as possible, to avoid sliding down again. The highest point is not visible from Port Gallant.

“While I took angles with the theodolite, the seamen made a fire. It was well we carried some fuel and a tinder-box, with a sheet of copper, upon which to kindle it; for without a fire we should have been quite numbed. Standing in one place for two hours, after being much warmed by exertion, made us more sensible of the cold. The highest spot is but a few yards wide, and by barometrical measurement is 2,280 feet above the sea.* The height is, in truth, small; but as the mountain is so steep, and rises so abruptly from the sea, it appears considerable.

* By angular measurement it was found to be 2,270 feet.

“When we had finished our observations with the barometer and theodolite, we deposited a Memorial, containing a list of the officers and crews of the Beagle and Adelaide—an account of the object of their voyage, how far it had succeeded, and where we were going—and a collection of coins, well-soldered up in a tin case—upon the bare rock; and made a great pile of stones over it.

“Having again examined the barometer, we began to descend; for the sun disappearing behind the distant mountains, warned us that it was time to return. We had enjoyed a magnificent view on all sides, and were reluctant to leave our station. In descending, we made rapid progress at first, sliding many yards together down the soft snow; but, by the time we reached the woody part, it was getting dark, and having foolishly tried to return by a straight line, instead of going round, we found steep cliffs, and ravines covered with rotten trees, which perplexed us exceedingly. Darkness, and the deep snow, much increased our dilemma; yet we could not resist laughing heartily at the ludicrous scrapes some of the party got into: one man was rather a-head, looking for a way to descend a steep place, when the snow slipped from under him, and down he went, about eighty feet, partly sliding, partly falling, but quite against his consent. What he did by accident, we were obliged to do, because there was no alternative; so away we slid, one after another, like so many sledges upon Russian ice-hills, holding the instruments as we could, by one hand, while the other was employed to check or steady us. With a little more of this sort of work, and some struggling through the wood at the bottom, we reached the shore, where a boat was waiting for us, and at about eight arrived on board, in a half-wet, half-frozen condition.*

* The wristbands of our shirts, and all our outer clothes, were coated with ice, while our inner clothing was wet through.

“19th. Every thing was brought on board, the ship unmoored, and all made ready for our departure next morning.

“20th. Sailed from Port Gallant, leaving the Adelaide to rate her chronometers, and rejoin us before leaving the Strait. In the evening we anchored in Elizabeth Bay, after a severe day's struggle against a strong and contrary wind, with much rain.

“21st. Blowing hard again this morning from the N.W., with a great deal of rain. Weighed and made sail under reefed courses and treble reefed topsails, but the wind and tide were more than a match for us, so we stood across into Whale Sound, and worked up under the lee of Carlos Island, finding the tide there rather in our favour. The ‘williwaws’ (I know no better name for the sudden gusts that come off the high land) gave us some trouble, occasionally laying us almost on our beam ends. At half past two I was induced to anchor under the lee of the south-east extremity of Carlos Island, and thought our day's work was repaid by a snug position close to a weather-shore, besides having made some little progress; but after dark the wind became more violent, and a williwaw drove us out into deep water. We set the storm sails, which, with the weather-tide, known to be then making strongly, I hoped would take her a-head sufficiently to clear Rupert Island (lying under our lee), and all hands then went to the capstan; but while heaving-in the cable, our bower anchor again caught the ground and brought us up. We veered away cable directly, let go another anchor, and rode out the rest of the gale, which was extremely violent, without driving.

“The instant our anchor caught, I knew we must be on a ridge, of which Lieut. Skyring had spoken to me, lying between Rupert and Carlos Islands, across which the tide makes strongly, at the rate of about three knots. Rupert Island was still under our lee, distant less than half a mile.

“22d. Blowing hard and raining. At 9 a.m. it cleared and moderated, but so strong a tide set past us, to the south, that we could not attempt to weigh. It differs here from that in mid-channel by two hours, which may much assist a vessel if she manages so as to take eight hours tide in her favour.

“At eleven we unmoored, and got ready for moving at the turn of tide.* At one we weighed and made sail with a moderate wind from N.W., and by keeping close to Carlos Island, and making short boards, we had a weather-tide, while in the fairway of the Strait the stream was running to the S.E. We anchored in Bachelor's Bay (or York Roads), choosing an outside berth in order to have more room to weigh again and work with the morning tide. It blew hard in the night, but we rode securely, although the tide ran at least three knots where we were.

* On heaving up the best bower, we found it had lost one fluke.

“23d. We started and worked to the westward, and at nine were abreast of Borja Bay; but by trying for too much, nearly lost all that we had gained, for in standing across from the bay, hoping to weather Cape Quod, the flood tide took us so strongly, that it cost three hours close working to get to an anchor even in Borja Bay. We had rain and sleet continually through the day, and it blew hard at night, but as plenty of chain was out, the topsails and courses were close reefed, and the top-gallant masts on deck, we were ready for anything.

“24th. Heavy squalls, with almost constant rain, prevented our moving westward, and similar weather continued throughout the day, becoming worse at night. Had we had plenty of provisions I should not have minded this delay, because we might have remained at anchor till it was over; but so much had been said about the difficulty sometimes found in working through the Strait, that it concerned us greatly not to lose a chance of making progress. During this night the squalls were very heavy. The holding ground must have been excellent, for williwaws drove the ship from one side to the other as if she had been a chip upon the water.

“26th. Weighed this morning, weathered Cape Quod, and worked to the westward, the weather having cleared and become very fine. The part where most tide is felt was then past. Cape Quod projects so far south that the Strait is there extremely narrow, and though very deep, has a strong tide.

“27th. At daylight we found ourselves to windward of Marian's Cove. Looking eastward upon the land about Cape Quod, it has a very bleak and rugged appearance. The almost perennial west winds prevent vegetation from growing on the heights exposed to their action. Hence the desolate look of the western shores of Tiera del Fuego. We saw a sail beyond Cape Notch, and, just before we moored, close to the shore in Half-port Cove, we made her out to be the Adelaide.

“28th. A bad morning, snowy and blowing, but the wind being moderate between the squalls, I went in a whale boat to examine the Gulf of Xaultegua, and pulled along the south shore towards Cape Monday. Having gained some distance to windward, while the snow was so thick it was impossible to see the shore, we made sail across the Strait, and hit the place within a cable's length. When the snow ceased falling, we saw a large space of water before us, the land opposite being at least five miles distant. We sailed towards a strange looking islet in the middle of the gulf, very similar to the old mouldering figures of the fabled Sphinx, but the snow becoming again almost incessant, only allowing us to see our way at intervals, while the wind was too strong for even a close reefed sail, we landed, and hauled the boat up on an island. I was in hopes of finding an opening which would lead me to the Skyring Water; and my boat's crew, being almost as eager as I was, cared little for the wind or snow. This night we made a larger tent than usual, with a top-gallant studding sail, and the consequence was, we were extremely cold, as there was a sharp frost, and the snow was lying every where very deep. Next nisht we were wiser, and reduced our tent to the smallest dimensions.

“29th. Early in the morning we resumed our search. I had a chronometer with me, but as we never saw the sun, nor even a star, I should have been as well without it. We pulled and sailed towards the northernmost corner first, but found no opening, and went thence to the eastward, with a strong and favourable breeze. Passing Still-hope Point I felt sure of finding a passage, for before me were the tops of mountains seen from the Otway Water. I was, however, deceived, the gulf ended in two bights, or inlets, unconnected with other waters: so we returned to Still-hope Point and hauled up the boat. The night passed very well, in a snug place among trees, although the snow was falling thickly. Early next morning we left the shore, having employed a quarter of an hour in clearing the snow out of our boat. When we started, it snowed fast but without wind, and we steered by compass for the Sphinx. I sketched what I could see of the south side of this gulf, but did not consider it worth delaying longer, in such weather, for so unimportant a place, while anxious that the Beagle should reach Chilóe before her provisions were expended, and that I should fall in with the Adelaide before leaving the Strait. If ever a minute survey is made of this gulf, it should be after all others have been examined, as it is utterly useless. The temperature of the water within it we found to be 40° Fahr. We landed on St. Anne's Island, having run near thirty miles since the morning, and thence we sailed across the Strait, reached His Majesty's little vessel, and found that the Adelaide had not yet passed by. All looked cold and wintry, every thing being covered with snow; and our sails were hard frozen, for the first time.

“July 1st. After beating loose the sails, we stood out in the ship to meet the Adelaide, which was seen coming towards us. I went on board, and found every one well. They too, in attempting to anchor off Carlos Island, had, like ourselves, been driven out: we compared chronometers, and supplied her with a few things not thought of before (keeping under all sail meanwhile to profit by an easterly wind); and the Beagle's officers lent the Adelaide their own stove.

“In the afternoon, we parted company; the Adelaide stood towards Upright Bay, and anchored at dusk, while we steered out of the Strait, with a freshening breeze from the east, which increased much as we made westing. At midnight, we were in the Pacific, and all our anxiety about weeks of beating to windward upon short allowance of provisions, vanished as quickly as the land astern. The glass falling, with the wind in the S.E. quarter, foretold unusually bad weather; we therefore shortened sail by degrees, making all secure.

“2d. At six o'clock in the morning, it was blowing a gale of wind, with so much sea, that it was necessary to steer right before it,—or heave-to,—which with a fair wind was not preferable; and we found the vessel scud extremely well, under close reefed fore and main topsails, and double reefed foresail. Our quarter boats caused anxiety, for the davits were low, and at every lurch the boats were risked. Frequently they dipped in the sea, and sometimes were half filled; but they hung fast till by a moment's neglect of the steerage, a sea broke over the whale-boat, and carried her away. The other, being much smaller and stronger, held on well, though frequently under water. Towards midnight the gale broke; by the next morning the weather was more moderate; and from that time it continued fine, until our arrival at Chilóe.

“On the 5th, at daylight, we saw land at a great distance, which afterwards proved to be the Island of Guafo, and in the afternoon the south end of Chilóe was seen.

“On the 8th, we were working towards the Port of San Carlos, being off Point Huapilacuy, and next day (9th) anchored in the port of San Carlos, which seemed to be well sheltered by a country, the appearance of which was very agreeable when contrasted with that of Tierra del Fuego.

“The town reminded me of a Cornish village. I thought, from their appearance and colour, that the houses were built of stone, and roofed with slate; but afterwards found they were of wood, from their foundations, to the tops of their roofs. Except a few cleared spaces, the island is entirely covered with trees, even on the highest hills. The Captain of the Port (an Englishman) boarded us as we neared the anchorage, and was very obliging in his offers. From him I learnt that the Adventure had not yet arrived, nor even been heard of on the coast. We anchored under the lee of Barcacura Heights, in a good berth, and moored ship. I went on shore immediately, and paid my respects to the Governor, Don Jose Santiago Aldunate, a brigadier-general in the Chilian Service, whose kind manner, and friendly offers of every assistance he could render us, were very gratifying. From the master of a merchant ship, lately arrived, I was surprised and concerned to learn, that the Adventure had not reached Valparaiso before the time of his sailing thence (20th of June).*

* The Adventure arrived on the 21st.—P.P.K.

“Refitting the Beagle, repairing and building boats, occupied most of the officers, and all the crew, while Mr. Stokes and I were engaged in the work of the survey, during our stay in the Port of San Carlos. Our ship required caulking, which, in so rainy a climate, was difficult to accomplish. So continually wet was the weather, that had we not dried our sails, and unbent them, during three fine days which we had(r) on our arrival, they would not have been dry during our stay.”

(r) Por milagro (miraculously); as the inhabitants told me.—R.F.


CHAPTER XV

Extracts from the Journals of Lieutenants Skyring and Graves—Magdalen Channel—Keats Sound—Mount Sarmiento—Barrow Head—Cockburn Channel—Prevalence of south-west winds—Melville Sound—Ascent of Mount Skyring—Memorial—Cockburn and Barbara Channels—Mass of Islets and Rocks—Hewett Bay—Cypress trees useful—Adelaide rejoins Beagle in Port Gallant—Captain King's narrative resumed—Plan of future proceedings—Adelaide arrives at Chilóe—Abstract of Lieutenant Skyring's account of her proceedings—Smyth Channel—Mount Burney—‘Ancon sin Salida’—Natives—Kirke Narrows—Guia Narrows—Peculiar tides—Indians in plank canoes—Passage to Chilóe.

The extracts from Captain Fitz Roy's first journal being ended, I shall now give some passages from the journals of Lieutenants Skyring and Graves, while employed in the Adelaide, exploring and surveying the Magdalen and Barbara Channels.

The reader will remember, that the Adelaide parted company with the Beagle, at the entrance of the Magdalen Channel, on the 19th of April; and steered to the southward under the direction of Lieutenant Skyring.

Lieutenant Graves says:——

“The east and west shores of the Magdalen Channel run nearly parallel to each other: but the east side is broken by a large opening, named Keats Sound, which runs into the land for eight miles, and appears very like a channel. (s)

(s) I do not think that there is any opening at the bottom of Keats Sound; which lies at the base of a chain of snow-covered mountains, whose southern side I have closely traced.—R.F.

“At the S.W. angle of the Magdalen Channel stands Mount Sarmiento: the most conspicuous, and the most splendid object in these regions. Rising abruptly from the sea, to a height of about 7,000 feet, it terminates in two sharp peaks, which seem absolutely in the sky: so lofty does the mountain appear, when you are close to its base.

“Two thirds of the height are covered with snow; and two enormous glaciers descend into the deep blue waters of the sea beneath. When the sun shines, it is a most brilliant and magnificent sight.

“Many days were almost lost to us, in consequence of heavy gales, accompanied by torrents of rain; but we profited by intervals of fine weather to move from cove to cove.

“On the 5th of May, while working out of Stormy Bay, we grounded, and remained fixed upon a rock several hours, but were lifted off again by the next tide, without having sustained material injury.

“To vessels navigating this channel, I should strongly recommend giving a preference to the south shore, where there are many openings, and I have no doubt good anchorages, which, as our time was limited, and the weather very tempestuous, we had not an opportunity of examining. If any such exist they would have a decided advantage over those on the north shore, from being generally to windward, and therefore easy to leave, as well as more secure. King and Fitz Roy Islands, lying in mid-channel, between Stormy and Park Bays, are of bold approach, as are also the Kirke Rocks, which lie further to the S.W.

“One morning, being anxious to obtain a more secure situation for the vessel, we started in search of a better berth, intending, if possible, to reach a bay on the other shore, near Barrow Head, apparently affording good anchorage; but after beating about, from nine until four o'clock, without being able to reach it, the breeze freshening, and sea increasing, we bore up, and again anchored under the lee of the same island. S.W. winds prevail in these parts throughout the year: in confirmation of which, besides the experience we ourselves have had, all the trees which stand exposed, are bent in an opposite direction; and on the S.W. side of all the land open to that point, not only does the vegetation commence much further from the water's edge, but it is scarcer, and more stunted. In sheltered places the trees grow to within a foot of highwater mark.

“May 11th. We remained at the above-mentioned anchorage; and while Lieutenant Skyring was examining a cluster of islands in the vicinity, I obtained observations for the latitude and longitude; and as it was the first fine day, indeed the only one since entering this channel in which we had a fair proportion of sunshine, it was taken advantage of to dry and air all our clothes and bedding, and clean out the vessel thoroughly.

“The next anchorage we took, was in a cove just large enough to hold the schooner, at the entrance of Dyneley Sound, on the north shore. In crossing over, we had a fine view of Mount Sarmiento; and looking to seaward, from the hill over this cove, the Tussac, and the Fury Rocks, at the entrance of Melville Sound, which are much resorted to by sealers, were clearly distinguishable.

“During our stay here, until May 15th, the neighbouring coast was examined, whenever the weather permitted. We also communicated with several canoes full of Indians, but gained no additional information respecting the habits of the natives.

“The next start carried us through the islands of Melville Sound, to an anchorage in a small cove, at the N.E. end of the largest of the Magill Islands, upon which is Mount Skyring. Having resolved to ascend to the top, as it offered so commanding a view, and was so centrally situated, we remained for that purpose.” The weather, for several days, was very unfavourable, and it was not until the 21st, that there was any reasonable prospect of obtaining a view from the summit; when Lieutenant Skyring and Mr. Kirke had a most laborious excursion, and the latter was nearly frost-bitten in ascending the mountain; but they were fully recompensed for the trouble and difficulty they had experienced.

Lieutenant Skyring says:—

“We gained the summit after three hour's hard travelling. During the last five hundred feet of ascent, the mountain was almost precipitous, and we had the utmost difficulty in passing the instruments from hand to hand. Its formation is remarkable, although, I believe, the same structure exists throughout the hills around. The base is a coarse granite, but this solid formation cannot be traced half the height; above is an immense heap of masses of rock, irregularly and wonderfully thrown together, many huge fragments overhanging, with apparently very little hold. This station was the most commanding we had chosen during the survey, and answered well for the object we desired; which being attained, we returned on board, and I rejoiced when all were safe, for it was neither an easy, nor a pleasant enterprise.”

A document, of which the following is a copy, was enclosed in a bottle and a strong outer case, and left at the summit of the mountain. (Copy.) This Memorial was left by the officers of H.M. Schooner Adelaide, while employed on a survey of the Magdalen, Cockburn, and Barbara Channels; and any person finding it is requested to leave the original document, and build the pile, under which it is placed, at least six feet higher. Signed this 16th day of May 1829, by

W. G. Skyring, Lieut, and assist, surveyor of H.M.S. Beagle.
Thomas Graves, Lieut, of H.M. Schooner Adelaide.
James Kirke, Midshipman H.M.S. Beagle.
Alex. Millar, Master assist. H.M.S. Adelaide.
Benj. Bynoe, Assist, surgeon H.M.S. Beagle.
Jno. Park, Assist, surgeon H.M.S. Adventure.

God save the King.

“In the Cockburn Channel,* the flood-tide sets to seaward; but it was not found to be of consequence to a vessel in working through. The rise and fall is not more than six, or at most, eight feet, at spring-tides.

* In the old Dutch charts, a passage was laid down near the place, and nearly in the direction of the Cockburn Channel, and named ‘Jelouzelt:’ but until some written authority can be produced to prove that this passage was explored, or, at the least, discovered by the person who gave the name of ‘Jelouzelt:’ to one of the almost innumerable openings in Tierra del Fuego, it does not appear that the inlet so called has any claim to our consideration, greater than that of the non-existing San Sebastian Channel,—or a number of other imaginary passages which must have been laid down, upon supposition only, in many old charts.
The first person known to have passed through the Cockburn Channel was the mate of the Prince of Saxe Cobourg, who went in a boat (see page 66).§ It was afterwards passed by Mr. William Low, master of the Mercury, and has since been used by several vessels.

§ The account of the ship Prince of Saxe Cobourg (pp. 66-67) mentions several boat trips, but one by the mate through the Cockburn Channel is not described. Perhaps the mate mentioned this to Skyring, but King did not include the details in his account of the event.

“May 22d. We quitted this anchorage; and having worked to the westward, through the Adelaide Passage, took up a berth in a small bay, two miles and a half to the northward, where we remained during the night, and next morning; then, after examining the neighbouring coast sufficiently to carry on our triangulation, proceeded to an anchorage on the north side of Bynoe Island. From the summit of this place an extensive view was obtained of the islands in Melville Sound, as well as of the entrance to the Cockburn and Barbara Channels. Such a complicated mass of islands and rocks, I never before saw; to lay them all down correctly would occupy a long time. Sufficient, however, has been done to take the navigator through this labyrinth; but I am well aware, that very much is still wanting to complete the survey.

“Fury and North Harbours, of which the former became more particularly known to us from the Prince of Saxe Cobourg having been wrecked there in December 1826, were laid down from an eye-sketch only; but the peaks of the island, and its extremes, were fixed by triangulation.*

* Since surveyed by Capt. Fitz Roy in the Beagle, 1829-30.

“Melville Sound is formed by the islands which separate the Cockburn from the Barbara Channels. Generally speaking, they, as well as the coasts in the immediate neighbourhood which are exposed to seaward, present a most barren and desolate appearance.

“Until the 26th of May, we were much occupied among the surrounding islands; but time being short, we took advantage of a southerly wind to run up the Barbara Channel, and soon reached an anchorage in Hewett Bay. While securing the vessel, a canoe, containing only a man, woman, and child, and three dogs, was seen coming round the south point of the bay. As they seemed very unwilling to pay us a visit, remaining at a distance, and vociferating as usual, ‘Ho-say,’ ‘Ho-say!’ Mr. Bynoe and I communicated with them in the dinghy; but finding they had not an article worth bartering for, we soon left them, and returned on board. It was suspected their companions were not far off, and indeed, the day after, Lieutenant Skyring saw several canoes; but the moment he was discovered, they were beached, and the men, taking to the woods, kept at a distance.

“On the 29th, we left Hewett Bay, and, after threading the needle through a multitude of islands, islets, and small rocks, for more than three miles, reached an anchorage in a small cove, at the north entrance of Brown Bay, where we were detained, and confined to the vessel, by heavy gales, and stormy weather, until June 2d; when, having a fine day, we reached a spot (marked in the chart as North anchorage) sufficiently secure for a small vessel; but not to be recommended to any other.

“Between Hewett Bay, and the above anchorage, there are several rocks, among patches of kelp, which, as they only show themselves at half ebb, or near low water, render the navigation rather intricate. A good maxim in these channels is, ‘Avoid kelp, and you avoid danger.’ Forty-three days had passed since we left Port Famine; and in this interval, I find we had nine favourable days, twelve partially favourable, some hours of which we could employ in the work about which we were engaged, and the remaining twenty-three were days of rain and wind, far too unfavourable to serve our purpose in the least.

“June 4th. While turning to windward, we, for the first time, felt the influence of the tide, which, from the channel's narrowing, begins to be sensible: here it was sufficiently strong to prevent our gaining ground in beating to windward, although with a good working breeze; we therefore ran into a bay on the west side, and anchored. The country around had rather a pleasing appearance, the shores being partially covered with the evergreen, and deciduous-leaved beech, and a few stunted cypress-trees. These last are serviceable for boat-hook spars, or boats' masts; and, when seasoned, work up very smoothly, and wear well: the beech-trees do not equal those found further northward in the Strait, except here and there in sheltered corners.

“With a leading wind, the next morning, we reached the south narrows of the Barbara Channel, through which we were carried by a strong tide, and anchored in Bedford Bay.

“Here, as well as throughout the Barbara channel, the flood tide sets to the southward. We obtained at this place angles which connected our triangulation with points fixed by Captain King during the previous year, and finished our examination of these channels within a very few days of the time allotted.

“On the 8th of June we attempted to pass through the Shag Narrows, but not saving the tide, were obliged to anchor for the night in Field Bay, which is small and much exposed to southerly winds; the bank also is very abrupt, and the water is deep close to the shore.

“On the 9th we succeeded in clearing the Narrows, and reached Port Gallant early in the afternoon, where we rejoined the Beagle.”

Having given these brief extracts from Journals kept on board the Beagle and Adelaide, during the time occupied by the Adventure about Cape Horn, or on her way to Chilóe, I will resume my own narrative.

As it was my intention to remain at this port* until the Beagle and Adelaide were equipped, the Adventure was made snug, and, by way of relaxation, such of the officers as could be spared from the duties of the ship, resided in turns at the town, where also the ship's company had frequently permission to amuse themselves.

* San Carlos, in Chilóe.

The Hoxsley schooner arrived from Valparaiso and brought me letters from the Admiralty, acquiescing in my request to return to England direct, instead of proceeding by way of New South Wales and the Cape of Good Hope, as was originally intended. I therefore determined to return to Valparaiso as soon as our consorts had taken their departure, proceed thence to Port Famine, where we were to be joined by the Adelaide, and afterwards repair to Rio de Janeiro to await the Beagle's arrival, when we should sail for England.

On the 20th of September my anxiety for the Adelaide was relieved by her appearance, and by finding all on board her in good health. She had gone up the coast by the channels that communicate with the Strait of Magalhaens at Beaufort Bay, passing inside of Hanover Island and Madre de Dios; and Lieut. Skyring gave me a very interesting account of their discoveries, of which the following is an abstract.

It will be remembered that the Beagle left the Adelaide at anchor under Cape Upright. While there the wind freshened up from the eastward, and threw a swell into the bay, which rendered the anchorage very unsafe, as the schooner's stern was in the foam of the sea that broke on the rocky shore close to her. Much anxiety was felt for their safety, but the anchors held well. As soon as the weather permitted they sailed, entered Beaufort Bay, and steered towards a deep open, ing to the eastward of Cape Phillip, into which they ran with a steady S.E. wind, and found an anchorage on the west side in Deep Harbour.

On the 5th of July Lieut. Skyring and Mr. Kirke were absent in a whaleboat, exploring a deep opening eastward of Cape Tamar, which they found to terminate in two sounds, named by them Icy Sound and Glacier Bay; the first from its being covered with a sheet of ice, and the latter from its being full of large masses which had been detached from an extensive glacier occupying the bottom of the bay. The examination of this opening was made in search of a channel, through which, vessels had entered the Strait, and the schooner was to proceed to her rendezvous. The result proved that the Adelaide was already in the channel they were looking for, therefore they returned on board, and proceeded (7th) to the northward. In passing Mount Joy a strong tide was observed, the certain indication of a channel; for, as has been before remarked, within sounds the tide has no perceptible stream. To gain a better knowledge of their way they anchored early in Good's Bay; the course of the channel, from the intersection of points, and intervention of islands, being by no means distinct. Lieut. Graves made a plan of the bay, while Lieut. Skyring, and his assistant,* completed the survey of the entrance to the passage, which was named Smyth Channel, as a compliment to Capt. W. H. Smyth, R. N., under whom, while surveying the Mediterranean, both Lieuts. Skyring and Graves had served.

* Mr. Kirke.

The best channel they found to the eastward of Renouard Island, and the Adelaide took that course, but stopped a night in a small cove on the eastern side of the island, and in passing Shoal Island next day struck on a rock; she was got off however without injury, and anchored afterwards, for a night, on the north side of the Island of the Narrows.

The two following days (10th and 11th) were spent in examining the coast, and exploring Clapperton Inlet, which had the appearance of being a channel. From the hills at the bottom Lieut. Skyring noticed a considerable tract of low land and open plain, extending to the northward. On the 12th, being Sunday, they remained quiet, and on the 13th the weather was so calm that they only reached Hose Harbour, on the east side; and the next day Oake Bay. Thence crossing the channel in a whaleboat they explored some distance along that shore; and on the 15th anchored in Otter Bay, This slow progress was unavoidable, owing to the calm state of the weather, and to the survey being principally, if not entirely, carried on in boats.

On the 16th the schooner was towed onwards, and passing over an extensive shoal flat of three fathoms, reached the Summer Islands, where she might have stopped, but, as the tide was still favourable, she proceeded to an anchorage under Long Island, the most northern in the Elson group.

The eastern shore of the channel was there very different in character from what they had so long been accustomed to, being nearly level; and, extending for some distance off every low point, there was shoal water.

For some days a lofty mountain, covered with snow, had been in sight; which, by angular measurement, proved to be 5,800 feet in height. It was named Mount Burney, in compliment to the admiral.

On the 17th the Adelaide reached Fortune Bay, situated at the east extreme of a headland, on each side of which is a channel, leading, apparently, towards Cape Isabel. The northern seemed to be the principal one, and therefore was followed next day (18th) as far as Welcome Bay.

Continuing the survey onwards they reached Victory Passage, which they entered, thinking they were in the mouth of the ‘Ancon sin Salida,’ as laid down from Sarmiento's journal by Admiral Burney. The weather, however, became so bad, that they were obliged to take shelter in Island Bay, and the next day the wind setting in from the eastward, they gave up, for a time, their search for the ‘Ancon sin salida,’ and proceeded by Smyth Channel, as far as Hamper Bay, where they were again detained by bad weather. Here a few rock fish were caught, but at no other time during this cruise were the fishermen successful, although the channel was so filled by porpoises and seals, that it is probably well stocked with fish at the proper season: and there are many places where the seine might be shot. Proceeding slowly on the 25th, the Adelaide struck on a rock, and remained fast for a few hours, but as the tide rose she swung off without damage. Upon examining Rocky Bay they found it a complete bed of rocks; yet, bad as it was, the Adelaide was obliged to remain there five days, owing to the tempestuous state of the weather. On the 30th they reached the north end of Smyth Channel, and anchored in Narrow Creek.

On the 31st Lieut. Skyring went to a remarkable hill, which he called Mount Trafalgar, but thought it might have been the ‘Monte Trigo’* of Sarmiento, so much did its appearance remind him of a corn stack. The day was most favourable: a round of angles, and an extensive view down Lord Nelson's Strait, were obtained from the summit. They remained on an island all night, sheltered by the boat, and next morning went to two points, called by Sarmiento ‘Oueste,’ and ‘ Mas al Oueste,’ (west and more west,) returning to the Adelaide in the evening.

* A heap, or stack of corn.

The following morning was fine, and the Adelaide moved out of Smyth Channel, the survey of which was completed very satisfactorily, although their progress was slow, owing to constant northerly winds.

By towing the Adelaide during tedious calms, they reached Montague Bay in the evening, and next day anchored in Relief Harbour, on the S. W. side of Vancouver Island.

As it was evident that the ‘Ancon sin salida’ was within Piazzi and Ceres Islands, up the west coasts of which they had passed, Lieut. Skyring left the schooner moored in Relief Harbour, and proceeded, on the 4th August, to the southward, in a whale-boat with Mr. Kirke; but he took no more than a week's provisions, that time being all he could devote to this exploration.

The 4th, 5th, and 6th, Lieutenant Skyring employed in pulling or sailing to the southward and eastward, through winding and intricate passages; although strong winds and much heavy rain annoyed him, and impeded his progress.

On the 7th the weather was much more favourable than it had lately been. The boat pulled and sailed to the southward, and at noon Lieutenant Skyring ascended a height,* having on each side of it a deep opening, but he was disappointed in the view; and, after taking bearings, pulled round the adjacent bights, one of which was exactly opposite Artist Bay, in Smyth Channel, and so near it that the two waters were only separated by a few hundred yards;† the other,‡ eastward of the height, was large, and closed at the bottom by very low lands. It was directly supposed to be the ‘Ancon sin Salida;’^ but Sarmiento's description, and the chart compiled by Burney, were insufficient to enable them to decide with any degree of certainty. After looking round this bay, they continued to the eastward, and passed a point beyond which there was apparently a wide channel; having run about six miles down it without discovering any termination, they hauled their boat up on the beach for the night.

* No doubt the Mount Oracion of Sarmiento, p. 144. [p. 81 in Hakluyt edition.]—P.P.K.

† This place is described in Sarmiento's journal, p. 144.—P.P.K.

‡ Ensenada de la Oracion of Sarnnento.—P.P.K.

^ This bay is also described by Sarmiento as an ‘Ancon sin salida,’ p. 143; [Ensenada sin salida in Spanish edition] but it is evidently not the one that bears that name on the chart.§—P.P.K.

§ See p. 80 footnote in Hakluyt edition.

On the 8th, two canoes were noticed on the west shore; but seeing strangers the natives, apparently much frightened, all landed, except an old man; and taking with them what they most valued, hid themselves among the brush-wood, leaving their canoes fastened to the seaweed. By some Fuegian words of invitation, the men were, however, induced to approach and traffic, receiving for their otter skins whatever could be spared. In appearance and manner these Indians were exactly similar to the Fuegians; and by their canoes only, which were built of planks, could they be distinguished as belonging to another tribe.

After leaving the natives, the boat passed Cape Earnest, and Lieutenant Skyring observed a wide channel leading north and then N.N.W.;* also, another opening to the eastward. The wind being easterly, he ran some distance to the northward, to gain more knowledge of the first inlet; and having gone ten or twelve miles from Cape Earnest, and observing the opening for eight miles beyond to be as wide as where they then were, he concluded it to be a channel, or else a deep sound terminated by low land, for there was evidently a division in the mountains, such as to justify this belief. Returning, they entered the smaller opening to the eastward, and were almost assured of its being a channel; for when they were between the points, many porpoises and seals were observed, and a tide was found setting westward, at the rate of two knots. At dark, they hauled their boat on the beach of an excellent bay, at the north side of the narrow reach, and secured her for the night.

* Here is certainly the Ancon sin salida of Sarmiento, whose journal describes the inlet as terminating in a cove to the north, p. 142. The mountain of Año Nuevo cannot be mistaken; indeed the whole of the coast is so well described by the ancient mariner, that we have little difficulty in determining the greater number of places he visited. In all cases we have, of course, preserved his names. The chart compiled by Admiral Burney is a remarkable instance of the care which that author took in arranging it, and how ingeniously and correctly he has displayed his judgment; it is also a proof that our favourite old Voyager, Sarmiento, was at least correct in his descriptions, although he appears to have been quite ignorant of the variation of the compass.—See Burney Coll. Voyages, p. 31; [sic, “Voyage of Pedro Sarmiento,” p. 31 footnote and Sarmiento, p. 162 [p. 92 in Hakluyt edition].

On the 9th, shortly after daylight, they set out in a N.E. direction to ascertain the truth of their supposition; and before noon knew, beyond a doubt, that they were correct in their belief, being in the narrows of a channel before unknown, that had eluded Sarmiento's notice. These narrows, which Lieutenant Skyring felt assured would lead to a large opening, were upwards of three miles in length, and generally about one-third of a mile in breadth. A strong tide took the boat through; and at the N.E. extremity, where the narrows were reduced to four hundred yards in width, the water, although a neap-tide, rushed at the rate of four knots, forming whirling eddies, which were carefully avoided by Lieutenant Skyring. At spring-tide, the strength of these rapids would probably not be less than seven knots.

Having passed through them, a clear channel was seen, upwards of two miles wide, running to the N.b.E. for, at least, eight miles, and then turning directly eastward, between moderately high land. Another channel, nearly a mile and a half wide, trended to the S.E. for two or three miles, and then also turned to the eastward. Here they stopped. Lieutenant Skyring regretted extremely not being able to prosecute the discovery, and have one more view from the eastern point of the N.E. channel; but as only one day's provisions remained, it would have been imprudent to delay his return. It was evident, that they had passed through the range of the Cordilleras,* for to the eastward the country appeared totally different, the highest hill not being above seven hundred feet. The opening to the N.E. was thought to communicate with the waters lately discovered by Captain Fitz Roy. The latitude was obtained on Point Return; and in the afternoon, reluctantly but anxiously, they retraced their way, and passed that night at their former quarters, in Whale-boat Bay.

* ‘Cordillera Nevada’ of Sarmiento.

On the 10th, at daylight, they proceeded on their return. The wind was fair until they reached Cape Earnest, when it drew right against them; and they had the unpleasant prospect of a tedious pull to the schooner, with very little provision.

The 11th was a thoroughly wet day, and the wind was so strong from the northward, with a very heavy sea running, that it was impossible to proceed.

On the 12th, they left the bay soon after daylight, and having pulled along shore a few miles, crossed Union Sound, and gained the Narrows of San Benito, the wind being still fresh from the northward; thence they continued pulling until they hauled up, after dark, in a bay, opposite Point Benito, and waited till the morning of the 13th, when with a fresh S.W. wind they made good progress, which was of the more consequence, as their provisions were expended, although they had eked them out with cormorants and muscles. At last, the sight of the Adelaide rejoiced them, and they soon afterwards reached her. Their appearance was a relief to all who were on board, as they were becoming very anxious, and Lieut. Graves was preparing to send the other whale-boat in search of them. During their absence he had made the necessary astronomical observations, and finished the examination of those shores adjacent to the harbour's.

From the 13th to the 17th, the schooner was detained by bad weatlier, and the following day only succeeded in reaching Escape Bay, in San Estevan Channel, which was found to be a good and well-sheltered anchorage, although small.

On the 19th, after angles had been taken on each side of the Channel, the Adelaide got under weigh, and steered up the Channel. At noon she passed the mount which they supposed to be Sarmiento's Monte Trigo, and soon after, nearing Esperanza Island, they sought for some mark by which to recognize the Mountain of the Fox (‘Monte§ de la Zorra’). In the white part of a cliff, they fancied some resemblance to an animal, and noticed a harbour opposite, in which they anchored. They had such trouble in getting to the northward, that this day's run, though only eighteen miles, was a cause of much satisfaction.

§ Sarmiento actually named it Morro [nose] de la Zorra.

On the 20th, at daylight, the boats were employed around the anchorage, and at nine o'clock the vessel was underweigh, and working to the northward, although it rained hard then, as well as throughout the whole day: after beating until the evening, she anchored on the west shore.

Constant rain fell through the whole night, and during the 21st; it was therefore impossible to make any progress to the northward.

On the 22d the Adelaide weighed, and the weather being calm, was towed during the whole forenoon. At noon a southerly wind sprung up, and by the evening she was in the Guia Narrows (of Sarmiento). They tried for anchorage in Unfit Bay, conceiving it to be Sarmiento's Port Ochavario; but none being found, the vessel was towed into a cove, and securely moored.

Next day the boats surveyed the Guia Narrows. Although long, they did not appear hazardous to pass, for the tides are not very rapid. The ebb tide runs to the northward, but at the south entrance of the San Estevan Channel, the ebb sets to the southward; which difference in direction, within so short a distance, is extraordinary, and difficult to account for without knowing more of the coast. Certainly there is a meeting of tides between the two entrances; probably, all the land westward of San Estevan is a collection of large islands, and water flows into this channel, from the Pacific, through many openings, which may be the cause of this peculiarity.

24th. With light breezes from the eastward, the schooner weighed and stood through the Narrows; passed Point San Juan, and continued along the eastern shore of Concepcion Strait to Guard Bay, where she was moored.

25th. Rainy weather until near noon, when the boats were employed.

On the 26th the schooner was towed out, and, as it was calm, kept a boat a-head the whole day. She anchored in a small bight, formed by Chance Islands, about seven miles from Guard Bay.

The 27th was rainy, but the boats went to different points, and angles were taken before the schooner weighed and worked northward. At noon she came to an anchor in a small bay, northward of the Hocico de Caiman. Constant rain during the remainder of the day.

On the 28th it rained too incessantly the whole morning, to allow the party to work, even in boats; and the day was passed in laying down former observations.

29th. After angles had been taken near the anchorage, the schooner was moved, and worked along the coast. A strong wind from the N.W., with a heavy sea, brought the vessel under close-reefed sails, and obliged her to anchor in Walker Bay.

On the 30th, the Adelaide anchored in Molyneux Sound. To give a clearer idea of the delays experienced in making progress to the northward through these intricate channels, I shall now extract part of Lieutenant Skyring's Journal, in his own words:

“31st. Wind N.N.W. with a heavy swell in the Strait; the boats at daylight went north and south of the anchorage, and angles were obtained. At nine, ready for starting; but the weather was too unfavourable, and continued so until the 4th of September, when, at seven o'clock in the morning, we weighed. At nine, squally-obliged to double-reef; but the tide serving, we gained a few miles to windward, and at one, P.M., stood among a mass of islands on the west side, and moored in Tom's Bay, steadying the vessel with the stream anchor. In the afternoon the survey was continued, and from the heights a view was obtained of the Gulf of Trinidad, and of several points observed last year. Another detention of two days, owing to bad weather.

“7th. Cloudy; weighed at daylight, and stood for the narrows. At eight, squally, with thick snowy weather; but, being once under weigh, we refrained from returning, until compelled. It certainly was not a favourable day for working through; but the wind moderated, and our attempt succeeded. No anchorage being found by the boats on the north side of the narrows, we made for the weather-shore of the gulf, and anchored early in Windward Bay. In the afternoon, angles were taken on Middle Island, and east and west of the anchorage. The time of our departure drawing near, it became doubly necessary to work constantly, that we might join this survey with that of last year, in the Beagle.

“8th. Weighed at daylight; wind light from N.W.; but, falling calm, boats were detached for continuing the angles, and the latitude was observed on Red Beak Rocks. At five o'clock, we gained an anchorage, close to the eastward of the Ancon del Morro, on the S.E. side of Division Isle, in a bay which answered our purpose, although it was rather a confined place. Some angles were taken on Point Candelaria, preparatory to continuing our course next morning.

“9th. At daylight weighed and stood over to the northern shore, and at eleven, anchored in Neesham Bay,in eleven fathoms. Boats employed in the afternoon, on the survey. While at anchor, two canoes, containing together thirty-two Indians, came alongside; they were chiefly men, a finer race of people, better formed, and better featured than the Fuegians, and much less noisy. Their canoes were made of planks, the longest upwards of twenty-three feet in length: they appeared exceedingly buoyant, and pulled quickly.

“l0th. At daylight, we sailed out of the bay, with a light breeze from the eastward; at seven, the wind increased, and a heavy sea rose in the gulf. It was my intention to get an anchorage under Mount Corso; but, as that was now a leeward coast, with a heavy sea setting upon the shore, it would have been improper to attempt seeking for one. If it had answered our purpose, we might have gone to Port Henry, and, indeed, this was the only safe course we could have pursued, if our object had been to remain in the gulf; but no time was left to wait for favourable weather; therefore I chose in preference to leave the gulf, and take advantage of the fair wind to gain an offing, the time of our return being so near.

“We left the gulf two days before I had expected to have done so; but we all rejoiced at our departure. No crew could have performed their duty more willingly than the Adelaide's; but such lengthened fatigue as they had undergone, was sufficient to make any men feel happy at the prospect of a respite.

“It was a pleasing reflection to Lieutenant Graves and myself, that the orders had been fully executed; that the coast we had passed was throughout well connected; and that this service was concluded without any illness or accident among the crew, without any damage to the vessel, without any loss of boats, or even the slightest misfortune.”

During the Adelaide's passage to Chilóe, Lieutenant Skyring and his companion were assiduously employed in transferring their observations to paper, notwithstanding the violent motion of their little vessel, during ten days of rough weather.


CHAPTER XVI

Chilóe—Its probable importance—Valdivia founds seven cities; afterwards destroyed by the Indians—Migration of Spanish settlers—Province and Islands of Chilóe—Districts and population—Government—Defence—Winds—Town—Durability of wooden buildings—Cultivation—Want of industry—Improvement—Dress—Habits of lower classes—Morality—Schools—Language—Produce—Manufactures—Exports and imports—Varieties of wood—Alerse—Roads—Piraguas—Ploughs—Corn—Potatoes—Contributions—Birds—Shell-fish—Medical practitioners—Remedies—Climate.

As the Island of Chilóe was formerly shrouded from notice, by the policy of its master, the King of Spain, and therefore little known to the world; I have considered it not irrelevant to the narration of the voyage, to introduce a short account of its present state, particularly as since the trade of the whole coast has been opened, a new era has dawned upon this interesting island; and although it has been, as yet, the least frequented of the South American States, I think the time is not far distant, when it will become an important part of the Chilian territory.

After the foundation of the city of Penco, or Concepcion, by Don Pedro de Valdivia, in the year 1550, he passed on towards the south in search of convenient situations for other cities; and crossing the river Bio Bio, which separates Concepcion from the territory of the Araucanian Indians, successively founded Imperial, Valdivia, Villa Rica, Angol, Canete, and Osorno; the last being effected in the year 1558. The necessary distribution of the Spanish forces, to protect so many points, made them comparatively defenceless, in a country inhabited by a large population of Indians, who contemplated the hostile occupation of their native land, by the invading army, with a deep dissatisfaction. They had for some time endured, with sullen patience, the yoke of the Spaniards; but at last, incensed by the servility and bondage to which they were reduced, and, probably, by no small portion of ill-treatment; the whole population rose simultaneously, and waged a most destructive and harassing war against the Spaniards, in which the above-mentioned cities were all destroyed, and the greater number of their inhabitants put to death.

The destruction of the city of Osorno caused the province of Chilóe, or, at least, the adjacent districts of Calbuco and Carelmapu, to be occupied. This town, being more distant from the seat of war, where the main body of the Indian army was actively employed, was enabled to hold out for some time; but, at last, cut off from assistance, prevented from communicating with friends, and utterly destitute of supplies, the inhabitants retired to the fort, or citadel; which they maintained, until compelled, by absolute want of provisions, to abandon their position, and proceed to the south, with a view of establishing themselves in Carelmapu and Calbuco; where they hoped to be safe from attack.

Their retreat was attended by much suffering; many died from fatigue, and many were cut off by the Indians, who hovered about them and murdered all who fell into their hands.* At last they reached their destination, and established themselves first at Carelmapu, which is on the main-land, on the north side of the Boca de Chilóe, opposite to San Carlos; and afterwards at Calbuco, on an island at the entrance to the Gulf of Reloncavi. The latter position by its insularity, was effectually protected against any attack from Indian tribes, who, for many years, continually harassed the inhabitants of Carelmapu.

* A very full and detailed account of this journey is given by Agueros, in his ‘History of the Province of Chilóe,#8217; pp. 50 to 56, as well as in the ‘Chronicles of the Province of Lima, by Padre Fr. Diego de Cordova,’ Salinas, chap. xvii. p. 485.

At what date this journey was made does not appear; nor is it certain that these places were occupied before the foundation of the city of Castro, in 1566, by the Licentiate Lope Garcia de Castro, in pursuance of an order from the Viceroy of Peru, Marshal Don Martin Ruiz de Gamboa.*

* Aglieros, 1. c. p, 57.

The island of Chilóe, from its situation, is a place of considerable importance, and may be termed the key of the Pacific. It is the northernmost of that vast archipelago, which borders the coast from latitude 42° south to Cape Horn.

The province of Chilóe, one of the eight divisions of the Chilian Republic, includes several islands, and extends on the main-land, as far as the south bank of the River Maullin;* which takes in the districts of Carelmapu and Calbuco. Its southern extent is not defined; but as the existence of Chilian authority is not known, to the southward of the Chonos Archipelago, certainly not farther south than the land of Tres Montes, the parallel of 47° may be considered its southern limit. The country thence, to the Strait of Magalhaens, is known by the appellation of Western Patagonia.

* Agueros describes its boundary thus:—It is situated between the latitudes 41° 30' and 44°; from Point Capitanes to Quilan. On the north it is bounded by the territories of the Indian tribes Juncos and Rancos, which extend to Valdivia; on the N.E. by those of the ancient but destroyed city Osorno; on the south by the archipelago of Guaitecas and Guaianeco, and others which extend to the Strait of Magalhaens; on the east by the Cordillera; and on the west by the sea. (AgUeros, p. 61.)

Besides the Isla Grande, as Chilóe is called, the following islands are inhabited:—Achao, or Quinchao, Lemuy, Quehuy, Chelin, Linlin, Llignua, Quenac, Meulin, Caguach or Cahuache, Alao, Apiao, Chaulinec, all in front of Castro; the Chaugues Islands, opposite to Tenoun; Calbuco, Llaichua, Quenu, Tabor, Abtao, Chiduapi (on which is the fort); Huar in the neighbourhood, and district of Calbuco; and, to the South, Tanqui, to which may be added Caylin, which is also called El fin de la Cristiandad.*

* When the Yntendente, or governor of the province, visited Castro for the purpose of taking a census of the population, a family of Indians waited upon him to render an account of their property; who, upon being asked whence they came, replied, “Del fin de la Cristiandad.𔄭 The name being new to the Yntendente, it was explained to him that they belonged to Caylin, which was more generally known by the above name, because there existed no Christian population beyond, or to the southward of, that island.

Of the above, next to the Isla Grande, the principal are Quinchao and Lemuy, both of which are very populous, and almost entirely cultivated. The other islands are small, and very close to each other; but separated by navigable channels, which offer many dangers to the frail vessels in which the islanders move about.

The province is divided into ten districts, or Partidos, as follows:—

  1. San Carlos, containing the northern coast of the island, as far as Chacao.
  2. Chacao. The N.E. part of the island.
  3. S. Carelmapu and Maullin.
  4. Calbuco.
  5. Dalcahue, extending from Chacao to Tenoun.
  6. Quenac.
  7. Quinchao.
  8. Castro.
  9. Lemuy.
  10. Chonchi, which extends from Castro to the south extremity of the island.

By the census of 1828, the population of the large island, and those in its neighbourhood would appear to be, comparatively, very considerable; the number of souls being 43,131:* particularly as the greater portion of the interior, and much of the sea-coast, are quite uninhabited. The population of the district of San Carlos is confined principally to the town; for between it and Chacao, there are very few inhabitants. At Chacao there are only about two hundred houses, and Dalcahue is but thinly occupied: but Castro, Quinchao, and Lemuy, are very populous. These three districts are the most fertile and productive part of the island, particularly for seven or eight miles round Castro. The peninsula opposite to that town, which is entirely cleared, would abundantly repay its cultivators, were industry more common among them.

* In the year 1783 there were 23,447 (Agüeros): and in 1832, 43,830.

Chilóe is governed by an ‘Yntendente,’ or civil governor, who exacts obedience to the constitutional laws, as well as to the orders of the executive powers, and the resolutions of the provincial assembly, which is composed of members, elected by the people, at the rate of one deputy for 7,500 souls; but whatever the number may be, short of 90,000, twelve deputies are to be elected. The duration of the assembly is biennial, and its business is to superintend the civil regulations of the province.

Under the Yntendente each province has a local governor, whose principal duties are to maintain order, preside in the municipal meetings, see their regulations carried into execution, and obey the orders of the Yntendente of the province. Whilst we were at Chilóe, the duties of Yntendente, and military commandant, were performed by one person. Brigadier-general Don Jose Santiago Aldunate; but, upon his resignation, the offices were separated: the military commandant retaining the charge of the treasury. The duties of the military chief, are to dispose of the troops under his command, as he sees occasion, so as to ensure the quietness, and subordination of the province, for which he is responsible; and to render the Yntendente such assistance as he may require; but, for all ordinary purposes, the Militia, who are under the immediate control of the Yntendente, are employed. For the administration of the law there is a Judge (Juez de letras), who tries all civil as well as criminal actions. The province sends two deputies to the Chilian congress, one from San Carlos, and the other from Castro. At the beginning of the year 1829, the Militia amounted to more than seven thousand men, and the regular troops to three hundred and thirty, which was quite sufficient for the province.

The port of San Carlos is capable of being well defended, and, during the time of the Spaniards, was in a good state of defence. The entrance was protected by a battery on the highland of the Corona, and by the castle of Aguy, which effectually commands it. Farther in, on the same side of the port, was the small, but well-placed, two-gun battery of Barcacura; close under which is the anchorage. On the town side there are several batteries; but, towards the Pudeto it is weak, although capable of being made very strong. Fort San Carlos, which, for some years past, has been used as a cemetery, was well selected as to position, and constructed in a manner very creditable to the engineer. It was surrounded by a deep and wide ditch; and under it lay two small batteries: one, San Antonio, commanding the passage between the small island of Cochinos, and the Main; and the other flanking the anchorage off the town. At the Mole were two guns, and opposite to it, under the governor's house, was the battery, Del Carmen, mounting twelve or fourteen guns. In the town, in a convenient situation, there were excellent barracks, capable of containing more than one thousand men.

The original establishment was at the Sandy Point, on the western side of the port, where the situation is better sheltered, and, perhaps, equally capable of being well defended. It is, also, on the windward side of the harbour, and close to the safest anchorage which the port affords; but the inconvenience of water-carriage was found to be so great, that the establishment was removed to its present site. A still better situation might have been selected opposite to Sandy Point, at Leche Agua; where the anchorage is perfectly safe, and the communication with Castro could be more advantageously made.

Northerly and westerly winds prevail, and the town is exposed to all their fury, which, at times, is extreme. The anchorage nearest to it, for the sake of convenience, and expedition in loading and unloading cargoes, is often taken up, but is very unsafe, many vessels having been lost there, from the bottom being shoal, and rocky; and the swell, during a northerly gale, is so short and deep, that anchors will not hold.

The town is built on two rising grounds, and in the valley that separates them; through which a rivulet runs into the bay, at a mole which affords sufficient protection to the boats and piraguas frequenting the port. The houses, which are all of wood, are generally small, and have but little comfort. The plaza, or square, without which no town in Chile of the least importance is to be found, is situated on a flat piece of ground, at the summit of the southern hill, and commands an extensive view. It is about one hundred and eighty yards square, with a flag-staff in the centre.

On the north side there is a strong, well-built stone store-house, and opposite to it is the church, also built of stone. On the side next the sea is the Yntendente's residence, a low range of wooden buildings, erected without regard to taste, convenience, or comfort; and opposite to this are two or three dwellings, very little superior to common huts, or ranchos.

Within the last few years, however, some substantial buildings have been erected by the more wealthy people in the town, an example which is likely to be followed. During our visit, several were built equally creditable for strength and convenience; and not a little remarkable for the rapidity, with which they were completed.

Wood, being abundant, and cheap, as well as easily worked, is the only material used in the construction of houses, which, with the exception of the provision-store, and the church, are all built of it; and notwithstanding the perishable nature of the material, which is not protected by paint, or any external coating, from the humidity of the climate, they are of extraordinary durability. The treasury, one of the oldest houses in the place, has been built upwards of seventy years; and is even now tight, and dry, and by no means unserviceable: but its removal has been ordered, and, probably ere this, it has been replaced by another. In Chacao, where, in former days, the Yntendente resided, the greater number of the government-buildings, not less than sixty or seventy years old, are still standing. This durability can only be accounted for by the nature of the wood, and the practice of charring the ends of the timbers before they are inserted in the ground. The lower frame is of ‘Roble;’ (t) the beams are of laurel, and the floors and partitions, as well as the weather-boarding and shingles, of ‘Alerse:’ the latter forms an excellent substitute for tiles, or slate, being much lighter, and almost as durable. Some of the houses are thatched with reeds; but this shift is only used by those who cannot afford the expense of shingling.

(t) A kind of beech, found every where on these shores. The literal meaning of Roble, is oak.—R.F.

The inclosures, round the houses, are fenced with stakes of Luma, three or four yards in length, fastened above and below to cross-rails, by ligatures of creeping plants, of which there is an abundance in the woods close to the town: the general name for them is Buque.

The land in the vicinity of San Carlos, which is a peninsula, is cleared of timber, and partially cultivated. In the valley, through which the rivulet runs into the sea near the mole, there are a few attempts at gardens; but the extent to which the inhabitants cultivate, seems to be confined to a rood of potatoes and wheat, which, with a litter of pigs, and an inexhaustible store of shell-fish on the coast, are the principal support of their families. It is not surprising, when so little personal trouble is necessary to provide subsistence, that the Chilotes(u) should not be an industrious race. Byron, in his narrative of the loss of the Wager, has given a most excellent and correct account of the inhabitants of this island; which, excepting for those about San Carlos and Castro, may well serve at the present time. In the town, trade, a free communication with other parts of South America, and the residence of several Europeans, have introduced approaches towards refinement; and besides the articles of luxury that occasionally make their appearance, such as chairs and tables, crockery-ware, and similar domestic comforts; shoes and stockings are now, on feast days, in common use among the females; although in many instances one can easily observe, that the wearer is actuated by vanity, rather than by any comfort or pleasure she derives, from a confinement to which her feet have not been accustomed.* This is one of the steps towards civilization, which the Chilote peasantry are making, and among the higher classes ‘el ultimo modo’ (the latest fashion), is not less the theme of conversation than it is in other parts of the Republic.

(u) Native of Chilóe.— R.F.

* Agüeros says, “both men and women go generally with the foot and leg uncovered; with the exception of the principal families; but even those do not all wear shoes.”—(Agüeros, p. 108.)

In style of dress, among the upper ranks, the men are more advanced than the women, many having been in other countries. They have given up the use of the poncho, and in this particular, they say they are before the gentry at Concepcion, who wear it on all occasions: and probably are quite right, for, with respect to comfort, there is much to admire in the poncho, as, of all cloaks, it is the most generally convenient, and the best adapted for protecting the person, especially on horseback, where it is indispensable: its use, however, offers the wearer such an opportunity to neglect the other part of his dress, which it effectually conceals, that sometimes, beneath the poncho, the body is very ill-clothed.

The dress of men in the lower orders, consists of a pair of trowsers, and a shirt, over which is thrown the all-concealing poncho. The women are as slightly clad; but instead of a poncho, they wear a rebozo, or shawl, which, however, is very often dispensed with, and their persons are left too much exposed.

These lower classes, or Indians, as they, with much reason, are termed, are scarcely superior to the uncivilized savages of the southern coasts; and live principally upon shell-fish, with what little they are enabled to procure besides by the sale of a few pigs, or poultry, which they rear on the scanty store of potatoes and wheat, that remains after their new crop comes to maturity. One roof shelters a whole family. Father and mother, sons and daughters, dogs and pigs, all live and sleep in their only room, in the middle of which, a fire is made; whence the smoke escapes by numerous apertures in the roof and sides of the dwelling.

As to their morals, within the precincts of their habitations, I have reason to believe they have not much to boast of, although they are described, by Agüeros and other writers, as most innocent, and well-conducted. Agüeros speaks highly of their character; and cites Padre Ovalle, who, writing upon Chilóe, between the years 1629 and 1636, says: “The natives of these islands are the most docile and noble (dociles y nobles) of all Chile, and are the least given to drunkenness, and other vices; therefore they are best disposed to be edified by the light of the Gospel.”

Since the province became subject to the Chilian Republic, the government has made several attempts to improve the condition of the inhabitants; among which, the instruction of public schools, was not the least important. From an official report there appear to be ninety schools, in which 3,840 children receive an education, according to the abilities of the masters, who are employed; but these, from the small salary attached to the situation, cannot be expected to be superior.

The language in common use, is Spanish; the original Indian tongue being almost forgotten: but it is supposed to be the same as that spoken by the Indians of Madre de Dios; for, on a late occasion, a whaler which had been upon the coast of those islands, and had taken on board an Indian, as a pilot, called at Castro; and during her visit, the Indian communicated with those who understood the language of the Chonos and by them was tolerably well understood. This Indian has been frequently embarked on board American or English sealers, which frequent those coasts, to serve as a pilot to the seal-rookeries.* He is known by the name of Dan.

* Places where seal congregate—so called always by the scalers.

The products of the island, for the year 1828, according to the census, and returns, officially made, were—

Wheat. . 64,935 fanegas (175 lbs. in a fanega) about 200,000 bushels.

Barley.. 21,645.

Potatoes 194,805.

and the muster of stock, and apple-trees, as follows:—

Horned cattle  5,411 head.
Sheep86,580
Swine21,645
Apple trees75,754

The manufactures of the province are Carro, a coarse woollen cloth, two and a half, or three yards long, and three quarters of a yard wide, used for men's garments, and of very durable quality,

Ponchos—both these and the carro are manufactured by women, in a rude sort of loom, of wool dyed of various colours from plants that are found in the island, or imported for the purpose. Of the latter indigo is much used, and it is the general colour for the ground-work of the ponchos.

Frezadas, bordillas, sabanillas, mantillas de lana, blankets or rather counterpanes of different textures, are also among the manufactures: none of the above are exported, being made merely for their own use.

Cables, hawsers, and rope, they make of a plant, called Quilineja, which is supposed to be the root of a species of Callixvene.

No wine or spirit is made in the province, but Chicha (a very good cyder) is manufactured from apples. The only other fruit produced is the ‘Frutilla,’ a kind of strawberry.

The exports must very nearly amount to the value of foreign imports, which consist principally of sugar, wine, brandy, salt, wearing apparel, and household furniture. The import duty on European and North American produce is twenty-seven per cent.; from which, however, some articles, such as arms and munitions of war, instruments of music, and other things of less importance, are exempt. Spirits of all kinds, foreign wines, tobacco, tea, and cards, are monopolized by the government, and sold at an immense profit. The unauthorized sale of these goods is declared illegal, and is punishable by a heavy fine, and sequestration of goods.

The exports, during the year 1828, consisted of wood in beams, planks, and boards; hams, wheat, a small quantity of dried fish, fire-wood, and brooms,* to the amount of 52,320 dollars, of which 35,683 dollars were for wood, and 10,887 for wheat. These articles were exported in sixteen vessels under national, and eight under foreign flags. The exports are said to be increasing very much. In the year 1791, Agüeros describes the exports of alerse planks (tablones) to Lima, to be between fifty and sixty thousand in number; and some years previous to have been in a much greater quantity. The number of alerse boards exported, during the last year, was 328,928, but of planks only 2,623.

* Potatoes are not mentioned in the report, yet they must have been exported iu considerable quantities.

The island, and neighbouring part of the main land, produce a great abundance, as well as variety, of wood fit for exportation, as well as home consumption. The following is a hst of the principal trees, with their qualities, and the use to which they are most adapted.

Avellana (Quadra heterophylla), a handsome tree, in appearance like the ash of Europe, of a light wood, which shrinks very much when dry, and may be used with advantage for oars, being light, strong, and springy, as well as for planking small vessels below the water, and for the ceiling within; it is bad for firewood, being too light. The seed is a nut, about the size of a cherry, the kernel of which is roasted and eaten. The tree abounds at Concepcion, and in the country to the south, and grows on the Peninsula of Lacuy.

Roble (Fagus ohliqua, Mirb.), a large tree; and, from the durable quality of its timber, considered the best in the island, for ground-frames of houses, planks for vessels, and beams. The piraguas are built chiefly of this wood. There are two sorts, one an evergreen, and the other a deciduous leaved tree. It is evidently a beech, and the same that grows in all parts of the Strait of Magalhaens; the smooth-leafed sort is F. ohliqua of Mirb.—see Bertero, in Mercurio Chileno, No. 14, p. 640.

Tiqui, heavy wood; but esteemed strong and durable. Piraguas are sometimes built of it.

Laurel, used for house building in-doors, for beams and rafters, and posts; durable when not exposed to damp, in which it soon perishes.

Mariu, a tree of great dimensions, tall and straight, the leaf is like that of a yew; it is a very useful wood in ship-building, for planks, and, next to alerse, is the best for spars which the island produces; but the large trees have a great tendency to become rotten at the heart, owing possibly to the humidity of the climate, and to the very wet soil.

As the Adelaide wanted a mast, I sent her round to Castro for a main spar, for which I agreed to pay eighty dollars; but of twenty trees that were cut down, not one was sound at the heart. The wood is heavy, with large knots, which penetrate into the trunk to a great depth. A great deal of this timber grows in the Gulf of Peñas.

Muermo. There is no wood produced on the island more useful than the muermo. It is used for timbers, and knees, and all other purposes of ship-building: and is excellent for the planks of boats, as it bears wet and dry without suffering from either. It is abundant, and much used as firewood, for which it is well suited.

Luma {Myrtus Luma), a very tough and useful wood, used for tree-nails, for stakes in fencing, for rafters in the roofs of houses; and is exported in large quantities to Lima, for shafts and poles of carriages. The fruit is sweet, and might yield a strong spirit; it is called cauchao.

Ciruelillo, a small tree, used only for washing-bowls and boxes; it is of little value.

Quiaka. Of no value.

Tapu, a very crooked tree, growing along the ground in swampy places. It might serve for floors, and timbers for small vessels; but it is not used, from its being so very hard.

Tenu, something like muermo, and considered a good wood.

Peta, a species of Myrtus, of which hoops for barrels are made.

Ralral, considered to be like the wood of the walnut-tree, and of general use, on account of its toughness and durability; it is made into blocks for ships.

Meli, more tough than luma: of this the country people make pick-axes, for cultivating the ground (Aglieros, p. 127).

Pelu, also tough; useful for axle-trees and gun-carriages (Aglieros, p. 127).

Mayten, useful for turning; and lasts long under water.

The above mentioned are produced on the island; but the two following, alerse and cypress, are from the main-land, in the neighbourhood of the Cordilleras. They are not only in general use in Chilóe, but are exported in large quantities to all the ports to the northward. The alerse, near Chilóe, is of better quality than that which comes from Concepcion.

The Cypress is brought to the island in ‘tablones’ (orplanks), seven or eight feet long, two inches thick, and nine or ten inches wide, as is also the alerse; but the latter, from the facility with which it splits, is brought in boards also, four feet long, half an inch thick, and six inches broad, which, as I have before remarked, are the principal articles of barter.

The Alerse is found in great quantities near Calbuco; but at so great a distance from the beach that it cannot easily be conveyed thither for embarkation, except in the above form. The tree is cut down and squared, then hewn by the axe into as many logs of seven or eight feet long as it will afford; and these, with the assistance of iron wedges, are split into planks and boards, in which state, without being further trimmed, they are tied together in bundles, and carried on men's backs, or dragged over the ground to the beach.

The extraordinary straightness of the grain of this tree enables the natives to split it, so as to make it appear as if it had been dressed with an adze, or even with a plane; but, as I have said, the axe is the only instrument used. So great is the difficulty of obtaining a spar of this wood, that when I wished to procure a new mast for the Adelaide, I offered four times the value of an alerse spar to the natives, besides the assistance of twenty men, and tackles, &c. to assist in conveying it to the beach. The temptation was almost too great to be withstood; but the man to whom I applied, who had before been employed to get masts for a schooner in the Chilian service, and a flag-staff for the town, said that it would take his own party two months to bring one to the beach: with the assistance of our people, however, it might be done in a month. The trees were distant, and there were two or three ridges of heights to cross, that would cause much delay. The facility with which these people usually handle timber was a sufficient proof to me that such a task, if refused by them, must be very difficult indeed, and I gave it up, as the Yntendente was so obliging as to give me the flag-staff, which had taken the same party two months to procure.

The Hoxsley, a national schooner, built at Chilóe, for the government, was masted with alerse spars, which proved to be very strong.

Alerse is used principally for the floors, partitions, and weather-boards of houses, also for shingling the roof; for which purpose it is very superior and durable: after exposure to the weather it turns blue, and has the appearance of slate. It does not shrink or warp; and though brittle, is of a very close grain, and well adapted for furniture. Of this wood the country people make staves for casks; and the bark of the tree is used for caulking the seams of vessels, for which it answers remarkably well, being extremely durable when constantly wet, though it soon decays when exposed to the sun and air.

Spars of alerse, eighty or ninety feet in length, may be procured; and from eight hundred to a thousand boards are frequently obtained from a single tree. I was told that as many as one thousand five hundred have sometimes been cut out of one trunk. Alerse is found on the island, but not of any size. It is also common in the Strait of Magalhaens, in all those parts Avest of Cape Froward; but there, from the poverty of the soil, it is of very stunted growth.

The cypress is thought to be a different tree, but I rather imagine it to be only a variety; the wood being white, whilst that of the alerse is of a deep red colour. As the trade of the island is principally carried on by water, roads are seldom used for that purpose, for which, indeed, the few that exist are far from being convenient. Between San Carlos and Castro there is a road cut through the forest, forty or fifty feet in width, in the middle of which is a causeway, four or five feet wide, formed of logs of wood, laid transversely. This is the only way of communication, unless, which rarely occurs, the weather has been dry during some days; for, off the causeway, there is a mere bog, in which a horse frequently sinks up to the girths in mud. In many parts of the causeway, indeed, where the logs have decayed, and have not been repaired, the passage is equally bad, so that in wet weather, only persons without a load are able to pass. For the greater part of the way, the trees on each side prevent an extensive view; but on approaching within five or six miles of Castro, the country becomes more open, having been cleared by cultivation, and there, of course, the road improves.

There is a track branching off from the main road to the district of Dalcahue; but on it, I believe, there is no causeway.

As the only mode of supplying the town of San Carlos with provisions is by water-carriage, it is frequently ill supplied during winter, when N.W. winds prevent the arrival of the piraguas. A southerly wind for two days, at that season, brings from fifty to a hundred piraguas from Dalcahue and Castro, laden with hams, potatoes, pigs, grain, fowls, calves, dried fish, and charcoal, which are sold at a cheap rate, paying one-tenth to the government.

The arrival of so many piraguas at San Carlos creates no slight bustle in the neighbourhood of the mole; and a stranger happening to arrive at the time would think it a place of considerable trade; the return, however, of the N.W. wind, with all its attendant “vapours, clouds, and storms,” very soon dispels the illusion: the piraguas depart, one after another, and in two days all is dull and monotonous.

These piraguas, the boats used by the natives of the archipelago of Chilóe, are all similar in form and material; but vary much in size, according to the voyage they have to perform. The largest are from thirty-five to forty feet long. The head and stern are alike, and resemble those of a whale-boat, being sharp at both ends. The transverse section is that of a thick wedge, so that they have no bearings, and must be extremely unsafe,(v) particularly with so lofty a sail as they hoist; and yet these vessels have made long, and even dangerous passages, as is fully attested in Agüeros's account of the missionaries' visit to the archipelago southward of Tres Montes. These boats are literally sewn together, there is not a nail used in their construction; every portion of the hull is of a vegetable nature. The lower, or garboard strake, is sewn to the keel by strips of the stem of a creeping plant, called Pepoi,* and the seam is caulked with bark of the alerse, which, while under water, is admirably adapted for the purpose. The upper planking consists of three or four broad boards on each side, sewn together, and their seams caulked. The wood of which they are made is the roble, or sometimes tiqui.

(v) When moderately laden they are stiff under sail; and are not such very bad sea-boats, if properly managed.—R.F.

* Molina, i. 167. A species of ‘Dolichos.’'

Agüeros's description of the construction of a piragua cannot be improved. “They are constructed of five or seven planks, each of which is from two to four fathoms long, half or three-fourths of a yard wide, and two or three inches thick. These are fashioned, or worked, narrow at each end, so as to form the bow and stern, and afterwards are exposed to the fire, in order to burn the outer surface on both sides. To unite these planks, they bore or burn holes, two inches from each other, along the edges of the planks, through which they sew them together with a rope of solid reeds (soquillas), or twisted cane (coligues), forming a junction as close as a seam of cloth. To prevent water from passing through the seams, they apply along the plank, within and without, pounded leaves of trees, over which they pass the stitches, and with the same preparation of leaves the holes are filled up. Thus constructed, it is in appearance a perfect boat, or vessel, but without keel or deck. That they may resist the pressure of the water, and retain their shape, curved pieces (curbas) of wood, called ‘barrotes’ are fitted inside, and fastened by wedges of wood, instead of nails. For all this, they are dangerous; and, since their sails, oars, and other furniture are very inferior to what boats require, they are much exposed to be easily sunk, and the risk is greatly increased by want of care and management in those who navigate them.”

In the above description Agüeros has given a very good account of the rude manner in which they are built, and has not in the least magnified the danger attendant on their use. It is, indeed, a miserable and unsafe vessel; and for the rudeness of its construction, and the poverty of its equipment, is a perfect prototype of the crew which it conveys.

The largest have from eight to ten people, each of whom furnishes one poncho, and the ‘patron,’ who steers, and directs the course and all their movements, provides two ponchos, all which are sewn together to form their sail, which is hoisted by ‘lazos,’ or thongs of bullock's hide.

These sails are generally in a wretched state, the name Santisima is applied to them all by the crews, with the hope of securing the protection of their patron saint. The anchor is of wood, formed of four crooked pieces, in the shape of a grapnel with four flukes, at the bottom, or crown of which a large stone is fastened, to increase its weight. The crews are exceedingly timid, and instead of making exertions to extricate their vessel from any impending danger, they throw themselves on their knees, beating their breasts and calling loudly upon their saint, for ‘misericordia.’

I was given to understand that very few of them can swim, which seems extraordinary, since they are born and bred in the immediate vicinity of the sea, and depend chiefly upon its productions for subsistence. The fact speaks strongly for the indolence of their character, even although the rigour of the climate forms a bar to bathing as a mere amusement. Several piraguas were lost while we were at Chilóe, and, as may be inferred, their crews were all drowned.

With regard to the cultivation of land, they are very far behind, and, comparing the present state with the description of Byron (1740), and of Agüeros (1791), very little improvement seems to have been made. The ground is prepared by make-shift ploughs, of a very rude construction. Two poles of hard wood (luma), about three yards long and proportionably large, trimmed to a sharp point at one end and rounded at the other, are held by the middle, one in each hand, and pointed very obliquely into the ground; in this direction they are forced forward, by pressing against the blunt end with the abdomen, which is defended by a sheepskin, suspended in the form of an apron. After these have penetrated twelve or fourteen inches into the soil, a second person, generally a woman or a boy, places a stout stick under the poles, or ‘lumas,’ as they are called, close to the earth, to form a solid support for them.

The large ends are then forced down, the ground turned up, and the lumas pushed forward again, while the woman uses her stick to turn the clods over, to the right and left, alternately. These clods are afterwards broken up by a wooden tool, in the shape of a pick-axe, called ‘hualate,’ made of the wood named meli. Rude as this process is, the operation is rapidly performed, and I have seen a field, ploughed in this way, that would not do much discredit to an expert ploughman with a European plough.

The soil is a rich, sandy loam, of a dark red colour; and although rarely, if ever manured, produces fair average crops. According: to the usual allowance of 175 lbs for a fanega of wheat,* the weight of a bushel would not be more than 51½ lbs., which shews that the grain is but poor. Wheat is sown in the month of April, and cut in the same month of the following year; but from the humidity of the climate, and constant rain, particularly at that season (the commencement of winter), it is frequently reaped before it is ripe, and almost always gathered in wet. Every subsequent sunny day is taken advantage of, to dry the grain, but a part must be spoiled by mildew. The evaporation, however, is so great, that merely moving it about, and keeping it thinly strewed in granaries, will effect much. It is trodden out by oxen, and to clean it, the grain is thrown up in the wind by means of broad wooden shovels, and effectually separated from the chaff. This rude winnowing takes place frequently in the principal streets of San Carlos, and even at the mole, where one would suppose that a great deal must be lost; but from the adroitness of the operation, it is not only well cleaned, but suffers no diminution.

* The fanega weighs 175 lbs. and contains twelve almudes, which being cubic measures of eight inches and a half, contain each 614·l25 cubic inches; therefore a fanega contains 7369·5 cubic inches, and as an English bushel contains 2150·4 cubic inches = 51 6/10 lbs. the weight of a bushel.

Potatoes are planted in September, October, and November, and are fit to dig up in May.

Of the proceeds of harvest, one-tenth is paid as a tribute, or tax, to the government; but forced contributions may be required, when the necessities of the state demand them. These contributions are sometimes unfairly levied in Chile; for the subsidy is only taken from those who possess grain, or some equally tangible article which can easily be turned into money; so that persons who are rich enough to live without cultivating land, or trading for their support, contribute nothing towards the emergency of the State. How does this accord with republican principles? or how can a republican government, so conducted, expect to become respectable among nations?

I am not aware that such contributions have yet been levied in Chilóe. From the character of General Aldunate, I do not for a moment think he would commit such an act of injustice; but it is in the power of any Yntendente to call for them, and I afterwards witnessed an example of this, during my visit to Concepcion. A considerable quantity of wheat, purchased by a Russian vessel, for the use of their settlements on the coast of California, was brought down to the port, at a time when the government was much in want of money, and knew no just way of obtaining it. They therefore very unceremoniously seized the wheat, and applied its value in dollars to their own use, giving only an uncertain, almost a nominal security to the owner for the recovery of his money. The only way of accounting for such an arbitrary proceeding is, that the country was distracted by civil war, and that the person who owned the property was opposed to that party, which at the time happened to have the upper hand, and which held, by main strength alone, the reins of government.

Among the birds of Chilóe, the most remarkable are the ‘Cagge,’ the ‘Cancania,’ or ‘Canqueña’ and the ‘Barking bird.’*

* Molina notices the ‘Cagge,‘ or ‘Chilóe duck,’ (Anas antarctica) vol. i. p. 268, and calls it Anas hyhrida. M. Lesson, in his ‘Manuel d'Ornithologie,’ ii. 409, has taken great pains to describe it, and remarks, with reason, that much obscurity exists in the specific descriptions of the goose kind in the Malouine (Falkland) Islands, and the extreme southern land of America. The male, Lesson says, is white, the feet and beak of a bright yellow colour. All the specimens that we saw, and numbers were killed by us, had a black beak with a red cere—otherwise M. Lesson's description is correct. In many specimens, however, we found the tip of the primary wing-feathers black, which is not to be wondered at when the colour of the female is considered, but which it is not an easy task to describe. M. Lesson, I think, has done it justice in a note to his vol. ii. p. 409:—“Anas antarctica. A capite griseo, genis gulo eolloque albo et nigro acuti-striatis; oculorum circuitu nudo: pectore abdomineque omninS atris, atquevittis niveis notatis: tectricibus alarum nigris; dorso uropygio cauda et ano albis; alis niveis cum speculo lato virescente, brunneo marginato; pennis longis aterrimis; rostro et pedibus, aurantiacis.”
These birds are very common in the Straits of Magalhaens, and every where on the west coast between the Strait and Chilóe; also at the Falkland Islands.
The Cancania (or Canquehu) is the Anas Magellanica, Anser Magellanicus (Ency. Méth. p. 117). From Buffon's description, and a well-drawn but badly-coloured figure, in the Planches Enluminees, No. 1006, I have no hesitation in assigning it to that kind. The colour of the head, however, instead of being ‘reddish purple,’ is cinereous with a reddish hue; the feathers of the sides and thigh covers are white, with five black bars, the extremity being white; the central portion of the abdomen is white; the speculum of a splendid shining green. This bird is common to the Strait as well as to Chilóe, and is probably Byron's ‘Painted Duck,’ and the Anser pictus of the Ency. Méth., p. 117. M. Lesson considers Anas leucoptera, Gmel. as the male of Anas Maggellanica, which maybe doubted. The ‘Barking Bird,’ as our sailors called it, was first brought to me by Capt. Stokes, having been shot during the Beagle's visit to Port Otway, in the Gulf of Peñas, It was an imperfect specimen; but Mr. Tarn afterwards obtained for me several others. It seems to have a great affinity to the genus Megapodius; but no specimens of that genus being in England when I was last there, and the Barking Bird differing in essential points from M. Tenminck's description of the genus, and from the figured specimen of Megapodius Freycineltii;—particularly in the length and form of its wings, which are rounded, and so short as not to reach beyond the base of the tail;—also in the emargination of the upper mandible;—I have been induced, by Mr. Vigors' advice, to form it, provisionally, into a new genus, termed Hylactes. (See Proc. Zool. Soc, vol. i. p. 15.) There is another specimen in our collection (now in the Zoological Society's Museum), which will probably be placed in this genus, but there existed some uncertainty in essential points, which prevented my describing it before I left England.

The shell-fish,* for which this island is justly famed, are principally brought from Calbuco, and consist of the finest muscles, of which there are two sorts: the Choro (Mytilus Chorcis, Molina), and Cholgua (Mytilus Magellanicus, Lamarck, Picos (Balanus psittactis nob. Lepas psittacus Molina, 1, p. 223J, a large barnacle,† and the oyster (0. Edulis), which is exceedingly well-flavoured. Besides which there are several kinds of shell-fish of less value, but equally abundant, such as Navajuelas (Solen sp.); Caracoles (Turbo); Cornes (Pholas Chilóensis, Molina); Campana (Calyptrcea); Lapas (Crepidula); Tacas (Chama Thaca, Molina); Locos (Concholepas Peruviana, Murex Loco of Molina); Quilmagues; Piures (Pyura sp. Molina); and others.

* Among the numerous testaceous productions is a small shell, which constitutes a new genus. Marinula, nob. in Zool. Journal, vol. v. p. 343. It was found on the wooden piles which support the mole in the bay of San Carlos, below the wash of the high water. The mole stands out into the sea, and there is no fresh water near it, save a very little rill, which discharges its tiny stream more than fifty yards off. This shell was named Marinula Pepita, Zool. Journal, 1. c. No. 43, The following is its generic character:—‘Testa ovato-producta, sub-solida; apertura ovata, integra; columella bidentata et basin versus uniplicata; dentibus magnis subreraotis conniventibus, superiori maximo; operculum nullum.’

† Zool. Journal, vol. v. p. 333.

The apparently inexhaustible abundance of shell-fish with which nature has provided the inhabitants of these islands, the facility with which they are obtained, and their consequent cheapness, is the principal cause of that want of industry which is so remarkable in the Chilotes.

Of the above-mentioned shell-fish, those deserving more particular notice are the large muscle, the oyster, and the pico.

Molina has described the choro of Concepcion, which is not at all different from that of Chilóe. It is often found seven or eight inches long. The fish is as large as a goose's egg, and of a very rich flavour: there are two kinds, one of a dark brown, and the other of a yellow colour; but the last is most esteemed. There is also another sort, much larger than the choro, yet equally delicate and good, the fish of which is as large as a swan's egg: it is called cholgua; but as the shells seem to be of the same species, I think the distinction can only be owing to size. In Febres's Dictionary of the Chileno language, the word cholchua is rendered into Spanish by “cascara de choros blancos,” or shell of the white muscle. Cholhua, or cholgua (the letters g and h are indiscriminately used), must be a corruption; for it is now used in Chilóe to distinguish the large from the small choros.

The manner in which the natives of these islands, both Indians and descendants of foreigners, cook shell-fish, is very similar to that used for baking in the South Sea Islands, and on some parts of the coast of New Holland. A hole is dug in the ground, in which large smooth stones are laid, and upon them a fire is kindled. When they are sufficiently heated, the ashes are cleared away, and shell-fish are heaped upon the stones, and covered, first with leaves or straw, and then with earth. The fish, thus baked, are exceedingly tender and good; and this mode of cooking them is very superior to any other, as they retain, within the shell, all their own juiciness.

The oyster, which is a true Ostrea ednlis, is found in beds, at low water, or taken with the dredge. It is about the size of the native oyster of England, and not at all inferior to it in flavour. In Agüeros's account of Chilóe, he notices this excellent shell-fish; but remarks, that the islanders are ignorant of the value at which it is appreciated. It is rather curious, that, excepting in the neighbourhood of Chilóe, the oyster is very rarely to be met with on the South American coast, while there it is in the greatest abundance. We have never observed any shells of this fish anywhere between the river Plata and Chilóe; nor is it known elsewhere upon the western coast, I believe, to the southward of Guayaquil, which is very near the equinoctial line.* The oyster-shells at Port San Julian are fossils. Of the Linnaean genus, Ostrea, there are many sorts, on all parts of the coast, both east and west, but they are what we call the pecten or scollop. At Coquimbo, a species of scollop is much used as an article of food, and called oyster; but it has no further right to the name than because Linnaeus classed them all as Ostrea, and Molina describes this to be Ostrea edulis.

* Some have since been found on the north-east side of the Guaytecas Islands.

The pico, which is a barnacle, grows to a very large size; at Concepcion, however, it is still larger, being six or seven inches in length. It has, when properly cooked, very much the flavour of a crab, and by the inhabitants of this Archipelago is considered preferable to any other shell-fish.

Before concluding this imperfect description of the shell-fish of Chilóe, the piure claims some consideration, if it be only for its peculiar and disagreeable appearance. It was considered by Molina as a genus allied to Ascidia (Mol. i. 214), none of the varieties of which are inviting in their look, as an edible substance, but the piure is still less so. It is thus described by Molina: “The piure, scarcely deserving the name of a living animal, is as remarkable for its figure, as for the manner in which it is lodged. The body is about the size and shape of a small pear, an inch in diameter; or it may be described as a small, conical, fleshy bag, of a red colour, filled with saline liquor, and provided with two trunks or processes in the upper part, one of which is the mouth, similar to that of the Tetias; and between these processes are seen two small, black, and shining points, which are supposed to be the eyes. I could distinguish no other organs, nor any viscera in the fleshy substance of which it is composed, which is smooth without and spongy within. They are extremely sensitive, and when touched, spout water out of both apertures. These small animals are shut up in a firm, but glutinous case, of various shapes; one case often contains eight or ten distinct bodies, separated from each other by cells, formed of a strong membraneous substance. They are attached to rocks or stones, under water, excepting when left uncovered by a low tide. The natives eat them boiled, or roasted in their shells. They also dry them for exportation to the province of Cusco, where their flavour is much esteemed, and considered equal to that of the lobster.”

At Chilóe, the piure is said to be a remedy for barrenness; and to such an extent has this idea prevailed, that a Chilote woman, eating this fish, literally says, if asked what she is doing, that “she is making children.” One would not, however, suppose, from the number of children which are seen crowding round the doors, that the Chilotes had any necessity for such food.

If one may judge from the few applications made to our medical men for advice, the climate is either very healthy, or the natives prefer their own mode of cure. They have very few medical advisers, and those few are not held in much estimation, being people of little or no education. A prejudice against medical men has been, even in late years, extended to foreign practitioners, and carried to great lengths. This illiberal feeling is, however, fast wearing away; but, among the lower orders, the application of herbs and other simples is yet wholly resorted to for the removal of their complaints. One day, when I was employed in making some astronomical observations, at Sandy Point, a woman passed me, and forcing her way through a thicket of thorny plants, began to gather branches of a species of arbutus (A. rigida.), a small shrubby plant, which is every where abundant, especially to the south, and in the Strait of Magalhaens. My curiosity prompted me to inquire her reason for collecting it with such apparent anxiety. She replied, with a desponding air, “It is chaura* for a poor, sick child. These branches,” she said, “are to be put into the fire, and, being green, will produce a thick smoke, and yield a very strong aromatic smell. The child, who is only five months old, is to be held over it, which, as they say, is a good remedy; but,” she added, with an air of doubt, “I know not (dicen que es bueno, pero yo no se).” “Who says so?” I asked. “Los que saben (those who know),” replied the half-credulous mother, with a deep sigh, partly doubting the efficacy of the remedy, but unwilling to lose the advantages of whatever virtue it might possess, for the benefit of her sick infant.

* Chaura. Una murta que no so come. Febres, Diet, of the Chileno lang;uage. It is, however, edible, and has rather a pleasant flavour.

The climate of Chilóe is considered, by those who live in other parts of Chile, to be “rigorous, cold, and damp.” Certainly there is much reason for such an opinion, particularly in the winter months, when it almost always rains, and the wind, with little cessation, blows hard, from N. to N.W., and, by the W. to S.W.; but notwithstanding the great quantity of rain that falls, the evaporation is great, and it cannot therefore be called unhealthy; indeed, from experience, it is considered quite otherwise. Agüeros, to whose excellent account of Chilóe I have so often referred, dilates much upon this subject, and from having resided there a considerable time, may be taken as the best authority. Those who now reside upon the island speak very much against it, and all whom I met, previous to my visit, condemned it, as being “the worst in the world.” Perhaps we, who had lately been experiencing a much more disagreeable climate, went to Chilóe with the expectation of finding it exceed in severity that to which we had been accustomed in the Strait of Magalhaens, but we found ourselves agreeably mistaken. Our visit certainly was in the better season, and we had, perhaps, no right to form a decided opinion upon the other part of the year. I shall, therefore, first quote Agüeros, and then describe what we found the weather from September to December; yet as these months were considered by the inhabitants to be finer than is usual at that season, we can only form a vague idea of the spring and summer. For the autumn and winter I must depend upon the accounts of others.

After explaining the contra-position of the seasons, to what is experienced north of the equator, with regard to the months of the year; Agüeros says, “Chilóe has also its four seasons, but does not enjoy the benefit of those changes, as do other parts of Chile; for there is neither that abundance of fruit, nor are its fields adorned with so many and such beautiful flowers, and useful medicinal plants. The summer is the best time; for in the month of January, from ten o'clock in the morning till three in the afternoon, the heat is excessive. Between these hours, however, a sea-breeze, which is called ‘Vira-zon,’ refreshes the air. In the winter the temperature is very cold; but the frosts are by no means so severe as in Europe. I have never seen ice, even in the small streams, nor does snow lie any length of time on the ground.

“In the winter months, as well as in other parts of the year, there are falls of rain, and heavy gales from N.N.W., and west, which last frequently for the whole moon, with scarcely a cessation, and the wind, at times, is so furious, that the houses are not secure, and the largest trees are torn up by the roots. The weather, when it is fine, cannot be depended upon for any length of time; not even in summer; for in the month of January I have frequently experienced gales, and rain, as severe and copious as in the winter. During the summer months southerly winds are more prevalent, and, while they last, the weather is fine, and clear, and the air particularly dry.

“Although the winter months, and a considerable part of the other seasons, are very disagreeable, owing to the severity of the winds, and exceeding quantity of rain, it cannot be denied that the climate is healthy. In Chilóe no epidemic diseases are experienced. The small-pox and measles are not known;* nor have tertian fevers, so common in the north, ever been experienced on the island. Spotted fever (tabardillo), and acute pains in the stomach, are the only disorders to which the inhabitants of this archipelago are subject. Thunder and lightning are rarely experienced; but earthquakes have occurred at intervals. In the year 1633 the church and houses were destroyed, and in the year 1737 much damage to the village of Isla grande was caused by earthquakes.”

* The small-pox was introduced into the island, in the year 1776, by a ship from Lima; but it was confined to San Carlos, and was soon eradicated. The measles also were introduced by similar means, in the year 1769; but did not re-appear after once ceasing.

So far AgUüeros. On the whole, the climate is not so unfavourable as we had been led to expect from all that we had heard.

Captain Fitz Roy arrived there in July, during the latter part of which, and the month of August, the weather was very wet, with some heavy gales from the N.W.; but in his Meteorological Journal for those months there is no record of the thermometer falling below 38°, and it is recorded to have fallen to that degree only on one occasion, the general height being from 45° to 50°. The first part and the middle of September were boisterous and wet; but towards the end of the month the wind was chiefly from the southward, and the weather dry and extremely fine. In October it was rather changeable; but for the last ten days, with the exception of one, on which there was a fresh gale with a heavy fall of rain, it was fine and dry, and the winds were moderate.

The month of November was generally fine, but the first half of December continued tempestuous and wet. The mean temperature of the months, and other meteorological remarks, are as follows:

1829.TemperaturePressure reduced
to 32°
Hygrometer (Daniell's).No. of Days.Rain. 
MonthsMean at 9 a.m.Ex. of Temp.Dew PointDew point
less than air.
Expansion.Dryness by
Thermo. Scales
Weight
of a
cubic foot
of air.
Fine. Rain.Quantity fallen.Quantity exaporated.Remaining
in the gage
at end of month.
Air.3 p.m. water
at anch.
Max.Min.
July 22 days46·947·929·927
Aug. 31
Sept. 304764·535·230·06140·96·18 296·9806·23·3854771·680·481·2
Oct. 3150·9733729·97945·85·14 349·8845·03·957521104·222·251·97
Nov. 3053·568·54229·89848·44·79 416·2844·54·336114164·892·282·61

This table partly shows the state of the weather during three spring months. The greatest quantity of rain in the gage at the end of the month of November did not exceeed 2·6 inches. At St. Martin's Cove, near Cape Horn, after thirty days' observation, the rain-gage contained eight inches; so that although Chilóe bears the character of being a very wet place, it is not one-third so bad as Cape Horn. The time of our visit to San Carlos was certainly the finest part of the year; and I believe that the weather we experienced was unusually dry even for the season; therefore, the above table does not present a fair criterion of the climate: I do not, however, think it is by any means so bad as has been represented.


CHAPTER XVII

Chilóe the last Spanish possession in South America—Freyre's Expedition—Failure—Second Expedition under Freyre and Blanco—Quintanilla's capitulation—Chilóe taken—Aldunate placed in command—Chilóe a dependency of Chile—Beagle sails to sea coast of Tierra del Fuego—Adelaide repaired—Adelaide sails—Adventure goes to Valparaiso—Juan Fernandez—Fishery—Goats—Dogs—Geology—Botany—Shells—Spanish accounts—Anson's voyage—Talcahuano—Concepcion—Pinoleo—Araucanian Indians—Re-enter the Strait of Maghalhaens—Fuegians.

The island of Chilóe was the last place the King of Spain possessed in South America; and even to this day he is not without friends there, who would gladly restore his absolute monarchy, notwithstanding the advantages that are acknowledged to have been derived from the change of masters, and the consequent opening of trade, which has added very much to the comfort, as well as civilization of the inhabitants.

During the struggle for independence, this island was too distant from the seat of war to render it important; but when all other parts of Chile were freed from the king's troops, the new government despatched an expedition, consisting of between three and four thousand men, commanded by the Director-General Freyre, to attack it. Upon the appearance of this expedition off the harbour of San Carlos, the Spanish governor, Quintanilla, was inclined to capitulate; but, instead of anchoring in the roads, the squadron proceeded to Chacao, landed troops there, and despatched some of their forces to Castro, where they were repulsed by the Spanish and native troops, and obliged to re-embark. In this interval, one of the ships left the squadron, and returned to Valparaiso, whence she was immediately ordered back; but meanwhile the Director had embarked his troops, and returned to Concepcion. Not long afterwards, in January 1826, a second expedition, under the same general, sailed from Valdivia, convoyed by a strong squadron, under the command of Admiral Blanco.

“Upon this occasion the troops landed, on the 8th, at the little inlet of the Bay of Huechucucuy; and Fort Corona was immediately taken. On the 10th, the disembarkation of the troops was completed. A battalion was left to mask Fort Aguy, while a force, under Colonel Aldunate, passed on, and took the battery of Barcacura. On the 10th, Admiral Blanco shifted his flag; and, leaving the O'Higgins outside, stood into the bay with the rest of the squadron, which anchored off Barcacura.

“The governor, Quintanilla, with upwards of three thousand Royalists, took up a strong position on a hill, at the S.E. side of the bay, flanked on the left by an impenetrable wood, on the right by the shore, and supported by three gun-boats in shallow water. These were taken by the boats of the squadron, under Captain Bell, and turned against the Royalists. Their position was thus enfiladed, and they retired. Freyre then advanced: some skirmishing took place: Quintanilla capitulated; and the territory of Chile was no longer sullied by the Spanish flag.

“Colonel Aldunate, Majors Maruri, Asagra, and Tupper (a native of Jersey); and Captain Bell, of the navy, greatly distinguished themselves.”—Miller's Memoirs.

Colonel Aldunate was afterwards invested with the government of the island; but, owing to the disaffection of the troops, who were urged on by the King of Spain's agents, a revolution took place, Aldunate was imprisoned, and afterwards sent to Valparaiso, and the Spanish flag once more waved in Chilóe. It was, however, for a short time only; Aldunate was despatched once more, and with a small force of three hundred veteran troops, headed by Colonel Tupper, and accompanied by the Aquiles, brig of war, again obtained possession of the island, which he has since kept, though not quietly, for the Royalists were constantly on the alert, and made several futile attempts to recover the place for their king. Time has now reconciled the greater number to the change; and, I believe, Chilóe may be considered a contented dependency of the republic of Chile.

The Beagle being ready to resume her voyage, sailed on the 19th of November to survey the southern coasts of Tierra del Fuego; after which, she was to rejoin the Adventure at Rio de Janeiro.*

* See orders to Captain Fitz Roy, in the Appendix.

As the Adelaide had received some damage in getting aground, it was requisite to lay her on the beach for examination and repair. Her mainmast, also, was found to be sprung so badly, as to render a new one necessary; which we should have found much difficulty in obtaining, but for the kindness of General Aldunate, who, finding that we were at a loss, proposed to give us the flag-staff of the town, a beautiful spar of alerse, that was in every way suitable. Previously, however, to accepting his offer, being aware that such an act might expose him to much reproach from the people of the town, who were all very proud of it, I caused inquiry to be made whether a spar of the necessary dimensions could be brought from Calbuco; and in the meantime we proceeded with the repairs.

A creek behind Sandy Point offering every convenience for heaving her down, the Adelaide was moved into it, and laid on the beach. On stripping her copper off, the injury proved to be considerable; but not beyond our means to repair. Upon examination, the foremast was found to be in a bad state, but could be rendered effective by fishing it with the sound portion of the other mast, therefore our only real difficulty was to get a mainmast. From the account I received from Calbuco, I found that, without a great delay, not less than two months, and sending a portion of our people with ropes and tackles, there was no chance of procuring a spar: it could only be obtained at a considerable distance from the shore, and when felled must be dragged over several high ranges of hills, which might be called mountains, before it could be got to the water-side. General Aldunate, through whom this inquiry was made, then renewed his offer of the flag-staff, which I accepted most thankfully; and by his order it was taken down, and conveyed to the ship, soon after which it was converted into an excellent mainmast for the schooner. Before it was moved, a new, but shorter staff, with a topmast, was fitted for the flag; notwithstanding which, many unpleasant observations were made, and absurd reports circulated, which spread to Chile, and even to Peru, that the English were about to take possession of Chilóe, and had already removed the flag-staff of San Carlos.

By Lieutenant Mitchell's activity in superintending the Adelaide's repairs, she was got ready for sea at the beginning of December, and sailed on the 8th, under the command of Lieutenant Skyring, with orders* to survey those parts of the Gulf of Peñas which had not been examined by the Beagle; particularly the River San Tadeo, in San Quintin's Sound; the openings behind Xavier Island; the Channel's Mouths; and the Guaianeco Islands, where the Wager was wrecked: and then to proceed down the Mesier Channel, behind the Island Campana, which was supposed to communicate with Concepcion Strait, by the Brazo Ancho (or Wide Channel) of Sarmiento. He was then to go to the Ancon sin Salida, examining all the openings into the main land, on his way, and search for a communication with the large waters, discovered by Captain Fitz Roy, through which he was to try to enter the Strait, and join the Adventure, at Port Famine, during the month of April.

* See orders to Lieut. Skyring, in the Appendix.

Lieutenant Skyring again took with him, by Captain Fitz Roy's permission, Mr. Kirke and Mr. Bynoe, of the Beagle; Mr. Alexander Millar and Mr. Parke also accompanied them.

[1830]

Having thus despatched our companions, we prepared, on board the Adventure, to return to Valparaiso; intending to proceed to Rio de Janeiro; by way of Concepcion, Port Famine, and Monte Video; for the sake of adding some links to our chronometric chain: with a view to which, I had taken the opportunity of having the chronometers cleaned at Valparaiso by Mr. Roskell, agent [… by Mr. Roskell's agent?] for Messrs. Roskell chronometer-makers at Liverpool. General Aldunate being on the point of returning to Valparaiso, I had an opportunity of obliging him, and showing my sense of the assistance, and essential kindness we had received, by offering him and all his family a passage in the Adventure, which he accepted; and on the 17th we left Chilóe. In our way we touched at Concepcion, and anchored at Valparaiso on the 2d of January.

We remained there until the 11th of February, and then sailed on our return to Rio de Janeiro, with the intention of passing though the Strait of Magalhaens, and taking that opportunity of completing some few parts, which our former surveys had left unfinished. As the breeze, which, on this coast, blows with the constancy of a trade wind, would carry us close to the island of Juan Fernandez, I determined upon visiting it, for a few days; and then proceeding again to Concepcion.

We reached Cumberland Bay, on the north side of Juan Fernandez, on the 16th, and anchored, within two cables lengths of the beach, in ten fathoms.

I have seldom seen a more remarkable and picturesque view, than is presented by the approach to Juan Fernandez. When seen from a distance, the mountain of the ‘Yungue’ (Anvil), so called from its resemblance to a blacksmith's anvil, appears conspicuously placed in the midst of a range of precipitous mountains, and is alone an object of interest. It rises three thousand feet above a shore, which is formed by an abrupt wall of dark-coloured bare rock, eight or nine hundred feet in height, through whose wild ravines, broken by the mountain torrents, views are caught of verdant glades, surrounded by luxuriant woodland.

The higher parts of the island are in general thickly wooded; but in some places there are grassy plains of considerable extent, whose lively colour contrasts agreeably with the dark foliage of myrtle-trees, which abound on the island.

The Yungue is wooded, nearly from the summit to its base; whence an extensive and fertile valley extends to the shore, and is watered by two streams, which take their rise in the heights, and fall into the sea.

This valley appears to have been formerly cleared and cultivated by the Spaniards, who had a colony here; for the stone walls, which served to divide their enclosures, still remain. From Walter's account of Anson's voyage, and the view given with it of the commodore's tent, there is no difficulty in determining this valley to be the spot on which his encampment was placed.

The island is now (1830) occupied, or rather rented from the governor of Chile for a term of years, by Don Joachim Larrain. The establishment consists of a superintendent (mayordomo), there called, ‘the governor;’' and forty persons, who are employed in the seal and cod fishery, and in drying fish for the Chilian market. Their dwellings are erected on the flat land, at the north side of the bay, where the soil is richer than in other parts; and where it is more sheltered from the squalls, which, during strong southerly gales, rush down the valley of the Yungue, the situation of the former establishment, with great violence.

The remains of a fort, called San Juan Baptiste, are yet in a tolerable state; and from an inscription on the wall, it appears to have been repaired, or completed, in the year 1809. It is situated on a rising ground, about one hundred and thirty feet above the sea, at the S.W. part of the bay, and overlooks the village; there are now no guns mounted, but, with a few, it might be made very effective in a short time; and, from its situation, would command the bay.

In the middle of the beach are some ruins of a four-gun battery, and there are also traces of a fort at the N.W. end of the bay.

At present, except wild-goats, wild peaches, figs, abundance of fish, and excellent fresh water, no refreshments can be procured. An establishment of forty persons, with very little to do, might naturally be expected to cultivate the land, raise vegetables and fruit, and rear poultry and pigs, to supply the vessels, which frequently touch here for wood and water; but it is not the character of the Chileno to take any trouble, unless obliged, although his own comfort and advantage may be materially concerned.

The mayor-domo, however, told me that their attempts to cultivate the soil, and raise potatoes, had been defeated by the destructive ravages of a worm.

By sending a boat to the east point of the bay, to fish in forty fathoms water, a most delicious kind of cod-fish may be taken, in such numbers, that two men, in half an hour, could fill the boat. Craw-fish, of large size, are almost equally abundant; they are taken with a hooked stick: one of our boats caught forty-five in a very short time. The inhabitants catch them, and cure their tails, by exposure to the sun, for exportation to Chile, where they are much esteemed, and fetch a high price.

Wild-goats are very numerous among the inaccessible parts of the island, but are not easily obtained; they are sometimes shot, or taken with a lazo. These animals, according to Woodes Rogers, and other writers, were originally left on the island by Juan Fernandez, who, for a short time, lived there. According to the ‘Noticias Secretas,’ p. 50 to 56, they are supposed to have been landed by the Buccaneers, who frequented this island. Certain it is, that, without such refreshments, the Buccaneers would not have been able to carry on their harassing war of plunder against the Spanish possessions on the American coast to such an extent; nor should we, perhaps, have heard anything more about Commodore Anson, and the crews of the Centurion and Gloucester, who were, on their arrival at this island, in the last stage of scurvy.

To prevent Juan Fernandez from being so tempting a resort to Buccaneers, the Viceroy of Peru caused a great many dogs to be landed, which hunted down and destroyed the goats in great numbers: this in some measure has prevented their subsequent increase. The dogs however drove the goats to places where they could not follow them, and were then obliged to destroy seals for food. Large troops of these dogs still range about the lower grounds; but the heights are in the undisturbed possession of wild-goats; which may be seen in numbers browsing on elevated and almost inaccessible places, where they live in safety.

The geological character of this island, according to Mr. Caldcleugh, who accompanied me in this trip, is of basaltic green-stone, and trap, which appears, at first sight, to be volcanic; but, on a more particular examination, the lava-like appearance of the rock does not seem to arise from an igneous origin.

The green-stone is full of crystals of olivine, which, as they decompose, leave hollows, resembling those of scoriae. Mr. Caldcleugh communicated an account of the structure to the Geological Society.* In Captain Hall's interesting journal, there is a list of Geological and Mineralogical specimens, of which one from Mas-a-fuera† is named ‘Vesicular Lava.’ May it not be this same rock in a decomposed state?

* Phil. Journal, and Annals of Philosophy, for March 1831 (new series x.), 220.

† Juan Fernandez is called ‘de Tierra,’ because it is nearer the mainland than another adjacent island, which is called ‘Mas-a-fuera’ (farther off, or more in the distance).

The late Signor Bertero, whose botanical collections from Chile have enriched many of the principal herbaria in Europe, accompanied me to make a collection of the Flora of the island; and he considered that the character of the vegetation was very little allied to the Chilian, but partook more of that of California. The sandal-wood, which has been described as indigenous to this island, was not found by us, growing, but a large quantity was collected about the hills and vallies, in a dry state, and apparently very old. It is of the red kind, and still preserves a strong scent. The mayor-domo told me there were no sandalwood trees in the island; but we had reason to think his information was incorrect, for one of the inhabitants would have taken us to a place where he said they were growing in large quantities, had not our arrangements for sailing interfered.

The island produces several kinds of grass; but the most abundant herbaceous plant is a species of oat, which grows very luxuriantly, and towards the westward covers the ground for many miles. The neighbourhood of Cumberland Bay is over-run with strawberry plants, wild radishes, mint, and balm, besides peach, apple, cherry, and fig trees, which are found wild every where, and remind one of Lord Anson's visit.*

* A nson's Voyage, p. 118.

Not only in its botanical productions does this island differ from the Chilian coast, but also in its shells: the shell fish being extremely scarce, and dissimilar in character. On the rocks we found a patella and a small chama, but we saw no mytilus. From the deep water I fished up some coral, and attached to one fragment was a new species of arca.* The fishing-lines brought up, from the depth of eighty fathoms, a branch of coralline, to which an infinite number of a species of caryophyllia were attached. The existence of coral is mentioned in Mr. Barry's translation of the ‘Noticias Secretas de America; por Don J. Juan, y Don A. de Ulloa,’ a work which contains a long and, generally speaking, good account of the island; but their description of the anchorage does not agree with ours. They say, “The distance between the two points, which form the bay, is two miles, and its depth about half a league; and, although the depth is nearly the same in all parts, the best berth to moor ships is in the front of the ‘Playa del Este;’ but it is necessary to be close to the stones of the beach, for at one or two cables' length there are fifty fathoms water, and the outer anchor is in the depth of seventy or eighty fathoms; but if the vessel is three or four cables off, it will be necessary to drop the outer anchor in one hundred fathoms, which, even with two cables an end, will scarcely secure the ship.” Now, at three cables' length from the beach, we had only ten fathoms, our outer anchor was dropped in seventeen fathoms, and in a line between the two points of the bay there is not more than fifty fathoms.

* Area angulata. See Zool. Journal, vol. v. p. 3.36.

If the accounts of those Spanish officers were correct, the earthquakes, which certainly affect these islands, must have caused a considerable uprising of the base of the island; but, on referring to the plan in Anson's voyage, the soundings in 1741 do not appear to have been different from ours. The innermost ship, whose berth we occupied, is, in that plan, at anchor in nineteen fathoms, and the depth between the points of the bay is shown to be about fifty fathoms.

There are few persons who have not read, with much interest, Mr. Walter's account of the Centurion's voyage, and who are not well acquainted with his description of this island, which we found exceedingly correct. The views of the land, although old-fashioned in execution, are most correctly delineated, and the plan of the bay is quite sufficient for every common purpose of navigation; but as we had an opportunity of fixing its latitude and longitude more correctly, it became desirable to make a more detailed plan than Commodore Anson's.

The seals and sea-lions, which were so abundant formerly, are now reduced to such a small number, as to make the seal-fishery scarcely worth notice. They have been destroyed by taking them indiscriminately, without regard to age or sex, leaving none to propagate the race but those who by chance escaped. At present the island is let to a tenant, who is not permitted to kill them until the young have taken to the water, by which means an opportunity is given for them to increase.

I am not aware that there are any indigenous animals. Dogs, goats, and rats, have been imported. Land birds are not numerous; some pigeons, said to have been imported, and a few hawks, are occasionally seen, besides three species of hummingbirds, two of which are new to science.* Of sea-birds we saw very few; but were informed that the ‘Goat Islands,⁏ at the south-west end of Juan Fernandez, are completely covered by them at the breeding season.

* Trochilus Fernandensis, nob. Troch: feruginco-rufus; capitis vertice splendento-coccineo; remigibus fuscis. Long. 5 uncias.
Trochilus Stokesii,nob. Troch: corjwre supra viridi-splendente, snltits alho, viridi-guttato; capite supra, giittisque confer li s gula lazulino-spjkndentihus: remigibus fusco-atris; remigum omnium, mediis exceptis, pogoniis internis albis. Long. 4½ uncias. Proceed. Zool. Society, vol. i.; also Phil. Magazine, for March 1831, p. 227.

During our stay, several excursions were made, in various directions, from the village, and much facilitated by beaten paths, one of which leads up a valley, westward of that of the Yungue, and thence to a pass over the principal range, communicating with the other side of the island. This pass, called the Puertozuela, is 1,800 feet high, and was visited several times by the officers. On one occasion, they went to the western part of the island, to hunt wild goats. The party set out in boats with the mayor-domo, or governor, as their guide; but before they reached the proper landing-place, became so impatient that they landed, intending to walk back. The governor, however, persevered, and returned, in the evening, with five fine she-goats, which he had taken with ‘lazos.’ Our pedestrians found their return by no means so easy as they had contemplated, being obliged to pass the night in a cave, which they fortunately found at sunset, and they did not reach the ship until the following afternoon, fatigued, but much pleased by their ramble.

The thermometer on board ranged, during the day, between 63° and 82°, and the barometer between 29·98, and 30·16. On shore the thermometer stood higher, in fine, unclouded weather, and lower when the summits of the hills were covered with clouds.

We put to sea on the 22d, anchored at Talcahuano on the 8d of March, and sailed again on the 17th, to proceed through the Strait of Magalhaens.

While at Concepcion I had an opportunity of seeing Pinoleo,* the Indian chief, from whom Captain Basil Hall endeavoured to obtain the release of a captured Araucanian female, whose husband had been murdered in cold blood before her eyes.†

* Pinoleo (from ‘Pino,’ pisando; and ‘leo,’ rio; or, pisando sobre el rio, living close to the banks of a river), is the Chief of a small tribe, whose territory is near the River Imperial; but he generally lives in the confines of Concepcion. He has four wives in the interior (la tierra) and three in the town.

† Hall's Extracts from a Journal, vol. i. pp.316. 322.

Mr. Rouse, our consul, procured for me the necessary introduction, and, with one of the governor's aides-de-camp, accompanied us to the Indian quarters, situated on the outskirts of the town, towards the river Bio-Bio. We found the chiefs residence (little better than a rancho, or hut of the country), surrounded by Indians, some of whom were armed; and at the door were his two datighters, young, and rather good-looking, whose persons and dress we had leisure to examine, whilst waiting the chiefs pleasure to receive us. They were clothed with a mantle, or wrapper, of green baize, enveloping the body from the neck to the feet, and fastened at the breast by a toup, or tupu* (a silver pin, or skewer, headed with a round silver plate, three inches in diameter), over which hung a string of beads. Their hair, which was remarkably fine and clean, as well as neatly dressed, was divided into two plaited tails (⁼trensas’), and their foreheads were ornamented with a broad fillet, worked over with beads.† They also wore necklaces, bracelets, ear-rings, and anklets of similar manufacture.

* In Febres ‘Arte de la lengua de Chile’ they are thus described “Ahujas grandes con una plancha redonda de plata como una hostia, ò mayor, con que prenden las mujeres sus mantas—Certain large bodkins, with around silver plate, as large as, or larger than, an oyster, with which the women fasten their mantles.”

† The ornament on the forehead, which is worn only by unmarried women, is called Trare-lonco, from the old Chilian words trarin, to fasten, and tonco, the head. The bracelet is called Anello cure; the anklets, Anelleo.

Our names having been announced to Pinoleo, he came to the door to receive us, and invited us to enter. Some of our party he recognized, and seemed pleased at their visiting him. We were early, and found him sober; but from his bloated and haggard appearance, it seemed that he had not been long so. On entering the hut, we observed a number of Indians, scarcely sober, seated round, near the walls. Some turbid wine was presented to us, in a silver cup, which we sipped as it passed round; but the last of our party knowing that to return the cup without emptying it, would be an offence, was obliged to drink the contents, and a bitter potion they were. Pinoleo was then stout and rather corpulent, five feet ten inches in height, of a fairer complexion than the generality of his countrymen, and had lost much of his hair. He had laid aside the Indian dress, and wore the deshabille of a Spaniard, a shirt and pair of trowsers, in a very slovenly manner. He spoke Spanish with great facility, and appeared to be quite at his ease in conversation. He has the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Chilian army, and receives pay, as a retainer for his friendship.

A very short visit was sufficient to satisfy us, and we took the first opportunity of retiring, for fear of a second cup of wine. While leaving the hut, we were beset by some of his followers, asking for money. The Indian quarter is a scene of drunkenness the whole day; the women, however, are prevented from thus injuring themselves; they are industrious and cleanly, and are principally occupied in the manufacture of ponchos. These Indians are frequently at war with other tribes, who live on the south side of the Bio-Bio river, and who have never yet been conquered by white men, of which they are not a little proud.(w)

(w) Not since the first Spanish conquest, perhaps.—R.F.

These Araucanians are by no means to be despised. The Cacique Mariloan,* who resides near San Carlos, on the Bio-Bio, has three hundred fighting men under his own command; and from the influence he holds over neighbouring Caciques, could bring upwards of one thousand men into the field. Upon the occasion of a late revolution in Chile, a deputation of chiefs was sent by the Araucanian Caciques to inquire into the cause of those disturbances, of which they had received intelligence. They first asked for an interpreter, whom they cautioned to give a true and literal translation of their speech; and then they made a long harangue, in which they explained the cause of their visit, and declared their willingness to assist their friends, if their aid should be required, to expel a foreign foe; but if the troubles were caused only by the quarrels and dissensions of parties, they would not take an active part. They were then given to understand that an attempt had been made by one party to put down another, upon which they declined assisting either. The conference being ended, some horses were slaughtered and skinned. Large holes were dug, and the skins put into them, to form substitutes for vessels, into which barrels of wine were poured, and the Indians commenced their feast of horses' flesh and turbid wine, which threw them rapidly into a state of excitement and intoxication, that lasted some hours after the wine was all drunk.

* From ‘Mari,’ diez, and ‘loan,’ huapo: whence Mariloan means ‘huapo como diez,’ or, ‘equal to ten men.’

In this neighbourhood, the Araucanian pine (Armtcaria imhricatd) is found, but very few of the trees grow near the sea. One beautiful specimen which I saw in a garden was, at least, forty feet in height, with branches sweeping the ground. The cones of these trees, called pinones, are brought to the town from the mountains where they grow, and are roasted, to be sold in the streets.

On the 31st of March, the land about Cape Lucia was seen, and at noon it bore E. b. N., distant twelve miles, when the wind ceased, and a heavy swell setting us towards the land, made our situation an anxious one. A breeze, however, sprung up, and by carrying a press of sail, we succeeded in gaining an offing before dark. The night was very squally, but next morning (1st April) the weather was better, so we stood in, and made the Evangelists, which were seen from the masthead, at a distance of twenty-two miles. Between these islands and Cape Pillar [sic, Pilar] we found a most turbulent sea; yet no sooner had we entered the Strait, than the water became perfectly smooth. I intended anchoring in the Harbour of Mercy; but the night proved fine, and the wind was so favourable, that we proceeded by the chart, using a patent log, and passing within two miles of the headlands. Sail was reduced as much as possible, to give us space sufficient to run on during the night, steering E. ¾ S. by compass. Towards midnight the weather became cloudy, and occasionally the land was concealed from our view.

Abreast of Cape Tamar, and as far as Cape Providence, some sharp squalls raised a sea, rather heavy, considering we were in the Strait; but afterwards the water became smooth again. Off the latter cape, the patent log indicated a distance run equal to that shown by the chart, which proved that we had experienced no current. At daylight we were in the entrance of the ‘Long Reach,’ abreast of Cape Monday.

While passing the opening opposite to Playa Parda, a schooner was observed at anchor, and a boat was seen coming out to us. It contained the mate of the schooner Industry, of New Bedford, who informed us that she had been lying there, weather-bound, for nearly a month. He came to make inquiries about good anchorages to the westward (having already lost two anchors), and to learn in what part of the Strait he was; his own idea being, that the vessel was under Cape Monday. Having given him the required information, we proceeded; but the wind fell light, and we were glad to anchor in the cove of Playa Parda. With our chains we found it safe; but the bottom, being rocky, would probably do much injury to hempen cables.

The opening opposite to us, where the schooner was lying, was evidently Sarmiento's ‘Abra.’ It appeared to us to be a mile and a half wide, with an island in the entrance. Within, it seemed to take a south, then a south-west direction, and afterwards to trend round a low hummocky point of the eastern shore, under a high, precipitous ridge, on the opposite or western shore, towards the S.E.; beyond this its course could not be observed. When passing through this part of the Strait, Captain Stokes found the weather so bad, that although the distance across was only two or three miles, the shores were often concealed by clouds and rain, so as to render it impossible for him to make any survey of them.

We were detained the two following days by bad weather. On the 5th we proceeded, but before we got abreast of Snowy Sound, heavy rain set in, which lasted all day.

As we passed Borja Bay, a schooner was observed at anchor in it, so like the Adelaide, that we altered our course to communicate with her. From a boat which came off to us, we learned that it was a sealing-vessel, called the Hope, of New York, going through the Strait, from Staten Land. She had seen nothing of the Adelaide.

When abreast of Bachelor River, a canoe, containing two men and two women, came out to us; but we did not delay long, and at five the anchor was dropped in Fortescue Bay.

As it did not appear that the Adelaide had preceded us, I determined upon remaining, to make a chronometric measurement from Port Gallant to Port Famine; and the next morning Lieutenant Graves landed, and obtained a set of sights for time.

In the early part of the day, two canoes, containing eight or ten Fuegians, entered the bay. They came from the westward; but we did not recognize among them any of those who visited the ship as we passed Bachelor's River. Several had red baize shirts, and some had ‘Union caps,’ such as are supplied to our men-of-war; which they must have procured from the Beagle or Adelaide, or from the Chanticleer, at Cape Horn.(x) After hanging about us all day, they landed at sunset, and took up their quarters in some old wigwams in the inner harbour.

(x) I believe that the natives who have canoes of the kind described above, do not go near the Hermitec Islands, on which Cape Horn is situated.—R.F.

The canoes of these natives were very different in their construction from any we had seen to the eastward. Instead of being paddled, they were pulled with oars; one of which was an ash oar, probably obtained from some sealing-vessel. The canoes were large; at the bottom was a plank, twenty inches wide, to which were sewn the sides, in the manner of the piraguas, and they were caulked with bark, in a similar way.

We did not remark any thing peculiar among these people which we had not perceived in other natives of Tierra del Fuego, except that they frequently used the word ‘pecheray,’ a word particularly noticed by Bougainville, who thought that it meant the name of the tribe; and, in consequence, the Fuegians have been often called Pecherays.

On one of the officers cutting a lock of hair from a woman's head, the men became angry, and one of them taking it away, threw half of it into the fire, and, rolling up the other portion between the palms of his hands, swallowed it. Immediately afterwards, placing his hands to the fire, as if to warm them, and looking upwards, he uttered a few words, apparently of invocation: then, looking at us, pointed upwards, and exclaimed, with a tone and gesture of explanation, ‘Pecheray, Pecheray.'’ After which, they cut off some hair from several of the officers who were present, and repeated a similar ceremony.

From this fact, one might suppose the word to be connected with their ideas of divine worship; but we had heard it used for so many opposite things, that I could not consider it of so much importance as some of the officers were inclined to think it.

The next day a party ascended the Mountain de la Cruz, to deposit a pewter plate, on which were cut the names of the ship and officers. At the summit they found the pile of stones made by Captain Fitz Roy, which they left undisturbed; but made another, in which a bottle was placed, containing the little Spanish coin, and copies, on vellum, of the memorials we had formerly taken from it, also several English coins, and some medals. The bottle was corked, covered with resin, and enveloped in sheet lead. Our party returned in the evening, having been seven hours in going up and descending.

Tlie next day I obtained an angular measurement of the Mountain de la Cruz, with a theodolite, having measured a base of 2,608 feet, which gave for its elevation 2,364 feet, 74 feet more than Captain Fitz Roy's barometrical determination.

During the day several Fuegian families had arrived, and, by the evening, ten canoes, containing altogether about sixty natives, were collected. I landed to visit them, for I had never before seen so many assembled. We entered all the wigwams but one, which was said to be occupied by a woman in labour. In the opening stood her husband, painted all over with a red ochrous earth, and his head and breast ornamented with the white down of birds. The other Fuegians called him '‘Pecheray;’ and appeared to consider him, while in the character he had assumed, as a being superior to themselves.

Hence, there evidently is something of a superstitious nature connected with the word; but our frequent attempts to find out its precise meaning, were unsuccessful. On repeating this expression to a group of natives, one of them immediately coughed up a piece of blubber, which he had been eating, and gave it to another, who swallowed it with much ceremony, and with a peculiar guttural noise; then, looking up, and pointing with his finger to the skies, solemnly pronovmced the talismanic ‘Pecheray.’ This word is also used in pointing to the sun.

On the 10th April, I went to Charles Islands, and surveyed them. There is very good anchorage for a small vessel, in eighteen fathoms, at the north end of the passage which separates them; and at the bottom, or elbow, under the eastern island, in thirteen or fourteen fathoms. The next day, a fresh arrival in two canoes increased the number of Indians to eighty; rather a formidable body for a small vessel to encounter. They conducted themselves, on the whole, very peaceably, but seemed determined that our curiosity should not be gratified by finding out the contents of the ‘tabooed’ wigwam. It was always guarded by the ‘Pecheray,’ who seemed ready and determined to dispute all access to it, by means of a heavy club. One of the midshipmen, however, with a little coaxing, persuaded the man to let him put his head in; but those who were inside, having received their lesson, threw ashes in his face, and nearly bHnded him. After this, seeing they were determined on the point, I desired that no further attempt should be made to ascertain what was really going on inside the wigwam.

We sailed the next day (11th), not without some apprehension that the Adelaide might meet this large concourse of Indians before they separated; as Port Gallant was a place rarely passed by vessels without stopping, and the natives being all housed behind a point of land, could not be seen until too late.

We were abreast of Cape Froward at noon; in the evening we anchored in French Bay, and next day (13th) reached Port Famine. As I purposed remaining until the Adelaide should arrive, the tents were set up, the boats landed for repair, and the transit instrument was set up, in the hope that a comet might be visible, which we had seen in our passage from Concepcion to the Strait; but the weather was at first too cloudy, and afterwards the comet itself was too faint to be discerned.*

* The same comet was seen at the Mauritius; and its orbit calculated. See Ast. See. Proceedings, and Phil. Journal.

On the 21st, nine canoes arrived in the bay, containing a large party of Fuegians, principally those who frequent the Magdalen Channel, and probably the sea-coast. They had generally shown themselves disposed to be mischievous, and I determined upon preventing their encamping near us; for their presence would greatly impede our watering and wooding parties, by distracting the attention of the people. I, therefore, went to meet them at the watering-place, under Point St. Anna, where they had landed, near one of our boats which was on the beach. Among them we only recognised three who had visited us before, and those three were brought to our remembrance by their former misconduct. I had always made it a rule to treat them kindly, with the view of obtaining their good-will; but I found it was the wrong way to gain their respect, for it only made them expect more from me, the consequence of which was, that when we separated, neither party was pleased with the other. I used on this occasion a more dictatorial tone than I had hitherto done; for, seeing several with slings in their hands, and a collection of large, round pebbles wrapped up in the corner of their mantles, I desired them to throw the stones away, which they did not hesitate to do. The Indians were now all landed, and evidently presuming upon their numerical strength, upwards of eighty being assembled, began to make themselves very familiar.

I thought it best to check their advances, by desiring them not to visit the side of the bay where our tents stood, but to go round Point St. Anna, to an adjoining cove. They seemed to understand me perfectly, and soon afterwards embarked, while I returned on board. The natives, however, landed again, in the middle of the bay, at the north side, and there encamped.

Next morning, the men of the tribe visited our tents, but found them surrounded by a rope I had caused to be fixed, and which they were not permitted to pass. At noon, after observing the sun's transit, I went to the barrier, and while the people were at dinner, endeavoured to amuse our visitors, who were from fifteen to twenty in number, by showing them several trifles; among the rest, a pocket set of coloured glasses, belonging to the transit. They looked through them at the sun, but handled them rather roughly, and broke the frame; upon which I expressed my anger, and turned them awav. Soon afterwards, however, I walked towards them, and selecting the Indian who had offended me, gave him a bunch of beads, and thus restored peace; but desired them, at the same time, to go to their wigwams, which they did. In their way, they mischievously broke down a part of my meridian mark; seeing which, I sent a carpenter, attended by a marine, to repair it, and went myself to inspect its being again set up. The natives were collected round it, evidently in expectation of my being angry, and awaited my approach. Upon my coming near, I showed them that I was much displeased, and ordered them into their canoes; when one of the party, muttering a few words, picked up a stone from the ground, and was fixing it in his sling, when I took the marine's musket, and presented it at him, upon which the whole took to their heels; the principal offender and another ran along the beach, and the rest to their canoes. I could not resist the opportunity of letting them know we were prepared for them, by firing over the heads of the two who were running near the water.

The report of the musket attracted the attention of Lieutenant Mitchell, who was on board on the look-out, expecting some fracas would, sooner or later, take place; and seeing four or five canoes paddling across, and the two Indians running along the beach, he manned a boat, and pulled towards the canoes, which tried to evade him, and stones were thrown at him as he approached. A musket fired over their heads, soon quieted them, when he pulled round their canoes, to show them they were in his power, but did not molest them, and then allowed the party to proceed.

This affair alarmed the women at the wigwams, and hastily gathering up their effects, they hurried into their canoes, and joined the others, who all paddled round Point St. Anna. The men, however, landed there, and remained on shore, armed with slings, spears, and bows, ready to defend themselves, and, by their gestures, defying us to land. No attention was paid to them, and, after a short time, they went over the hills to the coves on the north side of the point. As we had now openly quarrelled, I thought it better that they should keep at a distance; and therefore, taking two boats, pulled round the point, to tell them to go five miles farther, to Rocky Bay; but the canoes were already beached, and the women had taken up their quarters. As we approached, the hills echoed with the screams of the women and the shouts of the men; all of whom, stark naked, armed, and daubed with white paint, their heads being stuck full of white feathers, hastened down to the point of the bay. The place, from its nature, offered a good defence, as the beach was lined by large rocks, behind which they could conceal themselves from our view, and yet assail us with stones. When within a few yards of the beach, we held a parley—the object of which was, that they should go farther to the northward; to this they vociferously replied, by desiring us to leave them. Seeing there was no chance of enforcing our demand, without shedding blood, I ordered the boats away; and on getting about a musket-shot from the beach, one of the Fuegians threw a stone, which fell close to us. In an instant, every one of them was concealed behind the rocks; but we returned their fire, and another large stone fell within two feet of the boat. A second musket was fired, and another stone was returned, with equal precision. After the interchange of a few more stones for bullets, they ceased throwing them, and we returned on board. It was very unlikely that any of our shot took effect; for we were at a long distance, and could only see their heads above the rocks. Fortunately, none of the stones struck us, for they were large enough to have caused a severe bruise. It is astonishins how very correctly they throw them, and to what a distance. When the first stone fell close to us, we all thought ourselves out of musket-shot.

The next morning, five or six natives were seen crouching down among high grass, on the hill over our watering-well, waiting for the people to go for water; probably with the intention of assailing them, for it appeared afterwards that their slings and bows were in readiness. To show them they were not out of our reach, I caused a six-pound shot to be fired over their heads, which, as it went high above them, made no impression. The gun was then pointed lower, and another ineffectual shot fired. A third, however, fell close to them, when they jumped up, shook their mantles in the air, with the most violent gestures, and, apparently in a furious rage, scampered off; but the last man, before he disappeared, threw an immense stone, which did not reach one quarter of the distance.

We saw nothing more of the natives until the evening, when Lieutenant Mitchell, who went to look for them, found they had moved away to Rocky Bay, where they had encamped on the open beach. The next day, I sent him to endeavour to make peace, which he very easily effected, by the interchange of a few trifles.

After this we had much bad weather, during which most of the Indians kept close to their wigwams; but a few occasionally communicated with our watering party, quite peaceably, as if nothing had happened. A day or two after, the weather improved, and the Fuegians dispersed, probably for want of food, some going to the northward, but the greater part along shore to the southward. These people pointed upwards to the sky, when they were going away, repeating the word ‘Pecheray.’'

This was our last interview with the wretched Fuegians. Naturally petulant and quarrelsome, they are also ever intent upon mischief; the fear of punishment alone restraining them. Weakly-manned vessels passing through this Strait should always avoid them, if they are numerous; for unless they are given what they want, they try to steal it, and any consequent punishment probably brings on a quarrel. Their conduct, and servile bearing, at our first seeing them, gave them an appearance of being timid and inactive; while, in reality, they are the very reverse. Had we attempted to land on the last occasion, I do not think we should have effected our object, without receiving some severe contusions from their stones, which they sling with such extraordinary precision and force: so much so, that I consider the sling, in their dexterous hands, to be equal to a musket in ours. Indeed, with many of us, a native would have had the advantage. It has been too much the practice, when obliged to fire upon them, to fire over their heads; by which proceeding the savages are led to consider our weapons as so uncertain in their effect, that they become much depreciated in their estimation. It would be almost preferable to inflict a slight wound, in order to show the nature of our arms, and as a warning against further hostilities.

When the Uxbridge, sealer, was at anchor in a harbour in the Magdalen Channel, some Indians, who were on board, angry at being ordered out of the vessel at sunset, threw stones at the person who was walking the deck, as they returned to the shore. Several muskets were fired over their heads, at which they expressed neither fear nor concern; but paddled leisurely away, and the next morning came off again to the vessel, as if nothing had happened. At Port Famine, Duclos Guyot had a skirmish with natives, the particulars of which are described in Dom Pernetty's History (ii. 653). Three of the Indians were killed, and tliree of the French were severely wounded. It may be here remarked, that the chief's name, according to M. Duclos Guyot, was ‘Pach-a-chui,’ which is not unlike ‘Pecheray;’ the women were called ‘Cap, cap,’ probably a mistake for ‘Cab, cab;’ which evidently means ‘no, no!’ for it was an expression we frequently used, and was never misunderstood. Their cunning is sufficiently proved by the theft of the Adelaide's boat, in St. Simon's Sound (page 142).

The absence of the Fuegians permitted us to move about a little; and among other places, we visited their late encampment at Rocky Bay, our approach to which was offensively indicated by a most sickening smell. On our way, I found two fossils; one was very interesting, bearing the appearance of a large orthoceratite:* the other was a Venus. From Rocky Point we descried a strange sail, which, by her movements, we thought must be the Beagle: I returned, therefore, and sent Lieutenant Mitchell out to her. She arrived in the evening, but proved to be a ship belonging to the Hudson Bay Company, called the Dryad, bound to the Columbia River, and last from the Falkland Islands. She came to wait for Mr. Low, of the Adeona, who had promised to pilot her through the Magdalen Channel. The Adeona arrived on the 3d of May; and the following day, to our great joy, the Adelaide hove in sight: and being becalmed, was towed to an anchorage.

* They are deposited in the Museum of the Geological Society.

The result of her cruise proved to be very interesting, although no communication had been discovered between the ‘Ancon sin Salida,’ and the Skyring Water. The only loss they had sustained was, however, a severe one; Mr. Alexander Millar having died of inflammation in the bowels. The death of this promising young man threw a damp over the happiness we felt at meeting again, after having so nearly completed this long and tedious voyage.

We had, for some days, been getting ready for sea, and now hastened to complete our preparations. The Dryad, after receiving some assistance from us, sailed in company with the Adeona, and passed out to the Pacific, by going through the Magdalen Channel. The day afterwards we took our final departure—crossed the shoal that extends off Magdalena Island, in five fathoms, sailed on rapidly, and passed Gregory Bay at noon. Seeing us approach, a large party of Patagonians, at least a hundred in number, assembled at the usual place of communication; but as both wind and tide were in our favour, and we could derive no novel information from them, we continued on our course. The Indians were probably much mortified and disappointed; but all on board were delighted by avoiding the anticipated delay. We showed our colours to them, but I dare say our friend, Maria, was not very well pleased with my want of courtesy, in passing by so old an acquaintance without a salutation; or, what she coveted much more, such presents as she had always received when we anchored.

Just before entering the First Narrow, we passed through a furious ‘tide-race,’ which broke over the Adelaide, and not a little impeded her progress. No accident, however, was the consequence; and a rapid tide, running at the least nine knots an hour, swept us through the Narrow, and round the reef off Cape Orange: after which we proceeded rapidly, and rounded Cape Virgins at ten p.m., not a little elated by leaving behind us, with no expectation of ever seeing it again, the famous Strait of Magalliaens.

Our voyage to Monte Video was rather long; but we delayed there only to water the ship, in the usual place, off Cape Jesu Maria, and then proceeded to Rio de Janeiro, where we awaited the arrival of the Beagle. Our anxiety for her safety, during so hazardous a survey as that of the sea-coasts of Tierra del Fuego, was soon removed, by hearing that she had touched at Monte Video; and, on the 2d of August, our consort was seen entering the harbour; when we were delighted by finding all well on board, and the little vessel quite ready for sea, having refitted on her passage.