Journal …

Charles Darwin

Bibliography
Dates refer to editions of Murray's
Colonial and Home Library
Information about text on this page
Illustrations in selected editions
TABLE OF CONTENTS (1845)
PREFACE
I ST. JAGO—CAPE DE VERD ISLANDS
II RIO DE JANEIRO
III MALDONADO
IV RIO NEGRO TO BAHIA BLANCA
V BAHIA BLANCA
VI BAHIA BLANCA TO BUENOS AYRES
VII BUENOS AYRES TO ST. FE
VIII BANDA ORIENTAL [AND PATAGONIA]
IX SANTA CRUZ, PATAGONIA, [FALKLANDS]
X TIERRA DEL FUEGO
XI STRAIT OF MAGELLAN—CLIMATES
XII CENTRAL CHILE
XIII CHILOE AND CHONOS ISLANDS
XIV CHILOE AND CONCEPCION: EARTHQUAKE
XV PASSAGE OF THE CORDILLERA
XVI NORTHERN CHILE AND PERU
XVII GALAPAGOS ARCHIPELAGO
XVIIITAHITI AND NEW ZEALAND
XIX AUSTRALIA
XX KEELING ISLAND—CORAL FORMATIONS
XXI MAURITIUS TO ENGLAND
Show King et al Proceedings … (vol. 1)
Show FitzRoy's Proceedings … (vol. 2)
Show Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle
HMS Beagle track, England to Strait of Magellan

CHAPTER X

Santa Cruz—Expedition up river—Indians—Character of Patagonia—Basaltic platform—Immense streams of lava—Non-transport of blocks by river—Excavation of valley—Condor, range and habits—Cordillera—Erratic boulders of great size—Indian relics—Return to the ship

SANTA CRUZ—PATAGONIA.

CHAPTER IX

SANTA CRUZ, PATAGONIA, AND THE FALKLAND ISLANDS

Santa Cruz—Expedition up the River—Indians—Immense Streams of Basaltic Lava—Fragments not transported by the River—Excavations of the Valley—Condor, Habits of—Cordillera—Erratic Boulders of great size—Indian Relics—Return to the Ship—Falkland Islands—Wild Horses, Cattle, Rabbits—Wolf-like Fox—Fire made of Bones—Manner of Hunting Wild Cattle—Geology—Streams of Stones—Scenes of Violence—Penguins—Geese—Eggs of Doris—Compound Animals.

APRIL 13, 1834.—The Beagle anchored within the mouth of the Santa Cruz. This river is situated about sixty miles south of Port St. Julian. During the last voyage Captain Stokes proceeded thirty miles up it, but then, from the want of provisions, was obliged to return. Excepting what was discovered at that time, scarcely anything was known about this large river. Captain FitzRoy now determined to follow its course as far as time would allow. On the 18th three whale-boats started, carrying three weeks' provisions; and the party consisted of twenty-five souls—a force which would have been sufficient to have defied a host of Indians. With a strong flood-tide and a fine day we made a good run, soon drank some of the fresh water, and were at night nearly above the tidal influence.

The river here assumed a size and appearance which, even at the highest point we ultimately reached, was scarcely diminished. It was generally from three to four hundred yards broad, and in the middle about seventeen feet deep. The rapidity of the current, which in its whole course runs at the rate of from four to six knots an hour, is perhaps its most remarkable feature. The water is of a fine blue colour, but with a slight milky tinge, and not so transparent as at first sight would have been expected. It flows over a bed of pebbles, like those which compose the beach and the surrounding plains. {Although its course is winding, it runs}/{It runs in a winding course} through a valley, which extends in a direct line {to the}/~ westward. This valley varies from five to ten miles in breadth; it is bounded by step-formed terraces, which rise in most parts, one above the other, to the height of five hundred feet, and have on the opposite sides a remarkable correspondence.

April 19th.—Against so strong a current it was, of course, quite impossible to row or sail: consequently the three boats were fastened together head and stern, two hands left in each, and the rest came on shore to track. As the general arrangements made by Captain FitzRoy were very good for facilitating the work of all, and as all had a share in it, I will describe the system. The party including every one, was divided into two spells, each of which hauled at the tracking line alternately for an hour and a half. The officers of each boat lived with, ate the same food, and slept in the same tent with their crew, so that each boat was quite independent of the others. After sunset the first level spot where any bushes were growing, was chosen for our night's lodging. Each of the crew took it in turns to be cook. Immediately the boat was hauled up, the cook made his fire; two others pitched the tent; the coxswain handed the things out of the boat; the rest carried them up to the tents and collected firewood. By this order, in half an hour everything was ready for the night. A watch of two men and an officer was always kept, whose duty it was to look after the boats, keep up the fire, and guard against Indians. Each in the party had his one hour every night.

During this day we tracked but a short distance, for there were many islets, covered by thorny bushes, and the channels between them were shallow.

April 20th.—We passed the islands and set to work. Our regular day's march, although it was hard enough, carried us on an average only ten miles in a straight line, and perhaps fifteen or twenty altogether. Beyond the place where we slept last night, the country is completely terra incognita, for it was there that Captain Stokes turned back. We saw in the distance a great smoke, and found the skeleton of a horse, so we knew that Indians were in the neighbourhood. On the next morning (21st) tracks of a party of horse and marks left by the trailing of the chuzos{—}/{, or long spears,} were observed on the ground. It was generally thought {they must have}/{that the Indians had} reconnoitred us during the night. Shortly afterwards we came to a spot where, from the fresh footsteps of men, children, and horses, it was evident that the party had crossed the river.

April 22nd.—The country remained the same, and was extremely uninteresting. The complete similarity of the productions throughout Patagonia is one of its most striking characters. The level plains of arid shingle support the same stunted and dwarf plants; and in the valleys the same thorn-bearing bushes grow. Everywhere we see the same birds and insects. Even the very banks of the river and of the clear streamlets which entered it, were scarcely enlivened by a brighter tint of green. The curse of sterility is on the land, and the water flowing over a bed of pebbles partakes of the same curse. Hence the number of water-fowls is very scanty; for {what is there to support life in the stream of this barren river?}/{there is nothing to support life in the stream of this barren river.}

Patagonia, poor as she is in some respects, can however boast of a greater stock of small rodents* than perhaps any other country in the world. Several species of mice are externally characterized by large thin ears and a very fine fur. These little animals swarm amongst the thickets in the valleys, where they cannot for months together taste a drop of water excepting the dew. They all seem to be cannibals for no sooner was a mouse caught in one of my traps that it was devoured by others. A small and delicately shaped fox, which is likewise very abundant, probably derives its entire support from these small animals. The guanaco is also in his proper district, herds of fifty or a hundred were common; and, as I have stated, we saw one which must have contained at least five hundred. The puma, with the condor ~/{and other carrion-hawks} in its train, follows and preys upon these animals. The footsteps of the former/puma were to be seen almost everywhere on the banks of the river; and the remains of several guanacos, with their necks dislocated and bones broken, showed how they had met their death.

* The desserts of Syria are characterized, according to Volney (tom. i. p. 351), by woody bushes, numerous rats, gazelles and hares. In the landscape of Patagonia, the guanaco replaces the gazelle, and the agouti the hare.

April 24th.—Like the navigators of old when approaching an unknown land, we examined and watched for the most trivial sign of a change. The drifted trunk of a tree, or a boulder of primitive rock, was hailed with joy, as if we had seen a forest growing on the flanks of the Cordillera. The top, however, of a heavy bank of clouds, which remained almost constantly in one position, was the most promising sign, and eventually turned out {true}/{a true harbinger}. At first the clouds were mistaken for the mountains themselves, instead of the masses of vapour condensed by their icy summits.

~/April 26th.—We this day met with a marked change in the geological structure of the plains. From the first starting I had carefully examined the gravel in the river, and for the two last days had noticed the presence of a few small pebbles of a very cellular basalt. These gradually increased in number and in size, but none were as large as a man's head. This morning, however, pebbles of the same rock, but more compact, suddenly became abundant, and in the course of half an hour we saw, at the distance of five of six miles, the angular edge of a great basaltic platform. When we arrived at its base we found the stream bubbling among the fallen blocks. For the next twenty-eight miles the river-course was encumbered with these basaltic masses. Above that limit immense fragments of primitive rocks, derived from its surrounding boulder-formation, were equally numerous.

In both cases no fragments at all remarkable in size or number had been washed down the stream, more than three or four miles below either the parent rock, or the mass of alluvium from which they were derived. Considering the singular rapidity of the great body of water in the St. Cruz, and that no still reaches occur in any part, these examples are most striking of the inefficiency of rivers in transporting even moderately-sized fragments.

None of the fragments of any considerable size had been washed more than three or four miles down the river below their parent-source: considering the singular rapidity of the great body of water in the Santa Cruz, and that no still reaches occur in any part, this example is a most striking one, of the inefficiency of rivers in transporting even moderately-sized fragments.

The basaltic cliffs are obscurely divided by lines of more cellular or amygdaloidal varieties, and the strata appear to the eye perfectly horizontal. They overlie the great tertiary deposits, and are covered (except where denuded in some of the lower terraces) by the usual beds of gravel. The basalt is clearly nothing more than lava, which has flowed beneath the sea; but the eruptions must have been on the grandest scale. At the point where we first met this formation, the mass was about 120 feet in thickness; following the river-course, it imperceptibly rose and became thicker, so that at forty miles above the first station it was 320 feet.

The basalt is only lava, which has flowed beneath the sea; but the eruptions must have been on the grandest scale. At the point where we first met this formation it was 120 feet in thickness; following up the river course, the surface imperceptibly rose and the mass became thicker, so that at forty miles above the first station it was 320 feet thick.

What the thickness may be close to the Cordillera, I have no means of knowing, but the platform there attains a height of about three thousand feet above the level of the sea; we must therefore look to the mountains of that great chain for its source; and worthy of such a source are streams that have flowed over the gently inclined bed of the sea to a distance of one hundred miles.

A fine section of the basaltic platform is presented by the cliffs on both sides of the valley.

 

At the first glance {it is}/{of the basaltic cliffs on the opposite sides of the valley, it was} evident that the strata once were united. What power, then, has removed along a whole line of country, a solid mass of very hard rock, which had an average thickness of nearly three hundred feet, and a breadth varying from rather less than two miles to four miles? The river, though it has so little power in transporting even inconsiderable fragments, yet in the lapse of ages might produce {an effect by its gradual erosion}/{by its gradual erosion an effect} of which it is difficult to judge the limit/amount. But in this case, independently of the insignificance of such ~/an agency, good reasons can be assigned for believing that this valley was formerly occupied by an arm of the sea.

It is needless in this work to detail arguments, which chiefly rest on the form and nature of the banks, on the manner in which the valley near the foot of the Andes expands into a great bay, and on the occurrence of a few sea-shells lying in the bed of the river.

It is needless in this work to detail the arguments leading to this conclusion, derived from the form and the nature of the step-formed terraces on both sides of the valley, from the manner in which the bottom of the valley near the Andes expands into a great estuary-like plain with sand-hillocks on it, and from the occurrence of a few sea-shells lying in the bed of the river.

If I had space I could prove that South America was formerly here cut off by a strait, joining the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, like that of Magellan. But it may yet be asked, how has the solid basalt been removed/moved? Geologists formerly would have brought into play the violent action of some overwhelming debacle; but in this case such a supposition would have been quite inadmissible, because,

the same step-like terraces, that front the Patagonian coast, sweep up on each side of the valley. No possible action of any flood could have thus modelled the land in these two situations; and by the formation of such terraces the valley itself has been hollowed out.

the same step-like plains with existing sea-shells lying on their surface, which front the long line of the Patagonian coast, sweep up on each side of the valley of Santa Cruz. No possible action of any flood could thus have modelled the land, either within the valley or along the open coast; and by the formation of such step-like plains or terraces the valley itself had been hollowed out.

Although we know that there are tides, which run within the Narrows of the Strait of Magellan at the rate of eight knots an hour, yet we must confess ~/that it makes the head almost giddy to reflect on the number of years, century after century, which the tides, unaided by a heavy surf, must have required to have corroded so vast an area and thickness of solid {rock}/{basaltic lava}. Nevertheless, we must believe that the strata undermined by the waters of this ancient strait, were broken up into huge fragments, and these lying scattered on the beach were reduced ~/first to smaller blocks, then to pebbles and lastly to the most impalpable mud, which the tides drifted {into the bed, either of}/{far into} the Eastern or Western Ocean.

With the change in the geological structure of the plains the character of the landscape likewise altered. While rambling up some of the narrow and rocky defiles, I could almost have fancied myself transported back again to the barren valleys of the island of St. Jago. Among the basaltic cliffs I found some plants which I had seen nowhere else, but others I recognised as being wanderers from Tierra del Fuego. These porous rocks serve as a reservoir for the scanty rain-water; and consequently on the line where the igneous and sedimentary formations unite, some small springs (most rare occurrences in Patagonia) burst forth; and they could be distinguished at a distance by the circumscribed patches of bright green herbage.

April 27th.—The bed of the river became rather narrower and hence the stream more rapid. It here ran at the rate of six knots an hour. From this cause, and from the many great angular fragments, tracking the boats became both dangerous and laborious.

This day I shot a condor. It measured from tip to tip of the wings, eight and a half feet, and from beak to tail, four feet.

It is a magnificent spectacle to behold several of these great birds seated on the edge of some steep precipice. I will here describe all I have observed respecting their habits. The condor is known to have a wide geographical range, being found on the west coast of South America, from the Strait of Magellan throughout the entire range of the Cordillera. On the Patagonian shore, the steep cliff near the mouth of the Rio Negro in lat. 41°, was the most northern point where I saw these birds, or heard of their existence. They have there wandered about four hundred miles from the great central line of their habitation in the Andes. Further south, among the bold precipices which form the head of Port Desire, they are not uncommon; yet only a few stragglers occasionally visit the sea-coast. A line of cliff near the mouth of St. Cruz, is frequented by these birds, and about eighty miles up the river, where first the sides of the valley were formed by steep basaltic precipices, the condor again appeared, although in the intermediate space not one had been seen. From these and similar facts, the presence of this bird seems chiefly to be determined by the occurrence of perpendicular cliffs. In Patagonia, the condors either by pairs or many together, both sleep and breed on the same overhanging ledges.

This bird is known to have a wide geographical range, being found on the west coast of South America, from the Strait of Magellan along the Cordillera as far as eight degrees north of the equator. The steep cliff near the mouth of the Rio Negro is its northern limit on the Patagonian coast; and they have there wandered about four hundred miles from the great central line of their habitations in the Andes. Further south, among the bold precipices at the head of Port Desire, the condor is not uncommon; yet only a few stragglers occasionally visit the sea-coast. A line of cliff near the mouth of the Santa Cruz is frequented by these birds, and about eighty miles up the river, where the sides of the valley are formed by steep basaltic precipices, the condor reappears. From these facts it seems that the condors require perpendicular cliffs.

In Chile, {during the greater part of the year, they haunt}/they haunt, during the greater part of the year}, the lower country near the shores of the Pacific, and at night several roost ~/together in one tree; but in the early part of summer, they retire to the most inaccessible parts of the inner Cordillera, there to breed in peace.

With respect to their propagation, I was told by the country people in Chile, that the condor makes no sort of nest, but in the months of November and December lays two large white eggs on a shelf of bare rock.

On the Patagonian coast I could not see any sort of nest among the cliffs, where the young ones were standing.

 

It is said the young condors cannot fly for an entire year. At Concepcion, on the fifth of March (corresponding to our September), I saw a young bird, which, though in size little inferior to an old one, was completely covered by down like that of a gosling, but of a blackish colour. I feel sure this bird could not have used its wings for flight for many months. After the period when the young condors can fly, and apparently as well as the old birds, they yet remain both roosting at night on the same ledge, and hunting by day with their parents. Before, however, the young bird has the ruff round its neck turned white, it may often be seen hunting by itself. At the mouth of the St. Cruz, during part of April and May, a pair of old birds might be seen every day either perched on a certain ledge, or sailing about in company with a single young one, which latter though full fledged, had not its ruff white. I should think, especially when recollecting the state in which the Concepcion bird was on the previous month, that this young condor had not been hatched from an egg of that summer. As there were no other young birds, it seems probable that the condor only lays once in two years.

These birds generally live by pairs; but among the inland basaltic cliffs of the St. Cruz, I found a spot, where scores most usually haunt. On coming suddenly to the brow of the precipice, it was a fine sight to see between twenty and thirty of these great birds start heavily from their resting-place, and wheel away in majestic circles. From the quantity of dung on the rocks, they must long have frequented this cliff, and probably they both roost and breed there.

It is said that the young condors cannot fly for an entire year; and long after they are able, they continue to roost by night, and hunt by day with their parents. The old birds generally live in pairs; but among the inland basaltic cliffs of the Santa Cruz, I found a spot, where scores must usually haunt. On coming suddenly to the brow of the precipice, it was a grand spectacle to see between twenty and thirty of these great birds start heavily from their resting-place, and wheel away in majestic circles. From the quantity of dung on the rocks they must long have frequented this cliff for roosting and breeding.

Having gorged themselves with carrion on the plains below, they retire to these favourite ledges, to digest their food. From these facts, the condor {must to a certain degree, like the gallinazo,}/{like the gallinazo, must to a certain degree} be considered a gregarious bird. In this part of the country they live altogether on the guanacoes, which either/~ have died a natural death, or, as more commonly happens, have been killed by the pumas. I believe, from what I saw in Patagonia, that they do not on ordinary occasions extend their daily excursions to any great distance from their regular sleeping-places.

The condors may oftentimes be seen at a great height, soaring over a certain spot in the most graceful circles. On some occasions I am sure that they do this only for sport/pleasure, but on others, the Chileno countryman tells you that they are watching a dying animal, or the puma devouring its prey. If the condors glide down, and then suddenly all rise together, the Chileno knows that it is the puma which, watching the carcass, has sprung out to drive away the robbers. Besides feeding on carrion, the condors frequently attack young goats and {lambs, Hence}/{lambs; and} the shepherd-dogs are trained, {the moment the enemy passes over}/{whenever they pass over}, to run out, and looking upwards to bark violently. The Chilenos destroy and catch numbers. Two methods are used; one is to place a carcass on a level piece of ground ~/{within an enclosure of sticks with an opening}, and when the condors are gorged to gallop up on horseback to the entrance, and thus enclose them: for when this bird has not space to run, it cannot give its body sufficient momentum to rise from the ground. The second method is to mark the trees in which, frequently to the number of five or six {they roost together}/{together, they roost}, and then at night to climb up and noose them. They are such heavy sleepers, as I have myself witnessed, that this is not a difficult task. At Valparaiso, I have seen a living condor sold for sixpence, but the common price is eight or ten shillings. One which I saw brought in, had been tied with rope, and was much injured; yet, the moment the line was cut by which its bill was secured, although surrounded by people, it began ravenously to tear a piece of carrion. In a garden at the same place, between twenty and thirty were kept alive. They were fed only once a week, but they appeared in pretty good health.* The Chileno countrymen assert that the condor will live, and retain its vigour, between five and six weeks without eating: I cannot answer for the truth of this, but it is a cruel experiment, which very likely has been tried.

* I noticed that several hours before any one of the condors died, all the lice, with which it was infested, crawled to the outside feathers. I was {told that this was always the case}/{assured that this always happens}.

When an animal is killed in the country, it is well known that the condors, like other carrion-vultures, soon gain intelligence of it, and congregate in an inexplicable manner. In most cases it must not be overlooked, that the birds have discovered their prey, and have picked the skeleton clean, before the flesh is in the least degree tainted. Remembering the experiments of M. Audubon, on the little smelling powers of {such birds,*}/{carrion-hawks}, I tried in the above mentioned garden the following experiment: the condors were tied, each by a rope, in a long row at the bottom of a wall; and having folded up a piece of meat in white paper, I walked backwards and forwards, carrying it in my hand at the distance of about three yards from them, but no notice whatever was taken. I then threw it on the ground, within one yard of an old male bird; he looked at it for a moment with attention, but then regarded it no more. With a stick I pushed it closer and closer, until at last he touched it with his beak; the paper was then instantly torn off with fury, and at the same moment, every bird in the long row began struggling and flapping its wings. Under the same circumstances, it would have been quite impossible to have deceived a dog.

* In the case of the Vultur aura, Mr. Owen, in some notes read before the Zoological Society, has demonstrated from the developed form of the olfactory nerves, that this bird must possess an acute sense of smell. It was mentioned on the same evening, that on two occasions, persons in the West Indies having died, and their bodies not being buried till they smelt offensively, these birds congregated in numbers on the roof of the house. This instance appears quite conclusive, as it was evident they had gained the intelligence by the powers of smell alone, and not of sight. It would appear from the various facts recorded, that carrion-feeding hawks possess both the sense of sight and smell in an eminent degree.

The evidence in favour of and against the acute smelling powers of carrion-vultures is singularly balanced. Professor Owen has demonstrated that the olfactory nerves of the turkey-buzzard (Cathartes aura) are highly developed, and on the evening when Mr. Owen's paper was read at the Zoological Society, it was mentioned by a gentleman that he had seen the carrion-hawks in the West Indies on two occasions collect on the roof of a house, when a corpse had become offensive from not having been buried, in this case, the intelligence could hardly have been acquired be sight.

 

On the other hand, besides the experiments of Audubon and that one by myself, Mr. Bachman has tried in the United States many varied plans, showing that neither the turkey-buzzard (the species dissected by Professor Owen) nor the gallinazo find their food by smell. He covered portions of highly-offensive offal with a thin canvas cloth, and strewed pieces of meat on it: these the carrion-vultures ate up, and then remained quietly standing, with their beaks within the eighth of an inch of the putrid mass, without discovering it. A small rent was made in the canvas, and the offal was immediately discovered; the canvas was replaced by a fresh piece, and meat again put on it, and was again devoured by the vultures without their discovering the hidden mass on which they were trampling. These facts are attested by the signatures of six gentlemen, besides that of Mr. Bachman.*

* London's Magazine of Nat. Hist., vol. vii.

{I may remark, that oftentimes}/{Often} when lying down to rest on the open plains, on looking upwards, I have seen carrion-hawks sailing through the air at a great height. Where the country is level I do not believe a space of the heavens, of more than fifteen degrees above the horizon, is commonly viewed with any attention by a person either walking or on horseback. If such be the case, and the vulture is on the wing at a height of between three and four thousand feet, before it could come within the range of vision, its distance in a straight line from the beholder's eye, would be rather more than two British miles. Might it not thus readily be overlooked? When an animal is killed by the sportsman in a lonely valley, may he not all the while be watched from above by the sharp-sighted bird? And will not the manner of its descent proclaim throughout the district to the whole family of carrion-feeders, that their prey is at hand?

When the condors ~/{in a flock} are wheeling in a flock round and round any spot, their flight is beautiful. Except when rising from the ground, I do not recollect ever having seen one of these birds flap its wings. Near Lima, I watched several for nearly half an hour, without once taking off my eyes. They moved in large curves, sweeping in circles, descending and ascending without giving a single flap. As they glided close over my head, I intently watched from an oblique position, the outlines of the separate and great terminal feathers of each wing; and these separate feathers, if there had been the least vibratory movement, would have appeared as if blended together; but they were seen distinct against the blue sky. The head and neck were moved frequently, and apparently with force; and the extended wings seemed to form the fulcrum on which the movements of the neck, body, and tail acted. If the bird wished to descend, the wings were for a moment collapsed; and when again expanded with an altered inclination, the momentum gained by the rapid descent seemed to urge the bird upwards with the even and steady movement of a paper kite. In the case of any bird soaring, its motion must be sufficiently rapid so that the action of the inclined surface of its body on the atmosphere may counterbalance its gravity. The force to keep up the momentum of a body moving in a horizontal plane in the air (in which there is so little friction) cannot be great, and this force is all that is wanted. The movement/movements of the neck and body of the condor, we must suppose, is sufficient for this. However this may be, it is truly wonderful and beautiful to see so great a bird, hour after hour, without any apparent exertion, wheeling and gliding over mountain and river.

April 29th.—From some high land we hailed with joy the white summits of the Cordillera, as they were seen occasionally peeping through their dusky envelope of clouds. During the few succeeding days we continued to get on slowly, for we found the river-course very tortuous, and strewed with immense fragments of various ancient slate rocks, and of granite. The plain bordering the valley has here attained an elevation of about 1100 feet above the river, and its character was much altered. The well-rounded pebbles of porphyry were mingled with many immense angular fragments of basalt and of primary rocks. The first of these erratic boulders which I noticed, was sixty-seven miles distant from the nearest mountain; another which {had been transported to rather a less distance, measured}/{I measured was} five yards square, and projected five feet above the gravel. Its edges were so angular, and its size so great, that I at first mistook it for a rock in situ, and took out my compass to observe the direction of its cleavage.

The plains here were not quite so level as those nearer the coast, but yet they betrayed little signs of any violent action}. Under these circumstances it would be difficult, as it appears to me, to explain this phenomenon on any theory, excepting through that of tranksport by ice while the country was under water. But this is a subject to which I shall again recur.

The plain here was not quite so level as that nearer the coast, but yet it betrayed no signs of any great violence. Under these circumstances it is, I believe, quite impossible to explain the transportal of these gigantic masses of rock so many miles from their parent-source, on any theory except by that of floating icebergs.

During the two last days we met with signs of horses, and with several small articles which had belonged to the Indians—such as parts of a mantle and a bunch of ostrich feathers —, but they appeared to have been lying long on the ground. Between the place where the Indians had so lately crossed the river and this neighbourhood, though so many miles apart, the country appears to be quite unfrequented. At first, considering the abundance of the guanacos, I was surprised at this; but it is explained by the stony nature of the plains, which would soon disable an unshod horse from taking part in the chase. Nevertheless, in two places in this very central region, I found small heaps of stones, which I do not think could have been accidentally thrown together. They were placed on points, projecting over the edge of the highest lava cliff, and they resembled, but on a small scale, those near Port Desire.

May 4th.—Captain FitzRoy determined to take the boats no higher. The river had a winding course, and was very rapid; and the appearance of the country offered no temptation to proceed any further. Everywhere we met with the same productions, and the same dreary landscape. We were now one hundred and forty miles distant from the Atlantic and about sixty from the nearest arm of the Pacific. The valley in this upper part expanded into a wide basin, bounded on the north and south by the basaltic platforms, and fronted by the long range of the snow-clad Cordillera. But we viewed these grand mountains with regret, for we were obliged to imagine their {form and nature}/{nature and productions}, instead of standing, as we had hoped, on their {crest, and looking down on the plain below}/{summits}. Besides the useless loss of time which an attempt to ascend the river and higher would have cost us, we had already been for some days on half allowance of bread. This, although really enough for any~ reasonable men, was, after a hard day's march, rather scanty food:

Let those alone who have never tried it, exclaim about the comfort of a light stomach and an easy digestion.

a light stomach and an easy digestion are good things to talk about, but very unpleasant in practice.

5th.—Before sunrise we commenced our descent. We shot down the stream with great rapidity, generally at the rate of ten knots an hour. In this one day we effected what had cost us five-and-a-half hard days' labour in ascending. On the 8th, we reached the Beagle after our twenty-one days' expedition. Every one, excepting myself, had cause to be dissatisfied; but to me the ascent afforded a most interesting section of the great tertiary formation of Patagonia.

NOTE: The text which follows, comprising Chapter XII in the 1839 edition, was moved to the end of Chapter IX in the 1845 edition.

CHAPTER XII.

Falkland Islands—Excursion round island—Aspect—Cattle, horses, rabbit, wolf-like fox—Fire made of bones—Art in making fire—Manner of hunting wild cattle—Geology, fossil shells—Valleys filled with great fragments, scenes of violence—Penguin—Geese—Eggs of doris—Zoophytes, coralline phosphorescent—Compound animals.

FALKLAND ISLANDS.

 

March 16th, 1834.—The Beagle anchored in Berkeley Sound, in East Falkland Island.*

* In the same month, also, of the previous year, the Beagle visited these islands.

On March 1st, 1833, and again on March 16th, 1834, the Beagle anchored in Berkeley Sound, in East Falkland Island.

This archipelago is situated in nearly the same latitude with the mouth of the Strait of Magellan; it covers a space of one hundred and twenty by sixty geographical miles, and is little more than half the size of Ireland. After the possession of these miserable islands had been contested by France, Spain, and England, they were left uninhabited. The government of Buenos Ayres then sold them to a private individual, but likewise used them, as old Spain had done before, for a penal settlement. England claimed her right and seized them. The Englishman who was left in charge of the flag was consequently murdered. A British officer was next sent, unsupported by any power: and when we arrived, we found him in charge of a population, of which rather more than half were runaway rebels and murderers.

The theatre is worthy of the scenes acted on it. An undulating land, with a desolate and wretched aspect, is everywhere covered by a peaty soil and wiry grass, of one monotonous brown colour. Here and there a peak or ridge of grey quartz rock breaks through the smooth surface. Every one has heard of the climate of these regions; it may be compared to that which is experienced at the height of between one and two thousand feet, on the mountains of North Wales; having however less sunshine and less frost but more wind and rain.~/*

 

* From accounts published since our voyage, and more especially from several interesting letters from Capt. Sulivan, R. N., employed on the survey, it appears that we took an exaggerated view of the badness of the climate on these islands. But when I reflect on the almost universal covering of peat, and on the fact of wheat seldom ripening here, I can hardly believe that the climate in summer is so fine and dry as it has lately been represented.

~/March 16th.—I will now describe a short excursion which I made round a part of this island. In the morning I started with six horses and two Gauchos: the latter were capital men for the purpose, and well accustomed to living on their own resources. The weather was very boisterous and cold with heavy hail-storms. We got on, however, pretty well but, except the geology, nothing could be less interesting than our day's ride. The country is uniformly the same undulating moorland; the surface being covered by light brown withered grass and a few very small shrubs, all springing out of an elastic peaty soil. In the valleys here and there might be seen a small flock of wild geese, and everywhere the ground was so soft that the snipe were able to feed. Besides these two {kinds of}/~ birds there were few others. There is one main range of hills, nearly two thousand feet in height, and composed of quartz rock, the rugged and barren crests of which gave us some trouble to cross. On the south side we came to the best country for wild cattle; we met, however, no great number, for they had been lately much harassed.

In the evening we came across a small herd. One of my companions, St. Jago by name, soon separated a fat cow: he threw the bolas, and it struck her legs, but failed in becoming entangled. Then dropping his hat to mark the spot where the balls were left, while at full gallop, he uncoiled his lazo, and after a most severe chase, again came up to the cow, and caught her round the horns. The other Gaucho had gone on ahead with the spare horses, so that St. Jago had some difficulty in killing the furious beast. He managed to get her on a level piece of ground, by taking advantage of her as often as she rushed at him; and when she would not move, my horse, from having been trained, would canter up, and with his chest give her a violent push. But when on level ground it does not appear an easy job for one man to kill a beast mad with terror. Nor would it be so, if the horse, when left to itself without its rider, did not soon learn, for its own safety, to keep the lazo tight, so that, if the cow or ox moves forward, the horse moves just as quickly forward; otherwise, it stands motionless leaning on one side. This horse, however, was a young one, and would not stand still, but gave in to the cow as she struggled. It was admirable to see with what dexterity St. Jago dodged behind the beast, till at last he contrived to give the fatal touch to the main tendon of the hind leg after which, without much difficulty, he drove his knife into the head of the spinal marrow, and the cow dropped as if struck by lightning. He cut off pieces of flesh with the skin to it, but without any bones, sufficient for our expedition. We then rode on to our sleeping-place, and had for supper “carne con cuero” or meat roasted with the skin on it. This is as superior to common beef as venison is to mutton. A large circular piece taken from the back is roasted on the embers with the hide downwards and is the form of a saucer, so that none of the gravy is lost. If any worthy alderman had supped with us that evening, “carne con cuero” without doubt, would soon have been celebrated in London.

During the night it rained, and the next day (17th) was very stormy, with much hail and snow. We rode across the island to the neck of land which joins the Rincon del Toro (the great peninsula at the S. W. extremity) to the rest of the island. From the great number of cows which have been killed, there is a large proportion of bulls. These wander about single, or two and three together, and are very savage. I never saw such magnificent beasts;

they truly resembled the ancient sculptures, in which the size of the neck and head is but seldom equalled among tame animals. The young bulls ran away for a short distance, but the old ones did not stir a step, except to rush at man and horse; and many of the latter have thus been killed.

they equalled in the size of their huge heads and necks the Grecian marble sculptures. Capt. Sulivan informs me that the hide of an average-sized bull weighs forty-seven pounds, whereas a hide of this weight, less thoroughly dried, is considered as a very heavy one at Monte Video. The young bulls generally run away, for a short distance; but the old ones do not stir a step, except to rush at man and horse; and many horses have been thus killed.

One/An old bull crossed a boggy stream, and took his stand on the opposite side to us; we in vain tried to drive him away, and failing, were obliged to make a large circuit. The Gauchos in revenge determined to {render him for the future innocuous}/{emasculate him and render him for the future harmless}. It was very interesting to see how art completely mastered force. One lazo was thrown over his horns as he rushed at the horse, and another round his hind legs: in a minute the monster was stretched harmless/powerless on the ground. After the lazo has once been drawn tightly round the horns of a furious animal, it does not at first appear an easy thing to disengage it again

;nor, I apprehend, would it be so, if the man was by himself, and he did not wish to kill the beast.

without killing the beast: nor, I apprehend, would it be so if the man was by himself.

By the aid, however, of a second person throwing his lazo so as to catch both hind legs, it is quickly managed: for the animal, as long as its hind legs are kept outstretched, is quite helpless, and the first man can with his hands loosen his lazo from the horns, and then quietly mount his horse; but the moment the second man, by backing ever so little, relaxes the strain, the lazo slips off the legs of the struggling beast, which then rises free, shakes himself, and vainly rushes at his antagonist.

During our whole ride we saw only one troop of wild horses. These animals, as well as the cattle, were introduced by the French in 1764, since which time both have greatly increased. It is a curious fact, that the horses have never left the eastern end of the island, although there is no natural boundary to prevent them from roaming, and that part of the island is not more tempting than the rest.

The Gauchos, though asserting this to be the case, are unable to account for the circumstance.

The Gauchos whom I asked, though asserting this to be the case, were unable to account for it, except from the strong attachment which horses have to any locality to which they are accustomed. Considering that the island does not appear fully stocked, and that there are no beasts of prey, I was particularly curious to know what has checked their originally rapid increase. That in a limited island some check would sooner or later supervene, is inevitable; but why had the increase of the horse been checked sooner than that of the cattle? Capt. Sulivan has taken much pains for me in this inquiry. The Gauchos employed here attribute it chiefly to the stallions constantly roaming from place to place, and compelling the mares to accompany them, whether or not the young foals are able to follow. One Gaucho told Capt. Sulivan that he had watched a stallion for a whole hour, violently kicking and biting a mare till he forced her to leave her foal to its fate. Capt. Sulivan can so far corroborate this curious account, that he has several times found young foals dead, whereas he has never found a dead calf. Moreover, the dead bodies of full-grown horses are more frequently found, as if more subject to disease or accidents, than those of the cattle. From the softness of the ground their hoofs often grow irregularly to a great length, and this causes lameness. The predominant colours are roan and iron-grey.

The horses appear to thrive well, yet they are small sized, and have lost so much strength, that they are unfit to be used in taking wild cattle with the lazo.

All the horses bred here, both tame and wild, are rather small-sized, though generally in good condition; and they have lost so much strength, that they are unfit to be used in taking wild cattle with the lazo:

In consequence, it is necessary to go to the great expense of importing fresh horses from the Plata. At some future period the southern hemisphere probably will have its breed of Falkland ponies, as the northern has {that of Shetland}/{its Shetland breed}.

The cattle, instead of having degenerated like the horses seem, as before remarked, to have increased in size; and they are much more numerous than the horses. Capt. Sulivan informs me that they vary much less in the general form of their bodies and in the shape of their horns than English cattle. In colour they differ much; and it is a remarkable circumstance, that in different parts of this one small island, different colours predominate. Round Mount Usborne, at a height of from 1000 to 1500 feet above the sea, about half of some of the herds are mouse or lead-coloured, a tint which is not common in other parts of the island. Near Port Pleasant dark brown prevails, whereas south of Choiseul Sound (which almost divides the island into two parts), white beasts with black heads and feet are the most common: in all parts black, and some spotted animals may be observed. Capt. Sulivan remarks, that the difference in the prevailing colours was so obvious, that in looking for the herds near Port Pleasant, they appeared from a long distance like black spots, whilst south of Choiseul Sound they appeared like white spots on the hill-sides. Capt. Sulivan thinks that the herds do not mingle; and it is a singular fact, that the mouse-coloured cattle, though living on the high land, calve about a month earlier in the season that the other coloured beasts on the lower land. It is interesting thus to find the once domesticated cattle breaking into three colours, of which some one colour would in all probability ultimately prevail over the others, if the herds were left undisturbed for the next several centuries.

The rabbit is another animal which has been introduced; and has succeeded very well; so that they abound over large parts of the island. Yet, like the horses, they are confined within certain limits; for they have not crossed the central chain of hills, nor would they have extended even so far as its base, if, as the Gauchos informed me, small colonies has not been carried there. I should not have supposed that these animals, natives of northern Africa, could have existed in a climate so humid as this, and which enjoys so little sunshine that even wheat ripens only occasionally. It is asserted that in Sweden, which any one would have thought a more favourable climate, the rabbit cannot live out of doors. The first few pairs, moreover, had here to contend against pre-existing enemies, in the fox and some large hawks. The French naturalists have considered the black variety a distinct species, and called it Lepus Magellanicus.* They imagined that Magellan, when talking of an animal under the name of “conejos” in the Strait of Magellan, referred to this species; but he was alluding to a small cavy, which to this day is thus called ~/{by the Spaniards}. The Gauchos laughed at the idea of the black kind being different from the grey, and they said that at all events it had not extended its range any further than the other/{grey kind}; that the two were never found separate; and that they readily bred together, and produced piebald offspring. Of the latter I now possess a specimen, and it is marked about the head differently from the French specific description. This circumstance shows how cautious naturalists should be in making species; for even Cuvier, on looking at the skull of one of these rabbits, thought it was probably distinct!

* Lesson's Zoology of the Voyage of the Coquille, tom. i. p. 168. All the early voyagers, and especially Bougainville, distinctly state that the wolf-like fox was the only native animal on the island. The distinction of the rabbit as a species, is taken from peculiarities in the fur, from the shape of the head, and from the shortness of the ears. I may here observe that the difference between the Irish and English hare rests upon nearly similar characters, only more strongly marked.

The only quadruped native to the island*; is a large wolf-like fox ~/{(Canis antarcticus)}, which is common to both East and West Falkland. I have no doubt it is a peculiar species, and confined to this archipelago; because many sealers, Gauchos, and Indians, who have visited these islands, all maintain that no such animal is found in any part of South America.

* I have reason, however, to suspect that there is a field-mouse. The common European rat and mouse have roamed far from the habitations of the settlers. The common hog has also run wild on one islet; all are of a black colour: the boars are very fierce, and have great trunks.

Molina, from a similarity in habits, thought that this was the same with his “culpeu:”* but I have seen both, and they are quite distinct. These wolves are well known from Byron's account of their tameness and curiosity, which the sailors, who ran into the water to avoid them, mistook for fierceness. To this day their manners remain the same. They have been observed to enter a tent, and actually pull some meat from beneath the head of a sleeping seaman. The Gauchos also have frequently {killed them in the evening}/{in the evening killed them}, by holding out a piece of meat in one hand, and in the other a knife ready to stick them. As far as I am aware, there is no other instance in any part of the world, of so small a mass of broken land, distant from a continent, possessing so large an aboriginal quadruped peculiar to itself. Their numbers have rapidly decreased; they are already banished from that half of the island which lies to the eastward of the neck of land between St. Salvador Bay and Berkeley Sound. Within a very few years after these islands shall have become regularly settled, in all probability this for will be classed with the dodo, as an animal which has perished from the face of the earth.

* The “culpeu” is the Canis Magellanicus brought home by Captain King from the Strait of Magellan. It is common in Chile.

Mr. Lowe, an intelligent person who has long been acquainted with these islands, assured me, that all the foxes from the western island were smaller and of a redder colour than those from the eastern. In the four specimens which were brought to England in the Beagle* there was some variation, but the difference with respect to the islands could not be perceived. At the same time the fact is far from improbable.

* Captain FitzRoy has presented two of these foxes to the British Museum, where Mr. Gray had the kindness to compare them in my presence.

 

At night (17th) we slept on the neck of land ~/{at the head of Choiseul Sound,} which forms the south-west peninsula. The valley was pretty well sheltered from the cold wind, but there was very little brushwood for fuel. The Gauchos, however, soon found what, to my great surprise, made nearly as hot a fire as coals; this was the skeleton of a bullock lately killed, from which the flesh had been picked by the {Caracaras}/{carrion-hawks}. They told me that in winter they often killed a beast, cleaned the flesh from the bones with their knives, and then with these same bones roasted the meat for their suppers.

18th.—It rained during nearly the whole day. At night we managed, however, with our saddle-cloths to keep ourselves pretty well dry and warm; but the ground on which we slept was on each occasion nearly in the state of a bog, and there was not a dry spot to sit down on after our day's ride. I have in another part stated how singular it is that there should be absolutely no trees on these islands, although Tierra del Fuego is covered by one large forest. The largest bush in the island (belonging to the family of Compositae) is scarcely so tall as our gorse. The best fuel is afforded by a green little bush about the size of common heath, which has the useful property of burning while fresh and green. It was very surprising to see the Gauchos, in the midst of rain and everything soaking wet, with nothing more than a tinder-box and a piece of rag, immediately make a fire. They sought beneath the tufts of grass and bushel for a few dry twigs, and these they rubbed into fibres; then surrounding them with coarser twigs, something like a bird's nest, they put the rag with its spark of fire in the middle and covered it up. The nest being then held up to the wind, by degrees it smoked more and more, and at last burst out in flames. I do not think any other method would have had a chance of succeeding with such damp materials.

19th.—Each morning, from not having ridden for some time previously, I was very stiff. I was surprised to hear the Gauchos, who have from infancy almost lived on horseback, say that, under similar circumstances, they always suffer. St. Jago told me, that having been confined for three months by illness, he went out hunting wild cattle, and in consequence, for the next two days, his thighs were so stiff that he was obliged to lie in bed. This shows that the Gauchos, although they do not appear to do so, yet really must exert much muscular effort in riding. The hunting wild cattle, in a country so difficult to pass as this is on account of the swampy ground, must be very hard work. The Gauchos say they often pass at full speed over ground which would be impassable at a slower pace; in the same manner as a man is able to skate across/over thin ice. When hunting, the party endeavours to get as close as possible to the herd without being discovered. Each man carries four or five pair of the bolas; these he throws one after the other at as many cattle, which, when once entangled, are left for some days till they become a little exhausted by hunger and struggling. They are then let free and driven towards a small herd of tame animals, which have been brought to the spot on purpose. From their previous treatment, being too much terrified to leave the herd, they are easily driven, if their strength lasts/last out, to the settlement.

The weather continued so very bad that we determine to make a push, and try to reach the vessel before night. From the quantity of rain which had fallen, the surface of the whole country was swampy. I suppose my horse fell at least a dozen times, and sometimes the whole six horses were floundering in the mud together. All the little streams are bordered by soft peat, which makes it very difficult for the horses to leap them without falling. To complete our discomforts we were obliged to cross the head of a creek of the sea, in which the water was as high as {the backs of our horses,}/{our horses' backs;} and the little waves, owing to the violence of the wind, broke over us, and made us very wet and cold. Even the iron-framed Gauchos professed themselves glad when they reached the settlement, after our little excursion.

The geological structure of these islands is in most respects simple.

The lower country consists of clay-slate and sandstone associated together, and the hills of white granular quartz rock. The strata of the latter are frequently arched with perfect symmetry, and the appearance of some of the masses is in consequence most singular. Pernety* has devoted several pages to the description of a hill of ruins, the successive strata of which he has justly compared to the seats of an amphitheatre. The quartz rock must have been quite pasty when it underwent such remarkable flexure without being shattered into fragments. As a passage between the quartz and the sandstone can be traced, it seems probable that the former owes its origin to the sandstone having been heated to such an excess, that it became viscid, and upon cooling crystallized. While in the soft state it must have been pushed up through the overlying beds.

The lower country consists of clay-slate and sandstone, containing fossils, very closely related to, but not identical with, those found in the Silurian formations of Europe; the hills are formed of white granular quartz rock. The strata of the latter are frequently arched with perfect symmetry, and the appearance of some of the masses is in consequence most singular. Pernety* has devoted several pages to the description of a Hill of Ruins, the successive strata of which he has justly compared to the seats of an amphitheatre. The quartz rock must have been quite pasty when it underwent such remarkable flexures without being shattered into fragments. As the quartz insensibly passes into the sandstone, it seems probable that the former owes its origin to the sandstone having been heated to such a degree that it became viscid, and upon cooling crystallized. While in the soft state it must have been pushed up through the overlying beds.

* Pernety, Voyage aux Isles Malouines, p. 526.

The sandstone and clay-slate contain numerous casts of organic remains. These chiefly consist of shells allied to terebratula, of encrinites, of a branching coral divided into alternate compartments, and lastly, of an obscure impression of the lobes of a trilobite. These fossils possess great interest, because none hitherto have been brought to Europe from a latitude nearly so far south. Mr. Murchison, who had the kindness to look at my specimens, says that they have a close general resemblance to those belonging to the lower division of his Silurian system; and Mr. James Sowerby is of opinion that some of the species are identical. This would be a most remarkable circumstance in the ancient natural history of the world; for shells now living in latitude 50° on opposite sides of the equator, are totally distinct. From the similarity of the Falkland fossils with those in England which are associated with remains that indicate a climate of a tropical character, we may I presume infer that, during this same epoch, nearly the whole world was thus circumstanced.

 

In many parts of the island, the bottoms of the valleys are covered in an extraordinary manner, by myriads of great angular fragments of the quartz rock. These have been mentioned with surprise by every voyager since the time of Pernety. The whole may be called “a stream of stones.” The blocks vary in size, from that of a man's chest to ten or twenty times as large, and occasionally they altogether exceed such measures. Their edges show no signs of being water-worn, but are only a little blunted. They do not occur thrown together in irregular piles, but are spread out into level sheets, or great streams.

In many parts of the island the bottoms of the valleys are covered in an extraordinary manner by myriads of great loose angular fragments of the quartz rock, forming “streams of stones.” These have been mentioned with surprise be every voyager since the time of Pernety. The blocks are not water-worn, their angles being only a little blunted; they vary in size from one or two feet in diameter to ten, or even more than twenty times as much. They are not thrown together into irregular piles, but are spread out into level sheets or great streams.

It is not possible to ascertain their thickness, but the water of small streamlets can be heard trickling through the stones many feet below the surface. The actual depth is probably {much greater}/{great}, because the crevices between the lower fragments must long ago have been filled up with sand. The width of these{beds}/{sheets of stones} varied from a few hundred feet to a mile; but the peaty soil daily encroaches on the borders, and even forms islets wherever a few fragments happen to lie close together. In a valley south of Berkeley Sound, which some of our party called the “great valley of fragments” it was necessary to cross an uninterrupted band half a mile wide, by jumping from one pointed stone to another. So large were the fragments, that being overtaken by a shower of rain, I readily found shelter beneath one of them.

Their little inclination is the most remarkable circumstance in these “streams of stones.” On the hill-sides I have seen them sloping at an angle of ten degrees with the horizon; but in some of the level, broad-bottomed valleys, the inclination is only just sufficient to be clearly perceived. On so rugged a surface there was no means of measuring the angle, but to give a common illustration, I may say that the slope would not have checked the speed of an English mail-coach. In some places, a continuous stream of these fragments followed up the course of a valley, and even extended to the very crest of the hill. On these crests huge masses, exceeding in dimensions any small building, seemed to stand arrested in their headlong course: there, also, the curved strata of the archways lay piled on each other, like the ruins of some vast and ancient cathedral. In endeavouring to describe these scenes of violence one is tempted to pass from one simile to another. We may imagine that streams of white lava had flowed from many parts of the mountains into the lower country, and that when solidified they had been rent by some enormous convulsion into myriads of fragments. The expression “streams of stones” which immediately occurred to every one, conveys the same idea. These scenes are on the spot rendered more striking by the contrast of the low rounded forms of the neighbouring hills.

I was much/~ interested by finding on the highest peak of one range (about 700 feet above the sea) a great arched fragment, lying on its convex {or upper surface}/{side, or back downwards}. Must we believe that it was fairly pitched up in the air, and thus turned? Or, with more probability, that there existed formerly a part of the same range more elevated than the point on which this monument of a great convulsion of nature now lies. As the fragments in the valleys are neither rounded nor the crevices filled up with sand, we must infer that the period of violence was subsequent to the land having been raised above the waters of the sea. In a transverse section within these valleys, the bottom is nearly level, or rises but very little towards either side. Hence the fragments appear to have travelled from the head of the valley; but in reality it seems most/more probable either/~ that they have been hurled down from the nearest {slopes, or that masses of rock were broken up in the position they formerly occupied}/{slopes}; and that since, by a vibratory movement of overwhelming force,* the fragments have been levelled into one continuous sheet. If during the earthquake† which in 1835 overthrew Concepcion, in Chile, it was thought wonderful that small bodies should have been pitched a few inches from the ground, what must we say to a movement which has caused fragments many tons in weight, {(like so much sand on a vibrating board) to move onwards}/{to move onwards like so much sand on a vibrating board,} and find their level? I have seen, in the Cordillera of the Andes, the evident marks where stupendous mountains have been broken into pieces like so much thin crust, and the strata thrown on their vertical edges; but never did any scene, like these “streams of stones” so forcibly convey to my mind the idea of a convulsion, of which in historical records we might in vain seek for any {counterpart.}/{counterpart: yet the progress of knowledge will probably some day give a simple explanation of this phenomenon, as it already has of the so long-thought inexplicable transportal of the erratic boulders, which are strewed over the plains of Europe.}

* “Nous n'avons pas ete moins saisis d'etonnement a la vue de l'innombrable quantite de pierres de touts grandeurs, bouleversees les unes sur les autres, et cependent rangees, comme si elles avoient ete amoncelees negligemment pour remplir des ravins. On ne se lassoit pas d'admirer les effets prodigieux de la nature.”—Pernety, p. 526.

† An inhabitant of Mendoza, and hence well capable of judging, assured me that, during the several years he had resided on these islands, he had never felt the slightest shock of an earthquake.

I have little to remark on the zoology of these islands. I have before described the {Polyborus or Caracara}/{carrion-vulture or Polyborus}. There are some other hawks, owls, and a few small land-birds. The water-fowl*/~ are particularly numerous, and they must formerly, from the accounts of the old navigators, have been much more so.

*I may mention, that I one day observed a cormorant playing with a fish which it had caught. Eight times successively the bird let its prey go, then dived after it, and although in deep water, brought it each time to the surface. In the Zoological Gardens I have seen the otter treat a fish in the same manner, much as a cat does a mouse. I do not know of any other instance where dame Nature appears so wilfully cruel.

One day I observed a cormorant playing with a fish which it had caught. Eight times successively the bird let its prey go, then dived after it, and although in deep water, brought it each time to the surface. In the Zoological Gardens I have seen the otter treat a fish in the same manner, much as a cat does a mouse: I do not know of any other instance where dame Nature appears so wilfully cruel.

One day, having placed myself between a penguin (Aptenodytes demersa) and the water, I was much amused by watching its habits.

Another day, having placed myself between a penguin (Aptenodytes demersa) and the water, I was much amused by watching its habits.

It was a brave bird; and till reaching the sea, it regularly fought and drove me backwards. Nothing less than heavy blows would have stopped him; every inch he gained he firmly kept, standing close before me erect and determined. When thus opposed he continually rolled his head from side to side, in a very odd manner, as if the power of distinct vision lay only in the anterior and basal part of each eye. This bird is commonly called the jackass penguin, from its habit, while on shore, of throwing its head backwards, and making a loud strange noise, very like the braying of {that animal}/{an ass}; but while at sea, and undisturbed, its note is very deep and solemn, and is often heard in the night-time. In diving, its little wings are used as fins; but on the land, as front legs. When crawling, it may be said on four legs, through the tussocks or on the side of a grassy cliff, it moves so very quickly that it might easily be mistaken for a quadruped. When at sea and fishing, it comes to the surface for the purpose of breathing with such a spring, and dives again so instantaneously, that I defy any one at first sight to be sure that it was not a fish leaping for sport.

Two kinds of geese frequent the Falklands. The upland species (Anas Magellanica) is common, in pairs and in small flocks, throughout the island. They do not migrate, but build on the small outlying islets. This is supposed to be from fear of the foxes: and it is perhaps from the same cause that these birds, though very tame by day, are shy and wild in the dusk of the evening. They live entirely on vegetable matter.

The rock-goose, so called from living exclusively on the sea-beach (Anas antarctica), is common both here and on the west coast of America, as far north as Chile. In the deep and retired channels of Tierra del Fuego, the snow-white gander, invariably accompanied by his darker consort, and standing close by each other on some distant rocky point, is a common feature in the landscape.

In these islands a great loggerheaded duck or goose (Anas brachyptera), which sometimes weighs twenty-two pounds, is very abundant. These birds were in former days called, from their extraordinary manner of paddling and splashing upon the water, race-horses; but now they are named, much more appropriately, steamers. Their wings are too small and weak to allow of flight, but by their aid, partly swimming and partly flapping the surface of the water, they move very quickly. The manner is something like that by which the common house-duck escapes when pursued by a dog; but I am nearly sure that the steamer moves its wings alternately, instead of both together, as in other birds. These clumsy, loggerheaded ducks make such a noise and splashing, that the effect is exceedingly curious.

Thus we find in South America three birds, which use their wings for other purposes besides flight: the penguin as fins, the steamer as paddles, and the ostrich as sails to a vessel. The steamer is able to dive only a very short distance. It feeds entirely on shell-fish from the kelp and tidal rocks; hence the beak and head, for the purpose of breaking them, are surprisingly heavy and strong. So strong is the head, that I have scarcely been able to fracture it with my geological hammer; and all our sportsmen soon discovered how tenacious these birds were of life. When pluming themselves in the evening in a flock, they make the same odd mixture of sounds which bullfrogs do within the Tropics.

Thus we find in South America three birds which use their wings for other purposes besides flight; the penguins as fins, the steamer as paddles, and the ostrich as sails: and the Apteryz of New Zealand, as well as its gigantic extinct prototype the Deinornis, possess only rudimentary representatives of wings. The steamer is able to dive only to a very short distance. It feeds entirely on shell-fish from the kelp and tidal rocks: hence the beak and head, for the purpose of breaking them, are surprisingly heavy and strong: the head is so strong that I have scarcely been able to fracture it with my geological hammer; and all our sportsmen soon discovered how tenacious these birds were of life. When in the evening pluming themselves in a flock, they make the same odd mixture of sounds which bull-frogs do within the tropics.

In Tierra del Fuego, as well as in the Falkland Islands, I made many observations on the lower marine animals,* but they are of little general interest. I will mention only one class of facts, relating to certain zoophytes in the more highly organized division of that class. Several genera (Flustra, Eschara, Cellaria, Crisia, and others) agree in having singular moveable organs (like those of Flustra avicularia, found in the European seas) attached to their cells. The organ, in the greater number of cases, very closely resembles the head of a vulture; but the lower mandible can be opened much wider{, so as to form even a straight line with the upper}/{ than in a real bird's beak}. The head itself possessed considerable powers of movement, by means of a short neck. In one zoophyte the head itself was fixed, but the lower jaw free: in another it was replaced by a triangular hood, with beautifully-fitted trap-door, which evidently answered to the lower mandible. {A species of stony eschara had a structure somewhat similar.}/~ In the greater number of species, each cell was provided with one head, but in others each cell had two.

* While at the Falklands, during the autumn of the southern hemisphere, most of the lower marine animals were breeding. I was surprised to find on counting the eggs of a large white Doris (this sea-slug was three and a half inches long) how extraordinarily numerous they were. From two to five eggs (each three-thousandths of an inch in diameter) were contained in a spherical little case. These were arranged two deep in transverse rows forming a ribbon. The ribbon adhered by its edge to the rock in an oval spire. One, which I found, measured nearly twenty inches in length and half in breadth. By counting how many balls were contained in a tenth of an inch in the row, and how many rows in an equal length of the ribbon, on the most moderate computation there were six hundred thousand eggs. Yet this Doris was certainly not very common: although I was often searching under the stones I saw only seven individuals.

* I was surprised to find, on counting the eggs of a large white Doris (this sea-slug was three and a half inches long), how extraordinarily numerous they were. From two to five eggs (each three-thousandths of an inch in diameter) were contained in spherical little case. These were arranged two deep in transverse rows forming a ribbon. The ribbon adhered by its edge to the rock in an oval spire. One which I found, measured nearly twenty inches in length and half in breadth. By counting how many balls were contained in a tenth of an inch in the row, and how many rows in an equal length of the ribbon, on the most moderate computation there were six hundred thousand eggs. Yet this Doris was certainly not very common; although I was often searching under the stones, I saw only seven individuals. No fallacy is more common with naturalists, than that the numbers of an individual species depend on its powers of propagation.

The young cells at the end of the branches of these corallines contain quite immature polypi, yet the vulture-head attached to them, though small, are in every respect perfect. When the polypus was removed by a needle from any of the cells, these organs did not appear in the least affected. When one of the vulture-like heads was cut off from the cell, the lower mandible retained its power of opening and closing. Perhaps the most singular part of their structure is, that when there were more than two rows of cells on a branch, the central cells were furnished with these appendages, of only one-fourth the size of the lateral/outside ones. Their movements varied according to the species{:~/{; but} in some I never saw the least motion; while others, with the lower mandible generally wide open, oscillated backwards and forwards at the rate of about five seconds each turn, others moved rapidly and by starts. When touched with a needle, the beak generally seized the point so firmly, that the whole branch might be shaken.

These bodies have no relation whatever with the production of the gemmules. I could not trace any connexion between them and the polypus. From their formation being completed before that of the latter; from the independence of their movements; from the difference of their size in different parts of the branch; I have little doubt that in their functions they are related rather to the axis than to any of the polypi. In a similar manner, the fleshy appendage at the extremity of the sea-pen forms part of the zoophyte as a whole, as much as the roots of a tree do of the whole and not of the individual buds. Without doubt this is a very curious variation in the structure of a zoophyte: for the growing part in most other cases does not manifest the least irritability or power of movement.

I will mention one other kind of structure quite as anomalous. A small and elegant Crisia is furnished, at the corner of each cell, with a long and slightly-curved bristle, which is fixed at the lower end by a joint. It terminates in the finest point, and has its outer or convex side serrated with delicate teeth or notches. Having placed a small piece of a branch under the microscope, I was exceedingly surprised to see it suddenly start from the field of vision by the movement of these bristles, which acted as oars. Irritation generally produced this motion, but not always. When the coralline was laid flat on that side from which the toothed bristles projected, they were necessarily all pressed together and entangled. This scarcely ever failed to excite a considerable movement among them, and evidently with the object of freeing themselves. In a small piece, which was taken out of water and placed on blotting-paper, the movement of these organs was clearly visible for a few seconds by the naked eye.

In the case of the vulture-heads, as well as in that of the bristles, all that were on one side of a branch, moved sometimes coinstantaneously, sometimes in regular order one after the other; at other times the organs on both sides the branch moved together; but generally all were independent of each other, and entirely so of the polypi. In the Crisia, if the bristles were excited to move by irritation in any one branch, generally the whole zoophyte was affected. In the instance where the branch started from the simultaneous movement of these appendages, we see as perfect a transmission of will as in a single animal.

These bodies have no relation whatever with the production of the eggs or gemmules, as they are formed before the young polypi appear in the cells at the end of the growing branches; as they move independently of the polypi, and do not appear to be in any way connected with them; and as they differ in size on the outer and inner rows of cells, I have little doubt, that in their functions, they are related rather to the horny axis of the branches than to the polypi in the cells. The fleshy appendage at the lower extremity of the sea-pen (described at Bahia Blanca) also forms part of the zoophyte, as a whole, in the same manner as the roots of a tree form part of the whole tree, and not of the individual leaf or flower-buds.

In another elegant little coralline (Crisia?), each cell was furnished with a long-toothed bristle, which had the power of moving quickly. Each of these bristles and each of the vulture-like heads generally moved quite independently of the others, but sometimes all on both sides of a branch, sometimes only those on one side, moved together coinstantaneously, sometimes each moved in regular order one after another. In these actions we apparently behold as perfect a transmission of will in the zoophyte, though composed of thousands of distinct polypi, as in any single animal.

The case, indeed, is not different from that of the sea-pen, which when touched drew itself into the sand. I will state one other instance of uniform action, though of a very different nature, in a zoophyte*/~ closely allied to Clytia, and therefore very simply organized. Having kept a large tuft of it in a basin of salt water, when it was dark I found that as often as I rubbed any part of a branch, the whole became strongly phosphorescent with a green light: I do not think I ever saw any object more beautifully so. But the remarkable circumstance was, that the flashes of light always proceeded up the branches, from the base towards the extremities.

* This coralline emitted a very strong and disagreeable odour, when freshly taken from the sea.

 

The examination of these compound animals was always very interesting to me. What can be more remarkable than to see a plant-like body producing an egg, furnished with setæ, and having independent movements, which soon becomes fixed, branches into numberless arms, and these, though crowded with polypi, yet in some cases possessing independent organs of movement, and obeying uniform impulses of will? The polypi are frequently animals of no simple organization; and in most respects certainly are to be considered as true individuals. It is therefore more curious to observe, in the young and terminal cells, their gradual formation, from the growth of the simple horny substance of which so many zoophytes are composed. The known organization of a tree should remove all surprise at the union of many individuals together, and their relation to a common body. Indeed we might expect, according to the apparent law, that any structure which prevails in one class will be produced in a lesser degree in some others—that since so many plants are compound, so would some animals be thus constructed. It requires, however, a greater effort of reason to view a bud as an individual, than a polypus furnished with a mouth and intestines; and therefore the union does not appear so strange.

Our conception of a compound animal,* where in some respects the individuality of each is not completed, may be aided, by reflecting on the production of two distinct creatures by bisecting one with a knife, or where nature herself performs the task. We may consider the polypi in a zoophyte, or the buds in a tree, as cases where the division of the individual has not been completely effected. In this kind of generation, the individuals seem produced only with relation to the present time; their numbers are multiplied, but their life is not extended beyond a fixed period. By the other, and more artificial kind, through intermediate steps or ovules, the relation is kept up through successive ages. By the latter method many peculiarities, which are transmitted by the former, are obliterated, and the character of the species is limited; while on the other hand, certain peculiarities (doubtless adaptations) become hereditary and form races. We may fancy that in these two circumstances we see a step towards the final cause of the shortness of life.

* With regard to associated life, animals of other classes besides the mollusca and radiata present obscure instances of it. The bee could not live by itself. And in the neuter, we see an individual produced which is not fitted for the reproduction of its kind—that highest point at which the organization of all animals, especially the lower ones, tends—therefore such neuters are born as much for the good of the community, as the leaf-bud is for the tree.

The examination of these compound animals was always very interesting to me. What can be more remarkable than to see a plant-like body producing an egg, capable of swimming about and of choosing a proper place to adhere to, which then sprouts into branches, each crowded with innumerable distinct animals, often of complicated organizations. The branches, moreover, as we have just seen, sometimes possess organs capable of movement and independent of the polypi. Surprising as this union of separate individuals in common stock must always appear, every tree displays the same fact, for buds must be considered as individual plants. It is, however, natural to consider a polypus, furnished with a mouth, intestines, and other organs, as a distinct individual, whereas the individuality of a leaf-bud is not easily realised, so that the union of separate individuals in a common body is more striking in a coralline than in a tree. Our conception of a compound animal, where in some respects the individuality of each is not completed, may be aided, by reflecting on the production of two distinct creatures by bisecting a single one with a knife, or where Nature herself performs the task of bisection. We may consider the polypi in a zoophyte, or the buds in a tree, as cases where the division of the individual has not been completely effected. Certainly in the case of trees, and judging from analogy in that of corallines, the individuals propagated by buds seem more intimately related to each other, than eggs or seeds are to their parents. It seems now pretty well established that plants propagated by buds all partake of a common duration of life; and it is familiar to every one, what singular and numerous peculiarities are transmitted with certainty, by buds, layers, and grafts, which by seminal propagation never or only casually reappear.


NOTE: In the 1839 edition, Darwin's Tierra del Fuego chapter (XI) came before the Falkland Islands chapter (XII), thus following the chronological order of the actual voyage (Tierra del Fuego first, then Falklands, then subsequent return visits to Tierra del Fuego). In the 1845 edition, the content of Chapter XII was appended to Chapter IX, thus placing it before the Tierra del Fuego chapter. Therefore, his opening “Having now finished with … the Falkland Islands” phrase now refers to his description of the islands, and not to the order in which these locations were visited.

CHAPTER XI.

Tierra del Fuego, first arrival—Good Success Bay—Interview with savages—Scenery of the forests—Sir J. Banks's hill—Cape Horn—Wigwam Cove—Miserable condition of savages—Beagle channel—Fuegians—Ponsonby Sound—Equality of condition among natives—Bifurcation of Beagle channel—Glaciers—Return to ship.

TIERRA DEL FUEGO.

CHAPTER X

TIERRA DEL FUEGO.

Tierra del Fuego, first arrival—Good Success Bay—An Account of the Fuegians on board—Interview with savages—Scenery of the Forests—Cape Horn—Wigwam Cove—Miserable Condition of Savages—Famines—Cannibals—Matricide—Religious Feelings—Great Gale—Beagle channel—Ponsonby Sound—Build Wigwams and Settle the Fuegians;—Bifurcation of Beagle Channel—Glaciers—Return to the ship—Second Visit of the Ship to the Settlement—Equality of Condition amongst the Natives.

December 17th, 1832.—Having now finished with Patagonia, I will describe our first arrival in Tierra del Fuego.

December 17th, 1832.—Having now finished with Patagonia and the Falkland Islands, I will describe our first arrival in Tierra del Fuego.

A little after noon we doubled Cape St. Diego, and entered the famous strait of Le Maire. We kept close to the Fuegian shore, but the outline of the rugged, inhospitable Staten land was visible amidst the clouds. In the afternoon we anchored in the bay of Good Success. While entering we were saluted in a manner becoming the inhabitants of this savage land. A group of Fuegians partly concealed by the entangled forest, were perched on a wild point overhanging the sea; and as we passed by, they sprang up, and waving their tattered cloaks sent forth a loud and sonorous shout. The savages followed the ship, and just before dark we saw their fire, and again heard their wild cry. The harbour consists of a fine piece of water half surrounded by low rounded mountains of clay-slate, which are covered to the water's edge by one dense gloomy forest. A single glance at the landscape was sufficient to show me, how widely different it was from any thing I had ever beheld. At night it blew a gale of wind, and heavy squalls from the mountains swept past us. It would have been a bad time out at sea, and we, as well as others, may call this Good Success Bay.

In the morning, the Captain sent a party to communicate with the Fuegians. When we came within hail, one of the four natives who were present advanced to receive us, and began to shout most vehemently, wishing to direct us where to land. When we were on shore the party looked rather alarmed, but continued talking and making gestures with great rapidity. It was without exception the most curious and interesting spectacle I had ever beheld. I could not have believed how wide was the difference, between savage and civilized man. It is greater than between a wild and domesticated animal, in as much as in man there is a greater power of improvement. The chief spokesman was old, and appeared to be the head of the family; the three others were powerful young men, about six feet high. The women and children had been sent away.

These Fuegians are a very different race from the stunted miserable wretches further to the westward. They are much superior in person, and seem closely allied to the famous Patagonians of the Strait of Magellan.

These Fuegians are a very different race from the stunted miserable wretches further westward; and they seem closely allied to the famous Patagonians of the Strait of Magellan.

Their only garment consists of a mantle made of guanaco skin, with the wool outside; this they wear just thrown over their shoulders, as often leaving their persons exposed as covered. Their skin is of a dirty coppery red colour.

The old man had a fillet of white feathers tied round his head, which partly confined his black, coarse, and entangled hair. His face was crossed by two broad transverse bars; one painted bright red reached from ear to ear, and included the upper lip;

the other, white like chalk, extended parallel and above the first, so that even his eyelids were thus coloured. Some of the other men were ornamented by streaks of black powder, made of charcoal.

the other, white like chalk, extended above and parallel to the first, so that even his eyelids were thus coloured. The other two men were ornamented by streaks of black powder, made of charcoal.

The party altogether closely resembled the devils which come on the stage in such plays as Der Freischutz.

Their very attitudes were abject, and the expression of their countenances distrustful, surprised, and startled. After we had presented them with some scarlet cloth, which they immediately tied round their necks, they became good friends. This was shown by the old man patting our breasts, and making a chuckling kind of noise, as people do when feeding chickens. I walked with the old man, and this demonstration of friendship was repeated several times; it was concluded by three hard slaps, which were given me on the breast and back at the same time. He then bared his bosom for me to return the compliment, which being done, he seemed highly pleased. The language of these people, according to our notions, scarcely deserves to be called articulate. Captain Cook has compared it to a man clearing his throat, but certainly no European ever cleared his throat with so many hoarse, guttural, and clicking sounds.

They are excellent mimics: as often as we coughed or yawned, or made any odd motion, they immediately imitated us. Some of our party began to squint and look awry; but one of the young Fuegians (whose whole face was painted black, excepting a white band across his eyes) succeeded in making far more hideous grimaces. They could repeat with perfect correctness, each word in any sentence we addressed them, and they remembered such words for some time. Yet we Europeans all know how difficult it is to distinguish apart the sounds in a foreign language. Which of us, for instance, could follow an American Indian through a sentence of more than three words? All savages appear to possess, to an uncommon degree, this power of mimicry. I was told almost in the same words, of the same ludicrous habits among the Caffres: the Australians, likewise, have long been notorious for being able to imitate and describe the gait of any man, so that he may be recognised. How can this faculty be explained? is it a consequence of the more practised habits of perception and keener senses, common to all men in a savage state, as compared to those long civilized?

When a song was struck up by our party, I thought the Fuegians would have fallen down with astonishment. With equal surprise they viewed our dancing; but one of the young men, when asked, had no objection to a little waltzing. Little accustomed to Europeans as they appeared to be, yet they knew, and dreaded our fire-arms; nothing would tempt them to take a gun in their hands. They begged for knives, calling them by the Spanish word “cuchilla.” They explained also what they wanted, by acting as if they had a piece of blubber in their mouth, and then pretending to cut instead of tear it.

II, p. 4: “Sir (to Phillip Parker King)
“ I have the honour of reporting to you that there are now on board His Majesty's sloop, under my command, four natives of Tierra del Fuego.
“ Their names and ages are,

York Minster....................26
Boat Memory....................20
James Button....................14
Fuegia Basket (a girl).........  9

I, p. 444: “ … I told one of the boys in a canoe to come into our boat, and gave the man who was with him a large shining mother-of-pearl button.”
II, p. 182 footnote: “It was an uncle who gave him to me for some buttons.”
Note FitzRoy's “some buttons” becomes “a pearl button” in Darwin's account.

I have not as yet noticed the Fuegians whom we had on board. During the former voyage of the Adventure and Beagle in 1826 to 1830, Captain Fitz Roy seized on a party of natives, as hostages for the loss of a boat, which had been stolen, to the great jeopardy of a party employed on the survey; and some of these natives, as well as a child whom he bought for a pearl button, he took to England, determining to educate them and instruct them in religion at his own expense. To settle these natives in their own country, was one chief inducement to Captain Fitz Roy to undertake our present voyage; and before the Admiralty had resolved to send out this expedition, Captain Fitz Roy had generously chartered a vessel, and would himself have taken them back. The natives were accompanied by a missionary. R. Matthews; of whom and of the natives, Captain Fitz Roy has published a full and excellent account.

 

Two men, one of whom died in England of the smallpox, a boy and a little girl, were originally taken; and we had now on board, York Minster, Jemmy Button (whose name expressed his purchase money), and Fuegia Basket.

York Minster was a full-grown, short, thick, powerful man: his disposition was reserved, taciturn, morose, and when excited violently passionate; his affections were very strong towards a few friends on board; his intellect good. Jemmy Button was a universal favourite, but likewise passionate; the expression of his face at once showed his nice disposition. He was merry and often laughed, and was remarkably sympathetic with any one in pain; when the water was rough, I was often a little sea-sick, and he used to come to me and say in a plaintive voice, “Poor, poor fellow!” but the notion, after his aquatic life, of a man being sea-sick, was too ludicrous, and he was generally obliged to turn on one side to hide a smile or laugh, and then he would repeat his “Poor, poor fellow!” He was of a patriotic disposition; and he liked to praise his own tribe and country, in which he truly said there were “plenty of trees,” and he abused all the other tribes: he stoutly declared that there was no Devil in his land. Jemmy was short, thick, and fat, but vain of his personal appearance; he used to wear gloves, his hair was neatly cut, and he was distressed if his well-polished shoes were dirtied. He was fond of admiring himself in a looking-glass; and a merry-faced little Indian box from Rio Negro, whom we had for some months on board, soon perceived this, and used to mock him: Jemmy, who was always rather jealous of the attention paid to this little boy, did not at all like this, and used to say, with rather a contemptuous twist of his head, “Too much skylark.” It seems yet wonderful to me, when I think over all his many good qualities, that he should have been of the same race, and doubtless partaken of the same character, with the miserable, degraded savages whom we first met here.

Lastly, Fuegia Basket was a nice, modest, reserved young girl, with a rather pleasing but sometimes sullen expression, and very quick in learning anything, especially languages. This she showed in picking up some Portuguese and Spanish, when left on shore for only a short time at Rio de Janeiro and Monte Video, and in her knowledge of English. York Minster was very jealous of any attention paid to her; for it was clear he determined to marry her as soon as they were settled on shore.

Although all three could both speak and understand a good deal of English, it was singularly difficult to obtain much information from them, concerning the habits of their countrymen: this was partly owing to their apparent difficulty in understanding the simplest alternative. Every one accustomed to very young children, knows how seldom one can get an answer even to so simple a question as whether a thing is black or white; the idea of black or white seems alternately to fill their minds. So it was with the Fuegians, and hence it was generally impossible to find out, by cross-questioning, whether one had rightly understood anything which they had asserted. Their sight was remarkably acute: it is well known that sailors, from long practice, can make out a distant object much better than a landsman; but both York and Jemmy were much superior to any sailor on board: several times they have declared what some distant object has been, and though doubted by every one, they have proved right, when it has been examined through a telescope. They were quite conscious of this power; and Jemmy, when he had any little quarrel with the officer on watch, would say, “Me see ship, me no tell.”

It was interesting to watch the conduct of these people towards Jemmy Button (one of the Fuegians* who had been taken, during the former voyage, to England): they immediately perceived the difference between him and the rest, and held much conversation between themselves on the subject.

It was interesting to watch the conduct of the savages, when we landed, towards Jemmy Button: they immediately perceived the difference between him and ourselves, and held much conversation one with another on the subject.

* Captain FitzRoy has given a history of these people. Four were taken to England; one died there, and the three others (two men and one woman) were now brought back and settled in their own country.

Note: Reference (at left) to FitzRoy's Narrative removed from the 1845 edition, with the equivalent text incorported into Darwin's own account.

The old man addressed a long harangue to Jemmy, which it seems was to invite him to stay with them. But Jemmy understood very little of their language, and was, moreover, thoroughly ashamed of his countrymen. When York Minster {(another of these men)}/{afterwards} came on shore, they noticed him in the same way, and told him he ought to shave; yet he had not twenty dwarf hairs on his face, whilst we all wore our untrimmed beards. They examined the colour of his skin, and compared it with ours.

One of our arms being bared, they expressed the liveliest surprise and admiration at its whiteness.

One of our arms being bared, they expressed the liveliest surprise and admiration at its whiteness, just in the same way in which I have seen the ourang-outang do at the Zoological Gardens.

We thought that they mistook two or three of the officers, who were rather shorter and fairer (though adorned with large beards), for the ladies of our party. The tallest amongst the Fuegians was evidently much pleased at his height being noticed. When placed back to back with the tallest of the boat's crew, he tried his best to edge on higher ground, and to stand on tiptoe. He opened his mouth to show his teeth, and turned his face for a side view; and all this was done with such alacrity, that I dare say he thought himself the handsomest man in Tierra del Fuego. After the first feeling on our part of grave astonishment was over, nothing could be more ludicrous ~/{or interesting} than the odd mixture of surprise and imitation which these savages every moment exhibited.

The next day I attempted to penetrate some way into the country. Tierra del Fuego may be described as a mountainous country, partly submerged in the sea, so that deep islets/inlets and bays occupy the place where valleys should exist. The mountain sides, except on the exposed western coast, are covered from the water's edge upwards by one great forest. The trees reach to an elevation of between 1000 and 1500 feet; and are succeeded by a band of peat, with minute alpine plants; and this again is succeeded by the line of perpetual snow, which, according to Captain King, in the Strait of Magellan descends to between 3000 and 4000 feet. To find an acre of level land in any part of the country is most rare. I recollect only one little flat near Port Famine, and another of rather larger extent near Goeree Road. In both these cases, and in all others, the surface was covered by a thick bed of swampy peat. Even within the forest the ground is concealed by a mass of slowly putrefying vegetable matter, which, from being soaked with water, yields to the foot.

Finding it nearly hopeless to push my way through the wood, I followed the course of a mountain torrent. At first, from the waterfalls and number of dead trees, I could hardly crawl along; but the bed of the stream soon became a little more open, from the floods having swept the sides. I continued slowly to advance for an hour along the broken and rocky banks; and was amply repaid by the grandeur of the scene. The gloomy depth of the ravine well accorded with the universal signs of violence. On every side were lying irregular masses of rock and up-torn trees; other trees, though still erect, were decayed to the heart and ready to fall. The entangled mass of the thriving and the fallen reminded me of the forests within the tropics;—yet there was a difference; for in these still solitudes, Death, instead of Life, seemed the predominant spirit. I followed the watercourse till I came to a spot where a great slip had cleared a straight space down the mountain side. By this road I ascended to a considerable elevation, and obtained a good view of the surrounding woods.

The trees all belong to one kind, the Fagus betuloides, for the number of the other species of beech, and of the Winter's bark, is quite inconsiderable.

The trees all belong to one kind, the Fagus betuloides, for the number of the other species of Fagus and of the Winter's bark, is quite inconsiderable.

This tree keeps its leaves throughout the year; but its foliage is of a peculiar brownish-green colour, with a tinge of yellow. As the whole landscape is thus coloured, it has a sombre, dull appearance; nor is it often enlivened by the rays of the sun.

December 20th.—One side of the harbour is formed by a hill about 1500 feet high, which Captain FitzRoy has called after Sir J. Banks, in commemoration of his disastrous excursion, which proved fatal to two of his party, and nearly so to Dr. Solander. The snowstorm, which was the cause of their misfortune, happened in the middle of January, corresponding to our July, and in the latitude of Durham! I was anxious to reach the summit of this mountain to collect alpine plants; for flowers of any kind, in the lower part, were few in number. We followed the same watercourse as on the previous day, till it dwindled away, and then were compelled to crawl blindly among the trees. These, from the effects of the elevation, and of the impetuous winds, were low, thick, and crooked. At length we reached that which from a distance appeared like a carpet of fine green turf, but which, to our vexation, turned out to be a compact mass of little beech-trees about four or five feet high. These were as thick together as box in the border of a flower-garden, and we were obliged to struggle over the flat but treacherous surface. After a little more trouble we gained the peat, and then the bare slate rock.

A ridge connected this hill with another, distant some miles, and more lofty, so that patches of snow were lying on it. As the day was not far advanced, I determined to walk there and collect along the road. It would have been very hard work, had it not been for a well-beaten and straight path made by the guanacoes; for these animals, like sheep, always follow the same line. When we reached the hill we found it the highest in the immediate neighbourhood, and the waters flowed to the sea in opposite directions. We obtained a wide view over the surrounding country: to the northward a swampy moorland extended, but to the southward we had a scene of savage magnificence, well becoming Tierra del Fuego. There was a degree of mysterious grandeur in mountain behind mountain, with the deep intervening valleys, all covered by one thick, dusky mass of forest. The atmosphere, likewise, in this climate (where gale succeeds gale, with rain, hail, and sleet), seems blacker than any where else. In the Strait of Magellan looking due south from Port Famine, the distant channels between the mountains appear from their gloominess to lead beyond the confines of this world.

December 21st.—The Beagle got under way: and on the succeeding day, favoured to an uncommon degree by a fine easterly breeze, we closed in with the Barnevelts, and, running past Cape Deceit with its stony peaks, about three o'clock doubled the weatherbeaten Cape Horn. The evening was calm and bright, and we enjoyed a fine view of the surrounding isles. Cape Horn, however, demanded his tribute, and before night sent us a gale of wind directly in our teeth. We stood out to sea, and on the second day again made the land, when we saw on our weather-bow this notorious promontory in its proper form—veiled in a mist, and its dim outline surrounded by a storm of wind and water. Great black clouds were rolling across the heavens, and squalls of rain, with hail, swept by us with extreme violence; so that the captain determined to run into Wigwam Cove. This is a snug little harbour, not far from Cape Horn; and here, at Christmas-eve, we anchored in smooth water. The only thing which reminded us of the gale outside, was every now and then a puff from the mountains,

which seemed to wish to blow us out of the water.

which made the ship surge at her anchors.

December 25th.—Close by the cove, a pointed hill, called Kater's Peak, rises to the height of 1700 feet. The surrounding islands all consist of conical masses of greenstone, associated sometimes with less regular hills of baked and altered clay-slate. This part of Tierra del Fuego may be considered as the extremity of the submerged chain of mountains already alluded to. The cove takes its name of “Wigwam” from some of the Fuegian habitations; but every bay in the neighbourhood might be so called with equal propriety. The inhabitants living chiefly upon shell-fish, are obliged constantly to change their place of residence; but they return at intervals to the same spots, as is evident from the pile of old shells, which must often amount to some tons in weight. These heaps can be distinguished at a long distance by the bright green colour of certain plants, which invariably grow on them. Among these may be enumerated the wild celery and scurvy grass, two very serviceable plants, the use of which has not been discovered by the natives.

The Fuegian wigwam resembles, in size and dimensions, a haycock. It merely consists of a few broken branches stuck in the ground, and very imperfectly thatched on one side with a few tufts of grass and rushes. The whole cannot be so much as the work of an hour, and it is only used for a few days. At Goeree Roads I saw a place where one of these naked men had slept, which absolutely offered no more cover than the form of a hare. The man was evidently living by himself, and York Minster said he was “very bad man,” and that probably he had stolen something. On the west coast, however, the wigwams are rather better, for they are covered with seal-skins. We were detained here several days by the bad weather. The climate is certainly wretched; the summer solstice was now passed, yet every day snow fell on the hills, and in the valleys there was rain, accompanied by sleet. The thermometer generally stood about 45°, but in the night fell to 38° or 40°. From the damp and boisterous state of the atmosphere, not cheered by a gleam of sunshine, one fancied the climate even worse than it really was.

At a subsequent period the Beagle anchored for a couple of days under Wollaston Island, which is a short way to the northward. While going on shore we pulled alongside a canoe with six Fuegians.

While going one day on shore near Wollaston Island, we pulled alongside a canoe with six Fuegians.

These were the most abject and miserable creatures I any where beheld.*/~ On the east coast the natives, as we have seen, have guanaco cloaks, and on the west, they possess seal-skins. Amongst these central tribes the men generally possess an otter-skin, or some small scrap about as large as a pocket-handkerchief, which is barely sufficient to cover their backs as low down as their loins. It is laced across the breast by strings, and according as the wind blows, it is shifted from side to side. But these Fuegians in the canoe were quite naked, and even one full-grown woman was absolutely so. It was raining heavily, and the fresh water, together with the spray, trickled down her body. In another harbour not far distant, a woman, who was suckling a recently-born child, came one day alongside the vessel, and remained there {out of sheer curiosity,}/~ whilst the sleet fell and thawed on her naked bosom, and on the skin of her naked child./baby! These poor wretches were stunted in their growth, their hideous faces bedaubed with white paint, their skins filthy and greasy, their hair entangled, their voices discordant, {their gestures violent and without dignity.}/{and their gestures violent.} Viewing such men, one can hardly make oneself believe they are fellow-creatures, and inhabitants of the same world. It is a common subject of conjecture what pleasure in life some of the less gifted animals can enjoy: how much more reasonably the same question may be asked with respect to these barbarians! At night, five or six human beings, naked and scarcely protected from the wind and rain of this tempestuous climate, sleep on the wet ground coiled up like animals. Whenever it is low water, ~/{winter or summer, night or day,} they must rise to pick shell-fish from the rocks; and the women{, winter and summer,}/~ either dive to collect sea eggs, or sit patiently in their canoes, and, with a baited hair-line ~/{without any hook}, jerk out small fish. If a seal is killed, or the floating carcass of a putrid whale discovered, it is a feast: {and} such miserable food is assisted by a few tasteless berries and fungi. {Nor are they exempt from famine, and, as a consequence, cannibalism accompanied by parricide.}/~

* I believe, in this extreme part of South America, man exists in a lower state of improvement than in any other part of the world. The South Sea islander of either race is comparatively civilized. The Esquimaux, in his subterranean hut, enjoys some of the comforts of life, and in his canoe, when fully equipped, manifests much skill. Some of the tribes of Southern Africa, prowling about in search of roots, and living concealed on the wild and arid plains, are sufficiently wretched. But the Australian, in the simplicity of the arts of life, comes nearest the Fuegian. He can, however, boast of his boomerang, his spear and throwing-stick, his method of climbing trees, tracking animals, and scheme of hunting. Although thus superior in acquirements, it by no means follows that he should likewise be so in capabilities. Indeed, from what we saw of the Fuegians, who were taken to England, I should think the case was the reverse.

 
 

They often suffer from famine: I heard Mr. Low, a sealing-master intimitely acquainted with the natives of the country, give a curious account of the state of a party of one hundred and fifty natives on the west coast, who were very thin and in great distress. A succession of gales prevented the women from getting shell-fish on the rocks, and they could not go out in their canoes to catch seal.

II. p. 195: A small party were observed going away, as if on an excursion, and the others who remained explained to Low, by signs, that in four sleeps they would return with food. On the fifth day they were met by Low, returning, but almost dead with fatigue, each man having two or three great pieces of whale-blubber, shaped like a poncho with a hole in the middle, on his shoulders. The blubber was half putrid, and looked as if it had been buried under ground. When they entered the largest wigwam, an old man cut very thin slices off one piece, broiled each successively, and distributed to the party in rotation; but before doing so, he muttered a few words over each piece in a mysterious manner, while strict silence was kept by the by-standers.

A small party of these men one morning set out, and the other Indians explained to him, that they were going a four days' journey for food: on their return, Low went to meet them, and he found them excessively tired, each man carrying a great square piece of putrid whales-blubber with a hole in the middle, through which they put their heads, like the Gauchos do through their ponchos or cloaks. As soon as the blubber was brought into a wigwam, an old man cut off thin slices, and muttering over them, broiled them for a minute, and distributed them to the famished party, who during this time preserved a profound silence.

 

Mr. Low believes that whenever a whale is cast on shore, the natives bury large pieces of it in the sand, as a resource in time of famine; and a native boy, whom he had on board, once found a stock thus buried. The different tribes when at war are cannibals.

II, p. 183: “… Extreme hunger impels them to lay violent hands on the oldest woman of their party, hold her head over a thick smoke, made by burning green wood, and pinching her throat, choke her. They then devour every particle of the flesh, not excepting the trunk, as in the former case. Jemmy Button, in telling this horrible story as a great secret, seemed to be much ashamed of his countrymen, and said, he never would do so—he would rather eat his own hands. When asked why the dogs were not eaten, he said ‘Dog catch iappo’ (iappo means otter).”

From the concurrent, but quite independent evidence of the boy taken by Mr. Low, and of Jemmy Button, it is certainly true, that when pressed in winter by hunger, they kill and devour their old women before they kill their dogs: the boy, being asked by Mr. Low why they did this, answered, “Doggies catch otters, old women no.”§ This boy described the manner in which they are killed by being held over smoke and thus choked; he imitated their screams as a joke, and described the parts of their bodies which are considered best to eat. Horrid as such a death by the hands of their friends and relatives must be, the fears of the old women, when hunger begins to press, are more painful to think of; we were told that they then often run away into the mountains, but that they are pursued by the men and brought back to the slaughter-house at their own fire-sides!

§ As seen here, Darwin attributes the “Doggies” anecdote to both the boy (“Bob”) and to Jemmy Button, while he cites Jemmy Button alone in his Diary. In his Narrative …, FitzRoy mentions only Mr. Lowe's boy, Bob. Perhaps he did not want to link Jemmy to cannabilism.

Captain Fitz Roy could never ascertain that the Fuegians have any distinct belief in a future life. They sometimes bury their dead in caves, and sometimes in the mountain forests; we do not know what ceremonies they perform. Jemmy Button would not eat land-birds, however, because “eat dead men:”

II, p. 181: “Jemmy Button … would not talk of a dead person, saying, with a grave shake of the head, ‘no good, no good talk; my country never talk of dead man.’ ”

They are unwilling even to mention their dead friends. We have no reason to believe that they perform any sort of religious worship; though perhaps the muttering of the old man before he distributed the putrid blubber to his famished party, may be of this nature. Each family or tribe has a wizard or conjuring doctor, whose office we could never clearly ascertain. Jemmy believed in dreams, though not, as I have said, in the devil: I do not think that our Fuegians were much more superstitious than some of the sailors; for an old quarter-master firmly be lived that the successive heavy gales, which we encountered off Cape Horn, were caused by our having the Fuegians on board. The nearest approach to a religious feeling which I heard of, was shown by York Minster, who, when Mr. Bynoe shot some very young ducklings as specimens, declared in the most solemn manner,

II, p. 180: “Oh, Mr. Bynoe, very bad to shoot little duck—come wind—blow—very much blow.”

“Oh Mr. Bynoe, much rain, snow, blow much.” This was evidently a retributive punishment for wasting human food. In a wild and excited manner he also related, that his brother, one day whilst returning to pick up some dead birds which he had left on the coast, observed some feathers blown by the wind. His brother said (York imitating his manner), “What that?” and crawling onwards, he peeped over the cliff, and saw “wild man” picking his birds; he crawled a little nearer, and then hurled down a great stone and killed him. York declared for a long time afterwards storms raged, and much rain and snow fell. As far as we could make out, he seemed to consider the elements themselves as the avenging agents: it is evident in this case, how naturally, in a race a litte more advanced in culture, the elements would become personified. What the “bad wild men” were, has always appeared to me most mysterious: from what York said, when we found the place like the form of a hare, where a single man had slept the night before, I should have thought that they were thieves who had been driven from their tribes; but other obscure speeches made me doubt this; I have sometimes imagined that the most probable explanation was that they were insane.

The tribes have no government or head, yet each is surrounded by other hostile ones, speaking different dialects; and the cause of their warfare would appear to be the means of subsistence.

The different tribes have no government or chief; yet each is surrounded by other hostile tribes, speaking different dialects, and separated from each other only by a deserted border or neutral territory: the cause of their warfare to be the means of subsistence.

Their country is a broken mass of wild rock/rocks, lofty hills, and useless forests: and these are viewed through mists and endless storms. The habitable land is reduced to the stones {which form}/~ on the beach; in search of food they are compelled ~/increasingly to wander from spot to spot, and so steep is the coast, that they can only move about in their wretched canoes. They cannot know the feeling of having a home, and still less that of domestic affection;

unless indeed the treatment of a master to a laborious slave can be considered as such. How little can the higher powers of the mind be brought into play! What is there for imagination to picture, for reason to compare, for judgment to decide upon? to knock a limpet from the rock does not even require cunning, that lowest power of the mind.

for the husband is to the wife a brutal master to a laborious slave. Was a more horrid deed ever perpetrated, than that witnessed on the west coast by Byron, who saw a wretched mother pick up her bleeding dying infant-boy, whom her husband had mercilessly dashed on the shores for dropping a basket of see-eggs! How little can the higher powers of the mind be brought into play; what is there for imagination to picture, for reasons to compare, for judgment to decide upon? to knock a limpet from the rock does not require even cunning, that lowest power of the mind.

Their skill in some respects may be compared to the instinct of animals; for it is not improved by experience: the canoe, their most ingenious work, poor as it is, has remained the same, {as we know from Drake,} for the last two hundred and fifty years.

Whilst beholding these savages, one asks, whence have they come? What could have tempted, or what change compelled a tribe of men to leave the fine regions of the north, to travel down the Cordillera or backbone of America, to invent and build canoes, and then to enter on one of the most inhospitable countries within the limits of the globe? Although such reflections must at first occupy one's mind, yet we may feel sure that many of them are quite/partly erroneous. There is no reason to believe that the Fuegians decrease in number; therefore we must suppose that they enjoy a sufficient share of happiness, of whatever kind it may be, to render life worth having. Nature by making habit omnipotent, and its effects hereditary, has fitted the Fuegian to the climate and the productions of his ~/miserable country.

 

After having been detained six days in Wigwam Cove by very bad weather, we put to sea on the 30th of December. Captain Fitz Roy wished to get westward to land York and Fuegia in their own country. When at sea we had a constant succession of gales, and the current was against us: we drifted to 57° 23' south. On the 11th of January, 1833, by carrying a press of sail, we fetched within a few miles of the great rugged mountain of York Minster (so called by Captain Cook, and the origin of the name of the elder Fuegian), when a violent squall compelled us to shorten sail and stand out to sea. The surf was breaking fearfully on the coast, and the spray was carried over a cliff estimated at 200 feet in height. On the 12th the gale was very heavy, and we did not know exactly where we were: it was a most unpleasant sound to hear constantly repeated, “keep a good look-out to leeward.” On the 13th the storm raged with its full fury: our horizon was narrowly limited by the sheets of spray borne by the wind. At noon a great sea broke over us, and filled one of the whale-boats, which was obliged to be instantly cut away. The poor Beagle trembled at the shock, and for a few minutes would not obey her helm; but soon, like a good ship that she was, she righted and came up to the wind again. Had another sea followed the first, our fate would have been decided soon, and for ever. We had now been twenty-four days trying in vain to get westward; the men were worn out with fatigue, and they had not for many nights or days a dry thing to put on. Captain Fitz Roy gave up the attempt to get westward by the outside coast. In the evening we ran in behind False Cape Horn, and dropped our anchor in forty-seven fathoms, fire flashing from the windlass as the chain rushed round it. How delightful was that still night, after having been so long involved in the din of the warring elements!

January 15th, 1833.—The Beagle anchored in Goeree Roads. Captain FitzRoy having determined to settle the Fuegians, according to their wishes, in Ponsonby Sound, four boats were equipped to carry them there through the Beagle channel. This channel which was discovered by Captain FitzRoy during the last voyage, is a most remarkable feature in the geography of this, or indeed of any other country.

Its length is about 120 miles with an average breadth, not subject to any very great variations, of about two miles. It is throughout the greater part so extremely straight, that the view, bounded on each side by a line of mountains, gradually becomes indistinct in the perspective. This arm of the sea may be compared to the valley of Lochness in Scotland, with its chain of lakes and entering friths. At some future epoch the resemblance perhaps will become complete. Already in one part we have proofs of a rising of the land in a line of cliff, or terrace, composed of coarse sandstone, mud, and shingle, which forms both shores. The Beagle channel crosses the southern part of Tierra del Fuego in an east and west line; in its middle, it is joined on the south side by an irregular channel at right angles to it, which has been called Ponsonby Sound.

It may be compared to the valley of Lochness in Scotland, with its chain of lakes and friths. It is about one hundred and twenty miles long, with an average breadth, not subject to any very great variation, of about two miles, and is throughout the greater part so perfectly straight, that the view, bounded on each side by a line of mountains, gradually becomes indistinct in the long distance. It crosses the southern part of Tierra del Fuego in an east and west line, and in the middle is joined at right angles on the south side by an irregular channel, which has been called Ponsonby Sound.

This is the residence of Jemmy Button's tribe and family.

This is the residence of Jemmy Button's tribe and family.

January 19th.—Three whale boats and the yawl, with a party of twenty-eight, started under the command of Captain FitzRoy. In the afternoon we entered the eastern mouth of the channel, and shortly afterwards found a snug little cove, concealed by some surrounding islets. Here we pitched our tents, and lighted our fires. Nothing could look more comfortable than this scene. The glassy water of the little harbour, with the trees sending their branches over the rocky beach, the boats at anchor, the tents supported by the crossed oars, and the smoke curling up the wooded valley, formed a picture of quiet retirement. The next day (20th) we smoothly glided onwards in our little fleet, and came to a more inhabited district. Few if any of these natives could ever have seen a white man; certainly nothing could exceed their astonishment at the apparition of the four boats. Fires were lighted on every point (hence the name of {the land}/{Tierra del Fuego, or the land of fire}), both to attract our attention, and to spread far and wide the news. Some of the men ran for miles along the shore.

As we passed under one cliff, four or five men suddenly appeared above us, forming the most wild and savage group that can be imagined. They were absolutely naked, with long streaming hair, and with rugged staffs in their hands:

I shall never forget how wild and savage one group appeared: suddenly for or five men came to the edge of an overhanging cliff; they were absolutely naked, and their long hair streamed about their faces; they held rugged staffs in their hands, and,

springing from the ground, they waved their arms around their heads, and sent forth the most hideous yells.

At dinner-time we landed among a party of Fuegians. At first they were not inclined to be friendly; for until the captain pulled in ahead of the other boats, they kept their slings in their hands. We soon, however, delighted them by trifling presents, such as tying red tape round their heads.

 

They liked our biscuit: but one of the savages touched with his finger some of the meat preserved in the cases which I was eating, and feeling it soft and cold, showed as much disgust at it, as I should have done at putrid blubber. Jemmy was thoroughly ashamed of his countrymen, and declared his own tribe were quite different, in which he was wofully mistaken.

It was as easy to please, as it was difficult to satisfy these savages. Young and old, men and children, never ceased repeating the word “yammerschooner,” which means “give me.” After pointing to almost every object, one after the other, even to the buttons on our coats, and saying their favourite word in as many intonations as possible, they would then use it in a neuter sense, and vacantly repeat “yammerschooner.” After yammerschoonering for any article very eagerly, they would by a simple artifice point to their young women or little children, as much as to say, “If you will not give it me, surely you will to such as these.”

At night we endeavoured in vain to find an uninhabited cove; and at last were obliged to bivouac not far from a party of natives. They were very inoffensive as long as they were few in numbers, but in the morning (21st) being joined by others they showed symptoms of hostility {and we thought we should have come to a skirmish}. An European labours under great disadvantages, when treating with savages like these, who have not the least idea of the power of fire-arms. In the very act of levelling his musket, he appears to the savage far inferior to a man armed with a bow and arrow, a spear, or even a sling. Nor is it easy to teach them our superiority except by striking a fatal blow. Like wild beasts they do not appear {in all cases}/~ to compare numbers; for each individual if attacked, instead of retiring, will endeavour to dash your brains out with a stone, as certainly as a tiger under similar circumstances would tear you.

Captain FitzRoy on one occasion, being very anxious, from good reasons, to frighten away a small party, twice fired his pistol close by the side of a native.

Captain Fitz Roy on one occasion, being very anxious from good reasons to frighten away a small party, first flourished a cutlass near them, at which they only laughed; he then twice fired his pistol close to a native.

The man both times looked astounded, and carefully but quickly rubbed his head; he then stared awhile, and gabbled to his companions; but he never seemed to think of running away. We can hardly put ourselves in the position of these savages, to/and understand their actions. In the case of the Fuegian, the possibility of such a sound as the report of a gun close to his ear, could never have entered his mind. He perhaps literally did not for a second know whether it was a sound or a blow, and therefore very naturally rubbed his head. In a similar manner, when a savage sees a mark struck by a bullet, it may be some time before he is able at all to understand how it is effected; for the fact of a body being invisible from its velocity, would perhaps be to him an idea totally inconceivable. Moreover, the extreme force of a bullet, that penetrates a hard substance without tearing it, may convince the savage that it has no force at all. Certainly I believe that many savages of the lowest grade, such as these of Tierra del Fuego, have seen objects struck, and even small animals killed by the musket, without being in the least aware how deadly an instrument it was/is.

22d.—After having passed an unmolested night, in what would appear to be neutral territory between Jemmy's tribe and the people {whom} we saw yesterday, we sailed pleasantly along.

 

I do not know anything which shows more clearly the hostile state of the different tribes, than these wide border or neutral tracts. Although Jemmy Button well knew the force of our party, he was, at first, unwilling to land amidst the hostile tribe nearest to his own. He often told us how the savage Oens men “when the leaf red,” crossed the mountains from the eastern coast of Tierra del Fuego, and made inroads on the natives of this part of the country. It was most curious to watch him when thus talking, and see his eyes gleaming and his whole face assume a new and wild expression.

The scenery in this part had a peculiar and very magnificent character; although the effect was lessened from the lowness of the point of view in a boat, and from looking down the valley and hence losing all the beauty of a succession of ridges. The mountains attained an elevation of about 3000 feet, and were terminated by sharp and jagged points.

As we proceeded along the Beagle Channel, the scenery assumed a peculiar and very magnificent character; but the effect was much lessened from the lowness of the point of view in a boat, and from looking along the valley, and thus losing all the beauty of a succession of ridges. The mountains were hear about three thousand feet high, and terminated in sharp and jagged points.

They rose in one unbroken sweep from the water's edge, and were covered to the height of fourteen or fifteen hundred feet by the dusky-coloured forest. It was most curious to observe, ~/{as far as the eye could range,} how level and truly horizontal the line on the mountain side was, {as far as the eye could range,}— at which trees ceased to grow. It precisely resembled the high-water mark of drift weed on a sea-beach.

At night we slept close to the junction of Ponsonby Sound with the Beagle channel. A small family of Fuegians, who were living in the cove, were very quiet and inoffensive, and soon joined our party round the blazing fire. We were well clothed, and though sitting close to the fire, were far from too warm; yet these naked savages, though further off, were observed to our great surprise, to be streaming with perspiration at undergoing such a roasting. They seemed, however, very well pleased, and all joined in the chorus of the seamen's songs: but the manner in which they were invariably a little behindhand was quite ludicrous.

During the night the news had spread, and early in the morning (23rd) a fresh party arrived ~/{, belonging to the Tekenika, or Jemmy's tribe}. Several of them had run so fast that their noses were bleeding, and their mouths frothed from the rapidity with which they talked, and with their naked bodies all bedaubed with black, white~/*, and red, they looked like so many demoniacs who had been fighting. We then proceeded ~/{(accompanied by twelve canoes, each holding four or five people)} down Ponsonby Sound to the spot where poor Jemmy expected to find his mother and relations/relatives.

 

* This substance, when dry, is tolerably compact, and of little specific gravity; Professor Ehrenberg has examined it: he states (König Akad. der Wissen: Berlin, Feb. 1845) that it is composed of infusoria, including fourteen polygastrica and four phytolitharia. He says that they are all inhabitants of fresh water; this is a beautiful example of the results obtainable through Professor Ehrenberg's microscopic researches; for Jemmy Button told me that it is always collected at the bottom of mountain-brooks. It is, moreover, a striking fact in the geographical distribution of the infusoria, which are well known to have very wide ranges, that all the species in this substance, although brought from the extreme southern point of Tierra del Fuego, are old, known forms.

II, p. 181: “While at sea, on board the Beagle, about the middle of the year 1832, he [Jemmy Button] said one morning to Mr. Bynoe, that in the night some man came to the side of his hammock, and whispered in his ear that his father was dead. … He fully believed that such was the case, and maintained his opinion up to the time of finding his relations in the Beagle Channel, when, I regret to say, he found that his father had died some months previously.”

He had already heard that his father was dead, but as he had had a “dream in his head” to that effect, he did not seem to care much about it, and repeatedly comforted himself with the very natural reflection—“Me no help it.” He was not able to learn any particulars regarding his father's death, as his relations would not speak about it.

Jemmy was in a district well known to him, and guided the boats to a quiet cove named Woollya, surrounded by islets, every one of which and every point had its proper native name. We found here a family of Jemmy's tribe, but not his relations: we made friends with them; and in the evening they sent a canoe to inform Jemmy's mother and brothers. The cove by some acres of good sloping land, not covered (as elsewhere) either by peat or by forest-trees. Captain Fitz Roy originally intended, as before stated, to have taken York Minster and Fuegia to their own tribe on the west coast; but as they expressed a wish to remain here, and as the spot was singularly favourable, Captain Fitz Roy determined to settle here the whole party, including Matthews, the missionary. Five days were spent in building for them three large wigwams, in landing their goods, in digging two gardens, and sowing seeds.

II, p. 209: “[Jemmy's mother] hardly looked at him before she hastened away to secure her canoe. … Animals when they meet show far more animation and anxiety than was displayed at this meeting.”

January: “On the 24th the Fuegians began to pour in, Jemmy's mother,§ brothers, and uncle came; the meeting was not so interesting as that of two horses in a field. The most curious part was the astonishing distance at which Jemmy recognized his brother's voice.”

§ Neither the Diary nor the 1839 editions of Darwin's Journal and FitzRoy's Narrative mention the feelings of Jemmy's mother on the loss of her son, as described by Darwin in his 1845 edition.

The next morning after our arrival (the 24th) the Fuegians began to pour in, and Jemmy's mother and brothers arrived. Jemmy recognized the stentorian voice of one of his brothers at a prodigious distance. The meeting was less interesting than that between a horse, turned out into a field, when he joins an old companion. There was no demonstration of affection; they simply stared for a short time at each other; and the mother immediately went to look after her canoe. We heard, however, through York, that the mother had been inconsolable for the loss of Jemmy, and had searched everywhere for him, thinking that he might have been left after having been taken in the boat. The women took much notice of and were very kind to Fuegia. We had already perceived that Jemmy had almost forgotten his own language. I should think there was scarcely another human being with so small a stock of language, for his English was very imperfect. It was laughable, but almost pitiable, to hear him speak to his wild brother in English, and then ask him in Spanish (“no sabe?”) whether he did not understand him.

Everything went on peaceably during the three next days, whilst the gardens were digging and wigwams building. We estimated the number of natives as about one hundred and twenty. The women worked hard, whilst the men lounged about and stole what they could.

II, p. 211: “26th. While some of my party were washing in a stream, stripped to the waist, several natives collected round, and were much amused at the white skins, as well as at the act of washing, so new probably to them.”

They were delighted at our dancing and singing, and were particularly interested at seeing us wash in a neighboring brook; they did not pay much attention to anything else, not even to out boats. Of all the things which York saw, during his absence from his country, nothing seems more to have astonished him than an ostrich, near Maldonado: breathless with astonishment he came running to Mr. Bynoe, with whom he was out walking—“Oh, Mr. Bynoe, oh, bird all same horse!” Much as our white skins surprised the natives, by Mr. Lowe's/Low's account a negro-cook to a sealing vessel, did so more effectually; and the poor fellow was so mobbed and shouted at that he would never go on shore again. Everything went on so quietly, that some of the officers and myself took long walks in the surrounding hills and woods.

II, p. 212: “27th. While a few of our party were completing the thatch of the last wigwam, and others were digging in the garden which was made, I was much surprised to see that all the natives were preparing to depart; and very soon afterwards every canoe was set in motion,—not half a dozen natives remaining. Even Jemmy's own family, his mother and brothers, left us; and as he could give no explanation of this sudden departure, I was in much doubt as to the cause. Whether an attack was meditated, and they were removing the women and children, previous to a general assembly of the men, or whether they had been frightened by our display on the preceding evening, and feared that we intended to attack them, I could not ascertain; but deeming the latter by far the most probable, I decided to take the opportunity of their departure to give Matthews his first trial of passing a night at the new wigwams.”

Suddenly, however, on the 27th, every woman and child disappeared. We were all uneasy at this, as neither York nor Jemmy could make out the cause. It was thought by some that they had been frightened by our cleaning and firing off our muskets on the previous evening: by others, that it was owing to offence taken by an old savage, who, when told to keep further off, had coolly spit in the sentry's face, and had then, by gestures acted over a sleeping Fuegian, plainly showed, as it was said, that he should like to cut up and eat our man. Captain Fitz Roy, to avoid the chance of an encounter, which would have been fatal to so many of the Fuegians, thought it advisable for us to sleep at a cove a few miles distant. Matthews, with his usual quiet fortitude (remarkable in a man apparently possessing little energy of character), determined to stay with the Fuegians, who evinced no alarm for themselves; and so we left them to pass their first awful night.

We staid there five days. Captain FitzRoy has given an account of all the interesting events which there happened.

Note: Reference (at left) to FitzRoy's Narrative removed from the 1845 edition.

(Continue reading below.)

During the succeeding year we paid another visit to the Fuegians, and the Beagle herself followed the same course which I have just described as having been taken in the boats.

I was amused by finding what a difference the circumstance of being quite superior in force made, in the interest of beholding these savages. While in the boats I got to hate the very sound of their voices, so much trouble did they give us. The first and last word was “yammerschooner.” When, entering some quiet little cove, we have looked round and thought to pass a quiet night, the odious word “yammerschooner” has shrilly sounded from some gloomy nook, and then the little signal smoke has curled upwards to spread the news. On leaving some place we have said to each other, “Thank Heaven, we have at last fairly left these wretches!” when one more faint halloo from an all-powerful voice, heard at a prodigious distance, would reach our ears, and clearly could we distinguish—“yammerschooner.” But on the latter occasion, the more Fuegians the merrier; and very merry work it was. Both parties laughing, wondering, gaping at each other; we pitying them, for giving us good fish and crabs for rags, &c.; they grasping at the chance of finding people so foolish as to exchange such splendid ornaments for a good supper. It was most amusing to see the undisguised smile of satisfaction with which one young woman, with her face painted black, tied with rushes several bits of scarlet cloth round her head. Her husband, who enjoyed the very universal privilege in this country of possessing two wives, evidently became jealous of all the attention paid to his young wife; and, after a consultation with his naked beauties, was paddled away by them.

Some of the Fuegians plainly showed that they had a fair idea of barter. I gave one man a large nail (a most valuable present) without making any signs for a return; but he immediately picked out two fish, and handed them up on the point of his spear. If any present was designed for one canoe, and it fell near another, it was invariably given to the right owner. We were always much surprised at the little notice, or rather none whatever, which was evinced respecting many things, even such as boats, the use of which must have been evident. Simple circumstances,—such as the whiteness of our skins, the beauty of scarlet cloth or blue beads, the absence of women, our care in washing ourselves,—excited their admiration far more than any grand or complicated object, such as the ship. Bougainville has remarked concerning these very people that they treat the “chef d'œuvres de l'industrie humaine, comme ils traitent les loix de la nature et ses phénomènes.”

The perfect equality among the individuals composing these tribes, must for a long time retard their civilization. As we see those animals, whose instinct compels them to live in society and obey a chief, are most capable of improvement, so is it with the races of mankind. Whether we look at it as a cause or a consequence, the more civilized always have the most artificial governments. For instance, the inhabitants of Otaheite, who, when first discovered, were governed by hereditary kings, had arrived at a far higher grade than another branch of the same people, the New Zealanders,—who although benefited by being compelled to turn their attention to agriculture, were republicans in the most absolute sense. In Tierra del Fuego, until some chief shall arise with power sufficient to secure any acquired advantages, such as the domesticated animals or other valuable presents, it seems scarcely possible that the political state of the country can be improved. At present, even a piece of cloth is torn into shreds and distributed; and no one individual becomes richer than another. On the other hand, it is difficult to understand how a chief can arise till there is property of some sort by which he might manifest and still increase his authority.

 

January 28th.—In the evening, Captain FitzRoy sent two boats back to the ship from Ponsonby Sound, and with the two others proceeded to survey the western end of the Beagle channel. The view in this central part was very remarkable.

On our return in the morning (28th) we were delighted to find all quiet, and the men employed in their canoes spearing fish. Captain Fitz Roy determined to send the yawl and one whale-boat back to the ship; and to proceed with the two other boats, one under his own command (in which he most kindly allowed me to accompany him), and one under Mr. Hammond,§ to survey the western parts of the Beagle Channel, and afterwards to return and visit the settlement. The day to our astonishment was over-poweringly hot, so that our skins were scorched: with this beautiful weather, the view in the middle of the Beagle Channel was very remarkable.

§ Robert N. Hamond (not Hammond).

Looking towards either hand, no object intercepted the vanishing points of this long canal between the mountains. The circumstance of its being an arm of the sea was rendered very evident by several huge whales* spouting in different directions. On one occasion I saw two of these monsters, probably male and female, slowly swimming one after the other, within less that a stone's throw of the shore, over which the beech-tree extended its branches.

 

* One day, off the East coast of Tierra del Fuego, we saw a grand sight in several spermaceti whales jumping upright quite out of the water, with the exception of their tail fins. As they fell down sideways, they splashed the water high up, and the sound reverberated like a distant broadside.

We sailed on till it was dark, and then pitched our tents in a quiet creek. The greatest luxury here is to find a beach of pebbles, for they are both dry and yield to the body. The peaty soil is damp; rock is uneven and hard; sand gets into one's meat, when cooked and eaten boat-fashion; but when lying in our blanket bags, on a good bed of smooth pebbles, we passed most comfortable nights.

It was my watch till one o'clock. There is something very solemn in these scenes. At no time does the consciousness in what a remote corner of the world you are then buried, come so strongly before your/the mind. Every thing tends to this effect; the stillness of the night is interrupted only by the heavy breathing of the seamen beneath the tents, and sometimes by the cry of a night bird. The occasional barking also of a dog, heard in the distance, reminds one that it is the land of the savage.

29th.—Early in the morning we arrived at the point where the Beagle channel divides itself into two arms; and we entered the northern one. The scenery here becomes even grander than before. The lofty mountains on the north side compose the granitic axis, or backbone of the whole country. They were covered by a wide mantle of perpetual snow, and numerous cascades poured their waters, through the woods, into the narrow channel below. In many parts magnificent glaciers extended from the mountain side to the water's edge. It is scarcely possible to imagine any thing more beautiful than the beryl-like blue of the glacier, and especially when contrasted with the dead white of an expanse of snow. As fragments fell from the glacier into the water, they floated away, and the channel with its icebergs represented in miniature the polar sea.

January 29th.—Early in the morning we arrived at the point where the Beagle channel divides itself into two arms; and we entered the northern one. The scenery here becomes even grander than before. The lofty mountains on the north side compose the granitic axis, or backbone of the country, and boldly rise to a height of between three and four thousand feet, with one peak above six thousand feet. They are covered by a wide mantle of perpetual snow, and numerous cascades pour their waters, through the woods, into the narrow channel below. In many parts magnificent glaciers extended from the mountain side to the water's edge. It is scarcely possible to imagine any thing more beautiful than the beryl-like blue of these glaciers, and especially as contrasted with the dead white of an expanse of snow. The fragments which had fallen from the glacier into the water, were floating away, and the channel with its icebergs represented, for the space of a mile, a miniature likeness of the Polar Sea.

 

The boats being hauled on shore at our dinner-hour, we were admiring from the distance of half a mile a perpendicular cliff of ice, and were wishing that some more fragments would fall. At last, down came a mass with a roaring noise, and immediately we saw the smooth outline of a wave travelling towards us. The men ran down as quickly as they could to the boats; for the chance of their being dashed to pieces was evident. One of the seamen just caught hold of the bows, as the curling breaker reached it: he was knocked over and over, but not hurt; and the boats, though thrice lifted on high and let fall again, received no damage. This was most fortunate for us, for we were a hundred miles distant from the ship, and we should have been left without provisions or fire-arms. I have previously observed that some large fragments of rock on the beach had been lately displaced; but until seeing this wave, I did not understand the cause. One side of the creek was formed by a spur of mica-slate; the head by a cliff of ice about forty feet high, built up of huge rounded fragments of granite and mica-slate, out of which old trees were growing. This promontory was evidently a moraine, heaped up at a period when the glacier had greater dimensions.

When we reached the western mouth of this branch of the channel, we sailed amongst many unknown islands, and then proceeded by the outer coast to the entrance of the other arm.

When we reached the western mouth of this northern branch of the Beagle Channel, we sailed amongst many unknown desolate islands, and the weather was wretchedly bad. We met with no natives. The coast was almost everywhere so steep, that we had several times to pull many miles before we could find space enough to pitch our two tents: one night we slept on large round boulders, with putrefying sea-weed between them; and when the tide rose, we had to get up and move our blanket-bags. The farthest point westward which we reached was Stewart Island, a distance of about one hundred and fifty miles from our ship.

Thence we returned to Ponsonby Sound, saw the Fuegians, and arrived at the ship after our twenty-days' excursion.

We returned into the Beagle Channel by the southern arm, and thence proceeded, with no adventure, back to Ponsonby Sound.

[end of Chapter XI, 1839 Edition]

 

II, p. 220: “Matthews gave a bad account of the prospect, which he saw before him, and told me, that he did not think himself safe among such a set of utter savages as he found them to be, notwithstanding Jemmy's assurances to the contrary. … It was soon decided that Matthews should not remain.”

February 6th.—We arrived at Woollya. Matthews gave so bad an account of the conduct of the Feugians, that Captain Fitz Roy determined to take him back to the Beagle; and ultimately he was left at New Zealand, where his brother was a missionary. From the time of our leaving, a regular system of plunder commenced; fresh parties of the natives kept arriving: York and Jemmy lost many things, and Matthews almost every thing which had not been concealed underground. Every article seemed to have been torn up and divided by the natives. Matthews described the watch he was obliged always to keep as most harassing; night and day he was surrounded by the natives, who tried to tire him out by making incessant noise close to his head.

II, p. 221: “More than one man went out in a rage, and returned immediately with a large stone in his hand, making signs that he would kill Matthews if he did not give him what was demanded. Sometimes a party of them gathered round Matthews, and, if he had nothing to give them, teased him by pulling the hair of his face, pushing him about, and making mouths at him.

One day an old man, whom Matthews asked to leave his wigwam, immediately returned with a large stone in his hand: another day a whole party came armed with stones and stakes, and some of the younger men and Jemmy's brother were crying: Matthews met them with presents. Another party showed by signs that they wished to strip him naked and pluck all the hairs out of his face and body. I think we arrived just in time to save his life. Jemmy's relatives had been so vain and foolish, that they had showed to strangers their plunder, and their manner of obtaining it. It was quite melancholy leaving the three Fuegians with their savage countrymen; but it was a great comfort that they had no personal fears. York, being a powerful resolute man, was pretty sure to get on well, together with his wife Fuegia. Poor Jemmy looked rather disconsolate, and would then, I have little doubt, have been glad to have returned with us. His own brother had stolen many things from him; and as he remarked, “what fashion call that:” he abused his countrymen, “all bad men, no sabe (know) nothing,” and, though I never heard him swear before, “damned fools.” Our three Fuegians, though they had been only three years with civilized men, would, I am sure, have been glad to have retained their new habits; but this was obviously impossible. I fear it is more than doubtful, whether their visit will have been of any use to them.

In the evening, with Matthews on board, we made sail back to the ship, not by the Beagle Channel, but by the southern coast. The boats were heavily laden and the sea rough, and we had a dangerous passage. By the evening of the 7th we were on board the Beagle after an absence of twenty days, during which time we had gone three hundred miles in the open boats. On the 11th, Captain Fitz Roy paid a visit by himself to the Fuegians, and found them going on well; and that they had lost very few more things.

On the last day of February in the succeeding year (1834), the Beagle anchored in a beautiful little cove at the eastern entrance to the Beagle Channel. Captain Fitz Roy determined on the bold, and as it proved successful, attempt to beat against the westerly winds by the same route, which we had followed in the boats to the settlement at Woollya. We did not see many natives until we were near Ponsonby Sound, where we were followed by ten or twelve canoes. The natives did not at all understand the reason for our tacking, and, instead of meeting us at each tack, vainly strove to follow us in our zig-zag course.

I was amused by finding what a difference the circumstance of being quite superior in force made, in the interest of beholding these savages. While in the boats I got to hate the very sound of their voices, so much trouble did they give us. The first and last word was “yammerschooner.” When, entering some quiet little cove, we have looked round and thought to pass a quiet night, the odious word “yammerschooner” has shrilly sounded from some gloomy nook, and then the little signal smoke has curled upwards to spread the news. On leaving some place we have said to each other, “Thank Heaven, we have at last fairly left these wretches!” when one more faint halloo from an all-powerful voice, heard at a prodigious distance, would reach our ears, and clearly could we distinguish—“yammerschooner.” But now, the more Fuegians the merrier; and very merry work it was. Both parties laughing, wondering, gaping at each other; we pitying them, for giving us good fish and crabs for rags, &c.; they grasping at the chance of finding people so foolish as to exchange such splendid ornaments for a good supper. It was most amusing to see the undisguised smile of satisfaction with which one young woman, with her face painted black, tied several bits of scarlet cloth round her head with rushes. Her husband, who enjoyed the very universal privilege in this country of possessing two wives, evidently became jealous of all the attention paid to his young wife; and, after a consultation with his naked beauties, was paddled away by them.

Some of the Fuegians plainly showed that they had a fair idea of barter. I gave one man a large nail (a most valuable present) without making any signs for a return; but he immediately picked out two fish, and handed them up on the point of his spear. If any present was designed for one canoe, and it fell near another, it was invariably given to the right owner. The Fuegian boy, whom Mr. Low had on board, showed, by going into the most violent passion, that he quite understood the reproach of being called a liar, which in truth he was. We were this time, as on all former occasions, much surprised at the little notice, or rather none whatever, which was taken of many things, the use of which must have been evident to the natives. Simple circumstances,—such as the the beauty of scarlet cloth or blue beads, the absence of women, our care in washing ourselves,—excited their admiration far more than any grand or complicated object, such as the ship. Bougainville has well remarked concerning these people that they treat the “chef d'œuvres de l'industrie humaine, comme ils traitent les loix de la nature et ses phénomènes.”

On the 5th of March, we anchored in the cove at Woollya, but we saw not a soul there. We were alarmed at this, for the natives in Ponsonby Sound showed by gestures, that there had been fighting; and we afterwards heard that the dreaded Oens men had made a descent. Soon a canoe, with a little flag flying, was seen approaching, with one of the men in it washing the paint off his face. This man was poor Jemmy,—now a thin haggard savage, with long disordered hair, and naked, except a bit of blanket round his waist. We did not recognize him till he was close to us; for he was ashamed of himself. and turned his back to the ship. We had left him plump, fat, clean, and well dressed;—I never saw so complete and grievous a change. As soon however as he was clothed, and the first flurry was over, things wore a good appearance. He dined with Captain Fitz Roy, and ate his dinner as tidily as formerly. He told us he had “too much” (meaning enough) to eat, that he was not cold, that his relations were very good people, and that he did not wish to go back to England: in the evening we found out the cause of this great change in Jemmy's feelings, in the arrival of his young and nice-looking wife. With his usual good feeling, he brought two beautiful otter-skins for two of his best friends, and some spear-heads and arrows made with his own hands for the Captain. He said he had built a canoe for himself, and he boasted that he could talk a little of his own language! But it is a most singular fact, that he appears to have taught all his tribe some English: an old man spontaneously announced “Jemmy Button's wife.” Jemmy had lost all his property.

II, p. 325: “[York] induced Jemmy and his family to accompany him ‘to look at his land.’ They … met York's brother and some others of the Alikhoolip tribe; and, while Jemmy was asleep, all the Alikhoolip party stole off, taking nearly all Jemmy's things, and leaving him in his original condition. York's fine canoe was evidently not built for transporting himself alone.”

He told us York Minster had built a large canoe, and with his wife Fuegia*, had several months since gone to his own country, and had taken farewell by an act of consummate villainy; he persuaded Jemmy and his mother to come with him, and then on the way deserted them by night, stealing every article of their property.

* Captain Sulivan, who, since his voyage in the Beagle, has been employed on the survey of the Falkland Islands, heard from a sealer (in 1842?) that when in the western part of the Strait of Magellan, he was astonished by a native woman coming on board, who could talk some English. Without doubt this was Fuegia Basket. She lived (I fear the term probably bears a double interpretation) some days on board.

Jemmy went to sleep on shore, and in the morning returned, and remained on board till the ship got under weigh, which frightened his wife, who continued crying violently till he got into his canoe. He returned loaded with valuable property. Every soul on board was heartily sorry to shake hands with him for the last time. I do not now doubt that he will be as happy as, perhaps happier than, if he had never left his own country. Every one must sincerely hope that Captain Fitz Roy's noble hope may be fulfilled, of being rewarded for the many generous sacrifices which he made for these Fuegians, by some shipwrecked sailor being protected by the descendents of Jemmy Button and his tribe! When Jemmy reached the shore, he lighted a signal fire, and the smoke curled up, bidding us a last and long farewell, as the ship stood on her course into the open sea.

The perfect equality among the individuals composing {the Fuegian} tribes, must for a long time retard their civilization. As we see those animals, whose instinct compels them to live in society and obey a chief, are most capable of improvement, so is it with the races of mankind. Whether we look at it as a cause or a consequence, the more civilized always have the most artificial governments. For instance, the inhabitants of Otaheite, who, when first discovered, were governed by hereditary kings, had arrived at a far higher grade than another branch of the same people, the New Zealanders,—who although benefited by being compelled to turn their attention to agriculture, were republicans in the most absolute sense. In Tierra del Fuego, until some chief shall arise with power sufficient to secure any acquired {advantage}, such as the domesticated animals, it seems scarcely possible that the political state of the country can be improved. At present, even a piece of cloth {given to one of them} is torn into shreds and distributed; and no one individual becomes richer than another. On the other hand, it is difficult to understand how a chief can arise till there is property of some sort by which he might manifest his superiority and increase his power.

I believe, in this extreme part of South America, man exists in a lower state of improvement than in any other part of the world. The South Sea Islanders of the two races inhabiting the Pacific, are comparatively civilized. The Esquimaux, in his subterranean hut, enjoys some of the comforts of life, and in his canoe, when fully equipped, manifests much skill. Some of the tribes of Southern Africa, prowling about in search of roots, and living concealed on the wild and arid plains, are sufficiently wretched. The Australian, in the simplicity of the arts of life, comes nearest the Fuegian: he can, however, boast of his boomerang, his spear and throwing stick, his method of climbing trees, of tracking animals, and of hunting. Although the Australian may be superior in acquirements, it be no means follows that he is likewise superior in mental capacity: indeed, from what I have read of the Australians, I should think the case was exactly the reverse.


NOTE: Prior to publication of the 1845 edition, publisher John Murray printed Darwin's revised chapters in three monthly installments of his Home and Colonial Library (July, August, September 1845). He wanted the 1839 content reduced by 20%, but settled for about 5%. For the August installment, Darwin reduced the size of his new Chapter XI to about half that of the former Chapter XIII. As a result, the monthly page counts were 176 + 8 (prelims), 160, 170 pages, respectively—not quite equal in size, but reasonably close. This “Strait of Magellan” chapter is one of the few in which Darwin and FitzRoy cover much of the same ground (or the same water, actually). Therefore their 1839 accounts are reasonably similar. In other chapters, much of Darwin's account is unique to himself, as he leaves FitzRoy to go off on various land excursions. This may explain why he chose to make substantal cuts to this chapter (indicated by boxed text with grey background in Column 1), while leaving the others more-or-less intact.

CHAPTER XIII

Strait of Magellan—Port Famine—Geology—Deep water in channels—Erratic boulders—Climate—Limit of fruit trees—Mean temperature—Luxuriant forests—Rigour of antarctic islands—Contrast with the north—Snow-line, great flexure of—Glaciers—Icebergs transport fragments of rock—Glacier in low latitude—Absence of erratic blocks in intertropical regions—Glaciers and tropical vegetation—Comparison with northern hemisphere—Siberian animals in ice—Embedded in cold mud—Edible fungus—Zoology—Fucus giganteus—Leave Tierra del Fuego.

STRAIT OF MAGELLAN.

CHAPTER XI

STRAIT OF MAGELLAN.—CLIMATE OF THE SOUTHERN COASTS

Strait of Magellan—Port Famine—Ascent of Mount Tarn—Forests—Edible Fungus—Zoology—Great Sea-weed—Leave Tierra del Fuego—Climate—Fruit-trees and Productions of the Southern Coasts—Height of Snow-line on the Cordillera—Descent of Glaciers to the Sea—Icebergs formed—Transportal of Boulders—Climate and Productions of the Antarctic Islands—Preservation of Frozen Carcasses—Recapitulation.

In the end of May, 1834, we entered for a second time the eastern mouth of the Strait of Magellan.

Having beat our way against wind and wave we anchored at Gregory Bay, and had an interview with the so-called gigantic Patagonians; of whom Captain FitzRoy has given so good an account.

 

The country on both sides of this part of the Strait consists of nearly level plains, like those of Patagonia. Cape Negro, a little past/within the second narrow/Narrows, may be considered as the point where the land begins to assume the marked features of Tierra del Fuego. On the east coast, south of the Strait, broken park-like scenery in a like manner connects these two countries, which are opposed to each other in almost every point/feature. It is truly surprising to find in a space of twenty miles such a change in the landscape. If we take a rather greater distance, as between Port Famine and Gregory Bay, that is about sixty miles, the difference is still more wonderful. At the former place, we have rounded mountains concealed by impervious forests, which are drenched with the rain, brought by an endless succession of gales; while at Cape Gregory, there is a clear and bright blue sky over the dry and sterile plains. The atmospheric currents,* although rapid, turbulent, and unconfined by any apparent limits, yet seem to follow, like a river in its bed, a regularly determined course.

* The south-westerly breezes are generally very dry. January 29th, being at anchor under Cape Gregory: a very hard gale from W. by S., clear sky with few cumuli; temperature 57°, dew-point 36°,—difference 21° On January 15th, at Port St. Julian: in the morning, light winds with much rain, followed by a very heavy squall with rain,—settled into heavy gale with large cumuli,—cleared up, blowing very strong from S.S.W. Temperature 60°, dew-point 42°,—difference 18°.

 

During our previous visit (in January), we had an interview at Cape Gregory with the famous so-called gigantic Patagonians, who gave us a cordial reception. Their height appears greater than it really is, from their large guanaco mantles, their long flowing hair, and general figure: on an average, their height is about six feet, with some men taller and only a few shorter; and the women are also tall; altogether they are certainly the tallest race which we anywhere saw. In features they strikingly resemble the more northern Indians whom I saw with Rosas, but they have a wilder and more formidable appearance: their faces were much painted with red and black, and one man was ringed and dotted with white like a Fuegian. Captain FitzRoy offered to take any three of them on board, and all seemed determined to be of the three. It was long before we could clear the boat; at last we got on board with our three giants, who dined with the Captain, and behaved quite like gentlemen, helping themselves with knives, forks, and spoons: nothing was so much relished as sugar. This tribe has had so much communication with sealers and whalers that most of the men can speak a little English and Spanish; and they are half civilized, and proportionally demoralized.

The next morning a large party went on shore, to barter for skins and ostrich-feathers; fire-arms being refused, tobacco was in greatest request, far more so than axes or tools. The whole population of the toldos, men, women, and children, were arranged on a bank. It was an amusing scene, and it was impossible not to like the so-called giants, they were so thoroughly good-humoured and unsuspecting: they asked us to come again. They seem to like to have Europeans to live with them; and old Maria, an important woman in the tribe, once begged Mr. Low to leave any one of his sailors with them. They spend the greater part of the year here; but in summer they hunt along the foot of the Cordillera: sometimes they travel as far as the Rio Negro 750 miles to the north. They are well stocked with horses, each man having, according to Mr. Low, six or seven, and all the women, and even children, their one own horse. In the time of Sarmiento (1580), these Indians had bows and arrows, now long since disused; they then also possessed some horses. This is a very curious fact, showing the extraordinarily rapid multiplication of horses in South America. The horse was first landed at Buenos Ayres in 1537, and the colony being then for a time deserted, the horse ran wild;* in 1580, only forty-three years afterwards, we hear of them at the Strait of Magellan! Mr. Low informs me, that a neighbouring tribe of foot-Indians is now changing into horse-Indians: the tribe at Gregory Bay giving them their worn-out horses, and sending in winter a few of their best skilled men to hunt for them.

* Rengger, Natur. der Saeugethiere von Paraguay. S. 334.

June 1st.—We anchored in the fine bay of Port Famine. It was now the beginning of winter, and I never saw a more cheerless prospect; the dusky woods, piebald with snow, could be only seen indistinctly, through a drizzling hazy atmosphere. We were, however, lucky in getting two fine days. On one of these, Mount Sarmiento, a distant mountain 6800 feet high, presented a very noble spectacle. I was frequently surprised in the scenery of Tierra del Fuego, at the little apparent elevation of mountains really lofty. I suspect it is owing to a cause which would not at first be imagined, namely, that the whole mass, from the summit to the water's edge, is generally in full view. I remember having seen a mountain, first from the Beagle Channel, where the whole sweep from the summit to the base was full in view, and then from Ponsonby Sound across several successive ridges; and it was curious to observe in the latter case, as each fresh ridge afforded fresh means of judging of the distance, how the mountain {appeared to rise in height}/{rose in height}.

 

Before reaching Port Famine, two men were seen running along the shore and hailing the ship. A boat was sent for them. They turned out to be two sailors who had run away from a sealing-vessel, and had joined the Patagonians. These Indians had treated them with their usual disinterested hospitality. They had parted company through accident, and were then proceeding to Port Famine in hopes of finding some ship. I dare say they were worthless vagabonds, but I never saw more miserable-looking ones. They had been living for some days on mussel-shells and berries, and their tattered clothes had been burnt by sleeping so near their fires. They had been exposed night and day, without any shelter, to the late incessant gales, with rain, sleet, and snow, and yet they were in good health.

The/{During our stay at Port Famine, the} Fuegians twice came and plagued us. As there were many instruments, clothes, and men on shore, it was thought necessary to frighten them away. The first time a few great guns were fired, when they were far distant. It was most ludicrous to watch through a glass the Indians, as often as the shot struck the water, take up stones, and, as a bold defiance, throw them towards the ship, though about a mile and a half distant! A boat was sent with orders to fire a few musket-shots wide of them. The Fuegians hid themselves behind the trees, and for every discharge of the muskets they fired their arrows; all, however, fell short of the boat, and the officer as he pointed at them laughed. This made the Fuegians frantic with passion, and they shook their mantles in vain rage. At last, seeing the balls cut and strike the trees, they ran away, and we were left in peace and quietness.

 

During the former voyage the Fuegians were here very troublesome, and to frighten them a rocket was fired at night over their wigwams; it answered effectually, and one of the officers told me that the clamour first raised, and the barking of the dogs, was quite ludicrous in contrast with the profound silence which in a minute or two afterwards prevailed. The next morning not a single Fuegian was in the neighbourhood.

{On a former occasion, when}/{When} the Beagle was here in the month of February, I started one morning at four o'clock to ascend Mount Tarn, which is 2600 feet high, and is the most elevated point in this immediate district/neighbourhood. We went in a boat to the foot of the mountain (but ~/unluckily not to the best part), and then began our ascent. The forest commences at the line of high-water mark, and during the first two hours I gave over all hopes of reaching the summit. So thick was the wood, that it was necessary to have constant recourse to the compass; for every landmark, though in a mountainous country, was completely shut out. In the deep ravines, the death-like scene of desolation exceeded all description; outside it was blowing a gale, but in these hollows, not even a breath of wind stirred the leaves of the tallest trees. So gloomy, cold, and wet was every part, that not even the fungi, mosses, or ferns could flourish. In the valleys it was scarcely possible to crawl along, they were so completely barricaded by great mouldering trunks, which had fallen down in every direction. When passing over these natural bridges, one's course was often arrested by sinking knee deep into the rotten wood; at other times, when attempting to lean against a firm tree, one was startled by finding a mass of decayed matter ready to fall at the slightest touch. We at last found ourselves among the stunted trees, and then soon reached the bare ridge, which conducted us to the summit. Here was a view characteristic of Tierra del Fuego; irregular chains of hills, mottled with patches of snow, deep yellowish-green valleys, and arms of the sea intersecting the land in many directions. The strong wind was piercingly cold, and the atmosphere rather hazy, so that we did not stay long on the top of the mountain. Our descent was not quite so laborious as our ascent, for the weight of the body forced a passage, and all the slips and falls were in the right direction.

Captain King has given a sketch of the geology of Tierra del Fuego, to which I have little to add. A great formation of clay-slate, rarely containing organic remains, but sometimes presenting casts of a kind of ammonite, is fronted on the east side by plains belonging probably to two tertiary epochs. On the west coast, a prolongation of the grand crevice of the Andes, from which so much heat has escaped from the interior of the globe, has metamorphosed the slate. There is, however, a double line, the structure of which I do not quite comprehend. The interior one consists of granite and mica slate; the exterior one (perhaps more modern), of greenstone, porphyritic and other curious trappean rocks. Almost every one at first thinks that this country owes its grand name of “the Land of Fire” to the number of its volcanoes. Such, however, is not the case: I did not see even a pebble of any volcanic rock, except in Wollaston Island, where some rounded masses of scoriæ were embedded in a conglomerate of no modern date. In a geological point of view this circumstance allows us to consider the grand linear train of ancient and modern volcanoes, which fall on parallel fissures in the Andes, as extending from lat. 55° 40' south to 60° north, a distance little less than seven thousand geographical miles.

Perhaps the most curious feature in the geology of this country, is the extent to which the land is intersected by arms of the sea. These channels, as Captain King remarks, are irregular and dotted with islands, where the granitic and trappean rocks occur, but in the clay-slate formation are so straight, that in one instance “a parallel ruler placed on the map upon the projecting points of the south shore, extended across, also touched the headlands of the opposite coast.”

I have heard Captain FitzRoy remark, that on entering any of these channels from the outer coast, it is always necessary to look out directly for anchorage; for further inland the depth soon becomes extremely great. Captain Cook, in entering Christmas Sound, had first 37 fathom, then 40, 60, and, immediately afterwards, no soundings with 170. This structure of the bottom, I presume, must arise from the sediment deposited near the mouths of the channels, by the opposed tides and swell; and likewise from the enormous degradation of the coast rocks, caused by an ocean harassed by endless gales.

The Strait of Magellan is extremely deep in most parts, even close to the shore. About mid-channel eastward of Cape Froward, Captain King found no bottom with 1536 feet: if, therefore, the water should be drained off, Tierra del Fuego would present a far more lofty range of mountains than it does at present. I will not here enter on any speculations regarding the causes which have produced this remarkable structure, in a district in which the latter movements at least have been those of elevation. I may, however, observe, that pebbles, and great boulders of various and peculiar crystalline rocks, which have undoubtedly travelled from the south-west coast, lie scattered over the whole of the eastern part of Tierra del Fuego. One enormous block of syenite near St. Sebastian Bay was barn-shaped, and had a girth of 47 feet; it projected five feet above the sand, and appeared to be deeply buried. The very nearest point to which we can look for the parent rock, is about ninety miles distant. On the shores of the Strait of Magellan, near Port Famine, numerous semi-rounded fragments of various granites and hornblendic rocks are strewed on the beach, and on the sides of the mountain, to an elevation of thirty or forty feet. Now to this point the high road from the Southern and Western shores passes directly over the great abyss of more than 1500 feet deep. Whatever may have been the means of transport, it has not been one of indiscriminate violence: for the two places, St. Sebastian Bay and Shoal Harbour, where the great fragments are most numerous, certainly existed previously to the last and smallest change of level, as channels connecting the Strait of Magellan, in the one case with the open sea, and in the other with Otway Water.§

§ Although this observation is omitted from Darwin's second (1845) edition, it re-appears one year later (1846) in his Geological Observations ….

The climate of the southern part of South America presents many phenomena of the highest interest. It has long been observed that there exists some essential difference between it, and that of the countries in the northern hemisphere. I have already remarked on the surprising contrast between the rank vegetation of the broken west coast, consequent on the humid climate, as compared with the dry and sterile plains of Patagonia. The clouded and boisterous state of the atmosphere is necessarily accompanied by a decrease in extreme temperature; hence we find that fruits which ripen well, and are very abundant, such as the grape and fig, in lat. 41° on the east coast, succeed very poorly in a lower latitude on the opposite side of the continent.* The result is more strongly marked, if we take Europe as the standard of comparison. In Chiloe, lat. 42°, corresponding to the northern parts of Spain, peaches require the greatest care, and seldom produce fruit; but strawberries and apples succeed to admiration. At Valdivia, lat. 40°, or that of Madrid, standard peaches bear abundantly; grapes and figs ripen, but are far from common; olives seldom even partially ripen, and oranges not at all; yet in Europe this is the parallel most productive of these fruits. Even at Concepcion, lat. 36°, oranges are not abundant, though the other named fruits succeed perfectly. At the Falklands, in the same latitude as the south of England, wheat very seldom comes to maturity; but we ought to feel little surprise at this, when we hear that in Chiloe (lat. 42°) the inhabitants are frequently compelled to cut their corn before it is ready, and bring it into their houses to dry.

* As there are no settlements on the Patagonian coast, there are few means of comparison. Cherry-trees left by the Spaniards at Port Desire, lat. 48°, still bear fruit, whereas, in Chiloe, on the west coast, 360 miles further north, I believe they do not succeed.

Addendum to Page 268: When contrasting the productions of the eastern coast of South America, with those of the western, and likewise with those of the corresponding parallels of latitude in Europe, I should have added (line 15) after the grape and fig, as flourishing in lat. 41°, the peach, and the nectarine (both of course standards), water and musk melons, batatas dulces (Convolvulus batatas), the olive and the orange; the latter, however, had only been lately introduced, but it promised to succeed well.

With respect to the climate of Tierra del Fuego during the colder parts of the year, Captain King has published some most interesting tables in the Geographical Journal.* The Beagle during this voyage, was employed in the extreme southern parts of the country, from December 18th to February 20th. From the appearance of the vegetation during the first part, and from the weather we experienced at the Falkland Islands, subsequent to the last date, I feel little doubt that these sixty-five days included the best part of the summer. Perhaps if another fortnight had been added, the mean would have been a little higher. The first eighteen of these days were spent partly at sea, near Cape Horn, and we were drifted for a short time by bad weather to nearly ninety miles to the southward. The mean temperature, from observations made every two hours by the officers on board the Beagle, was 45°. During the succeeding thirty-seven days† the Beagle was at anchor in different harbours a few leagues north of Cape Horn, and then the mean from observations at 6 A.M., noon, and 6 P.M., was 50°. The mean, therefore, between these two periods, which include the hottest part of the year, is only 47°.5. The latter of the two periods was unusually warm, but the former much the contrary, and the station where the observations were made was a little further to the southward. The whole of these observations apply to the extreme islands: Captain King's were made in a central position 1° 45' further northward. If from the above considerations we add two degrees and a half to the mean obtained this voyage, the result (50°) will probably give the temperature of the hottest part of the year in central Tierra del Fuego. Captain King gives as the mean temperature of June 32°.97, of July 33°.03, of the first twelve days in August 33°.25; answering to our December, January, and February, which three months appear to be the coldest, and the mean of these is 33°.08.‡

* Journal of the Royal Geographical Society for the years 1830, 1831.

† The mean of the maxima of these thirty-seven days was only 55°.5, and of the minima 45°.3,—the mean range thus being 10°.2. For the whole sixty-five days, the mean of the maxima was only 51°.7, which certainly is a very wretched summer, and shows how little bright sunshine there can be.

‡ This mean must be a little too low, because the whole of August is not included. I see Von Buch says, “we can hardly assign to Saltenfiord, Norway (in lat. 67°, or 13° 22' nearer the pole than Port Famine) a higher mean temperature than 34°, nor a higher temperature for the warm month of July than 57°.8.” (Travels through Norway, p. 123.) Captain King gives as the mean for February, which probably is the hottest month at Port Famine, only at 51°.1. Some observations made at the Falkland Islands (2° 13' north of Port Famine) which are often quoted, give as the mean for the whole year 47°.3, and for the summer 53°.1. These results are very much higher than what I should have anticipated, from the climate of the neighbouring mainland.

Dublin is nearly in the same latitude in the northern hemisphere as Port Famine is in the southern, and we will take its temperature as a means of comparison.

I have already mentioned the sombre and dull character of the evergreen forests,* in which two or three species of trees grow, to the exclusion of all others. Above the forest land, there are many dwarf alpine plants, which all spring from the mass of peat, and help to compose it: these plants are very remarkable from their close alliance with the species growing on the mountains of Europe, though so many thousand miles distant. The central part of Tierra del Fuego, where the clay-slate formation occurs, is most favourable to the growth of trees; on the outer coast the poorer granitic soil, and a situation more exposed to the violent winds, do not allow of their attaining any great size. Near Port Famine I have seen more large trees than anywhere else: I measured a Winter's Bark which was four feet six inches in girth, and several of the beech were as much as thirteen feet. Captain King also mentions a beech which was seven feet in diameter, seventeen feet above the roots.

* Captain FitzRoy informs me that in April (our October), the leaves of those trees which grow near the base of the mountains change colour, but not those on the more elevated parts. I remember having read some observations, showing that in England the leaves fall earlier in a warm and fine autumn than in a late and cold one, The change in the colour being here retarded in the more elevated, and therefore colder situations, must he owing to the same general law of vegetation. The trees of Tierra del Fuego during no part of the year entirely shed their leaves.

There is one vegetable production deserving notice from its importance as an article of food to the Fuegians. It is a globular, bright-yellow fungus, which grows in vast numbers on the beech-trees. When young it is elastic and turgid, with a smooth surface; but when mature it shrinks, becomes tougher, and has its entire surface deeply pitted or honey-combed, as represented in the accompanying woodcut. This fungus belongs to a new and curious genus,* I found a second species on another species of beech in Chile: and Dr. Hooker informs me, that just lately a third species has been discovered on a third species of beech in Van Dieman's Land. How singular is this relationship between parasitical fungi and the trees on which they grow, in distant parts of the world! In Tierra del Fuego the fungus in its tough and mature state is collected in large quantities by the women and children, and is eaten un-cooked. It has a mucilaginous, slightly sweet taste, with a faint smell like that of a mushroom. With the exception of a few berries, chiefly of a dwarf arbutus, the natives eat no vegetable food besides this fungus. In New Zealand, before the introduction of the potato, the roots of the fern were largely consumed; at the present time, I believe, Tierra del Fuego is the only country in the world where a cryptogamic plant affords a staple article of food.

* Described from my specimens and notes by the Rev. J. M. Berkeley, in the Linnean Transactions (vol. xix. p. 37), under the name of Cyttaria Darwinii; the Chilean species is the C. Berteroii. This genus is allied to Bulgaria.

The zoology of Tierra del Fuego, as might have been expected from the nature of its climate and vegetation, is very poor. Of mammalia, besides whales and seals, there is one bat, a kind of mouse (Reithrodon chinchilloides), two true mice, a ctenomys allied to or identical with the tucutuco, two foxes (Canis Magellanicus and C. Azarae), a sea-otter, the guanaco, and a deer. Most of these animals inhabit only the drier eastern parts of the country; and the deer has never been seen south of the Strait of Magellan. Observing the general correspondence of the cliffs of soft sandstone, mud, and shingle, on the opposite sides of the Strait, and on some intervening islands, one is strongly tempted to believe that the land was once joined, and thus allowed animals so delicate and helpless as the tucutuco and Reithrodon to pass over. The correspondence of the cliffs is far from proving any junction; because such cliffs generally are formed by the intersection of sloping deposits, which, before the elevation of the land, had been accumulated near the then existing shores. It is, however, a remarkable coincidence, that in the two large islands cut off by the Beagle Channel from the rest of Tierra del Fuego, one has cliffs composed of matter that may be called stratified alluvium, which front similar ones on the opposite side of the channel,—while the other is exclusively bordered by old crystalline rocks: in the former, called Navarin Island, both foxes and guanacos occur; but in the latter, Hoste Island, although similar in every respect, and only separated by a channel a little more than half a mile wide, I have the word of Jemmy Button for saying that neither of these animals are found.

The gloomy woods are inhabited by few birds: occasionally the plaintive note of a white-tufted tyrant-flycatcher (Myiobius albiceps) may be heard, concealed near the summit of the most lofty trees; and more rarely the loud strange cry of a black wood-pecker, with a fine scarlet crest on its head. A little, dusky-coloured wren (Scytalopus Magellanicus) hops in a skulking manner among the entangled mass of the fallen and decaying trunks. But the creeper (Oxyurus tupinieri) is the commonest bird in the country. Throughout the beech forests, high up and low down, in the most gloomy, wet, and impenetrable ravines, it may be met with. This little bird no doubt appears more numerous than it really is, from its habit of following with seeming curiosity any person who enters these silent woods: continually uttering a harsh twitter, it flutters from tree to tree, within a few feet of the intruder's face. It is far from wishing for the modest concealment of the true creeper (Certhia familiaris); nor does it, like that bird, run up the trunks of trees, but industriously, after the manner of a willow-wren, hops about, and searches for insects on every twig and branch. In the more open parts, three or four species of finches, a thrush, a starling (or Icterus), two Opetiorhynchi, and several hawks and owls occur.

The absence of any species whatever in the whole class of Reptiles, is a marked feature in the zoology of this country, as well as in that of the Falkland Islands. I do not ground this statement merely on my own observation, but I heard it from the Spanish inhabitants of the latter place, and from Jemmy Button with regard to Tierra del Fuego. On the banks of the Santa Cruz, in 50° south, I saw a frog; and it is not improbable that these animals, as well as lizards, may be found as far south as the Strait of Magellan, where the country retains the character of Patagonia; but within the damp and cold limit of Tierra del Fuego not one occurs. That the climate would not have suited some of the orders, such as lizards, might have been foreseen; but with respect to frogs, this was not so obvious.

Beetles occur in very small numbers: it was long before I could believe that a country as large as Scotland, covered with vegetable productions and with a variety of stations, could be so unproductive. The few which I found were alpine species (Harpalidae and Heteromidae) living under stones. The vegetable-feeding Chrysomelidae, so eminently characteristic of the Tropics, are here almost entirely absent;* I saw very few flies, butterflies, or bees, and no crickets or Orthoptera. In the pools of water I found but a few aquatic beetles, and not any fresh-water shells: Succinea at first appears an exception; but here it must be called a terrestrial shell, for it lives on the damp herbage far from the water. Land-shells could be procured only in the same alpine situations with the beetles. I have already contrasted the climate as well as the general appearance of Tierra del Fuego with that of Patagonia; and the difference is strongly exemplified in the entomology. I do not believe they have one species in common; certainly the general character of the insects is widely different.

* I believe I must except one alpine Haltica, and a single specimen of a Melasoma. Mr. Waterhouse informs me, that of the Harpalidae there are eight or nine species—the forms of the greater number being very peculiar; of Heteromera, four or five species; of Rhyncophora, six or seven; and of the following families one species in each: Staphylinidae, Elateridae, Cebrionidae, Melolonthidae. The species in the other orders are even fewer. In all the orders, the scarcity of the individuals is even more remarkable than that of the species. Most of the Coleoptera have been carefully described by Mr. Waterhouse in the Annals of Nat. Hist.

If we turn from the land to the sea, we shall find the latter as abundantly stocked with living creatures as the former is poorly so. In all parts of the world a rocky and partially protected shore perhaps supports, in a given space, a greater number of individual animals than any other station. There is one marine production which, from its importance, is worthy of a particular history. It is the kelp, or Macrocystis pyrifera. This plant grows on every rock from low-water mark to a great depth, both on the outer coast and within the channels.* I believe, during the voyages of the Adventure and Beagle, not one rock near the surface was discovered which was not buoyed by this floating weed. The good service it thus affords to vessels navigating near this stormy land is evident; and it certainly has saved many a one from being wrecked. I know few things more surprising than to see this plant growing and flourishing amidst those great breakers of the western ocean, which no mass of rock, let it be ever so hard, can long resist. The stem is round, slimy, and smooth, and seldom has a diameter of so much as an inch. A few taken together are sufficiently strong to support the weight of the large loose stones, to which in the inland channels they grow attached; and yet some of these stones were so heavy that when drawn to the surface, they could scarcely be lifted into a boat by one person. Captain Cook, in his second voyage, says, that this plant at Kerguelen Land rises from a greater depth than twenty-four fathoms; “and as it does not grow in a perpendicular direction, but makes a very acute angle with the bottom, and much of it afterwards spreads many fathoms on the surface of the sea, I am well warranted to say that some of it grows to the length of sixty fathoms and upwards.” I do not suppose the stem of any other plant attains so great a length as three hundred and sixty feet, as stated by Captain Cook. Captain FitzRoy, moreover, found it growing† up from the greater depth of forty-five fathoms. The beds of this sea-weed, even when of not great breadth, make excellent natural floating breakwaters. It is quite curious to see, in an exposed harbour, how soon the waves from the open sea, as they travel through the straggling stems, sink in height, and pass into smooth water.

* Its geographical range is remarkably wide; it is found from the extreme southern islets near Cape Horn, as far north on the eastern coast (according to information given me by Mr. Stokes) as lat. 43°,—but on the western coast, as Dr. Hooker tells me, it extends to the R. San Francisco in California, and perhaps even to Kamtschatka. We thus have an immense range in latitude; and as Cook, who must have been well acquainted with the species, found it at Kerguelen Land, no less than 140° in longitude.

† Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle, vol. i. p. 363.—It appears that sea-weed grows extremely quick.—Mr. Stephenson found (Wilson's Voyage round Scotland, vol. ii. p. 228) that a rock uncovered only at spring-tides, which had been chiselled smooth in November, on the following May, that is, within six months afterwards, was thickly covered with Fucus digitatus two feet, and F. esculentus six feet, in length.

The number of living creatures of all Orders, whose existence intimately depends on the kelp, is wonderful. A great volume might be written, describing the inhabitants of one of these beds of sea-weed. Almost all the leaves, excepting those that float on the surface, are so thickly incrusted with corallines as to be of a white colour. We find exquisitely delicate structures, some inhabited by simple hydra-like polypi, others by more organized kinds, and beautiful compound Ascidiae. On the leaves, also, various patelliform shells, Trochi, uncovered molluscs, and some bivalves are attached. Innumerable crustacea frequent every part of the plant. On shaking the great entangled roots, a pile of small fish, shells, cuttle-fish, crabs of all orders, sea-eggs, star-fish, beautiful Holuthuriae, Planariae, and crawling nereidous animals of a multitude of forms, all fall out together. Often as I recurred to a branch of the kelp, I never failed to discover animals of new and curious structures. In Chiloe, where the kelp does not thrive very well, the numerous shells, corallines, and crustacea are absent; but there yet remain a few of the Flustraceae, and some compound Ascidiae; the latter, however, are of different species from those in Tierra del Fuego: we see here the fucus possessing a wider range than the animals which use it as an abode. I can only compare these great aquatic forests of the southern hemisphere with the terrestrial ones in the intertropical regions. Yet if in any country a forest was destroyed, I do not believe nearly so many species of animals would perish as would here, from the destruction of the kelp. Amidst the leaves of this plant numerous species of fish live, which nowhere else could find food or shelter; with their destruction the many cormorants and other fishing birds, the otters, seals, and porpoises, would soon perish also; and lastly, the Fuegian savage, the miserable lord of this miserable land, would redouble his cannibal feast, decrease in numbers, and perhaps cease to exist.

June 8th.—We weighed anchor early in the morning and left Port Famine. Captain FitzRoy determined to leave the Strait of Magellan by the Magdalen Channel, which had not long been discovered. Our course lay due south, down that gloomy passage which I have before alluded to as appearing to lead to another and worse world. The wind was fair, but the atmosphere was very thick; so that we missed much curious scenery. The dark ragged clouds were rapidly driven over the mountains, from their summits nearly down to their bases. The glimpses which we caught through the dusky mass were highly interesting; jagged points, cones of snow, blue glaciers, strong outlines, marked on a lurid sky, were seen at different distances and heights. In the midst of such scenery we anchored at Cape Turn , close to Mount Sarmiento , which was then hidden in the clouds. At the base of the lofty and almost perpendicular sides of our little cove there was one deserted wigwam, and it alone reminded us that man sometimes wandered into these desolate regions. But it would be difficult to imagine a scene where he seemed to have fewer claims or less authority. The inanimate works of nature—rock, ice, snow, wind, and water—all warring with each other, yet combined against man—here reigned in absolute sovereignty.

June 9th.—In the morning we were delighted by seeing the veil of mist gradually rise from Sarmiento, and display it to our view. This mountain, which is one of the highest in Tierra del Fuego, has an altitude of 6800 feet. Its base, for about an eighth of its total height, is clothed by dusky woods, and above this a field of snow extends to the summit. These vast piles of snow, which never melt, and seem destined to last as long as the world holds together, present a noble and even sublime spectacle. The outline of the mountain was admirably clear and defined. Owing to the abundance of light reflected from the white and glittering surface, no shadows were cast on any part; and those lines which intersected the sky could alone be distinguished: hence the mass stood out in the boldest relief. Several glaciers descended in a winding course from the upper great expanse of snow to the sea-coast: they may be likened to great frozen Niagaras; and perhaps these cataracts of blue ice are full as beautiful as the moving ones of water. By night we reached the western part of the channel; but the water was so deep that no anchorage could be found. We were in consequence obliged to stand off and on in this narrow arm of the sea, during a pitch-dark night of fourteen hours long.

June 10th.—In the morning we made the best of our way into the open Pacific. The western coast generally consists of low, rounded, quite barren hills of granite and greenstone. Sir J. Narborough called one part South Desolation, because it is “so desolate a land to behold:” and well indeed might he say so. Outside the main islands, there are numberless scattered rocks on which the long swell of the open ocean incessantly rages. We passed out between the East and West Furies ; and a little farther northward there are so many breakers that the sea is called the Milky Way. One sight of such a coast is enough to make a landsman dream for a week about shipwrecks, peril, and death; and with this sight we bade farewell for ever to Tierra del Fuego.

The following discussion on the climate of the southern parts of the continent with relation to its productions, on the snow-line, on the extraordinarily low descent of the glaciers, and on the zone of perpetual congelation in the antarctic islands, may be passed over by any one not interested in these curious subjects, or the final recapitulation alone may be read. I shall, however, here give only an abstract, and must refer for details to the Thirteenth Chapter and the Appendix of the former edition of this work.

On the Climate and Productions of Tierra del Fuego and of the South-west Coast.—The following table gives the mean temperature of Tierra del Fuego, the Falkland Islands, and, for comparison, that of Dublin:—

  Latitude Summer Temp. Winter Temp. Difference. Mean of Summer
and Winter
Dublin* 53° 21' N. 59° .54 39° .2 20° .34 49° .37
Port Famine 53 38' S. 50 33 .08 16 .92 41 .54
Difference 0 17' 9 .54 6 .12 3 .42 7 .83
  Latitude Summer Temp. Winter Temp. Mean of Summer
and Winter
Tierra del Fuego 53°38' S. 50° 33°.08 41°.54
Falkland Islands 51 30' S. 51
Dublin 53 21 N. 59 .54 39 2 49 .37

It will be seen by this that the temperature at Port Famine is very considerably lower, both during summer and winter, than at Dublin, and that at the former the difference between the seasons is not so great, or that the climate is there more equable. It seems the general opinion of those who have visited this country, that the frosts are not so severe or so long as in England. The sealers say that throughout the year they wear the same quantity of clothing. Nevertheless Captain King states, that during the winter of 1828 the temperature was once as low as† 12°.6. I have drawn up these rough and approximate statements merely for the sake of illustrating some of the following remarks.

* This line is taken from Barton's Lectures on the Geography of Plants.

† In this wretched climate, subject to such extreme cold, is it not most wonderful, that human beings should be able to exist unclothed and without shelter?

The kind of climate here described appears to be common to the southern parts of the whole of the southern hemisphere. Although so inhospitable to our feelings, and to most of the plants from the warmer parts of Europe, yet it is most favourable to the native vegetation. The forests, which cover the entire country between the latitudes of 38° and 45°, rival in luxuriance those of the glowing intertropical regions. Whilst in Chiloe (lat. 42°) I could almost have fancied myself in Brazil. Stately trees of many kinds, with smooth and highly coloured barks, are loaded by parasitical plants of the monocotyledonous structure; large and elegant ferns are numerous; and arborescent grasses intwine the trees into one entangled mass, to the height of thirty or forty feet above the ground. Palm-trees grow in lat. 37°; an arborescent grass very like a bamboo in 40°; and another closely-allied kind, of great length but not erect, even as far south as 45°.

Hence we see that the central part of Tierra del Fuego is colder in winter, and no less than 9½° less hot in summer, than Dublin. According to von Buch, the mean temperature of July (not the hottest month in the year) at Saltenfiord in Norway, is as high as 57.8°, and this place is actually 13° nearer the pole than Port Famine!* Inhospitable as this climate appears to our feelings evergreen trees flourish luxuriantly under it. Humming-birds may be seen sucking the flowers, and parrots feeding on the seeds of the Winter's Bark, in lat. 55°S. I have already remarked to what a degree the sea swarms with living creatures; and the shells (such as the Patellae, Fissurellae, Chitons, and Barnacles), according to Mr. G. B. Sowerby, are of a much larger size and of a more vigorous growth, than the analogous species in the northern hemisphere. A large Voluta is abundant in southern Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands. At Bahia Blanca, in lat. 39°S., the most abundant shells were three species of Oliva (one of large size), one or two Volutas, and a Terebra. Now, these are amongst the best characterized tropical forms. It is doubtful whether even one small species of Oliva exists on the southern shores of Europe, and there are no species of the two other genera. If a geologist were to find in lat 39° on the coast of Portugal a bed containing numerous shells belonging to three species of Oliva, to a Voluta and Terebra, he would probably assert that the climate at the period of their existence must have been tropical; but judging from South America, such an inference might be erroneous.

* With respect to Tierra del Fuego, the results are deduced from the observations of Capt. King (Geographical Journal, 1830), and those taken on board the Beagle. For the Falkland Islands, I am indebted to Capt. Sulivan for the mean of the mean temperature (reduced from careful observations at midnight, 8 A.M., noon, and 8 P.M.) of the three hottest months, viz., December, January, and February. The temperature of Dublin is taken from Barton.

The equable, humid, and windy climate of Tierra del Fuego extends, with only a small increase of heat, for many degrees along the west coast of the continent. The forests for 600 miles northward of Cape Horn, have a very similar aspect.

As a proof of the equable climate, even for 300 or 400 miles still further northward, I may mention that in Chiloe (corresponding in latitude with the northern parts of Spain) the peach seldom produces fruit, whilst strawberries and apples thrive to perfection. Even the crops of barley and wheat* are often brought into the houses to be dried and ripened. At Valdivia (in the same latitude of 40°, with Madrid) grapes and figs ripen, but are not common; olives seldom ripen even partially, and oranges not at all. These fruits, in corresponding latitudes in Europe, are well known to succeed to perfection; and even in this continent, at the Rio Negro, under nearly the same parallel with Valdivia, sweet potatoes (convolvulus) are cultivated; and grapes, figs, olives, oranges, water and musk melons, produce abundant fruit. Although the humid and equable climate of Chiloe, and of the coast northward and southward of it, is so unfavourable to our fruits, yet the native forests, from lat. 45 to 38°, almost rival in luxuriance those of the glowing intertropical regions. Stately trees of many kinds, with smooth and highly coloured barks, are loaded by parasitical monocotyledonous plants; large and elegant ferns are numerous, and arborescent grasses entwine the trees into one entangled mass to the height of thirty or forty feet above the ground. Palm-trees grow in lat 37°; an arborescent grass, very like a bamboo, in 40°; and another closely allied kind, of great length, but not erect, flourishes even as far south as 45°S.

* Agüeros, Descrip. Hist. de la Prov. de Chiloe, 1791, p. 94.

In another part of this same hemisphere, which has so uniform a character owing to its large proportional area of sea, Forster found parasitical orchideous plants living south of lat. 45° in New Zealand. Tree-ferns thrive luxuriantly near Hobart Town, in Van Diemen's Land. I measured one there which was exactly six feet in circumference; and its height from the ground to the base of the fronds appeared to be very little under twenty. Mr. Brown says* “an arborescent species of the same genus (Dicksonia) was found by Forster, in New Zealand, at Dusky Bay, in nearly 46° S., the highest latitude in which tree-ferns have yet been observed. It is remarkable that, although they have so considerable a range in the southern hemisphere, no tree-fern has been found beyond the northern tropic: a distribution in the two hemispheres somewhat similar to this has been already noticed respecting the Orchideæ that are parasitical on trees.”

* Appendix to Flinder's Voyage, pp. 575 and 584.

Even in Tierra del Fuego, Captain King describes the “vegetation thriving most luxuriantly, and large woody stemmed trees of Fuchsia and Veronica, in England considered and treated as tender plants, in full flower, within a very short distance of the base of a mountain covered for two-thirds down with snow, and with the temperature at 36°.” He states, also, that humming-birds were seen sipping the sweets of the flowers, “after two or three days of constant rain, snow, and sleet, during which time the thermometer had been at the freezing point.” I myself have seen parrots feeding on the seeds of the winter's bark, south of latitude 55°.

Addendum to Page 272: I have spoken of the low latitudes in which tropical forms of vegetation are found in the southern hemisphere, and likewise of some mammalia and of birds. With respect to the parrot of the Strait of Magellan, Macquarrie Island in lat. 55° S. and long. 160° E. offers an analogous instance, in possessing a species of this genus. I am, however, now enabled to bring forward a more important observation, as directly bearing on the evidence by which geologists have chiefly judged of the climate of ancient Europe, namely, on the character of the marine productions of the southern hemisphere. In my journal I have remarked that the southern seas teem with life, under innumerable forms; and the truth of this remark is amply attested by the vast herds of great unwieldy seals with which the shores of Patagonia, the Falkland and the Antarctic islands, were, according to the narratives of all the early navigators, almost covered. Having mentioned these facts to Mr. George B. Sowerby, he informs me, that the shells of the southern part of the southern hemisphere have some affinity in general character with those of the intertropical seas, or rather that they are of much larger size and of more vigorous growth than the analogous species (excepting the chitons of California) under corresponding zones in the northern hemisphere. Thus the immense size of the Patellæ, Fissurellæ, Chitons, and Barnacles of the Strait of Magellan, and the large size of the former at the Cape of Good Hope, may be taken as instances. On the east coast of South America (in lat. 39°) three species of Oliva (one of large size), a Voluta (and perhaps a second species), and a Terebra, are amongst the most abundant shells on the mud-banks of Bahia Blanca. Another species of Voluta is found as far south as 45°, and there is some reason to believe, even much further. Oliva, Voluta, and Terebra are amongst the best-characterized tropical forms, that is, both the individuals and species of these genera are extremely abundant in the intertropical seas, whilst they are very rare, or do not exist, on the shores of temperate countries. It is doubtful even if one small species of these three genera, an Oliva, inhabits the southern shores of Europe; whilst in a higher latitude, on the coast of South America, species of all three are the most abundant kinds. At Bahia Blanca many of these shells are embedded in gravel, and have been raised above the level of the sea. Now let us suppose that the climate of South America and of the surrounding seas were to undergo some change, so as to become in every respect like that of Europe; it can, I think, scarcely be doubted, that the shells of the abovementioned genera would gradually become extinct, and be replaced by others better adapted to the new climate. What, then, would a geologist say, who entertained the generally-received opinions on the distribution of organic beings in accordance with our knowledge of the northern hemisphere (or, rather, in this imaginary case of both hemispheres), when he found these gravel beds abounding with Olivas, Volutas, and Terebras?—such shells not existing there. We may also suppose that he had discovered that the limits of the more tropical forms, both animal and vegetable, of the productions of the land, had likewise during this former period extended further south: what, then, would he say? Would he not at once infer, with the strongest appearance of truth, that the climate formerly had a more tropical character, properly so called, and therefore had a higher annual mean temperature than at present? Nevertheless, we know such an inference would have been absolutely erroneous. To put the case in another point of view: should a geologist find, in lat. 39°, on the coast of Spain, a tertiary deposit, abounding with Olivas, Volutas, and Terebras; or in lat. 45°, on the coast of France, other beds, containing a large Voluta, and numerous Patellæ, Fissurellæ, Chitons, and Balani, larger and of stronger growth than the existing species, would he be justified, after what is now known, in pronouncing that the climate formerly had a higher mean temperature ? I think it may be safely asserted that he would not be so justified, but rather would be bound to search for other evidence. In the actual case of Europe, we have knowledge (as will be shown in a following note* ) of another element in the problem, namely of the lower descent during former times of the snow-line,—as is inferred from the former low descent of glaciers, on the same mountains, where they now occur only at great heights, and likewise from the congelation during this same period of the soil in a low latitude—and this new element, I believe, gives the key to the solution of the problem, which is, that the climate of Europe was formerly more equable, but so far from being strictly more tropical, that it probably even had a lower mean annual temperature than it now possesses. I need scarcely say that I here refer only to the later tertiary periods: in the more ancient epochs, the plainest analogies tell us of an equatorial climate, whilst on the other hand, we are very far from having the smallest reason to suppose that the snow-line then descended low; and this is the key, as Ihave called it, to the problem of later times.

* As these notes are appended to the Journal, I have found it scarcely possible to classify them properly. I have been obliged to allude to the lower descent of the glaciers in Europe during former periods—facts which are first brought forward in a succeeding note to p. 294.

Although the limit of an almost tropical vegetation extends thus far southward, yet the dearth of living things, both vegetable and animal, on the islands situated even far without the antarctic circle, is surprising, compared with the corresponding parallels in the northern hemisphere. In South Shetland in lat. 62° to 63° (same as Ferroe, or southern part of Norway) Weddell* states, “None of the islands afford any vegetation save a short straggling grass, which is found in very small patches in places where there happens to be a little soil. This, together with a moss similar to that which is found in Iceland, appears in the middle of January, at which time the islands are partially clear of snow.” In Deception Island, one of the same group, Lieutenant Kendall, says,† “There was nothing in the shape of vegetation except a small kind of lichen.” The island itself is partly composed of ice and volcanic ashes interstratified.

* Weddell's Voyage, p. 133.

† Geographical Journal, 1830, pp. 65 and 66.

Another curious proof of the rigour of the climate is mentioned: “Having observed a mound on the hill immediately above this cove, I opened it, and found a rude coffin, the rotten state of which bespoke its having been long consigned to the earth; but the body had undergone scarcely any decomposition. The legs were doubled up, and it was dressed in the jacket and cap of a sailor, but neither they nor the countenance were similar to those of an Englishman.”

Sandwich Land, which is nearly three degrees further from the pole, is thus described by Captain Cook (February 1st, hottest time in the year, and in same latitude as north of Scotland): “Every part was blocked or filled up with ice, and the whole country, from the summits of the mountains down to the very brink of the cliffs which terminate the coast, covered many fathoms thick with everlasting snow. The cliffs alone were all which was to be seen like land.” Again he adds, talking of two islets, “These only were clear of snow, and seemed covered with a green turf.” In Georgia, lat. 54° to 55°, the bays are terminated by ice cliffs of considerable height, and, according to Cook, the country “in the very height of summer, is in a manner wholly covered many fathoms deep with frozen snow, but more especially on the south-west coast.” The only vegetable is “ a strong-bladed grass growing in tufts, wild burnet, and a plant like moss.” Although 96 miles long and about ten broad, it possesses not a single quadruped, and only one land bird, namely a small titlark (an Anthus), a specimen of which I procured in the Falklands. This bird, if undescribed, certainly well deserves the name of antarcticus, for although not living within that circle, it inhabits a more inhospitable region than any other terrestrial animal. Anderson, in Cook's Voyage, says, even in Kerguelen Land (an island 120 miles long by 60 broad, and situated in lat. 50°, corresponding to the extreme southern point of England), “The whole catalogue of plants does not exceed sixteen or seventeen, including some sorts of moss, and a beautiful species of lichen which grows upon the rocks higher up than the rest of the vegetable productions. Nor is there even the least appearance of a shrub in the whole country.” It is doubtful whether there is a single land bird; and then he adds, “The hills are of a moderate height; yet many of their tops were covered with snow* at this time, though answering to our June.” These statements forcibly prove the intemperance of the climate even far without the frozen limits of the antarctic circle.

* I have reason to believe, that icebergs are formed on the coast during a part of the year.

There are no direct observations, by which to judge of the mean temperature of the year in these southern islands. But after reading the above accounts, it will readily be granted that it must be very low. Even in Georgia, in lat. 54°-55°, it is not improbable that the soil is perpetually frozen at a few feet beneath the surface. At Deception Island in lat. 62°-63° from the preservation of the dead body alluded to, and the interstratification of ice with the volcanic ashes, we may feel almost sure that such must be the case. In the northern hemisphere, it is only on the great continents that so low a mean temperature is found in corresponding latitudes. In North America, according to Richardson,* north of lat. 56°, the thaw does not penetrate to a greater depth than three feet. In the Steppes of Siberia, Humboldt† states that to the northward of 62°, the ground between twelve and fifteen feet below the surface is always frozen. In the space, however, between these tw o great northern continents, the line of perpetual congelation rises considerably towards the north.

* Appendix to Back's Expedition,

† Fragmens Asiatiques, vol. ii., p. 386.

It is a remarkable meteorological fact, that in the northern and southern hemispheres, a low mean temperature, in latitudes without the frigid zone, is the result of a directly opposite condition of things. In the northern hemisphere the atmosphere is rendered extremely cold, from the radiation of a large extent of country during a long winter; nor is it moderated by the warmer currents of any neighbouring sea: hence the extreme cold of the winter more than counterbalances the heat of summer. In the southern hemisphere, on the other hand, although the winter is moderate, the summer is cold; for a sky constantly clouded rarely permits the rays of the sun to warm the surface (itself a bad absorbent) of the great ocean: hence, the mean temperature of the year falls below the freezing point. It will at once be evident, that a kind of vegetation which requires an equable temperature, will approach much nearer the line of perpetual congelation in a climate such as this of the southern hemisphere, than in the opposite one subject to extremes.

The height of the plane of perpetual snow in any country, seems chiefly to be determined by the extreme heat of summer, rather than by the mean of the year. As the summer in Tierra del Fuego is so very wretched, we ought not to feel surprised at the fact stated by Capt. King,—that in the Strait of Magellan, the line descends to about 3500 or 4000 feet. In the northern hemisphere, we must travel about fourteen degrees nearer the pole to meet with so low a limit, namely, between lat. 67° and 70° on the mountains of Norway.

In the Cordillera of South America, between latitudes 41° and 43° 30', the culminant peaks have altitudes pretty nearly equal. Several were measured by the officers of the Beagle with considerable care, by angles of elevation, the positions of the mountains being accurately known. Osorno is 7550 feet; mountain south of Osorno 5609; Minchinmadiva 7046; northern end of same range 6862; Corcovado 7510; Yntales 6725. Not only these points, but a great part of the range* was thickly clothed with snow, in the beginning of February (answering to our August), which descended some way down the mountains, and presented to a distant beholder a perfectly horizontal line. We were assured that the snow, which it appeared must inevitably be the case, remained throughout the year. On January 26th, after a week of uncommonly fine weather, Mr. King measured with a pocket sextant, the angle of this line with the summit of the Corcovado; and subtracting the result from the total height, the snow-line was found to descend to 4480 feet. It is possible that there may have existed some unknown cause of error; but as the average height of the few highest peaks in the snow-clad range is under 7000 feet, it is evident that the height of the snow-line cannot at most much exceed 6000 feet.

* Mr. Sulivan, who surveyed this part of Chiloe, informs me, that between Osorno and Yntales, there are probably many mountains which rise to a height of nearly 6000 feet. He says he does not recollect any one summit, which (during January) was not covered with snow.

As this is a point of interest, I shall mention a few other circumstances, by which I think we may come to a nearly definite conclusion. On February 2d (1835) I obtained the last view of the Cordillera; on that day the lower line of the snow descended some way (so as to form a considerable angle with the summit, when viewed from a distance of 61 miles) on the mountain south of Osorno (lat. 41° 20'), which stands by itself, and has a height of 5607 feet. Since arriving in England I have received a letter from Mr. Douglas in Chiloe, who, describing some volcanic phenomena, accidentally mentions the snow-line. He says, on February 20th (same year), on the volcano of Minchinmadiva (lat. 42° 48'), which has an elevation of 7046 feet, lava was ejected from a crater “just above the verge of the snow.” Again, on February 27th, he alludes to the summit of the Corcovado (7510 feet) being covered with snow, as was Yntales* (6725 feet) in lat. 43° 30'. Again Mr. Douglas, speaking of the Corcovado, says, “On the 16th of March the snow appeared to cover one-fifth of its (visible) perpendicular height.” By this date the snow-line must have attained its greatest height (if, indeed, fresh snow had not fallen); and, as the Corcovado rises in an unbroken slope close to the sea, the proportion covered by snow might be judged of, with some degree of accuracy. The height of the Corcovado (7510 feet) was obtained by three angular measurements, made by the officers on the survey, and the mean nearly agreed with the three separate results. Reflecting on all these circumstances, we may conclude with perfect safety, that the limit of perpetual snow, between the latitudes 41° and 43°, cannot much, if at all, exceed 6000 feet.

* On January 15th, Yntales, seen from the Northern Chonos Islands, was entirely covered by snow.

Proceeding northward along the Cordillera we find a very different condition of things. In the pass of the Portillo (to the southward of 33°) Dr. Gillies determined barometrically the height of the double range; and he found the two ridges to be respectively 13,210 and 14,365 feet. On March 21st and 22d (1835), shortly before fresh snow fell, I crossed these mountains,* and although there were large masses of snow, there were much greater spaces at some height on each side uncovered. Dr. Gillies† says, “the summit (of the volcano of Peuquenes) is generally‡ covered with snow, and its elevation cannot be less than 15,000 above the level of the sea.” From these statements, compared with my observations, the snow-line when I crossed certainly was considerably above 14,365,—we may assume 15,000 as about the limit.

* I crossed the Uspallata Pass on April 5th. The height, as given by Mr. Pentland (Geographical Journal), is 12,454. In the ravines there were some inconsiderable patches of snow, but the general surface was quite bare.

† The Edinburgh Journal of Natural and Geographical Science, August, 1830, p. 316.

‡ I have reason to suspect that the snow-line in Chile is subject to extreme variation. I was told, that during one remarkably dry and long summer, all the snow disappeared from Aconcagua. Not being at the time aware of the extraordinary elevation of this mountain (23,000), I did not closely cross-question my informers. It must be remembered that even in ordinary summers the sky is generally cloudless for six or seven months, that no fresh snow falls, and that the atmosphere is excessively dry. It may be asked whether vast quantities of snow would not, under this condition of circumstances, be evaporated? so that it might be possible that all the snow should disappear from a mountain without the temperature having risen above the freezing point. Mr. Miers (vol. i., p. 384) says he passed the Cordillera by the Cumbre Pass on May 30th, 1819, “when not the smallest vestige of snow was observable in any part of the Andes.” Yet Aconcagua is in full view in the approach to this pass. Mr. Miers, in another part (p. 383), makes a general assertion to the same effect.

An equable climate, evidently due to the large area of sea compared with the land, seems to extend over the greater part of the southern hemisphere; and, as a consequence, the vegetation partakes of a semi-tropical character. Tree-ferns thrive luxuriantly in Van Diemen's Land (lat. 45°), and I measured one trunk no less than six feet in circumference. An arborescent fern was found by Forster in New Zealand in 46°, where orchideous plants are parasitical on the trees. In the Auckland Islands, ferns, according to Dr. Dieffenbach* have trunks so thick and high that they may be almost called tree-ferns; and in these islands, and even as far south as lat. 55° in the Macquarrie Islands, parrots abound.

* See the German Translation of this Journal; and for the other facts, Mr. Brown's Appendix to Flinders's Voyage.

(Continue reading below.)

From the results obtained by Humboldt, Pentland, Gillies, and King, we are enabled to draw up the following table of the extraordinary range of the snow-line, on the Cordillera of South America:

On the Height of the Snow-line, and on the Descent of the Glaciers in South America.—For the detailed authorities for the following table, I must refer to the former edition:—

Latitude Height in feet of the Snow-line Observer
Equatorial region; mean result 15,748 Humboldt
Bolivia, lat. 16° to 18°S. 17,000 Pentland†
Central Chile, lat. 33°S. 14,500 to 15,000 Gillies, and the Author
Chiloe, lat. 41° to 43°S. 6,000 Officers of the Beagle, and the Author
Tierra del Fuego, 54° S. 3,500 to 4,000 King‡

† See Mr. Pentland's most interesting paper in the Geograph. Journal, read March 1835.

‡ Journal of Geograph. Soc., vol. i., p. 165.

 

In considering this table, and beginning from the south, we observe, that through the first twelve degrees, the height of the snow-line rises only a little more than 2000 feet. In this space the climate and productions of the country are in many respects very uniform. In the succeeding nine degrees the rise is no less than nine thousand feet. Before any one pronounces this to be impossible, let him reflect well that the height of the snow-line very much depends on the heat of summer.

In Chiloe no fruit, excepting apples and strawberries, comes to perfection; it is even oftentimes necessary to carry the barley and corn into the houses to be ripened:* on the other hand, in central Chile, even the sugar-cane† has been cultivated out of doors, and during a long summer of seven months the sky is seldom clouded, and rain never falls. The island of Chiloe, as well as the neighbouring mainland, is concealed by one dense forest, dripping with moisture, and abounding with ferns and other plants that love a humid atmosphere: while the soil of central Chile, where not irrigated, is arid and nearly desert. These two countries, so remarkably opposed to each other in every character, blend together rather suddenly near Concepcion, in lat. 37°. I do not doubt, the plain of perpetual snow undergoes an extraordinary flexure in the district where the forest ceases; for trees indicate a rainy climate, and hence a clouded state of atmosphere.‡

* For this fact I may quote, as additional authority, Aguerros Descripcion Historial de la Provincia de Chiloé, 1791, p. 94.

† Miers's Chile, vol. i., p. 415. It is said that the sugar-cane grew at Ingenio, lat. 32°-33°, but not in sufficient quantity to make the manufacture profitable. In the valley of Quillota, south of Ingenio, I saw some large date palm-trees.

‡ The average degree of atmospheric transparency seems to be a most important element in determining the climate of any place. Dr. Richardson (Report to Brit. Assoc. for 1836, p. 131) has remarked that Professor Leslie, from experimenting on the effects of radiation only in an insular climate, deduced theoretical inferences respecting the mean temperature of the year, extremely different from the results obtained under the clear atmosphere of the polar regions. I apprehend central Chile will bear comparison with any part of the world for the clearness of its sky, and Chiloe, for one of an opposite condition: therefore we should not feel surprised, if the effects of two such opposite climates at first appear and malous. The remarkable difference in the height of the snow-line, on the opposite sides of the Himmalaya, has been explained by Humboldt and Jacquemont, on the same principle: and in a like manner, the difference between the heights on the Pyrenees and on Caucasus, the latter mountains being characterized by a climate more excessive, than that of the former.

As the height of the plane of perpetual snow seems chiefly to be determined by the extreme heat of the summer, rather than by the mean temperature of the year, we ought not to be surprised at its descent in the Strait of Magellan, where the summer is so cool, to only 3500 or 4000 feet above the level of the sea; although in Norway, we must travel to between lat. 67 and 70° N., that is, about 14° nearer the pole, to meet with perpetual snow at this low level. The difference in height, namely, about 9000 feet, between the snow-line on the Cordillera behind Chiloe (with its highest points ranging from only 5600 to 7500 feet) and in central Chile* (a distance of only 9° of latitude), is truly wonderful. The land from the southward of Chiloe to near Concepcion (lat. 37°) is hidden by one dense forest dripping with moisture. The sky is cloudy, and we have seen how badly the fruits of southern Europe succeed. In central Chile, on the other hand, a little northward of Concepcion, the sky is generally clear, rain does not fall for the seven summer months, and southern European fruits succeed admirably; and even the sugar-cane has been cultivated.† No doubt the plane of perpetual snow undergoes the above remarkable flexure of 9000 feet, unparalleled in other parts of the world, not far from the latitude of Concepcion, where the land ceases to be covered with forest-trees; for trees in South America indicate a rainy climate, and rain a clouded sky and little heat in summer.

* On the Cordillera of central Chile, I believe the snow-line varies exceedingly in height in different summers. I was assured that during one very dry and long summer, all the snow disappeared from Aconcagua, although it attains the prodigious height of 23,000 feet. It is probable that much of the snow at these great heights is evaporated rather than thawed.

† Miers's Chile, vol. i., p. 415. It is said that the sugar-cane grew at Ingenio, lat. 32°-33°, but not in sufficient quantity to make the manufacture profitable. In the valley of Quillota, south of Ingenio, I saw some large date palm-trees.

From central Chile to Bolivia, a space of 16°, the rise of the snow-line is only 2000 feet. If Bolivia possessed an atmosphere as clear as that of Chile, the limit in all probability would be even higher than the present 17,000. The cause why the limit in the equatorial regions should be lower than in a latitude seventeen degrees to the southward, I leave to those to explain, who have more means of information respecting the dryness and clouded state of the atmosphere in the respective regions.

The presence of glaciers depends on the accumulation of a large mass of snow, subject to some variations of temperature, sufficient partially to thaw, and then reconsolidate the mass in its downward course. They have been aptly compared to gigantic icicles. The lower limit of glaciers, must depend on that of the parent snow, greatly affected by the form of the land: in Tierra del Fuego the snow-line descends very low, and the mountain sides are abrupt; therefore we might expect to find glaciers extending far down their flanks.* Nevertheless, when on first beholding, in the middle of summer, many of the creeks on the northern side of the Beagle channel terminated by bold precipices of ice overhanging the salt water, I felt greatly astonished. For the mountains from which they descended, were far from being very lofty. Captain FitzRoy from angular measurements considers the general range to have an elevation rather under 4000 feet, with one point called Chain Mountain rising to 4300. Further inland, there is indeed a more lofty mountain of 7000 feet, but it is not directly connected with the glaciers to which I now allude. This range, which exceeds by so little the height of some mountains in Britain, which yet sends down in the middle of summer its frozen streams to the sea-coast, is situated in the latitude of the Cumberland hills.

* In the Alps, Saussure gives 8793 feet as the mean of the lower limit of the snow-line. At Mont Blanc the glacier of Montanvert is said (Encyclo. Metropol.) to descend 12,000 feet below the summit of the mountain, and this will make its base 5160 feet lower than the line of snow. In Norway (See Von Buch) where a glacier first comes down to the water's edge (lat. 67°), it is 3800 below the same line: in Tierra del Fuego the difference must be very nearly the same as in the last case.

I was much interested by observing the great difference between the matter brought down by torrents and by glaciers. In the former case a spit of gravel is formed, but in the latter a pile of boulders.

On one occasion, the boats being hauled on shore, within the distance of half a mile from a glacier, we were admiring the perpendicular cliff of blue ice, and wishing that some more fragments would fall off, like those we saw floating on the water, at a distance of more than a mile from their source. At last, down came a mass with a roaring noise, and immediately we saw the smooth outline of a wave travelling towards us. The men ran down as quickly as they could to the boats; for the chance of their being dashed to pieces was evident. One of the seamen just caught hold of the bows, as the curling breaker reached it: he was knocked over and over but not hurt; and the boats, though thrice lifted on high and let fall again, received no damage. This was most fortunate for us, for we were a hundred miles distant from the ship, and we should have been left without provisions or fire-arms.

I had previously observed that some large fragments of rock on the beach had been lately displaced: but until seeing this wave I did not understand the cause. The structure of the creek in which this happened was very curious. One side was formed by a spur of mica slate (of which rock the surrounding mountains were composed); the head by a cliff of ice about forty feet high; and the other side by a promontory which was built up of huge rounded fragments of granite and mica slate, and was more than fifty feet in height.

To account for the present position of these blocks, where they must have long remained, for old trees were growing on the upper parts; we must suppose, either that the glacier formerly advanced half a mile further outward, or that the land stood at a rather different level. Whether we are able fully to account, or not, for the height and size of this promontory of boulders, certainly it must have been the work of the glacier. One semi-rounded fragment of granite lying just above high-water mark, was of enormous dimensions. It projected six feet above the sand, and was buried to an unknown depth: its shape was oval with a circumference of thirty yards, so that the longer axis probably measured about ten or eleven. This fragment must have come from the higher parts of the range; for the base of the mountain was entirely composed of mica slate.

The waves caused by the fall of the ice must be a most powerful agent in rounding and heaping together these huge fragments, and likewise in wearing away projecting points of the solid rock. In Georgia, situated in the very same latitude, Cook, speaking of the great ice-cliffs at the head of every harbour, says, “pieces were continually breaking off, and floating out to sea, and a great fall happened while we were in the bay, which made a noise like cannon.” He adds, “It can hardly be doubted, that a great deal of ice is formed here in winter, which in the spring is broken off, and dispersed over the sea. Mr. Sorrell, the boatswain of the Beagle, who has long been accustomed to these seas, informs me, that at this season he has seen small icebergs, with mud and gravel on them, floating from the shores. I have heard from another quarter of the same circumstance. Captain Hunter* says, he met numerous ice-islands in this neighbourhood, and that “many were half black apparently with earth from the land, to which they had adhered, or else with mud from the bottom on which they had been formed.” By the latter method large fragments might easily be transported, and unless the iceberg should be upset, they would never be discovered. Nevertheless, the islands of ice floating in the southern ocean, and especially those occurring far south, appear generally to be quite free from all impurities excepting the dung of seafowl. Captain Biscoe, who extended his enterprising researches so far towards the antarctic pole, informs me in a letter that he never observed in a single instance† any mud or fragments of stone on the numerous icebergs which he encountered during his voyage.

* Hunter's Voyage to Port Jackson, p. 102.

† Mr. Sorrell says, that he once saw an iceberg to the eastward of South Shetland, with a considerable block of rock lying on it.

Addendum to Page 282: With respect to ice transporting fragments of rock in the Antarctic regions, M. Cordier, in his instructions (L'Institut, 1837, p. 283 ) to the voyage of the Astrolabe and the Zélée, has this passage: “Les relations de l'expédition anglo-américaine de découverte exécutée en 1830, nous ont fait connaître que les plages des Nouvelles-Shetland sont couvertes de grands blocs erratiques formés de granite, et par conséquent d'une nature différente des autres roches du pays. M. James Eights, naturaliste de l'expédition, n'hésite pas à considérer ces blocs comme ayant été apportés par les glaces, qui viennent annuellement s'échouer et se fondre sur les plages dont il s'agit et comme étant les indices de terres inconnues situées plus près du pôle que la terre la Trinité.” I have not been able to find any account of this expedition. Lieutenant Kendall describes (Geograph. Journal, 1830 ) pinnacles of syenite in Smith's Island, one of the South Shetland group; so that the inferences regarding the distances, from which the blocks are supposed to have come, probably are erroneous.

In speaking (p. 272) of the rigour of the climate of Deception Island in South Shetland, I might have mentioned that Lieut. Kendall says (Geograph. Journal, 1830, p. 66), that on March the 8th, “We took the hint of the freezing over of the cove (lat. 62° 55' ) and effected our retreat.” This is the same as if, in the northern hemisphere, the harbour of Christiansund in Norway, were to freeze on the 8th of September!

Glaciers occur at the head of the sounds along the whole western coast of the southern part of South America. Looking at the chart I find sixteen places mentioned: besides these I know of several others, such as those in the Beagle channel and at the foot of Mount Sarmiento. The sounds, moreover, were not all traced to the head, and it is in this part that the glaciers most frequently occur. Of the sixteen referred to, many include several frozen arms coming down from one vast body of ice. In the Canal of the Mountains, for instance, no less than nine descend from a mountain, the whole side of which, according to the chart, is covered by a glacier of the extraordinary length of twenty-one miles, and with an average breadth of a mile and a half. It must not be supposed that the glacier merely ascends some valley for the twenty-one miles, but it extends apparently at the same height for that length, parallel to the sound; and here and there sends down an arm to the sea-coast.* There are other glaciers having a similar structure and position, with a length of ten and fifteen miles.

* I may remark that in the chart, the greater number of the creeks which receive the glaciers, have crosses drawn in front, which signify projecting masses of rock. After what we have seen in the Beagle channel, I suspect that they are detached masses brought down by the overwhelming force of the glaciers.

I will now specify a few of the more remarkable cases, taken from Captain King's paper, to which I have so often referred. The canal of St. Andrew is said by Lieutenant Skyring to be “suddenly and boldly closed by tremendous and astonishing glaciers.” The highest mountain in this part (Mount Stokes) was ascertained during our ascent of the river of St. Cruz to be 6200 feet, and this certainly exceeds considerably the height of the general range. About ninety miles to the northward, Sir G. Eyre's Sound, in the latitude of Paris, has its several arms terminated by glaciers. Mr. Bynoe, the surgeon of the Beagle, who accompanied the boat when this part was surveyed, informs me that about mid-channel, and more than twenty miles from the head of the sound, there were great numbers of floating masses of ice. Standing in the boat he supposes he saw about fifty: he, together with four of the boat's crew, landed on one, which although only two or three feet above the surface of the water, felt quite steady, and easily supported their weight. On the surface, in the central part, a mass of granite, of an angular form, was partly embedded; and the ice had thawed all round it, so as to form a shallow pool of water. It was a cube of nearly two feet; and Mr. Bynoe with a maul knocked off, and brought away, a piece as large as a man's head. The iceberg was still floating, and drifting outwards: even if it had been stranded in the immediate neighbourhood, the block of granite would have rested on the clay-slate of the surrounding mountains. For the parent rock we must look to the higher parts of the range, near the head of the sound.

Again, a few miles to the northward I see in the chart an Iceberg Sound, which no doubt was so called from the number of floating masses of ice. It may be recollected that in this latitude, on the opposite side of the Cordillera, the plains of St. Cruz, at the distance of fifty and sixty miles from the mountains, were strewed with great fragments of rock. Of these, one was sixty feet in circumference, and another, which was angular, measured five yards square;—both being partly buried in the gravel, so that their thickness was unknown. As it is probable that the plains were covered by the sea within a period geologically recent, and as we absolutely know, that icebergs at the present day, both in the same latitude and even further northward, are transporting angular blocks from the opposite side of the Cordillera, the explanation of the St. Cruz case through the same means of transport, is rendered so evidently probable, that we are not justified in doubting to receive it: more especially as the unbroken surface of those plains, and the terrace-formed valley, opposes a very great difficulty to the admission of any violent debacle. The latitudes which we have now been talking of, correspond to the southern extremity of Cornwall, and the northern provinces of France.

I will add only one other case; namely, the occurrence of glaciers at the level of the sea, in the gulf of Penas, latitude 46° 40'.§ A glacier is represented in the charts as in one part abutting on a flat swamp often inundated, and in another reaching to the head of Kelly Harbour. The accompanying wood-cut is copied from the published charts.

§ 46° 50' in 1845 edition.

Captain King says its length is fifteen miles, and from the chart one part is seven broad; it is also described as being lofty; so that we here have an enormous mountain, covering a wide area, composed of ice. If we compare its situation with countries in the northern hemisphere, the corresponding parallel crosses the Alps of Switzerland. Or we may state the case stronger, by saying that glaciers here descend to the sea within less than nine degrees of latitude, from where palms grow, less than two and a half from arborescent grasses, and (looking to the westward in the same hemisphere) less than two from orchideous parasites, and within a single degree of tree-ferns!

Addendum to Page 285: I have described the dimensions of the great glacier which in lat. 46° 50', sends down an arm to Kelly Harbour, and another to a flat swamp; I now find from information communicated to me by Captain FitzRoy, that it must communicate with the channels and bays northward, which extend behind the peninsula of Tres Montes. Aguëros, in giving an account of an expedition of the missionaries (Descripcion Historial de la Provincia de Chiloe, p. 227 ), says, they encountered in the Laguna de San Rafael (lat. 46° 33' to 46° 48') “many icebergs (muchos farallones de nieve), some great, some small, and others middle sized.” This was on the 22d of November, 1778. Captain FitzRoy also tells me, that in the account of another missionary voyage, it is said that the boats had difficulty, on account of the islands of ice, in passing through the Caño de Perdon, a strait connecting the Laguna de San Rafael, with the other bays behind Tres Montes. Transposing in imagination, as I have done at p. 291, the places in the southern hemisphere to corresponding ones in Europe, these facts are the same as if, in a channel of the sea stretching from the Mediterranean between the Alps and the Jura, a boat should encounter in the latitude of the lake of Geneva, and on the 22d of June, (but not on one occasion only,) so many icebergs, and of such dimensions, that the historian of the voyage should describe them as being “some great, some small, and others middle sized!”

Having insisted so strongly, in this part of my Journal, that it is in the southern hemisphere, where tropical forms encroach on the temperate zones, that solid glaciers descend to the sea in low latitudes; I might have added that it is in this same hemisphere, that the icebergs, which have been formed in the Polar Regions, are drifted furthest from their birthplace. Horsburgh (Philosoph. Transact., 1830) describes several great icebergs seen by a ship, in her passage to India, in 35° 50' S.: that is, far to the northward of the latitude, where tree-ferns, arborescent grasses, parasitical orchideous plants, and even palm-trees grow; and within sixty miles of the land, where the rhinoceros, elephant, hippopotamus, lion,and hyena, are very numerous.

In Norway, Von Buch found glaciers descending to the sea at Kunnen in latitude 67°; that is twenty degrees nearer the pole, than in this hemisphere;—a difference of latitude rather greater than that between the snow-lines of equal altitude in the same two countries.

The survey of the inner coast terminated at the gulf of Penas, so that I am far from knowing whether glaciers are not found much further northward: and considering the immense size of the one just described, it is extremely improbable that it should be the last. On the island of Chiloe, which fronts the Cordillera as the Jura does the Alps, many angular fragments of granite, of an enormous size, which appear to have crossed the inland arm of sea, lie scattered at different heights over the country. Although situated between the parallels of 41° and 43°, I know of no sound objection to the supposition that these might formerly have been floated across, on icebergs produced by the fall of glaciers. We are not bound to suppose that the latitude 46° 40' has always been the northern limit of such phenomena, even if it should be so at present. We have endeavoured to show that the snow-line in the parallel of Chiloe has an elevation of about 6000 feet; and since on Mont Blanc the glaciers descend 5160 feet beneath the line of perpetual snow, we might at present expect to find them in front of Chiloe at a very small altitude above the level of the sea.

With respect to the position of the glaciers, they seem to occur only within the deep sounds which penetrate the central Cordillera. This may be attributed chiefly to the subordinate elevation of the outer lines. When we consider the vast dimensions and number of these glaciers, the effect produced on the land must be very great. Every one has heard of the mass of rubbish propelled by the glaciers of Switzerland, as they slowly creep onwards. In the same manner in Tierra del Fuego, on a still night the cracking and groaning of the great moving mass may be distinctly heard. The same force, which is known to uproot whole forests of lofty trees, must, when grating over the surface, tear from the flanks of the mountain many huge fragments of rock. Beneath each glacier, also, a roaring torrent drains the upper part of the ice. To these effects, which are common to all cases, there must be added, in this country, the wear and tear of the waves produced by each successive fall. Nor can this agency be inconsiderable, when we remember that it goes on night and day, century after century. We must look at every portion of the mountain as having, during the gradual rising of the land, been successively exposed to the action of these combined forces.

It is, perhaps, useless to speculate on the effects of earthquakes without some positive data. But as we find in the immediate neighbourhood of that great glacier, which stands in the latitude of the Alps, Byron* mentioning with surprise the quantities of sea-shells lying on all the hill-tops (a fact which may be taken as a proof of recent continental elevations);

* Byron's Narrative of the Shipwreck of the Wager.

and Bulkeley,* in his narrative, saying, “This day we felt four great earthquakes, three of which were very terrible;” we may feel well assured, that the same power, which in Chile causes such vast masses of rock and soil to fall from the sea-cliffs, has oftentimes precipitated fragments far more immense, of a mass traversed by great fissures, already in motion, and resting on an inclined plane. I cannot imagine any scene of more terrific violence, than the waves produced by such a fall: we know that they are very bad from the mere oscillation, consequent on the movements of the ground; but in this case I can readily believe that the water would be fairly beaten back out of the deepest inlet, and then returning with an overwhelming force, would whirl about rocks of vast size like so much chaff.

* Bulkeley's and Cummin's Faithful Narrative of the loss of the Wager. The earthquake happened August 25, 1741.

In after ages, with a climate modified by the process of such physical changes as are now going on throughout the greater part of this continent, the effects which had been produced by these glaciers would appear inexplicable, to a person who doubted the possibility of their occurrence in such latitudes. He would see in the most retired and protected valleys (the present channels) beaches composed of great rounded boulders, such as those heaped up on the shore of the most turbulent ocean. Then perhaps he would speculate, either that the outer chain of mountains had been elevated subsequently to the interior ones, so as to protect a coast hitherto exposed, or that overwhelming deluges had swept down the valleys, and in some manner produced, in one day, the effects of attrition which on ordinary occasions require the prolonged action of centuries.

If we could at the present day submerge the greater part of Tierra del Fuego, or leave unelevated that which we know has recently been gained, an island with a few small outliers would be formed, similar to Georgia, and situated in exactly the same latitude. Have we in such case the slightest right to deny the probability that the snow-line would descend nearly to the water's edge, and that every valley would be “terminated by a wall of ice,” and that “in winter masses would be broken off and dispersed over the sea?”—all of which circumstances are now happening in Georgia. The currents, which always set from the westward towards the east, would drift these floating masses through the channels towards the eastern side. And as we know that icebergs at the present day, in both hemispheres, occasionally transport fragments of rock, so we cannot deny that those of Tierra del Fuego might formerly have done so. When the land was elevated, the fragments of rock would be found deposited on the eastern side of the continent, in bands representing the ancient channels. Whether or not the hypothesis of their transport be true, such is the position of the erratic blocks in Tierra del Fuego.

With respect to the general theory of the transport by great fragments of ice, especially of such as are angular, I may add a few remarks. Humboldt having observed that none occurred over the vast intertropical plains of the eastern side of South America, believed that they were entirely absent from the whole continent. As far as I am able to discover from the works of travellers, and from what I have myself seen, the remark holds good in the countries on both sides of the Cordillera as far south as central Chile. Azara has particularly stated such to be the case in Chaco. With respect to the tributaries of the Amazons, nothing can more strongly prove it than La Condamine's* story. He says, “ Below Borja even for four or five hundred leagues, a stone, even a single flint, is as great a rarity as a diamond would be. The savages of those countries don't know what a stone is, and have not even a notion of it. It is diversion enough to see some of them when they come to Borja, and first meet with stones, express their admiration at them with signs, and be eager to pick them up, loading themselves therewith as with a valuable merchandise.” It is therefore a remarkable circumstance that as soon as we reach the colder latitudes in the southern hemisphere (from 41° to Cape Horn), the same phenomenon occurs, almost on as grand a scale and with similar limits, as in the northern parts both of the Old and New World. Neither in the southern nor in the northern hemisphere do the fragments, coming from the polar regions, or from other mountain groups, arrive within a considerable distance of the lines of the tropics.

* La Condamine's Voyage (English translation), p. 24.

We must couple the absence of erratic blocks along that part of the Andes which is situated under a warmer climate, with the similar non-occurrence, as I am informed by Professor Royle, in Northern India round the flanks of the Himmalaya;—those loftiest pinnacles on the face of the globe. With regard to Southern Africa, from lat. 35° to the tropic, Dr. Andrew Smith, who has visited as a naturalist so large a portion of the interior, assures me he has never seen any thing of the kind. Nor do I recollect meeting with any mention of them, in the works of the numerous travellers in the equatorial regions of the same continent. The same remark certainly holds good with Australia in the parallel of Sydney, but perhaps is more doubtful with respect to Van Diemen's Land.* To my mind these negative facts† have very great weight in support of the mass of positive evidence which Mr. Lyell‡ has brought to bear upon the question.

* I will here put together all the (apparent?) exceptions which I have met with to the supposed law that erratic blocks are absent in the intertropical regions of the world. First, in the Bulletin de la Société Géologique, 1837, p. 234, there is an account of some erratic blocks near Macao (lat. 22° N.); but as it is distinctly stated they are all of granite, and the greater number of even the same coloured variety, as the granitic rock, on which they rest, the case need not be considered. Secondly, in a late number of the Madras Journal, Dr. Benza has described some erratic blocks lying on a plain between the Neilgherries (lat. 12° N.) and Madras. He states that the foundation-rock of the country is gneiss, “while the granite clusters are more elevated, and affect either a prismatic form, or are piled up one on the other, like logging stones.” Dr. Benza had the kindness to inform me that these masses are very large, and that several are piled one upon the other. Again, Brongniart says (Tableau de Terrains, p. 83), “On cite aussi dans l'Inde, au pays d'Hyderabad (lat. 17° N.), des blocs énormes de granite, amoncelés les uns sur les autres “(Deluc neveu). Every one must draw his own conclusions from these accounts, regarding the probability of erratic blocks being heaped up, one upon the other, like logging stones. The same doubt likewise partly applies to the Macao case. With respect to the boulders of Hyderabad, Dr. T. Christie has distinctly stated (Edin. New Phil. Jour., Oct. 1828, p. 102), that they are in situ, and has explained their origin. For my own part, I cannot forget that whole granitic hills at the Cape of Good Hope, which, from weathering, have assumed a boulder-like form, were once described as transported masses. The two next cases do not properly come under consideration, for they refer to masses lying in the valleys of lofty mountains. We must not overlook such accidents as bursting of lakes, earthquakes, and the action of former coast-lines. Helms, in his Travels (English translation, p. 45), states he was astonished to find the highest snow-capped mountains near Potosi (20° N.) covered with a stratum of rounded granitic stones. He supposes they must have come from Tucuman, which is several hundred miles distant: yet at p. 55 he says, at Iocalla (a few leagues only from Potosi), “a mass of granite many miles in length, rises in huge weatherbeaten rocks:” the whole account is to me quite unintelligible. Lastly, M. Gay (Annales des Sciences, 1833) describes granitic boulders within the valley of Cauquenes (lat. 33°-34° S.), in the Cordillera. I visited this place: the boulders and pebbles are not large, and those beyond the mouth of the valley are small. The case did not appear to me nearly so extraordinary as it seems to have struck M. Gay. I cannot agree with his assertion that this rock is not found in that part of the Cordillera: but this is a subject which I shall discuss in a future work.

† Anniversary Address to the Geological Society, Feb. 19, 1836, p. 30; and Principles of Geology, vol. i., p. 269, and vol. iv., p. 47, fifth edition.

‡ The absence of great embedded fragments in the formations of the secondary epoch, when we know that the climate was of a more tropical character, is a fact of the same kind.

Addendum to Page 289: Until lately I was not aware that there were sufficient data to speak with some precision of the southern limits of erratic blocks in the northern half of the New World. In Canada, and in the northern parts of the United States, innumerable great scattered fragments of rocks have been described by Bayfield, Bigsly, Hitchcock, and others. In parts of Massachusetts, according to Professor Hitchcock ( Report on the Geology of ), boulders seem to cover the whole face of the country. Further southward we hear from Mr. Rogers (Report to Brit. Assoc., vol. iii.) that boulders are common over the great valley which crosses Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia (lat. 36° 30' to 42°): and likewise in the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, which are in nearly the same latitude. Mr. Rogers having described some blocks of sandstone at Washington and on the Susquehanna, which must have come from some distance northward, adds that “Drake in his picture of Cincinnati (39° 10') mentions large masses of granite in that part of the Ohio, resting on the ordinary finer diluvium. The nearest granite to the north is at least one hundred leagues distant; while no primary rock occurs south or east, within even a much greater limit.” He then proceeds, “We are reminded here of the great detached blocks, which strew the plains of northern Europe, and the explanation suggested, that they have been carried there upon floating ice;” and concludes with the important remark, that Mr. Conrad, who has explored the state of Alabama (30° to 35°) was never once able to perceive a boulder upon its surface. It would hence appear that 36° 30' is the southern limit of the dispersion of erratic blocks in the United States; and these are spoken of, as having come from the north. Therefore, there is no occasion to suppose that the ice, in which by the theory they are believed to have been embedded, was formed in so low a latitude as that here mentioned; and at present, in the southern hemisphere, icebergs are drifted to latitudes, though not formed in them, nearer the tropic than 36° 30'. In Europe I cannot hear of erratic blocks having been found further south than the southern flanks of the Alps, in lat. 45°; and Humboldt has said (see Cuvier's Theory of the Earth, translated by Professor Jameson, p. 346) that they do not occur in Lombardy. I may here remark, that care should be taken to separate the phenomenon of great angular blocks, from that of rounded ones, although of considerable size; for torrents, and more especially the waves of the sea, during its slow oscillation of level, are agents sufficiently powerful to produce great effects. The lowest latitude in South America, in which I found large angular fragments, which must have been transported by ice there formed, or by some unknown means, was in latitude 41°. But as I did not examine the country immediately north of it, I am not prepared to say that this is their extreme limit; but between latitude 27° and 33°, I found no appearance, on either side of the Cordillera, which indicated a power of transportation of the kind required to remove boulders from a distance. Thus, we find that the limit of their dispersion in the two Americas is nearly the same; although they approach the warmer zones rather more closely in the northern than in the southern division of the continent, and in both, probably, more so than in Europe.

In the note, in which I have considered the apparent exceptions to the law, that erratic boulders are not found in the intertropical regions, I have said that the internal evidence of the Macao case led me to doubt its reality, and I now find it is distinctly stated by M. Chevalier that the rounded blocks result from the secular disintegration of the fundamental rock (L'Institut, 1838, p. 151—Analysis of the Voyage of the Bonite ). I may here add, that M. Puillon Boblaye, in his description of Bone and Constantine on the northern coast of Africa (L'Institut, 1838, p. 248, says, “Je n'ai rien vu que pût indiquer le phénomène des blocs erratiques.” My statement that erratic boulders are not found in Australia, is fully borne out by information communicated to me by Major Mitchell, who, in his repeated expeditions, has traversed so much of the south-east division of that continent. With the several facts given here and in the Journal (p. 289), I can scarcely doubt that the law of the distribution of erratic blocks is finally determined; and it is needless to specify the great, not to say conclusive, importance of this law on the theory of the means of their transportation, — a problem which has so long perplexed geologists.

The circumstance of a luxuriant vegetation with a tropical character so largely encroaching on the temperate zones, under the same kind of climate that allows of a limit of perpetual snow of little altitude, and consequent descent of the glaciers into the sea, is very important; because it has been argued, with great apparent truth, that as there is the strongest presumptive evidence of a gradual cooling down of the climate (or rather of a less favourable state for tropical productions) in Europe, it is most unphilosophical to imagine that formerly glaciers could have acted where they do not now occur. It may be asked; what are the circumstances in the southern hemisphere that produce such results? Must we not attribute them to the large proportional area of water; and do not plain geological inferences compel us to allow, that during the epoch anterior to the present, the northern hemisphere more closely approached to that condition, than it now does?

We are all so much better acquainted with the position of places in our own, than in any other quarter of the globe, that I will recapitulate what is actually taking place in the southern hemisphere,* only transporting in imagination each part to a corresponding latitude in the north. On this supposition, in the southern provinces of France, magnificent forests, intwined by arborescent grasses, and the trees loaded with parasitical plants, would cover the face of the country. In the latitude of Mont Blanc, but on an island as far eastward as central Siberia, tree-ferns and parasitical orchideæ would thrive amidst the thick woods. Even as far north as central Denmark, humming-birds might be seen fluttering about delicate flowers, and parrots feeding amidst the evergreen woods, with which the mountains would be clothed down to the water's edge. Nevertheless, the southern part of Scotland (only removed twice as far to the westward) would present an island “almost wholly covered with everlasting snow,” and having each bay terminated by ice-cliffs, from which great masses yearly detached, would sometimes bear with them fragments of rock. This island would only boast of one land bird, a little grass and moss; yet in the same latitude the sea might swarm with living creatures. A chain of mountains, which we will call the Cordillera, running north and south through the Alps (but having an altitude much inferior to the latter), would connect them with the central part of Denmark. Along this whole line nearly every deep sound would end in “bold and astonishing glaciers.” In the Alps themselves (with their altitude reduced by about half) we should find proofs of recent elevations, and occasionally terrible earthquakes would cause such masses of ice to be precipitated into the sea, that waves tearing all before them, would heap together enormous fragments, and pile them up in the corners of the valleys. At other times, icebergs, “charged with no inconsiderable blocks of granite,”† would be floated from the flanks of Mont Blanc, and then stranded on the outlying islands of the Jura. Who then will deny the possibility of these things having actually taken place in Europe during a former period, and under circumstances known to be different from the present, when on merely looking to the other hemisphere, we see they are among the daily order of events?

* It is in the southern hemisphere that we find elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotomuses, and lions, as far south as lat. 34° 35'. In South America the jaguar occurs in 42°, and the puma in 53°.

† Geographical Journal. Capt. King uses these words when alluding to the case in Sir G. Eyre's Sound, which I have more fully described from the information of Mr. Bynoe.

To the northward of our new Cape Horn, we should only have certain knowledge of a few island groups, situated in the latitude of the south part of Norway, and others in that of Ferroe. These, in the middle of summer, would be buried under snow, and surrounded by walls of ice; so that scarcely a living thing of any kind would be supported on the land. If some bold navigator attempted to penetrate beyond these islands towards the pole, he would run a thousand dangers, and only meet an ocean strewed with mountain-masses of ice.

At the Ferroe islands (or we may say a little to the southward of the Wiljui, where Pallas found (in lat. 64° N.) the frozen rhinoceros), a body buried under the surface of the soil would undergo so little decomposition, that years afterwards (as in the instance mentioned at South Shetland, 62°-63° S.), every feature might be recognised perfect and unchanged. I particularly allude to this circumstance, because the case of the Siberian animals preserved with their flesh in the ice, offers the same apparent difficulty with the glaciers; namely, the union in the same hemisphere of a climate in some senses severe, with one allowing of the life of those forms which at present, although abounding without the tropics, do not approach the frozen zones.

The perfect preservation of the Siberian animals, perhaps presented, till within a few years, one of the most difficult problems which geology ever attempted to solve. On the one hand it was granted, that the carcasses had not been drifted from any great distance by any tumultuous deluge, and on the other it was assumed as certain, that when the animals lived, the climate must have been so totally different, that the presence of ice in the vicinity was as incredible, as would be the freezing of the Ganges. Mr. Lyell in his “Principles of Geology”* has thrown the greatest light on this subject, by indicating the northerly course of the existing rivers with the probability that they formerly carried carcasses in the same direction ; by showing (from Humboldt) how far the inhabitants of the hottest countries sometimes wander; by insisting on the caution necessary in judging of habits between animals of the same genius, when the species are not identical; and especially by bringing forward in the clearest manner the probable change from an insular to an extreme climate, as the consequence of the elevation of the land, of which proofs have lately been brought to light.†

* In the fourth and subsequent editions.

† Wrangel's Voyage in the Icy Sea in the years 1821, 1822, and 1823. Edited by Professor Parrot, of Dorpat, Berlin, 1826.

In a former part of this volume, I have endeavoured to prove, that as far as regards the quantity of food, there is no difficulty in supposing that these large quadrupeds inhabited sterile regions, producing but a scanty vegetation. With respect to temperature, the woolly covering both of the elephant and the rhinoceros seems at once to render it at least probable (although it has been argued that some animals living in the hottest regions are thickly clothed) that they were fitted for a cold climate. I suppose no reason can be assigned why, during a former epoch, when the pachydermata abounded over the greater part of the world, some species should not have been fitted for the northern regions, precisely as now happens with deer and several other animals.* If, then, we believe that the climate of Siberia, anteriorly to the physical changes above alluded to, had some resemblance with that of the southern hemisphere at the present day—a circumstance which harmonizes well with other facts,† as I think has been shown by the imaginary case, when we transported existing phenomena from one to the other hemisphere,—the following conclusions may be deduced as probable: First, that the degree of cold formerly was not excessive; secondly, that snow did not for a long time together cover the ground (such not being the case at the extreme parts 55°-56° of S. America); thirdly, that the vegetation partook of a more tropical character than it now does in the same latitudes; and lastly, that at but a short distance to the northward of the country thus circumstanced (even not so far as where Pallas found the entire rhinoceros), the soil might be perpetually congealed: so that if the carcass of any animal should once be buried a few feet beneath the surface, it would be preserved for centuries.

* Dr. Fleming first brought this notion forward in two papers published in the Edinburgh Philosoph. Journ. (April, 1829, and Jan. 1830). He adduces the case of allied species of the bear, fox, hare, and ox, living under widely different climates.

† Since writing the above, I have been much interested by reading an account by Professor Esmark, which proves that formerly, glaciers in Norway descended to a lower altitude than at present; and therefore, that they came down to the level of the sea in a lower latitude. This, according to generally-received ideas, would indicate a colder climate, and so it was considered to do by Professor Esmark; for he argues from it in favour of Whiston's hypothesis, that the “earth in its aphelion was covered with ice and snow.” Professor Esmark describes a glacier-dike, in lat. 58° 57', as “lying close to the level of the sea, in a district, where you find only a few heaps of perpetual snow in the hollows of the mountains.” He says, “Not only the dike itself, but the whole horizontal surface, exhibits proofs that there has been a glacier here, for the plain exactly resembles those which I found adjoining the glaciers presently existing between Londfiord and Lomb.” (See Ed. New Phil. Journal, p. 117, October 1826.) These facts afford a very strong and admirable confirmation of the view, that the climate of Europe has been gradually changing, from a character resembling that of the southern hemisphere, to its present condition. For on this hypothesis, we might have anticipated, that proofs would have been discovered, that glaciers formerly descended to a lower altitude than they now do; and yet, that the organic remains of that epoch, instead of a former period of refrigeration, would have indicated a climate of a more tropical character;—a conclusion, which may be deduced from plain geological evidence.

Addendum to Page 294: In my discussion on the climate of the southern hemisphere, I have shown that a low altitude of the line of perpetual snow, and consequently the descent of glaciers to the level of the sea in latitudes relatively low to what occurs in the northern hemisphere, and likewise the perpetual congelation of the soil a little beneath the surface in countries without the frigid zone, are the results of a climate which appears favourable to the passage of tropical forms beyond their proper limits, and to a vigorous native vegetation. The climate is one of an equable nature; and this must, to a considerable degree, be the effect of the great area of ocean compared with the land of the southern hemisphere. In the northern hemisphere we have proofs, that the productions both of the land and water, during the period antecedent to the present, had a more tropical character than they now have, and there is, also, a high degree of probability that the proportional area of water was much greater.

If then we judge from the analogy of the southern hemisphere, the first and simple inference from these facts, is, that the temperature of Europe was formerly more equable, though perhaps with a lower mean, than it now is. It may be asked, as a test of this inference, did the snow-line formerly descend lower than it now does? Was the soil formerly frozen a little beneath the surface in a low latitude? The congealed carcasses of the great Pachydermata of Siberia answer the second question; and in my journal, I have indirectly considered the first one as answered, by the fact of the many erratic boulders of Europe having travelled from mountains, situated in regions where great bodies of ice do not at present descend to the level of the sea. For on the theory that these boulders were transported by icebergs from glaciers, which formerly descended into the sea in latitudes where perpetual snow is not now found, or if so, only at great heights, the problem receives so simple a solution, that I did not hesitate, having the other data, to assume, that the snow-line in Europe formerly did descend much lower than it does at present. But, had I studied my subject more attentively, I might have taken a higher ground: in a note, indeed (p. 294), I have stated that according to Professor Esmark, it is certain, that the glaciers of Norway formerly descended to a lower level; and I now found that some time since, Messrs. Venetz and Charpentier, and more lately M. Agassiz, have incontestably shown, from the presence of glacier-dikes or moraines, and from the polished and scratched surface of the rocks, that in the Alps enormous bodies of ice formerly descended to the borders even of the lake of Geneva, and therefore much lower than the line of present lowest descent.* With these several facts it might have been boldly asserted, that the climate of Europe formerly was like that of the southern hemisphere as it now is; and consequently, as we know, that the sea within recent tertiary periods stood at a higher level over a large portion of our continent, it might have been affirmed, had there been no record of the existence of erratic blocks on this side of the globe, that it would be an anomaly, difficult of explanation, should there not be found around the eminences of central and northern Europe great unrolled fragments, scattered at long distances from their parent sources, and often separated from them by profound valleys.

* No doubt if much more snow fell formerly than at present, the glaciers would formerly have descended somewhat lower; but as Europe now has a moderately humid climate, it is improbable in the highest degree (if indeed possible) that a difference of that kind could have caused the former extremely low descent of the ancient glaciers of the Alps: therefore we are compelled to attribute the difference to a change of temperature of some kind.

M. Agassiz has lately (Address to the Helvetic Society, July 1837, translated in Jameson's New Philosophical Journal, vol. xxiii., p. 364, and in several communications in the French periodical L'Institut) written on the subject of the glaciers and boulders of the Alps. He clearly proves, as it appears to me, that the presence of the boulders on the Jura cannot be explained by any debacle, or by the power of ancient glaciers driving before them moraines, or by the subsequent elevation of the surface on which the boulders now lie. M. Agassiz also denies that they were transported by floating ice, but he does not fully state his objections to this theory; nor does he oppose it, by the argument of the apparent anomaly of a low descent of glaciers, with the generally-received opinion of the more tropical character of the productions of the antecedent periods,—which was philosophical, until the effects of a temperate and equable climate were considered.* On the contrary, he assumes that, during the gradual cooling of the earth, there have been periods of excessive refrigeration. It is needless to state that such an hypothesis is not supported by a single fact—without, indeed, the assumed sudden renewal of life on the surface of the world at successive periods be considered such. During this imagined period of excessive refrigeration, the Alps and the greater part of Europe, and even of Asia, are supposed to have been covered by one immense sheet of ice, and during the assumed sudden elevation of the Alps, fragments of rocks are supposed to have been shot over the frozen surface, and, when the ice melted, to have dropped on the surface where they now lie. M. Agassiz considers that this view explains the position of the boulders on pinnacles, and their absence in the valleys. I confess I should have thought, after the flexure and elevation of the ice, these would have been the least probable situations: but neither this, or some other facts (p. 381), are quite intelligible to me from the briefness, with which they are alluded to. M. Agassiz says (p. 375), “The erratic blocks of the Jura every where repose on polished surfaces, all those at least which have not been carried beyond the crest of our mountains, and which have not fallen to the bottom of our longitudinal valleys, as may be seen throughout the valleys of the Creux du Vent. But they do not repose immediately upon these polished surfaces. Wherever the rounded pebbles which accompany the great blocks have not been removed by subsequent influences, it is remarked that small blocks, in other words pebbles of different sizes, form a bed of some inches, and sometimes even of many feet, upon which the great angular blocks repose. These pebbles are also much rounded, even polished, and are heaped up in such a way that the larger are above the smaller, and that the last often pass below into a fine sand, lying immediately over the polished surfaces. This order of superposition, which is constant, is opposed to all idea of a transport by currents; for in this latter case the order of the superposition of the pebbles would have been precisely reversed.” Further on (p. 379) he remarks that the action of the glaciers is immense; “for these masses, continually moving upon each other, and on the surface, bruise and grind down every thing moveable, and polish the solid surfaces on which they repose; at the same time that they push before them all that they encounter, with a force which is irresistible. It is to these movements (of the great stratum of ice) we must attribute the strange superposition of the rolled pebbles, and of the sand, which immediately reposes upon the polished surfaces; and it is unquestionably to the grating of this sand upon these surfaces that the fine lines which we find (previously compared to the scratches made by a diamond on glass) are owing, and which would never have existed, if the sand had been acted upon by a current of water.” Now it may be demanded, by what possible means can such violent action arrange the large pebbles above the smaller ones, and these again above the sand? The fact appears to me utterly inexplicable on this view. Again it is said, that the surface of the rock is marked by furrows and gibbosities, as well as by scratches, and that these “never follow the direction of the slope of the mountain, but are oblique and longitudinal (that is, in the line of the mountain, and therefore nearly horizontal), a direction which excludes every idea of a stream of water being the cause of these erosions.” What explanation will it be believed is offered for this fact?—It is, that the fine lines and furrows “must have resulted from the much greater facility which the ice had in dilating itself in the direction of the great Swiss valley, than transversely, confined as it were between the Jura and the Alps!”

* M. Charpentier (in his account of M. Venetz's investigations on the Glaciers of the Valais—Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, vol. xxi., p. 215) was fully aware of this difficulty. His explanation rests on a supposed enormous oscillation of level in the Alps,—an assumption which is unsupported by other facts, and is not applicable to the general case of Europe.

I will now endeavour to show how far these very curious facts, which we owe to M. Agassiz's observation, can be explained by the theory of floating ice: and the theory, I may add, if applicable to this case, solves that which presents far greater difficulties, than any other of the kind in Europe. I should first state that I make two assumptions, and if these be rejected, the theory is not applicable to the case of the erratic blocks of the Alps :—first, that an arm of the sea extended between the Jura and the Alps, during that period in which, as I have before shown, it is probable, that the proportional area of water in Europe was greater, and certain, that the productions of the land and water had a more tropical character, at the same time that the snow-line descended lower. The age of the Molasse, which occupies this area, between the Jura and Alps, has not been accurately determined; but it is supposed to be miocene, and is said to contain leaves of the Chamærops, a genus of palms, at present found further from the equator than any other kind. It is not, however, evident that the Molasse was deposited by the sea during the latest period, when it occupied a confined limit between the Alps and Jura; but even if this should be found to be the case, it would be rash in any one positively to conclude that glaciers could not have descended to the shores of a sea, on which the Chamærops flourished, after that we know they descend in the southern hemisphere so near the limits of several tropical forms.

My second assumption is, that the elevation of this much of Switzerland, whenever it took place, was slow and gradual: this is supported by the strongest analogies of South America, Scandinavia, and other parts of the world; whilst on the other hand, the assumption that it had been sudden, would be unsupported by a single ascertained fact in nature. Now, as the numerous masses of ice, which fall from the glaciers at the head of the sounds on the South American coast, are slowly drifted outwards (owing to the fresh water flowing in from the foot of the glaciers), and in the more open channels are left to be acted on by the winds and currents; so must it have been with the icebergs from the glaciers of the Alps, situated in the same latitude, and under similar conditions. These icebergs would in most cases be driven on some part of the surrounding shore; but from floating deep they would ground a little way from the beach, and then being packed together, and driven to and fro, as the winds changed, and as the tides rose and fell, would they not, like a glacier on the land, though in a lesser degree, “bruise and grind down every thing and polish the solid surface, on which they reposed?” In the rapids of the North American rivers, over which large bodies of ice are driven, carrying with them pebbles and fragments of rocks, I am informed by Dr. Richardson, that the primitive rocks are scooped and hollowed, and have their surfaces polished and glossy. Dr. Richardson, however, is not prepared to say, whether this is caused by the passage of the ice or of the pebbles.* Although the icebergs might be drifted from side to side of the sound, if they were moved after having grounded, it would be along the shore by the set of the currents or wind, and perhaps slightly up and down by the tidal changes. Would not the necessary effect of this be, that the scratches formed by the sand grating between the rocks and the bottom of the icebergs should be, with some irregularities, longitudinal, or (from the effect of the tidal movement) oblique? And as the mountains slowly emerged during ages, every part would be thus acted on; and consequently the whole surface would be marked by longitudinal scratches.

* It must be remembered, that I am here considering the effect of icebergs, in inland and protected sounds. Dr. Richardson tells me, that the great icebergs in the Arctic sea are packed together, and are driven with such force against the shore, that they push up before them, to the height of several feet, every pebble and boulder which lies on the bottom; and consequently the submarine ledges of rock are kept absolutely bare. If a fragment were to be wedged beneath one of these mountain-masses of ice, when forced upward with such overwhelming power, it is impossible to doubt that the underlying surface of solid rock would be deeply scored. As it is known that the shingle on most beaches has a tendency to travel in one direction, so must the icebergs; and hence we may conjecture, that the grooves, would generally be slightly oblique to the line of coast, and parallel to each other.

The icebergs on the South American coast sometimes transport angular fragments of rock, to the distance of many miles from the glacier whence they were detached; and as the winds and currents generally have sufficient steadiness to drive any floating object soon on shore, (as is known to be the case with a capsized boat, a barrel, or floating carcass, &c.), so the blocks of rock would be generally* landed on the shores of the channels between the Alpine ranges, and not dropped in the intervening spaces. If any pointed rock came so near the surface that a floating mass of ice thus charged, grounded on it, the block would, when the ice melted, be there left. But it may be asked, would the blocks usually be deposited on the bare surface of the rocky bottom off the shore, or on an intervening layer of gravel or sediment? From what I have observed when passing in boats through the channels of Tierra del Fuego, and from frequent examinations of the armings of the lead used in sounding, I feel nearly sure that absolutely bare submarine rock is not very common. Moreover, where matter is depositing near a shore, the finer the particles are, the further they are drifted: in approaching a coast I have actually traced every step in the series, from the finest sand to large pebbles. But as the land in any case is slowly elevated, the same forces which carried the large pebbles to a certain distance from the beach, and the smaller ones to a still further distance, will, after each little elevation, carry them somewhat further :—a layer of little pebbles thus covering the sand, and a layer of large pebbles the smaller ones. Hence, when the part near the shore is converted into dry land, a section of the bed which was originally the bottom of the sea will necessarily show solid rock covered by sand, this by fine pebbles, and these again by others, gradually increasing in size. Such then, I conclude, must have been the nature of the sub-littoral deposits of the Alps, during their assumed slow elevation. Finally, as icebergs of large size would seldom be driven up on the beach of a sheet of water, if, like the channel between the Jura and the Alps, it were protected from the open sea, any fragments of rock transported by them would have been dropped some way outside, and therefore when upraised with the whole country, they would be found in most cases reposing on beds (where the loose matter had not been subsequently removed), characterized by the order of superposition just described.

* We might expect that they would sometimes be launched into the deep, whilst on their passage. M. Charpentier (Edinburgh New Phil. Journal, vol. xxi., p. 217) observes, speaking of another theory, “This view is equally insufficient to account for the extraordinary position of immense single blocks, which we sometimes find planted vertically in the soil, in the valleys, as on the sides of a mountain, and split up throughout their whole extent from top to bottom,—a phenomenon which would force us to believe that these blocks, had fallen perpendicularly from a certain height on the very spots where we now see them, and had been rent asunder by the fall, into the several fragments lying near one another.” M. Charpentier considers this owing to the fragments having fallen through fissures in the enormous glaciers, which, as he believes, extended from the Alps, across the lake of Geneva, and up the Jura. The explanation above suggested is, at least, as simple as this.

Such is the explanation I would suggest of the very curious facts observed by M. Agassiz. I make no assumptions which are not supported by strong analogies and the foundation of the theory—namely, a change of climate of a peculiar kind—can be shown by reasoning, independent of the existence of erratic blocks, to be probable in a high degree : whether this is the case with the theory of M. Agassiz, I leave the reader to decide.

Having said thus much on the scratched rocks of the Alps, I am tempted to make a few remarks on those of Scotland, described by Sir James Hall* in his celebrated paper (Edinburgh Phil. Transact., vol. vii.) on the Revolutions of the Earth's Surface :—a case which has always appeared to me to be the strongest ever adduced in favour of the theory of an overwhelming debacle having rushed, at least in that country, over hill and valley. The furrows and scratches in the same district are parallel to each other, and hence run in the same direction :—thus, near Edinburgh, they extend in a line a little north of west and south of east, that is parallel to the valley of the estuary; but both to the eastward and westward they deviate from this line by more than half a right angle; and on the south-west part of Scotland they have no uniform direction. In the north of Scotland, however, near Brora, Mr. Murchison (Geolog. Transact. 2d Series, vol. ii., p. 357) found the hills marked in parallel lines, directed north-west and south-east. The furrows and scratches near Edinburgh seem generally to traverse the less inclined surfaces, but Sir James, speaking of one part, says “the perpendicular face as well as the rest is covered with lines, which are horizontal, or nearly so.” In these respects the case appears very similar to that of the Alps: the rocks, however, are not polished;† but this may be owing to their nature, sandstone and trap, and not to any difference in the cause; for Dr. Richardson tells me that in the same rivers in North America, in which the granitic rocks are much polished, those of laminated limestone are not at all so. Near Edinburgh, where the lines extend west and east, the western face of the hills (of which the highest mentioned is four hundred and seventy feet above the sea) is chiefly marked, whilst on the opposite or protected side, a long tail of (so called) diluvium extends, which consists of blue clay, with large erratic boulders embedded in it. These boulders, as I am informed by Mr. James Hall, and by Mr. Smith of Jordanhill, are themselves marked with parallel lines, having one direction, which shows that they were held fast whilst drifted across the country, and not rolled over and over, like a pebble in a stream. It is admitted by all that the grooves on the solid rock were formed by the passage of these boulders over it. Although the minor inequalities of the surface of the land appear to have had no influence whatever on the action which produced the scratches, yet the larger features, as the general bearing of the main valleys, appear to have determined their direction. Sir James distinctly states that the scoopings and furrows have precisely that form which the long action of torrents tends to produce on a solid rock; but he adds, and I believe most truly, that the furrowed surface produced by such means is smooth, and not deeply scored and scratched. It is indeed utterly inconceivable that large stones should be carried along as if “independently of their gravity” by any ordinary means, with such velocity, as to mark with horizontal lines the perpendicular face of a rock. From these facts,—from the presence of great erratic blocks, from the steepness of one face of the grooved hills, and the tail of sediment stretching out from the other, Sir James Hall, having in his mind the recorded cases of the great waves consequent on earthquakes, inferred that a vast deluge had burst over the country from the westward.

* Sir James Hall believes that erratic boulders were transported by debacles, when embedded in ice. He seems to have been led to this opinion, by a clear perception of the difficulty of supposing the existence of glaciers in the Alps and in other regions of central Europe, excepting at great altitudes; and from such situations a debacle was absolutely requisite to transport fragments on ice. Sir James rejects the belief of M. Wrede (given on the authority of De Luc), that the boulders of the Baltic may have been brought into their present place by ice, acting, during a steady and slow change in the level of the ocean. M. Wrede, therefore, appears to have been the originator of the theory advocated in this volume; and no country was more likely than Sweden to have given birth to such a theory.

† It is, however, said in Professor Buckland's Reliquiæ Diluvianæ, p. 202, that Colonel Imrie found the surface of some trap-rocks in the southern parts of Stirlingshire, having “a considerable degree of polish; and this polish is almost always seen marked by long linear scratches.”

M. Brongniart, and lately M. Sefström (L'Institut, February 22d, 1837), have described phenomena in Sweden almost identical with those of Scotland. The rocks are there grooved and scratched,* even to the height of 1500 feet, in north and south lines, parallel to the valley of the Baltic and of the Gulf of Bothnia; but they are considerably deflected by the larger inequalities of surface. The north side of the hills are most affected, whilst from the southern side, long ridges, called oasars, stretch out; they are composed of sand and waterworn materials, and appear to be similar, but on a much larger scale, to the tails of diluvium in Scotland. In Sweden, however, the erratic blocks always lie on the surface of these ridges, and are not embedded within them: but M. Sefström says, that at the time when the grooves were formed, enormous masses of rock were torn from the mountains. In the United States, the phenomenon of the grooved rocks appears to be developed in an extraordinary manner. Professor Hitchcock (Report on the Geolog. of Massachusetts, p. 167) describes a tract about two hundred miles in width, over which nearly all the bare rock on the hills, even to the height of three thousand feet, is scored by parallel lines. In some parts boulders, weighing from fifty to one hundred tons, are yet lying on the surfaces, which bear the marks of their passage. The furrows are generally directed a little west of north, but in the western part of Massachusetts, and in the eastern of New York, they extend in a north-west and south-east line, and in one part even to W. 20° N. M. Sefström and Professor Hitchcock explain these appearances in their respective countries by the same agency, as Sir James Hall does in Scotland.

* Mr. Lyell, moreover, describes ( Philosoph. Transact., 1835, p. 18), the rocks of gneiss on the beach near Oregrund in Sweden, as being so “smooth and polished, that it is difficult to walk on them.” Further on (p. 21), he describes the large bodies of ice, which are annually packed on this coast, so as to be eighteen feet thick: here then we have the same phenomena as in the Alps; and great icebergs in movement, instead of solid glaciers. More lately M. Berzelius has sent specimens of these rocks, “polished as if by emery in a constant rectilinear direction” (Edinb. New Phil. Journal, vol. l., p. 313), to Paris, accompanied by a letter to M. Elie de Beaumont.

The theory of a great debacle is in these cases based on the united presence of erratic boulders, ridges of waterworn materials, forming tails to scarped hills, and parallel furrows and scratches on the surface of the rocks. 1st. With respect to the boulders, it would be superfluous to repeat the arguments in favour of the idea of their transportation by ice: and in the case of Sweden, it would be pre-eminently superfluous, as we know (see Lyell on the Rising of the Land in Sweden, Phil. Transact., 1835) that blocks are there transported yearly by this means. 2d. Every one who has examined a great estuary, or a channel where the tides run strongly, is aware that linear banks are formed behind any obstacle. Therefore these tails of diluvium might have been formed, as far as regards their external form, by ordinary means; and with respect to their internal structure, which appears extremely irregular, and without any stratification, it must be difficult for any one to speak with certainty, until the joint effects of ice transporting coarse fragments and gentle currents of water, fine mud, are better known. Mr. Lyell, indeed (Phil. Transact., 1835, p. 15) has advanced strong reasons, showing from the structure and composition of the oasars that they could not have been formed by any sudden debacle. Whilst such linear banks were depositing on one side of the hills, the other, or exposed front, would almost necessarily become scarped. 3d. We have the admission of Sir James Hall, that the scoopings and grooves resemble those produced by the slow action of running water: therefore the scratches appear to be the only part of the phenomenon which remains unexplained.

In the Alps, we are told, that scratches are formed on rocks by glaciers grinding over them. According to the theory of floating ice, we have evidence in the erratic blocks near Edinburgh, that ice was formerly in action there; and, from the analogies given in this volume, it might well have been so, since the scene of supposed action lies two degrees nearer the Pole than Georgia, in the southern ocean, “almost wholly covered with everlasting snow.” What then would be the effect of the tides and gales of wind, driving packed icebergs with irresistible force, through channels, and over rocky shoals;—each part of the surface being exposed for centuries, as the country was elevated, to this action? Would not the fragments of rock embedded in the ice grate in a direct path over the surface, regardless of minor inequalities? and would not the fragments themselves be grooved and scored in one direction? Can we for one moment believe it possible that boulders, either in water or in the thickest mud, could be driven over a rugged surface, or along a perpendicular face of solid rock, with such enormous velocity as with their points to groove and scratch it, and nevertheless not to be rolled over and over, like a stone descending a mountain, but to be marked with parallel lines of abrasion, equally with the fixed, underlying mass? It appears to me that we assuredly can make no such admission. Travellers in the Arctic regions tell us that the drift-ice, with its irresistible power, can force up the gravel and sand into mounds (see Geograph. Journal, vol. viii., p. 221), and drive before it great boulders, and even ships, and masses of ice, high and dry on the beach. What then would be the effect of a few pebbles, or a single fragment, between such masses of ice and a steep coast-wall of rock? Would not scratches “horizontal, or nearly so” be formed, “indicating (to use Sir James Hall's words) that grinders had been pressed against the rock;” as if “independently of their gravity?”

In this explanation only veræ causæ are introduced, and reasons can be assigned, for the belief that these causes have been in action in these districts. On the theory of debacles, it still remains to be proved that rocks can be thus scooped and furrowed, or hills scarped; although I am far from affirming they cannot,—and scratched, I presume, they certainly would be. With respect to Sweden, where the land is now rising, and where ice even still is a transporting agent, it is undoubtedly the part of the geologist, to endeavour by long and laborious research to account for the phenomena by these real agencies. For to introduce, before it is absolutely forced on us, the hypothesis of a deluge of mud and stones, fifteen hundred feet deep in Sweden, or three thousand in North America, which rushing over the country, rounded the northern fronts of the hills, and rolling by their eastern and western flanks, left them marked with oblique furrows, is to violate, as it appears to me, every rule of inductive philosophy.

Both Humboldt* and Lyell have remarked, that at the present day, the bodies of any animals, wandering beyond the line of perpetual congelation which extends as far south as 62°, if once embedded by any accident a few feet beneath the surface, would be preserved for an indefinite length of time: the same would happen with carcasses drifted by the rivers; and by such means the extinct mammalia may have been entombed. There is only one small step wanting, as it appears to me, and the whole problem would be solved with a degree of simplicity very striking, compared with the several theories first invented. From the account given by Mr. Lyell of the Siberian plains, with their innumerable fossil bones, the relics of many successive generations, there can be little doubt that the beds were accumulated either in a shallow sea, or in an estuary. From the description given in Beechey's voyage of Eschscholtz Bay, the same remark is applicable to the north-west coast of America: the formation there appears identical with the common littoral deposits† recently elevated, which I have seen on the shores of the southern part of the same continent. It seems also well established, that the Siberian remains are only exposed where the rivers intersect the plain. With this fact, and the proofs of recent elevation, the whole case appears to be precisely similar to that of the Pampas: namely, that the carcasses were formerly floated into the sea, and the remains covered up in the deposits which were then accumulating. These beds have since been elevated; and as the rivers excavate their channels the entombed skeletons are exposed.

* See Humboldt, Fragmens Asiatiques, vol. ii., pp. 385-395.

† See some remarks by Dr. Buckland on the similarity of this formation with the deposits so commonly found over a great part of Europe. Appendix to Beechey's Voyage, p. 609.

Here then, is the difficulty: how were the carcasses preserved at the bottom of the sea? I do not think it has been sufficiently noticed, that the preservation of the animal with its flesh was an occasional event, and not directly consequent on its position far northward. Cuvier† refers to the voyage of Billing as showing that the bones of the elephant, buffalo, and rhinoceros, are nowhere so abundant as on the islands between the mouths of the Lena and Indigirska. It is even said that excepting some hills of rock, the whole is composed of sand, ice, and bones. These islands lie to the northward of the place where Adams found the mammoth with its flesh preserved, and even ten degrees north of the Wiljui, where the rhinoceros was discovered in a like condition. In the case of the bones we may suppose that the carcasses were drifted into a deeper sea, and there remaining at the bottom, the flesh decomposed.* But in the second and more extraordinary case, where putrefaction seems to have been arrested, the body probably was soon covered up by deposits which were then accumulating. It may be asked, whether the mud a few feet deep, at the bottom of a shallow sea which is annually frozen, has a temperature higher than 32°? It must be remembered how intense a degree of cold is required to freeze salt water; and that the mud at some depth below the surface, would have a low mean temperature, precisely in the same manner as the subsoil on the land is frozen in countries which enjoy a short but hot summer. If this be possible,† the entombment of these extinct quadrupeds is rendered very simple; and with regard to the conditions of their former existence, the principal difficulties have, I think, already been removed.

† Ossemens Fossiles, vol. i., p. 151.

* Under these circumstances of slow decomposition, the surrounding deposits would probably be impregnated with much animal matter; and thus the peculiar odour perceived in the neighbourhood of the strata containing fossil bones at Eschscholtz Bay, may be accounted for. See Appendix to Beechey's Voyage.

† With respect to the possibility of even ice accumulating at the bottom of the sea, I shall only refer to the following passage taken from the English translation of the Expedition to the East Coast of Greenland, by Captain W. Graah, Danish Royal Navy. “Nor is this the only danger to be apprehended: the ice off this blink, even to a considerable distance from it, being said to shoot up from the bottom of the sea in such a manner, and in such masses, as in many years to make it utterly impassable. How to account for the phenomenon to which I have just adverted I know not, unless by supposing that the bottom of the sea itself is hereabouts like the dry land covered with a thick crust of ice. But whether this crust is formed upon the spot, or is the remains of icebergs and the heavy drift-ice frozen to the bottom during severe winters, or a portion of the land-ice, which loaded with stones and fragments of the crumbling hill has protruded itself into the sea, is a problem impossible, perhaps to solve.” Again he says: “We passed it without any accident, and without having observed any thing of that upheaving of the ice off it, to which allusion has been made, though the fact of its occurrence cannot be doubted, the very name of the place, Puisortok, being thence derived.” It seems fully established on excellent testimony (see Journ. of Geograph. Soc., vol. v., p. 12, and vol. vi., p. 416; also a collection of notices in Edinburgh Journal of Nat. and Geograph. Soc., vol. ii., p. 55), that freshwater rivers in Russia and Siberia, and even in England, often freeze at the bottom, and that the flakes of ice when they rise to the surface, often “bring with them large stones.” All that seems to be required in producing ground-ice, is, that there should be sufficient movement in the fluid, so that the whole is cooled down to the freezing point, and then the water crystallizes, wherever there is a point of attachment.

Addendum to Page 297: With reference to the embedment of the Siberian animals with their flesh, I have mentioned in a note, the case of ice described as rising from the bottom of the sea, off the coast of Greenland. Messrs. Dease and Simpson, during their late memorable journey along the shores of the Arctic ocean, speaking of one part (Geograph. Journal, vol. viii., p. 218 ) say, “The ice lay much closer here; and numerous masses adhered to the bottom, under the water, which obliged us to search a passage out from the shore.” Further on (p. 220) they say, “But nowhere had the thaw penetrated more than two inches beneath the surface (of the land), while under water along the shore, the bottom was still impenetrably frozen.” This was on the second of August. It should, however, be observed, that the sea along this part of the American coast is extremely shallow.

————

Having concluded this long discussion on the analogies which may be drawn from the existing climate of the southern parts of America, together with its productions, we will return to the description of Tierra del Fuego.

There is one vegetable production in this country which is worthy of mention, as it affords a staple article of food to the aborigines. It is a globular fungus of a bright yellow colour, and of about the size of a small apple, which adheres in vast numbers to the bark of the beech-trees. It probably forms a new genus, allied to the morell. In the young state it is elastic and turgid, from being charged with moisture. The external skin is smooth, yet slightly marked with small circular pits, like those from the smallpox. When cut in two, the inside is seen to consist of a white fleshy substance, which viewed under a high power resembles, from the numerous thread-like cylinders, vermicelli. Close beneath the surface, cup-shaped balls, about one-twelfth of an inch in diameter, are arranged at regular intervals. These cups are filled with a slightly adhesive, yet elastic, colourless, quite transparent matter; and from the latter character they at first appeared empty. These little gelatinous balls could be easily detached from the surrounding mass, except at the upper extremity, where the edge divided itself into threads, which mingled with the rest of the vermicelli-like mass. The external skin directly above each of the balls is pitted, and as the fungus grows old, it is ruptured, and the gelatinous mass, which no doubt contains the sporules, is disseminated.

After this process of fructification has taken place, the whole surface becomes honeycombed, with empty cells (as represented in the accompanying woodcut), and the fungus shrinks, and grows tougher. In this state it is eaten by the Fuegians, in large quantities, uncooked, and when well chewed has a mucilaginous and slightly sweet taste, together with a faint odour like that of a mushroom. Excepting a few berries of a dwarf arbutus, which need hardly be taken into the account, these poor savages never eat any other vegetable food besides this fungus.*

* In New Zealand, before the introduction of the potato, the root of the fern was consumed in large quantities. At the present day I should think Tierra del Fuego was the only country in the world, where a cryptogamic plant afforded a staple article of food.

I have already mentioned the sombre and dull character of the forests,* in which two or three species of trees grow, to the exclusion of all others. Above the forest land, there are many dwarf alpine plants, which all spring from the mass of peat, and help to compose it. The central part of Tierra del Fuego, where the clay-slate formation occurs, is most favourable to the growth of trees; on the outer coast the poorer granitic soil, and a situation more exposed to the violent winds, do not allow of their attaining any great size. Near Port Famine I have seen more large trees than any where else: I measured a winter's bark which was four feet six inches in girth, and several of the beech were thirteen feet. Captain King also mentions one of the latter which was seven feet in diameter, seventeen feet above the roots.

* Captain FitzRoy informs me that in April (our October) the leaves of those trees which grow near the base of the mountains change colour, but not those in the more elevated parts. I remember having read some observations showing, that in England the leaves fall earlier in a warm and fine autumn, than in a late and cold one. This change in the colour being retarded in the more elevated and therefore colder situations, must be owing to the same general law of vegetation. The trees of Tierra del Fuego during no part of the year entirely shed their leaves.

The zoology of Tierra del Fuego, as might have been expected from the nature of its climate and vegetation, is very poor. Of mammalia, besides Cetacea and Phocæ, there is one bat, a mouse with grooved front teeth (Reithrodon of Waterhouse), and two other species, the tucutuco (the greater number of these rodents are confined to the eastern and dry part), a fox, sea-otter, guanaco, and one deer. The latter animal is rare, and is not, I believe, to be found south of the Strait of Magellan, as happens with the others.

Observing the general correspondence of the cliffs of soft sandstone, mud, and shingle, on the opposite sides of the Strait, together with those on some intervening islands, one is strongly tempted to believe that the land was once joined, and thus allowed animals so delicate and helpless as the tucutuco, and Reithrodon, to pass over. The correspondence of the cliffs is far from proving any junction; because such cliffs generally are formed by the intersection of sloping deposits, which, before the elevation of the land, had been accumulated near the then existing shores. It is, however, a remarkable coincidence, that in the two large islands cut off by the Beagle channel from the rest of Tierra del Fuego, one has cliffs composed of matter that may be called stratified alluvium, which front similar ones on the opposite side of the channel,—while the other is exclusively bordered by the older rocks: in the former, called Navarin Island, both foxes and guanacoes occur; but in the latter, Hoste Island, although similar in every respect, and only separated by a channel a little more than half a mile wide, I have the word of Jemmy Button for saying that neither of these animals are found. I must confess to an exception to the rule, in the presence of a small mouse, of a species occurring likewise in Patagonia.

The gloomy woods are inhabited by few birds: occasionally the plaintive note of a white tufted tyrant-flycatcher may be heard, concealed near the summit of the most lofty trees; and more rarely the loud strange cry of a black woodpecker, with a fine scarlet crest on its head. A little, dusky-coloured wren (Scytalopus fuscus) hops in a skulking manner among the entangled mass of the fallen and decaying trunks. But the creeper (Synallaxis Tupinieri) is the commonest bird in the country. Throughout the beech forests, high up and low down, in the most gloomy, wet, and impenetrable ravines, it may be met with. This little bird no doubt appears more numerous than it really is, from its habit of following, with seeming curiosity, any person who enters these silent woods: continually uttering a harsh twitter, it flutters from tree to tree, within a few feet of the intruder's face. It is far from wishing for the modest concealment of the true creeper (Certhia familiaris), nor does it, like that bird, run up and down the trunks of trees; but industriously, after the manner of a willow wren, hops about, and searches for insects on every twig and branch. In the more open parts three or four species of finches, a thrush, a starling (or Icterus), two furnarii, and several hawks and owls occur.

The absence of any species whatever in the whole class of Reptiles is a marked feature in the zoology of this country, as well as in that of the Falkland Islands. I do not ground this statement merely on my own observation, but I heard it from the Spanish inhabitants of the latter place, and from Jemmy Button with regard to Tierra del Fuego. On the banks of the St. Cruz in 50° south, I saw a frog; and it is not improbable that these animals, as well as lizards, may be found as far south as the Strait of Magellan, where the country retains the character of Patagonia; but within the damp and cold limit not one occurs. That the climate would not have suited some of the orders, such as lizards, might have been foreseen; but with respect to frogs, this was not so obvious.

Coleopterous insects occur in very small numbers. Until I had endeavoured by every means to find them, I could not believe, that a country as large as Scotland, covered with vegetable productions, and with a variety of stations, would ever have been so unproductive. The greater part of my small collection consists of alpine insects (Harpalidæ and Heteromera) found beneath stones, above the limit of the forest. Lower down, with the exception of some few Curculiones scarcely any could be found. The Chrysomelidæ, which are so pre-eminently characteristic of the Tropics, are here almost entirely absent.* This must depend on the climate; for the quantity of vegetable matter is superfluously great. In the hottest part of the summer the mean of the maxima for thirty-seven successive days was 55°, and the thermometer on some of the days rose to 60°; yet there were no orthoptera, very few diptera, lepidoptera, or hymenoptera. In the pools of water I found but few aquatic beetles, and not any fresh-water shells. Succinea at first appears an exception; but here it must be called a terrestrial species, for it lives on the damp herbage far from water. Land shells could only be procured in the same situations with the alpine beetles. I have already contrasted the climate, as well as the general appearance of Tierra del Fuego with that of Patagonia; and the difference is strongly exemplified in the entomology.

* I believe I must except one alpine Haltica, and a single specimen of a Melasoma. Mr. Waterhouse, who was good enough to look at my collection from this place, tells me, that of the Harpalidæ there are eight or nine species,—the forms of the greater number being very peculiar; of Heteromera, four or five species; of Rhyncophora six or seven; and of the following families one species in each: Staphylinidæ, Elateridæ, Cebrionidæ, Melolonthidæ. The species in the other orders, were even fewer. In all the orders, the scarcity of the individuals was even more remarkable than that of the species. I do not believe they have a species in common; certainly the general character of the insects is widely different.

If we turn from the land to the sea, we shall find the latter as abundantly stocked with living creatures as the former is poorly so. In all parts of the world a rocky and partially protected shore perhaps supports, in a given space, a greater number of individual animals than any other kind of station. Here, under every stone, numerous crawling creatures swarmed, and especially crustacea of the family of Cymothoades. The number of Sphæroma was truly wonderful: as these animals, when coiled up, have some resemblance to Trilobites, they were an interesting sight to a geologist. On the tidal rocks patelliform shells of large size were very abundant. Even at the depth of forty or fifty fathoms, the bottom of the sea was far from sterile, as was shown by the abundance of small strong corallines.

There is one marine production, which from its importance is worthy of a particular history. It is the kelp or Fucus giganteus of Solander. This plant grows on every rock from low-water mark to a great depth, both on the outer coast and within the channels. I believe, during the voyages of the Adventure and Beagle, not one rock near the surface was discovered, which was not buoyed by this floating weed. The good service it thus affords to vessels navigating near this stormy land is evident; and it certainly has saved many a one from being wrecked. I know few things more surprising than to see this plant growing and flourishing amidst those great breakers of the western ocean, which no mass of rock, let it be ever so hard, can long resist. The stem is round, slimy, and smooth, and seldom has a diameter of so much as an inch. A few taken together are sufficiently strong to support the weight of the large loose stones to which in the inland channels they grow attached; and some of these stones are so heavy, that when drawn to the surface they can scarcely be lifted into a boat by one person.

Captain Cook, in his second voyage, says, that at Kerguelen Land “some of this weed is of a most enormous length, though the stem is not much thicker than a man's thumb. I have mentioned, that on some of the shoals upon which it grows, we did not strike ground with a line of twenty-four fathoms. The depth of water, therefore, must have been greater. And as this weed does not grow in a perpendicular direction, but makes a very acute angle with the bottom, and much of it afterwards spreads many fathoms on the surface of the sea, I am well warranted to say that some of it grows to the length of sixty fathoms and upwards.” Certainly at the Falkland Islands, and about Tierra del Fuego, extensive beds frequently spring up from ten and fifteen fathom water. I do not suppose the stem of any other plant attains so great a length as 360 feet, as stated by Captain Cook. Its geographical range is very considerable; it is found from the extreme southern islets near Cape Horn, as far north, on the eastern coast (according to information given me by Mr. Stokes), as lat. 43°,—and on the western it was tolerably abundant, but far from luxuriant, at Chiloe, in lat. 42°. It may possibly extend a little further northward, but is soon succeeded by a different species. We thus have a range of fifteen degrees in latitude; and as Cook, who must have been well acquainted with the species, found it at Kerguelen Land, no less than 140° in longitude.

The number of living creatures of all orders, whose existence intimately depends on the kelp, is wonderful. A great volume might be written, describing the inhabitants of one of these beds of sea-weed. Almost every leaf, excepting those that float on the surface, is so thickly incrusted with corallines, as to be of a white colour. We find exquisitely-delicate structures, some inhabited by simple hydra-like polypi, others by more organized kinds, and beautiful compound Ascidiæ.* On the flat surfaces of the leaves various patelliform shells, Trochi, uncovered molluscs, and some bivalves are attached. Innumerable crustacea frequent every part of the plant. On shaking the great entangled roots, a pile of small fish, shells, cuttle-fish, crabs of all orders, sea-eggs, starfish, beautiful Holuthuriæ (some taking the external form of the nudibranch molluscs), Planariæ, and crawling nereidous animals of a multitude of forms, all fall out together. Often as I recurred to a branch of the kelp, I never failed to discover animals of new and curious structures. In Chiloe, where, as I have said, the kelp did not thrive very well, the numerous shells, corallines, and crustacea were absent; but there yet remained a few of the flustraceæ, and some compound Ascidiæ; the latter, however, were of different species from those in Tierra del Fuego. We here see the fucus possessing a wider range than the animals which use it as an abode.

* I have reason to believe that many of these animals are exclusively confined to this station.

I can only compare these great aquatic forests of the southern hemisphere with the terrestrial ones in the intertropical regions. Yet if the latter should be destroyed in any country, I do not believe nearly so many species of animals would perish, as, under similar circumstances, would happen with the kelp. Amidst the leaves of this plant numerous species of fish live, which nowhere else would find food or shelter; with their destruction the many cormorants, divers, and other fishing birds, the otters, seals, and porpoises, would soon perish also; and lastly, the Fuegian savage, the miserable lord of this miserable land, would redouble his cannibal feast, decrease in numbers, and perhaps cease to exist.

JUNE 8TH.—We weighed anchor early in the morning, and left Port Famine. Captain FitzRoy determined to leave the Strait of Magellan by the Magdalen channel, which had not long been discovered. Our course lay due south, down that gloomy passage which I have before alluded to, as appearing to lead to another and worse world. The wind was fair, but the atmosphere was very thick; so that we missed much curious scenery. The dark ragged clouds were rapidly driven over the mountains, from their summits nearly to their bases. The glimpses which we caught through the dusky mass were highly interesting: jagged points, cones of snow, blue glaciers, strong outlines marked on a lurid sky, were seen at different distances and heights. In the midst of such scenery we anchored at Cape Turn, close to Mount Sarmiento, which was then hidden in the clouds. At the base of the lofty and almost perpendicular sides of our little cove, there was one deserted wigwam, and it alone reminded us that man sometimes wandered in these desolate regions. But it would be difficult to imagine a scene where he seemed to have less claims, or less authority. The inanimate works of nature—rock, ice, snow, wind, and water—all warring with each other, yet combined against man—here reigned in absolute sovereignty.

JUNE 9TH.—In the morning we were delighted by seeing the veil of mist gradually rise from Sarmiento, and display it to our view. This mountain, which is one of the highest in Tierra del Fuego, has an elevation of 6800 feet. Its base, for about an eighth of its total height, is clothed by dusky woods, and above this a field of snow extends to the summit. These vast piles of snow, which never melt, and seem destined to last as long as the world holds together, present a noble and even sublime spectacle. The outline of the mountain was admirably clear and defined. Owing to the abundance of light reflected from the white and glittering surface, no shadows are cast on any part ; and those lines which intersect the sky can alone be distinguished: hence the mass stood out in the boldest relief. Several glaciers descended in a winding course, from the snow to the sea-coast: they may be likened to great frozen Niagaras; and perhaps these cataracts of blue ice are to the full as beautiful as the moving ones of water. By night we reached the western part of the channel; but the water was so deep that no anchorage could be found. We were in consequence obliged to stand off and on, in this narrow arm of the sea, during a pitch-dark night of fourteen hours long.

JUNE 10TH.—In the morning we made the best of our way into the open Pacific. The Western coast generally consists of low, rounded, quite barren, hills of granite and greenstone. Sir John Narborough called one part South Desolation, because it is “so desolate a land to behold;” and well indeed might he say so. Outside the main islands there are numberless scattered rocks, on which the long swell of the open ocean incessantly rages. We passed out between the East and West Furies, and a little further northward there are so many breakers that the sea is called the Milky Way. One sight of such a coast is enough to make a landsman dream for a week about shipwreck, peril, and death; and with this sight, we bade farewell for ever to Tierra del Fuego.

The descent of glaciers to the sea must, I conceive, mainly depend (subject, of course, to a proper supply of snow in the upper region) on the lowness of the line of perpetual snow on steep mountains near the coast. As the snow-line is so low in Tierra del Fuego, we might have expected that many of the glaciers would have reached the sea. Nevertheless, I was astonished when I first saw a range, only from 3000 to 4000 feet in height, in the latitude of Cumberland, with every valley filled with streams of ice descending to the sea-coast. Almost every arm of the sea, which penetrates to the interior higher chain, not only in Tierra del Fuego, but on the coast for 650 miles northwards, is terminated by “tremendous and astonishing glaciers” as described by one of the officers on the survey. Great masses of ice frequently fall from these icy cliffs, and the crash reverberates like the broadside of a man-of-war through the lonely channels. These falls, as noticed in the last chapter, produce great waves which break on the adjoining coasts.

It is known that earthquakes frequently cause masses of earth to fall from sea-cliffs: how terrific, then, would be the effect of a severe shock (and such occur here*) on a body like a glacier, already in motion, and traversed by fissures! I can readily believe that the water would be fairly beaten back out of the deepest channel, and then, returning with an overwhelming force, would whirl about huge masses of rock like so much chaff. In Eyre's Sound , in the latitude of Paris, there are immense glaciers, and yet the loftiest neighbouring mountain is only 6200 feet high. In this Sound, about fifty icebergs were seen at one time floating outwards, and one of them must have been at least 168 feet in total height. Some of the icebergs were loaded with blocks of no inconsiderable size, of granite and other rocks, different from the clay-slate of the surrounding mountains.

* Bulkeley's and Cummin's Faithful Narrative of the Loss of the Wager. The earthquake happened August 25, 1741.

The glacier furthest from the pole, surveyed during the voyages of the Adventure and Beagle, is in lat. 46° 50', in the Gulf of Penas. It is 15 miles long, and in one part 7 broad and descends to the sea-coast.

§ 46° 40' in 1839 edition.

But even a few miles northward of this glacier, in Laguna de San Rafael, some Spanish missionaries* encountered “many icebergs, some great, some small, and others middle-sized” in a narrow arm of the sea, on the 22nd of the month corresponding with our June, and in a latitude corresponding with that of the Lake of Geneva!

* Agüeros, Desc. Hist. de Chiloe, p. 227.

In Europe, the most southern glacier which comes down to the sea is met with, according to Von Buch, on the coast of Norway, in lat. 67°. Now, this is more than 20° of latitude, or 1230 miles, nearer the pole than the Laguna de San Rafael. The position of the glaciers at this place and in the Gulf of Penas may be put even in a more striking point of view, for they descend to the sea-coast within 7½° of latitude, or 450 miles, of a harbour, where three species of Oliva, a Voluta, and a Terebra, are the commonest shells, within less than 9° from where palms grow, within 4½° of a region where the jaguar and puma range over the plains, less than 2½° from arborescent grasses, and (looking to the westward in the same hemisphere) less than 2° from orchideous parasites, and within a single degree of tree-ferns!

These facts are of high geological interest with respect to the climate of the northern hemisphere at the period when boulders were transported. I will not here detail how simply the theory of icebergs being charged with fragments of rock, explain the origin and position of the gigantic boulders of eastern Tierra del Fuego, on the high plain of Santa Cruz, and on the island of Chiloe. In Tierra del Fuego, the greater number of boulders lie on the lines of old sea-channels, now converted into dry valleys by the elevation of the land. They are associated with a great unstratified formation of mud and sand, containing rounded and angular fragments of all sizes, which has originated* in the repeated ploughing up of the sea-bottom by the stranding of icebergs, and by the matter transported on them. Few geologists now doubt that those erratic boulders which lie near lofty mountains have been pushed forward by the glaciers themselves, and that those distant from mountains, and embedded in subaqueous deposits, have been conveyed thither either on icebergs or frozen in coast-ice. The connexion between the transportal of boulders and the presence of ice in some form, is strikingly shown by their geographical distribution over the earth. In South America they are not found further than 48° of latitude, measured from the southern pole; in North America it appears that the limit of their transportal extends to 53½° from the northern pole; but in Europe to not more than 40° of latitude, measured from the same point. On the other hand, in the intertropical parts of America, Asia, and Africa, they have never been observed; nor at the Cape of Good Hope, nor in Australia.†

* Geological Transactions, vol. vi. p. 415.

† I have given details (the first, I believe, published) on this subject in the first edition, and in the Appendix to it. I have there shown that the apparent exceptions to the absence of erratic boulders in certain countries, are due to erroneous observations; several statements there given I have since found confirmed by various authors.

On the Climate and Productions of the Antarctic Islands.—Considering the rankness of the vegetation in Tierra del Fuego, and on the coast northward of it, the condition of the islands south and south-west of America is truly surprising.

Sandwich Land, in the latitude of the north part of Scotland, was found by Cook, during the hottest month of the year, “covered many fathoms thick with everlasting snow:“ and there seems to be scarcely any vegetation. Georgia, an island 96 miles long and 10 broad, in the latitude of Yorkshire, “in the very height of summer, is in a manner wholly covered with frozen snow.” It can boast only of moss, some tufts of grass, and wild burnet; it has only one land-bird (Anthus correndera), yet Iceland, which is 10° nearer the pole, has, according to Mackenzie, fifteen land-birds. The South Shetland Islands, in the same latitude as the southern half of Norway, possess only some lichens, moss, and a little grass; and Lieut. Kendall ~/* found the bay, in which he was at anchor, beginning to freeze at a period corresponding with our 8th of September.

* Geographical Journal, 1830, pp. 65, 66.

The soil here consists of ice and volcanic ashes interstratified; and at a little depth beneath the surface it must remain perpetually congealed, for Lieut. Kendall found the body of a foreign sailor which had long been buried, with the flesh and all the features perfectly preserved.

It is a singular fact, that on the two great continents in the northern hemisphere (but not in the broken land of Europe between them ), we have the zone of perpetually frozen under-soil in a low latitude—namely, in 56° in North America at the depth of three feet,~/* and in 62° in Siberia at the depth of twelve to fifteen feet—as the result of a directly opposite condition of things to those of the southern hemisphere.

* Richardson's Append. to Back's Exped., and Humboldt's Fragm. Asiat., tom. ii. p. 386.

On the northern continents, the winter is rendered excessively cold by the radiation from a large area of land into a clear sky, nor is it moderated by the warmth-bringing currents of the sea; the short summer, on the other hand, is hot. In the Southern Ocean the winter is not so excessively cold, but the summer is far less hot, for the clouded sky seldom allows the sun to warm the ocean, itself a bad absorbent of heat: and hence the mean temperature of the year, which regulates the zone of perpetually congealed under-soil, is low. It is evident that a rank vegetation, which does not so much require heat as it does protection from intense cold, would approach much nearer to this zone of perpetual congelation under the equable climate of the southern hemisphere, than under the extreme climate of the northern continents.

The case of the sailor's body perfectly preserved in the icy soil of the South Shetland Islands (lat. 62 to 63°S.), in a rather lower latitude than that (lat. 64°N.) under which Pallas found the frozen rhinoceros in Siberia, is very interesting. Although it is a fallacy, as I have endeavoured to show in a former chapter, to suppose that the larger quadrupeds require a luxuriant vegetation for their support, nevertheless it is important to find in the South Shetland Islands a frozen under-soil within 360 miles of the forest-clad islands near Cape Horn, where, as far as the bulk of vegetation is concerned, any number of great quadrupeds might be supported. The perfect preservation of the carcasses of the Siberian elephants and rhinoceroses is certainly one of the most wonderful facts in geology; but independently of the imagined difficulty of supplying them with food from the adjoining countries, the whole case is not, I think, so perplexing as it has generally been considered. The plains of Siberia, like those of the Pampas, appear to have been formed under the sea, into which rivers brought down the bodies of many animals; of the greater number of these, only the skeletons have been preserved, but of others the perfect carcass. Now, it is known that in the shallow sea on the Arctic coast of America the bottom freezes,* and does not thaw in spring so soon as the surface of the land, moreover at greater depths, where the bottom of the sea does not freeze the mud a few feet beneath the top layer might remain even in summer below 32°, as in the case on the land with the soil at the depth of a few feet. At still greater depths, the temperature of the mud and water would probably not be low enough to preserve the flesh; and hence, carcasses drifted beyond the shallow parts near an Arctic coast, would have only their skeletons preserved: now in the extreme northern parts of Siberia bones are infinitely numerous, so that even islets are said to be almost composed of them;† and those islets lie no less than ten degrees of latitude north of the place where Pallas found the frozen rhinoceros. On the other hand, a carcass washed by a flood into a shallow part of the Arctic Sea, would be preserved for an indefinite period, if it were soon afterwards covered with mud sufficiently thick to prevent the heat of the summer-water penetrating to it; and if, when the sea-bottom was upraised into land, the covering was sufficiently thick to prevent the heat of the summer air and sun thawing and corrupting it.

* Messrs. Dease and Simpson, in Geograph. Journ., vol. viii. pp. 218 and 220.

† Cuvier (Ossemens Fossiles, tom. i. p. 151), from Billing's Voyage.

Recapitulation.—I will recapitulate the principal facts with regard to the climate, ice-action, and organic productions of the southern hemisphere, transposing the places in imagination to Europe, with which we are so much better acquainted. Then, near Lisbon, the commonest sea-shells, namely, three species of Oliva, a Voluta, and a Terebra, would have a tropical character. In the southern provinces of France, magnificent forests, intwined by arborescent grasses and with the trees loaded with parasitical plants, would hide the face of the land. The puma and the jaguar would haunt the Pyrenees. In the latitude of Mont Blanc, but on an island as far westward as Central North America, tree-ferns and parasitical Orchideae would thrive amidst the thick woods. Even as far north as central Denmark, humming-birds would be seen fluttering about delicate flowers, and parrots feeding amidst the evergreen woods; and in the sea there, we should have a Voluta, and all the shells of large size and vigorous growth. Nevertheless, on some islands only 360 miles northward of our new Cape Horn in Denmark, a carcass buried in the soil (or if washed into a shallow sea, and covered up with mud) would be preserved perpetually frozen. If some bold navigator attempted to penetrate northward of these islands, he would run a thousand dangers amidst gigantic icebergs, on some of which he would see great blocks of rock borne far away from their original site. Another island of large size in the latitude of southern Scotland, but twice as far to the west, would be “almost wholly covered with everlasting snow” and would have each bay terminated by ice-cliffs, whence great masses would be yearly detached: this island would boast only of a little moss, grass, and burnet, and a titlark would be its only land inhabitant. From our new Cape Horn in Denmark, a chain of mountains, scarcely half the height of the Alps, would run in a straight line due southward; and on its western flank every deep creek of the sea, or fiord, would end in “bold and astonishing glaciers.” These lonely channels would frequently reverberate with the falls of ice, and so often would great waves rush along their coasts; numerous icebergs, some as tall as cathedrals, and occasionally loaded with “no inconsiderable blocks of rock” would be stranded on the outlying islets; at intervals violent earthquakes would shoot prodigious masses of ice into the waters below. Lastly, some missionaries attempting to penetrate a long arm of the sea, would behold the not lofty surrounding mountains, sending down their many grand icy streams to the sea-coast, and their progress in the boats would be checked by the innumerable floating icebergs, some small and some great; and this would have occurred on our twenty-second of June, and where the Lake of Geneva is now spread out!*

* In the former edition and Appendix, I have given some facts on the transportal of erratic boulders and icebergs in the Atlantic Ocean. This subject has lately been treated excellently by Mr. Hayes, in the Boston Journal (vol. iv. p. 426). The author does not appear aware of a case published by me (Geographical Journal, vol. ix. p. 528) of a gigantic boulder embedded in an iceberg in the Antarctic Ocean, almost certainly one hundred miles distant from any land, and perhaps much more distant. In the Appendix I have discussed at length the probability (at that time hardly thought of) of icebergs, when stranded, grooving and polishing rocks, like glaciers. This is now a very commonly received opinion; and I cannot still avoid the suspicion that it is applicable even to such cases as that of the Jura. Dr. Richardson has assured me that the icebergs off North America push before them pebbles and sand, and leave the submarine rocky flats quite bare; it is hardly possible to doubt that such ledges must be polished and scored in the direction of the set of the prevailing currents. Since writing that Appendix, I have seen in North Wales (London Phil. Mag., vol. xxi. p. 180) the adjoining action of glaciers and floating icebergs.

(End of Chapter. Continue to Chapter XII.)


CHAPTER XIV

Valparaiso—Excursion to base of Andes—Structure of land—Ascend Bell of Quillota—Shattered masses of greenstone—Immense valleys—Mines—State of miners—Santiago—Hot baths of Cauquenes—Gold mines—Grinding mills—Perforated stones—Habits of puma—El turco and tapacolo—Humming-birds

CENTRAL CHILE.

CHAPTER XII

CENTRAL CHILE

Valparaiso—Excursion to the Foot of the Andes—Structure of the Land—Ascend the Bell of Quillota—Shattered Masses of Greenstone—Immense Valleys—Mines—State of Miners—Santiago—Hot-baths of Cauquenes—Gold-mines—Grinding-mills—Perforated Stones—Habits of the Puma—El Turco and Tapacolo—Humming-birds.

JULY 23rd.—The Beagle anchored late at night in the bay of Valparaiso, the chief seaport of Chile. When morning came, everything appeared delightful. After Tierra del Fuego, the climate felt quite delicious—the atmosphere so dry, and the heavens so clear and blue with the sun shining brightly, that all nature seemed sparkling with life. The view from the anchorage is very pretty. The town is built at the very foot of a range of hills, about 1600 feet high, and rather steep. From its position, it consists of one long, straggling street, which runs parallel to the beach, and wherever a ravine comes down, the houses are piled up on each side of it. The rounded hills, being only partially protected by a very scanty vegetation, are worn into numberless little gullies, which expose a singularly bright red soil. From this cause, and from the low whitewashed houses with tile roofs, the view reminded me of St. Cruz in Teneriffe. In a north-easterly direction there are some fine glimpses of the Andes: but these mountains appear much grander when viewed from the neighbouring hills: the great distance at which they are situated can then more readily be perceived. The volcano of Aconcagua is particularly magnificent. This huge and irregularly conical mass has an elevation greater than that of Chimborazo; for, from measurements made by the officers in the Beagle, its height is no less than 23,000 feet. The Cordillera, however, viewed from this point, owe the greater part of their beauty to the atmosphere through which they are seen. When the sun was setting in the Pacific, it was admirable to watch how clearly their rugged outlines could be distinguished, yet how varied and how delicate were the shades of their colour.

I had the good fortune to find living here Mr. Richard Corfield, an old schoolfellow and friend, to whose hospitality and kindness I was greatly indebted, in having afforded me a most pleasant residence during the Beagle's stay in Chile. The immediate neighbourhood of Valparaiso is not very productive to the naturalist.

The surrounding hills consist of a granitic formation, which sometimes assumes the character of gneiss, and sometimes of granite. Their summits are flat-topped, and their flanks rounded. I have before stated, that forests cover that side of the Cordillera which fronts the prevailing winds.

 

Here, during the summer, which forms the longer portion of the year, the winds blow steadily from the southward, and a little off shore, so that rain never falls: during the three winter months it is however sufficiently abundant.

During the long summer the wind blows steadily from the southward, and a little off shore, so that rain never falls; during the three winter months, however, it is sufficiently abundant.

The vegetation in consequence is very scanty: except in some deep valleys, there are no trees, and only a little grass and a few low bushes are scattered over the less steep parts of the hills. When we reflect, that at the distance of 350 miles to the south, this side of the Andes is completely hidden by one impenetrable forest, the contrast is very remarkable. I took several long walks while collecting objects of natural history. The country is pleasant for exercise. There are many very beautiful flowers; and, as in most other dry climates, the plants and shrubs possess strong and peculiar odours—even one's clothes by brushing through them became scented. I did not cease from wonder at finding each succeeding day as fine as the foregoing. What a difference does climate make in the enjoyment of life! How opposite are the sensations when viewing black mountains half enveloped in clouds, and seeing another range through the light blue haze of a fine day! The one for a time may be very sublime; the other is all gaiety and happy life.

August 14th.—I set out on a riding excursion, for the purpose of geologizing the basal parts of the Andes, which alone at this time of the year are not shut up by the winter snow. Our first day's ride was northward along the sea-coast. After dark we reached the Hacienda of Quintero, the estate which formerly belonged to Lord Cochrane.

My object in coming here was to see the great beds of shells, which are elevated some yards above the level of the sea. They nearly all consist of one species of Erycina; and these shells at the present day live together in great numbers, on the sandy flats. So wonderfully numerous are those forming the beds, that for years they have been quarried, and burnt for the lime, with which the large town of Valparaiso is supplied. As any change of level, even in this neighbourhood, has often been disputed, I may add, that I saw dead barnacles adhering to points of solid rock which were now so much elevated, that even during gales of wind they would scarcely be wetted by the spray.

My object in coming here was to see the great beds of shells, which stand some yards above the level of the sea, and are burnt for lime. The proofs of the elevation of this whole line of coast are unequivocal: at the height of a few hundred feet old-looking shells are numerous, and I found some at 1300 feet. These shells either lie loose on the surface, or are embedded in a reddish-black vegetable mould. I was much surprised to find under the microscope that this vegetable mould is really marine mud, full of minute particles of organic bodies.

15th.—We returned towards the valley of Quillota. The country was exceedingly pleasant; just such as poets would call pastoral: green open lawns, separated by small valleys with rivulets, and the cottages, we may suppose of the shepherds scattered on the hill-sides. We were obliged to cross the ridge of the Chilicauquen. At its base there were many fine evergreen forest-trees, but these flourished only in the ravines, where there was running water. Any person who had seen only the country near Valparaiso, would never have imagined that there had been such picturesque spots in Chile. As soon as we reached the brow of the Sierra, the valley of Quillota was immediately under our feet. The prospect was one of remarkable artificial luxuriance. The valley is very broad and quite flat, and is thus easily irrigated in all parts. The little square gardens are crowded with orange and olive trees, and every sort of vegetable. On each side huge bare mountains rise, and this from the contrast renders the patchwork valley the more pleasing. Whoever called “Valparaiso” the “Valley of Paradise” must have been thinking of Quillota. We crossed over to the Hacienda de San Isidro, situated at the very foot of the Bell Mountain.

Chile, as may be seen in the maps, is a narrow strip of land between the Cordillera and the Pacific; and this strip is itself traversed by several mountain-lines, which in this part run parallel to the great range. Between these outer lines and the main Cordillera, a succession of level basins, generally opening into each other by narrow passages, extend far to the southward: in these, the principal towns are situated, as San Felipe, Santiago, San Fernando. These basins or plains, together with the transverse flat valleys (like that of Quillota) which connect them with the coast, I have no doubt are the bottoms of ancient inlets and deep bays, such as at the present day intersect every part of Tierra del Fuego and the {west coast of Patagonia}/{western coast}. Chile must formerly have resembled the latter country in the configuration of its land and water. The resemblance was occasionally {seen with great force}/{shown strikingly} when a level fog-bank covered, as with a mantle, all the lower parts of the country: the white vapour curling into the ravines, beautifully represented little coves and bays; and here and there a solitary hillock peeping up, showed that it had formerly stood there as an islet. The contrast of these flat valleys and basins with the irregular mountains, gave the scenery a character which to me was novel/new and very interesting.

From the natural slope to seaward of these plains, they are very easily irrigated, and in consequence singularly fertile. Without this process the land would produce scarcely anything, for during the whole summer the sky is cloudless. The mountains and hills are dotted over with bushes and low trees, and excepting these the vegetation is very scanty. Each landowner in the valley possesses a certain portion of hill-country, where his half-wild cattle, in considerable numbers, manage to find sufficient pasture. Once every year there is a grand “rodeo” when all the cattle are driven down, counted, and marked, and a certain number separated to be fattened in the irrigated fields. Wheat is extensively cultivated, and also/~ a good deal of Indian corn: a kind of bean is, however, the staple article of food for the common labourers. The orchards produce an overflowing abundance of peaches figs, and grapes. With all these advantages, the inhabitants of the country ought to be much more prosperous than they are.

{August 16th}/{16th}.—The mayor-domo of the Hacienda was good enough to give me a guide and fresh horses; and in the morning we set out to ascend the Campana, or Bell Mountain, which is 6400 feet high. The paths were very bad, but both the geology and scenery amply repaid the trouble. We reached by the evening, a spring called the Agua del Guanaco, which is situated at a great height. This must be an old name, for it is very many years since a guanaco drank its waters. During the ascent I noticed that nothing {grew on the northern slope but bushes}/{but bushes grew on the northern slope}, whilst on the southern slope there was a {sort of}/~ bamboo about fifteen feet high. In a few places there were palms, and I was surprised to see one at an elevation of at least 4500 feet. These palms are, for their family, ugly trees. Their stem is very large, and of a curious form, being thicker in the middle than at the base or top. They are excessively numerous in some parts of Chile, and valuable on account of a sort of treacle made from the sap. On one estate near Petorca they tried to count them, but failed, after having numbered several hundred thousand. Every year in {August (early spring}/{the early spring, in August}, very many are cut down, and when the trunk is lying on the ground, the crown of leaves is lopped off. The sap then immediately begins to flow from the upper end, and continues so doing for some months: it is, however, necessary that a thin slice should be shaved off from that end every morning, so as to expose a fresh surface. A good tree will give ninety gallons, and all this must have been contained in the vessels of the apparently dry trunk. It is said that the sap flows much more quickly on those days when the sun is powerful; and likewise, that it is absolutely necessary to take care, in cutting down the tree, that it should fall with its head upwards on the side of the hill; for if it falls down the slope, scarcely any sap will flow; although in that case one would have thought that the action would have been aided, instead of checked, by the force of gravity. The sap is concentrated by boiling, and is then called treacle, which it very much resembles in taste.

We unsaddled our horses near the spring, and prepared to pass the night. The evening was fine, and the atmosphere so clear, that the masts of the vessels at anchor in the bay of Valparaiso, although no less than twenty-six geographical miles distant, could be distinguished clearly as little black streaks. A ship doubling the point under sail, appeared as a bright white speck. Anson expresses much surprise, in his voyage, at the distance at which his vessels were discovered from the coast; but he did not sufficiently allow for the height of the land, and the great transparency of the air.

The setting of the sun was glorious; the valleys being black whilst the snowy peaks of the Andes yet retained a ruby tint. When it was dark, we made a fire beneath a little arbour of bamboos, fried our charqui (or dried slips of beef), took our mate, and were quite comfortable. There is an inexpressible charm in thus living in the open air. The evening was calm and still;—the shrill noise of the mountain bizcacha, and the faint cry of a goatsucker, were occasionally to be heard. Besides these, few birds, or even insects, frequent these dry, parched mountains.

August 17th.—In the morning we climbed up the rough mass of greenstone which crowns the summit. This rock, as frequently happens, was much shattered and broken into huge angular fragments. I observed, however, one remarkable circumstance, namely, that many of the surfaces presented every degree of freshness some appearing as if broken the day before, whilst on others lichens had either just become, or had long grown, attached. I so fully believed that this was owing to the frequent earthquakes, that I felt inclined to hurry from {beneath every pile of the loose masses}/{below each loose pile}.

As this is an observation in which one would be very apt to be deceived, I doubted its accuracy, until ascending Mount Wellington, near Hobart Town. The summit of that mountain is similarly composed, and similarly shattered; but all the blocks appeared as if they had been hurled into their present position thousands of years ago.

As one might very easily be deceived in a fact of this kind, I doubted its accuracy, until ascending Mount Wellington, in Van Diemen's Land, where earthquakes do not occur; and there I saw the summit of the mountain similarly composed and similarly shattered, but all the blocks appeared as if they had been hurled into their present position thousands of years ago.

We spent the day on the summit, and I never enjoyed one more thoroughly. Chile, bounded by the Andes and the Pacific, was seen as in a map. The pleasure from the scenery, in itself beautiful, was heightened by the many reflections which arose from the mere view of the Campana range with its lesser parallel ones, and of the broad valley of Quillota directly intersecting {the latter}/{them}. Who can avoid {admiring the wonderful}/{wondering at the} force which has upheaved these mountains, and even more so at the countless ages which it must have required to have broken through, removed, and levelled whole masses of them? It is well in this case to call to mind the vast shingle and sedimentary beds of Patagonia, which, if heaped on the Cordillera, would increase {by so many thoursand feet its height}/{its height by so many thousand feet}. When in that country, I wondered how any mountain-chain could have supplied such masses, and not have been utterly obliterated. We must not now reverse the wonder, and doubt whether all-powerful time can grind down mountains—even the gigantic Cordillera—into gravel and mud.

The appearance of the Andes was different from that which I had expected. The lower line of the snow was of course horizontal, and to this line the even summits of the range seemed quite parallel. Only at long intervals, a group of points or a single cone showed where a volcano had existed, or does now exist. Hence the range resembled a great solid wall, surmounted here and there by a tower, and making a most perfect barrier to the country.

I was surprised to see, on the actual summit, which could only be reached by climbing, a small pit, where some yellowish crystals of hypersthene had induced somebody to throw away his labour. The rage for mining has left scarcely a spot in Chile unexamined.

Almost every part of the hill had been drilled by attempts to open gold-mines: the rage for mining has left scarcely a spot in Chile unexamined.

I spent the evening as before, talking round the fire with my two companions. The Guasos of Chile, who correspond to the Gauchos of the Pampas, are, however, a very different set of beings. Chile is the more civilized of the two countries, and the inhabitants, in consequence, have lost much individual character. Gradations in rank are much more strongly marked: the Guaso does not by any means consider every man his equal; and I was quite surprised to find that my companions did not like to eat at the same time with myself. This feeling of inequality is a necessary consequence of the existence of an aristocracy of wealth. It is said that some few of the greater landowners possess from five to ten thousand pounds sterling per annum: an inequality of riches which I believe is not met with in any of the cattle-breeding countries {to the}/~ eastward of the Andes. A traveller does not here meet that unbounded hospitality which refuses all payment, but yet is so kindly offered that no scruples can be raised in accepting it. Almost every house in Chile will receive you for the night, but a trifle is expected to be given in the morning; even a rich man will accept two or three shillings. The Gaucho, although he may be a cutthroat, is a gentleman; the Guaso is in few respects better, but at the same time a vulgar, ordinary fellow. The two men, although employed much in the same manner, are different in their habits and attire; and the peculiarities of each are universal in their respective countries. The Gaucho seems part of his horse, and scorns to exert himself excepting/except when on his back: the Guaso may be hired to work as a labourer in the fields. The former lives entirely on animal food; the latter almost wholly on vegetable. We do not here see the white boots, the broad drawers and scarlet chilipa; the picturesque costume of the Pampas. Here, common trousers are protected by black and green worsted leggings. The poncho, however, is common to both. The chief pride in/of the Guaso lies in his spurs, which are absurdly large. I measured one which was six inches in the diameter of the rowel, and the rowel itself contained upwards of thirty points. The stirrups are on the same scale, each consisting of a square, carved block of wood, hollowed out, yet weighing three or four pounds. The Guaso is perhaps more expert with the lazo than the Gaucho; but, from the nature of the country, he does not know the use of the bolas.

August 18th.—We descended the mountain, and passed some beautiful little spots, with rivulets and fine trees. Having slept at the same hacienda as before, we rode during the two succeeding days up the valley, and passed through Quillota, which is more like a collection of nursery-gardens than a town. The orchards were beautiful, presenting one mass of peach-blossoms. I saw, also, in one or two places the date-palm; it is a most stately tree; and I should think a group of them in their native Asiatic or African deserts must be superb. We passed likewise San Felipe, a pretty straggling town like Quillota. The valley in this part expands into one of those great bays or plains, reaching to the foot of the Cordillera, which have been mentioned as forming so curious a part of the scenery of Chile. In the evening we reached the mines of Jajuel, situated in a ravine at the flank of the great chain. I stayed here five days. My host the superintendent of the mine, was a shrewd but rather ignorant Cornish miner. He had married a Spanish woman, and did not mean to return home; but his admiration for the mines of Cornwall remained unbounded. Amongst many other questions, he asked me, “Now that George Rex is dead, how many more of the family of Rexes are yet alive?” This Rex certainly must be a relation of the great author Finis, who wrote all books!

These mines are of copper, and the ore is all shipped to Swansea, to be smelted. Hence the mines have an aspect singularly quiet, as compared to those in England: here no smoke, furnaces, or great steam-engines, disturb the solitude of the surrounding mountains.

The Chilian government, or rather the old Spanish law, encourages by every method the searching for mines. The discoverer may work a mine on any ground, by paying five shillings; and before paying this he may try, even in the garden of another man, for twenty days.

It is now well known that the Chilian method of mining is the cheapest. My host says that the two principal improvements introduced by foreigners have been, first, reducing by previous roasting the copper pyrites—which, being the common ore in Cornwall, the English miners were astounded on their arrival to find thrown away as useless: secondly, stamping and washing the scoriae from the old furnaces—by which process particles of metal are recovered in abundance. I have actually seen mules carrying to the coast, for transportation to England, a cargo of such cinders. But the first case is much the most curious. The Chilian miners were so convinced that copper pyrites contained not a particle of copper, that they laughed at the Englishmen for their ignorance, who laughed in turn, and bought their richest veins for a few dollars. It is very odd that, in a country where mining had been extensively carried on for many years, so simple a process as gently roasting the ore to expel the sulphur previous to smelting it, had never been discovered. A few improvements have likewise been introduced in some of the simple machinery; but even to the present day, water is removed from some mines by men carrying it up the shaft in leathern bags!

The labouring men work very hard. They have little time allowed for their meals, and during summer and winter they begin when it is light, and leave off at dark. They are paid one pound sterling a month, and their food is given them: this for breakfast consists of sixteen figs and two small loaves of bread; for dinner, boiled beans; for supper, broken roasted wheat grain. They scarcely ever taste meat; as, with the twelve pounds per annum, they have to clothe themselves, and support their families. The miners who work in the mine itself have twenty-five shillings per month, and are allowed a little charqui. But these men come down from their bleak habitations only once in every fortnight or three weeks.

During my stay here I thoroughly enjoyed scrambling about these huge mountains. The geology, as might have been expected, was very interesting. The shattered and baked rocks, traversed by innumerable dykes of greenstone, showed what commotions had formerly taken place there/~. The scenery was much the same as that near the Bell of Quillota—dry barren mountains, dotted at intervals by bushes with a scanty foliage. The cactuses, or rather opuntias were here very numerous. I measured one of a spherical figure, which, including the spines, was six feet and four inches in circumference. The height of the common cylindrical, branching kind, is from twelve to fifteen feet, and the girth (with spines) of the branches between three and four feet.

A heavy fall of snow on the mountains prevented me during the last two days, from making some interesting excursions. I attempted to reach a lake which the inhabitants, from some unaccountable reason, believe to be an arm of the sea. During a very dry season, it was proposed to attempt cutting a channel from it for the sake of the water, but the padre, after a consultation, declared it was too dangerous, as all Chile would be inundated, if, as generally supposed, the lake was connected with the Pacific. We ascended to a great height, but becoming involved in the snow-drifts failed in reaching this wonderful lake, and had some difficulty in returning. I thought we should have lost our horses; for there was no means of guessing how deep the drifts were, and the animals, when led, could only move by jumping. The black sky showed that a fresh snow-storm was gathering, and we therefore were not a little glad when we escaped. By the time we reached the base the storm commenced, and it was lucky for us that this did not happen three hours earlier in the day.

August 26th.—We left Jajuel and again crossed the basin of San Felipe. The day was truly Chilian: glaringly bright, and the atmosphere quite clear. The thick and uniform covering of newly fallen snow rendered the view of the volcano of Aconcagua and the main chain quite glorious. We were now on the road to Santiago, the capital of Chile. We crossed the Cerro del Talguen, and slept at a little rancho. The host, talking about the state of Chile as compared to other countries, was very humble: “Some see with two eyes, and some with one, but for my part I do not think that Chile sees with any.”

August 27th.—After crossing many low hills we descended into the small land-locked plain of Guitron. In the basins, such as this one, which are elevated from one thousand to two thousand feet above the sea, two species of acacia, which are stunted in their forms, and stand wide apart from each other, grow in large numbers. These trees are never found near the sea-coast; and this gives another characteristic feature to the scenery of these basins. We crossed a low ridge which separates Guitron from the great plain on which Santiago stands. The view was here pre-eminently striking: the dead level surface, covered in parts by woods of acacia, and with the city in the distance, abutting horizontally against the base of the Andes, whose snowy peaks were bright with the evening sun. At the first glance of this view, it was quite evident that the plain represented the extent of a former inland sea. As soon as we gained the level road we pushed our horses into a gallop, and reached the city before it was dark.

I stayed a week in Santiago, and enjoyed myself very much. In the morning I rode to various places on the plain, and in the evening dined with several of the English merchants, whose hospitality at this place is well known. A never-failing source of pleasure was to ascend the little hillock of rock (fort/~ St. Lucia) which projects in the middle of the city. The scenery certainly is most striking, and, as I have said, very peculiar. I am informed that this same character is common to the cities on the great Mexican platform. Of the town I have nothing to say in detail: it is not so fine or so large as Buenos Ayres, but is built after the same model. I arrived here by a circuit to the north; so I resolved to return to Valparaiso by a rather longer excursion to the south of the direct road.

September 5th.—By the middle of the day we arrived at one of the suspension bridges, made of hide, which cross the Maypo/Maypu, a large turbulent river a few leagues southward of Santiago. These bridges are very poor affairs. The road, following the curvature of the suspending ropes, is made of bundles of sticks placed close together. It was full of holes, and oscillated rather fearfully, even with the weight of a man leading his horse. In the evening we reached a comfortable farm-house, where there were several very pretty senoritas. They were much horrified at my having entered one of their churches out of mere curiosity. They asked me, “Why do you not become a Christian—for our religion is certain?” I assured them I was a sort of Christian; but they would not hear of it—appealing to my own words, “Do not your padres, your very bishops, marry?” The absurdity of a bishop having a wife particularly struck them: they scarcely knew whether to be most amused or horror-struck at such an enormity.

6th.—We proceeded due south, and slept at Rancagua. The road passed over the level but narrow plain, bounded on one side by lofty hills, and on the other by the Cordillera. The next day we turned up the valley of the Rio Cachapual, in which the hot-baths of Cauquenes, long celebrated for their medicinal properties, are situated. The suspension bridges, in the less frequented parts, are generally taken down during the winter when the rivers are low. Such was the case in this valley, and we were therefore obliged to cross the stream on horseback. This is rather disagreeable, for the foaming water, though not deep, rushes so quickly over the bed of large rounded stones, that one's head becomes quite confused, and it is difficult even to perceive whether the horse is moving onward or standing still. In summer, when the snow melts, the torrents are quite impassable; their strength and fury is/are then extremely great, as might be plainly seen by the marks which they had left. We reached the baths in the evening, and stayed there five days, being confined the two last by heavy rain. The buildings consist of a square of miserable little hovels, each with a single table and bench. They are situated in a narrow deep valley just without the central Cordillera. It is a quiet, solitary spot, with a good deal of wild beauty.

The mineral springs of Cauquenes burst forth on a line of dislocation, crossing a mass of stratified rock, the whole of which betrays the action of heat. A considerable quantity of gas is continually escaping from the same orifices with the water. Though the springs are only a few yards apart, they have very different temperatures; and this appears to be the result of an unequal mixture of cold water: for those with the lowest temperature have scarcely any mineral taste. After the great earthquake of 1822 the springs ceased, and the water did not return for nearly a year.

It is said that they have not since regained their former volume or temperature.*

* When I doubted the change of temperature, in this case as well as in the one mentioned a few lines lower down, the inhabitants maintained that they knew it well. Their thermometer, however, was an odd one: it is the common custom in this country to scald a fowl before plucking it, in the same manner as we treat a pig, and then the feathers come off very easily: they judged from the comparative facility with which this operation could be performed during the two periods.

Addendum to Page 321: I have given my reasons for believing that the temperature of the mineral springs of Cauquenes, was permanently changed by the earthquake of 1822. This inference is altogether false, for I find that Schmidtmeyer, in his Travels in Chile during the years 1820 and 1821, says (p. 311) that the temperature of the different springs was 83°, 103°, 106°, 112°, 117° and 118° of Fahrenheit. Now Mr. Caldcleugh says, after the earthquake of February, 1835, the temperature fell from 118° to 92°. Previously, therefore, to this shock, it had regained the temperature which it had in 1820.

 

{These springs}/{They} were also much affected by the earthquake of 1835; the temperature being suddenly changed from 118 to 92°.* It seems probable that mineral waters rising deep from the bowels of the earth, would always be more deranged by subterranean disturbances than those nearer the surface. The man who had charge of the baths assured me that in summer the water is hotter and more plentiful than in winter. The former circumstance I should have expected, from the less mixture, during the dry season, of cold water; but the latter statement appears very strange and contradictory. The periodical increase during the summer, when rain never falls, can, I think, only be accounted for by the melting of the snow: yet the mountains which are covered by snow during that season, are three or four leagues distant from the springs. I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of my informer, who, having lived on the spot for several years, ought to be well acquainted with the circumstance,—which, if true, certainly is very curious: for we must suppose that the snow-water, being conducted through porous strata to the regions of heat, is again thrown up to the surface by the line of dislocated and injected rocks at Cauquenes; and the regularity of the phenomenon would seem to indicate that in this district heated rock occurred at a depth not excessively/very great.

* Caldeleugh, in Philosoph. Transact. for 1836.

One day I rode up the valley to the farthest inhabited spot. Shortly above that point, the Cachapual divides into two deep tremendous ravines, which penetrate directly into the great range. I scrambled up a peaked mountain, probably more than six thousand feet high. Here, as indeed everywhere else, scenes of the highest interest presented themselves. It was by one of these ravines, that Pincheira entered Chile and ravaged the neighbouring country. This is the same man whose attack on an estancia at the Rio Negro I have described. He was a renegade half-caste Spaniard, who collected a great body of Indians together and established himself by a stream in the Pampas, which place none of the forces sent after him could ever discover. From this point he used to sally forth, and crossing the Cordillera by passes hitherto unattempted, he ravaged the farm-houses and drove the cattle to his secret rendezvous. Pincheira was a capital horseman, and he made all around him equally good, for he invariably shot any one who hesitated to follow him. It was against this man, and other wandering Indian tribes, that Rosas waged the war of extermination.

September 13th.—We left the baths of Cauquenes, and, rejoining the main road, slept at the Rio Clara. From this place we rode to the town of San Fernando. Before arriving there, the last land-locked basin had expanded into a great plain, which extended so far to the south, that the snowy summits of the more distant Andes were seen as if above the horizon of the sea. San Fernando is forty leagues from Santiago; and it was my farthest point southward; for we here turned at right angles towards the coast. We slept at the gold-mines of Yaquil, which are worked by Mr. Nixon, an American gentleman, to whose kindness I was much indebted during the four days I stayed at his house.

September 14th.—This morning

The next morning

we rode to the mines, which are situated at the distance of some leagues, near the summit of a lofty hill. On the way we had a glimpse of the lake Tagua-tagua, celebrated for its floating islands, which have been described by M. Gay.* They are composed of the stalks of various dead plants intertwined together, and on the surface of which other living ones take root. Their form is generally circular, and their thickness from four to six feet, of which the greater part is immersed in the water. As the wind blows, they pass from one side of the lake to the other, and often carry cattle and horses as passengers.

* Annales des Sciences Naturelles, March, 1833. M. Gay, a zealous and able naturalist, was then occupied in studying every branch of natural history throughout the kingdom of Chile.

When we arrived at the mine, I was struck by the pale appearance of many of the men, and inquired from Mr. Nixon respecting their condition. The mine is 450 feet deep, and each man brings up about 200 pounds*/~ weight of stone. With this load they have to climb up the alternate notches cut in the trunks of trees, placed in a zigzag line up the shaft. Even beardless young men, eighteen and twenty years old, with little muscular development of their bodies (they are quite naked excepting drawers) ascend with this great load from nearly the same depth. A strong man, who is not accustomed to this labour, perspires most profusely, with merely carrying up his own body. With this very severe labour, they live entirely on boiled beans and bread. They would prefer having {the latter}/{bread} alone; but their masters, finding that they cannot work so hard upon this, treat them like horses, and make them eat the beans. Their pay is here rather more than at the mines of Jajuel, being from 24 to 28 shillings per month. They leave the mine only once in three weeks; when they stay with their families for two days.†/~ One of the rules of this mine sounds very harsh, but answers pretty well for the master. The only method of stealing gold is to secrete pieces of the ore, and take them out as occasion may offer. Whenever the major-domo finds a lump thus hidden, its full value is stopped out of the wages of all the men; who thus, without they all combine, are obliged to keep watch over each other.

* In another mine, as will herarafter be mentioned, I picked out a load by hazard, and weighed it: it was 197 pounds.

† Bad as all the above treatment appears, it is gladly accepted of by the miners; for the condition of the labouring agriculturists is much worse. The wages of the latter are lower, and they live almost exclusively on beans. This poverty must be chiefly owing to the feudal-like system on which the land is tilled. The landowner gives a small plot of ground to the labourer, for building and cultivating, and in return has his services (or that of a proxy) for every day of his life, without any wages. Until a father has a grown up son who can by his labour pay the rent, there is no one, except on chance days, to take care of the patch of ground. Hence extreme poverty is very common among the labouring classes in this country.

 

When the ore is brought to the mill, it is ground into an impalpable powder; the process of washing removes all the lighter particles, and amalgamation finally secures the gold-dust. The washing, when described, sounds a very simple process; but it is beautiful to see how the exact adaptation of the current of water to the specific gravity of the gold, so easily separates the powdered matrix from the metal. The mud which passes from the mills is collected into pools, where it subsides, and every now and then is cleared out, and thrown into a common heap. A great deal of chemical action then commences, salts of various kinds effloresce on the surface, and the mass becomes hard.

In the heap which I examined, an angulo-concretionary structure was also superinduced, and what was very remarkable, these pseudo-fragments possessed an even and well-defined slaty structure; but the laminæ were not inclined at any uniform angle.

 

{The mud, after}/{After} having been left for a year or two, and then rewashed, ~/it yields gold; and this process may be repeated even six or seven times; but the gold each time becomes less in quantity, and the intervals required (as the inhabitants say, to generate the metal) are longer. There can be no doubt that the chemical action, already mentioned, each time liberates fresh gold from some combination. The discovery of a method to effect this before the first grinding would without doubt raise the value of gold-ores many fold.

It is curious to find how the minute particles of gold, being scattered about and not corroding, at last accumulate in some quantity. A short time since a few miners, being out of work, obtained permission to scrape the ground round the house and mill/mills; they washed the earth thus got together, and so procured thirty dollars' worth of gold. This is an exact counterpart of what takes place in nature. Mountains suffer degradation and wear away, and with them the metallic veins which they contain. The hardest rock is worn into impalpable mud, the ordinary metals oxidate, and both are removed; but gold, platina, and a few others are nearly indestructible, and from their weight, sinking to the bottom, are left behind. After whole mountains have passed through this grinding mill, and have been washed by the hand of nature, the residue becomes metalliferous, and man finds it worth his while to complete the task of separation.

 

Bad as the above treatment of the miners appears, it is gladly accepted of by them; for the condition of the labouring agriculturists is much worse. Their wages are lower, and they live almost exclusively on beans. This poverty must be chiefly owing to the feudal-like system on which the land is tilled: the landowner gives a small plot of ground to the labourer for building on and cultivating, and in return has his services (or those of a proxy) for every day of his life, without any wages. Until a father has a grown-up son, who can by his labour pay the rent, there is no one, except on occasional days, to take care of his own patch of ground. Hence extreme poverty is very common among the labouring classes in this country.

There are some old Indian ruins in this neighbourhood, and I was shown one of the perforated stones, which Molina*/~ mentions as being found in many places in considerable numbers. They are of a circular flattened form, from five to six inches in diameter, with a hole passing quite through the centre. It has generally been supposed that they were used as heads to clubs, although their form does not appear at all well adapted for that purpose. Burchell† states that some of the tribes in Southern Africa dig up roots by the aid of a {pointed stick}/{stick pointed at one end}, the force and weight of which is/are increased by a round stone with a hole in it, into which the {stick}/{other end} is firmly wedged. It appears probable that the Indians of Chile formerly used some such rude agricultural instrument.

* Molina, Compendio de la Historia, &c. del Reyno de Chile, vol. i., p. 81.

 

† Burchell's Travels, vol. ii. p. 45.

† Burchell's Travels, vol. ii. p. 45.

One day, a German collector in natural history, of the name of Renous, called, and nearly at the same time an old Spanish lawyer. I was amused at being told the conversation which took place between them. Renous speaks Spanish so well, that the old lawyer mistook him for a fellow-countryman/Chilian. Renous alluding to myself/me, asked him what he thought of the King of England sending out a collector to their country, to pick up lizards and beetles, and to break stones? The old gentleman thought seriously for some time, and then said, “It is not well,—hay un gato encerrado aqui (there is a cat shut up here). No man is so rich as to send out people to pick up such rubbish. I do not like it: if one of us were to go and do such things in England, do not you think the King of England would very soon send us out of his country?” And this old gentleman, from his profession, belongs to the better informed and more intelligent classes! Renous himself, two or three years before, left in a house at San Fernando some caterpillars, under charge of a girl to feed, that they might turn into butterflies. This was rumoured through the town, and at last the padres and governor consulted together, and agreed it must be some heresy. Accordingly, when Renous returned, he was arrested.

September 19th.—We left Yaquil, and followed the flat valley, formed like that of Quillota, in which the Rio Tinderidica flows. Even at these few miles south of Santiago the climate is much damper; in consequence there are fine tracts of pasturage, which are not irrigated. (20th.) We followed this valley till it expanded into a great plain, which reaches from the sea to the mountains west of Rancagua. We shortly lost all trees and even bushes; so that the inhabitants are nearly as badly off for firewood as those in the Pampas. Never having heard of these plains, I was much surprised at meeting with such scenery in Chile. The plains belong to more than one series of different elevations, and they are traversed by broad flat-bottomed valleys; both of which circumstances, as in Patagonia, bespeak the {gentle retreat of the ocean}/{action of the sea on gently rising land}. In the steep cliffs bordering these valleys, there are some large caves, which no doubt were originally formed by the {waters of the ancient bays and channels}/{waves}: one of these {which I visited}/~ is celebrated under the name of Cueva del Obispo; having formerly been consecrated. During the day I felt very unwell, and from that time till the end of October did not recover.

September 22nd.—We continued to pass over green plains without a tree. The next day we arrived at a house near Navedad, on the sea-coast, where a rich Haciendero gave us lodgings. I stayed here the two ensuing days, and although very unwell, managed to collect from the tertiary formation some marine shells{, many of which turn out to be quite new forms}/~.

24th.—Our course was now directed towards Valparaiso, which with great difficulty I reached on the 27th, and was there confined to my bed till the end of October. During this time I was an inmate in Mr. Corfield's house, whose kindness to me I do not know how to express.

I will here add a few observations on some of the animals and birds of Chile. The Puma, or South American Lion, is not uncommon. This animal has a wide geographical range; being found from the equatorial forests, throughout the deserts of Patagonia as far south as the damp and cold latitudes (53 to 54°) of Tierra del Fuego. I have also/̬ seen its footsteps in the Cordillera of central Chile, at an elevation of at least 10,000 feet. In La Plata the puma preys chiefly on deer, ostriches, bizcacha, and other small quadrupeds; it there seldom attacks cattle or horses, and {except in most rare cases, as a female having young, is never dangerous to}/{most rarely} man. In Chile, however, it destroys many young horses and cattle, owing probably to the scarcity of other quadrupeds: I heard, likewise, of two men and a woman who had been {killed by them}/{thus killed}. It is asserted that the puma always kills its prey by springing on the shoulders, and then drawing back the head with one of its paws, until the vertebrae break: I have seen in Patagonia the skeletons of guanacos, with their necks thus dislocated.

The puma, after eating its fill, covers the carcass with many large bushes, and lies down to watch it. This habit is often the cause of its being discovered; for the condors wheeling in the air every now and then descend to partake of the feast, and being angrily driven away, rise all together on the wing. The Chileno Guaso then knows there is a lion watching his prey—the word is given—and men and dogs hurry to the chase. Sir F. Head says that a Gaucho in the pampas, upon merely seeing some condors wheeling in the air, cried “A lion!” I could never myself meet with any one who pretended to such powers of discrimination. It is asserted that, if a puma has once been betrayed by thus watching the carcass, and has then been hunted, it never resumes this habit; but that, having gorged itself, it wanders far away. The puma is easily killed. In an open country, it is first entangled with the bolas, then lazoed, and dragged along the ground till rendered insensible. At Tandeel (south of the plata), I was told that within three months one hundred were ~/thus destroyed. In Chile they are generally driven up bushes or trees, and are then either shot, or baited to death by dogs. The dogs employed in this chase belong to a particular breed, called Leoneros: they are weak, slight animals, like long-legged terriers, but are born with a particular instinct for this sport. The puma is described as being very crafty: when pursued, it often returns on its former track, and then suddenly making a spring on one side, waits there till the dogs have passed by. It is a very silent animal, uttering no cry even when wounded, and only rarely during the breeding season.

Of birds, two species of the genus Pteroptochos (megapodius and albicollis of Kittlitz) are perhaps the most conspicuous. The former, called by the Chilenos “el Turco” is as large as a fieldfare, to which bird it has some alliance; but its legs are much longer, tail shorter, and beak stronger: its colour is a reddish brown. The Turco is not uncommon. It lives on the ground, sheltered among the thickets which are scattered over the dry and sterile hills. With its tail erect, and stilt-like legs, it may be seen every now and then popping from one bush to another with uncommon celerity/quickness. It really requires little imagination to believe that the bird is ashamed of itself, and is aware of its most ridiculous figure. On first seeing it, one is tempted to exclaim, “A vilely stuffed specimen has escaped from some museum, and has come to life again!” It cannot be made to take flight without the greatest trouble, nor does it run, but only hops. The various loud cries which it utters when concealed amongst the bushes, are as strange as its whole/~ appearance. It is said to build its nest in a deep hole beneath the ground. I dissected several specimens: the gizzard, which was very muscular, contained beetles, vegetable fibres, and pebbles. From this character, from the length of its legs, scratching feet, membranous covering to the nostrils, short and arched wings, this bird seems in a certain degree to connect the thrushes with the gallinaceous order.

The second species (or P. albicollis) is allied to the first in its general form. It is called Tapacolo, or “cover your posterior:“ and well does the shameless little bird deserve its name; for it carries its tail more than erect, that is, inclined backwards towards its head. It is very common, and frequents the bottoms of hedge-rows, and the bushes scattered over the barren hills, where scarcely another bird can exist.

Hence the tapacolo is conspicuous in the ornithology of Chile.

 

In its general manner of feeding, of quickly hopping out of the thickets and back again, in its desire of concealment, unwillingness to take flight, and nidification, it bears a close resemblance to the Turco; but its appearance is not quite so ridiculous. The Tapacolo is very crafty: when frightened by any person, it will remain motionless at the bottom of a bush, and will then, after a little while, try with much address to crawl away on the opposite side. It is also an active bird, and continually making a noise: these noises are various and strangely odd; some are like the cooing of doves, others like the bubbling of water, and many defy all similes. The country people say it changes its cry five times in the year—according to some change of season, I suppose.~/*

I believe these two species of Pteroptochos are only found in central Chile. To the southward, within the damp forest region, two other species supply the place of these lovers of a more sterile land; and a fifth species is common to both districts. On the Patagonian coast a bird allied to them, both in structure and habits, represents this Chilian genus.*/~

 

* It is a remarkable fact, that Molina, though describing in detail all the birds and animals of Chile, never once mentions this genus, the species of which are so common, and so remarkable in their habits. Was he at a loss how to classify them, and did he consequently think that silence was the more prudent course? It is one more instance of the frequency of omissions by authors, on those very subjects where it {would be}/{might have been} least expected.

Two species of humming-birds are common, and I have seen a third kind within the Cordillera, at an elevation of about 10,000 feet. Mellisuga Kingii is found over a space of 2500 miles on the west coast, from the hot dry country of Lima, to the forests of Tierra del Fuego̬where it has been described as flitting about in a snow-storm. In the wooded island of Chiloe, which has an extremely humid climate, this little bird, skipping from side to side amidst the dripping foliage, is perhaps more abundant than almost any other kind. It there very commonly frequents open marshy ground, where a kind of bromelia grows : hovering near the edge of the thick beds, it every now and then dashed in close to the ground; but I could not see whether it ever actually alighted. At the time of year I refer to, there were very few flowers, and none whatever near the beds of bromelia. Hence I was quite sure they did not live on honey; and on opening the stomach and upper intestine, by the aid of a lens I could plainly distinguish, in a yellow fluid, morsels of the wings of diptera—probably tipulidæ. It is evident that these birds search for minute insects in their winter-quarters under the thick foliage. I opened the stomachs of several specimens, which were shot in different parts of the continent; and in all, remains of insects were so numerous, as often to present a black comminuted mass, as in the stomach of a creeper. In central Chile these birds are migratory: they make their appearance there in autumn, and in the latter end of the month corresponding to our October, they were very common. In the spring they began to disappear, and on the 12th of what would correspond to our March, in the course of a long walk, I saw only one individual. As this species migrates to the southward, it is replaced by the arrival of a larger kind, which will be presently described. I do not believe the small kind breeds in Chile; for, during the summer, their nests were common to the south of that country. The migration of the humming-birds on both the east* and west coast of North America exactly corresponds to what takes place in this southern continent. In both cases they move towards the tropic during the colder parts of the year, and retreat northward before the returning heat. Some, however, remain during the whole year in Tierra del Fuego; and in Northern California,—which in the northern hemisphere has the same relative position which Tierra del Fuego has in the southern,—some, according to Beechey, likewise remain.

* Humboldt's Pers. Narr., vol. v., part i., p. 352; Cook's Third Voyage, vol. ii.; and Beechey's Voyage.

Two species of humming-birds are common; Trochilus forficatus is found over a space of 2500 miles on the west coast, from the hot dry country of Lima, to the forests of Tierra del Fuego—where it may be seen flitting about in snow-storms. In the wooded island of Chiloe, which has an extremely humid climate, this little bird, skipping from side to side amidst the dripping foliage, is perhaps more abundant than almost any other kind. I opened the stomachs of several specimens, shot in different parts of the continent, and in all, remains of insects were as numerous as in the stomach of a creeper. When this species migrates in the summer southward, it is replaced by the arrival of another species coming from the north.

The second species (Trochilus gigas) is a very large bird, for the delicate family to which it belongs. In the neighbourhood of Valparaiso, during this year, it had arrived in numbers, a little before the vernal equinox. It comes from the parched deserts of the north, probably for the purpose of breeding in Chile.

This second species/kind (Trochilus gigas) is a very large bird for the delicate family to which it belongs: when on the wing its appearance is singular.

Like others of the genus, it moves from place to place with a rapidity which may be compared to that of Syrphus amongst diptera/flies, and Sphinx among moths; but whilst hovering over a flower, it flaps its wings with a very slow and powerful movement, totally different from that vibratory one common to most of the species, which produces the humming noise. I never saw any other bird where the force of its wings appeared (as in a butterfly) so powerful in proportion to the weight of its body. When hovering by a flower, its tail is constantly expanded and shut like a fan, the body being kept in a nearly vertical position. This action appears to steady and support the bird, between the slow movements of its wings. Although flying from flower to flower in search of food, its stomach generally contained abundant remains of insects, which I suspect are much more the object of its search than honey is/~. The note of this species, like that of nearly the whole family, is extremely shrill.


CHAPTER XV

Chiloe—General aspect—Boat excursion—Native Indians—Castro—Large leaves of Gunnera scabra—Tame fox—Ascend San Pedro—Chonos Archipelago—Peninsula of Tres Montes—Granitic range—Lowe's Harbour—Wild potato—Forest—Formation of peat—Myopotamus, otter and mice—Cheucau and barking-bird—Furnarius—Singular character of ornithology—Petrels.

CHILE AND CHONOS ISLANDS.

CHAPTER XIII

CHILOE AND CHONOS ISLANDS

Chiloe—General Aspect—Boat Excursion—Native Indians—Castro—Tame Fox—Ascend San Pedro—Chonos Archipelago—Peninsula of Tres Montes—Granitic Range—Boat-wrecked Sailors—Lowe's/Low's Harbour—Wild Potato—Formation of Peat—Myopotamus, Otter and Mice—Cheucau and Barking-bird—Opetiorhynchus—Singular Character of Ornithology—Petrels.

NOVEMBER 10th.—The Beagle sailed from Valparaiso to the southward/south, for the purpose of surveying the southern part of Chile, the island of Chiloe, and the broken land called the Chonos Archipelago, as far south as the Peninsula of Tres Montes. On the 21st we anchored in the bay of S. Carlos, the capital of Chiloe.

This island is about ninety miles long, with a breadth of rather less than thirty. The land is hilly, but not mountainous, and is covered by one great forest, except where a few green patches have been cleared round the thatched cottages. From a distance the view somewhat resembles that of Tierra del Fuego; but the woods, when seen nearer, are incomparably more beautiful. Many kinds of fine evergreen trees, and plants with a tropical character, here take the place of the gloomy beech of the southern shores. In winter the climate is detestable, and in summer it is only a little better. I should think there are few parts of the world, within the temperate regions, where so much rain falls. The winds are very boisterous, and the sky almost always clouded: to have a week of fine weather is something wonderful. It is even difficult to get a single glimpse of the Cordillera: during our first visit {only one opportunity occurred, and that was before sunrise, when}/{once only} the Volcano of Osorno stood out in bold relief; and it was curious to watch, as the sun rose, the outline gradually fading away in the glare of the eastern sky. It is even difficult to get a single glimpse of the Cordillera: during our first visit, once only the volcano of Osorno stood out in bold relief, and that was before sunrise; it was curious to watch, as the sun rose, the outline gradually fading away in the glare of the eastern sky.

The inhabitants, from their complexion and low stature; appear to have three-fourths of Indian blood in their veins. They are an humble, quiet, industrious set of men. Although the fertile soil, resulting from the decomposition of the volcanic rocks, supports a rank vegetation, yet the climate is not favourable to any production which requires much sunshine to ripen it. There is very little pasture for the larger quadrupeds; and in consequence, the staple articles of food are pigs, potatoes, and fish. The people all dress in strong woollen garments, which each family makes for itself, and dyes with indigo of a dark blue colour. The arts, however, are in the rudest state;—as may be seen in their strange fashion of ploughing, their method of spinning, grinding corn, and in the construction of their boats. The forests are so impenetrable, that the land is nowhere cultivated except near the coast and on the adjoining islets. Even where paths exist, they are scarcely passable from the soft and swampy state of the soil. The inhabitants, like those of Tierra del Fuego, {chiefly move about}/{move about chiefly} on the beach or {in boats}/{in boats: in some cases the latter afford the only means of getting from one house to another}. Although with plenty to eat, the people are very poor: there is no demand for labour, and consequently the lower orders cannot scrape together money sufficient to purchase even the smallest luxuries. There is also a great deficiency of a circulating medium. I have seen a man bringing on his back a bag of charcoal, with which to buy some trifle, and another carrying a plank to exchange for a bottle of wine. Hence every tradesman must also be a merchant, and again sell the goods which he takes in exchange.

November 24th.—The yawl and whale-boat were sent under the command of Mr. ~/{(now Captain)} Sulivan, to survey the eastern or inland coast of Chiloe; and with orders to meet the Beagle at the southern extremity of the island; to which point she would proceed by the outside, so as thus to circumnavigate the island/whole. I accompanied this expedition, but instead of going in the boats the first day, I hired horses to take me to Chacao, at the northern extremity of the island. The road followed the coast; every now and then crossing promontories covered by fine forests. In these shaded paths it is absolutely necessary that the whole road should be made of logs of wood, which are squared and placed by the side of each other. From the rays of the sun never penetrating the evergreen foliage, the ground is so damp and soft, that except by such/this means neither man nor horse would be able to pass along. I arrived at the village of Chacao shortly after the tents belonging to the boats were pitched for the night.

The land in this neighbourhood has been extensively cleared, and there were many quiet and most picturesque nooks in the forest. Chacao was formerly the principal port ~/{in the island}; but many vessels having been lost, owing to the dangerous currents and rocks in the straits, the Spanish government burnt the church, and thus arbitrarily compelled the greater number of inhabitants to migrate to S. Carlos. {In a short time}/{We had not long bivouacked, before} the barefooted son of the governor came down to reconnoitre us. Seeing the English flag hoisted at the yawl's mast-head, he asked with the utmost indifference, whether it was always to fly at Chacao. In several places the inhabitants were much astonished at the appearance of men-of-war's boats, and hoped and believed it was the forerunner of a Spanish fleet, coming to recover the island from the patriot government of Chile. All the men in power, however, had been informed of our intended visit, and were exceedingly civil. While we were eating our supper, the governor paid us a visit. He had been a lieutenant-colonel in the Spanish service, but now was miserably poor. He gave us two sheep, and accepted in return two cotton handkerchiefs, some brass trinkets, and a little tobacco.

25th.—Torrents of rain: we managed, however, to run down the coast as far as Huapi-lenou. The whole of this eastern side of Chiloe has one aspect; it is a plain, broken by valleys and divided into little islands, and the whole thickly covered with one impervious blackish-green forest. On the margins there are some cleared spaces, surrounding the high-roofed cottages.

26th—The day rose splendidly clear. The volcano of Orsono was spouting out volumes of smoke. This most beautiful mountain, formed like a perfect cone, and white with snow, stands out in front of the Cordillera. Another great volcano, with a saddle-shaped summit, also emitted from its immense crater little jets of steam. Subsequently we saw the lofty-peaked Corcovado—well deserving the name of “el famoso Corcovado.” Thus we beheld, from one point of view, three great active volcanoes, each {of which had an elevation of about}/{about} seven thousand feet ~/high. In addition to this, far to the south, there were other lofty cones covered with snow, which, although not known to be active, must be in their origin volcanic. The line of the Andes is not, in this neighbourhood, nearly so elevated as in Chile; neither does it appear to form so perfect a barrier between the regions of the earth. This great range, although running in a straight north and south line, owing to an optical deception,

always appeared more or less semicircular; for the extreme peaks being seen standing above the same horizon together with the nearer ones, their much greater distance was not so easily recognised.

always appeared more or less curved; for the lines drawn from each peak to the beholder's eye, necessarily converged like the radii of a semicircle, and as it was not possible (owing to the clearness of the atmosphere and the absence of all intermediate objects) to judge how far distant the farthest peaks were off, they appeared to stand in a flattish semicircle.

{When landing on a point to take observations}/{Landing at midday}, we saw a family of pure Indian extraction. The father was singularly like York Minster; and some of the younger boys, with their ruddy complexions, might have been mistaken for Pampas Indians. Everything I have seen, convinces me of the close connexion of the different ~/American tribes, who nevertheless speak distinct languages. This party could muster but little Spanish, and talked to each other in their own tongue. It is a pleasant thing to see the aborigines advanced to the same degree of civilization, however low that may be, which their white conquerors have attained. More to the south we saw many pure Indians:

indeed, some of the islands, such as Chauques, &c., have no other inhabitants than such as retain the Indian surname.

indeed, all the inhabitants of some of the islets retain their Indian surnames.

In the census of 1832, there were in Chiloe and its dependencies forty-two thousand souls; the greater number of these appear to be {little copper-coloured men,}/~ of mixed blood. Eleven thousand actually/~ retain their Indian surname/surnames, but it is probable that not nearly all of these are of {pure blood}/{a pure breed}. Their manner of life is the same with that of the other poor inhabitants, and they are all Christians; but it is said that they yet retain some strange superstitious ceremonies, and that they pretend to hold communication with the devil in certain caves. Formerly, every one convicted of this offence was sent to the Inquisition at Lima. Many of {those people}/{the inhabitants} who are not included in the eleven thousand with Indian surnames, cannot be distinguished by their appearance from Indians. Gomez, the governor of Lemuy, is descended from noblemen of Spain on both sides; but by constant intermarriages with ~/the natives the present man is an Indian. On the other hand the governor of Quinchao boasts much of his pure/{purely kept} Spanish blood.

We reached at night a beautiful little cove, north of the island of Caucahue. The people here complained of want of land. This is partly owing to their own negligence in not clearing the woods, and partly to restrictions by the government, which makes it necessary, before buying ever so small a piece, to pay two shillings to the surveyor for measuring each quadra (150 yards square), together with whatever price he fixes for the value of the land. After his valuation the land must be put up three times to auction, and if no one bids more, the purchaser can have it at that rate. All these exactions must be a serious check to clearing the ground, where the inhabitants are so extremely poor. In most countries, forests are removed without much difficulty by the aid of fire; but in Chiloe, from the damp nature of the climate, and the sort of trees, it is necessary first to cut them down. This is a heavy drawback to the prosperity of Chiloe. In the time of the Spaniards the Indians could not hold land; and a family, after having cleared a piece of ground, might be driven away, and the property seized by the government. The Chilian authorities are now performing an act of justice by making retribution to these poor Indians, giving to each man, according to his grade of life, a certain portion of land. The value of uncleared ground is very little. The government gave Mr. Douglas (the present surveyor, who informed me of these circumstances) eight and a half square miles of forest near S. Carlos, in lieu of a debt; and this he sold for 350 dollars, or about 70 pounds sterling.

The two succeeding days were fine, and at night we reached the island of Quinchao. This neighbourhood is the most cultivated part of the Archipelago; for a broad strip of land on the coast of the main island, as well as on many of the smaller adjoining ones, is almost completely cleared. Some of the farm-houses seemed very comfortable. I was curious to ascertain how rich any of these people might be, but Mr. Douglas says that no one can be considered as possessing a regular income. One of the richest landowners might possibly accumulate, in a long industrious life, as much as 1000 pounds sterling; but should this happen, it would all be stowed away in some secret corner, for it is the custom of almost every family to have a jar or treasure-chest buried in the ground.

November 30th.—Early on Sunday morning we reached Castro, the ancient capital of Chiloe, but now a most forlorn and deserted place. The usual quadrangular arrangement of Spanish towns could be traced, but the streets and plaza were coated with fine green turf, on which sheep were browsing. The church, which stands in the middle, is entirely built of plank, and has a picturesque and venerable appearance. The poverty of the place may be conceived from the fact, that although containing some hundreds of inhabitants, one of our party was unable anywhere to purchase either a pound of sugar or an ordinary knife. No individual possessed either a watch or a clock; and an old man, who was supposed to have a good idea of time, was employed to strike the church bell by guess. The arrival of our boats was a rare event in this quiet retired corner of the world; and nearly all the inhabitants came down to the beach to see us pitch our tents. They were very civil, and offered us a house; and one man even sent us a cask of cider as a present. In the afternoon we paid our respects to the governor—a quiet old man, who, in his appearance and manner of life, was scarcely superior to an English cottager. At night heavy rain set in, which was hardly sufficient to drive away from our tents the large circle of lookers-on. An Indian family, who had come to trade in a canoe from Caylen, bivouacked near us. They had no shelter during the rain. In the morning I asked a young Indian, who was wet to the skin, how he had passed the night. He seemed perfectly content, and answered, “Muy bien, senor.”

December 1st.—We steered for the island of Lemuy. I was anxious to examine a reported coal-mine which turned out to be lignite of little value, in the sandstone (probably of an ancient tertiary epoch) of which these islands are composed. When we reached Lemuy we had much difficulty in finding any place to pitch our tents, for it was spring-tide, and the land was wooded down to the water's edge. In a short time we were surrounded by a large group of the nearly pure Indian inhabitants. They were much surprised at our arrival, and said one to the other, “This is the reason we have seen so many parrots lately; the cheucau (an odd red-breasted little bird, which inhabits the thick forest, and utters very peculiar noises) has not cried ‘beware’ for nothing.” They were soon anxious for barter. Money was scarcely worth anything, but their eagerness for tobacco was something quite extraordinary. After tobacco, indigo came next in value; then capsicum, old clothes, and gunpowder. The latter article was required for a very innocent purpose: each parish has a public musket, and the gunpowder was wanted for making a noise on their saint or feast days.

The people here live chiefly on shell-fish and potatoes. At certain seasons they catch also, in “corrales” or hedges under water, many fish which are left on the mud-banks as the tide falls. They occasionally possess fowls, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, and cattle; the order in which they are here mentioned, expressing their respective frequency/numbers. I never saw anything more obliging and humble than the manners of these people. They generally began with stating that they were poor natives of the place, and not Spaniards and that they were in sad want of tobacco and other comforts. At Caylen, the most southern island, the sailors bought with a stick of tobacco, of the value of three-halfpence, two fowls, one of which, the Indian stated, had skin between its toes, and turned out to be a fine duck; and with some cotton handkerchiefs, worth three shillings, {we procured}/~ three sheep and a large bunch of onions ~/{were procured}. The yawl at this place was anchored some way from the shore, and we had fears for her safety ~/{from robbers} during the night. Our pilot, Mr. Douglas, accordingly told the constable of the district that we always placed sentinels with loaded arms and not understanding Spanish, if we saw any person in the dark, we should assuredly shoot him. The constable, with much humility, agreed to the perfect propriety of this arrangement, and promised us that no one should stir out of his house during that night.

During the four succeeding days we continued sailing southward. The general features of the country remained the same, but it was much less thickly inhabited. On the large island of Tanqui there was scarcely one cleared spot, the trees on every side extending their branches over the sea-beach. I one day noticed, growing on the sandstone cliffs, some very fine plants of the panke (Gunnera scabra), which somewhat resembles the rhubarb on a gigantic scale. The inhabitants eat the stalks, which are subacid, and tan leather with the roots, and prepare a black dye from them. The leaf is nearly circular, but deeply indented on its margin. I measured one which was nearly eight feet in diameter, and therefore {a circumference of}/~ no less than twenty-four ~/{in circumference}! The stalk is rather more than a yard high, and each plant sends out four or five of these enormous leaves, presenting together a very noble appearance.

December 6th.—We reached Caylen, called “el fin del Cristiandad.” In the morning we stopped for a few minutes at a house on the northern end of Laylec, which was the extreme point of South American Christendom, and a miserable hovel it was. The latitude is 43° 10', which is two degrees farther south than the Rio Negro on the Atlantic coast. These extreme Christians were very poor, and, under the plea of their situation, begged ~/for some tobacco. As a proof of the poverty of these Indians, I may mention that shortly before this, we had met a man, who had travelled three days and a half on foot, and had as many to return, for the sake of recovering the value of a small axe and a few fish. How very difficult it must be to buy the smallest article, when such trouble is taken to recover so small a debt.

In the evening we reached the island of San Pedro, where we found the Beagle at anchor. In doubling the point, two of the officers landed to take a round of angles with the theodolite. A fox ~/{(Canis fulvipes)}, of a kind said to be peculiar to the island, and very rare in it, and which is {an undescribed}/{a new} species, was sitting on the rocks. He was so intently absorbed in watching the work of the officers, that I was able, by quietly walking up behind, to knock him on the head with my geological hammer. This fox, more curious or more scientific, but less wise, than the generality of his brethren, is now mounted in the museum of the Zoological Society.

We stayed three days in this harbour, on one of which Captain FitzRoy, with a party, attempted to ascend to the summit of San Pedro. The woods here had rather a different appearance from those on the northern part of the island. The rock, also, being micaceous slate, there was no beach, but the steep sides dipped directly beneath the water. The general aspect in consequence was more like that of Tierra del Fuego than of Chiloe. In vain we tried to gain the summit: the forest was so impenetrable, that no one who has not beheld it can imagine so entangled a mass of dying and dead trunks. I am sure that often, for more than ten minutes together, our feet never touched the ground, and we were frequently ten or fifteen feet above it, so that the seamen as a joke called out the soundings. At other times we crept one after another on our hands and knees, under the rotten trunks. In the lower part of the mountain, noble trees of the Winter's Bark, and a laurel like the sassafras with fragrant leaves, and others, the names of which I do not know, were matted together by a trailing bamboo or cane. Here we were more like fishes struggling in a net than any other animal. On the higher parts, brushwood takes the place of larger trees, with here and there a red cedar or an alerce pine. I was also pleased to see, at an elevation of a little less than 1000 feet, our old friend the southern beech. They were, however, poor stunted trees, and I should think that this must be nearly their northern limit. We ultimately gave up the attempt in despair.

December 10th.—The yawl and whale-boat, with Mr. Sulivan, proceeded on their survey, but I remained on board the Beagle, which the next day left San Pedro for the southward. On the 13th we ran into an opening in the southern part of Guayatecas, or the Chonos Archipelago; and it was fortunate we did so, for on the following day a storm, worthy of Tierra del Fuego, raged with {its wonted}/great fury. White massive clouds were piled up against a dark blue sky, and across them black ragged sheets of vapour were rapidly driven. The successive mountain ranges appeared like dim shadows, and the setting sun cast on the woodland a yellow gleam, much like that produced by the flame of spirits of wine {on a man's countenance}/~. The water was white with the flying spray, and the wind lulled and roared again through the rigging: it was {a most}/an ominous, sublime scene. During a few minutes there was a bright rainbow, and it was curious to observe the effect of the spray, which being carried along the surface of the water, changed the ordinary semicircle into a ring/circle—a band of prismatic colours was/being continued, from both feet of the common arch across the bay, close to the vessel's side: thus forming a distorted, but very nearly entire circle/ring.

We stayed here three days. The weather continued bad: but this did not much signify, for the surface of the land in all these islands is all but impassable. The coast is so very rugged that to attempt to walk in that direction requires continued scrambling up and down over the sharp rocks of mica-slate; and as for the woods, our faces, hands, and shin-bones all bore witness to the maltreatment we received, in merely attempting to penetrate their forbidden recesses.

December 18th.—We stood out to sea. On the 20th we bade farewell to the south, and with a fair wind turned the ship's head northward. From Cape Tres Montes we sailed pleasantly along the lofty weather-beaten coast, which is remarkable for the bold outline of its hills, and the thick covering of forest even on the almost precipitous flanks. The next day a harbour was discovered, which on this dangerous coast might be of great service to a distressed vessel. It can easily be recognized by a hill 1600 feet high, which is even more perfectly conical than the famous sugar-loaf at Rio de Janeiro. The next day, after anchoring, I succeeded in reaching the summit of this hill. It was a laborious undertaking, for the sides were so steep that in some parts it was necessary to use the trees as ladders. There were also several extensive brakes of the Fuchsia, covered with its beautiful drooping flowers, but very difficult to crawl through. In these wild countries it gives much delight to gain the summit of any mountain. There is an indefinite expectation of seeing something very strange, which, however often it may be balked, never failed with me to recur on each successive attempt. Every one must know the feeling of triumph and pride which a grand view from a height communicates to the mind. In these little frequented countries there is also joined to it some vanity, that you perhaps are the first man who ever stood on this pinnacle or admired this view.

A strong desire is always felt to ascertain whether any human being has previously visited {the place}/{an unfrequented spot}. A bit of wood with a nail in it, is picked up and studied as if it were covered with hieroglyphics. Possessed with this feeling, I was much interested by finding, on a wild part of the coast, a bed made of grass beneath a ledge of rock. Close by it there had been a fire, and the man had used an axe. The fire, bed, and situation showed the dexterity of an Indian; but he could scarcely have been an Indian, for the race is in this part extinct, owing to the Catholic desire of making at one blow Christians and Slaves. I had at the time some misgivings {(though they afterwards were proved to have been groundless)}/~ that the solitary man who had made his bed on this wild spot, must have been some poor shipwrecked sailor, who, in trying to travel up the coast, had here laid himself down for his dreary night.

December 28th.—The weather continued very bad, but it at last permitted us to proceed with the survey. The time hung heavy on our hands, as it always did when we were delayed from day to day by successive gales of wind. In the evening another harbour was discovered, where we anchored. Directly afterwards a man was seen waving his/a shirt, and a boat was sent which brought back two seamen. A party of six had run away from an American whaling vessel, and had landed a little to the southward in a boat, which was shortly afterwards knocked to pieces by the surf. They had now been wandering up and down the coast for fifteen months, without knowing which way to go, or where they were. What a singular piece of good fortune it was that this harbour was now discovered! Had it not been for this one chance, they might have wandered till they had grown old men, and at last have perished on this wild coast. Their sufferings had been very great, and one of their party had lost his life by falling from the cliffs. They were sometimes obliged to separate in search of food, and this explained the bed of the solitary man. Considering what they had undergone, I think they had kept a very good reckoning of time, for they had lost only four days{, by making this the 24th instead of the 28th}/~.

December 30th.—We anchored in a snug little cove at the foot of some high hills, near the northern extremity of Tres Montes. After breakfast the next morning, a party ascended one of these mountains, which {had an altitude of}/{was} 2400 feet ~/high. The scenery was remarkable. The chief part of the range was composed of grand, solid, abrupt masses of granite, which appeared as if they had been coeval with the beginning of the world. The granite is/was capped with {slaty gneiss}/{mica-slate}, and this in the lapse of ages had been worn into strange finger-shaped points. These two formations, thus differing in their outlines, agree in being almost destitute of vegetation. This barrenness had to our eyes a {still stranger}/{strange} appearance, from having been so long accustomed to the sight of an almost universal forest of dark-green trees. I took much delight in examining the structure of these mountains. The complicated and lofty ranges bore a noble aspect of durability—equally profitless, however, to man and to all other animals. Granite to the geologist is classic ground: from its widespread limits, and its beautiful and compact texture, few rocks have been more early/anciently recognised. Granite has given rise, perhaps, to more discussion concerning its origin than any other formation. We generally see it constituting the fundamental rock, and, however formed, we know it is the deepest layer in the crust of this globe to which man has {been able to penetrate}/{penetrated}. The limit of man's knowledge in any subject possesses a high interest, which is perhaps increased by its close neighbourhood to the realms of imagination.

January 1st 1835.—The new year is ushered in with the ceremonies proper to it in these regions. She lays out no false hopes: a heavy north-western gale, with steady rain, bespeaks the rising year. Thank God, we are not destined here to see the end of it, but hope then to be in the Pacific ~/Ocean, where a blue sky tells one there is a heaven,—a something beyond the clouds above our heads.

The north-west winds prevailing for the next four days, we only managed to cross a great bay, and then anchored in another secure harbour. I accompanied the Captain in a boat to the head of a deep creek. On the way the number of seals which we saw was quite astonishing: every bit of flat rock, and parts of the beach, were covered with them. They appeared to be of a loving disposition, and lay huddled together, fast asleep, like so many pigs; but even pigs would have been ashamed of their dirt, and of the foul smell which came from them. Each herd was watched by the patient but inauspicious eyes of the turkey-buzzard. This disgusting bird, with its bald scarlet head, formed to wallow in putridity, is very common on the west coast, and their attendance on the seals shows {that they are dependant on their mortality}/{on what they rely for their food}. We found the water (probably only that of the surface) nearly fresh: this was caused by the number of torrents which, in the form of cascades, came tumbling over the bold granite mountains into the sea. The fresh water attracts the fish, and these bring many terns, gulls, and two kinds of cormorant. We saw also a pair of the beautiful black-necked swans, and several small sea-otters, the fur of which is held in such high estimation. In returning, we were again amused by the impetuous manner in which the heap of seals, old and young, tumbled into the water as the boat passed. They did not remain long under water, but rising, followed us with outstretched necks, expressing great wonder and curiosity.

7th.—Having run up the coast, we anchored near the northern end of the Chonos Archipelago, in Lowe's/Low's Harbour, where we remained a week. The islands were here, as in Chiloe, composed of a stratified, soft, littoral deposit {of soft sandstone with shingle/~; and the vegetation in consequence was beautifully luxuriant. The woods came down to the sea-beach, just in the same/~ manner of an evergreen shrubbery over a gravel walk. We also enjoyed from the anchorage a splendid view of four great snowy cones of the Cordillera, including “el famoso Corcovado:” {and then two others to the southward. The}/~ the range itself had in this latitude so little elevation/height, that few parts of it appeared above the line/tops of the neighbouring islets. We found here a party of five men from Caylen, “el fin del Cristiandad” who had most adventurously crossed in their miserable boat-canoe, for the purpose of fishing~/{, the open space of sea which separates Chonos from Chiloe}. These islands will, in all probability, in a short time become peopled like those adjoining the coast of Chiloe.

Humboldt,* in his Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain, has given a most interesting discussion on the history of the common potato. He believes that the plant described by Molina,† under the name of maglia, is the original stock of this useful vegetable, and that it grows in Chile in its native soil. He supposes that thence it was transported by the Indian population to Peru, Quito, New Granada, and the whole Cordillera, from 40° south to 5° north. He observes that it is a remarkable circumstance, and in accordance with all records respecting the course of the stream of American population, that previously to the Spanish conquest, it was unknown in Mexico. Among the Chonos Islands, a wild potato grows in abundance, which in general habit is even more closely similar to the cultivated kind than is the maglia of Molina.

* Humboldt's New Spain, book iv., chap. ix.

† Molina's Chile, Spanish edition, vol. i., p. 136.

 

These potatoes grow near the sea-beach, in thick beds, on a sandy, shelly soil, wherever the trees are not too close together. In the middle of January they were in flower, but the tubers were small, and few in number; especially in those plants which grew in the shade, and had the most luxuriant foliage. Nevertheless, I found one which was of an oval form, with one diameter two inches in length. The raw bulbs had precisely the smell of the common potato of England, but when cooked they shrunk, and became watery and insipid. They had not a bitter taste, as, according to Molina, is the case with the Chilian kind; and they could be eaten with safety. Some plants measured from the ground to the tip of the upper leaf, not less than four feet.

So very close is the general resemblance with the cultivated species, that it is necessary to show that they have not been imported. The simple fact of their growth on the islands, and even small rocks, throughout the Chonos Archipelago, which has never been inhabited, and very seldom visited, is an argument of some weight. But the circumstance of the wildest Indian tribes being well acquainted with the plant, is stronger. Mr. Lowe, a very intelligent and active sealer, informs me, that on showing some potatoes to the naked savages in the Gulf of Trinidad (lat. 50°), they immediately recognised them, and calling them “Aquina,” wanted to take them away. The savages also pointed to a place where they grew; which fact was subsequently verified. The Indians of Chiloe, belonging to another tribe, also give them a name in their own language. The simple fact of their being known and named by distinct races, over a space of four or five hundred miles on a most unfrequented and scarcely known coast, almost proves their native existence.

The wild potato grows on these islands in great abundance, on the sandy, shelly soil near the sea-beach. The tallest plant was four feet in height. The tubers were generally small, but I found one, of an oval shape, two inches in diameter: they resembled in every respect, and had the same smell as English potatoes; but when boiled they shrunk much, and were watery and insipid, without any bitter taste. They are undoubtedly here indigenous: they grow as far south, according to Mr. Low, as lat. 50°, and are called Aquinas by the wild Indians of that part: the Chilotan Indians have a different name for them.

Professor Henslow, who has examined the dried specimens which I brought home, says that they are the same with those described by Mr. Sabine* from Valparaiso, but that they form a variety which by some botanists has been considered as specifically distinct. It is remarkable that the same plant should be found on the sterile mountains of central Chile, where a drop of rain does not fall for more than six months, and within the damp forests of the southern islands. From what we know of the habits of the potato, this latter situation would appear more congenial than the former, as its birthplace.

* Horticultural Transact., vol. v. p. 249. Mr. Caldeleugh sent home two tubers, which, being well manured, even the first season produced numerous potatoes and an abundance of leaves. See Humboldt's interesting discussion on this plant, which it appears was unknown in Mexico,—in Polit. Essay on New Spain, book iv. chap. ix.

In the central parts of the Chonos Archipelago {, in lat. 45°30'}/{(lat. 45°)}, the forest has very much the same character with that along the whole west coast, for 600 miles southward to Cape Horn. The arborescent grass of Chiloe {has here ceased to exist}/{is not found here}; while the beech of Tierra del Fuego both/~ grows to a good size, and forms a considerable proportion of the wood; not, however, in the same exclusive manner as it does {further to the}/{farther} southward. Cryptogamic plants here find a most congenial climate. In the {neighbourhood of the}/~ Strait of Magellan, {I have before remarked that}/{as I have before remarked,} the country appears too cold and wet to allow of their arriving at perfection; but in these islands, within the forest, the number of species and great abundance of mosses, lichens, and small ferns, is quite extraordinary.* In Tierra del Fuego trees grow only on the hill-sides; every level piece of land being invariably covered by a thick bed of peat; but in Chiloe flat land supports the most luxuriant forest/forests. Here, within the Chonos Archipelago, the nature of the climate more closely approaches

that of the southern, than that of the northern, of these two countries.

that of Tierra del Fuego than that of northern Chiloe;

Nearly/for every patch of level ground is covered by two species of plants (Astelia pumila {of Brown†)/~ and Donatia magellanica), which by their joint decay compose a thick bed of elastic peat.

* By sweeping with my insect-net, I procured from these situations a considerable number of minute insects, of the family of Staphylinidae, and others allied to Pselaphus, and minute Hymenoptera. But the most characteristic family in number, both of individuals and species, throughout the more open parts of Chiloe and Chonos is that of Telephoridae.

Anthericum trifarium of Solander.

In Tierra del Fuego, above the region of woodland, the former of these eminently sociable plants is the chief agent in the production of peat. Fresh leaves are always succeeding one to the other round the central tap-root, the lower ones soon decay, and in tracing a root downwards in the peat, the leaves, yet holding their position/place, can be observed passing through every stage of decomposition, till the whole becomes blended in one confused mass. The Astelia is assisted by a few other plants,—here and there a small creeping {one {Myrtus nummularia)}/{Myrtus (M. nummularia)}, with a woody stem like our cranberry but/and with a sweet berry,

another (Empetrum rubrum), like our heath,—and a third (Juncus grandiflorus) a rush;

—an Empetrum (E. rubrum), like our heath,—a rush (Juncus grandiflorus),

are nearly the only ones that grow on the swampy surface. These plants, though possessing a very close general resemblance to the English {kinds, are botanically}/{species of the same genera, are} different. In the more level parts of the country, the surface of the peat is broken up into little pools of water, which stand at different heights, and appear as if artificially excavated. Small streams of water, flowing underground, complete the disorganization of the vegetable matter, and consolidate the whole.

The climate of the southern part of America appears particularly favourable to the production of peat. In the Falkland Islands, almost every kind of plant, even the coarse grass which covers the whole surface of the island, becomes converted into this substance.

I was at first at a loss to imagine how so much peat had been formed; but the conversion of the grass at once explains it. I observed that even some bones of cattle, strewed on the surface, were nearly covered up by the decaying matter at the foot of the blades of withered grass.

 

Scarcely any situation checks its growth; it overhangs the banks of running streams, and encroaches on the piles of loose angular fragments of quartz rock. Some of the beds are of considerable thickness, even as much as twelve feet: the peat in the lower part is earthy, and completely altered, and when dry, becomes so solid that it ignites with difficulty. No doubt, although every plant lends its aid in the process, yet the Astelia is the most efficient.

scarcely any situation checks its growth; some of the beds are as much as twelve feet thick, and the lower part becomes so solid when dry, that it will hardly burn. Although every plant lends its aid, yet in most parts the Astelia is the most efficient.

It is rather a singular circumstance, as being so very different from what occurs in Europe, that {no kind of moss forms}/{I nowhere saw moss forming} by its decay any portion of the peat in South America.

With respect to the northern limit at which the climate allows of that peculiar kind of slow decomposition which is necessary for the production of peat, I believe that in Chiloe (lat. 41° to 42°), although there is much swampy ground, no well-characterized substance of this nature occurs. But in the Chonos Islands, three degrees further southward, we have seen that it is abundant. On the eastern coast in La Plata (lat. 35°), I was told by a Spanish resident (who had visited Ireland), that he had often sought for this substance, but had never been able to find any. He showed me, as the nearest approach to it which he had discovered, a black peaty soil, so penetrated with roots as to allow of an extremely slow and imperfect combustion.

The zoology of these broken islets of the Chonos Archipelago is, as might have been expected, very poor. Of quadrupeds two aquatic kinds are common. The Myopotamus Coypus (like a beaver, but with a round tail) is well known from its fine fur, which is an object of trade throughout the tributaries of La Plata. It here, however, exclusively frequents salt water; which same circumstance has been mentioned as sometimes occurring with the great rodent, the Capybara. A small sea-otter is very numerous; this animal does not feed exclusively on fish, but, like the seals, draws a large supply from a small red crab, which swims in shoals near the surface of the water. Mr. Bynoe saw one in Tierra del Fuego eating a cuttle-fish; and at Lowe's/Low's Harbour, another was killed in the act of carrying to its hole a large {volute; and this was the only specimen of that shell which was procured}/{volute shell}. At one place I caught in a trap a singular little mouse ~/{(M. brachiotis)}; it appeared common on several of the islets, but the Chilotans at Lowe's/Low's Harbour said that it was not found in all. What a succession of chances,* or what changes of level must have been brought into play, thus to spread these small animals throughout this broken archipelago!

* Many rapacious animals bring their prey alive to feed their young. Are there any instances on record of such a habit among owls or hawks? If so, in the course of centuries, every now and then, one might escape from the young birds. Some such agency is wanted, to account for the distribution of the smaller gnawing animals on islands near to each other.

* It is said that some rapacious birds bring their prey alive to their nests. If so, in the course of centuries, every now and then, one might escape from the young birds. Some such agency is necessary, to account for the distribution of the smaller gnawing animals on islands not very near each other.

In all parts of Chiloe and Chonos, two very strange birds occur, which {have many points of affinity with}/{are allied to, and replace,} the Turco and Tapacolo ~/{of central Chile}. One is called by the inhabitants “Cheucau” (Pteroptochos rubecula): it frequents the most gloomy and retired spots within the damp forests. Sometimes, although its cry may be heard close at hand, let a person watch ever so attentively he will not see the cheucau; at other times, let him stand motionless and the red-breasted little bird will approach within a few feet in the most familiar manner. It then busily hops about the entangled mass of rotting cones and branches, with its little tail cocked upwards. {I opened the gizzard of some specimens: it was very muscular, and contained hard seeds, buds of plants, and vegetable fibres, mixed with small stones.}/~ The cheucau is held in superstitious fear by the Chilotans, on account of its strange and varied cries. There are three very distinct cries: One is called “chiduco” and is an omen of good; another, “huitreu” which is extremely unfavourable; and a third, which I have forgotten. These words are given in imitation of the noises; and the natives are in some things absolutely governed by them. The Chilotans assuredly have chosen a most comical little creature for their prophet. An allied species, but rather larger, is called by the natives “Guid-guid” {{Hylactes Tarnii of King, and Pteroptochos of Kittlitz)}/{(Pteroptochos Tarnii)}, and by the English the barking-bird. This latter name is well given; for I defy any one at first to feel certain that a small dog is not yelping somewhere in the forest. Just as with the cheucau, a person will sometimes hear the bark close by, but in vain many endeavour by watching, and with still less chance by beating the bushes, to see {its author}/{the bird}; yet at other times the guid-guid fearlessly comes near. Its manner of feeding and its general habits are very similar to those of the cheucau.

Both species are said to build their nests close to the ground, amongst the rotten branches. The ground being so extremely wet, is a good reason why they do not burrow holes, like the northern species. Besides the cheucau and guid-guid, there is another species, but it is not very common. Moreover, the bird which has been mentioned in Tierra del Fuego, under the title of a black wren (Scytalopus fuscus of Gould), appears, in its skulking habits, odd cries, and place of resort, and likewise in some points of structure, to be closely related to this singular genus.

 

On the coast,* a small dusky-coloured bird {(a Furnarius allied to fuliginosus)}/{(Opetiorhynchus Patagonicus)} is very common. It is remarkable from its quiet {and very tame}/~ habits;

It lives entirely on the sea-beach, and there (as well as sometimes on the floating kelp), picks up small sea-shells and crabs; thus supplying the place of a sandpiper.

it lives entirely on the sea-beach, like a sandpiper.

Besides these birds only few others inhabit this broken land. In my rough notes I describe the strange noises, which, although frequently heard within these gloomy forests, yet scarcely disturb the general silence. The yelping of the guid-guid, and the sudden whew-whew of the cheucau, sometimes come from afar ~/off, and sometimes from close at hand; the little ~/black wren ~/{of Tierra del Fuego} occasionally adds its cry; the creeper ~/{(Oxyurus)} follows the intruder screaming and twittering; the humming-bird may be seen every now and then darting from side to side, and emitting, like an insect, its shrill chirp; lastly, from the top of some lofty tree the indistinct but plaintive note of the white-tufted tyrant-flycatcher ~/{(Myiobius)} may be noticed. From the great preponderance in most countries of certain common kinds/genera of birds, such as the finches, one feels at first surprised at meeting with the peculiar forms above enumerated, as the commonest birds in any district. In central Chile two of them, namely, the Oxyurus and Scytalopus, occur, although most rarely. When finding, as in this case, animals which seem to play so insignificant a part in the great scheme of nature, one is apt to wonder why {a distinct species should have been}/{they were} created.

* I may mention, as a proof of how great a difference there is between the seasons of the wooded and the open parts of this coast, that on September 20th, in lat. 34°, these birds had young ones in the nest, while among the Chonos Islands, three months later in the summer, they were only laying, the difference in latitude between these two places being about 700 miles.

But it should always be recollected, that in some other country perhaps {it is an essential member}/{they are essential members} of society, or at some former period may have been so. If America south of 37° were sunk beneath the waters of the ocean, {the Synallaxis and Scytalopus}/{these two birds} might continue to exist in central Chile for a long period, but it is very improbable that their numbers would increase. We should then see a case which must inevitably have happened with very many animals.

These southern seas are frequented by several species of Petrels: the largest kind, Procellaria gigantea, or nelly (quebrantahuesos, or break-bones, of the Spaniards), is a common bird, both in the inland channels and on the open sea. In its habits and manner of flight, there is a very close resemblance with the albatross; and as with the albatross, a person may watch it for hours together without seeing on what it feeds{, so is it with this petrel}/~. The “break-bones” is, however, a rapacious bird,*/~ for it was observed by some of the officers at Port St. Antonio chasing a diver{. The bird tried to escape both by}/{, which tried to escape by} diving and flying, but was continually struck down, and at last killed by a blow on its head. At Port St. Julian these great petrels were seen killing and devouring young gulls. A second species (Puffinus cinereus†/~), which is common to Europe, Cape Horn, and the coast of Peru, is of much smaller size than the {gigantea)/{P. gigantea}, but, like it, of a dirty black colour. It generally frequents the inland sounds in very large flocks: I do not think I ever saw so many birds of any other sort together, as I once saw of these behind the island of Chiloe. Hundreds of thousands flew in an irregular line for several hours in one direction. When part of the flock settled on the water the surface was blackened, and a noise proceeded from them as of human beings talking in the distance.

* The Spaniards who named it were probably aware of this, for “quebrantahuesos” means properly an osprey.

† I am indebted to Mr. Gould for naming these birds, and for kindly furnishing me with much information respecting them.

At this time the water was in parts coloured by clouds of small crustacea. At Port Famine, every morning and evening, a long band of these birds continued to fly, with extreme rapidity, up and down the central parts of the channel. I opened the stomach of one (which I shot with some difficulty, for they were rather wary), and it contained a small fish, and seven good-sized, prawn-like crabs.

 

There are several other species of petrels, but I will only mention one other kind, the {Puffinuria Berardii}/{Pelacanoides Berardi} which offers {one more}/an example of those extraordinary cases, of a bird evidently belonging to one well-marked family, yet both in its habits and structure allied to a very distinct tribe. This bird never leaves the quiet inland sounds. When disturbed it dives to a distance, and on coming to the surface, with the same movement takes wing/flight.

After flying for a space in a direct course, by the rapid movement of its short wings, it drops, as if struck dead, and dives again. The form of the beak and nostrils, length of foot, and even colouring of the plumage, show that this bird is a petrel: at the same time, its short wings and consequent little power of flight, its form of body and shape of tail, its habits of diving, and the absence of a hind toe to its foot, and its choice of situation, make it doubtful whether its relationship is not equally close with the auks as with the petrels. It would undoubtedly be mistaken for one of the former, when seen either on the wing, or when diving and quietly swimming about the retired channels of Tierra del Fuego.

After flying by a rapid movement of its short wings for a space in a straight line, it drops, as if struck dead, and dives again. The form of its beak and nostrils, length of foot, and even the colouring of its plumage, show that this bird is a petrel: on the other hand, its short wings and consequent little power of flight, its form of body and shape of tail, the absence of a hind toe to its foot, its habit of diving, and its choice of situation, make it at first doubtful whether its relationship is not equally close with the auks. It would undoubtedly be mistaken for an auk, when seen from a distance, either on the wing, or when diving and quietly swimming about the retired channels of Tierra del Fuego.


CHAPTER XVI

San Carlos, Chiloe—Osorno in eruption—Ride to Castro and Cucao—Impenetrable forests—Valdivia—Apple-trees—Ride to Llanos—Indians—Earthquake—Concepcion—Great earthquake—Effects of wave—Rocks fissured—Appearance of the former towns—Water in the bay black and boiling—Direction of vibration—Stones displaced—Cause of great waves—Permanent elevation of land—Great lake of fluid rock beneath crust of the globe—Connexion of volcanic phenomena—Slow elevation of mountain chains, cause of earthquakes.

CHILOE AND CONCEPCION.

CHAPTER XIV

CHILOE AND CONCEPCION: GREAT EARTHQUAKE.

San Carlos, Chiloe—Osorno in eruption, contemporaneously with Aconcagua and Coseguina—Ride to Cucao—Impenetrable Forests—Valdivia Indians—Earthquake—Concepcion—Great Earthquake—Rocks fissured—Appearance of the former Towns—The Sea Black and Boiling—Direction of the Vibrations—Stones twisted round—Great Wave—Permanent Elevation of the Land—Area of Volcanic Phenomena—The connexion between the Elevatory and Eruptive Forces—Cause of Earthquakes—Slow Elevation of Mountain-chains.

On January the 15th we sailed from Lowe's/Low's Harbour, and three days afterwards anchored a second time in the bay of S. Carlos in Chiloe. On the night of the 19th the volcano of Osorno was in action. At midnight the sentry observed something like a large star, which gradually increased in size till about three o'clock, when {a very magnificent spectacle was presented}/{it presented a very magnificent spectacle}. By the aid of a glass, dark objects, in constant succession, were seen, in the midst of a great glare of red light, to be thrown upwards/up and to fall down again/~. The light was sufficient to cast on the water a long bright reflection.

By the morning the volcano* had resumed its tranquillity.

* In another work I shall have occasion to refer to this eruption, which is connected with one of the grandest series of volcanic phenomena on record.

 

Large masses of molten matter seem very commonly to be cast out of the igneous vents, in this part of the Cordillera. I was assured, that when the Corcovado is in eruption, great masses projected upwards are seen to burst in the air, and to assume fantastical forms, such as trees and other bodies. One may form an idea of the immense size of these bodies, when it is stated that they have been seen from the high land behind S. Carlos, which is distant no less than ninety-three miles from the Corcovado.

Large masses of molten matter seem very commonly to be cast out of the craters in this part of the Cordillera. I was assured that when the Corcovado is in eruption, great masses are projected upwards and are seen to burst in the air, assuming many fantastical forms, such as trees: their size must be immense, for they can be distinguished from the high land behind S. Carlos, which is no less than ninety-three miles from the Corcovado. In the morning the volcano became tranquil.

I was surprised at hearing afterwards that Aconcagua in Chile, 480 miles northwards, was in action on the same night; and still more surprised to hear that the great eruption of Coseguina (2700 miles north of Aconcagua), accompanied by an earthquake felt over a 1000 miles, also occurred within six hours of this same time. This coincidence is the more remarkable, as Coseguina had been dormant for twenty-six years; and Aconcagua most rarely shows any signs of action. It is difficult even to conjecture whether this coincidence was accidental, or shows some subterranean connexion. If Vesuvius, Etna, and Hecla in Iceland (all three relatively nearer each other than the corresponding points in South America), suddenly burst forth in eruption on the same night, the coincidence would be thought remarkable; but it is far more remarkable in this case, where the three vents fall on the same great mountain-chain, and where the vast plains along the entire eastern coast, and the upraised recent shells along more than 2000 miles on the western coast, show in how equable and connected a manner the elevatory forces have acted.

Captain FitzRoy being anxious that some bearings should be taken on the outer coast of Chiloe, it was planned that Mr. King and myself should ride to Castro, and thence across the island to the Capella de Cucao, situated on the west coast. Having hired horses and a guide, we set out on the morning of the 22nd. We had not proceeded far, before we were joined by a woman and two boys, who were bent on the same journey. Every one on this road acts on a “hail fellow well met” fashion; and one may here enjoy the privilege, so rare in South America, of travelling without fire-arms. At first, the country consisted of a succession of hills and valleys: nearer to Castro it became very level{, but is still some height above the sea}/~. The road itself is a curious affair; it consists in its whole length, with the exception of very few parts, of great logs of wood, which are either broad and placed/laid longitudinally, or narrow and ~/placed transversely. In summer the road is not very bad; but in winter, when the wood is rendered slippery from rain, travelling is exceedingly difficult. At that time of the year, the ground on each side becomes a morass, and is often overflowed: hence it is necessary that the longitudinal logs should be fastened down by transverse poles, which are pegged on each side into the earth. These pegs render a fall from a horse dangerous, as the chance of alighting on one of them is not small. It is remarkable, however, how active custom has made the Chilotan horses. In crossing bad parts, where the logs had been displaced, they skipped from one to the other, almost with the quickness and certainty of a dog. On both hands the road is bordered by the lofty forest-trees, with their bases matted together by canes. When occasionally a long reach of this avenue could be observed/beheld, it presented a curious scene of uniformity: the white line of logs, narrowing in perspective, became hidden by the gloomy forest, or terminated in a zigzag which ascended some steep hill.

Although the distance from S. Carlos to Castro is only twelve leagues in a straight line, the formation of the road must have been a great labour. I was told that several people had formerly lost their lives in attempting to cross the forest. The first who succeeded was an Indian, who cut his way through the canes in eight days, and reached S. Carlos: he was rewarded by the Spanish government with a grant of land. During the summer, many of the Indians wander about the forests (but chiefly in the higher parts, where the woods are not quite so thick) in search of the half-wild cattle which live on the leaves of the cane and certain trees. It was one of these huntsmen who by chance discovered, a few years since, an English vessel, which had been wrecked on the outer coast. The crew were beginning to fail in provisions, and it is not probable that, without the aid of this man, they would ever have extricated themselves from these scarcely penetrable woods. As it was, one seaman died on the march, from fatigue. The Indians in these excursions steer by the sun; so that if there is a continuance of cloudy weather, they can not travel.

The day was beautiful, and the number of trees which were in full flower perfumed the air; yet even this could hardly dissipate the effects of the gloomy dampness of the forest. Moreover, the many dead trunks that stand like skeletons, never fail to give to these primeval woods a character of solemnity, {which is wanting}/{absent} in those of countries long civilized. Shortly after sunset we bivouacked for the night. Our female companion, who was rather good-looking, belonged to one of the most respectable families in Castro: she rode, however, astride, and without shoes or stockings. I was surprised at the total want of pride shown by her and her brother. They brought food with them, but at all our meals sat watching Mr. King and myself whilst eating, till we were fairly shamed into feeding the whole party. The night was cloudless; and while lying in our beds, we enjoyed the sight (and it is a high enjoyment) of the multitude of stars which illumined the darkness of the forest.

January 23rd.—We rose early in the morning, and reached the pretty quiet town of Castro by two o'clock. The old governor had died since our last visit, and {in his place a Chileno was acting}/{a Chileno was acting in his place}. We had a letter of introduction to Don Pedro, whom we found exceedingly hospitable and kind, and {with a degress of disinterestedness which is more common in La Plata than}/{more disinterested than is usual} on this side of the continent. The next day Don Pedro procured us fresh horses, and offered to accompany us himself. We proceeded to the south—generally following the coast, and passing through several hamlets, each with its large barn-like chapel built of wood.

Near Castro we saw a remarkably pretty waterfall: it was very small, but the water fell in a single sheet into a large circular basin, around which stately trees, from 100 to 120 feet high, cast a dark shade.

 

At Vilipilli, Don Pedro asked the commandant to give us a guide to Cucao. The old gentleman offered to come himself; but for a long time he would not believe that anything could induce two Englishmen to go to such an out-of-the-way place as Cucao.

At Vilipilli, Don Pedro asked the commandant to give us a guide to Cucao. The old gentleman offered to come himself; but for a long time nothing would persuade him that two Englishmen really wished to go to such an out-of-the-way place as Cucao.

We were thus accompanied by the two greatest aristocrats in the country, as was plainly to be seen in the manner of all the poorer Indians towards them. At Chonchi we struck across the island, following intricate winding paths, sometimes passing through magnificent forests, and sometimes through pretty cleared spots, abounding with corn and potato crops. {In this}/{This} undulating woody country, partially cultivated, {there was something which}/~ reminded me of the wilder parts of England, and therefore had to my eye a most fascinating aspect. At Vilinco, which is situated on the borders of the lake of Cucao, only a few fields were cleared; and all the inhabitants appear/appeared to be Indians. This lake is twelve miles long, and runs in an east and west direction. From local circumstances, the sea-breeze blows very regularly during the day, and during the night it falls calm: this has given rise to strange exaggerations, for the phenomenon, as described to us at S. Carlos, was quite a prodigy.

The road to Cucao was so very bad that we determined to embark in a periagua. The commandant, in the most authoritative manner, ordered six Indians to get ready to pull us over, without deigning to tell them whether they would be paid. The periagua is a strange rough boat, but the crew were still stranger: I doubt if six uglier little men ever got into a boat together. They pulled, however, very well and cheerfully. The stroke-oarsman gabbled Indian, and uttered strange cries, much after the fashion of a pig-driver when/~ driving his pigs. We started with a light breeze against us, but yet reached{, before late at night, the Capella de Cucao}/{ the Capella de Cucao before it was late}. The country on each side of the lake was one unbroken forest. In the same periagua with us, a cow was embarked. To get so large an animal into a small boat appears at first a difficulty, but the Indians managed it in a minute. They brought the cow alongside the boat, which was heeled towards her; then placing two oars under her belly, with their ends resting on the gunwale, by the aid of these levers they fairly tumbled the poor beast heels over head into the bottom of the boat, and then lashed her down with ropes. At Cucao we found an uninhabited hovel (which is the residence of the padre when he pays this Capella a visit), where, lighting a fire, we cooked our supper, and were very comfortable.

The district of Cucao is the only inhabited part on the whole west coast of Chiloe. It contains about thirty or forty Indian families, who are scattered along four or five miles of the shore. They are very much secluded from the rest of Chiloe, and have scarcely any sort of commerce, except sometimes in a little oil, which they get from seal-blubber. They are {pretty well}/{tolerably} dressed in clothes of their own manufacture, and they have plenty to eat. They seemed, however, discontented, yet humble to a degree which it was quite painful to witness. {The former feeling is}/{These feelings are}, I think, chiefly to be attributed to the harsh and authoritative manner in which they are treated by their rulers. Our companions, although so very civil to us, behaved to the poor Indians as if they had been slaves, rather than free men. They ordered provisions and the use of their horses, without ever condescending to say how much, or indeed whether the owners should be paid at all. In the morning, being left alone with these poor people, we soon ingratiated ourselves by presents of cigars and maté. A lump of white sugar was divided between all present, and tasted with the greatest curiosity. The Indians ended all their complaints by saying, “And it is only because we are poor Indians, and know nothing; but it was not so when we had a King.”

The next day after breakfast, we rode {To Punta Huantamó, a few miles to the northward}/{a few miles northward to Punta Huantamó}. The road lay along a very broad beach, on which, even after so many fine days, a terrible surf was breaking. I was assured that after a heavy gale, the roar can be heard at night even at Castro, a distance of no less than twenty-one sea-miles across a hilly and wooded country. We had some difficulty in reaching the point, owing to the intolerably bad paths; for everywhere in the shade the ground soon becomes a perfect quagmire. The point itself is a bold rocky hill. It is covered by a plant allied, I believe, to Bromelia, and called by the inhabitants Chepones. In scrambling through the beds, our hands were very much scratched. I was amused by observing the precaution our Indian guide took, in turning up his trousers, thinking that they were more delicate than his own hard skin. This plant bears a fruit, in shape like an artichoke, in which a number of seed-vessels are packed: these contain a pleasant sweet pulp, here much esteemed. I saw at Lowe's/Low's Harbour the Chilotans making chichi, or cider, with this fruit: so true is it, as Humboldt remarks, that almost everywhere man finds means of preparing some kind of beverage from the vegetable kingdom. The savages, however, of Tierra del Fuego, and I believe of Australia, have not advanced thus far in the arts.

The coast to the northward/north of Punta Huantamó is exceedingly rugged and broken, and is fronted by many breakers, on which the sea is eternally roaring. Mr. King and myself were anxious to return, if it had been possible, on foot along this coast; but even the Indians said it was quite impracticable. We were told that men have crossed by striking directly through the woods from Cucao to S. Carlos, but never by the coast. On these expeditions, the Indians carry with them only roasted corn, and of this they eat sparingly twice a day.

26th.—Re-embarking in the periagua, we returned across the lake, and then mounted our horses. The whole of Chiloe took advantage of this week of unusually fine weather, to clear the ground by burning. In every direction volumes of smoke were curling upwards. Although the inhabitants were so assiduous in setting fire to every part of the wood, yet I did not see a single fire which they had succeeded in making extensive. We dined with our friend the commandant, and did not reach Castro till after dark. The next morning we started very early. After having ridden for some time, we obtained from the brow of a steep hill an extensive view (and it is a rare thing on this road) of the great forest. Over the horizon of trees, the volcano of Corcovado, and the great flat-topped one to the north, stood out in proud pre-eminence: scarcely another peak in the long range showed its snowy top/summit. I hope it will be long before I forget this farewell view of the magnificent Cordillera of/fronting Chiloe. At night we bivouacked under a cloudless sky, and the next morning reached S. Carlos. We arrived on the right day, for before evening heavy rain commenced.

February 4th.—Sailed from Chiloe. During the last week I made several short excursions.

One was to examine a great bed of oyster and Venus shells, of the same kind now living in the neighboring bay, but elevated 350 feet (measured by the barometer) above the level of the sea.

One was to examine a great bed of now-existing shells, elevated 350 feet above the level of the sea:

From/from among these shells, large forest-trees were growing. Another ride was to P. Huechucucuy. I had with me a guide who knew the country far too well; for he would pertinaciously tell me endless Indian names for every little point, rivulet, and creek. In the same manner as in Tierra del Fuego, the Indian language appears singularly well adapted for attaching names to the most trivial features of the land. I believe every one was glad to say farewell to Chiloe; yet if we could forget the gloom and ceaseless rain of winter, Chiloe might pass for a charming island. There is also something very attractive in the simplicity and humble politeness of all/~ the poor inhabitants.

We steered {along shore to the northward}/{northward along shore}, but owing to thick weather did not reach Valdivia till the night of the 8th.

The external features of the whole line of country were the same with the central parts of Chiloe. The forest was nowhere cleared away. On the sea-coast bold rocky points projected, but further inland the older formations were covered up by plains, belonging to geological periods of no great antiquity.

 

The next morning {,after anchoring in the fine harbour of Valdivia}/~ the boat proceeded to the town, which is distant about ten miles. We followed the course of the river, occasionally passing a few hovels, and patches of ground cleared out of the otherwise unbroken forest; and sometimes meeting a canoe with an Indian family. The town is situated on the low banks of the stream, and is so completely buried in a wood of apple-trees that the streets are merely paths in an orchard. I have never seen any country, where apple-trees appeared to thrive so well as in this damp part of South America: on the borders of the roads there were many young trees {which had evidently planted themselves{/{evidently self-grown}. In Chiloe the inhabitants possess a marvellously short method of making an orchard. At the lower part of almost every branch, small, conical, brown, wrinkled points project: these are always ready to change into roots, as may sometimes be seen, where any mud has been accidentally splashed against the tree. A branch as thick as a man's thigh is chosen ~/{in the early spring}, and is cut off just beneath a group of these points, all the smaller branches are lopped off, and it is then placed about two feet deep in the ground{: the operation is performed in the earliest part of the spring}/~. During the succeeding/ensuing summer the stump throws out long shoots, and sometimes even bears fruit: I was shown one which had produced as many as twenty-three apples, but this was thought very unusual. In the third season the stump is changed (as I have myself seen) into a well-wooded tree, loaded with {an abundance of}/~ fruit.

I understand there is one kind of apple-tree in England, which can be treated in a similar manner; but I believe the rapidity of growth, and at the same time production of fruit, is very inferior to that of the trees in Chiloe.

 

An old man near Valdivia illustrated his motto, “Necesidad es la madre del invencion” by giving an account of the several useful things he manufactured from his apples. After making cider, ~/{and likewise wine,} he extracted from the refuse a white and finely flavoured spirit; by another process he procured a sweet treacle, or, as he called it, honey.

He likewise showed us wine derived from the same fruit.

 

The/His children and pigs seemed almost to live, during this season of the year, in {his orchard}/{the orchards}.

February 11th.—I set out with a guide on a short ride, in which, however, I managed to see singularly little, either of the geology of the country or of its inhabitants. There is not much cleared land near Valdivia: after crossing a river at the distance of a few miles, we entered the forest, and then passed only one miserable hovel, before reaching our sleeping-place for the night. The short difference in latitude, of 150 miles, has given a new aspect to the forest compared with that of Chiloe. This is owing to a slightly different proportion in the kinds of trees. The evergreens do not appear to be quite so numerous, and the forest in consequence has a brighter tint. As in Chiloe, the lower parts are matted together by canes: here also another kind (resembling the bamboo of Brazil and about twenty feet in height) grows in clusters, and ornaments the banks of some of the streams in a very pretty manner. It is with this plant that the Indians make their chuzos, or long tapering spears. Our resting-house was so dirty that I preferred sleeping outside: on these journeys the first night is generally very uncomfortable, because one is not accustomed to the tickling and biting of the fleas. I am sure, in the morning, there was not a space on my legs the size of a shilling which had not its little red mark where the flea had feasted.

12th.—We continued to ride through the uncleared forest; only occasionally meeting an Indian on horseback, or a troop of fine mules bringing alerce-planks and corn from the southern plains. In the afternoon one of the horses knocked up: we were then on a brow of a hill, which commanded a fine view of the Llanos. The view of these open plains was very refreshing, after being hemmed in and buried in the wilderness of trees. The uniformity of a forest soon becomes very wearisome. This west coast makes me remember with pleasure the free, unbounded plains of Patagonia; yet, with the true spirit of contradiction, I cannot forget how sublime is the silence of the forest. The Llanos are the most fertile and thickly peopled parts of the country, as they possess the immense advantage of being nearly free from trees. Before leaving the forest we crossed some flat little lawns, around which single trees encroached/stood, {in the same manner}/~ as in an English park:

It is curious how frequently a plain seems hostile to the growth of trees. Humboldt found much difficulty in endeavouring to account for their presence in certain parts of South America, and their absence in other parts. It appears to me, that the level state of the surface very frequently determines this point; but the cause of its doing so I do not know. In the case of Tierra del Fuego, the deficiency of trees on level ground is probably owing to the accumulation of too much moisture in such situations. But to the northward of Maldonado, in Banda Oriental, where we have a fine undulating country, with streams of water (which are themselves fringed with woods), the circumstance appears to me, as I have before stated, of very difficult explanation.

I have often noticed with surprise, in wooded undulatory districts, that the quite level parts have been destitute of trees.

On account of the tired horse, I determined to stop at the Mission of Cudico, to the friar of which I had a letter of introduction. Cudico is an intermediate district between the forest and the Llanos. There are a good many cottages, with patches of corn and potatoes, nearly all belonging to Indians. The tribes dependent on Valdivia are “reducidos y cristianos.” The Indians farther northward, about Arauco and Imperial, are still very wild, and not converted; but they have all much intercourse with the Spaniards. The padre said that the Christian Indians did not much like coming to mass, but that otherwise they showed respect for religion. The greatest difficulty is in making them observe the ceremonies of marriage. The wild Indians take as many wives as they can support, and a cacique will sometimes have more than ten: on entering his house, the number may be told by that of the separate fires. {This plan must be a good one to prevent quarrelling.}/~ Each wife lives a week in turn with the cacique; but all are employed in weaving ponchos, etc., for his profit. To be the wife of a cacique, is an honour much sought after by the Indian women.

The men of all the/these tribes wear a coarse woolen poncho: those south of Valdivia wear short trousers, and those north of it a petticoat, like the chilipa of the Gauchos. All have their long hair bound by a scarlet fillet {round their heads, but otherwise they are uncovered}/{, but with no other covering on their heads}. These Indians are good-sized men; their cheek-bones are prominent, and in general appearance they resemble the great American family to which they belong; but their physiognomy seemed to me to be slightly different from that of any other tribe which I had before seen. Their expression is generally grave, and even austere, and possesses much character: this may pass either for honest bluntness or fierce determination. The long black hair, the grave and much-lined features, and the dark complexion, called to my mind old portraits of James I. On the road we met with none of that humble politeness so universal in Chiloe. Some gave their “mari-mari” (good morning) with promptness, but the greater number did not seem inclined to offer any salute. This independence of manners is probably a consequence of their long wars, and the repeated victories which they alone, of all the tribes in America, have gained over the Spaniards.

I spent the evening very pleasantly, talking with the padre. He was exceedingly kind and hospitable; and coming from Santiago, had contrived to surround himself with some few comforts. Being a man of some little education, he bitterly complained of the total want of society. With no particular zeal for religion, no business or pursuit, how completely must this man's life be wasted!

Finding nothing which tempted me either to stay or to proceed, the next day we set out on our return through the forest. We met on the road seven very wild Indians. Amongst them were some caciques, who had been receiving a yearly stipend, which is paid to some who have long remained faithful.

The next day, on our return, we met seven very wild-looking Indians, of whom some were caciques that had just received from the Chilian government their yearly small stipend for having long remained faithful.

They were fine-looking men, and they rode one after the other, with most gloomy faces. An old cacique, who headed them, had been, I suppose, more excessively drunk than the rest, for he seemed extremely grave and very crabbed. Shortly before this, two Indians joined us, who were travelling from a distant mission to Valdivia concerning some lawsuit. One was a good-humoured old man, but from his wrinkled beardless face looked more like an old woman than a man. I frequently presented both of them with cigars; and though ready to receive them, and I dare say grateful, they would hardly condescend to thank me. A Chilotan Indian would have taken off his hat, and given his “Dios le page!” {(May God repay you!)}/~. The travelling was very tedious, both from the badness of the roads, and from the number of great fallen trees, which it was necessary either to leap over or to avoid by making long circuits. We slept on the road, and next morning reached Valdivia, whence I proceeded on board.

A few days afterwards I crossed the bay with a party of officers, and landed near the fort called Niebla. The buildings were in a most ruinous state, and the gun-carriages quite rotten. Mr. Wickham remarked to the commanding officer, that with one discharge they would certainly all fall to pieces. The poor man, trying to put a good face upon it, gravely replied, “No, I am sure, sir, they would stand two!” The Spaniards must have intended to have made this place impregnable. There is now lying in the middle of the courtyard a little mountain of mortar, which rivals in hardness the rock on which it is placed. It was brought from Chile, and cost 7000 dollars. The revolution having broken out, prevented its being applied to any purpose, and now it remains a monument of the fallen greatness of Spain.

I wanted to go to a house about a mile and a half distant, but my guide said it was quite impossible to penetrate the wood in a straight line. He offered, however, to lead me, by following obscure cattle-tracks, the shortest way: the walk, nevertheless, took no less than three hours! This man is employed in hunting strayed cattle; yet, well as he must know the woods, he was not long since lost for two whole days, and had nothing to eat. These facts convey a good idea of the impracticability of the forests of these countries. A question often occurred to me—how long does any vestige of a fallen tree remain? This man showed me one which a party of fugitive royalists had cut down fourteen years ago; and taking this as a criterion, I should think a bole a foot and a half in diameter would in thirty years {present a mere ridge}/{be changed into a heap} of mould.

February 20th.—This day has been memorable in the annals of Valdivia, for the most severe earthquake experienced by the oldest inhabitant. I happened to be on shore, and was lying down in the wood to rest myself. It came on suddenly, and lasted two minutes, but the time appeared much longer. The rocking of the ground was very sensible. The undulations appeared to my companion and myself to come from due east, whilst others thought they proceeded from south-west: this shows how difficult it sometimes is to perceive the directions of the vibrations. There was no difficulty in standing upright, but the motion made me almost giddy: it was something like the movement of a vessel in a little cross-ripple, or still more like that felt by a person skating over thin ice, which bends under the weight of his body. A bad earthquake at once destroys our oldest associations: the earth, the very emblem of {all that is solid}/{solidity}, has moved beneath our feet like a thin crust over a fluid;—one second of time has created in the mind a strange idea of insecurity, which hours of reflection would not have produced. In the forest, as a breeze moved the trees, I felt only the earth tremble, but saw no {consequences from it}/{other effect}. Captain FitzRoy and some officers were at the town during the shock, and there the scene was more striking; for although the houses, from being built of wood, did not fall, yet/~ they were so/~ violently shaken, that/and the boards creaked and rattled ~/together. The people rushed out of doors in the greatest alarm. {I feel little doubt that it}/It is these accompaniments that create that perfect horror of earthquakes, experienced by all who have thus seen, as well as felt, their effects. Within the forest it was a deeply interesting, but by no means an awe-exciting phenomenon. The tides were very curiously affected. The great shock took place at the time of low water; and an old woman who was on the beach told me that the water flowed very quickly, but not in great waves, to high-water mark, and then as quickly returned to its proper level; this was also evident by the line of wet sand. The same kind of quick but quiet movement in the tide happened a few years since at Chiloe, during a slight earthquake, and created much causeless alarm. In the course of the evening there were many weaker shocks, which seemed to produce in the harbour the most complicated currents, and some of great strength.

22d.—We sailed from Valdivia, and on the 4th of March, entered the harbour of Concepcion.

March 4th.—We entered the harbour of Concepcion.

While the ship was beating up to the anchorage, I landed on the island of Quiriquina. The mayor-domo of the estate quickly rode down to tell me the terrible news of the great earthquake of the 20th:—“That not a house in Concepcion or Talcahuano (the port) was standing; that seventy villages were destroyed; and that a great wave had almost washed away the ruins of Talcahuano.” Of this latter fact/statement I soon saw abundant proof/proofs—the whole coast being strewed over with timber and furniture as if a thousand ships had been wrecked. Besides chairs, tables, book-shelves, etc., in great numbers, there were several roofs of cottages, which had been {drifted in an almost entire state}/{transported almost whole}. The storehouses at Talcahuano had been burst open, and great bags of cotton, yerba, and other valuable merchandise were scattered about/~ on the shore. During my walk round the island, I observed that numerous fragments of rock, which, from the marine productions adhering to them, must recently have been lying in deep water, had been cast up high on the beach; one of these was {a slab six feet by three, and about}/{six feet long, three broad, and} two thick.

The island itself as plainly showed the overwhelming power of the earthquake, as the beach did that of the consequent great wave. The ground was fissured in many parts in north and south lines, which direction perhaps was caused by the yielding of the parallel and steep sides of the/this narrow island. Some of the fissures near the cliffs were a yard wide. Many enormous masses had already fallen on the beach; and the inhabitants thought that when the rains commenced even much greater slips would happen. The effect of the vibration on the hard primary slate, which composes the foundation of the island, was still more curious: the superficial parts of some narrow ridges were as completely shivered as if they had been blasted by gunpowder. This effect, which was rendered very evident by the fresh fractures and displaced soil, must, during earthquakes, be confined to near the surface, for otherwise there would not exist a block of solid rock throughout Chile. This limited action is not improbable, as it is certain that the surface of a vibrating body is in a different condition from the central parts. It is, perhaps, owing to this same reason, that earthquakes do not cause quite such terrific havoc within deep mines as would at first have been expected. I believe this convulsion has been more effectual in lessening the size of the island of Quiriquina, than the ordinary wear-and-tear of the weather and the sea during the course of an entire century.

The island itself as plainly showed the overwhelming power of the earthquake, as the beach did that of the consequent great wave. The ground in many parts was fissured in north and south lines, perhaps caused by the yielding of the parallel and steep sides of the/this narrow island. Some of the fissures near the cliffs were a yard wide. Many enormous masses had already fallen on the beach; and the inhabitants thought that when the rains commenced far greater slips would happen. The effect of the vibration on the hard primary slate, which composes the foundation of the island, was still more curious: the superficial parts of some narrow ridges were as completely shivered as if they had been blasted by gunpowder. This effect, which was rendered conspicuous by the fresh fractures and displaced soil, must be confined to near the surface, for otherwise there would not exist a block of solid rock throughout Chile; nor is this improbable, as it is known that the surface of a vibrating body is affected differently from the central part. It is, perhaps, owing to this same reason, that earthquakes do not cause quite such terrific havoc within deep mines as would be expected. I believe this convulsion has been more effectual in lessening the size of the island of Quiriquina, than the ordinary wear-and-tear of the sea and weather during the course of a whole century.

The next day I landed at Talcuhano, and afterwards rode to Concepcion. Captain FitzRoy has given so detailed and accurate an account of the earthquake, that it is almost useless for me to say any thing on the subject; but I will extract a few passages from my journal. Both towns presented the most awful yet interesting spectacle I ever beheld.

The next day I landed at Talcahuano, and afterwards rode to Concepcion. Both towns presented the most awful yet interesting spectacle I ever beheld.

To a person who had formerly known the places, it possibly might have been still more impressive; for the ruins were so mingled together, and the whole scene possessed so little the air of a habitable place, that it was scarcely possible to imagine its former appearance or condition. The earthquake commenced at half-past eleven o'clock in the forenoon. If it had happened in the middle of the night, the greater number of the inhabitants which in this one province amount to many thousands),* instead of less than a hundred, must have perished.

* Miers estimates them at 40,000; but the towns in some of the other provinces were likewise overthrown.

To a person who had formerly known them, it possibly might have been still more impressive; for the ruins were so mingled together, and the whole scene possessed so little the air of a habitable place, that it was scarcely possible to imagine its former condition. The earthquake commenced at half-past eleven o'clock in the forenoon. If it had happened in the middle of the night, the greater number of the inhabitants must have perished, instead of less than a hundred: as it was, the invariable practice of running out of doors at the first trembling of the ground, alone saved them.

In Concepcion each house, or row of houses, stood by itself, a heap or line of ruins; but in Talcahuano, owing to the great wave, little more than one layer of bricks, tiles, and timber with here and there part of a wall left standing, could be distinguished. From this circumstance Concepcion, although not so completely desolated, was a more terrible, and if I may so call it, picturesque sight. The first shock was very sudden.

The invariable practice among the residents in these provinces, of running out of doors at the first trembling of the ground, alone saved them.

 

The mayor-domo at Quiriquina told me, that the first notice he received of it, was finding both the horse he rode and himself, rolling together on the ground. Rising up, he was again thrown down. He also told me that some cows which were standing on the steep side of the island were rolled into the sea. The great wave{, however, was far more destructive in this respect:}/{caused the destruction of many cattle;} on one low island near the head of the bay, seventy animals were washed off and drowned. It is generally thought that this has been the worst earthquake ever recorded in Chile; but as the very bad/severe ones occur only after long intervals, this cannot easily be known; nor indeed would a much worse shock have made any difference, for the ruin was now complete.

 

Innumerable small tremblings followed the great earthquake, and within the first twelve days no less than three hundred were counted.

After viewing Concepcion, I cannot understand how the greater number of inhabitants escaped unhurt. The houses in many parts fell outwards; thus forming in the middle of the streets little hillocks of brickwork and rubbish. Mr. Rous/Rouse, the English consul, told us that he was at breakfast when the first movement warned him to run out. He had scarcely reached the middle of the courtyard, when one side of his house came thundering down. He retained presence of mind to remember, that if he once got on the top of that part which had already fallen, he should/would be safe. Not being able from the motion of the ground to stand, he crawled up on his hands and knees; and no sooner had he ascended this little eminence, than the other side of the house fell in, the great beams sweeping close in front of his head. With his eyes blinded, and his mouth choked with the cloud of dust which darkened the sky, at last he gained the street. As shock succeeded shock, at the interval of a few minutes, no one dared approach the shattered ruins, and no one knew whether his dearest friends and relations {might not be}/{were not} perishing from the want of help. Those who had saved any property were obliged to keep a constant watch, for thieves prowled about, and at each little trembling of the ground, with one hand they beat their breasts and cried “Misericordia!” and then with the other filched what they could from the ruins. The thatched roofs fell over the fires, and flames burst forth in all parts. Hundreds knew themselves ruined, and few had the means of providing food for the day.

Can a more miserable and fearful scene be imagined?

 

Earthquakes alone are sufficient to destroy the prosperity of any country. If beneath England the now inert subterranean forces should exert those powers, which most assuredly in former geological ages they have exerted, how completely would the entire condition of the country be changed! What would become of the lofty houses, thickly packed cities, great manufactories, the beautiful public and private edifices? If the new period of disturbance were first to commence by some great earthquake in the dead of the night, how terrific would be the carnage! England would at once be bankrupt; all papers, records, and accounts would from that moment be lost. Government being unable to collect the taxes, and failing to maintain its authority, the hand of violence and rapine would remain uncontrolled. In every large town famine would go forth, pestilence and death following in its train.

Captain FitzRoy has given an account of the great wave, which, travelling from seaward, burst over Talcuhano. In the middle of the bay it was seen as one unbroken swell of the water; but on each side, meeting with resistance, it curled over, and tore up cottages and trees as it swept onwards with overwhelming force. At the head of the bay it is easy to imagine the fearful line of white breakers which three times rushed over, and almost obliterated, the ruins of the former town. Pools of salt water yet remained in the streets; and children, making boats with old tables and chairs, appeared as happy as their parents were miserable. It was, however, exceedingly interesting to observe how active and cheerful all appeared, after their heavy misfortune. It was remarked with much truth, that from the destruction being universal, no one individual was humbled more than another, or could suspect his friends of coldness; and this latter effect is perhaps the most grievous one of the loss of wealth. Mr. Rous, and a large party whom he kindly took under his protection, lived for the first week in a garden beneath some apple-trees. At first they were as merry as if it had been a picnic; but soon afterwards heavy rain caused much discomfort, for they were absolutely without shelter.

Shortly after the shock, a great wave was seen from the distance of three or four miles, approaching in the middle of the bay with a smooth outline; but along the shore it tore up cottages and trees, as it swept onwards with irresistible force. At the head of the bay it broke in a fearful line of white breakers, which rushed up to a height of 23 vertical feet above the highest spring-tides. Their force must have been prodigious; for at the Fort a cannon with its carriage, estimated at four tons in weight, was moved 15 feet inwards. A schooner was left in the midst of the ruins, 200 yards from the beach. The first wave was followed by two others, which in their retreat carried away a vast wreck of floating objects. In one part of the bay, a ship was pitched high and dry on shore, was carried off, again driven on shore, and again carried off. In another part, two large vessels anchored near together were whirled about, and their cables were thrice wound round each other; though anchored at a depth of 36 feet, they were for some minutes aground. The great wave must have travelled slowly, for the inhabitants of Talcahuano had time to run up the hills behind the town; and some sailors pulled out seaward, trusting successfully to their boat riding securely over the swell, if they could reach it before it broke. One old woman with a little boy, four or five years old, ran into a boat, but there was nobody to row it out: the boat was consequently dashed against an anchor and cut in twain; the old woman was drowned, but the child was picked up some hours afterwards clinging to the wreck. Pools of salt-water were still standing amidst the ruins of the houses, and children, making boats with old tables and chairs, appeared as happy as their parents were miserable. It was, however, exceedingly interesting to observe, how much more active and cheerful all appeared than could have been expected. It was remarked with much truth, that from the destruction being universal, no one individual was humbled more than another, or could suspect his friends of coldness—that most grievous result of the loss of wealth. Mr. Rouse, and a large party whom he kindly took under his protection, lived for the first week in a garden beneath some apple-trees. At first they were as merry as if it had been a picnic; but soon afterwards heavy rain caused much discomfort, for they were absolutely without shelter.

In Captain FitzRoy's paper it is said that two explosions, one like a column of smoke, and another like the blowing of a great whale, were seen in the bay of Concepcion. The water also appeared every where to be boiling; and it “became black, and exhaled a most disagreeable sulphureous smell.” I am informed by Mr. Alison, that during the earthquake of 1822 these last-mentioned circumstances occurred in the bay of Valparaiso. The two great explosions in the first case must no doubt be connected with deep-seated changes; but the bubbling water, its black colour and fetid smell, the usual concomitants of a severe earthquake, may, I think, be attributed to the disturbance of mud containing organic matter in decay. In the bay of Callao, during a calm day, I noticed, that as the ship dragged her cable over the bottom, its course was marked by a line of bubbles.

The lower orders in Talcuhano thought that the earthquake was caused by some old Indian women, who two years ago having been offended, stopped the volcano of Antuco. This silly belief is curious, because it shows that experience has taught them to observe the constant relation between the suppressed activity of volcanoes, and the trembling of the ground. It was necessary to apply the witchcraft to the point where their knowledge stopped; and this was the closing of the volcanic vent. This saying is the more odd in this particular instance, because the result of Captain FitzRoy's investigation was to discountenance the belief that Antuco (whatever might have been the case with the volcanoes further northward) was any way affected.

In Captain FitzRoy's excellent account of the earthquake, it is said that two explosions, one like a column of smoke and another like the blowing of a great whale, were seen in the bay. The water also appeared everywhere to be boiling; and it “became black, and exhaled a most disagreeable sulphureous smell.” These latter circumstances were observed in the Bay of Valparaiso during the earthquake of 1822; they may, I think, be accounted for, by the disturbance of the mud at the bottom of the sea containing organic matter in decay. In the Bay of Callao, during a calm day, I noticed, that as the ship dragged her cable over the bottom, its course was marked by a line of bubbles. The lower orders in Talcahuano thought that the earthquake was caused by some old Indian women, who two years ago, being offended, stopped the volcano of Antuco. This silly belief is curious, because it shows that experience has taught them to observe, that there exists a relation between the suppressed action of the volcanos, and the trembling of the ground. It was necessary to apply the witchcraft to the point where their perception of cause and effect failed; and this was the closing of the volcanic vent. This belief is the more singular in this particular instance, because, according to Captain FitzRoy, there is reason to believe that Antuco was noways affected.

The town of Concepcion was built in the usual Spanish fashion, with all the streets running at right angles to each other. One set ranged S.W. by W. and N.E. by E., and the other N.W. by N. and S.E. by S. The walls in the former direction certainly stood better than those in the other. Captain FitzRoy* has likewise remarked, that the greater number of the masses of brickwork were thrown down towards the N.E. Both these circumstances perfectly agree with the general idea of the undulation having come from the S.W.; in which quarter subterranean noises were also sometimes heard. It is evident on this supposition, that the N.W. and S. E. walls, being nearly coincident with the line of undulation (or with the crests of the successive waves), would be much more likely to fall than those which had their extremities presented towards the point whence the vibration proceeded; for, in the first case, the whole wall would be thrown at the same moment out of its perpendicular.

* Sketch of Surveying Voyages of Adventure and Beagle by Captain FitzRoy, Royal Geograph. Journal, vol. vi., p. 320.

The town of Concepcion was built in the usual Spanish fashion, with all the streets running at right angles to each other; one set ranging S.W. by W., and the other set N.W. by N. The walls in the former direction certainly stood better than those in the latter; the greater number of the masses of brickwork were thrown down towards the N.E. Both these circumstances perfectly agree with the general idea, of the undulations having come from the S.W., in which quarter subterranean noises were also heard; for it is evident that the walls running S.W. and N.E. which presented their ends to the point whence the undulations came, would be much less likely to fall than those walls which, running N.W. and S.E., must in their whole lengths have been at the same instant thrown out of the perpendicular; for the undulations, coming from the S.W., must have extended in N.W. and S.E. waves, as they passed under the foundations.

This may be illustrated by placing books edgeways on a carpet, and then, after the manner suggested by Michell, imitating the undulations of an earthquake: it will be found that they fall with more or less readiness, according to/as their direction{~/{more or less nearly coincides with the line of the waves}. The fissures in the ground {though not uniform, generally}/{generally, though not uniformly,} extended in a S.E. and N.W.*/~ direction, and therefore they/~ corresponded to the lines of ~/{undulation or of} principal flexure. Bearing in mind all these circumstances, which so clearly point to the S.W. as the chief focus of disturbance, it is a very interesting fact that the island of S. Maria,* situated in that quarter, was, during the general uplifting of the land {(to which I shall presently refer)/{,} raised to nearly three times the height of any other part of the coast.

* Ditto, p. 327, et passim [refers to previous footnote, above].

 

The different resistance offered by the walls, according to their direction, was well exemplified in the case of the Cathedral. The side which fronted the N.E. presented a grand pile of ruins, in the midst of which door-cases and masses of timber stood up, as if floating in a stream. Some of the angular blocks of brickwork were of great dimensions; and they {had been}/{were} rolled to a distance on the level plaza, like fragments of rock at the base of some high mountain. The side walls ~/{(running S.W. and N.E.)}, though exceedingly fractured, yet remained standing; but the vast buttresses (at right angles to them, and therefore parallel to the walls that fell) were in many cases cut clean off, as if by a chisel, and hurled to the ground. Some square ornaments on the coping of these same walls, were moved by the earthquake into a diagonal position.

The buttresses of the church of La Merced, at Valparaiso, and some heavy pieces of furniture in the rooms, were similarly affected by the shock of 1822.* Mr. Lyell† has also given a drawing of an obelisk in Calabria, of which the separate stones were partially turned round. In these instances, the displacement at first appears to be owing to a vorticose movement beneath each point thus affected; but such can hardly be the case.

* Miers's Chile, vol. i., p. 392.

† Lyell's Principles of Geology, chap, xv., book ii.

A similar circumstance was observed after an earthquake at Valparaiso, Calabria, and other places, including some of the ancient Greek temples.* This twisting displacement, at first appears to indicate a vorticose movement beneath each point thus affected; but this is highly improbable.

* M. Arogo in L'Institut, 1839, p. 337. See also Mier's Chile, vol. i. p. 392: also Lyell's Principles of Geology, chap. xv, book ii.

May it not be caused by a tendency in each stone to arrange itself in some particular position, with respect to the lines of vibration,—in a manner somewhat similar to pins on a sheet of paper when shaken? Generally speaking, arched doorways or windows stood much better than any other part of the buildings. Nevertheless, a poor lame old man, who had been in the habit, during trifling shocks, of crawling to a certain doorway, was this time crushed to pieces.

I have not attempted to give any detailed description of the appearance of Concepcion, for I feel that it is quite impossible to convey the mingled feelings {with which one beholds such a spectacle}/{which I experienced}. Several of the officers visited it before me, but their strongest language failed to give a just idea of the ~/{scene of} desolation. It is a bitter and humiliating thing to see works, which have cost man so much time and labour, overthrown in one minute; yet compassion for the inhabitants was almost instantly {forgotten, from the interest excited in finding that}/{banished, by the surprise in seeing a} state of things produced in a moment of time, which one was accustomed to attribute to a succession of ages. In my opinion, we have scarcely beheld, since leaving England, any sight so deeply interesting.

In almost every severe earthquake {which has been described}/~, the neighbouring waters of the sea are said to have been greatly agitated. The disturbance seems generally, as in the case of Concepcion, to have been of two kinds: first, at the instant of the shock, the water swells high up on the beach with a gentle motion, and then as quietly retreats; secondly, some little/~ time afterwards, the whole body of the sea retires from the coast, and then returns in great/~ waves of overwhelming force. The first {and less regular}/~ movement seems to be an immediate consequence of the earthquake {differently affection}/{affecting differently} a fluid and a solid, so that their respective levels are slightly deranged:

But the second case is a far more important phenomenon, and at first appears of less easy explanation. In reading accounts of earthquakes, and especially of those on the west coast of America, as collated from various authors by Sir W. Parish,* it is certain that the first great movement of the waters has been that of retiring. Several hypotheses† have been invented to explain this fact. Some have supposed it owing to a vertical oscillation in the land, the water retaining its level: but this can hardly happen, even on a moderately shoal coast; for the water near the land must partake of the motion of the bottom. Moreover, as Mr. Lyell has urged, a change of level in the land will not account for movements in the sea, of a similar nature, affecting islands distant from the line of uplifted coast. This occurred at Madeira during the famous Lisbon earthquake. Juan Fernandez also offers a parallel instance; for the sea was disturbed there much in the same manner as on the coast of Chile.

* Sir W. Parish had the kindness to lend me the original manuscript, which was read before the Geological Society, March 5th, 1835.

† Lyell's Geology, book ii., ch. xvi.

The whole phenomenon, it appears to me, is due to a common undulation in the water, proceeding from a line or point of disturbance, some little way distant. If the waves sent off from the paddles of a steam-vessel be watched breaking on the sloping shore of a still river, the water will be seen first to retire two or three feet, and then to return in little breakers, precisely analogous to those consequent on an earthquake. From the oblique direction in which the waves are sent off from the paddles, the vessel has proceeded a long way ahead, before the undulation reaches the shore; and hence it is at once manifest, that this movement bears no relation to the actual displacement of the fluid from the bulk of the vessel. Indeed, it seems a general circumstance, that in all cases where the equilibrium of an undulation is thus destroyed, the water is drawn from the resisting surface to form the advancing breaker.* Considering then a wave produced by an earthquake as an ordinary undulation proceeding from some point or line in the offing, we can see the cause, first of its occurrence some time after the shock; secondly, of its affecting the shores of the mainland and of outlying islets in a uniform manner—namely, the water retiring first, and then returning in a mountainous breaker; and lastly, of its size being modified (as appears to be the case) by the form of the neighbouring coast. For instance Talcuhano and Callao are situated at the head of great shoaling bays, and they have always suffered from this phenomenon; whereas, the town of Valparaiso, which is seated close on the border of a profound ocean, though shaken by the severest earthquakes, has never been overwhelmed by one of these terrific deluges. On this view, we have only to imagine, in the case of Concepcion, a point of disturbance in the bottom of the sea in a south-west direction, whence the wave was seen to travel, and where the land was elevated to a greater height than any other part,—and the whole phenomenon will be explained.

* I am indebted to Mr. Whewell for explaining to me the probable movements on the shore, of an undulation of which the equilibrium has been destroyed.

Addendum to Page 377: When I offered my views on the cause of the great waves, which follow earthquakes on certain coasts, I was not aware of the paper on this subject by Sir James Hall in the Edinburgh Royal Transactions, vol. vii., p. 154. I cannot, however, perceive the necessity of a sudden elevation of the bottom, to produce the observed effects, as supposed by that distinguished philosopher. Having read the abstract of a Notice on the Resistance of Water, by Mr. Russell, I perceive the subject is far more intricate, than I was at the time aware.

It is probable that near every coast, the chief line of disturbance would be situated at that distance in the offing, where the fluid which was most agitated, from overlying the shallow bottom near the land, joined on to that part which covered the depths (but slightly moved) of the ocean. In all distant parts of the coast the small oscillations of the sea, both at the moment of the great shock, and during the lesser following ones, would be confounded with the undulation propagated from the focus of disturbance, and hence the series of movements would be undistinguishable.

The most remarkable effect (or perhaps speaking more correctly, cause) of this earthquake was the permanent elevation of the land. Captain FitzRoy having twice visited the island of Santa Maria, for the purpose of examining every circumstance with extreme accuracy, has brought a mass of evidence in proof of such elevation, far more conclusive than that on which geologists on most other occasions place implicit faith. The phenomenon possesses an uncommon degree of interest, from this particular part of the coast of Chile having previously been the theatre of several earthquakes of the worst class. It is almost certain, from the altered soundings, together with the circumstance of the bottom of the bay near Penco, consisting of hard stone, that there has been an uplifting to the amount of four fathoms, since the famous convulsion of 1751. With this additional instance fresh before us, we may assume as probable, according to the principles laid down by Mr. Lyell,* other small successive elevations, and may fearlessly maintain that the problem of the raised shells,† recorded by Ulloa, is explained.

* Lyell's Geology, book ii., chap. xvi.

† I saw these shells in very great quantities on the flanks of the island of Quiriquina.

Some of the consequences which may be deduced from the phenomena connected with this earthquake are most important in a geological point of view; but in the present work I cannot do more than simply allude to the results. Although it is known that earthquakes have been felt over enormous spaces, and strange subterranean noises likewise heard over nearly equal areas, yet few cases are on record of volcanoes, very far distant from each other, bursting out at the same moment of time. In this instance, however, at the same hour when the whole country around Concepcion was permanently elevated, a train of volcanoes situated in the Andes, in front of Chiloe, instantaneously spouted out a dark column of smoke, and during the subsequent year continued in uncommon activity. It is, moreover, a very interesting circumstance, that, in the immediate neighbourhood, these eruptions entirely relieved the trembling ground, although at a little distance, and in sight of the volcanoes, the island of Chiloe was strongly affected. To the northward, a volcano burst out at the bottom of the sea adjoining the island of Juan Fernandez, and several of the great chimneys in the Cordillera of central Chile commenced a fresh period of activity. We thus see a permanent elevation of the land, renewed activity through habitual vents, and a submarine outburst, forming parts of one great phenomenon. The extent of country throughout which the subterranean forces were thus unequivocally displayed, measures 700 by 400 geographical miles. From several considerations, which I have not space here to enter on, and especially from the number of intermediate points whence liquefied matter was ejected, we can scarcely avoid the conclusion, however fearful it may be, that a vast lake of melted matter, of an area nearly doubling in extent that of the Black Sea, is spread out beneath a mere crust of solid land.

The elevation of the land to the amount of some feet during these earthquakes, appears to be a paroxysmal movement, in a series of lesser and even insensible steps, by which the whole west coast of South America has been raised above the level of the sea. In the same manner, the most violent explosion from any volcano is merely one in a series of lesser eruptions: and we have seen that both these phonomena, which are in so many ways related, are parts of one common action, only modified by local circumstances. With respect to the cause of the paroxysmal convulsion in particular portions of the great area which is simultaneously affected, it can be shown to be extremely probable, that it is owing to the giving way of the superincumbent strata, (and this giving way probably is a consequence of the tension from the general elevation) and their interjection by fluid rock—one step in the formation of a mountain chain. On this view we are led to conclude, that the unstratified mass forming the axis of any mountain, has been pumped in when in a fluid state, by as many separate strokes as there were earthquakes. For instance, in the case of Concepcion, during the few months subsequent to the great shock, upwards of three hundred tremours of the ground were felt, each of which indicated a fresh fracture, and injection of the fluid stone. It is a case precisely analogous to what happens in all bad eruptions, which are invariably followed by a succession of smaller ones: the difference is, that in the volcano the lava is ejected, while in the formation of a mountain chain it is injected. This view of the extremely gradual elevation of a line of mountains, will alone explain the difficulty (which, as far as I am aware, has never been attempted to be solved) of the axis consisting of rock which has become solid under the pressure of the superincumbent strata, while yet these same strata, in their present inclined and vertical positions, cannot possibly cover more than a small portion of that axis.

Addendum to Page 381: I have said that during the few months subsequently to the great shock of February, 1835, at Concepcion, upwards of three hundred tremours were felt, but I should have said, within twelve days. (See Geograph. Journal, vol. vi., p. 322. Sketch of Surveying Voyage of the Adventure and Beagle, by Captain FitzRoy). From some additional information which I have met with since finishing this chapter, I find the train of volcanic phenomena, which followed this earthquake, affected a larger area than that mentioned (seven hundred by four hundred miles), and affected it in a manner which gives great additional weight to the argument that South America is in that part a mere crust resting over a sheet of fluid rock; and likewise to the generalization that the action of volcanoes, and the permanent elevation of the land (and consequently, as I believe, the elevation of mountain chains) are parts of the same phenomenon, and due to the same cause.

but the second case is a far more important phenomenon. During most earthquakes, and especially during those on the west coast of America, it is certain that the first great movement of the waters has been a retirement. Some authors have attempted to explain this, by supposing that the water retains its level, whilst the land oscillates upwards; but surely the water close to the land, even on a rather steep coast, would partake of the motion of the bottom: moreover, as urged by Mr. Lyell, similar movements of the sea have occurred at islands far distant from the chief line of disturbance, as was the case with Juan Fernandez during this earthquake, and with Madeira during the famous Lisbon shock. I suspect (but the subject is a very obscure one) that a wave, however produced, first draws the water from the shore, on which it is advancing to break: I have observed that this happens with the little waves from the paddles of a steam-boat. It is remarkable that whilst Talcahuano and Callao (near Lima), both situated at the head of large shallow bays, have suffered during every severe earthquake from great waves, Valparaiso, seated close to the edge of profoundly deep water, has never been overwhelmed, though so often shaken by the severest shocks. From the great wave not immediately following the earthquake, but sometimes after the interval of even half an hour, and from distant islands being affected similarly with the coasts near the focus of the disturbance, it appears that the wave first rises in the offing; and as this is of general occurrence, the cause must be general: I suspect we must look to the line, where the less disturbed waters of the deep ocean join the water nearer the coast, which has partaken of the movements of the land, as the place where the great wave is first generated; it would also appear that the wave is larger or smaller, according to the extent of shoal water which has been agitated together with the bottom on which it rested.

The most remarkable effect of this earthquake was the permanent elevation of the land, it would probably be far more correct to speak of it as the cause. There can be no doubt that the land round the Bay of Concepcion was upraised two or three feet; but it deserves notice, that owing to the wave having obliterated the old lines of tidal action on the sloping sandy shores, I could discover no evidence of this fact, except in the united testimony of the inhabitants, that one little rocky shoal, now exposed, was formerly covered with water. At the island of S. Maria (about thirty miles distant) the elevation was greater; on one part, Captain FitzRoy found beds of putrid mussel-shells still adhering to the rocks, ten feet above high-water mark: the inhabitants had formerly dived at lower-water spring-tides for these shells. The elevation of this province is particularly interesting, from its having been the theatre of several other violent earthquakes, and from the vast numbers of sea-shells scattered over the land, up to a height of certainly 600, and I believe, of 1000 feet. At Valparaiso, as I have remarked, similar shells are found at the height of 1300 feet: it is hardly possible to doubt that this great elevation has been effected by successive small uprisings, such as that which accompanied or caused the earthquake of this year, and likewise by an insensibly slow rise, which is certainly in progress on some parts of this coast.

The island of Juan Fernandez, 360 miles to the N.E., was, at the time of the great shock of the 20th, violently shaken, so that the trees beat against each other, and a volcano burst forth under water close to the shore: these facts are remarkable because this island, during the earthquake of 1751, was then also affected more violently than other places at an equal distance from Concepcion, and this seems to show some subterranean connexion between these two points. Chiloe, about 340 miles southward of Concepcion, appears to have been shaken more strongly than the intermediate district of Valdivia, where the volcano of Villarica was noways affected, whilst in the Cordillera in front of Chiloe, two of the volcanos burst-forth at the same instant in violent action. These two volcanos, and some neighbouring ones, continued for a long time in eruption, and ten months afterwards were again influenced by an earthquake at Concepcion. Some men, cutting wood near the base of one of these volcanos, did not perceive the shock of the 20th, although the whole surrounding Province was then trembling; here we have an eruption relieving and taking the place of an earthquake, as would have happened at Concepcion, according to the belief of the lower orders, if the volcano at Antuco had not been closed by witchcraft. Two years and three-quarters afterwards, Valdivia and Chiloe were again shaken, more violently than on the 20th, and an island in the Chonos Archipelago was permanently elevated more than eight feet. It will give a better idea of the scale of these phenomena, if (as in the case of the glaciers) we suppose them to have taken place at corresponding distances in Europe:—then would the land from the North Sea to the Mediterranean have been violently shaken, and at the same instant of time a large tract of the eastern coast of England would have been permanently elevated, together with some outlying islands,—a train of volcanos on the coast of Holland would have burst forth in action, and an eruption taken place at the bottom of the sea, near the northern extremity of Ireland—and lastly, the ancient vents of Auvergne, Cantal, and Mont d'Or would each have sent up to the sky a dark column of smoke, and have long remained in fierce action. Two years and three-quarters afterwards, France, from its centre to the English Channel, would have been again desolated by an earthquake and an island permanently upraised in the Mediterranean.

The space, from under which volcanic matter on the 20th was actually erupted, is 720 miles in one line, and 400 miles in another line at right angles to the first: hence, in all probability, a subterranean lake of lava is here stretched out, of nearly double the area of the Black Sea. From the intimate and complicated manner in which the elevatory and eruptive forces were shown to be connected during this train of phenomena, we may confidently come to the conclusion, that the forces which slowly and by little starts uplift continents, and those which at successive periods pour forth volcanic matter from open orifices, are identical. From many reasons, I believe that the frequent quakings of the earth on this line of coast are caused by the rending of the strata, necessarily consequent on the tension of the land when upraised, and their injection by fluidified rock. This rending and injection would, if repeated often enough (and we know that earthquakes repeatedly affect the same areas in the same manner), form a chain of hills;—and the linear island of S. Mary, which was upraised thrice the height of the neighbouring country, seems to be undergoing this process. I believe that the solid axis of a mountain, differs in its manner of formation from a volcanic hill, only in the molten stone having been repeatedly injected, instead of having been repeatedly ejected. Moreover, I believe that it is impossible to explain the structure of great mountain-chains, such as that of the Cordillera, were the strata, capping the injected axis of plutonic rock, have been thrown on their edges along several parallel and neighbouring lines of elevation, except on this view of the rock of the axis having been repeatedly injected, after intervals sufficiently long to allow the upper parts or wedges to cool and become solid;—for if the strata had been thrown into their present highly inclined, vertical, and even inverted positions, by a single blow, the very bowels of the earth would have gushed out; and instead of beholding abrupt mountain-axes of rock solidified under great pressure, deluges of lava would have flowed out at innumerable points on every line of elevation.*

* For a full account of the volcanic phenomena which accompanied the earthquake of the 20th, and for the conclusions deducible from them, I must refer to Volume V. of the Geological Transactions.


CHAPTER XVII

Valparaiso—Passage of Andes by Portillo pass—Sagacity of mules—Mountain torrents—Mines, how discovered—Marine alluvium in valleys—Effect of snow on surface—Geology, fossil shells, double range, two periods of elevation—Red snow—Winds on the crest—Snow thawing in pinnacles—Dry and clear atmosphere—Electricity—Pampas—Zoology of opposite sides of Andes—Uniformity of Patagonia—Locusts—Great bugs—Mendoza—Uspallata—Silicified trees in vertical position—Indian ruins—Change of climate—Earthquake arching bed of river—Cumbre—Valparaiso.

PASSAGE OF THE CORDILLERA.

CHAPTER XV

PASSAGE OF THE CORDILLERA.

Valparaiso—Portillo Pass—Sagacity of Mules—Mountain-torrents—Mines, how discovered—Proofs of the gradual Elevation of the Cordillera—Effect of Snow on Rocks—Geological Structure of the two main Ranges, their distinct Origin and Upheaval—Great Subsidence—Red Snow—Winds—Pinnacles of Snow—Dry and clear Atmosphere—Electricity—Pampas—Zoology of the opposite Side of the Andes—Locusts—Great Bugs—Mendoza—Uspallata Pass—Silicified Trees buried as they grew—Incas Bridge—Badness of the Passes exaggerated—Cumbre—Casuchas—Valparaiso.

MARCH 7th, 1835.—We stayed only/~ three days at Concepcion, and then sailed for Valparaiso. The wind being northerly, we only reached the mouth of the harbour of Concepcion before it was dark. Being very near the land, and a fog coming on, the anchor was dropped. Presently a large American whaler appeared alongside of us; and we heard the Yankee swearing at his men to keep quiet, whilst he listened for the breakers. Captain FitzRoy hailed him, in a loud clear voice, to anchor where he then was. The poor man must have thought the voice came from the shore: such a Babel of cries issued at once from the ship—every one hallooing out, “Let go the anchor! veer cable! shorten sail!” It was the most laughable thing I ever heard. If the ship's crew had been all captains, and no men, there could not have been a greater uproar of orders. We afterwards found that the mate stuttered: I suppose all hands were assisting him in giving his orders.

On the 11th we anchored at Valparaiso, and two days afterwards I set out to cross the Cordillera. I proceeded to Santiago, where Mr. Caldcleugh most kindly assisted me in every possible way in making the little preparations which were necessary. In this immediate/~ part of Chile there are two passes across the Andes to Mendoza{, and the plains on the opposite side. The one}/{: the one} most commonly used, namely, that of Aconcagua or Uspallata—is situated some way to the {northward of the capital:}/{north;}

the other, called the Portillo, is to the southward, and less distant}. The latter is, however, rather more lofty, and from the double chain, more dangerous during a snow-storm. For these reasons it is but little used, especially late in the season.

the other, called the Portillo, is to the south, and nearer, but more lofty and dangerous.

March 18th.—We set out for the Portillo pass. Leaving Santiago we crossed the wide burnt-up plain on which that city stands, and in the afternoon arrived at the Maypo/Maypu, one of the principal rivers in Chile. The valley, at the point where it enters the first Cordillera, is bounded on each side by lofty barren mountains; and although not broad, it is very fertile. Numerous cottages were surrounded by vines, and by orchards of apple, nectarine, and peach-trees—{the boughs of the latter}/{their boughs} breaking with the weight of the beautiful ripe fruit. In the evening we passed the custom-house, where our luggage was examined. The frontier of Chile is better guarded by the Cordillera, than by the waters of the sea. There are very few valleys which lead to the central ranges, and{, except by these, the mountains are far too steep and lofty for any beast of burden to pass over them.}/{ the mountains are quite impassable in other parts by beasts of burden.} The custom-house officers were very civil, which was perhaps partly owing to the passport which the President of the Republic had given me; but I must express my admiration at the natural politeness of almost every Chileno. In this instance, the contrast with the same class of men in most other countries was strongly marked. I may mention an anecdote with which I was {much pleased at the time}/{at the time much pleased}: we met near Mendoza a little and very fat negress, riding astride on a mule. She had a goitre so enormous that it was scarcely possible to avoid gazing at her for a moment; but my two companions almost instantly, by way of apology, made the common salute of the country by taking off their hats. Where would one of the lower or higher classes in Europe, have shown such feeling politeness to a poor and miserable object of a degraded race?

At night we slept at a cottage. Our manner of travelling was delightfully independent. In the inhabited parts we bought a little firewood, hired pasture for the animals, and bivouacked in the corner of the same field with them. Carrying an iron pot, we cooked and ate our supper under a cloudless sky, and knew no trouble. My companions were Mariano Gonzales, who had formerly accompanied me ~/{in Chile}, and an “arriero” with his ten mules and a “madrina.” The madrina (or godmother) is a most important personage:

She is an old steady mare, with a little bell round her neck; and wherever she goes, the mules, like good children, follow her.

If several large troops are turned into one field to graze, in the morning the muleteer has only to lead the madrinas a little apart, and tinkle their bells; and, although there may be two or three hundred mules together, each immediately knows its own bell, and separates itself from the rest. The affection of these animals for their madrinas saves infinite trouble.

The affection of these animals for their madrinas saves infinite trouble. If several large troops are turned into one field to graze, in the morning the muleteers have only to lead the madrinas a little apart, and tinkle their bells; although there may be two or three hundred together, each mule immediately knows the bell of its own madrina, and comes to her.

It is nearly impossible to lose an old mule; for if detained for several hours by force, she will, by the power of smell, like a dog, track out her companions, or rather the madrina, for, according to the muleteer, she is the chief object of affection. The feeling, however, is not of an individual nature; for I believe I am right in saying that any animal with a bell will serve as a madrina. In a troop each animal carries on a level road, a cargo weighing 416 pounds (more than 29 stone), but in a mountainous country 100 pounds less;*/~ yet with what delicate slim limbs, without any proportional bulk of muscle, these animals support so great a burden! The mule always appears to me a most surprising animal. That a hybrid should possess more reason, memory, obstinacy, social affection, powers of muscular endurance, and length of life, than either of its parents, seems to indicate that art has here out-mastered/outdone nature. Of our ten animals, six were intended for riding, and four for carrying cargoes, each taking turn about. We carried a good deal of food in case we should be snowed up, as the season was rather late for passing the Portillo.

* Throughout Chile, except between Santiago and Valparaiso, every thing is conveyed on mules. This is an expensive method of transport, but unavoidable without good roads and improved waggons. In a troop of mules, there is generally a muleteer to each six animals.

 

March 19th.—We rode during this day to the last, and therefore most elevated, house in the valley. The number of inhabitants became scanty; but wherever water could be brought on the land, it was very fertile.

All the valleys in the Cordillera agree in the same kind of structure. An irregularly-stratified mass of well-rounded shingle, together with a little mud and sand, fills up the bottom to the depth of some hundred feet. This deposit follows the course of the valley, sloping upwards with a most gradual and gentle inclination. The rivers have removed a large part in the centre; thus leaving a terrace of equal height, but varying width, on each side. This narrow space between the cliffs bordering the bed of the river, and the foot of the mountains, is the only part fit for cultivation, and on it likewise the road is carried.

All the main valleys in the Cordillera are characterized by having, on both sides, a fringe or terrace of shingle and sand, rudely stratified, and generally of considerable thickness. These fringes evidently once extended across the valleys and were united; and the bottoms of the valleys in northern Chile, where there are no streams, are thus smoothly filled up. On these fringes the roads are generally carried, for their surfaces are even, and they rise, with a very gentle slope up the valleys: hence, also, they are easily cultivated by irrigation. They may be traced up to a height of between 7000 and 9000 feet, where they become hidden by the irregular piles of debris. At the lower end or mouths of the valleys, they are continuously united to those land-locked plains (also formed of shingle) at the foot of the main Cordillera, which I have described in a former chapter as characteristic of the scenery of Chile, and which were undoubtedly deposited when the sea penetrated Chile, as it now does the more southern coasts. No one fact in the geology of South America, interested me more than these terraces of rudely-stratified shingle. They precisely resemble in composition the matter which the torrents in each valley would deposit, if they were checked in their course by any cause, such as entering a lake or arm of the sea; but the torrents, instead of depositing matter, are now steadily at work wearing away both the solid rock and these alluvial deposits, along the whole line of every main valley and side valley. It is impossible here to give the reasons, but I am convinced that the shingle terraces were accumulated, during the gradual elevation of the Cordillera, by the torrents delivering, at successive levels, their detritus on the beachheads of long narrow arms of the sea, first high up the valleys, then lower and lower down as the land slowly rose. If this be so, and I cannot doubt it, the grand and broken chain of the Cordillera, instead of having been suddenly thrown up, as was till lately the universal, and still is the common opinion of geologists, has been slowly upheaved in mass, in the same gradual manner as the coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific have risen within the recent period. A multitude of facts in the structure of the Cordillera, on this view receive a simple explanation.

The rivers{, such as the Maypo)/~ which flow in these valleys should/ought rather to be called mountain-torrents. Their inclination is very great, and their water the colour of mud. The roar which the Maypo/Maypu made, as it rushed over the great rounded fragments, was like that of the sea. Amidst the din of rushing waters, the noise from the stones, as they rattled one over another, was most distinctly audible even from a distance. This rattling noise, night and day, may be heard along the whole course of the torrent. The sound spoke eloquently to the geologist; the thousands and thousands of stones, which, striking against each other, made the one dull uniform sound, were all hurrying in one direction. It was like thinking on time, where the minute that now glides past is irrevocable. So was it with these stones; the ocean is their eternity, and each note of that wild music told of one more step towards their destiny.

It is not possible for the mind to comprehend, except by a slow process, any effect which is produced by a cause repeated so often, that the multiplier itself conveys an idea, not more definite than the savage implies when he points to the hairs of his head. As often as I have seen beds of mud, sand, and shingle, accumulated to the thickness of many thousand feet, I have felt inclined to exclaim that causes, such as the present rivers and the present beaches, could never have ground down ~/{and produced} such masses. But, on the other hand, when listening to the rattling noise of these torrents, and calling to mind that whole races of animals have passed away from the {surface of the globe,}/{face of the earth, and that} during the/{this whole} period, night and day, these stones have gone rattling onwards in their course, I have thought to myself, can any mountains, any continent, withstand such waste?

In this part of the valley, the mountains on each side were from 3000 to 6000 or 8000 feet high

: their outline is rounded, but with steep and bare flanks.

, with rounded outlines and steep bare flanks.

The general colour of the rock was dullish purple, and the stratification very distinct. If the scenery was not beautiful, it is/was remarkable and grand. We met during the day several herds of cattle, which men were driving down from the higher valleys in the Cordillera. This sign of the approaching winter hurried our steps, more than was convenient for {geological purposes}/{geologizing}. The house where we slept was situated at the foot of a mountain, on the summit of which are the mines of S. Pedro de Nolasko. Sir F. Head marvels how mines have been discovered in such {situations so extraordary}/{extraordinary situations}, as the bleak summit of the mountain of S. Pedro de Nolasko. In the first place, metallic veins in this country are generally harder than the surrounding strata: hence, during the gradual degradation/wear of the hills, they project above the surface of the ground. Secondly, almost every labourer, especially in the northern parts of Chile, understands something about the appearance of ores. In the great mining provinces of Coquimbo and Copiapó, firewood is very scarce, and men {are employed in searching}/{search} for it over every hill and dale; and by this means nearly all the richest mines have there been discovered. Chanuncillo, from which silver to the value of many hundred thousand pounds has been raised in the course of a few years, was discovered by a man

having thrown a stone at his loaded donkey, afterwards thought it was very heavy, and picking it up again, he found it was full of pure silver. The vein occurred at no great distance, standing up like a wedge of metal. The miners, also, taking a crowbar with them, often set out on such discoveries.

who threw a stone at his loaded donkey, and thinking that it was very heavy, he picked it up, and found it full of pure silver. The vein occurred at no great distance, standing up like a wedge of metal. The miners, also, taking a crowbar with them, often wander on Sundays over the mountains.

In this south part of Chile, the men who drive cattle into the Cordillera, and who frequent every ravine where there is a little pasture, are the usual agents/discoverers.

20th.—As we ascended the valley, the vegetation, with the exception of a few pretty alpine flowers, became exceedingly scanty, and of {birds, animals}/{quadrupeds, birds}, or insects, scarcely one could be seen. The lofty mountains, their summits marked with a few patches of snow, stood well separated from each other, the valleys being filled up with an immense thickness of stratified alluvium.

I may here briefly remark, without detailing the reasons on which the opinion is grounded, that in all probability this matter was accumulated at the bottoms of deep arms of the sea, which running from the inland basins, penetrated to the axis of the Cordillera,—in a similar manner to what now happens in the southern part of this same great range. This fact, in itself most curious, as preserving a record of a very ancient state of things, possesses a high theoretical interest, when considered in relation to the kind of elevation by which the present great altitude of these mountains has been attained.

 

The features in the scenery of the Andes which struck me most, as contrasted with the other mountain chains with which I am acquainted, were,—the flat fringes sometimes expanding into narrow plains on each side of the valleys,—

the bright colours, chiefly red and purple, of the utterly bare and precipitous hills, the grand and continuous wall-like dykes,—the plainly-divided strata which, where nearly vertical, form the most picturesque and wild pinnacles, but where less inclined, great massive mountains; the latter occupying the outskirts of the range, and the former the more lofty and central parts,—lastly, the smooth conical piles of fine and brightly-coloured detritus, which slope at a high angle from the flanks of the mountains to their bases, some of the piles having a height of more than two thousand feet.

the bright colours, chiefly red and purple, of the utterly bare and precipitous hills of porphyry, the grand and continuous wall-like dykes,—the plainly-divided strata which, where nearly vertical, formed the picturesque and wild central pinnacles, but where less inclined, composed the great massive mountains on the outskirts of the range,—and lastly, the smooth conical piles of fine and brightly coloured detritus, which sloped up at a high angle from the base of the mountains, sometimes to a height of more than 2000 feet.

I frequently observed, both in Tierra del Fuego and within the Andes, that where the rock was covered during the greater part of the year with snow, it was shivered in a very extraordinary manner into small angular fragments. Scoresby* has observed the same fact in Spitzbergen.

* Scoresby's Arctic Regions, vol. i. p. 122.

He says, “The invariably broken state of the rocks appeared to have been the effect of frost. On calcareous rocks, some of which are not impervious to moisture, the effect is such as might have been expected; but how frost can operate in this way on quartz is not so easily understood.”

 

The {whole phenomenon}/{case} appears to me rather obscure: for that part of the mountain which is covered during many months by a mantle of snow, must be less subject to repeated and great changes of temperature than any other{, yet it is the most affected}/~. I have sometimes thought, that the earth and fragments of stone lying on the surface, were perhaps less effectually removed by means of slowly percolating snow-water* than by the agency of rain, and therefore that the appearance of a quicker decay of the solid rock may be deceptive. Whatever the cause may be, the quantity of crumbling stone on the Cordillera is very great. Occasionally in the spring, masses of such matter slide down the mountains, and cover the snow-drifts in the valleys; thus forming natural ice-houses. We rode over one, the elevation of which was far below the limit of perpetual congelation/snow.

* I have heard it remarked in Shropshire that the water, when the Severn is flooded from long-continued rain, is much more turbid than when it proceeds from the snow melting in the Welsh mountains. D'Orbigny (tom. i. p. 184), in explaining the cause of the various colours of the rivers in South America, remarks that those with blue or clear water have there source in the Cordillera, where the snow melts.

As the evening drew to a close, we reached ~/{a singular basin-like plain, called} the Valle del Yeso. It was covered by a little dry pasture, and we had the pleasant sight of a herd of cattle amidst the surrounding rocky deserts.

This is a very singular basin, which must have once been a very deep and large lake: the barrier is formed by a huge mountain of alluvium, on one side of which the river has cut a gorge. The plain is covered by a little dry pasture, and amidst the surrounding rocky deserts we had the pleasant sight of a herd of cattle.

 

The valley takes its name of Yeso from a great bed, I should think at least 2000 feet thick, of white, and in some parts quite pure, gypsum. We slept with a party of men, who were employed in loading mules with this substance, which is used in the manufacture of wine.

{March 21st}/~ We set out early in the morning ~/{(21st)}, and continued to follow the course of the river, which {by this time}/~ had become very small, till we arrived at the foot of the ridge, that separates the waters flowing into the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The road, which as yet had been good with a steady but very gradual ascent, now changed into a steep zigzag track ~/{up the great range, dividing the republics of Chile and Mendoza}.

The Cordillera in this part consists of two principal ranges; the passes across which attain respectively an elevation of 13,210 and 14,365 feet.* The first great line (consisting of course of many subordinate ones) is called Peuquenes. It divides the waters, and therefore likewise the republics of Chile and Mendoza. To the eastward, a mountainous and elevated region separates it from the second range (called the Portillo) overlooking the Pampas. The streams from the intermediate tract find a passage a little way to the southward through this second line.

* Measurements made by Dr. Gillies; Edinburgh Journal of Nat. and Geograph. Science, August, 1830.

 

I will here give a very brief sketch of the geological structure of these mountains: first, of the Peuquenes, or western line; for the constitution of the two ranges is totally different. The lowest stratified rock is a dull red or purple claystone porphyry, of many varieties, alternating with conglomerates, and breccia composed of a similar substance: this formation attains a thickness of more than a mile. Above it there is a grand mass of gypsum, which alternates, passes into, and is replaced by, red sandstone, conglomerates, and black calcareous clay-slate. I hardly dare venture to guess the thickness of this second division; but I have already said some of the beds of gypsum alone attain a thickness of at least two thousand feet. Even at the very crest of the Peuquenes, at the height of 13,210 feet, and above it, the black clay-slate contained numerous marine remains, amongst which a gryphæa is the most abundant, likewise shells, resembling turritellæ, terebratulæ, and an ammonite. It is an old story, but not the less wonderful, to hear of shells, which formerly were crawling about at the bottom of the sea, being now elevated nearly fourteen thousand feet above its level. The formation probably is of the age of the central parts of the secondary series of Europe.

These great piles of strata have been penetrated, upheaved, and overturned, in the most extraordinary manner, by masses of injected rock, equalling mountains in size. On the bare sides of the hills, complicated dikes, and wedges of variously-coloured porphyries and other stones, are seen traversing the strata in every possible form and direction; proving also by their intersections, successive periods of violence. The rock which composes the axis of these great lines of dislocation, at a distance very closely resembles granite, but on examination, it is found rarely to contain any quartz; and instead of ordinary felspar, albite. The metamorphic action has been very great, as might have been expected from the close proximity of such grand masses of rock, which were injected when in a liquefied state from heat. When it is known, first, that the stratified porphyries have flowed as streams of submarine lava under an enormous pressure, and that the mechanical beds separating them owe their origin to explosions from the same submarine craters; secondly, that the whole mass in the lower part has generally been so completely fused into one solid rock by metamorphic action, that the lines of division can only be traced with much difficulty; and thirdly, that masses of porphyry, undistinguishable by their mineralogical characters from the two first kinds, have been subsequently injected;—the extreme complication of the whole will readily be believed.

We now come to the second range, which is of even greater altitude than the first. Its nucleus in the section seen in crossing the Portillo pass, consists of magnificent pinnacles of coarsely-crystallized red granite. On the eastern flank, a few patches of mica slate still adhere to the unstratified mass; and at the foot a stream of basaltic lava has burst forth at some remote period,—perhaps when the sea covered the wide surface of the Pampas. On the western side of the axis, between the two ranges, laminated fine sandstone has been penetrated by immense granitic dikes proceeding from the central mass, and has thus been converted into granular quartz rock. The sandstone is covered by other sedimentary deposits, and these again by a coarse conglomerate, the vast thickness of which I will not attempt even to estimate. All these coarse mechanical beds dip from the red granite directly towards the Peuquenes range, as if they passed beneath it; though such is not the case. On examining the pebbles composing this conglomerate (which, to my surprise, betrayed no signs of metamorphic action), I was astonished to find perfectly rounded masses of the black calcareous clay-slate with organic remains,—the same rock which I had just crossed in situ on the Peuquenes. These phenomena compel us to arrive at the following conclusion :—that the Peuquenes existed as dry land for a long period anterior to the formation of the second range, and that, during this period, immense quantities of shingle were accumulated at its submarine flank. The action of a disturbing force then commenced: these more modern deposits were injected by dikes, altered by heat, and tilted towards the line whence, in the form of sediment and pebbles, they had originally proceeded,—thus making the offspring at first appear older than its parent. This second, grand, and subsequent line of elevation is parallel to the first and more ancient one.

I will here give a very brief sketch of the geology of the several parallel lines forming the Cordillera. Of these lines, there are two considerably higher than the others; namely, on the Chilian side, the Peuquenes ridge, which, where the road crosses it, is 13,210 feet above the sea; and the Portillo ridge, on the Mendoza side, which is 14,305 feet. The lower beds of the Peuquenes ridge, and of the several great lines to the westward of it, are composed of a vast pile, many thousand feet in thickness, of porphyries which have flowed as submarine lavas, alternating with angular and rounded fragments of the same rocks, thrown out of the submarine craters. These alternating masses are covered in the central parts, by a great thickness of red sandstone, conglomerate, and calcareous clay-slate, associated with, and passing into, prodigious beds of gypsum. In these upper beds shells are tolerably frequent; and they belong to about the period of the lower chalk of Europe. It is an old story, but not the less wonderful, to hear of shells which were once crawling on the bottom of the sea, now standing nearly 14,000 feet above its level. The lower beds in this great pile of strata, have been dislocated, baked, crystallized and almost blended together, through the agency of mountain masses of a peculiar white soda-granitic rock.

The other main line, namely, that of the Portillo, is of a totally different formation: it consists chiefly of grand bare pinnacles of a red potash-granite, which low down on the western flank are covered by a sandstone, converted by the former heat into a quartz-rock. On the quartz, there rest beds of a conglomerate several thousand feet in thickness, which have been upheaved by the red granite, and dip at an angle of 45° towards the Peuquenes line. I was astonished to find that this conglomerate was partly composed of pebbles, derived from the rocks, with their fossil shells, of the Peuquenes range; and partly of red potash-granite, like that of the Portillo. Hence we must conclude, that both the Peuquenes and Portillo ranges were partially upheaved and exposed to wear and tear, when the conglomerate was forming; but as the beds of the conglomerate have been thrown off at an angle of 45° by the red Portillo granite (with the underlying sandstone baked by it), we may feel sure, that the greater part of the injection and upheaval of the already partially formed Portillo line, took place after the accumulation of the conglomerate, and long after the elevation of the Peuquenes ridge. So that the Portillo, the loftiest line in this part of the Cordillera, is not so old as the less lofty line of the Peuquenes. Evidence derived from an inclined stream of lava at the eastern base of the Portillo, might be adduced to show, that it owes part of its great height to elevations of a still later date. Looking to its earliest origin, the red granite seems to have been injected on an ancient pre-existing line of white granite and mica-slate. In most parts, perhaps in all parts, of the Cordillera, it may be concluded that each line has been formed by repeated upheavals and injections; and that the several parallel lines are of different ages. Only thus can we gain time, at all sufficient to explain the truly astonishing amount of denudation, which these great, though comparatively with most other ranges recent, mountains have suffered.

Finally, the shells in the Peuquenes or oldest ridge, prove, as before remarked, that it has been upraised 14,000 feet since a Secondary period, which in Europe we are accustomed to consider as far from ancient; but since these shells lived in a moderately deep sea, it can be shown that the area now occupied by the Cordillera, must have subsided several thousand feet—in northern Chile as much as 6000 feet—so as to have allowed that amount of submarine strata to have been heaped on the bed on which the shells lived. The proof is the same with that by which it was shown, that at a much later period, since the tertiary shells of Patagonia lived, there must have been there a subsidence of several hundred feet, as well as an ensuing elevation. Daily it is forced home on the mind of the geologist, that nothing, not even the wind that blows, is so unstable as the level of the crust of this earth.

I will only make one other geological observation: the Portillo chain in the neighbourhood of the pass is rather more elevated than the Peuquenes, yet the waters of the intermediate district have burst a passage through it.

I will make only one other geological remark: although the Portillo chain is here higher than the Peuquenes, the waters draining the intermediate valleys, have burst through it. The same fact, on a grander scale, has been remarked in the eastern and loftiest line of the Bolivian Cordillera, through which the rivers pass: analogous facts have also been observed in other quarters of the world.

On the supposition of a/the subsequent and gradual elevation of the second/Portillo line, this can be understood; for a chain of islets would at first appear, and, as these were lifted up, the tides would be always {working out}/{wearing] deeper and broader channels between them. At the present day, even in the most retired Sounds on the {southern coast}/{coast of Tierra del Fuego}, the currents in the transverse breaks which connect the longitudinal channels, are very strong, so that in one transverse channel even a small vessel under sail was whirled round and round.

Mr. Pentland,* when describing an hydrographical phenomenon of a nearly similar kind, but on an infinitely grander scale, which occurs in Bolivia, says, “This very curious fact, of rivers escaping through such an immense mountain-mass as the Bolivian Cordillera, is perhaps one of the most important points connected with the physical geography of this portion of the Andes, and deserves to be noticed at greater length.” It would be extremely rash to affirm that the eastern chain in Bolivia, like that of central Chile, must be of subsequent origin to the western one, or that nearer to the Pacific : but excepting through the explanation above offered, the circumstance that rivers flowing from a less elevated chain, should penetrate one far more lofty, appears to me quite inexplicable.

* Journal of the Royal Geograph. Society for 1835.

 

About noon we began the tedious ascent of the Peuquenes ~/ridge, and then for the first time experienced some little difficulty in our respiration. The mules would halt every fifty yards, and {then the poor willing animals after a few seconds}/{after resting for a few seconds the poor willing animals} started of their own accord again. The short breathing from the rarefied atmosphere is called by the Chilenos “puna:“ and they have most ridiculous notions concerning its origin. Some say “all the waters here have puna:” others that “where there is snow there is puna:“—and this no doubt is true.

It is considered a kind of disease, and I was shown the crosses over the graves of some who had died “punado.” Excepting perhaps in the case of a person suffering from some organic disease of the heart or chest, I should think this must be an erroneous conclusion. A person near death, would probably at this elevation experience a more unusual difficulty in breathing than others; and hence the effect might be assumed as the cause.

 

The only sensation I felt/experienced was a slight tightness across the head and chest{; a feeling which may be experienced by}/{, like that felt on} leaving a warm room and running {violently on a frosty day}/{quickly in frosty weather}. There was {much fancy}/{some imagination} even in this; for upon finding fossil shells on the highest ridge, I entirely forgot the puna in my delight. Certainly the exertion of walking was extreme/{extremely great}, and the respiration became deep and laborious.

It is incomprehensible to me, how Humboldt and others were able to ascend to the elevation of 19,000 feet. No doubt a residence of some months in the lofty region of Quito would prepare the constitution for such an exertion; yet I am told

I am told

that in Potosi (about 13,000 feet above the sea) strangers do not become thoroughly accustomed to the atmosphere for an entire year. The inhabitants all recommend onions for the puna; as this vegetable has sometimes been given in Europe for pectoral complaints, it may possibly be of real service:—for my part I found nothing so good as the fossil shells!

When about half-way up we met a large party with seventy loaded mules. It was interesting to hear the wild cries of the muleteers, and to watch the long {string descending}/{descending string of the animals}; they appeared so diminutive, there being nothing but the bleak mountains with which they could be compared. When near the summit, the wind, as generally happens, was impetuous and extremely cold. On each side of the ridge, we had to pass over broad bands of ~/perpetual snow, which {perpetually lie there and}/~ were now soon to be covered by a fresh layer. When we reached the crest and looked backwards, a glorious view was presented. The atmosphere resplendently clear; the sky an intense blue; the profound valleys; the wild broken forms: the heaps of ruins, piled up during the lapse of ages; the bright-coloured rocks, contrasted with the quiet mountains of snow, all these together produced a scene {I never could have figured to my imagination}/{no one could have imagined}. Neither plant nor bird, excepting a few condors wheeling around the higher pinnacles, distracted the/my attention from the inanimate mass. I felt glad that I was alone: it was like watching a thunderstorm, or hearing {a chorus of the Messiah in full orchestra}/{in full orchestra a chorus of the Messiah}.§

§ Actual title is Messiah, not The Messiah.

On several patches of perpetual/the snow I found the Protococcus nivalis, or red snow, so well known from the accounts of Arctic navigators. My attention was called to {the circumstance}/it, by observing the footsteps of the mules stained a pale red, as if their hoofs had been slightly bloody. I at first thought that it was owing to dust blown from the surrounding mountains of red porphyry; for from the magnifying power of the crystals of snow, the groups of these microscopical plants appeared like coarse particles. The snow was coloured only where it had thawed very rapidly, or had been accidentally crushed. A little rubbed on paper {communicated}/{gave it} a faint rose tinge mingled with a little brick-red.

I placed some of the snow between the leaves of my pocket-book, and a month afterwards examined with care the pale discoloured patches on the paper. The specimens, when scraped off, were of a spherical form, with a diameter of the thousandth of an inch. The central part consists of a blood-red substance, surrounded by a colourless bark. When living on the snow they are collected in groups, many lying close together; I overlooked, however, the thin couch of gelatinous matter on which they are said to rest.* The dried specimens placed in any fluid, as water, spirits of wine, or dilated sulphuric acid, were acted on in two different ways: sometimes an expansion was caused, at others a contraction. The central part after immersion invariably appeared as a drop of red oily fluid, containing a few most minute granules; and these probably are the germs of new individuals.

* Greville's Scottish Cryptogam. Flora, vol. iv., p. 231.

I afterwards scraped some off the paper, and found that it consisted of groups of little spheres in colourless cases, each of the thousandth part of an inch in diameter.

As I before remarked, the wind on the crest of the Peuquenes is generally impetuous and very cold. It is said to blow steadily from the westward or Pacific side: a circumstance which is likewise mentioned by Dr. Gillies.* As these observations apply chiefly to the summer season (when the passes are frequented), we must consider this wind, as an upper and return current.

The wind on the crest of the Peuquenes, as just remarked, is generally impetuous and very cold: it is said* to blow steadily from the westward or Pacific side. As the observations have been chiefly made in summer, this wind must be an upper and return current.

* Journal of Natural and Geographical Science, August, 1830.

* Dr. Gillies in Journ. of Nat. and Geograph. Science, Aug., 1830. This author gives the heights of the Passes.

The Peak of Teneriffe, with a less elevation, and situated in lat. 28°, in like manner falls within the/{an upper} return stream. At first it appears rather surprising, that the trade-wind along the northern parts of Chile and on the coast of Peru, should blow in so very southerly a direction as it does; but when we reflect that the Cordillera, running in a north and south line, intercepts, like a great wall, the entire depth of the lower atmospheric current, we can easily see that the trade-wind must be drawn northward, following the line of mountains, towards the equatorial regions, and thus lose part of that easterly movement which it otherwise would have gained from the {rotation of the world}/{earth's rotation}. At Mendoza, on the eastern foot of the Andes, the climate is said to be subject to long calms, and to frequent though false appearances of gathering rain-storms: we may imagine that the wind, which coming from the eastward is thus banked up by the line of mountains, would become stagnant and irregular in its movements.

Having crossed the Peuquenes, we descended into a mountainous country, intermediate between the two main ranges, and then took up our quarters for the night. We were now in the republic of Mendoza. The elevation was probably not under 11,000 feet, and the vegetation in consequence exceedingly scanty. The root of a small scrubby plant served as fuel, but it made a miserable fire, and the wind was piercingly cold. Being quite tired with my days work, I made up my bed as quickly as I could, and went to sleep. About midnight I observed the sky became suddenly clouded: I awakened the arriero to know if there was any danger of bad weather; but he said that without thunder and lightning there was no risk of a heavy snow-storm. The peril is imminent, and the difficulty of subsequent escape great, to any one overtaken by bad weather between the two Cordillera/ranges. A certain cave offers the only place of refuge: Mr. Caldcleugh, who crossed on this same day of the month, was detained there for some time by a heavy fall of snow {, as is related in his travels}/~. Casuchas, or houses of refuge, have not been built in this pass as in that of Uspallata, and, therefore, during the autumn, the Portillo is little frequented. I may here remark that within the main Cordillera rain never falls, for during the summer the sky is cloudless, and in winter snow-storms alone occur.

At the place where we slept water necessarily boiled, from the diminished pressure of the atmosphere, at a much/~ lower temperature than it does in a less elevated/lofty country; the case being the converse of that of a Papin's digester. {In consequence of this}/{Hence} the potatoes, after remaining for some hours in the boiling water, were nearly as hard as ever. The pot was left on the fire all night, and next morning it was boiled again, but yet the potatoes were not cooked. I found out this, by overhearing my two companions discussing the cause, they had come to the simple conclusion, “that the cursed pot (which was a new one) did not choose to boil potatoes.”

March 22nd.—After eating our potatoless breakfast, we travelled across the intermediate tract to the foot of the Portillo range. In the middle of summer cattle are brought up here to graze; but they had now all been removed: even the greater number of the Guanacos had decamped, knowing well that if overtaken here by a snow-storm, they would be caught in a trap.

From one peak my arriero said he had once seen smoke proceeding; and I thought I could distinguish the form of a large crater. In the maps Tupungato figures as a single mountain; this Chileno method of giving one name to a tract of mountains is a fruitful source of error. In the region of snow there was a blue patch, which no doubt was a glacier;—a phenomenon that has been said not to occur in these mountains.

We had a fine view of a mass of mountains called Tupungato, the whole clothed with unbroken snow, in the midst of which there was a blue patch, no doubt a glacier;—a circumstance of rare occurrence in these mountains.

Now commenced a heavy and long climb, similar to that up the Peuquenes. Bold conical hills of red granite rose on each hand; and in the valley there were several broad fields of perpetual snow. These frozen masses, during the process of thawing, had in some parts assumed the form of pinnacles or columns, which, as they were high and close together, caused some difficulty on account of the cargo mules. This structure in frozen snow was long since observed by Scoresby in the icebergs near Spitzbergen, and lately, with more care, by Colonel Jackson* on the Neva. On one of these columns of ice a frozen horse was exposed, sticking as on a pedestal, but with its hind legs straight up in the air. To account for its strange position, we must suppose that the animal fell with its head downward into a hole, when the stratum was continuous, and that afterwards the surrounding parts were removed by the thaw.

* Journal of Geograph. Soc., vol. v., p. 12. Mr. Lyell (vol. iv., p. 360) has compared the fissures, by which the columnar structure seems to be determined, to the joints that traverse nearly all rocks, but which are best seen in the non-stratified masses. I may observe, in the case of the frozen snow, the columnar structure must be owing to a “metamorphic” action and not to a process during deposition.

Now commenced a heavy and long climb, similar to that of the Peuquenes. Bold conical hills of red granite rose on each hand; in the valleys there were several broad fields of perpetual snow. These frozen masses, during the process of thawing, had in some parts been converted into pinnacles or columns,* which, as they were high and close together, made it difficult for the cargo mules to pass. On one of these columns of ice, a frozen horse was sticking as on a pedestal, but with its hind legs straight up in the air. The animal, I suppose, must have fallen with its head downward into a hole, when the snow was continuous, and afterwards the surrounding parts must have been removed by the thaw.

* This structure in frozen snow was long since observed by Scoresby in the icebergs near Spitzbergen, and, lately, with more care, by Colonel Jackson (Journ. of Geograph. Soc., vol. v. p. 12) on the Neva. Mr. Lyell (Principles, vol. iv. p. 360) has compared the fissures by which the columnar structure seems to be determined, to the joints that traverse nearly all rocks, but which are best seen in the non-stratified masses. I may observe, that in the case of the frozen snow, the columnar structure must be owing to a “metamorphic” action, and not to a process during deposition.

When nearly on the crest of the Portillo, we were enveloped in a {cloud which was falling, under the form}/{falling cloud} of minute frozen spicula. This was very unfortunate, as it continued the whole day, and quite intercepted our view. The pass takes its name of Portillo, from a narrow cleft or doorway on the highest ridge, through which the road passes. From this point, on a clear day, those vast plains which {extend from the base of the mountains toward the Atlantic}/{uninterruptedly extend to the Atlantic Ocean} can be seen. We descended to the upper limit of vegetation, and found good quarters for the night under the shelter of some large fragments of rock. We {here met}/{met here} some passengers, who made anxious inquiries about the state of the road. Shortly after it was dark the clouds suddenly cleared away, and the effect was quite magical. The great mountains, bright with the full moon, seemed impending over us on all sides, as {if we had been buried at the bottom of some}/{over a} deep crevice: one morning also/~, very early, I witnessed the same striking effect. As soon as the clouds were dispersed it froze severely; but as there was no wind, we slept very comfortably.

The increased brilliancy of the moon and stars at this elevation, owing to the perfect transparency of the atmosphere, was very remarkable. Travelers having observed the difficulty of judging heights and distances amidst lofty mountains, have generally attributed it to the absence of objects of comparison. It appears to me, that it is fully as much owing to the transparency of the air confounding ~/{objects at} different distances, and {partly likewise}/{likewise partly} to the novelty of an unusual degree of fatigue arising from a little exertion,—habit being thus opposed to the evidence of the senses. I am sure that this extreme clearness of the air gives a peculiar character to the landscape, all objects appearing to be brought nearly into one plane, as in a drawing or panorama. The transparency is, I presume, owing to the equable and {nearly perfect}/{high} state of atmospheric dryness. {The latter quality}/{This dryness} was shown by the manner in which woodwork shrunk/shrank (as I soon found by the trouble my geological hammer gave me); by articles of food, such as bread and sugar, becoming extremely hard; and by the preservation of the skin and parts of the flesh of the beasts, which perish/{had perished} on the road. To the same cause we must attribute the singular facility with which electricity is excited. My flannel waistcoat, when rubbed in the dark, appeared as if it had been washed with phosphorus,—every hair on a dog's back crackled;—even the linen sheets, and leathern straps of the saddle, when handled, emitted sparks.

March 23rd.—The descent on the eastern side of the Cordillera is much shorter or steeper than on the Pacific side; in other words, the mountains rise more abruptly from the plains than from the alpine country of Chile. A level and brilliantly white sea of clouds was stretched out beneath our feet, {and thus shut}/{shutting} out the view of the equally level Pampas. We soon entered the band of clouds, and did not again emerge from it that day. About noon, finding pasture for the animals and bushes for firewood {in the part of the valley called}/{at} Los Arenales, we stopped for the night. This was near the uppermost limit of bushes, and the elevation, I suppose, was between seven and eight thousand feet.

I was very/~ much struck with the marked difference between the vegetation of these eastern valleys and those on the Chilian side: yet the climate, as well as the kind of soil, is nearly the same, and the difference of longitude very trifling. The same remark holds good with the quadrupeds, and in a lesser degree with the birds and insects.

 

I may instance the mice, of which I obtained thirteen species on the shores of the Atlantic, and five on the Pacific, and not one of them is identical.

We must except certain species, which habitually or occasionally frequent elevated mountains; and certain birds, which have a range as far south as the Strait of Magellan. This fact is in perfect accordance with the geological history of the Andes; for these mountains have existed as a great barrier since a period so remote that whole races of animals must subsequently have perished from the face of the earth. Therefore, unless we suppose the same species to have been created in two different countries, we ought not to expect any closer similarity between the organic beings on opposite sides of the Andes, than on shores separated by a broad strait of the sea.

We must except all those species, which habitually or occasionally frequent elevated mountains; and certain birds, which range as far south as the Strait of Magellan. This fact is in perfect accordance with the geological history of the Andes; for these mountains have existed as a great barrier since the present races of animals have appeared; and therefore, unless we suppose the same species to have been created in two different places, we ought not to expect any closer similarity between the organic beings on the opposite sides of the Andes than on the opposite shores of the ocean.

In both cases, we must leave out of the question those kinds which have been able to cross the barrier, whether of {salt water or solid rock}/{solid rock or salt-water}.*

* This is merely an illustration of the admirable laws, first laid down by Mr. Lyell, on the geographical distribution of animals, as influenced by geological changes. The whole reasoning, of course, is founded on the assumption of the immutability of species; otherwise the difference in the species in the two regions might be considered as superinduced during a length of time.

A great number of the plants and animals were absolutely the same as, or most closely allied with/{to,} those of Patagonia. We here have the agouti, bizcacha, three species of armadillo, the ostrich, certain kinds of partridges and other birds, none of which are ever seen in Chile, but are the characteristic animals of the desert plains of Patagonia. We have likewise many of the same (to the eyes of a person who is not a botanist) thorny stunted bushes, withered grass, and dwarf plants. Even the black slowly crawling beetles are closely similar, and some, I believe, on rigorous examination, absolutely identical. It had always been {a subject of regret to me}/{to me a subject of regret}, that we were unavoidably compelled to give up the ascent of the S. Cruz river before reaching the mountains: I always had a latent hope of meeting with some great change in the features of the country; but I now feel sure, that it would only have been following the plains of Patagonia up a mountainous ascent.

March 24th.—Early in the morning I climbed up a mountain on one side of the valley, and enjoyed a far extended view over the Pampas. This was a spectacle to which I had always looked forward with interest, but I was disappointed: at the first glance it much resembled a distant view of the ocean, but in the northern parts many irregularities were soon distinguishable. The most striking feature consisted in the rivers, which, facing the rising sun, glittered like silver threads, till lost in the immensity of the distance. At midday we descended the valley, and reached a hovel, where an officer and three soldiers were posted to examine passports. One of these men was a thoroughbred Pampas Indian: he was kept much for the same purpose as a bloodhound, to track out any person who might pass by secretly, either on foot or horseback. Some years ago, a passenger endeavoured to escape detection, by making a long circuit over a neighbouring mountain; but this Indian, having by chance crossed his track, followed it for the whole day over dry and very stony hills, till at last he came on his prey hidden in a gully. We here heard that the silvery clouds, which we had admired from the bright region above, had poured down torrents of rain. The valley from this point gradually opened, and the hills became mere water-worn hillocks compared to the giants behind: it then expanded into a gently sloping plain of shingle, covered with low trees and bushes. This talus, although {it looked of little breadth}/{appearing narrow}, must be nearly ten miles wide before it blends into the apparently dead level Pampas. We {had already}/~ passed the only house in this neighbourhood, the Estancia of Chaquaio: and at sunset we pulled up in the first snug corner, and there bivouacked.

March 25th.—I was reminded of the Pampas of Buenos Ayres, by seeing the disk of the rising sun, intersected by an horizon level as that of the ocean. During the night a heavy dew {had fallen}/fell, a fact/circumstance which we did not experience within the Cordillera. The road proceeded for some distance due east across a low swamp; then meeting the dry plain, it turned to the north towards Mendoza. The distance is two very long days' journey. Our first day's journey was called fourteen leagues to Estacado, and the second seventeen to Luxan, near Mendoza. The whole distance is over a level desert plain, with not more than two or three houses. The sun was exceedingly powerful, and the ride devoid of all interest. There is very little water in this “traversia” and in our second day's journey we found only one little pool.

The water flowing from the mountains is small in quantity and soon becomes absorbed by the dry and porous soil; so that, although we travelled at the distance of only ten or fifteen miles from the outer range, we did not cross a single stream. In many parts the ground was incrusted with a saline efflorescence; hence we had the same salt-loving plants, common near Bahia Blanca. The landscape has one character from the Strait of Magellan along the whole eastern coast of Patagonia to the Rio Colorado; and it appears that the same kind of country extends northerly in a sweeping line as far as San Luis, and perhaps even further. To the eastward of this line, lies the basin of the comparatively damp and green plains of Buenos Ayres. The former country, including the sterile traversia of Mendoza and Patagonia, consists of a bed of shingle, worn smooth, and accumulated by the waves of a former sea; while the formation of the Pampas (plains covered by thistles, clover, and grass) is due to the estuary mud of the Plata, deposited under a different condition of circumstances.

Little water flows from the mountains, and it soon becomes absorbed by the dry and porous soil; so that, although we travelled at the distance of only ten or fifteen miles from the outer range of the Cordillera, we did not cross a single stream. In many parts the ground was incrusted with a saline efflorescence; hence we had the same salt-loving plants which are common near Bahia Blanca. The landscape has a uniform character from the Strait of Magellan, along the whole eastern coast of Patagonia, to the Rio Colorado; and it appears that the same kind of country extends inland from this river, in a sweeping line as far as San Luis and perhaps even further north. To the eastward of this curved line lies the basin of the comparatively damp and green plains of Buenos Ayres. The sterile plains of Mendoza and Patagonia consist of a bed of shingle, worn smooth and accumulated by the waves of the sea while the Pampas, covered by thistles, clover, and grass, have been formed by the ancient estuary mud of the Plata.

After our two days' tedious journey, it was refreshing to see in the distance the rows of poplars and willows growing around the village and river of Luxan. Shortly before we arrived at this place, we observed to the southward a ragged cloud of a dark reddish-brown colour.

For some time, we had no doubt but that it was thick smoke proceeding from some great fire on the plains. Soon afterwards we found it was a pest of locusts.* The insects overtook us, as they were travelling northward, by the aid of a light breeze, at the rate, I should suppose, of ten or fifteen miles an hour. The main body filled the air from a height of twenty feet, to that, as it appeared, of two or three thousand above the ground. The noise of their approach was that of a strong breeze† passing through the rigging of a ship. The sky seen through the advanced guard appeared like a mezzotinto engraving, but the main body was impervious to sight; they were not, however, so thick, but that they could escape from a stick moved backward and forward. When they alighted they were more numerous than the leaves in a field, and changed the green into a reddish colour: the swarm having once alighted, the individuals flew from side to side in any direction. The locusts are not an uncommon pest in this country: already during the season, several smaller swarms had come up from the sterile plains‡ of the south; and many trees had been entirely stripped of their leaves. Of course this swarm cannot even be compared to those of the eastern world, yet it was sufficient to make the well-known descriptions of their ravages more intelligible. I have omitted, perhaps, the most striking part of the scene,—the vain attempts of the poor cottagers to turn the stream aside. Many lighted fires and with the smoke, with shouts and waving of branches, they endeavoured to avert the attack.

* The species is identical with, or resembles most closely, the famous Gryllus migratorius of eastern countries.

† “And the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.”—Revelat. ix. 9.

‡ Swarms of locusts sometimes overrun the more central plains of this continent. In these cases, and likewise as it appears in all parts of the world, the locusts are bred in desert plains, and thence migrate towards a more fertile country.

At first we thought that it was smoke from some great fire on the plains; but we soon found that it was a swarm of locusts. They were flying northward; and with the aid of a light breeze, they overtook us at a rate of ten or fifteen miles an hour. The main body filled the air from a height of twenty feet, to that, as it appeared, of two or three thousand above the ground; “and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle:” or rather, I should say, like a strong breeze passing through the rigging of a ship. The sky, seen through the advanced guard, appeared like a mezzotinto engraving, but the main body was impervious to sight; they were not, however, so thick together, but that they could escape a stick waved backwards and forwards. When they alighted, they were more numerous than the leaves in the field, and the surface became reddish instead of being green: the swarm having once alighted, the individuals flew from side to side in all directions. Locusts are not an uncommon pest in this country: already during the season, several smaller swarms had come up from the south, where, as apparently in all other parts of the world, they are bred in the deserts. The poor cottagers in vain attempted by lighting fires, by shouts, and by waving branches to avert the attack. This species of locust closely resembles, and perhaps is identical with, the famous Gryllus migratorius of the East.

We crossed the Luxan, which is a river of considerable size, though its course towards the sea-coast is very imperfectly known: it is even doubtful whether, in passing over the plains, it is {evaporated, or whether it forms a tributary of the Sauce or Colorado}/{not evaporated and lost}. We slept in the village ~/{of Luxan}, which is a small place surrounded by gardens, and forms the most southern {part, that is cultivated, of}/{cultivated district in} the Province of Mendoza; it is five leagues south of the capital. At night I experienced an attack (for it deserves no less a name) of the Benchuca, a species of Reduvius, the great black bug of the Pampas. It is most disgusting to feel soft wingless insects, about an inch long, crawling over one's body. Before sucking they are quite thin, but afterwards they become round and bloated with blood, and in this state are easily crushed.

They are also found in the northern parts of Chile and in Peru.

One which I caught at Iquique, (for they are found in Chile and Peru,) was very empty.

When placed on a table, and though surrounded by people, if a finger was presented, the bold insect would immediately protrude its sucker, make a charge, and if allowed, draw blood. No pain was caused by the wound. It was curious to watch its body during the act of sucking, as {it changed}/~ in less than ten minutes ~/{it changed} from being as flat as a wafer to a globular form. This one feast, for which the benchuca was indebted to one of the officers, kept it fat during four whole months; but, after the first fortnight, {the insect}/it was quite ready to have another suck.

March 27th.—We rode on to Mendoza. The country was beautifully cultivated, and resembled Chile. This neighbourhood is celebrated for its fruit; and certainly nothing could appear more flourishing than the vineyards and the orchards of figs, peaches, and olives. We bought water-melons nearly twice as large as a man's head, most deliciously cool and well-flavoured, for a halfpenny apiece; and for the value of threepence, half a wheelbarrowful of peaches. The cultivated and enclosed part of this province is very small; there is little more than that which we passed through between Luxan and the capital. The land, as in Chile, entirely/~ owes its fertility entirely to artificial irrigation; and it is really wonderful to observe how extraordinarily productive a barren traversia is {rendered by this simple process}/{thus rendered}.

We stayed the ensuing day in Mendoza. The prosperity of the place has much declined of late years. The inhabitants say “it is good to live in, but very bad to grow rich in.” The lower orders have the lounging, reckless manners of the Gauchos of the Pampas; and their dress, riding-gear, and habits of life, are nearly the same. To my mind the town had a stupid, forlorn aspect. Neither the boasted alameda, nor the scenery, is at all comparable to/with that of Santiago;

but to those who have just crossed the unvaried savannahs of grass, on their road from Buenos Ayres, the gardens and orchards must appear delightful.

but to those who, coming from Buenos Ayres, have just crossed the unvaried Pampas, the gardens and orchards must appear delightful.

{Captain}/{Sir F.} Head, speaking of the inhabitants, says, “They eat their dinners, and it is so very hot, they go to sleep—and could they do better?” I quite agree with {Captain}/{Sir F.} Head: the happy doom of the Mendozinos is to eat, sleep and be idle.

March 29th.—We set out on our return to Chile, by the Uspallata pass {to the northward}/{situated north} of Mendoza. We had to cross a long and most sterile traversia of fifteen leagues. The soil in parts was absolutely bare, in others covered by numberless dwarf cacti, armed with formidable spines, and called by the inhabitants “little lions.” There were, also, a few low bushes. Although the plain is nearly three thousand feet above the sea, the sun was very powerful; and the heat as well as the clouds of impalpable dust, rendered the travelling extremely irksome. Our course during the day lay nearly parallel to the mountains/Cordillera, but gradually approaching them. Before sunset we entered one of the wide valleys, or rather bays, which open on the plain: this soon narrowed into a ravine, where a little higher up the house of Villa Vicencio was/is situated. As we had ridden all day without a drop of water, both {ourselves and our animals}/{our mules and selves} were very thirsty, and we looked out anxiously for the stream which flows down this valley. It was curious to observe how gradually the water made its appearance: on the plain the course was quite dry; by degrees it became a little damper; then puddles of water {were formed}/{appeared}; these soon became connected; and at Villa Vicencio there was a nice little rivulet.

30th.—The solitary hovel which bears the imposing name of Villa Vicencio, has been mentioned by every traveller who has crossed the Andes. I stayed here and at some neighbouring mines during the two succeeding days. The geology of the surrounding country is very curious. The Uspallata range is separated from the main Cordillera by a long narrow plain or basin, like those so often mentioned in Chile, but {with an altitude of about six thousand feet}/{higher, being six thousand feet above the sea}.

The range consists of various kinds of submarine lava, alternating with volcanic sandstones and other remarkable sedimentary deposits; the whole having a very close resemblance to some of the newer horizontal beds on the shores of the Pacific.

This range has nearly the same geographical position with respect to the Cordillera, which the gigantic Portillo line has, but it is of a totally different origin: it consists of various kinds of submarine lava, alternating with volcanic sandstones and other remarkable sedimentary deposits; the whole having a very close resemblance to some of the tertiary beds on the shores of the Pacific.

From this resemblance I expected to find silicified wood, which is generally characteristic of those formations. I was gratified in a very extraordinary manner. In the central part of the range, at an elevation of about seven thousand feet, {on a bare slope I observed}/{I observed on a bare slope} some snow-white projecting columns. These were petrified trees, eleven being silicified, and from thirty to forty converted into coarsely-crystallized white calcareous spar. They were abruptly broken off, the upright stumps projecting a few feet above the ground. The trunks measured from three to five feet each in circumference. They stood a little way apart from each other, but the whole formed one distinct/~ group. Mr. Robert Brown has been kind enough to examine the wood:

he says it is coniferous, and that it partakes of the character of the Araucarian tribe (to which the common South Chilian pine belongs), but with some curious points of affinity with the yew.

he says it belongs to the fir tribe, partaking of the character of the Araucarian family, but with some curious points of affinity with the yew.

The volcanic sandstone in which the trees were embedded, and from the lower part of which they must have sprung, had accumulated in successive thin layers around their trunks; and the stone yet retained the impression of the bark.

It required little geological practice to interpret the marvellous story which this scene at once unfolded; though I confess I was at first so much astonished that I could scarcely believe the plainest evidence {of it}/~. I saw the spot where a cluster of fine trees had/~ once waved their branches on the shores of the Atlantic, when that ocean (now driven back 700 miles) came to the base/foot of the Andes. I saw that they had sprung from a volcanic soil which had been raised above the level of the sea, and that ~/subsequently this dry land, with its upright trees, had been let down to/into the depths of the ocean.

There it was covered by sedimentary matter, and this again by enormous streams of submarine lava—one such mass alone attaining the thickness of a thousand feet; and these deluges of melted stone and aqueous deposits had been five times spread out alternately. The ocean which received such masses must have been deep; but again the subterranean forces exerted their power, and I now beheld the bed of that sea forming a chain of mountains more than seven thousand feet in altitude. Nor had those antagonist forces been dormant, which are always at work to wear down the surface of the land to one level: the great piles of strata had been intersected by many wide valleys; and the trees now changed into silex were exposed projecting from the volcanic soil now changed into rock, whence formerly in a green and budding state they had raised their lofty heads. Now, all is utterly irreclaimable and desert; even the lichen cannot adhere to the stony casts of former trees. Vast, and scarcely comprehensible as such changes must ever appear, yet they have all occurred within a period recent when compared with the history of the Cordillera; and that Cordillera itself is modern as compared with some other of the fossiliferous strata of South America.

In these depths, the formerly dry land was covered by sedimentary beds, and these again by enormous streams of submarine lava—one such mass attaining the thickness of a thousand feet; and these deluges of molten stone and aqueous deposits five times alternately had been spread out. The ocean which received such thick masses, must have been profoundly deep; but again the subterranean forces exerted themselves, and I now beheld the bed of that ocean, forming a chain of mountains more than seven thousand feet in height. Nor had those antagonistic forces been dormant, which are always at work wearing down the surface of the land; the great piles of strata had been intersected by many wide valleys, and the trees now changed into silex, were exposed projecting from the volcanic soil, now changed into rock, whence formerly, in a green and budding state, they had raised their lofty heads. Now, all is utterly irreclaimable and desert; even the lichen cannot adhere to the stony casts of former trees. Vast, and scarcely comprehensible as such changes must ever appear, yet they have all occurred within a period, recent when compared with the history of the Cordillera; and the Cordillera itself is absolutely modern as compared with many of the fossiliferous strata of Europe and America.

April 1st.—We crossed the Uspallata range, and at night slept at the custom-house—the only inhabited spot on the plain. Shortly before leaving the mountains, there was a very extraordinary view; red, purple, green, and quite white sedimentary rocks, alternating with black lavas, were broken up and thrown into all kinds of disorder by masses of porphyry of every shade ~/{of colour}, from dark brown to the brightest lilac. It was the first view I ever saw, which really resembled those pretty sections which geologists make of the inside of the earth.

The next day we crossed the plain, and followed the course of the same great mountain stream which flows by Luxan. Here it was a furious torrent, quite impassable, and appeared larger than in the low country, as was the case with the rivulet of Villa Vicencio. On the evening of the succeeding day, we reached the Rio de las Vacas, which is considered the worst stream in the Cordillera to cross. As all these rivers have a rapid and short course, and are {due to the snow melted by the sun's heat}/{formed by the melting of the snow}, the hour of the day makes a considerable difference in their volume. In the evening the stream is muddy and full, but about daybreak it becomes clearer, and much less impetuous. This we found to be the case with the Rio Vacas, and in the morning we crossed it with little difficulty.

The scenery thus far was very uninteresting, compared with that of the Portillo pass. Little can be seen beyond the bare walls of the one grand flat-bottomed valley, which the road follows up to the highest crest. The valley and the huge rocky mountains are extremely barren: during the two previous nights the poor mules had absolutely nothing to eat, for excepting a few low resinous bushes, scarcely a plant can be seen. {We went over in the course of this day}/{In the course of this day we crossed} some of the worst passes in the Cordillera{. The degree of exaggeration concerning their danger and difficulty is very great}/{, but their danger has been much exaggerated}. {In Chile I was even told}/{I was told} that if I attempted to pass on foot, my head would turn giddy, ~/and that there was no room to dismount &c/~; but I did not see a place where any one might not have walked over backwards, or got off his mule on either side. One of the bad passes, called las Animas (the souls), I had crossed, and did not find out till a day afterwards, that it was one of the awful dangers. No doubt there are many parts in which, if the mule should stumble, the rider would be hurled down a great precipice; but of {such a catastrophe there is much less chance than with a man on foot}/{this there is little chance}. I dare say, in the spring, the “laderas” or roads, which each year are formed anew across the piles of fallen detritus, are very bad; but from what I saw, I suspect the real danger is nothing {and the apparent very little}/~. With cargo-mules the case is rather different, for the loads project so far, that the animals, occasionally running against each other, or against a point of rock, lose their balance, and are thrown down the precipice/precipices.

With regard to crossing the rivers I can well believe that the difficulty amounts to every degree, till they are impracticable. At this season there was little trouble, but in the summer they must be very bad.

In crossing the rivers I can well believe that the difficulty may be very great: at this season there was little trouble, but in the summer they must be very hazardous.

I can quite imagine, as {Captain}/{Sir F.} Head describes, the different expressions of those who have passed the gulf, and those who are passing. I never heard of any man being drowned, but with loaded mules {this is of frequent occurrence}/{it frequently happens}. The arriero tells you to show your mule the best line, and then allow her to cross as she chooses/likes: the cargo-mule takes a bad line, and is often lost.

April 4th.—From the Rio de las Vacas to the Puente del Incas, half a day's journey. As there was pasture for the mules, and geology for me, we bivouacked ~/here for the night. When one hears of a natural Bridge, one pictures to one's self some deep and narrow ravine, across which a bold mass of rock has fallen; or a great arch hollowed out like the vault of a cavern. Instead of this, the Incas Bridge consists of a crust of stratified shingle cemented together by the deposits of the neighbouring hot springs. It appears, as if the stream had scooped out a channel on one side, leaving an overhanging ledge, which was {at last met by the earth}/{met by earth} and stones falling down from the opposite cliff. Certainly an oblique junction, as would happen in such a case, was very distinct on one side. The Bridge of the Incas is by no means worthy of the great monarchs whose name it bears.

Close by, there were some ruins of Indian buildings. These occur in several other places; the most perfect, which I saw, being the Ruinas de Tambillos. Small square rooms were there huddled together, but placed in distinct groups. Some of the doorways were yet standing : they were formed by a cross slab of stone, but only raised about three feet high. Ulloa, in his “Noticias Americanas,” remarks on the lowness of the doors in the ancient Peruvian dwellings. These houses, when perfect, must have been capable of containing a considerable number of persons. Tradition says, they were used as halting-places for the Incas, when they crossed these mountains. Traces of Indian habitations have been discovered in many parts of the Cordillera, where it does not appear probable, that they were constructed as mere resting-places; but yet where the land is as utterly unfit for any kind of cultivation as it is near the Tambillos or Puente del Inca. In the Portillo pass I saw one group of such ruins. In the ravine of Jajuel, near Aconcagua, where there is no pass, I heard of numerous remains situated at a great elevation, where it is both cold and extremely sterile. At first I imagined, that these houses were places of refuge built by the Indians on the first arrival of the Spaniards; but subsequently I have been almost inclined to speculate on the possibility of a small change of climate.

In the northern parts of Chile, within the Cordillera of Copiapó, old Indian houses are found in very many parts: by digging amongst the ruins, bits of woollen articles, instruments of precious metals, and heads of Indian corn, are not unfrequently discovered. I had likewise in my possession the head of an arrow, made of agate, of precisely the same figure as those now used in Tierra del Fuego. I am aware that the Peruvian Indians* frequently inhabit most lofty and bleak situations; but in these cases, I was assured by men, who had spent their lives in travelling the Andes, that very many (muchisimas) houses were found at elevations so great as almost to border on the perpetual snow, and in parts where there exist no passes, and where the land produces absolutely nothing, and what is still more extraordinary, where there is no water. Nevertheless it is the opinion of the people of the country (although they are much puzzled by the circumstance), that, from the appearance of the houses, the Indians must have used them as places of residence. In the Despoblado (uninhabited valley), near Copiapó, at a spot called Punta Gorda, I saw the remains of seven or eight square little rooms, which were of a similar form with those at the Tambillos, but built chiefly of mud (which the present inhabitants cannot by any means imitate in durability†) instead of with stone. They were situated in the most conspicuous and defenceless position, at the bottom of a flat broad valley. There was no water nearer than three or four leagues, and that only in very small quantity, and bad : the soil was absolutely sterile;— I looked in vain even for a lichen adhering to the rocks. At the present day, with the advantage of beasts of burden, a mine, unless it were very rich, could scarcely be worked there with profit. Yet the Indians formerly chose it as a place of residence! If at the present time two or three showers of rain were to fall annually, instead of one during as many years, as now is the case, a small rill of water would in all probability be formed in this great valley, draining a mountainous country; and then, by irrigation (the method of which was formerly so well understood by the Indians), the soil might easily be rendered sufficiently productive to support a few families.

* Mr. Pentland even considers, that the love of an elevated situation is characteristic of the constitution of this race.—Geograph. Journ.

† Ulloa (Noticias Americanas, p. 302) remarks on the same circumstance in Peru. He adds, when speaking of the mud bricks, “which gives room to think that they had some particular method of working them, that they should become hard, without cracking, the secret of which the present inhabitants are ignorant of.”

I have certain proofs that this part of the continent of South America has been elevated, near the coast, at least from four to five hundred feet, since the epoch of existing shells; and further inland the rise possibly may have been greater. As the peculiarly arid character of the climate is evidently a consequence of the height of the great range of mountains, we may feel almost sure, that prior to the latter elevations, the atmosphere was not so completely drained of its moisture as at the present day. At a remote geological era, it is probable that the Andes consisted of a chain of islands, which were covered by luxuriant forests; and many of the trees, in a silicified state, may now be seen embedded in the upper conglomerates. Of these I measured one which was cylindrical, with a circumference of fifteen feet. As it is nearly certain that the mountains have risen slowly, so would the climate likewise become deteriorated slowly. We need not feel greatly surprised at walls of stone and hardened mud here lasting for many ages, when we remember how many centuries the Druidical mounds have withstood even the climate of England. The only question is, whether the amount of change, since the introduction of man into South America, has been sufficient to cause a sensible effect on the atmospheric moisture, and therefore on the fertility of the valleys in the upper Cordillera. From the extreme slowness with which there is reason to believe the continent is rising, the longevity of man as a species, required to allow of sufficient change, is the most valid objection to the above speculations: for on the eastern shores of this continent, we have seen that several animals, belonging to the same class of mammalia with man, have passed away, while the change of level between land and water, in that part at least, has been so small, that it can scarcely have caused any sensible difference in the climate. I may add, however, that at Lima, the elevation, within the human epoch, certainly has amounted to between seventy and eighty feet.

When at Lima, I conversed on this subject* with Mr. Gill, a civil engineer, who had seen much of the interior country. He told me that a conjecture of a change of climate had sometimes crossed his mind; but that he thought that the greater portion of land now incapable of cultivation, but covered with Indian ruins, had been reduced to that condition, by neglect and subterranean movements injuring the water conduits, which the Indians formerly constructed on so wonderful a scale. I may here just mention that these people actually carried tunnels through hills of solid rock, when such were necessary to conduct the irrigating streams. Mr. Gill told me, he had been employed professionally to examine one; he found the passage low, narrow, crooked, and not of uniform breadth, but of very considerable length. Is it not most wonderful that any people should have attempted such operations without the aid of iron or of gunpowder!

* Temple, in his travels through upper Peru or Bolivia, in going from Potosi to Oruro, says, “I saw many Indian villages or dwellings in ruins, up even to the very tops of the mountains, attesting a former population where now all is desolate.” He makes similar remarks in another place, but it is not possible to judge, whether this desolation is owing merely to a want of population, or to an altered condition of the land.

Mr. Gill mentioned to me a most interesting, and as far as I am aware, quite unparalleled case, of the effect of subterranean disturbances in altering the drainage of a country. Travelling from Casma to Huaraz (not very far distant from Lima), he found a plain covered with ruins and marks of ancient cultivation, but now quite barren. Near it was the dry course of a considerable river, whence the water for irrigation had formerly been conducted. There was nothing in the appearance of the watercourse to indicate that the river had not flowed there a few years previously: in some parts beds of sand and gravel were scattered, and in others the solid rock had been worn into a broad channel.* It is self-evident that a person following up the course of a stream, will always ascend at a greater or less inclination. Mr. Gill was therefore very much astonished, when walking up the bed of this ancient river, to find himself suddenly going down hill. He imagined that the slope had a fall of about forty or fifty feet perpendicular. We here have the most unequivocal evidence, that a ridge or line of hills has been uplifted directly across the bed of a stream, which must have been flowing for many centuries. From the moment the river-course was thus arched, the water would necessarily be thrown back; and a new channel would be formed on one side some way above. From that time, also, the neighbouring plain would lose its fertilizing stream, and become converted into the desert which it now remains.

(Continue reading below.)

{April 5th}/{5th}.—We had a long day's ride across the central ridge, from the Incas Bridge to the Ojos del Agua, which are situated near the lowest casucha on the {western slope}/{Chilian side}. These casuchas are {little round}/{round little} towers, with steps outside to reach the floor, which is raised some feet above the ground on account of the snow-drifts. They are eight in number, and under the Spanish government were kept during the winter well stored with food and charcoal, and each courier had a master-key. Now they only answer the purpose of caves, or rather dungeons. Seated on some little eminence, they are not, however, ill suited to the surrounding scene of desolation. The zigzag ascent of the Cumbre, or the partition of the waters, was very steep and tedious; its height, according to Mr. Pentland,*/~ is 12,454 feet. The road did not pass over any perpetual snow, although there were patches of it on {either hand}/{both hands}. The wind on the summit was exceedingly cold, but it was impossible not to stop for a few minutes to admire, again and again, the colour of the heavens, and the brilliant transparency of the atmosphere. The scenery was grand: to the westward there was a fine chaos of mountains, divided by profound ravines. Some snow generally falls before this period of the season, and it has even happened that the Cordillera have been finally closed by this time. But we were most fortunate. The sky, by night and by day, was cloudless, excepting a few round little masses of vapour, that floated over the highest pinnacles. I have often seen these islets in the sky, marking the position of the Cordillera, when the far-distant mountains have been hidden beneath the horizon.

* Geographical Journal. Notice on Bolivian Cordillera, March, 1835.

 

April 6th.—In the morning we found some thief had stolen one of our mules, and the bell of the madrina. We therefore rode only two or three miles down the valley, and stayed there the ensuing day in hopes of recovering the mule, which the arriero thought had been hidden in some ravine. The scenery in this part had assumed a Chilian character: the lower parts/sides of the mountains, dotted over with the pale evergreen Quillay tree, and with the great {candlestick}/{chandelier-like} cactus, {certainly are}/{are certainly} more to be admired than {anything in}/~ the bare eastern valleys; but I cannot quite agree with the admiration expressed by some travellers. The extreme pleasure, I suspect, is chiefly owing to the prospect of a good fire ~/{and of a good supper}, after escaping from the cold regions above: and I am sure I most heartily participated in such/these feelings.

8th.—We left the valley of the {river of}/~ Aconcagua, by which we had descended, and reached in the evening a cottage near the Villa del St. Rosa. The fertility of the plain was delightful: the autumn being well/~ advanced, the leaves of many of the fruit-trees were falling; and of the labourers,—some were busy in drying figs and peaches on the roofs of their cottages, while others were gathering the grapes from the vineyards.

It was a pretty scene; but that pensive stillness was absent, which makes the autumn in England indeed the evening of the year.

It was a pretty scene; but I missed that pensive stillness which makes the autumn in England indeed the evening of the year.

On the 10th we reached Santiago, where I experienced/received a very kind and hospitable reception from Mr. Caldcleugh. My excursion only cost me twenty-four days, and never did I more deeply enjoy an equal space of time. A few days afterwards I returned to Mr. Corfield's house at Valparaiso.