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under the hands of one of his wives, who was performing for him the office of a barber; a discovery which so offended the prejudices of the native, that he could never summon courage after that circumstance, to look the captain full in the face.

The Duke, King Eyo, and several black gentlemen, breakfasted, and began their trade, on board the James to-day. The form of breaking trade here is not so ceremonious as at the Bonny, being merely done by the Duke’s visit a few days after the arrival of a vessel, when refreshments are provided for him and his suite, after which he selects whatever goods he wants, and the trade is then open to all his subjects.

_Sunday, 23_.–There were four guns fired in the town this afternoon, the object of which was to announce the death of a rich old lady; as they were not minute-guns one would suppose her relations were rejoicing at the event which had taken place.

_Monday, 24_.–This evening I accompanied Captains McGhar, Charles, Coxenham, and Smith, (all commanding English vessels in the river) to visit King Eyo at Creek Town, but our visit was rather of a different character to that which would be paid to crowned heads in Europe; in this instance our host was the gainer, as well as the honoured party, for his guests came amply provided with the luxuries of life, and he was only required to furnish a few necessaries, which are also presented to him by his subjects, or his particular slaves. The excursion, however, procured us a little variety, and terminated satisfactorily to all parties, but after the novelty of a first visit has passed away, there is little interest to be found in a black town, the huts are all on the same plan; and the streets rugged and narrow.

_Tuesday, 25_.–About noon we left Creek Town, to return on board our respective vessels. Early in the evening we experienced a slight touch of a tornado, which in a few hours after was followed by a very violent one, and a good deal of heavy rain.

_Friday, 28_.–We completed our cargo of bullocks this afternoon, which we began to receive on board the preceding day. Our whole deck was now crowded with these animals, divided into compartments, with bamboo and other spars, leaving only a small space in the fore and after parts to work the vessel. There was also a platform made in the hold for a further number. Took leave of our friends at Old Calabar, and dropped down the river just below seven fathom point, where we anchored for the night. Had a slight tornado this evening.

_Saturday, 29_.–Got under weigh at daylight, but were obliged to anchor again before noon, both wind and tide being against us. We here found the Haywood, Captain Burrel, at anchor; she was from Liverpool, bound to Old Calabar, for palm-oil. The larger Liverpool vessels have generally a small one, for a tender, to collect palm-oil, ebony, and ivory,[38] at different places on the coast, as the ships generally remain in one river until their cargoes are complete. There was a dreadful accident happened to one of these tenders. She was boarded by a number of piratical blacks in canoes, belonging to an island near the mouth of the Camaroon river, when they murdered all the trader’s crew, and after plundering the vessel of every thing they thought worth carrying away, they got clear off with their booty.

At 5 in the afternoon we got under weigh, and at 8 crossed the bar, where there was a heavy surf and only 15 feet water, so that we and our live stock were in some danger. Soon afterwards we were chased, and had two shots fired at us, being taken for a slaver escaping under cover of the night, and when the vessel was ranging up alongside, with the intention of pouring in a heavy fire and boarding us in the smoke, our assailants, to their great mortification, heard the bellowing of our oxen, and we discovered the vessel to be the Eden’s tender, commanded by our friend Lieutenant Badgeley, who came on board, when we enjoyed a good laugh at his disappointment, in taking our horned cattle for slaves. We soon parted company, leaving him our best wishes.

_Sunday, 30_.–Soon after midnight the weather, from being very calm and clear, became overcast, and at 2 o’clock a tornado came on, which continued with frequent, and most violent gusts of wind, rain, thunder and lightning, till between five and six in the morning; our situation was not at all enviable, as we had both the deck, and hold, crowded with cattle. The violence and variableness of the wind soon raised a very rough and cross sea, which frequently broke over us, making every thing fly from side to side, and producing the greatest disorder. All this time I was in a small moveable bed-place on deck, expecting every instant that the sea would overwhelm us, and wash me and my bed-place overboard, for I was in no danger of being washed out of my bed, as it required no little management to emerge from it at pleasure. This berth of mine was commonly called a doghouse (a box about six feet long, four high, and two broad,) containing a mattress fitted about 18 inches from the deck, above which there was a sliding door and curtain, scarcely large enough to admit an ordinary sized man. I found it, however, much more pleasant in fine weather than sleeping below, where the cockroaches were so numerous that a large dishful might be obtained in a few minutes, by putting a little treacle in it, to serve both for bait and trap. I used to think, that if the old story were a fact instead of a fiction, namely, that the Chinese make Soy of these animals, a very lucrative trade might be carried on between them and the natives of these coasts.

Our schooner was a low, sharp, fast sailing vessel, but in an irregular sea she was tossed about like a cork. At daylight the weather cleared up, and the day turned out fine with a moderate breeze, which died away towards noon, when being in sight of the vessels at anchor in Maidstone Bay, Captain Smith and I left the schooner, to pull thither in a boat, and got on board the Eden about two in the afternoon: we also went on board the Louisa, from Sierra Leone.

The accounts we received of our infant settlement were not so favourable as we could have desired, not with regard to the progress of operations, for that was greater than could be reasonably expected, but from the sickness that had prevailed, and the consequent loss of several valuable lives. Mr. Glover, the master of the house-carpenters, died only the preceding evening, and it is much to be feared that the panic which took place on the first symptom of illness, (from a deficiency of that moral courage which every Christian ought to possess) proved more fatal than the disease itself. This morning we had a most convincing illustration of this fact. One of the stoutest and healthiest of our Plymouth artificers, who exhibited no previous symptoms of illness, on hearing of the death of Mr. Glover burst into a fit of crying, and exclaimed, “Oh my wife! my children! I shall never see you again!” From that moment he drooped, and in a few days died from despondency.

_Good Friday, April, 4_.–About 11 o’clock last night, the sentinel over the provision store at Newmarket, observed a man lying on the ground, tearing away the watling off one side of the store. On being challenged, he rose up, either to make his escape, or to resist the sentinel, who was advancing with fixed bayonet. In the scuffle that followed, the culprit was wounded in his left breast, notwithstanding which he succeeded in releasing himself from the grasp of his adversary. The sentinel, however, returned to the charge, and following him up closely, felled him to the earth with a blow from the butt-end of his musket. Still, however, the thief struggled violently, and prostrate as he was, endeavoured to bring down his opponent by seizing his legs: the soldier was now compelled, in self-defence, to transfix his prisoner to the ground, by running his bayonet through his left arm, until the serjeant came up, who took him to the guard-house, whither he walked, notwithstanding his severe wounds, and great loss of blood. His appearance was that of a native, his body being coated with red clay, and the fore part of his head shaved, while he wore the usual ornaments, a girdle, and armlets, of beads: but he was soon discovered to be a soldier of the African Corps, named Gott, who had run away four months before, taking with him his arms, accoutrements, and clothes.

The African, schooner, sailed this afternoon, for the purpose of procuring yams and live stock from other parts of the island, our people having bought up the whole stock of the natives in the neighbourhood of the settlement. We found here a few oysters on the Mangrove trees near the sea-shore, within reach of the tide.

_Saturday, 5_.–The Eden’s tender, Victoria, returned from the Old Calabar this afternoon. A heavy tornado this evening, but as it is almost a daily occurrence, it is scarcely worth noticing.

_Sunday, 6_.–The Eden’s tender, Horatio, with Captain Harrison on board, returned this afternoon from a week’s trading voyage for stock round the island. A seaman belonging to the Eden was drowned through carelessness, in upsetting a small boat on leaving the Horatio. The Victoria sailed this evening, under the command of Lieutenant Robinson, to blockade several slave-vessels that were daily expected to sail from the Old Calabar river.

_Monday, 7_.–The armourer of the Eden died this afternoon. I had been myself affected with feverish symptoms during the last fortnight, but, although so many persons were dying around me, I still maintained my cheerful spirits, to which circumstance I attribute the restoration of my health, which was now daily improving. I mention this solely for the sake of impressing upon others the importance which cannot be often urged, of not giving way to despondency in this insalubrious climate.

_Thursday, 10_.–The Fame, brigantine, arrived here on her way from the Camaroon river, bound to Liverpool with palm-oil, which afforded us an opportunity of sending letters to England: she sailed on _Saturday_, on which day the Horatio filled, and sunk in Clarence Cove while in the act of heaving down. This event occasioned much trouble, and it required the assistance of two vessels to get her up again. The weather had been very unsettled throughout the past week, with a tornado during some part of each day or night.

_Monday, 14_.–The African sailed for the island of Bimbia to procure as much stock and vegetables as they could obtain. I regretted that a temporary indisposition prevented me from going, occasioned by a large boil in a highly irritable state, which is very common on this coast.

_Tuesday, 15_.–Mr. Mercer, midshipman of the Eden, who had sailed from hence in the Victoria, returned to-day in charge of the Elizabeth schooner under French colours, with upwards of 100 slaves on board. He had taken possession of her from the Eden’s pinnace, while Lieutenant Robinson in the Victoria, went in chase of a suspicious vessel in another direction.

The Elizabeth was said to be from Guadaloupe, but from the testimony of her crew, and other circumstances, it appeared, that she had only got her French captain and papers from thence, and that she had sailed from St. Thomas’s, under Spanish colours, where she engaged a part of her crew; the rest, with her Spanish captain, having previously joined her at Porto Rico. The Spaniard, who acted as captain in the outward bound voyage, remained at Old Calabar, to go back in another vessel, while he sent the Frenchman, with false papers, for the voyage home, knowing that the Eden’s tender and boat were on the look-out for him at the mouth of the river.

_Wednesday, 16_.–Captain Owen employed himself in the examination of the papers and crew of the schooner brought in by Mr. Mercer. A short time before midnight, there was an alarm that a man had fallen overboard: every exertion was made to pick him up, without success. On inquiry, the unfortunate person proved to be Mr. Morrison, who had left England as schoolmaster of the Eden, and who, after the death of Mr. Abbott, was appointed acting store-keeper to the settlement. For want of lodging on shore, he used to come on board every night to sleep. Upon this occasion, he had laid down in the hammock netting on the gangway, a favourite place with the young gentlemen, as most of the ship’s company, as well as the Kroomen, and black labourers, slept on the deck. It is supposed, that on awaking, he intended going below, but being drowsy, he mistook the outside for the inside rail, and fell into the water. He struggled a very short time before he sunk, and it was therefore thought, that he must have struck himself against a gun, or the side of the vessel, in his fall.

_Thursday, 17_.–We this day hove the Horatio down alongside the Eden to a pinnace filled with iron ballast: the pinnace sunk during the night in a squall, in consequence of her iron ballast not having been taken out at sunset. Eighty-one adult female slaves, and some female children, were landed this afternoon from the Elizabeth.

_Sunday, 20_.–About two o’clock in the afternoon, Lieutenant Badgeley arrived in a Brazilian schooner, Ou Voador (The Flying-fish), which he had taken with 230 slaves on board.

_Monday, 21_.–The Victoria, Lieutenant Robinson, returned from Old Calabar to-day, without having met with any further success. Landed this afternoon, at the settlement, from the Voador, sixty male slaves, with forty-two women and children, who were to be employed, with an allowance of sixpence per day, and their provisions.

_Wednesday, 23_.–Fired a royal salute from Adelaide Island, in honour of St. George’s day. The African returned with stock from the island of Bimbia. Landed sixty-four sick children, of both sexes, from the Voador, their complaints being sore eyes, scurvy, craw-craws (itch), &c. The black mechanics and labourers, and their wives, shewed the greatest anxiety to take one, two, or more of these children under their protection, although they had been previously told that they would not receive any additional allowance for their support. One woman remarked, that as she had left her child at Sierra Leone, she wanted another in its place, to carry at her back; and before they obtained the Governor’s permission for the indulgence of their wishes, they took the beads off their own necks to decorate their newly-adopted favourites. This philanthropic disposition was happily not confined to people of colour, (most of whom had fallen under the protection of the British flag, from similar situations, i.e. the holds of slave-vessels), as most of the naval, military, and civil officers, who resided on shore, also received boys under their protection.

_Thursday, 24_.–The Wanderer, transport, Lieutenant Young, agent, from Deptford, arrived this afternoon, with stores for this and Ascension island; and in the evening, the sloop Lucy, from Sierra Leone, with provisions for the settlement.

_Friday, 25_.–This afternoon, the two prizes, Ou Voador and Elizabeth, sailed for adjudication at Sierra Leone. The African left this evening for Old Calabar.

_Saturday, 26_.–This evening the Victoria sailed to blockade the Old Calabar river.

_Monday, 28_.–The French captain of the Elizabeth, having offered his services to superintend one of the working parties of black labourers on shore, commenced the performance of that duty this morning. The last of the two horses brought from Sierra Leone, died to-day from a disease in the mysenteric glands. The Munroe, an American whaling brig, arrived this evening. Two men, who were taken ill with fever, were ordered on board the Eden, and there were still five of the Plymouth artificers ill with the fever on shore; one of whom was in a state of delirium. We had likewise several seamen suffering from fever on board.

_Wednesday, 30_.–Ware, a fine boy, about fourteen years of age, whom Captain Owen had appointed to attend me, was unfortunately taken ill with fever to-day, which gave me great uneasiness.

_Thursday, May, 1_.–Went on shore soon after daylight, with the working parties, attended by a new servant, and returned to breakfast. Went on shore again before dinner, this being my accustomed routine. I occasionally remained on shore the whole day, and sometimes at night; but I preferred sleeping on the deck of the Eden, where, on the top of the Captain’s skylight, I weathered out many a tornado. In this situation, I was tolerably protected by the sloped awning from the violence of the wind and the heavy rain, by which it is always accompanied: but even a wetting, now and then, would have been preferable to sleeping in a close cabin, between decks, where, in spite of every precaution, the heat was intolerable.

_Saturday, 3_.–We have had either a tornado, or heavy rain, with thunder and lightning, at some part of every twenty-four hours since I last noticed the weather. Another of the artificers departed this life. We had cucumbers from the Garden of Eden for dinner.

The following is a list of the seeds that have been sown there by the order of Captain Owen, who gave it its poetical appellation.

Many of them were planted in December, 1827.

Early York Cabbage.
Emperor ditto.
American Cabbage.
Custard Apple.
Sour Sop.
Sierra Leone Plum.
Orchilla Weed, from St. Vincent’s. Do. St. Antonio.
Do. The Cape.
Do. Madeira.
Fruit Stones, from England.
Canna, or Indian Shot.
Large and small Pepper.
Pride of Barbadoes.
Madeira Broom.
Rose Apple.
Four o’Clock.
St. Jago Lilac.
Malta Turnip.
Spanish Onion.
Kidney Bean.
Mustard and Cress.
American Cress.

_Sunday, 4_.–The American brig, Munroe, whaler, sailed to-day, on her return to her fishing ground.

_Monday, 5_.–The African, schooner, arrived from Old Calabar, with a cargo of bullocks, seventy-six in number; also a small cutter from Sierra Leone, with rice, &c. for the settlement.

_Tuesday, 6_.–Captain Hurst, of the Wanderer, towed a very large fish on shore, and hauled it up on the beach for examination, the mate of that ship, after some difficulty, having killed it with a harpoon. The sailors called it a Devil Fish, because, perhaps, they had never seen one so ugly, or so large of its kind before. They endeavoured to describe it to me, as I was too late to examine it myself; many of our black labourers having carried away pieces of it immediately after it was brought to land. The head was formed like the concave of a crescent, with an eye near the end of each point, and a small orifice just behind each eye, like an ear. In breadth, it measured fourteen feet and a half, that is, from the extremities of the fins, or flaps, which resembled those of a skate; in length, seven feet in the body, and six feet in the tail.

A very pretty young native girl, about fifteen years of age, took refuge in our settlement this afternoon, and placed herself under the care of a fine strapping young Krooman, servant to Capt. Smith, of the African.

_Wednesday, 7_.–Forster, the marine, who was superintending a party on shore, was sent on board in a high fever to-day; and Thomas Welling, another of our Plymouth artificers, died this morning. We also found that our bullocks began to die very fast, without our being able to discover the immediate cause.

My poor servant lad has continued in a high fever ever since he was first taken; and this evening, about nine o’clock, his respiration became very low and quick (the rattles), and for a full hour no hope was entertained; but, at the end of that time, the alarming symptoms subsided; his respiration became more easy and natural, and after a composing sleep of several hours, he awoke with every prospect of recovery.

_Saturday, 10_.–The Lucy, cutter, sailed this afternoon to procure stock from the opposite coast.

_Monday, 12_.–Forster, the marine, died last night, after five days illness; and, although the sailmaker was called to sew him up in his hammock before he was quite cold, the work of decomposition had already commenced, and the corpse was so offensive, that he had much difficulty in completing his object. This was a case of remarkable despondency. He entertained an opinion, from the moment he was attacked, that his illness would terminate fatally, and it was impossible to inspire him with the least hope; a state of mind which certainly tended greatly to the accomplishment of his prophecy.

The Victoria returned from Old Calabar to-day.

_Tuesday, 13_.–In the middle of the night, a heavy tornado came on; after which it continued to blow very hard from the eastward till noon, when the wind died away to a light breeze, and we had a very fine afternoon. In the evening, the Horatio sailed for Old Calabar.

_Wednesday, 14_.–A tornado in the middle of the night.

_Friday, 16_.–A market opened to-day at Longfield, where our people were allowed to purchase what they pleased from the natives, paying a small duty for this privilege to the Colonial Government. Hitherto an officer had been appointed to make the purchases, and distribute the articles, gratis, to the establishment. The following were the rates of the impost:–

s. d.
For every Gallon of Palm-Wine 0 8
Ditto Ditto of Oil 0 2
100 Yams 2 0
Fowl 0 1-1/2
Sheep, or Goat 2 0
Kid, or Lamb 0 9

For my own part, I cannot perceive the policy of imposing duties upon such trifling articles, the whole of which would amount to a very inconsiderable sum, when collected, and it had the bad effect of rendering the people dissatisfied: God knows, there were sufficient privations for those living in this infant colony, without imposing duties upon the few additional comforts of life, that were so scantily supplied by the inhabitants.

[38] Ebony is plenty in this country, but the high duty that is imposed upon its importation, renders it an unprofitable article in the English market. At Liverpool it sells for no more than L4 per ton, the duty out of which is L2 per ton.


Scarcity of Provisions in Fernando Po–Diet of the Natives–Their Timidity–Its probable Cause–The Recovery of a Liberated African Deserter–Departure from Fernando Po–Reflections on the Uses of the Settlement–Causes of Failure–Insalubrity of the Climate– Probabilities of Improvement–Arrival off the mouth of the Camaroon River–Chase of a Brigantine–Her Capture–Her suspicious Appearance– Slave Accommodations–Pirates of the North Atlantic Ocean–Prince’s Island–Visit to the Governor–Drunken Frolic of a Marine–Provisions –Delicious Coffee–Account of the Town–Population–Varieties of Colour in the Inhabitants–West-bay–Inhospitality of the Governor and Merchants–Visit to a Brazilian Brigantine–Difficulty of obtaining a Passage to Angola–Departure of the Emprendadora–The Eden leaves Prince’s Island–Crossing the Equinoctial Line–Dolphin and Flying-fish–Trade-winds–Ascension Island at Daybreak–Landing– Description of the Settlement–Turtle–Goats’ Flesh–Abundant Poultry –Island Game–Aboriginal Foes–Unfaithful Friends–Gladiatorial Sports–Privileges of Settlers–Traffic–Roads–Water–Culture of Soil–Produce–Vegetables–Live Stock–Population–Employments–Hours of Labour–Recreations–Departure from the Island–Recollections of Ascension on a former Voyage–Dampier, the Navigator–The Variables– An Affidavit on Crossing the Line–Change of Weather–Dutch Galliot– Passage for the Brazils–Parting of Friends

_Saturday, May 17, 1828_.–Mr. Craig, who had come from Sierra Leone to set up a store, went into the country with a native chief this afternoon, for the purpose of procuring palm-oil. He returned, however, the next evening, very much fatigued and disappointed; for he not only found the journey very harassing, in consequence of the badness of the paths, but discovered that his mercantile project was fruitless, owing to the poverty of the natives. Indeed, the people of Fernando Po are less abundantly supplied with provisions than the nations of Africa in general; their principal dependance being on yams, which are, of course, liable to occasional failure. They have very little live stock of any kind, and the chiefs alone appear to indulge in the luxury of animal food. It is only on particular occasions, however, that they treat themselves to a goat, or sheep, as they are principally confined to fowls. That they are not plentifully supplied with fish, is owing solely to their own negligence, as there are abundance to be had by those who take the trouble of toiling for them; but for many days together, not a canoe was to be seen. It is difficult to ascertain the cause of this strange indifference; it may be that they are afraid to venture out to sea, and this is not unlikely, as they appeared, on our first arrival, to entertain much apprehension at the sight of a strange vessel on their coast; but, as they became accustomed to our presence, and began to entertain a feeling of confidence and protection in our friendship, this diffidence gradually wore off. It cannot be doubted, that their island has often been visited by vessels engaged in the slave-trade, as well as by men-of-war. A circumstance occurred a few years ago, which proves that they are not without hostile visitors; and which, in some measure, justifies the suspicions with which they regard all strangers. In the year 1820, or 1821, a Spanish vessel came over from the Camaroon river to this island, accompanied by King Aqua, with a number of war canoes, for the purpose of decoying the natives, or, in the event of failing in their artifice, to adopt hostile measures, with the ultimate view of seizing upon all they could capture, and selling them for slaves. They accordingly landed well armed, but met with a stout resistance, which proved, however, unavailing, the invaders succeeding in making about 150 prisoners, whom they carried off to the West Indies, and killing as many more in the skirmish. It is supposed that King Aqua received very little reward for his services on the occasion, or for the loss his subjects sustained in the fight. This anecdote was related to me by Captain Cumings, of the Kent, who was trading on the opposite coast for palm-oil, at the time it occurred.

_Thursday, 22_.–The Horatio, schooner (Eden’s tender), arrived this afternoon with only her foremast standing, having lost her mainmast in a tornado. Mr. Craig has just opened his general store, which, with Captain Smith’s, forms the second mercantile establishment in this infant settlement.

_Friday, 23_.–Mr. Adamson, the assistant-surgeon of the Eden, who had the charge of the hospital, as well as of the mechanics and labourers of the settlement, and who had resided on shore for the purpose of giving them his constant attendance, was sent on board the Eden to-day, in consequence of an attack of fever, which lasted five days.

_Thursday, 29_.–The weather has continued unsettled; sometimes clear and hot; sometimes cloudy and close; with alternate rain and cold. We fired a royal salute to-day on Adelaide Island, in commemoration of the Restoration.

_Friday, 30_.–One of the liberated Africans from the Voador, was brought in this morning by one of our black masons, having been absent, with three of his companions, ever since he was landed. We learned, that he, and his party, had lived in the bush by day, emerging at night to steal yams, and proceed on their journey, until, after an absence of four weeks, being at some distance up the mountain, they were fiercely attacked by the natives with spears, and stones thrown from slings. In this rencontre, one of them was killed, and another taken prisoner; while he, and his remaining companion, effected their escape, by taking different directions: they never, it appeared, met afterwards. From this circumstance, it is evident that the islanders are unwilling to give shelter to runaways; an occurrence by no means unsatisfactory, as the newly liberated Africans desert very frequently, and sometimes in small troops, so many as nine having been known to go away together.

_Saturday, 31_.–Captain Harrison, the superintendant of works, who had, up to this time, been living on board the Eden, gave a dinner to Captain Owen and a select party, at his new residence on shore to-day, to which I had the pleasure of being invited; but, alas! like most of those who accompanied the first part of the expedition to this settlement, his services have since terminated with his life.

The master of the ship Agnes, of Liverpool, trading for palm-oil, in the Old Calabar river, arrived in his long-boat this afternoon, for the purpose of obtaining men from Captain Owen, to navigate the Agnes to England, part of his crew having previously entered for and joined H.M.S. Eden.

_Sunday, June, 1_.–There has been scarcely a day during the last fortnight, that some vessel has not arrived at, or left the settlement, and one or more been seen in the offing; in fact, the little colony appears to become extensively known already, and it is expected that the large palm-oil vessels will find it more to their advantage to anchor in Maidstone Bay, and carry on their trade with their tenders only, than to take their vessels up the river, where the long period occupied in procuring their cargoes, affords time for the men to imbibe the pestilential disorders of the climate, frequently occasioning the sacrifice of many lives.

_Tuesday, 3_.–The day at last arrived on which I was to quit Fernando Po. Captain Owen, finding his crew much reduced in numbers from sickness, which appeared unlikely to diminish, and fearing also, that his operations would be retarded for the want of stores, determined to make a visit to Sierra Leone; by this step, hoping to re-establish the health of his men, and to procure the necessaries of which the Colony stood in need. Accordingly, making the requisite arrangements on the establishment, and committing it entirely to the charge of Captain Harrison, he got under weigh in the afternoon, when we made sail out of Maidstone Bay, and stood for the opposite coast, with the Agnes’ long-boat in tow.

On looking back at this incipient colony, and reflecting upon the probabilities of its future destiny, a few thoughts arise, which this appears to be the proper place for inserting.

The formation of a new settlement amongst an uncivilized people must always be an event of interest, whether we regard it in a political or moral point of view, as extending the power of the parent nation, or spreading the advantages of improvement in regions hitherto sunk in the darkness of barbaric ignorance. The objects proposed by the British Government in establishing a colony at Fernando Po appear to have been three-fold, and not less connected with political than moral results.

First, to create facilities for promoting our commercial relations with the districts of tropical Africa, in which many valuable necessaries and costly luxuries are produced.

Second, to assist in carrying into effect the wise and benevolent regulations adopted by our Government for the suppression of the slave-trade, which has been so long the scourge and disgrace of our fellow men in this portion of the globe.

Third, to increase the means of advancing the civilization of central Africa.

The determination to endeavour to carry these leading objects into full effect, is sufficiently evidenced in the perseverance with which our Government has established the British name on the African Coast, in our different settlements at Sierra Leone, Cape Coast Castle, and other places. We have made as yet but slight progress towards the completion of designs so comprehensive in their purpose, we must look for the causes in impediments which time alone can conquer, and not in any lack of zeal on the part of those who were appointed to execute the plans of the Government. If firm resolution, meritorious conduct, and indefatigable diligence could have mastered the difficulties which meet the English residents on this insalubrious shore, the ends which it was desirable to attain must have been speedily accomplished: but unfortunately the laws of nature and the force of habit oppose us at the very threshold of our proceedings, and seem almost to render our labour a work of despair.

All our attempts to penetrate into Africa, to establish a friendly intercourse with the people, and to abolish the traffic in human life are repelled, and frequently rendered abortive, by the fatal influence of the climate, and the obstinate resistance of the natives to our projects of liberty, which they oppose because they derive a lucrative source of income from the slave-trade, while habit has made them insensible to its ignominies and miseries. This opposition to our progress would be of no moment, if the barbarous notions of the people were not favoured by the repulsive nature of the climate, which is even more pernicious than we originally believed when we ventured to form a British settlement within its range. It is so unpropitious to European life that the pestilential breath of death may be said to lurk in every calm, and to be wafted in every gale.

It has been supposed, and not without reason, that much of the insalubrity of the climate may be referred to local causes, and that if the soil could be completely cleared and drained, the operations of the air in the redeemed space would expel, or reduce, the baneful influences that at present produce such extensive mortality. But this would be a labour demanding almost an incalculable and indefinite period of time, and which the difficulty of procuring sufficient manual power must always render nearly impossible, to any great extent.

Hitherto, the situation and prospects of the settlement of Fernando Po have been discouraging, in consequence of the disease having been more universal in its ravages than we had anticipated. But it must not, therefore, be supposed that the place is more unhealthy than other parts on the coast, or even that the deaths which occurred, during the period to which I more particularly allude, were occasioned by the insalubrity of the situation. When the crew of the Eden suffered so much from fever, it broke out on board of that vessel while she was at Sierra Leone, and several of the officers and men died before she returned to Fernando Po: the mortality that ensued was in a great measure caused by the contagion which the infected sailors spread at the settlement. Several vessels also arrived before I left the Colony with invalids on board, but the deaths that took place in their number, certainly ought not to be introduced into the argument against the insalubrity of the island.

That Fernando Po must always be liable to considerable atmospheric changes, and become, at particular seasons, very unhealthy, there cannot be a doubt: but that is invariably the case in all low situations within the tropics, on the west coast of Africa, where the decomposition of animal and vegetable matter is so rapid in its progress. But the insular situation of Fernando Po, with its many local advantages and peculiarities, may ultimately have the effect of diminishing the production of miasmata, or at least of correcting their deleterious qualities, and preventing such immense and dangerous accumulations, as have on the adjacent continent produced so great a loss of European life.

_Wednesday, 4_.–At daylight we cast off the Agnes’ long-boat, leaving her to prosecute her voyage up the Calabar to her own ship, while we stood to the eastward.

_Thursday, 5_.–Unsettled weather. In the afternoon we anchored off the mouth of the Camaroon river, where Lieutenant Badgeley and Mr. Wood went, in separate boats, to examine the river, for slave-vessels.

_Saturday, 7_.–Soon after daylight this morning our boats returned, reporting that there was a Brazilian brig, at anchor, some distance up the Camaroon river, waiting for a cargo of slaves; and a Brazilian schooner at the Island of Bimbia, near the entrance of the river, on the same service. At noon we got under weigh, and stood to the southward.

_Wednesday, 11_.–Lat. 2 deg. 4′. N. Wind from S.S.W. to W.S.W. Tacked and sounded occasionally, working up to Prince’s Island, and also in chase of a brigantine.

_Thursday, 12_.–At 10 in the forenoon we tacked to the southward in hopes of falling in with the brigantine, which we supposed had stood toward the land in the night, and at noon our expectations were realized: we also saw her in a more favourable point for pursuit, she being a little under our lee. Finding that she could not escape us, she put a good face on the matter, and continued to stand towards us. Between one and two o’clock we sent a boat’s-crew on board to examine her. She proved to be the Emprendadora, a Spanish brigantine from the Havannah, well armed, mounting one long eighteen-pounder on a swivel, and four 12 lb. carronades, and having thirty-two persons on board. Her outfit and general appearance were extremely suspicious, for she had not only a slave-deck, with irons, &c., but also two slaves, secreted in the forehold, from whom we learnt that they had been stolen from Po-Po, near Wydah. She had also a quantity of merchandise on board, without having any Custom-house certificate of clearance from the Havannah, or indeed any other account of it, which circumstances led us to believe that it had been plundered from some American vessel. It was evident that she had been along the Gold Coast, and round the Bights of Benin and Biafra. The Captain stated that he was going to Prince’s Island to procure anchors, having only one remaining, and that one, with but a single fluke to it. We afterwards learnt from the crew that he had endeavoured to enter the river Lagos, but had been fired on and forced to retire, by several Brazilian vessels lying there at the time. We conjectured that she had left the West Indies, on a pretence of going to the coast of Africa, upon a slaving voyage, without any cargo, except perhaps a small quantity of specie, in dollars and gold, but carrying an efficient crew, composed of persons from various nations, and a good stock of provisions. Vessels, thus equipped, frequently traverse these seas, and being generally very fast sailers, they contrive to keep away from ships better armed than themselves, and to board only those that they can approach, or run away from, at convenience; when convinced that they are not likely to encounter any resistance, they plunder such vessels at their pleasure: but should they arrive on the coast of Africa, without having succeeded in obtaining plunder on their voyage to enable them to purchase slaves, they entrap and steal such negroes as they can get into their power, and then return to the West Indies to dispose of their slave cargo. This is the general character of these pirates, that are occasionally met in different parts of the North Atlantic Ocean, and also about the equinoctial line. I have heard numerous instances of vessels, from Europe, bound to these latitudes, meeting on their voyages with one or more of such vessels. Prison ships going to New South Wales have been followed by them; and scrutinized with spy glasses from their decks: but they have never yet ventured to attack a prison-ship, the sight of soldiers being quite enough to deter them from any hostile attempt. Indeed, I believe the best plan in meeting these marauders is, to assume as bold an air, and make as much show of resistance as possible. Knowing the character of these craft, Captain Owen thought it right to detain the brigantine, and therefore sent Lieut. Robinson, Mr. Wood, midshipman, and twenty-two men, to take her into Sierra Leone, for adjudication. In the evening we parted company, but expected to find her at our rendezvous in Prince’s Island.

_Saturday, 14_.–At daylight saw Prince’s Island, towards which we continued to make our course. At eight came to anchor in Port Antonio, where we found Lieutenant Robinson with the captured brigantine, and also the Vengeance, a Brazilian brigantine on a slaving voyage, which had put in for Cassada root, or Mandioc, upon which these people principally feed their slaves. After breakfast I accompanied Captain Owen on shore to wait on the Governor, who received us very politely, and introduced us to his lady and family. On leaving the Government House, we proceeded to that of Mr. Ferraro, who was said to be the richest and only respectable merchant here, but he had gone into the country; we therefore walked about the town until our curiosity was satisfied. There were no inns in the place, only some public houses, where nothing could be got but spirits, and inferior wines. The sailors, however, considered it a very civilized place, because it afforded them the means of getting most agreeably drunk, a feat which they could not accomplish at Fernando Po. Captain. Owen having allowed some of his men to go on shore for amusement, one of the marines contrived to get into a drunken frolic, and was so troublesome, that it puzzled the whole guard of black soldiers to secure him. I regret to remark that in many foreign places, the people intentionally lead our sailors into disputes, merely to obtain a fee for releasing them.

_Sunday, 15_.–After divine service, I accompanied Captain Owen in a walk to a negro village, about two or three miles distant, and to which there was no distinct road, but merely a rough irregular path. There was little of interest to be seen there, and scarcely any refreshment to be procured; the blacks brought us a few young cocoanuts, of which we drank the milk. The only fruits to be had on the island, were pine-apples, plantains, bananas, lemons, limes, and a few more common kinds, all of which the blacks brought to the ship in their own boats; as also vegetables, namely, pumpkins, onions, cucumbers, tomatos, &c. The oranges do not come into season until September. The principal plantations were mandioc and coffee, and there was also a small quantity of cocoa; the coffee is rather celebrated for its flavour and quality. The prices vary a good deal, but we found the average from eight to twelve pounds for a dollar. The natives both roast, and sell, their coffee with a pellicle over the berry, and I should imagine it is to this circumstance that its singularly delicious flavour may be attributed. We found the place very gay, it being the festival of St. Antonio, the patron saint, which, considering it is a Portuguese town, and situated in such a demi-civilized part of the world, may be called rather a neat one. It contained about twelve hundred houses, and seven churches, most of these, however, were in a miserable state. There were not more than fifty Europeans on the island, the whole population of which does not exceed four thousand. The principal part of these were negroes, who, of course, were slaves[39], and the remainder were of different shades from black to white. This island has still the character of slave-dealing, in a small way, with some of the African nations. One of the gentlemen of the Eden, rode across the island to West-bay, about six miles distant, but the road was a mere footpath, and scarcely entitled to be considered a bridle-road. West-bay is where our men-of-war, on the African station, generally anchor to procure water. It is a place of no consequence, in a mercantile point of view, as it consists merely of a small negro village. We heard that the great merchant, Mr. Ferraro, had been at his house in town to-day, but he left it again without having shewn the courtesy to return Captain Owen’s visit; perhaps, he feared that such an effort of politeness might lead to a demand upon his hospitality, a virtue for which the Portuguese are not very remarkable, especially in their intercourse with Englishmen; in this respect, the Governor was no less a niggard of his attentions than the rest of his countrymen, giving no invitation either to Capt. Owen or any of his officers, whose ceremonious visit cost him, no doubt, infinite annoyance, as, upon that occasion, his Excellency was obliged to appear clean shaved, and in his full uniform, a laborious sacrifice to cleanliness and grandeur, at the expense of his accustomed habits of luxurious indolence and personal ease.

We found the latitude of Port Antonio, by a good observation with stars, to be 1 deg. 38′. N. while, in most books on navigation, it is laid down in 1 deg. 27′. N.

_Monday, 16_.–Visited the Brazilian brigantine (Vengeance), with Signor Begaro, who was sailing-master of the Voador, slave-schooner, taken by Lieutenant Badgeley, in the Eden’s boat, in company with the African, schooner. This gentleman had prevailed on his countrymen to accommodate him on board, for a passage to the Brazils, however, they had first to procure their cargo of slaves; and told us, that they were going southward of the line for them, but we thought, if that were the case, they would not have come to the northward of the line, merely to get provisions.[40] From this circumstance, we suspected it to be their intention to go to the Camaroon, or some other river in that direction, where slaves are not above one-third of the price that they are to the south of the line, and where children (which they always prefer to adults) are also more easily procured. Could I have believed their assurance that they were southward bound, I should have endeavoured to have made arrangements with the captain to take me with him, being anxious to get to St. Paul de Loando, for the purpose of visiting different parts of Angola, and in which view I had prepared myself with a letter of introduction to the Viceroy of that country, from a distinguished person in England: but although I had been about seven months at Fernando Po, and other parts of the Bight of Biafra, I had never met with an opportunity for proceeding to Angola; I was therefore obliged to leave that place out of my plan, and to make the Brazils the next point in my route; with this intention I thought it most desirable to return to Sierra Leone with Captain Owen, where I might meet with a captured slave-vessel, that had been bought up by the agents, to be sent to some part of the Brazils, from whence there would be no difficulty in my ultimately reaching Rio de Janeiro.

Captain Owen had a Portuguese Abbe, Signor Begaro, and some of his officers, to dine with him to-day.

_Tuesday, 17_.–As it was Captain Owen’s intention to visit Ascension before he went to Sierra Leone, we parted company with the Emprendadora, desiring Lieutenant Robinson to make the best of his way to the latter place; she accordingly sailed this morning at daylight, passing round to leeward of the island, while we followed soon after, with the intention of working to windward.

_Wednesday, 18_.–We had a fine fresh breeze, veering between S. and S.W., and kept our course to the westward. Lat. 1 deg. 0′. N. On getting into the open sea, we found the weather much colder than it was at Fernando Po, notwithstanding we were 3 deg. nearer the equinoctial line, than at the former place, while the thermometer for the last twenty-four hours, has only ranged from 74 deg. to 78 deg. F. Indeed, it is very commonly remarked, that the poor slaves brought from the Bights of Benin and Biafra, for the Brazils, suffer dreadfully from the cold, when they get into the open sea, and approach the line.

_Thursday, 19_.–There was a fine southerly breeze to-day, and we crossed the equinoctial line this forenoon, without observing the usual custom of shaving, having gone through that ceremony on passing the tropic, before we arrived at Sierra Leone, not expecting, at that time, the Eden would have occasion to cross the equinoctial line. Latitude, at noon, 0 deg. 6′. S. steering W. by S. with the wind south. There have been numberless flying-fish, with a few bonetas and dolphins sporting round the ship at times, to-day; men-of-war are not very successful in taking these fish, but in a low, dull sailing merchant-vessel, it is otherwise, particularly if she is not coppered, and has been sometime in a warm climate. I consider the dolphin and flying-fish to be exceedingly palatable food, but the boneta is strongly flavoured, and very close grained, approaching to the solidity of animal flesh.

_Sunday, 21_.–Latitude, at noon, 28 deg. 19′. S. Still a fresh trade-wind, but as we advanced from the Bight of Biafra into the Southern Atlantic Ocean, increasing our distance, at the same time, from the continent of Africa, we found the wind gradually drawing from the westward of south, to the eastward of south, until it arrived at that point (S.E.), which is the prevailing trade-wind of the Southern Atlantic, from the equinoctial line to about the 28th degree of south latitude, varying a few degrees from these extremes, according to the season of the year. Being now in the regular trade-wind, I shall not think it necessary to trouble my readers with any farther remarks on the common routine of the duties of a ship, until we come within sight of Ascension,

Whose rocky shores to the glad sailor’s eye Reflect the gleams of morning.

Having run for this little island in the middle of the ocean, during the night, we saw it immediately on the break of day, of _Wednesday, 25th_, within a mile of the computed distance, viz. three or four leagues. At eight, we anchored in N.W. Bay, in eleven fathoms water, about half a mile from the landing-place, when the Governor, Lieut.-Colonel Nichols, came on board; and after breakfast. Captain Owen and myself accompanied him on shore, in the gig. We landed with facility, there being very little surf, and some marines ready to run the boat upon the beach the moment she touched the ground. The officers of the establishment were prepared to receive us, and we were introduced to them individually. We first visited the mess-room, which, with some apartments attached to it for the officers’ quarters, is one of three buildings that are distinct from the general establishment, called Regent Square. The second building is a store-house, containing provisions for the African squadron, as well as the persons employed on the island; and the third, a house that was built for the Governor, but which Colonel Nichols allows Lieutenant Stanwell to reside in, he being a married man, with a family of five children. One part of Regent Square is composed of the barracks for the marines, and the other for the liberated Africans that are employed on the island. All these buildings are of stone, which is the cheapest material that can be procured. The coral that is found on the beach, makes excellent lime, and enhances the utility of the quarries. It is fortunate that the island contains these resources, as it is entirely destitute of brick and timber. There was a tank of considerable size in progress, not far from the establishment; close to the landing-place there was a large pond of salt water for keeping the turtle which are taken during the season, for supplies to the shipping, &c.; there were about eighty turtles in it, at the time of our arrival.

Colonel Nichols, Captain Owen, and myself, dined with. Mr. and Mrs. Stanwell, where, among other things, we had a large loin of wether goat, which, in my opinion, was equal to the finest mutton; indeed, had it been called mutton, I should not have known the difference, it was so fat and highly flavoured. There are about six hundred goats on the island, who are allowed to wander in herds, browsing on the sides of the hills, and feeding on whatever herbage they can procure in the valleys. In this way, no doubt, they pick up many aromatic herbs,[41] which give a peculiarly fine flavour to the meat; but the flesh of goats, is not the only description of fresh provisions on the island. Those who reside here, are much better provided, in this particular, than people in England imagine, for there is a moderate supply of cattle and sheep, for general consumption, while most individuals have their own private stock of domestic poultry. Turkeys arid fowls thrive well here; but geese and ducks, very indifferently, from the want of fresh streams and pools, so necessary to their nature, in consequence of which they lay their eggs, but do not produce young. They have also a few goats, and abundance of guinea fowls,[42] in a wild state, which, in flavour, greatly surpass those that have been domesticated; and some of the domestic poultry of the gallinaceous tribe, that have returned to their aboriginal state. These three species of Ascension game, with the hunting of wild cats, occasionally afford no little amusement to the officers of the establishment. A number of cats were originally introduced; in their tame state, to destroy the rats, which, at one period, overran the island; but, after routing the rats, the cats, like the Saxons of old, finding themselves masters of the soil, became greater usurpers than the foes whom they had been called in to vanquish. These treacherous animals, and most unworthy allies, discovering that they could sustain themselves in freedom, without the aid of the biped population, fled into the least inhabited parts of the island, where they lived most royally upon young guinea fowl, and other wild poultry; regaling themselves occasionally upon eggs, or such other dainties as fell in the way of their most destructive claws. So numerous had this band of quadruped freebooters become, at the time of our visit, that the inhabitants had been compelled to call in the assistance of a number of dogs,[43] for the purpose of putting them to flight; and the gentlemen sportsmen of the island declare, that a battle between these belligerent powers and natural enemies presents a scene of unusual excitement and interest to the lovers of animal gladiatorship.

The sale of spirits is prohibited on the island, but each man may purchase one pint of brown stout per diem. Butter, cheese, and other little comforts, were to be procured from a stock that had been sent out by dealers in England; having, it is said, ten per cent. profit on their exportation, and two per cent. to the corporal who took charge of its disposal. It had no freightage to pay, as the owners were allowed the privilege of sending it out in a transport, which annually brings stores to the island; and, I was informed, that the British Government allowed the Governor to exchange turtle with any vessel for such necessaries, or temperate luxuries, that may be required by the establishment.

The turtle season here, is considered to be the interval between Christmas and Midsummer-day, during which time parties are stationed almost every night on each of the beaches,[44] where the turtle are known to land, for the purpose of depositing their eggs; upon these occasions, they turn as many as are likely to be required for the use of the establishment, until the following season, and also for the shipping that may call for them; these are kept in the pond, to be taken out at pleasure: two pounds of turtle is allowed as a substitute for one pound of ordinary meat.[45] The Wide-awakes, or Kitty-wakes,[46] as sailors call them, are also very numerous, both on the rocks and plains, in the laying and breeding season: and, consequently, an immense number of eggs are deposited, which are much used by the persons on the island.

We returned on board for the night, to avoid putting the officers to an inconvenience for our accommodation.

_Thursday, 26_.–We went on shore to breakfast, landing in a smaller boat to-day than yesterday, namely, a four-oared gig instead of a larger one with six, and yet we landed with more ease. About eleven o’clock, I accompanied Colonel Nichols and Captain Owen on horseback to visit the Colonel’s residence on Green Mountain, distant about six miles from Regent Square. The roads have been made with a great deal of labour under the direction of the Colonel, and considering circumstances, there is no little credit due to that officer for his indefatigable exertions, and perseverance in accomplishing what would, to ordinary minds, have appeared impracticable. When about four miles from Regent Square we arrived at Dampier’s Spring, a stream of water that might pass through an ordinary sized goose quill, and if allowed to spread over the surface of the ground in some climates, would evaporate as quickly as it flowed, but here, conducted into a cask, it affords no inconsiderable portion of the supply at Regent’s Square. It is sent down in barrels on the backs of asses, or mules, and served out by measure, according to the quantity procured. There were a few habitations near this spring, cut out of the solid rock, for the residence of soldiers who were stationed here, with their wives and families. From Dampier’s Spring we continued to ascend about two miles further, when we arrived at the Colonel’s dwelling (which consisted merely of a ground floor), from whence all sterility ceases, the space between it and the top of the mountain being covered with a fine rich mould, partly cultivated with sweet potatoes, and partly covered with wild herbage, amongst which the Cape gooseberry is very abundant; this is an agreeable subacid fruit, pleasant to eat when ripe, and useful in a green state for tarts, &c.

Before dinner I took an opportunity of walking to the top of the hill, which is the highest on the island, being 800 feet above the Colonel’s house, and 2,849 feet above the level of the sea.

After dinner Lieutenant Badgeley, Dr. Burn, and Lieutenant Carrington of the Marines, left us to return by way of Regent Square, to the Eden. These three gentlemen have all, since that time, paid the debt of nature on board that ship. I accompanied Mr. Butter round the side of the Mountain to the Black Rock, beneath which stretched a wide and deep valley. In this walk we passed various spots set apart for the cultivation of vegetables, to which the soil is exceedingly favourable, while the deposition of night dews, with light showers, and a genial climate, all combine to render vegetation here peculiarly luxuriant, so that the inhabitants are not only enabled to reserve an ample supply for themselves, but to spare a small quantity for most of the ships that call at the island. Colonel Nichols informed us that he had 1000 lbs. weight of vegetables, principally the sweet potatoe, ready to dispose of at this period. We had at dinner green peas, and French beans, besides the more common vegetables, likewise turnip-radishes with our cheese. In fact all European vegetables may be, and most of them are, produced here. The greatest range of the thermometer on the mountain in the winter months, which are August, September, October, and November, is from 58 deg. to 70 deg., and in the summer from 70 deg. to 82 deg., consequently the greatest range of the whole year is only 24 deg. being from 58 deg. to 82 deg. F. The sweet potatoe, (of which there are a great many and very large[47]) was first brought here from Africa; the best method of cultivating them is found to be from shoots.

The following are the names and number of domestic animals now on the island, which is about 30 miles in circumference.

70 head of oxen.
60 sheep. (principally from Africa.) 600 goats.
8 horses.
4 mules.
27 asses.

There are likewise the dogs lately imported, and a few rabbits from the Cape of Good Hope, which have been turned loose in the valleys to breed; it is feared, however, that the cats will destroy the young rabbits, if they do not the old ones. Two red-legged partridges have also been brought from the Cape, and there are a few pigeons, likewise the English linnet in a wild state.

_Friday, 27_.–Fine morning with a few refreshing showers. Thermometer at 6 A.M. 70 deg. F. Soon after breakfast we left the Colonel’s house to return to Regent’s Square, but we walked nearly a mile before we mounted our horses. The officers of the Establishment invited all Captain Owen’s party, and their Colonel, to dine with them to-day at their mess, which consists of Lieutenants Evans and Barns, R.M. Mr. Mitchell, Surgeon, and Mr. Trescot, Agent-victualler to the African squadron.


The population of the island at that time was 192 souls,[48] all Europeans, except 40 liberated Africans, and they were then deficient of 10: the Government having allowed the number of 50 to assist in carrying on the required improvements and other employments, which consists of road-making, erecting buildings, gardening, conveying water, &c. &c. The officers of the Establishment, superintend the working parties, however, these only work four days in the week, Wednesday and Saturday being allowed them for fishing,[49] cleaning their clothes, and other private purposes, while the Sunday is of course kept holy. Their working hours are from daylight until eight o’clock, when they are allowed three-quarters of an hour for breakfast; after which they return to labour till eleven, they then rest until three o’clock; from which time they work until sunset. This arrangement, which throws open to repose the hottest portion of the day, is highly to be approved of in a warm climate.

At 7 o’clock we took leave of the Colonel and his officers, to return on board the Eden. When we got under weigh, and made sail out of Ascension-roads, for Sierra Leone, steering N.N.E.

In the year 1801, when I belonged to H.M.S. Cambrian, (the Honourable Captain Legge,) on our return voyage from St. Helena, we passed so near this island, that we sent a 24-pound shot among the hills, and saw it scatter the dust around the spot where it fell, but we did not send a boat on shore, for we knew it was then uninhabited, and our Commander was not disposed to lose his time in turning turtle, while he might be more gallantly employed chasing the enemy. We merely fired as a signal to any one that might have been left on the island by accident, for on the preceding year H.M.S. Endymion took on board the crew of a brig that had been wrecked on the island: and the celebrated navigator, Dampier, was also cast away here in the Roebuck, of 12 guns, on his return voyage from New Holland. Little could I have imagined at the time of my first visit, that I should ever have landed here, under my present peculiar circumstances, or that after so many years I should find so much to interest me in a place that presented nothing to my recollection but utter desolation. The alteration in the island was indeed curious, and I am happy to learn, that the improvements still proceed with at least equal energy, and proportionate success. Since my last visit, I am told that, the inhabitants have greatly increased their facilities of obtaining, and preserving supplies of fresh water, an achievement which must necessarily add much to their daily comfort.

_Saturday, 28_.–Nothing material occurred on this or the following day, for we glided along pleasantly with a fresh trade-wind, varying only a couple of points from S.E. to E.S.E. until the morning of

_Monday, 30_.–When the wind got much lighter and we were afraid of losing the trade altogether, for although at this season of the year it prevails much further from the Southern towards the Northern Hemisphere, yet we can seldom hope to carry it beyond the equinoctial line, where we expect to get into what is very characteristically called “the variables”: at one season of the year, these winds are very light and changeable, with frequent calms and occasional thunderstorms and waterspouts: at another season of the year, the weather is dark, gloomy, squally with occasional calms and much rain, until we advance to 12 deg. or 14 deg. N. latitude, where we usually fall in with the N.E. trade wind, however, ships are sometimes fortunate enough on leaving the Southern Hemisphere for the Northern, particularly in the months of May, June, and July, to carry the S.E. trade to the northward of the line, even until they fall in with the N.E. trade.

Between three and four this afternoon, we crossed the equinoctial line, at which time I took an affidavit before Captain Owen for my half-pay. I was induced to do this from the novelty of the circumstance, as well as a preparatory measure in case I should have an opportunity of forwarding a letter to England. Lat. at noon, for the last three days, 5 deg. 39′.–2 deg. 25′. and 0 deg. 13′. S.

_Tuesday, July, 1_.–There was a great change in the weather to-day. The wind was more unsettled, the clouds were heavy, and there was a general haze around the horizon. These were clear indications of our approaching the coast of Africa in the rainy season; there had also been a heavy dew last night, which aggravated these gloomy appearances. At sunset, we saw a vessel a few miles a-head of us, which we came up with in about an hour, she proved to be a Dutch galliot, from the island of Mayo, bound to Rio de Janeiro, with half a cargo of salt.

Immediately on receiving this intelligence, I requested the boarding officer to engage a passage for me to the Brazils, which being accomplished, I took leave of my kind and respected friend Captain Owen, after having been his guest for nearly twelve months; during which time I had experienced an unvarying series of unequalled attentions, a consideration for my interest and pursuits highly flattering, and had derived, from his conversation and society, an acquisition of truly valuable information; for which I desire to acknowledge myself deeply and gratefully his debtor.

[39] There are a good many runaway slaves living at the south end of the island, quite independent of all the Portuguese authorities.

[40] It should be explained, that these vessels are permitted to trade for slaves to the southward of the line; but are liable to capture, if found to the northward of the line with slaves on board. However, they frequently expose themselves to the risk, in a desperate spirit of speculation.

[41] Wild parsley is very abundant in the valleys, besides chickweed, thistles, wild mint, and other herbs.

[42] The guinea fowl feed principally on crickets and chickweed.

[43] Bull terriers.

[44] It is observed, a short time previous to the turtle season, that the sand rises on shore, near the beach, considerably higher than at other times.

[45] The turtle, generally, weigh about 400 lbs.; and, sometimes, as much as 700 lbs.

[46] A small species of gull.

[47] Some have grown so large as to weigh 5 or 6 pounds.

[48] About 50 of this number live at Dampier’s Spring.

[49] They have boats belonging to the Establishment, which are on these days provided with hooks and lines, and sent off those parts of the island where there is known to be good fishing ground.


Dutch Galliot–An Agreeable Companion–Strange Associates–Melancholy Account of St. Jago–Beauty in Tears–Manner of obtaining Salt, and Water at Mayo–Pleasures of a Galliot in a heavy Sea–Dutch Miscalculation–Distances–An Oblation to Neptune and Amphitrite (new style)–Melange, Devotion and _Gourmanderie_–Curious Flying-fish– Weather–Whales–Cape Pigeons–Anchor off Rio Janeiro–Distant Scenery–Custom-house Duties–Hotel du Nord–Rua Dircito–Confusion thrice confounded–Fruit Girls, not fair, but coquettish–Music unmusical, or Porterage, with an Obligato Accompaniment–Landing-places– An Evening Walk–A bad Cold–Job’s Comforter–Shoals of Visitors– Captain Lyon’s Visit, and Invitation to the Author–Naval Friends– Packet for England–English Tailors–Departure for Gongo Soco–The Party–Thoughts on Self-Denial–Uncomfortable Quarters–Changes of Atmosphere–Freedom by Halves; or _left_-handed Charity–Serra Santa Anna–Valley of Botaes–The Ferreirinho, or little Blacksmith–Dangerous Ascent of the Alto de Serra–Pest, an Universal Disease–An English Settler–Rio Paraheiba–Valencia–Curiosity of the People–Unceremonious Inquisitors–Comforts of a Beard–Castor-Oil for burning–Rio Preta– Passports–Entrance to the Mine Country–Examination of Baggage– Attention without Politeness–The Green-eyed Monster, “An old Man would be wooing”

At eight o’clock, I found myself and baggage on board the Dutchman, under all sail, for Rio de Janeiro. I had the good fortune to meet with a countryman, in a fellow voyager, who proved to be excellent society, and who, consequently, became my principal companion, for although the captain and his mates were good sailors, and honest men, they were unskilled in the polite usages of society, and as the best linguist amongst them had but a small share of broken English, much conversation with them was out of the question.

Mr. Fearon (my fellow passenger), having left England, some time since, for Sierra Leone, the vessel in which he sailed, had called at St. Jago, where they found the Consul General for the Cape de Verds, lying dangerously ill with the fever. Mr. Fearon was solicited to remain and perform the duties of that office; and a few days after, had the melancholy task of attending the Consul to his grave, and very shortly after, of laying the widow by her husband’s side. These melancholy duties being performed, he took upon himself the office of Vice Consul, until a reply to his report of the Consul’s death could be received from the British Government; but, in the meanwhile, he was himself taken so ill with the endemic fever, and found it so impossible to regain health at St. Jago, that it was deemed necessary to send him to the island of Mayo for change of air; where he attained convalescence, but still continued much debilitated when we met on board the galliot. The Consul’s sister at St. Jago, a most accomplished and attractive young lady, and whose acquaintance I had had the pleasure of making there at her brother’s house, had also been, I learned, taken ill at the same time; I had, however, the gratification of meeting her afterwards at the Brazils, as a married lady, both happy and healthful, after she had surmounted a variety of difficult adventures, and many severe trials of fortitude, and presence of mind.

One of my first inquiries, was respecting the manner of preparing the salt at Mayo, for exportation. I learned, that during the summer a portion of low-land, near the sea, was inundated, between which and the sea, the communication being subsequently cut off, the water rapidly exhaled, leaving the salt in chrystals on the surface of the earth; these, in due time, were collected in heaps; but as, of course, the longer they remain, the more concentrated the chrystals become, it is necessary to observe considerable caution in loading vessels, to select that portion which has been the longest exposed to evaporation.

They procure water for the town and shipping at Mayo, by digging a number of pits (too shallow to deserve the name of wells), near the beach, between the salt-pan plain, and the sea: they thus collect a stock of brackish water, in small quantities from each pit: however, in the interior of the island, they are well supplied with good spring water.

_Wednesday, 2_.–We had a fresh trade-wind to-day, which made me feel the difference between H.M.S. Eden, and this pile-driving galliot: my sleeping-place too, happened to be at the furthest end of the vessel, which might be compared to one of the horns of a crescent, and while I was dancing in the air, others in the centre of the concavity, were scarcely out of the horizontal line. Fortunately, a very short repose is sufficient for me, as my bed was not the softest in the world, for as I had not brought one with me, I was obliged to lie upon an old sail, with a bag of clothes for a pillow: however, I have no desire to consider comforts, when I am travelling, lest feather-bed indulgences, and luxurious appointments, should divert my attention from more useful objects. The latitude at noon to-day, was 1 deg. 36′. N, and longitude, 16 deg. 28′. W. by the Eden’s calculation (the correctness of which I might venture to swear by, for no ship ever kept a better), being 1 deg. 27′. E. of the galliot’s reckoning.

_Thursday, 3_.–Still a fresh S.E. trade-wind, which enabled us to go a point free, (S.W. by S.) Noon, lat. 0 deg. 14′. S. lon. 17 deg. 29′. W. Having crossed the equinoctial line this forenoon, I have passed it for the third time, in as many distinct voyages, within a fortnight, namely,

1st. From Prince’s Island, to Ascension.

2nd. From Ascension towards Sierra Leone.

3rd. From on board the Eden, on her way to Sierra Leone, more than 2 deg. north of the line, to Rio de Janeiro.

There being no one on board the galliot, who had ever crossed the equinoctial line before, except the chief mate, Mr. Fearon, and myself, the usual ceremony of shaving, &c. was dispensed with, but to prevent the circumstance passing entirely uncommemorated, Mr. Fearon presented us with some champagne, as an oblation to Neptune and his spouse, Amphitrite. About sunset, seven flying-fish fell on board, which we had for supper, and found them very delicious.

_Friday, 4_.–Still a moderate S.E. trade, lat. 1 deg. 56′. S. lon. 18 deg. 16′. W. Our mode of living is as follows:–Between six and seven in the morning, a cup of coffee is brought to us; at half-past seven, the whole crew assemble in the cabin to prayers; immediately after which, we all go to breakfast, ours in the cabin, consisting of boiled barley, of which the captain and his mates partake freely, mixing with each portion, a large table spoonful of butter; this is followed by tea, cold meat, and biscuit, and concluded with well buttered biscuits and cheese. At eleven, coffee again; and so soon after noon as the ship’s place is ascertained by the reckoning, a glass of wine is presented to each person,[50] followed by dinner. At half-past three, tea; and at six, tea again, but combined with supper. At half-past seven, the crew again assemble to prayers; after which, all not employed on watch, retire to rest, with the exception of Mr. Fearon and myself, who were neither such _gourmands_, nor such sleepers as our Dutch friends.–They, however, were very moderate in their use of ardent spirits, or fermented liquors; they were also very moderate smokers, and seldom introduced smoking in the cabin.

This evening, three more flying-fish fell on board, one of which, having four wings instead of two, I preserved in spirits. Mr. Fearon informed me, that he had previously remarked this variation in the species, which, however, does not appear to be common, it having, as I think, escaped general notice.

_Saturday, 5_.–Saw a large ship to-day standing in the same direction with ourselves, but she did not approach us. At noon, Lat. 3 deg. 52′. S. Lon. 19 deg. 18′. W.

_Sunday, 6_.–Fresh breezes and cloudy, with heavy squalls, and rain at times; four more flying-fish for breakfast. The sea getting up to-day made the vessel very uneasy. Lat. 5 deg. 47. S. Lon. 20 deg. 12. W.

_Monday, 7_.–Strong breezes and cloudy, with a heavy sea. Course continues the same, and but little variation in the wind, excepting force. Lat. 7 deg. 42′. S.

_Tuesday, 8_.–The wind moderated to-day, and the weather cleared up. Only two flying-fish for breakfast, which proved a sufficient relish for the passengers, but they would not have gone far towards satisfying our Dutch messmates. Lat. at noon, 9 deg. 34′. S. Lon. 22 deg. 17′. W.

_Wednesday, 9_.–Breeze freshened again to-day. Lat. 11 deg. 9′. S. Lon. 23 deg. 36′. W.

_Thursday, 10_.–Wind increased to a very strong breeze, with a good deal of sea, which made the vessel roll about and plunge in a most delightful manner. Lat. 13 deg. 13′. S. Lon. 25 deg. 7′. W.

_Friday, 11_.–Very squally weather, with a heavy swell. Lat. at noon, 15 deg. 9′. S. Lon. 25 deg. 7′. W.

_Saturday, 12_.–Fresh breezes and cloudy. Lat. 17 deg. 9′. S. Lon. 27 deg. 46. W.

_Sunday, 13_.–Wind and weather moderated to-day. Lat. 18 deg. 55′. S. Lon. 29 deg. 48′. W. Saw a few whales playing about.

_Monday, 14_.–Fresh breezes and very fine weather. At noon, Lat. 20 deg. 44′. S. Lon. 31 deg. 42′. W. Cape Frio, S. 76 deg. W. 564 miles.

_Tuesday, 15_.–Moderate and fine: wind N.E. Lat. 22 deg. 2′. S. Lon. 33 deg. 22′. W. Cape Frio, S. 82 deg. W. 472 miles. Afternoon, light breezes and variable, from N. to E.

_Wednesday, 16_.–Fresh breezes and cloudy, with squalls at times. Wind N.E. to E. A single flying-fish for breakfast. Lat. 22 deg. 23′. S. Lon. 35 deg. 9′. W. Cape Frio, S. 84 deg. W. 364 miles.

_Thursday, 17_.–Fresh breezes, and cloudy until noon. Afternoon, moderate and fine. Lat. 22 deg. 34′. S. Lon. 34 deg. 7′. W. Found a sore throat coming on, accompanied with fever, the effect of a severe cold caught by remaining on deck late at night. I had also frequently got wet during the blowing weather, by the sea breaking over the vessel: and, unfortunately, had not recommenced wearing flannel, having abandoned the use of it at Fernando Po, in consequence of the exhaustion it produced by the excessive sultriness of the weather.

_Friday, 18_.–Two Cape pigeons were hovering over the vessel to-day; they were the first we had seen; and it is very possible, that they had recently deserted some vessel which they had followed from the Cape of Good Hope. They are a small sea-fowl, about the size of a pigeon, from which resemblance they derive their name. They are to be seen in great numbers off the Cape, as well as in the higher southern latitudes.

At noon, Lat. 22 deg. 34′. S. Lon. 38 deg. 27′. W. Cape Frio, S. 82 deg. W. 200 miles. Soon after noon, the discoloration of the sea indicated the proximity of land, although, by our reckoning, it should have been far distant; however, we saw it at sunset, bearing N.W. by N. about 15 miles, which we supposed to be the Cape St. Thomas, when we sounded in 33 fathoms sand, with black and white specks. Stood to the southward for the night.

_Saturday, 19_.–Soon after daylight, we saw the land. At noon, Cape Frio, W.N.W. about 12 miles. Lat. 23 deg. 7′. S. Lon. 39 deg. 25′. W. At two in the afternoon, we passed a warlike looking schooner under Brazilian colours. At sunset. Cape Frio, E.N.E. about eight miles. Continued our course for the harbour of Rio de Janeiro till midnight, when we hove to for daylight.

_Sunday, 20_.–At daylight, we made all sail with a light breeze, for the harbour of Rio de Janeiro. At two in the afternoon, sounded in forty fathoms; Sugar Loaf Hill bearing N.W. At eight in the evening, we came to an anchor abreast of the forts, at the entrance of the harbour.[51]

_Monday, 21_.–At daylight, we found the most splendid scenery open to our view: a clear atmosphere, and a sky so serene, that the distant mountains blended softly into the heavens, while the picturesque grouping of objects in the vicinity, completed a beautiful _coup d’oeil_, which it is difficult to imagine, and scarcely possible to be surpassed. The wind and tide being against us until two o’clock, the sea-breeze then setting in, we got under weigh, to go into the harbour, but, at four o’clock, the Portuguese authorities obliged us to come to an anchor in the outer harbour, abreast of Fort Santa Cruz, in 22 fathoms water.

H.M.S. Blossom, Captain Beechy, dropped anchor here this afternoon, on his return voyage from his explorating expedition in Baring Straits, when she immediately saluted the flag of Sir Robert Otway, which was flying on board H.M.S. Ganges. H.M.B. Chanticleer, Captain Forster, was also lying in the harbour; an agreeable _rencontre_, I should imagine, for Captains Beechy and Forster, who were companions on the North Pole expedition; no small difference in climate and scenery from their present place of meeting. Captain Peters of our galliot (the Young Nicholas) and Mr. Fearon went on shore in the evening, but I was too ill with my cold, even to venture exposing myself to the night air, or to remove until I had secured a comfortable lodging; however, on the following afternoon I landed, but without my baggage, as it was detained until special permission for its removal could be received from the Custom-house; where every packet was examined and paid for, before I was permitted to take it to my lodgings.

Mr. Fearon and myself took up our quarters at the Hotel du Nord near the Palace, at one end of the Rua Direito (or strait street), which runs parallel with the sea. This is the broadest and best street in Rio de Janeiro, and as the Custom-house is situated in the centre, with the Palace and Dock-yard flanking the extremities, this street is an immense thoroughfare, especially as all articles of merchandise, not excepting the slaves, or any other object of traffic imported, or exported, must pass through it, on, or from, its way to the Custom-house.

But, as though the confusion necessarily attendant upon this continual bustle were insufficient, each group of porters as they pass along with their heavy loads, chant their peculiar national songs, for the double purpose of timing their steps and concentrating their attention on their employment. To these sounds are added the variety of cries, uttered in an endless alternation of tones, by the pretty negress fruit venders, who, smartly dressed, and leering and smiling in their most captivating manner endeavour so to attract the attention of the sons of Adam. These, with the gabbling of foreigners, hurrying on their several missions of pleasure or of business, the chattering of slaves waiting to be hired, and the occasional expostulations of those who are unceremoniously jostled from the pavement by the rude encounter of bales of goods, keep up altogether a din of discordance perfectly distracting.

There are three principal landing-places at the city of Rio, one in front of the Palace, one at the Custom-House, and one at the Naval-yard; where there are flights of stone steps for the convenience of the public. I took a walk in the evening with my friend Mr. Fearon to the Rua Pescadores (Fisherman’s street, one of the many that branch from the Rua Direito), to find out Dr. Dickson, a naval surgeon settled in this city, for whom I had a letter of introduction, from my friend Captain Owen. He was not at home, but we were received by his partner, who appeared much concerned at my state of health, and advised me to return home and not think of leaving the house again until Dr. Dickson saw me, which he promised should be early on the following morning. I believed my catarrh had encreased to pneumonia, and the medical gentleman appeared to consider the symptoms much more seriously than I did myself.

_Wednesday, 23_.–My cough was much worse to-day, indeed it had become so troublesome that I was almost exhausted, especially as I dared not partake of any stimulating food, to support my strength. Neither could I obtain repose either by night or by day, indeed I found the horizontal position less endurable than any other. I, however, received in my bed room a number of gentlemen who called upon me. Among these was Captain Lyon of the royal navy, who had charge of a very large mining establishment in the interior, under the title of the Imperial British Brazilian Mining Company, at Gongo Soco. On hearing my intention to travel in the Brazils, this gentleman not only invited me to visit him, but also to accompany him to his establishment, to which he was about to return in a few days. This invitation was perfectly irresistible, and I promised to avail myself of it, if it were possible for me to sit on horseback at the time of his departure. This hope induced me to be doubly careful in promoting the measures judged advisable for my recovery. Captain Duntz, and his friend Mr. Edward Walker, one of the Directors of the Mining Company, also called with Captain Lyon; as well as Messrs. Luddington, Power, &c. in the course of the day.

_Thursday, 24_.–Captain Lyon most obligingly invited me to join a party, consisting of Mr. Gordon, our Minister, Captains Beechy and Forster, &c. &c. on a most interesting excursion to the Corcovada Mountain on the following morning, for the purpose of measuring its height; but I was most reluctantly obliged to decline it; first, because it would have been too trying for my cough; and secondly, because I wished to reserve all my strength for my journey into the interior.

_Saturday, 26_.–Captain Duntz paid me another visit, bringing his friend Sir T. Thompson of the Cadmus with him. Captain Lyon and his friend Mr. Edward Walker also favoured me in like manner.

_Monday, 28_.–The packet sailed for England to-day, calling at Bahia and Pernambuco on her way. Captain Lyon’s friend Mr. Edward Walker went passenger in her. I heard that our journey into the interior was fortunately deferred for a day or two. My friend Lieutenant E. Belcher of H.M.S. Blossom, called on me to-day, as did several other gentlemen.

_Tuesday, 29_.–Captain Lyon called to inform me that he had determined on proceeding to the interior the following day; I therefore busied myself in preparing for the journey. Among the few articles of which I stood in need, were a jacket and pantaloons, which I was obliged to purchase, ready made, at a store of English slop-goods, the English tailors here being too consequential to accommodate any one on an emergency.

_Wednesday, 30_.–I took leave of my friend and fellow passenger Mr. Fearon, to join Captain Lyon at Mr. Raynsford’s in Rua Pescadores, from whose house we were to set out. Every thing being ready about noon, we mounted our mules, and formed a very respectable cavalcade, our party for the interior consisting of Captain Lyon, Mr. Sharpe, Mr. A. Walker, and myself, with a train of loaded mules, we were also favoured by the escort of Messrs. Raynsford, and Lewis, on our first day’s march. The latter gentleman is a Prussian Jew, and has amassed a considerable property in this country by dealing in precious stones, in addition to which traffic, he has a general store at Gongo Soco. He has also a brother a dealer in jewels who lives at Villa Rica. How is it that other men cannot succeed so well as those of the Jewish persuasion? Is it that their intelligence, penetration, and discrimination, are superior to other men? Or is it solely owing to their less scrupulous integrity? My own conviction has always been, that want of success in any particular pursuit or profession, has arisen in most cases, out of an absence of that firmness which enables a man to reject the pleasures of the world, and the world’s frivolities, for the sake of the one purpose to which he should rightly devote all his energies. When men practise a rigid course of self-denial in this respect; immolating all vain desires upon the altar of science, or of interest, they seldom fail to attain the utmost point of their ambition.

I found myself very weak, and much reduced by the low regimen which I had necessarily observed during the violence of my inflammatory cough. A blister had also been kept open on my breast during the whole time of my sojourn at Rio de Janeiro, this had only received its first dressing just before I mounted my mule, and I had not got clear of the city before the inflamed state of my chest, so dried up the dressing, that the irritation produced was like a red hot iron applied to the surface: this torture I was compelled to endure for more than three hours, before I could obtain any relief. About four o’clock we arrived at Venda Nova, or Traja, also known by the name of Willis’s, it having been kept by an Englishman of that name. It was much patronized by the English, who frequently made excursions of pleasure to this place, distant from Rio de Janeiro four Brazilian leagues or sixteen English miles. We were well supplied here with provisions, but our lodgings were of a very inferior description, all the party, excepting myself, being literally, and actually, necessitated to exclaim

“My lodging is on the cold ground.”

The only imitation of a bed-place was considerately resigned to me. It consisted of a crib in a small room, no larger than a closet; however, as the horizontal position still continued most distressing to me, a bed of down could not have procured me repose, for I do not think I ceased coughing for three consecutive minutes the whole night. And it was no small aggravation to my misery, to know that I was the means of disturbing all my friends in the next apartment. Under these circumstances, I heard the summons for preparation, at a very early hour, with infinite satisfaction, and, ill as I was, though the morning was extremely raw and cold, I rejoiced to find that we were all in the saddle before daylight (half-past five)–Mr. Raynsford, on his return to Rio de Janeiro, and our own party for the Mine Country. Soon after noon, we arrived at Manganga, a distance of four leagues (16 miles), having passed over a very level country, where the heat of the day was equal in intensity, to the cold of the morning; the thermometer being, at one time, upwards of 90 deg. F. This change was to me delightful, as heat agrees with me at all times, and more particularly while suffering from an indisposition, the prevalent symptom of which is a sensation of chilliness. I found my strength very inadequate to bear much fatigue. Our accommodation, however, was better to-night than the preceding one, and Captain Lyon being well known on the road, acquainted with the language, and a man of very agreeable manners, we found every one ready to do their utmost to serve him, especially the fair sex. In speaking of the fair sex–or rather, in this case, the female, but not fair–a pretty young negress came to solicit charity, for the purpose of enabling her to make up a sum of money to purchase half her freedom, the other half having been left as a legacy, by her deceased master. This is doing things by halves with a witness: who would have thought of such piece-meal generosity, except a thrifty Brazilian Portuguese.

_Friday, August 1_.–Soon after daylight, we set off again with our whole party: and at eleven, we rested a short time to refresh ourselves at a venda,[52] which stands at the foot of a rugged and precipitous range, called the Serra Santa Anna (or St. Ann’s Mountain), which we afterwards passed over, and arrived, about three o’clock, at a respectable farm-house, in the village of Botaes, where we remained for the night, having travelled four leagues to-day. Captain Lyon called my attention this afternoon, to the note of a bird in a wood, when passing over the mountain, named the Ferreirinho (little Blacksmith), from the resemblance of the note to the ringing sound of a smart blow from a small hammer on an anvil, terminating in a sharp whistle.

_Saturday, 2_.–Notwithstanding the inconvenience I had suffered during the journey of the two preceding days, I felt an increase of strength, and an abatement of my cough. Fortunately for me, we passed the night in a warm valley, and did not start this morning till nine o’clock, from which time our journey over the mountain proved very pleasant, for it must be remembered, that this is the winter season in this country; and that the coldness of the nights continues unabated until the rising sun begins to exert its influence. We left Mr. A. Walker, with the loaded mules, to follow; Capt. Lyon being anxious to proceed at a quicker rate. Almost immediately after leaving the farm, we began to ascend the Alto de Serra, where, in some places, a false step of the mule would have precipitated both the animal and its rider into one of the fearful chasms that occasionally yawned beneath our path. We were frequently placed in very awkward situations, for we met with several caravans of loaded mules, winch were generally conducted by the voices of the muleteers, who dash on at a fearless rate; and, in some of these passes, at the imminent risk of overturning the travellers whom chance places in their way: I was frequently obliged to jerk my foot suddenly out of the stirrup, and allow my leg to pass behind on the back of the animal on which I rode, to avoid these unceremonious assaults; while, on the opposite side, I was pressed against the rugged surface of an overhanging ridge.

When we arrived at the top of the mountain, we made a halt at a blacksmith’s shop, for the purpose of getting Captain Lyon’s mule bled, the muleteer having declared that he had the pest; but the word _pest_ appertains here to all sorts of animal ailments; for example, there was a fowl sick at this place, and on asking what was the matter with it, we were told that it had the pest; the fowl’s disease proved to be the pip. Indeed, this convenient word pest, was indiscriminately applied to all diseases which the people did not understand. It reminded me of La Fleur, in the Sentimental Journey, who, when he could not get his horse to pass the dead ass, cried “Pest!” as the _dernier resort_ of his vocabulary of exclamations. In the afternoon, we made a short halt at a venda within twelve miles of Botaes, to refresh ourselves, which was kept by an Englishman named John M’Dill, who had formerly lived at Gongo Soco with Captain Tregoning. He had recently settled here on a small estate, which he was clearing for a coffee plantation. About sunset, we crossed the Rio Paraheiba, over a long wooden bridge, about a mile beyond which we put up for the night, where we had but very indifferent accommodations. We had ridden five leagues, or twenty miles, to-day.

_Sunday, 3_.–We set off at five this morning, and arrived at the town of Valencia at nine, where we stopped for breakfast. Nearly all the inhabitants of the town collected to comment upon us, and it so happened, that I was the principal object of curiosity in the whole group: this unlooked for distinction, arose from two circumstances, first, my wearing a long beard; and secondly, my blindness. These peculiarities produced numberless exclamations, as, “How could I travel? Why did I travel? Why did I wear a long beard? Was I a Padre?–or, a Missionary?” and so forth, until they became so pressing that we were glad to get housed, with closed doors, to keep these troublesome inquisitors at a respectful distance.

I can well understand, that a simple people, whose experience is limited to their own habits, and who have never had an opportunity of inter-mixing with other nations, must have been startled by the novelty of a beard; but their astonishment at the sight of a board, was not greater than mine, on discovering that they were destitute of an appendage, which, in the torid zone, is at once an article of luxury and utility. The people of the East invariably wear beards, not merely as a national custom, but as a matter of necessity; and, for my part, I can testify, that I found it an indispensable protection to the neck, and the lower part of the face: after a day’s journey, the luxury of immerging the face in cold water, leaving the beard half dry, was most refreshing, the evaporation producing a very reviving and agreeable effect. In addition to my beard, I had the farther protection of a broad brimmed straw-hat, the crown of which was deeply wadded with cotton wool, and which completely screened me from the piercing rays of a tropical sun.

Having occasion for some castor-oil, I sent to an apothecary to procure it, which amused the people exceedingly, who declared their astonishment at our simplicity, in sending to a doctor for an article so common here, that it is generally used for lamp-oil, and to obtain which, it is only necessary to gather the beans from the plant, which grows wildly and luxuriantly in this country, and express the juice in the ordinary way.

Soon after leaving Valencia, we passed a venda, kept by another countryman of ours, but we did not stop there, being anxious to reach the town of Preta before night. About sunset we arrived at Rio Preta (or Black River), passing over a long wooden bridge to the town, where we waited for the authorities, to have our passports, &c. examined, which we had previously procured at Rio, from the Minister of the Interior. We had now entered the Minas Geraes, or Mine Country, the opposite bank of the river forming the boundary of the province of Rio de Janeiro. Every package was examined, and a duty demanded for each article of merchandize, &c. excepting our personal baggage; after this ceremony, we proceeded to a house, where they were accustomed to receive, I cannot say accommodate, travellers, for its appointments and arrangements, were neither elegant nor convenient; and the host, an old man with a young wife, was by no means civil: attentive he was, to the most minute point of etiquette, and somewhat more attentive than agreeable, for he watched us with a most pertinacious vigilance, in order that we might have no opportunity of conversing with our pretty hostess, whom he closely followed about with looks of angry jealousy, while she prepared our supper. It was truly pitiable to observe the misery the old dotard endured, every time his wife entered our apartment, constantly fidgetting at her elbow, and scrutinizing, suspiciously, every look that passed between her and her guests. His fears served us for a jest, however, and produced a vein of jocularity, that reconciled us to our earthen flooring, upon which some of our party were doomed to seek repose for that night.

We had made the longest journey to-day of any since we left Rio, having travelled twenty-eight miles. This is also the largest town we entered, since leaving Rio, and had once been a place of considerable importance.

[50] This was a very pleasant, light, sweet wine, made at Tours, and which the captain procured at Nantes.

[51] It is worthy of remark, that, notwithstanding the immense number of sharks in the harbour, the inhabitants are not deterred from bathing; these animals being so abundantly supplied with food from the offal of a large and populous city, as to be divested of their natural ferocity:–accidents caused by them, are absolutely unknown here, although they are frequently seen swimming near, and even among the persons bathing in the harbour.

[52] This is a shop, or store, by the road-side, where aqua-dent (spirits made in the country, and generally strongly flavoured with aniseed) and sometimes wine can be procured, with provisions, and a few other common necessaries.


Advantages of early Travelling–Funelle–“A Traveller stopped at a Widow’s Gate”–Bright Eyes and Breakfast–Smiles and Sighs–The Fish River–Cold Lodgings–Fowl Massacre–Bad Ways–Gigantic Ant-hills–The Campos–Insect Warriors–Insinuating Visitors (Tick)–The Simpleton– Bertioga–A Drunkard–Cold Shoulders–Mud Church–Feasting and Fasting; or, the Fate of Tantalus–Method in a Slow March–Gentlemen Hungry and Angry–No “Accommodation for Man or Horse”–A Practical Bull–Curtomi– Hospitable Treatment at Grandie–Horse-dealer–A “Chance” Purchase– Bivouac–Mule Kneeling–Sagacious Animal–Quilos–A Mist–Gold-washing –Ora Branca–Hazardous Ascent of the Serra D’Ora Banca–Topaz District –A Colonel the Host–Capoa–Jigger-hunters–Mineralogical Specimens– Mortality of Animals–Pasturage–Account of Ora Preta–Gold Essayed– Halt–Journey resumed–Arrival at Gongo Soco

_Monday, August 4, 1828_.–Our muleteers had no small trouble to collect their animals in readiness for us to start at the appointed time (four in the morning); indeed, they had been full two hours beating about the bush to get them together. Fortunately, however, these men go to rest so early, that they think little of getting up in the middle of the night, to collect and load their mules, which is a common occurrence, as an early start is desirable for both man and beast, because two hours travelling before sunrise, is not half so fatiguing as one hour after it; the muleteers are also glad to promote any measure that will enable them to complete their day’s journey before sunset, that they may get their supper and go to rest so soon as it is dark, which, in this tropical region, is always at an early hour. Between nine and ten we arrived at a venda, called Funelle, where we breakfasted on eggs and milk, standing at a counter, there being no other apartments in this small habitation, except the bed-room of a pretty young black-eyed widow, who was laughing and flirting with our party the whole time we remained. Having made but a third of our intended day’s journey, we were obliged to tear ourselves away from the interesting widow’s fascinations, greatly to the annoyance of some of my companions, who would fain have prolonged the pleasure of her agreeable trifling:–but _malgre_ the Loves and the Cupids, with the accompaniments of beauty’s witcheries, we were obliged to press forward, towards our quarters for the night, which we proposed to take up at a house called Rosa Gomez, six leagues from Funelle, and nine from Villa Preta, making thirty-six miles to-day. About a mile or two before we arrived at Rosa Gomez, we passed the Fish River.

_Tuesday, August 5_.–We endured a very cold and comfortless night in bad quarters, where, had it not been for the exertions of our own people who were obliged to knock down a few wretched straggling fowls for our use, we should not have been able to procure any thing either for supper, or breakfast, except a disagreeable mess of flour and water.

The thermometer at daylight this morning was so low as 45 deg. F., which temperature we all felt keenly, especially as we had nothing but our cloaks for our night covering, on cold and comfortless cane couches. However, we did not set off till near eight o’clock, and after the sun rises, the warmth rapidly increases. We made but a short journey to-day, of two leagues and a half, for the roads were rugged and precipitous, and intersected by several abrupt and broken streams, so that we were obliged to be extremely cautious in our progress, and chary of the services of our mules. We passed some very large ant-hills to-day, from eight to twelve feet in height; the summits of which form excellent arches for the tops of ovens, while slabs cut out of the more solid parts, serve for the ends and sides.

_Wednesday, 6_.–We set out at daylight, leaving the woody country behind us, and entering on the Campos, or Downs, where our annoyances from the insect tribe commenced. The brushwood here being infested by Tick and other tormentors, who mercilessly attacked our whole party, mules included, insinuating themselves imperceptibly into our sleeves and pantaloons, when burying their heads in our flesh, and feasting on our blood, they made us acutely sensible of their presence, by the intolerable irritation they produced: and from which we had no means of escaping until the hour of disrobing for the night. After travelling three leagues we stopped at a village called Souza, where we took breakfast, the comfort of which meal was, however, destroyed, by the importunate absurdities of an old man, half lunatic, half simpleton.

After breakfast we proceeded to Bertioga (three leagues and a half), where we put up for the night. Soon after our arrival, several people came hastily to Captain Lyon to complain of an Englishman, who was very drunk, and had been making a great disturbance in their house. On inquiry, the offender proved to be a blacksmith on his way to Gongo Soco, he had been engaged by the agent for the Company, and sent off from Rio, thirty-six days previously, which time he had wasted in drunkenness and idleness, having only completed forty leagues of his journey; Captain Lyon consequently ordered him to return to Rio, as the specimen of ill conduct already given, shewed him to be unworthy of being received into the Company’s service.

Our accommodations to night were much us usual, mud floors, and our cloaks for a covering. Total six leagues and a half to-day.

_Thursday, 7_.–We set off before daylight, which did not agree very well with me, the morning air being still too keen for my lungs, which, with a pain in my side, made me very unwell to-day. About noon we stopped at a farm-house in a village, called Os Ilhos. There was a church in progress here, the walls of which they were building with mud. After refreshing ourselves, and our mules, for about an hour, we resumed our journey toward a large farm, called Baroga, having made 24 miles to-day. My companions fared sumptuously, as we had brought a turkey with us from our last resting place, and with the addition of a roasting pig, it made the grandest feast imaginable, and far exceeded any thing we had met with since we left Rio de Janeiro; however, it proved a fast to me, as I was obliged to take medicine, and leave them to their enjoyment.

Our host and hostess were plain honest good farming people, and appeared desirous to do every thing they could for Captain Lyon, but for all that, they could not be roused out of their accustomed methodical manner, and the preparation of our meal was, to them, a business of serious delay and labour.

And all entreaties were vain,
For they’d promise and promise again, But still go on the same.

My friends, therefore, were compelled to take policy for their counsellor, and patience for their remedy. The most provoking part of the affair was, that they were expected to consider themselves obliged, by the condescension of their hosts, in undertaking upon any terms to minister to their necessities: consequently there was no possibility of giving utterance to any hasty feelings of impatience; no opening for those little outbreaks of anger so common to hungry gentlemen. These, might they have been indulged, would have amused, as well as comforted the sufferers, but unhappy travellers! they were compelled to

Let _keen hunger_, like a worm in the bud, Feed on their _inner man_.

Here, however, our accommodations were quite superior, when compared with what we had found at other resting-places; indeed they did not profess to “_accommodate travellers_,” an assurance which is I presume intended to reconcile the guest to such reception as they choose to give: but if these people are unwilling to “_profess_,” they do not allow their _scruples_ to limit their _expectations_; these are always directed towards a recompense, which they are just as eager to receive as those who accord more to the convenience of the stranger.

Their curiosity is also unparalleled, and when you dismount you are received with a string of questions; respecting your health. Where you have been? The news of Rio? Whom you have met on the road? Who are expected to go up? or down the country? &c. &c. Having obtained all the information your patience will grant, they at length begin to consider what provision they can make for you, and generally commence operations by slaughtering a few fowls, (or sometimes a turkey or a roasting pig;) then a large pot of water must be boiled to dip the fowls in, by way of removing the feathers in the most expeditious manner; a practical bull, for if they plucked the birds the moment they were dead, and before the body was allowed to cool, the process would be completed in less time than they could boil the water. After this preparation, they proceed with their tedious cookery, all of which is conducted in an equally awkward manner. Sometimes after arriving in the evening, tired and hungry, three or four hours elapsed, before any knives and forks were put on the table, or any other visible progress made in the arrangement of our meal: and not unfrequently my companions gave the matter up in despair, and resigned themselves to sleep, while all were completely worn out with waiting, long before the dinner appeared.

_Friday, 8_.–We set out at daylight, and about ten miles distance, we stopped a short time at a farm house, named Curtomi; we then proceeded ten miles further to Grandie. Just before we arrived at this place, about four miles and a half distant, the road from Rio over the Campos, and the Caminha Real, or Royal road, from Porta de Estrella meet, forming one main road from hence into the interior. We stopped at a large house, which belonged to very civil people, where we were well lodged, and very hospitably entertained.

_Saturday, 9_.–We had a comfortable breakfast before we set off this morning, and I felt much recruited to-day; we had also all the advantage to be derived from the warm rays of the sun, as we did not start till near eight o’clock. In the course of our journey this forenoon, we met a horse dealer with a train of horses, on his way to Rio, when Mr. Sharpe took a fancy to one, and purchased it for thirty-six milreas, in silver, something less than five pounds sterling. From being purchased in this accidental way, I suggested that the animal ought to be named “Chance,” to which his master assented. In consequence of our wishing to avoid a disagreeable old fellow, who kept a venda on the road side, we proceeded a short distance beyond his domicile, and having previously provided our refreshment, we sat down near the bank of a river to partake of it, at about two o’clock in the afternoon.

On our journey afterwards, my poor mule was so thirsty, that he ran to a little stream by the road-side, to drink, but as he could not conveniently reach it standing, he very quietly went down on his knees, upon which hint, I, of course, dismounted, until he had finished his draught. This mule was the most docile, intelligent animal I ever rode, and it was a knowledge of these good qualities, that induced Captain Lyon to appropriate him to my use; I was frequently considerably in advance of the party, without feeling any apprehension about my safety, from the perfect confidence I reposed in the mule’s sagacity. About five in the afternoon, we arrived at the town of Qualos, where we were well lodged, had good fare, and where the excellence of the bread was quite remarkable, being superior to any I had tasted in the Brazils. This town gives the title to a Marquess, but it is not of any importance in other respects.

_Sunday, 10_.–We started long before daylight, and for two or three hours rode through a mist, as cold and dense as a November one in England, but after the sun had gained sufficient power to disperse it, the day was proportionably hot. We this forenoon passed the first gold-washing place of any consideration, which has, however, long since been abandoned for others more profitable. About eleven, we arrived at the village of Ora Branca, so called from the light colour of the gold procured here, the gravel or sand of every stream, henceforward, produces a greater or lesser proportion of gold.

The owner of the house where we refreshed, had a collection of mineralogical specimens, which interested Captain Lyon very much, he being himself a collector. At about a league distance, we commenced the ascent of the Serra D’Ora Branca, which was almost impracticable even for our mules. It is so steep and difficult, that it is the universal custom to dismount, to which, I believe, I formed the only exception, an undertaking of considerable hazard to ride either up, or down, this mountain. At about a league beyond the summit, on the opposite side, we entered what is called the Topaz District, where we soon passed many washings for Topazes, and put up for the night at the celebrated one of Capoa, where we were not very well entertained, although the proprietor of this venda was a Colonel in the Brazilian militia. It is the general custom, while travelling in this country, for the inhabitants to bring you a panela, or large bowl of hot water, every night, when you are going to bed, for your feet, and it is usual to have a black man in attendance, for the purpose of examining the feet, and extracting the jiggers with a needle, at which operation they are very expert.

_Monday, 11_.–Although our journey on this day, was only intended to be three leagues to the imperial city of Ora Preta (Black Gold), the Villa Rica (Rich City) of the maps, capital of the mining districts, we set off at daylight, and arrived about ten at the house that is kept for the use of the Gongo Soco Mining Company. The gold that is collected at the Gongo Soco mines, is sent from time to time to the mint at this place, where it is essayed and melted into bars, the government reserving, a tax of 25 per cent. before it is suffered to be transmitted to Rio. On leaving Capoa this morning, we visited several mud huts in the village, and neighbourhood, in search of those mineralogical specimens, which are commonly known in this country by the name of Raridades.

During our route, but more especially before we arrived at the Campos, not a day passed without our meeting droves of oxen and pigs as well as many troops of loaded mules, with coffee, cotton, sugar, &c. all proceeding from the interior for Rio; and our olfactory nerves were not unfrequently assailed by a very offensive odour, arising from dead animals, principally oxen, among whom there is usually a great mortality on these journeys, in consequence of excessive fatigue from travelling 500 or 600 miles, as also from the bad and insufficient pasturage they find on their road. When these unfortunate animals sink down under their sufferings, they are left to die, and putrify on the spot where they happen to fall. These cattle are chiefly brought from the Sertao, which is a wild country beyond the mountains of the gold district, intervening between it and the diamond district, which is a fine pasture country, but with few habitations. The term Sertao, however, is general all over the interior of Brazil, for inland places unredeemed by culture. Ora Preta is the most considerable town that we have yet met with, and it owes it respectability and extent to the circumstance of its being the town residence of the proprietors of gold mines, dealers in precious stones, &c; and there is an Imperial Mint, with a government essayer settled here, for the purpose of examining all the gold produced from the mines, causing it to be melted and stamped, and a duty of 25 per cent. taken from it for the Government.

This duty had, a short time previous to my visit, been reduced to 10 per cent. for Brazilian subjects, the Government, however, continued to exact 25 per cent, from Gongo Soco, or the Imperial British Brazilian Mining Company; although, in their charter from the Brazilian Government, it was understood, if not expressed, that the Company should be allowed to work their mines on the same terms with the Brazilians, however advantageous those terms might happen to be: at the time the charter was granted, the Brazilians paid 25 per cent.; but after their neglecting several mines, they petitioned the Government for a reduction of duty, on the plea, that it was too high, to allow them a profit on their expenses. The Government, upon this application, consented to receive only ten per cent. from their own subjects, but absolutely refused to accord to the British Mining Company any reduction of the original duty.

Captain Lyon found it necessary to pass a couple of days here, to transact some business; this proved a seasonable rest, particularly for our mules, who had been worked fifteen days in succession.

_Tuesday, August 14_.–We this morning renewed our journey for Gongo Soco, and immediately on leaving Ora Preta, began to ascend the Ferreiria (Iron Mountain). After having rode over the top of it for about six miles, we descended by a very steep and dangerous road, the bed of a great part of which was composed of ironstone rock: very few persons ever venture to ride down it; for, in case a mule should lose its footing, both the animal and its rider would be hurled down a precipice, so gigantic, that the state of their remains could not even be ascertained. Our mules were, at times, on their haunches, actually sliding over the rocky surface of the road, and although Captain Lyon had travelled this path several times, he had never ventured to ride down it before: but not knowing any better way to manage me and my mule, than by allowing us to follow him mounted, down the hill, he most kindly braved the danger for my sake, and I resigned myself to the intelligence of my mule, who very soon assumed the entire control of his own conduct, shaking his head whenever he felt the reins tighter than convenient, and picking his way with all imaginable care: I always found, when the ground appeared uncertain, that the sagacious animal would pause, and putting out his foot, discover, by scratching, whether the ground might be trusted, before he would advance a step further.