Round Cape Horn :
voyage of the passenger-ship James W. Paige, from Maine to California in the year 1852;
BY J. LAMSON. BANGOR: PRESS OF O. F. & W. H. KNOWLES. 1878
A voyage round Cape Horn in a passenger-ship is an event of the past. The necessity for performing this perilous voyage has been obviated by the introduction of railroads and steamships. Emigrants and travelers are no longer obliged to risk their lives and waste their time in passing round the Stormy Cape in order to arrive at a point, which may be reached in a week by a pleasant ride across the continent on the railroad; and Cape Horn is destined to become a terra incognita to all but the readers of ancient voyages.
I am not aware that a narrative of a voyage of this description has ever been published; and the hope that a truthful account of the perils, discomforts, and annoyances, as well as the pleasures and enjoyments attending it, may prove entertaining to the reader, has prompted me to send forth this little work to meet the fate or fortune which an enlightened public may award it.
The scenes and anecdotes recorded at the end of the voyage, are given in the hope that they may possess some slight value as conveying an idea--a vague and indistinct one, perhaps--of some of the characteristics and habits of a portion of the people of California in early times.
CHAPTER I. - Description of the Bark--She sets Sail--Uncomfortable Situation--Specimen of our Discomforts--A Squall--Escape from a Water-spout--Approach to the Cape Verde Islands--Religious Services--A School of Porpoises--A Dutch Vessel--A Flying-fish--Annoyances--Bad Cooking--A Practical Joke--Tropic of Cancer 13
CHAPTER II. - Consultations about Cape Verde Islands--Flying-fish--English Steamer--Tropical Showers-Disappointment--Capture of a Porpoise--May-Day at Sea--An English Bark--Letters for Home--Another Bark-Nautical Ceremonies--An Aquatic Bird--Crossing the Equator--Squalls--A Portuguese Brig--Captain J. engages to stop at Rio Janeiro--Land Seen--Cape Frio--Approach to Rio Janeiro-Beautiful Scenery--Disappointment 21
CHAPTER III. - A Mistake Discovered and Corrected--Ill Health--Scenery of the Coast and Harbor of Rio Janeiro-We cast Anchor--Going Ashore--Rambles in the City--Fountains--Markets--Parrots--Hammer-headed Sharks-Monkeys--Slaves--Tropical Trees--Visit to a Hotel--English Gentlemen--Public Gardens 29
CHAPTER IV. - Visit to the Botanical Garden--Description of the garden--Dinner at the Hotel--Third Visit to the
CHAPTER V. - Weigh Anchor--Civility of the People of Rio--Temperance--All Altercation--Cold Weather--Cape Pigeons--Large Bird--Our Kitchen Establishment--Stewards and Cooks--Scouse--Inspection of Cooks' Galley--A Joke--A Squall--An Altercation--Captain J. and Mrs. L--Cape Pigeons--Oranges 46
CHAPTER VI. - A Disagreeable Scene--Scarcity of Oil--Lamps and Slush-An Albatross-Ill Manners of the Mate-Cold Weather--The Whiffle-tree Watch--Disagreeable Scene--Magellan Clouds and Southern Cross--An act of Kindness--Turnovers and Sport--Tierra del Fuego and Staten Land--A Perilous Passage--Ducks and Cape Pigeons--A Squall--A Black Albatross--Cape Horn--Stormy Weather--A Gale--Accident at the Breakfast Table 54
CHAPTER VII. - Severe Cold--Furious Storm--Diego Ramirez Islands--Land Ahead--Cape Horn Weather--Two Vessels--Length of Days and Nights--Disagreeable Brawl--Heading North--Patagonia--The Andes--Another Storm-Anxiety of Captain J.--A Lunar Rainbow--Another Gale--Bill of Fare--Filthy Cooks and Impure Water 63
CHAPTER VIII. - Captain Jackson--A Drifting Spar--Approaching Talcahuana--Washing-day--Landscapes--Harbor of Talcahuana--Pelicans--A Visit from Officials--Description of the Town--American Houses--Tremont House--A Dinner 72
CHAPTER IX. - Character of the Inhabitants--Agricultural Implements--Lassoing Cattle--Poncho--A Covered Wagon--Wild Doves--An Earthquake--An Excursion--Dogs, Women, Children, and Shells--A Scotchman and his Wine--An Adventure and the Calaboose--A Chilian Musket Fished up--An Affecting Incident--Fruit Market--Leave Talcahuana--An Explanation--Theft in the Cooks' Galley--Disinterested Advice--Uneasiness of Mrs. L-- and Captain J 80
CHAPTER X. - Religious Services--A Beautiful Bird--Departure of Cape Pigeons and Albatrosses--Stormy Petrels-Amusements--Harmony among the Passengers--Mrs. L--t and her Child--Violence of Captain J.--Our Chaplain turns Poet--Captain J.'s rest disturbed by the Passengers--He threatens to blow them through--Sugar--Petty Annoyances--A Rag Baby--Our Chaplain and his Revolver--Change of Weather--Uncomfortable Condition of the Main Cabin--Theft of Raisins--Ship's Stores--Gross Negligence--Great Waste of Scouse 90
CHAPTER XI. - An Arbitrary Prohibition--Card Playing and Checker Playing--Dancing--Treachery of Mr. Johnson-Some Passengers--A Comical Character, and a Pugnacious Character--A Beautiful Bird--Closing the Hatches--A Question of Jurisdiction--The Hatche's Re-opened--A Sudden Transformation--Neglected Duties of the Chaplain--His Influence with the Captain 99
CHAPTER XII. - Head Winds--The Dusky Albatross--Tacking Ship--Fishing for Birds--Amusement of the Mate and Passengers--A Poet--Fair Winds--A Porpoise--A Fight in the Main Cabin--My Journal--Opinions of Mr. Johnson--Meeting in the Main Cabin--Schools of Porpoises--Narrow Escape from Shipwreck--An Act of Charity 107
CHAPTER XIII. - Whales--Sunshine--Pacific Ocean and Tom Moore--Wormy Bread and Impure Water--A Pilot-Arrival in the Harbor of San Francisco--The City--Dismantled Ships--My last Visit to the Bark--Statement and Counter Statement--Angry Remonstrance--Mr. Spring and his two Journals--Final Adieu to the James W. Paige 114
The Bark James W. Paige of 240 tons burthen, was fitted up for a passenger ship in the part of the winter of 1852 , by James and Joseph Nickerson of Bangor, Maine. A portion of the hold was made into a cabin with fourteen berths on each side. Fifty-two passengers occupied this room. A small house with berths for fourteen and a state-room for the captain was built over the cabin, and enclosed the companion-way or stairs leading down to the cabin. This cabin was called the after cabin, to distinguish it from the room in the hold, which was named the forward or main cabin; and the house was called the after house. Another house was constructed over the main cabin, in which lodged the mate and four or five passengers. The after cabin was appropriated to the ladies, though singularly enough, the Rev. Mr. Johnson, who, we were told, had been employed to officiate as our chaplain, was assigned a berth in this cabin, much to the annoyance of a portion of the ladies. The sailor occupied the forecastle. The cook's galley, a very important part of the ship's appointments, was placed between the two houses. These houses did not occupy the whole width of the deck, but a narrow space was left for a walk round them. There was also a small open space between the cook's galley and the after house, and at the ends of the houses.
Our bark, though owned in Bangor, lay at Frankfort, twelve miles below the city, where she was fitted up, in consequence of the river being closed by the ice at that season of the year, down to the latter town. Many delays occurred before all our preparations were made, but at last all was ready, and we dropped down the river to Prospect, where we took on board our last passenger, and on the third day of April, 1852, we bade adieu to the ice and snow of Maine, and with a heavy gale of wind were soon driven out to sea.
We were fortunate in the beginning of our voyage in having strong and fair gales of wind, which drove us rapidly on our course; but we had at the same time much wet, drizzling weather, which soon enabled us to discover that our ship was an old and leaky thing, and that our houses, though new, had been so carelessly constructed, that the water came in freely upon us, wetting our berths, and rendering our situation exceedingly uncomfortable. Add to this the fact that our ship, being in ballast, rolled so badly that we could not stand for a moment without clinging with both hands to our berths or some other fixture for support, and that nearly all of us were suffering severely with seasickness, and I think it will not be difficult to convince the reader that our condition was far from agreeable.
The following may serve as a specimen of our discomforts: I lay in my berth in the after house --on the second night of our voyage,--suffering from intolerable nausea and equally intolerable thirst. The vessel rolled violently; the rain was dropping from the leaky roof into my face and on my bedclothes. The passengers were running to and fro in much confusion, and the voice of the captain was loudly heard in giving orders to the sailors, who were sent aloft to take in sail, for a squall had struck us. The trunks in our cabin were dashing from side to side, breaking chairs and stools and whatever else came in their way. The earthern ware in the lockers was slipping about and crashing up in a style that threatened demolition. All was noise and confusion. The winds whistled, howled and screamed, the sails flapped, dashed against the sides of the vessel and over the decks, keeping a stream of water running back and forth as we rolled and pitched, and tossed over the seas. An unlucky wave, higher than the rest, stove a boat that he hung at the davits, and added greatly to the confusion and apprehension which pervaded the ship. The storm, though with frequent hills, continued for several days. During one night the trunks and chests in the main cabin were tumbled about so furiously, that they beat down the stairs. A barrel of pork was upset, and the brine, dashing across the floor, so frightened a poor fellow, who thought the vessel had sprung a leak, that he scrambled up into our house, and sat up all night.
A day or two after this I heard, as I lay in my berth, an unusual commotion on deck, and the captain was giving orders in a loud voice and a quick and hurried manner. In a few moments I learned that we had but just barely escaped a waterspout, which had passed within less than the ship's length to the leeward. of us. Sick as I was, I deeply regretted that I was not up to see it. I may never have another opportunity to witness such a phenomenon.
Sunday, 18th April. Latitude 29, 25' N. Longitude 29 71' W. from Greenwich. We have reached a warmer and more comfortable climate. We have exchanged the cold stormy blasts, the wintry winds of Maine, for mild and gentle breezes and a warm sun, and we feel a sense of comfort in the change that is exceedingly exhilarating. I have nearly recovered from seasickness, from which I believe no other passenger has suffered so severely, but it leaves me much enfeebled. We are approaching the Cape Verde Islands, which we hope to see in the course of three or four days.
We have had religious services on deck to-day. Our chaplain gave us a sensible written discourse, which was listened to with attention. We had good singing, and the services were conducted with a degree of propriety that would have afforded an excellent example for imitation by some of the congregations I have seen in our churches.
Soon after the close of the services our company was enlivened by the sight of a school of porpoises; and Sherman, one of the passengers who had made several voyages, made an attempt to capture one of them. Taking a harpoon to which a long line was attached, he dropped into the chains under the bowsprit, and watched for the porpoises as they came plunging swiftly through the water beneath him. It required no small degree of skill and dexterity to strike them. There he stood looking intently into the water with his harpoon raised, when suddenly a group of the animals came within striking distance. In an instant he thrust his weapon into one of them, and the line was pulled in by men who were stationed on deck for the purpose. The fish was brought to the surface, but in his struggles he broke away from the harpoon and escaped, and in a few moments the whole school, as if warned of their danger, had disappeared. We have not a great variety of amusements on board our vessel, and such a circumstance as this serves to infuse a good deal of life into us. A school of porpoises, a few stray sea birds, and a distant sail constitute nearly all we have to relieve the monotony of our voyage. Up to this time we have spoken but one vessel. I lay in my berth one night dreaming pleasantly of friends at home, when I was awakened by the hoarse voice of our captain hailing a bark that was at that moment passing. She was a Dutch vessel homeward bound. The Dutch captain had some difficulty in understanding ours, and asked three times where we were bound, though answered each time very distinctly "Cal-ifor-ny."
April 19. This morning the mate found a flying-fish. It had flown in during the night, probably in attempting to escape the dolphin, which is its greatest enemy. It was about ten inches in length, with fins five or six inches, which serve as wings in the short flights it makes over the water. Some of our men saw a large turtle floating by us. It had a voyage of several hundred miles to make before it could reach land.
We are not without many annoyances, and one very serious one arises from the bad cooking of our food, and often from want of a sufficient quantity of it. Our cooks are excessively filthy, and it requires a strong stomach to enable one to swallow the messes they set before us. Many complaints have been made of this state of things to the captain, and to-day we have presented him with a written protest signed by every man in our room, but without effecting any improvement.
Time passes irksomely with many of our passengers, and they often resort to odd expedients in order to wear away the weary hours. When other sources of amusement fail, they sometimes find enjoyment in playing practical jokes on each other. We had an instance of this sort of recreation to-day. A ship was seen to windward in the morning, and standing in the same direction with us. Some one of the party pronounced her a pirate. This was found to operate on the fears of one of the passengers, a simple, honest, credulous fellow, who believed others to be as honest as himself, and a grand frolic was arranged to come off at night at his expense. It was therefore reported that the pirate, though she had fallen several miles astern, had sent a boat to board us, and accordingly several of the men armed themselves with their rifles and revolvers, and prepared to defend the ship. Several barrels were thrown overboard in the dark to represent the piratical boat, and these were fired at as they floated by the ship. Then came a man tumbling and rolling about with terrible groans and yells, pretending to be wounded, and a moment after a cry went through the ship that the pirates were boarding us. The poor fellow for whose benefit all this hubbub was gotten up, was at that moment passing by my berth, and I heard him responding to the cry--"They are boarding us, they are boarding us! where's a handspike? " and he ran and unshipped a pump handle in an instant, and hastened to the spot where the supposed attack was made, determined to make a desperate defence. That he would have fought bravely had there been occasion for it, no one had a doubt, while it was suspected that some of his persecutors would have preferred retreating to fighting under any circumstances. The cracking of the rifles and revolvers, and the uproar all over the ship, awoke the captain, who got up in no very amiable mood, but he soon got into the humor of the frolic, and laughed as heartily as any of them.
April 21. Our longitude to-day at noon was 23 W., latitude 23 50' N. We were then twenty-one miles from the Tropic of Cancer. It is now sunset. We have passed the tropic, and are now sailing in the torrid zone. It is an epoch in my life. I have talked with several of my fellow passengers about it, but they see nothing to interest them in the circumstance. This tropic is not a thing to be seen--there is nothing tangible in it. And as for the torrid zone, they do not perceive any very great difference between that and the temperate zone we have just left. I am now sitting at the stern of the ship, enjoying a mild soft sea breeze and a beautiful twilight. We often have richer sunsets in Maine, and the twilight continues much longer; but there is here, while it continues, a softness and a delicate blending of the different tints of purple, azure and gold, which we do not always see in our northern latitudes. Our men are lying or sitting about the decks and upon the houses, many in groups engaged in conversation, some of them spinning long yarns, and others listening to an interesting song wherein is related the history of "a beautiful fair maid of high degree with black hair and milk white cheeks, and her galliant lover," while here and there may be seen one quietly communing with his own thoughts, which the friends he has left three thousand miles distant suggest to him.
The ladies at the beginning of the voyage were confined a large portion of the time to their cabin by sickness. But since their recovery they spend many hours on deck every fair day; and as they are under the necessity of going through our room in passing to and from their cabin, we are in a fair way of becoming acquainted with them.
April 22. We are now but three hundred and fifty miles distant from the coast of Africa, and about five hundred miles north of the Cape Verde Islands. We have sailed sharp on the wind during several days, hoping each day to fall in with the north-east trade-winds that are to waft us to the coast of South America. But we have not been so fortunate as to find the trades, and this morning we have but little wind in any direction. The sea, though rolling in long undulations, is very smooth, and the sails are flapping idly against the masts.
I have had several consultations with the captain on the subject of touching at the Cape Verde Islands; and as his chief objection, aside from one or two days' loss of time, is the port charges, the passengers have obviated that objection by subscribing an amount much greater than will be necessary to pay those charges, besides engaging to assist in getting some pure water on board, of which we are in great want. I am very desirous of seeing something, however small, of a tropical country, and of the trees, birds, and other productions of a tropical climate; and this may be my only opportunity. Above all I long for a short respite, if only for a day, from this confinement to the vessel, and for a little exercise upon the land before we continue our long voyage to the coast of South America.
April 24. Saw the flight of a school of flying-fish. They rush through the air with great rapidity, and generally--those that I have seen,--against the wind. They look very prettily as they skim over the water a little above its surface, and follow the undulations of the waves a distance varying from five to twenty rods. Towards night a large English steamer with four masts and all sails set, was seen on our starboard bow, and continued in sight nearly two hours.
This afternoon we had a slight specimen of a tropical shower. Some dark clouds suddenly arose, and before the heavens were half covered, they broke upon us in a heavy shower accompanied by thunder, that drove us all under shelter. It passed away however as quickly as it arose.
We had this day been sailing with a fair breeze, and hoped by to-morrow to be anchored in one of the harbors of the Cape Verde Islands. We were much elated at the prospect, and it had been the chief topic of conversation for two or three days. Judge then of my disappointment when I learned at night that the captain had ordered the helmsman to put the bark off to the south-west, the direction of the islands being south. He had determined to avoid the islands, and we had no other alternative but to submit. After sailing south-west about four hours in order to give the islands a wide berth, our course was again changed to the south. We turned into our berths with no very amiable feeling towards Capt. J., who, we thought, manifested very little regard for the welfare or comfort of his passengers.
Sunday, April 25. We are passing the Cape Verde Islands without even the gratification of looking at them. But we have now got the trade-wind in earnest, and are driving before it at the rate of ten or eleven knots. We have seen several schools of flying-fish to-day, and two of them have been picked up on the deck by the sailors. This afternoon a large school of porpoises came playing round the ship, and one of them was struck with the harpoon by Sherman, our sailor passenger, and secured. It was about five feet long, and weighed, probably, two hundred pounds.
Monday, April 26. Some portions of the porpoise killed yesterday were served up to-day for dinner. The liver was said to be very good, resembling that of a cow; but the flesh, though relished by some of the passengers, was black, and had rather a strong flavor. I did not taste of either of them.
Saturday, May 1. May-day at sea. We rose as usual this morning, took our breakfast, and talked of May-day at home, and of the friends we had left there, and seeing in fancy the youthful portion of them setting out on a shivering ramble in pursuit of a few flowers or leaves through the mud and snow, while we strove to shelter ourselves from the heat of a tropical sun under an awning of a large sail, which we raised over the after house, where we sat, lay or walked, and read, talked and sung, during the day. Towards evening I sat for an hour--and it is an indolent pleasure I often indulge in--observing the sky and the clouds, and watching their slow and sometimes almost imperceptible changes of shape and hue, and in comparing them with the sunset skies of our northern climes, which, if wanting something of the ethereal softness of this, are more glowing, more brilliant, and more decidedly beautiful.
Sunday, May 2. This morning a sail was seen. on our larboard tack, but the wind being light, we did not speak her till night. We watched her till after sunset, when her mate boarded us, and reported her to be an English bark bound for Liverpool. We had been writing letters all day, hoping this vessel would prove to be an American homeward bound. We were somewhat disappointed, but as we might not soon have an opportunity of sending more directly, we decided to send our package, containing forty-five letters, by the bark to England, thence to be forwarded by steamer to America.
Monday, May 3. Spoke another bark, the Fanny Major, for which I had prepared another letter, but she was found to be outward-bound, from New York to the same port with us, and having on board sixty-five passengers. Our vessel proved to be the best sailor. We had been sailing on different tacks, and she was half a mile astern of us, when our captain backed sail and let her come up. Just at this time a squall arose and she soon ranged along-side, and in a few minutes passed by us. The captains hailed each other through their speaking-trumpets, asking what port they sailed from, where bound, how long out, what ports they intended to touch at, what was the longitude by the reckoning-of each, &c. After the bark had passed us we set our sails, and soon overhauled her. The captains had a few more words, when the passengers and crew of the New-Yorker gave us three hearty cheers, which we answered with an equal number, then three more from the New-Yorker answered by one from us, and our military band, consisting of a drum and a fife, set up a lively air, when we speedily shot by, and left her to follow in our wake.
At night we had a visit from a large aquatic bird. After flying around the ship for some time, she alighted on the jib-boom, and was captured by Sherman. I was very desirous of preserving the skin of this bird, which differed from any of those described by Audubon or Wilson, and was probably not a visitor to the United States; but our captain, who is a man of contracted views, and is deeply tinctured with a sailor's whims and superstitions, ordered it to be set at liberty under the pretense of sympathy.
Tuesday, May 4. We have for a week past been drifting,--I can hardly say sailing, for the winds have been light, and we have made but little progress--towards the Equator, and to-day we have crossed that important geographical line, and passed into another hemisphere. The event has been celebrated with a good deal of hilarity and nonsense. Old Neptune appeared on board rigged out with an immense wig of Manilla cordage, a grotesque mask, red flannel drawers, and a buffalo coat, and holding the captain's speaking-trumpet in his hand. He was accompanied by his wife, personated by a thin, slender and active fellow, arrayed in a long gown and a straw bonnet. They amused us with a dance to the music of a fiddle, and in return they were treated with some brandy, of which they partook with great gusto. Neptune enquired into the affairs of the ship, cautioned the stewards and cooks to do their duty, gave some wholesome advice to the officers, to whom he was formally introduced, cracked a good many jokes upon the passengers, and disappeared. The frolic went off with great good humor among all parties.
Wednesday, May 12. We have had many squalls accompanied with rain for several days past. Last night a pretty heavy one struck us, sending down a torrent of rain, which leaked into our berths and houses. Many of us got well drenched. Feeling rather uncomfortable from the wet, I arose and stood up by the side of my berth, holding on to it for support, while the ship rolled violently. But I soon grew tired of this. So feeling over my bed in the dark, and finding a comparatively dry place at the foot of it, I changed my pillow to that end, and turned in again. Lulled to rest by the howling of the wind, the dashing of the seas, the rushing of several pailfuls of water over the floor of our room, the hoarse orders of the captain and the answers of the sailors, I slept till morning.
Friday, May 14. Spoke a Portuguese brig bound to Rio Janeiro. Her decks were crowded with men and women migrating to the New World. I thought there must have been more than a hundred of them in a vessel not more than two-thirds as large as ours.
Saturday, May 15. We are now distant about four hundred miles from Rio Janeiro, and have strong hopes that we shall touch there, though it was the original intention of Captain Jackson to stop at Saint Catherine's, nearly three hundred miles further south. He is strongly prejudiced against Rio, having lost a brother and three men, besides being dangerously ill himself of yellow fever contracted there on a former visit. Then the port charges are higher at Rio than at St. Catherine's. This objection, however, the passengers propose to obviate by paying fifty dollars; and so the captain engages to put in to Rio if he can ascertain from outward-bound vessels that the place is free from yellow fever. And none of us wish to go there if it is not, though our eagerness to step on land once more would induce many of us to incur some little risk. St. Catherine's is a small island, containing only a few unimportant villages and towns; and it is said, that in consequence of the riotous conduct of many Americans who have put in there, the authorities prohibit a greater number than eight persons landing from any vessel at one time. This would be an uncomfortable, not to say insupportable, state of things for a company of eighty-eight men, women and children, weary of the voyage, and crazy to set foot again on land.
Wednesday, May 19. This is the forty-sixth day of our voyage, during forty-five of which we have not seen land. Today the cry of land has resounded through the ship, with not quite the joy and enthusiasm to us, perhaps, that the same words gave to Columbus and his companions on the discovery of America, but certainly with a good deal of satisfaction. I have just seen it, two hills on Cape Frio, which we are fast approaching. This cape is sixty miles from Rio, where we hope to arrive early to-morrow, though we are still in great suspense and uncertainty about stopping there at all.
Thursday, May 20. We passed Cape Frio in the night, and are now, early in the morning, approaching the harbor of Rio. We are now but a few miles distant from the entrance to the harbor. There it lies before us. There lie the hills along the coast in almost every variety of form, some with a gradual rise to their summits, others bold and almost perpendicular; some smooth and rounded, others abrupt and jagged, and still others conical, and sharply pointed. There, in the distance, are the mountains, between which and us is the city, towards which all our thoughts, wishes and desires so anxiously tend. There lies a beach, upon which the surf is breaking in long, white swells; and there are the trees upon the sides and summits of the hills. What a world of new and curious objects we are about to behold ! What a variety of trees and other plants and flowers and fruits! What grand and beautiful scenery! and what an endless variety of curiosities, natural and artificial, in this, to us, new city in a new world!
But are we not to be disappointed at last? Even now, when we are almost within view of the city, circumstances begin to wear a suspicious aspect. No vessel is to be seen coming from the harbor, from which we can obtain information with regard to the health of the city, and our captain keeps a respectful distance from the coast, as though he feared to meet one. True, he keeps up a show of going in, by keeping off and on, but he begins to talk of losing his labor and time, and we perceive that he has already dropped half a dozen miles to the leeward of the harbor. We watch his every motion, and listen to every word with deep anxiety. But he does not keep us long in suspense. A hurried breakfast, of which I did not partake, is scarcely passed, when the order is given, "square away the yards," and in an instant all our visions of Rio Janeiro have vanished. We bid farewell to the city without seeing it, and to the tropics, without setting foot on their lands, and with but one indistinct glimpse of the beautiful scenery within their bounds.
ONE o'clock P.M. We had just settled down into a sullen resignation to our fate, and some of the passengers had been trying to amuse themselves by making unsuccessful shots at the large sea birds that were flying around us, when a discovery was made which caused great excitement among us, and raised our spirits to a high degree. We had floated along several hours at a short distance from the coast, when one of the passengers who had been in Rio saw that we were now off the entrance to the harbor, and that the captain was wrong in the morning. Captain J., who was in his berth, was called immediately and acknowledged his mistake. He then engaged again to go in on the conditions previously stipulated. So the ship is turned towards the harbor, where we shall probably arrive in the evening. The money has been collected and paid over. I cannot, however, but feel very anxious as to the event. My health has been seriously declining for several weeks, and my fellow-passengers have more than once discussed the probability of my becoming food for the fishes before the ship arrives at the end of her long voyage. I feel that I must have a short respite on shore or die. But I will not croak about it. We shall know the worst to-morrow. Let me go out and enjoy the splendid scenery that lies before us.
And such scenery! I am gazing upon it with sensations as indescribable as the scenery itself. Never before have I so felt the utter impotency of language. I might say it is beautiful, grand, magnificent, rich beyond any thing I ever saw or imagined. I might lavish upon it every epithet which my delighted senses could suggest, but no words that I can command can, by any possibility, convey the least idea of the strangely enchanting beauty of the harbor we are entering. I have seated myself upon the bowsprit, and as we sail slowly in impelled by a gentle breeze, I have ample opportunity to feast my eyes on the beautiful scene. Let me give you a short prosaic account of it. If I fail to convey to the reader the impression which the scene makes on me, I may at least fix it the more indelibly on my own mind.
An ocean of hills and mountains presents itself on either side of the bay. Here at the entrance on the left, rises an immense rock in the form of a sugar-loaf, to the height, perhaps, of six hundred or eight hundred feet. Beyond, in close proximity, are a hundred other hills, many of them conical, some running up into sharp pinnacles, some nearly bare of vegetation, and others less steep covered to their summits with a dense foliage. And there is one towering above the rest, presenting to the view a black and perpendicular front, and a pinnacle scarcely larger than the spire of a church. The opposite side of the harbor presents nearly the same characteristic scenery, sharp, conical hills and rocks rising abruptly from the bay, succeeded by other hills thickly planted behind and beyond them. The shores of the bay are formed into many broad, circular indentations fringed with beaches of fine white sand. A large fort mounting a hundred guns and commanding the entrance to the harbor, stands on a projecting rock overlooked by a mountain from the summit of which--though I know nothing of the science of fortifications--I fancy that a small battery might be planted that would quickly demolish it. A smaller fort or battery stands opposite on a small island near the sugar-loaf. Other forts defend the inner portions of the harbor. Many fine buildings stand upon the left shore at the foot of the hills, and form almost a continuous street for several miles to the city. Far in the distance, and but dimly descried, are the Brazilian Mountains. Though greatly superior in height to the hills on the coast, the same peculiarities of cones and pinnacles characterize them.
We passed the fort, and dropped anchor at a distance of two miles from the city. Near us lay the North America, a large ship from New York bound for California with nearly five hundred passengers. They gave us twice three hearty cheers, which we answered in the usual manner.
Immediately on coming to anchor, we were visited by a health officer and a custom-house officer, each of whom was dispatched with a very few words. Captain Jackson then took a boat manned by two sailors, and went ashore, and we made every preparation for an early visit in the morning.
Friday, May 21. About twenty boats were along-side this morning manned by whites and blacks, masters and slaves, all clamorous for passengers. They were unanimous in asking twenty-five cents for a passage, which, though not very exorbitant, they soon reduced to ten cents, and we speedily filled their boats.
The first thing that attracted my attention as we neared the shore, was the singular appearance of the roofs of many of the buildings, which I ascertained were covered with tiles. As few of my readers have ever seen a roof covered in this manner, I am induced to describe it. The tiles are pieces of pottery in the form of half a tube seven or eight inches in diameter, half or three-quarters of an inch thick, and about two feet long. They are unglazed, and burnt as hard as our pottery. They are supported by a rough frame-work of poles, and laid in two courses, the under course forming gutters to carry off the rain, which is turned into them by the upper course, each upper tile being turned over the edges of two of the under ones The roof projects sixteen or eighteen inches over the street, and the under side of the projections or eaves is generally painted red. These roofs, of course, answer a good purpose here, but in New England, where boys throw stones they would not last a fortnight. Nor would they, in my opinion, endure the frosts of our winters for a single month.
We landed and proceeded immediately to a restaurant where we refreshed ourselves with a cup of coffee and a plate of toast, and then commenced our rambles over the city. I soon found myself separated from my companions and proceeded alone. I crossed a large square, in which stood a stone fountain built in the form of a temple, from whose sides the water fell into basins beneath. These fountains, though built in different styles, I found in great numbers throughout the city. They are supplied by an aqueduct.
Passing through a street containing several handsome churches and other public buildings, I found myself in the market. This, I believe, was square, surrounded by high walls against which within were shops or stalls containing a great variety of articles of food, vegetable and animal. The square was also crossed by several streets or walks with stalls on each side of them. A fountain with a very large basin occupied the center. My first search was for fruits. I found oranges and bananas in abundance, and these with cocoa-nuts constitute all the market affords at this season of the year. There were neither watermelons nor musk-melons, no apples, nor pears, nor peaches, no plums of any description, nor a berry of any sort. There were no dead meats to be found in this market. Beef was sold in another part of the city. Live pigs had their appropriate stalls, and chickens, turkeys, and several varieties of ducks and of doves, besides many singing birds, were kept in coarse cages or chained by the leg. Parrots were abundant, and there was a large and exceedingly beautiful bird, whose name I did not know; but I was rather desirous of buying one for the purpose of preserving the skin. I asked the price. It was thirty milreas--about sixteen or seventeen dollars. I did not purchase. There was a great variety of fish, some very beautiful, and others the most disgusting specimens I ever beheld. Among them were several hammer-headed sharks, a curious fish from three to five feet long, with a head twelve or fifteen inches long, attached to the body like a hammer to the handle. An eye is placed at each extremity of the hammer, but the mouth is below it in the body of the fish. There were monkeys enough to make up a menagerie, the greater part of them being of one species with long, prehensile tails. In the center of the square, surrounding the fountain, was a variety of vegetables sold by slaves, male and female, who kept such continual talking, laughing and singing as I never heard before. It seemed as though they were enjoying a holiday, and were in their happiest humor.
I did not stop long in the market, but continuing my walk, I threaded several narrow streets and passages to the summit of a hill, where I found a gate opening into grounds belonging to a large hotel. I entered, and for the first time found myself in the shade of tropical trees. I was delighted with the scene. Every tree, shrub, vine, and flower, were new to me. I knew not the name of a single plant. The sun was beating down intensely, and I was glad to seat myself upon an embankment under the shade of a row of large trees. Several little birds were singing in the branches, only one of which I knew, a wren, though of a different species from any of ours, and smaller, but possessing the same lively, restless, noisy characteristics. A long shaded walk led to the hotel. I had not sat there long when I saw a company of my fellow-passengers approaching. They had just left the hotel, but giving me a gentle hint to treat them, they returned to the house, and I followed. We entered at the rear of the house and we passed through to the front, which afforded a splendid view of the harbor. A little garden on the very verge of the steep hill was filled with a variety of strange flowers and plants, and an arbor with seats occupied one end of it. Standing here, one could look upon the beach at the foot of the hill, and listen to the roar of the waves as they rolled over the hard white sand. My companions having become pretty mellow, sung two or three of their sentimental songs, and departed, leaving me to enjoy a very pleasant interview with two young English gentlemen, who gave me some information respecting the city, and advised me to visit the Botanical Garden, situated at a distance of six or eight miles in the country.
In the afternoon I walked to the Public Garden. This is a large garden, surrounded by a high stone wall, and laid out in triangular plats, each filled with beautiful trees; and shrubs, and protected by an iron fence. The ground was perfectly level and the walks broad and smooth. At one extremity were two small ponds bordered by rough stones, and surrounded with benches of hewn granite. From the center of each pond arose a triangular column of hewn stone, consisting of a pedestal about eighty feet broad and as many high, and a shaft about forty feet high terminating in a sharp point; and from the sides of the pedestals streams of water issued into the basins or ponds. A broad walk passes between these fountains, at the extremity of which is an ornamented stone basin elevated several feet above the ground. From the end of this basin rises a mound of rough stones piled up against a very handsome wall, and covered with a variety of cactuses and other plants. At the foot of the mound two enormous alligators lie entwined, from whose gaping mouths, streams of water flow into the basin. A flight of stone steps ascend from each side of the fountain to a terrace thirty feet broad, and extending the width of the garden. This terrace is paved with tessellated marble, and protected by parapet walls, whose sides are covered with porcelain. Two octagonal buildings stand at the extremities of the terrace, each angle of which is crowned with a porcelain vase containing plants, as is also every post in the parapet walls. The waves of the bay dash against the base of the terrace, and their roar is heard in the garden.
I found but few people here, and no one who could talk with me. There were arbors shaded with vines and trees, and supplied with stone seats and tables, where I sat and made my memoranda. I returned to the landing by different streets from those through which I came, seeing many new things--every thing I have seen here is new and strange-and am heartily gratified with my first day in Rio. I found several of the passengers ready to return on board the bark, where we passed the night.
SATURDAY, May 22. Our friends, the boatmen, were out betimes, and took us to the city early in the morning. We had arranged a large party of ladies and gentlemen to visit the Botanical Garden, of which we had heard many glowing accounts besides those given me by the young English gentlemen yesterday. To convey our party we hired three carriages, each drawn by two mules, and driven by a man who spoke a little, a very little English, and drove through the streets near the shore of the bay for a distance of three miles or more, when we turned into the country and followed a road that wound around the base of several hills and mountains, one of which I have already spoken of as seen from the bark. It ran up into a sharp, perpendicular peak, as near as I could judge about fifteen hundred feet high. And this mountain I am told is often ascended by tourists, who reach its highest point on horseback. The scenery through which we passed was truly magnificent, and many of the houses and gardens were rich and beautiful. We stopped at a hotel near the garden, whence we walked to the garden accompanied by a very agreeable young man, a Hungarian, who spoke pretty good English, and who made himself very useful in giving us the English names of many of the trees and shrubs. The first object that met our view--and to me it was one of the greatest attractions of the garden--was two rows of palm trees planted on the edges of a broad and elevated walk, passing through the center of the garden. The trunks of these palms were of a stone gray or ash color, and showed a slight circular ridge or mark at intervals of three or four inches, where they had been encircled by the footstalks of leaves, which had fallen off as the trees increased in height. They were perfectly round, and symmetrical, and to my inexperienced eye they seemed to have been turned in a lathe, or chiseled by a sculptor. They rose to the height of thirty or forty feet, and were crowned with a great tuft of long leaves. The effect on looking through this long vista of trees was peculiar and striking, and I could scarcely resist the impression that they were the work of art, pillars of stone crowned with artificial foliage. Near this walk we saw several plats of the China tea-plant. I did not learn any thing as to its productiveness.
We passed rapidly through a great many walks, and saw groves of a large variety of trees, in all which I felt a peculiar interest, such as the cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, camphor, bread-fruit, tamarind, cocoa-nut, orange, lemon and banyan trees, and thickets of bamboo and swamps of bananas, besides a multitude of beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers, whose names we did not learn. In the center of the garden, and dividing the palm-tree walk, which I have described, into two equal parts, is a fine fountain bordered with and surrounded by a profusion of rich flowers. A little farther on we found a pretty brook running over a hard bed of sand and thickly shaded with bananas. It was just sequestered and wild enough to remind me of home and the many brooks of pure water, in which I had so often slaked my thirst in my frequent rambles in the wild woods of Maine. I was glad to find something, if only a brook, in this world of novelties, that might, perhaps, have its counterpart in my own country. But more than this, there was a little grove of cedars, which, we were told, had been imported from the United States.
I was deeply interested in the bread-fruit tree with its large half grown fruit, and its great, shining, deep green leaves, It has had a sort of romantic attraction for me ever since I read of it in early childhood in the voyages of Captain Cook. The tamarind also is very attractive, and with its broad spreading branches and brilliant foliage, is one of the most beautiful trees within the tropics. The banana is an annual plant, growing to the height of twelve or fifteen feet, with immensely long leaves from eighteen inches to two feet wide. It bears an immense cluster of fruit, sometimes several hundreds in number, each about six inches long. The pulp of the banana is covered with a thick skin, which is easily detached. I do not know what other fruit to compare it with. I found it of a very pleasant flavor when eaten with sugar and wine as we eat musk-melons, though its flavor is far inferior to that of the musk-melon.
After satisfying our curiosity with the beauties of the garden, we returned to the hotel in season for dinner. And as I shall, in all probability, never partake of another Brazilian dinner, I am tempted to give a short account of this. The company at the table consisted solely of our own party, and the young Hungarian. We sat down to a long table not less than six feet wide, which we found a very inconvenient width. There were sixteen or seventeen of us. We had a small turkey roasted with the feet, but without stuffing; neat's tongue fried in oil or something else that rendered it extremely unpalatable; fried ham and eggs strong and unpleasant; fried fish, green peas, utterly tasteless; potatoes, very small and fried in oil, and lettuce. The food was placed on the table, and we were left to help ourselves, which the great width of the table rendered very inconvenient. The carving of the turkey devolved upon me. The gentlemen watched the operation with deep interest, and had the mortification of seeing the whole of it distributed among the ladies. Turkey being out of the question with them, they turned their attention to the other dishes, of which they partook with such appetites as might be expected after a six weeks' voyage at sea. The first and principal course was speedily disposed of. The table was cleared away, and then came the second course or dessert, which consisted of two small omelets or tarts, which I thought were very good; two small loaves of sponge cake, ditto; and bananas, oranges and walnuts, of all which we left not a vestige.
The dinner passed off very pleasantly, and the bill was settled with some little trouble, in which we had to call in the assistance of our friend, the Hungarian, as none of us understood Portuguese, and the landlord was equally ignorant of English. Each article was charged separately, and the long list of items and their prices required a pretty familiar acquaintance with compound addition and with Brazilian currency, to bring the sum to a satisfactory footing. The excursion proved to be one of great enjoyment to us, and we returned to the city and to the ship, highly delighted with the day's adventure.
May 23. We had been notified that a missionary from the city would preach on board our ship to-day, and the ladies and some of the gentlemen stopped to hear him. But many of us could not resist the inclination to spend on shore the very short time of our stay at Rio, and we resolved to take an early start for the city. As we were about leaving the ship, the first mate, whose name is Atwood, an ignorant, uncouth sailor, undertook to stop us by a very winning exhortation, which he wound up by calling us a damned pack of fellows with no more manners than the heathen. I replied that Mr. Atwood was the last man in the world to whom I should go to learn good manners, and then went on board the boat.
We found, as we expected, the stores open in the city, and business transacted as it is in all Catholic countries on the Sabbath. I went into several churches, where I found but few worshipers, but they were continually coming and going, and their individual devotions occupied but a small portion of time. Some of the passengers found amusement in a cock fight. Others went to the public garden, where they found a great concourse of people, that being a place of much resort on Sundays. As I had resolved to take a walk into the country on the opposite side of the harbor, I invited two young men, T. Ladd and B. D. Morrill, to accompany me. We crossed the bay in a steam ferry-boat to the village of San Domingo. This village is built around one of the indentations, which form a prominent feature in this harbor. The principal street stretches more than a mile in a circular form around the bay, and is built upon only one side, the houses all overlooking the water, which washes a broad beach of fine white sand. Double rows of trees are planted on the street next the beach, and thickly planted trees and shrubbery, form a deep shade around each dwelling.
We took one of the principal roads, and walked into the country, going wherever curiosity or fancy directed, a hundred roads diverging to the right and left as we advanced. We passed many houses and plantations as we wound around the hills, and we stopped frequently to rest us and to examine the plants and the gardens, that invited our notice. At one place we saw a gang of slaves drilling into a quarry on the side of a hill for the purpose of procuring stone for building. The sun was beating down upon the rock with great intensity, and none but those half naked Africans could have endured the heat. Their shining backs glistened in the sun, like polished ebony. At another place we saw two slaves chained together, and digging in the earth in that condition. They had, perhaps, been guilty of insubordination or some other crime against their lawful masters!
Our first attempt to visit a plantation was unsuccessful. It was a pretty place, the house was a new and handsome one, the grounds looked inviting, and the gate was open. We entered, but had proceeded only a few steps when we were met by two large dogs destitute of hair but not of teeth, who not only disputed our further progress, but seemed disposed to take vengeance on us for our intrusion. We were not inclined to parley with them, but commenced an immediate retreat, when a slave, who happened to be near, came forward and called off the dogs. At the same moment the master of the house, a surly looking old fellow, hearing the uproar, came out from the house, and instead of inviting us in like a gentleman, as he was in duty bound, only directed us by signs to another house, where we thought he intended to intimate, we should meet with a more hospitable reception. And in this he was right. A. large and elegant mansion stood near the road. The gate was open, and we passed through, though rather hesitatingly. A negro met us with many smiles, conducted us over the grounds, broke off as many oranges from the branches of the trees as we wanted to eat and carry away, permitted me to cut an orange twig for a walking-stick, and showed us half a dozen very fine cows, which my companions pronounced fully equal to, and very much resembling, our best cows in Maine. A few small coins rewarded his civility, and we continued our walk. A little distance further brought us to a small village. We sat down to rest us for a few minutes upon some stone steps in front of a store connected with a handsome dwelling house. As we were about to continue our rambles we met a gentleman at the gateway, who saluted us in English, and invited us to sit in the shade. He talked with us of a hundred things in a few minutes. He had once resided in Virginia, and expressed himself in terms of high admiration of the government of the United States, and of unqualified disgust of the Roman Catholic religion, which was the bane of Brazil. He invited us to walk over his grounds, and as we declined eating oranges, he directed a slave to cut us some stalks of sugar-cane, the juice of which is very refreshing to a thirsty traveler. He directed our attention to a little naked "nigger baby," which lay sprawled out upon the ground, and which he said he was raising with no other motive than that of pure charity, for the animal would not half repay the cost of rearing it. Thanking him for his hospitality, we took leave, when he gave us a hearty shake of the hand, and wished us a successful voyage.
A little further on we saw an elegant mansion situated about half way up the side of a steep hill, and overlooking a considerable extent of country. It was a delightful situation, and its owner was the proprietor of a coffee plantation on the other side of the road and in front of his house. A number of blacks were at this time occupied in preparing the coffee for market.
The gateway to the grounds consisted of a square building perhaps twenty feet high. I opened the gate and went in. A walk leading to the house wound to the right, through thickets of trees up the acclivity, in the steepest portions of which were placed flights of broad stone steps.
Another walk diverged to the left, and was soon lost to the view in groves of oranges, lemons, tamarinds, and other tropical trees. Many new and beautiful plants were to be seen around the house, and every thing displayed beauty, elegance, and taste. I looked round for a few moments, but seeing no one on the grounds, I left the place.
On our return we took another road, and passed many places whose scenery deeply interested us. At one plantation we met, as usual, a smiling slave, who conducted us through the walks of a beautiful garden. Another slave, a female, soon appeared with a long stick prepared at one end like a fork to break oranges from the branches; and we were getting along very pleasantly, walking in the shade of orange, bread-fruit, tamarind, and other trees, many of which we did not know, when suddenly we saw a large party of blacks, male and female, in one of the distant walks, and saw a great commotion among them. My curiosity was excited to see the frolic, which I thought might have been an African dance or a fandango. But Morrill, who perceived a strong smell of rum in the breath of our dark cicerone, and thinking the distant scene bore a greater resemblance to an Irish riot, beat a precipitate retreat, and I followed, sorry to lose so good an opportunity for learning something of the amusements of those slaves.
Continuing our walk, we came to the bay, where we found a new road winding in one place around the base of huge, perpendicular precipices, from every interstice of which hung a variety of cactuses, vines and shrubs, while lofty palms threw up their leaf-crowned shafts from the earth below.
The road we had found was new, hard, perfectly smooth, and was decidedly the best highway I ever saw. It led direct to the town of San Domingo, almost a mile distant from the point at which we had landed, and where we speedily arrived. Recrossing the bay, we purchased a. few necessaries at Rio, and returned to the ship. We found our bark the scene of much noise and confusion, arising from the drunkenness of several of the passengers, who had just returned, having spent the day in drinking on shore. One man had become so outrageously violent and crazy, that the second mate, who had command of the ship at this time,--the captain and first mate being both absent,--was obliged to secure him by tying his hands.
May 24. We had laid in many things necessary for our comfort during the continuance of our voyage, among which were a large lot of oranges, and some bananas and cocoa-nuts. This morning, just as were about to sail, two boats laden with oranges came along-side the ship, and though we thought we had a pretty good supply of fruit, we bought both cargoes, amounting to about two thousand. They cost us from forty to sixty cents a hundred.
The North America left the harbor two days before us. We did not visit her though she lay at anchor almost within speaking distance of us. A regulation of the port prohibits the passengers and crews passing from one ship to another. It may have been a fortunate regulation for us, for we had many reports of the yellow fever being in the ship. This disease had raged very fatally in the city, but was beginning to subside, though we were told it was still rife.
Mr. Kent, our consul at Rio at this time, had removed with his family into the country, where he found a more salubrious climate than the city afforded. This was a disappointment to several of the passengers, who were personally acquainted with him, and had anticipated much pleasure in meeting him in this distant land. Mr. Kent is said to be very popular at Rio, and the interest he takes in the oppressed seamen, and the kindness and humanity he manifests towards them, have done him much credit.
WE did not weigh anchor until 2 P. M. As we were beating out of the harbor, we met the Portuguese brig, which we had spoken on the fourteenth instant, coming in. After getting out and passing the lighthouse and the islands, we squared away and stood on our course with a fair and moderate breeze.
We were now much improved in health, and all the hard-ships, privations, annoyances, and disappointments of the former part of our voyage were forgotten. We were now supplied with a rich fund of new and interesting subjects for conversation, we looked forward to a speedy and prosperous passage round Cape Horn, and we were in the very best of spirits. We had seen Rio Janeiro.
I had, as the reader may well suppose, but slight opportunity to acquire a knowledge of the institutions of the country, or the manners and customs of its inhabitants during my very short stay in Rio, and will not insult the reader with a long essay on subjects of which I know nothing. But I noticed a few traits in their character, with which I was much pleased. I found them very kind, polite and hospitable. In all my walks through the city, which I generally took alone, I did not meet with an instance of rudeness or incivility. It was the same whether I was crowding through the market or other public places, which were thronged by multitudes of people of all classes and complexions, white, brown and black, or threading the solitary and narrow streets and crooked by-lanes which, in many would seem to offer every facility and inducement for the safe perpetration of deeds of violence. I one day passed some barracks, where several companies of soldiers were drilling. The gate was open, but guarded by a soldier. I stopped and looked in. "Passe," said the sentinel, and I walked in, saw the evolutions of the soldiers on drill, and passed through several groups of others off duty. Everything was conducted without disorder, and I was as secure from any insult or annoyance as I should have been in the midst of a party of friends at home. There were many dark complexions, among them, and I thought that quite half of them, officers as well as privates, were black.
There are a great many restaurants, cafes, and other drinking establishments in Rio and one would expect to see a great amount of intemperance among the people; and yet the only instances of drunkenness I saw there were those which occurred among the passengers and crew of our bark.
May 25. Our latitude to-day is 24 45' south, longitude 44 west. We have passed the Tropic of Capricorn, and are sailing in the southern temperate zone.
May 28. I have had an unpleasant altercation with Capt. Jackson to-day. The occasion was this: Some pretty birds-Cape Pigeons--have been flying round the ship, and as I was desirous of preserving one or two specimens of their skins, one of the passengers caught one with a hook and line for me. As Mr. Johnson was desirous of showing it to the ladies in the cabin, I let him take it. When he returned it, he brought an order to me from the captain, who was then in the cabin, to throw the bird overboard. I resisted the order. The parson pleaded for the life of the bird as though it was a matter of the utmost consequence. I told him I had procured the bird for the purpose of preserving the skin, and I knew of no reason why I should not do it. In a few minutes the direful deed was done, and the body of the murdered bird lay stretched upon the deck skinless. The captain came up in great wrath, and a warm discussion ensued, during which he declared his fixed determination to protect the birds, and forbade the killing of another one during the voyage. I told him I was aware that he had the power to enforce his order, and that I should be obliged to submit, but I protested against it as an infringement of my rights, and an unjustifiable exercise of arbitrary power. I hinted to him that he had better bestow a little of his compassion upon his passengers, and told him that I had already suffered more from bad food, filthy water and want of proper nourishment during my sickness on this voyage, than all the birds I wished to kill would suffer by their deaths. So we parted, and in less than an hour my friends caught me another bird, which I skinned and preserved.
June 1. Winter is upon us. At least it is fast approaching, this being the first winter month in this hemisphere. It is not to be expected that we shall find very cold weather in this low latitude--34 28'-- but for some time past the cold has been sensibly increasing. We have left the sun far to the north, that is, in our position on the globe, we see it at the north instead of the south, as it appears to us on the other side of the equator. He has thrown down his rays vertically upon us as he passed, drawing the melting pitch from the seams of the ship, and filling the cabins with an insupportable heat. The North Star has long since disappeared, and the Great Bear and other constellations with which we are, or ought to be, familiar, have settled down in the north, and new constellations have taken their places. The awning, which we had placed over our house, as a protection from the heat, has been removed. The passengers no longer lodge there, and their beds have been returned to their berths. A fair wind is driving us onward, and a few days will find us in the regions of storms, snows, and perhaps of icebergs. May our second winter in 1852 prove a short and fortunate one. A week has elapsed since we left Rio, our company are generally in good health, and our fears of an attack of yellow fever have vanished.
We are attended by multitudes of Cape Pigeons, which are so gentle and unsuspicious of danger, that they alight on the water directly under our stern. There are other birds with them, but none so tame. A large bird about the size of a goose was caught with a baited hook by a passenger, who obtained permission from our humane captain to hook up the bird on condition that he should set it at liberty again. To-day for the first time I have seen an albatross.
June 2. There have been some important changes made in our cooking department. I have already hinted that we have suffered severely from the wretched preparation of our food. The cooks are filthy in the extreme, and exceedingly careless. But before I proceed, let me describe our kitchen establishment. The duty of the first steward is to keep the ship's stores, and deal them out to the cooks. He also kneads up the bread, or "soft-tack," as it is called in contradistinction to the ship-bread, which is called "hard-tack." We have three other stewards or waiters, two for the main cabin, and one for our room in the after house. Our stewards also take their meals to the mates, who have a small room in the forward house. There is also a stewardess for the ladies' cabin. Two cooks prepare the food and deliver it to the stewards, who have charge of the tables in their respective cabins.
One day the chief steward, while kneading his bread saw a dirty hen escape from her cage; and leaving his dough, he caught the hen, restored her to the cage, and returned to his dough with an accumulation of material upon his hands, which it was far from agreeable to witness, and which diminished the demand for soft tack very essentially. Little things of this sort were of everyday occurrence. Messes of filthy trash were often set before us, which the most hungry among us could not swallow. We had a mess called "scouse," made up of a mixture of all the scraps of the salt beef and pork left of our dinner, and broken pieces of ship-bread boiled together. This was served up repeatedly; but the pans of scouse were so often sent back full to the cooks' galley, that they desisted for several weeks from forcing it upon us. But this morning they made another attempt, doubtless by the captain's order, and added to the mess by way of improvement several condiments, which we had not before discovered, such as bits of orange peel and cheese and mirabile of tobacco. We called the captain, and requested him to inspect the pan of scouse. He looked at it and passed on without any remark. He was met at the door by a deputation from the main cabin, bearing another pan of the delectable mixture. The captain by this time began to think that the matter was assuming rather a serious aspect, and he condescended to order an inspection of the cooks' galley, when the mischief was traced to an old fellow by the name of Draper, who was in the habit of drying his quids on a shelf directly over the boiler. Mr. Draper was accordingly degraded from the post of cook, and another gentleman appointed in his place. The passengers testified their satisfaction at this arrangement by three hearty cheers.
Some of our wags played off a joke on the chief steward by tapping the heels of his boots in the night with some very heavy cakes which he had made. He complained of the indignity to the second mate, who advised him to give his taps a fair trial, for in his opinion the bread would prove an excellent substitute for leather.
June 3. Last night we had a smart gale, which drove us forward at the rate of twelve knots; and this morning we were threatened with one of those squalls that often occur in the vicinity of the mouth of the Rio de la Plata., which we have just passed. The sky was overcast with dark clouds that were often illuminated with brilliant flashes of lightning. All hands were called and most of the sails furled. The squall burst upon us in a fine shower of rain, but the wind proved only a pleasant breeze, that helped up to make up a good day's reckoning.
June 6. There has been an unpleasant altercation on this holy Sabbath between our worthy captain, (who, by the way is a religious man and a member of a church,) and some of his lady passengers. The quarrel originated at the time of our visit at Rio. For several weeks prior to this visit, he had been very lavish of his attentions to Mrs. L---t, who had been ill during the voyage to Rio, and seemed to require a great deal of brandy and bitters, wine and gruel, and herb drinks. The captain was very assiduous in supplying the wants of Mrs. L---t, and his assiduities certainly entitled him to her warmest gratitude. But his intercourse with Mrs. L---t did not consist solely in administering drinks and doses. Among other little manifestations of friendliness, they united their fortunes in the purchase of a ticket in a lottery, which one of the passengers made of an article of jewelry. They drew the prize, and the captain became sole owner of the bauble by purchasing Mrs. L---t's share. Matters continued in this friendly way between them, till we arrived at Rio. Here, after inquiring into the health of the city, he cautioned his passengers against stopping on shore at night where they would be liable to take the yellow fever. The next morning he accompanied Mrs. L---t on shore, where they tarried day and night until the afternoon previous to our sailing. As a matter of course this, together with their previous intimacy, was a subject of much remark and some sport among the passengers. Their jokes reached Captain Jackson's ears and enraged him. He declared that there should be a stop put to the talk. The passengers thought otherwise. A smart little quarrel grew out of it, the women took it in hand, and nourished it, and today a discussion remarkable for its warmth and length, took place between Capt J. and Mrs. L---t on one side, and Miss Julia S---g on the other. The battle raged till the middle of the afternoon, when the captain left in a very wrathful frame of mind to join in a religious service on deck, and to worship the God of peace and purity. Capt J. has a wife in Maine and Mrs. L---t a husband in San Francisco.
June 8. Latitude 47 6', longitude 59 8'. We have cold weather, strong winds, squalls, snow, hail and rain. Great numbers of sea birds, chiefly Cape Pigeons, follow the ship. They bite very readily at a hook baited with pork, and are easily caught. They are pretty birds, and fly with great ease and gracefulness, and their wings seem never to tire. They alight on the water, on which they swim with great agility, and I have seen them dive several feet into the water in pursuit of food that had been thrown to them from the ship. There is considerable difference both in the size and color of these birds, and perhaps a skillful ornithologist might determine them to consist of several species, though I am inclined to consider them as varieties of the same species. One of the passengers caught two of them for me, but owing to cold weather and a slight seasickness at this time, I lost them.
June 10. Caught two more Cape Pigeons, and it being cold on deck, I was glad to accept the invitation from some of the passengers in the main cabin to skin the birds there. Their beaks were of a delicate light ash or lead color, and their breasts white. There were some dark spots on the wings. They were seventeen inches long, and forty-two and a half inches in the stretch of their wings. Two spotted ones, whose skins I have preserved, are smaller, being only thirty-four inches in alar extent.
Our oranges have nearly disappeared. Having been kept in close boxes and chests, they have decayed very rapidly. I have found them very beneficial to my health, and should be glad to keep them till we arrive at the next port, but they will be used up before we reach Cape Horn.
ONE of those disagreeable scenes, which are of too frequent occurrence among us, came off this morning. Captain J. without any ceremony or consultation with the passengers, ordered the cooks to supply us with but two meals a day. This would not have been very seriously objected to, had we been furnished with any decent food in place of the vile trash, upon which we have been forced to subsist. But after waiting till half past eight, the time appointed for breakfast under this new regulation, behold! a pan of scouse is placed before us! And this was to suffice until two or three in the afternoon. Some of us could not, and others would not eat it, and after much "growling," as the captain terms our remonstrances, we succeeded in getting a dish of cold hasty pudding--the cooks refusing to warm it for us--and on this, with a dipper full of muddy coffee for those who could drink it, and of water for those who could not, we made our breakfast. We were in an excellent frame of mind to quarrel with the captain, and after a warm dispute we succeeded in having the former order of things restored. And bad enough it was at that.
A day or two since I applied to Capt. J. to sell or lend me a little oil for my own special use during the long nights we have just begun to encounter. This led to an examination of the ship's stock of oil, when it was ascertained that but a few gallons remained, which it was necessary to husband with the greatest care. To remedy the inconvenience of remaining in almost total darkness, the occupants of the main cabin have invented a variety of lamps, which they manufacture out of bottles and phials, cutting them off by means of strings, which they pass rapidly round them till they become heated by the friction, and then dipping them in water. These lamps they fill with "slush"--grease left by the cooks,---which, though a poor substitute for oil, they are happy to get.
June 11. A large white albatross flew round the ship to-day with other birds. I threw out a baited hook for I him, while the mate stood by with an open knife, threatening to cut the line. I caught the bird several times by the bill, and drew him close under the stern, but he slipped from the hook, and thus saved the amiable mate the trouble of executing his threat.
The cold has increased to such a degree, that Captain J. has set up a stove in the ladies' cabin. The owners of the ship have also supplied a stove for our room, but the captain tells us there is not wood enough for it--though we are convinced he knows better--and therefore refuses to have it set up. So we must make up our minds for a cold passage round Cape Horn. The ladies are making some additional preparations for warding off the cold. Two of them have made themselves hoods, and after searching in vain among their stores for cotton to stuff them with, they have---by permission---attacked my comforter, and supplied themselves.
June 13. For a week past we have been drifting about within little more than a day's sail of the Falkland Islands, beating against head winds, encountering squalls of wind, accompanied by rain, hail and snow, almost every hour of the day, and making but very little progress. This state of things is very irksome to us, and we are not a little impatient. The days are very short; and the nights dark and dreary. Our situation is anything but agreeable, and yet we
often find some little thing to amuse us, and the veriest trifles will sometimes answer this purpose. One night during a squall, some of the passengers were out assisting the sailors in furling the sails, when a small spar gave way and broke. "There," exclaimed one of them, "that whiffletree has gone to the devil!" The idea of a whiffletree as one of the spars of a ship, amused the crew, and our volunteer sailors were thereafter denominated "the Whiffle-tree Watch."
June 14. Another disgraceful scene occurred in the ladies' cabin this morning, being a continuation of the quarrel that took place a week since between our worthy captain and Julia Spaulding. The altercation between them was very violent, a part of which I overheard. Captain J. was in great wrath, smote his fists together, and repeatedly called Julia a liar; told her he would have no more of her lies, charged her indirectly with having attempted to seduce him, and threatened to shut her up and feed her by herself. All this intermingled with much profane and other violent language towards a female is by no means calculated to remove the strong dislike, which the passengers entertain for Captain J. They also very naturally side with the woman, who, they think, tells quite as many truths as falsehoods in the matter.
June 15. I lay this morning looking from the single remaining pane of glass in my window upon a bright sky, which I have not often had an opportunity to observe in this region of clouds and storms, and looking for the first time upon the Magellan Clouds, and contemplating the brilliant constellations in the heavens, among which the Southern Cross shone conspicuously. The Cross has been in view for several weeks; but though I have seen it several times, I have not until recently been certain of its identity, and our intelligent officers could give me no information concerning it.
"The Magellan Clouds consist of three small nebulae in the southern part of the heavens--two bright, like the milky way, and one dark. These are first seen above the horizon soon after crossing the southern tropic. When off Cape Horn they are nearly overhead. The Cross is composed of four stars in that form, and is said to be the brightest constellation in the heavens."
I received a little act of kindness in the evening, which I cannot deny myself the pleasure of recording. Soon after supper as I was standing in our cabin, I remarked to a passenger that I had eaten but one biscuit during the day, and that I was really hungry. To his question "why do you not eat some ship-bread?" I replied that I had taken a distaste to it during my seasickness, and the very, sight of it had become loathsome to me. It was the same with the beans we had to-day,--boiled beans and pork, which had been served up to us three or four times a week, during the voyage. The wife of the chief steward--Mrs. Grant--was present and heard the conversation. She immediately left the cabin and passed to the cooks' galley. In a few minutes she returned, and as she passed by me she cautioned me to be silent, while she slipped a large turn-over or fried mince-pie into my coat-pocket. The cooks had made a quantity of them for the captain and ladies, and she had begged this for me. Many such kindnesses have I received from her and other women during the voyage. They derive their value, not from the greatness of the gift bestowed, but from the circumstances in which both the giver and the receiver are placed, and to me, sick, hungry and thirsty as I often have been, I have felt such favors to be of "greater value than stamps in gold, or sums in sealed bags."
The passengers in the main cabin have made these turn-overs and the other varieties, which are got up for the inmates of the ladies' cabin, a subject of some pleasantry. They feel that they are equally entitled to these dainties with the other passengers. It was stipulated by the owners of the vessel, that all the passengers should fare alike, and they are naturally sensitive at the distinction which is constantly made to their prejudice; and the more so as the captain and two other men besides Mr. Johnson, have domiciled themselves in the ladies' cabin, where they partake of the best the ship affords, while the majority starve on scouse and boiled beans.
There was a large gathering near the captain's stateroom soon after supper to-night, where they continued some time shouting vociferously, and singing a parody on a fine old song, of which I never heard but these two lines:
"Tim Darling didn't know but his father was well, And his father didn't know but Tim Darling was well."
The parody ran thus: "The cooks, they all know that the captain lives well, And the captain, he knows that the cooks, they live well."
The captain listened to the music, which was fully equal to the poetry, but with a greater degree of prudence than he sometimes exercises, he controlled his temper and pocketed the insult.
June 16. A fine gale sprung up last night, and continues blowing to-day, bearing us on our course, westward of the Falkland Islands, towards the Strait of Le Maire, through which we hope to pass to-morrow.
June 17. A cloudless, golden sky in the morning, a pleasant breeze, a calm sea, a cool air, but not freezing, and a soft, hazy atmosphere, like one of our northern summer mornings. Tierra del Fuego lay before us on the right, and Staten Land on the left, their valleys and heights covered with snow. I promised myself the great gratification of a near view of both of these desolate regions; but in this I was doomed to disappointment.
Before ten o'clock the sky became filled with clouds, and the brilliancy of the morning gave place to darkness and gloom. An eclipse of the sun occurred during the day, which increased the darkness. The wind gradually died away, and we passed several hours at the entrance to the Strait of Le Maire, where we encountered a strong current till night, when we perceived the ship to be drifting astern. At about four P. M. the tide turned, and swept us back into the Strait again. It was now dark, and but little could be seen around us. The current carried us towards Staten Land, whose coasts were very bold and dangerous to approach, and were rendered doubly so at this time by, the exceeding darkness of the night. Our sails were flapping uselessly against the masts, we had no control over the vessel, which was drifting at the rate of four knots an hour, and our situation was becoming perilous in the extreme. Captain J. was exceedingly anxious. He ordered the mate to have the boats in readiness, for we might soon want them. We were now only three miles distant from the coast as the captain conjectured. A heavy swell added to our danger and increased our difficulties; and there seemed scarcely a hope of our escaping shipwreck, on one of the most desolate and forlorn coasts of which the imagination can conceive. But just at this juncture, when a few minutes more would have sent the ship on to the rocks, a favorable wind providentially sprung up, the sails filled, the ship began to feel her helm, and we bade adieu to Staten Land.
But another danger awaited us. In getting clear of Staten Land we approached too near the coast of Tierra del Fuego, and came very near running upon a large rock that lies off that coast; but happily the sailor at the watch discovered it in season to wear ship, and sail by it. At length all the dangers of this hazardous passage were cleared, and before morning we had passed into the open ocean again.
We saw but few signs of vegetation on Staten Land. It was thrown up into mountains and precipices of the most rugged and barren character, and presented an aspect of dreary desolation. There were patches of low shrubs in sight on Tierra del Fuego, but no trees. The hills at the entrance to the Strait were less precipitous than those on Staten Land. But the whole scene, so far as the early darkness permitted us to view it, was as forbidding as it could well be. Immense flocks of ducks flew across the Strait towards Staten Land in the afternoon. There was also a flock of Cape Pigeons, perhaps a hundred in number, flying round the ship, and the passengers fed them with scraps of pork and with pot skimmings. As I watched this amusement, I could not suppress the thought that this was an inexcusable waste of those precious dainties, which should have been preserved for the manufacture of--scouse.
The width of the Strait of Le Maire is about twenty miles. The length of Staten Land is seventy miles.
June 19. We beat against a head wind yesterday, and made but little progress. To-day we had a specimen of Cape Horn weather. A squall arose in the morning, the most violent we have yet encountered; and the sailors were sent in good haste to shorten sail. Assisted by the passengers, they soon reduced the canvass to the proper quantity, and our vessel rode out the storm in fine style, and without any damage. But the captain and two of the passengers lost each a hat. The wind abated in the afternoon.
While the gale was at its height, one of the passengers caught a beautiful black albatross for me. But while the company were looking at it, the captain and mate watched the bird, determined that it should not be killed. I believe they really felt that the safety of the ship depended on the life of the bird. It was a magnificent specimen of this species of albatross, in fact, the only one, I ever saw, and would have been a valuable acquisition to me. But I left it for a moment in charge of a friend, when the captain ordered the second mate to bring it to him, and he threw it overboard. Such is the influence of superstition on an ignorant seaman.
June 20. The gale of yesterday subsided at night to a light breeze, which continued during the night, and this morning we had the great gratification of beholding Cape Horn. It lay but a few miles distant, and in full view before us. I felt a slight degree of enthusiasm as I looked upon it, and recalled the descriptions I had read of it in my boyhood, and the tales of terror I had gathered from the narratives of voyages round this far-famed point. We were sailing past the Cape in a south-west direction, with a breeze that was fast increasing in strength, and we hoped that the next tack of our ship would carry us safely beyond the much dreaded barrier. But we soon found that this was not to be so speedily accomplished. The wind rose to a gale, and we were obliged to reduce our canvass to a few sails, and at last to lay to under the fore-top-mast-stay sail, main-stay sail and spanker.
Cape Horn is a naked promontory at the extremity of little island about twelve miles long, called Horn Island. Many other islands and rocks lie in the neighborhood, but Cape Horn is readily distinguished from them all by its greater height and the steepness of its south-western side. It is ninety miles distant from the Strait of Le Maire. Its latitude is 55 59' south, and its longitude, 67 16' west.
June 21. We are still encountering head winds, still laying to and drifting to leeward. The wind blows in tempestuous gusts, and the seas are running higher than I have ever before seen them. The sky is covered with clouds, from which we receive frequent showers of rain, accompanied in a singled instance, with thunder and lightning. Now and then the sun breaks forth for a moment, but soon disappears again. It is a season of anxiety to many of us, but the bark proves a good sea-boat, and we have considerable confidence in the skill of our captain.
June 22. The gale became furious last night, and seemed increasing in force this morning. We had no little difficulty in eating our breakfast. A pan of fried pork and boiled beef, another pan of hard-bread, and a pot of coffee were set on the table, but how to keep them there required a greater degree of skill than we possessed. We could not sit, and we were in danger every moment of being pitched over the table, and across the cabin. To avoid such a catastrophe we were obliged to hold by the berths with both hands. We made an effort, however, to eat, but had hardly made a beginning when a violent lurch of the ship sent our pork, bread, coffee, and all, in an instant upon the floor and into a neighboring berth. The scene was rather ludicrous, and we managed to extract a laugh out of it as we picked up the fragments, sent for a pot of fresh coffee, and finished our breakfast.
JUNE 23. The wind, which continued to blow with great fury during the night, began to subside a little towards morning, and as it was now veering to a more favorable point, we unfurled the sails, and were in good spirits at the prospect of speedily weathering the Cape. But the wind soon changed again, and continued to blow in violent gusts during the day, bringing down flights of snow and sleet, which covered the decks, and froze the sails and rigging. The cold was severe, and our cabin very uncomfortable. By invitation from one of the ladies, I visited their cabin for the first time since we left Rio. I was glad of an opportunity to warm my feet and hands at their stove. We are in the habit of betaking ourselves to our berths for warmth, though I occasionally get into the cooks' galley when it is not occupied by other passengers or sailors.
During a temporary abatement of the gale at night, several of the ladies went out and amused themselves with snowballing. The sport was lively but of short continuance.
June 24. A fresh wind was blowing in the morning when I arose, and a thick fall of snow nearly blinded me as I went out on deck. The cold had become intense, and it was a time of suffering for the poor sailors. But the wind was fair, and Captain J. determined to improve it by spreading more sail. But the men had scarcely got the fore and maintop sails set, when the storm came on again with a fury far exceeding any thing we had yet encountered, and they were again sent aloft to furl the sails. We now lay to under two stay sails, the ship rolling with great violence, and the seas breaking over the decks.
There is a beauty, a sublimity in this war of the winds and waters, that fill the mind of the beholder with emotions of mingled delight and awe, and not unfrequently, be it confessed, with fear. It presents a scene which is difficult to describe, and can be imagined only by him who has witnessed it. To the captain it was at this time a season of anxiety, and to the sailors one of severe hardship. It was also a time of much uneasiness with many of the passengers; and one of them, who went up to assist in furling a sail, came down with his hands badly frozen. The winds whistled, howled and shrieked through the rigging, the torn sails flapped, the strained masts creaked and groaned, the waves rolled up into immense billows covered with foam, and dashed against the sides of the ship and over the bulwarks, deluging every person and setting afloat every loose thing upon the decks. Borne about by the raging waters, the ship often staggered for a moment upon the crest of a great wave, as if fearful of the plunge she was about to take, but quickly sinking down into the moving chasm, as if she were attempting to dive to the bottom of the sea, until overtaken by another billow, she rose to its crest, though only to be sunk into another and another gulf. Sometimes pressed down upon her side by a more violent gust of wind until her yard-arms dipped into the water, the interposition of a merciful Providence only could save us. But that Providence, which had watched over, and guarded and guided us through so many perils, did not desert us in this. The blast swept by, the ship slowly arose, and her freight of eighty-eight human beings escaped the threatened destruction.
Restless as the sea birds that still hovered around her, ever in motion, pitching, plunging, lurching and rolling, she was apparently driven about at the mercy of the winds and waves, that almost bade defiance to the men at the wheel, whose utmost skill and exertions could scarce enable them to direct her course.
Captain J. came into the after house during the storm to take a cup of coffee, with his clothes whitened with the snow and his face coated with ice. But he had scarcely been in a minute, when he was hastily sent for by the mate, for the gale had suddenly increased to such a degree of violence, that we were in great danger of being capsized. He went out again, and gave orders to reduce even the small patches of canvass that were still flying. His orders were answered promptly, and the ship lay to again. The storm raged with great fury till near noon, when it began to abate, and we were enabled to carry a little more sail. The wind continued favorable during the remainder of the day, but the snow squalls came on in terrible blasts until late at night.
A week had now elapsed since we passed through the Strait of Le Maire, and so beclouded had the sky been during that time, that Captain J. had had no opportunity to take an observation of the sun, and of course he was in painful uncertainty as to our situation. There was some danger to be apprehended from a cluster of small islands or rocks, called the Diego Ramirez Islands, lying fifty-five miles to the south-west of Cape Horn, and near which we expected to pass. And it behooved us to keep a good lookout for these rocks during the obscurity of the day, and the deep darkness of the night.
June 25. The cry of "land ahead" aroused us at an early hour this morning. It proved to be the islands I have just mentioned. The night was so dark that we were close upon the breakers before we were aware of our approach to the islands. Fortunately we had room enough in which to wear ship and escape the danger. We stood away till daylight enabled us to resume our course, when we passed between these islands and Tierra del Fuego.
We have now weathered Cape Horn. During eight days since we passed through the Strait of Le Maire, we have been struggling against head winds, and have at length accomplished a task, which might have been performed with a fair wind in ten or twelve hours. Our impatience has been great, and we feel much relieved on finding ourselves beyond the stormy barrier, and with a fair prospect of soon being safely delivered from this region of storms and darkness, There is another little circumstance that adds to our cheerfulness. From the second day since we left Rio we have not seen a single sail. This afternoon two vessels are in sight, and our company, for want of other subjects, are busily engaged in discussing the questions, "Who are they?" and "Can we come up with them?" and "How soon?"
The sun rose to-day at fifteen minutes past nine, and set at fifteen minutes before three, giving us a day of five and a half hours, and a night eighteen and a half hours long.
June 27. Sunday. Our ship has been the scene of a disgraceful brawl, I may almost say, riot. For many weeks past, a feud has existed between our worthy chaplain, Mr. Johnson, and Miss Julia S. Miss Julia, who is not overburdened with a superabundance, of refinement or delicacy, has used some rather coarse language towards Mr. J., which he, perhaps, has not received with that meekness and forbearance, which would become a minister of the Gospel. This morning when he arose, he saw a dress of Miss Julia's hanging against the stove, where she had placed it to dry, and not being in that amiable frame of mind that would seem to be desirable, he threw the dress upon the floor, where it remained till Miss Julia found it. Her wrath was very bitter, and many hard words passed between her and the reverend chaplain; the temper of both parties increasing in warmth until Mr. J. remarked in the language of Scripture that he would leave Miss Julia to her "wallowing like a sow in the mire," whereupon Miss Julia seized a billet of wood and threw it at the head of the parson, and the parson, in the excitement of the moment, forgetting the injunction to turn the other cheek, returned the compliment by hitting Miss Julia a slap in the face, and pushing her towards the companionway. By this time the inmates of our room, overhearing the uproar, had assembled at the head of the companionway, and were on the point of rushing down; but taking a moment to consider, they turned back, and in an instant were engaged among themselves in an altercation upon the demerits of the quarrel, almost as violent as that which was raging below. Captain J. soon joined us, and as his mode of reasoning seldom tends to allay wrath or to settle a dispute, the discussion continued with increased violence, and it was several hours before order was restored. As in former quarrels, a large majority of the passengers were found to advocate the cause of the woman. But whoever was most to blame, Mr. Johnson was the most deeply injured by the quarrel, and his influence and usefulness, which had long been waning, were from this time ended. There are several religious people in the main cabin, who held a prayer-meeting, after the quarrel had subsided, but Mr. J. did not attend, nor did he attempt to hold any other religious exercises during the day.
June 28. We are now driving along before a fine breeze in the Pacific Ocean, which seems disposed to prove to us on our introduction, that she is entitled to the soubriquet by which she is known. Cape Horn is far behind us, we have given Tierra del Fuego a wide berth, and headed our ship for the north. Our next port, Talcahuana, is only a thousand miles distant,--next to nothing,--and we will be there in a week if this breeze continues. Sherman has captured another porpoise, and we shall have some steaks for breakfast, and some oil for our lamps. The air for two days past has been comparatively mild, I am enabled to spend considerable time on deck, my health is improving, and I am enjoying many pleasing anticipations.
June 29. Our course is parallel to the coast of Patagonia; and though more than seventy-five miles distant from it, we have a distinct view of some Majestic ranges of mountains on the large islands, which lie along the coast. Standing as they do in this bleak and dreary land, their sides and summits shrouded in snow, and presenting to the view and the imagination, a picture at once of vast sublimity and of eternal solitude and utter desolation, I can scarcely restrain the feeling of awe that comes over me as I behold them. But what land is that coming suddenly in sight under our lee bow, and nearly in the direction of the ship? All hands are gazing at it, and Captain J., as he sees our proximity to the land, begins to doubt the accuracy of his reckoning. We are all anxious about it, for with the wind in its present direction, we must tack ship or run ashore. Night comes on, the ship is put about, and our dream of a speedy run to Talcahuana is at an end. And these mountains we have been beholding must lie beyond the islands, and it adds not a little to the interest of the scene to reflect that they can be no other than a portion of the great range of the Andes, and this my first, and will probably be my last view of them.
June 30. It has been our fortune to encounter another storm. The wind blew with great fury, and rolled the waves up to a magnificent height. We had been scudding before it nearly all day, and were fast drifting on a lee shore, with little chance of escape but with a change of wind. Captain J. passed much of his time on. deck, and was watchful and anxious. He came into our room at night to warn us of approaching danger. "I tell you what," said he, "I don't want to say nothing to skear you, but if this wind holds till morning, we shall see hard times." Such an announcement from our experienced captain, who had not, during the voyage, uttered a warning so fraught with terror to us, and which betrayed his sense of the imminence of our danger, caused a shade of deep anxiety to pass over the countenances of many of our companions, who could have exclaimed in the language of honest old Gonzalo: "Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground; long heath, brown furze, any thing. The wills above be done! but I would fain die a dry death." But it was not our destiny to be engulfed in the raging sea, nor to suffer a more horrible death on the bleak and desolate coast of Patagonia. After a few hours of anxious suspense, we perceived a lull in the storm, and this lull was succeeded by a change in the wind, which enabled us to stand on our course again, which we did under all the canvass our ship could carry.
July 2. I have had the pleasure of beholding a novel phenomenon, a lunar rainbow. It occurred at seven o'clock in the evening. The atmosphere was hazy, and the moon shone with a dim luster. Though much fainter than a solar rainbow, and having none of its brilliant hues, it was still very distinct, and spanned nearly half the arch of the heavens.
July 4. Sunday. No religious services to-day, nor any celebration of the anniversary of Independence. Instead thereof, we have been battling with another heavy gale, and driving before it under the foresail, foretop sail, and maintop sail, all close reefed. The seas run very high, and the ship pitched violently. Standing on the quarter deck, we could often see the waves over the fore yard as the vessel pitched into the trough of a sea.
July 5. Another attempt has been made to induce Captain J. to substitute a more decent bill of fare in place of the disgusting dishes upon which he has starved us during the voyage. As we are approaching Talcahuana, where a supply of such necessaries as we may need can be obtained, it was thought proper to hold a formal meeting for the purpose in the main cabin. A chairman, secretary and a committee to report a bill of fare for the consideration of Captain J., were chosen. Mr. Grant, the chief steward, was called in, who stated that in supplying the table in the after cabin with better food than those in other parts of the ship, he had acted in compliance with the orders of Captain J., and that the captain had also directed him to reduce the allowance of soft-tack to the passengers. The committee on the bill of fare reported to recommend for dinners, on Monday, beef and rice; on Tuesday, beans and pork; on Wednesday, fish and potatoes, or rice; on Thursday, beef and potatoes and duff; on Friday, beans and pork; on Saturday, fish and potatoes, and on Sunday, beef and duff, with soft-tack and apple-sauce once a day. This report was accepted. The committee immediately waited upon the captain, whom they found in a more amiable mood than they had anticipated, and obtained from him some general promises of improvement, which gave us a slight degree of encouragement.
It is not a little provoking under all our privations to know that we have on board the bark a sufficient quantity of wholesome food to make us comfortable. In addition to good beef, pork, codfish, beans, potatoes and hardbread, we have a quantity of flour, sufficient to give us a reasonable supply of soft-tack, besides rice, dried apples, raisins and sugar. We have no reason to complain of the owners of the vessel, but charge our discomforts to the surly brutality of the captain, and the execrable filthiness of the cooks. A portion of our supply of water is impure, having been put into bad casks. But when one of these casks is tapped, however disgusting it may be, we are allowed no other until it is used up.
CAPTAIN J. seems to be actuated by only one object, namely, to make a profitable, voyage for his employers, regardless of the rights or comforts of his passengers. And any little concession he makes to the demands of his passengers,--and these concessions are few and far between,--any little change he makes for the better in our fare, any thing he does to alleviate the discomforts of our voyage, is done with extreme reluctance, and seldom without a dispute or a serious quarrel. Let me finish with the picture I have begun of the man. He has the frame of a giant, six feet two inches high. His fist is brawny as the paw of a grizzly bear, and his foot is a terror to shoe-makers. He is ungainly in his figure, and awkward and ungraceful in every movement and gesture. He has a coarse, vulgar, morose cast of countenance, is distant and repulsive in his manners, gross and vulgar in his tastes and conversation, and fond of repeating profane and obscene jests and anecdotes. He is exceedingly obstinate, willful and unyielding, which qualities he mistakes for independence of mind. He boasts of his indifference as to what is said of him, and yet manifests an extreme sensitiveness when he is made the subject of a jest. Notwithstanding his long continued intercourse with the world, he has learned nothing of human nature, and he thinks to govern men by fear and brute force, rather than by reason, persuasion or kindness. There is nothing conciliating in his disposition, but in all his discussions with his passengers, he talks in a spirit of rude dictation and of defiance. He seldom speaks a kind word to his sailors, and has acquired the hearty hatred of them all. He hates Dana and his "Two years before the Mast," because Dana's sympathies are enlisted on the side of the oppressed men, and against tyrannical ship-masters. He hates Edward Kent, our Consul at Rio, for the same reason. He is strongly tinctured with those superstitions that characterize the ignorant portion of his class. In politics he is a rabid loco-foco, a blind worshiper of Andrew Jackson, whom he has been taught to call a second Washington. But his chief political knowledge consists in a number of slang phrases and slurs, which he threw out with great liberality in the former part of the voyage, but which were answered in a manner that taught him a little circumspection in the use of his favorite weapons. Such is the man, to whose arbitrary will we are bound to submit during this long voyage. But we believe him to be a cautious and skillful navigator; and if we see in him a total absence of every characteristic of a gentleman, of every qualification requisite to make an agreeable commander of a passenger-ship, we are happy to find some compensation for these defects in his watchfulness and care. <
July 6. Approaching the harbor of Talcahuana, we saw a large broken yard with several ropes attached to it, floating within a few rods of the ship. From the fresh appearance of the fracture, I perceived that it had recently been broken. A casual remark dropped by one of the passengers, that some vessel had probably been wrecked in one of the storms we had lately encountered, and the spar was passed and forgotten. But what a history of suffering and despair may there be connected with that spar! Perhaps it belonged to our acquaintance at Rio, the North America. She may have been wrecked on this coast, and her five hundred souls have been sunk in the waves or dashed on the rocks. In their efforts to save themselves, may not some of them have been lashed to this very yard? Perhaps, as the vessel went to pieces, and one after another was swallowed up, the lives of a few may have been prolonged beyond those of their fellow sufferers. And oh! what an hour of horror must that have been to them! What thoughts of deep and bitter anguish did they send to the homes they had seen for the last time, and to the wives, daughters, mothers, sisters and friends, to whom they had bidden farewell forever! What ages of intense agony must have been concentrated and endured in the few hours, perhaps minutes, those sufferers lay lashed to that spar, and saw, one after another, their companions expire! May not this vessel have been lost in one of the storms that nearly drove us up on the coast of Patagonia? How near may we have been to sharing the same fate with them? And may we not, even now, after having escaped so many dangers, be reserved for the same or a worse doom? Such or similar reflections naturally arise in one's mind at the sight of a floating mast or spar at sea. I have often seen them, but never before one so new, and bearing such certain indications of a recent shipwreck. We are in a state of excitement consequent on approaching a port after our long voyage, and there is much preparation making for going ashore; washing, which has been but slightly performed during our cold passage, shaving, and cutting hair. Our chests and trunks are overhauled, and clean shirts and the best pants are selected. It is "washing day" too with the women, who have obtained some fresh water for their purpose. Even Mrs. L---t, who has hitherto manifested a very idle disposition, has gathered up a quantity of her child's garments, and proves that she is not incompetent to perform the duties of the wash-tub, while Captain J. stands like a sentinel over her, engaged in a low, but earnest conversation, attracting the attention, and exciting the remarks of the company, by his ridiculous manifestations of a silly lover's foolish fondness. The sight of a landscape is always delightful to me, but it is particularly so after having been so long at sea. We have had many views of the coast during our passage from Rio, but they have been only those of naked and barren rocks, desolate shores, and snow-covered mountains. Now we begin again to behold symptoms of vegetable life. The sides of a high hill we have passed, though there is no sign of a human habitation near it, have the appearance of cultivated fields and thick forests. And some of the trees have a shade of light green, reminding us of fields of wheat in Maine, and suggesting many thoughts of home to us. Yonder, as far as the eye can reach, is a point of land rising to the view. And as we approach it, there are seen two beautifully rounded hills. We have examined the chart, and find these hills to be the "Paps of Bio-bio," and Talcahuana lies several miles beyond them. We had hoped to reach that port to-day, but now we find the distance too great to be accomplished by daylight, and as Captain J. has never been there, he will not risk the passage by night. So, despite our impatience, we have no alternative but to sail up to the entrance to the harbor, and lay off and on till morning. July 7. We entered the harbor of Talcahuana at ten o'clock in the morning, and spent the remainder of the day in beating up to the town against a head wind, a distance of about twenty miles. Our entrance to this port was signalized by a very interesting event, nothing less than my first sight of that monster bird, the Brown Pelican. (Pelicanus fuscus.) A great flock of sea birds were hovering over the water, and centering to one point, probably attracted by some substance on which they were feeding. The passengers watched them with great interest. We sailed very near them before they left the spot, when, to my great gratification, I saw a dozen pelicans, with their immensely long bills and great pouches, rise up and fly away with the flock. Never before had I seen such an unvieldy bird on wings, and it seemed a wonder that it could support such a ponderous body in the air. But though ungainly in their appearance, they flew with considerable velocity, and sustained their great weight and bulk with much ease. Our company were all strangers to the bird, and with one exception none could tell its name. We dropped anchor within half a mile of the town amidst a fleet of twelve ships and barks, several of which belonged to the United States. We were immediately visited by the captain of the port, who was an Englishman, attended by other officials, Chilians. We also received a call from three other gentlemen, American merchants, formerly from New York, Massachusetts and Ohio. They came on board to solicit business. By invitation from one of them, Captain J. went on shore, and passed the night with him; and the next day he took his chere amie, Mrs. L---t, to the same house, where they tarried till we sailed. It was gratifying to meet thus unexpectedly, a number of our own countrymen in this far distant port, and to learn, as we did, that several other Yankees were residents here. July 8. A number of Chilian boats were along-side in the morning for passengers. We speedily filled them, all of us eager to land, our curiosity being highly excited in anticipation of the new and strange things we were about to behold in this pretty town, as it appeared to us from the ship. Judge then of my disappointment when on landing I found myself in the most filthy and disgusting village I ever beheld. A row of ill-looking houses, huts and shops stretched along the bay for nearly a mile. Three very narrow, parallel streets ran the length of the village, and were crossed at right angles by other streets still narrower, and all filled with deep mud and filth. A few large warehouses, stores, and dwellings, stood in the front street, but all with a very few exceptions, only one-story high; and in no single instance was there the least pretension to architectural beauty. The houses were generally built in long ranges or blocks, and so low that we could touch the eaves as we passed them. There were also great numbers of little huts made of stakes driven into the ground, interwoven with twigs, and plastered over with mud. A roof thatched with coarse grass completed the dwelling. Many of the better buildings had their roofs covered with coarse tiles. Besides the large warehouses I have mentioned, which all belonged to foreigners, there were many little shops containing a plentiful supply of liquors in bottles, and some articles of dry goods. An open space for a square was left at the back part of the village. To this square the inhabitants retreat for safety in case of earthquakes. It was destitute of trees or any other ornament. There was not, I believe, a single tree in the town; but many clusters and thickets of shrubs grew in the fields and on the hills, and gave a pleasant appearance to the country when viewed at a distance. There were great numbers of houses of entertainment, and from the signs hung out, one might readily judge what nation contributes to their support. At any rate, it is amusing to see an American in a far distant foreign port, to read in every street, such signs as the following: California Hotel, American Hotel, American House, New Bedford House, New York Restaurant, Eagle Hotel, &c. I went into several of them, and found them so excessively filthy, that despite the keenness of my appetite, I could not eat, and made up my mind that I must go back to the dirty bark for my dinner. But in the course of my rambles, I saw several of our ship's company standing at the door of a house of a better description than most of those I had seen. The walls of this house bore the imposing sign, "Tremont House." I could not resist the temptation to go in and inspect the premises. First and foremost was a large bar well stocked with liquors. But as this was not the principal object of my search, I passed on to the dining-room, where I saw a table covered with a clean white cloth. My resolution was formed, and I immediately booked my name for dinner. The hour for dining was two. But before we sit down to the table, allow me to introduce the proprietor of the house, and give you a description of his dining room and furniture. Our landlord was a Yankee, and had been during many years master of a ship, till he anchored in this port, took a Chilian girl for his wife, and turned Boniface. We dined in a large square room lighted with two windows secured by iron grates, and set in a stone wall nearly three feet thick,--these thick walls and iron grates, as well as the single story in which the houses are built, being a necessary protection against earthquakes. The windows were shaded with cotton curtains, red and white. There were large, coarse, double doors like those of a warehouse, the floor was paved with large tiles, and the uncovered beams were festooned with a profusion of cobwebs. A pile of boxes lay in one corner, a quantity of boxes and barrels surmounted by an X bedstead, loaded with old saddles, occupied another corner, rude side-tables with more old casks and boxes under them, and a dining table with the clean table-cloth aforesaid, set for twenty-five persons, with the same number of chairs, which had been imported from Yankee Land,--these constituted the furniture of the dining-room of the Tremont House, Talcahuana, Chili. Our company were unanimously of the opinion that this style of furnishing an eating-room was open to criticism; but we were not disposed to be fastidious or captious; and had we been so, the display of the dinner upon the table would have completely done away all disposition for fault finding. Macaroni soup, roast beef, roast wild ducks, corned boiled beef, potatoes, beets, squash, bread, pudding, &c., and wine. With such a bill of fare before us, we quickly lost sight of the surroundings. It was marvelous to witness the disappearance of these luscious viands before twenty half starved mortals. But there was no lack of it, and all were satisfied. The food was of an excellent quality and well cooked. In fact one of our own fellow-passengers expressed a decided preference for this dinner to a ten quart tin pan full of scouse on board the James W. Paige. I made a hearty meal of roast duck, washed down with a copious draught of weak wine, a production of the country. Thus pleasantly terminated my ramble in search of a dinner. And if any thing could overcome my chagrin at being landed in this contemptible place, it would be such a dinner with such an appetite.
I HAVE said nothing of the character and appearance of the inhabitants of this town. There are about three thousand of them. On our first landing I saw standing round the shops, groups of ragged, dirty, copper colored fellows, with a "poncho" over their shoulders, and a conical hat without a brim on their heads. Some were employed in rolling large square bundles of wool from a warehouse to the landing. A few were driving loaded mules and asses, and others were variously employed; but the greater part of them were leaning against the buildings, or walking, idly about, as worthless looking a set of vagabonds as could very well be imagined. A very small number of well dressed men, were to be seen; but these were mostly foreigners, and the majority of them from the United States. Several women and girls were seated in front of the shops selling apples and cakes. As I passed into the cross streets I saw a great many women seated or standing at their doors, or walking in the streets. Many of them were very filthy, though some were neatly dressed, and were rather pretty. They had dark complexions, fresh, florid checks, bright, black eyes, and black, glossy hair hanging down their backs in two braids. They wore nothing on their heads, and I did not see a bonnet in Talcahuana. They had a smile and a word for all strangers, but their smiles were those of the siren. They were all sunk in the lowest depths of moral degradation and pollution. Such is the general character of the people of this, town. There are exceptions, and it is said that the married women are remarkably faithful to their marriage vows.
I took a walk up a hill in the rear of the village in company with several of my fellow-passengers. Saw several men employed in plowing their fields and harrowing in wheat, this being their season for sowing grain, though I saw several fields in which the seed had sprouted and grown up three or four inches. The extreme rudeness of their farming implements surprised me. Their plow was of the most primitive description, being formed of two pieces of wood, the beam being long enough to reach to the yoke to which it was attached, and the other piece forming the handle and point. A pair of small oxen drew it. Their yoke was a straight stick laid across their necks, and fastened to their horns. The man held the single handle of the plow in his right hand and a whip in his left. He broke up the surface of the ground not more than two or three inches deep, and harrowed the seed in with the same plow instead of a harrow. The soil is exceedingly rich, or such cultivation would never produce a crop. The English and Americans have brought. their best plows and other agricultural implements here, but they cannot persuade the Chilians to use them.
On going up a steep hill, we saw a Chilian on horseback accompanied by half a dozen dogs in full pursuit of an ox. They passed near us. I saw the rider take his lasso, twirl it several times over his head, and throw it. I witnessed the performance with great interest; but the result disappointed me, and I regretted that in the first instance I had seen of the throwing of the lasso, it missed its aim. The Chilian gathered up his lasso, threw it a second time, and caught the ox by the horns. The Chilians are fine horsemen, and they seldom ride without a lasso, which they are very expert in using.
I have spoken of the poncho. This is a very important article of dress with the Chilians, and I believe with all the Spanish population of America. It consists simply of a shawl either square or oblong, with a slit in the center, through which the head is thrust, and the poncho hangs loosely over the shoulders. They are made of a great variety of materials and patterns, some plain, and others richly striped, checked, or figured.
On our return to the village we saw a large covered wagon drawn by one horse. This would not have attracted our attention had we not observed that the driver, instead of taking his seat in the carriage, rode another horse, and guided the wagon horse, by means of a long bridle. This wagon was run daily to the city of Concepcion and back, and was the only carriage I saw here. It must depend on foreigners for patronage, for I doubt if a Chilian could be persuaded to take a seat in it while he had a horse to ride.
At the door of the Tremont House I saw a man with several strings of a pretty species of little wild doves, about the size of the little ground dove described by Audubon. Our landlord bought them.
No man can visit Chili without encountering an earthquake. At least I never heard of one who did. We had one of them in the night, but unfortunately I was asleep in my berth in the bark, and neither felt nor heard it. In the town the inhabitants left their houses in great haste and fled to the square. The shock was not very heavy, and no damage was done. This town, and indeed the whole western coast of South America, and North America as far as California, are subject to frequent earthquakes, some of which have caused immense destruction of lives and property. Talcahuana was destroyed by one of these convulsions in 1835, every building but two having been thrown down. The city of Concepcion, nine miles distant, was also greatly injured.
July 9. I had intended to take a ride to Concepcion, of which Talcahuana is the port, but being told that the roads were very muddy, the country flat and uninteresting and the city dull and but little superior to Talcahuana in point of elegance, I gave up the visit; and therefore having little to do to-day, I obtained permission of the captain of the port to go gunning. He cautioned me not to discharge my gun in the town, or even to load it here. On leaving the town I passed up a gorge between two steep hills, at the foot of which were a dozen huts filled with Chilians and dogs. A little brook ran through the valley, and several women and girls were employed in washing clothes in it. There was no room for a road, nor any need of one, and the little foot path was all they required in their communication with the village. I climbed the hill, and looked down the gorge. The scene was very pretty, and if I could have fancied a dozen neat cottages in place of these thatched mud huts, it would have been beautifully picturesque.
I passed over several steep hills, and down their sides through thickets of bushes and vines, all new to me; but without procuring any birds but a hawk. I saw several small birds that were strangers to me; but none that pleased me so much as the sight of one of our American robins. It gave a fresh impulse to my thoughts, and sent them at once, to my far distant home. I was half disposed to think that I had seen this identical robin in some of my rambles in the fields and woods at home, and that it had flown this long distance, bearing a message of love from my dear child.
After crossing several hills, I came at last to one, whose almost perpendicular sides overlooked an extensive marsh, which was bounded on one side by a bay, whose waters rolled up a broad beach of dark brown sand. Immense numbers of sea birds were hovering over this beach, but I could not approach them within gunshot. I passed a considerable number of huts at the foot of the hill. There were seldom less than two or three dogs around them, and sometimes more, besides women and children enough to fill them. The dogs seemed rather vicious, and often attacked me; but I easily drove them off except in one instance, when I was surrounded by three or four larger, and particularly ferocious ones, and had to swing my gun round pretty smartly, and was on the point of discharging it at them, when the women of the house came out and called them off.
I observed many beds of shells scattered over the marsh and beach, and collected several very pretty specimens, but found them too much decayed to be worth bringing away. There was also an abundance of these shells imbedded in the sides of the hills, and from the state of preservation in which they are found, there can be no doubt the convulsion which upheaved these hills must have been of a comparatively recent date.
I returned to the village in season to dine, which I did at the Tremont House. Upwards of twenty of our ship's company sat at the table. We had an excellent bill of fare, and I made a rich meal from a pie made of the little doves I had seen the day before.
After dinner I went to the warehouse of a rich old Scotchman to buy some wine to use as a substitute for tea and coffee during the residue of our voyage. This is a weak wine manufactured by himself, and is, as he says, the pure juice of the grape. A connoisseur in wines would not value it very highly, and indeed, it is not much better than old cider; but mixed with water and sugar, I find it rather a pleasant beverage. I bought several gallons at forty cents per gallon. This Scotchman had a peculiar sense of his own dignity, which would not permit him to wait on his customers; and I was amused to see him walk about the room with a very consequential air, while I filled my bottles from his cask. He received my account of the quantity I had drawn without inquiry as to its correctness, and with the greatest indifference.
A part of our company returned to the ship at night, but many of them tarried on shore in the enjoyment of such delights as the town readily supplied. Unfortunately two of the gentlemen having imbibed a larger quantity of aguardiente than prudence would seem to have dictated, and oblivious of the distance that separated them from the "land of the free and the home of the brave," indulged in a larger liberty than the regulations of the place permitted, and were rather ignominiously accommodated with lodgings in a calaboose, for which they were charged two dollars each on being liberated in the morning.
One of our men, an Irishman, while fishing from the side of the bark, hooked up rather a queer fish--nothing less than a Chilian musket. It was in a tolerable state of preservation, though rather rusty. He scoured it up, and made a very respectable piece of it.
An affecting incident occurred on shore during our stay here. Stephen Pierce, one of our passengers, had a brother somewhere in the Pacific Ocean for many years; and four years had elapsed since he had heard from him. He was than at Juan Fernandez. It was in part a slight hope of finding his brother, that induced Mr. Pierce to undertake this voyage. On his arrival at Talcahuana he began to make inquiries for him; and strangely enough the first man to whom he spoke on the subject, was an acquaintance of his brother's, and informed him that his brother had died fourteen months before in this village, and that his widow, who was a Chilian and a native of Talcahuana, whom he had found and married at Juan Fernandez, still lived here. He accompanied Mr. Pierce to the dwelling of the widow, introduced them, and acted as interpreter between them; for she had learned nothing of the English language. She was a very pretty woman of only eighteen years. The meeting was exceedingly affecting. But little time was necessary to satisfy the young widow of the identity of Mr. Pierce as the brother of her deceased husband, when she threw herself upon his neck, and the tears of the bereaved wife and brother were mingled in sorrow and sympathy at this renewed remembrance of their lost relative. She wept long and bitterly. After a long interview, Mr. Pierce took leave. But he repeated his visit to-day, and the widow accompanied him to the grave of his brother. She was deeply moved, for she had loved her husband with a. strong affection. Her mother and other relatives manifested the kindest and most affectionate regard for Mr. Pierce, and this last interview, as well as the former, was one of intense interest. After having prolonged his stay to the last moment, he bade adieu to these new found relatives, never in all probability to meet again on earth.
July 10. We were much disappointed in the fruit market in Talcahuana. There was nothing to be obtained but some apples of an inferior quality, tasteless and thick-skinned, and walnuts. I laid in a stock of walnuts, which I found very useful. Had we arrived two months earlier, we would have found a lot of pears, peaches, grapes, &C.
Captain J. having completed taking in his stores, consisting of fresh beef, potatoes, flour, beans, oil, wood and water, weighed anchor at noon, and stood out of the harbor with a light, but fair wind. We were all ready to go, and no one betrayed any impatience at the shortness of our stay or any wish to prolong the visit. We had seen enough of Talcahuana, and animated with a hope of a speedy and prosperous termination of our voyage, we left the coast of Chili merrily singing:
"Hi-o, and away we go, Digging up gold in Francisco."
We had a pleasant sail for several days, and nothing of importance occurred to mar our pleasures until the fourteenth of July, when Mr. Johnson met the passengers in the main cabin for the purpose of explaining his conduct in his quarrels with Julia S. He was heard very attentively in an address, in which he attempted to justify his conduct in every instance. Miss S. replied to him, contradicting some of his statements, and explaining others. Captain J. took part in the discussion, but his remarks were not calculated to restore harmony. Nothing was effected by the meeting, no new facts were elicited or old ones explained, and no change was wrought in any one's opinion.
July 17. I have another unpleasant occurrence to record. A robbery was perpetrated in the cooks' galley last night, and about a hundred cakes of soft-tack stolen. It was reported to Captain J., who came into the after house and threatened to put us on hard-tack again. Many irritating words passed between him and some of the passengers, and he became so exasperated against one of them, that he seized him by the collar. There was great excitement all over the ship. In the height of the quarrel, Stephen Walker called on Captain J. and offered to find the bread if the captain would send a man with him to make search. The first mate was directed to accompany him, and in a few minutes the bread was found in the forecastle among the sailors, and the excitement was soon quieted. The captain transferred his wrath from the passengers to the sailors, and ordered the cooks not to serve any more soft-tack to them until they should inform against the thief, which they will be in no haste to do. It was a needless theft, for since we left Talcahuana they had a full allowance, that is, two and sometimes three cakes once a day, which is all that is allowed the passengers.
My excellent friends, Captain J. and Mrs. L---t, have volunteered some very disinterested advice on the subject of my journal, and have enlightened me on the difficult question, what is proper, or rather, what is not proper, to record in it. Mrs. L-t thinks that all the little squabbles and disputes we have had, and all the scandal that has been so rife among us, would be improper subjects to record, and would prove uninteresting to the reader. She was desirous to know if my journal was intended for publication, and spoke very earnestly on the impropriety of giving the names of persons. I replied that my journal was nothing more than a letter, a long letter to my daughter, and was written for her amusement; that I did not intend it for publication, though some portions of it, might perhaps be made into articles for the newspapers; that as to what is improper to record in a journal, there was a great difference of opinion, and every one must judge for himself; and that many events of an unpleasant nature were to be found in every book of travels, and they very often proved interesting to the general reader. I remarked that though a great many books of voyages and travels had been published, no one had yet given to the public an account of the pleasures and pains, the comforts and discomforts of a passenger-ship round Cape Horn, and that I thought such an account might be received with favor by the reading public, but that in such an account, the propriety of giving the names of persons would depend on circumstances.
As for Captain J., he didn't care what was said about him; he was independent; but he didn't want the slanders that were going about in the ship to get home to his wife, though he was not afraid but what he could satisfy her about them when he got home. He hoped I would not say any thing about them, and ended with a general threat intended to intimidate me. I made no reply to him, except that I had said nothing of him or Mrs. L---t in my journal, which it would be necessary to expunge or alter.
JULY 18. Mr. Johnson preached to a very small congregation to-day. The prejudice against him still continues very strong. He continues to justify his quarrel with Julia S., though he is opposed by the unanimous opinion of the passengers, who think that in striking Julia when she threw the stick of wood at him he violated that beautiful precept of Christ, "But I say unto you that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." They consider such a quarrel at such a time to be a shameful desecration of the Sabbath, and a disgrace to himself.
There was also a prayer-meeting in the afternoon. Among others, Captain J. gave an exhortation, in the course of which he acknowledged that he had not always performed his duty as a Christian during the voyage, asked pardon of the passengers for any wrongs he had done them, and promised to use his exertions to make them more comfortable during the remainder of the voyage.
July 20. Crossed the Tropic of Capricorn in longitude 85 1' west.
July 25. I have been watching a fine bird of a new species--I mean new to me. As it flew round the ship, seeking for a place to alight, I had a pretty good opportunity to examine it. It was about two-thirds as large as the domestic goose, and had a straight, pointed bill. Excepting the feathers of the wings and tail, which were of a dark gray or slate color, every other part of the bird, including the head, neck, back and breast, the upper and under wing coverts, and tail coverts were of a pure glossy white. I have rarely seen so beautiful a bird.
Our very intimate friends, the Cape Pigeons, have suddenly taken leave. There were a considerable number of them around the ship yesterday; to-day not one is left. Will you smile, dear reader, if I tell you that a slight shade of melancholy passes over me at the departure of these pretty birds, which have been our constant and familiar companions during two months, which have followed us from Brazil to Chili, round the stormy Cape, feeding on the little scraps of food we have thrown them, amusing us by their chattering and scrambling for the precious morsels, which they seemed to expect from us.
The albatrosses left us soon after our departure from Talcahuana. My attempts to secure some of them, have as you have seen, been defeated. It has been a vexatious disappointment to me, and my fellow-passengers often express their regret at it, and their contempt for the littleness of Captain Jackson.
The place of the Cape Pigeons is occupied by a little unassuming bird, in which I always feel much interest--a little thing of dull plumage and no pretensions to beauty. I mean the Stormy Petrel. The one we find here differs from those on the coast of the United States, being smaller and of a lighter plumage. It follows us in considerable numbers, and is quite gentle, coming close to the ship, and betraying very little fear of us. It does not patter the water with its feet, as our petrels do, but it has a singular habit of thrusting out one foot as it flies along, dipping it into the water, and describing a line on the surface sometimes two or three feet long.
July 27. Since leaving Talcahuana our men have found a new amusement for the occupation of their minds, and the exercise of their ingenuity. We took on board some wood from that port, resembling mahogany in color. Out of this wood the passengers have employed themselves in cutting out a variety of articles, such as seals for letters, hollow spools for thread and needles, little boxes, knife handles, beads for canes, and many other things. It is amusing to witness the spirit with which all, young and old, with few exceptions, enter into this business. The decks are covered every day with their whittlings, and every stick of wood that can be used, is eagerly seized and appropriated.
July 28. It is often said, that in long voyages, there commonly grows up a feeling of disgust and ill-will among the passengers towards each other, and that they become morose and quarrelsome, the natural consequence of the tedious monotony of the voyage, and the sameness and want of variety on board ship. I cannot say that our voyage thus far verifies the assertion; for though we have had innumerable quarrels, there has been generally a very good state of feeling among the passengers. This may., perhaps, be accounted for by the attitude of antagonism in which Captain J. placed himself towards us at the commencement of the voyage, (and in which he has continued ever since,) that may have rendered it necessary as a means of defence, for the passengers to maintain harmony and union among themselves. This necessity seems to increase as we approach the termination of the voyage, in consequence of the outrageous outbursts of passion, in which the captain indulges on every occasion, and which on every fresh occasion becomes more and more ungovernable. I have spoken of the ascendency which Mrs. L---t has obtained over him. Her influence has continued to increase, until she has got him entirely under her control. She has a noisy, ill-tempered, mischievous child, about four years old, whom she keeps a great portion of the time in our room in the after house, and who, as well as her mother is exceedingly annoying to us. We have remonstrated with Captain I against this intrusion, but our remonstrance has only increased the evil, and now, from early morning till bed-time, the two are constant occupants of our cabin. Encouraged by the support she receives from Captain J. she has become very supercilious and insulting. On one occasion I removed her child from our door, where she was doing some mischief, when she began to berate me in very passionate language. But I made no reply to her. This only increased her rage; and she talked still more abusively. Getting vexed myself, I began to whistle. Worse and worse. I remarked that it was growing warm in this room, and she became furious. But having exhausted herself and receiving no reply to her tirade, she soon desisted. But now came the captain's turn. He had lain in his berth and listened to Mrs. L---t's eloquence, and became highly exasperated against me. So leaving his berth, he commenced a furious attack on me, using the most abusive language, and uttering many threats of violence. I replied in such language as I thought the occasion required, and I believe the valorous captain received very little satisfaction.
July 29. Our chaplain has been courting the muses. Attacked with a severe fit of inspiration, he has for some time past been engaged in writing a poem. The subject, which is well calculated for the display of his poetical genius, is "The Voyage of the James W. Paige." He honored us with a public reading of a portion of the poem on deck this afternoon. It did not receive that applause it merited in the opinion of the author, for his audience were incapable of appreciating the rich beauties of the poem, and could not distinguish Mr. Johnson's poetry from ordinary prose. Much of the poem was made up of commendations of Captain J. and of censures of the owners of the bark.
We had a clear, moonlight night, and several of the passengers, male and female, were on deck till a late hour. There was much noise among them, which disturbed the captain. He went out three times and ordered them off the house. The last time he was in a great passion, and swore that if God spared his, life he would blow them through the next time they disobeyed his orders. The noise was stopped, and order, but not peace, restored. The passengers were much to blame, though their disobedience arose from heedlessness rather than from any intentional disrespect to the captain. But this threat to shoot them rankles in their bosoms.
Sherman caught a large porpoise.
July 31. Being prohibited the use of butter, or fat of any sort, or molasses, to eat with our bread, and having but a little apple-sauce doled out to us once a week, I have occasionally dissolved a spoonful of sugar to give a relish to my dry bread, and this morning the mate ordered the steward to remove the sugar-bowl. This order getting to the ears of the ladies, I have been bountifully supplied by them from a cask of very nice sugar in their cabin. This sugar was bought at Rio Janiero by Captain J. for the special benefit of Mrs. L---t. I mention this little fact as a specimen of the petty annoyances to which we are constantly subjected by the captain and first mate, and of the friendly favors of which I have been the constant recipient from all the ladies, with one exception, during the voyage.
To-day we crossed the equator in about the 108th degree of west longitude.
August 4. A little affair came off this morning, in which the dignity and magnanimity of Captain J. were conspicuously displayed. Loud words were heard in the ladies' cabin at breakfast time between the captain, and Mrs. L---t and Miss Julia S. And what, reader, do you think was the subject of the dispute? A rag baby! It appears that Miss Julia had made the baby for a little child of another passenger. It was seen this morning floating astern, and Miss S. supposed that Mrs. L---t's child had thrown it overboard. High words grew out of it. The captain, ever ready, threw himself into the breach between his dear friend and her opponent, and as we sat in our cabin we overheard the voice of this magnanimous commander of the ship raised in foul and angry debate about a rag baby!
Our chaplain, Mr. Johnson, has had the precaution to take one of Colt's revolvers with him. He evidently is opposed to the doctrine of non-resistance, and is not inclined to yield up his life or his purse without a show, at least, of defence. His fellow-passengers, however, have not a very exalted opinion of his personal courage; and the fact that he has struck a woman in a quarrel, tends strongly to increase their doubts. Some little excitement prevails among us in consequence of a report that he has lent his revolver to Captain J., who wants it for the purpose of carrying his threat against his noisy passengers into execution. Mr. Johnson has been questioned about it, but he gives an evasive answer. We have a natural repugnance to being blown up, and cannot entertain a very friendly regard for the minister of peace, and man of mercy, who shall allow himself to become accessory to such a tragical termination of our adventures.
August 6. We have thus far had a fine run from Talcahuana. Soon after leaving that port, we struck the south-east trade-winds, and for nearly three weeks we have sailed before an easy breeze, with our studding sails set, and have scarcely altered a sail during the whole time. This has been a season of rest for the sailors, who have had some hard work to perform in the course of the voyage, and whose labors have borne harder on them in consequence of their ignorance of the duties pertaining to a square-rigged vessel. They had all, I was told, with one exception, shipped as ordinary seamen, though some of them had been fraudulently entered as able seamen.
But now we are beginning to find a change of weather and variable winds. The atmosphere has become very hot, and heavy showers of rain are pouring down upon us. There is also considerable thunder, though we have had but few heavy peals. The wind is light and continually veering from point to point. We are apprehensive of being becalmed, and feel not a little impatience and anxiety at every unfavorable change of the weather.
Our ship is uncomfortable enough in any climate or weather with her crowd of passengers; but it is peculiarly so in this Torrid Zone. At the request of an old man, Mr. Carlow, I have been down to take a look at the main cabin. I found the air very hot and oppressive, and I was soon covered with perspiration. Some portions of the room were dark, there being no means of lighting it, but by the hatches and a few little dead-lights in the deck. They were now prohibited the use of the lamps, they had made for themselves, because the smoke was found to annoy Mrs. L---t, into whose stateroom a portion of it escaped. The only ventilation which this cabin received, was also through the hatches, and that was obstructed by the houses that were built over them. The floor was damp and dirty, and I was told that it had never been cleansed but by the passengers themselves. An offensive odor filled the room, which was to be expected from the number of the occupants, and the want of ventilation. There were twenty-eight berths in this cabin, occupied by fifty-two passengers. It was impossible for them all to pass the hot nights in such a stifling atmosphere, and the poor old man's eyes moistened as he told me that he was obliged to leave his berth, and pass his nights wherever he could find a place to rest on deck.
August 9. Captain J. has just discovered that a cask and a half, or one hundred and fifty pounds of raisins have been abstracted from the store-room. He has made rigid inquiries, but has not elicited any evidence against the purloiners; nor is there any probability that he will. The excuse for this theft seems to have been, that a cask of raisins had been previously opened for the use of the occupants of the ladies' cabin, and it was thought that justice required a more equal distribution of them among the whole ship's company.
There has been gross negligence in the care of the ship's stores, and great waste and loss of many articles of provisions, which should have been used. A few days since an examination was ordered, and three casks of decayed potatoes, that had been shipped at Frankfort, were discovered and thrown overboard. Many messes, which have been cooked up for the passengers in the course of the voyage, and which they could not eat, however hungry they may have been, have been disposed of in the same manner. How many pans of the richest sort of scouse the birds and the fishes are indebted to the bark James W. Paige for, it is impossible to tell. Much of the oil has been carelessly wasted, and many a long evening has been passed in the dark for want of it.
WE beat all day to the north against a head wind, and made but slow progress. We strove to wear away the tedium of the day by looking at the land, and watching the birds and the whales, of which last a considerable number were seen near the ship, sometimes three or four together. We saw one of these monstrous animals plunge down into the water, throwing his tail above the surface as he made his plunge, and in a moment after, come up again with such force and rapidity as to carry his ponderous body entirely into the air. Such an immense body as it came down again into the water, could not fail to produce a great commotion. This act of leaping out of the water seemed to be performed in a similar manner to that of the sturgeon and smaller fish in our rivers and lakes. They frequently came close to the ship, playing by its sides, plunging down on one side, and coming up on the other. Among the birds, were a number I had not seen before, and several Brown Pelicans.
The weather was cold, but after a dark, foggy morning, the sun came out, and the sky continued unclouded during the day. This was very cheering, for we had had scarcely an hour's sunshine during many weeks. What a contrast between the Pacific Ocean as I find it, and the picture I had formed of it. I had even associated it with unclouded skies and genial warmth, with mild breezes and gently undulating waters. I had dreamed of it as "The Blue Summer Ocean," in which Moore might have found "The Bright Little Isle," of which he so sweetly sings in one of his sweetest songs. And there is many an isle scattered over this great waste of waters, which would almost answer to Moore's description,
"Where a leaf never dies in the still blooming bowers, And the bee banquets on through a whole year of flowers,"
many a spot, which air, climate, soil, vegetable production, and beautiful scenery have rendered as perfect elysiums, as nature, unassisted by art, can produce.
But leaving Moore, poetry, sunshine, and every pleasant thought, let us once more come back to the unwholesome realities of the bark. In addition to the many luxuries with which our palates had been regaled during the voyage, we had for several weeks past, been feasting on wormy bread--not myself, but my fellow-passengers. My disgust at hard- bread had become so intense, that I could not swallow it, good or bad. I think I must have starved had I been confined to it. But being on good terms with the stewards and cooks, I had found means to obtain an extra allowance of soft- tack, sufficient, for my urgent wants. Few of the passengers were so fortunate. One of them, finding no escape from the wormy hard-bread, strove to make a little sport out of it, by declaring that these living vermin had imparted to the bread a peculiar lively flavor, which was very palatable.
Then, again, as the supply of water we had taken in at Talcahuana, became exhausted, we were obliged to resort to the old stock from Frankfort. Some of this was so excessively filthy, and had acquired such a nauseous, such a putrid taste and smell, that several of the passengers who were far from being troubled with weak stomachs, actually vomited on
drinking it. Even boiling it, and making tea or coffee with it would not purify it. But we had better water on board, and after many remonstrances and altercations with the captain, we got it.
September 7. We took a pilot on board in the morning. He brought a paper or two, which we read with great interest, and it will be readily believed that we were most eager in our inquiries for news.
Among other objects that attracted our attention as we approached the harbor, was a great sand bank stretching a mile along the coast, and extending a considerable distance inland. It was the largest bed of sand I had ever seen, and was a very fair specimen of a miniature desert. Several large rocks scattered along the coast presented a lively appearance, from the multitude of sea birds that covered them; and one of them attracted our particular notice, being perforated with a hole, sufficiently large, I thought, to admit the passage of a boat through it.
We now ascertained that the place where we so narrowly escaped shipwreck, was near Monterey, about sixty miles south of San Francisco.
We entered the harbor in the afternoon, and anchored about a mile from the city. And thus ended the voyage of the James W. Paige, one hundred and fifty-eight days from the day we set sail from Frankfort.
A large fleet of boats surrounded the ship as soon as we anchored, and I took passage in one of them in company with several others, and after passing through a wilderness of ships, steamers, and dismantled hulks, we landed in the city. Our first business on landing was at the Post-Office, where I was made happy by the reception of a package of letters informing me that all my friends were alive and well.
We then sought a hotel, and, what we least expected in California, the first one we tried was a temperance house, the "United States Temperance House." After tea I took a walk with J. Tyler up Telegraph Hill, whence we had a fine view of the city and harbor. On our return we went into several gambling-saloons. These were large rooms, richly furnished, and supplied with large tables, loaded with heaps of glittering gold and silver, to be staked in the various games, for which each table was appropriated. Hundreds of people crowded into these saloons, many of them with no other motive than mere curiosity, but others with the foolish hope of filling their pockets from those tempting heaps of coins
A peculiar feature in the harbor of San Francisco at this time, and one that struck me very forcibly on our first approach, was the great number of dismantled ships that lay thickly scattered around it. These ships bad a very old, ruinous, antiquated appearance, and at first sight, gave me an impression that this new-born city had been inhabited for ages, and was now going to ruin. Most of them have their lower masts standing, and supported by a few ropes and chains. A large portion of them had been deserted by their crews on the first outbreak of the gold excitement, and were recklessly left to their destruction, while men find officers rushed blindly and wildly to the mines. These ship have, however, been made subservient to a valuable purpose, having been converted into store-ships by the merchants. Some of them had doors cut in their sides, with short flights of steps from the water. Some were run aground near the shore, and wharfs and streets were built around them, where, with houses erected on them they could scarcely be distinguished from the surrounding stores.
September 8. I went on board the bark for my baggage. The captain, mate, and a large portion of the Passengers were ashore. On going into the after house, my eye accidentally caught a letter which was addressed to Captain Jackson, expressing great thankfulness for his kind and gentlemanly treatment of the passengers, and charging the blame of disputes and quarrels to the passengers. It was written by Mr. Johnson and signed by Mr. Spring and several others, who were well aware of its utter falsity. Knowing that it was intended to counteract the numerous statements, which would be made at home prejudicial to Captain Jackson, "I seized a pen and wrote a certificate, as near as I can remember, in the following words:
Bark JAMES W. PAIGE, Sept. 8, 1852.
Whereas, a paper highly laudatory of Captain Jackson has been circulated for signatures on board this bark, a regard for truth impels us to say, that the conduct of Captain Jackson during the voyage just ended has been highly arbitrary, ungentlemanly, insulting and abusive, and that even the female passengers have, in many instances, been subjected to the grossest abuse from him." During the few moments I was engaged in getting signatures to this paper, Mr. Spring, who was standing near, overheard me read it. It gave him great offense, and he remonstrated very strongly with me against the terms in which it was expressed. He said I have virtually charged him and others with falsehood, and urged me to withdraw or modify my statement. I refused to do either; and this good man, with whom I had had the most friendly relations during the voyage, now quivered with passion, while he intimated that a prosecution for libel would be instituted against me. Mr. Spring was liable to the charge of duplicity in signing that paper, so full of flattery and falsehood; and his chief occupation during the voyage was marked by a singularity, to say the least of it, not quite compatible with a strict regard for truth. He had kept a journal of the voyage, and noted the occurrences of each day much more carefully and minutely than I did. He often read passages from his journal to the passengers, and it was well known that his opinion of the captain coincided with that of a large majority of the company. He had been several times chosen on committees to remonstrate with Captain J. on our treatment and fare. But towards the latter part of the voyage it was observed that a friendly understanding had grown up between him and the captain, which gave rise to many conjectures as to the cause. But whatever may have been the cause, the effect of this newly formed friendship, was a revision of Mr. Spring's journal, or, more properly speaking, a rejection of it, and the writing of a new one, in which every thing offensive to Captain Jackson, and all occurrences of an unpleasant nature, in which the captain had acted a part, were omitted, and only the more agreeable transactions and events were recorded; in fact, changing the true and unvarnished record of the voyage, which he had made with so much labor, for a smooth and sunny picture, which, though it might not be chargeable with actual falsehood in its details, would, nevertheless, convey to the reader a grossly false impression of the character of Captain Jackson, and the annoyances and vexations attending the voyage. This revision of his journal cost him much time, though not so much as might on first thought, have been expected. So many occurrences were necessarily omitted, that for every sheet he had at first written, a page now sufficed. His original journal, which I would have given a dollar to possess, he threw overboard. His new one was to be forwarded to a paper in Calais, Me., for publication.
I obtained twenty-five signatures to my paper in a few minutes, and then, gathering up my baggage, I bade a final adieu to the James W. Paige with a regret, which I think was remarkable only for its minuteness.
Our voyage is ended, but not quite our book. Many incidents of an unpleasant nature, which had occurred on the voyage, have been omitted, and the omission has somewhat shortened the book. The following extracts from the continuation of my journal through a long sojourn on the Pacific Coast, are appended as a substitute for the rejected passages.