8th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
At 9 oclock I joined my party at Praia Grande, a village on the opposite side of the Bay. We were six in number & consisted of Mr Patrick Lennon, a regular Irishman, who when the Brazils were first opened to the English made a large fortune by selling spectacles, Thermometers &c &c. — About 8 eight years since he purchased a tract of forest country on the Macae & put an English agent over it. — Communication is so difficult that from that time to the present he has been unable to obtain any remittances. — After many delays Mr Patrick resolved in person to visit his estate. — It was easily arranged that I should be a companion & certainly in many respects it has been an excellent opportunity for seeing the country & its inhabitant. — Mr Lennon has resided in Rio 20 years & was in consequence well qualified to obtain information, in his disposition very shrewd & intelligent. — He was accompanied by his nephew a sharp youngster, following the steps of his Uncle & making money. — Thirdly came Mr Lawrie, a well informed clever Scotchman, selfish unprincipled man, by trade partly Slave-Merchant partly Swindler. He brought a friend a Mr Gosling, an apprentice to a Druggist. Mr Lawries brother married a handsome Brazilian lady, daughter of a large landed proprietor, also on the Maca√®, & this person Mr Lawrie was going visit. — A black boy as guide & myself completed the party. — And the wilds of Brazils have seldom seen a more extraordinary & quixotic set of adventurers.

Our first stage was a very interesting one, the day was powerfully hot & as we passed through the woods, every thing was still, excepting the large & brilliant butterflies, which lazily fluttered about. — The view seen when crossing the hills behind Praia Grande is most sublime & picturesque. — The colours were intense & the prevailing tint a dark blue, the sky & calm waters of the bay vied with each other in splendor. — After passing through some cultivated country we entered a Forest, which in the grandeur of all its parts could not be exceeded. — As the gleams of sunshine penetrate the entangled mass, I was forcibly reminded of the two French engravings after the drawings of Maurice Rugendas & Le Compte de Clavac. — In these is well represented the infinite numbers of lianas & parasitical plants & the contrast of the flourishing trees with the dead & rotten trunks. I was at an utter loss how sufficiently to admire this scene. — We arrived by mid-day at Ithacaia; this small village is situated on a plain & round the central houses are the huts of the negroes. — These from their regular form & position reminded me of the drawings of the Hottentot habitations in Southern Africa. As the moon would rise early, we determined to start that evening for our sleeping place at the Lagoa Marica.

As it grew dark we passed under one of the massive bare & steep hills of granite which are so common in this country. — This spot is notorious as having been for a long time the residence of some run-away slaves, who by cultivating some a little ground near the top contrived to eke out a subsistence.

We continued riding for some hours; for the few last miles the road was intricate, it passed through a desert waste of marshes & lagoons. — The scene by the dimmed light of the moon was most desolate; a few fire-flies flitted by us & the solitary snipe as it rose uttered its plaintive cry. — the distant & sullen roar of the sea scarcely broke the stillness of the night. We arrived at last at the Venda, & were very glad to lie down on the straw mats.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think your translation is not the whole text …

in addition here the important rest of the diary:

April 8th - 1832
[…] This spot is notorious from having been, for a long time, the residence of some runaway slaves, who, by cultivating a little ground near the top, contrived to eke out a subsistence. At length they were discovered, and a party of soldiers being sent, the whole were seized with the exception of one old woman, who, sooner than again be led into slavery, dashed herself to pieces from the summit of the mountain. In a Roman matron this would have been called the noble love of freedom: in a poor negress it is mere brutal obstinacy.[…]


A Naturalist's Voyage Round the World
The Voyage Or The Beagle
Author: Charles Darwin
Release Date: August 6 , 2008 [EBook #3704]
Language: English
Produced by Sue Asscher , and David Widger
online at
www.gutenberg.org