15th March 1833

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Although the climate is so much colder than that of Buenos Ayres, the gauchos sleep in the open air, when in the interior, under their saddles, just as they do in the latitude of 35°. While idling at the settlement they gamble, quarrel, and fight with long knives, giving each other severe wounds. With their loose ponchos, slouched hats, long hair, dark complexions, and Indian eyes, they are characters fitter for the pencil of an artist than for the quiet hearth of an industrious settler. Besides these gauchos, we saw five Indians, who had been taken by the Buenos Ayrean troops, or their allies, and allowed to leave prison on condition of going with Mr. Vernet to the Falklands. Including the crews of some thirty whale-ships, hovering about or at anchor among the islands; the men of several American vessels, all armed with rifles; the English sealers with their clubs, if not also provided with rifles; these cut-throat looking gauchos; the discontented, downcast Indian prisoners, and the crews of several French whalers—who could not or would not see why they had not as good a right to the islands as Englishmen—there was no lack of the elements of discord; and it was with a heavy heart and gloomy forebodings that I looked forward to the months which might elapse without the presence of a man-of-war, or the semblance of any regular authority.

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