30th September 1836

Azores to Falmouth
Amongst the other most remarkable spectacles, which we have beheld, may be ranked, — the stars of the Southern hemisphere, the water-spout — the glacier leading its blue stream of ice in a bold precipice overhanging the sea — a lagoon island, raised by the coral forming animalcule — an active volcano — the overwhelming effects of a violent earthquake. — These latter phenomena perhaps possess for me a higher interest, from their intimate connection with the geological structure of the world. The earthquake must however be to everyone a most impressive event; the solid earth, considered from our earliest childhood as the very type of solidity, has oscillated like a thin crust beneath our feet; and in seeing the most beautiful and laboured works of man in a moment overthrown, we feel the insignificance of his boasted power.

It has been said that the love of the chase is an inherent delight in man, — a relic of an instinctive passion. If so, I am sure the pleasure of living in the open air, with the sky for a roof, and the ground for a table, is part of the same feeling. It is the savage returning to his wild and native habits. I always look back to our boat cruizes & my land journeys, when through unfrequented countries, with a kind of extreme delight, which no scenes of civilization could create. I do not doubt every traveller must remember the glowing sense of happiness, from the simple consciousness of breathing in a foreign clime, where the civilized man has seldom or never trod.

There are several other sources of enjoyment in a long voyage, which are perhaps of a more reasonable nature. The map of the world ceases to be a blank; it becomes a picture full of the most varied and animated figures. Each part assumes its true dimensions: large continents are not looked at in the light of islands, or islands considered as mere specks, which in truth are larger than many kingdoms of Europe. Africa, or North & South America, are well-sounding names and easily pronounced, but it is not till having sailed for some weeks along small portions of their coasts, that one is thoroughly astonished.

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