30th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Dined with Mr Aston.

29th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Delightfully quiet day, employed in writing up my journal during the Macaè excursion.

28th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Breakfasted on board, and in the evening went to a pleasant dinner at the Admirals, Sir Thomas Baker.

27th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
In the morning arranged my collections from the Interior, and after dinner went with the Captain to Mr Aston, the English minister. The evening passed away very pleasantly, and from the absence of all form almost resembled a Cambridge party. The Captain has informed me of the important fact that the Beagle will return to Bahia for a few days. There has been a long dispute about the longitude of Rio, and everybody thought that when that was settled the whole coast of S America would likewise be so. To the Captain’s astonishment he finds there is a difference between Bahia & Rio; that is, one side is right at the former place, the other at the latter. It is in order to verify this, that the second trip is undertaken. I have made up my mind quietly to remain here and be picked up on the Beagle’s return.

[image: Captain Fitroy]

26th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Employed all day in restoring the effects of yesterday's disaster.

25th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Moved all my things from the Beagle to Botofogo. Whilst landing on the beach I suffered on a small scale, sufficient however to paint some of the horrors of shipwreck. Two or three heavy seas swamped the boat, and before my affrighted eyes were floating books, instruments and gun cases and everything which was most useful to me. Nothing was lost and nothing completely spoiled, but most of them injured.

24th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
To my joy I at last gained the Beagle. I found a days rest so delightful that I determined idly to remain on board. During my absence several political changes have taken place in our little world. Mr Maccormick has been invalided, and goes to England by the Tyne. Mr Derbyshire by his own request was discharged the service. In his place Mr Johnstone will be moved into the Beagle from the Warspite.

23rd April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
The number of pretty and gay houses showed our approach to the city. During the day we passed through a wood of Acacias, the finely pinnate foliage makes for the sky a most delicate veil. And casts on the ground a pleasing kind of shade; from the softness of the leaves, no rustling is heard when a breeze moves them. We arrived in the evening at Praia Grande, where owing to having lost our passports, we were plagued to prove that our horses were not stolen.

22nd April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
As usual started sometime before daylight and proceeded to Madre de Dios where we breakfasted, had it not been for the torrents of rain this would have been a very interesting ride; the country is richly cultivated, the Sugar Cane being the chief produce. The woods contained numbers of beautiful birds; the hedges were decorated by several species of passion flowers.

Madre de Dios, like all the villages is extremely foreign looking & picturesque. The houses are low and painted with gay colours; the tops of the windows and doors being arched, takes away the still effect so universal in an English town. One or two handsome Churches in the centre of the village completes the picture.

It continued to rain and we started for our sleeping place, Fregueria de Tabarai. This interior road is the best I have seen, but it is much inferior to the worst turnpike road. I do not think a gig could travel on it. Yet this is one of the principal passes in the Brazils. We met a good many people on horseback. The only vehicle is a most rude cart with almost solid wheels, it is drawn by eight oxen yoked together: as it moves it makes a most extraordinary creaking noise.

We did not pass over one stone bridge. Where any exist, they are made of logs of wood. They were sometimes in so bad a state that we were obliged to leave the road to avoid them. The distances are inaccurately known, no two people at all agreeing in their accounts. Instead of milestones, the roadside is often marked by crosses, to signify where human blood has been spilled. The evening was so cold that I fairly trembled with it yet the thermometer was 62½.

21st April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Started at day-break & proceeded for some leagues on the former road; we then turned off, being determined to reach the city by the interior line. Our party was reduced to Mr Lennon, his nephew and myself. We arrived in the evening, almost without having rested our horses, at the Rio Combrata: this country was much more cultivated. he Venda was beyond anything miserable, we were obliged to sleep on the Indian corn.

19th & 20th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Left Socêgo, crossed the Rio Macaè and slept at the Venda de Matto: in the evening walked on the beach and enjoyed the sight of a high and violent surf.

Returned by the old route to Campos Novos; the ride was very tiresome, passing over a heavy and scorching sand. Whilst swimming our horses over the St Joâo, we had some danger and difficulty; the animals became exhausted and we had two drunken Mulattos in the boat.

17th & 18th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
These two days were spent at Socêgo, and was the most enjoyable part of the whole expedition; the greater part of them was spent in the woods. I succeeded in collecting many insects and reptiles.

The woods are so thick and matted that I found it quite impossible to leave the path. The greater number of trees, although so lofty, are not more than from 3 to 4 feet in circumference. These are interspersed with others of a much greater size. Signor Manuel was making a canoe 70 feet long, and on the ground was left 40 feet, so that there were 110 feet of straight solid trunk. The contrast of the Palms amongst other trees never fails to give the scene a most truly tropical appearance: the forests here are ornamented by one of the most elegant, the Cabbage-Palm; with a stem so narrow, that with the two hands it may be clasped, it waves its most elegant head from 30 to 50 feet above the ground. The soft part, from which the leaves spring, affords a most excellent vegetable. The woody creepers, themselves covered by creepers, are of great thickness, varying from 1 to nearly 2 feet in circumference. Many of the older trees present a most curious spectacle, being covered with tresses of a liana, which much resembles bundles of hay.

If the eye is turned from the world of foliage above, to the ground, it is attracted by the extreme elegance of the leaves of numberless species of Ferns & Mimosas. Thus it is easy to specify individual objects of admiration; but it is nearly impossible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings which are excited; wonder, astonishment and sublime devotion fill and elevate the mind.

16th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Started early in the morning to Signor Manuel at Socêgo, whom it was agreed upon should be arbitrator: Again I enjoyed the never failing delight of riding through the forests.

15th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
We were obliged to have a black man to clear the way with a sword; the woods in this neighbourhead contain several forms of vegetation which I had not before seen — some species of most elegant tree ferns — a grass like the Papyrus; and the Bamboo, the circumference of the stems were 12 inches.

On arriving at the estate, there was a most violent & disagreeable quarrel between Mr Lennon and his agent, which quite prevented us from wishing to remain there. This Fazenda is the most interior piece of cleared ground, until you pass the mountains, its length is 2½ miles, Mr Lennon is not sure how many broad. It may be guessed what a state the country must be in when I believe every furlong of this might be cultivated.

In the evening it rained very hard, I suffered from the cold, although the thermometer was 75°. During Mr Lennons quarrel with his agent, he threatened to sell at the public auction an illegitimate mulatto child to whom Mr Cowper was much attached: also he nearly put into execution taking all the women & children from their husbands and selling them separately at the market at Rio. Can two more horrible & flagrant instances be imagined? And yet I will pledge myself that in humanity and good feeling Mr Lennon is above the common run of men. How strange and inexplicable is the effect of habit & interest! Against such facts how weak are the arguments of those who maintain that slavery is a tolerable evil!

14th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Started at midday for Mr Lennons estate; the road passed through a vast extent of forests; on the road we saw many beautiful birds, Toucans & Bee-eaters. We slept at a Fazenda a league from our journeys end; the agent received us hospitably & was the only Brazilian have seen with a good expression: the slaves here appeared miserably overworked & badly clothed. Long after it was dark they were employed. The common method of maintaining the slave, as at Signor Figuireda, is to give them two days, Saturday & Sunday, the produce of which is sufficient to support them & their families for the ensuing five.

13th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Felt much better & able throughily to enjoy our days rest here. — In this case the Fazenda consists of a piece of cleared ground cut out of the almost boundless forest. — On this are cultivated the various products of the country: Coffee is the most profitable: the brother of our host has 100,00 trees, producing on an average 2lb. per tree, many however singly will bear 8lb. or even more. Mandeika (or Cassada) is likewise cultivated in great quantity: every part is useful. The leaves & stalks are eat by the horses; the roots, ground into pulp, pressed dry, & then baken makes the Farinha; by far the most important article of subsistence in the Brazils. From this is prepared the Tapioka of commerce. It may be mentioned as a curious though well known fact that the expressed juice is a most deadly poison; a few years ago at this Fazenda a Cow died from drinking some of it. Feijôa or beans are much cultivated & form a most excellent vegetable: one bag bringing sometimes 80. Sugar Cane is also grown. And rice in the swampy parts. Signor Fig. planted three bags & they produced 320.
The house was simple & uncomfortable, & formed like an English barn: it was well floored, & thatched with reeds. The windows merely had shutters. Interiorly it was divided into rooms by partitions which did not reach the roof. At one end was a sitting room of the whole breadth, the gilded chairs & sofas were oddly contrasted by the white washed walls. Beyond this was a longitudinal division, one side of which was the dining room, on the other, 4 bedrooms belonging to the family. Separated from this building only by a few inches was another long shed, the adjoining end formed the kitchen: the other, large storehouses & granaries. These formed one line on the other side of a cleared space where coffee was drying, were the bedrooms for guests, stables & working shops for the blacks, who had been taught different trades. Surrounding these were the huts of about 110 negroes, whom Signor & one white man as a manager contrive to keep in perfect order. The house, built on a hill at the foot of which a brook runs, overlooked the cultivated ground, & was bounded by an horizon of green luxuriant forest. — The pasturage abounded in cattle, goats, sheep & horses; near the house, oranges, Bananas flourished almost spontaneously. — The woods are so full of game, that they had hunted & killed a deer on each of the three days previous to our arrival. — This profusion of food shows itself at the dinners, when if the tables do not groan, the guests surely do. — Each person is expected to eat of every dish; one day having, as I thought, nicely calculated so that nothing should go away untasted, to my utter dismay a roast turkey & a pig appeared in all their substantial reality. — During the meals, it was the employment of a man to drive out sundry old hounds & dozens of black children which together at every opportunity crawled in. — As long as the idea of slavery could be banished, there was something exceedingly fascinating in this simple & patriarchal style of living. — It was a such perfect retirement & independence of the rest of the world. — As soon as any stranger is seen arriving, a large bell is set tolling & generally some small cannon are fired; thus it is announced to the rocks & woods & to no one else. — One morning I walked out before daylight to admire the solemn stillness, when it was broken by the morning hymn raised on high by the whole body of the blacks; in this manner do they generally begin their dayly work. — In such Fazendas as these I have no doubt the slaves pass contented & happy lives. — Signor Manoel Joaquem da Figuireda is a man of an intelligent & enterprising character. — Some of the roads through his estate were cut in a European fashion; in a years time he believes he shall able so to shorten the road to Campos (a large city) that instead of two days ride it will be only one: He has likewise fixed a saw-mill, which answers admirably in sawing the rose-wood. — This cut into thick planks is floated down to Macaè. — If many were to imitate the example of this man, what a difference a few years would produce in the Brazils.

12th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
The next morning, I nearly cured myself by eating cinnamon & drinking port wine; gladly in the evening did I arrive at Socêgo, the house of Signor Figuireda, the elder Mr Lawrie's father in law.

11th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Passed through several leagues of a thick wood. I felt unwell, with a little shivering & sickness: crossed the Barra de St Jaôa in a canoe, swimming alongside our horses: could eat nothing at one o'clock, which was the first time I was able to procure anything. Travelled on till it was dark, felt miserably faint & exhausted; I often thought I should have fallen off my horse. Slept at the Venda da Matto, 2 miles S of the entrance of the Rio Macaè into the sea. All night felt very unwell; it did not require much imagination to paint the horrors of illness in a foreign country, without being able to speak one word or obtain any medical aid.

10th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
We all started before it was light in high spirits; but 15 miles of heavy sand before we got our breakfast at Addea de St Pedronearly destroyed the whole chivalrous party. After another long ride we arrived at our sleeping place, Campos Novos. It was a very pleasant cool evening. Thermom. on the turf 74°: I went out collecting & found some fresh water shells.

9th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
We left our miserable sleeping place before sunrise. — The road passed through a narrow sandy plain, lying between the sea & the interior salt lagoons. — The number of beautiful fishing birds such as Egrets, Cranes &c & the succulent plants assuming such fantastical forms gave to the scene an interest which it would not otherwise have possessed. — The few stunted trees were loaded by parasitical plants, amongst which the beauty & delicious fragrance of some of the Orchideae were most to be admired. — As the sun rose, the day became very hot, & the reflection of the light & heat from the white sand was very distressing. The thermometer in my pocket stood at 96°. — Dined at Mandetiba: Therm, in shade 84°. — The beautiful view quite refreshed us; the distant wooded hills were seen over & reflected in the perfectly calm water of an extensive lagoon. — As the Venda here was a very good one, & I have the pleasant but rare remembrance of an excellent dinner, I will be grateful & describe it as the type of its Class. These houses are often large, & are built of thick upright posts, with boughs interwoven, which are afterwards plastered. They seldom have floors, & never glazed windows, but are generally pretty well roofed. — Universally the front part is open, forming a kind of veranda; in which are placed tables & benches. — On each side are the bed rooms where the passenger may sleep, as comfortably as he is able, on wooden platforms, covered by a thin straw mat. The Venda stands in a court, where the horses are fed. — On first arrival we unsaddle our horses & give them their Indian corn. — Then with a low bow ask the Signor to do us the favour to give us something to eat. — "Anything you choose Sir" is his answer. — For the few first times vainly I thanked providence for guiding us to so good a man. — The conversation proceeding, the case usually became deplorable: "Any fish can you do us the favor of giving?". — "Oh no Sir." "Any soup." "No Sir." Any bread. "Oh no Sir." — Any dried meat. "Oh no Sir. — If we were lucky, by waiting 2 hours we obtained fowls rice & farinha. — It not unfrequently happens that the guest is obliged to kill with stones the poultry, for his own dinner.

When really exhausted with fatigue & hunger, we timorously hinted we should be glad of our meal. — The pompous, &, though true, most unsatisfactory answer was given, "it will be ready when it is ready". — If we had dared to remonstrate any further, we should have been told to proceed on our journey as being too impertinent. — Their charges are, however, exceedingly moderate, but they will, if they are able, cheat. — The hosts are most ungracious & disagreeable in their manners. — their houses & their persons are often filthily dirty. — the want of the common accomodation of forks, knives, spoons is even common. I am quite sure no cottage, no hut in England could be found in a state so utterly destitute of what we considered comforts. — At Campos Novos, we fared sumptuously, having rice & fowls, biscuit & wine & spirits for dinner, coffee in the evening. & with it for breakfast fish. — good food for the horses, & this only cost 2s 6d per head. — Yet this same man, being asked if he knew anything of a whip which one of the party lost, gruffly answered, "How should I know? Why did you not take care of it. — I suppose the dogs have eat it".

Leaving Mandetiba, we continued to pass through an intricate wilderness of lakes, in some of which were fresh, in others salt water shells.)

We at last entered the forest; the trees were very lofty, & what was always to be remarked in them was the whiteness of the boles, this at a distance adds much to their effect. — I see by my note book, "wonderful, beautiful flowering parasites" invariably this strikes me as the most novel object in a Tropical forest. — On the road we passed through tracks of pasturage, much injured by the enormous conical ants nests, which in height were about 12 feet — they give to the plain exactly the appearance of the Mud Volcanoes at Jorullo, figured by Humboldt. — We arrived after it was dark at Ingetado: having been 10 hours on horseback. I never ceased to wonder, from the beginning to the end of the journey, at the amount of labour which these horses are capable of enduring: I presume it is from being in a country more congenial to their original nature. — and from the same cause they seem far better than English horses to recover injuries & wounds.

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 Macaè, & 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.

7th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
I finally made the few but necessary arrangements for my riding excursion to Rio Macaè: & in the evening moved some of my goods & chatels to Botofogo. Earl & King likewise prepared themselves for residing there.

6th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
The day has been frittered away in obtaining the passports for my expedition into the interior. It is never very pleasant to submit to the insolence of men in office; but to the Brazilians who are as contemptible in their minds as their persons are miserable it is nearly intolerable. But the prospect of wild forests tenanted by beautiful birds, Monkeys & Sloths, & Lakes by Cavies & Alligators, will make any naturalist lick the dust even from the foot of a Brazilian.

5th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
In the morning I landed with Earl at the Palace steps; we then wandered through the streets, admiring their gay & crowded appearance. — The plan of the town is very regular, the lines, like those in Edinburgh, running parallel, & others crossing them at right angles. — The principal streets leading from the squares are straight & broad; from the gay colours of the houses, ornamented by balconys, from the numerous Churches & Convents & from the numbers hurrying along the streets, the city has an appearance which bespeaks the commercial capital of Southern America. — The morning has been for me very fertile in plans: most probably I shall make an expedition of some miles into the interior, — & at Botofogo Earl & myself found a most delightful house which will afford us most excellent lodgings.

I look forward with the greatest pleasure to spending a few weeks in this most quiet & most beautiful spot. — What can be imagined more delightful than to watch Nature in its grandest form in the regions of the Tropics?- We returned to Rio in great spirits & dined at a Table d’Hote, where we met several English officers serving under the Brazilian colours. — Earl makes an excellent guide, as he formerly lived some years in the neighbourhood: it is calamitous how short & uncertain life is in these countries: to Earls enquiries about the number of young men whom he left in health & prosperity, the most frequent answer is he is dead & gone. — The deaths are generally to be attributed to drinking: few seem able to resist the temptation, when exhausted by business in this hot climate, of strongly exciting themselves by drinking spirits.

4th April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
The winds being very light we did not pass under the Sugar loaf till after dinner: our slow cruise was enlivened by the changing prospect of the mountains; sometimes enveloped by white clouds, sometimes brightened by the sun, the wild & stony peaks presented new scenes. — When within the harbour the light was not good, but like to a good picture this evenings view prepared the mind for the morrows enjoyment. — In most glorious style did the little Beagle enter the port & lower her sails alongside the Flag ship. We were hailed that from some trifling disturbances we must anchor in a particular spot. Whilst the Captain was away with the commanding officer, we tacked about the harbour & gained great credit from the manner in which the Beagle was manned & directed. — Then came the ecstacies of opening letters, largely exciting the best & pleasantest feelings of the mind; I wanted not the floating remembrance of ambition now gratified, I wanted not the real magnificence of the view to cause my heart to revel with intense joy; but united with these, few could imagine & still fewer forget the lasting & impressive effect.

3rd April 1832

Rio de Janeiro
This morning Cape Frio was in sight: it is a memorable spot to many in the Beagle, as being the scene of the disgraceful wreck of the Thetis. All day we ran along the coast & in the evening drew near to the harbour of Rio. The whole line is irregularly mountainous, & interspersed with hills of singular forms. The opening of the port is recognised by one of these, the well known Sugar-loaf. As it would be impossible to get a good anchorage or enjoy the view so late in the evening, the Captain has put the ships head to the wind & we shall, to my great joy, cruize about for the night. We have seen great quantities of shipping; & what is quite as interesting, Porpoises, Sharks & Turtles; altogether, it has been the most idle day I have spent since I left England. Everybody is full of anxiety about letters & news papers, tomorrow morning our fates will be decided.

2nd April 1832

Bahia to Rio de Janeiro
A rainy, squally morning, very unusual at this time of year in these Latitudes; being now about 130 miles East of Rio. A large flock of Mother Cary’s chicken are hovering about the stern in same manner as swallows do on a calm summer evening over a lake. A flying fish fell on the deck this morning; it struck the mast high up near the main yard: sticking to the fish was a crab, the pain of which caused perhaps this unusual degree of action.