28th, 29th & 30th June 1832

Removed all my things from shore & am now once again in the intricacy of my own corner writing this journal. It is something quite cheering to me to hear the old noises: the men forward singing; the sentinel pacing above my head & the little creaking of the furniture in the Cabin. &c.

We go to sea on next Tuesday, so that I have a nice short time for finishing the collections I made at Botofogo.

The very interesting & important news of the minority of Earl Grey on the reform was brought late last night by the Packet. The latest information is 20th of May. The distance of time & space from the events takes from me the keen interest for Politicks & Newspapers.
Went to the city to purchase several things; nothing can be more wearisome than shopping here. From the length of time the Brazilians detain you & the unreasonable price they at first ask, it is clear that they think both these precious things are equally valueless to an Englishman.

27th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
This is my last day on shore, so I was determined it should not be an idle one. In the bay I found some fine Corallines; the examination of which occupied me during the whole day. Upon the whole I am tolerably contented with what I have done at Rio in Natural Hist: several important branches have been cut off: Geology is here uninteresting, Botany & Ornithology too well known. And the sea totally unproductive excepting in one place in Botofogo Bay — so that I have been reduced to the lower classes, which inhabit the dry land or fresh water. The number of species of Spiders which I have taken is something enormous. The time during these eleven weeks has passed so delightfully, that my feelings on leaving Botofogo are full of regret & gratitude.
[Image? Brazilian wolf-spider]

26th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Rode to the city & went on board in order to make final arrangements for living in the ship after my long absence. I dread this process nearly as much as I did at Devonport. There have been several alterations in the ship. Amongst others we have 2 long nine-pounders; this will make us much more independent: several cases occurred during the last war where very small vessels terribly injured large ones, from having one great gun & keeping out of range of the other. I am sorry to see so many new faces on the deck, in the whale boat which took me ashore there was not one old-hand.

25th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
In the evening took a farewell stroll to the Lagoa, & saw for the last time its waters stained purple by the last rays of twilight.

24th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Dined with Mr Cairns; and as far as society goes the pleasantest evening since I left England. The Captain was there & has announced that the Beagle will sail this day week. In the evening my little friend Signorita Theresa, whom I find is only 6 years old, gained universal admiration by her dancing & acting.

23rd June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Again I went to the forest, which so often has been proved so fruitful in all kinds of animals. It is in all probability the last time I shall ever wander in a Brazilian forest. I find the pleasure derived from such scenes increases, instead of as might have been expected, diminishing. To day instead of the rude tracks, I followed a brook, which in a narrow ravine flowed amongst the large huge granitic blocks. No art could depict so stupendous a scene; the decaying trunks of enormous trees scattered about, formed in many places natural bridges; beneath & around them the damp shade favoured the growth of the Fern & Palm trees. & looking upwards the trees in themselves lofty, thus seen, appeared of an almost incredible height. I soon found even by creeping, I could not penetrate the entangled mass of the living & dead vegetation. On coming out of the forest, the effect without any exaggeration is that of the full light of the sun breaking on a person who has just left a darkened room.

These woods belong to the government; & the house where I put up the horse is called Chacera o Macaco. My host the owners name is Antonio da Rocha, & to his hospitality I am indebted for so many delightful walks. Before going he showed me his garden, where to an European eye there was a singular union of plants. On one side a fine set of cabbages were growing & joining to these the long stubble of a rice field. This latter is scarcely to be distinguished from barley; but the ears are different, the seeds being further apart & therefore not having so compact a head.

After returning home in the evening the quiet neighbourhead of Botofogo was in unusual agitation in celebrating the eve of St Juan. Round the numerous bonfires there is a continual firing of rockets, guns, crackers, accompanied by shouts of "Viva St Juan". This is continued during the greater part of the night. I presume, not having had the luck to have had a gun-powder plot, the Brazilians thus celebrate an innocent saint.

20th, 21st & 22nd June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
During these days have been busily employed with various animals; chiefly however corallines: & my walks in consequence have not been extended far from the house.

19th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Spent the day between the city & being on board. They are very busy in stowing provisions for sea. The ship looks in same inextricable confusion which she was in in Plymouth. The Warspite is making sweeps & boarding netting for us. Our complement of men is increased. Mr Forsyth is removed from the Flag ship into the Beagle & fills the place of poor little Musters.

17th & 18th June 1932

Rio de Janeiro

Took my usual evening stroll to the bay; there to lie down on the coast & watch the setting sun gild the bare sides of the Sugar Loaf. Wickham & Chaffers paid me a visit.

King came & spent the day with me; we both on horseback started for the old forest. He shot some birds & as is generally the case I found many interesting animals of the lower classes. We found a little Palm tree, only a few inches in circumference, which I believe to be 305 years old. I judge of this from its number of rings, each of which I imagine marks a year. On the road home I overtook my old friend the Padre, returning with his dogs from the Gavia. He presented to me a magnificent specimen of the little once, which after five hours hunting, he had succeeded in shooting.

16th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Started early in the morning for Tijeuka to see the waterfalls. Neither the height or the body of water is anything very imposing; but they are rendered beautiful, by the dampness so increasing the vegetation, that the water appears to flow out of one forest & to be received & hidden in another below. On the road the scenery was very beautiful; especially the distant view of Rio. As a Sultan in a Seraglio I am becoming quite hardened to beauty. It is wearisome to be in a fresh rapture at every turn of the road. And as I have before said, you must be that or nothing.

15th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Collected some beautiful Corallines on the rocks at Botofogo bay. Mr Earl does not return to his lodgings here, but remains in town till the Beagle sails.

14th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Dined with Mr Aston; a very merry pleasant party; in the evening went with Mr Scott (the Attache) to hear a celebrated pianoforte player. He said Mozarts overtures were too easy. I suppose in the same proportion as the music which he played was too hard for me to enjoy.

13th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Dined with Mr Cairnes; who is the only merchant whom I have met with in society. The generality are little above shopkeepers. I spent an agreeable evening. Mr Price, a merchant from round the Horn & a passenger with Capt Waldegrave, gave a great deal of amusing & interesting information about the plains or what we better designate these the horse & cattle breeding countries. Mr Price married a Spanish lady who is since dead & has with him his two little daughters, Carlotta & Theresa — the Signoritas can speak nothing but Spanish; very pretty, & their motions most exceeding graceful; Theresa, the least about 8 years old, could not help dancing when she heard music, & with a rose in each hand as her partner, danced most exquisitely.

12th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Worked in the morning at yesterdays produce, a forest is a gold mine to a Naturalist & yesterdays a very rich one. At one o’clock I went to the Admiral’s for a grand boat race. The first arriving of the launches, yawls, cutters & other large boats, was an imposing sight. It immediately made one understand how powerful a flotilla of such boats would be in war. The racing was rather too long; especially as the Beagle did not come off quite so triumphantly as might have been wished for. The evening passed away pleasantly, & by moonlight on the beach several foot races were got up between the officers & the crews of Captains gigs.

11th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Rode to the place where I was the other day hunting with the Padre; having put up my horse, I started for the woods. — A mulatto & a little Brazilian boy accompanied me; — the latter was quite a child, but dressed in the same manner as I described the eldest son. — I never saw anything at all equal to his power of perception. — Many of the rarest animals in the most obscure trails were caught by him. — I should have as soon expected a beetle to have turned traitor & been my coadjutor, as to have found so able a one in this little fellow. — It really was like what one reads of the talent of observation which the Indians possess, my eyes with years of practice were not at all on a par with this childs. — I wish the Brazilians, as they advance in age, could keep the pleasant & engaging manners which they possess in youth. — My companions left me & I proceeded on my scramble into the interior of the forest. — A profound gloom reigns everywhere; it would be impossible to tell the sun was shining, if it was not for an occasional gleam of light shooting, as it were through a shutter, on the ground beneath; & that the tops of the more lofty trees are brightly illuminated. — The air is motionless & has a peculiar chilling dampness. — Whilst seated on the trunk of a decaying tree amidst such scenes, one feels an inexpressible delight. — The rippling of some little brook, the tap of a Woodpecker, or scream of some more distant bird, by the distinctness with which it is heard, brings the conviction how still the rest of Nature is. — I returned to the house; where I found several people collected after dinner; this day being one of their numerous feast-days. — The many contrivances for catching animals which my large pockets (not the least subject for surprise) contained, afforded ample grounds for curiosity & wonder. In both of which, with a great deal of good-nature they most freely indulged. — They assuredly thought me a greater curiosity than anything their woods contained. —

10th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Like a schoolboy in his holidays, I tremble as I perceive another week completed.

9th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Started at ½ after six with Derbyshire for a very long walk to the Gavia. — This mountain stands near the sea, & is recognised at a great distance by its most singular form. — Like the generality of the hills, it is a precipitous rounded cone, but on the summit is a flat angular mass, whence it takes the name of "table" or topsail mountain. The narrow path wound round its Southern base; the morning was delightful; & the air most fragrant & cool. — I have no where seen liliaceous plants & those with large leaves in such luxuriant plenty; growing on the border of the clear shaded rivulets & as yet glittering with drops of dew, they invited the traveller to rest. — The ocean, blue from the reflected sky, was seen in glimpses through the forest. — Islands crowned with palms varied our horizon. — As we passed along, we were amused by watching the humming birds. — I counted four species — the smallest at but a short distance precisely resembles in its habits & appearance a Sphinx. — The wings moved so rapidly, that they were scarcely visible, & so remaining stationary the little bird darted its beak into the wild flowers, —making an extraordinary buzzing noise at the same time, with its wings. — Those that I have met with, frequent shaded & retired forests & may there be seen chasing away the rival butterfly. In vain we attempted to find any path to ascend the Gavia; this steep hill subtends to the coast at an angle of 42°. — We returned home; at our furthest point we had a good view of the coast for many miles. — It was skirted by a band of thick brushwood: behind which was a wide plane of marshes & lakes; which in places were so green, that they looked like meadows. —

8th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Collected some Corallines on the rocks, which surround part of Botofogo Bay.

7th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Rode with Mr Bolger to the chapel of Nossa Senhora de Penha; this being one of the sights of the country. — Our road lay through the North & back part of the city, which covers a much greater space than I had imagined. The suburbs are very filthy & are surrounded by marshes covered with the Mangrove; the tide occasionally flows into them, & is sufficient to cause a continual putrefaction of vegetable & animal matter, which is rendered very perceptible to the nose. — The land surrounding the Bay is generally thus situated for instance Macucu & in consequence unhealthy.

As we proceeded in this direction nothing could be more uninteresting than the country. — Nossa Senhora is a gay little chapel built on one of the naked rounded hills of gneiss so frequent in this country. — Some hundreds of steps lead to the summit & there is an extensive view of the harbor & its islands. — On our return we rode to the palace of St Christophe; at a distance, from its large & regular dimensions & from the bright colours of the walls, it has a grand appearance. — I was much struck by the beauty of the right hand side building; I did not expect to see any thing so elegant in the Brazils. — The gate, which the Duke of Northumberland sent as a copy of the one at Sion house, stands on the edge of a hill where there is no path; even under such circumstances it is highly ornamental.

6th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Went on board & breakfasted with the Captain, spent the day between the city & the Beagle. Going on board gives in a small degree the comfortable feeling which is always experienced on returning home. Having lived so long on shore, I have almost forgotten how to stow myself in my own corner.
[Image - Captain Fitzroy]

5th June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Worked at the produce of yesterdays hunt; in the evening went out geologizing. Earl has returned (he has been staying for a week with some friends in the city) & brought a good deal of news from the Beagle.

4th June 1832

[Darwin's longest Journal entry since the Beagle left Plymouth last December... he IS pleased to see the ship again]

Rio de Janeiro
Got up at 4 oclock to go out hunting: the person who keeps the hounds is a priest & dean. — the pack only consisted of five dogs, their names, Trumpeta, Mimosa, Clariena, Dorena & Champaigna; the huntsman is a black man & performed the other offices of body servant & Clerk. The padre is a very rich man & a great favourite of the last queens; we got to his country house at 5 oclock & found with him another brother priest. — It was very curious to see the miserable manner such men could live in; one sort of shed where dogs, black men & themselves appeared to live together; & the whole place dirty & out of order. — At about seven we arrived at our hunting ground, & put up the horses at a small farm house situated in the middle of the woods. — The hunting consists in all the dogs being turned into the forest & each separately pursues its own game. — The hunters with guns station themselves in the places most likely for the animals, such as small deer & pachas (like guinea pigs) to pass by. — And in the intervals they shoot parrots & Toucans &c.. — I soon found this very stupid & began to hunt my own peculiar game. — The wood contained by far the largest trees I have yet seen, — the average I should think was double of what I have before seen, being about 6 feet in circumference, of course as before there are many larger & smaller trees. — Perhaps in consequence of the greater size this one was much less impenetrable than the generality & might easily be traversed in all directions. — The eldest son of the farmer accompanied us & was a good specimen of the country Brazilian youths. — His dress consisted of a tattered shirt, pair of trowsers, & wooden slippers (in keeping on which he showed most singular dexterity) & no hat & long hair. — He carried with him an old fashioned gun & an enormous knife. — As They use the latter for killing animals & as they walk along incessantly continue cutting the branches so as to improve old & make new paths. — This practice is universal, & in consequence of the habit of carrying the knife, many murders take place. — It is not at all necessary for them to approach the person as they can throw the knife to a great distance with force & precision. — The day before this young man had shot 2 large bearded monkeys & had left another dead in the tree: these monkeys have prehensile tails, which when dead by the very tip will support the whole weight of the animal. — He took with him a mulatto with an axe & to my surprise proceeded in order to get the monkey, to cut down an enormous tree; they soon affected this & as it fell with an awful crash it tore up the earth & broke other trees & itself. — We joined our party, whom we found shooting beautiful little green parrots; the young Brazilian soon signalized himself by his hawks eye & steady hand. — We then eat our dinner & drank wine in the true Don Quixote fashion out of a bag of goats skin. — After a score of profound bows & with our hands to our hearts repeating "Monte, Monte, obligado", we took leave of the two hospitable & intelligent padres proceeded home. — I found on my table a letter from Shrewsbury dated March 12th. —

I also found King, who had arrived late the evening before in the Beagle. — He brought the calamitous news of the death of three of our ship-mates. — They were the three of the Macacu party who were ill with fever when the Beagle sailed from Rio. — 1st Morgan, an extraordinary powerful man & excellent seaman; he was a very brave man & had performed some curious feats, he put a whole party of Portugeese to flight, who had molested the party; he pitched an armed sentinel into the sea at St Jago; & formerly he was one of the boarders in that most gallant action against the Slaver the Black Joke. — 2d Boy Jones one of the most promising boys in the ship & had been promised but the day before his illness, promotion. — These were the only two of the sailors who were with the Cutter, & picked for their excellence. — And lastly, poor little Musters; who three days before his illness heard of his Mothers death. Morgan was taken ill 4 days after arriving on board & died near the Abrolhos, where he was lowered into the sea after divisions on Sunday — for several days he was violently delirious & talked about the party. — Boy Jones died two days after arriving at Bahia, & Musters two days after that. — They were both for a long time insensible or nearly so. — They were both buried in the English burial ground at Bahia; where in the lonely spot are also two other midshipmen. The other five of the party were all slightly attacked; none of them for more than a day or two. — Macacu has been latterly especially notorious for fevers: how mysterious & how terrible is their power. It is remarkable that in almost every case, the fever appears to come on several days after returning into the pure atmosphere. — I could quote numbers of such cases: is it the sudden change of life, the better & more stimulating food, which determines the period?- Humboldt & Bonpland, after living for months in the forests, as soon as they returned to the coast, both were seized by violent fevers.

The Beagle made a very good passage up; being only 5 days, she passed a few miles inside of the Abrolhos. — A French corvette sailed 8 days before & promised our Captain to have dinner ready for him on his arrival at Bahia; as it turned out the case was reversed; such is the advantage of a good knowledge of the winds & coast. — She staid a week at Bahia. — And 12 days back to Rio; she would have been some days shorter on the passage, had she not been becalmed at Cape Frio.

3rd June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Staid quietly at home, & in the evening walked to the Lagoa. Called on a Mr Roberts, one of the endless nondescript characters of which the Brazils are full, broken down agents to speculation companies; officers who have served under more flags than one: &c &c to all of whom I am charitable enough to attribute some little peccadillo or another.

2nd June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Collected in the neighbourhead of the house: I trust there is a change in the weather: the Hygrometer showed the air to be twice as dry in the middle of the day as in the morning. There was a good example of what Humboldt says of "the thin vapour, which without changing the transparency of the air, renders its tints more harmonious, softens the effects" &c &c. In one of these days when there is such a profusion of light, the consequent dark shadows are well opposed to the general brightness of the view.

1st June 1832

Rio de Janeiro
Took a long ride, in order to geologize some of the surrounding hills. — After passing for some time through lanes shaded by hedges of Mimosas, I turned off into a track into the forest. — The woods even at this short distance from the city are as quiet & unfrequented as if a civilized man had never entered them. — The path [2 words deleted] wound up the hill: at the height of 5 or 600 feet I enjoyed one of those splendid views, which may be met with on every side of Rio. — At this elevation the landscape has attained its most brilliant tint. — I do not know what epithet such scenery deserves: beautiful is much too tame; every form, every colour is such a complete exaggeration of what one has ever beheld before. — If it may be so compared, it is like one of the gayest scenes in the Opera House or Theatre. —