26th December 1833

Port Desire
The Beagle is anchored opposite to a fort erected by the old Spaniards. It was formerly attempted to make a settlement here; but it quite failed from the want of water in the summer, & the Indians in the winter. The buildings were begun in very good style, & remain a proof of the strong hand of old Spain. Some of the enclosures & some cherry trees may yet be seen. The fate of all the Spanish establishments on the coast of Patagonia, with the exception of the R. Negro, has been miserable. Port Famine, as it is well known, expresses the sufferings of the settlers. At St Josephs, every man, excepting two, was massacred by the Indians on a Sunday when in church. The two were prisoners some years with the Indians; one of them, now in extreme old age, I conversed with at R. Negro.

I walked this day to some fine cliffs, five miles to the South: here the usual geological story, of the same great oyster bed being upheaved in modern days was very evident. In the evening weather very cold, & a Tierra del Fuego gale of wind.

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